it was another morning where i could afford to sleep in late, although the cold temperature in my room made it a little uncomfortable. i made a promise to myself i would search for a suitable winter comforter on this cyber monday.
i left the house a bit before 11am, first to return a keurig coffee maker at whole foods, then go to harvard vanguard to pick up some prescriptions for my mother. temperature was in the upper 40's. it rained all last night but the clouds were clearing and sunshine was peeking through. i chatted with the indian pharmacist again. she told me she spent thanksgiving with her boyfriend, his brother, and his mom. they ordered a set meal from whole foods, 4 servings of beef wellington. unfortunately she doesn't eat beef and the mother's vegetarian, so the brothers had the main course all to themselves. she told me she has to work this sunday. i asked if it's because of the pharmacist shortage. she told me the shortage is because a lot of places overwork their pharmacists. nowadays more people are studying medical law than learning to become pharmacists.
i passed through the outskirts of harvard square to get to belmont by around 11:30am. my sister's car was outside. walking up to the house, i saw esmei sitting behind the glass storm window looking outside. she saw me but showed zero canine emotions as i came into the house. i took her outside and we played a version of fetch with a squeaker ball when she wasn't trying to dig in a hole in the dirt of biting my pant legs (she managed to rip a hole in my jeans). she got the zoomies and at one point seemed to be tiring out, suddenly completely disinterested in everything before going back inside.
my sister bought some burger king breakfast sandwiches, i ate an egg & sausage croissant sandwich. esmei's playpen won't arrive until next saturday so in the meantime we have to be vigilant and follow her around the house to keep an eye on her. she was better behaved today, spending a lot of time looking outside the front door storm window. at one point i noticed a pool of water in the plastic boot tray. turns out esmei peed in there, so we let her outside again in case she still needed to go to the bathroom.
esmei also slept on the floor before my sister moved her onto the couch. even when we were talking loudly she didn't wake up. we weren't paying attention when she finally got up and started rummaging through the house again. i saw her trying to poke her nose against the backyard door before suddenly squatting down and peeing on the rug. thankfully it was one of those rubber bottom entrance rugs, so the pee didn't seep down to the hardwood. we let her out again, but whenever she got outside, she forgot about going to the bathroom but instead wanted to explore and play.
my sister finally took esmei home around 2pm, since she hadn't had lunch yet.
i was presenting a case for why my mother should upgrade her phone. she ended up choosing the samsung S21 over the S21+ because she didn't like the larger size. we were ready to order and i had the phone in my shopping cart but i wanted to wait and think about it a little more. when i finally decided to make the purchase, the phone was sold out. amazon presented me with the next available option which was a few dollars more. that one sold out of as well. at the same time my mother decided she didn't need a new phone after all, instead sticking with her 5-6 year old samsung S9+.
i was also hoping to go to home depot to pick up a ryobi impact driver kit on sale ($90). but instead my father and i went down to the auto mechanic to pick up our toyota. after something like 2 weeks, the car still wasn't fixed. the mechanic said he didn't want my father to spend anymore money, but the engine was making an annoying whirling sound that my father said was worth fixing, even if it cost a few hundred dollars more. so we returned home. by then it was nearly 4pm. instead of visiting home depot, we ended up just buying the impact driver online and having it shipped to the house. it won't arrive until next monday, but we're in no hurry.
instead i moved all the holiday cactuses back from the sunroom into the living room. it won't be too cold tonight, but tuesday and wednesday nights temperature will dip back into the 20's again. i also watered them before going down to the basement to water all the plants in the grow room. i made a new batch of mosquito-bit infused water. i first started with the orchids, which require a few soaks in the water to completely wet their wood chip growing media. next i watered all the potted pileas and spiderworts and prayer plants, before moving onto the gardenia and jasmines. later i moved a few holiday cactuses down into the basement after i cleared out some room.
my mother didn't want to make dinner so around 5pm we ordered takeout from what da chick again. my father and i left to go pick up our order, stopping by the gas station on belmont street to fuel up before returning home with the food. my mother was disappointed again that the fried chicken bones we ordered were not freshly fried.
after dinner my father showed me an e-mail he got from AOlithium batteries. they were having a black friday cyber monday sale, and one of things on sale was a 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 battery with high and low temperature protection, bluetooth, and a 200A BMS for just $250. even better, first time customers get a $20 off coupon, for a final price of $230. i never heard of AOlithium before so went onto youtube to see if anyone's ever done a review. none other than will prowse did a teardown of the exact same battery a year ago. his verdict was this was a great battery with all the features you could want: low temperature protection (which is something he's obsessed with), UL-rated, commercial/medical-grade JBD BMS (with lots of copper), easy to open battery box (for easy future services if necessary), 200A discharge (enough juice to run a 2400W appliance like a microwave). at the time this battery cost $650 - now it was more than $400 less. seems like across the board, 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 batteries are going on sale for around $200, though the AOlithium battery has way more features. so we ended up getting one after consulting with my mother (she said no at first, until we told her it cost $400 more a year ago). not only was there free shipping, but no taxes either, so a final cost of $230. however as soon as we made the purchase, i was browsing on ebay and saw the exact same battery for just $199. free shipping included but there was taxes, so the final cost was $211, less than $20 cheaper. i thought about contacting AOlithium directly to cancel the order, but my father said it wasn't a big deal. the AOlithium battery is due to arrive by the end of this week.
i didn't get back home until almost 7:50pm. once again i couldn't find parking and had to park 2 blocks away in another one of my grey zone parking spots. i texted bruce as soon asi got back. he wanted to return some ramekins and to offer me some leftover thanksgiving short ribs.
despite the big shopping weekend, i didn't really get anything for myself other than some rechargeable NiMH AA and AAA's batteries, not the most exciting purchase. what i really want is an insta360 camera, but i haven't done enough research to figure out which one i should get, or if i should even get one at all. but i spent the rest of the night trawling amazon for things to buy. i got a pair of novelty socks for my sister's birthday on saturday (socks printed with the same paw patterns as esmei). i got a remote control outlet switch for our cafe basement light. remembering the promise i made this morning, i bought myself a heavyweight feather & down winter comforter for $52 (cyber monday deal). i saw winter comforters that cost more, but i'm not very picky, i just need something that will keep my warm in bed during the winter. i noticed its eligible for return, but who would want to buy a return used comforter?
finally, with about an hour left before cyber monday was officially over (west coast time), i bought a new grow light - spider farm SF1000D for $70. every year i buy a new grow light for the grow room. i've been slowly trying to phase out our blurple lights - they used to be all the rage but indoor growers have been gravitating away from them for white full spectrum led lights instead, after realizing plants also use wavelengths other than red and blue. white lights are also easier on the eyes, blurple led's made the leaves look purplish black so it was hard to spot diseases and pests. the SF1000D is a new 2023 edition featuring samsung LM301B diodes, offering one of the most amount of lumens per watt. spider farm also has a more advanced version of this light using even more efficient samsung led's. that one has a dimming option, but the only time i'd ever need to dim these lights is if i was germinating seeds and growing seedlings. i have different lights for those, so i figured i'd save the $25 and go with the cheaper option.
