Birds of a Feather

Surviving Sandy October 31, 2012

Filed under: Philly — kcfeather @ 1:11 pm

It turns out that Sandy must have sidestepped our neighborhood, or else was taking a breather when she came through: in the end, we never lost power, and just had a little bit of water in the basement…no all-out flooding.  We are so thankful – we know that many others are still without power or even homes.

Still, we were cooped up for Sunday night, all of Monday, and some of Tuesday.  Here’s what helped us survive:

  • Pumpkin Waffles
  • Halloween Candy (though we still have plenty for the neighbor kids)
  • Other reading (see earlier post)
  • Netflix Instant Queue
  • Frito Pie, a childhood favorite of C’s which seemed like a good way to use up the canned chili we bought once we realized we wouldn’t lose power.  I’m not sure if my arteries will ever recover – I think that was a one-time-only blast from the past
  • A few hurricane walks (to keep us from going stir crazy)

You’ll notice that many of these actually did require electricity.  So we’re clearly not experts, but we are now hurricane-survivors.  Who are planning to buy some flashlights at the next possible opportunity, since we might not be so lucky next time.

Happy Halloween!


Hunkering Down October 29, 2012

Filed under: Philly — kcfeather @ 2:21 pm

As I mentioned on Friday, a storm (Hurricane Sandy) is headed our way.

Over the weekend, we did indeed stock up on some water and canned goods.  Should “Frankenstorm” wreak havoc, I think we will be all set in the food department. If the power goes out, however, we’re a little less well-prepared in terms of lighting…everywhere in the entire city sold out of flashlights before we started looking for one yesterday, and so we only have a tiny little one that runs on two AA batteries.  At least we have lots of batteries (and some candles, as well).

Storm Sustenance

C’s classes for Monday and Tuesday were preemptively cancelled yesterday, and his building is closed, so he’s working from home and has plenty of math and PowerPoint to keep him busy.  As for me, in addition to a fairly long Netflix Instant Queue (which is really only good so long as we have power), I am well-stocked on the book front.  I’m trusting that the below will provide at least several days worth of reading material, although again, if the power is out, my reading time will be limited to the daytime hours.

Hurricane Reading

There is no telling how bad it will actually be – reports vary drastically. Some of the news stories we’ve seen have been a tad sensationalistic, but it does seem there’s good reason to take precaution.  So we’ll wait and see. We’re thankful today that we have a home in which we can weather the storm, and are certainly thinking of those who don’t.


Friday Five October 26, 2012

Filed under: The everyday — kcfeather @ 7:34 pm

1. Last year this time, we had a snowstorm; this year, reports are that a hurricane is headed our way.  C instructed me to stock up on some canned food and water today. Which I have not yet done.

2. Fun to connect with old friends and acquaintances.  Have had a bunch of chances to do so over the past week or so (both here in Philly and in New York) and always enjoy catching up.

3. It’s the season when there is nothing like getting into a hot shower (especially if you’re coming indoors after a frosty morning run)…and there is nothing so hard as getting OUT of said shower.

4. I have a new favorite tea – at least until I restock my other favorite. And that is just black teas.  Don’t even get me started on green teas: that list could go on and on and on…

5. Last week, I drove out to Lancaster and this past Monday down through a good portion of Delaware. Let me just say (though I have no photos, since I have been informed that it is indeed unsafe to take pictures while behind the wheel) that the fall colors here (at least this season) could go head to head with any of the fall colors we saw during our two years in New England.


Mr. Franklin October 23, 2012

Filed under: Philly — kcfeather @ 7:19 pm

When we found out we were moving to Philadelphia, I thought it might not be a bad idea to learn a little bit more about Ben Franklin, who figures prominently not only in our nation’s history, but also in the development of the city we now call home.  Several months later (I had other reading on my list as well), I have finally finished the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (available free for Kindle here).

It’s maybe not my favorite book ever, but was certainly an interesting read – I would particularly recommend it for anyone living in Philadelphia. Franklin led an impressive life: his reflections on the culture, politics, and religion of his day were fascinating; his drive to get things done (establishing a library, and an “academy” (UPenn), among other local initiatives) were inspiring; his self-importance a bit grating but mostly humorous.

Here is a fantastic example of Franklin’s wit (you may have to squint, but the last few lines through the signature are what I love):

You and I were long friends….

Source: Library of Congress

The volume ends before the Revolutionary War; I’m now interested to learn more about his later life and involvement in the Revolution (The Americanization of Ben Franklin has been recommended).

