Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - October 31

Happy Halloween!

This week's post is more of a "travelogue" about our weekend in Taos, New Mexico. Barb, Cass, Jan and I had a lovely journey to Taos on Friday and arrived at the Lily House around 7 P.M. We got right to "cocktail hour" and settled in. The house is so welcoming - well-equipped and nicely furnished - very comfortable.

After a feast of munchies, we also had Lamb Stew with Cippoline Onions (recipe courtesy of Giada de Laurentiis),,FOOD_9936_31642,00.html?rsrc=search. I prepared it and froze it at home, then reheated it when we were ready - worked out really well and Cass's salad was a great accompaniment. Special mention also goes to Barb for her outstandingly "good, crusty bread". Jan made her Aunt Pearl's Fresh Apple Cake for dessert - thank you Aunt Pearl

Aunt Pearl's Fresh Apple Cake

2 medium apples
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Peel, core, and chop apples to make 1 3/4 cups. Add sugar and let stand 10 min. Combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Blend butter and egg into apple mixture. Add flour mixture stirring just until blended. Fold in raisins and nuts.

Put the batter into a greased 8" square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for

about 40 minutes. (the batter is very thick and does not pour. I use

a rubber spatula to spread it around in the pan)

Saturday morning, Barb, Jan and I headed out for the Santa Fe flea market and Cass stayed back in Taos for a "retreat" day - we picked up some good treasures - lunch was at this great market/restaurant called the Tesque Village Market on Tesque Village Road just outside of Santa Fe. After lunch, we went just around the corner to the Shodoni Foundry and Gallery - there is an amazing display of bronze sculptures on the outside grounds and we got to watch them "pour" for a piece in progress inside the foundry. The process is quite remarkable. Check it out next time you're in Taos/Santa Fe!

Saturday night dinner was quite special - we "dined" at Lamberts right in Taos. The ambiance was warm and inviting and we had a wonderful meal, although Barb was bit disappointed in her Buffalo Steak, which was one of several specials that night. Jan and I shared a salad with Roma tomatoes, Artichokes and Blue Cheese Vinaigrette. Cass started with a corn chowder. Jan had King Salmon with Broccoli Puree, Cass had the Scallop special and I had Roast Duckling.

Sunday morning we met up with Chris and had a hearty breakfast at the Dragonfly Cafe which was a short walk from where we were staying. Cass and Barb had the breakfast tacos which I tasted and they were yummy. Jan had the quiche, I had a frittata (I didn't love it) and Chris had eggs and sausage (I should have gone with that!) It is a very nice place and I would definitely recommend it - their bakery was incredible!

We spent the rest of the morning poking around Taos and shopping. Cass was delighted with the Day of the Dead stores and got a wonderful alter/wallhanging called Celestial Help. Lunch was at Ogelvies right on the Plaza - great choice! Oh and we stopped at the Taos Inn to see the community alter. We ended up sitting there for a while and had quite a lively chat about religion and religious symbols.

After lunch we went to the Mabel Dodge Luhan house - it is a historical landmark that was built by Luhan and her Native American husband, Tony Luhan. Mabel was a patron of the arts and her story is pretty remarkable. The house is used today as a lodging/conference center. Natalie Goldberg often holds writing workshops there. Check out the website and read about Mabel's "colorful" life.
We ended the afternoon at the Anaconda bar at the El Monte Spa - very fancy! After that full day, we stayed in that evening, nibbled and finished off the lamb stew. A nice lazy evening!

Monday morning we packed up and headed out early to The Hacienda de los Martinez. It is an example of the Northen New Mexico style from the late Spanish Colonial period. Definitely a worthwhile visit. After a bit of last minute shopping, we had lunch at Orlandos and then hit the road to go home. We really had no choice since there was not an inch of space left in the car with all our packages.

No book reports this week - I think I've gone on long enough for now - but I am in the middle of our book group selection right now and I can't put it down! The book is Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer.

Have a great week!



Sunday, October 22, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - October 22, 2006

Hi all,

Before I get started, I want to explain this picture. This is the antipasto platter that Janet created for a party this summer. It features figs wrapped in proscuitto, cantelope, Grana Padana cheese, honey and reduced balsamic vinegar.

