Nicole Danielle Baer (born June 10, 1978) is a fun-loving American girl who gained fame for her renowned chili recipe and her unique ability to seek out beers and immediately spill them. She currently resides outside of Baltimore, Maryland with her boyfriend, Adam, and her cat, Daisy. She also occasionally feeds some fish that seem vaguely aware of her existence. When she is not out spilling beers, she works as a structural engineer for KCI Technologies in Sparks, Maryland.
Like many people, Nicole was born at a very early age. Her proud parents, Marcia G. and Theodore D. Baer (yes, that's Ted D. Baer for short) have often told her she is the favorite of their four children, so Tiffany, Brandon, and Elizabeth need not be mentioned at this time. Her lineage is one half German and one half Irish, so her beer spilling days began when she was very young. She began life in the thriving metropolis of Bernville, Pennsylvania, where fun things to do include tormenting cows, sledding through cornfields, and looking at Christmas lights. Why, even now, the glorious scent of manure invokes strong feelings of nostalgia for her. Nicole is blessed with the unique problem of requiring 26 chairs when inviting her immediate family to dinner because her many aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandmas are as close as her parents and siblings.
Baer began her education at Millcreek Nursery School where she excelled at coloring. Her rousing rendition of "5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" is still a cult classic. At this time in her life, she was a huge fan of the late great Mr. Fred Rogers, which may explain why she often wears cardigan sweaters at work.
Following nursery school, she enthusiastically mounted the school bus headed for Penn-Bernville Elementary. True to her schooling, its wheels did indeed "go round and round." She attended Penn-Bernville from kindergarten to the sixth grade, reaching the height of her popularity in the third grade, when she received many Valentines from adoring fans wishing her to "Bee" their Valentine. Unfortunately for them, her heart belonged to Billy Joel, whom she had never seen a picture of, but whom she imagined to be very handsome. During this time, she began swimming for the Western Berks Swim Team, where she was just as surprised as everyone else to learn that she was good at something athletic. She continued to swim competitively year round, collecting hundreds of ribbons and trophies that she has no idea what to do with today.
For junior high, she was unceremoniously removed from public school, and sent to a Catholic school. It took years to undo the damage.
Luckily, she returned to her public school friends in the ninth grade, when she began attending Tulpehocken High. While at Tulpy, she was the pinnacle of mediocrity as a cheerleader, field hockey goalie, and and middle distance runner. She also excelled in classes, despite the fact that most of her studying revolved around Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Anthony Kiedis, and Steven Tyler. She graduated third in her class which conveniently left the speeches to her good friends Julia and Chris. Her bestest bud during high school was Cortney, but alas they went their separate ways after high school. While Cortney went to York College, Nicole wrote the first of many many checks to The Pennsylvania State University.
At Penn State, Nicole somehow managed to get a degree in architectural engineering while fine tuning her beer spilling abilities. It was during this time that she re-discovered napping, and wondered why she had wasted so much of her childhood by being awake. In between tailgates, Nicole was a founding member of the revitalization of Penn State Phroth, a now-successful humor magazine, and she even attended classes almost regularly. College was a fun fun time filled with many memories, and the loss of many brain cells.
Nicole entered the American work force at age 15, when she earned her lifeguard certification. Though lifeguarding sounds exciting, she found it to be extremely boring, because most of the time she sat around watching people swim and yelling at children for running on the sidewalk. She did, however, enjoy teaching people how to swim, and she acted as assistant coach for the Western Berks Swim Team for two years. In the off-season, she donned reindeer's antlers and a Mrs. Claus outfit, where she worked as a cashier in Santa's workshop at Koziar's Christmas Village. Sadly, after her two years at Christmas Village, she never had another job allowing her to listen to Christmas music for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week.
On her second day at Penn State, Nicole got a job at Findlay Dining Hall. It was here that she made many friends, and learned to make 960 grilled cheese sandwiches in 3 hours. She remained at Findlay for her entire time at Penn State, and was promoted to a student manager position , where she hired and fired people, sometimes within the same day. She learned much about managing employees at the dining hall, and actually still applies some of this knowledge today.
Nicole also got some experience in her field while still in school, working as a student drafter for Penn State's Office of the Physical Plant (OPP). Surprisingly, few people there were "down with OPP" and resolutely remained straight-faced despite exposure to repeated Naughty By Nature references. This job was only marginally less boring than lifeguarding, but was an action adventure compared to her internship with Baker Concrete in 2000. At Baker, she managed the construction office. While she reported to work for 12 hours a day, she finished her daily duties in approximately 45 minutes. It was later that she was surprised to learn that she had actually learned quite a bit about concrete placement, paving machines, construction management, and weather patterns in Pennsylvania. (One of her duties was to watch the radar and warn the superintendent of inclement weather. Her parents also benefitted from this, as she was able to call and warn them of thunderstorms before their crazy dog could pull off all the weather stripping.)
After college, she moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she worked for Morris and Ritchie Associates as a structural engineer. It was here that she learned the joys of "Bagel Thursday" and vendor meetings. With the economy in turmoil, she moved a bit farther up the road for a higher level engineering position at KCI Technologies in Sparks, Maryland. Luckily, the job is rewarding and non-boring, and allows her to buy her own beers, which she continues to spill regularly.
Nicole enjoys many outdoor activities, such as biking and hiking (a trait she shares with her mother). She and Adam can often be found blazing through the woods of the Loch Raven Reservoir, or Gunpowder Falls State Park, which is in the backyard of their house. Meanwhile, Daisy, who dislikes movement in general, guards the house. Amazingly, she is able to do this with her eyes closed. One may think Nicole is athletically inclined, since she also plays football, broomball,and volleyball with the Baltimore Sports and Social Club and Baltimore Beach Volleyball. Her track record in these sports has resulted in a sprained ankle, a near nose break, and a "funny clicking" in her left knee. Still, she maintains that she is not too bad compared to many engineers whose knowledge of physics appears to be purely theoretical.
Recently, Nicole and Adam have added rock climbing to their repertoire. This activity has proved both challenging and fun, for they had never participated in a sport requiring extreme finger strength before. As usual, Daisy has generally opted to stay home during these adventures, for fear that the fire department would be required to get her down.
Nicole and Adam also check out the local music scene fairly often, sometimes even on a school night. Adam, who plays the bass and has a natural rhythm, enjoys keeping time with the music, while Nicole bops around with a general awareness of the world around her. Again, she maintains that she is not too bad compared to many engineers, but she would prefer not to view any video of herself "dancing". She and Adam are also "beer snobs" who love trying new brews. Their favorite beer is the one they haven't tried, and they feel right at home in a bar with 60 beers on tap.
When at home, Nicole is an avid cook, and she prepares meals regularly using fresh ingredients. She has perfected her famous chili recipe over the years, though she continues to take second place in the Annual Office Chili Contest. She believes this is because her co-workers lack the sophisticated palates necessary to be true chili connoisseurs. Or perhaps it is that she often forgets to buy all the ingredients. Whatever the reason, she does not allow this disappointment to discourage her cooking. She makes all types of dishes, but carefully avoids mustard, horseradish, and mushrooms because Adam accuses her of poisoning him whenever she tries to sneak them in.
When not working, spilling, biking, hiking, dancing, drinking, cooking, or reading, Nicole is sleeping. Jeesh, there is only so much one can do!