another morning, another mess in the bathroom. just 8 more days! once i clean up though, everything is back to normal. but during those minutes when i'm mopping up the floor, picking up hairs, or scrubbing the sink, i'm so angry i could probably throw out LJ right then and there. i actually woke up around 8:00 to use the bathroom but LJ was already in there, so i waited for what seemed like forever. i was already in the living room going through my daily survey of my usual internet sites when she left around 9:00.

i tested some movies for client N but with molly out on vacation this week, i wasn't in a hurry to do any serious coding work. i also sold one of my photos ("indigo hands"), printed out a copy online and sent it to the buyer. not a lot of money, enough for a week's worth of groceries.

the weather today was awesome, a warm 70's with a cool breeze, a handful of small puffy clouds dotting the sky. after some granola-yogurt for breakfast while watching the live olympics coverage, i went to market basket to pick up some groceries. i came with 2 canvas bags filled with empty seltzer cans, managed to redeem $2.20 worth of aluminum. i picked up some plain low fat yogurt (still the cheap store brand $1.89) and tried a new box of granola with maple syrup pecan. i also stocked up on sausages: apple cinnamon chicken sausage, polish kielbasa (there goes my healthy diet), italian sausages with fennel. the italian sausages were for the risotto i was making for dinner.

in the afternoon i visited the community garden. i hadn't been there since wednesday (when i went on a grand gardening tour and visit 3 different gardens spread out over a 6 mile distance), 5 days ago.

i've finally reached that stage of squash growing nirvana that i've only read about and that other gardeners have experienced. in years past i wasn't as lucky, as my plants would die prematurely before they really got cooking. this year however is the first season where i've had productive squashes, plants so fertile that they're like machines, producing a squash every 5 days or so. these things grow so fast it's almost scary, almost unholy. unfortunately i'm not a big squash eater, so i give them away to my parents as soon as i harvest them. last year i made zucchini bread from one of the few squashes i managed to grow; even then i had so much zucchini left over that i ended up throwing it all away because i couldn't eat it all. there must be some good zucchini recipes out there. maybe make a zucchini lasagna. given the choice though, i prefer the crunchy lightness of cucumbers over zucchinis. ironically, i'm not growing any cucumbers this season (in my community garden at least).

zucchini number 5 was almost ready to harvest last wednesday; 5 days was probably too long of a wait, so in the garden was a monster zucchini waiting to be taken (compare that to the monster zucchini from last year). right above it, zucchini number 6 is a day or two from harvest as well. zucchini machine! i'm not at that point yet, but at this rate, i may have to leave abandoned zucchinis on neighbors' doorsteps. all this from just one plant! the cocozelle is a slow producer: cocozelle number 4 which i spotted last wednesday is still pretty much the same size. yellowing of the end means the fruit wasn't successfully pollinated for whatever reason and now will be reabsorbed by the plant (or it'll just shrivel up and fall off).

still no red full-sized tomatoes (although in belmont we already have 2), but plenty of big green ones ready to ripen. a lot of cherry tomatoes though. i already have a bowl of them back at home, but managed to fill another plastic box's worth. i think this is the first year i've grown cherry tomatoes in my community garden and it may be the last; i don't really use them for anything. if i do use tomatoes, i prefer the adult-sized variety.

the few days of rough rainy weather last week snapped my prized blue delphinium plant in half. i saved the flowers, they'll still look good in a vase for at least a few days. the third delphinium plant finally bloomed: the flowers are light blue with just a tinge of purple highlights.

my father dropped by to deliver some rear bike wheels i'd left in belmont. he swung around to check out my community garden, which he hasn't seen since spring. i ended up giving him the monster zucchini, the box of cherry tomatoes, and the delphinium flowers.

my mother and sister were supposed to go to the airport to meet my taiwanese cousin's 15-year-old daughter tangtang, who was coming to boston for a month to attend an english language camp. this is her first time in the US, and she'd already been here for a week, doing some sightseeing with her classmates at washington dc and new york city. there's already some drama: tangtang left all her cash back home in taiwan, and managed to lose her iphone somewhere in manhattan. at the very least my mother wanted to meet her to give her some spending money and a temporary cellphone.

