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, February 24, 2008

Saturday Morning Walkers - February 3, 2008

Hi everyone!

As I write this today, Jack and I are watching Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy and Oprah Winfrey and yes, Maria Shriver (pretty gutsy!) speak at the rally for Barack Obama at UCLA. It is so energizing and motivating - I just want to remind all of you who have the opportunity to vote on Tuesday in a primary or a caucus to please do that and become a part of this historic election.

Yesterday, Mary led us on our "first Saturday of the month" walk and meeting at Caffe Sole. Mary, Christie, Andrea and I missed the rest of you but we had a lovely walk and talk.

Book Report:

I finished two books that have been mentioned on the blog before but they are definintely worth repeating.

Jenn shared with me a wonderful coming-of-age novel by Jim Lynch, The Highest Tide.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The fertile strangeness of marine tidal life becomes a subtly executed metaphor for the bewilderments of adolescence in this tender and authentic coming-of-age novel, Lynch's first. As a precocious, undersized 13-year-old living on the shore of Puget Sound, in Washington State, Miles O'Malley has developed a consuming passion for the abundant life of the tidal flats. His simple pleasure in observing is tested and complicated over the course of a remarkable summer, when he finds a giant squid, a discovery that brings him the unwelcome attention of scientists, TV reporters and a local cult. Meanwhile, Miles's remote parents are considering a divorce; his best friend, Florence, an elderly retired psychic, is dying of a degenerative disease; his sex-obsessed buddy, Phelps, mocks his science-geek knowledge; and his desperate crush on Angie Stegner, the troubled girl next door, both inspires and humiliates him. Events build toward the date of a record high tide, and Miles slowly sorts out his place in the adult world. While occasionally Lynch packs too much into a small story, this moving, unusual take on the summers of childhood conveys a contagious sense of wonder at the variety and mystery of the natural world.

I listened to an audio version of the memoir Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet. This was a recommendation from Jeff who had seen a show on the Discovery Channel which featured Tammet, called Brainman.
Tammet is one of only a handful of autistic savants and this is a unique opportunity to learn about this phenomenon from his own perspective.
One of the world's 50 living autistic savants is the first and only to tell his compelling and inspiring life story and explain how his incredible mind works.
Worldwide, there are fewer than 50 living savants, those autistic individuals who can perform miraculous mental calculations or artistic feats. (Think Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man.) Until now, none of them has been able to discuss his or her thought processes, much less write a book. Daniel Tammet is the first.

Tammet's problems were apparent from childhood. He was shunned by his classmates and often resorted to rocking and humming quietly. Yet he could memorize almost anything, and his math and language skills were astonishing. By high school, Daniel was diagnosed as autistic, and he began to discover his own superhuman abilities: calculating huge sums in his head in seconds, learning new languages in one week, and memorizing more than 22,000 digits of pi.

With heart-melting simplicity and astonishing self-awareness, Born on a Blue Day tells Daniel's story: from his childhood frustrations to adult triumphs, while explaining how his mind works. He thinks in pictures. He sees numbers as complex shapes: 37 is lumpy like porridge; 89 reminds him of falling snow. Today, Daniel has emerged as one of the world's most fascinating minds and inspiring stories. His brain has amazed scientists for years, and everyone will be moved by his remarkable life story.

Website of the Week: - check out their great campaign for Valentines Day to raise money to end poverty among children - kids can make small donations and send valentines.

Podcast of the Week: - many of our favorite shows from TV's C-span, including Booknotes and Road to the White House.

Vocabulary Word of the Week - savant
sa·vant (s-vänt)
1. A learned person; a scholar.
2. An idiot savant.


[French, learned, savant, from Old French, present participle of savoir, to know, from Vulgar Latin sapre, from Latin sapere, to be wise; see sep- in Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Cooking and Dining Report:

I've got some great recipes to share - this week was Jack's birthday and I enjoyed preparing this dinner - all the recipes are from Fine Cooking Magazine:

Arugula Salad with Blood Oranges, Fennel & Ricotta Salata -

Steak au Poivre -

Creamy Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes -

Chocolate-Espresso Mini Souffles - - important note - there is an error in the list of ingredients - it should be two eggs separated, not one.

One other "keeper" of a recipe is Bucatini in a Spicy Tomato Sauce with Crisped Pancetta - also from Fine Cooking. I couldn't find bucatini but spaghetti worked just fine.

That's all for now - once again, don't forget to vote this Tuesday if your state is part of Super Tuesday.



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