i got a chance to video chat with alex in tokyo this morning (evening in japan) using the facetime app. he'd just upgraded from the original ipad to the ipad 3 (with webcam).

afterwards i went to the community garden. i rode the fixed trek; the test ride was a success, no more brake rubbing. sharon was there, talking with another gardener. after she came by to check out what i've been growing, i snapped a few garden photos.

i could've sworn the squashes were at least a few inches smaller yesterday; they're like rapidly expanding clown balloons. left on the vine, i'm sure they could've grown even bigger, but i picked them off since there's plenty more squashes to come.

i picked one zucchini and one cocozelle. the zucchini was bigger, but bent and pale on one side. the cocozelle is the better looking squash. just 5 days ago these were about the size of pickles, but now look at them! there's already a zucchini-in-waiting about the size of a cigar; i can probably harvest it probably this weekend. even the immature squashes on the base of female zucchini flowers look edible already. unfortunately while explaining the plants i found a squash vine borer egg, so the SVB's are definitely back. playing the odds though, i might get lucky, and maybe they'll visit some neighboring squash plants instead.

elsewhere in my plot, i can't wait for some green fruits to turn red: the tomatoes and one pepper. the tomatoes are starting to outgrown their cages (especially the indeterminate cherry tomatoes) and i'll probably need to construct some additional scaffolding to prevent them from toppling over. one of my best boy tomato plants (i have 3 i think) looks to be diseased and hasn't really grown in weeks. one of the better growing cherry tomatoes (i have 2) has begun to show some yellowing on the lower leaves. not sure if it's something serious.

on the flower front, some more shasta daisies. they're sort of low to the ground, no higher than a foot. hopefully they'll grow big enough so they'll be taller next season (they can get as high as 3 feet, my neighbors across the street have a shasta daisy hedge). the delphiniums have begun to produce some flower buds. they seem sort of delicate though, and i recall delphinium flowers are sort of on the dense side, so we'll see how they hold up.

i could've spent some more time in the community garden, but i had a 11:45 doctor's appointment to go to and it was already 11:00. i quickly rode home and took a shower. i didn't leave the house until 11:25, with only 20 minutes to bike down to MGH. i finally arrived but a few minutes late; unfortunately that didn't matter since i waited almost an hour and a half before my doctor could see me. he was apologizing, said he had a patient this morning who showed up for a routine checkup but might possibly have a serious case of cancer, so that took up a lot of his time, which affected the rest of his schedule. i was the last of his morning patients so i ended up with the longest wait.

i was there to follow-up on my high blood pressure results. i've been tracking my BP for the past 6 weeks and even brought my own cuff with its saved data. now i'd thought my BP was fluctuating wildly, and when i did my own readings my numbers were usually high, especially the systolic. but my doctor said for me the more important number was the diastolic, which never went above 90; also compared to his manual cuff, we figured out that my electronic cuff gave a sightly higher systolic reading. basically, nothing to worry about, business as usual, keep on taking my 160mg of diovan daily. he wasn't happy with my cholesterol numbers from last time, and since i didn't eat yet, he decided to get me tested again. so before i left MGH i had some blood taken.

my original plan was to ride down to chinatown to do some shopping, but since i'd been stuck at MGH for nearly 2 hours, it was little late. so i decided to go home, but not before making a pitstop at foodmaster to pick up a carton of woodchuck hard cider (amber, $9.29). i was sweaty from the ride so i took a quick shower before leaving for belmont.

when my parents returned home, i left with my father around 4:00 for the victory garden to do some more work. be bought some extra thai basil seedlings to plant, as well as an avocado pit. he also brought a length of garden hose and earlier was modifying the attachment. turns out he was making a 2 headed watering system with a spare y-connector.

we were primarily there to put down some plastic landscape fabric. our roll of 3'x50' was just enough to cover all our raised beds. the only exception is the southern bed is actually 4+ ft wide, so there were some exposed soil areas. we'll just have to see how aggressive these weeds can be. we then cut holes to allow the seedlings to poke through. the fabric is actually kind of cool, didn't really feel plasticky, more fabric-like than trash-bag-like. covered with tiny holes, water and air can pass through, but not weeds. water seepage isn't so clear-cut though; based on the surface contour, water can either roll across the fabric or stop and soak through. still, it's better than not having it, as a way of trapping the moisture and keeping the soil warm.

maybe because last time we patched some of the holes in the plastic fence, but there were no further critter damages, at least nothing we could see. rabbits seem to be the main concern in our area of the community garden; along the forest edge, it's mostly chipmunks, followed by the occasional groundhog. with the plastic fencing as it is now, i think we're rabbit-proof for the most part. of course it wouldn't be hard for them to chew through the plastic, which is why most people having wire fencing, with a 2 feet border of additional chicken wire. since it's our first season, we'll see how it goes, and then decide if we should reinforce the perimeters.

we met the woman who has the plot north of ours. turns out she was just there to water the garden for her daughter. she couldn't find her hose so my father lent her ours. her daughter actually lives in waltham, while she herself lives in cambridge, on chauncy street, not far from where i live. we discovered this when i told her i had a community garden plot in cambridge, and she's seen the sacramento street garden. her daughter (and son-in-law) used to live on the cape and worked on a farm with acres of land. they couldn't stand living in waltham with no backyard, that's why they got this small garden plot. it's actually their first season, which makes sense, since they also have the cheap victory garden issued plastic fencing like us.

while we were there the gardener to the southeast of us was watering her plot and gave us some extra harvested lemon basil (though it smells like thai basil).

we got back home around 6:00. my sister made a chicken pasta with garden-grown sweet basil and my cocozelle squash. it was actually pretty good, which came as a surprise, since i normally don't like my sister's cooking very much. i might try making the recipe myself, since i have local access to basil and squash as well. and once my tomatoes are ready, i can make my own tomato sauce too. just trying to eat healthy! for dessert, my sister made some balsamic vinegar rosemary strawberries with cake.

when i returned to cambridge, i thought maybe my roommate wasn't home yet but no such luck. it was 8:00 and she had already finished with dinner. she was just listening to music in her bedroom, which seemed unusual, because normally she relaxes with either some online chinese variety show or sitcom.

i finally managed to record an episode of bin bin talk, the triweekly cambridge community access television (CCTV-9) show produced and hosted by my relative bin bin. unfortunately there seemed to be some technical difficulties, and another show kept on cutting into her segment, and then the show just abruptly ended prematurely. in this particular episode, she was interviewing a young chinese entrepreneur based in chicago (she flew to chicago to record the interview), all in english.