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, January 28, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - January 28, 2007

Hi everyone!

It has been a busy weekend but I wanted to be sure and get this edition out to you. Saturday had our usual "walkers" in two different places. Mary, Jan and Christie had a nice long coffee date at the Dragonfly in Louisville. It was another snowy morning and they didn't want to fool around with icy patches covered with snow - smart decision! Barb, Chris, Laila, Andrea and I ventured out to the Tattered Cover event in Denver. We were joined by Jack and a few other friends. The turnout was pretty good considering the yucky weather.

As usual, I really enjoyed the day - it was an eclectic group of writers - I think all of us would agree that Ayelet Waldman was the most entertaining. It was so interesting to hear about their very different styles and experiences. I had mentioned Waldman and Robb Dew Forman's books last week. This week I managed to read a couple of short stories written by Nick Arvin (In the Electric Eden) and Nell Freudenberger (Lucky Girls). Short stories are a great way to get a taste of an author's style.

In the Electric Eden:

From Booklist
*Starred Review* Arvin comes to fiction via engineering, and his understanding of technology and those who create it infuses his first book with a unique and mesmerizing power. But Arvin is also able to distance himself from the seductive world of machines and recognize how radically technology has altered life on earth and how subtly it modulates human interactions. In the bewitching title story, electricity, new and miraculous on Coney Island in 1903, is used as a lethal weapon against Topsy the elephant, a towering force of nature killed in an instant by man's ingenuity; then, in "Electric Fence," a man attempts to cordon off an Edenic safe zone for his orphaned grandson, but here nature prevails. Elsewhere a telescope and cell phone become devices of mischief, while trouble between a father and son is exacerbated by the bumbling son's mechanical ineptness. Arvin's complexly structured and psychologically dynamic stories are as discerning as they are incandescent. Donna Seaman

Lucky Girls:

From Publishers Weekly

Freudenberger saw her first story, "Lucky Girls," published in the New Yorker's 2001 debut fiction issue and subsequently received a reported six-figure sum to round out the collection with a bunch more (at that time unwritten) works. The gamble has paid off, at least from a critical perspective: the five long stories in this collection are thoughtful and entertaining. Most take place in Asia and feature Americans living abroad. In the title piece, a young American painter recalls her long affair with a married Indian man. The man has died unexpectedly, and the story traces the development of the narrator's antagonistic yet moving relationship with the mother of her late lover. "The Orphan" is a witty story of a middle-aged couple who, along with their college-age son, go to Thailand for Christmas to visit their daughter and break the news of their impending divorce. The daughter, who works at a Bangkok hospital for orphaned AIDS babies, finds her parents benighted and so... Western, while her brother announces that he belongs to the Cool Rich Kids club, whose members seek to give their parents' money away ("it's this chance to endorse the more radical causes that people your age wouldn't support"). In "The Tutor," a romance blossoms between an Indian SAT coach and a Prada-wearing American teenager living in Bombay who wants nothing more than to get into UC-Berkeley. Many of these tales concern the slow birth and disintegration of romantic relationships, although some lack pull, due to their one-dimensional characters. Freudenberger is more inventive and piquant when she probes characters' relationships to their adopted homelands-which, she shows, are often more passionate and grounded than their ties to the people in their lives.

I read Calvin Trillin's memoir about his late wife, About Alice - its am short book, actually an expansion of an article that he wrote for the NewYorker Magazine. I read it in about an hour this morning in bed (waiting for the Puzzle Master to do his Sunday Morning puzzle game on NPR). It is a loving and moving tribute to the love of his life. They were partners in a long term marriage and created a life together centered on their children and their love of words and food.

From Publishers Weekly
Trillin (A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme), a staff writer with the New Yorker since 1963, has often written about the members of his family, notably his wife, Alice, whom he married in 1965. A graduate of Wellesley and Yale, she was a writer and educator who survived a 1976 battle with lung cancer. In 1981, she founded a TV production company, Learning Designs, producing PBS's Behind the Scenes to teach children creative thinking; her book Dear Bruno (1996) was intended to reassure children who had cancer. A weakened heart due to radiation treatments led to her death on September 11, 2001, at age 63. Avoiding expressions of grief, Trillin unveils a straightforward, honest portrait of their marriage and family life in this slim volume, opening with the suggestion that he had previously mischaracterized Alice when he wrote her into "stories that were essentially sitcoms." Looking back on their first encounter, he then focuses on her humor, her beauty, her "child's sense of wonderment," her relationship with her daughters and her concern for others. Trillin's 12-page "Alice, Off the Page" was published earlier this year in the New Yorker, and his expansion of his original essay into this touching tribute is certain to stir emotions

