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Life has been good, if busy, stressed and exhausted. We're coming into the home stretch for the Culinary Symposium and I'm sure there are bound to be details somewhere that are missed but overall I'm feeling really good about it. I'm gearing up to crunch the final numbers by Friday and have what I'll consider to be a final tally, knowing that not  all of my teachers have registered yet so there will be at least 5-10 more on site.

I'm excited and nervous because David/ Eduardo talked me into writing up and presenting some of my most recent research on prenatal care in Renaissance Italy. It's my first time submitting an abtract. 
I hope to eventually get up the nerve to submit to Oxford, the  Renaissance Society of America or other academic forums, but I'm terrified that I won't be taken seriously (or I will be taken seriously and have to speak in front of that audience) because I'm just a passonate independant scholar, not formally backed by any institution.

Here's the abstract for the paper I'll be presenting: 
Fruit of the Womb: Prenatal Food in Renaissance Italy 
By Heather Ruiter / Raffaella di Contino 

Conception and birth, a matter of interest to those of all cultures and classes, became an important focus in the lucrative field of health manuals in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Fertility and prenatal care in Renaissance Italy reflected contemporary medical practice of the time period in which diet, governed by Hippocratic and Galenistic humoral theory, was central to good health. This paper will explore dietary recommendations from Savanarola's "Ad mulieres farrarienses", Marinello's "Delle medicine partenenti . . .", Gioberi's "Errori Popolari" and other 15th and 16th century health manuals specifically directed at women who were pregnant or wanting to become pregnant. 

Part of the title comes from a quote from [Giovanni] Michele Savanarola that I'll be using in my paper
"fruits, like fish are cold and humid; moreover, many of them are gassy, so generally you should avoid them altogether or eat them only in moderation." " When you crave a piece of fruit, just think that the most noble and beautiful fruit in the world is the human creature in your womb, so surely you can resist the vituperative claims of your palate for a vile, ugly, bad piece of fruit that will harm what you carry inside yourself" -Savanarola

Other than working on the symposium in general, I've been processing registration forms, arranging classes and fielding questions. I think we've definately made some process improvements this year, but I think we'll need to talk about whether this site will work for us in the future and other tweaks to make it even better. I'm not sure how many people total will stick around for the event post mortem on Sunday, but I'm hoping even if they don't stay people will let me know what they think, and how they feel we can make it better.

The long commute and lack of sleep has been grinding me down a bit. I'm still in awe of my beautiful son and he manages to amaze me every day. He's rolling over at this point, and holding himself sitting fairly well. He's got the strength to stand but no balance yet, so he' kind of a pudgy weeble-wobble. Heven help me once he's full self propelled. He's definately mastered the art of grabbing things and manipulating them, and he's working on his ultimate plan of world domination through cuteness. The girlchild still insists that she's unimpressed, but admits he's cute and coos at him when she thinks no one's looking.

I've been doubly challenged to do something I've been contemplating for a couple of years- enter some items in Kingdom Arts and Sciences. I was first challenged by a local friend Katherine and then by Edward Ian Anderson. :)  Plans for the next year include putting together 2-3 entries for next year's Kingdom Arts & Sciences championship. It's nearly a year away but I want to make my final decisions soon as to what I'll enter so I can start laying the ground work. I've already contacted a few people locally who have the equipment I'll need and the experience to keep me from killing or maiming myself during the process. I originally wanted to challenge myself to enter 5 items that were all in some way related to what a 1570's patrician Class Venetian woman would have in her life and surroundings. I've since scaled it back and the items I'm considering are either a wooden birthing chair, or carved and covered chopines or zoccoli (shoes), a pottery item that was originally going to be a majolica birthing set, but will likely need to be scaled back to either majolica apothicary jars or a singular birthing bowl, and more in depth version of my research paper on prenatal medical recommendations in Renaissance Italy. Some alternate project ideas are figuring out how to properly present my research and experiments in historical hair, including replica hair pins if I go this route.

I'm also still trying to keep the local culinary guild going, and support the efforts of getting a kingdom wide culinary guild going that will in turn support and hopefully give more visibility to the other local guilds. April's theme is lenten foods and I'm going to pick some recipes this weekend unless anyone makes a request.


I've also been working on eating healthier and last Friday I had to go buy a belt because my favorite work pants were literally falling off me. I ultimately hope to lose another 50-60 lb, but I'm already down about 30 since getting pregnant and I don't  want to buy a bunch of clothes for this size when I'm hoping to contiue the downward trend. This also means I seriously need to make myself some new historical clothing as well. Luckily I have a friend locally who's been awesome about helping me with fittings and getting things draped since I can't seem to do it solo and have it turn out correctly.

Date: 2011-03-30 09:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gwen-the-potter.livejournal.com
Be sure you read the new A&S handbooks - there is a maximum number of entries, and informtion on papers and everything.

It's great that you are thinking of entering. It can take over your life, so be sure to keep it in perspective! Do it for the fun!

Date: 2011-03-31 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ayeshadream.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'll definately check that out. I'm giving myself 1-2 weeks of downtime after the Symposium to recharge and let my thoughts come together a bit before I start ramping up.

Thank you so much for your advice and input on the pottery projects I've been contemplating. I want to stretch myself, but not shoot for something completely impossible.

