Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
Meander and Meet....designed by George Peters and Melanie Walker of Airworks For more information contact Susan at

Friday, December 14, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - December 9, 2007

Hi everyone!

Well, we've had a pretty snowy weekend here in Boulder - it didn't stop us from venturing out on Saturday morning for breakfast at Panera's but we didn't walk any further than the new Anthropologie store a few doors down the sidewalk at the 29th Street Mall. What a terrific turnout we had! We were so delighted to see Jackie and Annette along with "regulars", Barb, Jan, Andrea, Christie, Mary, Laila and me. I do have lots to share with you this week. First of all, as you all know, I really promoted online and catalog shopping last week. As a nod to my daughter, Libby and her livelihood, I should also encourage you all to hit the outlet malls for great deals this season, especially from J. Crew's Factory Stores. As some of you may know Libby is an executive vice-president in charge of J. Crew's Factory Stores.

On Saturday night, Jack, Jan and I went to see and hear Naomi Klein, a journalist with Nation Magazine, speak about her latest book, The Shock Doctrine. Jack is currently reading it and strongly recommends this book. He considers some of her ideas pretty revolutionary and important to consider. She was an outstanding speaker - smart, strong and clear. I particularly appreciated the fact that she's not just another "angry" liberal who just screams criticism that really can't be heard. She's clearly done her homework and presents some fascinating ideas to think about. Please check out her website

Book Report:

I'm wondering if any of you ever read Reservation Road by John Burnham Schwartz. It is coming out shortly as a movie and I'm eager to see it. It was a gread read.
"Explain this to me: One minute there is a boy, a life thrumming with possibilities, and the next there are marked cars and strangers in uniform and the fractured whirling lights. And that, suddenly, is all the world has to offer." This is the voice of Ethan Learner, a college professor who has just watched his 10-year-old son, Josh, die in a hit-and-run accident on a silent Connecticut road.
John Burnham Schwartz's Bicycle Days (1989) received favorable reviews but seemed very much an autobiographical first novel. His second fiction, Reservation Road, however, is a book that resists genres: a tragedy where all the characters are flawed and none are entirely guilty; a thriller where the killer, Dwight, wants to be caught but is too laden with self-loathing to turn himself in; and an experimental novel where the narrative jumps gracefully among three perspectives.

In the opening pages Schwartz establishes strong connections between fathers and sons. Moments before the accident Ethan watches his son standing precariously close to the curb; he sees possibilities in Josh, a shy boy whose musical gifts indicate a sensitivity that is no less present, though more mature, in his father. At the same time, Dwight and his son, Sam (also 10), are rushing home from an extra-innings Red Sox game where Dwight tries to rebuild the fragments of attachment left after a bitter divorce. Schwartz reveals depth in simple gestures--a hand, for example, placed in a hand, only to be self-consciously pulled away. Dwight drives on after hitting Josh, though he slows in a moment of hesitation in which Ethan hears him calling "Sam" or "Sham"--he's not sure which. Out of grief, and with only scattered clues, Ethan begins his quiet pursuit of the killer, a pursuit that fuels the novel to its poetic conclusion. In Reservation Road, John Burnham Schwartz has crafted a lasting work of literature, a page-turner that's also a rich character study. --Patrick O'Kelley

Laila recently read Don't Let's Go the the Dogs Tonight, a wonderful memoir by Alexandra Fuller. This is her story of growing up a white girl in Africa. Our book group read this and just loved it.