Food and Cooking Report:

A couple of Denver restaurants worth mentioning:

Chris, her friend Lynda, Barb, Laila and Andrea had a great lunch at Dixons, right down the street from the LoDo Tattered Cover -

Jack and I went to the Wazee Supper Club and had outstanding pizza -

Jack and I stayed down in Denver for dinner and went to Sullivan's Steakhouse on Wazee - - we both enjoyed our appetizers - Jack had Lobster Bisque - it was very creamy with good sized chunks of lobster - I had seared Aji Tuna served with a mustard and wasabi sauce. We were both a little disappointed in our steaks - mine was a New York boneless strip and Jack had the Kansas City bone-in strip. They were both a little too well done for our taste. We enjoyed a bottle of one of our favorite wines, Jordan Cabernet. Dessert was luscious - we shared a luscious molten brownie.

A couple of recipes to share:

This one was actually recommended by Janet - Pork Chops with Golden Onions and Wilted Tomatoes from Gourmet Magazine - I made it the other night and it is a winner!

Here's a recipe for White Bean Dip With Pita Chips - adapted from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network - the original recipe used 1/4 cup parsley instead of the tarragon and basil and didn't use the roasted tomato. I made those changes based on a White Bean Dip we had at Denver's Barolo Grill.

15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons fresh basil

1 tomato, oven-roasted and chopped

6 pita rounds (I used whole wheat)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, herbs and roasted tomato in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl

.3. Cut each pita in half and then into 8 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges on a large baking sheet. Pour the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil over the pitas. Toss and spread out the wedges evenly. Sprinkle with the oregano, salt, and pepper. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until toasted and golden in color

.4. Serve the pita toasts warm or at room temperature alongside the bean puree

That's it for now - its getting late and I have to prepare for what will hopefully be our final appearance before the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Advisory Board tomorrow evening to resolve any remaining issues regarding the Grillo Center Labyrinth. Send good positive energy our way! If you'd like to be there for support of the project, it will be held at 6 PM Monday evening in the City Council Chamber at Canyon and Broadway



Sunday, January 21, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - January 21, 2007

Hi everyone!

I'm pleased to say that we actually managed to have a walk yesterday. Andrea, Laila, Jan and I started out with a warm-up of coffee and "treats" at the Boulder Bookstore's Bookend Cafe on the Pearl Street Mall. We then bundled up and walked the "Mall" and window shopped. We did talk about a few books - here goes:

Jan - is enjoying listening to the most current book of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, Breath of Snow and Ashes. She definitely recommends listening to it and also that you should start at the beginning of the series, The Outlander.

From AudioFile
The sixth book of the adventures of Claire and Jamie Fraser, set in North Carolina from 1772 through 1777, provides glimpses of the beginnings of the American Revolutionary War and reacquaints us with the extended Fraser clan and friends. Geraldine James enchants the listener with her varied accents, from British and Scots to twentieth-century American and an occasional Irish brogue. Using foreknowledge and their usual survival skills, Claire doctors the hurts and Jamie avenges the wrongs. James's performance brings out the adventurer in the listener. Some pops and skips are audible throughout, adding charm to the narration and the ever complicated plots. This story vibrates with the energy of an America seeking its freedom and the battles that ensue, philosophically and physically, throughout this tumultuous period. M.B.K. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Laila - is reading a book by one of the writers who will be presenting at the Tattered Cover's Writers Respond to Readers event next Saturday. It is The Evidence Against Her by Robb Forman Drew. She's finding it kind of slow-going. The review below sounds promising.

