i was sitting in my living room in my underwear when renata arrived. earlier i'd been outside shoveling the fresh snow from the sidewalk (another small snowstorm passing through cambridge, 5" more of snow), and had just came inside, taking off my wet pants. who could that be walking up my steps? i thought. when the doorbell rang and i realized who it was, i scrambled to put my pants back on.

renata was running errands today, and i was an item on her long to-do list. she called me this morning (well, actually, close to noon, but i was still sleeping) asking if she could drop by, but i didn't expect her until 4pm. to be honest, i kind thought she'd cancel since it was snowing again and hard to drive and find parking spots (especially in cambridge). the first thing she asked for when she came inside the house was a sweater (i quickly turned up the heat), then she asked for some hot tea, then for me to make her a fruit elixir. all three wishes were granted. she stood on the heating vent on the kitchen floor and refused to leave from that spot. we exchanged travel stories, two people on the verge of long asian trips. she told me about her own thai experience from a few years back, when she visited bangkok, phuket, and chiangmai within the span of 2 weeks. she also reiterated her concern about my burma trip; her apprehension was cute but it only made me want to go that much more. old habits die hard as we did our usual song-and-dance routine where i take a photo of renata, she asks to see it then demands to have it erased, but i ignore her. she also warned me on several occasions not to write certain things she said (but if you e-mail me, i will gladly share all). she said i haven't been my usual chipper self on my weblog, i mumbled some vague answer, but wasn't quite daring enough to say what was really on my mind. i asked what she'd been doing within the past few weeks, getting ready for her trip, moving out of her apartment. i offered her an invitation to stay for dinner (clam corn chowder) but she had other errands to run, more people to visit. she was already saying her good byes, "if i don't see you before i leave" stuff, but i made her promise to visit me one last time before she goes to beijing.

i walked her to her car, which was parked on beacon street. i should've known, but there was a snow emergency so of course she got a ticket ($50, but at leasst she didn't get towed). i wanted to pay the fine but she took the ticket away. as she drove off i felt bad that a friendly visit in bad weather turned out to be so expensive.

as evening approached i made some clam corn chowder. i did a much better job compared to last time (for one thing, i peeled the potatoes), but canned clams made the chowder too clammy tasting, and it didn't seem thick enough (despite the heartiness, chock full of celery, onion, and bacon). the recipe definitely needs some more refinement before it can be presented before an audience. despite not eating anything the entire day, i might've had too much of a good thing when i poured myself a big bowl of chowder while watching the gilmore girls. i ate as much as i could before dumping the rest back into the pot, tomorrow's lunch and dinner.

the rest of the evening was spent playing diablo (my barbarian got a new wardrobe! winged headgear and a new blue suit of armor), watching alias (feel like that 1989 movie the experts starring john travolta as an american unknowingly living in a soviet training camp disguised as small town americana), and receiving a phone call from my parents (finally) in taipei asking about the snow (they're coming back next week and want me to pick them up from the airport but didn't tell me when). tim also contacted me about not being able to take my spare bedroom for next month. it didn't take us long before the football trash talking started (tim is an eagles fan). tim, when my patriots beat your eagles, i will call you and LOL in your EAR!

morrissey - "i don't mind if you forget me"