Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
Meander and Meet....designed by George Peters and Melanie Walker of Airworks For more information contact Susan at

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Saturday Morning Walkers - December 7, 2008

Hi everyone!

We had a twist on our Saturday morning meeting yesterday - we met for coffee before walking (I'm assuming a walk followed - hmmm.....) Chris and I were both sorry we had to leave Jan, Laila and Mary early but it was good to catch up and we had a special, short visit from Jackie and Keith. Felt like old times!

Barb was out in San Diego this weekend for a holiday get-together with her amazing book group. They have been together for more than 30 years - a few have moved away but they try to get together at least once a year and even include spouses/partners. I think that is so great!

All our love and good energy go out to Cass and her family - Cass' mom passed away on Thursday, December 4 - her illness was brief and Cass was able to be with her mom during those last days in hospice.

Book Report:

Laila is reading a travel memoir - Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In his latest absorbing travel epic, Thubron (In Siberia; Mirror to Damascus) follows the course—or at least the general drift—of the ancient network of trade routes that connected central China with the Mediterranean Coast, traversing along the way several former Soviet republics, war-torn Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. The author travels third-class all the way, in crowded, stifling railroad cars and rattle-trap buses and cars, staying at crummy inns or farmers' houses, subject to shakedowns by border guards and constant harassment—even quarantine—by health officials hunting the SARS virus. Physically, these often monotonously arid, hilly regions of Central Asia tend to go by in a swirl of dun-colored landscapes studded with Buddha shrines in varying states of repair or ruin, but Thubron's poetic eye still teases out gorgeous subtleties in the panorama. Certain themes also color his offbeat encounters with locals—most of them want to get the hell out of Central Asia—but again he susses out the infinite variety of ordinary misery. The conduit by which an entire continent exchanged its commodities, cultures and peoples—Thubron finds traces of Roman legionaries and mummies of Celtic tribesmen in western China—the Silk Road becomes for him an evocative metaphor for the mingling of experiences and influences that is the essence of travel.

Chris mentioned a book that she is planning to read and I heard a radio interview with the author, Sheila Weller - Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--and the Journey of a Generation
From Publishers Weekly
Weller's cultural history of the titans of women in rock in the 1970s details the artistic, sexual and symbolic twists and turns of Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon in careful, loving detail. Susan Ericksen reads like one of the girls, picking up from Weller's tone and sounding like a woman of the era, besotted with the music and with the sense of boundaries being broken and glass ceilings smashed. While Ericksen occasionally slips, pronouncing words incorrectly and stumbling over unwieldy sentences, her performance is, for the most part, very solid. Weller's book is ambitious and wide-ranging, but Ericksen keeps its story tight and engaging

Website/Blog of the Week - this is a blog site from a group that Jexy is involved with at Jacob's school - the blog is called The Beanstalk Blog - A Food and Garden Blog for Odyssey Charter School. - This is all part of an effort to transform the school lunch program at the school as well as educate the staff and students about healthy food choices. The site will have articles and recipes - there's even a gift item perfect for a stocking stuffer available on the site.

Podcast of the Week - The Economist -

Vocabulary Word of the Week - suggested by Gaye - wisdom
From Wikipedia:
Wisdom is knowledge, understanding, experience, discretion, and intuitive understanding, along a capacity to apply these qualities well towards finding solutions to problems. It is the judicious and purposeful application of knowledge that is valued in society. To some extent the terms wisdom and intelligence have similar and overlapping meanings. The status of wisdom or prudence as a virtue is recognized in cultural, philosophical and religious sources.

Cooking and Dining Report - Jack was away most of the week so my kitchen and I have been on vacation.

I did cook dinner tonight and this was a Roast Chicken with Bacon with recipe from the Williams Sonoma catalog - - wow - this was fantastic - made a gravy using demi-glace - we loved it!

Quote of the Week - from George Bernard Shaw

"There are two disappointments in life. Not getting what you want and getting it" This line appeared in Chapter 7 of Jack Kornfield's A Path With Heart. In this section on the grasping and wanting mind, Kornfield elaborates, saying ".....peace comes not from fulfilling our wants but from the moment that dissatisfacion ends. When wanting is filled, there comes a moment of satisfaction, not from the pleasure but from stopping of grasping."

Have a good week!



Saturday Morning Walkers - November 30, 2008

Hi everyone!!

Hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday. We've had a lovely visit with Mandy and Rob. I missed our walk yesterday - Jack and I were at his mom's helping plan her upcoming move and Mandy and Rob went up to A-Basin for a day of skiing. I know that Mary planned a walk around Waneka Lake in Lafayette with coffee at Cinos.

Book Report:

Mandy is reading the third in the Twilight series, Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer. This series really seems to be a hit with a broader age group than the young girls it is aimed at.

From Publishers Weekly
The legions of readers who are hooked on the romantic struggles of Bella and the vampire Edward will ecstatically devour this third installment of the story begun in Twilight, but it's unlikely to win over any newcomers. Jake, the werewolf met in New Moon, pursues Bella with renewed vigilance. However, when repercussions from an episode in Twilight place Bella in the mortal danger that series fans have come to expect, Jake and Edward forge an uneasy alliance. The plot patterns have begun to show here, but Meyer's other strengths remain intact. The supernatural elements accentuate the ordinary human dramas of growing up. Jake and Edward's competition for Bella feels particularly authentic, especially in their apparent desire to best each other as much as to win Bella. Once again the author presents teenage love as an almost inhuman force: "[He] would have been my soul mate still," says Bella, "if his claim had not been overshadowed by something stronger, something so strong that it could not exist in a rational world." According to Meyer, the fourth book should tie up at least the Edward story, if not the whole shebang. Ages 12-up.

Mandy and I went to a book reading today at the Boulder Book Store where Wally Lamb was promoting his new novel, The Hour I First Believed. You may remember Lamb from his earlier books, She's Come Undone and This Much I Know is True. We really enjoyed him and look forward to reading this new book, which weaves a fiction story with actual events that have occurred in recent years..

From The Washington Post
From The Washington Post's Book World/ Reviewed by Ron Charles A great story is buried in Wally Lamb's avalanche of a novel, The Hour I First Believed, but only the most determined readers will manage to dig it out. The author -- twice blessed by Oprah, for She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True -- can be a captivating storyteller, and he has built this story on one of the most shocking acts of violence in modern history. Sadly, though, his new novel becomes so burdened by diversions, delays, tangents and side plots that the whole rambling enterprise grows maddening, the kind of book you want to throw across the room, if only you could lift it. The narrator is a middle-aged English teacher named Caelum who's trying to hold together his third marriage. When he discovers that his wife, Maureen, is cheating on him, he attacks her lover with a pipe wrench. This is, from start to finish, a novel about the effects of anger, the torrent of destruction that's easily triggered and difficult to repair. Hoping to remake their lives after Maureen's adultery and Caelum's prosecution for assault, they move to Colorado and get jobs at Columbine High School. In April of 1999, when Caelum flies back to Connecticut to check on his sickly aunt, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold enact their deadly rampage. Caught in the school's library, Maureen hides in a cabinet listening to students being taunted and slaughtered. Lamb doesn't provide the sort of psychological insight into the perpetrators that we got from Richard Russo's and Lionel Shriver's novels about school shootings, but he knows just how to let the details of a tragedy unfold without decoration or commentary. He's a master at the kind of direct, unadorned narrative that brings these events alive in all their visceral power. The most terrifying section of The Hour I First Believed is essentially a docudrama of the Columbine massacre, describing the actual events, naming the real victims and heroes and providing chilling excerpts from Klebold's and Harris's journals and videotapes. Lamb's depiction of the aftermath is equally wrenching: parents waiting all night in the gym for lists of the dead, the sound of hundreds of cell phones ringing in uncollected backpacks, the sight of such a happy place transformed into a morgue. In many ways, this horrendous incident is a natural subject for Lamb. He's long been interested in the lingering effects of trauma and the process of emotional recovery, and it's a relief to see that his treatment bears none of the shiny optimism associated with his famous talk-show patron. Although Lamb is too earnest for satire, The Hour I First Believed makes ironic references to Dr. Phil, Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul and the whole recovery industry that's grown up in the last couple of decades. As Caelum attends funerals, memorial services and counseling meetings after the massacre, he hears the full symphony of recovery theology, but he remains bitterly skeptical. "Maybe there was something to this 'power of prayer' stuff, and maybe there wasn't," he says. "But I resented the white-haired woman, shilling for God among the walking wounded." At the main funeral, attended by 70,000 mourners, including Amy Grant, Billy Graham's son and Al Gore, Caelum can't shake his resistance to their healing messages. When the crowd is exhorted to shout, "Columbine is love," Caelum won't do it. And later, when a chillingly efficient therapist begins her PowerPoint presentation on the process of grief, Caelum complains, "Too technical . . . she's talking to sufferers, not psych majors." The most moving example of the difficulty of recovering from psychological trauma is Caelum's wife. "Mo's one of the victims you've never read about in the Columbine coverage," he tells us. "One of the collaterally damaged." Overwhelmed by flashbacks and panic attacks, she can't return to work or handle the basic tasks of daily life. Caelum tries to do whatever she needs, be whomever she needs, but she remains either zoned out or combative, at constant risk of overdosing on tranquilizers. Caelum struggles to understand what's happening to her as she alternately pushes him away and begs for his affection. In hopes of providing her with a more peaceful setting, they move back to his family's farmhouse in Connecticut and try to start over. Maureen can't shake her demons, though. Alone and despairing, Caelum throws himself into researching the massacre, hoping to gain some understanding of his wife's condition, but the sheer volume of competing theories only depresses him more. This portrayal of a couple dealing with the asymmetrical effects of trauma is Lamb at his best, wholly sympathetic, deeply moving. If only the author had stayed with these ample elements, he would have had a powerful novel about two people determined to care for each other despite unfathomable challenges. But as the story moves further along, its focus blurs and the relationship at the center fades away. How much more disaster does a novel require, you may ask, than the deadliest high school shooting in America? The answer, apparently, is much, much more. This giant book becomes an encyclopedia of tragedy and mayhem, including but not limited to the Civil War, the Korean War, the Iraq War, Katrina, vehicular manslaughter, gang rape, kidnapping, dismemberment, alcoholism, suicide (by gun, by train), child abuse, self-mutilation, drug addiction, bankruptcy and infanticide: a menu of misery that could fill Oprah's schedule for a decade. What's surprising, though, is how this second half of the novel fails even as melodrama. It gets bogged down in the history of a women's prison that one of Caelum's relatives started more than 100 years earlier. Clearly, this subject is important to Lamb -- he's spent years teaching female prisoners in the York Correctional Institution in Connecticut -- and there's fascinating material here about the counterproductive ways we punish people, but he seems strangely unwilling to provide much insight into the lives of the women inmates. Instead, in a move that ruins the engaging domestic storyline, Maureen is pushed off stage when Caelum discovers in his attic a collection of 19th-century letters that mention everybody from Mark Twain to Harriet Beecher Stowe to Nikola Tesla. Herein begins an exceedingly tedious mystery about the real identity of Caelum's late mother. He gives the old letters to a feminist scholar for her dissertation about the founding of the women's prison, and at least 75 pages of her scholarly document are dumped into the novel, with deadening effect. Even Caelum complains about how boring this is. Trying to read his friend's dissertation, he says, "I shifted the pillows, glanced over at the clock radio. Only nine twenty-three? God, it felt more like midnight." Rarely have I felt such empathy with a character. "I fought it for as long as I could, attempting over and over to get to the end of that same sentence. Then I surrendered to sleep." But I still had more than 100 pages to go. And then Lamb's "Afterword." And then his "Notes From the Author." And then his "Acknowledgments." And then his "List of Sources Consulted." And then his list of "Charitable Donations." All so earnest and far, far too much.
Copyright 2008, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

