embarrassingly enthusiastic

I’m such a dork about this fencing stuff, I know.

So practice went well. I used dagger and rapier this time instead of rapier alone. The dagger is used for defense and offense and I liked it. Not that I did especially well with it or anything. I have a hard time telling where it is in my hand, so I would parry with the flat instead of the edge.

My rapier and blunts came. I love my rapier very much.

Lay on!

We went to fighter practice tonight for our SCA barony, Wiesenfeuer. I went with Faith, Abby and Gilbert.

There was no heavy combat (that’s the armor-and-swords-and-shields) but there was youth combat!

Here are some pictures I stole because I didn’t want to steal bandwidth. They are from http://www.housetaivassalama.com/youthCbt.html and are not from today, but from a tournament.



Faith LOVED IT. She didn’t hit any people (she will need more practice before she can be authorized) but she spent an hour learning stance and hitting the pell (a large block of wood, covered with carpet) with a padded rattan sword. She ate it up and only stopped because she couldn’t see in the dark. Also, her arms were so tired by then she was pretty wild with her blows. She was doing drills with the edge and the point, since her age group allows thrusts as well as edge blows.

Abby took a few shots too but she didn’t adore it like Faith did. She does like it enough to make a sword, however! And Gilbert liked it too. Truth be told they both had more fun running around with the other children than they did with the swords.

But Faith now. I tell you. On the way home, she summed it up thusly:

“Mama, it’s like I was born to hold a sword.”

holding pattern

I got some of the fabric for our garb yesterday, and three penannular brooches to hold our brats. Brats being the cloaks we’ll wear, not the children themselves. It’s said “braht”, I’m told.

The ones I got for the girls are similar, just a little smaller.

I’d show you the pins in our cloaks, but the fabric that came yesterday is the linen and cotton I purchased for our leinte. I’m supposed to get the wool on Monday.

This is meshing so well with our homeschool studies. Faith has already picked an SCA name and Abby is pretty excited about making our garb. Now to get that machine threaded… I think I’ll make a little test leine for a teddy bear this weekend.

British Museum on penannular brooches

Random Shoes, or It Begins

How exciting! I got the first piece of Official SCA Garb today – shoes!

Not authentic in the least! But they Look Okay, and they’re cheap.


Kung Fu shoes. Got a pair for me, for Faith and for Abby. I bought them from Natasha’s Cafe, in hypocritical fashion because we try* not to buy from China. As soon as I know we’re in this for a long haul I’ll make our own shoes or purchase some made domestically. Ahem.

Getting this first burst of garb is an expensive endeavor. The great thing about medieval clothing, however, is that it was made to utilize fabric as efficiently as possible. I’ve found several schematics (not quite patterns) that describe a T tunic by the numbers approach. I have a pretty extensive background in knitting clothing from body measurements, so I’m not afraid to do the same thing with sewn clothes.

I am a little afraid of my sewing machine, which I have never used. It’s a Janome Sew Mini, which I’m told is a nice machine to start with. I hope so! I like how tiny and easy to store it is. I’ll have to put it away every time I’m done sewing, as leaving it out with the kids around is not an option. Insert mental image of Bede sewing Warner Brothers logos into our clothing.

*for certain values of ‘try’, apparently.

Natasha’s Cafe

T-tunic the period way

Janome Sew Mini

the kinks

Not the band.

I went ahead and imported my old posts to this blog. The problem with that is my old posts used SmartyPants markup, which doesn’t translate to Blogger. So old links may be gibberish-y. The URLs are there though, just in a heap of markup. I guess it’s another plus to trying to avoid in-text hyperlinks.

So, anyway, sorry about the mess.

getting carried away

I’m getting back into the SCA. That’s the Society for Creative Anachronism,
>*…an international living history group with the aim of studying and recreating mainly Medieval European cultures and their histories before the 17th century.*


Those guys.

I used to be in the SCA as a teen. I have thought about it for a few years but decided against it because the kids were too young. They keep growing up, these kids, so I’m going to take the plunge.

The two things that tipped me over the edge were S.M. Stirling’s novels of The Change – most particularly the first three, Dies the Fire, The Protector’s War and A Meeting at Corvallis – and the plan of study for the Gleeschool this year: the Middle Ages.

So I want things like this (hold the rayon, please)

Linen Fabrics at Dharma Trading Co.

and perhaps a pair of these, with decidedly non-period soles, thanks.

Soft Star Shoes for Grown-Ups

Of course we’ll need some outerwear from this

Denver Fabrics 100% wool

or this

Wool Blankets

The plan is for me, Faith and Abby to get set up first. Then, we can see whether we like it before going all-in as a family. Bede, while very appropriately named for a historical reenactor, is maybe not so much the fan. We’ll see.

I’m glad that the period I’m interested in has nice, simple clothing. I’m leaning toward ninth century Ireland. And at this point that means everyone gets ninth century Ireland.

This is completely insane.

Mo-om! Abaigeal and Faith are writing fan fiction!

Abby’s fic, To Be Human, is in the Phineas and Ferb fandom, and answers these burning questions: What if Perry the Platypus was human? Does Ferb own any other clothing? And, most important of all, what are Phineas and Ferb going to do today?

Chapters 1-9 are [here](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/perry-the-platypus-fanfic-to-be-human-chapter-1/).

