all i want to do now is plunge head first into the sweet release of sleep.

last night i went to bed at 7am, woke up 2 hours later to get ready to go naturing with renata. after i had some cereal, i got dressed and went to the family dollar store to buy a lawn gnome. i had this idea where we could take the gnome into the forest and use it as a photography prop. i came home and waited for renata to show up at 11am. she had snacks in the car (which we never got to eat), i presented her with a mix cd i made last night in the likelihood she might have a cd player in her cross-country honda civic (she didn't). in the front seat wrapped in a towel was the gnome. i never noticed before, but renata actually wears glasses (although she says only for driving).

we drove up to boxborough (a town neither of us had ever visited before), to find the beaver brook valley preserve. from the written description it seemed like a really interesting place, an 82 acre stretch of land nestled between a wetland and an esker. when we got there though, the place we found was different from what was drawn on the map. after asking two different people and circling around the area a few times, we finally parked and walked out to investigate. from the dead end street (i believe the politically correct term is "not a thru street") we could see a stream snaking through a snowy forested landscape, but nowhere really to climb down and investigate (at least not safely). with the snow as high as up to our knees, we decided to seek an alternate source of naturing. despite our inability to locate the exact location of this mysterious beaver brook valley preserve, in the treetops we did see several different species of birds, including a downy woodpecker, titmice, and chickadees. inside the relative warm of the car we decided to try the waseeka wildlife sanctuary (an audubon sactuary) in hopkinton (a town that renata had a decidely hard time pronouncing the name of).

waseeka felt like a stab in the dark because it's not marked on the road map and after traveling many miles, we still didn't see it anywhere. however, just as soon as we were starting to lose hope, we came across the sanctuary hidden on the side of the road. parking was weird, the small parking space was selfished blocked by a single dusty minivan. we ended up parking by the side of the road, up against a snow bank. another woman had also just arrived, assembling her cross-country skis.

renata and i walked into the forest. from the description it seemed like the place would be teeming with wildlife, but the area was very much devoid of animal activity. not even a bird, or a squirrel. just a desolation of trees and snow. nevertheless, if you look carefully enough, there is always something to see, even if it's just something very small. at one point we had to let the cross-country skiing lady go past us, the only other human presence we encountered. not wanting to get terribly lost in the woods on the coldest day of the year (temperatures were probably in the 20's), we turned around and went back to the car.

we returned back to civilization via the long and windy route 20. renata was very concerned about my well-being after i told her i get easily carsick if i read while driving (like maps for instance, since i was the navigator). despite my reassurance that i was fine, i had a mild headache the whole way back, which was partly motion sickness, but partly because i was hungry (but didn't really know it). when we got to waltham, we stopped briefly at a wendy's so i could use the bathroom. relieved, we continued on our journey home. i showed renata how to get to my place in cambridge using secret back roads. she dropped me off and left.

what i learned about renata today: she hates driving, despite have driven cross country 1.5x), her fear stemming from several unfortunate car accidents, none of which were her fault. she prefers mittens instead of gloves. that massachusetts has this funny law that says any public teacher teaching more than 5 years has to have a masters degree. she is very pro-safety belt despite being anti-safety belt as a kid, now making who ever rides in her car buckle up or else. despite not following any television shows religiously, she does watch the simpsons and friends when its on, and now the sopranos as well. she approves of the street that i live on, earning her much sought after "seal of approval" label. that teachers get sick a lot because children get sick a lot. after college, the only pets she ever had were two hamsters named love and hate. renata is also a glass is half full kind of girl.

as soon as i got home, i stripped off my wet clothes and went straight to bed, not even bothering to raise the heat on the thermostat (i had turned it down when i left the house this morning). as soon as i started to fall asleep, i got a call from manny asking if i wanted to go to nashua, new hampshire, to go buy a pc with him from tax-free best buy. i said, "sure, why not," got dressed, and waited for him to arrive. gary called as well, told me he ended up buying os 10.2, and that that version installed just fine, no more problems with his friend's titanium powerbook.

in the car with manny i was operating on fumes. it was weird, i spent most of the day in a car, and here i was again, on some of the same routes, right back in a car. hungry, sleepy, i almost dozed off on the way to new hampshire. almost, were it not for my overactive bladder. luckily at best buy there was a public bathroom. relieved, we went and checked out the tv's first. oh how cool would it be to have a widescreen flat lcd television! if i had the money though, i probably couldn't bear to buy it, saving it up for future mortgage payments. manny ended up buying a sony desktop pc, and had a tech guy open up the box and check the machine before leaving.

since neither one of us had dinner yet, we ordered some wings from wing works at manny's condo, picked them up, and drove over to my place to eat while watching the eagles-falcons football game (it was a birdsy kind of night). first thing manny noticed was how cold it was in my house. i quickly turned up the heat, but nowhere near the 80+ degrees he sets his thermostat to. he also saw the gnome and told me how it'd come alive in the middle of the night, and that i should tie it up just to make sure. going with so little sleep and perhaps starting to hallucinate just a little bit, i was willing to believe anything. manny left soon afterwards, leaving me alone in the house with the scary gnome.

i'm going to bed.