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, September 30, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - September 30, 2007

Hi everyone,

Well, we had somewhat of a "reunion" this morning. Two of our European travelers, Barb and Laila, were back and joined Christie, Mary, Chris (so glad to have you with us - its been a while!), and me on our walk along the Aquarius Trail in Louisville. We had a lot of catching up to do and it does sound like the trip was terrific (except for the part where the stomach flu seemed to make an appearance - yuck!)

Book Report:

Barb is reading and enjoying a very funny book, Cooking With Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson. It certainly seems to cover all of my favorites topics, Italy, Wine and Cooking!

From Publishers Weekly
Usually writers taking a holiday from their serious work will use a pseudonym (DeLillo as Cleo Birdwell), but British novelist Hamilton-Paterson (Gerontius, etc.), who lives in Italy, bravely serves a very funny sendup of Italian-cooking-holiday-romance novels, without any camouflage. Written from the alternating perspectives of two foreigners who have bought neighboring Tuscan houses, the book has no plot to speak of beyond when-will-they-sleep-together. Gerald Samper is an effete British ghost writer of sportsperson biographies (such as skier Per Snoilsson's Downhill All the Way!); neighbor Marta is a native Voynovian (think mountainous eastern bloc) trying to escape her rich family's descent into postcommunist criminality—by writing a film score for a "famous" pornographer's latest project. Each downs copious amounts of the title swill and carps at the reader about the other's infuriating ways: Gerald sings to himself in a manner that Marta then parodies for the film; Gerald relentlessly dissects the Voyde cuisine Marta serves him, all the while sharing recipes for his own hilariously absurd cuisine. Rock stars, helicopters, the porn director and son, and Marta's mafia brother all make appearances. The fun is in Hamilton-Paterson's offhand observations and delicate touch in handling his two unreliable misfits as they find each other—and there's lots of it. (Oct.)

Mae read and enjoyed Phillipa Gregory's historical novel, The Constant Princess. She loves that genre so if any of you have any other recommendations that she might like, let me know. Here are a few that Amazon suggests:
The Other Boleyn Girl by Gregory
The Queens' Fool by Gregory
Katherine by Anya Seton
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Another recommendation from Libby and me - we loved The Secret Books of Grazia Dei Rossi by Jacqueline Park
The "secret book" of the title--or libro segreto, in the old Florentine manner--is the detailed account of Grazia dei Rossi's exciting and turbulent life, written so that her son might know his legacy. Inspired by a letter written centuries ago by a young Jewish woman to Isabella d'Este, The Secret Book of Grazia is a rich and complex work of fiction. This historical novel brings to life the sublime art, political corruption, and religious intolerance of 16th-century Florence from a rarely explored vantage point: the complicated symbiosis between Christian and Jew. Grazia dei Rossi, educated daughter of a wealthy Jewish family, has fallen in love with a young Christian nobleman. Forced to choose between her love and her faith, she chooses love. But her betrothed is whisked away by kinsmen, and the humiliated Grazia is ruined--until fate throws her another chance in the guise of a second marriage proposal, this one from the powerful Judah del Medigo, scholar, physician, and adviser to popes and kings. Under his guardianship, Grazia flourishes as a scholar and scribe, eventually becoming the secretary to Isabella d'Este, where she reenters the world of courts and courtiers.
And that's just the beginning; Park blends scholarship, imagination, and a compelling heroine to serve up good, old-fashioned literary stew, thick with the irresistible details of place, plottings, and passions. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

I'm reading one more in the ever-growing list of Jody Picoult novels, Vanishing Acts. I've read The Pact and My Sister's Keeper and find Picoult to be a really good storyteller. Her characters come to life and I quickly become very engaged in the story. There are some distractions to the plot line that I find to be a bit much. Her books probably will not be considered great American classics but they do make for a good read! This review is actually of the audio book version.

From Publishers Weekly
Each of the five narrators in this excellent audiobook speaks intimately to the listener, capitalizing on the emotional complexity of Picoult's heart-wrenching tale. Delia Hopkins, read with simple grace by Gibson, immediately seizes the listener's attention when she relates how, on an ordinary day in smalltown New Hampshire, her beloved father, Andrew, is arrested for having kidnapped her, 28 years earlier, from the mother she long thought was dead. Delia's fiancé, Eric, and her best friend, Fitz (both of whom are given appropriately cultured New England accents), add dimension to this multifaceted exploration of love and identity, but Delia's parents, read by Jenner and Washington, offer the most noteworthy performances. Jenner successfully conveys the rainbow of personalities Andrew encounters while being held in an Arizona jail. Washington, meanwhile, embodies Delia's darkly tragic mother, who emerges as both a gentle healer with a dulcet Southwestern accent and a mother who was never there for her young child.

