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at 1pm i set out for my motorcycle inspection, due by the end of this month. it was hot traveling down mass ave for nearly 3-1/2 miles to greater boston motorsports (GBM). i could feel my arms baking under the sun. i stopped by speedway first to get some gas. i was a bit nervous with the inspection ($15): last time i came i nearly failed because one of my tires was old and had some cracks. so it didn't surprised me when the technician failed my inspection. he showed me the deep fissures on my rear tire and said i needed to replace it. he also found my hand brake lever wasn't working, i needed to replace the switch.

in my head i figured it'd cost me $500 to replace the rear tire including labor. so when frank told me it was going to be $430, it seemed like i was getting a bargain. he charged me $300 and said i could pay the rest when i got my tire replaced. they're closed saturday-sunday-monday because of memorial day, so he said most likely he'll give me a call thursday when the tire comes in. i could then bring my motorcycle and wait for them to change the tire (about 1-1/2 hour wait). i asked him to look up my repair history: the front tire was replaced relatively recently, 2019. the rear tire? not since 2012, 14 years ago. typically motorcycle tires get replaced every 5 years, 10 years top, so i was overdue. that would also explain why my rear tire has no traction, and why i've been feeling the bike slip during turns such that now i turn very slowly. a new rear tire is going to make riding a lot better and safer.

in total i was at GBM for nearly 40 minutes. these guys work slow and i didn't want to be a pushy customer. while i waited, about half a dozen riders also came in for inspection. all guys, older, white, with one hispanic guy. one of them wore shorts on his touring bike, another had full on leather riding gear. i finally left by 2:15pm.

next stop was the watertown home depot to pick up a new replacement melnor watering wand ($15). this will be the third one we've bought (4th overall, including a different brand), these things don't last very long, a season or two at best. i tried finding a more rugged version and came across the dramm rainselect rain wand. dramm seems to be the name brand in watering wands. even though it had many glowing reviews, i still came across customers who said their dramm rain wand broke. at $30, it's double the price, but might be worth considering for next time. it's very similar to the melnor watering wand except the spray head doesn't pivot like it does on the melnor.

it took me longer to wait to pay than it did for me to grab the watering wand. i was going to try self checkout, but they did something new where now it's just a single line. that line was longer than the outdoor garden line so i went to the garden checkout instead. i tied the wand to the back of my motorcycle with some bungie netting before heading to my parents' place.

i woke up a bit earlier today so i could go down to the community garden before heading to the cafe. i hadn't visited since late friday, when i planted 3 tomatoes. it rained saturday night so i didn't bother watering over the weekend, but monday was a dry day, so i felt obligated to come and water. there was nobody else in the garden. my tomatoes were fine. i noticed maureen had left a red-veined sorrel in my garden as promised. i'm not sure where to plant it. i'm afraid if i plant it at ground level, rabbits will eat it. but it's also supposed to be a hardy perennial, so it'd probably grow back.

i made it to the cafe a bit after 9am. the parking lot was empty and cones were set up on the sidewalk. it was scheduled to get seal coated today, as my sister waited for the company to contact her. i was kind of happy to see the parking lot temporarily off limit, as i see people use it all the time to drop of their dog at the groomer or pick up their dry cleaning, even though they're not supposed to. before the seal coat crew arrived, i unloaded the 4 bags of mulch from the car and left them in my sister's backyard with the help of the handtruck.

when the seal coating guys finally showed up in the early afternoon, it was a noisy and smelly affair, as they lightly resurfaced the parking lot before applying the seal coat. it smelled like fresh asphalt, which isn't a good smell. the parking lot can't be used for the next 48 hours.

there was a steady build up of business today, where it didn't seem busy at first, but by day's end we had at least 45 customers. busy was already pretty good before adding that big order at the end of the day. by day's end it got pretty crazy. changshifu came to visit because he had some issues with his iphone and came for free IT help. he wanted to install facebook on his new phone, but couldn't remember his password. we ended up reseting his password. he came during a busy period, and i barely had time to fulfill the orders and make my tea eggs and still have to troubleshoot his phone issues.

my father was supposed to leave for the doctor's office at 3:30pm but it got so busy he delayed his departure. for a while it was just my mother and myself, before my sister showed up to help. i left briefly for trader joe's to get some bananas. it was terribly hot outside with temperature in the 80's. my father finally came back after 5pm from visiting the doctor in burlington.

a growing trend these days is we get busy again right around 5pm until closing time. that plus we needed to fulfill the big order that was due for pickup at 6pm. the girl who ordered called us, said she was at the airport picking up her parents, and wouldn't be able to arrive until 7pm. she called a bit later and said probably not until 8pm. she never paid for her phone order so we were afraid she'd cancel, but my sister managed to wrangle a credit card number off of her, thereby securing the order. whatever the case may be, the order would mostly likely be cold by the time she arrived. so we broke apart the order into individual boxes, separating out the cold dishes from the hot ones, so they can at least warm things up in the microwave.

thankfully my parents still had to portion out the new batch of beef noodle soup they made today so we had to stay late anyway. earlier when i went downstairs to get the ice paddle, i made a terrible discovery: the ice paddle had cracked! i must've overfilled the container so when the water turned to ice it cracked the paddle.

