andrew invited me over to his place in malden to survey his backyard and to partake in an early spring barbecue. i woke up an hour before he arrived at noon to call my mortgage company, asking about reducing my monthly payments now that i'm qualified for residential tax exemption. the man on the phone sounded indian, and i wondered if i was talking to an outsourced customer service department. i went out to do a survey of my own backyard. i was surprised to see all the orange wood poppies had come out.


wood poppy

lily of
the valley


andrew came over to get his weber grill that he left in my basement from last summer and we drove to malden. his backyard is a circular lawn surrounded by tall oak trees, lilacs, and forsythias. the place sits on top of a rocky hill, and further back is a large plot of undeveloped land, bordering several other neighbors. here and there are bits of trash left by the landlord, several christmas tree skeletons, some blue aquarium gravel, but overall the area is pretty pristine. from here we can see the boston skyline in the distance. the rocks are covered with a carpet of moss and here and there trees jut out where they can (mostly oaks, but did see a flowering cherry tree). it'd be interesting to see the place when all the leaves are out.

after catching a bit of the red sox game, we left for the somerville home depot to look for some garden plants. i didn't think the selection was very good and we ended up having to resort to seeds, which from my recent experience can be rather difficult. nevertheless, i picked two packets for myself, moonflowers and green zinnias. andrew also picked out a pink hydrangea plant because it likes the shade (which is what's going to happen to his backyard once summer is here, with all those trees). while we were paying, i saw this transparent frog statue with a solar cell attached to its rear end. could this be some sort of light? whatever it was, it was pretty kitschy and i kind of regret not buying one ($20).

back at the house, we watched the end of the red sox game (red sox won) while andrew planted some seeds in a window planter. andrew started preparing the food, rolling his own burgers mixed with garlic. his girlfriend maura came over, followed by his friend nadine and her husband-to-be tom, both from canada, going back to toronto to get married next weekend. tom had a distinguishing canadian accent, and i've never actually heard it live before (only on television) until now. the neighbor's pug martin played with us for a while before the neighbor left with the dog. the barbacue fire was started and we cooked the food. the hot dog was standard fare but the burgers were very delicious, the garlic takes it up a notch. we stood around eating, the sun slowing going down, the temperature steadily dropping. andrew's friend kwame was the last guest to arrive. we all went inside when it got too cold.

we watched a boisterous hour of a prime time price is right special saluting the teachers of america. the teacher most undeserving of a showcase showdown win (she'd consistently bid a dollar more than the previous person, thereby giving that person the shaft) ended up winning it, even getting a futuristic speedboat that batman would be proud to have in his collection. when the party was over, kwame gave me a ride back to cambridge. i watched some saturday night live followed by the movie confidence.