the transition between summer to fall offers some good sleeping weather. i didn't get out of bed until 10a. i knew ana wasn't home since she texted me last night that she wasn't coming back until monday. i spent the late morning taping up frances' package but i didn't have time to send it out. instead by around noontime i went to the cafe to rendezvous with my mother so we could both ride bikes back to belmont. it was a little chilly at 70°F, but we're due for some upper 80's weather the rest of the week.

i had some leftover rice porridge for lunch. i tried a piece of date paste moon cake that my mother bought last night in chinatown. even though it's a freshly-backed moon cake, the crust was already hard. inside however was one of the best date paste i've had in a long time. normally it's near black and has a dense sweet flavor, but this one had a lighter color with a more complex flavor. i think i will go back to chinatown and get some more ($5 piece).

i spent the rest of the afternoon working in the backyard. the main thing i had to do was plant some late season seeds in RB1: sugar snap peas, baby bokchoi, radishes, and chinese celery. i planted the peas near the back so they can climb the trellis, bokchoi on one half, radishes in the other half. their bokchoi and radish seeds are tiny, so i just sprinkled over the dirt and buried them the best i could. the chinese celery was an afterthought since there was a small strip of space next to the kale. i put down some more topsoil then sprinkled the celery seeds (even smaller).

i also chopped down the invasive black cherry tree growing between the pussy willow and the compost bin. i chopped it in order to get more light in the corner garden, which didn't do very well this year with so much canopy. i used a pruning saw to first cut a notch on the side i wanted the tree to fall, then started sawing from the other side to create the break. the tree wasn't very big (about a 3" diameter trunk), and black cherry is a soft wood. when it fell it collapsed into the nearby maple, dampening the fall. afterwards i cut the branches into smaller pieces. there's garden refuse disposal tomorrow, but we already had so many things going out (5 bins and a stack of grape leaves and vines), i figured i'd throw out the cherry wood next time.

my mother made a simple thai curry for dinner with eggplants, tomato, hot peppers, and thai basil from the garden. i chatted with XL and she told me that she was in caracas this weekend and successfully got her american visa. unlike in china, she didn't have to provide any supporting evidence, just told the agent she wanted to visit boston to see a friend and they gave it to her. the price is also super cheap: just RMB30, which is only $5. it seems to be a mistake, because normally a US visa for a chinese national is $200, so there must be some sort of embassy loophole. she went with a chinese coworker who speaks spanish who also got her american visa.

after dinner i returned home. ana was back, smoking in the backyard deck. she told me yesterday after her cousin returned to new york she felt sick and nauseous so she spent the night at her brother's place. restricted to a simple recovery diet, she didn't do any cooking tonight, which was a relief.

i received several chase fraud alert e-mails in the evening. i ignored at first thinking they were phishing scams, but the special e-mail address, legal name usage, and last 4 digits of my credit card all checked out. it said there were 2 purchases that were declined, $500 at nordstrom, and $4 at a pretzel shop. i logged into my chase account but didn't see any fraud alerts, but there was a $373 CDW pending purchase on my card that i didn't make, so i decided to call them to find out what was happening. turns out my card had been used, their fraud department caught 2 purchases, with the other pending purchase that would probably get declined eventually as well. the agent told me to throw away my credit card and they'd issue me a new one by the end of the week. these things happen, and it's not the first time i've had my credit card number used illegally. i don't get too paranoid about it, it's not identity theft. just a minor annoyance of affluence!