the next day i went on a boat tour of inle lake. i visited an open-aired market, saw people dredging up lake grass for their floating gardens, and visited artisan shops like paper and fabric making as well as metal craftsmen.

i went with julie to mahoney's in winchester to get some garden plants. mahoney's is the gardening mecca of the greater boston area, with all sorts of flowers and vegetables and trees and equipment. the place was surprisingly crowded for a weekday, full of soccer moms, rich housewives, and senior citizens, all pushing their green shopping carts full of potted plants. i bought a six pack of tomatoes ("celebrity" variety), a pack of habanero peppers, and a special chef jeff's pepper variety (advertised as twice as hot as habaneros). nothing for my community garden plot (which will be full of wildflowers), but for my parents' garden instead, where they can help me water when i'm gone. julie got a large hanging flower plant and i waited outside for her to finish paying while i watched a barn swallow nesting on an overhang of the roof.

so yesterday i started using that steroid ointment for my neck rash and by this morning it'd practically healed. so finally after over a month of itching and not knowing what it was (skin cancer? scabies?) and using a useless antifungal cream, i'm cured. when the doctor originally told me it was a steroid, i was hoping for some side effects like increased muscle size. i wanted to ask him about it but figured i'd want to be surprised when i wake up one morning being able to rip phone books with my bare hands.

today was a cloudy, warm, humid day - for once i was glad it's cool inside my house. i reheated the rest of my carrot cake for lunch, then snacked on some peanuts and strawberries. i thought about going out but the sky was darkening up and soon it started thundering and raining. i watched television from my bed and fell asleep briefly. i woke up to watch the rain delayed red sox devil rays game while having a cup of instant noodles for dinner.

later i took a bath and stayed in the tub for an hour, or exactly the amount of time it takes to read an issue of entertainment weekly from cover to cover. i practiced holding my breath underwater (10 seconds! i'm like a fish) before coming out of the bathroom.