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Taking Care of Business: 4 Chicago Meals to Close the Deal

Taking Care of Business: 4 Chicago Meals to Close the Deal

No matter the time of day, make the most of your meetings at these great restaurants

Choose one of these complimentary delicious tasting plates with an order of a cocktail or glass of wine at Fig & Olive's aperitivo hour.

Conducting business is much more pleasant when done over a meal. Whether you’re meeting your boss or a prospective client, these suggestions for a meal any time are sure to score you some serious bonus points.

Brunch: Want to impress early? Go for brunch at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building. If the stunning views aren’t enough to make a statement, the extensive raw bar and unlimited entrées from chef Cardel Reid are sure to please even the most discerning client.

Lunch: Forget ordering in sandwiches to the conference room. Take lunch to a higher level at Mercat a la Planxa. The “Catalan Express” lunch offers two courses per person, with your choice of delicious dishes such as Serrano ham and fig salad, and shrimp and chorizo flatbread. Their traditional tapas and “a la planxa” selections are available as well.

After Work Drinks: If you’re looking to wind down after a long day of negotiations, try Fig & Olive. From 4 to 7 p.m. their happy hour highlights their unique cocktail selection. The purchase of a drink includes a complimentary tasting plate, with a choice of Italian, French, or Spanish-inspired dishes. Round the meal out with some of their specialty crostini or their buttery and decadent burrata.

Dinner: Sure, you can hit up the traditional Chicago steakhouse, or you can try SideDoor. A trendier sister to Lawry’s the Prime Rib, SideDoor offers that Midwestern charm with a modern spin. The roasted meat boards showcase the best cuts, and the decadent house-smoked pastrami will make your dining companions forget all about steak.


As the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s director he’s been the museum’s public face for the past 21 years – and, perhaps even more famously, the deep, mellifluous voice on the Met’s audio tours heard by millions of visitors a year.

But as of tomorrow, the 62-year-old, Paris-born De Montebello can add the title of chief executive officer to his resume, meaning that his reign has officially extended from the artistic to the business side of the museum.

The current CEO and president, who was De Montebello’s peer, is retiring, and the new president will be de Montebello’s lieutenant.

It sounds like good news, and the Met’s new chairman, James Houghton, praises him effusively. “It was clear to us that he absolutely deserved a shot at being the number-one person. He’s done a fabulous job on the curatorial side and has increasingly done a great job with management.”

But the director/CEO didn’t want to talk about it.

“There’s no story,” he snapped. “Nothing’s happened. I was never impeded before in any of the things I was trying to do.” And, he added sternly, “we don’t run the museum as a business. We run it in a businesslike fashion.”

It was a rough start to an interview that The Post requested as a chance for him to spell out his vision for the Met as a business. And it is definitely a business, with an annual budget of more than $200 million, 1,800 full-time employees and 35 satellite Metropolitan Museum shops around the world.

Its trustees have acknowledged as much with the choice of De Montebello’s new lieutenant, David McKinney, who is a career IBM executive with hands-on experience in operations. Carl Spielvogel, the founder of the legendary ad agency Backer Spielvogel Bates and a longtime museum board member, agreed. “That’s the way it is at most corporations. There is a Mr. Outside, the CEO, and a Mr. Inside, the COO.”

But De Montebello is not known for being easy. He’s known as a brilliant art historian and curator, with uncompromising standards that result in inspiring and crowd-pleasing exhibits. Think “The Vatican Collections” a decade ago, and last year’s “Private Collections of Edgar Degas.”

He’s also a driven man, who bought expensive business cards engraved simply “Philippe de Montebello – The Metropolitan Museum of Art” in 1963, when he dropped out of art-history graduate school at New York University to take a curatorial assistant job at the Met. That way, he reasoned, he could continue to use the cards when he became director of the Museum.

De Montebello landed that post in 1978. His entire career, except for a four-year stint at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, has been spent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In some ways, he is the Met.

Still, outsiders say he will have his work cut out for him, when there is, as one put it “just one neck on the chopping block.”

Jay Carter Brown, who ran Washington’s National Gallery for 23 years and has degrees in art history and business, said, “I’m curious to see whether he has as much fun.”

When the two worked on exhibits together, he recalled, “I would say to Philippe, ‘If we have this exhibition, it will change the budget.’ And he said, ‘I will just go and tell Emily’ (the Met’s director of development).”

That ship is also heading into some rough waters. De Montebello is now faced with an $11 million cut in his budget, because he’s lost most of the fat dividends from the museum’s 7 million shares of Reader’s Digest stock. The struggling corporation slashed its payout last fall, but the Met can’t unload its shares. They were a gift from the company, on the condition that they not be sold.

“We’ve got to try everything to get back to the previous inadequate level of funding rather than the now dramatic inadequate level of funding,” De Montebello said worriedly. “We will strive to balance the budget through a combination of cuts and revenue generating initiatives over time. ” He’s also concerned by the recent rash of corporate mergers.”Mergers and acquisitions, as I’m sure you know, have shrunk the number of corporations that are supporting the arts.”

Boosting the museum shops’ profitability is also on his mind, and he said that perhaps they expanded too fast. There are Metropolitan Museum of Art shops in locations as far-flung as Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Consolidation and different management are both possibilities, but those decisions, he said, are far off.

Not everything on the horizon looks bleak.

De Montebello is planning a major overhaul of the museum’s web site, which, he said, is “rather dull.”

He is determined to make the Met a force on the Internet, both to expand his audience and to push the Metropolitan shop’s products. “We’re in 1999, not 1899, and the Internet is increasingly a means of communication and a medium of choice everywhere,” he said.

He said e-commerce makes up a very low percentage of shop sales now, but hopes it will increase after the four-year-old website ( is revamped.

He was quite happy to discuss what he said is the Met’s market-beating investment strategy: professionally managed stocks, with a dab of derivatives and some bonds.

While an hour’s conversation never cleared up the mystery of why he’s touchy about his newest title, it was quite clear that he has a knowledge of business worthy of an MBA. He even confessed to enjoying the business of the Met.

De Montebello is casual about his fluency in business, saying he’s simply picked it up over time. But others pointed out that for a museum director, being smart about business has increasingly become a requirement of the job.

