The Crush Letter No 144: What to DEVOUR

. 16 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life, love, and culture for those 50+. Because midlife and beyond is so much hotter than they said it would be. Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.


Hello Crush,

I received about 40 holiday cards and letters in the mail from friends this year. (So far. I moved since last holiday season, and forwarding through the U.S. mail is pretty slow, so who knows.) This is down by a lot from the heyday of sending physical Christmas cards. As recently as five or six years ago almost everybody I knew sent out holiday cards.

There was a time when a friend (“Philomena”) and I competed for which one of us received the most outrageously self-congratulatory holiday card. (“Christ,” Philomena said one year, “I got a strong contender here: she says the mystery she wrote in the car while chauffeuring her kids around got an Edgar Award, the biotech he founded repairs damaged livers, their son won the Yale economic senior essay award and now works at Citadel, the daughter spent her gap year protecting marine life in Madagascar AND they drove 30 stray dogs from Mexico to a rescue center in California. Also, I happen to know that they hiked the Camino in under 20 days and that didn’t even make it in.”)

But I have noticed that my friends seem to have toned the bragging down in their notes the last few years. (Thank fucking god.)

Also about five years ago a few friends — and I did this, too — moved their annual cards to February, around Valentine’s Day. Pushing the distribution out past the busy year-end gave me the breathing room to make my February cards much more personalized. I had the time, for instance, to include a note about a family photo or update from their holiday cards. (“I can’t believe how sophisticated Charlotte has gotten!” Or “Oh no! You must be devastated at the loss of Glory. She was the sweetest Irish Setter I ever met.”) For a few years (the last one being in 2021, which is the last year I sent cards out) I actually made home-made Valentine’s cards. (“Love is all around us,” I wrote, in an arc that circled around the bicycle wheel featured in a picture of me with my dog riding in the front basket.) That’s right. I made over a 100 cards. I loved doing it.

This year I am, at the very least, going to spend the next few weeks going through each of the holiday cards I received and sending those friends a note telling them how much I loved receiving their good wishes, the update on their life, the photo of their family in action, etc.

The truth is that I love hearing from friends near and far, old and new. Perhaps particularly because I’ve moved, what feels like the growing loss of this tradition of keeping in touch feels sad to me. We need to keep in touch more than ever as the years pass, don’t we? I know that there are some who object to the “waste of all the paper,” but I don’t buy into that. It seems to me that keeping in touch with friends is worth the paper.

I may even get my act together to send out Valentine’s cards again this year. A beguiling, cherished friend took a wonderful photo of me this summer laying on his chaise outside with my dog Ricky intertwined between my legs. I could write something cheeky like “Love’s Been Good To Me So Far” over Ricky’s head. It would be a way to commit to one of the top items on my “hit list for 2024,” staying connected to the people I love.

(The photo my friend took is kinda like this sweet drawing from Andrea Caceres, except it is of me in a summery blue “nap” dress with my dog Ricky. Sweet, right?)

@andreacaceresg

I think I might squeeze this into my list of shit to do. Above replace my cracked car windshield, but below register to vote in the primaries and fix my screen door. (There’s always so much shit to do, right?)

P.S. A friend sent me the absolutely most wonderful live performance by David Bowie this week, so check out our Song of the Week!



In This Letter. +2024 Hit List from Readers Three CRUSH Readers shared what they are doing to set themselves up for the year. +DEVOUR: What to do, read, watch, listen to & know about this week. +Get Your Spy Thrill On. Season Three of Slough Houses just ended, but here are the best thrills to turn to from the last few years. +Social Media I Loved This Week +Our Song of the Week Yes, we’re lovers and that is that


Your 2024 Hit Lists: What Crush Readers Are Doing & Prioritizing

Thanks to these Crush Readers for sharing theirs.

Submitted by CRUSH Reader Rachel:

What are the top 5 things on your 2024 Hit List?

1.Trying to be more present in my life and enjoy who I’m with and focus to be more in the moment 

2. Put my phone down and avoid the constant ‘scroll’ 

3. Regret is more painful than failures. I want to regret and rethink less.

4. Get back to finding my joy in small things 

Do you have any advice for other CRUSH readers to help them stick to their 2024 Hit List?