while doing more research on these samsung diode grow lights, i saw some specs that said the spider farm SF1000D has an energy efficiency of 2.5 umol/J, which seems less than what is typically attributed to LM301B diodes, which is 2.92 umol/J. figuring i was buying an inferior product, i ended up cancelling the SF1000D. however, after more research (approaching 3am), it looked like the SF1000D is still a good performer, so i ended up buying it again.
i had a chance to sleep late this morning, didn't get out of bed until 10am. i've been really tired for the past few months, finding myself dozing off when i'm just sitting down somewhere, so i'm wondering if i'm getting enough sleep. i left the house by 11:15am, stopping by the nearby gas station to fuel up the motorcycle before heading to belmont. i already knew two things before i arrived: that my parents had gone out for a walk and that my sister was home as well. when i arrived though, there was nobody in the house, i figured my sister took esmei out for a walk.
i was in the backyard replacing my mason jar solar lights. when i got my first batch back in september 2019, i was crazy for them, thought they were the coolest things. but after a while i figured out a few things about them. for one thing, the ones that i got weren't waterproof, despite what the advertisement said. rain and melted snow would get inside the solar panel, either shorting out the circuit, or over time flooding the jar with water. the lids will also rust over time, and the surface of the solar panel will turn opaque. the only thing that stood the test of time and the elements are the wire handles, which i assume is some kind of stainless steel. anyway, there's no denying their cool factor, and i found myself buying another set (8); hopefully they've been upgraded since the last time i bought them. these new lights have 20 led's instead of 10, which makes them use twice the amount of electricity as before, though they'll be twice as bright.
everyone came home while i was in the backyard. esmei rushed inside the house and totally ignored me, headed straight to the kitchen hoping to score some food. my sister let her outside in the backyard, where she got the zoomies and ran around the yard like a crazy dog. she also played some fetch, or more accurately, chased some balls around, but never bringing them back. eventually she got to a point where she had enough and simply sat down. no amount of encouragement with balls or fake running would get her to budge. eventually she thought maybe somebody inside the house was calling her (for possibly food) and she ran back inside.
i refilled the seed birdfeeder. the squirrel buster was a good investment. yes it costs more than most other birdfeeders, but it does what it advertises, keeps the squirrels out. keeping out unwanted birds however, that's a different story. i added a fish weight so when heavier birds try to feed, the baffle will close on them. that means mostly bluejays. birds like grackles however are smart enough to defeat the closing mechanism. and since house sparrows are the same weight as the good birds, it's impossible to prevent them from feeding, though i've been lucky, junk birds don't usually show up until later in the season. not a lot of birds can feed from the suet feeder though. the only birds i've seen are downy woodpeckers and on rare occasions carolina wrens. chickadees will feed on suet as well, though they prefer sunflower seeds, as they prefer taking their food elsewhere to eat. so far since i've put out the bird feeders i haven't seen any chickadees yet.
my mother made turkey broth rice noodles for lunch. my sister left with esmei, taking her home for lunch before promising to walk with a neighboring old lady later in the afternoon.
there was a patriots giants game though it was painful to watch. i only watched the first half before turning it off.
i spent some time researching impact drills. we have two regular drills but don't have an impact drill. impact drills are designed for drilling and removing screws. previously we though a regular drill can do that, but after having used an impact drill to drive some screws, we now know the difference. i showed my father a ryobi 18V brushless cordless compact 1/4 in. impact driver kit from home depot for $90. it includes two 1.5Ah batteries and a charger. we might get it so we don't have to keep on borrowing my sister's impact driver (which she actually took home today).
i also looked up bird ebikes. apparently they're on sale for $500-700, which is a bargain for something as sleekly designed as a bird ebike. but further digging revealed the reason: the company itself is on the verge of bankruptcy, and they're selling their bikes for cheap, hoping to recoup some cost. they're a real bargain, but once the company goes out of business, it'll be impossible to source parts. it's a repeat of what happened to vanmoof electric bicycles.
my mother's new keurig k-mini arrived today, a day ahead of schedule. it's a lot heavier than the chinese-brand keurig coffee maker we bought a month ago. you could tell it's better designed. we didn't make any coffee but we did run an empty cycle to rinse out the interior. i like the single hand operation of the lid and the clear reservoir in the back is a lot easier to pour water into than our old mister coffee keurig machine. the reservoir has a built-in strainer filter to keep any solids from entering the brew chamber. i also like the big brew button, smart enough to wait for you to put a keurig coffee pod inside before it'll start brewing. there's an indicator light that either flashes or says solid depending on what's happening with the coffee maker. the machine cost $50 yesterday, but already the price increased to $60 today.
for dinner my mother suggested having some spicy luosifen noodles. my father didn't want any but made them for us while he just had rice porridge with some salted duck eggs. spicy noodles really hit the spot on a cold night, not sure if i could've stomached anymore turkey.
i left after dinner, getting home around 7:30pm. temperature was still in the 40's, so it wasn't too cold, though i could see my breath. everyone seemed to be back from where ever they went for thanksgiving, as i couldn't find any parking and had to circle the block twice before i parked in a questionable spot. afterwards i went back outside and put the rain cover on the bike as it's going to rain overnight, as much as an inch. we're lucky the temperature isn't any colder than it is, otherwise we'd be seeing a foot of snow.
there was a hawks-celtics game today at 6pm. i caught the final quarter after getting back. both porzingis and holiday were out due to injuries, so celtics was left with the remnants of its original crew from last year. fortunately it was enough to beat the hawks, 113-103. boston seemed firmly in control for much of the game, it wasn't one where i was worried about the outcome. magic also won tonight, beating the hornets, extending their winning streak to 7 games, just a single game behind the celtics for best record in the eastern conference.
i bought a 32" high 8-panel dog playpen tonight for $70. my sister had been clamoring for my parents to get one, so she can leave esmei in belmont and have a time-out place to put her when she misbehaves (which seems like most of the time). i didn't think it was a good idea, figuring she'd eventually outgrow her "chewing on everything" phase, but my mother wanted to get one, so i had my sister send me so links and i went and looked for the best price. i also wanted to buy a used playpen off of craig's list but my sister said it was too high (4ft) and another one i saw looked too flimsy. this new playpen is due to arrive on saturday, but knowing amazon, it'll probably arrive a day or two earlier. the one i got is also designed for outdoor use, so when esmei outgrows this playpen, i can still use it in the garden to keep rabbits out of sensitive areas.
i also spent the night researching a new phone for my mother. she currently has a samsung S9+ which is 5 years old. the phone has started to have some issues, like dropped calls, so it's overdue for a replacement. after much analysis, i've decided she should get a renewed samsung S21+ for around $275. the S21+ is nearly 4 years old, but still a decent phone. it also had 3 camera lenses: wide, ultrawide, and zoom.
i met my father at the cafe at 10am to help him clean the grease trap for the kitchen sink. the last time he cleaned it was back in april
, so about every 6 months is when we do a cleaning. we were doing it this morning to take advantage of the long holiday weekend. my father had already cleared most of the shelves by the time i arrived. while he continued to do that, i was busy making a new batch of tea eggs for next week, since we already sold most of them by this past wednesday and i didn't make more due to the long thanksgiving break.
the wooden shelving directly above the grease trap is a rickety structure prone to fall apart. which was exactly what happened last time, when i found my father trapped underneath the collapsed shelvings while in the middle of cleaning out the grease trap. so he wanted to somehow secure the shelving by screwing it to the wall. unfortunately that didn't do anything as the problem had more to do with the fact that the shelving is just a glorified jenga construction than anything that can be properly secured. still he tried, before the shelving collapsed twice until he finally gave up.