“You have to be if you want to survive in the museum world,” said Carl Spielvogel, “because your best friends are corporate executives. The big money comes from corporate sponsorship.”

Some big museums, like Chicago and Philadelphia, experimented with hiring paid CEOs in the 1980s, bowing to the realities of the business world. But most have abandoned the strategy for the Met’s, installing an art-trained director/CEO and backing him up with a trained operating officer.

Whether he has a new job or not, de Montebello is finally persuaded to contrast his job to that of a corporate CEO. “I don’t have stockholders whose interests I have to keep in mind. What I do have is a public who expects – not to see revenues from the shops, not to look at graphs of revenues – but to look at beautiful exhibitions that are the result of all of this. So for me it’s a means to an end. For corporations, more often than not, it is an end.”

Personal profileName: Philippe De MontebelloTitle: Director and Chief Executive Officer, Metropolitan Museum of ArtAge: 62Born: Paris, FranceFamily:2 sons, 1 daughterHobbies: Reading, music

High-Protein Buddha Bowl Recipe: Plant-Based and Tasty

Sure, a colorful Buddha bowl looks beautiful, but is it just a gimmick? We don't think so! These high-protein, plant-based meals are much more than just a pretty face - they pack a massive nutrient punch and taste great, too. We're not saying that every trendy food is worth trying. But over the last five&hellip

Taking Care of Business: Anika Fatouros Photography Is Ready for Your Closeup

Anika Fatouros with husband Alex and son Jace at her grand opening in Peekskill. (Photo: Rana Faure)

After running her business out of her Ossining home the past seven years, entrepreneur and photographer Anika Fatouros held an April ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house to celebrate the grand opening of her new studio in Peekskill — “Anika Fatouros Photography.”

She says the studio “Strives for an empowering experience focusing on portraits and boudoir.”

Anika is available for weddings, maternity, and headshots. The studio showcases a variety of framed pieces, canvas, and custom-designed albums.

Services include complimentary consultations to plan and guide clients in designing their ideal portrait session.

In addition to having family in Peekskill, Anika chose it because “I love the creative atmosphere of the town.”

Anika Fatouros Photography, 1006 Brown Street, Suite 204, Peekskill, NY 10566 (By appointment only)

Share All sharing options for: How Chicago's Restaurant Industry Would Change the World Through Food

To mark the relaunch of Eater today, the Features team compiled a collection of seventy-two of the best ideas for how people around the world are or how they plan to or how they want to change the world through food. A lot of the ideas are incredibly earnest. Some are ambitious beyond reason. But what they all have in common is a belief that, with hard work and good food, the world is headed in the right direction.

As a local component to this feature, we asked the Chicago community to chime in. So check out the national responses over here and scroll below to see what local thinkers and doers would like to do to change the world through food. Have a suggestion? Add it to the comments.

Rick Bayless, Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Xoco chef/owner, most interesting man in the world: I'm not under any delusion that my food can end pain and suffering. But I do think the food I make and write about has the power to make people more mindful-mindful of the world at large, mindful of the impact their food choices have on the planet, mindful that there are hundreds of countries and cultures and cuisines out there, and all of them are worth exploring. If one bite of my food makes somebody more mindful-if it makes them think-that's good enough for me.

Paul Kahan, Blackbird, Avec, Publican, Publican Quality Meats, Big Star, Nico Osteria, and Dove's Luncheonette chef/owner: I hope to change the world through our work with Pilot Light. For me, a young child's relationship in and around food is as important as an understanding of math and science. By making food part of children's core curriculum, I feel we can reverse many of the ills of our current food system, in terms of health, economic and environmental well being.

Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins frontman and Madame Zuzu's owner: If I haven't changed the world through music, I'm doubtful I can affect it with food. But tea? That's another story!

Beverly Kim, Parachute chef/owner and former Top Chef contestant: Changing the world by food starts at home and around you. By taking care of and nourishing my own family, inspiring and mentoring my own employees to enjoy their work, nourishing my customers and neighborhood through fresh and creative food that comes from the heart, staying true to myself, this care will emanate from person to person and change the world.

Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository: Access to nutritious food is essential to good health and opportunity. But every year, 1 in 6 of our neighbors struggles to put food on their table. Hunger makes learning more difficult for children, affects the health of our community and limits the potential of our workforce. Hunger is a problem we can solve together. We believe no one should go hungry, and we can change the world by making sure everyone has the food they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Jason Hammel, Lula Cafe and Nightwood owner: I believe that creating even a single beautiful memory around food that is true and emotional can change the world. Beautiful memories create a need to tell one's story. And, for me, it's the sharing of stories that make a community out of a tough and lonely world. So I would like to create beautiful food memories in my restaurants for guests, in my kitchen for my cooks, and in schools for Chicago kids through our organization, Pilot Light. Food is ephemeral, restaurants are faddish, the seasons are fleeting, yet our memories of food and the stories we share have the potential to making truly lasting and impressionable connections among us all.

Jason Vincent, former Nightwood chef: I think it's silly for us to think about changing the world through food using the model that we have right now. We need to completely ‘re-rack the table.' The ‘have and have-not' system that is in place is ridiculous. THERE ARE CHILDREN IN THE WORLD WHO DON'T HAVE FOOD.

Healthy food is unaffordable and crap is cheap. Believe it or not, I'm not opposed to GMO foods, I'm just appalled by the greed and indifference demonstrated by the corporations manufacturing them in getting those foods to the parts of the world that actually need them, while screwing the farmers growing them to turn a profit for big agriculture. Fuck those guys. Lower taxes for farmers and give them more distribution support for our foodways.

Alpana Singh, The Boarding House and Seven Lions owner, former "Check, Please!" host: I would love to institute an initiative to provide healthy, nutritious and affordable school meals. Educating children from an early age about the importance of healthy eating will set them up for a lifetime of well-being and reduce the risk of health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and other illnesses associated with a poor diet.

Tony Mantuano, Spiaggia, Bar Toma, and River Roast Owner: (I want to) promote farmers markets even more than before and make their products accessible to all by working with government agencies and programs like Wholesome Wave to make high quality, flavorful ingredients a better deal and option than fast food.