Write them down and re read on the first day of every month

Anything else you’d like to share?

Love your letters, XO


Submitted by CRUSH Reader Marlene:

What are the top 5 things on your 2024 Hit List?

I spent the first week of the year thinking through what I want more of in 2024. (At first I thought I would make two lists — one for the things I want more of, and one for the things I want less of — but I ended up dropping the “less of” list because I was adding “more abundance” to the more of list, so definitionally the ”less of” list fell out. (One way to cut the workload!)

For my “MORE” list for 2024 I really thought through with specificity what I want to consciously attract this year, what I want to rearrange to make room for, what I need. By putting these down I also naturally began to think through *how* I am going to get these things. I ended up with about 10 things.

It includes a lot more affection and cuddling and kissing with my husband. This is MOST DEFINITELY an influence that The Crush Letter has had on me (thanks Dish!) — how am I going to take the lead in creating more affection and touching and just loving gestures in my marriage? We’ve been together over 20 years and we are newly empty nesters, but we fell into such a “blocking and tackling” mode as a team. There’s so much love there, but I want to build the affection and flirtation back in, too.

I’ve started by making a point of touching him casually when I walk by him. Leaning down and kissing his cheek. When we’re sitting on the couch, looking for ways to tuck my feet into him, etc. What I’ve noticed already is that he loves it. I mean he really, really loves it. He’s very responsive. We had a deep conversation one night already this year, and I believe the baseline affection laid the groundwork for that.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Just - thanks Dish. I think you send out a lot of important reminders that continue to keep my important relationships front-of-mind. I see a difference.


Submitted by CRUSH Reader Kate:

What are the top 5 things on your 2024 Hit List?

I started collecting words. Originally I was collecting them on a separate page in my daily journal in order to pick a word for 2024. (That’s a thing people are doing.)

But then I kept stumbling into new words and decided I’d keep company with them all! Why not. I put them on one page in my journal in order to reference them every day. I have 14 at this point. I may winnow them down. One word you can guess and that’s “grateful.” Not sure where this is going, but it’s a nice way to wake up, lingering over my 2024 words.

DEVOUR {things to watch, read & listen to}

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

Thank you to the CRUSH Readers who sent in DEVOUR recommendations. If you've devoured something you loved, please let us know!

From Natalie: Listen.

Barges and breweries: Sofar Sounds hosts secret concerts in Brooklyn's most  unique locations

I hope CRUSH Music Lovers have heard of SoFarSounds. A friend of mine left Spotify to run SoFarSounds after being at Spotify (in order to grow, a song suggestion algorithm that supports more up-and-coming musicians). SFS does live house concert-style events with three 'new' songwriters and is rolling out new locations regularly. Right now they are in a number of major cities, including New York, Boston, Miami, Denver. You pay $20 to attend, you don't know where it is (sometimes a yoga studio, or a bar, or an art space), you don't know who is playing, and sometimes you BYOB. It is always an interesting and diverse crowd and usually 1.5-2 of the artists are pretty rocking. It's a fun model, somewhat campy or even a bit too earnest at times, but also vulnerable, intimate and fresh.

From Jim: Read.

The Last Days of Night - Moore, Graham

The Last Days of Night Written by the screenwriter of The Imitation Game. Read this next, Dish! It is a superb historical thriller based on actual events around the race between enemies Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla to roll out electricity in the late 1800’s. It swerves from high society parties to backroom manipulations and contemplates the good and bad of genius, and ambition.

From Nina: Watch/Listen.

If you loved the movie Barbie, love/hated the movie Barbie or just want a deeper dive into the thinking of Greta Gerwig as a filmmaker, and on life, then watch this. It’s very good.

From Natalie: Read.

Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting - Gauthier, Mary

Mary Gauthier's book "Saved By A Song" is a heartfelt exploration of her road to becoming a songwriter. Through what she found in that process, she volunteers time at therapeutic retreats for Veterans - using the healing power of songwriting to help them and their families process the complicated feelings they harbor around serving. I can't highly recommend the writing of the book but still, it is straightforward, an easy and quick read, and the content and the story are wonderful. Talk about LOVE, in the Love, Actually category. Couple it with Gaultier’s song 'Mercy Now' and you have a really real, if you know what I mean. My boyfriend and I saw her perform troubadour style at Fruitlands last summer and she was so humble and piercing.