my sister poked her head into the cafe when she saw our vehicles outside. she was taking esmei to belmont, even though we wouldn't be there.
my father didn't start cleaning out the grease trap until after 11am. we removed the nearly 2 dozen screws securing the lid. there's a reason why it had to be closed so tightly because the odor inside is indescribably awful, the stench of half a year of fermented cooking grease. i actually thought it smelled like stinky tofu, which made it somewhat more bearable. we collected 3 bags of what amounted to biohazardous sludge, being careful not to get any of it on the floors or on our clothes, which was pretty much impossible.
while we worked, my mother showed up. apparently she got a ride from my sister, we returned from belmont with esmei after they took her out on a walk. my mother was going to walk down to michael's to get her exercise and to buy some yarn to knit a few things for my big aunt. the smell was so bad that the little shop next door complained to my sister about raw sewage odor. if you think that's bad, trying working directly over the grease trap without vomiting!
after my father finished scooping, we cut some foam strips to serve as a gasket for the grease trap. the trap itself original had a gasket but it'd since dissolved over the years. last time my father layered some paper towels, but the towels wicked up the offensive fluids and stunk up the back kitchen for several months, the smell only now finally dissipating, only for us to reopen the hellmouth. but hopefully the foam strips will serve as a better material. with the strips in place, we finally sealed the grease trap back up, not to be revisited until another 6 months.
we started cleaning up the kitchen, putting everything back to where they belonged. it didn't smell too bad this time, partly because we didn't have everything on the shelves falling into the grease trap like last time and my father trying to escape while being enveloped by smelly grease. by then my mother had returned from michael's and my tea eggs were done simmering after 2 hours.
we didn't leave until 1:30pm, taking the 3 bags of cooking grease to throw out in belmont. i pity the sanitation workers when they get a big surprise next week.
for lunch it was more leftover turkey. my father's 7-pocket vest arrived a day early, he tried it on. it was lighter than he thought, but a good fit. he'll wear it at work at the cafe, preferring instead to wear his old fleece vest underneath a flannel shirt while at home. i talked my mother into buying a keurig k-mini single serving coffee maker, currently on sale for $50 (normally around $90). i tried talking her into getting the more expensive k-mini plus - has a strong brew option and a removable water reservoir, but she said the regular k-mini was good enough.
the day was almost over after cleaning out the grease trap this morning to the early afternoon. i surfed the web a little bit before it was close to dinner. for some reason i felt really cold and wore my jacket indoors for much of the day. i didn't bother going out into the backyard. birds had already emptied the seed feeder: at first i thought it was the work of junk birds (sparrows, starlings) until i saw it was just a mob of good birds: juncos, cardinals, song sparrows, and house finches. i'd never seen so many house finches. i'll fill up the feeder tomorrow. i've yet to see any birds visiting the suet feeder though.
i roasted some hazelnuts but baked them on the wrong layer and scorched most of them, wasting a perfectly good bag of nuts. we made more sweet potato fries, i cut up two large sweet potatoes earlier and soaked them in cold water for a few hours before coating them in corn starch. they came out good, but i still prefer regular fries, feels healthier compared to the sweet taste of the sweet potatoes. we also fried the last batch of spring rolls. by the time they were ready, i'd eaten so much sweet potato fries that i wasn't hungry anymore, and only had two spring rolls before i was full.
our mifaso wall mounted surge protector arrived this evening, a day ahead of schedule. we installed it in the kitchen, replacing our old intermatic wall mounted surge protector. the old one actually used two outlets instead of just one, so it's a lot more beefier. maybe it still protects, but the red surge led has long since gone dark, and most of the outlets have scorch marks from past dalliances with high demand kitchen appliances. the mifaso fit well as a replacement. it has 8 outlets, though 4 of them (on the sides) only have 2-prongs. it also had a few USB ports, which we'll never use.
i left belmont by 7:30pm. temperature had dropped down to 29 degrees by then. it was cold but i was prepared for the weather, felt like i was going out into the dark vacuum of outer space. i had fun exhaling smoke plumes from my mouth whenever i came to a stop light, showing those climate-controlled car drivers what a bad-ass i am for riding exposed out in the elements.
first thing i did when i got back was try repairing the old electric kettle. i brought the security screw bits this time around. the workings of an electric kettle is actually pretty simple, so in theory it'd be easy to fix. however that would not be the case tonight. the old kettle i got from my parents - the one that works but just won't shut off - has slightly different guts. for one thing, the switch is actually soldered onto the heating coil, so it can't be easily removed. fortunately i wasn't planning on it. instead i was hoping the issue had something to do with the bimetal disc that pops off the power switch. so i replaced the disc from my broken kettle with the one from my parents. i powered it up and waited for the water to boil. once it did, it failed to stop, but instead kept on boiling until the kettle was starting to vibrate violently before i finally turned it off manually. so no go on that fix. maybe i installed the bimetal disc backwards, i'll try again tomorrow. in the meantime i had enough hot water to make some tea for tonight.
nothing good on television. instead i watched some youtube videos. first learning about space rockets, then switching gear and learning how to make my own sausages, from grounding fresh meat, to mixing in the spices, then grounding the meat again into the sausage casings. i really want to make my own sausages now, bet i can make some good ones. i just need a meat grinder.
without leaves on the backyard oak tree and with the winter sun lower on the horizon, it gets so bright in my bedroom that i normally wake up around 7am then try to go back to sleep for another 2 hours before getting up for good just when the heat turns on in the house according to schedule.
i left for belmont around 10:40am, dressed warmly as the highs for the day was only in the 40's and would drop into the 30's and 20's by evening. when i got to my parents' place my mother was just about on her way out for a walk so i ended up going with her. we did half of fresh pond. despite the temperature, the sun was out which made it feel much warmer. the day after thanksgiving, there were a lot of people out strolling around the pond: dogwalkers, joggers, cyclists, and simple walking pedestrians. my sister called soon after we got to fresh pond to let us know she was at the house with esmei. my mother kept track of the number of people she saw wearing either brooks or hoka running shoes (she herself was wearing a pair of wool allbirds without socks). the only bit of interesting wildlife we saw were some migrating scaups diving into the water.
we didn't get back home until 12pm. naturally we had leftover turkey for lunch. esmei watched us eat and at one point barked and jumped on my mother when she thought we were going to give her food but didn't. after a scolding, she plopped down on the ground on all fours.
after lunch i went outside to rake the leaves from the backyard maple. normally i'd just mow it over and collect the shredded leaves, but our compost bin was already full, and there was so many leaves it would definitely clog up the mower. esmei attacked the rake while i worked, until she got bored of it and chewed on some leaves she caught. she had a case of the zoomies in the backyard which seemed to have tired her out as she laid down to rest before being called back inside. i ended up collecting 4 bins of leaves. i think next week is the last garden refuse collection for belmont, so it's good to get all the raking down by this weekend.
