for lunch i had the spicy pollack roe onigiri and a matcha latte. i've found that even though the whole foods matcha powder tastes pretty much the same as my previous matcha, when i whisk it it doesn't completely dissolve, and there are always tiny clumps of matcha left behind afterwards. as for the onigiri, i bit into some reddish spiciness right away, but like the eel, the flavor wasn't very strong and there wasn't a lot of it, it was still mostly rice. i won't be buying onigiri from maruichi anytime soon.
today was plant moving day for my seedlings. i've been slowly hardening up them outside on my backyard porch, and yesterday i left them outside the whole night. i've been waiting for the night time temperature to be above 50 degrees, and the long range forecast showed that was the case starting today. i moved some stuff into the basement (glass carboys, broken plasma ball) while at the same time retrieving a large enough box to carry all the seedlings into the garden. i then packed my plants: 3 'cloud day' tomatoes, 1 'super sweet 100' cherry tomato, 2 wild 'cocktail' cherry tomatoes, 2 'aunt molly' ground cherries, 12 nigellas, muffin box of chinese giant asters, and muffin box of stocks. i left behind the dozen chinese asters, 4 wild cherries, and 6 long beans (those i will move to belmont). i tied the box to the back of my bicycle using bungie cords and very carefully and slowly biked down to the community garden by 1:30pm.
i saw lynn in the garden working on her plot. i carefully unpacked all my plants. i have 5 grow bags, and decided to plant 2 'cloudy day' tomatoes, 1 cherry tomato, and 1 ground cherry in the bags, leave one free for a future 'ping tung' eggplant. the rest i planted in the soil. with the tomatoes and ground cherries, i made sure to add about a tablespoon of espoma plant food fertilizer grandules (10-10-10) into the hole before i planted. i also planted some of the tomatoes especially deep since they were so leggy. the wild tomatoes were fine though because i started them later.
i chatted with lynn and she showed me her plot. i'm very jealous of her garden because everything is so organized, she said she liked my plot because it's always changing, she never knows what she'll find. besides the organization, she also organizes by colors depending on the season: springtime she likes purple and blue flowers, while summertime she prefers warmer colors. so she planted some orange calendulas and red gamphoras, and currently some purple peony tulips are blooming. she also had a huge garlic chive plant. i let her have some of my asters and stocks because i had so much. she was very thankful as she had used up her garden budget buying soil for her raised bed.
once i was alone in the garden, i quickly dug out my DJI mini 2 drone and flew it up in the air to get some photos (only to about 200ft). i was surprised the fly app didn't crash once. there were some children playing in the park behind the community garden (i didn't flip over them) but nobody seemed to notice what i was doing. i tried to do a catch landing but it jerked out of my hand so i landed in the uneven path and the right rear props hit some grass before coming to a stop.
i didn't leave until 4pm, 2-1/2 hours later. i was supposed to go to the cafe and drop off the drumsticks but i forgot. instead i went to star market to stock up on some shweppes seltzer. the best flavor is pomegranate but i haven't see it in a while. now my second favorite is orange, and i bought 3 cases for $9. i also got some flaming hot cheetos.
i turned on the news because all day there was a state police holicopter hovering above south medford for some reason. i should've gotten on the police scanner and tried to hear what was going on, but there was no mention of anything in that area happening on the news. there was however a different kind of breaking news: CDC issued new recommendations that fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks indoors and outdoors and no longer need to social distance. of course state set their own rules (following CDC guidelines) and MA hasn't announced any mask changes (other than people no longer have to wear masks outdoors), but i expect them to issue a new update next week. but the news is essentially game over for social distancing and masks, as we start getting back to normal. being a selfish person, i keep on wondering if there will be any parades later this year. i'd heard a rumor that maybe the pride parade would be moved to the fall this year? if that's true, then maybe the boston carnival parade can happen this summer as well. that's when i know things are getting back to normal, and not having to wear masks when i go grocery shopping.
i didn't have anything planned for dinner so i used my lazy man card and baked a frozen brick of lasagna in the oven. i ate while watching the second season of legend of the seeker. i'd forgotten what a bad-ass mord-sith cara is on the show.
i went to market basket in the late morning to get some groceries, including some drumsticks for this weekend. the only food i got for this week was to replenish my milk supply. returning home, i made a matcha latte for lunch.
while inspecting my grow closet, i found the beginning of a fungus gnat infestation. i doused all the pots with mosquito-bit infused water and put a yellow sticky tape trap. i'm not too concerned about fungus gnats, they're more nuisance than anything that can harm the seedlings. besides, with Bti, i have a surefire way to kill them all, it'll just take a few weeks. by that time, most of these seedlings will be transplanted outdoors anyway.
i left for greater boston motorsports in arlington shortly after 1pm. i called them earlier, asking if i needed to make an appointment for a sticker inspection, they said no, as long as i got there before 4pm. i arrived by 1:45pm, a little longer than expected, because i had to return home when i realized i didn't have my driver license. not that they needed it for the inspection, but in case i got pulled over.
they relocated the service department, now it's on the other side of the building. i went and left my registration while i moved the motorcycle closer to their garage. one of the guys came out and did the cursory inspection, worked the lights, the brakes, the horn. he wheeled the bike closer to the entrance and asked me when was the last time i maintained the bike. my hesitancy was all the answer he needed. "probably never, right?" he said he'd pass me because there's nothing wrong with the bike, but there were a lot of little maintenance issues. like the rear brake pedal, you had to press it all the way down before it'd come to a full stop. or the front brake lever, how it makes a popping sound, which makes the brake fluids is running on empty, and the brake lines need to be disassembled and cleaned out. the rear brake issue was too much for him and he fixed it for me for free, but not never making me promise to maintain the bike. "it's a great bike, it's in good shape, just needs some maintenance."
i tried paying with my credit card but it wouldn't read my chip. i ended up going upstairs and paying with cash, before coming back downstairs to retrieve the bike. another mechanic came out with the sticker while i was checking to see where it was.
i decided to continue a little bit more up mass ave to maruichi, a japanese market. i feel like it's got a better selection that ebisuya in medford square, but only because this shop just recently opened up back in january, so it's still brand new, while ebisuya has been here for a while, a continuation of the japanese market that used to be in the porter exchange mall. there's a huge free parking lot in the back of the store, you never have to worry about finding parking here. i was in search of onigiri ($2.50-$3.50) and kewpie mayo ($5.69), both i found. they also had readymade amazake, i'll get that next time.
i made my way to my parents' place, got there by 2:30pm. i was picking up the fertilizer granules, which i'll need tomorrow when i transplant some of my seedlings in the community garden. while i was there i made an inspection of the yard: dug up some dandelions, transplanted a cypress vine seedling, hug up the 2nd solar lantern, and finally watered the plants. long range 2-week forecast doesn't show any significant rain the rest of the month, but that's no reason to be stingy with the rain water, since a single long duration rainstorm can quickly fill the barrels right up again. my sister showed up unexpectedly right before i was about to leave, enough time for hailey to pee in the backyard and eat some grass.
before i left, i checked on the status of the heat pad hyacinth beans. when i lifted up the condensation-covered plastic wrap, i saw a single pot with two germinated seeds. i planted them on saturday, just 4 days later i have germination! i'm still not entirely sold on heat pad germination though, until most of the seeds have germinated. in another pot i see faint sign of a seed hump, so there might be more sprouts to come.
i went to the cafe (3:45pm) to drop off some onigiri. i gave my mother the spicy tuna and one of the eel. i returned home a bit after 4pm. i actually saw the old japanese woman (the hot granny) while i was getting off my bike. i've lived here for nearly 20 years, we've never once even spoke to one another, but she actually said, "hi!" which caught me by surprise. maybe she's into bikers.
first thing i did was to try the eel onigiri. i didn't even know how to open the package, which made me felt a little stupid. when i finally ate it, it was 90% rice, with just a tiny amount of eel, wasn't worth the $3.50 i paid for it, i felt a little ripped off. hopefully the other one - spicy pollack roe - will be better.
my sister still hasn't done her taxes yet. she was asking me a bunch of questions today, to the point where i was asking myself, "has she ever done taxes before?" i ended up asking her to send me her 1099-NEC form so i could quickly do them and see if i got the same numbers, because when she did hers she owed the IRS $700. i ran the numbers and i got the same results. when i pulled up her godmother's taxes (which i did a month ago), i realized i made a mistake; she would've still gotten a refund, but only half the amount. hopefully she doesn't get audited but she made so little in 2020, i'd be surprised if she did.
for dinner i fired up the smokeless foreman grill one more time and heated the last of my frozen burgers. once again, i overcooked it, turned it super well done, almost dehydrated it to ground beef jerky. but i had enough condiments and vegetables to build an okay burger even if the burger meat itself was pretty much tasteless. i also made a mango lassi. i saw a recipe that said to add milk (1/2 cup milk with 1 cup yogurt), which i think is a mistake, because it dilutes the lassi, doesn't have that sour kick i'm used to.
i called my sister's godmother this morning to tell her i would arrive at her place at 1pm to continue assembling her tv stand. i calculated that it'd take me 4 hours to finish, that i'd be done by 5pm.
i moved out a bunch of my seedlings into the backyard deck, got them used to being outside before i transplant them in a few more days. the last of my milk went bad so i poured it out and had some leftover pizza pockets for lunch instead. i left the house by 12:40pm. i could've taken the motorcycle, but remembering what a nightmare it was to navigate cambridgeport yesterday, i decided a bicycle was the easier option.
i went to the td bank in central square first, to deposit a check my sister's godmother gave me for ordering her stuff her online. i tried depositing it using the app, but it wasn't able to read her writing. i used the ATM machine at the bank, it too had issues reading the amount from the check, so i had to enter it manually, which it finally accepted.
from there i went to my sister's godmother's apartment. i arrived at exactly 1pm, i pride myself on being on time.
i started assembling the tv stand. yesterday i'd brought home the instruction manual so i could study it and have a better idea where all the pieces go. once i started to put the parts together, it got easier to assemble. my sister's godmother was chatting with me, and sometimes i had difficulty concentrating, trying to follow the assembly drawings, piece together the furniture, while at the same time carrying on a conversation.
i finally finished assembling the stand by 4pm, an hour ahead of schedule. it fit perfectly in the wall alcove. once that was done, it was time to assemble the other tv stand, the universal swivel tv stand base. this was easier to piece together (and i'd already done it once before with my own tv stand), but it still me nearly an hour, because i was trying to be careful not to drop any of the heavier parts nor to damage the HDTV.
when the swivel tv stand was finished we put it on top of the tv stand table. placed flat against the wall the 50" television sticks out into the doorway to the bedroom, but when we swivel the tv so it sits diagonally on the table, it then fits perfectly.
i left by 5pm, all according to my schedule. instead of returning home, i stopped by the cambridge recycling center to drop off the two used lithium batteries (one from my father's pc laptop, another a samsung battery from my 2nd aunt's phone), before finally making it back. i was sweating from 4 hours of assembly work and the biking, so i changed out of my clothes and took a shower.
for dinner i took out my smokeless foreman grill and heated up some frozen hamburgers. i ate while watching legend of the seeker. even though i watched the show originally when it first aired, i don't remember a single storyline from any of the episodes.
i was excited to see some thai basil seedlings (3 out of 4) on the heating pad pots. but to confirm they actually worked, i also looked in the grow closet, and was dismayed to find that those thai basil seeds had sprouted as well (2 out of 4). so it's still inconclusive as to whether the heat pad helped or not. i currently still have 3 ungerminated hyacinth beans and 1 reseeded bitter melon on the heat pad. if those somehow sprout this week, it will definitely make me a heat pad germination convert.
while in the bathroom, i checked the fedex tracker which showed me my sister's godmother's tv stand had arrived 40 minutes ago. i called her to let her know. she called me back minutes later, said she found the package, but it was too heavy to move. i told her i could be there in half an hour.
i left by 11:30am, traveling via motorcycle. it took me nearly 20 minutes to get there because they were repaving the road in front of the apartment, so i had to circle around cambridgeport, navigating all the myriad one way streets, to get close enough to the apartment and find a place to park. it make it even more of a challenge, there was also street cleaning today.
by the time i made it to the apartment around 11:50am, my sister's godmother had pretty much moved everything upstairs, piece by piece. only thing left with a single board and the box, which i brought upstairs.
when i saw all the pieces and the instruction manual, it seemed very daunting. there were 25 steps to assemble the stand. i spent 2 hours at the apartment, i only managed to get to step 7. finally i had to tell my sister's godmother that i wouldn't be able to piece everything together today, and i'd need to come back tomorrow. before i left, her other tv stand (the swivel base) also arrived. give the amount of progress i made today, i predict it's going to take another 4 hours before the tv stand can be fully assembled.
i left by 2pm. i went home, gathered my stuff, then rode to belmont. i stopped by danehy park to pick up some free composting bag, they're restarting curbside composting again. as good as it is for the environment, i kind of don't like it because the kitchen composting bin has a tendency to attract fruit flies during the summer. the flies themselves is not a problem; it's the maggots in the box that's a little gross. of course it's all voluntary anyway, nobody says i have to compost.
my parents weren't back yet by the time i arrived in belmont around 2:45pm (my father took my mother for her annual physical, earlier they went to baifu on a supply run). there was plenty of things to eat in the house (i hadn't had lunch yet) but the moment i arrived i was outside working in the backyard. mostly weeding (creeping bellflowers), followed by extensive photo documentation of all the things currently growing in the backyard.
my parents finally came back around 4pm. i had one of the final slices of strawberry rhubarb pie. afterwards my father and i planted the rhubarb plant we got from the community garden. we planted it in the spot where we tried to grow a rooted pussy willow tree that ended up dying. i asked if we should bring in the two potted jasmines we left outside as a test to see if they could survive the cold temperature, my father said to continue to leave them outside (in the basement stairwell, protected by plastic tarps). we also pruned off a few branches from the cherry plum.
while my father was watering the plants, i decided to fly my drone because of dramatic clouds in the sky. soon after i reached 400ft in the air, the dji fly app crashed on me. i'm starting to think it had something to do with notifications, especially text notifications. i had to reboot the phone a few times to get out of it. i even turned on airplane mode, but for some reason i still got a text notification, and shortly after that happened, the phone froze up again. i didn't do much flying, basically just elevation and then landed it manually by sight. as a matter of fact, i didn't even need the phone, and completely disconnected it while i used the controller alone to land the drone.
i forgot to check the progress of the dozen planted hyacinth beans on the heat pad. it's only been 2 days since saturday, but it seems to be doing something. the beans have swelled up, and at least one of them looks to either be ready to sprout or the seed has turned rotten and mushy. if any of these hyacinth beans germinate by next weekend, i will be pretty amazed and make me heat pad convert.
i rode back to cambridge after dinner. another secondary buttercup squash had sprouted and i had to dig it out and put it in its own pot. luckily i brought back some leftover potting soil from belmont. this makes 18 buttercup squash seedlings, which means a germination rate of 90%.
i went to star market this morning in search of guacamole but only left with a jar of medium spicy salsa. i went to petsi's pies to see if they had any strawberry rhubarb pie. there were two girls inside so i waited outside until they were finished. i must've waited 10 minutes before they were finally done. they did have strawberry rhubarb, in sizes 5", 8", or 12". i opted for the 8" which was $15. i strapped it to the back of my motorcycle with some bungie netting and rode to belmont.
weather today was sunny and in the 60's but felt much warmer than that. first thing i did when i got to my parents' place was to move out all the houseplants so they can get some real sun. my sister had brought some dunkin donuts breakfast sandwiches and i had one for lunch. i was checking the fedex tracking website to see my sister's godmother's sofa delivery progress and was surprised when i saw it'd already been delivered at 11:20am. wayfair finally noticed me by e-mail and text message 40 minutes later that the sofa was delivered. both my sister and mother contacted my sister's godmother to ask her to go downstairs and check. after a length of time she finally found the sofa.
my father, my sister, and i ended up going to my sister's godmother's apartment to help bring up the sofa and install it. the delivery company basically just left the sofa box in the entrance, blocking the exit. we ended up dragging it into the elevator and hauling it upstairs. the sofa was designed to be installed with the included tool, but it would've been quicker if we brought our own socket wrenches. after we finished installing the sofa, we left by 2:15pm.
back at the house, we tried the strawberry rhubarb pie. i got it because we have a rhubarb plant and i never had rhubarb before. the pie was okay - tartness from the rhubarb, sweetness from the strawberry - but it wasn't anything spectacular. i think getting the pecan sweet potato pie would've been the better choice!
my father continued mowing the lawn while i mixed up half a gallon of neem oil solution and sprayed the jasmines and gardenia. every one of them had mealybugs, some worse than others. at one point some neem oil mist got in my eye and i had to go inside and wash it out in the sink. we also put in a new trellis in raised bed 4 using the final 2 u-posts and 8ft worth of 4ft tall wire fencing.
in honor of mother's day, my sister ordered chinese takeout for dinner from joyful garden in the watertown mall. we waited hungrily as she left to go pick it up. she came back with enough food to eat for 3 days. i sipped some japanese plum wine before eating so i was already drunk. after i finished, i lay down on the zero gravity chair and fell asleep for a few minutes.
i motorcycled back to cambridge. later i went out to put the cover on the bike since it'd be raining later in the evening. i ate a sumo orange and a orri orange while waiting for the latest episode of the never to finish downloading. i watched another episode of the legend of the seeker before finally watching the never.
since it's not going to rain until late sunday night into monday morning and i didn't go yesterday, i went to my community garden this morning to water my plants. i haven't really planted anything, but i wanted to see how my uprooted and replanted monkshood were doing. maybe because it was a grey day, but there was just one other gardener there. the monkshood seemed okay, but when i replanted them some of the stalks were crooked so they're growing out in multiple different directions. my potted herbs were revived, even though i left my mints in the sun for 3 hours until they were all wilted, but mints are hardy, it'd take more than that to kill them.
when i returned home by 11:30am, i noticed trucks were blocking the end of my street. turned out my neighbors were cutting down their flowering pear tree, which had been there for nearly 20 years. i went inside the house and watched them work from my living room. i was mesmerized, it took them less than 10 minutes to reduce a 2 decade old tree into wood chips. the man working the chainsaw seemed like a real character, never once smiled, smoking and chewing gum at the same time, working the cherry picker while also manning the chainsaw. when he got down to the lower trunk, he switched to a larger chainsaw, then an assistant took over cutting down the remaining trunk. a second assistant fed branches into the wood chipper. they left the stump behind, maybe they'll come back another day to grind it down. i thought cambridge had a moratorium on tree removal, even on private property, but maybe that's changed. it seemed like a perfectly healthy tree (other than that one time a microburst caused the tree to split in half), i wonder why my neighbors decided to get rid of it. also bear in mind i'd already worked on the tree myself, when i secretly cut off a branch in the middle of the night because it as blocking my view of the street. i guess i don't have to worry about that anymore.
my mother made some noodles for lunch when i arrived in belmont. i also had some of the smoked duck i bought yesterday.
i brought the germination heating pads for the dozen hyacinth beans which have yet to sprout. i dumped out all the pots in search of the seeds. most of them had rotted, the few that i managed to salvage ended up being rotten as well. so i was going to repack the pots and start over with a new batch of seeds. before i could do that though, my mother said she was going out for a walk and i went with her.
we went to the cemetery first, to check out the brilliant red azalea bushes and a few large flowering kwanzan cherry trees. i was there to sample the different lilac bushes growing along the border, but when we walked by them i couldn't smell a thing because they were above us. i also saw an old lady who had sawed off whole branches of lilacs and taking them back to her car.
from there we walked down cushing street to belmont street, coming out near sofra bakery. there were some really nice houses on cushing street, with matching nice gardens.
we then walked back via belmont street, passing by shangri-la, which was closing by month's end. they still seemed busy though, bags of takeout waiting by a table near the front of the restaurant. we took oxford avenue before turning down unity avenue. we were admiring the perennial flowers in a front yard garden opposite our old house, when a woman (karen) invited us to walk through her garden then came out of the house to give us a tour. she had some amazing specimens of tulips, multi-colored with different leaf patterns. she had these leafy greens which she let us sample, she thought they were rockets, but later when we got back home with a sample leaf for my father to try, i figured out it was some of mustard, mostly likely japanese red mustard, with a very pungent taste reminiscent of wasabi. karen also took out to the other side of her house where she had a shade garden of wild ginger, trilliums, and lily-of-the-valley.
we left at 1pm and didn't come back until 2:45pm. i went into the backyard to continue repotting the hyacinth beans. i think my father might've packed the soil too tightly and watered it too much. i pack the soil loosely, and i water from the bottom, then using a spray bottle to wet the top. i plant the seeds so they're barely covered in the soil, so they don't have to push too hard to emerge from the dirt. i planted two seeds per pot, for a total of 12. i then brought it inside so we could put it on a heating pad. the pad uses 24W of electricity. it took 20 minutes for the temperature to jump from 65°F (room temperature) to nearly 85°F.
these longer day lengths is still taking some getting used to, as i didn't realize it was already dinner time because it was still light out. after dinner i rode the motorcycle back to cambridge.
i got back home by 7:40pm then spent the next 1-1/2 hours working in my grow closet. i watered the seedlings, and discovered i forgot to turn on my fans. i plugged in my second heating mat, and put the larkspurs and rudbeckia seed starter containers, which have yet to sprout a single seedling. i added the 3 remaining hyacinth beans that haven't germinated yet. finally, i put 4 thai basil pots. this will let me know if the heating pad is really working or not, since i have 4 thai basil pots in the grow closet. another bitter melon has sprouted, and i checked the other pots. 2 more will sprout in a day or two, but one of the pots the bitter melon seed has rotted, so i replanted a new seed. i squeezed that bitter melon onto the heating pad as well.
then came time to remove additional seedlings and transfer them to their own pots. one of the hyacinth beans had two sprouts, while 3 more buttercup squash had germinated their 2nd seed. it's easier to do this surgery when the seedlings are still young, not a lot of roots that might potentially get damaged. one thing i noticed about the hyacinth beans is they rot easily. on one seedling, one half of the cotyledon fell off because of rot. in another, the cotyledons never opened and the first leaves was struggling to through, and managed to poke through a rotten spot in the cotyledon. maybe the seeds had too much mold on them, making them more susceptible to rot.
only then was i able to use the bathroom and take a shower.
after a matcha latte and the last piece of fried chicken (thigh) for lunch, i was ready to head out to chinatown then haymarket for the third consecutive friday. i was just looking for an excuse to log in some biking, and with the weather today on the dry side, i grabbed the opportunity. it was however still a bit cold, temperature in the upper 50's with some wind. i wore a light jacket but it was cold riding in the shadows, and took a while before i warmed up from the pedalling.
i arrived in chinatown by 1:45pm. i went to ming's market first, to get some watermelon seeds. i called my mother asking if she needed sichuan peppercorn, she also told me to get some sour mustards. i bought enough cafe supplies to use the cafe debit card to pay. next i went to c-mart, i search of buldak ramen. they had them but only sold them in 5-packs instead of individual servings, so i left with some heysong sarsaparilla on sale.
from chinatown i cut across downtown crossing and post office square to haymarket. i got there by 2:30pm. i was hoping to get more cara cara oranges, but the vendor i bought them from last week were only selling regular navel oranges, and now they were 7 for $2 (not 9 for $2 from last week). so instead of juicing oranges, i bought some peeling oranges instead. one vendor was selling "shalom" oranges for 5/$2. i asked them how they were, he said very sweet, which convinced me to get 10 instead (he gave me 11 as a bonus). i also bought from another vendor that was selling "sweet" oranges for 5/$1 (bought 10) which later i discovered were just sumo oranges.
i left haymarket by 2:50pm and crossed the longfellow bridge into cambridge.
my final stop was to mulan on broadway, to get some smoked duck for my mother in honor of mother's day this weekend. while waiting for my order, i noticed a sign for "suanmeitang". after that i pedaled the 2.8 miles to the cafe to drop off the supplies.
my 2nd aunt was there, knitting at the table. we tried the two types of oranges. first the shalom oranges, which the sticker said were shoham (israeli) orri (a type of mandarin orange). they were easy to peel, had thin skin, flatter (like a persimmon) instead of round, and were pretty sweet and juicy, though my mother thought they weren't sweet enough. next we tried a sumo orange: they had thicker skin and the flesh inside seemed a little dry but still juicy. they were okay, slightly tart, definitely not as sweet as the orri oranges.
my mother also prepared the sichuan peppercorn by first roasting them in a pan before pulverizing them into a fine powder with the electric grinder. my father realized how dangerous it was after we finished grinding, because the grinder was still plugged there. there are no safety features with the grinder, had we accidentally pressed the button, it would've chopped our fingers off. the grinder is not a toy!
i returned home by 4:45pm. i thought about going to the community garden to water my plants, but it was getting colder (temperature dropping down to the lower 50's) and i'd been cycling all day, it was time for a rest. waiting on my doorstep was the pair of vivosun seedling heat mats. i was going to try it out with some of my ungerminated seedlings, but when i looked in my grow closet, i was surprised to find 3 of the hyacinth beans had sprouted. i'd planted them on april 27th, and just 10 days later they germinated. compared that to my father, who's hyacinth beans are heading into the 4th week waiting to sprout. i moved the germinated beans to the lighted shelves. also a second bitter melon had sprouted.
i didn't start making dinner until 9:30pm. once again i was having luxury korean ramen. i had some baby bokchoi and bean sprouts that my mother gave me earlier, and i also added some tofu wedges this time. depending on whether or not you count an egg as meat, i inadvertently made myself a big bowl of vegetarian ramen. i tried one of the tiger sugar drinks (2/$5); it tasted just like milk tea, nothing particularly special about it other than the brand.
i spent the rest of the evening watching more legend of the seeker episodes.
i just can't resist the lure of cheap fried chicken whenever star market has it on sale. i biked down to the porter square star in the late morning to get some (it's not available at the smaller beacon street store). when i went to the self checkout lane to ring it up, it wasn't giving me the discount. i think the problem was the deli counter guy put the fried chicken in a grilled chicken bag. fortunately the checkout attendant subtracted $2 from my total.
i went home to feast on my fried chicken. i also made a matcha latte, pouring the matcha powder out of the foil ziploc bag into a glass jar. i had a breast, a wing, and a drumstick. by the time i was finished i felt gross, hitting that fried oil threshold.
by 1pm i biked down to the community garden to work on my plot. i chatted with a 2nd year gardener - gail - who had my old plot by the new access road to sacramento field. i told her she had a great plot, very sunny. she was hoping to upgrade because a lot of people don't realize her plot is an actual garden and not a footpath and end up trampling her plants. later after i thought she'd left, she came back and asked if i was "tony yang." i said yes, surprised that she seemed to know me or know of me. she asked if i worked on the census last summer, i said yes. turns out she's the field supervisor for the area, the boss of my boss, and i actually had another interaction with her back when i worked the census and was chatting with her on the street before i realized who she was. small world! she told me she too had ptsd with certain addresses.
i started by digging up the creeping buttercups in the northeastern corner. i pulled out a few goldenrods, i almost consider them an invasive weed. i replanted two daylilies that seemed to be bulging out of the dirt. i moved the forget-me-nots that self-sprouted in one of the grow bags to the northeast corner. i started filling my 5 grow bags with new garden soil. i was in the garden for nearly an hour before i noticed that my garden neighbor had chopped down all the garlic chive borders in the northwestern corner. i took another look and discovered he'd also completely uprooted one of my prized monkshoods! i went digging in the garbage refuse bins and found them all there. fortunately monkshood plants are pretty hardy, and i was able to retrieve most of them and replant them later after i finished filling the grow bags. i relocated carpets of sedum to the edges of my plot. i relocated wild seedlings: moneyplants, striped mallows, forget-me-nots, garlic chives. finally i watered everything. 2 hours later and covered in dirt, i was finally finished by 3pm.
i returned home to help my mother order new furniture for my sister's godmother, but when i saw they didn't forward me anything, i decided to go down to the cafe and do it in person. besides, i needed to go there to install the new eufy 2k indoor webcam i got last week.
first i called the gardeners in the plot next to mine, who dug up my monkshood. i was ready to chew them out, but they were very apologetic, said they wanted to get ahold of me (but didn't have my number) to say sorry, and was willing to replace the lost plants. i told them i fished out my monkshood from the garbage and replanted them, no harm no foul. i think if they were being assholes about it i would've made them pay for a new plant, but they were pretty contrite, i was satisfied with their apology. after that i finally left for the cafe.
my sister's godmother had been browsing wayfair and decided on a new tv stand (smaller) and a couch. she was at the cafe, i helped her order her furniture as well as a pedestal swivel base for her HDTV. i think the only other thing she needs now is a nice carpet for her living room, but taiwanese people can't normally conceptualize carpets since nobody in taiwan has carpets.
my father helped me take down the old wyze panning webcam and install the new eufy webcam. i went with the eufy because of it's higher resolution (2k vs 1080p) and overall better image quality. the wyze was good for its time, but the 5-minute delay between notifications (which can be removed with a paid subscription) negated the usefulness of uploading video snippets to a free cloud server. i consider the eufy a 3rd generation webcam (the wyze being 2nd generation, and our old foscam webcams 1st generation). the default configuration for the eufy is to just record onto the memory card, but it also has a paid subscription service for cloud storage, and an RTSP option for saving to a local NAS. the eufy has a more robust AI when it comes to recognizing human motions (free), the wyze human detection is now a paid service. the only things i don't like about the eufy is encrypted videos, which can only be downloaded through the phone app, doesn't have a standard mount (uses nail hooks instead), instead designed to be placed outside.
i finally left the cafe by 5pm. i decided to revisit the community garden with some empty pots so i can collect some herb plants and grow them in containers instead. i bumped into the gardeners who uprooted my monkshood, a senior couple. they apologized once more.
afterwards i potted 2 mints and an oregano. i also potted a purple deadnettle, not an herb, but i wanted to relocate it. i chatted with renee, then chatted with david (the married david with the kid), before chatting with anne marie. renee was tending to her plot, but only half of it. i thought it was something she was doing on purpose but she was penalized for not using her plot, which have of it going to a gardener on the long wait list. i also bumped into mark, who i noticed already planted cucumbers. when anne marie heard this, she warned him that they might die because we're due for some cold weather next week (30's). mark revealed that he started the seedlings indoors.
i finally left the community garden an hour later, wasn't planning on staying so long. i did a load of laundry to wash off the dirt i'd accumulated on my t-shirt and jeans, and took a shower afterwards to rinse off the filth. i ate a fried chicken thigh, then later had a breast, a wing, and a drumstick. i had a cosmic crisp apple for dessert, washed it all down with some seltzer and gatorade and celestial seasonings begnal spice tea.
i continued watching episodes of legend of the seeker, down to episode 10 of the first season, the one where kahlan dresses up as a mord-sith (which by the way, is probably one of the best representation of BDSM culture in the fantasy genre). i can't believe how perfect bridget regan would've been as wonder woman. too bad they didn't make the movie when she was in her 20's, but the time they finally got around to it, she was already in his mid-30's. but gal gadot isn't very much younger, only by 3 years. from what i gather online, a lot of people agree that regan would've been a much better wonder woman.
my father called me at 10am, said he was going to market basket and could drop off the two large bags of organic garden soil we got from home depot on monday. he arrived 10 minutes later. he came inside to pick up most of my seedlings. i selected 4 tomatoes and 2 ground cherries, but the rest (including 15 asian long beans) he took away to belmont. i got in the car and we drove to the community garden, where he helped me unload the bags of soil. i told him my idea of building a trellis for some long beans and bitter melons using u-posts. he dropped my off back at my house before leaving.
i would've stayed behind and did some gardening but i still hadn't used the bathroom yet. after a shower, i spent the rest of the morning organizing my grow closet, finally finishing by 12:30pm. instead of 2 rows of strip lights per shelves, i reconfigured the lights so it was 3 lights per shelves for a total of 2 shelves, with the hopes that there'd be more light so the seedlings won't grow as leggy, which has started to happen to the tomatoes and ground cherries.
i also noticed last night that one of the bitter melons had finally germinated after more than 2 weeks. i moved all 6 pots into the grow closet, maybe the warmth will further induce the rest to sprout. i actually dug into the soil to check on the remaining seeds, they seem viable, already sprouted their root tail, just another 2-3 days before they emerge as well.
i made a cup of matcha latte for lunch. i headed back out into the garden by 2pm, hoping to get some nice garden photos before it started raining. i bumped into susan, who was describing the total basement teardown they were doing after the first floor heater broke because it'd melted. i felt a little weird because i decided to go out without my mask, which seemed transgressive somehow, even though since friday it's allowed. i also ran into beth walking her dog. i saw her pulled her neck gaiter up when she saw me heading her way.
there was another person in the community garden, someone i'd never seen before. she seemed busy with her plot, we both ignored each other until she left a few minutes later and i had the whole place to myself. i took some photos of my own plot before going around looking for additional photo ops. i had planned on doing some garden organizing, but i'll wait until tomorrow when the weather's better (warmer, sunnier). it started to drizzle and i opened my umbrella. i left by 2:30pm.
i went out one more time, to star market, to get a few items on sale: mangoes (17¢ maximum of 5) and classico pasta sauce (97¢ maximum of 2 jars). when i went to pay, it rang up just $2.79, even the cashier was surprised by the bargain.
i spent the rest of the afternoon watching legend of the seeker (2008) episodes. they're so good, i miss the bygone days of syndicated shows. now every network has their prestige series, and a season doesn't last as long.
for dinner i heated up some frozen french bread pizza in the oven. i watched the celtics game against the orlando magic, it was a rare blowout win. the celtics were in 7th place for the playoffs, but with the victory tonight they move up to 6. this season they have a complicated system where there are also 9th and 10th seeds, who play the loser of the 7th and 8th seed, with the winner of the 7-8th matchup faces the 2nd seed. it's totally stupid, i don't know why they do it that way. let's hope the celtics can remain in the 6th seed so they don't have to play extra games.
it was pouring rain this morning, but luckily my sister volunteered to drive me to her godmother's house for the internet installation between 12-2pm. she came shortly after 11:40am. while we were driving there, my mother called to let us know that the cable guy was already there.
i figured it'd be a quick installation, 5-minutes tops, just enough time to connect the comcast xfinity gateway to the wall outlet. but by the time we made it upstairs to the apartment, the cable guy (a big russian fellow with a neck gaiter) was telling us some bad news: none of the connections were working, there was no signal, and he had to get access to the cable room to troubleshoot the problem. the cable room could be anywhere in the building, though typically it'd be located on the same floor. while he went searching, my sister called the maintenance people and went downstairs to their office even though technically they were closed.
a few minutes later my sister called me from downstairs, said she found someone would could take the cable guy to the control room. i went in search of the cable guy but couldn't find him, but eventually he stepped out of the elevator, where i relayed the message to go downstairs to access the cable room. my sister returned to the apartment. i helped my sister's godmother finish assembling a few ikea chairs she bought by tightening the screws.
it took the cable guy a long time to return, but finally he did. he said the cable room wasn't in the basement but rather on the second floor. someone how found someone who not only knew where it was but could get him inside. he said all the connections were messed up (because they were installed by the electrician, not an authorized comcast technician), but he managed to fix the cable for my sister's godmother's apartment.
from that point on things moved ahead quickly. my sister's godmother had to slip out a bit before 1pm for a 2pm doctor's appointment near south station. my sister and i stayed in the apartment, waiting for the cable guy to finish up. they do a new thing now where they have you set up the network name and password. the first time the new network showed up it didn't have internet access, but the cable guy rebooted the gateway and the second time we managed to get online. he left soon after that, reminded us to fill out the customer survey.
i ran a speedtest, the wifi speed was 60Mbps. i tried setting up the android tv but it required my sister's godmother to input an authentication code with her phone, but since she wasn't there, we couldn't complete the setup. the tv could still get online, but it just wasn't tied into a google account.
my sister and i rearranged some of her godmother's living room furniture. with the dining table and the HDTV, and a tv stand followed by a future sofa, there wasn't enough space for all the furnitures. the table by the window is a nice place to eat or work on the computer, with a great view of boston. we tried putting the HDTV by the wall near the bedroom where there's an existing alcove space, but the HDTV was too wide for that area, the only way would be to put it on a slant. we ended up moving the table so the long side was up against the window, and taking two chairs and turning them into a makeshift HDTV stand. it didn't seem like we were there for very long, but we didn't leave until 2pm.
by then the rain had stopped. my sister drove me to h-mart. while she sat in the car, i went in to get some fish ice cream sandwiches (brown sugar boba flavor), and some crackers that my sister wanted. she described it as "yellow, with a picture of a girl on a bicycle" but i couldn't find anything that matched the description. i ended up calling her to ask if it was in a bag or a box, she walked me through the store to tell me where to find it, turns out i was standing right in front of it, though somebody had flipped the box over so i didn't see the bicycling girl (actually she's on a scooter).
my sister stopped by the vet to get some drugs for hailey before finally dropping me off. i gave her a fish ice cream sandwich while i took 2 packages of cookies.
i felt a little motion sick while i was at my sister's godmother's apartment. i think it was just because i didn't have anything to eat today. when i finally made it back home by 2:30pm, i made myself a matcha latte. it was my first time using the whole foods matcha, i couldn't really tell a difference from my previous matcha, so that's a good sign. i think whole foods groceries are expensive, but you can't beat them in terms of quality (as well as it should be, since you're paying premium price).
i ended up cancelling my sister's godmother's tv stand from wayfair. she needs to properly measure her living room space before getting anymore furniture because i'm afraid she doesn't have the space for everything (table, HDTV, tv stand, sofa). i was afraid wayfair wouldn't let me cancel the order because it'd already been updated on their website as delivered, but they were pretty cool about it, it seems like it happens often enough that it's fairly routine to cancel a disappeared delivery.
i started making dinner around 8pm, some korean rice cakes. first step was to make the seaweed broth, which requires 15 minutes of simmering. while i waited, i split apart 3 potted buttercup squashes that had double seedlings. i should've done this a long time ago, but only got more potting soil yesterday. the seedlings that i removed might not too well since the roots were damaged during the removal, but if they surprise we'll have some bonus squashes.
i had some leftover frozen rice cakes as well a container of leftover frozen tofu. i left them cooking in the spicy tteokbokki sauce while i took care of the grow closet, watering some gravel trays as well as potted seedlings.
it was nearly 9pm before i finally ate. the rice cakes was delicious as always, the sauce a little soupy because i simmered them with the lid one so it wasn't able to reduce and thicken. i had dinner while watching legend of the seeker, the 2008 syndicated fantasy series that lasted 2 seasons. for a show this old, the quality is amazingly good, because they had the foresight of shooting it entirely in HD.
later in the evening i finally tried one of the brown sugar boba fish ice cream sandwiches. maureen had asked me to do a reaction video, so i spent a lot of time in the kitchen setting up my camera, my light, and my microphone. i used my external zoom mic, but because i had it attached to the top of the camera, it picked up the autofocusing vibration sounds of my 28mm lens, which was pretty loud; next time i should have the mic separate, then add the external audio in post-production, something i've never done before. as for ice cream sandwich, it was delicious. the bobas were a bit hard, not as soft as real bobas, more like gelatin, but i think that's because of the frozen nature of the ingredients. but from now on i will eat nothing but brown sugar boba flavored ice cream sandwiches, i can't go back to normal ice cream sandwiches.