Website of the Week: a great site for quality children's toys -

Podcast of the Week: Rob listens to on-line magazine Slate podcasts - -

Vocabulary Word of the Week: omnivore
From Wikipedia

Omnivores (from Latin: omne all, everything; vorare to devour) are species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source. They are opportunistic, general feeders not specifically adapted to eat and digest either meat or plant material exclusively.[1] Pigs are one well-known example of an omnivore.[2] Crows are another example of an omnivore that many people see every day.[3] Humans are also omnivores.[1][4]

Although there are reported cases of herbivores eating meat matter as well as examples of carnivores eating plants, the classification refers to the adaptations and main food source of the species in general so these exceptions do not make either individual animals nor the species as a whole omnivores.

Most bear species are considered omnivores, but individuals' diets can range from almost exclusively herbivorous to almost exclusively carnivorous depending on what food sources are available locally and seasonally. Polar bears can be classified as carnivores while pandas almost exclusively eat bamboo and are therefore herbivores, although Giant Pandas will eat some meat from time to time. Therefore, they are still considered a herbivore because they mainly eat plants.

Cooking and Dining Report:

Lots of cooking going on over the last several days - it has been fun to cook for a houseful for a change.

Thanksgiving Recipes (which I didn't include last week)

Brined Roast Turkey with Sage Butter Rub -

Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta -

Roasted Green Beans with Lemon, PIne Nuts and Parmigiano -

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes -

Desserts were three pies that I didn't bake - Mikki made me a pumpkin that was scrumptuos and we had a chocolate pecan pie and apple pie from Dana at the Walnut Cafe - three pies for 5 people - how outrageous is that?!

Tonight we had the Flank Steak with Crispy Polenta and Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette that I've made a few times recently -

Quote of the Week -
"Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion."
Martha Graham
US choreographer & dancer (1894 - 1991)

Have a wonderful week ahead!


Saturday Morning Walkers - November 23, 2008

Hi everyone!

I was sorry to have missed yesterday's walk - I think that Laila, Mary and Irma did a route around South Boulder and then met for coffee at Caffe Sole. We have had beautiful weather this weekend so I'm sure they enjoyed their walk.

Book Report:

I am well into The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and I now know what Mandy A. meant when she said it impacted her life! It is quite an eye-opener about the food we eat - Pollan takes what could be a really dry subject and presents it in a very engaging way.

I heard about another food related book that I'm going to look for at the library - it is Chef MD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine by John La Puma, MD. I heard him talk on Mehmet Oz's XM radio program and it was pretty intriguing. Check out his website -

I chatted with Sandy, a friend of Rita's, the other night and she reminded me of a book that I read and loved several years ago - Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone - Reichl is currently the editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine and was the food critic for the LA Times and the New York Times. This is her first of 3 memoirs that she has written about her life and food. She's a wonderful storyteller and I may have to re-read this one for the sheer pleasure of it.

Sandy is also reading a travel memoir by Rita Golden Gelman - Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World - Gelman is the author of many children's books and this book chronicles her journey out into the world, leaving behind her comfortable California lifestyle and marriage, heading out on her own. I love reading travel memoirs by women - this especially calls to mind a favorite of mine, Without Reservations: Travels of an Independent Woman by journalist Alice Steinbach.

Tales of a Female Nomad
From Library Journal
Fifteen years ago, the middle-aged Gelman (author of over 70 children's books, including More Spaghetti, I Say!) left behind an upscale California lifestyle and fading marriage to begin an odyssey that continues to this day. Using a well-paced and fluid writing style, Gelman describes how she observed orangutans in the rain forests of Borneo, canoed in Indonesia, ate psychedelic mushrooms in Mexico, and skirted landmines in Nicaragua. Wherever she travels, it is the people and their customs that intrigue her most, from the restrictive but culturally rich celebrations of a Hasidic family in Israel to the more relaxed but equally ritualized daily life of her new friends in Bali. Her enthusiasm for the people she meets and her ability to overcome the challenges faced by a woman traveling alone make for an engrossing and inspirational read.

Without Reservations
From Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steinbach took an extended leave from her newspaper job to travel around Europe in search of spontaneity. She started off in Paris, where she got romantically involved with a Japanese man and shopped; moved on to London, where she shopped some more; took a course at Oxford University; and headed to Italy, where she wandered through Milan, Venice, Rome, and the Tuscan countryside--and shopped a bit more. Chapters begin with postcards sent to Alice from Alice, each with a bit of advice or a lesson learned. Steinbach, divorced and with grown children, appears to be much at ease traveling alone, making new friends along the way. Her mental journey through the past and present and the reassessment of her life, rather than descriptions of the places visited or the people met, are at the heart of the narrative. This pleasant, slightly romantic, but unremarkable journey will find an audience in large public libraries

Jacob has a new favorite series of books that he read to his PopPop on his recent visit - it is the Ricky Ricotta Mighty Robot series by Dave Pilkey of Captain Underpants fame. If you have any young readers in your life who are into robots and space adventure, this may be a great gift.
Product Description
Enter a galaxy of fun and discover how Ricky befriends the Mighty Robot for the first time, before battling such sinister spacemonsters as Mercurian Mosquitoes, Vultures from Venus, and Martian Mecha-Monkeys! Each early chapter book has action-packed Flip-O-Rama and instructions on how to draw each character! Also includes a cool sticker sheet featuring Ricky, his Robot, and all the bad guys! It's a collection that's truly out of this world! "Pilkey fans, science-fiction aficionados, and reluctant readers won't want to miss [this series]."--SLJ
I'd love to hear from more of you about what you're reading these days.

Website of the Week: - another interesting site for gifts - this is a place where you can buy and sell handcrafted items - I'm pretty impressed with the quality of many of them. Some my very creative friends (you knitters, felters, sewers, quilters, painters, soap makers and altar makers) should consider submitting some of your work on this site.

Podcast of the Week: from American Public Media

Vocabulary Word of the Week - gratitude
From Wikipedia
Gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. In contrast to the positive feeling of gratitude, the feeling of indebtedness is a negative reaction to a favor (Tsang, 2006a; Watkins, Scheer, Ovnicek, & Kolts, 2006). Even though our reactions to favors might not always be positive, researchers have found that people express gratitude often. Psychological research has demonstrated that individuals are more likely to experience gratitude when they receive a favor that is perceived to be (1) valued by the recipient, (2) costly to the benefactor, (3) given by the benefactor with benevolent intentions, and (4) given gratuitously (rather than out of role-based obligations) (e.g., Bar-Tal, Bar-Zohar, Greenberg, & Hermon, 1977; Graham, 1988; Lane & Anderson, 1976; Tesser, Gatewood, & Driver, 1968). Individuals who are induced to feel grateful are more likely to behave prosocially toward their benefactor (Tsang, 2006b) or toward unrelated others (Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006).