Ryan McCaskey, Acadia chef/owner: I think as chefs, not only in the public eye a bit, but also feeding numerous people every day and night, we have a real opportunity to provide hospitality, food, and education to diners through food. A lot of what we do at Acadia is to tell "a story" through our dishes. We talk about the pristine product we use and where it comes from. I think it's important to talk about where the product comes from, who has handled it, why we think it tastes better, and about the product itself. I think with this awareness, and traceability, consumers may eventually want and demand better products, care more about what we eat, and overall care about where our food comes from. I think this is gradually happening now. We want to eat better, know what's in our food, be healthier overall. and I believe this starts with source awareness.

Jerrod and R.J. Melman, Lettuce Entertain You partners: We are committed to making healthy more delicious. Diners are more health conscious than ever and we continue to incorporate that into our restaurants. Wouldn't it be great to make broccoli taste like pizza?

Abraham Conlon, Fat Rice chef/owner: Many people seem to be preoccupied with "New"-we want to be progressive and innovative. For me, personally, I would like to highlight the past and that oftentimes "new" things are rooted in tradition. Through food we find commonality and that our differences are not all that different. I hope that we begin to teach our children our traditions and culture through family recipes in addition to having the courage to further explore our own heritage. Knowledge can be lost in a generation's time and unless we pass it along, it will be forgotten or is diluted by the information highway. Cooking is a craft taught by word-of-mouth and participation. We must communicate and we must participate. I hope that we emphasize the preservation of our individual cultures alongside creating new traditions for our offspring to share with theirs.

Mindy Segal, Mindy's Hot Chocolate owner and James Beard winner: Seasonal, sustainable and artisan products, especially fresh milled grains, are my core value of baking and cooking. I would change the world by only using fresh milled and ancient grains in all my baking. I would love to never use anything processed so that my food is always fresh and natural and, of course, seasonal. I would like to train and employ people that are less fortunate than myself and give them opportunities and knowledge so that the giving tree can always be paid forward.

Emily Williams Knight, President, Kendall College: Kendall College's School of Culinary Arts exists to create agents of change, not only in Chicago and the Midwest, but across the country and globe. We teach people with a passion for food how to put that passion in play in ways that extend far beyond creating convivial social experiences for people.

Our graduates have the power to greatly enhance a community's health and well-being. They leave our campus with ardent commitment to serving and protecting the environment that sustains us. These newly minted professionals, trained in the art of culinary and the business of securing and preparing high-quality food for others, can also help alleviate that which keeps populations worldwide adequately fed yet severely malnourished.

Given the immense potential of trained culinarians to bring significant, positive change to all corners of the planet, we in the United States and many other nations are fortunate that a relatively newfound respect for chefs coupled with increasing love of and fascination with all things culinary extends throughout our respective cultures-making it easier to enact real, worthwhile change.

Yet if I could impact anything, it would be that parents in still-developing societies appreciate the pursuit of a career in food by their children as a viable, rewarding life plan rather than less-valued, uninspired labor. It would be that more women in every culture be encouraged to man the stockpots as executives in commercial kitchens, achieving their dreams of a balanced life that embraces the joy of cooking professionally.

Through the Laureate global network of universities, which includes Kendall College, we see changing attitudes toward young people and women entering and excelling in the culinary and baking/pastry arts. That's a great thing. Because professional training offered to more people with an inherent passion for food will only spread good throughout the entire world.

Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig chef/owner: The problem with our era is that many people are either suffering from starvation or people are obese. I want to encourage healthy eating, lower prices for unprocessed food, buying local or providing school meals globally.

End of Life and Hospice Care

Making decisions about end-of-life care is difficult. Along with the roller coaster of emotions and uncertainty, the complexity of the medical options makes it challenging to come to the right decisions for you and your family. The good news is that palliative care and hospice care are widely available and offer the pain and symptom management and end-of-life care that patients and their families need. These services are regulated at the state and national level and are covered by Medicare and other health insurance companies.

What's the difference between palliative care and hospice?

Although both palliative care and hospice care provide the patient with comfort and support, they are not the same.

Palliative care can be provided earlier on in a patient's diagnosis, while they are still aggressively treating a disease. Palliative care is interdisciplinary care that aims to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for patients with advanced illness and their families. It is offered simultaneously with all other appropriate medical treatment.

Hospice care is provided when a patient and physician have determined that they are no longer going to aggressively treat the disease, yet they will aggressively manage pain and other symptoms. The patient's physician and hospice medical director certify that the illness has a prognosis of six months or less. A question that ought to be asked by the physician is "Would this patient survive this disease for one year given its normal course?"

Hospice care focuses on the family members as the primary caregivers, with the help of a skilled interdisciplinary team made up of nurses, physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, spiritual care providers, aides, and many volunteers who provide services such as pet therapy, hand massage, and respite for the caregiver.

Hospice also offers thirteen months of bereavement/grief services to the family or other caregivers. The focus of care is on improving quality of life and asking the patient what they desire during this last stage of life. These services can be provided in the home, in a hospice residence, or in a skilled nursing facility, assisted living center, or group home.

The central issue: Pain management

"Control of pain is really the heart of terminal care. People do not fear death so
much as they fear unrelieved pain and being alone with their suffering."

Deborah Whiting Little, The Family Handbook of Hospice Care

Many terminally ill patients experience physical pain or discomfort. Physical pain is our body's internal regulatory system alerting us that there is something wrong. Thus pain can be an important indicator of issues that need to be addressed. Physical pain can be acute (sudden) or chronic (long-lasting), and both need to be addressed.

The fear of pain may occupy much of a patient's thoughts. It can also bring about emotional stress and tension, which can prevent pain medications from working properly. The focus is always to offer optimal pain control and to reassure the patient that their pain will be managed. The goal of pain management is to relieve and prevent the pain from recurring.

To manage pain, it is important to assess it. Healthcare professionals and family members can ask a patient the following questions:

  • Where is the pain?
  • On a scale of zero to ten, with ten being excruciating, how intense is it?
  • It is continuous or does it come and go?
  • Can you describe it? Does it throb or ache?
  • What seems to help it? What makes it worse?
    (The Family Handbook of Hospice Care)

With this information, experienced healthcare professionals can determine a pain management strategy. Pain will change over time, so it is important to assess and adjust the plan regularly. Medications and other interventions also can be added/increased and changed to respond to these assessments.