From Publishers Weekly
Appearing after a decade-long hiatus, Dew's latest novel proves well worth the wait. In her vibrant new work, Dew (Dale Loves Sophie to Death) once again demonstrates her mastery of the nuances of family life; her slow, painstaking accretion of detail, like the cross-hatching on a Drer etching, produces a rich and resonant landscape fully representative of its time and place. The setting here is Washburn, Ohio, a small town made prosperous by the Scofield engine manufacturer. Lily Scofield, her cousin Warren, and Robert Butler, son of the pastor of the Methodist church, are born on the same day in 1888, and their lives are intimately intertwined. Headstrong, clever Lily is their leader, first in their childhood and later as they mature. When she marries Robert, townspeople gossip that Warren is heartbroken, but the truth lies elsewhere; Warren carries a secret burden that he cannot acknowledge. His marriage to the much younger Agnes Claytor, eldest child in a dysfunctional family, disrupts the threesome's dynamic. World War I ends; the flu epidemic claims several victims. Another generation of children is born and become inseparable. And an accidental death occurs. Under the surface of these events Dew records minute changes in the emotional atmosphere, epiphanic moments that interrupt quotidian routines and small events, such as an argument over a riding habit, that signal domestic crises with lasting repercussions. A marvel of lyrical understatement, the narrative flows like a river smooth, with surprising depths, some turbulence and the inexorability of time's passing. Does character conspire with fate, or against it? Does love solve problems, or cause them? Both ambiguous and satisfying, the ending is laden with portent, suggesting another novel to come. Meanwhile, the subtlety and complexity of Dew's absorbing story is a signal achievement.

Susan - I am also reading a one of Robb Forman Drew's books, Fortunate Lives. Even though it turns out to be a sequel to an earlier book, I've gotten caught up rather quickly and I'm pretty engaged in the story. I'll probably finish it today - another snowy day! Good day to curl up on the couch with a good read!

From Library Journal
Dew continues the story of the New England Howell family in this sequel to the prize-winning Dale Loves Sophie to Death ( LJ 5/15/81). The story centers around a summer six years after the death of the oldest son, Toby, when his surviving brother David is readying himself for Harvard. Parents Martin and Dinah are thus forced to come to grips with the death of one son and the departure (another sort of family "death") of the other. Ordinary People is at times suggested, but here it is Martin who must overcome his guilt and anger. During this one summer both he and Dinah learn that life goes on and that it is good. This is the kind of novel one doesn't find much anymore--featuring a sophisticated, Cheever-like town and people centered around a college and its subculture (Martin is a professor and editor of a literary magazine), where nothing much happens but the reader has a certain satisfaction in savoring the prose itself. A nice haven in the midst of the usual best-seller dreck

Also from Susan - I'm also very excited about a cookbook that I picked up at the library yesterday - it is called Starting With Ingredients by Aliza Green - I must say that it first attracted my attention by the incredible size of the book. After "hoisting" this huge volume off the shelf (over 1000 pages), I knew I had to take it home with me. It is an encyclopedia-like reference book filled with wonderful recipes.

Book DescriptionThe revolutionary approach of Starting with Ingredients will transform the way we shop, prepare, cook, and even think about food.
Each chapter focuses on a single ingredient. The accompanying recipes in Chef Aliza Green’s culinary tour de force demonstrate the broad range of possibilities for each ingredient, utilizing a variety of cooking methods, flavors, and ethnic inspirations.

This innovative work is the product of Green’s ceaseless culinary curiosity and in-depth knowledge of ingredients. With these tools, she has created hundreds of clear and imaginative recipes that will enable experienced and fledgling home chefs to recognize how foods should look and behave, their fragrance and feel, their seasonal changes, how they are transformed by different cooking methods, and their flavor affinities. Extensive sidebars satisfy

Andrea - also recommending a cookbook called Serves One by Toni Lydecker - Andrea is making an effort to do more cooking for herself and is enjoying the recipes in this book
Anyone facing an occasional dinner for one, making solo brown-bag lunches, or living alone will find Toni Lydecker's Serves One invaluable. She shows you how to make tabbouleh and ratatouille in modest amounts so you don't have to eat them for days. She even gives a recipe for pizza dough you can turn into perfect, single-size pies. Who needs soggy take-out when you can make your own potato and pesto pizza, or luxuriate on Sunday with a creamy Smoked Salmon Pizza? (You bake the dough, then add the topping; it's much better than a bagel!)
Lydecker tells how to make Mini Meatloaf and Oven-Barbecued Pork Ribs, just the right amount of Chicken Fingers, even your very own Shellfish Steamer, a kind of clambake. Many recipes cook in 5 to 20 minutes. When stews and soups take longer, they don't need tending. If any cookbook will ever wean you off frozen entrees and instant mixes so you eat as well on your own as with family or friends, Serves One can do it.

