Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It was a year ago today that a brave group of Cesares ventured into a smoky dungeon and realized that Operation: Mercy Street would be no easy task.  And yet, with the help of family and friends from all over the country, the dream became a reality.

And now it's Christmas.  May you be blessed with sugary cookies, gifts both practical and frivolous, and the knowledge of what's behind it all.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Walking in the city

Since finishing all my work for the semester on Wednesday, I have done the following: cleaned the house, hosted a small party, attended a large party, cooked goodies for both parties, finished Christmas shopping, wrapped Christmas presents, read my "the semester is done, I can read for fun!" book, and watched all the TV saved on the DVR.  Yesterday I woke up knowing that Greg was going to be gone all day, and realizing that I would be bored.
So I decided to take a walk.  There's a very cool website called where you can map out routes and get the mileage.  I had read a while back about an event called "Walk the City" in New York where people get together and walk from the top of Manhattan to the bottom.  Philly isn't quite the same shape, and I needed to start and end at home, but I had figured out a route that would hit a lot of the big spots.  When I mapped it out, it turned out to be a 7.5 mile walk.  I knew that this was probably a bad idea, since I hadn't built up to it at all.  I walk quite a bit, but usually only a couple of miles at a time.  However, there is a stubborn streak in me, and since I had nothing else to do for the day, I decided to go for it.  I brought along some subway tokens in case it turned out to be too much.  

My main regret was that I didn't have anyone to join me on the walk, but I loaded up my iPod with podcasts and set off.  I brought my camera along to record anything interesting I saw.  Above is a sign near our house that made me laugh.  I mean, I like liver more than the average bear, but even I'm not clamoring for liver sausage.  Apparently some people are.

A band was playing outside of Geno's.  I'm not sure why they were there, but I appreciated the music.

This is a restaurant that we planned to eat at for my birthday in October.  Hasn't happened yet.

//Buddy the elf voice//:  SANTA!

And here's South Street, the ultimate Saturday night destination for college freshmen.

A little place I like to call Independence Hall.

Here's City Hall.  But the really exciting thing is that, in between Independence Hall and City Hall, I passed someone famous on the street!  Well, famous in the Philadelphia sense.  It was one of the ticketers from the show Parking Wars, which Greg and I have been devouring lately.  

And here's the new Comcast Center.  From here I walked up to the Art Museum, then back home.  Sunday I woke up and felt like my entire body was broken.  But, it was a nice way to spend the day, and if anyone is ever in Philly and feels like taking a long walk, I'd love the company.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas in Philadelphia

Today Greg and I did most of our Christmas shopping in one fell swoop, and had the chance to walk around and enjoy some of what Philadelphia has to offer at this time of the year.  

-The light show at Macy's.  It's a lot of bulbs, that light up to make pictures of things like snowflakes and Christmas trees, and which coordinates to music.  It's not super-fancy, but it's quite fun to do your shopping with this going on in the background.  I feel like I'm in "Miracle on 34th Street" or something.

-The Dicken's Village at Macy's.  Greg will be angry that I'm making fun of this, and it truly is a cool thing to take kids to.  It's free, for one thing.  Macy's partitions off a big section and sets up a Dickensian village that you can walk through and experience "A Christmas Carol."  Very cool.  But, if you're just shopping, the high school theater geeks* trying out their (sorry, bad) British accents and yelling, "Oy, Dickens village over 'ere, guvnah," is, like, hella annoying.

-The Comcast center's Christmas Spectacular.  The Comcast center has the largest LED screen IN THE WORLD.  It's gigantic, and very cool to look at even when there's not a Christmas Spectacular going on.  Oddly enough, I found it the coolest when it mimicked the interior of the lobby, so that if you were just passing by, you'd have no idea it was a screen at all.  The actual Spectacular was neat, but lacked the charm of the Macy's light show.  I don't need to see the Nutcracker's pores, thank you very much.

-Santa's village at City Hall.  Ripoff!  A bunch of huts full of people trying to sell you unnecessary tchotchkes.  With really loud German music playing.  Everything else I've listed is basically free, and there are enough people trying to sell you stuff at Christmas anyway.  

*I was one of these, so I'm allowed to make fun.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Don't read this post if you're squeamish about hygiene!  OK, you've been warned.

Greg recently recaulked our shower, but it turns out that when the tube says it needs 24 hours to dry, it actually means much longer.  We know this because of the water leaking through our kitchen ceiling.  

After we stopped the leak, Greg knew he would have to do it again, and allow a longer drying time.  However, you also have to get the shower completely dry first.  In other words, we're talking at least a day-long window both before and after caulking.  So I haven't showered since Thursday.  It is now Saturday evening.  (GROSS, EW, I KNOW.)  Honestly, I don't feel too bad because it's so cold out that there's no sweating going on, and I have been holed up in my office working, so I haven't even needed to get dressed, much less showered.  Greg snuck in a shower at a friend's house last night.

But here's the thing: I FINISHED MY WORK!  WOO!  I still have odds and ends to do (like grading all of my students' final portfolios, whatevs) but my intellectual work is done.  The brain, she is closed for business.  And I need to celebrate!  So we are going to the movies, something I haven't done since the summer.  As I put on a little makeup, I pulled my hair out of its perma-ponytail and was absolutely fascinated by the amount of grease I had worked up. Like, you could deep-fry things on my head if I were hot enough.  Therefore, I will be wearing a hat tonight.  But I was so fascinated that I played around with my hair and created the fancy bun depicted above.

And then I washed my hands.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nicole's Top Ten Procrastination Methods

10.  Law and Order.  (See below.)

9.  Calling Andrea.

8.  Emailing my students with advice for their papers.

7.  Wandering aimlessly.


5.  Making charts of my progress:  35 pages down, 20 to go.

4.  Bugging Greg.

3.  Making tea.

2.  Staring into the distance.

1.  Blogging.


It's Christmastime in the city.  Greg did most of the decorating (I helped with the fun part: trimming the tree.)  I probably would have gone with the ubiquitous little while lights, but Greg convinced me that the kitsch factor of the big colorful bulbs was preferable.

Meanwhile, my dad and I are competing to see who can watch more episodes of the same show in a short period of time--he's doing 24 (eight episodes in the last few days) and I'm doing Law and Order: Original Flavor (4 episodes in 2 days, but planning to add to the total tonight.)  My dad's excuse is that he just had surgery on his foot and isn't allowed to get out of bed.  My excuse is that my brain hurts from writing papers.  I have also tried to defuzz the synapses by taking walks around the neighborhood, but today was so cold that I never got out of my pajamas and bathrobe.  

Speaking of which, another competition just ended.  Greg and I were seeing who could hold out the longest before turning the heat on.  I declare myself the winner because I was willing to stick it out, and I'm the one who is in the house all day long.  But we decided we should probably do it when his dad was here the other day, because if a pipe exploded or something, we'd have someone around who would do more than gape.  The house stays pretty warm, thanks to the homes on either side of us.  It was settling right at 59-60 when we finally caved. Frankly, I just liked the excuse to wear several layers of fleece.  Cause fleece is cosy.  And I look so fetching in my pastel bathrobe.

And now, back to Law and Order!  Give 'em hell, McCoy.