Website of the Week - - great food reference site for those obscure cooking questions.

Podcast of the Week - - great kids music site - adults will love it too!

Vocabulary Word of the Week - Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the mental and/or spiritual process of ceasing to feel resentment or anger against another person for a perceived offence, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution[citation needed]. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the feelings of the person who forgives, or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In some contexts, it may be granted without any expectation of compensation, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of apology or restitution, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe they are able to forgive. [citation needed]

Most world religions include teachings on the nature of forgiveness, and many of these teachings provide an underlying basis for many varying modern day ideologies and practices of forgiveness. Instances of teachings on forgiveness such as the parable of the Prodigal Son[1] and Mahatma Gandhi's forgiveness of his assassin as he lay dying, are well known instances of such teachings and practices of forgiveness. Some religious doctrines or philosophies place greater emphasis on the need for humans to find some sort of divine forgiveness for their own shortcomings, others place greater emphasis on the need for humans to practice forgiveness between one another, yet others make little or no distinction between human and/or divine forgiveness.

Words of Wisdom - these words come from Mandy's friend's daughter, Gabby (5 years old) -

My good friend, Amy, has a daughter named Gabby (she's the one who's a month older than Jacob). In school, they're learning about the U.S.-- the flag and pledge. This morning, Amy was looking at the school lunch list on her fridge and had this exchange:

AMY: Looks like you can have either a corn dog or a grilled cheese sandwich.

GABBY: Mommy, do you know why I can have a corn dog or a grilled cheese sandwich? Because I live in a country that's free.

I love it!

Cooking and Dining Report -

Restaurant Review - Janet and I tried the new Sugarbeet Restaurant in Longmont this week - - mixed reviews!
We shared an artichoke and fennel appetizer that was pretty disappointing. Janet loved her main course of shrimp with coconut rice. I should know better (having eaten crabcakes in Maryland for so many years) but I had their crabcakes - pretty disappointing! I would definitely give it another chance - the menu is impressive.

Sondra and I went to "happy hour" at Laudisios the other night. That is really a great way to sample a restaurant's fare at greatly reduced prices. We shared a 12" Margherita Pizza for $5.00. Wine was $3.50 a glass.

Here are a few recipes from Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis to share - I've made these over the past few weeks but haven't included them here yet:

Pork Chops with Fennel and Caper Sauce -,,FOOD_9936_34586,00.html?rsrc=search

Penne with Turkey Meatballs -,,FOOD_9936_22253,00.html?rsrc=search

Garlic and Citrus Chicken -,1946,FOOD_9936_32602_PRINT-RECIPE-FULL-PAGE,00.html - a reminder, I have been asking the butcher to "butterfly" my whole chickens by removing the backbone but leaving the rest of bird intact. If the recipe calls for a filling, then I just put that under the chicken. This is a great technique - I usually roast at 425 degrees F. and the cooking process is much quicker than if you roast the bird whole.

Have a terrific week ahead! Our book group and a few members of Barb's book group are heading to Steamboat Springs on Friday for our annual jaunt to the Literary Sojourn - I'm looking forward to a great weekend of books and dining which I will share with you next week.

One other note - I have updated the blog site so check that out - it is so much easier to read these posts from the site! . Feel free to forward these posts to friends and family and do let me know if there are any folks you want me to add to my weekly e-mail list.


Saturday Morning Walkers - September 23, 2007

Hi everyone!

Well, I'm sorry to say that I had to beg off leading our walk yesterday morning - I did my good wifely deed and drove Jack to the airport.
I sure do miss all of you and look forward to our European travelers returning so we can get back on track!

Book Report:
Janet is listening to one of our Literary Sojourn books - Ireland by Frank Delaney. Our friend Kelly tried reading it and didn't particularly enjoy it but apparently it is one of those books that comes alive when you listen to it. Janet is loving it!

