The Crush Letter No 57

. 9 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about the importance of relational wellness in midlife, a period when we see so many transitions--physically, personally, professionally. It's critical stuff for our happiness and well being for sure. But we make it fun. A romp on friendship, love, and fucking in midlife.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

How's your Spring going, CRUSH Readers? Feeling the excitement of nature unfurling? I am. As I was pulling together the final strokes (hmmmm) on this week's Letter I swiped on the story below and felt my heart jump:

In this New York Times story Daniel Victor tells us that No 492 made its escape from Sedwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, on a windy Independence Day (no kidding--July 4th!) in 2005. Somehow the workers there had overlooked clipping this particular African flamingo's wings. Originally from Tanzania, and springing itself from a region with no other flamingos and very few ecosystems suited for its needs, the chances for survival No 492 were next to nothing.

Stories involving miracles almost always include uncannny coincidences. A fishing guide in Edna, Texas who happened to have grown up in a bird sanctuary (how many people in the whole country have grown up in a bird sanctuay?) spotted No 492 while out boating. He couldn't believe his eyes. After a bunch of detective work and long-range cameras, a social media specialist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department confirmed that No 492 has been spotted in that area for many years. Not only that, No 492 had met a longterm companion, a Caribbean flamingo that had undoubtedly been blown North by a tropical storm. They're two different species, actually, but enough alike to hang out evidently.

"They're two lonely birds in kind of a foreign habitat," said a curator of birds interveiwed by the New York Times writer. Both lost, but they found each other.

There is something about wild animals escaping capture and living long, fabulous lives out free in the world that thrills. No 492 could have lived an easier life, caged but coddled and safe at the zoo. Instead it darted. And escaped so thoroughly, it even found love.

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.   +The Hole. By Kiva Schuler Have you ever lost a best friend? If so (and even if not) you'll want to read Kiva's personal reflection on how it feels to bump into powerful memories of a loved one.   +BITE. Sheet Pan Dinners: The Simple Solution to No-Fuss Cooking. By Lauren D. Weinstein You'll want to stick these no-fail sheet pan recipes in your files--to satisfy hunger pangs, finicky palettes, diets, and the urgency to get dinner ready in a flash.   +PrimeCrush & Chill. Movie’s Worth a Re-watch: Blue Is the Warmest Color. By Daisy Foster Load this up again to remind you of the importance of the transitions we all go through in life and love.    +8 Pickup lines That Actually Work in Midlife. By Lisa Ellex Try this: Would you mind if I kissed those lines around your eyes and mouth?   +Song of the Week  "Love keeps tasting better everyday"

The Hole.  By Kiva Schuler

When one PrimeCrush writer sees a stranger who resembles a friend who’s passed away, it reminds her of “the hole” dear friends leave behind.

The kids and I were grabbing burgers Thursday night and there was a mom there with her kids: She had a look about her. The way she ate her food, her freckles, her profile, the way she used her napkin, and how her eyes crinkled when she smiled. I couldn't stop staring.

The kids noticed it, too--the resemblance--and I started to cry. My sweet boy hugged me and told me “it’s okay.”

I wanted to go up to the woman and tell her that she looked just like my best friend, the one cancer took away from me. But I didn't. I just smiled at her.

I find myself wondering if she and I would be friends if we would banter for hours, and sometimes drink too much wine if she could hold all my troubles, watch me make bad choices sometimes, and love me anyway.

Andrea and I used to imagine our side-by-side retirement beach bungalows and laugh at the idea that we would wear clothes that looked "ridic" on 70-year-old women. (She shortened words into Andrea-isms A.T.T.—that’s how Dre would say have said “all the time.”)

A few weeks ago my guy needed to go into the Boston medical complex for a small thing and the night before I couldn't sleep. It felt like there was an elephant on my chest. Was I being a crazy girlfriend--worried over the most routine of procedures?

This explanation made no sense to me. I'm a Jewish mother at heart, but I don't tend to over-worry these things.

Continue reading here.

BITE.  Sheet Pan Dinners: The Simple Solution to No-Fuss Cooking.  By Lauren D. Weinstein

I dread having to whip up labor-intensive recipes, with ingredients that I can’t pronounce (WTF is Charnushka?) or even find in the grocery aisle, especially when I am over-tired, “hangry” and easily tempted to rip open and devour the nearest bag of Flamin’ Hot Doritos and call it a night. In an ideal world, meals would be prepared with great thought, chock full of nourishing ingredients to salivate over. However, most of us, with our packed schedules and never-ending to-do lists, have minimal time to shop and prepare nutritious, flavorful meals.

To save all of us from this regrettable consumption of empty calories (and having your scorched tongue stained an unnatural shade of burnt orange), I’ve curated and tweaked three no-fail sheet pan recipes to satisfy hunger pangs, finicky palettes, diets, and the urgency to get dinner ready in a flash.

Crispy coated Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Beans
Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly
Serves: 4
Cooking time: 35-40 min

1 large cauliflower, leaves removed, core intact, cut into 1-inch slices
½ cup olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. black pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1tbsp. parsley fresh or dehydrated
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free)
1/4 cup grated Vegan Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp. Vegan mayonnaise
1tsp. Dijon mustard
1 14 ounce can of Northern (cannellini) beans
1 14 ounce can of fire-roasted or plain diced tomatoes

Continue reading here.

PrimeCrush & Chill. Movie’s Worth a Re-watch: Blue Is the Warmest Color. By Daisy Foster

“PrimeCrush & Chill” is a series where we re-review and recommend movies we think are perfect for a sexy night in.

