This is a “sponsored post.” ChromaDex compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin
No matter how many anti-aging lotions and potions I rub into my skin, it’s unlikely that I’m going to wake up one day soon, glance in the mirror, and see my 30-old-face staring back at me. But the burgeoning nutritional supplement market, estimated at a whopping $20+ billion, consistently promises it can help me live healthier–and feel younger. Although I’d be willing to keep my crow’s feet and laugh lines, in exchange for feeling as tip-top as I did decades ago, so many supplement claims seem downright absurd!
I wanted to learn more, so I arranged for an interview with Dr. Charles Brenner, the scientist behind this discovery, and asked him to explain his discovery in non-scientific terms. If a highly educated scientist hoped to teach me anything, he had to make it simple. Biology was my worst subject in high school!
If I had been a young woman anytime from 1915 to 1945, and Pablo Picasso was attracted to me, I would have jumped into bed with him (all 5’ 4” of him), probably had a long-term affair, and become distraught by his inability to truly commit himself to me.
I just watched Genius, a National Geographic Network series about Picasso, and was enthralled—but not surprised—by his spell over women. He was stimulating. Smart. Sexy. Wealthy. And famous. But he usually lost interest in women whom he had once passionately pursued, and would often have two lovers simultaneously. Two of his mistresses once physically fought over him, which he enjoyed watching. One of the women was Dora Maar, a renowned photographer, poet and painter, who was Picasso’s mistress for nine years. She was so in love with him that she actually went crazy, and underwent electroshock treatments, when he rejected her. The other woman, a model with whom Picasso had a daughter, committed suicide four years after his death.
Picasso married twice, the first time to a Russian ballerina with whom he had a son. She took the child and left him when she learned his mistress was pregnant, but Picasso wouldn’t divorce her because he didn’t want to share his fortune, which included his paintings. Besides, he no longer desired her.
Francoise Gilot, a mistress with whom Picasso had a 10-year-affair and two children, was an entirely different story. Herself a gifted artist, she wanted to achieve fame for her talent, not just for being Picasso’s lover. Four decades younger than Picasso, Francoise left him when he became increasingly tyrannical and cold. “ ‘I wanted a bit more affection, maybe; not love, but affection. So anyway, I was not satisfied,’ ” she told an interviewer for The Guardian newspaper two years ago. Picasso and Francoise became estranged, meeting only once more a year later, when she handed over their children for a visit.
When the interviewer asked Francoise if leaving Picasso was liberating, she answered, “No, because I was not a prisoner. I’d been there of my own will and I left of my own will.” Before she left, Francoise told Picasso that she came when she wanted and would leave when she wanted. He answered, “nobody leaves a man like me.”
Francoise, now 96 and living between Paris and New York, has achieved fame in her own right. Paloma Picasso, a businesswoman and jewelry designer, is her daughter, and Claude Picasso, a movie director, is her son.
I would not have been as strong as Francoise. Would you?
I always enjoyed chatting with Karen when we’d sit next to each other while we had manicures or pedicures, or when we’d run into each other in the street. We knew each other for years, but we really didn’t know each other.
“Karen died last week,” Angela told me as she was applying polish to my nails.
I was incredulous. I hadn’t seen Karen in a couple of months, but that wasn’t unusual since our mani appointments often didn’t coincide. Turns out Karen had cancer. She had it years ago, Angela said, and it was in remission, but the cancer returned. She chose not to tell anyone, certainly not acquaintances.
Darlene (not her real name) is different than Karen. They’re polar opposites, at least when it comes to publicly discussing their illness. Darlene has metastasized cancer, and talks about it often, at least on her Facebook page. She shares information about her experimental treatments, asks for help getting to and from her appointments, and calls out people whom she regards as callous towards her.
“Some of you just watch me, lots of you help me, and some of you are scared of my raw feelings and how I express them. This is me (on cancer). I ain’t changing now,” she recently commented on Facebook. Having cancer has actually made her an “extrovert,” she wrote.
Why do some of us share our feelings, with just about anyone, when we’re most vulnerable, while others wouldn’t dare? I have a few thoughts on the subject.