From Publishers Weekly
BBC reporter Delaney's fictionalized history of his native country, an Irish bestseller, is a sprawling, riveting read, a book of stories melding into a novel wrapped up in an Irish history text. In 1951, when Ronan O'Mara is nine, he meets the aging itinerant Storyteller, who emerges out a "silver veil" of Irish mist, hoping to trade a yarn for a hot meal. Welcomed inside, the Storyteller lights his pipe and begins, telling of the architect of Newgrange, who built "a marvelous, immortal structure... before Stonehenge in England, before the pyramids of Egypt," and the dentally challenged King Conor of Ulster, who tried, and failed, to outsmart his wife. The stories utterly captivate the young Ronan ("This is the best thing that ever, ever happened"), and they'll draw readers in, too, with their warriors and kings, drinkers and devils, all rendered cleanly and without undue sentimentality. When Ronan's mother banishes the Storyteller for telling a blasphemous tale, Ronan vows to find him. He also becomes fascinated by Irish myth and legend, and, as the years pass, he discovers his own gift for storytelling. Eventually, he sets off, traversing Ireland on foot to find his mentor. Past and present weave together as Delaney entwines the lives of the Storyteller and Ronan in this rich and satisfying book.

I just finished a short novel called Sea of Memory by Erri de Luca. It was a very haunting and touching story that satisfied my interest in all things Italian and Jewish.
One might expect a coming-of-age story set in a small Italian fishing village in the 1950s to wax idyllic, but Erri De Luca confounds expectation. Though the novel has more than its share of halcyon days in the sun, a troubling undercurrent runs through it. The unnamed narrator, a 16-year-old boy summering with his family on an island off the coast of Naples, is confronted with Italy's fascist past when he meets Caia, a young Romanian Jew whose family was decimated during the war. As the boy learns more about her circumstances, he demands answers from the adults around him--answers they are increasingly reluctant to give. Only Nicola, a local fisherman who served with the Italian army in Yugoslavia, offers any clues to Italy's complicity:
The war lived on in a few odd details that he would relate over and over again: an empty window seen from the street, and behind the window no house, not even a roof, and you could see the sky. Windows are made to see the sky, but not like that. And there was a market square where grass grew because there was nothing to sell and no one ever went there, not even to exchange a few words. Grass can be a sad thing when it grows between the cobblestones of a market.
De Luca hangs his story on two mirror images: the wartime invasion of Italy by German forces followed, just a few years later, by another incursion--this time of tourists--from the same nation. As Caia relates the realities of life during the German occupation, it becomes harder and harder for the boy to reconcile his country's past with its complacent present. Part love story, part ghost story, Sea of Memory is a haunting tale rendered in evocative prose.

Website of the Week: - this is the "go-to" site for investigating all those urban legends that fill our email inboxes.

Podcast of the Week: - this is a podcast from the Deer Park Dharma Center which follows the Buddhist tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh

Vocabulary Word of the Week: dharmaThe Sanskrit term Dharma (help·info) (Pali: Dhamma) signifies the underlying order in nature and life (human or other) considered to be in accord with that order. The word Dharma literally means 'that which upholds or supports' (from the root 'Dhr' - to hold), here referring to the order which makes the cosmos and the harmonious complexity of the natural world possible. Dharma is a central concept in Indian civilisation where it governs ideas about the proper conduct of human life. So central is it, indeed, that the symbol of the dharma - the wheel - takes central place in the national flag of India.
In its most frequent usage (in the sphere of morality and ethics) dharma means 'right way of living', 'proper conduct', 'duty' or 'righteousness'. With respect to spirituality, dharma might be considered the Way of the Higher Truths. What is in the West called religion in India comes within the general purview of dharma. Thus the various Indian religions are so many versions of dharma (versions of what is considered to be 'right' or in truest accord with the deepest realities of nature). A fraction of scholars called these various paths dharmic religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are referred to in India as sanatana-dharma, Buddha-dharma, Jain-dharma and Sikh-dharma respectively. Each of these paths emphasize Dharma as the correct understanding of Nature (or God, as the origin of nature) in their teachings.[1][2][3] In these traditions, beings that live in accordance with Dharma proceed more quickly toward Dharma Yukam, Moksha or Nirvana (personal liberation). Dharma also refers to the teachings and doctrines of the founders of these traditions, such as those of Gautama Buddha and Mahavira. In traditional Hindu society with its caste structure, Dharma constituted the religious and moral doctrine of the rights and duties of each individual. (see dharmasastra). Dharma in its universal meaning shares much in common with the way of Tao or Taoism.

The antonym of dharma is adharma meaning unnatural or immoral.

Cooking and Dining Report:

Quick Chess Pie from Cora Potter:
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons white vinegar
pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add well beaten eggs, vanilla, vinegar, and salt. Pour into 2 unbaked pie shells. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes; then increase temperature to 350 degrees and bake 35 minutes longer.