From Publishers Weekly
A classic is born in this tender, intensely moving and even delightful journey through a white African girl's childhood. Born in England and now living in Wyoming, Fuller was conceived and bred on African soil during the Rhodesian civil war (1971-1979), a world where children over five "learn[ed] how to load an FN rifle magazine, strip and clean all the guns in the house, and ultimately, shoot-to-kill." With a unique and subtle sensitivity to racial issues, Fuller describes her parents' racism and the wartime relationships between blacks and whites through a child's watchful eyes. Curfews and war, mosquitoes, land mines, ambushes and "an abundance of leopards" are the stuff of this childhood. "Dad has to go out into the bush... and find terrorists and fight them"; Mum saves the family from an Egyptian spitting cobra; they both fight "to keep one country in Africa white-run." The "A" schools ("with the best teachers and facilities") are for white children; "B" schools serve "children who are neither black nor white"; and "C" schools are for black children. Fuller's world is marked by sudden, drastic changes: the farm is taken away for "land redistribution"; one term at school, five white students are "left in the boarding house... among two hundred African students"; three of her four siblings die in infancy; the family constantly sets up house in hostile, desolate environments as they move from Rhodesia to Zambia to Malawi and back to Zambia. But Fuller's remarkable affection for her parents (who are racists) and her homeland (brutal under white and black rule) shines through. This affection, in spite of its subjects' prominent flaws, reveals their humanity and allows the reader direct entry into her world. Fuller's book has the promise of being widely read and remaining of interest for years to come. Photos not seen by PW. (On-sale Dec. 18)Forecast: Like Anne Frank's diary, this work captures the tone of a very young person caught up in her own small world as she witnesses a far larger historical event. It will appeal to those looking for a good story as well as anyone seeking firsthand reportage of white southern Africa. The quirky title and jacket will propel curious shoppers to pick it up.

Jackie has two recommendations, both non-fiction:

Martha Beck's, Finding Your Own North Star - Martha Beck is a life-coach and author who is often featured in O Magazine. Rae and I read her first book, a memoir called Expecting Adam, about the birth of her Down's Syndrome child. I think that Rae did a workshop with her and was very impressed.

From Publishers Weekly
A fixed point in the sky that helps mariners stay on course, the North Star emerges as a symbol for realizing one's true potential in this cheerful and perceptive but too-long book. Though her navigational metaphors lose force with repetition, Beck's voice is light, down-to-earth and refreshing. Having found her way on her own journey from academia (she was a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School) to becoming an author (of Expecting Adam, a warmly received memoir about the birth of her Down's syndrome baby), Beck currently consults with clients on redirecting their lives. She teaches that each individual has a core personality that encompasses one's desires, emotions and preferences, which is sometimes blocked by a social self that responds to external influences and cultivates survival skills. By far the most fascinating material is on how to read warnings from the essential self: low energy, lapses into illness, forgetfulness, addictions, Freudian slips and mood swings. She advises steering toward the correct path by eliminating negative influences and practicing elaborate self-esteem exercises. A section on navigating change weighs the book down while suggestions for dealing with serious emotions like grief and anger are somewhat breezy. In the end, however, the numerous self-quizzes, exercises and chances to laugh will allow many readers to overlook these weaknesses. (Mar.)Forecast: Given the success of Expecting Adam and Beck's freelance contributions to Mademoiselle, Real Simple and Redbook, the author is likely to shine in a constellation of media venues and has a solid shot at capturing the imaginations of self-help seekers.

Mehmet Oz', Healing from the Heart - an early book from Dr. Oz, Oprah's favorite doctor which presents his approach to medicine from both Eastern and Western traditions

From Library Journal
Oz, a noted cardiovascular surgeon and director of the Complementary Care Center at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, relates his experiences in combining complementary medicine with more traditional treatments. Today, his scientific approach is setting the standard for measuring outcomes and benefits of various complementary healing modalities in pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operative cardiac surgery patients. His multidisciplinary team of nurses, energy healers, and various health practitioners continues to integrate and investigate the roles of music therapy, hypnotherapy, nutrition, massage therapy, yoga, and therapeutic touch in allopathic medicine. Not since Norman Cousins's Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient (LJ 9/1/79) has the patient's mind-body healing potential been so eloquently described.

Website of the Week - - Charity Navigator site enables you to check on all of those requests for donations you receive.

Podcast of the Week - - Interview with Naomi Klein of the Shock Doctrine.

Vocabulary Word of the Week - Shock according to Naomi Klein
"A state of shock is, by definition, a moment when there is a gap between fast-moving events and the information that exists to explain them. Yet as soon as we have a new narrative that offers a perspective on the shocking events, we become reoriented and the world begins to make sense again."