the jetblue flight (from newark) was due to arrive at 6:50, but changed to 6:20. my sister doesn't get out of work until 6:00, so there was no way she'd be able to make it. my mother was trying to find a solution until i told her she could just take the subway to the airport, cheaper (and probably faster due to rush hour) than driving. she asked me to go with her since she'd never taken the train to the logan before.

i met my mother at harvard square: i walked to the station from my house (15 minutes) while she caught a bus from the cafe. it was about 5:00 and the commuting rush hour had started. the train arriving into the station was pretty packed but we managed to find seats. subsequent stops were standing room only. we got off at south station and took the silver line to the airport, getting off at terminal C.

we arrived around 5:40, but the flight arrival time had changed again, this time to 6:35, so we had an hour to kill. we went upstairs to the food court and found a table. it's actually kind of fun being at the airport and people watch. at 6:35 we went to go wait outside the gate (41). batches of people kept on coming out, but they were for different flights. we waited until 7:00, repeatedly checking the arrival board ("landing", "arrived"), but finally decided to wait downstairs by the luggage carousel, where tangtang would have to go to get her suitcase. minutes after we went down, that's when she arrived. we knew it'd be her because there was 30+ other taiwanese kids with her.

i haven't seen tangtang since my last visit to taiwan 7 years ago, when she was only 8 years old. i never really talked to her back then (i was too busy wrapped up in my ongoing travel affairs), i just remember this little girl who was shuttling back and forth between divorced parents, visiting one week, disappearing the next. my mother has a more recent encounter, when my parents went to taiwan for vacation back in march. we were the only relatives to meet any of the arriving students (boston is not a major destination for taiwanese immigrant apparently). some of her classmates seemed amused, i'm not sure if tangtang was relieved to see us or mortified; whatever the case may be, she was polite and seemed grateful of our brief visit.

tangtang had even more travel drama: the day she left taiwan there was a major typhoon so she left a day later. her suitcase was okay for international flight, but during domestic US flight it exceded the weight limit so she had to take out a bunch of stuff and pack them in a carry-on to avoid the penalty fee.

my mother made sure to speak with the chaperone, to ask about where they'd be staying and the living arrangements (2-4 students per suite in the fenway area, not too shabby), and to get a number to call in case she needed to contact them. turns out tangtang is actually the 2nd youngest person in the group as there are also some college kids as well.

the program is called EF international language, which i've never heard of before. it's big business though, and a very popular thing for asian parents to send their kids to, especially rich mainland chinese parents who want the very best for their only child (just walk around harvard square during the summer, the population of young chinese students is astronomical).

i actually felt kind of superior in the company of these kids. first of all, they were here to study english, a skill i possess and take for granted in my day to day affairs. second, they were here in boston, a place i know fairly well (some of them might even be in the US for the very first time). it's not hard to be a little haughty when standing amongst these newbies.

after seeing tangtang off on the charter bus that will take them to their residence, my mother and i made our way to the silver line stop to get back to cambridge. by then it was already 7:40, no longer rush hour. signs at the airport said there was free silver line service to south station. the bus was relatively empty leaving the airport, but packed with people when we arrived at silver line way station; apparently there was some kind of issue with the electric guide wires, so everyone on the bus ahead of us had to get off and wait for our bus to arrive, which ran diesel to south station. instead of going inside the station however, we were dropped off aboveground, so no free transfers to the red line.

arriving in harvard square, my mother took a 74 bus to the cafe (where my parents would later go visit tangtang at her fenway residence) while i just simply walked home, cutting though harvard campus. i made a detour back out to mass ave and bought a burrito (chicken colorado) at boca grande, saved me the trouble of having to cook when i got back home. the risotto will just have to wait until tomorrow.

LJ was home but she was so quiet for so long in her room (door slightly ajar) that i was actually afraid something happened, like maybe she died. when she finally stirred around midnight, i breathed a sigh of relief. with so many roommates, it's only a matter of time before one dies on me. 4 boxes arrived for her from nordstrom this afternoon. i seriously doubt she'll have enough room in her suitcase to fit all the things she's bought while she's here.