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News from the DCA! 6/16/20

Virtual Summer ‘Quick Reads’ Book Group Featuring a Discussion of The All of It, moderated by Esther Bushell

Jeannette Haien’s award-winning first novel, The All of It, relates the seemingly simple tale of a parishioner confiding in her priest, but the tangled confession brings secrets to light that provoke a moral quandary not only for the clergyman but also for the reader as well. This short book (145 pages) has both the power and resonance of myth.

Esther Bushell taught English at Greenwich High School, and when she retired in 2003, she created Literary Matters and began a second career as a book group facilitator. Literary Matters also hosts book events for authors such as E.L. Doctorow, David Brooks, Jim Lehrer, Nicholas Kristof, Jon Meacham, Lori Gottlieb, and Tara Westover.

Tuesday, June 30
7:30pm – 8:30pm

The session will be held virtually on Zoom. A meeting link and password will be emailed the day before to all enrollees. Copies of the book are available at Barrett Bookstore.

Ticket price: $15 DCA members/$20 public

To support the DCA and events like this, please contribute if you can when you register.

Register online by Friday, June 26, or contact the DCA at 203-655-9050 extension 10. Enrollment limited to the first 24 people.

Recommendations and Tips from our Program Groups

Patricia Hedlund, art lover and longtime coordinator of our DCA Art Lecture Series, recommends a video lecture series featuring John Walsh, Director Emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

In fall 2013, John Walsh, Director Emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, presented “Let This Be a Lesson,” a 12-lecture series that took a close look at important paintings at Yale representing scenes from history, myth, scripture, and literature. They depict situations in which moral issues are at stake, usually acts of heroism. Watch and ask yourself, “Do these works pose moral questions still worth considering today?”

Carolyn Eddie, of Carolyn’s Absolutely Fabulous Events and caterer for our DCA afternoon teas, has graciously done another cooking video for the DCA. This is a recipe that’s particularly delicious in the summer, as fresh basil and tomatoes become available. You can also find the recipe on her blog.

News from the DCA! 5/21/20

Virtual Book Talk: Barrett Bookstore and the DCA Present Richard Haass, In Conversation with Darien’s Kevin Peraino

Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass discusses his new book The World: A Brief Introduction with fellow author and Council member Kevin Peraino. Now more than ever, we know that many of our biggest challenges come from the world beyond our borders. Richard Haass, former senior Middle East advisor to President George H. W. Bush, draws from his extensive experience as a diplomat and policymaker to present a primer on international relations.

Thursday, June 4

Ticket price: $25 (includes hardcover book)*
*Ticket price represents only the discounted cost of the book from Barrett Bookstore.

To support the DCA and events like this, please contribute if you can when you register.

Register online by June 2, or contact the DCA at 203-655-9050 extension 10.

You will receive an email the day before the event with the videoconference access details.

You will be notified when books are available for pick-up at Barrett Bookstore. Please call the store at 203-655-2712 if you need to make other arrangements.

Renew Your Membership/Join the DCA!

Our new membership year is about to begin, and we are encouraging the community to become a DCA member/renew their existing membership online.

Membership has always provided critical support to our mission, and allows us to continue our many philanthropic ventures and renowned Darien High School college scholarship program. Now, with our inability to host in-person events or operate our DCA Thrift Shop, membership is our only reliable source of revenue.

DCA members enjoy discounted admission for our activities, and know that membership can pay for itself simply by participating in several events each year.

We want to continue to be the place in our community for all to gather, give and learn. We hope you will support our membership campaign, and we look forward to welcoming you back to the DCA sometime soon. In the meantime, we will continue to offer online content and virtual programming opportunities.

P.S. If you prefer to make payment over the phone or via check, please leave a message with our office manager, Marilyn DeMaio, at 203-655-9050 extension 10.

DCA College Scholarships

The DCA is pleased to share that we are fully funding our Darien High School (DHS) college scholarship program, at a similar level to last year. Our volunteer scholarship committee will be starting their interviews soon – of both Darien High School senior applicants as well as reapplying students who are currently in college.

Our scholarship program is almost 80 years old, and a mainstay of the DCA’s community philanthropy. The DCA is the largest provider of scholarships to DHS graduates.

