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, July 29, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - July 14, 2007

Hi everyone!

Wow - it has been an event and food-filled week! Not sure I can get it all into one e-mail but here goes.....

The food week started for me last Monday evening with Book Group. Rae was here and she and I put together a pretty terrific meal - what fun for us to cook together - we're a great team! Check out some of the recipes in the Food and Cooking Report below.

We were a small group yesterday morning but had a lovely walk planned by Barb. Barb, Laila, Christie and I met at 29th Street and then headed out to the Cottonwood Trailhead on Independence (just off the Diagonal). It was a nice shady walk along the creek and then we headed back for coffee and egg souffles at Panera.

Sunday morning brought 9 of us wonderful walkers together to celebrate Christie's graduation from the RN to BS program at Regis University. We celebrated her huge success with a brunch hosted by Barb and "catered" by all of us. Needless to say, we had some amazing food - I've put out a call for some of the recipes which I'll probably share next week.

Sunday evening, George, Melanie and I hosted a "thank you" party for the many volunteers who helped build the Grillo Center Labyrinth. We had a terrific turnout - it was so gratifying to celebrate with so many of the people who helped to make this a reality. We shared great food, did an amazing group walk and took lots of pictures. I'll share them as soon as we get them downloaded.

Book Report:

Barb and Susan are both reading books by writers that will be at the Literary Sojourn in October.

Barb is reading one of Frank Delaney's non-fiction books, Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea. She says it is a real page-turner - sounds like a very exciting and compelling story.

From Publishers Weekly
Crippled by two monstrous waves during a 1951 North Atlantic hurricane, the freighter Flying Enterprise was left wallowing on its side and looking as if it would sink at any minute. The subsequent rescue, in mountainous seas, of 10 passengers and 40 crew by lifeboats from responding ships was indeed harrowing—and it's over by page 92 of this overblown maritime-distress yarn. The rest of the book is about the Enterprise's captain, Kurt Carlsen, who insisted on staying aboard to await a tugboat to tow the floundering ship to harbor. Carlsen certainly went beyond the call of duty, but heroism is measured by the stakes involved, which in this case were neither lives nor justice but merely the ship owner's investment. Delaney embellishes the tale with glances at Carlsen's family's anxiety, soggy reminiscences of his own family following the story on the radio and fulsome tributes to the Danish skipper's flinty Nordic resolve (which are rather undercut by the knowledge that Carlsen could have transferred at any time to one of the ships babysitting the hulk). Carlsen's story generated a lot of breathless press hoopla at the time, and it still has the feel of a trumped-up media sensation. Photos not seen by PW.

Susan is reading a first novel by Amanda Eyre Ward, Sleep Toward Heaven. I was immediately drawn in to the stories and the characters.

From Publishers Weekly
How do we forgive the unforgivable? First-time novelist Ward explores this question with a delicate blend of compassion, humor and realism. Three women whose lives converge during a stifling Texas summer have followed completely different paths in their 29 years. The horrendous childhood of death row inmate Karen Lowens led her to prostitution, drug abuse and finally murder. She now longs to find peace before her scheduled execution in the Gatestown, Tex., prison. She resists friendship, as "any connection, any tiny strand, will bind her to this world" from which she so wants to be freed. Franny Wren, Karen's prison doctor, is just as afraid to befriend Karen, knowing that she can't save her. She is fragile, having recently run out on her fiance and her life in New York City after the death of one of her cancer patients, a young girl, left her guilt-ridden and emotionally drained. Franny has returned to her childhood home in Gatestown, where she was raised by an uncle after her parents were killed by a drunk driver. Meanwhile, in Austin, Celia Mills, the only first-person narrator of the three, is the widow of Karen's final victim. She has been sleepwalking through life since the murder, and her stabs at joining the living are touching and funny ("Although my mother disagrees, I have moved forward with my life. For example, I've bought a new bikini"). Ward's celebration of human resilience never becomes preachy, sentimental or politically heavy-handed. Her spare but psychologically rich portraits are utterly convincing.

Website of the Week: recommended by Jackie and Cass - - this is an online Cliffnotes (remember those?) - this could be a valuable resource when you want to check out the next book to read.

Podcast of the Week - heard about this on This American Life - - this is a local show broadcast on New York City's Public Radio station - very similar to This American Life.

Vocabulary Word of the Week - trompe-l'oeil -
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Trompe-l'œil is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects really exist, instead of being mere, two-dimensional paintings. The name is derived from French for "trick the eye", from tromper - to deceive and l'œil - the eye; IPA pronunciation [tʁɔ̃plœj].

Cooking and Food Report:

Susan's Book Group menu from Fine Cooking Magazine - recipes for dishes from Northeast Spain

Chicken Thighs Baked with Lemon, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Catalan Mushrooms with Garlic and Parsley

Green Salad with Olives, Manchego and Romesco Sauce

Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Dessert was that amazing Chocolate Bread Pudding from Gail Gand that Libby introduced us to - couldn't be easier and it sure was easy to eat! Libby actually did a variation of it with friends she was visiting with last week - they used chocolate filled croissants and instead of melting the chocolate with the cream and half and half (yes, both!), they mixed in chocolate chunks.,,FOOD_9936_27065,00.html?rsrc=search

My appetizer was a bit of "cheat" - I made crostinis using baguette bread (sliced by the grocery store - a real time-saver) - just place them on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes. I made them ahead and stored them in plastic bags - just before serving I topped them with Blue Moose Olive Tapenade and Red Pepper Pesto - thanks to Costco!

Random Tip of the Week - from Christie for any of you mom's or grandmom's who do grocery shopping with young children. When Christie's two daughters, Molly and Heather, were little, Christie used to give each of them coupons for things they needed to buy and it was their "mission" to search for those items which were pictured on the coupons. It gave them a job to do in the store and turned those boring and frustrating trips to the grocery store into a bit more of an adventure.

Have a great week!


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