I meant to share some of the fabulous dishes that our friend Rita made for book group last week. These are from Fine Cooking Magazine and were just delicious!

Mustard-Crusted Chicken -

Warm Green, Pancetta and Tomato Salad with Parmesan -

Homemade Bianco with Icy Grapes -

I'll save some of my recipes from this past week for next week's edition.

Have a great week!



Saturday Morning Walkers - September 16

Hi everyone!

Well - I did not walk yesterday - I was honored to escort Jan and Terri to DIA to start their trip to Italy and meet up with Barb and Laila in Venice - we left at the "crack of dawn" - actually before dawn and by 8 AM I was ready for a nap!

Book Report:

I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Although it is a difficult and painful story to read, knowing how true to reality it is, I think that Hosseini is a wonderful storyteller. It is important for us to know what women have endured in that country and may continue to do so for some time. I know that my friend, Rae, was not so enamored with this book but do check it out for yourself.
It's difficult to imagine a harder first act to follow than The Kite Runner: a debut novel by an unknown writer about a country many readers knew little about that has gone on to have over four million copies in print worldwide. But when preview copies of Khaled Hosseini's second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, started circulating at, readers reacted with a unanimous enthusiasm that few of us could remember seeing before. As special as The Kite Runner was, those readers said, A Thousand Splendid Suns is more so, bringing Hosseini's compassionate storytelling and his sense of personal and national tragedy to a tale of two women that is weighted equally with despair and grave hope.

Jack is currently reading Spook Country by William Gibson and enjoying it very much.
Now that the present has caught up with William Gibson's vision of the future, which made him the most influential science fiction writer of the past quarter century, he has started writing about a time--our time--in which everyday life feels like science fiction. With his previous novel, Pattern Recognition, the challenge of writing about the present-day world drove him to create perhaps his best novel yet, and in Spook Country he remains at the top of his game. It's a stripped-down thriller that reads like the best DeLillo (or the best Gibson), with the lives of a half-dozen evocative characters connected by a tightly converging plot and by the general senses of unease and wonder in our networked, post-9/11 time

Website of the Week - - Despite all the rhetoric about being family-friendly, we have structured a society that is decidedly unfriendly... What's missing now is a movement. What's missing now is an organization. That's why MomsRising is so important." -- Senator Barack Obama, 9/28/06.
This organization that supports mothers and families in the workplace was co-founded by Joan Blades, one of the co-founders of

Podcast of the Week - - this is a specific episode of The Diane Rehm Show - this is actually an interview by guest host,Steve Roberts with John Heath & Lisa Adams who wrote "Why We Read What We Read" (Source Books). "They take a look at what the books we read have in common and what they say about America our culture, our beliefs, and how we relate to one another."

Vocabulary Word of the Week - eponymousEponym
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
• Find out more about navigating Wikipedia and finding information •An eponym is the name of a person, whether real or fictitious, who has (or is thought to have) given rise to the name of a particular place, tribe, era, discovery, or other item. An eponymous person is the person referred to by the eponym. In contemporary English, the term eponymous is often used to mean self-titled. The word eponym is often used for the thing titled. Stigler's law of eponymy suggests that Eponyms are usually false, i.e., things are rarely named after the person who discovered or invented them. An aitiology is a "reverse eponym" in the sense that a legendary character is invented in order to explain a term

Cooking and Dining Report:
I do have two recipes we tried out this week:
Don't let the anchovies scare you - they melt down and you just get the wonderful flavor they impart, especially if you use fresh anchovies (Whole Foods usually has them). I also would cut the amount of lemon juice a bit. Also, I used linguini instead of tagliarini.
Tagliarini with Lemon Anchovy SauceExcerpted from The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food by Lynne Rossetto Kasper (William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1992). Copyright 1992 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper/p>

Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish, 6 to 8 as a first course

The unusual but winning combination of lemon and tomato come together in this sauté of garlic, parsley, and anchovy. Served as a main dish, it makes a fast and satisfying weekday supper. This recipe comes from the cooks of Modena's and Ferrara's Jewish communities.


10 whole salted anchovies, or two 2-ounce cans anchovy filets
1 cup cold water
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
2 large fresh tomatoes, cored, peeled, and chopped, or 6 canned plum tomatoes, drained and crushed
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 quarts salted water
1 pound imported dried tagliarini, linguine, or spaghetti
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
Working Ahead: The sauce cooks in no time and is best made just before serving.