Gratitude may also serve to reinforce future prosocial behavior in benefactors. For example, Carey and colleagues (Carey, Clicque, Leighton, & Milton, 1976) found that customers of a jewelry store who were called and thanked showed a subsequent 70% increase in purchases. In comparison, customers who were thanked and told about a sale showed only a 30% increase in purchases, and customers who were not called at all did not show an increase. Rind and Bordia (1995) found that restaurant patrons gave bigger tips when their servers wrote “Thank you” on their checks.

Research has also suggested that feelings of gratitude may be beneficial to subjective emotional well-being (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). For example, Watkins and colleagues (Watkins et al., 2003) had participants test a number of different gratitude exercises, such as thinking about a living person for whom they were grateful, writing about someone for whom they were grateful, and writing a letter to deliver to someone for whom they were grateful. Participants in the control condition were asked to describe their living room. Participant who engaged in a gratitude exercise showed increases in their experiences of positive emotion immediately after the exercise, and this effect was strongest for participants who were asked to think about a person for whom they were grateful. Participants who had grateful personalities to begin with showed the greatest benefit from these gratitude exercises. In people who are grateful in general, life events have little influence on experienced gratitude (McCullough, Tsang & Emmons, 2004).

Although gratitude is something that anyone can experience, some people seem to feel grateful more often than others. People who tend to experience gratitude more frequently than do others also tend to be happier, more helpful and forgiving, and less depressed than their less grateful counterparts (Kashdan, Uswatte, & Julian, 2006; McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002; Watkins, Woodward, Stone, & Kolts, 2003)

Cooking and DIning Report: Several recipes including some dishes that I've made ahead for Thanksgiving

Utlimate Cheater Pulled Pork from The Splendid Table - quite delicious and couldn't be easier!

Mushroom and Fontina Quesadillas from Fine Cooking - nice light casual dinner.

Pasta with White Sausage Sauce from Mark Bittman of the New York Times - Helen and I loved this one - I did add garlic and used red wine for the liquid, as he suggested.

Here are the Thanksgiving make-aheads:

Sauteed Mushroom with Oregano from the Romeo Salta Cookbook - check out this blog post from last year

Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Cloves from Bon Appetit -

Creamy Red Pepper Soup from Giada de Laurentiis - tasted while I was cooking - be liberal with salt and pepper - nice and creamy and no cream in sight - except for the dollop of mascarpone cheese that will go on before serving - that one potato goes a long way.

I want to mention the wonderful Peppery Cheese, Nut and Cornmeal Cookies/Crackers that Rita served the other night. They were fantastic and come from The JimTown Store Cookbook - I can't find the recipe online and it is a bit long to include here so perhaps I'll put it in next week - it made a great appetizer and I am planning on serving it with my soup on Thanksgiving. If you're too intrigued to wait, let me know and I'll send you the recipe separately.

Quote of the Week - from John F. Kennedy on gratitude - fitting at this time leading up to Thanksgiving and following the anniversary of the death of our former President

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday - I am most thankful for my family and dear friends for being part of my life.


Saturday Morning Walkers - November 16, 2008

Hi everyone!

We had a lovely walk yesterday with Barb, Christie, Jan, Irma joining me at the Grillo Center Labyrinth and then walking west on the Boulder Creek Path just a bit past Eben Fine Park and then back over to the Boulder Bookstore Cafe where Mary and Chris joined us for coffee.
It was kind of bon voyage get together - Barb and Jan are off to Cozumel today for a dive trip and Christie leaves on Tuesday for her trip to Italy.

Book Report:

Barb has started and is enjoying her book group selection of Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones. There is a connection to Charles Dickens' Great Expectations so some members of the book group are also reading that wonderful classic. Check them both out!

From Publishers Weekly - Mr. Pip
A promising though ultimately overwrought portrayal of the small rebellions and crises of disillusionment that constitute a young narrator's coming-of-age unfolds against an ominous backdrop of war in Jones's latest. When the conflict between the natives and the invading redskin soldiers erupts on an unnamed tropical island in the early 1990s, 13-year-old Matilda Laimo and her mother, Dolores, are unified with the rest of their village in their efforts for survival. Amid the chaos, Mr. Watts, the only white local (he is married to a native), offers to fill in as the children's schoolteacher and teaches from Dickens's Great Expectations. The precocious Matilda, who forms a strong attachment to the novel's hero, Pip, uses the teachings as escapism, which rankles Dolores, who considers her daughter's fixation blasphemous. With a mixture of thrill and unease, Matilda discovers independent thought, and Jones captures the intricate, emotionally loaded evolution of the mother-daughter relationship. Jones (The Book of Fame; Biografi) presents a carefully laid groundwork in the tense interactions between Matilda, Dolores and Mr. Watts, but the extreme violence toward the end of the novel doesn't quite work. Jones's prose is faultless, however, and the story is innovative enough to overcome the misplayed tragedy

Product Description - of Great Expectations
A terrifying encounter with an escaped convict in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decaying Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactor - these form a series of events that change the orphaned Pip's life forever, and he eagerly abandons his humble origins to begin a new life as a gentleman. Dickens' haunting late novel depicts Pip's education and development through adversity as he discovers the true nature of his 'great expectations'.

Barb also specifically recommended The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone to Christie as she sets off to Rome. This is a biographical novel of Michelangelo.

Product Description
Fictional depiction of Michelangelo. Includes bibliography, glossary and a list of the artist's works

Chris mentioned a very special magazine that might interest some of you - Where Women Create -

And according to Jan, the film version of The Secret Life of Bees is as good as the book - can't wait to see it!

Website of the Week - another good gift-buying site - - heard about this on Jumping Monkeys podcast -
"Nest is a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the lives of women in developing countries. The mission of Nest is to support women artists and artisans in the developing world by helping them create sustainable entrepreneurial businesses. To do this, Nest provides micro-credit loans to be used for the purchase of the supplies and materials necessary to begin and/or maintain art or craft-based businesses.

The funds for these loans are generated by selling a unique line of clothing, accessories and merchandise for the home produced exclusively for Nest by a group of artists and designers. The Nest line also includes ceramic pottery, women’s clothing and other items with the Nest logo. In addition to these exclusive items created by well-known designers, the recipients of Nest loans in developing countries also make their crafts available to Nest as repayment for the micro-credit loans. These items, too, are incorporated into the Nest line of merchandise. In this way, Nest draws together artists from across the globe into a cooperative network with a shared vision of mutual support.

When you buy from Nest, you have not only have purchased a unique and beautiful item for yourself or your home, you have participated in a proven effort to better the lives of women all across the globe. Through our work, and your participation, women all over the world are able to plant their roots in a refuge filled with warmth, solace, comfort and joy. It is our sincere hope that Nest can help you create a home, both for yourself and women the world over, filled with energy, beauty and peace."

Podcast of the Week - President-Elect Barack Obama's Weekly Radio Address - go to Itunes and do a search for that - it is being presented by ABC News and George Stephanopoulis - or go to ABC News Podcast page and scroll down to the audio podcast for President -Elect Barack Obama to listen on the computer.

Vocabulary Word of the Week - vituperative - I heard this used on one of the cable talk shows - they ought to know the meaning of this word!!
Main Entry:
\vi-'tü-p(?-)r?-tiv, -p?-?ra-\
: uttering or given to censure : containing or characterized by verbal abuse
— vi·tu·per·a·tive·ly adverb

Cooking and Dining Report:

I have been baking a lot this week - taking advantage of Jack's being out of town to get a head start on my holiday treats of rugelach and chocolate chip anise biscotti.

The rugelach is from Ina Garten - you can find the recipe at - it is a bit labor-intensive but well worth it.

The biscotti is from Giada de Laurentiis - you can find the recipe at

These are from my two favorites cooks on the Food Network. They both freeze very well, so they're great to make ahead.

I did find a very nice chicken parmigiana recipe that we had last night - from Bobby Flay on the Food Network - - I did cheat and use my favorite jarred marinara sauce from Rao's.

Tonight I'm making a favorite roasted mussel dish for Jack and me -from Gourmet Magazine - Mussels with Parsley and Garlic - -and-Garlic-103175 - thanks to Chris for reminding me about this recipe.

Quote of the Week - from an unknown blogger

"Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Barack could run. Barack is running so our children can fly."

Have a terrific week ahead!


Saturday Morning Walkers - November 9, 2008

Hi everyone!

We had a great hike Saturday morning - Christie took Barb, Mary, Irma and I out to the Dowdy Draw Trail out on the road to Eldorado Canyon - it was a beautiful morning with spectacular views of the Flatirons.
Jan joined us for coffee back at Caffe Sole and it was good to catch up with everyone.