Chris - reported picking up Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen's latest book, You: On a Diet - The Owner's Manual for Waist Management. They are both highly regarded physicians featured on Oprah and the Discovery Channel. Book Description
For the first time in our history, scientists are uncovering astounding medical evidence about dieting--and why so many of us struggle with our weight and the size of our waists. Now researchers are unraveling biological secrets about such things as why you crave chocolate or gorge at buffets or store so much fat.

Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz, America's most trusted doctor team and authors of the bestselling YOU series, are now translating this cutting-edge information to help you shave inches off your waist. They're going to do it by giving you the best weapon against fat: knowledge. By understanding how your body's fat-storing and fat-burning systems work, you're going to learn how to crack the code on true and lifelong waist management.

Food and Cooking Report:

Just one recipe this week and this would not be a part of Dr. Oz' plan!

Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs by Giada De Laurentiis - the very essence of comfort food although I must say that I used low fat milk instead of the whole milk called for in the recipe and it was just great!,1977,FOOD_9936_32174,00.html

Restaurant Report:

Jack and I tried the new restaurant in Laudisio's former location, Mista Italian Kitchen. It was opened by our friends from Antica Roma (on the Pearl Street Mall) and the now defunct Pane e Vino and Accqua Pazza - these guys just keep on trying!) They offer a huge menu with a heavily southern Italian slant. It was just ok - the Caesar Salad was a bit too saturated with dressing and the pasta dishes were drowning in sauce. The flavors were good - the calamari was tender. Jack did like the polenta appetizer. The prices are pretty reasonable and the decor is simple and unobtrusive. I would definitely try it again, maybe for lunch next time - any takers?

Jan has been to L'Atelier on Pearl Street (east of the Mall) and thought that it was outstanding - better than Frasca! Sounds like a great place for a celebration meal!

"Theatrical" review:
Janet, Christie, Annette and I went to the "reading" of the play, Jacks, by local playwright, Lys Anzia. It was a very moving and creative portrayal of Jacqueline Kennedy during the first several days following President Kennedy's assassination. It also cleverly inserted glimpses into Jacqueline's childhood and family.

From a review of its performance at the Fremont Centre Theater in South Pasadena, California : "JACKS" is the chilling story of Jacqueline Kennedy as she witnessed the events following the murder of her husband.

Dramatist Lys Anzia, of Boulder, Colorado, spent 10 years researching and writing the play which has never been performed before. "I have always been intrigued by Jacqueline Kennedy," Anzia said, "It was astonishing for me to realize when Jacqueline's husband was killed she was only 34 years old., There is much the public does not know about the story. Much that needs to be told."

Random Bits: have you ever been frustrated by the inability to get melted wax out of your glass votive candleholders? Well, Janet and I had a discussion about that yesterday and after considerable research have come up with not one but two solutions to this most irritating problem. The first solution naturally comes from Martha Stewart and that is to place the glass holders in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes and the wax should then come out easily. The other solution is actually more of a preventive measure - put about 1/4" of water in the glass holder before placing the candle. I must confess that we have not yet tested these solutions.

Have a warm and cozy Sunday watching the snow fall. Next week I will have a full report on the Tattered Cover event!



Monday, January 15, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - January 14, 2007

Hi everyone!

Snow again!! Freezing cold!! Good time to hunker down with the books and some cooking. I hope we all remember how to walk when all of this thaws out! Unfortunately, they had no choice but to cancel the 5k portion of the Oatmeal Festival yesterday. Chris and Mary did brave the icy cold for what sounds like a wonderful, warming breakfast at the Huckleberry Cafe in downtown Lousiville (formerly the home of Karen's). Sounds like they covered the restaurant history of Louisville - Mary's worked in many of them as did Chris' kids.

I don't know what everyone else is reading but I'll give you my current status.

Earlier this week, I finished Thunderstruck by Erik Larsen (see last week's blog for an official review). It was slow-going and a bit tedious at first but as these two seemingly unrelated stories evolved and were woven together, I was hooked and by the end, couldn't put it down. Larsen really is a master storyteller and so gifted at tying these two true events together.

I'm now well into a novel, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman. She is one of the writers that will be at the upcoming Tattered Cover Event (Saturday, Jan 27) and interestingly to me, is married to Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay, among others). Chabon grew up around the time that my kids did in Columbia, Maryland. We didn't know him but its always pretty neat when someone from your hometown gets to be famous. We also claim actor, Edward Norton as one of our hometown kids. His family actually lived on our street and the kids went to the same elementary school. His grandfather was James Rouse, the developer of the new town of Columbia. It was a pretty unique community and a very special place to raise a family. Here's a description from Wikipedia,_Maryland. By the way, Rae still lives there and is an active participant in the community!