Well, it was just Barb and me at Ziggi's Cafe in Longmont Saturday morning - although we left Boulder early in the morning with snow and slush on the ground, by the time we got past Gunbarrel on the Diagonal, there was no snow there and skies were clear. After our coffee, we met up with the volunteers for Angie Paccione (Democratic candidate running against Marilyn Musgrave for Congress), got our assignment and headed out to canvas a neighborhood in Longmont. Although Barb is a pro at this, it was the first time for me. Let's just say we had more "no soliciting" and "beware of dogs" signs than warm welcomes. In spite of that, I'm glad that we did it and we will do it again before the election.

Here are a couple of book reviews:
Susan: I just finished Farewell to Manzanar by James D. Houston and Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston - this a classic true story of a family's experience of life in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. In contrast to When the Emperor Was Divine (One Book, One Boulder), it gives a much more detailed, rich description of the members of this family and their years during and following their time at Manzanar. Manzanar was the largest of the 10 camps located throughout the country at that time.

"[Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston] describes vividly the life in the camp and the humiliations suffered by the detainees... A sober and moving personal account." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description
Jeanne Wakatsuki was seven years old in 1942 when her family was uprooted from their home and sent to live at Manzanar internment camp--with 10,000 other Japanese Americans. Along with searchlight towers and armed guards, Manzanar ludicrously featured cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, sock hops, baton twirling lessons and a dance band called the Jive Bombers who would play any popular song except the nation's #1 hit: "Don't Fence Me In."

Farewell to Manzanar is the true story of one spirited Japanese-American family's attempt to survive the indignities of forced detention . . . and of a native-born American child who discovered what it was like to grow up behind barbed wire in the United States.

Rae: Rae told me about a book that she's reading and enjoying - Holy Unexpected: My New Life as a Jew by Robin Chotzinoff - Chotzinoff is a local writer from Denver.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The cadence of every conversion narrative is one of lost-and-found, and this edgy memoir by Chotzinoff, a freelance writer and convert to Judaism, does not disappoint. We learn of her rarefied and decidedly secular New York childhood, where music and free-flowing liquor framed intellectual discussions late into the night. This led to a wandering adolescence and young adulthood marked by drugs, sexual promiscuity, depression and binge eating. But Chotzinoff's conversion narrative eschews the traditional sudden epiphany for a gradual, postmodern transformation; when she discovers Judaism at an eclectic Denver synagogue, the change comes across less as a bolt of lightning than a long-desired and tentative homecoming. Her story is also refreshingly devoid of the usual convert's fervor—she considers herself observant, but does not strive to keep every jot and tittle of halakah. As she learns to quilt, make latkes (the low-fat version just won't cut it, she discovers) and keep Shabbat, Chotzinoff uncovers herself anew in the rigors of an ancient faith. Her writing is acerbically funny and generally devoid of sentimentality, which makes the memoir's more powerful moments—such as the haunting beauty of her daughter's bat mitzvah—unexpectedly emotional.

Mae (my mother-in-law) told me about a book that she read recently - Forever Young - My Friendship with John F. Kennedy, Jr. by William Noonan
Book Description
A uniquely intimate portrait of John F. Kennedy, Jr., from his closest friend

For twenty-five years, William Noonan and John F. Kennedy, Jr., were best friends. Sharing an adolescence in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, the two frequented beach bonfires and the Monday night yacht-club dances, took road trips, shared albums, sneaked cigarettes on the widow’s walk of John’s house, and scored beer together. And as they grew older, John and Billy never lost the connection they forged in the Kennedy compound as two young boys who had both tragically lost their fathers.
A humble and touching memoir, Forever Young uncovers the private John F. Kennedy, Jr., from the matchless vantage point of a longtime childhood friend. Forever Young is packed with never-revealed details of John and Carolyn Bessette’s courtship and wedding, the launch of George, John’s unusually close relationship with his mother Jackie, and the heartbreaking aftermath of the plane crash off Martha’s Vineyard that killed John, Carolyn, and Carolyn’s sister. Noonan also shares the more ribald episodes, including John’s many famous conquests, skirmishes with paparazzi, and his stint as People’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” The definitive story of the son of Camelot, Forever Young is a touching and revelatory tribute to a friendship between two men—and a life cut devastatingly short.

