gathering lantern-making materials
this sunday night in jamaica plain will be the annual jamaica pond lantern festival (the same one i went to last year). determined to make my own lanterns (heck, if little kids can do it, so can i!), i went out today looking for materials. i needed empty 2 liter bottles, so i walked to brooke's and got some bottles of soda (i will be in a carbonated coma this weekend), as well as a bottle of clear craft glue. despite the slight drizzle, i biked to the artist & craftman supply store in central square (across from pearl) to pick up some tissue paper. they had 3 feet long sheets in assorted colors for $8, but they also had stacks of 4x4" and 6x6" transparent origami paper, but they were like $15 and $25, so i went with the cheaper option. the girl behind the counter was pretty helpful, price checking several items for me with her scan gun. as i got back on my bike to leave, a guy came by and asked how old the motorcycle was. "2000 i think," i replied. "well, you don't see a lot of bikes with spoked wheels," he told me. we then had a conversation about riding, he lived just down the street and has a bike himself which he just put away for the season yesterday. we talked about winter riding and how crazy it is. it was kind of interesting, two guys who didn't know each other, coming together through the bond of motorcycles.

wordsworth goes out of business
i went to harvard square to browse some bookstores, checking out the travel guides. i am definitely going on vacation next month, just don't know where. i have a small window of opportunity, being "in between jobs" at the moment. i want to be back in boston for thanksgiving though. costa rica, belize, thailand, indonesia, uzbekistan, lijiang (china), all potential places on my list. the limiting factor is of course the cost: the price of the plane ticket and the price of my living accomodations. time is running out though, i have to decide soon if i want to buy a ticket for next month. or i can hold off, do some more research and planning, and take the month of december off, but i'm afraid the later i decide to leave, the least likely i'll go, because my funds will gradually shrink to the point where i start worrying about paying bills.

i went to the coop and i went to that travel bookstore. on a whim i decided to check out wordsworth, see what i could find. the "all books 35% off" posters threw me for a loop, and when i went inside and saw that shelves were almost bare, it was a bad sign.


for a book lover living in cambridge/boston, this is a terrible and sad news. this was *the* bookstore to go if you lived in the area. all their books were always discounted, and over the years, even the decades, i don't know how many books i bought from there. i'd say most of the books i've ever bought from bookstores have been from that place, a lot of good memories.

i sort of had a feeling that something was amiss when a quarter of their space was lost to a beauty shop. and the news doesn't surprise me being in this modern day age of amazon.com, where not only is everything discounted, but you can find virtually any book and have it be delivered to your doorstep. a place like wordsworth had to compete against online stores as well as large book franchises like barnes & noble. i'll be honest, i'm guilty of seeing a book at wordsworth, only to buy it online later. despite the wider selection though, a lot can be said about the pleasures of browsing the bookstore aisles. and on the occasions when i demand immediate literary satisfaction (when i have an emergency bibliocraving), i've bought from wordsworth. still, i never thought the store would go bankrupt! it's an institution, i thought it'd be there forever. this is like tearing down the citgo sign, or demolishing the hancock tower. there used to be so many more bookstores in harvard square. if you ever pick up an old tourist guide to boston, they all point you to harvard square if you're a book lover. those days unfortunately are gone.

whenever a bookstore goes out of business though, i'm filled with both sadness and happiness. sad because bookstores have become almost an endangered species these days, but happy because of the liquidation sale. i feel guilty, i feel like a vulture, but who can resist a good sale? like a last hurrah. so i bought a book about trees and then grabbed another book that i wasn't expecting to buy but after thumbing through it it was too good to resist, "melons for the passionate grower" by amy goldman (with photos by victor schrager), sort of a catalog of melons from around the world, with gorgeous photos that showcase the sensual beauty of melons, both outside and inside. just flipping through the pages make my mouth water.

i left wordsworth for perhaps the last time. i turned around to take one final look, and snapped a few photos. it's like losing a really good friend. usually when stores close i don't feel anything but not this time. i feel sad. i wonder what's going to go in its place?

hot water bottle
on a more light-hearted note, i wanted to buy a hot water bottle. the idea first came to my head when i saw some of the red sox players passing around one of those red rubber balloons during a few of their colder games. hot water bottles bring back some memories from my children. my grandparents had one, and i remember playing with it as a child, like this magical warming device. i tried looking for it on the target.com website, but a search brought back nothing. a wider google on the internet came up with some results, and i was able to learn that amazon.com carried some (2-quart capacity) through one of their partner sites. the price was pretty good too, for $8 i could be reconnected to my childhood memory, i could have this novelty item in the house that could keep parts of my body warm during the winter months. i even called me mother to ask if she wanted one (she said yes). unfortunately, when i went to order, amazon.com said they were either out-of-stock or no longer carried the item. fortunately, for $1 more, i could get the next higher model, which they still had in stock. why would i hesitate then? well, because this model was advertised as the "combination douche, enema, and water bottle system." that scared me. i mean, i just want the water bottle. i don't need the douche nor the enema kit. reading the included accessories scared me even more: douche pipe, enema pipe, pipe adapter. no no no. it's hard enough explaining why i have a blow-up doll hidden in my closet (from a bachelor party, okay?), i don't need to have enema paraphernalia in my house as well. i continued reading, and found some instructions, including: "while maintaining one of the positions indicated, insert lubricated enema pipe into rectum. open shut-off clamp to permit solution to flow." oh dear. then i thought, who's going to know? i'll just order it, i can't wait, then i'll just throw away the parts i'm too embarassed to keep in my house when it arrives, problem solved. so i ordered it. and guess what? amazon.com now thinks i'm into water sports because suddenly all my recommendations are for various types of lubricants.

fahrenheit 9/11 dinner
julie came over and we made some dinner. i found a recipe for a clam & pasta soup while julie downloaded a rachel ray recipe for grilled chicken salad with bacon bits and mushrooms. i turned up the heat before julie arrived, but later went down to the basement and relit the pilot light because it was off (i hope this isn't a recurring problem).

with my soup simmering on the stove, with the chicken grilling in the foreman, with the bacon sizzling on the frying pan, it left the kitchen with this oily residue that i could feel when i walked around the hardwood floor barefoot. the dangers of closed-window winter cooking when you don't have a ventilator! luckily all the bedroom doors were closed. the clam & pasta soup didn't come out the way i thought it would, the flavoring was too sweet (maybe the 2 tablespoons of sugar didn't help matters much). i probably won't ever make it ever again, nor will i eat the leftovers (which thankfully there's only a little bit left). the recipe called for flat parsley as a seasoning and a garnish, which i just happen to have a lot of still growing in the backyard, the only thing that i seem to have a bumper crop of. after dinner we watched fahrenheit 9/11 on dvd, the original reason behind this evening's get-together. i'd already seen it in the theatres, but julie had yet to see the documentary. we also watched most of the bonus new materials, interviews with iraqi prior to the invasion, and various administration press conferences and testimonies. after seeing it for a second time, and being so close to election day, i feel more strongly than ever before that bush must be voted out of the office. not that i think kerry is our knight in shining armor, but the current administration has done such a poor job, it's time to let somebody else have a turn. i don't think bush as a person is a bad guy, but how can he sleep at nights if he knew the kind of hurt he's inflicted not only on iraqi families but american families as well, who have lost loved ones in the war? it not only makes me angry but it makes me sick.