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.
Whoa! I guess you liked last week's new feature Culture / Comments. I got so much great feedback that a) I can't share it all, and b) some of it was so substantive that I feel compelled to share it. So you'll want to check out the Dear Dish piece directly below.
At the risk of front-loading it, you'll recall that I had shared a bit about a bunch of books I had read, including In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss by Amy Bloom. I wrote that it is an "enthralling, unflinching, well-researched" look at the author's journey through her husband's planned assisted suicide after getting an alzheimer's diagnosis. I loved it because I am all about exploring the theme of how love and loss are intertwined – a subject that so many of us at this stage know intimately and concretely (rather than just philosophically). One PrimeCrush Reader wrote:
I find it fascinating to make a judgment about what constitutes a life worth living ... humans are not well equipped to imagine how others find/make meaning outside of their own particular experiences and fears.
Her last line struck me. It seems sadly true that we are not well equipped to imagine a lot about others' lives outside our own particular experiences. But shouldn't we try? I guess that's a whole other in-depth conversation I'd love to have with you, but I am on the side of it being valuable to try. (Hence our TOPIX: Exile In Normalville series, which dives "behind the curtain" on how midlife+ really looks for some of us.)
I'll point out that sometimes "the other" is not even overly "otherly." The other is not always a stranger in another state or country whose life has been lived entirely differently than yours. Sometimes it is a friend or sibling who, through circumstance or orientation, has taken a different path.
A point which dovetails nicely with our feature piece today, the third and final one in our series on life as a midlife+ solo. I had written The Rise of the Contented Midlife Solo in January, which sparked so much interest that I wrote – in response to a number of CRUSH Reader's specific questions - How to Talk to a Midlife Solo. More comments inspired Lisa Ellex's excellent series diving further into various aspects of being solo in midlife. I can't tell you how important our work on being solo is to me personally - the hope with this series was to explore solo life for the benefit of those who are solo, but also for those of you who aren't but care deeply about somebody who is. We're everywhere - next door, at the bar (definitely at the bar!), even in your family. Love us. Love, us.
In This Letter. +Dear Dish "Humans are not well-equipped to imagine how others find/make meaning outside of their own particular experiences and fears." +The Solo Issue - Part 3: How To Nail Going Out Alone. By Lisa Ellex First, dress fab, not sexy. Second, I don't have more than two drinks. +Spring Detox for your Mind, Body and Soul. By Lauren D. Weinstein Take a cue from Mother Nature and shed your winter coat, stale routines and outdated ideas that no longer serve you ... and then find forgiveness. +Social Media I Loved This Week. By Dish Stanley +Our Song of the Week Don't you know by now / No one gives you anything?
Thank you to all The CRUSH Letter Readers who wrote in after last week's Letter. I got a lot of feedback on my feature Culture / Comments. (But no name upgrades, so we're sticking with that for now.)
I got quite a few notes about the books I had read, as well as the ones still on my nightstand.
Re: In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss By Amy Bloom. I find the theme fascinating - to make a judgment about what constitutes a life worth living ... humans are not well equipped to imagine how others find/make meaning outside of their own particular experiences and fears. -k
I liked TRUST [the book] a lot. More so once I finished it. I find myself thinking about it which is always interesting to me. Some books I love but don't seem to ever think about them. It unfolds in an interesting way. Sort of like you're not sure you do like it and need to keep reading to find out. -kt
Rick Rubin's The Creative Act has so many treasures you want to savor in each Area of Thought that I have to set it down for a week before I pick it up again. It's a book of contemplation. -S
Of course, I got some comments on Succession and Shiv's ponytail.
“Enjoyed Culture/Comments. Re: Shiv’s ponytail... It irked me until I figured it out the moment she whined, "daddy" when talking to Logan on the phone. In that scene, all three of the siblings were reduced to being children again. Shiv's unkempt pony tail was the hair style of a 3-year-old girl who just came home from a long day at daycare. Also, to the best of my recollection, it was the first time we saw the characters make physical contact with each other.” - Lisa Ellex
And this great feedback on Lisa Ellex's Extended Encounters story.
I want to hang out with Sal & Ken! Great PrimeCrush, Dish. - M.
I got this great suggestion for something you might want to listen to ...
Are you a fan of Parks and Recreation? I loved it. A surprising choice for an On Being guest but really great. I think your PrimeCrush Readers might like it.
The Solo Issue - Part 3: How To Nail Going Out Alone. By Lisa Ellex
In this third and final installment of our deep-dive series, we interviewed a few folks over 50—with very different results.