we even had a few customers come in even though we'd already closed. we let them order, figured the extra business wouldn't hurt. there was one weirdo who ordered some dumplings then sat their listening to music on his headphones. he stayed until 7pm and didn't seem like he'd be leaving soon so i almost asked him to leave before he finally left.

the big order girl finally showed up at 7pm. even though she spoke english, she could also speak chinese, but with an accent. my mother was talking to her in mandarin before realizing maybe she didn't understand everything.

after the big order went out, we finally turned off the lights. we had dinner at the cafe, my mother made some beef noodle soup using some leftover tripe soup. i wasn't going to eat at first - i'd already planned out some frozen meal while watching the eastern conference final - but that wasn't until 8pm. it was my first meal of the day and i was afraid i might faint like those suffering from starvation binging eating and getting sick from it. it felt like a reward from a hard day's worth of work.

we didn't leave until almost 8pm. nobody had a copy of the front door key so we all went out the back, walking over the newly sealed parking lot. it seemed safe to walk on - dry at the very least - but probably not safe for car traffic just yet.

game 1 between the pacers and celtics was on ESPN. that meant even though game time was technically 8pm, ESPN's pregame package would still take up 10-15 minutes before the game would start. that gave me enough time to take a shower before settling in to watch the game.

boston started off the game strong after resting for the week while waiting for the other teams to finish playing their series. indiana couldn't make their shots while boston pushed their lead into double digits. but pacers made a run at the end of the first quarter to shrink the lead down to just a few points. celtics came out strong again at the start of the second quarter, but like before, pacers, rallied back to tie the game going into halftime. third quarter pacers came out shooting, before celtics made another run, with pacers rallying back. fourth quarter it looked like indiana was going to steal this game from the celtics, as they lead in the second half of the final quarter. it looked bleak, but jaylen brown shot a 3-pointer from the corner to send the game into overtime. pacers led at first, but the celtics made one final rally, scoring just enough points to win 128-133.

my father was coming to pick me up this morning for a supply run. my mother was waiting for the housecleaners to arrive so she couldn't come. for some reason my father always seems to arrive early, no matter what time we agreed to meet. i was just getting out of the shower when my father called me around 9:30am, said he was outside. we agreed to meet at 10am. i quickly got dressed.

first stop today was the everett costco, where we got 15 dozen eggs. we were also searching for potting soil but looks like they stopped carrying them in order to make room for other merchandise.

next was super 88 in malden. bok choi, the last 2 cans of bean sauce (for our beef noodle soup recipe), dumplings. we also checked out mixing bowls. i wanted to get an extra large (30qt) stainless steel bowl from restaurant depot. but my father suggested i get a plastic one, which they carried in various sizes. they all seemed to be made in korea for some reason too, maybe because they're typically used for making large quantities of kimchi. i ended up getting a large bowl with a 63cm (25inches) diameter ($28.99). i also got a pair of plastic strainer bowls at $7.99 a piece. of course i won't be using any of this new equipment until next month when i make a new batch of taiwanese paocai.

third stop was bianco & sons to get some chinese sausages. we were only going to get 4 boxes of sausages but the cashier told us there was a sale this week (memorial day related) so we ended up buying two cases - 6 boxes.

last stop was ocean state job lot where i got 4 6ft tall garden stakes ($2/each). they weren't the kind i was looking, as these were too bumpy for my garden stake clips - but i got them anyway since i could always tie them together using wires.

we left by 11:30am. my father was heading back via tufts/davis square before he realized he had to drop me off at my place first. so he detoured on mystic avenue, traversing somerville via school street. i jumped out of the car at a red light and ran the rest of the way home, about a block distance.

i set out my seedlings on the back porch before gathering my things and heading to the cafe to help my father unpack. turns out he didn't have a key and needed me to get inside the cafe. we unloaded the supplies before arriving at belmont around 12:30pm.

the house looked cleaner, but my mother said the housekeepers hadn't arrived yet. anxiously waiting for them to show up, my mother basically cleaned the house without them. she contacted my sister to ask her to get in touch with the housekeepers. apparently they've been so busy they forgot about the appointment. in disgust my mother vacuumed the rest of the house.

while she was doing that, my father and i were outside mowing the lawn. it'd only been 2 weeks since we last mowed, but the grass had gotten tall enough that they were already going to seed. my father started with the front yard. i was in the back, pruning the cherry and plum cherry trees. my mother went outside at one point, yelling my name. i thought it was some emergency, turns out my father couldn't get the mower to restart with the pull string. i restarted the mower but my mother said we needed to get a new one to replace the aging craftsman gas mower.

my father stopped mowing after he finished the front yard. we went inside for lunch, my mother made beef noodle soup with thin noodles. my sister showed up with esmei. after we finished eating, we were going to keep esmei inside so she wouldn't run into the mower, but she insisted on going outside. she'd never seen a mower before, so when i started it up, she was quite taken with this loud machine. she didn't charge it, but was curious as to what it was, anxiously looking it at from a distance. eventually she did start barking at the mower, at which point i turned it off. esmei eventually ran back inside the house and i could mow in peace.

we also mowed over the vegetable stems collected from the raised beds. for the most part it worked, and i could smell the pulverized cilantro. it did leave behind some large stems, but we kept rolling over it with the mower until they mostly disappeared.