Cooking and Dining Report:

Libby had a dinner party this weekend and served a wonderful artichoke recipe from Giada de Laurentiis of the Food Network - Artichoke Gratinata -,1977,FOOD_9936_36675,00.html

I made a recipe for Grilled Flank Steak with Shallot and Red Wine Sauce and Cracked Potatoes from Amy Finley, the most recent winner of the Next Food Network Star contest. I loved it!,1977,FOOD_9936_75395,00.html - Grilled Flank Steak,1977,FOOD_9936_75394,00.html - Cracked Potatoes

Judy sent me a recipe that she liked from Fine Cooking Magazine - Israeli Couscous with Saffron, Toasted Pine Nuts and Currants - you can easily make this dish an hour or two in advance, let it sit at room temperature and gently reheat it before serving (hold off adding the pine nuts until the last minute)
4T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice (1 1/4 cups)
4 scallions, thinkly sliced (white and green parts kept separate)
30 saffron threads (about 1/8 t), lightly toasted and crumbled
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
Generous pinch ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups Israeli couscous
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup currants, soaked in warm water until tender and then drained
3 T chopped fresh fla-leaf parsley

Heat 2 T of the oil in a 10 inch straight-sided saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, scallion whites, saffron, red pepper flakes, and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and golden brown, 7 - 8 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 T oil, the garlic anc cinnamon and continue to cook for 1 minute more. Add the couscous and 1 1/2 t salt and stir constantly until the couscous is lightly toasted (the color will turna light brown), 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the water to the pan with the couscous, sitr to combine, cover, and cook at a simmer over medium-low to low heat until the couscous is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid, about 10 minutes.

Add the pine nuts, currants, and parsley and toss to combine. Season to taste with more salt if necessary. Transfer to a platter or distribute among individual plates, sprinkle the scallion greens on top, and serve.

Hope you'll try one of these recipes - enjoy!

Have a good week - take a moment over these next days leading up to the holidays to sit quietly, take a breath, and count your blessings.



Saturday Morning Walkers - December 2, 2007

Hi everyone!

Well it does look like winter has arrived. The Saturday Morning Walkers opted to spend our walking time yesterday staying warm over coffee, etc. at Caffe Sole. We did plan our upcoming month's walks - I'm doing Saturday the 8th, Christie is doing the 15th, Jan is doing the 22nd and Mary is doing the 29th. We did a lot of catching up after the Thanksgving holiday and did talk a bit about getting ready for the upcoming holidays. Chanukah (also known as Hanukkah) begins at sunset on December 4 and lasts for 8 nights until December 12. For a bit of an education about Chanukah check out this site geared to children Of course, we have Christmas and New Year's celebrations coming up as well. Be sure and scroll down for some great suggestions for enjoying the holidays and keeping them simple and low stress.

Oh - almost forgot to mention this - I was contacted and interviewed by Tony Kahn, the host of Morning Stories, a podcast out of Boston's public radio station WGBH that I featured a couple of weeks ago. He happened to see the posting on my blog and was very interested to know about our walking group and the labyrinth. We had a wonderful conversation - I'm not sure how it will be used on their podcast but I will keep you posted. Once again the website is

Book Report:
I finished listening to Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer - I do recommend it although I did get bogged down at different points along the way. It is a fascinating story - it is hard to imagine it as a movie though - guess I'll have to check it out.
I also finally finished reading Jane Hamilton's When Madeline was Young. It was not my favorite of her books and almost quit along the way but I ended up getting pretty engaged with the narrator's character and was glad that I stuck with it.
Check out earlier posts for professional reviews of these two books.

I just started the memoir that Rae recommended last week by Julie Powell, Julie and Julia - I'm already enjoying it so much - it is a great book for all of us "foodies". It actually grew out of a blog that Powell wrote as she worked her way through all of Julia Child's recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Hmmm - quite an inspiration!

