kristine, james, and jaime were coming over tonight for dinner and a southeast asian slide show. i find the best way to keep a tidy house is to invite people over as often as possible, because it forces me to clean up. so i threw a bunch of stuff into the closet, did some laundry, and vacuumed. next came what i wanted to make for dinner. i had decided earlier in the week that it'd be thai red curry, and now i had to assemble the ingredients. what i didn't already have at home, i was able to get from my parents' cafe. when i got back to the house, bruce asked if i wanted to go walk fresh pond with him (calling his cellphone in his car parked just outside). we spotted a goldfinch flying between trees, as well as a mourning cloak butterfly. peoplewise, some sweaty joggers, some dogwalkers, and a few golfers on the neighboring golf course. after bruce got some groceries from whole foods (i didn't buy anything, too high brow for me, although i did enjoy taking deep sniffs of freshly roasted coffee beans, and thought about the possibility of an olfactory museum) we returned to our street. i went to star market to get some food for myself then quickly came back, waiting for my guests to arrive.
the last time kristine, james, and i met was about a week before i left for southeast asia back in february. most of the friends i have nowadays are mostly former coworkers. usually it's but tonight was a rare occasion with just folks from squid country safari. james and jaime arrived first, traveling via MBTA, bringing with them some pad thai. kristine came shortly afterwards bringing with her some green tea ice cream, and said she would've been here earlier if she didn't get sidetracked in the porter square area. i gave them a quick tour of the place (none of them had ever been to my house before), then we chatted in the living room, enjoying the air conditioning. screen house people, i started cooking around 7pm, everyone following me into the kitchen to watch the show. it's been a while since i had thai red curry, so i was a bit rusty and had to look at the recipe taped to the fridge. the only change came from the fact that kristine's vegetarian, so i used tofu instead of meat. while the curry was simmering, i brought out my jello experiment. i managed to remove the jello blocks fairly intact (they jiggled out with some obscene squishing noises), and cutting them into slices with a warm nice was hard either, but putting the pieces back into the glass with alternating layers resulted in an ugly disaster. kristine suggested forming the layers naturally, through a series of pour and refreeze of alternating colors (she did this as a kid, it's tedious, but it seems like a sound idea).
even though the dining table was ready for use, i suggested we eat in the living room, where it was much cooler. after we finished eating, i brought out a bowl of cherries for dessert (it was james' first time eating cherries) then started the slide show. an hour into the presentation and we were still in japan. i think it's impossible to condense 3 months worth of traveling down to 60 minutes. it started getting late, and james and jaime had to catch the commuter rail back to attleboro. kirstine ended up giving them a ride to the train station.