my sister kept insisting we go to home depot to help her get more mulch. my father suggested i go with my sister, but i refused. so in the end my father drove while i sat in the passenger seat and my sister was in the back with esmei. we got two bags of potting soil, two bags of cedar mulch, and two bags of organic mulch. my sister also got a shovel and some WD-40 spray. why esmei was there was a mystery. i didn't realize dogs could go inside of home depot, but then i saw about half a dozen other dogs there. at least esmei was well behaved and didn't try to bite anyone. the last thing we did was check on the availability of 2x6 wood that we need to repair our rotted picnic table. there seemed to be a lot in stock, in both untreated and treated.

esmei slept in the back of the car as we drove home. she sensed when we got back and woke up. my sister brought her home soon afterwards.

i still had plenty of gardening things to do. i watered the plants in the grow room. it'll be another week or two before it'll be hot enough outside and i can finally move out all the plants and close down the grow room. i then watered the orchids with fertilizer-spiked water. i noticed mealybugs and sprayed with some alcohol. i prepared 1/2 gallon of fungicide spray for the grapes by mixing 1.2 tbsp (18ml) of immunox liquid with 0.75 tbsp (2.25 tsp) of captan powder. it's been 2 weeks since i last sprayed and the grapevines have grown a foot longer. i still had half a bottle of fungicide spray left over and ended up dumping it into the toilet. afterwards i did some watering, managed to break the melnor spray wand. we've repaired them the best we could, but i think this one is permanently broken. fortunately we have an older one that also leaks but not as much. i can use that until i can buy a new replacement from home depot.

my mother made steamed eggs with pork for dinner. it was good, i finished before anyone else did. afterwards i tried to get my father to buy some stuff online. like a new wheelbarrow. we checked out some earlier today both at OSJL and home depot, but they were either too cheaply made or too expensive. there was a well reviewed 5 cu.ft. plastic 2-wheeled wheelbarrow on amazon that i recommended, but in the end we decided we could live with one. the one that we have is all rusty and basically disintegrated. i tried getting my father to buy an electric meat grinder. actually i wanted to get it for myself so i can make sausages. we said we really didn't have a use for it, as we get our meats grinded at the super market butcher department. finally we got the aolithium 600 portable power station (560Wh). i'd contacted customer support to get a copy of the manual. the specs look good, this was something my father wanted to get and i gave him my approval. aolithium for some reason was looking to liquidate their stock of power stations and dropped the price down to $180 from $634. we also managed to find a $20 coupon online and got the final price down to $160.

i finally left around 8:20pm. i only had on a t-shirt so the ride back was a little chilly but it wasn't too bad, the windshield protected me from the brunt of the cold breeze. cleaning on the other side of the street tomorrow so once again there was no place to park except 2 blocks away.

MAY

19

2024

sunday is the only day i get to sleep late and i still woke up around 9am. actually i woke up around 5am, and kept waking up every hour, wondering if it was time to get up yet. it'd been raining overnight and the sky was still overcast. typically i go over to belmont whenever i feel like it, but today i was asked to leave later so i could go pick up some weekend barbecue at formaggio's which doesn't start until 11am.

i decided to move all my bitter melons as well as my 6 kabocha squash outside even though it was a little chilly and wet with temperature in the 50's. i'm going to start hardening them up so they can be ready for transplanting.

i finally left by 11am, walking 2 blocks to where i parked my motorcycle. i had a towel to wipe the rain off the bike. there was still a bit of mist in the air but wasn't as bad as last night when i came home. i stopped off at the cafe to put the tea eggs in the fridge before arriving at formaggio's. i don't think i've ever bought anything from formaggio's before. and this was my first time at their new location, even though i pass by it all the time. usually i see a line of people outside waiting to buy barbecue but i think the rain must've put people off. it looked like i was the first and only customer. i ordered 3 sausages, the same one i had yesterday. when we asked my sister she didn't know how much they cost (why would she? price is never a consideration when she buys anything). turned out one homemade sausage was $10. i had the option of either sauerkraut or chili, and originally wanted to try the chili, but was somehow afraid they'd charge me extra, so i just went with sauerkraut. they used a portable square card reader attached to a 13" ipad to accept payment.

when i arrived at belmont by 11:30am, the first thing my mother asked was did i buy the sausages. while we were eating, i was thinking about making my own. all i need is an electric meat grinder with a sausage making attachment.

my father disappeared outside after lunch, i followed him even though it was still wet outside. i wore a pair of knockoff crocs but the bottom of my jeans got soaked from the wet grass so i had to roll them up. my father wanted to plant some seedlings but first we needed to clear out the raised beds. in the fall i sprinkled all sorts of seeds hoping for a winter crop of japanese giant red mustards, daikon radishes, baby bokchoi, cilantro, and arugula. i seeded too much resulting in none of the plants growing very well. they all survived our mild winter, but came spring - instead of growing leaves - they all bolted to produce flowers. we thought maybe we'd wait to harvest the seeds, but there isn't anymore time and the planting season is already upon us. so the idea is to pull up all these leafy greens and pulverize them with the mower tomorrow so we can add them to our compost bin.

while i was pulling up the greens, my father was carefully sorting through them, collecting some edible red mustard leaves and harvesting the cilantro. he collected the cilantro leaves and saved the roots to replant. i emptied two long plastic planters, added a bottom layer of homemade grass-leaf compost, then a top layer of commercial potting mix. later my father planted the cilantro roots into the planters, hopefully for a second crop of cilantro.

