i actually completely forgot that i was supposed to meet my craig's list seller this morning to buy a pair of collapsible rear bike baskets. i was only up because around 8:30am WWY asked for my help translating an airline notice she received regarding her airasia flight to sri lanka come january.
her connecting flight from kuala lumpur (malaysia) to colombo (sri lanka) had been changed from 9:50am to 9:05pm, forcing her to stay an extra 12 hours in malaysia, cutting into her already brief sri lanka vacation time. the notice said she could either 1) change her flight time for free, or 2) receive a 90-day-expiration credit on a different airasia destination flight. the one option not given to her was a simple refund, and even then, she probably couldn't find a comparable flight so close to her departure date.
i actually had to audio chat with WWY via wechat because she didn't have qq on her iphone and i told her not to bother installing it. i had to cut short our conversation however, because normally in the mornings i chat with sunmeng. but when i pinged sunmeng, she was just watching television with her father and then went to sleep soon afterwards, not in the mood to chat.
that's when it occurred to me that i had a craig's list appointment at 10am. i got out of bed around 9:00am, about the same time that ana was getting ready to go out as well. she told me she was going to her storage warehouse to meet somebody from craig's list she was selling her dresser to. what a coincidence! seems like an auspicious morning for craig's list transactions.
ena my seller told me to meet her in front of the cambridge public library. for some reason i thought she lived closer, according to her craig's list posting google map location, but who knows if it's an actual address or just a generic pointer simply because she said she's based in cambridge. whatever the case, it was just a few minutes away via bicycle. the streets were wet, but it wasn't supposed to rain until later, but nobody said anything about the fog, which draped everything in an annoyingly cold mist.
i showed up outside the library a few minutes early and waited. every person i saw walking by made me think, "is this ena?" a saw a busty bleached-blond hipster girl with nerd glasses and red lipsticks crossing the street. could this be ena? but she wasn't carrying anything so it can't be her. right at exactly 10am, a middle-aged woman appeared from the library. "are you tony?" she asked. so maybe ena is a librarian! she pulled out the 2 black wire mesh collapsible baskets from a brown paper bag, as well as the corresponding hardware. i gave her $20. another successful craig's list exchange! i quickly hurried home to escape the misty drizzle.
knowing that ana wouldn't be home for the time being, i could enjoy some quiet bathroom time, not needing to worry about if anyone else needs to use it. after a shower, i ate a pair of tea eggs. ana came home around 11:30am, earlier than expected.
instead of her usual routine, ana took a shower and retired to her room, even well after 2pm, her usual lunch time. i was going to wait until she finished cooking, but maybe she ate while she was out, so i went into the kitchen to began making my membrillo with the leftover quince puree.
the problem with my membrillo attempt is i was using used quince pulp - now blended into a thick puree. calling it puree seems wrong, it's actually more like a paste. i estimated that i had 6 cups of quince paste. when i tried to heat it in the pot it nearly burned because there was hardly any liquids left in the paste. and when it did manage to heat, the trap air would erupt like an explosion. i ended up adding about 2 cups of water just to reconstitute this concentrated quince solids. that made it better at first, while i then added 6 cups of sugar as well. but as the blend started to heat up, it would bubble molten sugared quince pulp everywhere. so i put the glass lid over the pot. but every few seconds the puree would bubble on the inside, and every time it would shake both the pot and the range grills. it was a very noisy, very messy, very dangerous affair all around. and i had to do this for the next 1-1/2 hours. membrillo seemed like more hassle than it's worth.
after 1-1/2 hours the quince puree was finally finished boiling. it wasn't a deep rose color at all, but rather this brown mixture with maybe a hint of red. maybe it's because i used very dehydrated pulp, maybe it's because i waited almost 3 weeks to finally use the pulp for membrillo. whatever the reason, my finished puree didn't not resemble any of the known recipes. i scooped the hot sludge into 2 parchment paper lined lasagna dishes and put them into the oven to bake for an hour at 150° (the lowest temperature setting). the mixture still looked sort of soupy, and i wasn't confident it would solidify, but i gave it shot nonetheless.
ana finally emerged from her bedroom around 4:00pm, while my membrillo was baking in the oven. turns out she's sick, and decided to skip her usual lunchtime, but woke up because she was too hungry. from the moment she got up she was videochatting with friends back in spain. every half hour or so, she'd take her laptop to the back entrance so she could videochat and smoke at the same time, with the door open because it was raining outside. the first few times i didn't care, even though she was letting all the heat out of the house while at the same time blowing smoke back into it. but by the 7-8th time i finally had enough and told her she had to close the door if she was going to smoke because it was getting too cold in the house. this is just one thing out of many. and for some reason, i'm not going crazy like i normally would. maybe because she has less than 3 weeks left here. i really am looking forward to her leaving.
when i finally took the membrillo out of the oven, they were of course still soupy, not solidified at all. i tried to flip it over to bake the other side, but i ended up making a mess. at that point i decided my membrillo was a failure and put the two trays back into the oven. maybe if they sit there overnight they might have time to solidify some more. if they're still soupy, i can still use it as a rough sort of jelly, because the quince flavor is still very strong.
i decided to make another batch of risotto for dinner, simply because i had some leftover raw italian sausages in the fridge that i needed to cook before they went bad. i used just a single can of chicken broth, added another can of hot water for volume; honestly, i can't tell the difference between 2 can of chicken broth versus 1 can broth + 1 can water. i also had to run out to star market very quickly to grab a red onion. as for the frozen broccoli, i zapped it in the microwave for just 2 minutes. some parts of it was still a little frozen, but i let it sit on the countertop while i stirred the risotto, and everything sort of thawed out on its own, and didn't matter once i tossed it with the risotto towards the end.
finally, my coin albums arrived today (all the way from china). for some reason i bought 2. the albums are so much smaller than i realized, but they work in organizing my coin collection, all but the largest of coins.