Recipes to Share:

I haven't done a lot of cooking this past week but I did make a wonderful mussel recipe last Sunday - I'm not sure where it is from - I copied it out of a magazine (maybe Martha Steward) but didn't note which one:

Spicy Mussels and Chorizo - Serves 4

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups canned crushed tomatoes w/ juice
4 ounces dried, hot chorizo (Portuguese sausage), cut diagonally into 1/4" inch slices - I found it at Cheese Importers in Longmont
2 pounds mussels (I used black mussels but you could use green, as well), scrubbed and debearded

1. Heat oil in large heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add shallots, cook stirring occasionally until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes; cook stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes.

2. Add wine, bring to boil. Add tomatoes and chorizo. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add mussels. Cover and continue to cook, shaking pot occasionally, until mussels open, about 10 minutes. Discard unopened mussels. Add parsley and toss. Serve immediately.

Great with pasta or just good crusty bread.

Tonight I made Giada DeLaurentiis' Short Ribs with Tagliatelle - tagliatelle is a wide noodle. If you can't find it I would substitute fettucine noodles. Its a great cold weather meal and very yummy! It has a unique garnish of shaved bittersweet chocolate - totally optional.,1977,FOOD_9936_34775,00.html
Next week, watch for a report from our trip to Taos!

Do check out the blog at - I'm going to insert the photo of the fabulous antipasto platter that Janet brought to a party this summer - I had a good time "consulting" with her on that.

Have a great week!



Monday, October 16, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - October 16, 2006

Hi everyone,

Hope all of you walkers had a great walk on Saturday - haven't heard any reports yet. I was with Chris and others from my book group at the Literary Sojourn in Steamboat Springs this weekend (we missed you, Terrie and Susan d') and Barb was there with some of her book group also. I thought that it was a huge success - for the first time ever I had read at least one book of each author and it did enhance the experience. The Sojourn is held each year in September or October at the Sheraton in Steamboat Springs. They bring together 4 or 5 writers for a day of presentations about their past, current or upcoming books and writing styles. This year's writers were particularly outstanding. Here's a list of the writers and a few of their books:

Lisa See:

On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family
- this is her first book, a memoir about her own family's history starting in China and moving eventually to Los Angeles. It was quite a "dynasty" and the book is rich in the history of Chinese people who came to this country during that period.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: this is one my all-time favorite books. It is about the ancient custom of foot binding and the secret language shared by women in ancient China. It reveals the strength and power of friendship between women that is so relevant for all of us.

Erik Larsen:

The Devil and the White City
: Larsen talked about his technique of using "dual narrative" in this writing and this was certainly evident in this book about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and a horrific serial killer in Chicago at that same time. He is masterful in the way he weaves these two stories together. The book is non-fiction but reads like a novel. The Chicago Sun-Times calls him "a historian....with a novelist's soul".

Thunderstruck: This is Larsen's upcoming book due to be released in just over a week. In this book, he again uses the "dual narrative" in telling the story of an infamous murderer and Marconi who invented the radio during the Edwardian period in England. I'm looking forward to this one.

Myla Goldberg:

Bee Season
: This is Goldberg's first novel which was later made into a film. It is the story of a family tragedy around mental illness and the world of spelling bees. She says, "I did write it very consciously to get darker and stranger as it continues......I wanted it to lull people into this sense of complacency and then hit them over the head"

Wicket's Remedy: This is her latest book which is a historical novel set in Boston during the 1918 influenza epidemic. I did buy that book and will let you know how it is - be forewarned that I am morbidly drawn to topics like that. In fact, two other writers that were there have also written books about plagues and epidemics. No wonder, I had such a good time!

Stewart O'Nan:

O'Nan is quite a prolific writer - I'll just share two of his books here but you can check out his other work on

The Good Wife: This is the first novel of his that I read. He describes it as an "earnest account" of what it is like for a wife to be waiting for her husband while he is serving a lengthy prison sentence. He explores how people get through difficult day-to-day lives and discover resources within themselves which allow them to survive.

The Circus Fire: This is his non-fiction, journalistic account of the huge circus fire in Hartford, Connecticut during World War II. It is a fascinating and detailed picture of the Big Top at that time and meticulously draws a portrait of everyone involved in that disaster, from the circus employees to the survivors and victims of the fire.

Geraldine Brooks:

The Year of Wonders
: this is another historical novel about a small village in Europe and how they coped with a plague that threatened their survival. Brooks is a wonderful storyteller and as a former journalist, brings so much realism and well-researched detail to her story.