with everything so wet, it was a good time to weed, as i pulled up some creeping bellflowers. i also created a little foxglove bed on the eastern side of the sunroom. there were already a few foxgloves growing there, i dug up some grass, add new soil (old potted jasmine soil, good for non-edible plants), then transplanted some smaller foxgloves that had naturally sprouted in one of the planters. i then cover the bed with some black mulch.

my sister called me around 1:30pm, my hands were dirty so i didn't pick up. after i washed off the mud, i called her back. she was in belmont with esmei and was looking for my father and i, not realizing we were outside in the backyard. she purposely kept esmei indoors because it was wet outside, but soon her dog was barking to go out, so she had no choice but to set esmei loose. by then i'd already put back the fencing on the raised beds and picked up any gardening tools esmei might want to chew as a toy. she was sniffing around everywhere, the wet backyard must have new and interesting smells for a dog. she also trampled some plants, plants are nothing to her.

my sister left just as quickly as she arrived, taking esmei with her to the garden supply store. she said something about buying a tree to plant in front of her house, i told her that was a bad idea.

elsewhere in the backyard, my two salvaged hot pepper plants from last year have white spots on some of their leaves. my father said it's daytime sun damage, i think it'd from the cold nights. whatever it is i don't like it and ended up moving the two peppers down into the protective shelter of the grow room. i'll move them back out when the weather gets warmer (which actually might be tomorrow). the lilacs already seem faded, not sure why we didn't get a flush of flowers like we did last year, even though i pruned off all the dead flowers. i'll have to look online on how to rejuvenate lilacs. the trick might simply be to cut them down shorter and cause the bush to produce new branches. that one lupine i saved with a chickenwire barrier managed to grow big enough to flower now, a purple stalk. some light purple bearded irises have bloomed as well. many of our foxgloves look to be flowering soon. the strawberries i planted in the hanging pot seem crispy and dead. maybe when i have time i buy some new strawberry plants from home depot. the rubber plant in the basement is growing new leaves. it's a little leggy, i might chop it to keep it a more manageable height. the gardenia show no signs of flower buds.

the rest of the day was spent indoors watching the pacers-knicks game. no way was new york going to win, playing with only bench players as so many of their starters are injured. so it wasn't a surprise when jalen brunson - their one all-star who single-handedly kept the team alive to play a game 7 - left the game in the second half with a broken hand. pacers won 130-109.

for dinner we made gyros. my father made a reasonably sized gyro while my mother and i got greedy and loaded up our special gyro pita with too much ingredients that we couldn't fold our gyro anymore. my mother ate her gyro in pieces, while i brute force my gyro to fold and ate with tzatziki all over my face. that's good stuff, i wouldn't mind eating it again.

after dinner i did some cleaning. my mother decided to hire some professional cleaners to clean parts of the house. of course that mean before they arrive tomorrow, we needed to do some preliminary cleaning ourselves so they wouldn't think we were total pigs. it was basically decluttering. i took down esmei dog pen, moved some stuff into the sunroom or the basement.

i finally left by 6:45pm, getting home at 7pm. initially i parked on the odd side of the street, not believing my luck that there was a free parking spot available. but then i got a calendar notification on my phone saying there was street cleaning tomorrow, so i went back outside and moved the motorcycle 2 blocks away to a safe spot.

the final game of the 2nd round playoffs was tonight, between the timberwolves and nuggets. that was an amazing game. the first quarter was close with a few lead changes. but denver dominated the 2nd and 3rd quarter. the score at one point was 58-38. but minnesota kept chipping away in the 3rd quarter, reducing that lead, until going into the 4th quarter they actually had the lead. denver would tie at one point but that was as close as they ever got: timberwolves beat the nuggets 98-90. this is good news, as i was hoping minnesota would win, as i'm less afraid of them than i am of the nuggets. if the celtics do beat the pacers and advance to the finals, i think they have a better chance to win a championship if they face either timberwolves or mavericks.

this morning i moved out 7 of my biggest bitter melon seedlings, let them harden outside before transplanting to the gardens. i wanted to move all my bitter melon seedlings but wanted to test these first to make sure they can handle the night time temperatures (50's).

i went to market basket to get a few things, including ingredients for making some gyros. i returned home to switch to my motorcycle before getting to the cafe by 10:40am. my parents were already there opening up the store.

my father went home to rest, leaving my mother, my 2nd aunt, and myself to work the cafe. my sister showed up again, unofficially working even though nobody asked her. she brought some stuff she got from the formaggio outdoor barbecue. i had a smoked sausage with sauerkraut that was actually pretty good, but the collard greens and pickled tomatoes were too bland.

much like the other days this week, we had a steady stream of customers and ended the day with a decent amount of profit. at one point in the afternoon i went over to my sister's place to check up on esmei. i let her outside into the backyard to use the bathroom but she spent it chewing on a knucklebone and some stray branches.

my father showed up around closing time. my sister had already left an hour ago after it was so busy anymore. while my parents gave my 2nd aunt a ride home, i took the motorcycle to belmont.

while using the bathroom, i got a call from the cafe, which was actually a customer's call getting rerouted to my phone. it was a woman looking to make a large order for tuesday night. i thought i could just memorize what she wanted, but luckily there was a pen & paper in the bathroom that i could write everything down.

