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i can barely keep it together, having gone to sleep last night (or morning) at 5am (the sun had already come up) and woke up at 8am to go to work. i was so paranoid about getting bit by mosquitoes while i slept that anytime anywhere on my body itched i'd slap at it, thinking it might be a mosquito feeding.

once more i rode the motorcycle to work, as my trek utility bike is still out of operation. if i wait long enough, the bike stand and bottom bracket will both show up on saturday, and i can finish working on my bike over the weekend.

temperature today only reached the upper 80's with a dry dare-i-say comfortable heat. i was prepared to make a new batch of tea eggs - figuring they'd used up most of it yesterday - but my mother told me they hardly sold any. i made a new batch anyway, to serve as the backup. that would all change by late morning when somebody came in and ordered 20 tea eggs. that forced me to make a second batch, once we started using the backup batch i made earlier.

today we made as much as the prior two days. not as much as last week though, and we're still waiting to see what happens friday and saturday, where business dropped by more than half. i was pretty busy and didn't stop working until the afternoon. besides making two batches of tea eggs, i also made a new batch of boba, cooked some dumplings, cooked two batches of black soy noodles, roasted some charsiu pork, and made nearly half a dozen boxes of ice cubes.

in the afternoon my mother made some rice noodle soup with leftover chicken broth that looked a bit suspicious. we ate it anyway, neither of us got sick. i felt really tired today and i thought it was because i was overworking, but then i remembered i only slept for 3 hours last night. it was a struggle staying awake, especially later in the afternoon when we weren't so busy anymore. boredom brings on the sleepiness.

my mother packed me a leftover dinner at closing time, some butter garlic mushrooms and flat bean chicken stirfry my father had made. i strapped it to the back of my motorcycle with bungie netting.

once i got home, i went to star market to pick up some snacks.

back at home i ate the leftover my mother packed for me. afterwards i took a shower.

trying to get some early sleep tonight to make up for yesterday.

i went out for a run around 10am this morning. i was listening to a podcast about the making of big trouble in little china. it was hot (temperature in the 80's) and my heart rate shot up to 176 bpm at one point (after crossing the first bridge) but i survived another summertime heatwave run. coming back i picked up two rear bicycle wheels somebody had tossed out. it was just the spokes, no tires. i wouldn't have given it a second look except one of the wheels had a monkeyelectric wheel light installed on it. i thought i lucked out because i've always wanted one of these things, but after examining it i realized why the original owner tossed it out: it was missing the battery cartridge. i took the wheels anyway, figured i could around with them, especially the monkey light.

i stopped by the community garden to water. originally i also planned ond doing some yard work in the common area (i'm signed up for work duty this week), but it was so hot i just wanted to water my plants and go home. lynn was there, the first time this year i've seen her. we chatted before i went to go tend to my garden. my squash isn't doing so well, and there are several spots on the lower stem that looks to be possible vine borer damage. i said good bye to lynn and continued home.

after a shower i microwaved a frozen burrito for lunch. i threw a load of dirty clothes (half of which were running clothes) into the washer. i watched the news, followed by some youtube videos. around 1pm i went to work on my bicycle overhaul.

originally i was going to do it indoors, but there was hardly any room, so i moved everything outside onto the back porch. it was warm but it wasn't too bad, kind of a like dry heat, pleasant, i didn't mind. mosquitoes also seemed to have kept away for the most part, maybe they didn't like the heat from the sunshine.

i inspected the found monkey light first. it's a monkey light M210 R4 with 10 multi-colored LED's (5 on each side) for a total of 80 lumens (original sold for $40). i've never seen a monkey light up close before, and it seems to be surprisingly well-made (USA made too), unlike the cheaper chinese versions i keep coming across. the circuit board is entirely sealed in a rubber/resin coating, making it waterproof. the way it mounts onto the spoke is also pretty ingenious. the battery assembly itself has two wires for apparently powering two separate lights.

the bike overhaul started with replacing the freewheel (cogs assembly) on the rear wheel. i loosened it up before last week so i knew i could get it off again using the 1/2" socket wrench. with the old freewheel off, it was the perfect opportunity to give the rear wheel a thorough washing. that involved spraying with degreasing foam and rinsing off with a hose. the moment i set foot off the porch and onto the backyard, i was immediately swarmed by mosquitoes. they covered my legs and i couldn't swat them fast enough.

i ran back inside the house to put on some bug spray. unfortunately i didn't check myself before entering and i saw at least one mosquito hitching a ride on the back of my leg before disappearing into the house. that one is going to give me problems tonight. i rummaged through my undersink cabinet, looking for bug repellent. of the ones i had, most of them were empty from evaporation after years of unuse. i found a container of cutter advanced outdoorsman with a tiny amount of picaridin solution left in the bottom. i sprayed my arms and legs as well as my fee and the back of my neck and my face. after that the mosquitoes left me alone but the damage was already done as i had several itchy welts on my legs.

i left the rear wheel to dry as i worked on the next part to remove: the crankset aka the middle sprockets and crank pedals. using an 8mm hex wrench i removed the dust cap bolt. that was what got me last time, i forgot there was a dust cap bolt and ended up destroying my crank puller tool. at first the crank wouldn't come off, and i wasn't sure i was supposed to go clockwise or counterclockwise. but i kept trying and eventually felt it coming loose. i did it to the other side as well - the left side - with just the crank pedal. removing the crankset revealed the threading for the bottom bracket (BB). i don't think i've ever replaced the BB on this bike (i have done it on my old 24" wheel italian bike). it's not hard to do (and a bottom bracket doesn't cost that much, $10 including square taper spindle and dust caps), i just need to have the correct BB remover, which i'm not sure if i have. anyway, the crankset didn't look too bad. there was some loose paint and slight corrosion, but most of the teeth on the sprockets were still in good condition. not surprisingly, since i just had the crankset replaced back in october 2021.