March: this is her most recent historical novel which was inspired by Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women. She writes this Civil War novel around the character of the absent father in that classic story, Mr.. March.

I have some other book recommendations that were given either by one of the writers or people I talked with at the Sojourn:

Stewart O'Nan recommends So Long, See You Tomorrow
by William Maxwell
Book Description
On an Illinois farm in the 1920s, a man is murdered, and in the same moment the tenous friendship between two lonely boys comes to an end. In telling their interconnected stories, American Book Award winner William delivers a masterfully restrained and magically evocative meditation on the past. "A small, perfect novel."--Washington Post Book World.

Chris' friend Linda Parker recommends Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos
From Publishers Weekly
"The dead, Margaret thought. They can be so loud." So muses the protagonist of this dreamy, powerful tale of familial warring, secrets and redemption. When elderly Margaret Hughes discovers that she has a malignant brain tumor, she refuses treatment and decides to take a nice young tenant into her huge, lonely Seattle mansion for company. What she gets is Wanda Schultz, a tough-as-nails stage manager who is secretly seeking the man who left her and prone to inexplicable weeping breakdowns. Wanda, ignorant of Margaret's illness, is intrigued by the museum-like house and its eccentric owner—so when Margaret unexpectedly invites her to a drink-champagne-and-break-the-priceless-antique-china party for two, she's delighted. But a dark history lurks; the houseful of gorgeous antique porcelain comes from Margaret's father's WWII pilfering of European Jewish homes. Meanwhile, Wanda's father, who deserted her years ago, is on the road trying to heal, and Margaret's mother's ghost is haunting the Seattle mansion, lounging about in expensive peignoirs and criticizing her only daughter. Wrestling to keep the dead and the ghosts of their pasts at bay, the two women slowly build an extraordinary friendship, and when Wanda discovers a talent for mosaics, the past begins to quiet. Though it takes a while to get started, this haunting and memorable debut is reminiscent of early Atwood, peopled by lovably imperfect and eccentric characters.

A friend of Barb's recommends Embers by Sandor Marai , a novel about male friendship.
In Sándor Márai's Embers, two old men, once the best of friends, meet after a 41-year break in their relationship. They dine together, taking the same places at the table that they had assumed on the last meal they shared, then sit beside each other in front of a dying fire, one of them nearly silent, the other one, his host, slowly and deliberately tracing the course of their dead friendship. This sensitive, long-considered elaboration of one man's lifelong grievance is as gripping as any adventure story and explains why Márai's forgotten 1942 masterpiece is being compared with the work of Thomas Mann. In some ways, Márai's work is more modern than Mann's. His brevity, simplicity, and succinct, unadorned lyricism may call to mind Latin American novelists like Gabriel García Márquez, or even Italo Calvino. It is the tone of magical realism, although Márai's work is only magical in the sense that he completely engages his reader, spinning a web of words as his wounded central character describes his betrayal and abandonment at the hands of his closest friend. Even the setting, an old castle, evokes dark fairy tales.
The story of the rediscovery of Embers is as fascinating as the novel itself. A celebrated Hungarian novelist of the 1930s, Márai survived the war but was persecuted by the Communists after they came to power. His books were suppressed, even destroyed, and he was forced to flee his country in 1948. He died in San Diego in 1989, one year before the neglected Embers was finally reprinted in his native land. This reprint was discovered by the Italian writer and publisher Roberto Calasso, and the subsequent editions have become international bestsellers. All of Márai's novels are now slated for American publication.

Did you know that there have been more novels written about male friendship than female friendship? I believe that it was Lisa See who said that while talking about Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I find that hard to believe!

Food Notes:

I'll try and keep this brief but our book group is as much about the food as it is about the books so our weekend is just filled with fabulous food. I don't have all the recipes yet but I will share them soon.

Dinner on Friday night - thanks to Janet and Kelly (a special thanks to Kelly for her warm and generous hospitality):

Mulligatawny Soup - a rich and comforting stew with chicken, celery, carrots, green apples and a creamy broth, flavored with curry. This was served with rice and a lovely salad.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting - very yummy and perfectly decorated for Halloween

Dinner on Saturday night - thanks to Cynthia and Rita:

Lemon Olive Chicken with Vegetable Tagine - very exotic and delicious roast chicken from O Magazine - - this was served with Mango Couscous -

Breakfast on Sunday morning - thanks to Chris (I was her sous chef): we did a variation of the frittata that Chris made last year and it was a big hit - this easily serves 8 - 10 people especially if you're having other things.