And now, thanks to Lisa Ellex for this week’s DEVOUR List.

Read. Project Unlonely by Dr. Jeremy Nobel

Project Unlonely: Healing Our Crisis of Disconnection - Nobel, Jeremy

Though loneliness has always existed, it seems that it was never more talked about until the world experienced a pandemic. Now considered a public health crisis, the consequences of loneliness are thoroughly addressed in this important book by Dr. Jeremy Nobel, the founder of Project UnLonely. Through interviews with researchers and people in business, the arts, education, and healthcare, Dr. Nobel “takes us through steps to find comfort and connection.”

To learn more about Project UnLonely, listen to Dr. Nobel’s interview with NPR’s Marielle Segarra:

How to combat loneliness : Life Kit
1 in 4 adults says they’re lonely. The consequences of long-term social disconnection can be dire — everything from an increased risk of heart attacks to dementia and premature death. Primary care physician and author of the new book Project UnLonely Dr. Jeremy Nobel offers tips to feel less lonely and open up to connection again.

Watch.  Love in the Time of Cholera (HBO Max)

Realizing it’s been more than 15 years since its release, I decided it was time to revisit this jewel. The 2007 film adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez 1985 novel is the perfect period piece to keep you warm this winter.  Beginning in 1880 Columbia, this engrossing story of love and longing moves through five decades to 1930 and every frame is visually stunning. After his childhood love is set to marry Dr. Juvenal Urbino (Benjamin Bratt), messenger boy Florentino (deliciously portrayed by the one and only Javier Bardem) painfully yet patiently waits fifty years for the opportunity to be reunited with his beloved.  As we experience his character age from a boy to a very old man, Bardem beautifully relays all the pathos and humor Marquez has written into his novel.


Watch. The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (HBO Max)

Originally released in 2020, this poignant and in-depth documentary chronicles the rise of The Bee Gees, four musician brothers who dominated the Billboard charts with 29 top 40 hits, 15 top ten hits, 9 number one records, and created the soundtrack that defined the disco era– Saturday Night Fever. Adored worldwide for their extraordinary vocals and intricate harmonies, the Bee Gees have written hits for Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, and many more artists. Sadly, three of the Gibbs brothers have been lost to addiction or disease, leaving Barry Gibb as the band’s sole survivor, but this documentary is a beautiful retrospect of the music they leave behind.


Watch. Albert Brooks: Defending My Life (HBO Max)

Revered director Rob Reiner may know actor/writer/director Albert Brooks better than any one.  After all, they’ve been friends since childhood. So who better to make a documentary on Brooks than Reiner?  In this charming, smart, and entertaining documentary, the two pals reminisce on Brooks’ rich career, recount stories of growing up with famous fathers, laugh a lot (I promise you will, too), and are joined by appearances from friends, family, and colleagues, all celebrating the genius of Brooks. 


Read. My Name Is Barbra by Barbra Streisand

My Name Is Barbra

Most octogenarians have lived a life interesting enough to fill a book, but when the octogenarian is Barbra Streisand, the memoir is a 970-page tour de force.  Whether reading the book or listening to her voice of buttah on the audio version, you’ll hang on to her every word as Streisand shares stories of nearly seventy years of dominating music, movies, television, and stage, and tells (almost) all about her life and loves. Brava, Babs!


Read. The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story by Sam Wasson

The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story

Through hundreds of hours of interviews with the man said to be one of film’s greatest directors, New York Times best-selling author (Fifth Avenue, Five A.M.), Sam Wasson, has constructed a work that is sure to become a piece of history.  Whether you're a film buff or a lover of the American Dream or the human condition, you’ll love reading about director Francis Ford Coppola’s vision and the extremes that make him tick.  From Coppola’s first feature, Dementia 13, through The Godfather movies, Apocalypse Now, the soon-to-be-released Megalopolis and everything in between, Wasson leaves no questions unanswered.