crankset removed, i took off the front wheel so i could more easily wash the frame. i took off the bike seat as well so it wouldn't get wet. the mosquitoes left me alone, except i got a bit on my foot where i didn't spray enough. so after smashing that mosquito to a bloody smear, i applied more bug spray.

it came time to assemble some replacement parts. i applied some grease on the thread of the rear wheel and screwed on the new freewheel. that old freewheel was overdue for a replacement. no wonder i was chain skipping so badly, a lot of teeth on the sprockets were worn away.

next i attached the new crankset. the new set came with dust caps but no crankarm fixing bolts. i just simply reused the old ones. i did manage to remove the pedals from the old crankarms. they're still in usable shape, i'll save them for parts. for my new crankset i bought a pair of brand new pedals. these pedals came with adapters for either 1/2" or 9/16" spindles (i used the 9/16"). attaching them was easy, just had to remember the pedal on the left side screws in the opposite direction (lefty tighty).

i removed the old derailleurs, front and back. the sprockets on the rear derailleur were almost completely gone, just two round wheels. the front derailleur had completely seized up from corrosion due to lack of use. the new sets installed effortlessly. i didn't attach the shifter cables since i'd be replacing those (along with the shifters themselves).

next i replaced the chain. earlier i'd already removed the old chain before removing the crankset. i had to go inside and watch a youtube video on how to size the proper length of bike chain. the trick is you put the new chain on the biggest cog on the front and the biggest cog on the back. you then add two more links and then cut. i followed the instructions except instead of adding two more links, i removed two more links. so when i tried to attach the chain together, it was too short. i reattached the chain and added the proper two length link before cutting again. this time i was able to loop the chain together, but not after struggling to get it through the two derailleurs.

i needed to remove the handlebar grips in order to take off the old shifters. grips are a pain to remove. after a few unsuccessful attempts, i figured out a way: first i tilted the bike so it was standing up, handlebar grips facing down; i then used an awl and a flathead screw driver to open up the grip before i drip some alcohol into the gap; the alcohol eats away any adhesive holding onto the grips, and after a minute or two, i can start sliding the grips before pulling them off the handlebars.

by then it was 5pm. i started to clean up, the porch a mess of tools and parts. i pushed the bike inside the kitchen as i didn't want it to be outside exposed to the weather before i finished working on it. i put on the new shifters to see how they looked. by that point it was 5:30pm. all the other errands i wanted to run today, i had no time to do. seems like bike overhaul would require another day to properly complete.

i took a shower to wash off the bug spray and sweat from working outside for 4+ hours. i then finally turned on the AC for the first time today.

this being the last day of amazon prime day, i bought a bike repair stand (CXWXC RS100 in black for $74). i may not be able to use it for this current overhaul, but it'll definitely come in handy for the future. yes, i've managed thus far without a bike stand, but having to turn the bicycle upside down or right side up to work on it can be a real pain. i've always wanted a stand and this one normally sells for $93.

for dinner i baked a frozen pizza in the oven. while that was going on, i finally had time to fold the laundry that i finished doing early this afternoon.

it actually rained for a change! after midnight, with some thundering as well. i don't think enough to refill our rain barrels, but any amount of rain is good rain at this point, as we currently seem to be in a drought.

with amazon prime day soon to expire, i bought one last thing: a replacement bottom bracket (on sale) for my bike. besides the bracket, it also comes with a square tapered spindle. i realized the spindle i currently have seems to be the wrong size because the spindle sticks out from the by about 2cm. i wonder if that might explain why i've always had problems shifting the bike, improperly sized spindle. i couldn't figure out what length i needed, so i removed the left crankarm so i could measure half the spindle (about 55mm) and then got the next size down. unfortunately the smallest length seems to be 110cm, which appears to be what i currently have. no matter, i'll take a proper measurement before installation, and if it's too short, i'll just return the bottom bracket. luckily i already have the necessary bottom bracket tool (BBT-22).

frances texted me in the middle of the night. i didn't answer but a quick glance at my fitness tracker told me she wanted my help to buy something for her. i finally checked my messages when i woke up at 8:30am. a pair of adidas sneakers she wanted, apparently their website wouldn't allow international orders. after a quick shower, i dashed off the order before heading to the cafe.

i took the motorcycle today, mostly because my trek utility bike is out of commission for the time being. i can probably ride flats no problems, but i wouldn't be able to climb any hills.

today was busy, on the account of a large grubhub delivery order (to watertown) that came in at 11:30am. this group had ordered before, and it's a joke if grubhub thinks we can fulfill such a large order in just 15 minutes. thankfully they allowed us the option of extending the preparation time. we choose 50 minutes. we didn't even have enough rice at the time and had to cook a new batch in the 2nd rice cooker. the order came at a bad time, right when we were hitting our usual busy lunchtime hour. so not only did we have to fulfill this large order, but we also had to make all the orders that came in from walk-in and online customers.

i sent my sister a text with a photo of the long order ticket. thankfully she wasn't far - just the dog park - and came back just in time to help out. all and all, the order wasn't that bad - 9 bentos, a few noodles - but this group was especially annoying with their various customizations. some wanted chopsticks, others wants forks, while a few didn't want any. worse, they wanted us to write the names on each order, which took even more time. unfortunately grubhub didn't let the driver know we were extending the preparation time, so he can 5 minutes after the order was made. he ended up waiting 40 minutes for the order to be made, mad at us for the delay even though it wasn't our fault.

approaching 1pm there was a lull, which gave me time to ride to trader joe's to get a few things, like baby cucumbers and spinach.

