my parents' backyard garden mirrors my own community garden plot: growing are tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and basil. however, unlike my garden - which i provide almost daily maintenance - my parents' garden needs some TLC.

but i'm getting ahead of myself. once again my neighbor's NPR alarm clock woke me up at 8:40. even with the window closed, i could still hear the muffled sound of talk radio and i couldn't fall back asleep. instead i got out of bed and went through my morning ritual (bathroom, feed the fish, check e-mail), then decided to go out for a run. not sure how long i can sustain this streak (2nd day in a row!) but i figured i'll ride it out as long as i'm motivated. don't think i've ever gone a whole week of running. not sure how much weight i could lose if i did that. for me the issue really isn't about the weight: i'm just starting to notice some pudge around my gut and would like to lose the spare tire. sometimes i think women have it better: i rather have my excess fat go to my ass and thighs instead of my midsection. of course the best weight loss is to go on an extended vacation: the past two trips i've lost about 15-20 lbs. each time. something about eating poorly and walking around all day long has a tendency to make me skinnier, go figure. anyway, now that we're in the midst of summer, there's no excuse not to be more active. unlike yesterday, today was unbearably hot and humid. despite the unpleasantness, i had more endurance this time around - although it was touch and go at first when i felt some discomfort in one of my knees. i even had enough energy to sprint to the finish line, before collapsing into a loud pant and trying to catch my breath. returning home, i swung by the garden to water my vegetables and to eat more raspberries.

after i cleaned up, i went to belmont briefly to water my parents' garden (something different: since i still had on my contacts from running, i wore sunglasses, something i almost never do). good news: all the vegetables are still alive. bad news: because they haven't been watered regularly, they seem stunted compared to my own vegetables. i basically drowned all the plants, watering each one until i could see a pool of water collect around them. the upside down tomato is still alive as well, seemingly healthy, curling upwards now. anyone who has a garden should get one of these. i can't wait to see how the tomatoes are going to grow upside.

i left belmont and headed to burlington to revisit the barnes & noble bookstore. once again, just a fact finding mission: i see what books i want and then come home and order them online. before coming back, i went to the nearby trader joe's and got some groceries. i stopped by the cafe where i had some homemade chinese dumplings for a late lunch before coming home.

i have a real passion for online shopping. some people are leery because they're worried about identity theft but they're missing out on some great deals. everything seems to be cheaper online. even with shipping (or the lack thereof, depending on the store) it's still a bargain. ever since i received a $50 american express gift certificate (for doing some usability testing work) a few days ago, i was in a spendthrift frame of mind. it's no surprise i'd add yet another nature book to my library: eyewitness companions to tree isn't exactly a field guide, but it is a beautiful book to browse and there was a pretty detailed section on the paulownia tree, my new favorite tree. i've been searching a good macrophotography book and found closeup shooting the closest to what i've been looking for. the layout is pretty clean and it gets to the heart of the techniques without bogging down in superfluous text. i've had my camera for over a year now so it's kind of funny that i'd buy a guide to the EOS 350D now (PIP expanded guide). the thing is i lost my manual and i've been just winging it. later i found a pdf version from canon's website, but i like to have something i can hold in my hand and study from time to time. the PIP guide is filled with photos and it's pretty to look at, that's why i got it. finally, photography FAQs: exposure - what sold me were the charts and diagrams. once i saw those i just knew i had to get this book.

i fell asleep on the couch in the early evening, waking up slightly sweaty from the hot temperature. it's almost the middle of july and i still don't have my AC installed. at this rate, i may go the entire summer with air conditioning. you'd like to think that i'm depriving myself because i'm so environmentally conscious, but the truth is i hate the AC i have, a giant metal behemoth that takes a 2 man team to install.

i cooked up some pre-made biryani for dinner and dwindled the rest of the evening doing my nightly trinity of television, internet, and weblog.