I’ll leave you with a few of Franklin’s observations:

On vegetarianism:
“…in my first voyage from Boston, being becalm’d off Block Island, our people set about catching cod, and hauled up a great many. Hitherto, I had stuck to my resolution of not eating animal food, and on this occasion consider’d, with my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had, or ever could do us any injury that might justify the slaughter. All this seemed very reasonable. But I had formerly been a great lover of fish, and, when this came hot out of the frying-pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanc’d some time between principle and inclination, till I recollected that, when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then thought I, ‘If you eat one another, I don’t see why we mayn’t eat you.’ So I din’d upon cod very heartily, and continued to eat with other people, returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.”

On mathematicians:

“Thomas Godfrey, a self-taught mathematician…knew little out of his way, and was not a pleasing companion; as, like most great mathematicians I have met with, he expected universal precision in everything said, or was for ever denying or distinguishing upon trifles, to the disturbance of all conversation.”

On marital bliss:
“We have an English proverb that says, ‘He that would thrive, must ask his wife’.”

On increasing church attendance:
“We had for our chaplain a zealous Presbyterian minister, Mr. Beatty, who complained to me that the men did not generally attend his prayers and exhortations. When they enlisted, they were promised, besides pay and provisions, a gill* of rum a day, which was punctually serv’d out to them, half in the morning and the other half in the evening; and I observ’d they were as punctual in attending to receive it; upon which I said to Mr. Beatty, ‘It is, perhaps, below the dignity of your profession to act as steward of the rum, but if you were to deal it out and only just after prayers, you would have them all about you.’ He liked the tho’t, undertook the office, and, with the help of a few hands to measure out the liquor, executed it to satisfaction, and never were prayers more generally and punctually attended.”


A View from the Top October 16, 2012

Filed under: Philly,The everyday — kcfeather @ 9:29 pm

On Sunday, while C worked on his lectures (and then went to church), I met up with some of my Pennsylvania relatives for an autumn hike in the Appalachians.  The eight of us hiked up to The Pinnacle (in Berks County), where we had some lunch and took in the views.  We then, of course, hiked back down to the car where there were cinnamon rolls and a thermos of hot tea waiting for us (thanks, Aunt L!)  The only thing missing was a post-hike foot bath, which I hear they often have in Germany…

Temperatures have dropped a lot in the past week or so, but on Sunday the sun came out and it ended up being a perfect day for a hike.

In other news, C’s post-doc advisor and our good friend just won a pretty big award on Monday.  We couldn’t be happier for him.


Five on Friday: Sick Day Edition October 5, 2012

Filed under: The everyday — kcfeather @ 6:46 pm

1. It’s quite a bummer to get sick when the weather reaches 80 degrees and sunny in October, but I somehow managed to do so. I blame eating far too much over the last week (in NY, Philadelphia Restaurant week, and at a street fair last night).  Good thing we have a stockpile of bananas and green tea ginger ale!

2. C got back some midterm evaluations for the course he is teaching.  They were generally positive, though my favorite comment had nothing to do with his teaching: “The professor is handsome and sharp. Plus!”

3. Being in bed all day, I had the rare opportunity to watch some morning talk shows.  In particular, I got a chance to check out “Live with Kelly and Michael” for the first time since Michael Strahan joined the show.  C and I jokingly refer to Michael as my twin because of the big gap between his teeth.  He really tore it up in their impromptu karaoke competition this morning, but charming as he is, it’s probably the first AND last time I ever watch that show.

4. Confession: the only reason we even get reception for ABC is that we have resorted to using foil on the antenna. Not sure if it is better described as old school or cheap…

5. We just got an exciting treat in the mail: Baumkuchen!  C is so excited he almost came home early.  Thanks, JG!


New York Weekend October 1, 2012

Filed under: Travel Reports — kcfeather @ 2:35 pm

We went up to NY on Friday night for a quick weekend trip. We primarily went to see C’s Aunt S and her friends who were on their big NY vacay, but it was also nice to get away for a weekend.  New York certainly has it’s overwhelming moments (and our feet were overwhelmed on Saturday after walking over 11 miles all around Manhattan and Williamsburg) – but we had a great time.

Some highlights: perusing the Chelsea Flea; tasty dinners at Monument Lane and Home; pre-dinner sangria and tapas at Tia Pol; some really great people-watching; too much really tasty food from the Brooklyn Smorgasburg including Danish-Japanese fusion “Fish on Rye”, Squid ink Ramen Ragu, a Mile End smoked meat sammie, Schnitzel, and much much more; fuel in the form of a poppy seed rose from Zucker Bakery; walking along the Highline at dusk and wandering through the Village; and a final breakfast at Bouchon Bakery in Rockefeller Plaza. We also came home with a case of wine.

Whirlwind weekend!