Deep Down Dark

February book for I Should Have Read That: 
 
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I keep flipping to the photos in the front to attach faces to names.
 
There are a number of book reviews available. I've flagged two and also include a link to a reading guide from the publisher (MacMillan/Farrar, Strauss & Giroux)
 
NY Times review
"Crises of faith are the dominant theme of Héctor Tobar’s “Deep Down Dark,” the story of 33 men who were buried for 69 days in a collapsed Chilean mine in 2010. Crises of faith are the dominant theme of Héctor Tobar’s “Deep Down Dark,” the story of 33 men who were buried for 69 days in a collapsed Chilean mine in 2010. "
 
 
Washington Post
"Miners have a rule: Nobody walks anywhere alone. A slab of rock can peel off suddenly and imprison a man for days. Or a miner can step, without the warning of a shadow, into a fatal crevasse. The buddy system is an expression of the profession’s perils and, ironically, also the limits of its safety: What happens when every man’s life is in danger?"
 
FSG Reading Guide
 
As I've been reading and preparing for the book group, I thought I'd pose questions to consider as a group. These are not the only discussion points, but I'll usually include a few going forward to consider based on these reviews and the guide.
 
I think the question of faith is important. What does it mean to have faith and for those who are atheist and do not look to a higher source or supernatural support, what does it mean to have faith? Where do you find solace? What do you think of the men's continued push/pull with their faith?
 
The story could have been told without the voice of the women, but it isn't. Tobar includes them. What were your initial impressions as the men were leaving their families behind to go into the mines (some on lengthy bus rides)? What about the absence of women. I suspect that there was a western, why aren't there women? prickling going on. What do their perspectives add to the story? Speculate: how would it have been different if it had been men and women below? All women?
 
Did Tobar writing pull you in? Did it feel like he developed a strong narrative? What was he narrator's voice like to you? Does the story work? How so? 
 
Deep Down Dark

Garden

The mosquitoes haven’t fully descended so we are making use of he garden as much as possible. Once the biters are here, they are too thick and determined, even with bug spray (Badger spray, you are amazing).
Juniper and Carver have been churning a couple of patches thanks to gardening tools from Aunty Mandy and construction trucks from Grandmother and Grandpa.
Today, Juniper is home sick from school. She’s inside, camped out in the comfy stroller, reading library books.
Carver is weeding and looking at bugs. I’m hopeful their interest in bugs and insects and creepy crawlies continues. That was me who took them to the giant spider exhibit at the museum of natural history. I deserve a medal for that effort!
Carver made sure the brachiosaurus had leaves to eat. We don’t have any meat handy for the Tyrannosaurus rex. Maybe a roly poly?

Garden

Garden

Garden

Garden

Cooking. Updates.

 

Aunty Cake hates seeing food shots. Aunty Cake, this post is not for you!

I can't help it, I fell off the food wagon and have been killing myself to get back on. Planned meals are far easier to work with. I try to have the week set, and when I don't. Oof. 

Mid-March, I decided to work with Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty. Ottolenghi isn't a vegetarian, but he writes the vegetarian column for The Guardian. His was the first book that my cookbook club reviewed. People said the recipes were cumbersome, but if you drink some wine while doing all the chopping, they aren't so bad. Assembly is, generally, quick. 

 

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Green pancakes with poached eggs.

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This is not from Plenty. This is leftover chicken, quick biscuits, and voila! chicken pot pie, biscuit-style. 

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Unfortunately, my love affair with The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook burned hot and bright. There are a few keeper recipes, like the mushroom bourguignon. But others, like the sweet potato blintzes were total misses. This says a lot considering he smalls' wide range of likes and total willingness to try anything. Far too much cheese for Mister. I might try again with less or no cheese. 

What really bugs me, though, is the layout. Recipes run across multiple pages, and so do the ingredient lists. I find it distracting to follow the recipes, especially the longer ones. Also, ingredients like farmers' cheese aren't readily available, but she offers no alternatives, not even on her blog when people ask (I don't like to recommend something I haven't tried … fine, but don't make the main ingredient a total oddball, then). 

