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Heheh - so I'm still alive, if you were wondering

I've mainly been posting on Facebook, but I am still alive.

I've been reading, although mainly about hide-covered boats, rather than full books. I didn't hit 100, but that's okay. I'm looking forward to a new subject to research for the coming year - not sure what, yet.

We're building another coracle this weekend at the Witte Museum - and then it'll be my turn to build the 'official' coracle for Kingdom A&S. I still have 1.5 months to go, so I'm not worried. My research packet for the project is VERY comprehensive - you know it's bad when it makes sense to divide the bibliography into modern vs. historical sources, and then divide the historical ones into those in English and those in another language (and not just 1 language, but at least 2!)

It's been a busy year - much better than 2009, but hopefully lower than we'll be in 2011 and beyond. The kids are happy and healthy, and we're both doing well with our jobs.

Happy New Year!
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The deed is done - time to look to the future

She's gone. Red put her on the bus an hour ago. Evil SIL called to bitch us out for ruining her daughter's life. Said that we 'lost' the movies, and that we're horrible parents, because we left the kids home with the babysitter. And there were various threats of bodily injury. Blah, de f'in blah.

There's obviously a lot of pent up anger from Red's childhood there (bringing up stuff from almost 20 yrs ago? Seriously?) - so it just made it clear that the 'kindness' and 'family' that were offered when we visited was fake.

I'm sure they will all survive to their potential. Goodbye and Good Luck. Now we have no reason to stay in contact with any of those people, and we don't intend to. It's only a fight if we engage them. And we don't need that toxic venom in our lives.

But DAMN, the number of sarcastic comments that came to mind (at 6 am, mind you!) - that I didn't say ... but it's more fun to think them than to say them, esp. when the target is clueless and wouldn't get the irony. I am working on 'To Speak and Be Silent' - I've got the outer voice controlled, but the inner voice ... not so much.

So - time to focus on clearing our house of any detritus, having a wonderful day with the kids, and preparing for an event this weekend. We are united against the world - and anyone or anything that gets in our way - watch out!
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Booklist 2010 #42 and 43

#42: Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCraig (F)
From marymont list of books - this one was interesting. I haven't read GWTW in quite awhile, so it was neat to re-visit the people from a different point of view. I have also read the 'approved sequel' - but not in awhile, so I should probably do so. I've always liked GWTW - it was one of the first books I looked for in the middle school library (after looking for it in vain at the elementary school). It's an interesting period of history - but I'm not obsessive about it (like joining ACW groups, or anything). However, if someone would make me a green velvet dress from curtains so I could look like Vivien Leigh - I'd certainly take it!

#43: Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (NF)
With us trying to get in control of our finances, I thought I'd read about his plan - I know several people who have done well with it. We're still not sure about the 'pay the small debt' system rather than paying the debt with the highest interest rate - but we'll see what happens. We need to sit down and do a better budget, as well - so that's a good thing from the book. I think that with all the troubles last year, we sort of made our own plan, which looks very similar to the plan in the book - and none of the advice seems 'out of whack', but more like common sense. So - hopefully, we can put the plan to good use and move forward from our setbacks.

Total to date:
Non-Fiction: 22

Now - on to reading all the known references to leather boats in antiquity. Starting with Julius Caesar. This should be ... interesting, to say the least.
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Vacation - of sorts

My niece wanted to visit her family (and was becoming a real PITA about it) - so we planned a trip to Odessa. Because of our 'love' for my in-laws - we decided to combine the trip with an SCA event, thereby making the visit to the family that much shorter. And the one event in the area was last weekend, so we made plans accordingly.

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Booklist 2010 #39, 40, and 41

The last of the Falco Series:

#39: The Course of Honor by Lindsey Davis (F)
This is a true 'historical fiction' - the information is factual, but the 'narrative' has been made to fill the known facts. It's the love story of Caenis and Vespasian - through a very turbulent period of Roman history. It's a fascinating time, and now I would like to read more about it - as long as it's as engaging as this, rather than boring 'In 68 this happened, in 69 this happened' type history. Research into this period is her specialty, and this book deals more with the history, rather than the Falco series, which only touches on it.