1. Preparing the Anchovies: If you are using salted anchovies, rinse off the salt, then open each up like a book, and gently pull away the backbone running down the center. Soak the anchovies 10 minutes in the cold water; then drain and coarsely chop. If using canned anchovies in oil, rinse them and soak in cold water 10 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop.

2. Making the Sauce: In a 12-inch heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the parsley and cook slowly, lowering the heat so it sizzles gently. Cook only 1 minute, or until the green herb darkens. Stir in the drained anchovies and cook over medium-low heat for 30 seconds. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, 2 minutes or until the small pieces turn golden, taking care not to burn it. Immediately stir in the 1/2 cup water and cook over low heat about 2 minutes, or until the anchovies are melted. The goal is not to evaporate the water, but simply to melt down the anchovies. Blend in the tomatoes and lemon juice, raise the heat to medium, and cook 1 minute. Generously season the sauce with black pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat.

3. Cooking the Pasta: Have a serving bowl and shallow soup dishes warming in a low oven. Bring the salted water to a fierce boil. Drop in the pasta, stir to separate the strands, and cook about 8 minutes. Taste a strand for tender texture with some firmness or bite. Drain immediately in a colander.

4. Serving: Return the sauce to high heat and quickly bring it to a boil. Immediately add the cooked pasta, and toss to coat it with the sauce. Turn out into the serving bowl, sprinkle with the tablespoon of parsley, and serve. (No cheese accompanies this dish.)


Anchovies packed in salt have a richer flavor than oil-packed ones. Find them in some well-stocked supermarkets, specialty stores carrying Mediterranean foods, or online purveyors like,, and Rinse them well and pat dry before using.

Using good quality imported pasta matters, especially in simple recipes like this one where individual ingredients shine. Look for artisan brands such as Rustichella, Latini, Dallari, Benedetto Cavalieri, Spinosi, Michele Portoghese and Mamma Angelica. Dependable brands for less money include Barilla, De Cecco, Delverde, and La Molisana.

My basic pasta cooking method is six quarts boiling salted water for every pound of pasta you are cooking. Use plenty of salt in the water (it should taste salty). I'm talking a good 1/3 cup or so for 6 quarts. Pasta must be salted while it cooks; otherwise, you will never get it seasoned correctly. Keep the water at a vigorous boil and stir often. Judge doneness by taste, not time.

Try the sauce alone over grilled chicken or baked cod or bluefish.

A glass of chilled crisp Sauvignon Blanc rounds out this pasta nicely.

Garlic and Citrus Chicken by Giada de Laurentiis,1977,FOOD_9936_32602,00.html - very moist and the flavor is wonderful - a great Sunday dinner!

A couple of events to tell you about - George Peters and Melanie Walker, the very talented Grillo Center Labyrinth designers have two local exhibits for us all to enjoy.

As part of EcoArts 2007, George and Melanie have created a sound sculpture at NCAR - it will be there through December 21 - best viewed on a windy day. Check out for information on this and other exhibits around town.

They also have a kite exhibit, One Sky, One World, that opened on September 9 at the Denver Public Library -

While we're at it, don't miss George and Melanie's beautiful sculpture in the atrium of the new Tebo Cancer Center at Foothills Hospital. The Center opened a few months ago and it is a very impressive facility.

Whooo - that's probably plenty for now! Have a wonderful week ahead!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - September 9, 2007

Hi everyone!

Well, the Saturday Morning Walkers did not walk this Saturday. We were a very busy and well-traveled group this week! Barb and Laila arrived safely in Prague to start their exciting adventure and Terri and Jan leave next Saturday to join them in Venice. The rest of us are still in the United States. The reason that I wasn't able to walk yesterday was that I attended the Colorado Caucus Convention put on by Barack Obama's campaign. It was held at Manual High School in Denver and was essentially a training session about the workings of the caucus system of electing delegates to the National Convention. It was also kind of a pep rally to energize and motivate those of us in attendance - it was successful on all fronts - I learned so much about our political process starting on the local level and I am definitely motivated to get involved in that political process. It is time for all of us to stop complaining about how terrible things have gotten and become empowered to know that we can make a difference in how our world works. Enough lecturing - on to the fun stuff!

Book Report:
I finished two books this week. One I would recommend, the other I'm not so sure about.