Back to the book - I can't wait to get back to it - she's kind of quirky but its also a very touching, story about grief and loss.

From Publishers WeeklyHow a five-year-old manages to make the adults in his life hew to the love he holds for them is the sweet treat in this honest, brutal, bitterly funny slice of life. When Emelia's day-old daughter, Isabel, succumbs to SIDS, her own life stalls. She can't work; she can't sleep; Central Park, once her personal secret garden, now is a minefield of happy mother-child dyads. Since Isabel's death, husband Jack's only solace for the guilt of breaking up his sexless marriage with Carolyn for Emelia's (now-absent) passion and love is joint custody of William, now five. What Emelia cannot bear most are Wednesdays, when she must cross the park to collect William at the 92nd Street Y preschool and take another shot at stepmotherhood. Carolyn, William's furious mother and a renowned Upper East Side OB/GYN, lives to nab Emelia for mistakes in handling him. Carolyn's indicting phone calls raise the already sky-high tension in Jack and Emelia's home, but they don't compare with Carolyn's announcement that, at age 42, she is pregnant. The news pushes Emelia to confess to Jack two things she shouldn't. William is charmingly realized, and Waldman (Daughter's Keeper) has upper bourgeois New York down cold. The result is a terrific adult story

I am going to read at least one of the other writers who will be at the Tattered Cover event - I have several books that I took out of the library - you can check out the website for more info on the writers. By the way, if you weren't able to get tickets for the event last Monday, it wouldn't hurt to call and see if there's a waitlist for cancellations. I know someone who got a ticket at the last minute that way. You could also post a request on Craigslist.,

A writer that I've recently heard about on NPR is Calvin Trillin. Actually, I've heard of him before but am not familiar with his work. He's written many books and writes for the New Yorker and Nation Magazine. He's also known as a food writer - my favorite combination - books about food! He's actually a good friend of Ruth Reichl (Tender at the Bone) He's "on the circuit" right now for a book he's written about his late wife, Alice - its called About Alice (duh!). He sounds terrific and they seemed to have had a wonderful relationship. I've put this most recent book and some of his other books high on my list of must reads.

From Publishers WeeklyTrillin (A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme), a staff writer with the New Yorker since 1963, has often written about the members of his family, notably his wife, Alice, whom he married in 1965. A graduate of Wellesley and Yale, she was a writer and educator who survived a 1976 battle with lung cancer. In 1981, she founded a TV production company, Learning Designs, producing PBS's Behind the Scenes to teach children creative thinking; her book Dear Bruno (1996) was intended to reassure children who had cancer. A weakened heart due to radiation treatments led to her death on September 11, 2001, at age 63. Avoiding expressions of grief, Trillin unveils a straightforward, honest portrait of their marriage and family life in this slim volume, opening with the suggestion that he had previously mischaracterized Alice when he wrote her into "stories that were essentially sitcoms." Looking back on their first encounter, he then focuses on her humor, her beauty, her "child's sense of wonderment," her relationship with her daughters and her concern for others. Trillin's 12-page "Alice, Off the Page" was published earlier this year in the New Yorker, and his expansion of his original essay into this touching tribute is certain to stir emotions.

Cooking and Food:
A few highlights this week:

Classic Spaghetti Carbonara from Emeril Lagasse - talk about a comfort food for a cold winter night - yum! Although certainly not a low-fat dish, this particular recipe does not call for either cream or butter. Eggs and lots of parmesan cheese make it rich enough! I served it with a simple arugula and shaved parmesan salad with lemon juice and olive oil. Check it out:,1977,FOOD_9936_10210,00.html

Beef Bourgiugnon from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa - I had suggested this to Libby for a dinner she was making for friends this weekend and it inspired me to make it today. I made this before for book group and it was a big hit. Libby called this afternoon to report that her's was a huge success. She served hers with a salad - I may serve mine with some sauteed green beans.,,FOOD_9936_25938,00.html?rsrc=search

Libby also made Ina Garten's Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies - however, she didn't use white chocolate, she used dark chocolate for the chunks - they turned out great - better than Toll House!
Hmmm - I may have to try those today.,,FOOD_9936_26051,00.html?rsrc=search

Chicken with Artichokes from Everyday Food on PBS - fairly light and easy. I replaced the couscous with rice pilaf.