when i came back inside my sister and esmei were still home but just about to leave. i had some white ear fungus soup. being that today was black friday i figured we'd do some online shopping but we only bought a few things. we got a wall surge protector ($10) to replace the intermatic one in the kitchen that seemed to have burned out. my father bought a 7-pocket fleece vest ($34 sale, formerly $42). later when i went back home, i ordered some NiMH batteries (both AA and AAA). i also researched meat grinders and keurig coffee makers, but didn't buying either. my COMFEE electric kettle ($20) and 8-pack of solar mason jar string lights ($16) both arrived today. i'll only need the new electric kettle if i can't fix my broke one first (though it may not be worth it trying to save a 13-year out kitchen appliance).
there was a celtics game at 2pm. celtics had a double digit lead at one point but got outplayed by the orlando magic in the 2nd half. boston couldn't score at all while the magic rebounded everything and made all their shots. orlando ended up winning by double digits, now they're just a single game behind the celtics for best record in the NBA. to make matters worse, both porzingis and white looked injured (holiday didn't play today). celtics face the hawks on sunday, hopefully they can bounce back.
in the late afternoon early evening my father cooked up the second bag of mussels (otherwise it was going bad). the ones we had last night didn't have enough salt, so he added some salt this time, which made for better mussels. my father also tried the zero gravity buck buck juice double IPA (9% alcohol). i tried a sip, it tasted very good, strong hop flavor. my father said he could really feel the alcohol after a few sips.
for dinner we had more leftover turkey. i only had 2 rollups this time before i was pretty much full. we also each had a flan, my mother eating it directly from the ramekin. i noticed the ones i made using the porcelain ramekins had a lot more air bubbles compared to the glass pyrex ones.
i left around 7:15pm with the temperature in the upper 30's. i had my handlebar mitts and dressed warmly, but the cold still stung my face as my eyes watered up and there was a brief initial stretch where i could hardly breathe. i also dreamed about a heated vest, something i plan on investigating some more when i got back home.
i tried to further take apart my old electric kettle but couldn't. i also brought back a near identical broken aroma kettle from my parents' place. their old kettle wouldn't stop boiling. i tried to open it but it actually had security screws and i didn't have the necessary screw bits. i think i could replace the bimetal switch (from my broken kettle) to get it to turn off. but i won't know for sure until i can open the kettle. in the meantime i decided to use the new COMFEE electric kettle after all to make some tea. i spent the rest of the evening watching rocket engine videos on youtube.
my father showed up around 9:45am this morning to pick up all the thanksgiving items from my place: two dishes of flan, beers, hard ciders, seltzers, bean sprouts, mandarin oranges, sweet potatoes. after he left i got ready to leave myself. i bumped into renee clearing dead leaves off of her new car. we talked about thanksgiving, and renee being renee, said there wasn't much to celebrate given how we decimated all the native americans.
i rode the motorcycle by the cafe. when i saw that my father was still there, i pulled into the parking lot to see if he needed any help. we left for belmont around 10:20am.
first thing i noticed when i got to belmont was the storm door had a loose hinge, causing the door to swing out rapidly, denting the frame against the metal railing of the front steps. i fixed it by insert a wooden matchstick into the screw hole with some wood glue (a trick i learned when i repaired my loose front step back in the spring) then reseaeting the screw back into the stuffed hole. it worked great, the door is now good as new again.
i started cleaning the house as soon as i arrived, even though my mother had cleared most of it already (piled into the sunroom which we only just cleared out over the weekend). we extended the dining table by one leaf. i used blue tape to temporarily secure the tablecloth underneath the table so it wouldn't rest on guests' laps. i moved my father's cart of radio and electronic equipment into the sunroom. i cleaned out leftover oil drips (from last year's turkey) from the oven so it wouldn't scorch (a lesson i learned a week ago when i burnt leftover oil in the oven). i moved things into the basement. i vacuumed. i worked non-stop, didn't even have time to eat the leftover scallion bread and white ear fungus soup (my father cooked a new batch). at one point bin bin called me father to wish us a happy thanksgiving, and to tell us they moved to weston, because they have better public schools there.
my parents weren't particularly stressed. all the ingredients were already prepared, all they had to do was assemble everything before the guests arrived. having done this so many years, it's practically routine at this point, even if we just do it once a year. my father even took a nap while my mother holed herself in the bedroom knitting and watching her streaming shows on the imac.
at 2pm i started to preheat the oven. past few years we've been using a disposable aluminum turkey tray to cook our bird, but they're rather flimsy and always seem too small for the size of turkey. this year we found our aluminum tray with the adjustable rack, but even that was a bit small for our 21.5 lbs. bird. luckily i brought my largest baking pan with my flan, and that one was big enough to hold our turkey. we also had a standalone adjustable rack to place underneath the bird. the oven finished preheating after just 10 minutes, but it was still too early to convection bake our turkey, so i turned off the oven and waited until 2:30pm before my father put the turkey inside. set to 235°F, i set the timer to 2-1/2 hours of cook time.
my parents starting making the chunbing (spring pancakes). my father would roll out the pancakes while my mother cooked them on the stove.
my sister showed up around 3:40pm. they would've arrived earlier but i called them at the last minute to bring a few missing ingredients from the cafe (chili peppers, cooking oil) so they took a detour and went back to get them. she arrived with my 2nd aunt and esmei. my sister brought a cage pen for esmei, which i thought was overkill, but turned out to be useful, as we had to put her dog in the pen on multiple occasions for time out reasons. esmei acted like an annoying child, touching and exploring everything, and i seemed to be the only person keeping an eye on her, to prevent her from chewing cables or shoes or getting into other kinds of mischief.
my aunt and matthew showed up around 4pm. they brought banana bread and grilled jumbo shrimps. my sister bought a bunch of cheeses and crackers and cured meats for a cheese board; i think the cost of those items equaled the cost of all our other thanksgiving ingredients combined.
i think my 2nd aunt was the only one who showed up without bringing anything. my 2nd aunt brought a bowl of glass noodle salad. originally she was also going to make a sago soup with taro, but it was already close to 3pm when she finally arrived at the cafe so there was no time.
my parents started making the fried spring rolls. this year we were using our self-filtering electric deep fryer. unfortunately we didn't take into consideration the old kitchen outlets. one power strip kept popping it's circuit breaker. when we switched to an extension cord it got too hold because the cord was too long. we then used another power strip which seemed to work, but overtime it'd also get very warm, hot enough to start melting the outlet. after frying the spring rolls, my father fried his taro chunks. when that as done, we turned to the sweet potatoes. this was one of the new things this thanksgiving. building up the success we had deep frying french fries last week, i wantd to try it with sweet potatoes. little did i know, sweet potatoes don't contain as much starch as regular potatoes, so instead of getting crispy, they tend to become soggy. the fix: toss them with some corn starch before frying. they actually turned out pretty good, and matthew couldn't stop eating them.
while everyone was eating, my father and i were in the kitchen making the other dishes. while our food items were frying, we did manage to steal away into the dining room for a bite of food before returning to the kitchen. once we finished with the deep fryer, we made one last thing, which was the butter and garlic mussels. we ended up cooking just a bag even though i had two, that seemed to be the perfect amount of mussels. i also didn't realize matthew doesn't eat mussels. these were cape cod mussels and surprisingly plump. once my father and i finished cooking, my mother went into the kitchen to cook up some suancai while my father finally got around to carving the turkey.
as hosts, we're too busy cooking to really sit down and eat. the only time we can actually relax and have a calm thanksgiving meal is probably the day after, when there are no guests, and we can take our time making the food.