in the late afternoon my father cooked up the frozen boxed pompano rice noodle kit kathy gifted us from costco.

business was slow in the final few hours, which made it especially boring. not like i wanted it to be busy, but at least that would give me something to do. in the final hour however we did get a few customers. an asian couple with a kid came in and ordered two beef noodle soup. when they spoke chinese we thought they were taiwanese from their accent, but turns out they're from fujian. we should've known they weren't taiwanese because they weren't sure what a bento was. the son asked us for our spiciest hot sauce. i have a homemade hot sauce that i made with habanero and ghost peppers, but that's like a joke sauce, a normal person could never actually eat and enjoy that, especially not a child. so i gave him our chili oil hot sauce, which is still spicy, but not crazy. he ended up finishing everything, which is what we like to see.

soon after they left it was closing time. motorcycling home i got stuck in traffic. had i been on my bike, i would've been home minutes ago. i even passed a speed trap, something i never have to worry about on a bicycle, but have to be careful when riding a motorcycle.

i made dinner by 8pm (early for me), some cheddar shell pasta with spinach, and a leftover salad of chopped up old iceberg lettuce with some expired japanese sesame dressing. i finished the pasta but only ate parts of the salad.

there was severe storm warnings starting in the early evening, but alas, as soon as the storms came close to boston, they disappeared, only to strengthen again once they were out on the ocean. i've seen this before: greater boston seems to have a rain force field that prevents rain from falling when we need it the most. maybe boston is just too dry, and when rain clouds come near the city, there's not enough moisture to sustain any rainfall. this heat, this drought, is starting to take a toll on the lawn and possibly our garden as well. i looked at the webcam today, a lot of droopy squash leaves.

my upstairs neighbor sheri told me she's taking a 3 week vacation back to the west coast at the end of the month. while she's gone, her sister might visit one weekend, but otherwise i'll have the whole house to myself. that feels like a good time to do some backyard barbecues, if i can bear the mosquitoes (hopefully the smoke will keep them away).

today was the first the two days amazon prime day event. i kept browsing amazon the whole day, looking for things i wanted to buy, which wasn't a lot. i bought a pair of little donkey andy waterproof rain pants. they have them in men sizes but i got the M women because 1) it had a better style and 2) according to the size chart it'd fit me perfectly. the rain pants i currently have are these oversized monstrosity that go over my regular pants that i only wear if i'm forced to travel in the rain and then take them off immediately afterwards. what i really need is a proper rain jacket. those rain pants normally go for $40 but they were on sale for $30. i also bought a beard trimmer. how i maintain my beard is i don't shave for a month or two, then i'll shave it all off one day, only to let it grow back again. it's kind of a mess depending on how long i've been growing it. i have an old rimmer that i bought more than 2 decades ago that's not waterproof, too small and the battery is no good. i got a braun 8-in-1 ($54).

woke up at 9am to make my monday morning run. i left by 9:30am, temperature was already in the 80's. there were hardly any other runners out today. a boy wearing a "tokyo marathon 2024" ran past me. i admired his long strides as he soon disappeared over the horizon. at one point my heart rate went up to 174 bpm as i attempted to sprint to the finish line.

coming back i stopped by the community garden to bring in the refuse bins. somebody had beat me to it. instead i just watered. gretchen was there harvesting some cherry tomatoes and flowers from her garden. "spray some of that water on you to stay cool," she told me as she left. i also picked some cherry tomatoes of my own and a few long horn peppers.

i got home by 10:40am. after a shower, i left for market basket to get some coney island hot dog buns and sauerkraut. i also picked up a can of coco lopez cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and frozen pineapple chunks for my next saturday cocktail drink. originally i was planning on heading straight to the cafe, but i forgot the mint leaves i picked yesterday so had to stop home briefly.

i needed the mint leaves because i was making another batch of mojito at the cafe. i was also there to take out some food from the freezer and put them in the fridge to defrost. same recipe as saturday: 1 cup of white rum, 3 peeled whole limes, 2 dozen mint leaves, 1/2 cup syrup, and enough ice to fill the blender. i probably added too much ice because the vitamix only seemed to be mixing the bottom and not the top. i increased the speed but it made a horrible sound and i smelled smoke. i used a chopstick mix it up and blended it for a few more seconds. the bottom was super slushy - almost like a solid sludge - while the top was more crushed ice. i poured everything into 2 quart size takeout containers, put them into an insulated grocery bag that i left in the freezer, and took them to belmont.

i didn't get to my parents' place until 12:30pm. from the looks of it, my father had just mowed the lawn and watered the front yard with a sprinkler. there was some leftover beef dumplings for lunch. i also served everyone a glass of mojito. my mother came out of the bedroom for a chance and watched her korean dramas in the living room, streaming from the ify app installed on the onn media box.

the backyard neighbors were having their roof replaced, so all day long we heard the sounds of nailing and hispanic mean chatting and swearing loudly. i personally think they're redoing their roof because they're getting solar panels, even though they have a terrible east-west facing flat roof with several skylights. they're the sort of neighbors who'd be into solar power. at one point they raised backyard chickens, and now they own an electric car.

despite the heat (temperature in the 90's again), my father and i were outside working in the backyard. i was inspecting the squash for pests (didn't find a lot today) while my father was busy pruning the blue beans followed by the grapes. around 4pm there was a brief (10 minutes) bout of heavy rain. the roofers were all shouting in spanish as they tried to cover up their materials and equipment. we went inside briefly but came back out after the rain stopped.