Hope everyone stays safe and warm this week!
Happy reading and eating!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - January 7, 2007

Hi everyone,

I'm still feeling a bit under the weather from a cold and didn't make it yesterday to join other other stoic friends, Barb, Andrea, Laila and Mary, for coffee and good conversation at Caffe Sole. Walking wasn't an option in the aftermath of our 3rd snowstorm in 3 weeks!

Book Report:
Although I haven't finished any books recently to tell you about, I did hear a podcast interview this week with Alice McDermott about her new book, After This. If you're interested in listening to this interview on-line , go to The interviewer is Diane Rehm from Washington, D.C.'s local NPR station - she was one of my favorite hosts when I lived in Maryland.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A master at capturing Irish-Catholic American suburban life, particularly in That Night (1987) and the National Book Award–winning Charming Billy (1998), McDermott returns for this sixth novel with the Keane family of Long Island, who get swept up in the wake of the Vietnam War. When John and Mary Keane marry shortly after WWII, she's on the verge of spinsterhood, and he's a vet haunted by the death of a young private in his platoon. Jacob, their first-born, is given the dead soldier's name, an omen that will haunt the family when Jacob is killed in Vietnam (hauntingly underplayed by McDermott). In vignette-like chapters, some of which are stunning set pieces, McDermott probes the remaining family's inner lives. Catholic faith and Irish heritage anchor John and Mary's feelings, but their children experience their generation's doubt, rebellion and loss of innocence: next eldest Michael, who had always dominated Jacob, drowns his guilt and regret in sex and drugs; Anne quits college and moves to London with a lover; Clare, a high school senior, gets pregnant. The story of '60s and '70s suburbia has been told before, and McDermott has little to say about the Vietnam War itself. But she flawlessly encapsulates an era in the private moments of one family's life.

A reminder: Tomorrow AM at 9 - lines open at Tattered Cover to make reservations for Writers Respond to Readers - they finally have posted the info on their website: I'll assume that everyone who is interested in going has worked out pairing up for calling - if not, let me know if you need someone to help with that.

I saw something in the Daily Camera yesterday that I'd like to share with all of you:
Make a difference this week:

Donate books
Donate books to the Global Education Fund book drive

Here's an opportunity to clean out your home a little, and help out a great cause.
The Global Education Fund book drive is being held throughout the month at the IZZE Beverage Company, 2990 Center Green Court, Boulder.

You know you have extra books on hand — maybe your shelves are a bit crowded now, after the holiday season? You don't even need to edit your collection: Books not suitable for India will be sold on the Internet to pay for shipping.

All types of books in good condition may be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Books collected will go to one of five orphanages in India. Please visit, or call (303) 415-9935.

Food and Cooking Report:

I did manage to prepare one decent meal this week - its a wonderful winter recipe for a Roast Loin of Pork with Fennel from on of my favorites, Ina Garten:,1977,FOOD_9936_25757,00.html - don't be afraid of the fennel - eaten raw, it does have a strong licorice flavor, but it really mellows out during the roasting process.

Oh - I almost forgot I made an Italian style meatloaf with crushed potatoes and pesto from Michael Chiarello (Easy Entertaining on the Food Network). I really liked it and I'm not a big meatloaf fan - the potatoes were yummy with store-bought pesto and pine nuts,,FOOD_9936_35425,00.html?rsrc=search,1977,FOOD_9936_35426,00.html

Let's all hope that our snow starts to disappear soon - next Saturday is the Lafayette Oatmeal 5k and Festival - they need some time to clear those streets!

Have a great week!



Saturday Morning Walkers - January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a very healthy and happy year ahead. Especially good wishes to Terri for a speedy recovery. I'd like to share some thoughts from Andrea about the support that we give to each other throughout the year. Of course, we are always right there for each other during the rough times, emotional or physical. Andrea has suggested that we focus our energy on supporting each others good health and wellness. Perhaps that involves supporting each other in taking care of ourselves by exercising, eating well, simplifying our lives, meditation, and of course taking time for a bit of pampering. Perhaps you would like to take the opportunity to ask this group to support you in doing something like that.

Well, the holidays have come and gone. The weather has certainly made our travels challenging but hopefully the worst of the weather is behind us. You would think that with all this "enforced" time indoors, I would have been doing a lot of reading but that has certainly not been the case. I do have a few book notes though:

Mary is reading a book called The Ride of Our Lives by Mike Leonard. Mike Leonard appears on The Today Show as a features correspondent. I've enjoyed his on-air stories.