In addition to physical pain, a patient might experience emotional, psychosocial, financial, or spiritual pain. Hospice care includes social workers, spiritual care providers, and other professionals to help patients and families talk about their fears, anger, and grief and alleviate emotional and spiritual pain.

When is hospice appropriate?

As mentioned above, hospice care is typically appropriate when a physician or team of healthcare professionals agrees that a patient's life expectancy is six months or less and the patient is not responding to curative treatment. There are diagnostic tools that can help clinicians determine a patient's prognosis associated with different diseases and conditions.

A helpful question that patients and families can ask the physician is: "Would this patient survive a year with the disease as it is now?" The patient and his family members ultimately make the decision whether or not to begin hospice.

Hospice may be considered for the more advanced stages of following diagnoses, among other conditions:

What conventional services does hospice offer?

Typically, patients who are receiving hospice care receive the following:

  • Visits from nurses who have been educated in pain and symptom management. There is also a nurseline, which patients and families can call 24 hours a day with any questions.
  • Assistance with bathing and personal needs from hospice aides
  • Medications and other medical supplies needed to reduce pain and discomfort related to the terminal diagnosis
  • Counseling and bereavement support for the patient and family members, provided by social workers or counselors
  • Visits from spiritual care providers, as desired
  • Trained volunteers to help the patient and family with various tasks
  • Speech, occupational, and/or physical therapy, as needed. These therapists can help identify a patient's skill level regarding communication, movement, strength, and range of motion, and provide tips about how to best communicate with your loved one or how and when to assist them with daily needs.

How to find hospice care in your area

To find a hospice facility or program, talk to your or your loved one's physician or other hospital or clinic staff member. Contact your insurance company to ask which programs or facilities are approved under your policy.

There are more than 5,300 hospice programs in the United States. See the resources in the references below for more information. You can search for hospice providers by location using the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization's website.

What can you do for your loved one?

Participate in family meetings with your loved one's medical team and be sure to request a consultation with palliative or hospice care when you and your family feel it's the right time. Discussing your loved one's goals and having conversations about advanced care planning are extremely important.

Provide Basic Physical Support

Hospice care uses the family members as the main caregivers with the support of a professional care team, so you will undoubtedly continue to provide basic support, such as preparing meals and helping your loved one eat or drink. As time goes on, this basic support will increase. You may need to help your loved one get changed, bathed, and toileted. You may have a role in helping them track and take medications. Use the care team as a resource to find out what you can do to best help and keep your loved one comfortable. Because these changes will occur suddenly or incrementally over weeks and months, it is important to enlist hospice assistance early. Hospice is not a loss of hope rather, it adds life to days. Most of those who do receive hospice care report that they wished they would have started hospice services earlier.

Offer Comfort

You can do much of this yourself at home or in residence. For example, you could learn how to give a hand massage with lotion to provide comfort to your loved one. Or you could find music they like that is soothing. You can offer to give a manicure or read aloud.

Help with Lifetime Planning

Another way you can help your loved one is by helping plan for the future by getting all financial, personal, health, legal, and other information in order. Although it is not easy to broach these topics, it is important to help your loved one make these arrangements so he or she can feel closure and remain calm through the rest of his days. This planning includes bank accounts, wills, living trusts, power of attorney, healthcare directives, and funeral arrangements.

What integrative therapies might be helpful?

Integrative therapies can complement other therapies and allow the care team to take a holistic approach to you or your loved one's hospice care. These therapies can help provide comfort and improve quality of life during a patient's final months or days. Your hospice nurse should be able to tell you about programs or therapies available to you and your loved one.

Some therapies for patients and family members to consider are discussed below.

    , reflexology, Healing Touch, and Reiki are hands-on therapies that provide comfort and relieve symptoms through the use of physical manipulation of muscles or through energy healing. They may also help the patient deal with pain, anxiety, or sleeplessness. A recent study of more than 300 hospice patients with cancer showed that massage therapy may provide pain relief and improve patients' moods, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. can provide many benefits to patients and family members. Some essential oils may help alleviate nausea or fatigue, while others may help with anxiety and depression. - Music can be soothing, relaxing, nurturing, energizing, or comforting. It may provide the following benefits:
    • Reduce anxiety and stress
    • Promote relaxation
    • Strengthen family bonds
    • Trigger memories or initiate reflection on one's life
    • Improve alertness
    • Reduce one's perception of pain or nausea
    • Create joyful experiences

    What to expect In the dying process

    "When someone dies, it is important that those close to him participate in the
    process it will help them in their grief, and it will help them face their own death
    more easily."

    Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, The Family Handbook of Hospice Care

    As death draws near, it is normal for your loved one to experience anxiety. It is helpful to reassure your loved one that you are there in support, and that although you will miss them, it is okay to let go.

    There are certain emotional and physical changes that people typically go through.

    Emotional changes may include:

    • Withdrawal or shutting out external stimuli, such as television or other people. The patient may seem to sleep more frequently. This is normal.
    • Extreme anxiety or restlessness. This may include fidgeting or making repetitive motions with one's hands. You may help your loved one by distracting them with something they love, such as music, or by talking with a nurse about ways to reduce anxiety.
    • Confusion or disorientation. Your loved one may get confused about where they are, what day it is, or even who you are. You can help them by gently introducing yourself and giving them reminders about where they are and what they are doing.
    • Hallucinations. Your loved one may experience hallucinations, which can be a result of decreased oxygen in the blood.

    Physical changes may include:

    • Weakness or a loss of sensation
    • Skin color changes. Sometimes the skin turns a darker color on the underside of the body, and fingernails and toenails turn a pale blue color.
    • Temperature fluctuations
    • Muscle twitches
    • Changes in breathing patterns. If your loved one breathes through their mouth consistently, they may get dry lips and mouth. You can help by applying chapstick and offering them ice chips, water through a straw, or even a damp washcloth. The breathing rhythm may also alternate between shallow and deep, fast and slow. As the breath slows there may be longer periods between any breath, which are known as "periods of apnea."
    • Decreased ability to cough or swallow oral secretions, such as saliva and mucous. This may result in a gurgly sound heard during breathing. You may help by elevating your loved one's head.
    • Decreased blood pressure
    • Hearing is the last sense to leave, so assume your loved one can hear you even in the final stages.