so we put esmei in her pen a few times. you'd think she'd be angry, either crying or barking to be let out, but she seemed pretty used to living in a cage. my sister put in a large dog bed which gave her a place to lie down and sleep. the cage itself wasn't very large, and standing on the dog bed gave esmei enough height that she could probably jump out of the pen if she really wanted to. very early on she found the leftover turkey brine and drank from the bucket. afterwards she was hooked, and went in search of it. we put the bucket in the small bedroom with the door closed but esmei could still smell it, and tried to "dig" underneath the door. i also watched her do something clever: unable to get through the door, i saw her walking around the other side of the wall, looking for another way inside. i feel like she's the kind of dog who will learn how to open the fridge door one day. she also jumped up to get to the turkey table a few times, while everyone was watching. she kept doing it too, not afraid of any repercussions. or like how she kept taking shoes from the foyer like they were her chew toys.
my sister made some kind of strawberry dessert, which sort of stole my thunder, as i'm usually the dessert guy with my annual flan. it made it so that people didn't have an appetite for my flan anymore. but when i prepared a flan for myself, that piqued people's interests, and more flan was served. guests also left with flan: my aunt took home 4 ramekins while my 2nd aunt took home 4 as well (even though she had none herself, i think all 4 is for my 2nd uncle who didn't even have the courtesy to show up for thanksgiving).
my mother replaced the foaming hand soap in the bathroom with a bath & body works coconut and sandalwood scent. i don't know about the coconut but it smells 100% like sandalwood, very fragrant, makes going to the bathroom an aromatherapy experience.
by 8pm all the guests had left. after cleaning up the dining table, i returned home as well. knowing that many people were away for thanksgiving, i didn't have to worry about parking when i got home. the city was a ghost town, every single business closed, with very little car traffic as well.
i look forward to sleeping late tonight and waking up tomorrow to some thanksgiving leftovers at my parents' place. we still have an extra bag of mussels, my father forgot to serve his white ear fungus soup, and i have a package of yellow bean sprouts i meant to make into a korean-syle banchan that i'll finally get a chance to. tomorrow will also be a day long online shopping day and a celtics afternoon game.
there was steady rain this morning. so much so that i called my mother asking if i could come to the cafe a bit later (around 11am), hoping by then the rain would've tapered off. so i waited anxiously, refreshing the doppler radar every so often to get the latest update. i didn't have a good night's sleep last night, probably didn't actually fall asleep until 6am. i didn't get out of bed until 10am. paul sent me an e-mail saying they were leaving for thanksgiving and wouldn't be back until saturday afternoon. i thanked him for the courtesy message, but i think his main motive was to let me know he had a package coming, otherwise they wouldn't bother telling me at all.
by 11am it was still raining. so i dug out my long raincoat that i bought when i was hiking through the jungles of southwest china, finally had a chance to use it. it kept my upper body dry, but it opened up at the bottom when i pedaled the bike so my jeans and shoes were slightly damp when i finally got to the cafe.
i was secretly hoping i didn't have to work at the cafe today due to the rain, and that there'd be no customers. turns out it was the exact opposite, today was the 2nd busiest day of november. which is actually a good thing because we're only opened 2 days this week due to thanksgiving.
i had some yiner mushroom soup but my father overcooked it so the fungus dissolved into a gelatinous blob. we had so much scallion thatmy mother made some scallion bread in the afternoon. my sister visited the cafe a few times, on her way back from a last minute supply run. because it was rainy, she didn't bring over esmei. though the bulk of the rain was over by the afternoon, it actually continued rain for the rest of the day into the evening, just an annoying drizzle. by the time i left around 5pm, it was still raining.
once i got home i went over to bruce's place to drop off two flan. he appreciated the ramekins, said jack collects them (one reason being the work "ramekin" is fun to day) and that i might not get them back.
for dinner i made a bagel ham egg cheese sandwich. when i went to use my electric kettle to boil some water, i noticed it wasn't running anymore. i've had this aroma AWK-115S electric kettle for over 13 years now. i totally forgot but i actually bought it used from craig's list for $8, so who knows how old it actually is. it's served me well, and i even repaired it at one point (2016) when it stopped working. i took it apart to look at the inside but i didn't write down how i fixed it last time and i couldn't make too much sense over the electronic guts. so instead i went online and bought a new electric kettle on sale (early black friday) for $20 (amazon). i'll try to tinker with the broken kettle a little bit more, if i can bring it back to life again i'll return the new kettle. i ended up boiling some water with the stovetop kettle, haven't used that in a while.
i waited all day for tonight's basketball game between the bucks and celtics. both teams made serious upgrades to this season's roster, trading good players to get better players. the bucks traded jrue holiday to acquire damian lillard, then jrue holiday got traded to the celtics from the blazers. celtics came out firing, at one point early in the game they lead as much as 20 points. celtics won every quarter except for the 4th, but don't let the final score fool you - 119-116 - boston was very much in command of this game. bucks made it interesting in the final few minutes, but the celtics still had answers and won in the end. here's an interesting stat: boston played just 8 players, and all of them were in double digits except for jrue holiday who only had 5 (but contributed in other ways, like defensively). celtics were so firmly in control that i wasn't even paying attention for much of the game. 76ers also lost today, so now both the bucks and philly are 10-5 while the celtics advance to 12-3. in the east, there are 4 teams tied for second with a 10-5 records: bucks, 76ers, magic, and heat. boston play the magic on friday, a weird weekday afternoon game in orlando.
two of my neighbors sent me e-mail this morning. they warned me that there was street cleaning and that my motorcycle was still parked outside. i quickly burst out of bed and peeked through the living room window. thank god they hadn't swept the street yet, giving me time to quickly move my bike. so all that empty parking spots i noticed last night? it wasn't because people had left early for thanksgiving, it was actually because of street cleaning.
down at the end of the street i could see a line forming outside of petsi's pie. this is their busiest time of the year. the line was so long it reached miller street. i sent LSH some photos to show him just how popular those pies he bought for his wife back in germany.
since i'd already been outside and it wasn't that cold (30's but sunny), i decided i'd work in a tuesday morning run. i had on a pair of black jogging pants and a long-sleeved pullover, wore some gloves too. i left by 10:30am. it was cold in the shadows but pleasant out in the sun, which wasn't until i got to the river. i kept my plodding pace, i had enough endurance that i could've actually ran the entire route without stopping. i really should think about upping my game, either run longer, or run farther. yet at the same time i don't know if i want to push myself: i'm already running in cold weather, something i didn't think i'd be able to do, so that in itself is a victory.
i bumped into bruce coming back on garden street. i asked if he and jack would be interested in some thanksgiving flan. i continued on my way and even started running a little bit as i was perpetually in the shadows and it was still a cold day. i didn't get back home until 11:40am.
i heated up a spicy jamaican beef patty, forgetting that i had leftover smoked ham and bagels i had to finish. i promised myself i'd make a bagel sandwich for dinner. i have to eat all that stuff because come thursday i'll be feasting on leftover turkey for the next week.
i walked down to star market to pick up some mandarin oranges on sale. there was also a sale on sweet potatoes (45¢/lbs.), i bought some to make some potential sweet potato fries. a talkative elderly chinese woman who spoke to me in english was telling me what a good deal these sweet potatoes were. "much cheaper than even market basket," so informed me. it was one of those rare times that the parking lot was full, but i think a good chunk of that parking was people waiting in line at petsi's because it didn't seem all that crowded inside the supermarket. i clipped the digital coupon but when i went to go pay, it rang up the full price. i ended up having to return everything, clip the coupons again, and then buy everything a second time.