Steamboat Breakfast Frittata
2 cups frozen shredded or country style potatoes

4 large eggs or egg-substitute equivalent

1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 cup tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup steamed asparagus, chopped (we used canned and they worked fine)

Bacon, browned and drained

1/4 cup leeks, sliced

1/4 cup artichoke hearts, chopped

any fresh herbs (we didn't use any)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. In a large skillet with oven-safe handle, heat oil. Add potatoes and heat.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and salt. Pour over the potatoes.

3. Sprinkle with whatever veggies or meat you choose. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 - 7 minutes, then sprinkle with cheeses. Continue cooking until center of the frittata is set.

4. Heat the broiler. Broil the frittata 6 inches from the heat until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Let the frittata stand on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Other wonderful sweet treats that we had were Susan's Noodle Pudding, Judy's (to die for) Chocolate Whopper Cookies (found the recipe at - no question - they are the best cookies I've ever had (except perhaps for Mallomars) and Susan's Chocolate Chip Scones. I think I've already given you the recipe for the noodle pudding - if not, I'll include that in a future blog along with the recipe for the scones. If you don't know about Mallomars, check out this website

That's it for now - do check out the website for Literary Sojourn - - to learn more about this year's event. Think about coming next year!



Sunday, October 08, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - October 8, 2006

Hi everyone,

So sorry that I missed a week. I'll try and catch up. Last Saturday morning was so gorgeous and our walk around Waneka Lake in Lafayette was just idyllic. Barb, Mary, Terri and I did the walk and then met Chris at the Dragonfly Cafe on South Boulder Road in Louisville. Yesterday morning was equally spectacular for us as Barb blazed a trail around the wilds of Table Mesa. I couldn't even begin to describe where we were but the terrain was a little challenging and the views of Boulder Valley, ablaze in color, was amazing. Also, on both of these walks, we were serenaded by sounds of distant marching bands. Both of these walks were invigorating and great ways to start a Saturday in autumn.

Here are some books that came up during the last two Saturdays:

Terri's recommending a few books. One is the novel Up Country by Nelson de Mille:

From Publishers Weekly
That DeMille has written a sequel to The General's Daughter comes as no surprise; after all, that's arguably his best-known novel because of the hit film version starring John Travolta. Nor is it surprising that he's set this sequel in Vietnam; returning hero Chief Warrant Officer Paul Brenner, Ret., served two stints there during the war, and DeMille himself not only saw action in Nam but returned in 1997 for an extended visit. What is curious, and relatively unfortunate, is that the long narrative focuses so much on travelogue instead of intrigue and action; it's as if DeMille, a wickedly fine thriller writer, has been possessed by the soul of James Michener. Still, the overarching story line captivates, as Brenner agrees to return to Vietnam to track down a Vietnamese witness to a 30-year-old unprosecuted crime, in which a U.S. Army captain murdered an army lieutenant and plundered some treasure. Joined by beautiful Susan Weber, who says she's an American expat businesswoman doing a favor for the U.S. government, Brenner travels to the little village where the witness may still live; along the way, the pair flirt, sightsee, visit a nude beach, sightsee, have sex, sightsee, and talk a lot. The sightseeing carries serious emotional impact as Brenner processes his wartime past and Vietnam's present, and it carries serious risk, as Colonel Mang of the secret police tracks Brenner's and Susan's movements. There's some violence as the two Americans elude Mang and his minions, and a melodramatic finale as Brenner realizes just who the murderous captain now is, and some dramatic suspense as Brenner peels away layers of Susan's identity covers. And then there's blasted, resilient Vietnam, which DeMille captures expertly, in all its anguished pride. With a film version in development at Paramount and the Warner publicity machine working at top gear, expect this engrossing but not exceptional novel to shoot to the top. 15-city author tour.

Terri also recommends a non-fiction book that she found just fascinating. It is called Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson.