Rae and her book group (which is co-ed, by the way) read and highly recommends Ian McEwan's latest book, On Chesil Beach.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Not quite novel or novella, McEwan's masterful 13th work of fiction most resembles a five-part classical drama rendered in prose. It opens on the anxious Dorset Coast wedding suite dinner of Edward Mayhew and the former Florence Ponting, married in the summer of 1963 at 23 and 22 respectively; the looming dramatic crisis is the marriage's impending consummation, or lack of it. Edward is a rough-hewn but sweet student of history, son of an Oxfordshire primary school headmaster and a mother who was brain damaged in an accident when Edward was five. Florence, daughter of a businessman and (a rarity then) a female Oxford philosophy professor, is intense but warm and has founded a string quartet. Their fears about sex and their inability to discuss them form the story's center. At the book's midpoint, McEwan (Atonement, etc.) goes into forensic detail about their naïve and disastrous efforts on the marriage bed, and the final chapter presents the couple's explosive postcoital confrontation on Chesil Beach. Staying very close to this marital trauma and the circumstances surrounding it (particularly class), McEwan's flawless omniscient narration has a curious (and not unpleasantly condescending) fable-like quality, as if an older self were simultaneously disavowing and affirming a younger. The story itself isn't arresting, but the narrator's journey through it is. (June)

Website of the Week - - check out discount coupons for all sorts of products - may help save some money while you're gift shopping.

Podcast of the Week - - WGBH Forum Network Live and Archived Webcasts of Free Public Lectures
in Partnership with Boston's Leading Cultural and Educational Organizations.
Presented by WGBH in association with the Lowell Institute.

Vocabulary Word of the Week - omniscient - from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
New Latin omniscient-, omnisciens, back-formation from Medieval Latin omniscientia
circa 1604
1 : having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight 2 : possessed of universal or complete knowledge
— om·ni·scient·ly adverb

Cooking and Dining Report: not a whole lot of cooking going on here this week.

I made this last Sunday - Easy Spaghetti Bolognese from the Williams Sonoma Catalog - it is a recipe that was actually designed for use with the All Clad Slow Cooker which features a ceramic insert that you can brown things in on the stovetop and then put back in the base to finish out slowly. I do not have such a device so I just did it on the stove top and cooked the sauce for about 45 minutes after browning the meat. Jack awarded this a gold start! It was so easy and delicious. Great for a cold winter night!

Tips for the Season: a general suggestion to save on time, energy, fuel costs and wear and tear - shop by catalog or online! On line merchants often eliminate their shipping costs if you order by a certain date and they will sometimes wrap your gifts and send them directly to the recipient.

A great gift idea for that person who has everything - an antique map of the place they live or a special place they love - visit Art Source International on Pearl Street in Boulder or order from their website -

A suggestion from Barb - check out the Wine Merchant Catalog - - great gift ideas here.

Need a gift for a family with kids? Consider a family membership at a local museum, zoo or aquarium.

Have a teenager you have no idea what to give - gift cards and gift certificates are a great solution - especially Itunes gift cards!

Give a donation to an organization in someone's name - a great one is or
How about a membership to audio book site or dvd site

I sure hope you'll send me any other great suggestions for gifts or tips for making the holiday season enjoyable.

Have a great week......


Saturday Morning Walkers - November 25, 2007

Hi everyone,
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I want to apologize for the email you may have received last week about a recipe exchange. I am now going to send out this blog email using blind carbon copy so that this kind of thing doesn't continue to happen. I would also ask that if you do want to reply to these emails, and I do love receiving your feedback, that you do not use "reply all". I know that we all receive more emails than we would like and hopefully this will help. Also, if you ever want to be removed from my list, please just let me know - I will not be offended!

We returned from our weekend in Louisville, Kentucky yesterday. Jack and I enjoyed our visit with David and Cora Potter and our newlyweds, David and Libby Potter. We had a wonderful tour of Louisville and Lexington, had some great Kentucky cooking, spent Thanksgiving with several other Potter relatives and got to know other family and friends at a reception for David and Libby at the Potters' beautiful home. We had a great dose of that Southern hospitality. We even visited a labyrinth at the Church of the Epiphany, a Catholic Church in Louisville - David took some great photos which I'll try to include soon. I'll have some other details below in the Cooking and Dining section.

Book Report:

I've been listening to Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer - it has been a great "read" to listen to.
What would possess a gifted young man recently graduated from college to literally walk away from his life? Noted outdoor writer and mountaineer Jon Krakauer tackles that question in his reporting on Chris McCandless, whose emaciated body was found in an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderness in 1992.
Described by friends and relatives as smart, literate, compassionate, and funny, did McCandless simply read too much Thoreau and Jack London and lose sight of the dangers of heading into the wilderness alone? Krakauer, whose own adventures have taken him to the perilous heights of Everest, provides some answers by exploring the pull the outdoors, seductive yet often dangerous, has had on his own life.