Movie Title: Blue Is the Warmest Color

Starring: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux

Released: October 25, 2013; Rewatch Now on AmazonPrime, The Criterion Collection

Basic Plot: Fifteen-year-old Adèle (Exarchopoulos) meets the slightly older aspiring artist Emma (Seydoux) and the two fall in love. The film takes place over a number of years, following Adèle’s relatable period of discovery, identity, and all the growing pains that come from getting to know yourself heading into adulthood.
Why Re-watch: When this film was released in 2013, it accepted a rating of NC-17, rather than cutting the steamy sex scenes. That’s far from the reason to watch or re-watch, though when you do, keep in mind that Adèle Exarchopoulos was 18 when filming started, and her raw performance—and her chemistry with the extraordinary pre-James-Bond-love-interest Léa Seydoux—is likely one of the most touching and honest in modern movie history.

Watch it because it will remind you of the importance of the transitions we all go through in life and love, having you reflect on your own past (or, perhaps, your own present and future). It’ll remind you that ordinary love at every stage is epic and heartbreaking and you’d never change any of it, even if you could. Watch this film because, simply, the French know how to make film, especially love stories, by allowing the stories to breathe in realness and silence.

More than anything, watch it because it’s a beautiful love story.

Resharing From Last Week - Zaftig Gentlemen & A Photo Correction.

Read & Then Follow. A Personal Tribute to Well-Dressed Zaftig Gentlemen from Jason Diamond, the Hottest Guy I Follow.  I crush on guys who are bon vivants - guys who love to eat and drink, who are also frequently great cooks, are sensualists (and often, very often, phenomenal lovers).  One of my crushes is on Jason Diamond, who I first discovered when he wrote Searching for John Hughes in the New Yorker.  I follow him on Twitter where I can keep up with what he publishes, and his day-to-day moves, but he has a website that captures his essence in a broader sense - find it here. His most recent piece - for GQ - which he is well-qualified to contribute to regularly, is on "how to dress like a big guy." It is about his odyssey to shape his personal style, a guy who describes himself as "a big guy with weird proportions ... built for dealing with cold Eastern European winters." This piece is personal and smart and stylishly written and it's really an inspiration to all of us who feel like we aren't beautiful in the conventional sense. But Jason, let me tell you, I consider you very cool. Keep track of Jason (with me) on Twitter @imjasondiamond.

How Francis Ford Coppola Taught Me to Dress Like a Big Guy
From Biggie Smalls to James Gandolfini, large men can pull off looks with unique swagger.

Follow. Lou Featherstone (48), The Fairy Godmother we all wished for! @luinluland_rent_my_wardrobe. The self-described “reckless optimist, sustainable stylist, and all-around general Lover of Life." Fabulous founder of Rent My Wardrobe, she’s a balls-to-the-wall broad whose personal collection of vintage (sustainable!) wardrobe is there for the taking (well, renting) right on IG. See something you like? DM Lou for sizing and pricing and – poof! – it will appear at your door.  And because too much is never enough…

{I apologize, I posted an incorrect photo of the fab Lou Featherstone last week.}

Song of the Week

Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd

An ode to No 492, of course. This live version of Lynyrd Skynyrd with lead vocalist/founding member Ronnie Van Zant electrifying a packed Oakland Coliseum, California in July 1977 singing Freebird is so "of a moment". The seventies long hair flying, the bikini-clad crowd, the Jacksonville, Florida band that popularized the Southern rock genre playing to a packed California crowd. Everybody free and easy. Nobody realizing (of course) that three months later the plane that Lynyrd Skynyrd had chartered would run out of fuel flying from South Carolina to Baton Rouge, killing Van Zant (and others).

But watch the video here, it'll make you feel alive. And like summer is coming.

Lynyrd Skynyrd live at the Oakland Coliseum, 1977

I hope you live this week end like an escaped African flamingo in South Texas - wild and free and loved.

Dish Stanley XO,

You Won't Want to Miss A Thing. Here Are Links to Last Week's Letter & Some Other Favorites.

+ The Dynamics of Friendship: Can Singlehood Withstand the Trials of Friends with Kids? By Lauren D. Weinstein

+ So, You’ve Decided to Meet Some New Friends or Lovers in Midlife? Cool, Cool. Here Are My (Eclectic & Highly Idiosyncratic) Red Flags. By Dish Stanley

+ PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies Worth A Re-Watch

+ Songs That’ll Make You Wanna F*ck. A Compendium from the Readers of The Crush Letter.

+ Love/Sex/Moon/Magick: A New Moon Ritual for Banishing Things Out of Your Life.  By Lynn Eaton

+ DEVOUR {things to do, watch, see & have}


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By Dean Christopher Hook Ups Hot Thots How to Be the Most Charming Person at a Holiday Party. By Evie Arnaude How to find porn thats actually good I am my own family I just turned 60 but I feel 22 I redesigned my closet. I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies Im glad my mom died In Good Hands. Kathy: This Is A Love Story About Three Friends La Mia Famiglia by Lisa Ellex Lamentations on the Lost Art of Kissing. By Elisabeth C. Lamotte Leave the husband, bring the cannoli. By A.K.A. Darla Leaving the door open Let's Reconsider, with Adam Grant Love & Mike's "Bad Girl Pasta" Love/Sex/Moon Magick By Lynn Eaton LXIX. By A.K.A. Darla Meeting Across the River Melissa Biggs Bradley's New Book Safari Style Makes Me Want To Go On A Safari midlife MIDLIFE CRISIS: When Reality Strikes, By Dean Christopher Movie Magic. By Amy Ferris My First Solo Trip: Mexico, Part I. By Dawn Larsen My Prostate Journey: A Personal Story My Tits Contain MulTITudes Naked & Not afraid by KC Roth Oasis in the Desert. 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