From Publishers WeeklyThis superlative journalistic narrative tells of John Chatterton and Rich Kohler, two deep-sea wreck divers who in 1991 dove to a mysterious wreck lying at the perilous depth of 230 feet, off the coast of New Jersey. Both had a philosophy of excelling and pushing themselves to the limit; both needed all their philosophy and fitness to proceed once they had identified the wreck as a WWII U-boat. As Kurson, a writer for Esquire, narrates in this debut, the two divers next undertook a seven-year search for the U-boat's identity inside the wreck, in a multitude of archives and in a host of human memories. Along the way, Chatterton's diving cost him a marriage, and Kohler's love for his German heritage helped turn him into a serious U-boat scholar. The two lost three of their diving companions on the wreck and their mentor, Bill Nagle, to alcoholism. (Chowdhury's The Last Dive, from HarperPerennial in 2002, covers two of the divers' deaths.) The successful completion of their quest fills in a gap in WWII history-the fate of the Type IX U-boat U-869. Chatterton and Kohler's success satisfied them and a diminishing handful of U-boat survivors. While Kurson doesn't stint on technical detail, lovers of any sort of adventure tale will certainly absorb the author's excellent characterizations, and particularly his balance in describing the combat arm of the Third Reich. Felicitous cooperation between author and subject rings through every page of this rare insightful action narrative. If the publishers are dreaming of another Perfect Storm, they may get their wish.

One more recommendation from Terri is a book called Don't Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff. This is a particularly timely choice during this disturbing political climate.

Book DescriptionThis DVD/Book package is the essential toolkit for all progressives.
The DVD features a lively interview with George Lakoff, television news clips, and illustrative graphics. This is a must-see media tool for everyone who wants to better understand and communicate progressive values. Includes "How to Debate a Conservative,""Know Your Values," and much more. Each DVD includes a summary card of key points.

The book, Don’t Think of An Elephant!, is the antidote to the last forty years of conservative strategizing and the right wing’s stranglehold on political dialogue in the United States. This best-seller explains how conservatives think, and how to counter their arguments. Lakoff outlines in detail the traditional American values that progressives hold, but are often unable to articulate and provides examples of how progressives can reframe the debate.

About the Author
George Lakoff is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a founding senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute. He is one of the world's best-known linguists.

Chris recommends The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. She has two audio cassette copies of it in case anyone would like to borrow that. Like the books on writing that I've been reading, its another way to get those creative juices going.

With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan lead you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.

This book links creativity to spirituality by showing how to connect with the creative energies of the universe, and has, in the four years since its publication, spawned a remarkable number of support groups for artists dedicated to practicing the exercises it contains.

Mary has two recommendations this week. One is The Enemy by Lee Childs. This one is for any of you "thriller" lovers.

From Publishers Weekly

The latest entry in what is arguably today's finest thriller series (Persuader, etc.) flashes back to series hero Jack Reacher's days in the military police. It's New Year's Eve 1990, the Soviet Union is about to collapse and the military is on tenterhooks, wondering how a changed globe will affect budgets and unit strengths, when the body of a two-star general is found in a motel near Fort Bird, N.C. Investigating is Reacher, 29, an MP major who's just been transferred from Panamaâ€"one of dozens of top MPs swapped into new posts on the same day, he later learns. Missing from the general's effects is a briefcase that, it's also revealed later, contained an agenda for a secret meeting of army honchos connected to an armored division. Then the general's wife is found bludgeoned to death at home and, soon after, a third body surfaces, of a slain gay Delta Force soldier whose murder contains clues pointing to Reacher as culprit. With Summer, a young black female lieutenant MP at his side (and, eventually, in his bed), Reacher digs deep, in his usual brilliant and violent way, butting against villainous superior officers, part of a grand conspiracy, as well as against members of Delta Force who think that Reacher killed their colleague. Unlike recent Reacher tales, the novel is as much mystery as thriller, as Reacher and Summer sift for and put together clues, but the tension is nonstop. There's a strong personal element as well, involving Reacher's relationship with his brother and dying mother, which will make the novel of particular interest to longstanding fans of the series. Textured, swift and told in Reacher's inimitably tough voice, this title will hit lists and will convince those who still need convincing that Child has few peers in thrillerdom.

Last week Mary was telling us that Janet Evanovich is one of her favorite writers and she was eagerly looking forward to her latest release, Motor Mouth. Unfortunately, Mary was disappointed in this one but would still recommend other books by this writer. Check out Amazon for a complete list.