Sharing makes us feel even more vulnerable. When we tell others about something bad or unpleasant that has befallen us, it might make us look less in control of ourselves and the situation. A successful, controlling woman I knew never would admit to problems she was having at work because she always had to appear “in charge.” Being “in charge” gave her leverage over others, which she didn’t want to lose.
When my aunt was dying of colorectal cancer, she steadfastly avoided the subject simply because she couldn’t face it, even to her family.
Sharing opens us up to hearing things that we’d prefer not to hear.I think most of us would agree that we don’t know what to say to someone who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, or had some other horrible thing happen to him or her. “People always ask me ‘how do you feel?’” a woman with cancer told me. “How do they think I feel?” she rhetorically said. Or, they’ll go into detail about what happened to someone else they know with the same disease; offer non-stop medical advice, or give us disingenuous offers of help.
Openly sharing makes us feel less lonely. Although some of us would prefer not to hear every last detail about an acquaintance’s sickness or other problem, it might actually be a relief for her or him to discuss it. Sharing, however, is different than oversharing. “The difference between being authentic and oversharing stems from your intentions. In her book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown summed up the difference by saying, ‘Using vulnerability is the not the same thing as being vulnerable; it’s the opposite—it’s armor,’” wrote psychotherapist Amy Morin on www.forbes.com.
Amy says some people might “cross the line (sometimes unintentionally)” from being authentic to being oversharers togain sympathy. “If you share your mistakes in an effort to help others learn, you are being authentic. If, however, you share your hardships to gain pity, you’re oversharing,” she said.
Oversharers often want to relieve the anxiety they feel when “pain is raw,” and it feels like everyone sees something is “wrong with you,” Amy noted. “Oversharers relieve their anxiety by revealing their pain. Authentic people, however, tolerate that anxiety and carefully consider whether it’s good idea to share,” she explained.
If you care to share your personal feelings about this subject, I’d love to hear from you.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling brave, I’ll take a peek at my nude 71-year-old body in the mirror. I’ll critically study my drooping breasts and underarms, torso that more resembles a pot-belly stove than a washboard, and dimpled legs. Doesn’t make an alluring picture, I think. Or would it? My aging body may not look like it did when I was 40, or even 50, but aside from the fact that it wouldn’t hurt if I shed 20 pounds, it’s my body and why shouldn’t I like it? It may be far from “perfect,” but who really gets to decide what perfect means anyway? Isn’t beauty supposed to be in the eye of the beholder?
“Women don’t accept what we see in the mirror like men do. A man can be fat, paunchy and have no hair, and he’ll look at his image and think he’s a stud,” said 69-year-old cardiologist-turned-photographer Judith Monteferrante. Funny, but sadly true. So, Judith decided to make it her mission to help aging women “feel comfortable in their own bodies” by publishing a book of nude photographs of real women over 50 years old. The Nude Matured: Body and Spirit features women “who accept their bodies, even if they weren’t genetically blessed and don’t have gym memberships,” Judith told me.
“As a cardiologist, I shared the daily life experiences of my patients, with all their joys, sorrows, and fears as well as the adrenaline rush of life and death crises. I watched their struggles with intimacy, loneliness, and vulnerability, and it has changed me,” Judith beautifully states in the introduction to the book.
“The Nude Matured projectexplores the hidden beauty of aging and the soft sophistication of the beautiful older woman, accepting and often celebrating her desirability in this image-driven age of unachievable perfection,” she explains.
It was stimulating to talk to Judith, and to learn how her project evolved. She, and her book, will make you think about your body differently, if you don’t already do.
Please tell us a little about your career before you became a photographer.
“After secretarial high school I got a master’s degree in nursing, practiced for five years, and then went to medical school and became a cardiologist. I was the first female cardiologist in Westchester County, NY.”
What interested you about becoming a cardiologist?
