i braved the cold once more to pay a visit to the AAA office in boston's financial district to get my international driving permit. the excitement of being back in the city where i used to work kept me feeling warm while all around me business folks walked quickly to their destinations bundled tightly in their winter garb. a few women were walking around with their scarf muffled around their nose and mouth: how this kept them warm is a mystery to me, and they're missing the best part of cold weather which is the column of smoke that comes out of your mouth, like a fire-breathing pedestrian. i got the $10 permit without any problems, then walked to chinatown. i wanted to have lunch at the taiwan cafe but since i was just by myself, they didn't want to waste a table and asked if i wanted to share one with another customer. "maybe i'll just have something to go," i told the waiter. so i ordered a dish of smelly tofu and wandered chinatown a bit until my food was ready. it's ironic, but in a matter of weeks i will be in taipei, and i will be eating authentic smelly tofu every day (none of this overpriced facsimile), and it'll be so great i'll probably cry tears of happiness during each meal. my wanderings led me to the costume store, where i admired their creative window displays. after picking up my order, i came quickly home to eat lunch.

with bush's inauguration tomorrow, i celebrated by watching the documentary control room. that, coupled with condoleeza rice's testimony before the senate panel (where she stuck to the party line and wouldn't admit to any mistakes, just that there were some "not good decisions"), makes me vehemently angry about the current administration. i'm still bitter about the outcome of the presidential election, how a majority of america is so blind that it could vote for a war criminal and his rogue administration and subject the world to 4 more years of ineptitude and revisionist history making. as an american with didn't vote for the man who will be sworn in (again) tomorrow, the next 4 years will be a lot of self-loathing and passive aggressive anger management.

after a nap cocooned in my red fleece throw nestled on the couch in the living room (i woke up with a cold nose, much like a dog's nose when it gets sick), i got dressed and started to make my way over to eliza's new place in jamaica plain. i forgot it'd be snowing and had to clean the snow off the car before leaving. i made a quick stop at star market to buy a present (a cantaloupe and a box of cream puffs) then started to make my way south. the snow made for some slippery driving and i was extremely cautious since i had neither car insurance nor health insurance. i don't go down to jamaica plain very often so i get lost most of the time. combined with the snow, there was no way i'd make the 7:30pm appointment in time so i called eliza to let her know. over the BU bridge and down st.paul's street was the way i took to JP, then onto the jamaica deathway. once in JP, i got lost twice (found myself in roslindale at one point) before arriving at eliza's place, 30 minutes late, but safely in one piece.

eliza was making risotto from a recipe book she had opened on the kitchen counter. she had on red pants (ooh, red pants!) and her apron actually matched her outfit, whether intentionally or otherwise. while she cooked, i looked around her new place: hardwood floors throughout, a big kitchen, a medium-sized living room, and a ginormous master bedroom. her missing roommate had the spare bedroom, and it didn't look as spacious with just a twin mattress as a bed on the floor. occasionally her weight-challenged cat cuci would scamper about, the hair on his ass growing back after a successful surgery from a raccoon attack. every so often eliza would get a phone call, like some switchboard operator for a chat line, or the most popular girl in school.

the risotto turned out fine, although eliza had strong doubts about the cooked kale, which she said smelled weird, but i thought it just tasted like seaweed. in her ongoing scheme to corrupt my moral fiber, dinner was also served with some red wine (i only obliged because i didn't want eliza to drink alone, branding her an alkie). and wouldn't know you it? a phone call during dinner! for dessert, who opened up the cream puffs and had them with a melted dark chocolate dipping sauce. throughout the evening our conversation ranged from what superhero powers we'd like to have, turning 30 versus 31, why we both didn't like sideways, funny anecdotes from her days of being an art teacher (the story of "dooky"), arranged marriages, and the ending of life of pi.

as it was getting late, i left and slowly drove back to cambridge. it was still snowing (light powdery snow), but the traffic was light and conditions on most of the main roads were pretty good. a few times the car would swerve a little bit around turns or accelerating from a dead stop. i drove defensively, constantly looking in the rearview mirror to check and see that nobody was going to slide and hit me. i found a parking spot near my place (one that i didn't have to parallel park, which i can't do), and put out the trash when i got back. i also took the time to shovel my portion of the sidewalk. i can't wait to see the faces of my neighbors tomorrow when they wake up in the morning and see that i already cleaned my walk! preemptive strike!