It has been a difficult time for the DHS Class of 2020 and college students. We’ll look forward to providing much-needed financial support, and celebrating our accomplished award recipients, once they are selected. Stay tuned!

Community Corner

Vicki Peters is one of our talented DCA volunteers who helps to beautifully decorate the Meadowlands mansion for the holidays. More recently, she’s been using her creative skills to sew masks, including those shown here, which she donates to Stamford Hospital. We are happy to share that men’s shirts sourced from our DCA Thrift Shop have been a welcome source of fabric and patterns for her masks.



News from the DCA! 5/01/20

In this edition, we continue to share recommendations and news from our DCA program partners.

A Soup for all Seasons! 
This lentil soup recipe includes the anti-inflammatory spice turmeric, and is suggested by Dr. Katie Takayasu, who has presented at the DCA on wellness topics. Enjoy it hot or cold.

Dr. Katie, as she’s known to her patients, is an Integrative Medicine physician at Stamford Health, and her helpful website features numerous other recipes and health tips.

More from the Absolutely Fabulous Kitchen 

Carolyn Eddie of Carolyn’s Absolutely Fabulous Events has generously created another cooking video especially for the DCA. If we can’t be at the DCA in person for an afternoon tea and her wonderful chocolate-dipped macaroons, this is the next best thing.

Start Your Own Blog

Holly Hurd has spoken at our DCA Women’s Luncheons, and is a dynamic volunteer on our Darien Neighbors, Global Players speaker series committee. She’s also the founder of VentureMom.com, a site that profiles successful female entrepreneurs, and provides them a platform to create, build and grow their own business. With all that is going on, you may think it’s an unlikely time to start blogging. But Holly proposes that it’s an opportunity to consider sharing your ideas, skills or experience – also acting as a positive way to channel emotions and stress. Read more from Holly!

Browne and Company curbside pickup next week

Diane Browne Catering is one of our DCA preferred caterers and a longstanding partner for both DCA programs as well as rental events. Beginning next week, Diane will be offering a limited menu from her kitchen/café for curbside pickup only.


Community Corner

Mental health video series
To help address the impact of isolation and anxiety during the pandemic crisis, a series of 15 videos on mental health topics are available on the Town of Darien’s TV79 on-demand platform. These videos provide inspirational messages and supportive strategies for coping during these uncertain times.

This initiative is a collaboration between Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson, various health professionals and clergy, The Darien Foundation, Darien Athletic Foundation (DAF) Media and Darien TV79.

Community Dinner for a Cause: Saturday, May 9
The Community Fund of Darien is offering a family dinner with curbside pick-up – with half of the purchase price directed to local food pantries which help our neighbors. Michael Joseph’s Catering, a DCA preferred caterer and frequent partner, is providing the dinner – which will also include a bottle of wine from SipStirs and noisemakers for the Town of Darien’s weekly “Ringing of the Bells.” You can even add a small floral bouquet (for Mother’s Day) from Nielsen’s Florist, one of our DCA named scholarship sponsors.

News from the DCA! 4/17/20

Mad for Mah Jongg
DCA instructor Donna Holt used Zoom to share her insights with 20 participants about the new 2020 card, as well as tips for playing Mah Jongg online during these times of social distancing.


realmahjongg.com allows a free two week trial playing against the computer, your friends or anyone else playing at the time you log on. After that it’s $5.99/month ($4.99/month if you sign up for a year in advance). If you know a friend’s game name, you can search to see if they are currently playing when you log on. Many weekly groups have continued to play at the same time on this site, and add in FaceTime on their iPhones so they can chat. It’s a lot of fun, so give it a try.

myjongg.net. Create an account and play up to eight free games per day. You can also sign up for a Premier Membership for $40/year with extra benefits.

mahjongtime.com. Create a free account. This site offers many versions of MJ (Taiwanese, Riichi, Hong Kong, etc.) and online tournaments.

Virtual fashion show 
We’ve had a blast hosting fashion shows at the DCA with Rosey Costello of Everything Is Rosey. Rosey and friends have created a video fashion show with local residents modeling her latest styles, ranging from popular dresses, tops and wraps – to comfy pjs. It’s a chance to enjoy some shopping and some smiles while supporting a favorite store. A percentage of sales will support Corbin Cares, funding the purchase of meals from local restaurants for Food Rescue US.