“I became a cardiologist because of air conditioning. After nursing school in Buffalo, I went into pediatric nursing in the pediatric medical surgical unit at Buffalo General Hospital. I had to wear gowns and and give medication to children under 12 months old. The unit had no air conditioning, and there was so much humidity in Buffalo because it’s on a lake. I couldn’t do it anymore, so I went to the cardiology unit, which had air conditioning because they didn’t want the heat to stress the patients. After working there I wanted to go to medical school for cardiology.”
How did you go from cardiology to photography?
“When I retired nine years ago, at 60, my husband wanted to move to Gloucester, MA, where we had a home for 25 years, but I didn’t want to get another license and start another practice. I wanted a change, but to feel comfortable about taking another path.
“I grew up in an artistic family. My mother did arts and crafts, and my father was an art director for an ad agency on Madison Avenue who taught me how to see, and explain what I felt when I looked at something. I had been a photographer for quite a while, so I decided to apply to the School of Visual Arts in New York, and I got in. There I learned digital skills, marketing, processing and printing.”
Why did you decide to photograph nude older women?
“I do a lot of still life and floral photography. I really love flowers. But when I thought I’d submit dramatically photographed florals for my master’s thesis at SVA, my professor discouraged me. So, I started doing older nudes, with flowers as props. John Coplan, a British photographer, did bold nude self portraits when he was in his late 70s, but no one had looked at nude older women. All the major books of nude photography showed beautiful, younger women.
“Why couldn’t I make older women look beautiful just by the way I photographed them? I didn’t want to use perfect models. I didn’t want to touch up anyone. I didn’t get rid of cellulite. I wanted to show the women the way they were, and to use light to caress them. Different types of lighting brought out different aspects of each woman. The women felt wonderful about themselves. They were proud of their bodies.
“Another student, who was photographing young male and female dancers, and I rented a studio together. He’d be my assistant one day and I’d be his the next day. His nudes would walk around naked all day, flaunting their sexuality, and the mine wore robes.
“We shared the award for best student that year.”
Where did you find the women to photograph?
“A 68-year-old woman came through the school’s modeling agency, and she got all the other women, many of whom were art models and knew each other. One woman was undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer, and she wanted to show how important it is to be accepting of your body.”
Did you have a mentor?
“My mentor was Robert Farber, who photographed gorgeous models and used soft lighting in his book The Natural Beauty. I liked his work and called and asked him to be my advisor, and he said sure. I met with him many, many times. He was an inspiration.”
So, your book was originally published nine years ago?
“I self published the book in 2009, but added a few new photos for the updated version, which is from Lulu Publishing. This edition shares the thoughts and emotions felt by the women during the project. One woman said: ‘Women have to get over the fact that they think being perfect is so important. They have to get over it! Being genuine and understanding is very important.’”
Do you still live in Gloucester?
“My second husband of 30 years and I live on the water in Gloucester for half the year and in Scottsdale, AZ, for the other half. He was a plastic surgeon who ran a burn reconstruction unit.”
You can purchase the soft cover version of The Nude Matured: Body and Spirit on www.amazon.com, and the hardcover book on the Lulu website.
I bet just seeing the names of these two women brings out a big bundle of emotions.
Perhaps Sarah’s consistent lies, constant frown, and nasty attitude literally make you sick to your stomach. Or maybe you believe she’s the best White House press secretary ever, and think it’s really cool when she castigates reporters and tells them that they’re only smart enough to grasp simple sentences. You’re delighted she was booted from a restaurant in Virginia. Or, you pray the restaurant goes out of business.
Possibly you’re tickled pink that Kathy’s career tanked after she disrespected the man who is president. Or perhaps you’re thrilled she stood up for her beliefs, and held his “fake” bloodied and severed head in the palm of her hands.
We’re each entitled, of course, to our own opinions. It’s a free country. Right?
But how can any woman, in good conscience, turn around and make demeaning comments about Kathy or Sarah that she’d condemn another woman for making? Especially when it comes to Kathy or Sarah’s “appearance?” To wit, a staunch Republican woman I know believes it’s “hateful” when anyone “slams Sarah on her looks,” but wrote on her Facebook page that Kathy “should sue her plastic surgeon.” When she was called out about criticizing Kathy’s looks, she defensively responded: “Just commenting on the poor work her doc did. Not her fault that her doc did such a lousy job. She should get her money back. Seriously, she has said as much and I agree!”