when my parents got home my mother asked my father to grill some meats on the barbecue: a beef steak, some cumin-covered lamb chops, and some bonus asparagus. there was so much fat dripping that it caused a grease fire. we repeatedly moved the meats around the grill to avoid the flare-ups. my mother came out just as we finished grilling (4-5 minutes per side) and ate one of the lamb chops fresh off the grill, still smoking in her hand.

the lamb had a lot of flavor, helped in part by the cumin. the steak was just seasoned with salt & pepper, and was kind of bland compared to the lamb. the asparagus were also good, can't wait to pee later tonight and experience the shock of pungent asparagus urine.

i left soon afterwards, trying to avoid the impending rain. unfortunately i was a bit too late and it had already started to drizzle. my upper body stayed dry thanks to the windshield, but my shoes and pant legs were damp from road splashes. i got back a little after 6pm, parked 2 blocks away.

i couldn't help myself and set up the onn 4K streaming box last night. i added the iyf.tv app, as well as smarttube (commercial free youtube) and onstream (pirated streams). it's so much better than the xiaomi mi box i got 4 years ago. i like how it integrates with my panasonic HDTV so i can just use the onn remote to control everything. i also like how it consolidates a bunch of free streaming channels (pluto tv, google, plex): my favorites are the classic tv channels, like three's company. the one thing i don't like is it can't recognize exFAT formatted drives, which is normally how i format my thumb drives.

i watched the OKC-dallas game. OKC was in control for much of it, but the mavericks kept chipping away until finally they stole the game in the end. doesn't matter, i don't think dallas can beat either denver or minnesota. tomorrow afternoon the pacers face off against the knicks in game 7 to decide who will meet the celtics in the eastern conference final.

i didn't get to the cafe until 9:30am today because i went to star market to pick up some boneless chicken thighs and strawberries on sale. i spent most of the morning in the basement organizing the shelves, consolidating items: paper bags, takeout containers, takeout utensils. there was another shelving unit with food storage containers and beverage cups that need to be reorganized at some future date.

we used up our tea eggs and went to the backup batch, which meant i needed to cook a new batch. i'd cooked a batch just yesterday. we used up so many eggs just this week, we need to buy more again this weekend.

i sorted two boxes of chinese noodles. my mother roasted a box of charsiu pork. we made a new batch of ramen, i used the ice paddle to cool the bone broth from 130 degrees down to 80 degrees in less than an hour.

today was another day of steady business. didn't seem all that busy, but was surprised to see our profit at the end of the day. already in 4 days we made more than what took us 5 days last week (not entirely true, not counting that big delivery order we had last thursday).

for lunch i made myself a gyro. my mother bought some greek-style gyro pita was star market yesterday. we cut it in half thinking it was like a pita pocket but it was actually just a solid circle of pita bread. the gyro meat itself was a beef-lamb combo we bought from costco over the weekend. it tasted pretty authentic, much better than the shawarma meat we got weeks ago. i added some chopped lettuce, tzatziki, feta cheese, and onion slices.

my aunt showed up in the afternoon. she said she went to go see her doctor and who told her she's gone partially deaf in on ear and would be eligible for a hearing aid if she wanted one. i myself have been partially deaf since i was a little kid, can't hear the high pitch sounds. never stopped me from living my life!

riding home after work, i spotted to admire a horse chestnut tree with flowers low enough that i was able to take some closeups. normally chestnut flower stalks are located high and out of reach. i never noticed this before - always thought they were just white flowers - but they actually have spots of yellow and pink as well. i love chestnuts, they're one of the easiest trees to identify in may-june when they flower.

as soon as i got home i grabbed my 3 tomato seedlings as well as some organic fertilizer and walked down to the community garden to plant in the grow bags. maureen was there as well as anne marie. maureen was lurking around, asking me about my chives. i got the feeling she wanted me to give her some, the same feeling i had when she asked me about my nigella. i also chatted briefly with anne marie, who told me it was going to rain tomorrow while i told her it was going to be dry (turns out she was right). the three tomatoes i planted were one cherry tomato, one 'cloudy day' tomato, and one 'independence day' tomato.

i finally returned home around 7:30pm. for dinner i ate some leftover scallion bread then made some quick instant noodles, nothing fancy, added an egg and some chopped scallions. i had the knicks-pacers game on in the background, but i wasn't paying too much attention except occasionally checking the score. the game was close at first, until the pacers broke out the second half of the second quarter. it was indiana the rest of the way. the knicks seemed resigned to the fact that there would be a game 7 but it would be played at home in new york, where they've won all their home games in this series. i like the pacers but i'm rooting for the knicks to win sunday night, as they are a less formidable opponent for the celtics. pacers' speed can give the celtics some problems.

my 3rd onn 4K streaming box arrived today, but i didn't have time to set it up yet. it's weird because walmart told me there was a shipping delay, but also said it'd still get delivered today. so which was it? in the end they still managed to deliver it on time.

tomorrow i'm moving out my bitter melons so they can harden outside. that one sprouted luffa seed that i transferred to a dirt cup yesterday seems to be trying to poke out of the soil. i'm keeping my eyes on it, hoping it'll make it.

i thought i had to go full rain gear this morning to get to the cafe, but the rain that fell overnight had a brief lull where i could make it to work unscathed. i did wear a rain jacket and brought my rain pants just in case, for the trip back.

