The Crush Letter No 105: DEVOUR

. 13 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life, love, and culture for those 40+.  Because midlife and beyond is so much cooler than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.


Hello Crush,

Well so, okay I had a pretty rough week. My sweet dog Lola was sick all week and kept me up day and night. I ended up putting her down today and it was a heartbreaker.

My late husband discovered Lola in the parking lot of a Whole Foods outside of Boston 15 years ago. He sent me an email with the subject line "I'm in love." When I opened it there was a picture of a scrawny, scruffy dog with pleading eyes. Under it he wrote "Can we keep her?"

Lola offered unconditional love to everyone she met, but not in a nudgy, pestering way. She did it in a gentle, lady-like way. She simply sat nearby, in case you needed her. She never begged for food or attention. She asked for so little - she rarely barked, never had an accident and loved to walk or lounge or do just about anything you were doing. She was so easy and so loving that when my friend Jean's husband David was dying we put Lola on his bed to comfort him and she stayed there for four months, through his entire period of sickness. Once we saw how much better he felt with her on his lap we realized that that was where she was meant to be for a while.

It was just a few hours ago, so I haven't yet adjusted to life without her – how do you go from 15 years of having a trumpet of love by your side to knowing you'll never hear her fanfare again?  

And trust me, this tribute is hardly worthy of such a good friend. But it's all I've got right now.

Goodbye, dear sweet scruffy Lola.

Sweet, scruffy Lola

There was more I was going to try to get into this Letter but it was a week. Thank goodness for Lisa Ellex, our Contributing Editor for our DEVOUR Letters. This week's fabulous recommendations are all hers. Enjoy!


If you're new here (welcome!), I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.


In This Letter.  +DEVOUR {things to watch, read, and listen to}.   +Hook Ups: Founders We Think You Should Know Meet Meg Sullivan, Founder & CEO of The Quorum Initiative   +Social Media I Loved This Week. By Dish Stanley  


DEVOUR {things to watch, read & listen to}

In our monthly DEVOUR column we share all the things we think you should eat up.

Seeing stars.

Eat. You don’t have to be Italian to be in the loop about the Great Pastina Scandal. After 105 years, Ronzoni has discontinued a staple found in the cupboards of Italian homes for six generations. The little pasta, the main ingredient in what my nonna called “Sicilian penicillin,” has been cut from Ronzoni’s production since January 2023 and hoarders and resellers are still scouring supermarkets for the last of the lot. Yes, other brands are manufacturing pastina, but Ronzoni was the inventor of the star-shaped (“stelline”) OG pasta that brought smiles to the faces of millions of under-the-weather bambini. To mourn the loss, I’m sharing my Nonna’s recipe, a prescription that’s sure to cure any malady of the mind or body.  

Nonna Aida’s “Pastina, Egg, and Butter” Recipe

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil*
Add 2 cubes of chicken (or vegetable) bouillon.
Stir. Add 1 cup stelline pastina.
Stir. In a bowl, beat 4 eggs, folding in 2 tablespoons of grated pecorino romano cheese.
Slowly add the egg mixture to the boiling water, stirring until it thickens.
Ladle into a bowl and add a pat of butter.
Stir, and top with more pecorino romano Presto e delicioso!
*no need to salt the water as there’s plenty of salt in the bouillon and pecorino romano.

Hell hath no fury like a comedian scorned.

Watch.  Selected Outrage. (Netflix) Comedian Chris Rock has made broadcasting history twice in one year; first by getting publicly assaulted on a live-televised Oscar presentation, and second on Saturday, March 6, when Netflix streamed their first-ever live comedy special from Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theater to an anxiously awaiting global audience.  As usual, Rock’s rants were brilliant, covering everything from racism, abortion, economics, dating older women, having daughters raised in privilege to The Royal Family, OJ Simpson, the Kardashians, Elon Musk and – yes – Will and Jada. Always smart, always biting, catch Rock at the top of his game if you haven’t already seen it.

Got Punk?

Watch. Nightclubbing: The Birth of Punk Rock in NYC (Prime Video) Writer/director Danny Garcia says of his documentary, Nightclubbing: The Birth of Punk Rock in NYC,  “This is not a film to watch with your kids.”  And what else would one expect from a film about the wildest, angriest, most hard-core, drug-laden, anything goes era in music? With appearances and memories by Billy Idol, Alice Cooper, Brian Seltzer, Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls), Frank Infante (Blondie), and more, the film takes us inside the famed Max’s Kansas City during punk rock’s golden age. Now put the kids to bed, dig out the hair gel for that mohawk, and warm up the telly because Nightclubbing is available on most streaming services on March 10, 2023.