I read the new book, Everyman by Phillip Roth. It is a very poignant and thought-provoking novel about reaching your "golden years" and taking a long, hard look at how you lived. I highly recommend it.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. [Signature]Reviewed by Sara NelsonWhat is it about Philip Roth? He has published 27 books, almost all of which deal with the same topics—Jewishness, Americanness, sex, aging, family—and yet each is simultaneously familiar and new. His latest novel is a slim but dense volume about a sickly boy who grows up obsessed with his and everybody else's health, and eventually dies in his 70s, just as he always said he would. (I'm not giving anything away here; the story begins with the hero's funeral.) It might remind you of the old joke about the hypochondriac who ordered his tombstone to read: "I told you I was sick."And yet, despite its coy title, the book is both universal and very, very specific, and Roth watchers will not be able to stop themselves from comparing the hero to Roth himself. (In most of his books, whether written in the third person or the first, a main character is a tortured Jewish guy from Newark—like Roth.) The unnamed hero here is a thrice-married adman, a father and a philanderer, a 70-something who spends his last days lamenting his lost prowess (physical and sexual), envying his healthy and beloved older brother, and refusing to apologize for his many years of bad behavior, although he palpably regrets them. Surely some wiseacre critic will note that he is Portnoy all grown up, an amalgamation of all the womanizing, sex- and death-obsessed characters Roth has written about (and been?) throughout his career.But to obsess about the parallels between author and character is to miss the point: like all of Roth's works, even the lesser ones, this is an artful yet surprisingly readable treatise on... well, on being human and struggling and aging at the beginning of the new century. It also borrows devices from his previous works—there's a sequence about a gravedigger that's reminiscent of the glove-making passages in American Pastoral, and many observations will remind careful readers of both Patrimony and The Dying Animal—and through it all, there's that Rothian voice: pained, angry, arrogant and deeply, wryly funny. Nothing escapes him, not even his own self-seriousness. "Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work," he has his adman-turned-art-teacher opine about an annoying student. Obviously, Roth himself is a professional. (May 5)Sara Nelson is editor-in-chief of PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

I also read what might be the weirdest novel ever - My Wife and Dead Wife by Michael Nun - it is billed as a comic love story - it just didn't do it for me. Nun is one of the writers that is coming to the upcoming Literary Sojourn in Steamboat Springs.

From Publishers Weekly
Typical sophomore slump issues plague Kun's muddled [third] novel, an underplotted affair that chronicles a man's breakup with his flighty girlfriend. Hamilton Ashe is the sweet but befuddled narrator, a tailor's assistant in Decatur, Ga., whose domestic life takes a sudden turn for the worse when his girlfriend, Renée—who has been with Ashe for so long that she refers to herself as his wife—loses her hospital job. A period of reassessment follows for Renée, who begins learning the guitar and tries to fulfill her heretofore hidden dream of becoming a country music star. It's funny to watch Ashe panic as he goes from erstwhile "husband" to soon-to-be ex-boyfriend, all the while recalling his similarly ill-fated former marriage. Kun captures the couple's changing dynamic in a series of sweet, winning scenes and paints a comic portrait of the dysfunctional tailor's shop where Ashe works. But aside from the impending breakup, the absence of plot movement becomes increasingly noticeable as the story progresses, and the novel ends on a sour note when Kun builds his climax around a confusing, underdeveloped murder subplot involving Ashe's ex-wife. Kun shows much of the same comic flair and solid character writing that made The Locklear Letters a surprise winner last year, but he'll need to significantly upgrade his storytelling next time to get back on track.

Rae loved the memoir she read last week - Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. It may take ingenuity to interest browsers in a memoir by a middle-aged mother who, 11 years ago, was suddenly widowed, then became a Unitarian-Universalist minister, and now works as chaplain to game wardens in Maine. But good memoir writing does not depend on celebrity or adventure—who'd have thought that a self-confessed recovering neurotic like Anne Lamott or a monastically inclined poet like Kathleen Norris would make it big?—and Braestrup's insightful essays are extraordinarily well written, mingling elements of police procedural and touching love story with trenchant observations about life and death. Alert to comic detail even in grisly circumstances (bears, for example, like to play ball with human skulls), she tells stories of lost children, a suicide, drunken accidents and a murder, always with compassion and a concern for the big questions inescapably provoked by tragic events. Why did Dad die? her children ask, and her response describes not only her theology but also her reason for being a chaplain: Nowhere in scripture does it say 'God is a car accident' or 'God is death.' God is justice and kindness, mercy, and always—always—love. So if you want to know where God is in this or in anything, look for love. (Aug.)

