the actual painting itself doesn't take very long, but the prep work beforehand seems to last forever. today my father and i put blue masking tape along the perimeter of the living room before laying down some pink rosin paper. nothing like the blue tape and pink paper to indicate that major painting operations are about to begin! we also put a plastic tarp over much of the furniture, and what we couldn't cover with the tarp we used industrial strength plastic wrap instead. while my father left early for the cafe, i kept working, sanding and then washing the walls, patching and caulking anymore missed spots from yesterday. i also stripped some paint from the front window, but the heat gun method is too tedious (and seemingly toxic, although i was wearing a mask) so i want to try a chemical stripper instead. client N called with some project questions; it's nice to know that i'll have some coding work come fall. a box of kleenex perched nearby on a table; i'm still dealing with a slight hayfever although i've managed to stay away from the drugs.

my sister was home briefly, and so was my mother, but they both left together to go supply shopping. after finishing a leftover blueberry muffin while watching tv on the floor, i returned to cambridge. i'm pretty sure we're going to be painting tomorrow - finally after a week's worth of prep work, it's time for the best part!

the tobacco hornworm stripped a few more branches today, migrating to the other side of the tomato plant. i knew this from the generous amount of caterpillar droppings on my tomatoes. the tomatoes seemed fine until i did a more thorough examination: although it's true hornworms don't eat red tomatoes, they still make a valiant effort, as i saw chew marks on one of my largest prized semi-ripened tomato. nearby, a much smaller green tomato didn't fare as well, and sustained some more serious wounds.

it's hard to gauge how fast the hornworm is growing, but just yesterday it was as long as my index finger but today it's the same length as my middle finger (please forgive my dry hands; working all day, they get a little chapped). please stop growing! two teenage kids were rummaging through the community garden. "hey, want to see something cool?" i asked them as they walked by. "look in there, there's a large caterpillar." the more inquisitive girl poked her head forward and her reaction was nearly the same as mine the first time i saw the hornworn: "oh my god, it's huge!" they didn't ask why i was raising a caterpillar that could potentially defoliate my tomatoes; i'm not sure if i know the answer myself.

elsewhere: the sunflowers are producing multi-heads! it makes sense that each plant would want to create more than one seedhead but i wonder given their late start if all of them will make it to maturity? seeing how fast the plants are growing though, i'm not particularly worried. i think it'll look mighty pretty when all the yellow flowers come out.

i've noticed that the tomatillo balloons come in two varieties: the much more robust green balloons, and the slightly smaller yellow balloons (in the photo of the yellow balloon, you can make out the larger green balloon in the background). the yellow ones don't look quite as healthy but both kinds are better than what i had before, which was nothing at all. they're too big and i don't want to squeeze-test them to find out if there's anything inside. nothing i can do but to wait it out.

my father met me in the garden and i showed him the caterpillar as well. we pulled a few more ripe tomatoes, including the large semi-ripened one that the hornworm attempted to chew. we later went back to my place where we waited for my sister and mother to arrive. we had mexican for dinner and i was entrusted with picking up our order from boca grande. later, my sister helped me upgrade my cellphone to the motorola KRZR. even though i'm not a big fan of my current LG cellphone, i also wasn't hot on the idea of paying $50 for a new phone i didn't think i even needed.

after my family left, i settled in for a nice evening of baseball. like it's been all week, i quickly fell asleep, no fault of the red sox. i woke up just in time to see the sox take the lead before changing channel to watch the new mad men. tonight's episode features various forms of office crushes, bonus check, homosexuality, reefer-smoking beatniks, and hobo sign language. why aren't you watching this show? i really don't know!