From Booklist
Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby has a degree in engineering and a passion for the way cars work. Her passion for NASCAR driver Sam Hooker, for whom she works as a spotter and R & D person, has been put on hold since his one-night stand with a salesclerk made it onto the Internet. When Hooker loses a race and Barney thinks cheating is involved--the fancy, electronic kind--a wild ride commences, one that begins in Miami, then moves to the Carolinas and back again A corpse shows up along the way, and there's lots of NASCAR detail (fascinating even if you're not a devotee) and lots of doggy subplot (Hooker's St Bernard Beans eats a box of prunes that ends up having a great deal to do with the plot). Barney and Hooker find themselves in one outrageously hilarious situation after another: saved by tough granny Felicia and her myriad Cuban American family members; clocking a bad guy with a six-pack; disposing of corpses in some remarkably icky but entertaining ways. Evanovich, of Stephanie Plum fame, appears to have another winner on her hands: this one is every bit as lively as Metro Girl (2004), the first in the Barney series

Cooking and Food: I haven't cooked much since last weekend. I do have a couple of restaurant reviews and a food note or two. however.

A week ago Friday night, Jack and I went out to dinner at the Trattoria on Pearl. It really is a lovely restaurant and we've eaten there a few times since the new owners took over. Jack ordered Veal Saltimbocca and enjoyed it very much. I order one of the specials on the menu, Squash Ravioli in a Brown Butter Sauce with Sage. Sounded yummy but I knew as soon as the waiter brought the dish to the table that this was a mistake. Nowhere in the description did the menu indicate that there was cream involved. Now, I don't mind a light, delicate cream sauce but this was more like a vat of cream with a few pillows of ravioli drowning underneath. To add insult to injury, there were these two "globs" of white something (maybe crème fraiche?) floating on top. Not wanting to be difficult, I tried a couple of bites but it really was not edible. Now, here's the good news. When I said something to the waiter, he was very appreciative of my feedback - I tried not to be rude and avoided giving him the gagging sign - and sent the owner over immediately. He was very gracious and insisted he would take it off the menu immediately as well as taking it off the bill. I felt compelled to share with him that I had a recipe for a similar dish from Giada De Laurentiis - Pumpkin Ravioli in Brown Butter with Sage - and asked if he would like me to share it with him. He thought that was a wonderful idea. Here's what I sent him with the suggestion that his chef could certainly modify this to make it his own. Don't worry - you use store-bought ravioli - it is so easy and lovely!,,FOOD_9936_22455,00.html

So, even though I had a "yucky" meal there, I would recommend the Trattoria on Pearl (south side of the mall, just west of 15th) and certainly will go back.

Last night we went to an outstanding restaurant in Denver - Barolo Grill at 3030 East 6th Avenue - the atmosphere was delightful - certainly upscale but warm and inviting. This is definitely a bit of Italy transported to downtown Denver. Our waiter was so knowledgeable and hospitable - you really felt like your were a guest in his home. One great feature of the menu was a "pairing menu" where they had a several course meal and paired each course with a different wine. Jack and I made our selections from the main menu and we were not disappointed.

We started out sharing a wonderful hearts of romaine salad with fresh white anchovies, an elegant version of a Caesar Salad and then shared a pasta special made with agnolotti (similar to ravioli) and mushrooms. It was delicate and light and really just a "tasting" size. Jack ordered their signature dish, duckling braised in red wine and olives. It was crisp, not fatty and so moist. I had roast leg of lamb with artichokes, onions and potatoes, topped with sun-dried tomatoes - so many of my favorite things all on one plate - I loved it. No dessert this time but I did indulge in a double espresso with Sambuca - my new favorite drink - thank you, David!

Here's an easy appetizer suggestion that Barb introduced us to - a packaged wild mushroom pate from Les Trois Petits Cochons (that would be 3 Little Pigs!) - she found it at King Soopers but I'm sure it is available at other supermarkets. There's also a website where you can order it online - It was light and delicious and pretty darn impressive! The website is worth visiting - there are some other links to food sites that I want to check out.

Whew - that's a lot of catching up. Next weekend our book group is off to the Literary Sojourn in Steamboat Springs. I'll have a full report about that - lots of books and great home-cooked food!

Have a great week! OOOOOH! Don't forget the lineup of book discussions and films related to One Book, One Boulder has begun. Check out for details.