having never grown luffas before (not that i can remember anyway), it's interesting seeing them grow. for one thing, the spent flower on the female luffa fruit doesn't seem to slosh off like it does in all the squashes and melons. the sepals even seem to contain multiple extrafloral nectaries as ants continue preoccupy themselves with the luffa plants.

around 5:30pm we started grilling two packages of fennel italian sausages (dozen). we had them with buns and sauerkraut. we each ate 3 sausages.

back outside, we sprayed a bunch of plants with flower boosting fertilizer, as my father was afraid we gave them too much nitrogen when we first planted them and too much nitrogen on subsequent feedings. i smelled something and turned around and realized it was just the blooming jasmines (i forgot they only bloom at nights). i injected one squash plant in RB1 with more Btk bacteria. the two i injected in RB0, one (kabocha) still has some semi-droopy leaves, while the other (buttercup) seemed to have fully perked up, especially after i piled more dirt around the damaged stem.

i left by 7:30pm, stopping at the cafe to bring out the compost bin and water the rudbeckia plants (which i should've watered earlier). when i got back home, i found a little spot on the other side of the street (street cleaning tomorrow). renee intercepted me to chat. i haven't really spoken to her all year, especially since she selfishly got a reserved handicapped parking spot in front of her house. that's a real asshole move and i've basically been ignoring her. she's more active than most people half her age, she should be ashamed for signing up for a handicap spot, especially given how little parking spaces we have in the neighborhood.

i finally tried my western digital 14TB external hard drive (WDBBGB0140HBK-NESN, $155). if nothing else, just to make sure it works before leaving my feedback on ebay. first thing i did was to check it was actually 14TB. i them reformatted the drive to exFAT. i did a test where i transferred about 50GB worth of photos, it seemed to copy pretty fast. seems to be working okay, but a few things i didn't like. i knew this already, but it has no additional USB port for daisy-chaining another drive. but the thing that really surprised me was there's no indicator led on the drive. the only reason why i knew it was on because i could feel the drive mechanism vibrating.

i allowed myself the luxury of sleeping until 9:30am this sunday morning. surfing the web on my phone in the bathroom, the news cycle seemed to be consumed with trump assassination coverage. honestly, given all the terrible things that've happened politically since the rise of trumpism, this was just another addition to the overall noise, and nothing really shocks me anymore, not even this. what did upset me though was finding out shannen doherty passed away from breast cancer at the age of 53. i know her from her movie works in films like heathers (1988) and mallrats (1995). i never watched beverly hills, 90210 or charmed.

i left the house around 10am, riding the motorcycle into chinatown to get supplies. i haven't taken the motorcycle into boston in ages, so was a little rusty as far as directions. but i basically took my usual bicycle route with some modifications. had my bicycle been working maybe i would've taken that, but it's currently out of commission until the overhaul (hopefully this wednesday). there's free parking for ming's market on the weekend, so that was one reason for taking the motorcycle. another one was i wouldn't be sweaty from all that riding, but my exposed to the elements still left me a little sweaty.

approaching boston, i realized i made a big mistake: i forgot to bring my saddlebags. how would i carry the supplies back? fortunately i still had my messenger bag, and inside was some bungie netting for strapping whatever onto my backseat.

i got to ming's market around 10:30am. across the street in the big empty lot that seemed to have sat empty since the pandemic were finally billboard signs advertising future construction. it's going to be a big 10-story building for offices and lab spaces with ground floor retail. inside the supermarket i gathered my things. it took me the longest time to sesame seeds; i thought they'd be with the dried spices, but it was actually located with the beans and dried seaweed. i finally finished after about half hour of shopping. i packed the small things into my messenger bag, while i tied an insulated grocery bag full of vegetables to the back of the bike.

i got back to cambridge around 11:30am. i wasn't home long, just enough to gather my things and leave for the cafe. i put away a few things from saturday into the fridge. i also spent half an hour dividing up the zhajiang noodle sauce, weighing each container. my sister showed up, having just come back from taking esmei to the park. esmei was sleeping in the air conditioned air. when i called her a handful of times she never responded, just stared straight ahead.

i finally left the cafe by 12:45pm, went to my parents' place. i had some leftover dan dan noodles for lunch. i helped my father figure out that the LED light he was using on the aolithium portable power station was causing the intermittent shut downs. seems like it draws too little power that inverter nods off into sleep mode. it doesn't happen when we turn the light to maximum brightness. it even happens when the light is off but still plugged in, somehow it's still secretly drawing a tiny amount of power.

there seems to be non-stop assassination attempt coverage on tv. they've identified the shooter as 20-year old thomas crooks from pennsylvania. politically, from what little they've gathered so far, he donated $15 to a liberal organization when was he 17 but once he began voting he registered as a republican.

i spent the rest of the afternoon in the backyard despite the heat. protecting the squashes during the summer is a full time job. i noticed some squashes had drooping leaves. it wasn't all because of the heat: a good amount of those with droops had squash vine borer feeding inside its stem. i got out my bottle of safer caterpillar killer (featuring bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki) and injected the affected stems. i mixed it with some rain water, but i use such small amounts of it (1ml at a time), i wonder if shouldn't just inject the liquid at full concentrated strength. i'm not sure how effective it'll be though, i bought the bottle back in 2020 so it's been more than 4 years. i may have to buy a new bottle just for some fresh bacteria.

i switched out the squash bottoms with some foam pads. previously i was using mesh bags, but the foam is better because it's thicker.

my mother made dinner, which was a surprise. she cooked up some garlic chive with eggs and made another stirfry with shredded beef, onions, and peppers.

after dinner i returned to cambridge around 6:30pm. i made a stop at the community garden because it was my turn to take out the garden refuse bins. annemarie and ann were both there. ann was asking me if i could help her identify a catbird. later i went to go water my plants. fellow gardener kate came in and i gave her the hose. she offered me a yellow squash in return.