Watch/Read. Martin Scorsese's List of the Best Movies Ever Made. Now that The 95th Academy Awards are behind us and you’re all caught up on the fine films of 2022, it’s time to school yourself on what movie master Martin Scorsese thinks are the 15 greatest films of all time– and Marty knows. What’s your favorite?  For me, it’s a tie between Citizen Kane and 8 1/2.

Read. In addition to her fifty books of essays, poetry, and fiction, Margaret Atwood is a playwright, puppeteer, librettist, and painter.  The multi-genre Canadian author has been called one of the greatest writers of our time and – at age 83 – has just published her newest work, Old Babes in the Woods. This perfect mid-life read is a collection of 15 short stories examining life, death, love, relationships, the foolishness of youth, the wisdom of aging, and the years that are behind us. A must-read for adults of any age.

Listen. Whatever your faith, whatever your politics, you must listen to this NPR archival interview series with President Jimmy Carter and Fresh Air host, Terry Gross. The 39th U.S. President (1977-1981) and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, best remembered for his efforts in the Iranian hostage crisis and rescue mission, candidly answers some hard questions concerning abortion, the death penalty, and face-to-face negotiations with perpetrators of war crimes. The interviews, conducted between 1993-1996, examine Carter’s deep faith, humanitarian accomplishments, philanthropic causes, a pre-2020 election scandal, and so much more.  Especially moving is Carter’s response to Gross asking, “Was there a time you felt your God had forsaken you?”  After you hear the interview you may find yourself inspired to…

Jimmy Carter: The ‘Fresh Air’ interviews
At 98, Carter is the oldest living president in U.S. history. After serving his term, he worked to promote safe housing, human rights and conflict resolution. Originally broadcast in ’93, ‘95 and ’96.

Read. The Virtues of Aging Jimmy Carter’s 1998 work on “the new experiences that come to us with age.”   At 56-years-old, Carter had lost a presidential election and found himself bankrupt with debt on his farm and warehouse business. If you find yourself starting over, start with this read.

Watch. Succession (HBO) Succession is in session! It’s been a long wait, but the family we love to hate is back! Succession season 4 returns to HBO on Sunday, March 26th at 9pm with ten new – and final – episodes.  Yes, Succession-istas, series creator Jesse Armstrong has announced this will be the last season for the sensationalist series. So slip on your gladiator sandals, grab your seat in the coliseum, and let the games begin!

Listen. Darling Be Home Soon. Can dogs smell time? Just ask Donut the dog

I have a friend who would arrive home each night to find her apartment looking like it was burglarized. The burglar, a nine-pound poodle, was the culprit.  When she installed a doggie cam and watched the footage, she learned that the dog was ransacking the house each day at the same time, thirty minutes before her usual arrival.  She marveled at the dog’s inner clock but always felt there was something more to it.  She was right. Psychologist Alexandra Horowitz, who studies dog cognition at Columbia University and Barnard College, tells us– the nose knows.

Hook Ups: Founders We Think You Should Know

Meet Meg Sullivan, Founder & CEO of The Quorum Initiative

“Hook Ups” is an ongoing feature introducing our readers to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and small business owners.

In one or two sentences, please tell us what you “do” at Quorum.

As the Founder and CEO of Quorum Initiative, I get involved in guiding the strategic direction, curating the curriculum and content which includes confirming speakers, enhancing the membership through connections I meet, and creating partnership opportunities with symbiotic organizations and businesses that complement and enhance the work we do at Quorum.  

For how many years?

Quorum was launched in the spring of 2011 in New York City and grew to Washington D.C., London and beyond. It is my passion project and grew out of my desire to create a space by and for women working in international business, education, and government who are passionate about sharing their skills and contacts and understand that progress happens through collective action. Being a part of Quorum feeds my soul and is additive to my life both professionally and personally thanks to all the incredible women I meet.  

What kind of work does Quorum do? (And how do you do it?)

Quorum Initiative connects exceptional executive women. We are an inclusive, intimate peer network focused on delivering a curriculum including leadership, wellbeing, and professional development experiences. The goal is taking action for change for ourselves and each other. We are committed to lifelong learning, providing a dynamic and nurturing community, opening doors, promoting gender equity, and removing obstacles to advancement.

Quorum has a virtual speaker series that focuses on leadership development and inspiration from change-makers. We have virtual cohort sessions where members get a chance to share and connect in an intimate meeting. There are two signature in-person events - HOW: The Retreat that inspires reflection, connections and self-care. There is also the HOW Forum that inspires taking action for yourself, for your professional environment and for your community. Additionally, there are local in-person social gatherings where we celebrate being together and each other.