Just click on the link for the video, which includes ordering instructions.

Book ideas!

Over the last several years, the DCA has collaborated with Barrett Bookstore to bring numerous bestselling authors to our community, including Jon Meacham, Amor Towles and Paula McLain.  If you attended any of these events, you’ll remember how magical they were. Why not catch up on a title you haven’t read? The list below is currently in stock at Barrett. One of them is bound to suit your reading taste and mood right now. You can order from the Barrett Bookstore website (with back door pick-up or home delivery option for Darien and Rowayton). Or, you can give the store a call at 655-2712 from 10:00am – 2:00pm and speak to one of their booksellers. They are happy to make other reading recommendations as well.

Jon Meacham: Destiny and Power, The Hope of Glory, Songs of America, The Soul of America

Amor Towles: A Gentleman in Moscow, Rules of Civility

Paula McLain: Circling the Sun, Love and Ruin, The Paris Wife

When you’re ready for someone else to cook…

Michael Joseph’s in Darien caters our monthly Women’s Luncheons as well as many private rental events at the DCA. Always community-minded, they have been making weekly dinner donations to families in need within town, as well as supporting first responders and healthcare professionals. They are offering family style meals for four, ranging from crowd-pleasing chicken or eggplant parm, to tasty grilled salmon. If you are looking for something different, they can discuss more menu options from their takeout dinner case – and they offer home delivery as well as store pick-up. 656-9616.

Community Corner 
Last Saturday evening’s celebration of our healthcare professionals and first responders was inspiring – and will now be a weekly tradition. Join your neighborhood, bang pots, or ring bells! Saturday April 18 – May 16, 7:00-7:05pm.

Happy Easter! 4/10/20

We are thinking of you and are sorry that we aren’t able to host our annual egg hunt today. But the DCA (and the Easter Bunny) want to wish you and your family a happy Easter.

The DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail is open. Please enjoy it with required social distancing.

Absolutely Fabulous Flourless Chocolate Cake for Easter

Carolyn Eddie of Carolyn’s Absolutely Fabulous Events, and caterer for our beloved afternoon teas, solves your Easter dessert dilemma! Because there’s no such thing as too much chocolate. Watch Carolyn’s video here.

Tips and Ideas from our Program Volunteers 4/9/20

In this edition, we continue to share recommendations and news from our DCA groups.

Darien Men’s Association

Sponsored by the DCA, the Darien Men’s Association is known for their great speakers and informed audience. Their current affairs group suggests the website Intelligence Squared Debates for a thoughtful and fair look at the issues.

Duo Piano Group

For a beautiful and relaxing escape, our Duo Piano Group finds themselves listening to WQXR at 105.9 FM, a member-supported classical station.

They are also enjoying, appropriate for the season, John Rutter’s playlist “Flowers,” featuring the Cambridge Singers

Scholarship Stories: Anthony Dushku, Clinical Nurse 

As we applaud our healthcare workers, we thought it was timely to profile Anthony Dushku, one of our DCA scholarship recipients from the Darien High School Class of 2008. After graduation, Anthony went on to study nursing at the University of Connecticut. He worked for seven years in nursing positions at Stamford Hospital, and is now a clinical nurse in the cardiothoracic surgery ICU at the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia. Anthony writes “None of this could be possible without the amazing charitable support of the Darien Community Association, which provided me with both financial and motivational support throughout my college career.”

Community Corner

Corbin Cares is an initiative launched by The Corbin District, in collaboration with several nonprofit agencies and local restaurants – supporting those in our community who are food insecure, as well as hospital and healthcare workers.

At-home Tips and Ideas from Our Program Volunteers and Partners  3/25/20

We are continuing to share inspiration from our program volunteers, speakers and partners, to help keep you as engaged and enriched as possible during this time. We’ve also added a “Community Corner” section at the bottom of this e-blast, to highlight other local news and suggestions.

This e-blast focuses on cooking, with contributions from two of our DCA partners who know their way around a kitchen!