i was at home for just a little bit before i went out again, this time to market basket, to pick up any additional last item thanksgiving grocery items. i got some cream cheese for a japanese cheesecake recipe.2 bags of cape cod mussels ($6/bag). and 4 bags of bean sprouts for my mother's fried spring rolls. but the most important thing was actually at market basket, but rather the indian grocery store right next store, where they sold beers. originally i was going to get a 12-pack of lord hobo IPA sampler, but i thought too much IPA would be kind of boring, so i got a 12-pack variety of zero gravity beers ($20), the same brand i got last thanksgiving. this case had green state lager, cone head haze, powder jones IPA, and juice. i also got a 12-pack of angr orchard crisp apple hard cider for myself ($20).
when i got home i put the mussels on ice in a lasagna dish and covered them up with some wet paper towels. hopefully this will keep them alive for the next 48 hours, until thursday thanksgiving. and thank god for the new fridge, i don't think my old fridge would've been able to store everything: 2 trays of flan, a dish of raw mussels, and two pans of eggs. there's no room for the beers and the hard ciders, i'll put them out on my backyard porch tomorrow night (after the rain) to chill them down to around 40 degres.
the only time i turn on the heat in my house is in the morning for an hour right when i wake up. otherwise the heat is only set to 60 degrees throughout the day until evening when i turn the heat back up to 65 degrees. this meant that today was especially cold inside the house, cold enough that i had to put on my wool socks.
i use torguard as my VPN, but i'm looking to switch. over two dozen film studios have sued the company - which is based in the US - seeking damages for users using their VPN to download movies illegally. as a result of the lawsuits, torguard was forced to block torrent traffic on all its US-based VPN servers. it only started happening back in july. the workaround was to use a non-US-based server, so i started using their toronto server, which still worked. but this caused issues when i surfed the web with the VPN turned on. for one thing, it thought i was in canada so i'd target me with canadian specific content. certain sites also wouldn't work, like youtube tv (which apparently doesn't exist in canada).
so i vowed come the end of november - when my annual torguard subscription is due - i'd find a new VPN provider. not sure how i came across it, but somehow i found windscribe, which i'd never heard of before. there were many things about it i liked, from their robust platform support (PC, mac, android, ios), unlimited bandwidth, no IP logging, to being torrent friendly. they also had a free plan where you had a limit of 10GB but enough to test drive their VPN. best part is it costs the same as torguard - $30/year.
so i created an account and gave windscribe a try. the first thing i tried was a speedtest. on my xfinity internet without VPN, i get speeds of 460/16 Mbps download/upload. the first time i ran windscribe, i wasn't impressed, with speeds of only 38/13 Mbps. compare that to torguard, where i achieved speeds of 300/19 Mbps. but subsequent windscribe's speedtests i got as fast as 350/17 Mbps.
another thing i noticed was i couldn't get wireguard to work on windscribe, only IPsec IKEv2. i read both are fast protocols, but wireguard is newer and open source. wireguard is what i use with torguard. it doesn't really matter all that much, since i can still get very fast speeds.
i tried downloading a few torrents with windscribe. worked without issues, just as fast as torguard (maybe even faster judging from the speedtests). i also browsed a few websites using windscribe. because i was using their NY-based server, i didn't have any foreign content issues. since i was testing with the free account, i only had access to a few servers. with the paid version i can even use boston-based servers.
one thing i really liked about torguard is the ability to have a kill switch that force quits apps when it loses VPN connection. that way i can immediately quit my torrent client if i'm not connected to the VPN anymore. windscribe does it different, uses a firewall system. if for any reason the VPN disconnects, it will cut off all internet traffic, until you close the firewall. i don't know how well it performs, but it's a very rare occurence anyway.
windscribe can also do split tunneling. i tried it but it didn't really work, only allowed me to input IPs and hostnames, not set app tunneling. i read somewhere that split tunneling doesn't work correctly on the mac because of the way the macOS is written.
so after my testing, i think i will switch to windscribe once my torguard subscription expires. it seems to work just as well as torguard, and has a few features that torguard doesn't have. windscribe is also based on canada, so they don't face the same kind of copyright scrutiny that a US-based VPN company would face.
for dinner i made a bagel sandwich, washed it down with some chocolate milk. my upstairs neighbors were blaring their tv noises again (after blaring their stereo in the early afternoon), so i turned on my bluetooth soundcore motion+ speaker set on top of my bookcase, a taste of their own medicine. at first i was getting audio delays (streaming via toslink digital optical using a bluetooth transmitter), and it seemed like it was a video issue as well since the basketball game i was watching appeared to be skipping. i read online that restarting the app (inside of my android-based mi streaming box) fixes the problem. so i did that and sure enough, both video and audio were buttery smooth. my laptop was somehow paired with the speaker as well, and whenever my computer made any sort of sound, it would pause youtube tv and play out the audio. i fixed that problem by turning off bluetooth on my mac. all and all i'm pretty happy with my wireless audio setup.
the game i was watching was caveliers vs 76ers. philadelphia lost (10-4), sending them down a full game behind the celtics (11-3), same standings as the bucks (10-4). celtics' game against the bucks tomorrow will have immediate implications for top standings: boston lose and they tie with the bucks, but if they win they'll be 2 games ahead of milwaukee.
the new season (5th) of fargo premiered tonight. it started late - 10pm - with 2 episodes no less. the first episode was already long at 1-1/2 hours (maybe with commercial interruptions), i only watched a bit of the second episode. i don't like john hamm playing a villain even though he makes a menacing one. juno temple plays a housewife with a mysterious past and amazing survival skills, seemingly inured to the violence that unexpectedly descended upon her PTA mom life. she's so good on the show, it's an emmy nomination for sure. i still don't know what's going on with the story, but the quirky midwestern characters have already got me hooked, can't wait to see the rest of the episodes.
today marks the beginning of thanksgiving week. thanksgiving is different than many other holidays in that it always falls on the third thursday of november. so the whole build-up to thanksgiving is the same every year.
monday we do some cleaning (my father and i already did that yesterday sunday when we cleaned out the sunroom), figure out what last minute items we need to buy. monday night is also traditionally when i make my flan, so it'll be ready by thursday. tuesday i do the last of my supply run, hitting one or two supermarkets, and visiting a liquor store to get some craft beers for matthew. wednesday is a backup day, in case we forget something, there's still time to get it. however, i try to avoid all supermarkets on wednesday if i can. thursday is thanksgiving, i get to my parents' place in the morning, help my mother with the cleaning, as we wait for the guests to arrive late afternoon to early evening. there are also a few football games on this day, but with the patriots doing so poorly this season, i've pretty much tuned out of football weeks ago (it's all about the NBA for me from here on out). friday is a big shopping day, as i go online looking for black friday deals. pretty much the rest of the weekend will be spent shopping online and eating thanksgiving leftovers. the cafe will be closed from thanksgiving thursday until tuesday, so the only time in the year where we're closed for this long (business is slow during that time anyway).