Faith’s Warriors fic, Stars of Gray, is also at their blog, but not neatly next-chapter-formatted yet. It features Graystripe, Faith’s favorite Warrior cat of that era. [Prologue](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/warriors-stars-of-gray-prologue/) [Chapter 1](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/warriors-stars-of-gray-chapter-1/) [2](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/warriors-stars-of-gray-chapter-2/) [3](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/warriors-stars-of-gray-chapter-3/) [4](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/warriors-stars-of-gray-chapter-4/) [5](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/warriors-stars-of-gray-chapter-5/)

still here, still plotting – er, PLANNING

Still gently planning the homeschool year. In fact, I nodded to Luke Holtzmann on Twitter about it: I can see why buying a year’s worth of scheduled readings, with open-ended discussion questions included, all for great, REAL books that are a joy to read… is a heck of a lot easier than doing it all yourself, from scratch.

I didn’t go with Sonlight again for several reasons.

1. *Sonlight is Christian but not Catholic*. Sonlight’s religious materials are Evangelical Protestant in tone and mission, which can be fine – or intolerable. This year, I am focusing on teaching Roman Catholicism to our kids, and I need the materials to support that. In our last Core I used Sonlight’s books and stressed the commonalities that all Trinitarian Christians share. This year, I need more than that. I could have gotten a Core but not the Bible, but the EP overtones are present in many of the other subjects too, notably History, Literature and Science.

2. *Sonlight doesn’t have a Middle Ages Core*. The Middle Ages are covered in Sonlight’s World History Cores, but we wanted more detail. Winter Promise makes a full-year Middle Ages program but they also have the same trouble as reason 1 above.

3. *Sonlight is 36 weeks, and we wanted 45*. We’ll be doing four days a week for 45 weeks. Sonlight has a great four-day option that’s included with every Core but it’s still only 36 weeks.

4. *Sonlight is slightly more expensive*. Honestly, this isn’t much of a reason. I doubt I’ve saved much money. I’ve been able to buy a few things used, and I don’t have the expense of the Instructor’s Guide. Sonlight isn’t raking in the dough. Their Cores are expensive but you get real value for your money.

That’s about it. We will likely return to Sonlight in the future. Their High School Cores are very intriguing, and having everything just In A Box and DONE is worth a lot, let me tell you.

I’ll publish our schedule and booklist when I finish. I’m doing the first 15 weeks, so if we just hate it I won’t have wasted as much time.

Tomorrow, bring a spatula

That’s what Faith just misheard me say. The poor child must be addle-pated.

I’ve been reading The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains. It’s not good. I mean, the book is good – quick read, informative, engaging – but the Internet is not good. Reading it has cemented my feelings that we are changing from mostly-unschoolers to mostly-not. I knew we were moving that way but I was filled with self-doubt because I didn’t want to take away any choices from the children as far as how they wished to spend time. Now that I’m convinced that the Internet is rewiring their brains to suit it I’m convinced that I need to give them a better framework. I’d say we’ve moved fully into Charlotte Mason territory where we had heretofore been only dipping our toes, to mix a metaphor.

Just now, Bede said “Look. Mom. Come and See! Tell it to me on your computer!” and dragged me to his computer, where I was to read what he had typed. (it was a SpongeBob script) and then say “Oooh, cool.” The language was Dalek stilted but, some appropriate pronouns! Shared attention! He’s so awesome.

i have a post planned with the full list of medieval books we’re going to use. But now Gloria is crying! Dearie me.

Feed, by M.T. Anderson

Just read it – it was mentioned by James Sturm in Offline, his column about giving up the Internet. Or maybe it was Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows. I can’t remember.

The ‘feed’ of the title is the internet feed reader everyone has implanted in their brains in the future. This is relevant to my interests of late in this our Digital Age.

I am favorably impressed and recommend it to anyone who likes speculative fiction in general, YA scifi and dystopia fiction specifically.

I’ll post some of my reactions in the comments so as not to spoil the book.

Feed, by M.T. Anderson

read books -> get free books -> read more books

The summer reading program at Half Price Books is underway! Kids 14 and under can get a $3 card for Half Price Books EVERY WEEK from June 1st through July 31! That’s nine weeks, guys, or $27 bucks!

Your kid (or you, if you have a non-writing kid) have to fill out a log showing at least 15 minutes of reading time each day, but it’s not an annoying log like in fourth grade.

We’ll get $162 in free books chez Glee, and since it’s Half Price Books, it’s actually $324. *Ohhhhh yeah*!

[Feed Your Brain at Half Price Books](http://www.halfpricebooks.com/feed_your_brain.html)

medieval historical fiction

Here’s my preliminary list of Middle Ages or so historical fiction for middle grades. We’ll start a high-tide period with some or all of these in the next month or so.

(This is just novels. We’ll also have nonfiction and some other books. When I get the final list compiled, I’ll post it too. All links go to the books’ pages on Amazon.)

400s Between the Forest and the Hills
597 Augustine Came to Kent
781 Son of Charlemagne
800s Beorn the Proud
1100s Red Falcons Of Tremoine
1167 The Red Keep
1170 If All the Swords in England
1171 The Hidden Treasure of Glaston
1200s The Magna Charta
1200s Adam of the Road
1200s Catherine, Called Birdy
1381 Crispin: The Cross of Lead
1400s The Door in the Wall