riding in the snow isn't that challenging. you just have to learn to avoid certain pitfalls. for instance, avoid icy patches. and don't ride over compact mounds of snow because the uneven contours have a way of locking your bike tires and you're liable to topple over. i stopped by the cafe on my way to belmont to help my father clean the steps at my grand uncle's place. he'd already salted it earlier, i just had to scrape off the melted ice and then resalt the steps.

arriving in belmont, i told my sister she should go outside and shovel the sidewalks, which were only partially cleared away by my father this morning before he left for work. she agreed, but only after she found her special gloves. not knowing how long i'd have to wait, i went outside and shoveled the walk myself. i just had my t-shirt on because i was so hot from the bike ride, and i didn't even use gloves. i also shook off all the snow weighing down the evergreen bushes. my mother cooked up some poached eggs, buffalo sausage, and turkey bacon for lunch.

later i went out into the backyard to throw some snow with the dog.

today was my mother's birthday. earlier she and my sister had a fight and my sister said she wouldn't go out with us to dinner tonight. i managed to guilt her into changing her mind, but i had a feeling she'd somehow find a way to sabotage it all. sure enough, she said no one could ride in her car to the restaurant until she found these plastic floormats she removed months ago. she blamed us for misplacing them ("just don't touch my stuff!"), and then blamed us for not helping her find them ("don't just sit there and knit!" she told my mother).

when my sister argues - which is quite often - she has a scorched earth policy, saying some of the meanest and nastiest things just so she can have the last word. i'm normally quite calm, but when i get into it with my sister, sometimes i just want to punch her. she told my mother that just because it's her birthday doesn't mean people have to do what she says ("you're nothing special," she said). she brought up her own birthday, said none of us took her out to dinner (even though she went out with friends on that night). she blamed everyone but herself and ended up putting my mother in tears before storming off to her room to text her friends to tell them how impossible her family is.

when i tried to guilt her again by (lying) we were canceling dinner plans, she said, "fine, i don't care!" so when my father came home from work in the early evening, we left without saying a word to my sister. we probably enable her because by tomorrow she'll be all smiles again, as if nothing happened, and we'll be quick to forgive. but i'm not so willing to forget her abuse this time, i want her to pay, and i want her to know that her actions have consequences. my sister is my nemesis and i will find a way to defeat her.

we went to go pick up my 2nd aunt and uncle at the cafe before going to victoria's seafood restaurant in allston-brighton, where lili and matthew would be meeting us. after we finished eating, my aunt lili brought out a strawberry cake she made as a birthday surprise for my mother. afterwards i got a ride back to cambridge; i'll pick up my bicycle tomorrow, which is still at my parents' place.

i was watching the dolphins-patriots game before dinner: new england had a 14-0 lead and looked like they were in good shape to win. the houston texans had already lost earlier, so when i found out later that the patriots had won the game, that meant new england would get the 2nd seed in the AFC and would have a bye next week. unfortunately the denver broncos also won their game, so there could be a chance the patriots will meet peyton manning in the near future.