    As death draws near, the signs mentioned above may worsen. Your loved one may experience a burst of energy, during which he might even want to talk to loved ones or eat a meal. Sometimes, people are conscious for a long time, and death comes suddenly. Other times, people may be unconscious and slowly slip away.

    Coping with grief

    Coping with the death of a loved one can be overwhelming. After the passing of your loved one, bereavement services are available for family members for one year (and sometimes more). These services can help you cope with your grief, as well as guide you as you take care of practical matters.

    There is neither a standard amount of time that you should grieve nor a particular way in which you should grieve. Grief is unique to everyone. However, there tend to be some phases of grief that people may experience at different times during their own grieving process. These phases include:

    • Shock and denial
    • Longing for connection to your loved one
    • Despair and disorientation
    • Adapting and acceptance

    During these phases, you may experience emotional and physical stress. Physically, you may lose your appetite or struggle to fall asleep at night. Or you might experience tension in your stomach or another part of your body. Emotionally, you may experience depression or loneliness. Some people may not experience stress after a loved one dies. This is also normal.

    No matter how you express your grief, it is important to do so. This can come out in crying, talking with friends and family, writing in a journal, talking with a bereavement counselor, praying, or any other activity that allows you to process your loved one's death. Bereavement counselors recommend grieving, but not allowing the grief to overcome you or cause you to be paralyzed by it.

    The staff at Fairview Hospice educate with the following: "Grief is a natural response to loss. Grief is experienced physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Grief is a process that takes time and attention in order to heal. Grief is as unique to you as a thumbprint."


    Important Phone Numbers

    Hospicelink - directory of hospice and palliative care programs in the U.S. 1-800-331-1620

    Minnesota Network for Hospice and Palliative Care 651-659-0423

    National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization 703-837-1500

    Fairview Hospice 612-728-2455

    Meditation Exercise

    Meditation is one way to know yourself, and it has numerous other benefits. Listen to this audio to guide your meditation.

    Examining the Concept of Self-Care

    Once in the midst of a dinner party conversation while I was describing my work, a smart and eccentric woman interjected with a thought I’ve considered ever since. “Exercise, good eating, lots of sleep—those are what keep me healthy. Self-care, on the other hand…” she explained leaning forward smiling and stabbing the air with her fork, “That’s what keeps me sane—the so-called extras. That’s what makes the good life.” There were several empathetic and enthusiastic nods around the table. I understood what she meant, but the concept got me thinking. What exactly is “self-care”? Beyond the requisite showers, teeth-brushing and nail-clipping, beyond the eating well, exercising, sleeping and sunning, what does this mean? Naps? Facials? As I’ve considered the idea over time, I’ve come to see it in less precious and gendered terms than I think is common. Ultimately, I’ve come to believe that self-care puts a name and value to self-attunement in action.

    I think we all have known people who do everything they “should” and yet end up a frazzled mess. They may practice all the pieces, so to speak. They go to the gym 4-5 times a week. They eat a worthy diet—even by Primal standards. They go to bed by 10:30 every night and try to “manage” their stress. Yet, somehow they’ve missed something fundamental along the way. The sum of the parts ends up less than whole.

    Even when we consider the added elements of The Primal Connection—the time in nature, the effort to do something creative, the prioritization of social relationships, the center isn’t quite there. I think the Habits of Highly Successful Hunter-Gatherers ventured the outlines of this idea, but perhaps there’s more to it still.

    The fact is, science (and anthropology) inform us about what activities can serve our health, but the nuance of self—when we’re in tune with this—puts it together in a way that ultimately serves our individual well-being—based as it is on our particular temperaments and personalities (factors that have both psychological and physiological roots). This is what keeps vitality more than the product of a simple formula. Flourishing doesn’t just come from the sum of recommended dosages of anything—no matter how healthy, well thought out or extensive.

    Instead, we find the deepest manifestation of vitality where health and self-care merge—at the back roads intersection of genuine self-knowledge and responsive self-investment. This can happen with the rare and revolutionary act of knowing yourself (and accepting that self) and letting this understanding determine not just your goals but much of your daily life.

    Sounds subversive—and, yes, it can be. The difference is you’re not trying to run the world or anyone else in it—just yourself, which can be a bigger challenge than most people will ever be able to master in their lifetimes.

    Truth be told, we can’t always control our circumstances, but we can continually gauge where we’re at physically and emotionally and choose to respond effectively—which means being genuinely aligned with our needs and intentions. Taking care of ourselves is about more than hygiene and health. If you can humor me for a minute, understand that I’m not talking about devoting ourselves to navel-gazing or placating anyone’s narcissistic tendencies.

    I’m talking about equanimity.

    How, for instance, do we take care of our emotions in a day? Do we know how to handle them, or do we let them spill out and become other people’s problems? How do we take care of and steward our energy? Do we apply it thoughtfully—or chronically give it away unnecessarily or unwisely and end each day totally spent? How does this serve our long-term vitality or experience of life?

    There’s a personal balance based not on time management or multi-tasking but on inputs and outputs (what feeds us versus depletes us) that we can develop over time. The attention to this balance and the choices that exist in alignment with it constitute self-care.

    Inherent to this self-commitment (no one can do this for us, by the way) is the release of every excuse. We can have needs. We can make mistakes and choose to redirect. We can tune into the physical and emotional stress that build up in the face of circumstances we don’t get to choose. But we cannot have excuses and simultaneously live this kind of self-commitment.

    The loose model of the Primal Blueprint leaves room for this. In fact, I think it requires it to some degree. I’ve always said the Primal Blueprint lays out principles but leaves the particular execution and variation to each individual. What is heaven for one person is hell for another, yet we can all live a good Primal life. Whether we’d file it under play or healthy indulgence or self-development or personal exploration, I’d say self-care is another dimension of the “optional” not really being optional.

    There are a thousand different choices that will nourish each of us under the umbrella of self-care, which is as much a male phenomenon as it is a female one.