Many of us are still celebrating the election results and are optimistic that President-Elect Barack Obama will provide the leadership, inspiration and intelligence to navigate our country through these challenging times. We're especially proud that Colorado came through as one of the swing states.

Book Report: I did finish The 19th Wife the other day and do recommend it - I'm looking forward to talking about it at our December book group. I'm not sure what my next read will be - perhaps Lisa See's Peony in Love or Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors.

Cass wants us to know about a book she just read with her Spanish Language Book Group - she, of course, read it in Spanish but it will be available shortly in English and can be pre-ordered on Amazon - it is called Abril Rojo or Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo
Unfortunately, I can only find a Spanish language review so we'll just take Cass' word that it is a great book. Here's a product description in English:
Product Description
Ayacucho, Peru. Celebrations for the 2000 Holy Week are about to commence and local deputy district attorney Félix Chacaltana Saldà var, a romantic fainthearted individual, is about to face the investigation of a brutal murder. This murder marks the beginning of a series of mysterious deaths, where one by one, the people interviewed by him are eliminated. Faced with such horror, he begins to use the non-traditional methods of the Peruvian police and militia. Abril rojo is a novel about Peru s history and secret codes, a novel about the conflict between the military and the Shinning Path during Fujimori s term.

Website of the Week - over the next several weeks, I will feature some great mail-order gift sites - this one is from Amy's Bread - one of the wonderful bakeries I visited at Chelsea Market in New York -

Podcast of the Week - Jack broke down recently and got an Iphone and is now listening to podcasts! He particularly likes Rachel Maddow's podcasts from MSNBC -

Vocabulary Word of the Week - emptiness - this word was a topic of discussion at our Study Group this week - it is another of those words that has a different connotation in the Buddhist world than in the way we generally think of it in Western culture.

Excerpts from Wikipedia:

Sociology, philosophy, and psychology
In the West, feeling "empty" is often viewed as a negative condition. Psychologist Clive Hazell, for example, attributes feelings of emptiness to problematic family backgrounds with abusive relationships and mistreatment.[5] He claims that some people who are facing a sense of emptiness try to resolve their painful feelings by becoming addicted to a drug or obsessive activity (be it compulsive sex or gambling) or engaging in "frenzied action" or violence. In sociology, a sense of emptiness is associated with social alienation of the individual. This sense of alienation may be suppressed while working, due to the routine of work tasks, but during leisure hours or during the weekend, people may feels a sense of "existential vacuum" and emptiness.[6]

In cultures where a sense of emptiness is seen as a negative psychological condition, it is often associated with depression. As such, many of the same treatments are proposed: psychotherapy, group therapy, or other types of counselling. As well, people who feel empty may be advised to keep busy and maintain a regular schedule of work and social activities.[citation needed] Other solutions which have been proposed to reduce a sense of emptiness are getting a pet[10][11] or trying Animal-Assisted Therapy; getting involved in spirituality such as meditation or religious rituals and service; volunteering to fill time and brings social contact; doing social interactions, such as community activities, clubs, or outings; or finding a hobby or recreational activity to regain their interest in life

In Buddhism, the realization of emptiness of inherent existence is a "state of pure consciousness” in which the practitioner realizes all particular objects and images to be appearances of the subjective mind. Buddhism, which posits that the ultimate state is a Nirva?a of peaceful emptiness has one of the most developed philosophies of emptiness. In an interview, the Dalai Lama stated that Tantric meditiation can be used for "heightening your own realization of emptiness or mind of enlightenment".[21] In Buddhist philosophy, attaining a realization of emptiness of inherent existence is seen as the permanent cessation of suffering, i.e. liberation.

The Dalai Lama argues that a Tantric yoga trainee needs to realize emptiness of inherent existence before they can go on to the "highest Yoga Tantra initiation"; when realizing the innate emptiness of inherent existence of the mind, this is the "fundamental innate mind of clear light, which is the subtlest level of the mind", where all the "energy and mental processes are withdrawn or dissolved", so that all that appears to the mind is "pure emptiness". As well, emptiness is "linked to the creative Void, meaning that it is a state of complete receptivity and perfect enlightenment", the merging of the "ego with its own essence", which Buddhists call the "Clear Light".[22]

In Ven. Thubten Chodron’s 2005 interview with Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the Lama noted that we "...ordinary beings who haven’t realized emptiness don’t see things as similar to illusions", and we do not "realize that things are merely labeled by mind and exist by mere name".[3] He argues that "when we meditate on emptiness, we drop an atom bomb on this [sense of a] truly existent I" and we realize that "what appears true... isn’t true". By this, the Lama is claiming that what we think is real-our thoughts and feelings about people and things-"exists by being merely labeled". He argues that a meditator who attains a state of emptiness is able to realize that their thoughts are merely illusions that are labelled by the mind.[3]

Cooking and Dining Report:

Judy shared the recipe for this Yucatan Port Stew with Ancho Chiles and Lime Juice from Food and Wine Magazine that she made recently - it looks wonderful!

Another pork recipe that I made this week was actually a dish that Terrie made for our last book group - it is actually from Whole Foods Market - Roasted Pork Loin Stuffed with Baby Spinach, Pine Nuts and Shitake Mushrooms - it was wonderful served with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes from Robert Irvine of the Food Network -

One other winner this week was from the current issue of Fine Cooking - Pan-Seared Steak with Caper-Anchovy Butter - I used a New York Strip Steak and this butter really added something special -

Quote of the Week - from Barack Obama's Election NIght Speech - it was hard to pick just one!

"To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope"



SAturday Morning Walkers - November 2, 2008

Hi everyone!

I arrived home from New York yesterday and already miss my sweet Sylvie. She and her mom and dad are doing well - oh and of course, Violet (the dog) is adjusting nicely.
I had a very special treat on Thursday - I went on a NY Food Tour of the Chelsea Market (home of Food Network) and the neighboring Meatpacking District (very hip, trendy neighborhood that is home to some very fine restaurants and stores). I had the most wonderful time and got to sample fabulous food from the merchants in Chelsea Market - cookies, biscuits, clam chowder, Italian antipasto, cheese, chocolate milk, tea -
On Friday, my dear friend Sue and her daughter Amanda came to visit us and meet Sylvie. It was great to see them both.

Book Report:

I am almost finished with The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff - this novel was recommended by Libby and I have chosen it for our December book group. I can't put it down! It is a combination of historical fiction and murder mystery set in Mormon Utah - kind of a blend of Law and Order and Big Love.

From The New Yorker
This ambitious third novel tells two parallel stories of polygamy. The first recounts Brigham Young's expulsion of one of his wives, Ann Eliza, from the Mormon Church; the second is a modern-day murder mystery set in a polygamous compound in Utah. Unfolding through an impressive variety of narrative forms—Wikipedia entries, academic research papers, newspaper opinion pieces—the stories include fascinating historical details. We are told, for instance, of Brigham Young's ban on dramas that romanticized monogamous love at his community theatre; as one of Young's followers says, "I ain't sitting through no play where a man makes such a cussed fuss over one woman." Ebershoff demonstrates abundant virtuosity, as he convincingly inhabits the voices of both a nineteenth-century Mormon wife and a contemporary gay youth excommunicated from the church, while also managing to say something about the mysterious power of faith.

Judy really enjoyed Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life

From Publishers Weekly
Perhaps the leading choreographer of her generation, Tharp offers a thesis on creativity that is more complex than its self-help title suggests. To be sure, an array of prescriptions and exercises should do much to help those who feel some pent-up inventiveness to find a system for turning idea into product, whether that be a story, a painting or a song. This free-wheeling interest across various creative forms is one of the main points that sets this book apart and leads to its success. The approach may have been born of the need to reach an audience greater than choreographer hopefuls, and the diversity of examples (from Maurice Sendak to Beethoven on one page) frees the student to develop his or her own patterns and habits, rather than imposing some regimen that works for Tharp. The greatest number of illustrations, however, come from her experiences. As a result, this deeply personal book, while not a memoir, reveals much about her own struggles, goals and achievements. Finally, the book is also a rumination on the nature of creativity itself, exploring themes of process versus product, the influences of inspiration and rigorous study, and much more. It deserves a wide audience among general readers and should not be relegated to the self-help section of bookstores.

Amanda A. mentioned a book to me that I've certainly known about but just haven't gotten around to reading. It is Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. The book is one of the best she's ever read and it has certainly impacted her life. She really piqued my interest and will move that up on my list of must reads.

