for lunch i had some oatmeal but instead of chicken sausages i used some chorizo, which made for a spicier meal. chorizo made another appearance for dinner when i cooked up some beans and rice using an old box of instant rice (i tossed the flavor packet). can rice really expire? it smelled a little stale but seemed normal after i cooked it. into the mix was some frozen spinach and fresh cilantro. it tasted okay, a little plain but cheap and nutritious.
i also found my bag of sichuan peppercorn i purchased in 2006. 8 years later they're still pungent when i eat them but they smell stale and their original reddish color have faded somewhat. compare those to the fresh peppercorns i purchased before i left china, which are a lot redder and have a strong spicy peppercorn aroma. i ended up cleaning a few jars and storing the peppercorns in those instead of just plastic bags.
i only went outside to take out the trash in the evening. earlier during the day, i thought about going to the supermarket or the bank, but with the temperature hovering around the freezing mark, i figured whatever errands i had i could save them until tomorrow. of course it was nice and toasty inside the house. actually the colder it gets outside, the more my heater kicks in and makes the house all warm inside. the worst is when the out temperature just hovers around 50-60's, not yet cold enough for my heater to kick in completely. but i say we're beyond that point now, with record breaking cold temperature today for all 50 states.