    For some, it means puttering around, hiding out in the garage working on a hobby. For others, it means taking a personal retreat away from everyone and everything or practicing a simple ritual before bed (even if it’s just filing our nails and reading for ten minutes). Maybe it’s meditating or running. Maybe it’s a raucous night out. It could mean five minutes of total quiet in a dark room or the enjoyment of human touch during a massage or a hug. It could mean finding ways to laugh every day or working in a long hot shower at night. Sometimes it’s just leaving the office for that fifteen-minute break to go put your face toward the sun or to sit in your car—the closest thing to truly private space some of us have for the majority of our days. Maybe it’s a few hours off on a rainy day, a good book or a certain meal or a hot rice sock around our necks while we lay on the couch after a long day. It’s flowers on our nightstand or favorite music in the morning. It’s walking the dog or sharing an hour with a good friend—sometimes talking, sometimes working on a project, and other times just being in the same room watching a game. In the midst of a work day, maybe it’s taking five minutes to decompress from a meeting, choosing to not absorb the stress of the people around you—or to release it if you already have.

    It’s not always about what you do but choosing to do it differently.

    Over time we all develop our own bag of tricks, and the list becomes very personal. The choices not only fit ourselves but our stages in life and current circumstances. Someone going through a crisis might fill this well very differently than he/she would’ve just a few months earlier.

    When we commit to self-care, we begin to intuit what that means for us. What do I really need in a day? It can be a transformative question.

    Self-care, as I see it anyway, may be less a list of behaviors and more a mindset that you’re going to do what serves you rather than uphold the monolith of the typical routine and others’ infinite expectations. If that sounds selfish, I’d offer you the seeming irony that when we let go of the obligation to react to others’ expectations, we can actually be more present to their needs as well as our own. We’re off the manic carousel and standing on solid ground. It’s a much better vantage point from which to perceive, act, and relate in life. When we take care of ourselves we slough off less stress and projection onto other people. The impact is easy to underestimate.

    Maybe it’s as good a time as any to think about what self-attunement in action means to us individually. What do we need space for in our lives today to feel vital and rested? Let me know your thoughts on this.

    Thanks for reading today, everyone. Have a great end to your week.

    Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

    Taking Care of Our Caregivers

    To discover what health care provider organization have done to support the emotional health of front-line clinicians during the pandemic, and to learn from these organizations, Press Ganey convened a virtual group of physicians, nurses, and other patient-care professionals from more than 50 organizations across 25 states who are leading efforts to support clinicians.

    In these difficult times, we’ve made a number of our coronavirus articles free for all readers. To get all of HBR’s content delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Daily Alert newsletter.

    For frontline caregivers, emotions have run high during the pandemic: anxiety about getting the virus and then exposing their families fear of being re-deployed to jobs they had not previously done to treat a disease they’ve never seen grief about the loss of patients, family members or colleagues sadness about those who have lost their jobs or been furloughed. While we have seen the remarkable support for health care workers pouring in from communities across the country, less visible has been what leaders are doing within their own organizations to help their physicians, nurses, and the entire workforce cope.

    Further Reading

    Coronavirus: Leadership and Recovery

    To discover what these organization have done, and to learn from them, Press Ganey convened a virtual group of physicians, nurses, and other patient-care professionals from more than 50 organizations across 25 states who are leading efforts to support clinicians. Over the past 12 weeks, this “caregiver collaborative” has met virtually to discuss the unique challenges of frontline caregivers during the pandemic and share experiences and strategies. Topics have included caregiver safety, staffing, ethics, financial uncertainty, racial and social inequities, communication, physical health and emotional well-being.

    Here are five emotional-support strategies the collaborative members’ institutions have launched or expanded to address caregivers’ emotional needs.

    1. Encouraging Messages

    At many institutions, leaders and managers highlighted caregivers’ compassionate work and emphasized the need for self-care.

    Intermountain created a “caregiver going home checklist” that invites doctors, nurses and other caregivers to reflect on their important work and prepare for the transition to home:

    1. Acknowledge one thing that was difficult: Let it go.
    2. Consider three things that went well today: Be proud of the care you gave.
    3. Check on your colleagues before you leave: Are they okay?
    4. Are you okay? Your leaders are here to listen and support you.
    5. Now switch your attention to home: Rest and recharge.

    Valley Health System, in Bergen County, New Jersey, instituted weekly recorded calls from the CEO and COO to staff cell phones with words of support and gratitude posted notes of appreciation in elevators, on badge readers and digitally in the lobby and sent daily texts to nursing leaders reporting patient discharge numbers and providing messages of hope and encouragement.

    2. Space to debrief and recharge

    Providing staff with ways to connect, either on site or virtually, encourages mutual support and a sense of community for those working in some of the most challenging units. At many institutions, now-vacant family lounges were re-purposed for staff use and stocked with snacks and drinks.

    At Boston Medical Center, a team of psychiatrists and social workers rotate through ICUs and the ED, where they connect with staff and offer information about resources. Employees can also drop in to one of the unit family rooms to chat informally with a member of the behavioral health team during scheduled times.

    Valley Health System created virtual peer groups called “resilience lounges,” which are offered twice a week. Hundreds of employees, including nurses, social workers, and administrative assistants, have attended these sessions. These groups use the caregivers’ going home checklist (with an added gratitude section) to structure the discussion.

    3. Resilience resources

    These include meditation, fitness and yoga instruction, meals to go, and facilities on site to shower and change before leaving for home.

    Stony Brook Medicine provides clean scrubs to every staff member (including lab and environmental services workers and others) so that they can change before heading home. This eliminates the need to take scrubs home to launder, helping to control the spread of infection.

    Boston Medical Center early on developed a suite of mindfulness practices ranging from physical movement to meditation, available both on demand and in live sessions. Sessions are free and available to the entire health care workforce as well as to family members. BMC is also transitioning a previously developed in-person, eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction training to a virtual program.

    4. Facilitated support groups

    Many institutions have developed virtual support groups that use trained facilitators to help build peer-group communities and provide behavioral strategies for dealing with the emotional challenges of caregiving during the pandemic.