If you’ve been following our three-part solo series, you’ll recall that back in Part One we examined the trend of “couples-only” dinner parties and how “suddenly-singles” are finding themselves excluded from the events they once enjoyed when they were partnered. Needless to say, being left off that invitation list has some of us feeling a bit more isolated these days. At a time in our lives when we really would benefit from the support and camaraderie of all our friends, it seems we’re seeing a lot less of them.
In talking with some PrimeCrush readers for this series, I was delighted to learn that the majority of us are going out alone. Whether it be a long bike ride, a fancy dinner, drinks at a bar, a rainy afternoon in a café, or a night at the movies or the opera, lots of us are taking ourselves out on dates and really enjoying the company! I’ve discovered there are quite a few perks to self-dating. First and foremost, I love that I get to choose the plans– 100% of the time. No more do I sit through those formulaic action films I never enjoyed. Never again will I suffer through eating Indian food because it was my partner’s turn to pick the restaurant. And, oh, how exhilarating it is to be free of the chains of dating etiquette; there’s no need to make conversation, and I can take myself home whenever I feel like it. Self-dating bonus: there’s always the possibility of making new friends!
I first spoke with Kay, a 58-year-old consultant in New York who mirrors my strong feelings about online dating. “I’ve looked at dating sites and I can’t imagine giving up an evening to go out and meet someone. I’m working a ton and I’m finding I don’t have a lot of free time, and I just don’t want to put aside a night for an online date.” Regarding going out alone, Kay embraces the experience and shares her routine: “First, dress fab, not sexy. Second, I don't have more than two drinks. Finally, look for a person standing alone in a social situation (cocktail party, etc.) and invite them to join you. Even better if they don’t look like they fit in with the group, such as an older person at a younger party.”
Continue reading here.
Scroll down to read the rest of our SOLO series.
Spring Detox For Your Mind, Body & Soul
By Lauren D. Weinstein
If spring is all about rebirth and renewal, now is as good a time as any for a full detox. Mind, body & soul ... among other things, it's about forgiveness. Here's a complete rundown.
Spring has always been my favorite month. I marvel as I observe flowers push through the hardened winter earth and sprout, their tight buds magically unfold and gift us with fragrant, rainbow-colored petals. Trees come alive. Their barren branches awaken with pliable, vibrant green leaves and like arms outreached, embrace the sun, and invite you to dance and sway in the breeze. Birds loudly chirp and congregate as if they are sharing raucous neighborhood gossip. They flit from tree to tree putting time and energy into preparing their nests.
It’s a time of rebirth and renewal. Take a cue from Mother Nature and shed your winter coat, stale routines and outdated ideas that no longer serve you. Welcome an opportunity to revamp and recharge.
Here are a few ways you can detox and usher in a new season with optimism and vigor!
DETOX YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Remember, what surrounds you ends up affecting you. Open your windows, clean up the surfaces and air in your household because you shouldn’t be inhaling or eating chemicals. Avoid plug-in air fresheners. Instead, keep as many plants in your house as possible. (Just make sure they are suitable for indoors.) They are natural air purifiers and beautify your home.
TRY: Spider Plants (or Chlorophytum comosum). They are easy to grow and don’t require constant attention. (That’s good to know because I do not have a green thumb and have been known to kill a six-foot cactus!) Toss the toxins and adjust your cleaning products with all natural solutions like white vinegar and water or products with minimal ingredients.
TRY: Humble Suds All Purpose Cleaner, safe to use on porous and semi-porous surfaces. Made with castile soap, rosemary and essential oil. $14.95, humblesuds.com
DETOX YOUR MIND & BODY
Get off your phone, computer or other electronic devices. Stop mindlessly scrolling, binge-watching, or whatever has you in a comatose state or high alert. Remove yourself, whenever possible, from toxic people, places and things. The body, our emotions and thoughts are all connected and affect our well-being. Anxiety, depression and feelings of pessimism have been associated with inflammation. Create some space to sit in silence. Without judgement, let whatever thoughts that pop up come and go. Moving your body is another incredible form of detoxification. If you are not into meditating, attend a yoga class, do a few stretches on your living room floor. Put on your favorite music and dance like no one is watching. Go for a walk in the park and pay attention to the colors of the blooming flowers, the sounds of nature and just breathe. Don’t forget to hydrate with water, before, during and after exercising. (It assists the kidneys in filtering out toxins.) Your body will thank you.
TRY: Essentia Alkaline Water, 1.5-litre bottles, 12 pack. $24.29, Amazon.