Rae read and enjoyed the memoir, Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powel.

Book Description

Nearing 30 and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, JuliePowell resolved to reclaim her life by cooking, in the span of a singleyear, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering theArt of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respectfor calves' livers and aspic, but a new life--lived with gusto.

Website of the Week: - a great source for audio books that can be downloaded to your Ipod or burned onto a CD -

Podcast of the Week: The New Yorker Out Loud - you can either go to the New Yorker website or do directly to and search for The New Yorker Out Loud

Vocabulary Word of the Week - Querulous - from

querulous \KWER-uh-luhs; -yuh\, adjective:
1. Apt to find fault; habitually complaining.
2. Expressing complaint; fretful; whining.

Querulous Oscar rattles on, never more or less than himself, but never much more than the content of his grumpy rattling.
-- Sven Birkerts, "A Frolic of His Own", New Republic, February 7, 1994

Mam is a tragic figure when transported to New York by her successful sons -- querulous, unable to get a decent cup of tea.
-- Maureen Howard, "McCourt's New World", New York Times, September 19, 1999

Men who feel strong in the justice of their cause, or confident in their powers, do not waste breath in childish boasts of their own superiority and querulous depreciation of their antagonists.
-- James Russell Lowell, "The Pickens-and-Stealin's Rebellion", The Atlantic, June 1861

Querulous comes from Latin querulus, from queri, "to complain."

Cooking and Dining Report - notes from our trip to Louisville:

We arrived in Louisville late Tuesday evening and went directly to our lovely B & B, The Inn at Woodhaven . A delightlful Victorian home just up the road from the Potters.

Breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Inn was excellent. Scrambled eggs and bacon for me and blueberry pancakes for Jack. Cereal, fruit, yogurt, muffins and pastries were out and available as well.

David and Cora graciously gave us a tour of the Lousiville and Lexington countryside, featuring the most elegant and grand horse farms. Of special note were the stone fences built by Irish masons and continue to be maintained by descendants of those Irish families. After a stop at the Woodford Reserve Distillery for a sample of honest-to-goodness Kentucky Bourbon - did you know that only Kentucky is allowed to used the name Bourbon? Tennesee and Virginia call their version Whiskey. The good news is that we got to sample very special bourbon; The bad news is that I really liked it!

Lunch was at a very special place in Shelbyville, KY, called Science Hill Inn, formerly a girls' school building, and now a restaurant and the WakefieldScearce Gallery The menu featured High Country Southern cooking. David and I had shrimp and bacon with grits which was delicious and quite rich. Cora had a grilled eggplant sandwich and Jack had the fried chicken - yum! After lunch, we toured the amazing gallery which featured silver antiques and other gorgeous home accessories, all of which were for sale.

Back to the Inn for relaxation and hot tea for me - I sat in the parlor, sipped tea and read my book - the perfect way to spend the rest of the afternoon.
Libby, David, and Violet arrived on Wednesday evening and we all (Violet stayed home with her "cousins", Lucy the black lab and Charlie, the chocolate lab) headed out for a low country Southern dinner of fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, great coleslaw, corn bread that looked like latkes, fried oysters, porkchops - dry county, no alcohol! Fun place - great southern cooking!

Of course, Thursday was a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with the Potter family - the turkey was delicious!

Friday's reception for Libby and David was catered by O'Callaghans Catering. The food and presentation were outstanding! Some of the features were a cheddar cheese mousse, brie in puff pastry, farfalle pasta salad, and beef tenderloin - all delicious! Cora's friend Bonnie provided a beautiful wedding cake for dessert.

So with all the wedding festivities and Thanksgiving behind us, it is now time to start thinking about the upcoming Chanukah and Christmas holidays. I'd like to feature some of your favorite holiday traditions,gift ideas and shopping websites over the next few weeks, so please share those with me soon.

Have a wonderful week ahead.....