Website of the Week (actually I've got a couple) - in keeping with what I was speaking about earlier there are two websites that I want to share with you. Rae discovered one of the - - their mission is to create the public and political will to end hunger and the worst aspects of poverty.
The other is one I heard about on Satellite Sisters - - they enable you to connect with and provide micro -loans to unique small businesses in the developing world. For as little as $25, you can sponsor a business, receive updates and when the loans are re-paid, you get the loan money back in your account allowing you to re-invest in another business.

Podcast of the Week - a specific episode of This American Life titled Unconditional Love - deals with two amazing stories of parental love - one involving adoption and the other dealing with an autistic child.

Vocabulary Word of the Week - from Rae - laconiclaconic \luh-KON-ik\, adjective:
Using or marked by the use of a minimum of words; brief and pithy; brusque.

Readers' reports range from the laconic to the verbose.
-- Bernard Stamler, "A Brooklyncentric View of Life", New York Times, February 28, 1999

In the laconic language of the sheriff department's report,there was "no visible sign of life."
-- David Wise, Cassidy's Run

There was one tiny photograph of him at a YMCA camp plus a few laconic and uninformative entries in a soldier's log from the war year, 1917-18.
-- Edward W. Said, Out of Place: A Memoir

Laconic comes, via Latin, from Greek Lakonikos, "of or relating to a Laconian or Spartan," hence "terse," in the manner of the Laconians. Entry and Pronunciation for laconic

Cooking and Dining Report:
Not much of either going on this week in our house - Jack's been away and I've just been "grazing on whatever is left in the frig".

I did make Giada's Cannellini Bean Dip and the Italian Prune Plum Torte for a Labor Day barbecue. I may have included these recipes before but they are worth repeating:,1977,FOOD_9936_25941,00.html - bean dip - plum torte

Sondra and I did have a lovely breakfast at Radda this morning - it is a nice place to go on a Sunday morning - still pretty undiscovered at that time of day. Sondra has been there for their "happy hour" - 2 - 5 every day and a great "apertivo" menu. If you can't be in Italy, this is nice taste of what it might be like!

Well, that's it for now - have a wonderful week ahead!



Saturday Morning Walkers - September 2, 2007

Hi everyone!

Lots to cover on this long Labor Day weekend! Barb, Christie, Mary, Jan, Laila and I had our "first Saturday of the month" planning walk and coffee date at Caffe Sole. Christie offered to lead next week's (September 8) walk but we realized that many of our group will not be able to join her. Christie will send her "invite" later in the week - please do let her know if you will be joining her! Andrea, we've put you down for September 15, Mary for September 22 and Christie or I will do the 29th.

I want to wish a "bon voyage" to Barb and Laila who are leaving this week for their Danube River Cruise to be followed up with a "women's" tour of Italy. They will be joined there by Jan and Terri on September 15.
I know that you will have an amazing time. Barb will have her laptop with her so hopefully we'll get some updates as they travel and of course, we'll keep you posted on news from home.

Book Report:
A special report for our Italy travelers! I heard about a wonderful book on The Splendid Table ( Podcast - Fred Plotkin's Italy's Gourmet Traveler.
From Booklist
In this exhaustive guide, Plotkin provides travelers to Bella Italia with information on the best places to eat in 300 cities and villages. Practical advice, such as making reservations, goes hand-in-hand with colorful descriptions of the Italian ristorante, trattoria, pizzeria, friggitoria, and other types of eating establishments. Plotkin is particularly adept at depicting the cultural climate of each region, listing appealing towns a traveler must not pass by and those area culinary specialities to be savored. Whether one desires the address of a fine butcher shop, has a hankering for pastries and an espresso, or seeks a dining experience fit for a king, these listings more than fit the bill. When seeking out excellent culinary fare, doubtless, the true gourmet will be undaunted by this weighty tome.

Mary wants to let us know about the book she just read - Sweet Death by Hugo Rodier - this book will enlighten us about the epidemic consumption of sugar that is threatening our health and our health care costs.
"Sweet Death" is a recent publication by Dr. Rodier MD
There is an epidemic sweeping our country which kills more people than any war. Sadly, our health care system, our governments, and even our schools are failing to educate the public about this massive epidemic of "sweet death."
Obesity and diabetes are literally changing the way we look, and how our bodies function. we are poisoning our cells so that they are unable to optimally communicate, resulting in many of the diseases that are so prevalent today. Billions of dollars are being spent on the consequences of the problem, often with calamitous results. Yet, very little is being done in the realm of prevention.
Sweet Death will help to open your eyes to this overwhelming epidemic that is killing America.
You can order this book, Sweet Death, by calling 1-888-225-6601 or logging onto
You can also buy the book by visiting my clinic at:
12433 Fort St.
Draper, UT 84020