TRY: Guided Relaxation for the Body and Mind (Audio CD), $12.95, Amazon.
DETOX YOUR SOUL
When you are dealing with issues, feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, holding grudges, or needing to begin the process of healing, a soul detox may be what you need in order to feel connected to yourself and others. After the death of a loved one, a relocation to another state and job changes, I was depressed, easily lit and always on the verge of spilling my tears and guts to complete strangers. I was a hot mess and needed help.
To heal and get back on track, I personally recommend the following to bring a sense of peace to your soul:
Practice Gratitude. Recognize what you are grateful for, acknowledge it and appreciate it. Each day think of three things you are thankful for. For me, it’s my family that continues to offer support, my daily, must-have freshly-brewed, hot cup of coffee and my posse of girlfriends that have shown me love and acceptance.
Spiritual Cleansing Rituals. Remove negative energy by burning white sage. This ancient Native American tradition involves burning bundled sage and waving the smoke around the body and in the home to rid the area of unwanted negative energy.
TRY: Home Cleansing and Smudge Kit, $18.97, Amazon.
Take an Epsom Salt Bath. It’s a simple and relaxing ritual to draw out negative energy and promote relaxation. Epsom salts contain magnesium which can reduce stress and anxiety. Sit in the bath for at least 15 minutes allowing the salt to absorb negative energy. Focus on releasing negative thoughts you may be holding onto.
TRY: Detox Babe Bye Bye Toxins soak. $35.00, getdetoxbabe.com
DETOX YOUR MAKEUP BAG
I don’t know about you, but my purse is overloaded with STUFF, especially my makeup case. (it’s bulging with too many pink lip glosses that are practically the same color). If you carry a makeup bag may I suggest dumping everything and begin editing. Get rid of old, dry mascara that smells. Toss out that compact face powder that has an oily film and looks dirty. (It’s loaded with bacteria…YUCK.) You get the picture? Try to downsize with mini palettes or multi-purpose items.
TRY: Freck Beauty Cheekslime Blush + Lip Tint with Plant Collagen. $26.00, Sephora.
NYX Wonder Stick Contour and Highlighter Stick STICK CONTOUR AND HIGHLIGHTER STICK. $14.00, nyxcosmetics.com
Personally, this is something I struggle with and need to work on. Finding forgiveness helps to let go of pain, anger and resentment and allows us to move forward.
TRY: Writing a letter expressing your feelings to release the negative emotions, then rip it up, burn it or toss it away. You can visualize the person or situation you need to forgive and send them love and light. Practice self-forgiveness as it helps us to be kinder and more compassionate to ourselves.
We often forget that we are bombarded and over-stimulated throughout our day and that can have a negative impact on us. Making the time to detoxify our mind, body and soul helps us to begin functioning in a healthy manner again. Only when we feel whole and not burned out, can we be open to receive all the gifts that we are blessed with. It’s time to stop and smell the (spring!) roses.
A place to share random loose thoughts & stray ramblings on what's happening. It's a new thing! Stay tuned as it evolves.
Let's call this our "April in New York" edition.
Mostly because I was in New York this week.
I am a big fan of the renovated Terminal B at La Guardia Airport. I have flown through it at least 20 times since it opened in October 2022 (I fly JetBlue a lot in and out of NYC), so "Ask Me Anything." It's a far walk to the gates and the airport food, while better than a lot of airport food, is not the best airport food there is (its apex is Shake Shack) but the entrance is playful and light and airy and I love the relaxing water feature after you exit security. Terminal B's true gift, though, is the McNally Jackson bookstore's outpost (near gates 40-59 on the Departures level).
McNally Jackson's "Staff Picks" raise bookstore rec's to an art form. It's not just because waiting for a delayed flight is the perfect time to indulge in serious, productive book browsing. McNally Jackson has absolutely - hand's down - the best "Staff Picks" of any bookstore anywhere. Are they sharing the "best of" of their Staff Picks from their main stores in Manhattan in their Terminal B location? I couldn't say, but their Staff Picks were without exception pithy, opinionated, clever, descriptive works of literary accomplishment. A lot of "almost famous" writers must work there, because these Staff Picks elevate the form. (I double-checked because I thought for a second that I remembered that Patti Smith worked there, but no she worked at Scribner's.) Take a look:
I particularly love that I'd never find Daddy's Gone A-Hunting if it weren't a Staff Pick, since it is from 1958 and not on any "new releases" shelves.
