Birds of a Feather

Weekend {senses} February 25, 2013

Filed under: Philly,The everyday — kcfeather @ 4:05 am

Magic Gardens: At Night

Last night we went to a shower for some friends at Magic Gardens, a unique-to-Philadelphia mosaic-museum. The textures on the walls were mesmerizing.

On the less-exotic end of the spectrum, we made a few too many baked potatoes mid-week, and so have been working on clearing those out of the fridge. And we’ve been munching on our new favorite snack.

I’ve been a little under the weather – so, not much!

C just helped me set up Spotify, so I can now listen to pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want (so long as I put up with a few ads here and there). Earlier today it was Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition

Really enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook – an escape from yesterday afternoon’s rain. Highly recommended.


Schuylkill River Runs November 13, 2012

Filed under: Philly — kcfeather @ 12:41 pm

One of the best parts of being unemployed in November is that you can still spend daylight hours in the daylight!

We live just a few blocks from the Schuylkill (that’s “skoo-kill”) River, and the path along the river has become one of our favorite haunts for both running and walking. Even though the temperatures are dropping, I’m still managing to get out for runs pretty frequently.  Full length running tights help.

This morning I thought I’d take you on a little tour of the Schuylkill River Trail (at least the section near our house).  I think you’ll see why we’re so fond of it.

Follow me

Looking North from South Street onto the Schuylkill River Trail (which runs along the East (righthand) bank of the river), towards the Philadelphia skyline

Looking North from Chestnut Street: Market Street Bridge, 30th Street Station, and the Amtrak Building

Looking South from Vine Street: River Trail on the left; on the right the railroad bridge and the JFK Bridge beyond that

Boathouse Row

From the northern end of Boathouse Row, the Philadelphia skyline (on a hazy morning) from the North

Hope you enjoyed the tour. Isn’t it a magnificent trail, to have all these beautiful views within the span of just a few miles?


Champions! November 10, 2012

Filed under: Philly — kcfeather @ 10:37 pm

I have been anxious to go to a Penn Football game since we moved to Philly (the stadium, Franklin Field, is right across the river from where we are living). Today was the last home game of the season, and I had a chance to tag along with some friends.  Not only did Penn win (beating Harvard, 30-21), but they clinched the 2012 Ivy League title.  Or at least a portion of it (if they lose next week to Cornell and Harvard beats Yale, then I guess they share it). So maybe the post title is a bit premature…

A few observations about my very first Ivy League football game ever:

  • The level of play is not quite as high as at Stanford
  • Attendance is pretty dismal (on the other hand, it was easy to get decent seats for $8)
  • The school song contains the line “Here’s a toast to dear old Penn.” But because alcohol is not allowed at NCAA sporting events, instead the students throw pieces of toasted bread onto the field.  This site says that 20,000 – 30,000 pieces of toast are thrown per game, but I have trouble believing that based on the numbers in attendance
  • To take care of all the toast on the field, there is a bread Zamboni.  No, really.  There is.
  • It is pretty cool to see a safety in person

Let’s go, Quakers, Let’s go!
Update: Since posting, Stanford just came from behind to beat Oregon State.  Way to go Cardinal!


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.


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.