in what has become my summertime routine these days, i got home and took a hot shower, before turning on the AC for a few hours. usually by 10-11pm it feels cold enough to turn it off. i made more watermelon, and drank plenty of ice water.

i didn't go running this morning even though i could've. my rationalization was it'd be pouring rain. but it was a light drizzle at worst, and when i finally woke up, the streets were barely wet. past two nights i haven't slept well. i've cracked open the window to get some cool air, but it's still so humid it takes me hours to finally fall asleep.

watching the live doppler radar i could see another batch of much larger storm clouds approaching the area. so i made the decision to leave early and beat the storm. i didn't go to the cafe but instead headed to my parents' place, where i got there around 10am to leave my motorcycle there and drop off my things.

i saw the new 600Wh portable battery that finally arrived from aolithium. it had a very nice display screen. my father was testing it and noticed the inverter would switch off intermittently. not sure the reason, was it because he was charging it (from another backup battery) the same time he was using it?

i had half an hour to kill before we left for the cafe, so i had time to take a quick tour of the backyard. i was surprised by how many large orange-sized squashes there were, when just last monday they were still only golfball-sized. i made a quick count, about 6 kabocha squash, and 6 buttercup squash. the buttercups are darker green, while the kabochas remain a pale green. i saw some aborted female squashes, as more mature squashes divert all the resources. i was surprised by a large white bitter melon. there were actually two. my father said the larger one was the one that'd been growing for weeks and never got any bigger until now. my mother came out and had the honor of harvesting our first bitter melon of the season. i saw some female luffas but they all looked aborted.

by the time we made it to the cafe around 10:30am, the rain had started again. we never got the downpours that was promised (nor the estimated 1 inch of rainfall), just a brief shower at best.

today was about the same as yesterday, maybe slightly off. it definitely seemed like a lot of people took this weekend off starting on friday. saturdays we get a lot of families. one couple with kids ordered a bunch of food but ended up not finishing a lot of it. like, barely touched, even though we let them use the bathroom a few times when normally we don't allow customers to do that. i ended up reheating the leftover beef noodle soup and having it for lunch.

in the afternoon i went outside and cut the last of the dead mulberry branches i pruned last week. i packed them into two garden refuse bins. i noticed when i cut a thick mulberry branch that white sap oozed out. later i learned it's an irritant and i wasn't wearing gloves, but luckily i didn't get any on my hands.

approaching closing time, i started making my mojito:

frozen mojitos
(4 serving)

1 cup white rum
3 limes, peeled
1/2 cup syrup
2 dozen mint leaves
4 cups ice

add ingredients to vitamix blender. run on lowest speed then quickly increase to highest speed, total blend time 40-50 seconds.

i basically pulled the recipe from the college housewife; it was the one that had the clearest instructions and simple ingredients. instead of lime juice though, i substituted with 3 whole peeled lime. the margarita recipe last saturday taught me that the vitamix will pulverize any fruit you put in. adding whole fruits just makes sense, nothing wasted, and you get even more flavor than just juicing. the mint i harvested this morning from my parents' backyard. not sure what kind of mint, but it's the type of tough leaves, not the velvety leaves. the syrup i made ahead of time, half cup water, half cup sugar. i heated the water (not to boil) before adding the sugar. that gave me about 1 cup of syrup of which i only used half. the rum itself has a sweet flavor.

my sister crashed our cocktail party with her own party for esmei. when esmei was first adopted, my sister arbitrarily selected july 13th as esmei's birthday (no way to know for sure as she was a rescued street puppy). she bought esmei a specialty dog cake but couldn't find a lighter to light the candle. she also had a happy meal for some reason and gave esmei some fries as a treat. we took some photos on the patio deck before my sister got ready to leave. my mother ended up giving her mojito to my sister, having not even tried it yet. i complained and my sister gave the mojito back, but took a bunch of mint and said she was going to make her own.

i used some empty glass sauce jars as cups. for some reason i salted the glass rim again, but that's something for margaritas, nothing really fitting for a mojito. a mojito is cold and minty and citrusy and sweet. my 2nd aunt said she liked it better than the margarita i made last week, really liked the color. i got drunk after one sip, that 40% rum really foggy up my senses. she took her jar of mojito with her when we closed and gave her ride home.

we experimented with the aolithium portable power station. it cycled off intermittently again when i tried to recharge my phone via the usb-c port. couldn't figure out why, but there's just too many variables: we were also charging up the battery from another 12v LiFePO4 battery and we had a usb led lamp plugged in. so we disconnected everything and just ran a load (an air purifier) off of the battery alone. the power station didn't give out and seemed to run fine.

we decided to order domino's pizza for dinner tonight. we got a large NY style bacon-garlic-mushroom pizza ($11) with a side of chicken caesar salad ($8). my father was napping so i was going to go pick up the food on my own, but i was still woozy from the mojito earlier. so my father got up and i went with him to get the pizza.

like before, my sister crashed our pizza party. she never said she'd come to belmont, so we didn't order any food for her. she ate a slice, meaning my mother only had a single slice left for herself. we played ball with esmei in the backyard. my sister kept asking us to go with her to the dog park even though we were all exhausted from working all week and now hungry for dinner. esmei dug a hole underneath the plant stand and wallowed in the cool soil. my sister finally left with esmei, didn't even tell us she was leaving.

a chinese neighbor we'd never seen before rang our doorbell. my father went outside to talk with her. after he came back, he told us the neighbor wanted to tear down their house and build a one and needed neighbors signatures. we told him not to sign but he already did. we don't need more mcmansions!