    Insight Center

    Health Care and the Pandemic

    Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston offers physicians and other clinical staff virtual “wellness huddles” led by a peer support specialist and joined by a behavioral health professional (either a psychiatrist or psychologist). Groups meet virtually through a secure online platform with video capabilities. Mini-lectures offer basic instruction in behavioral strategies for dealing with stress, anxiety, insomnia, grief, uncertainty, safety and trauma, and may be tailored to specific needs of the group. This introduction provides a jumping off point for discussion while many participants speak up and share their experiences, no one is required to and some just listen. During its first 10 weeks, the program offered 47 huddles with 17 different departments or programs.

    Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City established CopeColumbia which, among a number of support services, offers peer support groups, 30-minute, structured, virtual sessions facilitated by a psychiatrist-psychologist or psychiatrist-psychiatrist pair. Following a facilitator’s guide that applies evidence-based principles from cognitive behavioral, acceptance and commitment therapy approaches, facilitators frame the session, ask participants about recent difficulties, and then reflect on adaptive coping strategies, harnessing the power of the group to foster teamwork and community. The group concludes with appreciative inquiry (e.g., what went well this week), promoting expressions of gratitude. Initially offered to physicians, the groups now include all employees across the medical center. The groups emphasize peer support rather than formal psychotherapy, to acknowledge the unique circumstance of the Covid-19 pandemic this helps participants normalize, process and accept a range of challenging feelings, enhancing resilience. The ongoing program launched in March and has facilitated more than 184 groups, reaching more than 950 providers.

    5. Rapid access to mental health support

    As caregivers often do not seek out mental health support, many institutions actively promote resources, often through Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), and in some cases, departments of psychiatry or social work. Recognizing the increased need for support, many also instituted additional services.

    Intermountain Healthcare provides an emotional health relief hotline to community and caregivers, available from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM seven days a week. Resources include information on self-care, at-home support and crisis response across the state of Utah.

    Brigham & Women’s Hospital transitioned its in-person rapid access mental health program for its physicians to a secure, virtual platform often available the same day or, if not, within 24 to 48 hours. The program provides a free 30-minute, confidential consultation with a psychiatrist or psychologist to any physician feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed or burned out. If ongoing treatment is needed, the program schedules follow-up visits with a mental health provider, including connecting physicians to community resources and providers who have volunteered to support frontline clinicians during the crisis.

    Versions of the five support strategies described here have long existed but have been dramatically expanded to meet caregivers’ needs during the pandemic. As this pandemic subsides, provider leadership should evaluate whether some should be continued in their expanded form. While some of the stressors frontline clinicians are experiencing are unique to the pandemic (such as fear of infecting loved ones) others are more like amplified versions of stressors clinicians have always experienced. Programs that support peer communities, validate clinicians’ extreme stressors, provide acute mental health care and help with chronic issues like burnout can address the long-standing challenges clinicians face every day, during a pandemic or otherwise.

    The author would like to thank Pamela Bell, Natalie Dattilo, Laurel Mayer, Mary McCarthy, Anne Pendo, Susannah Rowe, Nicole Rossol and Jo Shapiro for their valuable contributions to this work.

    If our content helps you to contend with coronavirus and other challenges, please consider subscribing to HBR. A subscription purchase is the best way to support the creation of these resources.

    As Restaurants Close, Some Are Becoming Food Pantries

    Operators across the country are transforming shuttered dining rooms into relief pantries for laid-off hospitality workers and community members.

    Across the country, the coronavirus pandemic has forced restaurants to shutter, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers and operators without jobs and income. In New York City, for example, a survey by the NYC Hospitality Alliance has found that 67,650 employees have been laid off or furloughed since Friday, March 20, when Governor Cuomo mandated that non-essential businesses close, and restaurants only provide delivery or takeout.

    “It’s devastating,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. “Restaurants, bars and clubs and the people who work at them are the fabric of our communities. We need to do everything in our power, as fast as possible, to support these businesses and revive New York City’s economy, while protecting public health and safety.”

    While dozens of restaurant relief funds have sprung up in nearly every city in the country, some operators are approaching the problem in a slightly different way, turning their shuttered restaurants into free food pantries for their unemployed staff and community members.

    One of the leaders of this movement is Scott Gerber, principal and CEO of the Gerber Group, which operates 15 bars in New York City, Atlanta and Washington, DC. Gerber has closed all of his businesses and laid off all 400 of his employees.

    The first week after closures, he emptied his walk-ins and pantry, donating all the food to unemployed workers from his various properties. But he didn’t want the donations to end after the food ran out. He decided to continue placing bulk orders with his vendors, turning his shuttered bars and restaurants into free employee food pantries.

    “When we had to lay off all our employees, we knew they would have a hard time,” he said. “They are minimum wage workers who are used to their tips, so unemployment would not cut it. And it was abrupt.”

    Gerber is running three food pantries at the moment he has designated Irvington as the food pantry for all his New York employees, in Atlanta, the pantry is at Whiskey Blue at the W in Buckhead, and in Washington, D.C., the pantry is at Twelve Stories at the Intercontinental Hotel. The pantries are stocked with produce, eggs, dairy, proteins like chicken and beef, canned tomatoes and beans, pasta and ramen, as well as essentials like toilet paper and more.

    Gerber’s pantries are open once a week for pick up, and shopping times are staggered to maintain social distancing. For those who cannot make it into the city, Gerber has had employees volunteer to deliver baskets of food to them.

    “It’s such a nice and genuine move from our company’s part to help out everyone that’s gotten laid off,” says Claudia Duran, who is 26 and has worked for the company since 2016, starting out as a host and moving up to her current role as manager. “Many of our staff were full time and depended on the income. With the food pantry, we are taking care of our family even in rough times.”

    Duran says the food pantry has brought the team closer. “Scott has stopped by and provided emotional support to the staff. It’s not just the employees running this everyone is involved. If a staff member is unable to come, we have also delivered right to their door.”

    For now, Gerber and his partners are funding the pantries out of their own pockets. “We made the decision to use our own money because we have always treated our company like family. Our people have made us successful, and they will make us successful again.”

    To continue to keep the food pantry going as long as it is needed, the Gerber Group has also started a GoFundMe page for friends, family, and guests to donate to an emergency cash fund for their laid-off staff. “I have been in the business for 28 years,” said Gerber. “I am doing this out of loyalty to our employees. I am not sure people realize how devastating this has been to our employees.”

