this morning (11am) i woke up, changed into my running clothes, laced up my new pair of running shoes, and went outside in 80 degrees temperature to get my run on. in hindsight, perhaps this was too ambitious. having not pounded the pavement in about three weeks, my body wasn't ready for what was in store for me. i figured it'd be hot, and i figured i wouldn't run my best time, so i was taking it easy. my new shoes felt comfortable, and i noticed an extra spring in my steps. i made it to a mile and i half when i stopped. i wasn't cramping, but i felt completely exhausted, lightheaded, dehydrated, and wanting to puke. i walked about a mile or so before i regained enough composure to run the rest of the way home. when i made it through the door panting i immediately grab a cold drink from the fridge and headed into the bathroom, stripping off all my clothes and jumping into the shower to cool off. i love that feeling i get after a run. the feeling of utter relief that it's over, enough joy to bring tears to my eyes, an almost primal happiness, like surviving a lion chase. for a brief moment in time, nothing else matters except that i'm alive. tell me this is normal when you run? tomorrow i'd like to try it again. i hear it's going to be even hotter than today. i think if i get enough fluids into my system, then my body will show me the love. otherwise, it's more heartaches, and i swear, i think this time i will puke, right by the public pool, where all the happy little children can witness my anti-triumph.
macintosh house call
do you own a mac? is it in need of some tlc? because i will totally come all the way across town to provide you with that service, free of charge. why? because i love macs. and we mac people have to stick together.
i disconnected the router from my network (i couldn't located my minihub) along with a pair of ethernet cables and motorcycled my way to eliza jones' house in jamaica plains. jp might as well be on the other side of the world for me. to get there is no easy task, and prior to my departure i was studying up on my maps, along with verbal instructions from eliza via cellphone. i actually made it as far as jp without getting lost, but then finding the actual street took 3 separate roadside stops consulting a map in my bag before i figured out through sheer good luck that i happened to be a block away from where i was suppose to be. a nice and quiet neighborhood, if you can believe it, this was my very first time ever being in a jamaica plain house. i know a few people who live there, but i've never been in their house before. this was my first time.
i also met eliza's italian imported cat named kooky. a cat like that should have a more dignified name, but once you call him kooky a few times, it sort of sticks. i'm not much of a cat person, but this was a very beautiful and friendly cat, like you couldn't help but to pet him. eliza told me kooky is very popular in the neighborhood, with friends everywhere, and i totally believe it.
my visit wasn't just a social call, i was there to connect eliza's roommate's imac to her new g4, so she could transfer her files off of the old machine. no surprises, everything went as planned, credit should go to the elegant simplicity of the macintosh system. eliza showed me how the used monitor she got was darker than the imac's monitor, no matter how much we adjusted the brightness on the dark monitor. i feel sort of bad, because i was the one who told her she should get that monitor, but i think for that price, it's still a steal.
being over at the apartment was also very interesting. i was fascinated by the interior decorating, asking all sorts of questions about the wall paints and the window treatments. this is what buying a house does to me, i suddenly notice things like that. oh, you can buy that at the pottery barn? or, you can buy that from pier 1? check, check, i'm getting all sorts of design ideas. and to see eliza's place, what greater honor is there? i found out a million things about her i never knew before. like all the books in her personal library, i've never read a single one (although i've heard of some of them). like she dries her lettuce. the way she described it, apparently it's pretty common, they even have machines to that for you. however, i come from a world where we don't dry our lettuce, and to see it actually done in practice, it's absolutely amazing.
eliza made blt's (hence the dried lettuce) for lunch, and threw in some capri suns (two frozen, two liquid) and a bag of cape cod potato chips, as we made our way to the arnold's arboretum. i guess the impression that she had was that i've never been to the arboretum, but actually i have, although this was only my third time (first time was about 10 years ago with dave fitzgerald, second time was last year with julie when we ran through the arboretum after work). we wandered around looking for a good place to picnic, passing by the famous smoketree which from a distance actually looks like a mound of smoke. the arboretum was almost empty except for the occasional groups of chaperoned kids or the couple with stroller or a mixed gathering of senior citizens. finally we found a place, a nice shady bench (N 42° 17.880' W 071° 07.383'). we ate, we chatted. i remarked how empty the place was, and eliza, in all her wisdom, answered that it's only because we're unemployed, that everyone else is at work. we wondered what our other unemployed brethren were faring, and reminisced about the good old days. we also continued our discussion that a documentary should be created about people our age who recently got laid off and what each person ends up doing, almost like a modern sociological study. i would totally watch something like that.
my return to cambridge
eliza drove us back to her apartment, where i retrieved my helmet and the rest of my stuff and took off on my motorcycle. by that time traffic was starting to get a little heavy, and it took me well over 30 minutes to get from jp back to cambridge, where i had to let my contractor into the house so he could start working on the place. luckily i was able to phone home and have my father cover for me until i could arrive, just in case the contractor gets there before i do. by the time i got there, he was already moving materials into the house. he told me he couldn't on it today, that he was just bringing over supplies for tomorrow night. whatever, as long as it gets done.
i met one of my neighbors, finally, a fellow who lives in the house next to mine, 2nd floor. he was out in his backyard relaxing on a lawn chair, reading, smoking. we chatted briefly, i totally forgot his name once he told me. he was very envious of my perennial garden, and informed me that it was actually designed by the downstairs tenants who had lived in my house before the roys moved in. cambridge condos are so weird, they're all recycled, who knows how many different previous owners a place could have. i almost wish there was a log book that came with the house, where each successive tenant would write down who they were. i'm more fascinated by the people who've lived here rather than the house itself.
after taking down the metal shelving in the walk-in closet, both my father and i left the place. i went back to belmont, exhausted from all that motorcycle riding, body feeling not so hot after breathing in all that city pollution. biker life is hard.
one of my aunts (da-ah-yi) is visiting us from taipei. in the 22 years since my family has left taiwan, she has never visited our house before. it's taken her over 2 decades to finally make the trip over. she arrived last night, and will spent the rest of the week in belmont, where my mother will take her out (her older sister) and show her the sights. afterwards my aunt will fly out to san jose to see some other relatives.
finally, a warm summer night and a bright outdoor light are all the ingredients you need to attract a myriad of noctural insects irresistably drawn to the artificial illumination. i spent 10 minutes outside my front steps being bombarded by bugs as i photocapture snippets of their lives. click on the thumbnails below for 480x640 sized images.