i woke up at 9am this morning but surfed the web from bed until 10am. i wasn't in any hurry until my mother called me. she said they were just returning from a baifu supply run, and that if i went to the cafe i could help them unload. so i took a quick shower and was out the door by around 10:30am. it was cold this morning, temperature in the 30's, i wore my puffy black winter jacket. there was also street cleaning, so one side of the street was completely empty of cars.
i went to the cafe not so much to help my parents unload the supplies but rather to search for my missing ramekins that i needed for my flan. i got the cafe right when my parents were pulling into the parking lot, i actually thought they were leaving. my mother and i searched everywhere, but the ramekins were nowhere to be found. i did find a few more ceramic ramekins that belongs to my sister. those will at the very least increase my ramekin numbers so i can still make a decent number of flan.
my sister was already at my parents' place with esmei when we got to belmont. esmei was sporting a purple fleece-lined dog cape. i followed here everywhere she went around the house, seemingly investigating everything. i forget that everything to her is new, but i also think she was just searching for things to eat or chew, like power cords or in my mother's case, balls of yarn. at one point esmei saw a mirror and spent some time looking at the other dog in the mirror. she wasn't aggressive nor was she overly curious, but she definitely saw something.
at one point i took esmei into the backyard and was chasing her around. my sister said not to do that, as it trains her into thinking being chased is something fun, and would encourage her to run off if she's ever out in public off-lease. i noticed esmei starts getting a little nipping on the heels whenever i start chasing her. it got so bad i went inside because she wouldn't stop biting my pant legs.
we had ho fun noodles for lunch. esmei was hovering around the dining table but she didn't bark or cry like she did yesterday. my sister was washing her blankets using my parents' industrial-sized LG washing machine and dryer (sunny day, solar power, free electricity). she left esmei to wander around in the house, and i kept an eye on her. at one point esmei jumped onto the couch by herself to take a nap. she fell asleep in a matter of minutes (i don't think dogs get insomnia) and even though we were making noises, she slept without waking up.
my sister finally took esmei home around 3pm. as fun as esmei is to have around, it was also a relief when she left and couldn't get into anymore dog mischief. i took the time to finish watering the basement houseplants. i brought the spanish lavender and lemon verbena back into the sunroom. these plants are cold hardy down to the 20's, and in the case of the verbana, it requires cool weather to shed its leaves and enter winter dormancy. however i did move the holiday cactuses inside the house as the temperature tonight is supposed to dip into the 20's.
for dinner we had a plate of cabbage and egg stirfry and another plate of chinese celery with smoked ham and fried tofu puffs. i returned home early - 6:30pm - as i still had flan to make.
there was plenty of parking on my street, feels like 70-80% of all my neighbors had already left for thanksgiving. i went down to the basement one last time to search for the ramekins but still no luck. i basically searched everywhere. and then all of a sudden i found it. it was underneath my pot rack, in a metal baking dish, covered up by a paper bag to keep out the dust. so it was in my house this whole time! which sort of made sense, because i remember after last thanksgiving that i didn't want to go through the trouble of finding all my ramekins again, so i decided to consolidate them and keep them safe at my place. little did i know how much trouble that'd cause.
reunited with my glass ramekins, i could finally start making my flan. unfortunately i was too engrossed in the celtics-hornets game, and i didn't get cooking until after halftime around 9pm.
(23x 6 oz. ramekins)
1.4 cups sugar
1.4 tsp salt
9 cups whole milk
4.3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sugar (caramelized)
|preheat oven to 350°F. mix eggs with sugar and salt. mix in remaining milk and vanilla. set aside, let bubbles dissipate. boil enough water to pour into lasagna dishes lined with ramekins. caramelize remaining sugar (melt in small batches, 3/4 cups each), coating ramekin bottoms. pour in flan mixture up to 4 oz., using fine mesh strainer to catch any unmixed egg bits. bake for 120 minutes, swapping trays after 1 hours to brown evenly.|
not only did i find my ramekins, but i also found the large metal baking pan, the one i used to use all the time for making flan because it can easily hold a dozen ramekins. i ended up only using half of the glass ramekins, after realizing they hold the same amount as the ceramic ones. the ceramic ones are actually better in that i can fit more of them in a smaller space. so in the second baking dish (a large glass pyrex lasagna pan) i managed to squeeze in 11 ceramic ramekins, for a grand total of 23 servings of flan. we only have 7 people total, 8 if you count my 2nd uncle (who hasn't been to a thanksgiving in many years now but my 2nd aunt will bring him home a doggie bag). this means everyone can have 2 flan, with anther half a dozen to spare. last year i only made 16.
making flan is actually dangerous. first there's the hot water bath. then there's the melting of the sugar and pouring them into the ramekins. finally i need to put the two baking dishes into the oven, and swap out the dishes at the midway point. all opportunities to burn myself, whether its from boiling water, molten sugar, or the hot interior of the oven.
around 10:30pm the flan went into the oven. it took 2 hours to finish baking, filling the house with a sweet eggy smell, like being inside a pastry store. the ceramic ramekin flans came out golden brown because they were on the top rack during the 2nd hour of baking. no one sees this layer anyway though because it's actually the bottom of the flan when you invert it to serve. but there's something satisfying about seeing a brown "top" on a flan.
oh, by the way, celtics lost tonight. they had a double digit lead at one point, but it was another trap game, as it went into overtime and boston couldn't get enough points to win it in the end. this was the second game of an on-the-road back-to-back schedule. i swear, the NBA does this to tire out good visiting teams so there's a greater chance of an upset win. we still have the best record in the NBA. celtics' next game is going to be crazy: the bucks come to boston on wednesday, the battle of eastern conference titans. plus the first time jrue holiday facing his old team. i can't wait!
sunday is the only day of the week where i could afford to sleep late. even then i still woke up at my usual time of 9am as the forced air heat in my house kicked in.
i rode to belmont by around 11am. there was a large gaza ceasefire protest outside of senator warren's house. it was quite the production, with a big gaza banner and folding tables set up alongside the sidewalk. i was tempted to get a photo but didn't want the hassle of doubling back nor giving these people any more attention. when i got to my parents' place they weren't home, most likely out taking a walk. i was in the middle of cleaning up the sunroom when i heard my parents and my sister. apparently they set up an appointment to meet up with my sister at fresh pond while she was out walking esmei.
we let esmei out into the backyard. the weather today wasn't bad, temperature in the 50's though a bit windy. i was throwing the ball when i heard rustling sounds nearby and saw a rabbit bolt out from some leaf debris. esmei saw it too and gave chase, not even realizing what she was chasing, just gave in to dog instinct. i don't know if she was trying to catch the rabbit or play with it. the rabbit ran through a hole it'd dug underneath the fence.
we went back inside to eat lunch. my father and sister were eating and it was my first time hearing esmei bark because she wanted food to. unlike hailey we took a long time to figure out what we were doing at the dining table, esmei knew right away we were eating and was angry she wasn't getting her share. later when my mother was eating a croissant sandwich on the rocking chair, esmei sat in front of her watching. she was being very quiet, but then suddenly started barking and jumped on my mother. we all got up to scold her, she cried, then laid down on the floor. esmei has a surprisingly loud bark for a small dog, or maybe it comes as a shock as she's normally very quiet. the only times i've ever heard her bark is when she sees someone eating something and she's not getting her share, or when she hears other dogs barking in distress.