after dinner i was out in the backyard checking for squash pests: vine borer eggs, squash bugs and eggs, and cucumber beetles. i noticed the kabocha squash in RB0 was the only squash with wilting leaves. this usually means squash vine borer damage on the stem, but i couldn't find the entrance hole. i'll try injecting some Bti solution into the stem but usually when a squash is like that it's done for. fortunately this plant only had a small squash growing on it.

i also attached some more hanging straps to the backyard maple so we can hang more plants. i tried the hanging plant pulley, it actually works pretty well, and supposedly can support 20 lbs.

i finally found a developing luffa. it came from a plant growing from RB4, it's vines trained to go over a trellis across the basement entrance. it was the size of a finger and had a furry skin.

i left a bit after 7pm. i was dismayed to see those volleyball players were back on grove street playground. the only good thing that came from the nearly one year almost $1 million park renovation was not seeing those volleyball players. i feel like they're affiliated with some church group, because it's always a mix of old and young. my sense says it's part of a cult even though i have no proof.

i went out into my backyard to see if i could remove the foot pedals from my bike. i managed to get the right pedal to budge a little bit. didn't even bother trying the left pedal. i also tried adjusting the chain so it'd ride on the 2nd rear cog. it didn't work because the derailleur is busted and keeps moving the chain. i feel like the only way to properly overhaul the bike is to bring it indoors, away from the mosquitoes. i was so afraid of them i wore a jacket even though it was still sweltering outside.

after a shower i ate a bowl of watermelon. not sure how i first heard about it: i think i saw a photo of a bloody trump surrounded by secret service. i thought it was an AI-generated click bait image so didn't bother clicking on the link. but then i remembered it again and out of curiosity decided to turn on the tv. all major networks were covering the breaking news: an assassination attempt at a trump pennsylvania rally. the shooter was outside the rally but armed with a high-powered rifle that managed to reach the stage. he managed to graze trump's ear as well as killing at least one bystander in the background, before the secret service killed him. not sure how this will play out in regards to the election. it will very likely galvanize trump's base even more, and stoke the conspiracy theorists about the deep state out to get trump. hopefully this will deafen the cries to get biden to resign his candidacy over the past few weeks. we're too late in the cycle for biden to drop out now.

trump's assassination attempt overshadowed the death of dr.ruth (96) and richard simmons (76).

i woke up early so i could get a few things from market basket before arriving at the cafe this morning. while my father fried some chicken in the deep fryer, i made a batch of boba and two batches of black soy noodles. we employed every method to get the fry oil smell from stinking up the cafe: closing the kitchen door, opening the back door, using a fan to blow out the smoke. for the most part it worked, afterwards there was barely any fry smell.

the old lady from yesterday who defoliated one of our jasmine plants came back again today to deliver a different variety of jasmine along with 4 additional potted jasmines using the pruned off branches from yesterday as cuttings. it's a nice gesture but we have too many jasmine plants already to know what to do with them.

we surprised esmei today with the water-filled bird whistle. i blew it while she was in the car and she was totally intrigued by the weird sounds. she was actually crying, not sure the reason, it wasn't like she was afraid, maybe just distressed over the new noises. it didn't last long though: when i tried it again a second time, my sister was distracting her with treats and she totally ignored the bird chirps.

i brought my sandwich ingredients to the cafe today, because my mother said she wanted sandwiches. i made them during lunch. my aunt happened to be there, and i only had enough to make 3 sandwiches, so i ended up not having any. i didn't eat the whole day, though i tried some home-garden-grown snow peapods my father cooked up. he also used a pair of homegrown long horn peppers but they weren't particularly hot (i thought they were store bought when i first saw them).

it was actually a slow day today after 3 busy days. maybe folks are leaving early to extend their summer weekend. david showed up in the afternoon, ordered a veggie bun and a cold sesame noodle. business picked up a bit after 5pm, which gave us a little boost.

back at home, just parking my bike in my alleyway was enough time to get two mosquito bites on my legs. the gearing on the bike is totally shot at this point, where the chain is constantly skipping. i might be able to extend the life by manually wrapping the chain onto the rear 2nd gear (2nd largest cog). i'm currently riding on 3rd gear but the teeth on that cog has been worn down to nubs. the front middle chainring i'm riding in 3rd gear (largest sprocket).

i made one last ham & cheese sandwich for dinner a little bit after 8pm. i turned on the AC when i first got home, but it cooled the living room enough that i turned it off. lounging on the couch i fell asleep for an hour, only to wake up around 10pm to finally cut that watermelon that's been sitting in my fridge for 2 weeks. it wasn't that fresh anymore, the flesh was starting to get soft (not as crisp) and there was a subtle sour taste. i ate a quarter, put the rest away in the fridge. for some reason an ultra aggressive mosquito had gotten into the kitchen and was nipping on my legs. i managed to kill it after it bit me twice. not sure how it got in, must be from when i opened the window even though it has a screen.

i didn't leave the house until 9am this morning. the cleaning i made on my bike yesterday didn't seem to help as the chain was still skipping. first thing i did when i got to the cafe was to make a fresh batch of tea eggs, while my parents made a new batch of buns. during a brief lull, i asked my father for help to remove the freewheel from the rear wheel of the bike. while demonstrating to him what i needed him to do, i managed to free the freewheel on my own, seemed like it wasn't that stuck after all. however i put the freewheel right back on again since i didn't have the replacement part with me. i'll need to do the actual repair at home.

once more we were busy today. not as busy as yesterday, when within a span of an hour (12-1pm) the cafe received 15 orders, which averages to 4 minutes per order. nevertheless, we made more today than tuesday or wednesday. maybe tomorrow friday will be even busier.