What’s your personal story of how you started—where did you get the idea?

When I reached my 40s, I turned around and realized that I had worked hard to fight my way to the C-Suite and made it, but it was complicated getting there and lonely at the top as the sole female. I decided it was time I dedicated energy to giving back and making change so others could ascend with fewer barriers and have more of a cohort once they got there. It remains shocking how underrepresented women are in leadership positions. I wanted to join and be active in an organization. The criteria I was looking for was a cross-industry, cross-markets peer group committed to taking action for change. I wanted an organization that provided important leadership development opportunities and encouraged serious connections. At the time, I could not find all those criteria in one organization so I decided to launch Quorum Initiative.

What sets Quorum apart?

Quorum is focused on you: how it can support your leadership development, goals and journey. Its curriculum is carefully curated to focus on what holds women back in the workplace and what women need to advance. It provides a safe and intimate environment to make trusted connections and share. Because of its intimate size, Quorum’s members frequently collaborate, motivate and encourage each other to turn visions into realities. Members influence and participate in every aspect of the organization. Quorum supports its members so they can be catalysts for change in their spheres of influence so every meeting or session ends with talking about what actions we are going to commit to for ourselves and for each other.

How would you describe the impact your company has on its members?

Members tell us that they have made important trusted connections through Quorum. They also feel that they continuously learn new things and have positively evolved their leadership skills. Many of our members feel the support they receive from the Quorum community has not only helped them take the next steps in their careers but it has enabled them to make hard decisions. Consistently members mention that they have been inspired to become more impactful leaders by leading with their values—elevating one another today so that more women will succeed tomorrow.

Looking back at 2022, what’s one initiative that exemplifies Quorum’s impact?

In October 2022, we held Quorum Initiative’s HOW Women Lead Change Forum in New York City. We kicked off with dinner the night before and then spent an entire day together thinking about where we are as leaders and where we want to go. Thanks to the input of incredible speakers, we were both introspective and inspired. With 80+ women in attendance, the group made meaningful connections and walked away with a plan to implement change. What was unique about this moment was everyone who said they would attend did. Every person including speakers participated fully in every session. Everyone had an opportunity to meet each other and have a meaningful and thought-provoking exchange. And no one wanted to leave a single session. The motivation to connect, collaborate and to create change was palpable and attendees left the experience with important new contacts and new information to inspire new action. That’s the magic of Quorum. That’s the Quorum effect!

Why is it important for women to be a part of a like-minded community?

We know the playing field is not level. Juggling work, family, and having a life can be a struggle. It is easy to be overdrawn and take ourselves for granted, given our obligations. Striving alone is exhausting and disempowering. We all want a supportive and encouraging space to develop our superpowers. As women fight to be heard, acknowledged and have a seat at the table, we need sounding boards, sponsors, collaborators and investors. Quorum provides all these important tools and safety nets. This community can be your catalyst for change, providing the resources to accelerate the lives and the world we want to create.

Best way to reach you?

Email: megsullivan888@gmail.com

LinkedIn

Website: thequoruminitiaive.com

Read about other founder's we think you should know here

Social Media I Loved This Week

Invisalign Is Having a Midlife+ Moment But Advice Is Anything But Aligned. What You Need to Know*. By Kirstan Barnett
Invisalign feels like Aperol Spritz in the summer of 2021. Remember how all of a sudden everybody was drinking it? Almost everyone I know over 50 is on, done with or about to start Invisalign. Over Thanksgiving my Mother mentioned to me that one of my bottom front teeth was
Hook Ups: Founders We Think You Should Know
“Hook Ups” is an ongoing feature introducing our readers to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Meeting Across The River: Springsteen and Me By Lisa Ellex
“I turned a corner to see a form walking directly toward me. Looking as lost as I was, an extremely fit man dressed in jeans and a skin-tight T-shirt drew closer. Call me crazy, but there was an aura around him …” I am not one who is easily impressed by
Pamela Anderson: What Her Story Says About Us By Daisy Foster
If her recent documentary and memoir have taught us nothing, it’s what it means to survive a very full life–and keep a hopeful heart. One unsuspecting evening in 1997, I trudged over to my writing partner’s several-story walkup in NYC’s Murray Hill to find him standing,

The next two weeks I am away on vacation, so I don't think I'll be able to get any Letters out. I'm not sure just yet, but if you don't hear from me know that I am relaxing – and adjusting to life without Lola.

Dish Stanley XO,
Dish


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