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



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