From Publishers Weekly
Fans of NBC News correspondent Leonard's slice-of-life features for the Today show may enjoy this account of a month-long road trip he took with his parents, now in their 80s. (A DVD of the journey accompanies the book.) But what works on screen doesn't translate to the printed page, and Leonard's attempt to merge a tribute to his parents with greater issues of life and death hits a dead end. As he drives from Chicago through the Southwest, up the East Coast and back to Chicago, Leonard intertwines his reflections with biographical stories by and about his somewhat eccentric parents. Their tales offer the book's most entertaining moments: phlegmatic Jack, who's "conversational 'off' button got jammed," likes to sing old songs, while gregarious Marge likes to drink and repeatedly spices her conversation with profanity ("Toora loora, my ass!" she yells during one of Jack's songs). Although Marge's behavior begins to seem more unnerving than unusual, Leonard's account of her brave childhood with an abusive father is the book's highlight. But Leonard keeps putting himself at the center of the story, detailing how charmed his life has been from his college prep high school days to lucking into his TV career, which makes for dull reading. Photos. (Apr.)

Jexy started reading Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg (The Bee Season) while she was here.

From Publishers Weekly
The author of the bestselling Bee Season returns with an accomplished but peculiarly tensionless historical novel that follows the shifting fortunes of a young Irish-American woman. Raised in tough turn-of-the-century South Boston, Lydia Kilkenny works as a shopgirl at a fancy downtown department store, where she meets shy, hypochondriacal medical student Henry Wickett. After a brief courtship, the two marry (Henry down, Lydia decidedly up) in 1914. Henry quits school to promote his eponymous remedy, whose putative healing powers have less to do with the tasty brew that Lydia concocts than with the personal letters that Henry pens to each buyer. After failing to pass the army physical as the U.S. enters WWI, Henry quickly, dramatically dies of influenza, and Lydia returns to Southie, where she watches friends, neighbors and her beloved brother die in the 1918 epidemic. A flu study that employs human subjects is being conducted on Boston Harbor's Gallups Island; lonely Lydia signs on as a nurse's assistant, and there finds a smidgen of hope and a chance at a happier future. A pastiche of other voices deepens her story: chapters close with snippets from contemporary newspapers, conversations among soldiers and documents revealing the surprising fate of Wickett's Remedy. And the dead offer margin commentary—by turns wistful, tender and corrective (and occasionally annoying). Yet as well-researched, polished and poignant as the book is, Goldberg never quite locks in her characters' mindsets, and sometimes seems adrift amid period detritus. While readers will admire Lydia, they may not feel they ever truly know her.

Libby was reading The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl) - she seemed disappointed in it but I think that Janet listened to this one on tape and enjoyed it. Sometimes books are better to listen to than to read.

From Publishers Weekly
As youngest daughter to the Spanish monarchs and crusaders King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Catalina, princess of Wales and of Spain, was promised to the English Prince Arthur when she was three. She leaves Spain at 15 to fulfill her destiny as queen of England, where she finds true love with Arthur (after some initial sourness) as they plot the future of their kingdom together. Arthur dies young, however, leaving Catalina a widow and ineligible for the throne. Before his death, he extracts a promise from his wife to marry his younger brother Henry in order to become queen anyway, have children and rule as they had planned, a situation that can only be if Catalina denies that Arthur was ever her lover. Gregory's latest (after Earthly Joys) compellingly dramatizes how Catalina uses her faith, her cunning and her utter belief in destiny to reclaim her rightful title. By alternating tight third-person narration with Catalina's unguarded thoughts and gripping dialogue, the author presents a thorough, sympathetic portrait of her heroine and her transformation into Queen Katherine. Gregory's skill for creating suspense pulls the reader along despite the historical novel's foregone conclusion.

