Recipe Day- Bookclub on the Deck by A. Woz

It seems I always get to host our group on starry nights in the spring.

We gather on the deck with fresh salads on our forks and this time, a lovely mojito beverage with mint picked from the front porch flowerbed.

Our discussion is not about food,  not even much about the book we have finished, White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.  We do talk about unlikeable characters, family loyalty, traditions,  but it’s really all reflections of normalcy as compared to our regular lives.

On evenings filled with re-enactments of our real-life laughter moments, frustrations, and a-ha moments, this group really knows how to take the topic from India’s caste system and segue effortlessly into the rigors of teaching our children manners, gratitude and our attempts to accept whatever our ten year olds think it is they need that week, which tonight, includes serious inquiries into getting a cell phone.

The deck railing hides the pushpins holding a string of last year’s twinkling white tree lights and with a blanket and a spare sweater the guests settle back in despite the cooling evening air and voices tinged with shivered sounding syllables. We hug our glasses of wine a little closer and lean in to add our opinions as we try to reclaim the book discussion that brings us together each month.

For just a moment, we are interrupted by the ringing telephone. The neighbor has called to report that a bear has been spotted a half mile away at an intersection in Hometown USA. The guests quickly look under their chairs, lift their sandaled feet and pedicured toes just a few inches  off the deck floorboards,  as if to protect themselves from an ankle lick from a wayward bear.

With gentle assurances we turn on the yard light, make sure the dogs are safe inside the fence and resume our sharing of the details that make us who we are. As our giggles float to the willow tree and the grapevine covered arbor in the side yard, we step back inside to add a spoon of Watermelon Lime Salad to our plates or to grab another serving of Totellini Mozz salad. While we chat, my husband who has graciously tucked the children into bed has an opportunity to have the last of Mel’s Cabin Salad- his favorite.

  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel for July
  • Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson for August
  • You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon for September

– book picks recalled and published here with credit to Karen and her iphone.

Recipes

For best results, use fresh ingredients from a local Community Shares Agriculture farm share. We support Vermont Valley CSA Farm- and farmers Barb and Dave Perkins.

Tortellini Mozz Salad

Fresh or frozen tortellini- tri colored best

2 med. tomatoes diced

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, drained

10 basil leaves, torn

2-3 T Olive Oil

1 can medium olives

Fresh ground pepper.

Cook tortellini according to directions, drain, allow to stop steaming before adding the remaining ingredients. Toss and serve immediately.

Mel’s Cabin Salad

Fresh lettuce mix

1 pint any combination fresh seasonal berries- mulberries, blackberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc.

4 oz slivered almonds

4 tbsp PoppySeed Dressing drizzled on top  (Marzetti’s Natural is a good choice)

Just toss and serve in a pretty salad bowl.

### enjoy! for ChildGrower blog, A. Woz

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Red Tent Book picks for 2010

  • Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout- discussion March 4
  • 19th Wife- David Ebershoff – discussion April 14
  • The Photograph-Penelope Lively – on May 6
  • The White Tiger-Aravind Adiga – on June 3
  • Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel – on July 1
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo-Stieg Larsson on August 5
  • You Remind Me of Me -Dan Chaon for discussion after the mad return to school on September 9

-and we shall gather in the home of a friend, and eat, drink and be merry.

Covergirls Bookclub picks July 2009-Feb 2010 by Annita Woz

We met at the Barnes and Noble on June 18, 2009 for the Covergirls book pick.

Happy Birthday early to Nancy and to Julie! Happy travels to Carol and Karen and the scout’s salute to Joanne. Julie gets first book pick and first pick on hosting dates next time around since she had to work while we were all sitting around enjoying our biscotti and fru-fru beverages at Barnes and Noble.  Out of respect for Julie we looked at nothing shinyy or prettyyyy during the book pick.

We may have a new book clubber, a friend of Carol’s who attended the book signing for Michael Perry’s newest book COOP at B&N on Weds night.  Perry spoke to a large crowd and stayed to autograph books and chat with readers until 11:30pm.   Meeting this Wisconsin author was real treat as he was hilarious. My cheeks actually hurt from laughing so much.

A discussion about a potential legal thriller for the month of September naturally led our group to revisit some unresolved topics. We successfully set precedent that can be referred to at later Covergirls book pick nights such as if someone has seen the movie, it doesn’t count as having read the book; therefore, said book may remain on the table for approval.

And in a live demonstration right in the Barnes and Noble Cafe area, we learned that if we can’t agree between two equally interesting books, someone should threaten to sit on the books and randomly pull out one from under her derriere. This process yields quick results whereby the person who originally suggested the books will truthfully declare her personal preference without worry about offending anyone.

We Did Not Have to Invoke the Hand Signal indicating Overuse of Capital Letters to Reject Any Books.

We also relied on our tried and true method of finding a book based purely on the cover illustration. We expanded The Power of The Cover to determine whether a book makes it on the official reading list.