my father showed up to work today, after recuperating at home from hernia surgery for the past 2 days. he said he felt no pain other than at the 3 laparoscopic incision sites. my mother said the surgery cured his cough before he started coughing again.

i cooked a new batch of tea eggs. one of the eggs had burst before boiling so we took it out. the egg white was already semi-solid, the egg yolk perfectly yellow - not the egg yolk after it's been in the tea egg brine solution which is greyish green on the outside. out of curiosity i cracked open another egg - after it's been boiled for 10 minutes. the yolk was yellow, the white firmer.

my mother made some scallion bread today because we had a surplus of scallions. i had a bunch on the afternoon, enough so i wasn't the least bit hungry.

today seemed like a repeat of yesterday. it wasn't too busy during the normally busy lunchtime period. it didn't seem like we'd make much profit today. but as the day wore on, we'd got a steady stream of business, and before we know it, it turned out to be a good day. and like yesterday, the final hour got busy again, gave us a final boost. today turned out to be the new 3rd busiest day this month. even the beef noodle soup girl showed up, the one who always order in advance via phone and requests low sodium and extra beef, she'd been missing for a few weeks, we thought maybe she left.

it wasn't raining when i returned home. i didn't bring a bag so i stashed some leftover scallion bread in my rain jacket pocket. when i got home i went to star market to pick up some lamb chops and asparagus, both on sale. however when i went to go pay, i didn't get the sale prices. so i spent 10 minutes at customer service, watching a teenager trying to figure out how to issue me a refund before he ended up calling his manager who was also a teenager. i got the refund and returned home.

i was checking my 4 luffa seeds in wet paper towel and was surprised to see that one of them had sprouted a long root. i carefully removed it and then planted in soil. the root is in an awkward angle and the seed head needs to "right" itself. if it successfully germinates, it'll be my 4th luffa seedling.

for dinner i finished some leftover rice porridge. later in the evening i snacked on some scallion bread. the only game on tonight was nuggets vs timberwolves. minnesota destroyed denver 70-115. at one point the timberwolves led by 50 points. i'm rooting for minnesota to win on sunday, only because i'm more afraid of the nuggets than any other western teams should the celtics advance to the finals. but could the celtics beat a team that's good enough to beat the defending champions?

despite working non-stop to exhaustion at the cafe since mid-february, i haven't really lost any weight. the lack of proper exercise (remember when i used to going?) and poor diet (when i get home often time i'm too tired to cook so i eat a lot of quick & easy processed foods) is a bad combination for health.

my father was at home recuperating from his hernia operation a second day while my mother, my 2nd aunt, and myself worked the cafe today. my sister would stop by with esmei, trying to see if we're busy, but my mother always told her we weren't busy even if we were.

i sprayed the potted jasmines with alcohol for a second day in a row after seeing some surviving mealybugs. i then put them into milk crates and moved them to the trunk of the car so my mother can bring them to belmont after work.

for breakfast i had some turkey sausage along with a fried egg and some guacamole.

a strange day in terms of what was selling. a lot of dumplings, vegetable buns, and black soy noodles. it got to the point where every hour or so seems like we'd be making a new batch of dumplings and noodles. also a lot macha green tea latte. makes me wonder if it was featured in some show somewhere so there's a sudden surge in popularity. we used up all the rice we cooked today (5 cups) plus a container of leftover rice from yesterday.

my 2nd aunt's new tatung 6-cups rice cooker arrived today from yun hai in brooklyn. we were following its shipping progress via the UPS tracker. i was the one who noticed it had been delivered and my aunt called my uncle to tell him to go pick up the package from downstairs. the cooker costs $180 - which is pretty expensive (at that price you can get a fancy zojirushi rice cooker with fuzzy logic) - but there seems to be a tatung rice cooker shortage or something because even on amazon that's how much it costs.

we ran out of salt & pepper chicken so i had to fry more. i waited until close to the end of the day (4pm) because everything would smell like fry oil afterwards. i first breaded the marinated chicken in a combination of coarse and fine potato starch powder. after about 50 minutes i ended up frying 3 boxes worth of chicken. i propped the fan on a barstool and had it facing a different angle in the kitchen to more efficiently blow out the smoke. next time i should bread the chicken immediately before frying, otherwise breading all the chicken will leave some chicken soggy by the time i get to frying them.

we got busy again in the final hour. one of the orders had a salmon bento, another one was 3 beef noodle soups. my sister just happened to show up with esmei; she took over making her signature salmon bento while i brought esmei back home. i came back to help them finish assembling the orders. it was a little tense as we basically ran out a lot of staples, but my mother said to hold off on making new batches and that was the right call, as we didn't get any more orders after that. not only did we use up the rice, but most of the black noodles, and the tea eggs as well. today ended up being the third busiest day this month.

i got back home around 7pm. i brought home a 16 oz. container of leftover rice to make some rice porridge by adding 32 oz. of water. i boiled the rice until it turned into a porridge consistency. i ate it with pickled radish, gluten, and braised eel.

game 5 between the cavaliers and celtics was tonight. cleveland without donovan mitchell (i heard a rumor they were resting their star player so he doesn't get seriously injured so they can trade him in the off season), caris levert, and jarrett allen. boston was without porzingis, still covering from his calf sprain. the first half was a mess. cavaliers had the lead for much of the 2nd quarter, before the celtics started chipping away. in the second half boston finally broke open the game, leading at one point by 17. the celtics were trying to get horford going by repeatedly feeding him the ball. he failed some 3-pointers at first before he started making them, finishing 6-13 from beyond the arc. horford ended the game with 22 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists. 6 celtics player reached double digit points. celtics win 98-113 and advance into the eastern conference final for the 3rd consecutive year.