From Publishers Weekly
[Signature]Reviewed by Pamela KaufmanPollan (The Botany of Desire) examines what he calls "our national eating disorder" (the Atkins craze, the precipitous rise in obesity) in this remarkably clearheaded book. It's a fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You'll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again.Pollan approaches his mission not as an activist but as a naturalist: "The way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world." All food, he points out, originates with plants, animals and fungi. "[E]ven the deathless Twinkie is constructed out of... well, precisely what I don't know offhand, but ultimately some sort of formerly living creature, i.e., a species. We haven't yet begun to synthesize our foods from petroleum, at least not directly."Pollan's narrative strategy is simple: he traces four meals back to their ur-species. He starts with a McDonald's lunch, which he and his family gobble up in their car. Surprise: the origin of this meal is a cornfield in Iowa. Corn feeds the steer that turns into the burgers, becomes the oil that cooks the fries and the syrup that sweetens the shakes and the sodas, and makes up 13 of the 38 ingredients (yikes) in the Chicken McNuggets.Indeed, one of the many eye-openers in the book is the prevalence of corn in the American diet; of the 45,000 items in a supermarket, more than a quarter contain corn. Pollan meditates on the freakishly protean nature of the corn plant and looks at how the food industry has exploited it, to the detriment of everyone from farmers to fat-and-getting-fatter Americans. Besides Stephen King, few other writers have made a corn field seem so sinister.Later, Pollan prepares a dinner with items from Whole Foods, investigating the flaws in the world of "big organic"; cooks a meal with ingredients from a small, utopian Virginia farm; and assembles a feast from things he's foraged and hunted.This may sound earnest, but Pollan isn't preachy: he's too thoughtful a writer, and too dogged a researcher, to let ideology take over. He's also funny and adventurous. He bounces around on an old International Harvester tractor, gets down on his belly to examine a pasture from a cow's-eye view, shoots a wild pig and otherwise throws himself into the making of his meals. I'm not convinced I'd want to go hunting with Pollan, but I'm sure I'd enjoy having dinner with him. Just as long as we could eat at a table, not in a Toyota. (Apr.)Pamela Kaufman is executive editor at Food & Wine magazine.

Website of the Week - - take a peek at all the shops and events going on at New York's Chelsea Market - keep this in mind for any trips you may have planned to New York

Podcast of the Week - after Amanda told me about Michael Pollan's book, I remembered that I have a podcast on my Iphone from the 92nd Street Y, featuring Michael Pollan and Dan Barber (one of the owners and director of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and the Stone Barn Agricultural Center in Pocantico, NY - this is where Libby and David were married one year ago). I listened to it this morning and strongly recommend it. Hedonistic, Healthy and Green: Can We Have It All? with Michael Pollan, Dan Barber, Joan Dye Gussow
January 8, 2008
Just go to and either download to your Ipod or listen on your computer.
Also, check out the website for Blue HIll at Stone Barns -

Vocabulary Word of the Week - sustainability
From Wikipedia:
Sustainability, in a general sense, is the capacity to maintain a certain process or state indefinitely. In recent years the concept has been applied more specifically to living organisms and systems. As applied to the human community, sustainability has been expressed as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.[1] Given the present level of human numbers, this may be difficult to achieve.[2][3]
The term has its roots in ecology as the ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes, functions, biodiversity and productivity into the future.[4] To be sustainable, nature’s resources must be used at a rate at which they can be replenished naturally. There is now clear scientific evidence from environmental science that humanity is living unsustainably, and that an unprecedented collective effort is needed to keep human use of natural resources within sustainable limits.[5][6]

Sustainability has become a controversial and complex term that is applied in many different ways: to different levels of biological organization (e.g. wetlands, prairies, forests), human organization (e.g. ecovillages, eco-municipalities, sustainable cities) and human activities and disciplines (e.g. sustainable agriculture, sustainable architecture).

Cooking and Dining Report:

I did a bit of cooking for Libby and David this week - here are the recipes:

Sear-Roasted Haddock or Cod with Horseradish Aioli and Lemon-Zest Breadcrumbs from Fine Cooking - it was quite delicious with cod - I would use a lot less of the parsley "salad" as the topping. -

Veal Milanese from Trattoria di Lupo in The Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas

1 pound veal scallopine, pounded thin (could substitute turkey cutlets)
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and dried
6 ounces (1 large) vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon parsley, leaves roughly chopped
1 ounce parmigiano-reggiano shaved
1/4 ounce lemon juice
1.5 ounces creme fraiche
1/2 fennel bulb, shaved
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup bread crumbs, untoasted
2 ounces olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Season the veal with salt and pepper and lightly coat them with creme fraiche.
Then dredge the veal in the breadcrumbs. Pan or ddep fry the veal until golden brown, then season lightly with salt and rest on a paper towel to absorb the residual oil.
Mix the diced tomatoes with 1 ounce of the olive oil, the parsley, a few drops of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Mix the arugula, fennel, orange juice and remaining ounce of olive oil together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place the veal on a platter or individual plates and divide the marinated tomatoes over the cutlets. Top each with the salad mixture and then garnish with the parmigiano-reggiano. Veal should be warm or room temperature.

Chicken Thighs Baked with Lemon, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Catalan Mushrooms with Garlic and Parsley
Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins (I left out the raisins 'cause Libby doesn't like them)

Quote of the Week -
"There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self. So you have to begin there, not outside, not on other people. That comes afterward, when you've worked on your own corner." Aldous Huxley, Time Must Have a Stop

Have a wonderful week ahead - PLEASE DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO HELP GET OUT THE VOTE!!!!!!!


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Saturday Morning Walkers - October 26, 2008

Hi everyone!

I'm still here in Brooklyn with Sylvie Lila and her mom and dad. I'll stay the rest of this coming week and head home on Saturday, November 1. I haven't made much progress in the reading department since last week but I did buy a few books yesterday - I'll just add them to the growing stack - so much for my promise to myself to not buy any books until I'd worked my way through the existing stack on my shelf. I couldn't resist the flea market sale around the corner - 3 paperbacks for $12.

Website of the Week
- PBS Washington Week with Gwen Ifill -

Podcast of the Week - - Mandy A. - thanks for tip about the Court Street Bookstore where I found this podcast.

Vocabulary Word of Week - bloviate - seems a fitting word in the midst of this political climate.

To bloviate means "to speak pompously and excessively," or "to expound ridiculously." A colloquial verb coined in the United States, it is commonly used with contempt to describe the behavior of politicians, academics, pundits or media "experts," sometimes called bloviators, who hold forth on subjects in an arrogant, tiresome way.
Some speculate that bloviate derives from adding a faux-Latin ending to the verb 'to blow' or boast, following a 19th-century fad of adding Latin-like affixes to ordinary words. However, others like William Safire claim that 'bloviate' comes from combining the words 'blow-hard' and 'deviation.'

Although 'bloviate' is listed in slang dictionaries as far back as the 19th century, the term was popularized by President Warren G. Harding in the 1920s. Famed for his poor English usage, Harding often used the word to describe his long, winding speaking style. The term dropped from popular usage following his presidency but was resurrected in the 1960s when it was sometimes used in reference to Harding.

It became widely spoken again in the 1990s. Today, it appears regularly in The New York Times, The New Yorker and the Washington Post.

The term is used frequently by Fox News commentator, Bill O'Reilly whose show, The O'Reilly Factor concludes with requests for email. The request for feedback, sometimes includes: "Please do not bloviate, [that's] my job."

'Bloviating' has taken on new life in the blogosphere, used derisively to identify and otherwise chide the most pompous of contributors to message boards and forums.

Cooking and Dining Report:

Lots of cooking going on here in Brooklyn - here's what we've had so far - many of these recipes have been posted in the blog before but I'll include the links again:

Monday night - good old Lamb Stew with Chippoline Onions from Giada de Laurentiis -

Tuesday night - Giada de Laurentiis' Ribolitta -

Wednesday night -'s Flank Steak with Crispy Polenta and Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette -

Thursday night - David's family (Cora and David and Aunt Carrie and Uncle Jerry) arrived and we had delivery pizza!!

Friday night when Jack arrived we had Giada's Short Ribs with Tagliatelle (couldn't find tagliatelle pasta right in this neighborhood so I used fettucine - just be sure and use a nice wide noodle)

This week I'm going to walk over to an Italian neighborhood to do some grocery shopping.

Two favorite lunch selections showed up a couple of times:

Cooked shrimp (purchased cooked) tossed with pesto (store-bought) - a great combination and couldn't be easier - this was a suggestion from Mark Bittman from the New York Times

Apricot and Chicken Bruschetta from Giada de Laurentiis -,1977,FOOD_9936_159123,00.html - this is a great lunch using large slices of Ciabatta or even a light dinner.3

Saturday breakfast for a crowd - this one is great since you can totally assemble it the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning - Breakfast Egg Strata with Sausage, Mushroom and Monterey Jack Cheese -

I've had the weekend "off" so yesterday Jack and I took the subway across the river to Union Square - amazing farmers market and great part of town. Poked around the huge Strand bookstore and then had wonderful coffee at a Dean and Deluca Cafe. In the afternoon, we met our friend Jesse for lunch at Dumont Burgers here in Williamsburg - Jack and Jesse actually had the pulled pork special and I had "to-die-for" mac and cheese.

David made wonderful steaks (he marinates them in Peter Luger steak sauce) on the grill last night with roasted asparagus and potatoes au gratin - yum. For the potatoes au gratin, peel and slice 6 Idaho potatoes (about 1/8" thick), spread them in an oven-proof 9x13 pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg and slices of butter, pour heavy cream on top, sprinkle with grated swiss chees and a bit more nutmeg and bake at 350 degrees until the top is nicely brown and crusty and sauce is bubbly.

Tonight, Jack and I are going out to dinner and give Libby, David and Sylvie Lila a bit of time to themselves.