We found peace in knowing that even though we were calling to tell people we were on the way, when already 40 minutes late,  that we weren’t the first or the last mom-member to experience severe calendar conflicts on the night of book club. We agreed that our kids sometimes take over our schedules and that is just how it is.

Finally, we all agreed that even if life is crazy, even if you have to get dressed in the car or even if you have to come in your PJs, make time to come to the Covergirls book club: just don’t come naked.

We confirmed that we meet the third Thursday of the month at 7:30pm with discussion to begin no later than 8pm, with location anywhere the host wishes to gather.  Hosts should please route out reminder email on the date and the location and clubbers should kindly RSVP.

Drummmmmroll please:

  • July 16 at Mya’s Standing up to the Madness by Amy Goodman & David Goodman.
  • Aug 27 at Mya’s Chef School, Lynne’s Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
  • Sept 17 at Nancy’s The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards
  • Oct 15 at Theresa’s All We Ever Wanted was Everything by Janelle Brown
  • Nov 19 at Annita’s In the Skin of the Lion by Michael Ondaatje
  • Dec 17 at Joanne’s The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  • Jan 14 at Carol’s COOP by Michael Perry

Feb 18th is avail for Karen’s Julie and Julia by Julie Powell if she agrees.  Julie gets first pick on the next book and the first choice on hosting date next time around.

Carol will route the name, info and email address for Elizabeth and we hope to meet a new member at the July gathering.

### For The Covergirls by ChildGrower Annita Woz, June 17, 2009.

Living by Childgrower A. Woz.

gno-moms-feetAll around me, good things seem to be happening.

A 747 lands in the Hudson and no one dies.

A single mom gets her mortgage refinanced and she can breathe again.

A new medicine is working for a little girl and her confidence returns for school days and sleep overs.

A father quits smoking after 50 years and his beautiful voice shares a tune with his son.

A man builds a wind turbine in his back yard and finds his actions start stirring conversations between strangers.

Someone finds a stray dog in Oklahoma and it makes its way to a happy family at the end of the leash who had lost their way once, too.

A father went to war and many months later came home changed, but safe.

A mom is inspired to stop fighting against the bad and to start fighting for the good.

It’s going to be a great year.  I cannot help but feel it.

2008 was a challenge for so many.  Shoulders grew weary.  Boxes of tissues met and held many tears.  Patient humility proved the best kind of support as many waited for their turn to come.

People often just started talking as they wandered, so lost.  It was their heart that took the lead, sought out others,  lightened its burden by revealing its own.

Candles were lit to shine truth on the darkest problems.  Shadows turned into sunshine after much meditation and acceptance.  Lives began living, even as pain made it seem that a new day ought to refuse to arrive out of simple respect for the hardship that kept staring them in the face.

People unloaded their lives by telling their stories and suddenly, instead of crosses those moments became connections.

When they turned to an acquaintance and admitted their weaknesses, they were met with similar confessions.  Strangers would open their mouths and out would come a situation that was overwhelming them.  Standing in the grocery line,  a woman shared with me that her job had been changed and now she was not only doing someone else’s work but also the work of a friend who was now out of a job;  how to be adequately grateful for one’s luck at the misfortune of another was one of her greatest concerns.

At times, kindness came from nowhere. And sometimes good deeds were done and the giver did not even know they gave the gift.

Anonymous checks arrived in mailboxes,  a load of wood was delivered for a wood stove,  a scholarship fund found a child who wanted to join a team.

Meals were delivered to new moms and to moms grieving for lost husbands.  A front door was thrown open to greet an old friend. Women joined bookclubs and found themselves sharing snippets from chapters of their lives, like sisters on a weekend getaway, they took confidence from fresh perspectives.

Front walkways were shoveled for a neighbor, children came home from college, jobs were offered to keep friends close.  Someone else encouraged a stranger with just a simple smile.  Another mom invited a woman in for a cup of coffee and she made a friend.

Cousins grew up and reunited, their children now play together.  The bonds of family, they realized, are rooted in its traditions, its comforting commonness.  With ease, they cheer for each other’s children as if they were their own.

Maybe a promise was not broken, an argument was not started, fidelity was not compromised.  Maybe someone searching for love, looked in a sunny spot, where the world could see all of her value,  and her spirit was renewed.

A neighbor waved to a lonely woman, a ride was offered to a stranger with a broken-down van,  a door was held for a tired mom.

In the local supermarket my little boy is made less restless because a patient clerk takes the time to make a paper airplane.  This mother’s distracted self refocused on  my child, and with a sense of wonder,  I glanced up from my grocery list to share in my son’s delight.  Together, we watched the folded piece of paper soaring into the next aisle and faith in the goodness of others was reaffirmed in this, the smallest gesture.

It is 2009 and I can feel the good things happening all around me.

Have you felt this?

###

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