Why couldn’t this woman just admit her blatant hypocrisy? Why? Because we’ve entered an appalling time in America, when malice trumps civility; when emotion trumps reason; why lies trump facts. And, no matter which side of the fence you’re on, you must let civility, reason and facts triumph. Because, without them, we are no longer the United States of America.
My five-year-old grandson was lucky to be born in the United States. He has loving parents and a group of great pals, and lives in a safe home in a safe neighborhood. But little boys like Primo who were born in Central American countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, aren’t safe. Their parents aren’t safe. Their neighborhoods aren’t safe. Many of them are victims of the gangs and drug cartels that now rule their countries. Young girls are taken as property of the gangs and are raped. Young boys become gang members. Families are coerced to make payments to gangs. Murder runs rampant.
So parents are taking their children and fleeing these horrible circumstances to take asylum in the safety of Primo’s country.
But we aren’t giving them protection. Instead, we’re grabbing their children from their sides, from their arms—and from their breasts—and sending them by the thousands to detention centers. These children were scared before. They took a scary journey to get here. Now they’re still scared. And they don’t have their parents to comfort them.
Their parents, in the meantime, are being prosecuted for crossing the border illegally. They don’t know where their children are or when they’ll see them again. They’ve come with little more than the cloths on their backs.
“These are the most desperate people I’ve ever seen in my life,” said a TV reporter. “They’re fleeing violence and persecution and coming here to save their kids’ and their own lives.”
But we aren’t giving them protection.
“You do not become a citizen of the United States by illegally entering this country,” said the person who holds the office of President of the United States. “You will have your children taken away from you and you will be prosecuted,” said the person who holds the office of Attorney General.
It doesn’t matter if you are a victim of gangs, rape, extortion. We will not help you.
The current President of the United States wants to keep out the rapists, drug smugglers, murderers and gang members of Central America who are terrorizing the families seeking asylum here. His puppets claim the crying kids who have been taken from their parents are “actors.” He maniacally lies that many members of these families are pawns of the drug smugglers, murderers and gang members. In fact, that’s the case with less than 1 percent of those seeking asylum.
When the Nazis were running wild over Europe, prior to the outbreak of World War II, many frightened Jewish parents organized to send their children, without them, on a “Kindertransport” to the UK. Over 10,000 children were taken to live in homes in England, where many of them were subsequently adopted. Most of their families perished during the Holocaust.
The parents from Central America don’t have the resources to do what the families in Austria, Germany and Czechoslovakia did 80 years ago. But even if they did, the United States in 2018 would undoubtedly turn its back.
PS: Reacting to intense pressure throughout the country, the man who holds the office of President of the United States signed an executive order yesterday that will keep families together. He stressed, however, that the order would not end the “zero-tolerance” policy that criminally prosecutes all adults caught crossing the border illegally. The order aims to keep families together while they are in custody, expedite their cases, and ask the Department of Defense to help house them.
He does not want immigrants in this country from countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Period. The only thing his order does is allow families to stay together until they’re kicked out.
What’s more, the man who holds the office of President of the United States said he will not lift a finger to reunite the 2,500 children currently in detention with their parents.
I am transfixed each and every time I see news footage of the American, Canadian and British soldiers landing on the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. Over 150,000 Allied forces successfully landed on five beaches along a heavily fortified 50-mile coastline. While the soldiers coming ashore on four of the five beaches encountered relatively light resistance from the German forces, over 2,000 perished on Omaha Beach, which was a codename.
The turbulent waters sickened many soldiers as they made their way across the English Channel from southern England, not to mention the fear that surely enveloped even the most courageous of them. I study their young faces as they make their journey, and try to imagine what they’re thinking, the final thoughts for many of them.
I root for the boys who are close to the beach, or already on shore, then watch in horror as the unlucky ones fall to the sand and into the water as they’re gunned down by the German troops. I wonder if any of the fallen men’s wives or girlfriends are alive today, 74 years ago yesterday, and how they must feel watching the clips airing all over the TV and internet. I would like to meet one of them to hear her story, and to personally thank her for the sacrifice her partner made to save us from the Nazis.
