coming back, i ran into my next door neighbor renee. she finally got rid of her noisy and inconsiderate bike messenger roommate, and ended up with a chinese student here attending summer school for the next 6 weeks. what she didn't realize was he invited his girlfriend over for the weekend, and let another friend crash on her couch. i actually saw the couple outside with a suitcase, not very friendly, bad first impression. renee charges $700 a month (utilities included). the guest bedroom is plenty big (3rd floor facing the street, about the size of my living room), but her place lacks some basic amenities like laundry, cable and wireless access (there's a laundromat down the street and you basically have to pilfer a weak signal from the lone neighbor who hasn't password-protected their network). also her persistent drama with her developmentally-challenged son seems more trouble than its worth.
i packed up all my things into the car and left for belmont. i didn't hear from my parents since last night and i almost expected my mother to be home. only my sister was there; my father left for the hospital this morning. my father did call me, said my mother did an abbreviated stress test and they were still waiting for the doctor to come and officially discharge her. after several hours my father called back in the afternoon and said the doctor wanted to keep my mother under observation for another night. i'm not sure the reason since she felt fine and none of her tests were conclusive for anything serious. i had the feeling maybe the doctors were hedging their bets in case of liabilities. i told my mother she should come home but the doctor ended up persuading her to stay until tomorrow.
my sister was gone for much of the day, forgot she had nanny duty until they called her asking if she was still coming. i spent the day inspecting the garden then doing some bike stuff.
every pea flower becomes a pea pod; although there are many, there's still only enough for a single serving. fortunately i think peas can be resown in late summer for an autumn harvest. i was hoping to grow a lot of peas this season but they look longer to grow than anticipated and not all of them germinated. also, given a single vine, i can only get about 12 pea pods maximum.
i was surprised to find that a good-sized cucumber has already formed. now we wait to see if it'll turn golden yellow like last season's korean cucumber, or will it just stay reason. either way, hopefully they're a good producer and we can get fresh cucumbers for the rest of the summer (regardless of color).
the single remaining head of romaine lettuce looks oh-so-crispy. it looks too good-looking to eat. there are other romaine plants but because they were grown too close together, none of them have developed into a head.
nothing yet on the cherry tomatoes but at least one regular tomato is about the size of a small plum. i'm not much for eating tomatoes but they're fun to grow because their fruits are so accessible. there's no confusing when a tomato is ripe - it turns completely red (typically, unless you have a special variety). and they're easy to remove, just pick them off the vine. and as long as you keep on picking off tomatoes, they'll keep on growing more.
what i thought to be radicchio is now growing these long tall stalks with flower buds on them. if it is in fact radicchio, i never knew they're supposedly perennials. they're also a member of the chicory family, so the flowers should be a pretty light blue once they bloom. maybe we'll keep these as an ornamental.
the summer squash is a monster. juiced on a bed of compost and left to grow on its own without any competition, it can only get bigger and bigger. my only concern are the squash vine borers. this squash hasn't flowered yet, so that will at least make it hard for the borers to find it. but already i noticed some early stage flower buds; maybe i should snip them off for a few weeks, until the borer season has past. last year i set out my squashes too early, and was unlucky enough to have the flowering coincide with the few weeks that the borers are out looking to lay eggs.
the nasturtiums are amazing. today in the garden i saw 4 different colors of flowers: red, orange, yellow, and pink. pink and yellow are new to me, i've only ever seen orange and red. once all the arugula and radish and lettuce are gone, RB1 can be a field of nasturtium for all i care, if they continue with the color show.
my father moved in the potted freesia plant back inside the house. i must've smelled the fragrance before i even noticed it. so far there are white and red flowers. it's hard to describe the scent, but i'm familiar with it because that's the smell of my bathroom odor spray. so for me it smells like something that comes out of a can instead of vice versa. no only regret is planting so close together in such a tiny pot. next season i'll give them a better home.
onto the bike work: i adjusted the handlebar of the schwinn 7-speed so they're pointed more downwards. now it rides much better, no more awkward wrist position. to the handlebar i added a head light; it's the one i got from dealextreme for the guest bike in the basement, but i haven't seen my roommate riding it, i decided to take the light for myself. i also scrubbed the rusty cassette with some degreaser and a brass brush, and tried to clean off some rust from the chain as well. as for the ross 10-speed, i replaced the giant seat with the schwinn seat from my unused bianchi.
maybe 2 weeks ago i thought the ross 10-speed was a great ride, much better than the bike i normally ride (trek 800). that was before i tried the schwinn 7-speed. now i think the ross is too light and doesn't have enough power. the schwinn rides effortlessly. it almost feels like cheating to ride something that seems to glide and go fast without even trying. it makes me want to upgrade my 26" wheels to something bigger (700c). the brakes on the schwinn are silent; on the ross with it's circa-1980's brake pads, every stop results in a horrible loud squeak. my father says this is a feature but i know this is a defect because it means the pads aren't catching the rim which means diminished braking power.
my father came home from the hospital around 5:00. i'd pushed the bikes into the sunroom thinking it might rain. we rolled them back out and gave them a test ride. when my sister came back home, she made pasta for dinner.
around 7:00 we left for mt.auburn hospital to visit my mother. any later and we might not get in since visiting hours is until 8:00. there was nobody on the main floor of the hospital, not even a receptionist or a security guard. we went to the 4th floor of the south building. my mother was sprawled out on a hospital bed next to a window, in an empty room that can sleep a total of 4. she had food at the hospital but her doctor put her on a restricted diet so the fish she ordered was very bland. good thing we brought her some stuff from home, including some leftover pasta and a container of bing and rainier cherries. every bed was outfitted with a 35-channel tv mounted on a swivel arm. one channel had a dedicated camera feed of the nearby charles river. we stayed for about an hour before leaving. my mother thinks she should be able to go home tomorrow but that's what she said yesterday.
afterwards my father dropped me off at my place. my roommate came home soon after i did. following his normal routine, around 10:00 i heard him in the kitchen making dinner (smelled like pasta). he left the house at 11:00 without saying anything. tonight i suddenly realized that he may not own a cell phone. i never hear him making any calls. when he went to the hospital a few weeks ago, he asked me to phone the hospital to find him, which i didn't think was strange at the time (not when compared to almost choking to death on a bay leaf), but why didn't he ask me to call him instead? and in all our pre-living-together communique, he never gave me his number.