Quote of the Week - from Lisa Shepherd
"In raising my children, I have lost my mind but found my soul"

Have a wonderful week ahead!



Susan Wadle

Grillo Center Labyrinth

Check out my blog at

Please note my new e-mail address is
Phone 303-417-1098
Fax 303-417-1122
1765 Hawthorn Place
Boulder, CO 80304

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Saturday Morning Walkers - October 19, 2008

Greetings from Brooklyn, New York - I am thrilled to announce the arrival of Sylvie Lila Potter, Libby and David's beautiful daughter and our granddaugher. She was born on Friday, October 17, 2008 at 12:39 PM weighing 6 pounds 7 ounces and measuring 19 inches. Libby and Sylvie are doing so well together - Sylvie seems to know exactly what to do and Libby is pretty relaxed. I arrived at NYU Medical Center late Friday afternoon and have been enjoying being with my new sweet granddaughter. They came home from the hospital on Saturday afternoon and were so happy to be home in Brooklyn.

It was good to settle in today and I made my Lamb Stew with Cippoline Onions for dinner. Please see earlier posts for that recipe - it is such comfort food. Tomorrow will probably be Roast Chicken - always a favorite of Libby's.

Needless to say, I haven't been reading much since I got here. I am reading Jack Kornfield's A Path With Heart for our now weekly study group. I will miss that this week and perhaps next week but want to keep up with the chapters we're reading. We discussed the first chapter last Thursday. It really does build on the material covered in A New Earth but with a very different tone and perspective.

I'm not prepared to include our ususal features but I will include a Quote of the Week:'
Henry David Thoreau
"Every child begins the world again"

Thank you to Sylvie and Jacob for beginning our world again.

Have a wonderful week!


Saturday Morning Walkers - October 12, 2008

Hi everyone,

It sure was good to reunite with my Saturday Morning Walkers yesterday - it was an unusual rainy day here in Boulder, so we just enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Breadworks and caught up a bit with Chris, Barb, Mary, Andrea, Laila and Christie.

I'm pleased to let you know that our A New Earth Study Group completed the final chapter of Eckhard Tolle's book this past week. We will continue to meet and will start working on Jack Kornfield's A Path With Heart. Even if you're not meeting with us on Thursday mornings, I would really encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and read along with us. I'm considering setting up a separate blog for our study group discussions and invite anyone to participate. I'll keep you posted on that.

Book Report:

I finished Peony by Pearl S. Buck - just an ok read for me - it was an interesting storyline based on true events involving a Jewish community in 19th century China.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peony is set in the 1850s in the city of Kaifeng, in the province of Henan, which was historically a center for Jews. The novel follows Peony, a Chinese bondmaid of the prominent Jewish family of Ezra ben Israel, and shows through her eyes how the Jewish community was regarded in Kaifeng at a time when most of the Jews had come to think of themselves as Chinese. The novel contains a hidden love and shows the importance of duty along with the challenges of life. This novel is one that follows the guidelines of Buck's work. The setting is China, religion is involved, and there is an interracial couple (David and Kulien).

Chris is loving listening to Isabel Allende's second memoir, Sum of All Days.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this deeply revealing second memoir, after Paula, novelist Allende (The House of Spirits) utilizes her family and the complex network of their relationships as the linchpin of the narrative. While weaving in her candid opinions on love and marriage, friendship, drug addiction, the writing life and religious fanaticism, Allende continues to work through the grief over her daughter's death. In these years without you I have learned to manage sadness, making it my ally. Little by little your absence and other losses in my life are turning into a sweet nostalgia. And though Allende's insight is keen, her prose polished and her language hypnotic, it's the stories of her close-knit family that move the memoir forward. We lived as a tribe, Chilean style; we were almost always together. While much of the story is infused with melancholy, her world is by no means without humor, mirth and wisdom. She celebrates friends' triumphs and exploits their foibles, including the odyssey of the boobs, without taking herself too seriously. This is a book to savor.

Mary read the classic The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett Review
The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett's classic tale of murder in Manhattan, became the popular movie series with William Powell and Myrna Loy, and both the movies and the novel continue to captivate new generations of fans.
Nick and Nora Charles, accompanied by their schnauzer, Asta, are lounging in their suite at the Normandie in New York City for the Christmas holiday, enjoying the prerogatives of wealth: meals delivered at any hour, theater openings, taxi rides at dawn, rubbing elbows with the gangster element in speakeasies. They should be annoyingly affected, but they charm. Mad about each other, sardonic, observant, kind to those in need, and cool in a fight, Nick and Nora are graceful together, and their home life provides a sanctuary from the rough world of gangsters, hoodlums, and police investigations into which Nick is immediately plunged.

A lawyer-friend asks Nick to help find a killer and reintroduces him to the family of Richard Wynant, a more-than-eccentric inventor who disappeared from society 10 years before. His former wife, the lush and manipulative Mimi, has remarried a European fortune hunter who turns out to be a vindictive former associate of her first husband and is bent on the ruin of Wynant's family fortune. Wynant's children, Dorothy and Gilbert, seem to have inherited the family aversion to straight talk. Dorothy, who has matured into a beautiful young woman, has a crush on Nick, and so, in a hero-worshipping way, does mama's boy Gilbert. Nick and Nora respond kindly to their neediness as Nick tries to make sense of misinformation, false identities, far-fetched alibis, and, at the center of the confusion, the mystery of The Thin Man, Richard Wynant. Is he mad? Is he a killer? Or is he really an eccentric inventor protecting his discovery from intellectual theft?

The dialogue is spare, the locales lively, and Nick, the narrator, shows us the players as they are, while giving away little of his own thoughts. No one is telling the whole truth, but Nick remains mostly patient as he doggedly tries to backtrack the lies. Hammett's New York is a cross between Damon Runyon and Scott Fitzgerald--more glamorous than real, but compelling when visited in the company of these two charmers. The lives of the rich and famous don't get any better than this! --Barbara Schlieper

Laila is lukewarm about Byron Katie's Loving What Is - she compared her approach to Eckhard Tolle's A New Earth but found it much more confusing. I know that Oprah has interviewed Katie but I haven't listened to those interviews yet. Review
Remember the phrase "question authority"? Loving What Is is a workbook on questioning authority--but in this case, what is in question is the authority of our own fundamental beliefs about our relationships.

Known simply as "The Work," Byron Katie's methods are clean and straightforward. The basis is a series of four questions addressed to your own lists of written assumptions. Whether you're angry with your boss, frustrated with your teen's behavior, or appalled at the state of the world's environment, Katie suggests you write down your most honest thoughts on the matter, and then begin the examination. Starting with, "Is it true?" and continuing with explorations of "Who would you be without that thought?" this method allows you to get through unhelpful preconceptions and find peace. An integral part of the process is "turning the thought around," and at first this can seem like you're simply blaming yourself for everything. Push a little harder, and you'll find a very responsible acceptance of reality, beyond questions of fault and blame.

The book is filled with examples of folks applying The Work to a variety of life situations, and reading other's examples gets the idea across pretty clearly; chances are you'll find your own frustrations echoed on the pages a few times. Many chapters are divided into specific topics, such as couples, money, addictions, and self-judgments, with one chapter devoted to exploring the method with children.

Website of the Week - NPR's Planet Money - - several NPR correspondents have put together an excellent website dealing with our current financial situation.

Podcast of the Week - This American Life's podcast featuring the NPR correspondents from Planet Money - actually in two parts - a very clear discussion of our current financial situation - do check them both out

Vocabulary Word of the Week - actually two words this week coming out of our discussion at our A New Earth study group - we had a very lively discussion about whether or not when you accept a situation, does that imply that you condone. For example, can you accept that mistreatment of children goes on in the world without condoning it?

- Wikipedia gives the "spiritual" interpretation that I think Eckhard Tolle and other spiritual thinkers intend with its use:
Acceptance, in spirituality, mindfulness, and human psychology, usually refers to the experience of a situation without an intention to change that situation. Indeed, acceptance is often suggested when a situation is both disliked and unchangeable, or when change may be possible only at great cost or risk. Acceptance may imply only a lack of outward, behavioral attempts at possible change, but the word is also used more specifically for a felt or hypothesized cognitive or emotional state. Thus someone may decide to take no action against a situation and yet be said to have not accepted it.
Because the dictionary definition includes the concept of approval, it is important to note that in the psychospiritual use of the term infers non-judgmental Acceptance.

Acceptance is contrasted with resistance, but that term has strong political and psychoanalytic connotations not applicable in many contexts. By groups and by individuals, acceptance can be of various events and conditions in the world; individuals may also accept elements of their own thoughts, feelings, and personal histories. For example, psychotherapeutic treatment of a person with depression or anxiety could involve fostering acceptance either for whatever personal circumstances may give rise to those feelings or for the feelings themselves. (Psychotherapy could also involve lessening an individual's acceptance of various situations.)

Notions of acceptance are prominent in many faiths and meditation practices. For example, Buddhism's first noble truth, "All life is suffering", invites people to accept that suffering is a natural part of life. The term "Kabbalah" means literally acceptance.

