we woke up at 8am to drive back up to boston. after saying good bye to manny's mother and his sister maureen, we stopped off at a dunkin' donuts to get some breakfast food and coffee. "next person," i heard a woman's voice call out. i went down the counter but saw no one. "next person," i heard again. i looked around, bewildered. a woman waiting in line was pointing, "she's right there," she said. i went down to the end of the counter and still saw no one. once again, confusion. "she's right here," said a tall man standing by the counter, "she's small." i looked behind the man and sure enough, he was eclipsing a small filipino woman behind the counter. i got a small coffee and a blueberry muffin, using up the rest of my money, having no more cash left from this weekend's trip other than a couple of coins in my pocket.

the drive back up to boston was rainy, which meant driving below the speed limit, which meant meant getting back home an hour later than the estimated time of arrival. driving through the one of the toll booths, we saw one of the toll collectors working a barbecue grille, the memorial tradition live and well despite the rain and the continuous toll traffic. the rain was cold enough that it'd fog up the windows, so the whole trip was a constant battle with the temperature control knobs and dials, alternating between hot defrosting air and cold soothing air. we stopped only once to the use the bathroom, where i also picked up a booklet of massachusetts fish & wildlife laws for 2003. did you know that it's illegal to hunt with a machine gun or any incendiary devices? also, crows can only be hunted on friday, saturday, and monday during open season. the booklet is full of these useful information!

it was around 1:30pm when manny finally drove me back to my place. after helping me load all my ikea stuff out of his car, he went home. andrew was home, made some rice-cheese-beans-salsa dish for lunch. we watched a historical red sox-yankees game where roger clemens was trying to get his 300th career win, versus his former team the red sox no less. fortunately, today would not be his day as the red sox spanked clemens back to the dugout. we left for renata's place at 6pm, to go see her chicks, which she had brought home from school during the long weekend to take care of them. there were four in a box lined with newspaper. they ran around chirping, pecking at a dish of food, or a dish or water, or the ever delightful making poopoo and stepping on it. their chirping kind of reminded me of a squeaky shopping cart. the chicks were already a few weeks old, so they were starting to show signs of maturity, like a crest on the top of their beaks and wing feathers. the three of us sat around the box staring at the chicks, occasionally picking one up with our hands.

renata also made dinner, some pasta dish she whipped up, along with an appetizer of small slices of french bread topped with cheese, tomatoes, olive oil, and basil. andrew left for vermont for the week soon after he ate, while i helped myself to a second serving of renata's pasta creation.

after staring at the chicks some more, i helped renata format her resume. you know it's past renata's bed time when the timer turns off the lamp. yet we worked diligently until it was finished. renata gave me a ride home, but not before making a stop at the mt.auburn star market (which closes at midnight). renata got some popsicles for her kids, and paid for my bananas because i didn't have any money with me (it's funny, renata ends up paying for a lot of my stuff when we go out, i'm constantly moneyless around her). despite the late hour, there were still a few people shopping. the one cashier was a man engrossed in some tabloid, while nearby a police officer was reading a book. approaching midnight, there is a stillness at star market.