i slept in the guest bedroom last night. i want to say it's been more than a year since i last slept there, or perhaps even longer, long before crazy mary moved in (so possibly 2 years?). i forgot how invitingly soft the mattress is. i slept in the guest bedroom as part of my ritual to reclaiming the space. the guest bedroom is also the best bedroom because it's centrally located in the house. i only had a fleece throw for a blanket, which was a mistake because it was cold, even though the temperature was at 68°F. but i have a high threshold for cold sleeping, so i powered through it. tonight i'll put on a real comforter (i didn't last night because i was too lazy to put on the duvet cover). karen didn't wash the fleece throw so it still has her smell on it. also her old bathrobe still hangs from the hook on the back of the door. it will take a while before i can completely reclaim the guest bedroom as my own.
this weekend was common boston (not to confused with boston common), an open house festival of architecture and design. i'd never heard about this up until just a few days ago when i was searching for weekend activities. 58 buildings and spaces across the greater boston area were opened to the public to explore, but the one place that caught my eye was free admission to the trinity church in copley square. i've lived in boston for nearly 40 years but have never set foot inside the church because it cost money to get in. i've always been curious, and also assumed it'd be the sort of place photography wouldn't be allowed, because i don't ever remember see photos of the inside. so i was determined to see the church this afternoon.
after a pineapple greek yogurt for lunch, i was in the backyard to wash my trek utility bike after seeing one of my neighbors washing his (a fancy vanmoof no less, i've never seen the neighbor before, nor his bike). i used to use simple green bike cleaner, but i've discovered simple green heavy duty bbq cleaner works just as well and for far less money (i get mine from home improvement stores). unfortunately no amount of degreasing will get rid of rust. i just replaced the chain and freewheel last july, and already both are fairly rusted. i blame the fact that i rode my trek utility bike throughout the winter, and all that melted salt on the roads is a killer for bikes. and winter with its freezing temperature is not a good time to be washing the salt off my bike. i did the best i could. later i brought out my fuji road bike and gave it a wash as well. for some reason there was a bit of rust on the rear wheel (but not the front wheel) but i managed to clean it off with the degreaser and sponge, so it wasn't too bad.
i left for boston around 1:30pm riding the faster fuji bike. i wore a pair of khaki shorts and a blue dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up. i arrived in copley square in about 20 minutes. the trinity church is currently undergoing exterior restorations1, so the church from the outside is nothing to look at, encased in scaffolding. i walked inside and saw the common boston table. they asked if i was here for the event, i said yes, they gave me a sticker and a booklet of other locations. i found out yesterday that the trinity church has a single free tour on sundays (i will work this info into future boston tour itinerary). regardless, in partnership with common boston, the church would be free to all today if you tell them you're with common boston (otherwise it's $7/person).
the first impression when i went inside was the same feeling when i visited the hagia sophia mosque in istanbul, how it feels more spacious inside than what it seems from the outside. the trinity church also had a similar feeling of antiquity due to the richardsonian romanesque architecture and the use of stonework and mural/stainglass/decoration art. (i took too many photos to post them all in the blog. check out my google photos album of trinity church for photos).
i couldn't help think about how wangyang would appreciate a place like this, since churches are her jam. i also thought about drew, and our trip down to easton in december 2012 for an architectural tour of richardsonian romanesque buildings. i ended up staying there for more than an hour, taking photos of all the decorations and tiny church details before finally leaving.
i was returning to cambridge via charles street (in hindsight, there are some storrow drive pedestrian overpass near dartmouth and fairfield street that i could've taken to get to the charles river, much closer to copley square) when i saw the police barricades and the crowd of people around boston common. i decided to check it out. originally i thought it was another protest, then it began to sound like some sort of organized event with an announcer. security was pretty tight, especially in light of the london truck attack just a few days ago. the new security protocol i've seen since the boston marathon is having large dump trucks strategically parked at certain streets to block the possibility of a ramming car attack. charles street by the parks were completely sectioned off, so i followed it inside the park. what it turned out to be was some sort of nike-sponsored track gathering, with raised racing platforms for running events like races, long jumps, hurdles, and even pole vault. there are so many things happening every weekend in the city, it's impossible to know them all. i stayed and watched a little bit, saw some kids racing (little kids are fast!) and watched as some women prepared to pole vault (nobody actually raised themselves in the air, they always stopped before they got airborne).
i got onto the fielder footbridge then followed the charles river to the MIT bridge, crossing it to get home via the usual route.
this is my grandmother's last weekend here in cambridge before she returns to california on tuesday. i've been pushing for a barbecue at my parents' house but my mother was reluctantly opposed to having people over, even her own mother. last weekend was perfect weather wise, and with the rain showers this evening, there are no more sunny days left. my mother was insistent we go out for dinner. flaming grill buffet in revere was the first option. but i hate everything about that place, from the crowd of people, to the hour long wait for a table, to the unsanitary buffet conditions (my sister saw a kid throw something back after dropping it on the floor). another option was victoria seafood where we went last weekend, but my uncle was coming this time, and he wanted a place where he could eat a lot of fruit. i looked for other buffet restaurants: mandarin buffet in chelsea next binbin's apartment was too small (my parents have been there before), ibasaw seafood buffet in malden was too expensive ($27/person/weekend dinner, no hot pot), and yutaka buffet in revere seemed okay but judging from photos it looked to be a small place as well. i was happy with not having dinner at all, or have them go without me. finally my mother came up with a compromise: dinner at the nearby house of chang at 6:30pm.
as evening drew closer, it began to shower. i left my place around 6:20pm and when i arrived i was a little wet. i was going to call and see if anyone had gotten there yet but i looked inside and saw that they were already seated. i brought my dSLR paired with my fast tamron f/2.8 17-50mm lens, figuring i need something for low-light photography. i should've brought my canon f/1.8 28mm instead, as it was awfully dim and i kept adjusting the settings to compensate (the 28mm has no zoom).
the food was okay, but after eating at so many chinese restaurants the past few weeks, i think the best place in the greater boston area for affordable chinese is victoria's. large portions, delicious dishes, the sort of place where there are no leftovers. the new owner of house of chang even came out to see how we liked the food and offered us some watermelon as dessert.
there was a steady shower by the time i returned home close to 8pm. but i didn't mind, i was going home and could change into some dry clothes when i got back. and the trip wasn't very long, just 6 minutes from the restaurant back to my house.
tonight was game 2 of the NBA finals between the cavaliers and the warriors. cleveland played a lot better than they did in game 1, at a relentless pace golden state couldn't match. but it was impossible to sustain that level of intensity, and slowly the warriors got the upper hand, and then very quickly the cavaliers were once again in a 20 point deficit. it's just not fair, golden state has too many weapons now with the addition of kevin durant. it reminds me of when the celtics played the cavaliers in this recent playoff run. for boston, just beating cleveland in one game was like winning the finals for them. i feel like it might be the case for cleveland as well, if they can just win a game in the finals against golden state, at least it will ruin the warriors' perfect playoff win streak when they finally inevitably win the championship.
1 according to the official trinity church website: "Fences and scaffolding will be the first signs of work to be done, which will include roof repair, stone repointing and mortar repair, applying protective glazing for the stained glass windows, and cleaning and repair of the stone structure and the statuary of the West Porch. Interior work this summer will include the restoration of two La Farge murals, rewiring and repair of the electrical system, and upgrades of the fire protection and life safety systems." i can't find any information on the timeline for the repairs, but they expect interior work to start in the summer, so maybe they're following an aggressive schedule and the work will be finished by the end of the year.