Condoning -
con·done (kn-dn)
tr.v. con·doned, con·don·ing, con·dones
To overlook, forgive, or disregard (an offense) without protest or censure

Cooking and Dining Report:

From cooking blog Wednesday's Chef, Barbara Fairchild's (Bon Appetit) Spicy Roast Chicken - really quick and easy for a busy weeknight - quite delicious!

Spicy Roast Chicken
Serves 4

24 ounces whole cherry tomatoes (about 4 cups), stemmed
1/4 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, pressed
1 1/4 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram, divided (or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, and none for garnish)
4 bone-in chicken breasts (10 to 12 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and 1 tablespoon marjoram in a large bowl to combine.

2. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken, arranging the tomatoes in a single layer on the sheet around the chicken. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the tomatoes are blistered, about 35 minutes.

3. Transfer the chicken to plates. Spoon the tomatoes and juices over the chicken. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon marjoram and serve.

From Mark Bittman of the New York Times a Free-form Apple Tart - a perfect dessert for a chilly autumn night!

Quote of the Week - from Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart
"This very moment is the perfect teacher..... the most precious opportunity presents itself when you think you can't handle whatever is happening."

Saturday Morning Walkers - October 5, 2008

Hi everyone!

Just got back from Los Angeles. I arrived on Thursday and my first stop was lunch at The Little Flower Candy Shop and Cafe. I was warmly greeted by owner and Jexy's friend Christine Moore. Check out this review from Jonathan Gold from LA Weekly - I had a wonderful turkey sandwich and took home a few chocolate chip cookies. On Friday, after dropping Jacob and Tyler off at school, I headed back over for a fabulous almond croissant. Feeling quite satisfied after that, I was "forced" to sample a taste of a new creation that Christine had just taken out of the oven - it was a mini - Christmas Brioche with cranberries and pistachios - I left there quite full and with a sugar high but it was worth it. I then headed into Old Town Pasadena to pick up a few things at the new Whole Foods for our dinners on Friday and Saturday night - more about that later. Saturday, Joe, Jacob and I met Grandma Barbara and Grandpa Morry at the Skirball Cultural Center to hang out at the Noah's Ark exhibit. This was my second visit and it is still just as amazing to visit there.

I haven't finished a book this week but am enjoying Pearl S. Buck's book, Peony. I'll report on that next week.

Barbara Rowland has two recommendations - a book and a movie:

The book is a fictionalized memoir, What is the What by Dave Eggers

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Valentino Achak Deng, real-life hero of this engrossing epic, was a refugee from the Sudanese civil war-the bloodbath before the current Darfur bloodbath-of the 1980s and 90s. In this fictionalized memoir, Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) makes him an icon of globalization. Separated from his family when Arab militia destroy his village, Valentino joins thousands of other "Lost Boys," beset by starvation, thirst and man-eating lions on their march to squalid refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, where Valentino pieces together a new life. He eventually reaches America, but finds his quest for safety, community and fulfillment in many ways even more difficult there than in the camps: he recalls, for instance, being robbed, beaten and held captive in his Atlanta apartment. Eggers's limpid prose gives Valentino an unaffected, compelling voice and makes his narrative by turns harrowing, funny, bleak and lyrical. The result is a horrific account of the Sudanese tragedy, but also an emblematic saga of modernity-of the search for home and self in a world of unending upheaval.

The movie is Live and Become directed and written by Ra-du Mihaileanu
LIVE AND BECOME **** Starring Yael Abecassis, Roschdy Zem, Moshe Agazai, Mosche Abebe and Sirak M. Sabahat. Directed and written by Ra-du Mihaileanu. Produced by Denis Carol, Marie Masmonteil and Radii Mihaileanu. A Menemsha release. Drama. Aramaic-, Hebrew- and French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 144 min. "Live and Become" received a rare standing ovation at the Telluride Film Festival, evidence of the emotional power of a remarkable journey of discovery. The film centers on the plight of Ethiopian Jews, called Falashas, forced to flee to Sudanese refugee camps for relief from persecution and famine. In 1984, "Oper­ation Moses" begins the airlift of Falashas to Israel. A Christian woman in a refugee camp wants a better life for her nine-year-old son (Moshe Agazai). She orders him to pretend to be Jewish so he can be air­lifted out. After a poignant silent glance with the boy's mother, a Falasha woman whose son has recently died takes the boy's hand as she boards the plane to Israel. She names him Schlomo and pass­es him off as her own son. But in Israel, the adopted mother dies. Agazai gives Schlomo a face full of sadness as he yearns for his mother back in Africa. Schlomo is mystified by life in Israel, which is radically different from anything he had ever known. He is adopt­ed by a liberal Israeli couple, Yael (Yael Abecassis) and Yoram (Roschdy Zem), with two children. Yael becomes a fiery defender of Schlomo against the preju­dices he faces as he begins a new life. Schlomo must create a new identity while facing hostility as a black immigrant and always fearing discovery as a non-Jew. His struggles are extremely affecting. In the distinctive cast, non-professionals seam­lessly mix with accomplished actors while "Live and Become" builds to an unforget­table final image. --Ed Scheid, Box Office Magazine

Amanda Aaron posted a book that she liked on Facebook - Identical Strangers: A Memoir of wins Separated and Reunited by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernsein- I think I saw them interviewed last year when the hardback was released - it is a remarkable story.

From Publishers Weekly
In this transfixing memoir, Bernstein, a freelance writer, and Schein, a filmmaker, take turns recounting the story of how each woman, at age 35, discovered she had an identical twin sister, and the reunion that followed. Despite disparate upbringings, education and work experiences, the twins share matching wild hand gestures, allergies, speech patterns and a penchant for the same art movies. Louise Wise Services, the adoption agency, will reveal only that their biological mother was schizophrenic and unaware of who their father was. Records of the study the agency conducted about them are sealed, so the authors spearhead their own research project by poring over birth records, tracking down their birth mother's brother and interviewing researchers, who claim that twins raised apart are more similar than those raised together. Much of the book is devoted to fascinating stories of other twins and triplets who, when reunited as adults, are shocked by how much they have in common with one another. Bernstein and Schein's relationship becomes extremely close and also fraught with expectation. Once you find someone, Bernstein writes, you can't unfind her.

Website of the Week - Rae forwarded an email about this site - - this is a site focused on Dr. Susan Love's work to eliminate breast cancer entirely. Please do check it out and get involved!

Podcast of the Week - The Loh Life by Sandra Loh I found this one on Joe's list of podcasts that he listens to regularly - I haven't heard it yet myself - let's check it out this week

Vocaulary Word of the Week - suggested by Joe Rowland - taciturn

From French taciturne or Latin taciturnus, from tacitus (“secret, tacit”).
(RP) IPA: /ˈtæsɪtɜːn/
(US) IPA: /ˈtæsətɝːn/
taciturn (comparative more taciturn, superlative most taciturn)
Silent; temperamentally untalkative; disinclined to speak.
The two sisters could hardly have been more different, one so boisterous and expressive, the other so taciturn and calm.
(silent): reticent, untalkative
(silent): garrulous, loquacious
Derived terms
[show ▼]untalkative, silent

Cooking and Dining Report:

Last night's dinner was Ina Garten's Parmesan Chicken Sticks (I left out the actual sticks) -\

Saturday night's dinner was Giada de Laurentiis' Lamb Stew with Cippoline Onions - 9936 31642.00html?rsrc=search

Joe and I both love lamb; Jexy and Jack do not, so this was a perfect opportunity to make this dish.

Quote of the Week - It is not so much our friends' help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.

To all my friends, have a wonderful week....


Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday Morning Walkers - September 28, 2008

Hi everyone!

Wow - just got back from a wonderful weekend at the Literary Sojourn in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Janet, Chris, Rita, Judy, Cynthia and I spent the weekend at our fabulous condo - needless to say, we ate very well - check out some of the recipes and restaurant review below. Just three of us actually attended the Sojourn on Saturday - Janet, Judy and me. We completed a table of ten with 7 members of Barbara Lamm's book group. Thanks so much to Kathy F., Angela, Jeannie, Susan, Tony, Kathy H. and Barb for including us with your group. Once again, the event did not disappoint - overall the writers' presentations were excellent!

Here's just a bit on each of them:

Andrew Sean Greer (The Good Marriage) - focused on how he transformed what had been a short story into a novel.

Elizabeth Strout (Olive Kitteridge) - In talking about her journey to becoming a published author at 40 years old, "for a writer, nothing, no experience is ever wasted".

Nathaniel Philbrick (Mayflower) - was the only non-fiction writer - he is a former journalist with a passion for sailing and history. He described his style as "narrative non-fiction"

Manil Suri (The Age of Shiva) - a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland also came late to fiction writing and began it as a hobby. This book is the second in a trilogy. The first is The Death of Vishnu)

Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club) - she won the prize for the most entertaining presenter - she also talked about her journey to becoming a published writer.

Website/Blog of the Week - - I've included this site before but it is worth reminding you about this really excellent book swapping site - I have posted books on this site and received many used books in excellent condition.

Podcast of the Week - NPR's Book Tour -

Vocabulary Word of the Week - contributed by Barb Lamm - eremitic

er·e·mite (âr-mt)
A recluse or hermit, especially a religious recluse.


