for the time being it'd stopped raining: from the basement i retrieved my trek grocery getter and went out to run errands in the early afternoon. i had trouble traveling my usual shortcut because the somerville road crew were repaving the streets. first stop was rite aid, my usual spot for securing sugary contrabands.

i was also searching for a nail file. i give my nails the most cursory of care, cutting them when they get long which is about it. the nail file wasn't actually for my nails though; i wanted something to take the dead scratchy skin from my fingers. dry skin combined with my habit of digging in the garden with my hands (shovel? trowel? what's that?) have left my fingers in rough shape. i notice it most often when i run my hands across my clothes and they snag on minute pieces of dried skin. an inexpensive emory board would've probably done the trick, but i opted for the fancier revlon file-n-smooth™ (on sale $2.39, normally $3.99).

rite aid was followed by a trip to the bank in union square to deposit a rent check. last stop was market basket, where i picked up a few ingredients for making some hoppin' john for dinner. more rain was expected for later tonight so back into the basement went my bike.

i tried the file-n-smooth on my hands and it did a pretty good job. it files in one direction but smooths in the other. it took a few passes to get rid of the dead skin but afterwards my fingers no longer catch on my clothes. the stainless steel file-n-smooth also comes with a lifetime guarantee.

"susan" - that shanghai astrophysicist that i housed the summer of 2010 - wrote me an e-mail this morning. a coworker friend of hers was coming to boston on the 15th and needed a temporary place to stay for about 2 weeks so she could look for a more permanent apartment (she's here for the next year). just so happens that my guest bedroom will be available for the final 2 weeks of may; except my current roommate isn't leaving until the 17th, so there's a 2 day gap where susan's friend would be homeless. i wrote her back to tell her as much. later i talked with my father, who said there's an empty room at my great uncle's place that this person could stay for a few days until my place becomes available. to call that space a room is generous, since it's more like a closet with no windows and a bed. i wrote back susan to let her know about this option.

who knew my guest bedroom would be in such high demand? i've got bruce's friend arriving in september for 4 months, my current roommate's referral showing up for 2 months beginning in june, and now out of the blue a possible 2 week stay from susan's coworker friend. i was kind against susan's proposal at first, but it's easy income, why not take it?

i did a load of laundry in the early evening, including my bedsheets. while my clothes were tumbling in the dryer i began making some hoppin' john for dinner. i was following a quick recipe that's essentially 3 main ingredients: long-grained rice, black-eyed peas, and bacon. while the rice was cooking in chicken broth, i cooked my bacon then sauteed some garlic and onion in the bacon fat. i added the beans and some water, then mixed in the rice. my roommate was already home by that point and i talked him into having some of my hoppin' john.

i'd made hoppin' john before and i remember it wasn't that great. this second attempt was better, but still not there yet (nothing like what bruce made). there's a certain blandness to it all. i read you can also make this recipe in a slow-cooker, which might impart more flavor; people also use ham hocks instead of bacon, and dry beans instead of canned. maybe i can ask bruce about his recipe when he returns to cambridge later this month.