Susan: I actually have two children's books I want to tell you about - one is a classic that I gave as a gift to some children this year and the other is a book I just heard about that I ordered and sent to Jacob.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Amazon.comTo say that this particular apple tree is a "giving tree" is an understatement. In Shel Silverstein's popular tale of few words and simple line drawings, a tree starts out as a leafy playground, shade provider, and apple bearer for a rambunctious little boy. Making the boy happy makes the tree happy, but with time it becomes more challenging for the generous tree to meet his needs. When he asks for money, she suggests that he sell her apples. When he asks for a house, she offers her branches for lumber. When the boy is old, too old and sad to play in the tree, he asks the tree for a boat. She suggests that he cut her down to a stump so he can craft a boat out of her trunk. He unthinkingly does it. At this point in the story, the double-page spread shows a pathetic solitary stump, poignantly cut down to the heart the boy once carved into the tree as a child that said "M.E. + T." "And then the tree was happy... but not really." When there's nothing left of her, the boy returns again as an old man, needing a quiet place to sit and rest. The stump offers up her services, and he sits on it. "And the tree was happy." While the message of this book is unclear (Take and take and take? Give and give and give? Complete self-sacrifice is good? Complete self-sacrifice is infinitely sad?), Silverstein has perhaps deliberately left the book open to interpretation. (All ages) --Karin Snelson

Sayonara Mrs Kackleman by Maira Kalman:

From Publishers Weekly
While watching a performance of The Mikado , Alexander suggests to his older sister Lulu that perhaps they should visit Japan. Lulu, eager to avoid her piano lesson and her teacher, the dreaded Mrs. Kackleman, is only too happy to agree. The two arrive in Tokyo (without parents, you understand), and are bundled off in a red taxi driven by a gloved man with "sharp black hair." Images of houses and people, food and customs jumble together in a wild stream-of-consciousness travelogue that springs from the minds and lips of the irrepressible brother and sister. A man sitting on a park bench and a frog in a kimono reciting a haiku are as riveting as a visit to a Japanese school or communal bath house. The book is studded with many gems from the mouths of Lulu and Alexander, like the poem dedicated to their guide: "Hey Hiroko, are you loco? Would you like a cup of cocoa?" The unique and provocative illustrative style evidenced in Hey Willy, See the Pyramids flourishes in this new work, demonstrating a graphic brilliance that is fast becoming Kalman's hallmark. Her carefully orchestrated yet extravagantly kinetic paintings are crammed with details and characters ready to spill off each page. All ages.

Cooking and Food notes:

I received two wonderful cookbooks for Christmas:

From Jeff: The Barefoot Contessa at Home - I just made her recipe for Ribollita - a Tuscan bean, vegetable and bread soup that looks wonderful - tastings from the pot (my fabulous new Creuset dutch oven from Santa) seem promising.

From David: Food and Wine's The Best of the Best Volume 9 Best Recipes from the 25 Best Cookbooks of the Year - I'll be sharing some of these with you soon.

Book Description
Almost one million subscribers heartily agree: Food & Wine is the unrivaled leader in the field, and every year their editors search tirelessly for the most delectable dishes from the crème de la crème of cookbooks. Here are their selections, along with an extra treat: some special and previously unpublished recipes. It comes to more than 100 fully kitchen-tested, temptingly photographed dishes in all. And the food doesn’t come better than this: From Grilling for Life, Bobby Flay presents Smoky and Fiery Skirt Steak with Avocado-Oregano Relish. Paula Deen serves up some of her Southern-style Shrimp and Grits (Paula Deen & Friends), while Marc Meyer prepares Brunch (Baked Eggs Rancheros).

One night for dinner while Libby and David (and of course, new puppy Violet) were still here, we made Fettucine with Wild Mushrooms - pretty simple and elegant: - apparently this recipe originated at a restaurant in New York, Becco. We served with a salad of arugula, tomatoes, hearts of palm and pine nuts.

Ooops - almost forgot! Some of us did actually meet on Saturday for a walking tour of the new 29th Street Shopping Center and goodies at Panera. Barb did send out a pretty good description of that which I will quote here for those of you who did not see it:

"Six Brave Women dared the elements - and the unplowed side streets - and showed up right on time at Panera's this morning. Even Chris Rich made it - must have been the window shopping that got her out to actually walk. ;-) Susan, Chris, Mary, Jan, Jan's newly graduated daughter, Jill, and I ambled down 29th street, around the square that Staples anchors, and back up the other side of 29th. We peeked in the windows and, of course, passed judgment on all the new stores. Our cold noses appreciated the warmth and good aromas that greeted us as we came back into Panera's. Susan and I each had a fabulous soufflé "thing".

Here's a review of that souffle:

A helpful tidbit that we talked about - free on-line greeting card websites - if you have other suggestions, let us know:

Once again, wishes for a Happy New Year filled with family, friends, food and books. And don't forget Andrea's advice to support each other's well-being and good health!