#40: Saturnalia by Lindsey Davis (F)
Falco and company during the Winter holiday of misrule - and what happens when people from the past come back. Engaging, as always.

#41: Alexandria by Lindsey Davis (F)
The last of the Falco series (to date) - the family on a trip to Alexandria to see the famous Library. Murder and mayhem, as always - and lots of excellent details.

to date:
Non Fiction 21
Fiction 20
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Booklist 2010 #34, 35, 36, 37, and 38

It's been awhile since the last update:

#34: See Delphi and Die by Lindsey Davis (F)
The next Falco mystery, with extreme Greek tragedy overtones. While the ending wasn't totally unexpected - it was a bit of an ironic twist to# the stories.

#35: Whiplash by Catherine Coulter (F)
Latest in her FBI series. An interesting take on the pharmaceutical company, and how supply and demand can be manipulated.

#36: Fishers' craft and lettered art : tracts on fishing from the end of the Middle Ages
by Richard Hoffmann (NF)
Very interesting book with tracts from obscure fishing manuals from the very early stages of printing in Europe. He traces the history of the tracts and the provenance, as well as the 'science' behind them. Unfortunately, the focus is on angling with hooks, not fishing nets, which would have been ideal.

#37: Medieval hunting scenes ('The hunting book') by Gabriel Gaston (NF)
Picture book of hunting scenes, which include several that use nets as snares. It also includes a scene of making nets, although the techniques pictured are questionable. I now have more pictures of medieval nets in my digital files.

#38: Food Rules: an eater's manual by Michael Pollan (NF)
Very small book packed with good information - which should be common knowledge, but isn't, unfortunately. A simple guide for what and how to eat (Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. - along with ways to think about food (and food-like products) to help eat better. From Eowyn's reading list.

To Date:
Non Fiction 21
Fiction 17

Checked out, but not considered 'read' - Scandinavian Knotless Netting. It's an interesting book on Naalbinding - but I'm not ready for a new skill right now, and it was very 'notation' heavy, rather than truly instructional or historical.
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Booklist 2010 #33

#33 The Children of Noah by Raphael Patai (NF)
Fascinating book about Jewish maritime traditions. It references various historical and religious sources, and gives lots of details about the ships, fishing, maritime trade, rules of the Sabbath are practiced on the ocean, etc. I was looking for information about coracles, but instead found several references to garum/muria/fish brine, which is another interest of mine. It is heavily footnoted, so I was able to find the Talmudic references to fish brine, which spell out how to make it 'kosher' - which includes buying it from a professional cook (which I don't think is an option). I would recommend it for those interested in Jewish history - esp. an element not often thought about.

To Date:

Non-Fiction: 18
Fiction: 15
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Booklist 2010 #32

#32: Water transport: origins and early evolution. by James Hornell (NF)

This is an expanded version of the British Coracle book - but it covers all areas and histories. I just got it for the 'skin boats' section, which was very interesting. It includes the coracle and curragh, as well as historical boats from Iraq, Tibet, India, and the Americas. I don't agree with his premise that it was a single invention, however. The hide boat is such an 'invention of necessity' that it would seem to be a very early innovation in human invention - and therefore invented in many areas in different time. Once humans had the capacity/invention of removing the hide from a large animal (cow, bison, horse, etc.) - making a boat from the hide using available wood is pretty straightforward. Most coracle-like boats are the same size - the size of an average-to-large animal hide, made into a roughly oval shape, which follows the size/contour of such a hide. The bendable wood is often willow - which is abundant around the world, especially near rivers (where coracles are traditionally used). The idea that this relatively simple idea must have originated one or two locations (he does concede the New World 'bull-boat' is in the same class as a coracle, but that it probably did NOT come from the landbridge) - seems far-fetched, compared to the natural innovation of humans using the same materials to create similar items.

But I have cool pictures (posted to Facebook) of the Boyne Coracle from Ireland. They made their coracle almost exactly the same way we did - with pictures of the willows stuck in the ground and the rocks holding the wood in shape before covering. Very cool. And our coracle also looks like a Bull Boat from the Plains Indians, too.

To Date:
Non-Fiction: 17
Fiction: 15