Grillo Center Labyrinth

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

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - July 25, 2006

Before I get started, I just want to remind everyone that Barb, Jackie and Mary are participating in the Susan G. Komen Tri for the Cure next Sunday the 6th at Cherry Creek State Park. Let me know if you're planning to come and cheer them on - we can carpool - I have the pompoms!

Well, it was Barb and I yesterday - we had a lovely walk, then coffee and treats at Allison's, shopping at the Farmers Market, and then finished up by performing our civic duty early voting in the primary election. We missed you all but we managed to find things to talk about - big surprise!

Since my last report, I finished the Stewart O'Nan book, A World Away - it was not my favorite of his books - even grimmer than his others - but somehow I was compelled to finish it.

I borrowed a book from Rae called Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser - I finished it in just a few days and will re-read it shortly. It is just wonderful and so timely for me.
Lesser was one of the cofounders of Omega Institute and Rae did a workshop with her a couple of years ago called Women and Power. I remember how much Rae loved that workshop.

From Publishers WeeklyCofounder of the upstate New York Omega Institute and author of The Seeker’s Guide, Lesser uses her own life story, and those of others, to explore what she calls the "Phoenix Process," or positive life change that can emerge from very difficult life events. In short, episodic chapters, Lesser cites stories of those who have gone through a divorce (as she has), lost a child or suffered a terminal illness. She brings in thinkers such as Tibetan Buddhist Pema Chodron, the late philosopher Joseph Campbell and her longtime friend and colleague Ram Dass to illustrate how meditation and belief in a spirit that works through people can help break through fear and hopelessness. Lesser’s own Phoenix Process began when, having previously been "betrayed" by her husband, she embarked on an adulterous affair (with a "shaman lover") that lasted a year and, in her terms, broke her open and allowed her to change. Lesser doesn’t describe her life events in enough detail for them to stand on their own as memoir; rather, she puts them in the service of an explicitly Nietzschean argument: that one needs to embrace one’s own "evil" in order to grow. Lesser’s resolve comes through in her clear, even, declarative prose, and her use of jargon is sparing and directed. But with conventional morality off the table and frequently overgeneralized musings sprinkled in ("Women still nurture and sustain me, but it is men who call me to grow, to examine my presumptions, to widen the boundaries of my heart"), the book can feel less the delineation of a process than a careful set of self-justifications. That sense is mitigated, however, by the anecdotes of other Phoenix veterans, via Omega and other parts of Lesser’s life.

I'm now reading Eat, Pray, Love, a memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert - I hold off on the review until next week. Suffice it to say that Rae loved it and it took a couple of months for me to get it from the library.

Restaurant/Cafe Review:
Allison's at 1521 Pearl Street is very nice - croissants may be the best I've ever had! They bake all of their pastries on the premises. Very relaxed atmosphere.

The Laughing Goat Cafe - a bit further east on Pearl - just a little too weird and their pastries come wrapped in plastic - not a good sign.

Recipes to share:

Rae and I cooked dinner together last Friday night at her house - we made roast chicken and she made the most amazing couscous dish from the Barefoot Contessa - it is great because you serve it at room temperature - it is ideal to bring to a party:
Curried Couscousadapted from The Barefoot Contessa
1 1/2 cups couscous1 T. butter1 1/2 cups water1/4 cup plain, nonfat yogurt1/4 cup olive oil1 t. cider vinegar1 1/2 t. curry powder (I use hot madras curry powder)1/4 t. turmeric1/4 t. allspice1 t. Kosher saltcracked black pepper, to taste1/2 cup grated carrot1/2 cup dried cranberries2 green onions, chopped1/4 cup red onion, minced1/4 cup pine nuts
In a saucepan, toast the pine nuts over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to turn golden. Remove to a large bowl. In the same pan, pour in the couscous, butter, and water; bring to a boil, and cook for about 5 minutes and turn off the heat. The water should be absorbed; cover and set aside. In the large bowl, pour the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, and spices over the pine nuts. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the carrot, cranberries, green and red onions, and toss to coat with the dressing. Dump in the couscous and toss again. Serves about 4 in main dish portions, 6-8 as a side.

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