i knew i wasn't scheduled to do any work today, perhaps the only day this week where my time wasn't occupied with some kind of job. i wanted to sleep late, but woke up early anyway, 10am (early for me that is). the weather had dramatically cooled down since yesterday, a drop in air temperature of more than 20 degrees, and a nice gentle breeze was blowing against the venetian blinds. alone in the house with nothing to do, that's bliss. in the early afternoon i went out to run a few errands, deliver some whip cream to my parents, drop by cvs to pick up a prescription. i had a conversation with the man outside the store selling copies of the "spare change" newspaper; he was interested in my motorcycle, asked how big it was. in biker lingo that means the engine size, and in my case it's only 250cc. "nah, really? looks bigger though," he told me. turns out he used to ride as well, back in the days. he had 3 harleys, when they cost $5000 a piece, but now they've priced themselves out of his reach.

can't remember when was the last time i went running, but i was determined to get some exercise on this surprisingly pleasant day. i ran without my t-shirt, no longer sporting a farmer's tan after a weekend of natural bronzing. hardly anyone else was out around 3pm in the afternoon, just me, the charles river, and my agonizing panting. i did my loop, taking a break to soak in the water fountain, before finishing the run. when i got back home i watered the plants (the hot sun reminded me they might be thirsty) then took a shower.

i relaxed on the couch with a can of root beer and a bag of salt & vinegar potato chips, watching television.

in the early evening with the summer sun still hanging in the sky, julie asked if i wanted some fresh scallions from her community garden. i said sure, and we arranged to meet each other there. i walked through the underground shortcut by the railroad tracks that goes into somerville. during the daytime it's not so scary, but at night, it's the perfect place to get ambushed because nobody can see you. from a distance i noticed some debris in the tunnel. i figured it was trash left over from a homeless person, but upon closer inspection, it was something weird. there was a low shelf which looked like it was used as a bench, candles everywhere, a set of freddy krueger gloves, and a latex monster mask. it looked like somebody was waiting down there, dressed up as a monster, but got bored and left, leaving his costume and props behind. i grabbed my camera and took a few snapshots, but some pedestrians came into the tunnel and i quickly walked away, let them figure out what happened.

julie was looking to pick me up from somerville avenue if she saw me, but i had already walked to the community garden area. i actually watched her drive away and call me on my cellphone moments later, returning to the main street to look for me again, until i told her i was already in the garden. she finally arrived (climbing over the fence, too lazy to walk around to the normal entrance) and gave me an update on her botanical adventures. by pure coincidence we both came with almost the same plastic harpoon brewery cup (to hold the scallions once we uprooted them). the most obvious feature in her garden is the mountain of tomato plants that dwarf not only her other plants but also all her neighbors' plants as well. my single tomato plant growing in my shady backyard in cambridge is but a twig compared to the tomato trees growing out here. it was scary in a horticultural way. the whole time we were inspecting julie's garden and those of her neighbors, there were children playing noisy in the playground nearby. at one point they came to show us their scars, one little girl was just scratched by a puppy, which added to her collection of bike injuries. julie, queen of the scratches and bruises, showed off some sample scars of her own. i left with some scallions and a sandwich bag full of hot salsa peppers.

returning home, we saw a pretty sunset over somerville. since julie had nothing else going on tonight, i invited her over for dinner, where i was remaking tuesday night's meal of sichuan-style salmon and instant pilaf. thursdays are when the red sox have their day off, so no baseball tonight. instead we watched a TLC documentary about jay leno restoring a classic car and see some of his personal collections of modern antique vehicles, including a steam-operated car.