the dutch couple with kids arrived yesterday afternoon. yes, there's been some upstairs noises, but nothing out of the ordinary, and they've been pretty quiet for the most part (must be well-behaved parents and children). this morning at 9am i heard some kitchen noises, but they didn't slam the refrigerator door or run the food processor like my regular upstairs neighbors.

it was 20 degrees cooler today than yesterday, and less humid. i opened up a few windows and turned on some fans to get rid of the hot air trapped inside the house. i left the living room window open, figuring a thief would have to be pretty brazen to crawl into the house from that window (you'd need a ladder at least).

i found my motorcycle this morning trapped between the curb and the front of a very large moving semi-truck. how they managed to park in that tight spot without hitting my bike is a question i rather not know the answer to. i quickly took the cover off the bike and moved it. i had to wheel it out at an angle because it was wedged so tightly to the truck.

before i left, annie she said wanted to make fish stew today. i involuntarily closed my bedroom door and showed her how to use the slow cooker, knowing it'd doom my house smelling of seafood for the next few days. hopefully she'll be gentle and not make a stinky mess of discarded fish parts left to rot in the compost bin. better not to think about it.

the two furled lotus coin leaves of yesterday had mostly unfurled by this morning, and would open up completely by the late afternoon. portions of the scorched coin leaf had broken off so i decided to just tear off all the dead parts. that particular lotus has just a single healthy coin leaf and as of today still hasn't sprouted it's next coin leaf stem, so i'm keeping an eye on it, might spell disaster if it doesn't make enough leaves, but i'm hoping it's just a late developer.

even though there was a 16-day gap between the 2 batches of lotus seed germinations, the lotuses from the second batch are almost caught up to the single surviving lotus from the first batch. of course that first batch lotus had survived 2 raccoon attacks, both times getting uprooted, so maybe it has some development setbacks. the first batch lotus has already sprouted the stem of an aerial leaf, while 2 of the second batch lotuses have 3 full coin leaves and a 4th coin leaf stem forming underwater about to break the surface, so about a week behind in development. the hot and sunny weather must've helped out as well, ideal conditions for lotuses.

i had some breakfast before the start of the world cup final between the US and the netherlands beginning at 11am. i was rooting for the dutch to win. there was no score in the first half. the US managed to score in the second half with a cheap penalty kick (rapinoe) on a questionable foul. that must've done something to the psyche of the dutch women because 8 minutes later lavelle scored another goal, this one more legitimate. netherlands had a better defense than offense, but never managed to score any goals. game ended 2-0.

after the game was over, my mother and i went to assembly row in somerville to score some more hand soaps at bath & body works. i'd never been to this one before, and only found out about it through a map search.

the assembly square area had never really been that busy, even on weekends. but with the addition of the assembly row outlet mall and eatery, business was booming. there was no place to park on this sunday afternoon and i ended up getting lucky and finding a spot all the way down my trader joe's. we walked the length of assembly row, passing by numerous al fresco dining tables before finally reaching the other end where all the outlet shops were located. my mother said she and my father came here when they first built the place, when the area was still pretty empty; she was impressed by how happening it was now and vowed to return.

we stopped by a clarks outlet first, where my mother wanted to check out some shoes. there was a BOGO $10 deal but after a lengthy search my mother could only find a single pair she liked. she tried to get me to buy a pair of mens shoes but all the ones in my size were fugly so in the end she decided not to get anything.

the one thing i always found lacking at the assembly row outlet is the lack of name brand stores, particularly the high end handbags. compared to the wrentham outlet (which seems to have everything), this seemed like the poor man's outlet, when you don't have a car but still want an outlet experience. however, in light of how business here as really picked up, and the convenience of a subway stop, i wouldn't be surprised if somewhere in the near future some more high end brands start appearing once the lease expires on these existing stores.

the assembly row bath & body works wasn't very busy, in contrast to all the other stores and restaurants we passed which were mostly packed. while my mother searched for the scents she wanted, i went to the empty checkout counter to activate a $10 off $30+ coupon on the hand soaps i'd bought at the galleria B&BW on friday. the easiest way to do it was to return everything, then buy it all back using the coupon. that meant instead of $3 a bottle (normally they sell for $6.50), it was just $2 (at least for the 10 i returned and bought). my mother found what she was looking for, rose-scented body cream that my sister's godmother had asked her to find. normally they're $13.50, but they had a buy 3 get 3 free deal, and with the $10 off coupon, my mother could score 6 for just $30. by the time we left though, customers had started to filter in and the store was beginning to get crowded.

i knew from the map search that there was also a columbia outlet nearby. so we went to go check it out, if by some miracle they might have my father's lost winter coat selling during the middle of the summer. the columbia outlet is the farthest store on the strip of shops, right on the corner. however, it's the first store you see when you get off of the relatively new assembly orange line MBTA stop. we weren't very hopeful going into the store, as it was all shorts and shortsleeve shirts, typically summerwear. however as we moseyed to the back of the store, we found a wall of winter coats. "they have it!" my mother exclaimed. interchange winter coats, all in moss green, of various sizes. retails for $240, discounted to $220, but there was a 60% off sale on these coats, so the final price was only $88. though these were interchange, columbia makes a lot of different styles of interchange coats, and i thought the fabric in the arm sleeves felt a little thin. but at that price it was still worth it, and if my father doesn't like it we could always return it.

we started walking back to the car, my mother asking if we could avoid the restaurant section as she was starting to get hungry. she saw k-mart and decided to check it out looking for cheap yarn, while i returned to the car to unload the B&BW and columbia purchases. it seemed like i was walking forever, but only because i forgot how far i parked. i went to go find my mother afterwards at k-mart. i know sears has been liquidating a lot of their stores including their k-mart's, but i always thought the somerville store was safe. however, there were a lot of bare shelves, but no "going out of business" signs. maybe they were just doing inventory, but maybe this store is also scheduled to close in the near future. my mother ended up calling me, said she was by the entrance, didn't find any yarn.

we walked to trader joe's to get a few things, but more for my mother to check it out, since she's never been to this particular TJ's before. correction: we were very familiar with this store, but back when it was an ac moore crafts store. like elsewhere in the assembly square area, business was booming. i don't think my mother has seem a more crowded trader joe's. she kept saying, "they made the right decision" to open up a TJ here. we had a plastic shopping basket that was starting to get full and was worried because we didn't bring our own shopping bags. however, when we went to go checkout, they had free paper bags (in some other TJ's they charge you).

we finally left by 4pm, getting back home by 4:20pm. my father had finished pruning the yew (the parts he could reach at least) as well as washing the barbecue grill for the second time (after i lightly washed it yesterday). we discovered the reason why there was a pool of greasy runoff was because the drip pan had shifted at one point, and all that grease will dripping on top of the heat shield protecting the propane tank from the heat. it could've been a diaster had any of the flaming oil dripped on top of the gas tank. my father tried the new jacket, it seemed to fit, but it did seem a bit large. we decided next weekend to revisit the columbia outlet so he could try the medium.

my father told me a few days ago that something was eating the red bud leaves. i took a look, turns out they're from leafcutter bees. they also cut the leaves of rose bushes, their usual target. ground grown golden raspberries are starting to ripen.

we barbecued some italian sausages and zucchini on the newly cleaned grill. my sister came by to pick up hailey and drop off some mike's pastries, none of which we were able to eat being so full after dinner.