    Other initiatives like Gerber’s have been popping up across the country. One particularly impressive one is The Restaurant Workers Relief Program, a partnership between Makers Mark, The Lee Initiative and chef Edward Lee, which is transforming dozens of shuttered restaurants into food pantry relief centers for laid-off industry workers.

    Seven nights a week at participating restaurants, teams pack hundreds of to-go meals for laid-off workers to pick up and take home. In addition to prepared dinners, the restaurants supply essentials such as diapers, baby food, non-perishable canned foods and cereals, toilet paper, paper towels, notebooks and pencils, aspirin, and more, along with bags of fresh produce. Chef Lee says they plan to continue to offer this program until they can no longer financially support it.

    The list of participating restaurants is growing, but as of now it includes Brooklyn’s Olmsted and Gertie, Cochon in New Orleans, Big Star Wicker Park in Chicago, The Source Hotel & Market Hall in Denver, Salare in Seattle, Mita’s in Cincinnati. Chi Spacca in Los Angeles, Succotash in Washington D.C., 610 Magnolia in Louisville, and Tuk Tuk and Great Bagel Boston Road in Lexington, KY.

    Other individual restaurants are working in a more ad hoc manner, doing what they can to feed those laid-off workers. Greenpoint Fish & Lobster in Brooklyn is launching its own �mily Meal” on Sunday March 29 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.. It will consist of a dinner that is free for anyone out of work at the moment and for anyone else, it’s $20.

    Bar Bruno, a neighborhood Mexican bistro in Brooklyn, is serving a free boxed kids burrito and chips to those in need 12:30-2:30 p.m. on weekdays. “Helping and being of service to each other in our community is a positive way to counter the anxiety and negativity during this difficult time,” wrote the owner on Instagram.

    RSCMS Restaurant Group, which includes Lupa, Felidia, Otto, and Del Posto, is offering cooked meals and groceries free of charge to their employees. Meals are distributed on a first come, first serve basis and made from food donated by Dairyland, Pat LaFrieda, Chef&aposs Warehouse, and Prime Line Distributors, in addition to what is currently in each restaurant&aposs pantry.

    Feelings of uncertainty and anxiety are running high, but efforts like those of Gerber, Lee, and others in the industry have created a sense of support for many, helping to lift the burden of this strange and stressful new normal. “There are a lot of thoughts running through my head, like, How long will this take? What’s going to happen when I run out of resources? What if I get sick? Who would take care of my family?” said Irvington’s general manager Omar Vicuna, who is 39 and lives in Jackson Heights, Queens with his wife and two children.

    “Right now I have to be strong for my children, tell them that everything is going to be fine, and be positive that this will end soon," he said. "Having the food pantry makes me feel thankful and proud of having a company that cares about their employees, and also that my colleagues and myself will be able to put food on our tables for our families. Something I’ve learned and keep learning is that we are all in this together and that we must help each other in any way that we can. These are very frightful times, but we will recover, and we will come back stronger than before.”

    Good Girls Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Taking Care of Business

    We left off Good Girls Season 1 Episode 4 with Agent Turner standing at Beth's front door. And Good Girls Season 1 Episode 5 picks up right away with Agent Turner poking his head into the Boland house to see if there have been any oddities in their suburban community.

    While the agent does his best to bait the Boland's into revealing something, Beth is far too smart for that. But is the FBI really going to give up that easily?

    With the FBI making its presence known, it was obvious that the girls were going to get cold feet about laundering the money for Rio. But in the crime world, once you make a deal and receive the funds, there is no way to just give that back.

    Rio wants his clean money and he doesn't care how he gets it. Beth's laundering plan sounds pretty simple and easy but what I was having a hard time grasping my head around was how much stuff the ladies were buying at one time.

    Buying thousands of dollars of appliances in one transaction, with cash sounds incredibly risky. Why not go to a couple different stores and buy some big-ticket items?

    Annie seemed to have the right idea going for expensive televisions, even though four flat screens is a bit excessive. She could have thrown in an overpriced sound system or something.

    Annie's purchase leads to one of the bigger problems when her hookup turns out to be nothing like the charming guy he pretends to be.

    It took longer than it probably should have for me to figure out the twist here, but I'm glad Beth and Ruby didn't let Annie blow up that guy's marriage in front of his children. As a woman who's been cheated on, Beth now has a whole new outlook on things.

    Of all the women, Beth has grown the most since the robbery. I think she was always assertive, headstrong and ambitious, but she know has the confidence she was missing before.

    The ladies digging around in the trash for the stolen receipt is the kind of fun that this show does so well. The visual makes you cringe a bit, but the three of them squabbling and picking off old band-aids is hilarious.

    There are two relationships on this show I want to be explored more: Beth and Annie, and Beth and Rio.

    Beth and Annie could not be more opposite. And while they're extremely close, I still want to know more about them. The little tidbit about Beth and the piano lessons was cute, and it makes me want to meet some of the other people in their family.

    Now, why do I want to explore Beth and Rio more? Listen, these two have chemistry. There was a lot of tension in that minivan, and you know Beth felt it.

    Rio has an unassuming charm about him. And it comes out in spades when he's around Beth. But will these two ever cross the line?

    At this point, no. But the minute Beth finds out that Dean is lying to her again, then all bets are off.

    Anything that happens between Beth and Rio will change the dynamic of the ladies going forward. If they ever find out, that is.

    Sara being back in the hospital gave Good Girls another chance to show us just how amazing Ruby's family is. I really hope that when it inevitably comes out that Ruby has been lying, Stan doesn't do anything too irrational.

    Sure, these ladies are lying and engaging in dangerous criminal behavior, but they're doing it for their kids. So, that means they get a pass, right? Right?

    I know, I know. All of these misdeeds are bound to catch up to them one day. But I hope that day is far, far away.

    There's no Boomer, but his presence looms large in the form of Agent Turner, who makes a few appearances but none more important than his final scene with Beth.

    He doesn't believe a word she's saying until she turns up the heat and manipulates her way out of that office like only Beth can do. But did he believe her?

    My gut says we will be seeing a lot more Agent Turner before the season is through.

    What did you guys think about 'Taking Care of Business'? What do you think about Beth and Rio? Will agent Turner keep investigating Beth?

    Make sure you leave a comment down below and watch Good Girls online, so you don't miss a minute of the action!