i cleaned up the house a little bit more, in preparation for john's arrival later this evening. washed the mildew off of the shower curtains, put away the dishes, vacuumed the floors, and took out the trash. i then left for my parents' place, taking with me the 3 jars of still-fermenting kim chee (so as to not stink up my place).

when i arrived in belmont, there was a swarm of cars parked along the street. i thought maybe one of the neighbors was having a sunday party until i realized everyone was going to the open house across the street from my parents' place. an indian family lived there, moved in shortly after we moved to our house back in 1984. i noticed somebody putting up a realtor sign thursday afternoon. it came as a surprise but in retrospect we should've seen it coming since they've been doing a lot of exterior renovation work lately. being curious, i even went across the street to take a look. a 1188 square feet single story house, 3 bedrooms with a finished basement that really doubles the total living space to 2000+ square feet. there were a lot of people looking, so much so that the real estate agent was playing more a role of a traffic cop. everyone who was there had children, and surprisingly more than half of the family were chinese.

i went with my mother and sister to weston, to take hailey out for a trail run in the forest. there was a slight drizzle when i rode up from cambridge, but they were confident the rain was over. since i had my camera, i couldn't risk getting wet, so i brought along an umbrella just in case. the further we got on the highway, the more it started to rain, until it became a torrential downpour. we thought about turning back but were hoping the rain might stop when we arrived. when we got there it was still raining just as hard and had no choice but to turn back. hailey had already noticed we'd arrived and was getting excited for her run, but when we started to leave, she sensed something was wrong and started to whimper. so we turned around after a few minutes, and decided to let hailey decide if she wanted to run in the forest with the rain. i at least had an umbrella but my sister and mother just had their ponchos. fortunately they found two spare umbrellas in the back of the car. originally i thought the run space was just a large enclosed grassy field, but turns out there's a nearby entrance that leads into an expanse of forest trails.

while my sister and mother were far up ahead, i lagged behind, surveying the wildlife. i haven't gone out naturing in a while, and i almost never do it in the rain, so it was a new experience for me. the predominant vegetation were poison ivy, jewelweed, and various species of ferns. my mother and sister had already disappeared down a muddy and wet trail before i saw them coming back again. i thought maybe they were just checking up on me, but turns out they'd decided to head back, since hailey herself wasn't interested in running around in the rain either. so in total we probably just spent about 10 minutes in the woods, getting soaked, before we left.

as soon as we got back to belmont, the rain stopped. and actually, it didn't even seem like it had even rained here. i went out in the backyard to look around. not much change, although the corn seemed to be bigger than i remember them a few days ago.

after dinner i went back to cambridge, with john scheduled to arrive around 8:30. i got a call from him saying he was stuck in traffic and might be an hour late. he arrived with his bicycle, which we stored in the basement after a failed attempt at securing it to the backyard deck. we managed to find a parking spot along a private way, saving us from having to move the car tomorrow morning for the scheduled monthly street cleaning. having not had dinner yet, john was looking for a place nearby either to go or to get a delivery order. here is where boston differs from new york city: restaurants around here close early, especially on a sunday night. by 11:00, the only place around here that was still open was punjabi dhaba in inman square, and that wasn't exactly within walking distance. that's when i remembered there's an international house of pancakes in harvard square, and surely they'd be open late. so we made our way across the emptiness of harvard square. the only signs of life were cabbies waiting for fares and the few homeless people sleeping in secluded alcoves. john, completely obsessed with cycling, admired all the many bicycles we encountered along the way. IHOP seemed to be empty when we arrived (they close at 4:00), but business soon picked up. customers for the most part seemed to be young night owls, coming to one of the few places to eat that's still open this time of the night. i can't even remember the last time i was at an IHOP; it might've even been back in college, when an IHOP still existed on concord avenue near fresh pond. john ordered the 5 stacks of pancake with a side of scrambled eggs, which i had the 3 eggs 3 pancakes combo with a side of bacon strips.

we returned home well past midnight, with harvard square even more empty than an hour before. john got his ipod from the car, saying how nowadays he can't sleep without it. i also saw his nikon D40 SLR camera: a beefy LCD screen and a much larger viewfinder. he revealed to me that since he got the camera, he still hasn't erased any photos yet from the 8gb SD card.

laura branigan - "self control"