Laura Boulton, DCA Catered Events Coordinator

Laura’s love of food comes from her experience in the catering industry and now as a seasoned event planner. If you haven’t met her at the DCA, you’ve probably seen her out running in town. We asked Laura to share her thoughts:

What brings us together?   It is shared experiences, celebrations, our community, family and friends. During challenging times such as these when we cannot gather we feel disconnected. The nature of what I do is to bring people together, yet we are being told to stay apart. How to stay in touch with others and maintain some degree of normalcy in our lives can be difficult and stressful. I for one, find peace of mind in exercise and also in cooking. Running gets me outdoors where I can push myself physically and release stress. Cooking is also a great opportunity for me to use my hands, create new dishes and share the result with family. It brings me comfort and happiness.

I look forward to when we can all return to our routines and congregate together. In the meantime, I invite you to try my recipe for stress relief and grab a cutting board, some ingredients and find your happy by cooking.

To prepare during these uncertain times I have a few tips:

1.  Start by getting you pantry and freezer cleaned out.  You likely have some free time now so toss anything old and tired.

2. Think about buying things that can be kept in the freezer or pantry like, frozen fruits/veggies; canned goods; whole grains; boxed, plant based milk; whole grain flours; bags of onions and garlic; meats and seafood that can be frozen.

3.  Think in terms of healthy eating.  Make eating good foods your top priority.  Eat citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, dark leafy greens and yogurt.  Add spices and herbs to your dishes.

4. Plan!  We are all encouraged to stay home and to avoid going to the store frequently.  This is the time to make a list of what you can prepare, double and freeze like soups, stews.

5.  And by all means, let’s take care of each other.

Here is a link to one of my favorite chef’s simple recipes that she has refreshed and posted for all to enjoy.

Carolyn Eddie, Carolyn’s Absolutely Fabulous Events

Carolyn (and her absolutely fabulous team) caters our afternoon teas, and her scones are legendary. We hope to offer another tea in the not-too-distant future, but in the meantime, why not make a batch of her scones yourself? As Carolyn suggests, “freeze the rest for a wee treat later. Because, with all of us hanging out at home together, we need a wee treat.”

Community Corner

The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage. Please consider donating. You can make an appointment online.

Hello from the DCA!  3/19/20
Sharing Information, Tips and Recommendations

Our programs may be suspended, but we’d like the ideas and the thinking they generate to continue.

So until we can welcome you back to the DCA in person, we’ll be sharing ideas from our program volunteers, speakers and partners – in lieu of our regular Sunday e-blast – to help provide some enrichment and inspiration.

It’s Tea Time

Last October our Women’s Luncheons featured a presentation from Bigelow Tea, including a discussion of the health benefits of tea. Herbal teas, in particular, are said to have a calming effect. Check out their website for this and many other tips.

Rules for Couples

In January, we partnered with Barrett Bookstore to host a laughter-filled evening with Patricia Marx and Roz Chast, authors of You Can Only Yell at Me For One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples.

With households (and couples!) more confined, their irreverent wit is even more timely and will help keep you smiling.

Copies of You Can Only Yell at Me For One Thing at a Time are available from Barrett Bookstore, and may be ordered from their website. They are currently offering curbside pickup and free delivery in Darien and Rowayton. Other titles from Roz Chast are available as well.

Get Out in the Garden!

Our Greenhouse Group volunteers have plenty of ideas for things you can do outside, and to get your garden ready.

1. Prune off last year’s dead growth from plants with new growth out at the bottom: plants such as pulmonaria, tiarella, astilbe, etc…

2. Remove the burlap from the shrubs and trees you protected over the winter.

3. Dump the old soil from last year’s pots and planters into the compost and scrub these containers in preparation for new spring plantings.

4. Starting seeds of vegetables can be done now and is a great project to keep your young children occupied!

5. Prune your hydrangeas and clematis (ones that do not bud in fall.)

6. Clean up winter debris (branches and twigs) and rake out your beds of old leaves.

7. After cleaning compost and/or mulch beds that will not be receiving any new spring plantings.

8. Sweep patios and porches.

9. Take down and clean out your birdhouses.

10. Sweep out your garage and clean and organize tools.