my sister ended up taking esmei home because she hadn't had lunch yet, maybe that's why she was so hangry.
my father and i continued cleaning the sunroom. i brought down all plant related equipment to the basement. i also relocated all the houseplants except the holiday cactuses. the sunroom was still cluttered, but much better than before, with plenty of room to move around and an empty folding table ready to take up all our thanksgiving foods on thursday.
i sprayed neem oil on that one orchid with a slight mealybug issue. i also ended up repotting it because it was tilted and then watering it with some rain water. i organized the pileas i wanted to give away for free and brought them outside so i could remove any dead leaves before watering them. i couldn't find my square led light that normally goes above the water reeds, so i ended daisy-chaining another led strip light. i like the white light anyway, easier to see. eventually i want to phase out all my blurple lights (hard to see) and replace them with white led's.
the last plant related thing i did today was to sort all the seeds we harvested from the backyard: buttercup squash, long beans, giant japanese red mustard, baby bokchoi, cilantro, and of course blue beans. we had hundreds of blue bean seeds, though not of all them were good quality. i ended up dividing the good seeds from the bad ones. i'll still save the bad seeds, they still might have a chance to germinate.
my father made dinner: pan-fried shrimps, salted white fish, and chicken gizzards. the shrimps were okay, but after having tried outdoor-wok-prepared shrimps, i could never go back to shrimps prepared any other way.
i left belmont around 6:30pm. my parents are going on a baifu supply run tomorrow while i'm going to go to the cafe and search for my ramekins. they didn't turn up after we cleaned the sunroom, so i don't know where else they could be. my sister remembered seeing them at the cafe, but when she went to look for them today after returning home, she couldn't find them either. if i still can't find them i'll be forced to use my backup ramekins. passing by senator's warren house, i saw there was a police SUV with blue lights turned on parked outside. the protesters were gone, but looks like the city put a police detail outside in case they come back.
celtics faced the grizzlies at 8pm. this was the first time boston was facing marcus smart after the trade, but unfortunately marcus wasn't playing tonight, out for 3-5 weeks due to an ankle sprain (not to worry: grizzlies play the celtics again feb.4th, hopefully marcus will be healed up by then). memphis is tied for last place along with the spurs and trail blazers, though memphis had the infamous distinction of being the last team in the NBA not to have won a game this season until very recently. anyway, this should've been an easy game for the celtics, but turned out to be a classic trap game. celtics didn't play well - poor offense - while the grizzlies showed some toughness and were out to win tonight. there was also some questionable referee calls that put a halt to any momentum boston was hoping to build. in terms of quarters, celtics lost 2, tied 1, and only won 1. yet still they managed to win, but the last 10 seconds was crazy and the ball was batted around and the grizzlies definitely had an opportunity to either win or send it into overtime. final score was 102-100. the two jays didn't play well, but it felt like we could count on porzingis to "right the ship," and to some extent jrue holiday as well. derrick white can do no long, and sam hauser continues to showcase his talent, going 5-for-5 from the 3-point arc. it was an ugly win, but still a win. celtics extend their winning streak to 6 games with a record of 11-2. porzingis is doing some amazing things on both defense and offense, watching him play is a thing of beauty. and then to think he's actually on our team!
patriots had a bye this week, which meant we were guaranteed not to lose today.
i woke up at 7am this morning. my parents were planning on going to a baifu supply run and i wanted to let them know i had my father's credit card. i checked the webcam to see if they were up yet, but noticed the door to the car was open. at first i thought they were already about to leave, but when i scrubbed the video i realized the car door had been opened all night long, ever since they got home last night. because it was still early, i was going to wait to call them, but a rainstorm was about to hit the area, and the inside of the car would get soaked, so i had no choice but to phone home. i called my father first but there was no answer. i then called my mother who picked up. i told her about the car door, and about the credit card. she said they weren't going to baifu today and sent my father to go out and close the door.
i didn't bother going back to bed, and stayed up to watch the second spacex starship launch at 8am. it went better this time compared to their first launch in april. the launchpad wasn't completely obliterated and the rocket got high enough for 2nd stage separation. however the booster rocket exploded soon after separation, and likewise the upper-stage vehicle auto self-destructed once it lost contact with mission control. but for those 2 minutes when starship first launched into space, it was pretty exciting.
every year right before thanksgiving i search the house for my flan ramekins. they'd normally be in belmont, but for some reason i thought i brought them home. all my deep dish baking trays were here, just no ramekins.
i was surprised to see that it was raining this morning. all the weather forecast i saw said no rain, at least not for boston. doppler radar showed the rain clouds would leave eventually, so i waited. i finally left by 10:20am. temperature was in the 50's, but would drop into the 30's by evening, so i dressed warmly.
i was the first to arrive at the cafe. i discovered why my father didn't answer his phone earlier: he left his google pixel recharging at the cafe. my sister poked her head into the store briefly with esmei, said she needed to take her for a walk first. my 2nd aunt showed up for work before my sister did.
wasn't sure what kind of day it'd be. even though thanksgiving wasn't until thursday, did people already leave for the break? and would the rainy weather put people off from coming out? it actually turned out to be a slow day, but we still got a few customers.
because my sister was too crucial to leave, i went to go visit esmei twice. first time was to let her out into the backyard to pee before giving her some lunch. i managed to lock myself out twice and had to run back to the front of the house to get into the backyard. at first esmei wouldn't walk down the backyard ramp (i think my sister scolded her earlier, and that seemed to have traumatized her). then later she wouldn't go back inside the house. i had to trick her with a leaf. second time i came back was to let her outside so she could poop. she just peed and spent the rest of the time playing, so i brought it back inside.
i had some hand-pulled noodles with zhajiang sauce. because of the cold weather i drank a tall glass of black tea. we had no online orders today, but did get a few phone orders. there were also customers calling to ask the strangest questions. your chicken: dark or white meat? what goes in the vegetable stirfry noodles? bean sprouts? mushrooms?
i left the cafe around 4:20pm. the clouds were gone, a pink and periwinkle sunset on the western horizon. i rode to belmont. arriving on my parents' street, i noticed the garage door of one of the newly renovated houses looked really weird. as i went by it looked like somebody had crashed into the garage: the door had buckled inwards and the corner of the garage was crushed.
my father and i went outside so he could recharge the car battery. i thought the car was dead (due to the door being opened all night long) but it started up just fine. nevertheless, we felt it was safer to fully charge the battery and clipped on the 1.5A charger. i told my father about the neighbor's garage and we went to go check it out. turns out they did it themselves, as their car in the driveway had extensive crumple damage.
i looked for my ramekins around the house but couldn't find them. they weren't in the basement and they weren't in the kitchen. i'll check the sunroom tomorrow.
for dinner my mother made thin noodles using some ham bone broth she'd been simmering since yesterday. i left soon after eating, figured the temperature will only drop the later i stay. i got back home by 7pm. i went down to the basement to see if i stored my ramekins there but they were none to be found. i do have 18 ramekins of various sizes and material (mostly porcelain, a few glass) that i could use in a pinch, but my life will be much easier if i can find those lost ramekins.
after a shower i spent the night watching basketball on tv. all the teams i wanted to lose ended up winning: bucks beat the mavericks, timberwolves beat the pelicans, knicks beat the hornets. warriors did lose though, as well as the heat.