once you start foraging around for curbage, it's hard to stop and you begin to see it everywhere. a lot of the stuff deserves to be thrown out (e.g. sagging sofas, chipped dishware, old clothes), but there's always hope i'll finding something i can actually use. here in cambridge- with it's supposedly high intelligence quotient and dense population density - it's quite common to find boxes of unwanted books left on the side of the street.
this morning i saw a posting for some choice curbage on market street. books, kitchenware, electronics. the only problem was it was posted yesterday afternoon, it might've already been picked clean, and the trash people could've taken the rest earlier today. but i had some time, and could work in some errands. i exchanged my bike (the faster 850 was outside, the industrial 800 was in the basement) and made my way to inman square.
at 9:00 it was already a hot day, which doesn't bode well for later. i circled market street twice but saw nothing on the curb.
i made my way up prospect street towards the direction of union square, admiring all the cyclists commuting into work. i even saw a woman i'd passed on beacon street when i was just heading out; she had the right idea, the slower you ride, the less you sweat. it's hard for me not to think of it as a race though. i hate getting passed.
i deposit a work check at the bank in union square. it finally arrived yesterday, for work i did for client E back in december that i invoiced in january. they still owe me one more check, but this one will almost pay for 2 mortgage payments. client N also owes me some money, the equivalent of 3 mortgage payments. if i can find another short term roommate (maximum 3 months) i won't have to work for the rest of the year (which isn't so much a choice than the trajectory of the market economy).
heading home from union square, i stopped by market basket. i wasn't planning on getting anything, but it was so hot, all i could think about was getting something cool and refreshing. i ended up getting a case of generic brand seltzer ($2.50 + 60¢ deposit), a bag of valencia oranges ($3.99), and a bag of fuji apples ($2.22). i was worried that the long case of seltzer wouldn't fit, but turns out it fit perfectly. each basket could stack two cases without any problems.
a pair of asian girls recently moved into the neighborhood. i know them more for their bikes, a pair of matching white mountain bikes that they park around the neighborhood. the problem is one of them locks their bike to the post where i normally lock my bike. it wouldn't be a problem except her bike is so large and unwieldy (massive spring shocks, big front basket), every time i go to use my bike or to lock it up, i spend more time fumbling with her bike, making sure it doesn't crash to the ground, than i do actually locking/unlocking my own bike. anyway, i finally met the owner of the bike today, a pretty girl wearing a straw hat named kelly. she saw me fumbling with her bike and came to unlock it before riding away. i didn't have a chance to ask her what brings her to cambridge, but if i had to guess, it's probably for summer school. which is good, because that'll mean who won't have to have these bike battles for very long.
bram left for work around 11:30. i took a shower and left for my parents' place at noontime. i've had enough of bicycling and elected to take the motorcycle instead, which had been sitting underneath a rain cover gathering dust for more than a week. my mother was still home and fixed me up a bowl of beef soup with skinny noodles. i was primarily there to check up on the plants, make sure there weren't any new SVB eggs on the squashes and cucumbers. with no squash flowers in bloom there of course no SVB eggs. tomorrow will be a different story though, as about 8 flowers will be opening up. i'll get to know for sure if it's the flowers that attract SVB's. what's surprising is that one zucchini is still growing, which means it must've been pollinated, despite no other male flowers. it must be one of those immaculately-conceived squashes.
since we planted some more russian olives a few days ago, i've done some more research on the plant, particularly whether or not Elaeagnus angustifolia is on the list of banned plant species in massachusetts. as of 2009, Elaeagnus umbellata is on the list, commonly known as autumn olive. it's very closely related to russian olive, but as the russian olive thrives in the southwestern deserts, the autumn olive is an invasive species of mostly eastern united states. russian olive was up for consideration as a banned species, but apparently it didn't meet the criteria. as far as i know, it's still legal to grow russian olives in massachusetts, although it probably won't make you a favorite neighbor should they escape cultivation and take over the community. everything about russian olive screams invasive weed: hardy to zone 3, reaches maturity in 3 years, edible fruits that can be dispersed by wildlife, fixes its own nitrogen in the soil (enabling it to grow anywhere), will grow back if chopped down to the roots, will grow back even after a forest fire. basically, it's the terminator of invasive species. even though it's not banned (yet) in massachusetts, from its description it seems like it should be. this is probably because russian olive is still primarily a desert plant. since there are no deserts here in the northeast (unless you count the sand dunes along the beaches), it's lack of ideal habitat keeps this plant in check. however, it is banned in connecticut, just the next state over. what do they know that we don't?
after my mother left for work, my father came back home. he was at my great uncle's place installing an air conditioner for one of the newly-arrived chinese astrophysicists. while helping my father replace a broken light cord in the basement, i came across a stack of about 3 dozen family photos all stuck together. this must've happened a while back when the basement got flooded. why nobody spent the time to separate them out i don't understand. i brought them upstairs and soaked a few in water to get them to loosen up. i freed 8 photos, with 2 of them so stuck together it's impossible to loosen them up. if only they'd been separated earlier, we could've probably been able to save a lot of them. now i'm kind of doubtful, which is a shame, because each photo is a preserved memory. photos from those times are probably even more precious because they're aren't many of them, not like now, with digital photos and quantity over quality.
i left belmont with my father in the kitchen fixing up the raleigh 3-speed he pulled from the cafe basement.
i didn't realize my roommate was at home until i heard noises from his room in the early evening. this is the second time i thought i was alone at home when i wasn't. thankfully i wasn't doing anything embarrassing. he left the house soon afterwards, all dressed up. i made a comment about it, he said he was going out to dinner. he told me where but i didn't hear him and returned a blank smile. he repeated himself, "dali" - which is the tapas restaurant a few blocks away.
as for me, i helped myself to a nice leftover serving of spaghetti, chased with some root beer followed by a can seltzer (while watching an episode of minute to win it). i should've been all gassy but i wasn't. earlier i changed the ceiling light in the bathroom. it was high enough that a barstool didn't work and i ended up having to use a ladder to get that high. i replaced it with a 30-70-100 incandescent bulb. it's kind of a waste, but that's the only regular bulb i have.
while i was eating, i went out briefly to put the rain cover on the motorcycle when i saw a band of rain about to hit the boston area. soon afterwards it began to rain. it was a refreshing shower, dropping the temperature from 82° to 72°. i had the window fan cranked to full power in the living room but it didn't seem to help and i was still hot. finally i had one fan blowing out while another fan blew in and sat on the floor, that made it a little better. i am however at my breaking point. i know as a rule i don't put in the air conditioner until the first official heat wave, but i'm tempted.