Something to make you laugh:

image from www.flickr.com`This should be an easy loaf of bread to make. Oatmeal molasses bread from Good to the Grain. My loaves either look like this, puffy and deformed (but taste good) or are hard, small, soggy bricks. It has to do with yeast conversion. I don't mind tinkering, but really. Really!

 

Cooking. Updates.

Zoos, Books, Hugs

This is what happens when Uncle J and Aunt E come to town. They walk in, squeals, hellos, jumping around, and then books on the couch. None of the them seem to tire of this ritual. 

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At the Prospect Park Zoo, on a day far colder than we expected. Spinning by the golden monkey tamarin.

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Cold turtles.

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Carver took a nap. Juniper hit the Transit Museum. She hasn't had her own day there in a while. Carver and I have had a couple of mornings of our own while she's in school. It's a brilliant visit for adults and children. You get a history of how the tunnels were made, hands-on activities in electricity (how does that Third Rail really work), buses to drive, and lots, and lots of trains from the beginning of the subway system to run through.

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Working out a workbook with Aunt E. 

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I wasn't kidding about reading together. 

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Zoos, Books, Hugs

Art and the Boy



Carver is following in Juniper's footsteps, taking a music and art class at where she did, and loving it, as she did.

His hand skills aren't as keen and I'm not sure if he likes art as she does because he gives up a bit. Except there.

He made two of these hearts, a combination of paint and stickers and glitter. He more or less painted one side (the goal), then we folded the paper in half to mirror the splotches.

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Glitter. Hearts in positive and negative.

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One for papa, one for Juniper and me and whoever he decides to give it to on any given day.

We did a drop in at an art space near home, too. We had a felting day. Carver swished raw fiber in soapy water until he made a, oh, what would you call it? A worm?

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There's no much more fun for a toddler than a bucket of soapy water and things to squish.

Oh, unless you put it in a bag to moosh. That's good, too.

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Final project, which was a piece of wool stretched out and overlayed with fluff and then washed out. (Want instructions? Check here.)

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Art and the Boy

Spring Break: Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Our exciting subway ride to the Met wasn't the best part of our day. Before we went, we scoured the museum's family map for art we might recognize (more than you'd think!) and art we'd like to see. Our friend, Bryan, was going to join us and we had to look for his grandpa's hat. 

First, we had to find Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm (Number 30). We went through the Africa, Oceania, and The Americas, stopping to look at Power Figure (Nkisi N'Kondi: Mangaaka). A wood figure representing strength and authority, the front is covered with nails. Juniper said the nails were kind of scary and she thought if Carver touched it, he could get hurt. 

 The smalls stand before Pollock's Number 28, 1950. 

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We have a few art/story books (Quiet Time with Cassat, Jacob Lawrence in the City) from Chronicle Publishing including Dancing with Degas.

image from ecx.images-amazon.com

They know who Edgar Degas is, sort of, but they easily recognize his style. Degas! Degas! 

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We found Bryan's grandpa's hat. It's really the foot-combat helmet of Sir Giles Capel, a member of King Henry VIII retinue "that challenged all comers during the tournaments held at the Field of Cloth of Gold, the famous summit meeting between England and France at Calais in 1520." Seriously. How cool to find something from your ancestors in the Met? (No photo, but I should point out that the Assyrian works are from my paternal lineage. Go winged lions!)

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Holding up the ornate stairs near the cafe.

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The girl walked from the museum down to the Alice in Wonderland statue near the Great Lawn and the Conservatory Water, referred to as the Boat Pond by us (and others). 

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After a snack, we continued on our journey, making it down to Columbus Circle. (So, for those without Central Park map on the brain, that's from E. 83rd St. and 5th Ave. (upper middle of the east side) to W. 59th Street and Central Park West/Columbus Circle (the bottom left of the park). Carver was in the stroller, getting out sometimes, but well within his nap time and not napping, but laying low. 

Avoiding hot lava with Bryan.

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King and Queen of the molehill!

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We ended the day in the West Village, playing with friends at one of our favorite parks before picking up burritos from Dos Toros to eat at home. Phew!

Spring Break: Metropolitan Museum of Art