with my heat going out a few times these past 2 weeks, i've grown very paranoid that it will go out again, even though i think i've solved the problem by clearing away the snow around the vents by the side of the house. i pay close attention to any sounds coming from the basement, and during the night, sometimes i get out of bed to stand over the floor register to make sure hot air is blowing out.

i left for boston around 11:00, wanted to send out some postcards i wrote last night, send it out from the city so it'd have a boston stamp. i got off at south station and went to the fort point post office behind the T station. i bought some more international forever stamps ($1.15/piece, they only had christmas wreath ones) and sent off 4 postcards to china (sunmeng, wangyan, lihui, sarah li). it will take 3 weeks to get there, but with chinese new year in less than 2 weeks, i don't know if there'll be a delay. the one problem i can see is sunmeng is planning on leaving her company at the beginning of march, so she might be gone by the time the postcard arrives. i was also going to send one to WWY, but when i asked her for her new address, she begged me to wait until after chinese new year, because they're planning on moving their office. most people gave me their work address; they don't seem to use their home address a whole lot, or think the mail will get lost. when i lived in china i had a mailbox but i never used it, nor did i even have a key.

from south station i backtracked into chinatown to pick up a few things from the chinese supermarket on lincoln street (a head of chinese cabbage, some snacks). then i walked from there to haymarket, where i figured i could get some cheap produce.

it was a cold day (15 degrees) but wasn't too bad. i warmed up from the walking and had my two jackets unzipped, without a hat or gloves. there were snow piles everywhere, not much you can do about that. maybe because of all the snow, there was sparse pickings at haymarket. less than half the vendors were there, and there wasn't much variety in terms of selection. many had erected tents around their stands, heated inside with diesel generators. can't just leave the produce laying around, they're liable to freeze in this temperature.

there wasn't much so i only bought a box of blueberries ($1.50) and a string of garlic ($1). i grabbed the train from haymarket station and returned to cambridge, a canvas tote bag hanging from one shoulder, the camera on the other.

i finally got home around 1:40 and ate lunch, heated up some leftover pizza.

the ultrasonic humidifier seems clean enough, but i read it should be cleaned weekly. so i went to the kitchen and added some vinegar and water to both the base and the tank. after waiting 20 minutes for it to disinfect, i refilled the tank and added 4 drops of eucalyptus tree oil. the mist that came out afterwards had a very soothing refreshing scent to it.

i also did a water change on my empty aquarium. actually, more like a water addition, since the water level was down by a 1/3. there was a bit of algae that formed when i first changed out the water, but it never got any worse after that, the algae sort of stopped with no fish life to increase the nitrogen levels. i added some plant fertilizer, hoping to rebound the java ferns growing inside. i think the problem has more to do with the light source, a fading 14 watt fluorescent tube sitting in a crumbling light strip. i'm looking to upgrade to LED's, but i'm trying to find a suitable light strip that will fit the width of the 7 gallon tank (15" across). if wonder if it's easier just switching to a standard 10 gallon tank (i have several in the basement); but the minibow just looks cooler with it's convex front end (looks bigger than it actually is).

feeling cold, i retreated to the guest bedroom around 5:00, the warmest room in the house next to the bathroom, and even more so under the covers. i watched a little video from my laptop but got drowsy so decided to go to sleep. around 6:00 the heat kicked in (night setting of 68 degrees); but it got so warm and stuffy in the room, i was worried it might be carbon monoxide instead and that i would be choked to death in my sleep. i woke up at 7:30, heated the rest of the pizza for dinner.