i was talking to my mother on skype, showing her one of several boxes i could use to ship out her knitted cowls for our relatives out in california, when i accidentally tripped backwards over my ikea footstool and ended up breaking off one of the legs. this was bound to happen sooner or later. they're not made very sturdy, with the legs just bolted to the circular piece of plywood. it'd already happened to one of them, so now i finally have a matching pair of low footstools. i'll have to get new ones at some point. ikea doesn't sell these knoppe footstools anymore (not sure if i would buy them again, they're not particularly sturdy), and the ones that they do carry are kind of ugly.

i wrapped up the zyxel webcam and returned it via the UPS store. amazon has one of the easiest return policies, and they even pay for the shipping label (i just needed to print it out). once they receive it, i'll order a different wifi webcam.

i went to market basket to get a few grocery items. i've been eating so much at my parents' place this week, i haven't had to buy any food of my own, but i've finally ran out of breakfast ingredients. for lunch i heated up a can of soup (beef barley).

the problem with a new camera is i'm afraid to take it out for fear of scratching it. i had no such problems with my old camera, but when i first got it i babied it as well. i can even remember the first time i scratched it (i was with jesse, it happened at strawberry point in scituate, i scraped the corner of the camera on a rock wall while trying to brace it for a shot). 6 years later, i throw that old camera around like it can't be destroyed. i put it in my bike basket and i'm bouncing around the street and it works fine. i'm not at that point yet with this new camera. i'm thinking about getting a neoprene case for it, but in the meantime, i travel with towels in my camera bag for padding.

i went to the cafe around 2:00 to meet my mother so we could bike back to belmont. she's been biking for months now and is now a more accomplished biker. she rides slow though, a more leisurely pace than what i'm normally used to. she also rides in a single gear since on her old bike the gearing is kind of complicated so a hassle to change. at this point she's logged more riding miles than my father, who doesn't to ride much these days after a period of heavy biking. my mother will even bike in weather conditions i'm reluctant to ride in, like light rain or bitter morning cold. i'm not sure when she turned the corner on biking because i've been trying to get her to ride for a while now. i kind of want to see her in a better bike, one with easier gear shifts.

my mother and i were out in the backyard. i was there to take photos, but ended up being the person in charge of picking up dog droppings she spotted while raking the lawn.

my father returned to belmont an hour after we got back. since i was borrowing the camry for tomorrow, he pumped up all the tires with the portable battery charger. the thing was noisy and slow, but got the job done. it was while doing that that he found the cellphone he thought he lost a month ago, underneath the front driver's side seat. now he can switch back to his old phone (which has his old phone book).

my father also saw what was broken on the lawnmower (which i'd pushed out of the garage yesterday and left it in the backyard for inspection). i finally found the model (craftsman 917-388971) and was able to track down the broken part (11 on the diagram). it has a strange name, called the cable.mzr.46 but also known as part number 183281. i checked ebay but the best price i found was through amazon ($9.15 with free shipping). once it arrives next week (and we fix the mower) maybe the lawn can get one last farewell trim before the ground freezes solid for the winter.

around 4:30 there was breaking news about a massive citywide blackout affecting cambridge. had i been at home i would've thought it was one of our random blackouts. without electricity, i wouldn't have been able to go online to check the news or see it on television, so i would've been in the dark, literally and figuratively. turns out the blackout was concentrated mostly in the eastern half of cambridge (i'm in central-western) and only about 25% of all cambridge residents. that's still a lot, and it happened right during the beginning of rush hour, so helicopter shots of the city showed sea of black crisscrossed with red and white dotted lines of traffic. i worried if drew was home if he knew where i keep my flashlights (and candles). the fact that i didn't get a phone call from him i took to be a good sign.

after dinner i drove the camry back to cambridge. there was 3 parking spots to choose from, and i even managed to do some parallel parking in a generous space (mostly because there was no cars behind me). i forgot to put out the visitor's permit until hours later but i didn't get a ticket.

drew was at MIT when the blackout happened so he fled to boston across the charles river where they still had their electricity. when i came back he wanted to grab a burger at the restaurant around the corner but i'd already ate, so he went himself.

frances' sorel boots finally arrived today. they came in a large box and i was afraid they wouldn't fit in the other box with the remaining items but happily they all got along after some tetris-like packing. i also wrapped up a package for my mother, about a dozen hand-knitted cowls for my aunt out in fremont along with a purse. i didn't think everything would fit, but after a skype video conference with her for some advice, i managed to cram in everything.