[Middle English, from Late Latin ermta; see hermit.]


ere·mitic (-mtk), ere·miti·cal adj.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

ThesaurusLegend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
Adj. 1. eremitic - of or relating to or befitting eremites or their practices of hermitic living; "eremitic austerities"
cenobitic, cenobitical, coenobitic, coenobitical - of or relating to or befitting cenobites or their practices of communal living
2. eremitic - characterized by ascetic solitude; "the eremitic element in the life of a religious colony"; "his hermitic existence"
anchoritic, hermitic, hermitical, eremitical
unworldly - not concerned with the temporal world or swayed by mundane considerations; "was unworldly and did not greatly miss worldly rewards"- Sheldon Cheney

Cooking and Dining Report:

The Creekside Cafe and Grille in Steamboat Springs, Colorado - we had lunch here on Friday afternoon and breakfast on Sunday morning - both were wonderful meals that we enjoyed sitting outside next to the creek in downtown Steamboat - - don't miss it on your next visit to Steamboat.

Friday night, before settling down for the DEBATE, we shared some wonderful appetizers and Judy's "best ever" chocolate whopper cookies. Here are a few of the recipes:

Janet's Chicken Satay from Tyler Florence on The Food Network -

Chris' Mussels in Marinara Sauce - just put the mussels in a saucepan with jarred Marinara Sauce, heat until mussels open - be sure to discard any that do not open - easy, wonderful treat!

Cynthia's original recipe - we named it Boatman Holiday Shrimp

1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp
10 slices proscuitto, cut into think strips
10 slices provolone
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 shallots, chopped
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup white wine

Sauté shallots and garlic in butter until soft, add wine.
Wrap shrimp in proscuitto slices and place in a row in a casserole dish. Top with provolone slices, add another row of wrapped shrimp and top with provolone.
Add sautéed garlic, shallot and wine mixture over the shrimp.
Bake at 350 F. for 1/2 hour or until shrimp is done and cheese is melted

Susan's Egg Pappardelle with Bagna Cauda, Wilted Radicchio and an Olive Oil Fried Egg from Los Angeles Chef, Nancy Silverton
Serves 4

For the pappardelle and bagna cauda:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
15 anchovy fillets
8 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
12 radicchio leaves, torn into small pieces
Grated zest and juice of half a lemon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces egg pappardelle

For finishing the dish:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large eggs
Parmesan cheese
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. To make the bagna cauda, place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, anchovies and garlic and cook, breaking up the anchovies with a fork and stirring constantly, until the anchovies dissolve and the garlic is soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley, radicchio and lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Prepare the pasta by bringing a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add enough kosher salt until the water tastes salty and return to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.

3. To finish the dish, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until the oil is almost smoking, about 2 minutes. Break 1 egg into a small bowl and pour into the skillet. When it just begins to set around the edges, break the second egg into the bowl and pour into the skillet. (By waiting a moment before adding the next egg, the eggs won’t stick together.) Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs. Cook until the edges are golden, the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.

4. Use tongs to lift the pasta out of the water and transfer it quickly, while it’s dripping with water, to the skillet with the bagna cauda. Place the skillet over high heat. Toss the pasta to combine the ingredients and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.

5. Using tongs, divide the pasta among 4 plates, twisting it into mounds. Grate a generous layer of cheese over each. Place an egg over the cheese. Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta and serve with more grated cheese and pepper.

Judy's Chocolate Whopper Cookies from Foster's Market in North Carolina -

Saturday night after Margaritas and snacks at the Rio, we headed home and enjoyed Rita's Artichoke Dip(need that recipe), Judy's quiche (thanks to Whole Foods) and leftovers from Friday.

Quote of the Week - When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes. - Desiderius Erasmus

I'm just home for a few days and heading out to LA on Thursday to help take care of Jacob while Jexy goes off to a work-related conference in Montreal. Have a great week!



Saturday Morning Walkers - September 21, 2008

Hi everyone!

Laila took Chris, Irma and me on a beautiful walk out at Teller Farm. We went to a new cafe out at 95th and Arapahoe - The Curiousity Cup - very nice with a great outdoor patio. Right next door is the Indulgence Bakery with some mighty fine looking treats.

Book Report:

I finished Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos - kind of Lifetime TV movie caliber - not great literature but somehow I was drawn in to the story. Not sure I'd recommend this one.

From Publishers Weekly
Cornelia Brown, heroine of de los Santos's bestselling Love Walked In, returns in a gracefully written if formulaic sophomore effort. Cornelia and her husband, Teo, move to suburban Philadelphia, where she finds it difficult to fit into the sorority-like atmosphere. Despite a bevy of domestic dramas (planning a family among them), Cornelia's first-person chapters are the quietest of the three points of view. Seemingly shallow and vicious, neighbor Piper shows her kinder side as she struggles through her best friend's fight against cancer. Though the extreme of Piper's two-facedness isn't convincing, her moments of sincerity invite genuine empathy. Cornelia also yields narrative time to Dev, a precocious teenager whose father is missing and whose mother develops a friendship with Cornelia. Dev's connection to the story is initially unclear, though he does grow close to Clare, a troubled teenager with an unconventional connection to Cornelia, and a late-breaking development grounds his role more firmly. Though each story line is a good read on its own, they don't always braid nicely, and while the predictable plot wanders into sappiness, the prose is polished and the suburban travails are familiar enough that fans of the women's fiction and higher-brow mommy lit will relate.

Jexy and her book group are reading the first in the Stephanie Meyer series - Twilight - apparently written for young adults, they are enjoying it. Review
"Softly he brushed my cheek, then held my face between his marble hands. 'Be very still,' he whispered, as if I wasn't already frozen. Slowly, never moving his eyes from mine, he leaned toward me. Then abruptly, but very gently, he rested his cold cheek against the hollow at the base of my throat."
As Shakespeare knew, love burns high when thwarted by obstacles. In Twilight, an exquisite fantasy by Stephenie Meyer, readers discover a pair of lovers who are supremely star-crossed. Bella adores beautiful Edward, and he returns her love. But Edward is having a hard time controlling the blood lust she arouses in him, because--he's a vampire. At any moment, the intensity of their passion could drive him to kill her, and he agonizes over the danger. But, Bella would rather be dead than part from Edward, so she risks her life to stay near him, and the novel burns with the erotic tension of their dangerous and necessarily chaste relationship.

Meyer has achieved quite a feat by making this scenario completely human and believable. She begins with a familiar YA premise (the new kid in school), and lulls us into thinking this will be just another realistic young adult novel. Bella has come to the small town of Forks on the gloomy Olympic Peninsula to be with her father. At school, she wonders about a group of five remarkably beautiful teens, who sit together in the cafeteria but never eat. As she grows to know, and then love, Edward, she learns their secret. They are all rescued vampires, part of a family headed by saintly Carlisle, who has inspired them to renounce human prey. For Edward's sake they welcome Bella, but when a roving group of tracker vampires fixates on her, the family is drawn into a desperate pursuit to protect the fragile human in their midst. The precision and delicacy of Meyer's writing lifts this wonderful novel beyond the limitations of the horror genre to a place among the best of YA fiction. (Ages 12 and up) --Patty Campbell

Website of the Week - - for the best of everything related to food

Podcast of the Week - from NPR, Political Rewind -

Vocabulary Word of the Week - grace

We had quite a lively discussion of this word at our New Earth Study Group this week - Eckhard Tolle used it in the following way - "The initiation of the awakening process is an act of grace. You cannot make it happen nor can you prepare yourself for it or accumulate credits toward it...............Only the first awakening, the first glimpse of consciousness without thought, happens by grace, without any doing on your part"

Just a few definitions from

Definition: The exercise of love, kindness, mercy, favor; disposition to benefit or serve another; favor bestowed or privilege conferred.
Definition: The divine favor toward man; the mercy of God, as distinguished from His justice; also, any benefits His mercy imparts; divine love or pardon; a state of acceptance with God; enjoyment of the divine favor.
Definition: Inherent excellence; any endowment or characteristic fitted to win favor or confer pleasure or benefit.
Definition: Beauty, physical, intellectual, or moral; loveliness; commonly, easy elegance of manners; perfection of form.

Cooking and Dining Report:

- I grew up with these treats and got this recipe for a homemade versionthat was demo'd on The Today Show this week -

I made a really simple roast butterflied (backbone removed) chicken this week flavoring it with prepared olive tapenade under the skin, a little olive oil, salt and pepper on the outside and in a 425 degree oven for about an hour.

Jack requested Spaghetti and Meatballs so, in spite of our warm weather, I just prepared a batch of Ina Garten's Real Meatballs and Spaghetti for dinner tonight. She uses veal, pork and beef and I think that is the secret to a really wonderful meatball. My kitchen smells divine!

Quote of the Week -
“The winds of grace are always blowing; all we need to do is raise our sails.” Anonymous

Six members of our book group (Barbara Lamm and her book group will be there also) are heading out to Steamboat Springs this coming Friday for the Literary Sojourn. This is an annual event for us and I am looking forward to the weekend. I'll have a full report next week but check out the website for a preview of the authors we'll be meeting and hearing.

Have a great week!