Date: 2011-04-01 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ayeshadream.livejournal.com
I looked at the A&S handbook online and I see a limit of 2 single entries, but I don't see the limit on entries for the overall champion. I remember that it was lowered but I can't remember if it is now 2 or 3.

Date: 2011-04-01 07:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gwen-the-potter.livejournal.com
The intention was three, if I remember correctly. But, best bet is the check with the new KMOAS/B. I'll send her a message when I get home, and I'll read the handbook over to see if I see anything different. I'm sure that we meant to put in a max...

I'm a huge dork

Date: 2011-04-01 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ayeshadream.livejournal.com
I had some caffine at lunch then looked again and lo and behold! There it was in black and white! Entrants for overall can enter no fewer than two and no more than three. :)

I seriously doubt I'll be allowed to but if I decide to stretch it over two years I may see if they'll let me do two entries for overall and two additional signle entries.

Date: 2011-03-30 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katanubis.livejournal.com
That's so cool! I hope that you find a venue for the article.

It's a lot of work to try out for champion of A&S. Just look at all that Gwen has gone through (which she has documented here on LJ very well.) You don't want to overbook yourself.

Babies are much easier to care for before they become mobile. I've been watching how Ysoria's baby keeps her busy. (He's quite a climber and has no fear!)

Date: 2011-03-31 03:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krazyfiberkat.livejournal.com
I am with Kat on this one. You need to really focus on your little overlord and not set yourself up for the frustration of trying to meet deadlines for a hobby. Once he starts crawling projects that used to take a few hours take a month.

Date: 2011-03-31 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ayeshadream.livejournal.com
A lot of this are things I've been wanting to do, or have started poking at for years anyway. This just gives me a goal line to try to finish them by.

I'm totally keeping my beloved mini overlord in mind, and will definately access and back off if he's not getting what he needs.

I'd rather shoot for the moon and only get half way there the first time then never push myself to do anything. :)

Date: 2011-03-30 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gargoyal3.livejournal.com
Uh, our registrations for Culinary Symposium might be late.....we sent them!!!!

Date: 2011-03-31 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ayeshadream.livejournal.com
No problem, I'm keeping a weathered eye out- I suspect there are a bunch that I haven't gotten yet and a bunch of the teachers that are likely going to pay on site.

I'm just rollin' with it at this point and trying to tie up any details I can think of.

Date: 2011-03-31 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gargoyal3.livejournal.com
awesome awesome awesome :)

Date: 2011-04-01 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ayeshadream.livejournal.com
I can't wait! I'm nervous but I'm getting so excited! Hisorical foodie geek heaven!

Date: 2011-03-31 05:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hopeful-archer.livejournal.com
Regarding your abstract - I would recommend leaving the quote out. The one thing I have learned is YOU want to be the one to interpret the quote not the reader. Just my two pence :D

Date: 2011-03-31 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ayeshadream.livejournal.com
Thank you hon, this was my first time writing an abstract and I had myself all worked into a tizzy over it. I was planning on including the quote in the body of the paper, not the abstract itself, that's just where the "fruit of the womb" came from in the title. :)

Miss you!

Date: 2011-04-01 03:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hopeful-archer.livejournal.com
I realized that after I hit the reply button and couldn't come back due to student mayhem in the library. Apparently I deal in book crack to the students. *Muffled evil giggles*

What I have learned is never start or end anything on a quote. It is all interpretation and you want to lead them not the other way around. Kinda like statistics.

Academia hates it when I refer to abstracts as teasers (as in bodice ripper teasers) but it does get the reader excited :P so have fun with it.

Date: 2011-04-01 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ayeshadream.livejournal.com
That's awesome! Getting a new generation hooked on the good stuff! :)

Thank you hon, I have myself worked into a tizzy about it, but I know I'll probably be fine. I just need to get passed the stage freight.

Date: 2011-03-31 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vittoriosa.livejournal.com
Have no fears about submitting your abstract to conferences etc -- there are actually a lot of independent scholars that go to the big ones like RSA, so you won't be alone. If you ever want to chat about writing abstracts, how academic conferences work, how to read a paper in public, etc, I am totally happy to answer questions or give feedback. :-) As with anything, you may not get in on your first try, but it costs nothing to apply and it's always good practice!

Also, I just want to say that I am HEARTBROKEN to be missing the Culinary Symposium. I really wanted to go, but all my travel funds have had to go to the reign...next time, I hope! I wish you all the best with it and I'm sure it will be a great success. :-)

Date: 2011-04-01 09:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ayeshadream.livejournal.com
Thank you so much. I'll plan on picking your brain on both what they're looking for and how to get it to the right people. You're definately an inspiration! I've thought of you often when I've found some exciting new tidbit of information. :)

I'm still plugging away on a searchable spreadsheet of all the ingredients in the anon. Venetian manuscript so those working with it can quickly see how many types of meat, vegitable or spices were used, if they were named specifically or just called "meat" or "spices", etc. That's one of my "whenever I have a few moments and need something to do" projects, which came in handy when I was home with Conner and couldn't focus on research or writing. I've also had fantasies of trying to have a time and place focused Inn like you had done- I love learning and teaching about history through immersion.


I'm so sad you won't be there this year, but this won't be the last! Maybe sometime it will travel down your way and I'll get to take some classes from you when I'm not running things! :)

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