my father was at home recuperating from his hernia surgery yesterday, so it was just my mother and myself working at the cafe today, with an assist from my sister. temperature in cambridge today reached 79 degrees. i went down to the basement to turn off the furnace then rewired the nest thermostat for cooling mode.

while making a new batch of tea eggs this morning, i gathered up all the jasmine plants after discovering they all carry some amount of mealybugs. i put them outside and sprayed with 70% alcohol before rinsing everything with water (i attached the hose with a quick release adapter and turned on the water). i also did the same thing with the jade plant. the one large pilea i restaked with a length of rigid wiring i found in the basement, to straight the crooked stem. keeping live plants inside the cafe is a challenge. our specialty is making food, not taking care of plants. we'll probably take this jasmines back to belmont to let them recover from the mealybugs before reintroducing them back to the cafe.

it got busy starting at 11am - an ubereats order and 5 customers - that i texted my sister while she was still walking esmei. when she finally came by the cafe we weren't busy anymore so she went home and didn't come back until close to noontime. it got busy again - so much so that we ran out of room on the check rack for anymore tickets. my sister worked the front taking orders and making drinks while my mother and i worked the back kitchen.

my godmother showed up briefly, followed by my 2nd aunt, who ended up staying until we closed. my 2nd aunt doesn't work until wednesday but she showed up today anyway to help out. that allowed my sister to go home in the afternoon to take care of esmei. i went over to her place briefly to play with esmei while my sister was in the backyard gardening. esmei saw me from across the yard and actually ran up to me, showed some emotion for a dog that typically seems rather emotionless.

i had a croissant for breakfast then later in the afternoon my mother heated up some leftover lamb pilaf which i ate with a large helping of homemade hot chili oil sauce and some sprinkled trader joe furikake.

we were about to close when we suddenly got busy again in the final 30 minutes, a bunch of customers arriving to eat. most of them left by closing time, with the except of two guys chatting loudly. close to 7pm we finally told them we were closing and they quickly left so we could go home.

when i got home i split another hot pepper plant that had two seedlings in one pot. out of all the vegetable plants in the nightshade family (including tomatoes and eggplants), peppers grow the slowest. makes me regret not starting these earlier. good news is by the time they're big enough to transplant outside, it'll already be warm which is what peppers like. i also have way more bitter melon seedlings than i know what to do with.

i had the same problem the end of last week: there's nothing to eat at home. so i ended up having an instant bowl of luosifen noodles. it was very sour and spicy. i ate while watching the pacers-knicks game. the series' tied 2-2 and so far the home team has always won, which was the case tonight, as new york overpowered indiana.

i was taking my father to chelmsford to get his laparoscopic inguinal hernia surgery. he'd been suffering from this hernia for about 8 months, and finally managed to schedule a repair.

i arrived in belmont around 10am. my father had eaten anything since midnight. he already showered and was wearing some loose comfortable clothes for his surgery. we had to be at the merrimack valley surgery center at 11:45am, so we left by 11am.

my father drove while i navigated from the backseat using google maps. my mother came as well for moral support. the surgery place was located in chelmsford, a town that i had to look up because i didn't know where it was. situated next to lowell, there was a lot of food and shopping opportunities, so my mother and i had plenty of places to explore while my father was in surgery.

my father signed some forms when we got to the surgery center. there was a complimentary coffee machine which my mother couldn't resist using. it was a little nonintuitive and there were no instructions, so one of the receptionists came out to show her how to use it. there was a tv in the waiting room and an lcd screen showing the status of patients, their surgeon, and surgery progress (pre-op, operating room, recovery). after a few minutes of waiting, a nurse came out to take my father inside. she told us the whole procedure would take about 3 hours and they'd call me when my father was ready to leave.

with that my mother and i left the surgery center. since it was lunchtime, my mother wanted to get something to eat first. the closest place that seemed good was a vietnamese restaurant called pho 88. it was hidden in a strip mall, flanked by an indian restaurant, brazilian jiu-jitsu school, boba teashop, and a mochi donuts bakery.

the place wasn't busy at first - the waitress sat us at a 4-person table by the window - but soon filled up with lunchtime customers. being a semi-fulltime "restaurateur" (a name used by lisa which i kind of like) gave me better appreciation of the restaurant business. they must be doing something right to attract so many customers, many of whom looked like they walked there, so they must all work nearby. my mother and i both got the beef pho ($15/each) as well as a chicken teriyaki appetizer ($9). there was only a hostess and 2 waitresses, my mother kept saying that wasn't enough people. the waitresses (one asian, one caucasian) were very skilled though, memorized the orders without writing it down.

we seemed to be the last people to get our orders, while those who arrived after us were already eating. the chicken teriyaki was underwhelming, just two skewers of bland chicken on a bed of shredded lettuce and other vegetables. there was no sauce other than what was already on the table - sriracha, hoisin, two fresh house blend hot sauce. the pho was better, including beef shank, tripe, and tendon. i can't remember the last time i had pho - could it have been 9 years ago when i took a trip to fields corner?