Listen. You Are What You Read podcast

Best-selling author, playwright, screenwriter, and director Adriana Trigiani has done it again!  Her new podcast, You Are What You Read, kicked off in October 2023 with inaugural guest Sarah Jessica Parker.  Covering all things literary, Trigiani talks with authors about what started their love of books, what they read, and what they’re writing about right now.  A new guest each week.  Former guests include Lidia Bastianich, Craig Ferguson, Mitch Albom, Katie Couric, and Fannie Flagg.  Click the link below for the full series:

youarewhatyoureadpodcast | Instagram | Linktree
Linktree. Make your link do more.

You can read our past DEVOURs here

Get Your Spy Thrill On.

My Favorite International Spy & Political Thrillers. By Dish Stanley

Season Three of Slough House is over, but I’ve got you covered.

Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter of a former career military officer who taught geopolitics (I wrote about it in Geopolitical Conversations with my Father), but international thrillers are my jam. I don’t just watch them, I end up researching them — the political background, the conflict, the country. So in addition to the thrill, I get a history dive (or refresh). And they are rich material for conversations with friends or lovers (or even your Father, if your Father is like my Father.) If you spend your winter in the cold (and even if you don’t) here’s how to create some heat.

Here are the favorites I’ve watched (or re-watched) over the last few years.

Slow Horses (Apple TV+) Now three seasons in, and only getting richer and more complex, upcoming Seasons 4 and 5 have recently been announced. Oldman plays Jackson Lamb, a cynical, washed-up former master spy who manages a team of MI5 flunkies in this jaded twist on the British spy thriller. Based on a series of books by British novelist Mick Herron (called by many the finest spy writer since le Carre), it focuses on the underbelly and inner workings (or not) of MI5 and--most specifically--the betrayals within the agency as they back stab and power grab. Oldman's performance as a failed spy is all the richer for having decades earlier played Smiley in the movie adaptation of le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The cast includes many other outstanding performances, including Kristin Scott Thomas as MI5's head of operations (gunning for the top job). Pro tips: two things you absolutely must do: (i) put subtitles on (some of the accents are indecipherable), and (ii) get to the end of the second episode of Season One before making a thumbs up/down call. The first 1 1/2 episodes start slowly (after an initial thrilling chase scene), but boy, I was hooked by the third episode. Watch the trailer here.

Fauda (Netflix 2015 Series) is an Israeli espionage and political thriller written by two friends based on their experiences in the Israel Defense Forces. Fauda means “chaos” in Arabic and the show offers riveting chaos from the jump, as well as an intense and personal look from an Israeli IDF undercover officer’s perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The portrayal is richer than you’d expect, as the inhumanity, humanity and suffering is clearly widespread. Watch the trailer here.

Continue reading here

Social Media I Loved This Week

@goldenglobes Our favorite looks from the 50+ stars at the Golden Globes.


@primecrushxo


@literaturemuse


@attachmentnerd


@aarp


@clairethomsonjonville


@markmanson


@visualhustles


@davidgomberg

Song of the Week

Heroes by David Bowie

Live performance in Berlin

Dish Stanley XO,
Dish

What I Added to Up Next: What’s on Dish’s Nightstand in the PrimeCrush Bookshop.
What I Added to Up Next: What’s on Dish’s Nightstand in the PrimeCrush Bookshop. Based on a combination of recommendations over the holidays from friends and family who are “great readers,” as well as reviewers I admire, I’ve added these books to my reading stack, as well
dishing.
Things I thought you might want to know about, and some you probably don’t. I love this quick televised interview with the great French actor Alain Delon. And not just because when asked (at the end) what animal he’d like to be reincarnated as he responds, immediately, with
Ask Dish: Answers to Your Stray Questions
From the sublime to the ridiculous, I get a lot of random questions. I answer some of them here. Got a stray question? Submit it using the link below.
DEVOUR {things to watch, read, and listen to}
In our monthly DEVOUR column we share all the things we think you should eat up. From Susie*: Listen. Bad Dates Podcast & Normal Gossip Podcast Bad Dates affirms that everyone, no matter how beautiful or famous, has had weird, uncomfortable or awkward stuff happen on a date. And we all

If you love me as much as I love you (and I really do love you!), then please help me grow by forwarding this {love} Letter to a friend! And I'd love to have you join us on instagram.

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter from Dish Stanley curating articles & intelligence on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want the Dish?


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