My two visits to Normandy have been my most memorable trips. Walking on the serene beach, I recall the haunting 1944 images of fear, pain and destruction. Close by, the lush and peaceful American Cemetery in Normandy is blanketed with row after row of stark white crosses and Jewish stars that mark the graves of the fallen soldiers. It is an essential reminder that others gave their lives so that we could live ours without fear and hate.
Do you ever study other families–in the park, at a restaurant, on a train ride, in a photo–and think “now, that’s a perfect family,” even if you don’t know a single member? I confess I do. Here’s what I daydream these “perfect families” have in common:
They hardly ever ask each other irritating questions; if they do, they don’t get hot and bothered.
They overlook one another’s irksome habits.
They don’t have unnatural expectations of one another.
They know just what to say when someone in the family is having a hard day.
They intently listen to one another.
They find every opportunity to spend time with one another.
They give one another thoughtful little gifts throughout the year.
They genuinely want to know how one another is doing.
They go out of their way to help out one another.
They hug and kiss one another.
They express their love for one another.
They don’t try to outsmart, outshine or outdo one another.
They make one another laugh.
They make one another think.
They don’t keep a scorecard about who does what for whom, and how often.
They actually want to vacation together, at least sometimes.
I imagine many of you must be saying I’m delusional. There isn’t a single perfect family on the face of the planet, you say, with absolute certainty. Perfect families exist only in fairytales. So, I thought it would be fun to visit the website www.quora.com to see how some folks answered the question: What is the perfect family like?
“A perfect family is when the parent(s) love their children and the children love their parent(s). There is mutual respect and they stick together in the hard times and enjoy the good times. The family face the uncertainties of life together and help each other. That is the perfect family,” wrote Chris Summers.
“A perfect family is a family where there is unconditional love and acceptance. There may be differences among the members, but it should never be prolonged for more than few minutes. Policy of forgive and forget should always be kept in mind,” Jaya Rajgopalan commented.
Chris and Jaya’s answers are unpretentious and simple. They say to me that perfect families don’t actually have to be perfect. Love, respect and acceptance trump irritations, hurtful actions or comments, and perfect families don’t even have to hug and kiss one another. Although that helps.
But, love, respect and acceptance don’t always come easily, and sometimes they don’t come at all. Or, they evaporate into thin air, and then the family evaporates along with them.
I gave my mother, May Goldberg, lots of grief. One of my first memories was being so hysterical when I started grade school (I went straight to first grade at 5 years old because the deadlines were wacky back then), the principal asked her to come and calm me down. I can still see my 5-year-old self sitting with my mother in the stairwell outside the classroom, in a state of abject terror. Somehow she got me back into the room!
I remained in a constant state of hysteria about school till my very last final at NYU, worrying incessantly about tests and grades, and having a nervous breakdown (a real one) when I went to an out-of-town college at 17 and couldn’t handle being away from home. My mother even flew up to Syracuse to try and calm me down, like she had done 12 years before, not having much success this time around.
When I was in my mid teens and wanted a new piece of clothing, which mom thought was too expensive, I’d go to my father to get his permission to use the Lord & Taylor card.
I talked back to my mother, preferred to share my problems with my dad, detested the hot lunches she served when I was a kid, and continually refused her demands that I go to bed when I’d fall asleep on the vinyl-upholstered sofa in the den.
I chose my own wedding venue at 21 years old, married someone mom didn’t cozy up to, and went off to start a career, instead of having babies and staying home like she did. (Note: She was a talented artist who went to Pratt, but quit to marry and have kids. I always thought that was a BIG mistake.)
I sent her home after one night, when she came to help us out after our son was born. Despite her imploring, I stopped talking to my sisters for years when I felt they were selfish to me, and iced out my dad for a long time, too.
I also stopped talking to my mother for years when she refused to handle a family situation the way I thought it should be handled.
I didn’t comfort her when my dad, the love of her life, died. I didn’t invite her on my family’s vacations. God knows where I was when she had a kidney stone. And, I rarely asked her for advice about anything. I even picked out my own wedding dress with my future mother in law.
