i heard i could fill out my health insurance renewal form online. when i tried to log into my mass health connector account however, i hit a page saying that i needed to verify my id and had to call them to resolve the problem. i tried calling twice, both times i have to navigate through the menu tree, only to have the pleasure of listening to muzak for half an hour each time until i finally gave up. i will fill out the paper forms and send them in the old fashion way. i did the tax returns for my 2nd aunt this morning. pretty straight-forward, just a 1099-MISC and some social security benefits. while i was at it, i reviewed my own taxes which i done weeks ago but just wanted to double check my numbers before sending everything out.

i rode to belmont in the afternoon. while passing by fresh pond along huron avenue, i spotted some maple trees that were being tapped. that got me thinking about the large norwegian maple tree in my parents' backyard. at one point we thought about chopping it down completely just to allow more sunlight in the backyard, but what if we can make use of it, possibly tap it for sap that we can then use to make maple syrup? norwegian maples don't have high sugar content like sugar maples, but it's worth a try next winter.

i arrived with my backup photo drives, so my mother could pick the photos she wanted to print out. i never even thought about printing the millions of photos i've taken. the only ways i see them is on the computer or in a phone, or if i get creative, i can present them on the HDTV. it's also gotten progressively harder to view my photos, as the bulk of the images don't reside on my laptop but rather on external drives. my mother spent the rest of the afternoon going through the photos i took of my parents when they came to visit me in chongqing last year.

it was a cold ride home, but it least it wasn't raining or snowing like it was last night. on my doorstep was a package: my handbook of tibetan buddhist symbols had finally arrived! i learned more about tibetan buddhism in 15 minutes of browsing than i did spending a whole month in the tibetan area of western sichuan!

i picked snapfish to print the photos, because they had a 100 prints for just a penny deal. but when i checked online, i found it that deal had expired. instead, there was a up to 300 prints for a penny each, which seemed okay too. how does snapfish make money though? they make it on the backend, in handling and shipping fees. they don't seem to have a place where i can easily find out how much shipping would cost until i'm almost about to check out (in this case around $8). another thing about snapfish: they don't seem to have a lot of different print sizes. i wanted to print out some photos at 8x12 but the only option for that size was for a special print with a physical frame. i went online and searched and found adoramapix, which does have 8x12 for about $2 each. i bought camera items from adorama before, but never printed anything with them. i'm curious to try them once i find some good images to print.