I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about friendship, love and sex in midlife. Because midlife is so much hotter than they said it would be. Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.
I am writing from the end of the world this week. Or at least it feels like it because I am in a cozy little cottage overhanging the Pacific Coast, in New Zealand. It's my first time in New Zealand. Gorgeous place.
While we are on the topic of beautiful places, this week we are starting another new thing, and it's a lot of fun. A column called This Must Be the Place. Where CRUSH Readers share their favorite spots. Thanks to Bob Guccione, Jr. for getting us started off so well with his. It's a spot you'll want to know about. I can't wait to go now myself. Pick me up and turn me round, as the Talking Heads say.
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 Friendship Files. By A.K.A Darla I could not identify the accent that caused her to pronounce the word “bullshit” in this way. +This Must Be The Place: Bob Guccione, Jr’s Upstate New York Escape Baby Boomer and proud of it, FYI. +Relationship Humor. "Trash? Babe." +Our Song of the Week I guess I must be having fun
The Friendship Files. By A.K.A Darla
SHIMRIT. By A.K.A Darla
In this month’s installment—“SHIMRIT: A May-December Friendship”—our series’ author shares a personal story of her own.
Every so often, I encounter a woman with whom I immediately connect. The conversation is easy yet electric, the laughs are frequent, and before going our separate ways, phone numbers are exchanged. These encounters, few and far between, always surprise and delight me, but one particular meeting held an element of magic.
Just before turning fifty, I decided to explore a new occupation in the field of music therapy. I enrolled in one of the few educational institutions that offered the program and showed up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for my first class in decades: Introduction to Music Therapy.
Our instructor asked each class member to choose one of the many instruments available for us to play. The point of the exercise was for a classroom full of strangers to exchange musical ideas and play in concert. Minutes into this exercise, we were indeed making music as a unit. Just when we were in full swing, a young woman entered the classroom. She approached the blackboard, picked up a piece of chalk, and repeatedly drew massive, concentric circles. The rise and fall of the chalk swooshing against the blackboard sounded like a combination of a snare drum and a rain stick playing in time to our instruments. I was intrigued by this woman’s brave and creative musical choice and was curious to know more about her.
The following week I stopped at a coffee house before our next class. I looked up from my cup to see the young woman walking toward my table. She pulled out a chair, sat next to me, and said, “So what do you think of our instructor?”
“I like him,” I answered.
“Me too. No boo-sheet.”
I could not identify the accent that caused her to pronounce the word “bullshit” in this way. In the years to follow, she would use the word often and her mispronunciation tickled me every time. I came to learn that the accent was Israeli and my new friend was Shimrit Shoshan, an up-and-coming pianist in her third year of the university’s Jazz program.
Continue reading here
This Must Be The Place: Bob Guccione, Jr’s Upstate New York Escape
‘This Must Be The Place’ is a new feature where PrimeCrush-ers share the one special place they love to go.
A little bit about me…
I’m in my 60s, but you wouldn’t know it to look at me! You’d probably think much older. Baby Boomer and proud of it, FYI. I publish the travel site WONDERLUST and I work almost every day. Not quite as proud of that…
In the past, I’d go out…
All hours of the night. I published the rock ‘n roll magazine SPIN and being out ‘til dawn was part of the job description. I loved working on the magazine and deep, late nightlife was all that was available for socializing and decompressing. I lived in New York City when that was exciting and still a bit wild. And authentic places were just there because people wanted them to be there. Not every experience was sponsored or, thank God, embalmed on social media. Now every square inch of the city seems to be corporatized and commodified.
When things changed…
I was born in NYC and grew up in London, before returning to America in the early ‘70s. I lived in NY for almost four decades, and one day I was just over it. My partner too. We wanted a simpler, quieter life. We were done with the relentless, pounding surf of life in NY.
I (we) landed…
In the countryside, outside the big city, living in the woods, up a mountain, surrounded by waterfalls and wild animals. (The four-legged kind, as opposed to the two-legged kind in NY that I once found so thrilling.)
The place I love most…
My favorite place to go, to stay for a few days, or just go to the pool, or just go for dinner and drinks, sometimes without the dinner, is The Blue Fox Motel in Narrowsburg, upstate, Sullivan County, New York. It’s an immaculately restored former campground / former motel now boutique oasis, about two hours and twelve hundred light years outside Manhattan, completely surrounded by beautiful, sky-piercing forest. I’ve known one of the owners, Jorge Nevis, since he first had his downtown NYC restaurant, Pao! My girlfriend and I had one of our first dates there — her choice — over 19 years ago.
The reason I go back…
Well, see above. But more specifically, there is a time-slowing peacefulness on the property, no matter which part you’re staying in, or if you are just there for a summertime al fresco dinner, or a cozy, fireplace-warmed, and lit wintertime dinner. I love the restaurant. The food is of course great, but, again, especially, somehow time slows. And it’s always full of happy-looking people! That can’t be a coincidence. The staff is friendly and the place pulls off that unique chemistry of being sophisticated and excellent, and country real and casual.
In one word, I’d describe the atmosphere as…
If you go there, I’d recommend…
Even though they make a mean burger, chicken, and fish, I’d recommend all of the Portuguese dishes, because they’re just spectacular. Try the flaming chorizo, the cod cakes, and the curiously named chicken lollipop appetizers. I always tell them they should bring more of the old Pao! classics. But no one listens to me, hahaha! Ever.
They make the best Negroni I’ve ever drank. I’ve had about nine hundred there to confirm that.
How to get there…
You have to drive! C’mon, it’s a motel! You drive, you park there — not outside your room, they mercifully did away with that — you stay, or you go for dinner and drink too much and stay.
This place is packed in the summer—with excellent reason. So, book ahead. bluefoxmotel.com for info and reservations.
Relationship Humor. "Trash? Babe." By Dish Stanley
Song of the Week
This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) By Talking Heads
Perhaps you gathered where we got the title for our new column where we share CRUSH Readers' favorite spots, This Must Be the Place.
This is one of the songs featured in the Talking Heads' 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, which came out while I was in college. It was hard to get tickets. The song was released before the film (but I hadn't heard it). David Byrne, who wrote it, said it was his attempt at writing a love song that didn't fall into the usual traps. It's an original and I love it. One day a few years ago while on a road trip with a girlfriend who is a serious practitioner of zen meditation she pointed out that it has a lot of "zen feel" to it and that she believes that Byrne must be into zen meditation. The zen element is living in the now sense, and just feeling it at the moment. "This must be the place," and "The less we say about it the better / Make it up as we go along."
Beautiful song, gorgeous place to be.
And thanks to Bob Guccione, Jr. for getting us started off so well. Pick me up and turn me round.
Enjoy a beautiful Saturday right where you are. If someone asks, this is where I'll be.
You Won't Want to Miss A Thing. Here Are Links to Some Favorites.
+TOPIX: “I Vant To [Sleep] Alone.” By A.K.A. Darla let's talk about what living & loving in Midlife really is like.
+Sexual Healing. Seriously…What’s Sexier Than The Sun? In this ongoing series, our resident Reiki Master Teacher shows us that it’s so easy to offer yourself much-needed comfort when you need it.
+Transitions. Transitions’ is a new series where we address the all-important issue of redirecting our lives at this midlife stage. In the first of the series, PrimeCrush writer Lisa Ellex broaches the question of what it takes to do it all alone.