the insignia roku tv remote arrived yesterday, i got it from my sister's place today and set up the HDTV. the remote worked as-is, my need for pairing. first thing i did was to factory reset everything. setup was easy, though unfortunately we currently don't have a need for a 24" HDTV. so chances are it'll be relegated to the basement.

the basement upright freezer gave us a scare today when it sounded off a high temperature warning. this is the same freezer that broke a few weeks ago when the fan motor died. i checked the temperature with the infrared thermometer, it was still about 10-17 degrees inside, but it should be down closer to 0 degrees. about an hour or two later i checked the temperature and it'd dropped down to the single digits again. not sure why it gave a high temperature warning, i think maybe because it's closer to the back side of the cafe where it's hotter and farthest away from the AC.

around 4:30pm my mother made some rice noodle for lunch. i ate quickly, in anticipation of the 5pm rush. yes we did get a few customers, but it wasn't crazy like it was on tuesday. 3 customers sat until closing time, then had the gall to ask if we were closing. after they left we quickly closed shop and went home.

i went to the community garden because i didn't get a chance to go this morning and wouldn't have time tomorrow either. i passed by david and ann chatting on the street corner. after quickly watering my plants i left, stopping to talk with david and ann who were still chatting. david said he might come by the cafe tomorrow before closing.

my colgate total plaque pro release toothpaste arrived, as well as the certified refurbished 14TB western digital external hard drive.

for dinner i made myself another sandwich along with a salad.

i ordered more bike parts from amazon. i got a pair of new bike pedals. i figured if i was going to replace the crankset1, might as well get new pedals too. i'm not even sure if i can remove and reuse the old pedals, i had that problem with my last set. pedals can seize up pretty good on crank arms, especially when you get water and salt corrosion. then later tonight i got a set of brake and shifter cables and housing ($10). seeing how my weekend schedule goes, i might try to do the bike overhaul in belmont (a lot less mosquitoes compared to my own backyard).


1 speaking of crankset, i was surprised to discover that i only just recently replaced it, back in october 2021. not even 3 years old and it's already toast. the freewheel (i.e. the rear gears) lasted longer than that. i think one reason why the crankset (i.e. the middle gears) failed so quickly is because my middle derailleur had long since failed, so i was basically just riding in that middle sprocket.

i woke up at 9:30am and got ready for a wednesday morning run, my one day off. i was hoping to leave by 10am but ran late and didn't get out of the house until about 10:20am. today was slightly cooler - the temperature only went up to 90 degrees. by the time i left it was already in the 80's. the podcast i was listening to was about point break (1991). my run was uneventful, i tried to push myself and run even in parts where i normally walk. the quicker to finish so i could go home and shower.

i stopped by the garden to water my plants. i missed a day yesterday, so my squash leaves were a little wilty. there was another gardener at the far left of the garden. i didn't recognize her and she made no effort to engage, so i left her in peace.

i got back home a bit after 11:30am. after a quick shower, i turned on the AC and ate a microwaved breakfast burrito for lunch while watching the news.

i didn't have a big to-do list so i wasn't in a rush to go anywhere. i headed out again before 2pm. taking out my bicycle, i noticed the rear baskets were loose again. so i replaced the the rubber clamp with one that was slightly smaller - going from 5/8" down to 1/2". the clamp was able to grab onto the frame a bit tighter, less likely to shake loose. only time will tell if the new clamp will work any better than before.

i went to the allston trader joe's to get some white rum for making mojitos (what i'm hoping to make on saturday cafe cocktail hour). i stopped my michael's store to drop off some sunflowers. he had a customer so i didn't stay long, just handed him the snacks before leaving.

i like shopping at the allston trader joe's. it's never crowded like the fresh pond store, and best of all this one carries alcohol. i got some baby spinach ($1.99) for the cafe, a pint of horchata ice cream ($3.79) for myself, and a bottle of white rum ($8.99).

i got back by 2:30pm. after a shower i turned on the AC again to cool off. i finally had some time to do some retroactive blog updating.

i went out again at 4:30pm to do some bike repairs. for the overhaul, i needed to do the essential stuff first. the number one part that needed replacing was the freewheel. not sure how long they normally last, but i ride the bike so much, the teeth on the sprocket has been nearly worn down. this results in chain skipping whenever i peddle too hard, like going up a hill.

i checked my notes to see just how old the freewheel was. i replaced it once back in july 2016. that may very well be the last time it was replaced. in april 2018 i removed the freewheel so i could soak it in rust removal fluid. the last time i removed the freewheel was in march 2021, when i installed it onto a new rear wheel. if the freewheel is actually 8 years old, it's overdue for a replacement.

i removed the rear wheel using a 15mm socket wrench. i have two park tool freewheel remover - FR-1 and FR-1.2. either one of them will work, but unfortunately i quickly discovered my 8" adjustable wrench can't fit over the remover. i had no choice but to put back the rear wheel, but not before i washed the rusty freewheel first. i was also looking to go back inside because mosquitoes were eating me alive. i ended up at least 3 bites on my legs.

it took me an hour to realize i had a tool that would fit over the freewheel remover. i have a set of plumbing sockets, with one of them being 1", which fits the remover perfectly. had i looked over my notes, i would've discovered that's how i removed the freewheel in the past. i went back outside, took off the wheel, inserted the remover (FR-1.2 because it's longer), then used the 1" socket wrench. unfortunately the freewheel didn't budge. i even tried stepping on the socket wrench but i couldn't hold the wheel upright and get enough leverage. it's a two-man operation. i'll ride the bike to the cafe tomorrow morning and ge my father to help me.

i put the wheel back on, but not before i got another mosquito bite. if i manage to replace the freewheel, the next part will be to replace the chain, followed by the crankset. the pedals are attached to the old crankset; if i can't remove them, i'll need to get a new pair. after that, i'll replace the rear and front derailleurs. finally the shifters and their corresponding cables.

