Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lately we've had some very good potty training moments with Hazel. We went out for dinner on Friday night - no diapers - no problems. I also took the kids to Sturbridge Village on Saturday and we had no issues. She's coming along! Meg tells me she is even interested in my underwear and has asked her, "Dad wear underwear at work?" and "What color underwear Dad wear at work?"

The potty excitement has increased their interest in the digestive system. After explaining to the kids that the body takes out the good stuff and puts out the rest Meg was asked by Henry, "Is the cookie in my butt then?"

A couple weeks ago I thought I'd continue searching halves this year or at least until I finished a pile of half dollar wrapper boxes I have. I didn't last as long as either. I decided this weekend to retire completely. The halves haven't been producing as well as they used to and more importantly I want to use the time for other purposes.

16,000 halves turned up four 90% silver halves (4 x 1964), five 40% silver halves (1966, 4 x 1968D), three proof halves (2 x 1984S, 2002S) and one Bermuda 50¢. The 1966 40% silver half was the last silver half I found.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 Books

My goal for 2012 was the same as it has been for a few years now, to read two books a month or twenty-four books by the end of the year. I came up one short this year, but still read quite a bit. The book marked in gray I've only gotten part of the way through. (I'll probably finish that one in 2013 sometime.)


I strayed a bit from just shipwrecks to stories about big disasters (not modern ones). I've got a big list of similar books to read. The best of these was probably Ship Ablaze.

The Johnstown Flood – David McCullough

Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum – Edward T. O’Donnell

The Sea Shall Embrace Them: The Tragic Story of the Steamship Arctic – David W. Shaw

Sultana: Surviving the Civil War, Prison, and the Worst Maritime Disaster in American History – Alan Huffman

Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mine Disaster of 1917 – Michael Punke

In the Shadow of the Dam: The Aftermath of the Mill River Flood of 1874 – Elizabeth M. Sharpe


Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World’s Most Notorious Nazi – Neal Bascomb

Escape from Davao – John D. Lukacs

Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II – Mitchell Zuckoff

The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II – George A. Freeman


My greatest love is still adventure/exploration books, sometimes there is more adventure/danger and sometimes there is more exploration.

The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire – Joe Jackson

A Furnace Afloat: The Wreck of the Hornet and the Harrowing 4,300 mile Voyage of Its Survivors – Joe Jackson

The Ice Master : The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk – Jennifer Niven

The Ice Balloon: S.A. Andre and the Heroic Age of Artic Exploration – Alec Wilkinson

The Life and Times of John Manjiro – Donald R. Bernard

Drifting Towards the Southeast: The Story of Five Japanese Castaways - John Manjiro

Nakahama Manjiro’s Hyosen Kiryaku (A Companion Book) – Nakahama Manjiro

The Voyage of the Challenger – Eric Linklater

A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa – Steve Kemper

Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe – Laurence Bergreen

Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504 – Laurence Bergreen

Colonial Wars

To assist with my next big project and because I want to learn more about them I'll probably be reading a lot of books about all the different Colonial Wars this year. I'm sure a good portion of them will be thin, 48 page, Osprey uniform books. (I only count them in fractional way, they take up reading time, but it doesn't take me long to read them through.)

The Anglo-Afghan Wars: 1839-1919 – Gregory Fremont-Barnes

North-West Frontier 1837-1947 – Robert Wilkinson-Latham

The British Army on Campaign (3): 1856-1881 – Michael Banthorp

Indian Infantry Regiments 1860-1914 – Michael Banthorp

Queen Victoria’s Enemies (3): India – Ian Knight

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year everyone!

We had a pretty good long weekend at our house. First up it was Christmas, Pt. II at my in-law's house. We had a nice day visiting everyone, exchanging gifts and eating on Saturday. I've got a year's supply of adventure/disaster books! On Sunday we visited some more relatives (not Henry's finest moment) and drove back home. At home we were greeted by nine inches of snow that had fallen on our driveway and walkways. We parked on the street, dashed inside holding the kids and began the cleanup. Using my father's old snow blower - now my new snow blower I made short work of the snow! That machine might be my best gift of the season. Already I've saved myself 3-4 hours from two storms.

On Monday we had a good time at Nana and Grandpa's showing off Henry's new plasma car thing and eating a special New Year's Eve dinner Meg made for us. Nobody stayed up for the new year in our house (although perhaps Hazel sort of did, because she's been sleeping so poorly for days). On New Year's Day we took the kids sledding at a local park with a small hill. We had a blast. Both Henry and Hazel did really well. This was their first time being sent off by themselves. So well I find it tough to believe. Henry tumbled over a few times, but laughed it off with no problems and carried his sled back to the top of the hill with no complaints. I had tons of fun pushing down hill with pushes of "100," than "110" and "111" (I'm not sure what unit of measure Henry used for these push strength requests). He and I even went down the hill a couple of times together. Hazel slid down in her little red sled kind of slowly, but fast enough for her and then waiting patiently for Meg and I to pull her back up. Hazel will definitely appreciate a new faster sled sometime soon. Henry told me he'll be ready for a bigger hill when he's five.

Here's some pictures.

Here's a small circuit Henry set up all by himself (with Hazel assisting).

I also don't want to forget several exchanges we had with the kids.

One morning I was trying to explain to Hazel that both Mommy and Daddy had two names. She told me, "Baby has two names." "Oh yeah," I said. "I show you." She then picked up her doll and showed me Baby's neck where it is etched, "Made in China."

While reading a new train book with Meg one night Henry asked what the stuffed buffalo heads were in the book. Meg said, "some buffalo heads." Henry said, "those buffalo heads are pretend. Little kids think they are real, but they're not."

I have decided to make some usual New Year's resolutions for myself. One, give up caffeine, and two, eat better. Hopefully those can last until Lent when I'll try to recommit myself to these promises. The biggest change for this year will be coins. I've decided to retire from coin roll hunting and pursue another hobby. It's been a good 5½ run. It was a difficult decision to make initially as there are some coins I wish I would've found. If only I could have found the 1938D Wheat penny! Once I got it in my head I wanted to spend time doing something else, however, it was tough to justify spending time going through so many rolls for not much gain. I actually feel quite relieved not to spend so much time picking up and getting rid of the coin and orchestrating everything in my head.

I'll probably sum things up in a blog post soon, but until then I did some quick spreadsheet calculations this morning and came up with the following numbers from my 5½ year search effort:

Total Coins: 11,483,793
Total Dollar Amount: $1,978,511.75
Total Weight*: 127,750.68 pounds or 63.875 tons

(* I ignored the small fraction of coins that weren't the standard clad weight coins and multiplied the total number of each denomination by the clad weight, except for pennies. For pennies I used a weight of 2.620, which factored in 20% of the older coin weight.)

8,000 half dollars produced ten 40% silver halves (1965, 2 x 1967, 5 x 1968D, 2 x 1969D) and six proof halves (1971S, 1973S, 1977S, 1978S, 2 x 1979S).

8,750 pennies turned up ninety-eight Wheats, one hundred ten Canadians, two Euro 2¢, one Bermuda 1¢, one Zambia 1¢, one Canadian dime, twenty-six US dimes and one US nickel.

1917S, 1929, 1929S, 1930, 1934, 1935, 1936(2), 1938, 1939(2)