Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Of a sort. I finished Dr. Asiago's book, and I feel horrible saying this, but it was so boring. He does military/political/diplomatic history, and I'm much more interested in social/cultural/diplomatic history. We're interested in many of the same historiographic issues, and of course, the same groups and periods, but very different approaches to them. Not that I have issues with them as scholarly work--there are parts that I'll be re-reading because they say complex things very clearly, but the military/political angle puts me right to sleep.

Also got some writing done. J was off work Tuesday and Thursday (his days off are intermittant and a little random, since he's working retail) and he did some huswifery while I shut myself away in the office to write. Tuesday we got a lot done; we're starting to experiment with making liqueurs, so while J was rolling out forgotten Christmas cookie dough, I put some clemantines and cloves in brandy to sit. Hopefully in 2-3 weeks it'll turn out like homemade Cointreau. Also we drank beer while J made cookies and I wrote fellowship apps and my prospectus; a beer with lunch makes fellowship apps much easier to get to.

I feel like I spend the majority of my time applying for money to do research instead of doing research. They've definitely gotten easier to whip out once I get going, and doing the prospectus has given me some good canned answers to "why this topic? what the historiographic significance?" but they're still so time consuming. They all want slightly different things, and there's so much groundwork before the writing even starts. I just need time away from Overcast Town with no teaching to keep pulling me back here so I can get some research trips in. The library at Snooty U is good about ordering material and getting microfilm, but I hardly have time to keep up with the reading for the class I TA, let alone sit in the library basement for days on end and read microfilm. Especially if I keep getting assigned to teach 20th century courses I have no background or training in. Seriously, why assign an early Americanist to TA courses on 20th century music and politics? I know there's a value in teaching outside the comfort zone, but I barely had 20th century feminism in my comp fields for women's history, and there's not the remotest chance that I'll ever have to teach a 20th century survey.

But I've finally finished J's Christmas socks, so I'm starting a hat for me (pictures later). Yesterday we also finally got our pear cider bottled, after it sat in secondary fermentation for several months. We brewed it in October right after my exams, but never had time to bottle with the holidays, so the upside is that as soon as it's done carbonating, it'll be ready to drink immeadiately. It's definitely smoothed out quite a bit since it was racked. Tomorrow before J goes to work we're going to pitch a blueberry mead (honey wine) and put up a blueberry liqueur. We're just using frozen grocery store blueberries, but I'm excited, and it should be a pretty color.


  1. I have a J husband and we make weird shit, too (non-alcoholic ferments for him and fake meats for me). I work in a basement, so I at least feel your basement-pain.

    Have you had any *bad* brewing experiences?

  2. I did a lot of cider and fruit wine brewing in college, and when I was first starting out, I had one batch grow something weird and one batch just not ferment, but I've never made anyone go blind (yet!). I was doing tiny batches, though, (1-3 gallons), so it wasn't much loss. Brewing in a real kitchen with controlled hot water is much easier than trying to brew in a dorm!