i didn't leave the house the rest of the day. checking in on my parents at the cafe via webcam and point-of-sale app, they were very busy today. they made enough during the lunchtime hour to surpass the profit from all the other hours combined. would tomorrow be just as busy?

around 7pm i made a sandwich for dinner, along with half a southwestern salad kit i got from trader joe's. i had a bowl of cherries for dessert and a fruit popsicle.

i woke up at 8am this morning so i could do some grocery shopping at market basket before heading to work at the cafe by 9am. today was the third day of a heatwave that began on sunday. not wanting to do any serious cooking (too hot for that), i decided to make sandwiches for dinner this week, so i gathered some sandwich ingredients (multigrain bread, lettuce, ham). i also got some irish spring soap for my father. my mother asked me to order it online, but it wouldn't get here until wednesday, so i decided to get it in-store instead. i went to the indian store nearby to get some fennel. a 14 oz. bag only costs $6, but the fennel seeds looked a bit old. i need the fennel as it's a key ingredient for my tea egg spice packet. i stopped briefly at home before continuing to the cafe.

riding to the cafe, i noticed somebody had tossed out a small HDTV. i was thinking about coming back for it later, but did a u-turn and grabbed it off the curb (luckily i had my bungie netting and used my bag as a protective base). it also came with the power cord and remote. i got to the cafe late - 9:10am - but i was still the first to arrive. i vacuumed, moved out all the flowering plants, boiled the tea eggs, cooked 6 cups of rice. my mother showed up while i was filling the drink refrigerator. she drove in, allowing my father to come a little later so he can take esmei out for a walk before she returns. my mother complained that because esmei was walking around the house at night, she couldn't sleep, afraid she might do something naughty. and if you lock her in the bedroom, she'll cry to be let out. my father didn't show up until after 10am. i brought my esmei back to my sister's place (she wasn't due to get back from vermont until 2pm).

because it was so hot today (heat index made it feel like 100 degrees), we didn't think anyone would be sitting outside, so we didn't bother setting up the patio. my father had the busiest day, cutting up all the pork butts he got yesterday to make our charsiu (my mother made the marinade), then cutting up and marinating the boneless chicken thighs. he also started preliminary steps for making beef noodle soup.

i took a look at the HDTV i found. it's a 24" 720p insignia NS-24ER310NA17 with roku tv circa 2016. i couldn't get the remote to work even after i replaced the batteries. i was able to turn on the tv manually with the power button. it seemed fine, though i couldn't navigate the settings with a broken remote. the remote does sort of work, but it's missing the shield in front of the IR diode. even then, the only thing i could get it to do was turn on and off after multiple tries. fortunately replaced remotes are cheap. i got a compatible pair for just $3 after using some amazon points, due to arrive tomorrow.

a chinese old lady with a facemask came to the cafe today. she didn't buy anything, just chatted with my father for a while. apparently she knits and gardens as well. she told us we needed to heavily prune our small potted jasmines if we wanted them to flower even more. she demonstrated by basically cutting off all the branches on one plant, leaving just a few bare stalks. now we'll wait and see if she was right or just some crazy lady who came to the cafe to defoliate one of our plants.

i went over to my sister's place a few times to check up on esmei. i let her out into the backyard but she never went to the bathroom (the backyard is like an extension of the house for her, not for going). finally i ended up walking her outside for a few minutes until she finally peed, before bringing her back inside the house. my sister didn't get back at 2pm but instead finally came home around 4:30pm.

in the afternoon i also grabbed two garden refuse bins from my sister's place and disposed of a pile of mulberry branches with our heavy duty bypass loppers. i only got through half, will finish the rest another day. it wasn't too bad because i was working in partial shade, but it was still hot outside, especially standing on the black parking lot asphalt. by the time i finished i was soaked in sweat, salty perspiration stinging my eyes.

a new pattern has emerged where we're actually busier between 5-6pm (early dinnertime crowd) than we are 12-1pm (lunchtime crowd). today was just such a day. yes were were busy around lunchtime (actually between 11a-12pm), but then it was quiet until we hit 5pm, where it got busy again. so busy we nearly ran out of rice even though we cooked an additional 3 cups in the backup rice cooker. we did however run out of beef noodle soup, i had to remove it from all our online ordering systems (square, grubhub, ubereats). we're also nearly exhausted of our homemade buns. so tomorrow will be a very busy day for my parents as they need to both made a fresh batch of beef noodle soup and make the buns.

that busy finale did make the rest of the work day go by pretty fast. i biked home after we closed, having not had any lunch all day. i must've been hungry, because normally i take a shower first when i get home, but today i started making a ham sandwich (bread, mayo, mustard, lettuce, american cheese, ham).

my latest temu order also arrived. just a bunch of random things: plastic mini pyramid paint stands, bungie netting, water-activated bird whistle, garden hose splitter, fridge magnets, and some disposable tea bags with drawstrings. i also got a bicycle bungie cord that i thought was just a simple length of elastic rope, but it's actually several bungies stung together that sort of act like netting.

we cleaned a few plastic cutting boards at the cafe by soaking them in a glass lasagna dish with pure bleach. i didn't think it'd work because they boards were still stained, but after rinsing them off with water, the boards all turned white. so i tried it with a old cutting board i had at home. it also gave me a chance to use the bottle of off-brand bleach i got during the start of the pandemic for disinfecting that i never used since. i left the board to soak for an hour, i only noticed minor improvement. so i rinsed off the board and left it to dry. when i came back later in the evening, most of the stains were gone. i am now a firm believer in the power of bleach.