memorial day is so very quiet. besides the numerous neighbors that are still away on this long weekend that unofficially kicks off the summer season (as evidenced by the many empty curbside parking spots), many college students are gone as well. the streets are virtually empty, many stores are closed, and cambridge is a ghost town. as it was hot outside (temperature in the 80's, though with an overcast), i elected to stay indoors and enjoy the natural air conditioning courtesy of a well insulated shady house.

i made some pressed pennies while i was in gatlinburg and superglued some rare earth magnets to the back so i put them on the fridge. i did some research online and apparently you're supposed to use pennies that were made in 1982 or earlier because of their higher copper content. you're also suppose to clean the pennies before you press them, so they get a nice shine. there's a whole art of penny pressing i didn't know about! my only question is how to prevent them from corroding, which has happened to the older pressed pennies on my fridge.

there was nothing to eat in the house except some canned soup and frozen lasagna. for lunch i heated up a campbell chicken and rice soup with a handful of frozen kale for a healthy balance. i needed groceries but i didn't know if market basket was opened today (probably was) and didn't want to ride down there in the heat and be disappointed. the only important thing i had to do was to go water my community garden plot, which i did in the afternoon.

just getting down to the garden took a while. i bumped into dennis and susan, back from newport, then saw bruce and jack putting in their window air conditioner and chatted with them for a while (i knew bruce was in town because i saw his car yesterday when i was coming back from porter square). i normally don't install my AC until the end of july, and there's been summers where i've been tempted to not even bother putting it in. now that i have better insulation, so long as the night time temperature is relatively cool, i can open the windows at night to let in the breeze and trap the cool air for the next day.

next i bumped into ed, puttering down the street in his white honda scooter. he invited me to check out the circa 1990's kawasaki ninja 500 motorcycle he was working on in his backyard. i've never really checked out a sports bike before, the whole layout of the vehicle is different than what i'm normally used to (cruiser style). you sit leaning forward, the handlebars are short, and when you steer the readout display doesn't turn with the handlebars. it feels like it's primarily designed for speed, not really about comfort or safety (although to be honest, how safe can a motorcycle get anyway?).

when i finally made it to the CGP, i got there just when dave was arriving. i had first dibs on the watering hose, but as soon as i finished, he switched to the hose i was using. i chatted with him for a while, with his thickly-accented attempts at speaking chinese, and even gave him an extra zucchini seedling i'd pulled up from my garden. i also went around taking photos of the numerous new flowers that'd sprung up since a week ago.

as for my own plot, it was in pretty good shape (my parents told me they came by to water a few times, even taking some fat garlic chives), but just a week without weeding and the eastern half of my garden has been taken over by morning glory seedlings. it was too hot to really do a thorough job pulling out the weeds, so after i watered my plants, i went home.

i've become quite fond of sweet southern ice tea while i was down in tennessee (particularly the free sweet tea refills at cracker barrel), and was looking to reproduce some for myself back at home. it's really not that hard to make, just steep some regular black teabags then add sugar. what i wasn't expecting was how much sugar is actually involved. i had a gallon pitcher and i added 1.5 cups of sugar, but to match the sweet tea i had down south, i probably needed to add 3 cups. if i'm looking to lose weight, drinking sweet tea isn't going to help! the recipe i used involved 7 teabags steeped for 30 minutes covered in a 2-cup pyrex measuring glass. once that was down, i poured it into the pitcher and added the sugar (1.5 cups). i added some more hot water to melt the remaining sugar before filling the pitcher with regular tap water. i then put the pitcher in the fridge. when the tea was properly chilled, i gave it a try, into a glass of ice cubes. it was sweet, but needed to be sweeter. otherwise, it tasted similar to what i experienced down south.

my parents didn't leave the cafe until 4:00, so i wasn't planning on going to belmont today, but then my mother called and said they were making garlic chive chinese dumplings for dinner, so i went over to their place. when i arrived, i saw my father finishing up mowing the front lawn (he mowed the backyard last week). i went out back to water the raised beds and garden area, as well as doing some weeding (grabgrass, lamb's ear). i noticed that in RB1 some of the leafy greens seemed to be chewed by rabbits, and earlier when i came out i saw a small bunny scampering away from behind the garage. i collected all the old window panes and screens and formed a protective barrier around RB1 and RB0. it doesn't look very pretty, but if it can keep out rabbits, it will have served its purpose.