Good grief, I was a crappy daughter for a very long time.
Thankfully, I grew up, even if it took until I was around 50 to get there, and my mother was 75. We went to lunch together. I invited her to dinner about once a week. I wanted her thoughts about Edgar (the love of MY life who I should never have let into my life!), about my home, even about my clothes.
I invited her on one of my business trips, when we drove to Cleveland together. She helped me take my first excruciating steps after my hysterectomy.
And, I was there for mom when I found her lying dazed on the floor of her apartment one Sunday morning, after she apparently fell from her bed in the middle of the night, then couldn’t get up. She had pulled the cover down to warm herself.
I was there for her every day and evening in the hospital, following her hip surgery, when she was in horrible pain, and I’d run through the halls looking for a doctor or nurse at God-awful Lenox Hill, where no sick person should ever have to go. And, I was there every single day when she went into a rehab facility, still in horrible pain and seeming to be slipping into oblivion. She would constantly cry out “it hurts,” and developed bed sores, which I assumed were the cause.
I bought her a special body pillow, headphones so she could watch TV without bothering her sick roommate, and new comfortable clothes.
My mother never got to wear most of the clothes, because she died less than two weeks later, from a raging infection throughout her body. She had diabetes and apparently should never have had the hip surgery after her fall. That’s another story.
I was home the morning I got the call about my mother’s death, and when I went to retrieve her possessions and start making funeral arrangements, I discovered the bed pillow had been stolen. I would have wanted to take it home with me as a memory. The sack of clothes, her glasses and the handbag she had with her on her last journey are resting in one of my closets, where they shall remain until I die.
My mother told me she loved me during the last few years of her life, as I told her. I can’t remember ever having exchanged those words with her before.
Mom, you did your best with a difficult daughter. I am sorry I gave you so much grief for so many years. You deserved better. I am glad we had a chance to show each other love before it was too late.
Happy Mother’s Day. I miss you, and give daddy a kiss for me!
“Life is an ever changing and living thing. There is no need to recreate the past. Move forward. Each step opens a new path. ” –Sophie Losinski
I could simply tell you to click on over to Beyond Belief Biscotti and place an order for the best biscotti you’ve ever tasted. Not just good biscotti. Exceptional biscotti, with flavors like Coconut Lime With White Chocolate and Salted Caramel With Pecans & Pretzels. Biscotti that’s crunchy, but not dry, with just the right amount of sweetness. Biscotti that even those who don’t like biscotti will love.
But, I also want to introduce you to Sophie Losinski, the woman who created Beyond Belief Biscotti last Christmas, when she was in a dark place, emotionally and physically, and wanted to “lift myself from the space of sadness and being overwhelmed that I had been feeling for weeks,” she told me.
Sophie’s 9 to 5 job is with the Ministry of Labour in Toronto, Canada. She’s also a gifted writer and a certified PNRT Therapist (progressive neural resolution therapy), who helps people eradicate their self-sabotaging tendencies so they can lead joyful and productive lives. So, when Sophie was on medical leave late last year she knew that if she “focused on being of service to others, and giving, it would feed my soul.” That’s when she decided to make biscotti as “gifts of love” for her family and friends during the holiday season.
“December 23 2017 was the FIRST time I EVER made biscotti,” Sophie said. “The reactions were astounding, and many friends and relatives told us we were onto something and should sell them. And so, in early January, we decided to take the leap.”
“We” is Sophie and Andrei, her husband of almost six years (they’ve been together 13 years), who is a client manager in the travel insurance business. “Andrei is an amazing man. He was in full support of whatever I felt I needed to get through the challenges I was facing,” Sophie said.
All the Beyond Belief Biscotti recipes were created from scratch, and each batch is made fresh without a single preservative. “We don’t use premix,” Sophie emphasized. The most popular flavors are Coconut Lime With White Chocolate, Salted Caramel With Pecans & Pretzels, and Hazelnut With Nutella & White Chocolate. My personal fave is the Coconut Lime! (more…)