we finished eating by 12:45pm. i used the bathroom before we left. we explored the strip mall area a little bit. there were signs for an indian grocery store (maruti) but it looked like it went out of business. olive tree - a mediterranean & middle eastern restaurant - was also gone (my mother thought it was an olive garden and originally wanted to go eat there).

we finally left and drove next door to a larger shopping plaza that had walmart. my mother initially wasn't interested in visiting, but decided to go anyway, and left with $100 worth of merchandise, including several t-shirts, some yarn, and a heavy duty aluminum frying pan. out of the nearby walmarts i've visited, this one seemed to be on the smaller side. it didn't even have a dedicated gardening department, just a few carts of plants outside. something unique i'd never seen before, but inside the walmart was a subway sandwich shop. you could smell it before you even saw it. my mother was thirsty and ended up buying a bottle of water from subway which cost $3. later she realized her mistake, and could've easily bought a whole case of water from walmart with that amount. it was at walmart that i received a text letting me know they were moving my father to the operating room. i wanted to pick up another onn 4K streaming box ($20) but looked like they were all sold out.

we left walmart by 2pm and went next door to the hannaford supermarket. i know there's a hannaford in waltham and i vaguely remember going inside before. it's similar to star market, great selection but not so great prices. we were there to get some carrots for the cafe. my mother wanted to leave because the surgeon had called me to let me know my father was out of the OR and would be recovering soon in 45-60 minutes. i wanted to check out hannaford some more, even though i didn't plan on buying anything else. we ended up taking a very quick tour, where my mother picked up some chicken salad sandwich for my father (figuring he might be hungry after surgery, having not eaten all day).

outside in the parking lot a nurse called me, told me my father was in the recovery room, said we could return to the surgery center soon. i told him we'd be there in 10 minutes.

when we got there, a nurse came out to take us inside. my mother was once again fiddling with the coffee machine but couldn't get it to work, before the nurse helped her. once she got her coffee we both went inside. we found my father in a recovery room, wearing a hospital gown lying on a hospital bed attached to an ECG machine (something i've very familiar with having spent a whole day at the mt.auburn hospital emergency room). he was already awake, seemed back to normal. he said the last thing he remembered was the surgeon telling him they were putting him to sleep. when he woke up he was here. a nurse came in and went through the discharge procedure, what to expect after the surgery, precautions, recovery, follow-up. he asked my father if he felt awake enough to get dressed and go use the bathroom, as they wanted to make sure he can urinate and that they didn't accidentally damage anything during the hernia operation.

my mother and i went back outside in the waiting room to wait. that gave my mother a third and final chance to use the coffee machine. i tried it myself, made an english breakfast tea with sugar and oat milk. after a few minutes, the nurse came out and said we can pull the car up to the entrance and he'd escort my father out. so that's what we did. i thought maybe they'd bring him out in a wheelchair, but my father was walking on his own. he got in the passenger seat and we headed back to belmont.

we left around 2:45pm. the drive back took 42 minutes. there wasn't too much traffic going inbound, but outbound we saw bumper to bumper congestion. i don't often drive on the highway so i was pretty nervous. my parents were talking but i was barely listening, instead concentrating on the directions and making sure i wasn't driving headfirst into the car ahead of me.

we finally made it to belmont by 3:30pm. up until now my father still hadn't seen his operation scars but showed my mother and me. they shaved the lower half of his torso. from his bellybutton down were 3 laparoscopic scars in a vertical row; for some reason i thought they'd be more horizontal. he said he felt some discomfort but wasn't too bad, and that the pain from the hernia was now completely gone. the doctor prescribed some oxycontin but my father said he didn't need it, nor any aspirins the nurse told him he could take after 8pm.

while my father was recuperating, i was outside and inside watering the plants. i decided to move the orchids to the sunroom. i noticed some mealybugs so i took them outside to spray with 70% alcohol before watering them with orchid fertilizer. i quickly watered the grow room plants as well. soon they'll all be living outside again. i also finally planted the hellebore, between the two peonies, underneath the redbud and kwanzan cherry canopy.

my sister came by with esmei. esmei was playful but also tired from being out all day. she actually went back inside the house on her own and jumped onto my father's bed where she laid down to sleep. eventually my sister took her back home.

my mother made lamb rice pilaf again for dinner. i left afterwards around 7pm. i ran into the next door neighbor who was mowing his lawn with what looked to be a ryobi electric mower. i asked him how he liked it, he said just got it and this was his first time using it. he mentioned something about mowing the lawn before watching the celtics game. that's when he told me he's a season ticket holder; only reason why he wasn't at the game tonight was because celtics were playing in cleveland. he also told me the first saturday of every month he performs at the lizard lounge and that i can go check him out if interested.

i stopped by the cafe to bring out the trash and to move some foods from the freezer to the fridge so they can be properly thawed by tomorrow. i finally made it back home by 7:30pm.

inside my grow closet: a few more bitter melon seeds have germinated; two hot pepper seedlings have emerged in the same pot, i'll need to move one of them; i saw a fungus gnat and decided to put up some yellow sticky traps.

cavaliers were without jarrett allen and donovan mitchell, so you'd expect the celtics to easily win the game. but celtics have a bad habit of playing down to their competition. yes, boston lead for most of the game, but it was much closer than what it should be (single digit lead), given how depleted cleveland was. still, a win is a win. hopefully the celtics can close out the series on wednesday.