When I got home I learned from Negar Azimi's review from 2021 in the New York Times that In Case of Emergency published in Iran in 2008 and its counter-culture subject matter and vivid street prose made its success unlikey. That it captures the chaos of Iran at a cross-section and was a huge success.
I am on a continual prowl to find a writer who writes about sex as well as James Salter in A Sport and a Pastime, so I pick up a lot of erotic literature.
The only thing I wish McNally Jackson would do is include the name of the staff person on each card. It could be useful to know who is writing these.
In Chelsea, I saw Gerhard Richter's latest paintings and drawings at David Zwirner's gallery. In his 90's now, Richter's work is smaller in scale (he made many earlier paintings while balancing on a ladder) but intense and mesmerizing. The paintings were vivacious; the drawings were moody, groovy black and whites. Richter is considered one of the world's greatest living painters, and I was so hot to see his latest works while he's still alive. So glad I did. We sometimes wonder whether we'll slow down as we get (even) older, but then somebody even older than us paints or produces or performs something of this caliber. It's inspiring.
I then saw Jason Fox's "Old Wrld" exhibit at David Kordansky's gallery. What a blast. I can't think of a better way to describe his "wild imagination" (from Andrea K. Scott in the New Yorker). I was unfamiliar with Fox, but a gallery lecturer filled me in. Among other things, he takes popular culture figures and combines them to create a third form. The photo I share here is of his painting titled "Friend," and the lecturer suggested it might be a painted image of George Harrison spliced with an animalistic form. The photo doesn't do it justice; you have to go.
I've seen a lot of stirring acts at Cafe Carlyle but the Alan Cumming & Ari Shapiro show I saw last week wasn't one of them. Who can really afford the Cafe Carlyle? Not me, not most of us really. Yet I've somehow managed to see Bobby Short, Elaine Strich, Eartha Kitt, Dixie Carter, Barbara Cook, John Pizzarelli and about a dozen other acts there. The combination of the intimacy of the space, the walls clothed in Vertes murals and the caliber of the performers has meant (with few exceptions) it's been an exhilarating uptown experience. The secret to affording it, by the way, is to reserve a bar seat so you don't have to order the outrageously expensive and mediocre dinner on top of the cost of your ticket.
But the bar tip secret? It's a really good one. It's not what I wanted to tell you though. What I wanted to tell you was that I was surprised to be disappointed by the Alan Cumming-Ari Shapiro show. Here's what I wrote in my Substack Note: "It had humor, insight, tenderness and gobs of talent. Alan Cumming is a world-class raconteur … and yet, there was just too much talking." I'll add that, as my friend "Peter" (who has been a NYC culture critic for 20+ years) pointed out after the show, Cumming is one of the most talented entertainers alive today, but the show felt canned, "phoned-in" as he put it.
I first saw Cumming in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Klub in 1998 where he won a Tony for playing the Master of Ceremonies. He is brilliant, but just not on that night. It was a disappointment, but heck, he's only human.
Central Park in April was the star of the trip. If you are going to New York in April, stay near Central Park. There are so many great parts of the city to explore, and I often find myself exploring downtown (for the great jazz, restaurants and galleries) or uptown-uptown (for the great jazz and restaurants in Harlem), but in April Central Park is the shining star. I was in the park every single day. Instead of meeting for drinks or a meal, I was getting together with friends over a walk in the park. The cherry blossoms were peak, the greenery was as bright as fresh peas, the kids were playing and the atmosphere was alive with music.
Walking out of the Park down the quiet, tree-lined 69th Street (between Fifth and Madison Avenues) I came across the cheery bright orange-red umbrella's of Poppi's, a lovely, pint-sized Italian cafe. So inviting, how could I not stop? During "off-peak" hours it was a lovely spot to grab a coffee and small bite.
Social Media I Loved This Week
Song Of The Week
While You See A Chance by Steve Winwood
An ardent PrimeCrush reader sent me this link. “Were you a Steve Winwood fan? He was one of my first obsessions and this was one of the first songs I listened to on endless loop. He’s so young and adorable here.”
Yes! And I did, too! Thanks so much for sending this in. Yes, he’s adorable. He looks so excited and almost awestruck to be on stage. What a fabulous trip back to my college dorm room.
And there was this gem from a guy named Jim Lassen in the YouTube notes: “I remember driving to Wales in my mini car and playing the whole Arc of a Diver cassette album with this track on. I did some work at Stevie's recording studio in 1987 and he is a really nice guy.”
It always feels good to learn that an idol is also considered a really nice person, isn't it?
Some Past Stories You Won't Want To Miss: