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i wasn't expecting much on this 4th of july, not with the annual boston fireworks cancelled due to the coronavirus. but when i arrived at my parents' place in the late morning, my mother informed me we were having a barbecue, and that she invited my aunt as well. they've been meeting a few times a week at the cafe for knitting projects so my mother felt it was safe. however, she told me that my sister cancelled at the last moment (my sister who was supposed to bring all the food), all because we weren't eating outside because my mother didn't want to get mosquito bites. my mother called my sister back and convinced her to come so the barbecue was still on.

i had some taiwanese 滷飯 (braised rice) for lunch, a new dish my parents will be introduce at the cafe once they open next week.

i left for boston around 11:30am, after readjusting my new bike seat (it keeps tilting forward) and pumping the tires. today was the anniversary of the pokemon go game. to celebrate, special edition (wearing birthday hats) bulbasaurs, chramanders, and squirtles were popping up. there was also a special edition flying pikachu.

first stop was MGH, where i wanted to get my lab work done (my doctor wants to check my potassium levels now that i'm on irbesartan). i figured with waning coronavirus case numbers, it'd be safe to return to the hospital. they screen everyone coming in. when i told the guy i was here to get my lab work done, he informed me they're closed today and tomorrow.

i thought it was a hospital thing but later realized it's because of the 4th of july weekend. since july 4th (tomorrow) falls on a saturday, today is the observed day. that's why there were so many people out today, more so than usual, more so than on a typical friday. in inman square i saw a long line outside of the free clinic. they must be doing covid-19 testing. most of those waiting in line were young, not sure what prompted so many people to get tested. maybe a lot of them attended one of the many black live matters protests a few weeks back and wanted to make sure they didn't contract anything. the line was so long it snaked around the block.

i arrived at ming's market by noontime. first thing i noticed when i went inside was how long the lines were. i wasn't getting a lot of groceries but i took my time to allow the lines to thin out. i love exploring asian supermarkets (or supermarkets of any kind, actually), i always find something new. while browsing the cooking wine aisle, i noticed they also had some plum wine. this is of course illegal because they don't have a liquor license but i'm not going to say anything. they were moon lake brand, which i've never heard before. one of them was even a choya knockoff, with a similar looking green bottle and actual plums soaking in the wine. i decided to get a bottle, it was only $7.99.

i probably waited longer in line than i did shopping, similar to last time. today was even worse, i think they miscalculated and was understaffed, not realizing that a lot of people had the day off today. i stood behind a trio of cantonese shoppers. two of them were double masking, while a third wore a rain coat, a KN95 mask, a face shield, a haircut, then wrapped her whole head in a clear plastic bag. they were annoying, kept taking turns coming back with more groceries. at one point all three of them were gone, and i ended up having to push their cart to get the line moving. when one of the woman came back, she seemed angry that i'd pushed her cart for her. they were also buying a lot of meats, and left the counter wet with meat juices. one of the woman spoke with the cashier in broken mandarin, as the checkout girl didn't speak cantonese.

even though i arrived at ming's market around 12pm, i didn't leave until more than an hour later, at 1:20pm. i then slowly moseyed my way back to cambridge, along the charles river bike path, then over the mass ave bridge towards MIT. i finally got home a bit after 2pm.

lounging on the couch, i got sleepy and decided to take a short nap around 6pm. i didn't wake up until 8pm, when it was already starting to get dark.

i didn't start dinner preparations until almost 9pm. i decided to cut one of my watermelons first, since i probably wouldn't want to do it after i had my dinner. it took me 20 minutes to render a whole watermelon into cubes. i put most of it away in containers, leaving just a quarter to eat later. i then made another greek salad. at this point i'm kind of salad'ed out. next week, either a quiche pie (to use up my diced ham and pie crust) or red thai curry.

i rode to belmont in the late morning, to do some preventative spraying of serenade fungicide and Btk insecticide. my parents weren't home but my mother called me a short time later, asking where i was. i told her i was at their place, she said they were outside my place in cambridge, out doing a supply run in preparation for their soft opening next tuesday. she said she had the cloth moth traps and put them through my mail slot. i couldn't see where they put the rest in belmont, so said to look at the carpet in the sunroom, where apparently there was a moth infestation. sure enough, in a neglected corner of the room, moths seemed to have been eating the carpet, swarming in that area, getting caught in the traps. later i took some duct tape and rolled it over the carpet to see what i could pick up. it looked like rug mange, layered with colored moth larvae droppings.

i sprayed what little remained of the serenade mix i made weeks ago on the grapes and the tomatoes before i ran out. not sure about the shelf life for mixed serenade, i'll probably need to spray again sometime soon, especially on the squash and cucumber plants which are prone to disease.

i then mixed a batch of Bt (arrived yesterday, 1 tbsp to 1 gallon of rain water). it seemed like a lot but i ended up using it all. Bt is for killing squash vine borers. i don't know if they're effective against the eggs, only the larvae, and they have to ingest it in order for it to work. i consider it a second line of defense along with hand picking any eggs i find. i sprayed all the squashes (buttercup, the ones we got from matthew, the zucchinis) along with the cucumbers, since SVB will sometimes mistake them for squash. while i was spraying the zucchini in RB0, an adult SVB was flying around laying new eggs. i tried to kill it but they're good fliers.

i ended up spending 3 hours doing various yard work in the hot sun. i returned home by 3pm.

i rewatched john waters' 1990 cry-baby. i remember seeing it at allston cinema with my aunt. something i didn't appreciate at the time was just how many celebrity cameos he had in the film. i recognized traci lords, iggy pop, and patty hearst, but he also had troy donahue, david nelson, and joey heatherton playing the various parents.

i finished a small box of bean dip with salsa chips in the afternoon. maybe that's why i wasn't hungry and didn't have dinner until after 10pm.

greek salad
(single serving)

1/2 bag of salad mix
onion, diced
tomato, diced
cucumber, diced
pepperoncini, chopped
kalamata olives, chopped
diced ham
feta cheese, crumbled
greek dressing

the only mistake i made with my greek salad was i bought non-pitted olives. i made that discovery when i tried to chop them and hit something hard. maybe that's why they were less expensive, i'll know next time. that meant when i was eating my salad, i had to be careful every time i can across an olive. i was going to cut one of my watermelons but it was already too late, figured i do that tomorrow.

i biked to belmont this morning to check out the clearance sale on summer gardening supplies. i was hoping to beat the rain, which according to the forecast would start around noontime and continue raining into the evening. during my ride there was a misty fog that dissipated midway through.

i found my mother just about to leave for her daily walk. my father was in the backyard harvesting spiderwort stalks and purslane to eat. he said he'd go with me to target and came inside to get ready.

my father showed me the pantry moth traps that arrived yesterday. the ones set up in the living room and sunroom actually caught some, while the one in the bedroom didn't seem to do anything. they were all hanging flat instead of folded into a tent. the one in the living room hung by a light that attracted the moths in the evening and helped to trap them. these are just for pantry moths; the traps for clothes moths will arrive today.

we went to the watertown target. as we were leaving, a fedex delivery truck driver dropped off two large boxes. they were the medical supplies we'd ordered less than 2 days ago. we also saw my mother on her way home, we waved to her from the car as we droved by.

haven't been there in a while, they did some additional renovations, including expanding their food department and now offering beers and alcohol. we found the garden clearance items at the back of the store, but only a few of them were actually on clearance, the rest were still regular price. of course all the clearance items were already sold out. we left with 4 bottles of 70% alcohol ($3/each), basically emptied their alcohol supply.

back at the house, i got ready to leave. my sister had also stopped by. even though it was now sunny, thick cumulus clouds filled the sky, threatening rainstorms at any moment. i wanted to get home before that happened. i took my new omron series 10 blood pressure monitor (BP7450, $68), a box of bandaids (family pack), a pantry moth trap, and a box of cedar wood for my closets and dresser.

i didn't get back home until after 12:30pm. after placing the various cedar blocks throughout the house, i set up the pantry moth trap still in its foiled packaging. instead of laying it out flat i folded it into a tent. there was already a pantry moth in the empty cupboard and i sort of manually snared it with the trap, so my first moth was actually a cheat. later in the afternoon i did find a second moth lured by the trap; whether it was attracted to the pheromone scent i can't say. throughout the day i found a few more moths in the house after having gone a few days where i didn't see any; those i dispatched manually, no trap required. there's also been a fruit fly infestation in the house on top of the pantry moths; i set up a little trap jar of apple cider vinegar with some dish soap; by evening's end i still hadn't caught any.

for lunch i had some vanilla yogurt mixed with granola.

i received another call from the census department. the agent let me know that training will begin on july 21st, time and location to be determined. it will be 2 hours, you need to bring 2 forms of id or a passport, and must wear a face mask. additional PPE will be provided along with an iphone which will be used for making calls. the rest of the paid training will be done online (for social distancing reasons). i will be receiving a confirmation e-mail within 24 hours.

i tried out the new blood pressure monitor (BPM). my 11+ year old omron HEM-711DLX still works but the LCD has started acting weird, disappearing numbers even after i tried fixing it. i figured i was due for a replacement, and nowadays BPM's have bluetooth and can transfer data into a phone app that can then be exported.

i was surprised it came with 4 AA batteries, i figured i'd have to supply my own. it also came with an AC adapter plug. i thought my old BPM was big; the BP7450 is even bigger if that's even possible. everything seems larger, from the screen to the numbers. the old BPM resembled a large plastic door wedge; this new BPM was like a loaf of pound cake. the BP7450 isn't exactly portable, more of a desktop monitor; maybe that's why it didn't even come with a carrying case. the new monitor not only shows me my current measurement but my last measurement as well. i really like the white digits on black background, feels easier to read.

despite everything seemingly jumbo-sized for the sake of seniors, the patented comfit cuff is smaller than my old BPM. omron also carries a more traditional d-ring cuff but i'm used to the pre-formed comfit cuff. the smaller cuff size fits me just fine but i'd imagine it'd be more difficult for somebody with bigger muscles. the design of the comfit cuff has changed; my old cuff had felt fabric on the inside, i was always worried i'd get it dirty and wouldn't be able to clean it; the inside of the new cuff is made of a water resistant fabric, less likely to get stained and easier to clean.

i downloaded the omron connect app and tried setting up an account (it doesn't connect with the BPM unless you have an account) but it wouldn't let me, something about a server error. i kept trying, finally by late afternoon i managed to create one. there's a bit of a technical fiddling but once i got it set up, transferring data to the phone app was a breeze.

after taking several readings, i was surprised that my blood pressure was elevated again. the phone app really accentuates that fact with warning colors and categorizing my blood pressure as hypertension stages 1 and 2. i thought switching to irbesartan finally kept my numbers down after all these years, though i have been snacking on some very salty foods lately. i thought maybe it was the new monitor but when i measured my blood pressure with my old reader, it was just as high. the app allowed me to take screenshots initially but later blocked me from doing so, not sure what the security risk would be from capturing them on my own phone.

i spent the day waiting for rain, but whenever i do that, rain never comes, and that was true for today. the radar showed it was pouring rain everywhere except for areas around boston. i don't mind since we've already filled up our rain barrels, but with so much cumulus clouds today, i was almost expecting to see something spectacular stormwise. i went out a few times to bring in the trash. i bumped into renee for the first time in a long while; she told me about camping at the cape last week. i wanted to bring up the firewood piled against our house situation but decided to wait for another time.

for dinner i reheated the leftover tofu/rice cakes from yesterday. it wasn't that great but it was edible. the remainder of the week i'm having fool-proof greek salad.

another grey day, the last of june. having gone to bed early last night at 11:30pm, i felt fully recharged this morning, and didn't feel tired at all throughout the day. i warmed up a chicken bake in the oven for lunch. in the early afternoon i walked to star market to pick up a watermelon. i still can't believe that for $3.99 i can buy a 17 lbs. watermelon that would be impossible for me to try growing here in new england as we simply don't have enough hot days. at that price, i'm tempted to buy a watermelon every day.

the threat of rain seemed to have stopped by late afternoon, giving me a window to visit market basket to return some more cans, cash in my stack of unused redemption coupons, and get a few grocery items. i decided to make cheese buldak (with tofu, so buldubu) for dinner and i was missing scallions. i also got greek salad ingredients, the second half of my dinner plans for later this week.

google gave its youtube tv subscribers a surprise today by announcing a price increase from $50 to $65/month beginning in august. they said the reason was due to the rising cost of content and the addition of 8 new CBS viacom channels: BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land, and VH1. other than comedy central, i have no interests in any of those other channels, and even CC i can do without. at $65/month it's now more expensive to have both youtube tv and cable internet versus cable tv and cable internet. we're going to need to reevaluate our tv subscription service. either go back to comcast or switch to something else like hulu + live tv ($55/month). goes without saying nobody is happy about it on the youtubetv subreddit. it doesn't make a lot of sense other than a naked money grab, to increase the price during the coronavirus pandemic when people are spending more time at home, and to simply add 8 measly low value junk channels for a $15/month increase.

i did not get sleepy around 5-6pm, which is typically the time when i start feeling tired. in fact, i didn't even know it was already early evening, the day having gone by relatively fast.

we eked out a bit of production today despite the abysmally grey weather. we didn't set a new production record (that was always going to be difficult with just 30 days in june) but 2020 was the highest production for the month of june. it was also the 4th highest production, beating out august 2018 and 2019 production, but not surpassing july's numbers nor the current monthly highest record of last month. the past few days we just too cloudy to overcome that production hurdle. we did break the 1.2 MWh mark though, with a final production of 1215kWh for the month of june.

my parents' electricity bill actually arrived a few days ago. they made $44.17 worth of credit, for a grand total of $206.99 electricity credit. we need all the credit we can get if we're going to be running our led lights again in the grow room during the winter.

while assembling my dinner ingredients, i discovered the garlic cloves i had in the house had all dried up and turned to moldy dust. it was already past 8pm by that point, i was afraid star market was closed, but they're back to their normal hours now, closing time at 10pm, so i quickly ran across the street to get some garlic.

cheese buldubu (불 두부)
(2 servings)

14 oz. fried tofu wedges

1/2 cup hot pepper flakes
2 tbsp gochujang paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp cooking oil

1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup karo dark corn syrup
6 garlic, chopped
2 tsp ginger, chopped

1 bowl frozen rice cakes
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
scallions, chopped


cut tofu wedges in half. mix rest of ingredients to form paste, mixed with tofu. heat frozen rice cakes in pan with some oil until soften, set aside. heat tofu and hot paste mixture in pan on medium-high for 10 minutes with cover on. add rice cakes, heat 10 more minutes low heat. top with mozzarella cheese. served when cheese melted. top with scallions.

the dish i was making tonight is based off of maangchi's cheese buldak recipe, except substituting fried tofu wedges for chicken (the inspiration came from a lifehacker article extolling the virtues of tofu). i'd gotten some of the ingredients (fried tofu) back in may but only now was i finally making it. the steps were simple, basically combine all the ingredients, mix with tofu, cook, then add the rice cakes. it already looked delicious while i was mixing the hot sauce, and even more so when i added the tofu. it seemed like it would taste just as great without cooking, eat it cold and spicy. adding the dark corn syrup took it to another level of decadence, i couldn't wait to eat it. but i'd forgotten that the original recipe called for broiling to crisp up the cheese topping, and i don't have any pots that's oven safe (other than the dutch oven, which was simple too tall). so i skipped the broiling part. also while i was cooking it started to look very dry, to the point where i added some water, afraid it'd turn out to be a crispy dried lump of tofu and rice cakes.

the finished buldubu with cheese was just okay. all the pieces were delicious, but after i cooked everything, it lost a lot of the magic of the fresh ingredients. in theory it should've worked, but something went wrong. for one thing, it was too dry. the spicy paste sort of disappeared, though some of the charred pieces of tofu and rice cakes were more delicious because of the caramelized sugar. the rice cake also clumped together. it is a very filling dish, starch from the rice cake combined with the protein from the tofu. it's a recipe worth revisiting, or find a better spicy korean tofu with rice cake recipe.

i couldn't fall asleep again last night, didn't go to bed until after 5am. i woke up at 9:30am, didn't feel all that tired, but now in the evening i can feel myself running out of energy. so i'm going to bed early, wake up tomorrow to finish this blog post.

since my father was going to stop by the cafe anyway to pick up his replacement credit card, i called him this morning asking if i could get a ride to belmont. with unexpected rains expected for much of the day, i didn't want to risk riding and getting caught in a sudden downpour. i also had things to bring to belmont, including a watermelon i bought on friday and the craftsman collapsing lawn chair i picked up. plus, i would be able to help him pick up the new mattress from fresh pond that my parents purchased yesterday.

my father came by around 10am. after loading up the car, we went to fresh pond, navigating the new "local only" pedestrian pathway designation of garden street. since cars are still allowed on the street, pedestrians for the most part are still reluctant to walk on the road instead of the sidewalk. it's one of those, "good in theory, bad in practice" ideas. i hope the city of cambridge get rid of it soon. now that the state is slowly reopening, people don't need more barriers to get to where they want to go.

when i got back home i found a letter addressed to me, hand written in cursive. turns out it was a card from maureen, along with a packet of toothache plant seeds. she'd asked for my address a week ago, i thought it was because she was updating her contact list, but turns out she was sending out cards. there were also some nice orchid forever stamps.

my 2nd aunt called me this morning, asked me to stop by her place before i went to my parents' so she could give me some oil rice. i left my house by 11:30am, calling her to let her know i'd be there in 5 minutes. i found her waiting in her building's lobby, double-masked, with a bag of food for me to bring to my parents, including some cherries, same salted duck eggs, some bananas, and a bitter melon.

i had some oil rice (油飯) for lunch. ingredients-wise it was on point, but my 2nd aunt made a mistake cooking it and the rice was all stuck together into a big gelatinous mess, not at all what oil rice is supposed to be. i ate a few fork-bites but couldn't finish the rest.

sunday would be spent waiting (hoping) for it to rain again. yesterday was our best day for a soaking rain but it was mostly false advertising and we eked out an inch of rain in the barrels at most, one of the new barrels still empty as there wasn't enough water pressure to even fill it by a trickle. the clouds when i arrived this morning looked dramatic, but hard to gauge what's in store for the afternoon. it was hot and humid, more so than yesterday, and if a storm was to break out, we had the ingredients for something significant. the future cast radar was a mess, showed storms popping up everywhere, but future casting for these kind of quick burst rainstorms are so inaccurate, it was more of a suggestion than anything actual.

we didn't have to wait long. around 1pm it started to rain. big fat drops landing like water balloons. we though it was just a passing shower; what we didn't realize was it was the start of a deluge that would last until very late into the evening. to say it rained would be a tremendous understatement. it's as if the sky was somehow making up for all the weeks we didn't get rain by dumping it all on us in just a single day. it was torrential downpours. as soon as it seemed like it'd stopped, another downpour would soon follow, again and again.

it rained so fast and so hard the lawn didn't have enough time to soak up all that water so the grass became flooded swamps. our rain barrels couldn't keep up: the open-top catch barrels would fill to capacity, but the hoses couldn't fill the connected empty barrels quick enough so a lot of that first round of rain was wasted, pumped out of the 1-1/4" overflow hoses. it seemed like a waste of rain water at the time, little did we know we'd be getting so much more rain that it didn't matter. the lull period was important, gave the barrels enough time to distribute the rain water. subsequent downpours were more evenly distributed between the barrels.

it rained so hard and the ground was so dry that it temporarily flooded the front of the house behind the shrubs. it didn't help that the overflow hose was right underneath the bushes; i moved the 24ft hose away from the house so at least it drained out onto the sidewalk. that turned out to be a bad choice as well since the water draining out onto the street went through the newly seeded sidewalk bed, cutting a deep furrow in the soil. of the 3 new barrels, the catch barrel filled up first. the 3rd barrel filled up second (even though it was completely empty yesterday), as it was getting rain water from both the nearby cabin barrel and the one by the garage. the 2nd barrel filled up last.

despite the pouring rain, i hung out in the backyard for most of the day, observing the rain barrels, one after another. i took photos with both my dSLR curled underneath my armpit to keep it from getting soaked as well as my pixel 3XL (supposedly waterproof). the garden looks more dramatic when photographed in the rain. during breaks between downpours, i'd do a bit of gardening, weeding the raised beds, removing squash vine borer eggs from the squash plants, inspecting the other plants for pests. the breaks were unusual, sometimes it'd get very hot and humid (especially if the sun managed to break through the clouds), while other times it'd be cool and breezy. we are but playthings to the forces of weather.

we also realized that the black storage barrel next to the sunroom catch barrel only had one input connection, while all the other barrels had two. that meant of all the barrels, this one would fill up the slowest and last. this was also the barrel with the rain water gauge. that's actually pretty accurate, since the water level of this "dead end" barrel would mean the other barrels would be equally full, if not more. the water level didn't rise at first, since the gauge barrel needed the other barrels to fill up first before it would fill up as well. but slowly the level kept on increasing, until the floating indicator pearl (actually just the tail end of a toothbrush handle) was nearly out of the rubber hose. that meant all barrels were full: (8 * 55 gallons) + (3 * 50 gallons) = 590 gallons of rain water.

once the barrels were all at capacity, there was nowhere else for the rain to go but out the overflow hoses, where it flooded the lawn. it seemed like such a waste of water that i started collecting the overflow in buckets. the rain was coming out at such a torrent, that it only took a few seconds to fill up a 2.5 gallon bucket. my parents saw what i was doing and found additional containers in the house to catch the rain, including a cooler.

during another round of downpours in the late afternoon, i decided to take advantage of the surplus water by cleaning out all my lotus barrels. this involved removing the wash basins where the lotuses were rooted and growing from, pouring out the dirty water in the barrels with buckets (nowhere else to put that water except onto the lawn), clean the inside of the barrels, then refill them. i had to work fast since i didn't know when the rain would stop again and no more water would be coming out from the overflow hoses. i managed to clean the middle barrels and the side barrels before the rain stopped. the lotus barrel by the basement entrance i'll do another time if we can another rain shower. it was hard work, carrying buckets of water around, sloshing on the flooded lawn, all the while holding the umbrella in the crook of my neck. a few times i abandoned the umbrella since it made it hard to work. i was soaked afterwards, fortunately i brought a spare t-shirt (though i had to remain in my wet shorts).

i figured with so much rain that the backyard would be flooded for a while. however that was not the case, as the ground soon soaked up the water once it stopped raining. you would've never known that minutes earlier, the place was a swamp.

i first read about the breaking sports news on my phone: cam newton signs a 1-year league minimum contract with the new england patriots. i'd heard that the patriots might be a possibility for cam, but his ostentatious personality seemed to be against everything new england stands for ("team first" mentality). but the patriots need a starting quarterback (besides 2nd year rookie jarrett stidham and perennial backup brian hoyer) and cam newton needs a place to rehabilitate and showcase his former MVP talents so he can earn a maximum contract after his 1-year stint at new england. both sides want this to happen and have it be successful. i went from not wanting to hear anything football related since brady (and gronk!) left for florida to i can't get enough of cam newton watch. the biggest question now is this: will cam newton settle in the town of newton?

around 1am i went to renee's alleyway with a flash light to move a trash barrel directly underneath a dripping gutter. i won't be able to sleep at night with that chinese water torture. my indian neighbors' dog jojo started barking though when he heard me outside. i still remember the lie they told renee when they promised her that their new dog didn't bark. they've already been here 2 years, i was hoping they'd be moving out, but maybe they're signed up for a 3rd year. i don't think renee would kick them out anyway, they seem to be pay their rent on time, which is probably while renee would tolerate them secretly getting a dog without asking her first. they told her it was a comfort animal, part of their couple therapy.

a bit later i went out again, this time to place one of my pokemons at the nearest poke gym so i can earn my 50 coins come morning. it's a pretty stupid thing to do, says something about my pokemon go addiction. i wore my mask even though all the people i've ever encountered walking around in the middle of the night never wear masks. it was also thundering and midway through my mission it started to rain, like hard. i had to run back home, the mask making it hard to breathe, my body out of shape for running, my heart beating out of my chest. hope it was worth it!

i biked to belmont because we were getting some rain later in the afternoon. the forecast said 3pm but by around 1:30pm i already started feeling drops outside. it was a very light drizzle initially, wasn't even enough rain to run off the roof, into the gutters, then through the downspouts into our rain barrels. it wasn't until 4:30pm when it'd rained enough that we finally started getting some accumulation. the sound of rain trickling into the barrels is a soothing music. i knew our existing rain barrels were working, but i was curious about the 3 new barrels out in front of the house. the catch barrel was filling up, the one next to it was slowly getting a trickle of water, while the third barrel on the end wasn't getting anything. later when the rain stopped i went outside to check the front barrels again: the third barrel was still empty, the middle barrel had some water but it was below the brass bulkhead fitting, and the catch barrel had the most rain.

the rain gauge in the backyard only increased by about an inch at most. that meant all 11 rain barrels had to increase by that much (only 10 since one of the barrels was still empty). if we were somehow able to collect all the rain from the roof into a single barrel, it would still only raise the water meter level less than a foot (10 inches). it doesn't mean we got an inch of rainfall though; the official count in boston was just 0.02" worth of rain.

we need more rain! rain barrels are worthless without rain. just our luck we decided to expand our rain barrel collection by 4 more barrels (200 gallons) during a time when massachusetts is experiencing a summer drought. lawns are all yellow, the garden plants look dehydrated, my garlics seem stunted. what i wouldn't give for a long soaking rain! but it's been so dry that if we were to receive a sudden burst of torrential rain, a lot of that would simply flow into the storm drains as the ground is too dry to absorb so much water. we need a long slow soaking instead of a deluge.

i biked down to chinatown this morning even though i didn't need anything. instead, i used the trip as an opportunity to replenish my pokeball supply by hitting several dozen pokestops and also gave me a chance to get some exercise. it was another hot but dry day, so more comfortable than oppressive. a t-shirt, shorts, and a bike helmet was all that i needed as i made my way to ming's market.

one of the things i was looking for were chacha brand salted sunflowers (blue bag). when my parents came on monday, my mother couldn't find them, which made me worried they'd stop selling them because nobody was buying (except me). i found them in the same spot they always were, right by the door when you first come in. i grabbed 5 bags. i also got some preserved sour mustard and a head of napa cabbage for my mother.

instead of going home, i took a detour to wander into south boston via traveler street. it made me realize i've never really been to south boston before. i've been on the periphery, like castle island, but i've never been through the heart of southie. i have been to broadway station before, back in september 2018, when i came here to buy a used macbook pro magsafe charger from somebody working in the south end. riding down west broadway, i couldn't help noticing how gentrified the area had become: fancy outdoor seating restaurants next to traditional irish bars. the demographics were different too, upscale whites mixed with blacks, asians, and hispanics, a real diversity of ethnicities. i made it all the way to the of broadway, where west becomes east, to find a chinese takeout restaurant called leechen. for many reasons this place is special, but when i first spotted it on a map, i knew i had to come and see the place for myself, advertised as a chinese/mexican place. unfortunately it was closed, hopefully it didn't go out of business and i can come back and sample some chinese mexican cuisine.

there was plenty more to explore (dorchester heights, carson beach, another 10 minute ride from the JFK library), but i was hauling groceries and getting a bit hangry, so i decided to head back to cambridge. i cut back across the way i came, going by the boston common to get on the esplanade and make my way home via the charles river bike path, turning into cambridge via the MIT bridge.

i saw waterlilies in the charles river lagoons. these are native Nymphaea odorata and supposedly the flowers are very fragrant but i couldn't smell anything from the shoreline. the flowers are typically white but occasionally there are pink variants in the wild.

i left the house this morning at 10:30am and didn't get back home until 1pm, 2-1/2 hours later. after a shower, i steamed the last of my zongzi for lunch. i didn't go out again until 2:30pm. i went to the beacon street star market to pick up a watermelon ($3.99 on sale) and some cherries (96¢/lbs. using a digital coupon); watermelon they had, cherries they didn't.

after dropping off the watermelon at home, i got my bicycle, loaded up the rear baskets with empty cans and bottles, and went to market basket to deposit them plus pick up some more groceries. i had my eyes on a bag of shishito peppers i wanted to try, as well as more stuffed grape leaves. once again like yesterday, i forgot to use the deposit redemption coupons.

after dropping off the groceries at home, i went out again, this time to the porter square star market where they did have bags of cherries. at that price ((96¢/lbs.) it's a steal, but the one caveat is that you can't buy more than 2-1/2 lbs. worth of cherries (i can easily eat 5 lbs. worth of cherries in a single day), so i left with only a small bag.

that'd be the last time i'd go outside today, spending the rest of the day indoors. judging from the clouds it looked like it might rain, but it never did.

i felt a little sleepy around 7pm and took a short nap on the couch, waking up around 8pm. production-wise we didn't break 50kWh yet again; i think the problem is dust on the panels. hopefully it'll rain tomorrow and gave the panels a cleaning.

for dinner i boiled the rest of my chicken tortellini combined with tomato sauce and meatballs. i through some hot pepper rings into the mix to spice things up a little. next week i'm hoping to make some greek salad, something healthy and cool for what looks to be another warm week.