I have a correction to the book I reported on 2 weeks ago from Chris - she has read The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka - but she is currently reading Susanka's more recent book, The Not So Big Life.
Book Description
Most of us have lives that are as cluttered with unwanted obligations as our attics are cluttered with things. The bigger-is-better idea that triggered the explosion of McMansions has spilled over to give us McLives. For many of us, our ability to find the time to do what we want to do has come to a grinding halt. Now we barely have time to take a breath before making the next call on our cell phone, while at the same time messaging someone else on our Blackberry. Our schedules are chaotic and overcommitted, leaving us so stressed that we are numb, yet we wonder why we cannot fall asleep at night.

In The Not So Big Life, Susanka shows us that it is possible to take our finger off the fast-forward button, and to our surprise we find how effortless and rewarding this change can be. We do not have to lead a monastic life or give up the things we love. In fact, the real joy of leading a not so big life is discovering that the life we love has been there the entire time. Through simple exercises and inspiring stories, Susanka shows us that all we need to do is make small shifts in our day–subtle movements that open our minds as if we were finally opening the windows to let in fresh air.

The Not So Big Life reveals that form and function serve not only architectural aims but life goals as well. Just as we can tear down interior walls to reveal space, we can tear down our fears and assumptions to open up new possibilities. The result is that we quickly discover we have all the space and time we need for the things in our lives that really matter. But perhaps the greatest reward is the discovery that small changes can yield enormous results. In her elegant, clear style, Susanka convinces us that less truly is more–much more.

Vocabulary Word of the Week - Caucus - the selection of this word came out of our discussion yesterday about my plans to participate next Saturday in The Colorado Caucus Convention in Denver.
caucus definition
n. pl. cau·cus·es or cau·cus·ses
a. A meeting of the local members of a political party especially to select delegates to a convention or register preferences for candidates running for office.
b. A closed meeting of party members within a legislative body to decide on questions of policy or leadership.
c. A group within a legislative or decision-making body seeking to represent a specific interest or influence a particular area of policy: a minority caucus.
2. Chiefly British A committee within a political party charged with determining policy.
v. cau·cused or cau·cussed, cau·cus·ing or cau·cus·sing, cau·cus·es or cau·cus·ses
To assemble in or hold a caucus.
To assemble or canvass (members of a caucus).
caucus etymology
[After the Caucus Club of Boston (in the 1760s), possibly from Medieval Latin caucus, drinking vessel.]

Website of the Week - - this is a life-coach's approach to handling our mountains of emails in our inbox.

Podcast of the Week
- - a relatively new newsmagazine format on NPR.

Cooking and Food Report

Not too much to report in the way of new recipes except that tonight (Sunday) both Janet and I are making two different recipes for spaghetti sauce with sausage

Janet's is from the Daily Camera - Phil Veneziano's Tomato Sauce -

Susan's is Christiano`s Italian Sausage Spaghetti Sauce from - - just from the way it is "perfuming" the house, I can tell its a winner!

Words of Wisdom - this is wonderful tale that Laila shared with us - it was particularly poignant to me - those of you who know me and my thin hair "issues" will appreciate why.

The Attitude of Three Hairs

There was once a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the
mirror and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

"Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today," so she did
and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw she had
only two hairs on her head.

"HMM," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle
today," and she did and she had a grand day.

The next morning she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw she
had only one hair left on her head.

"Well," she said, "Today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony
tail." So she did and it was a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that
there wasn't a single hair on her head.

"YEAH!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Remember you may not be able to control what someone says or
does or some of the situations that life throws you, but you can
sure control the way you react.
Author Unknown

Here's a special bonus quote dedicated to one our special 3-Day "Leading Ladies" -
"Sometimes in life, you find a special friend. Someone who changes your life just by being a part of it. Someone who makes you laugh until you can't stop. Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world. Someone who convinces you that there really is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open it. This is forever friendship. When you're down and the world seems dark and empty, your forever friend lifts you up in spirit and makes that dark and empty world suddenly seem bright and full. Your forever friend gets you through the hard times, the sad times and the confused times. If you turn and walk away, your forever friend follows. If you lose your way, your forever friend guides you and cheers you on. Your forever friend holds your hand and tells you that everything is going to be okay. And if you find such a friend, you feel happy and complete because you need not worry. You have a forever friend, and forever has no end."

Have a good week!