i woke up at 8:30am to get ready to see the yulefest 5k run. apparently this is their 5th year but i've never seen it before. the good thing is it takes place out of harvard square, so i didn't have to travel far. the race wasn't starting until 9:30am, so i had a little bit of time to adjust my front bike brake, which had been soft for a few weeks now. i decided to watch it from kirkland street, right at the southern turn down roberts road. but when i got there, i realized the better view from at the western end of kirkland, close to where it touches oxford street. that way i can get memorial hall in the background.

there were some race volunteers already stationed at quincy-kirkland street. like me, they were waiting for the race to start. memorial hall was the 1 mile mark, so it took the "elite" runners just a few minutes to arrive. most normal runners showed up minutes later. some people were in costumes, but most were just in regular running clothes. people who like to dress up tend to congregate at the end of the pack.

after all the runners had gone by, i biked home via oxford street. after a shower, i had some cereal for breakfast, before riding the motorcycle to belmont after noontime for lunch (leftover noodles). at 1pm i watched the steelers-bengals game. i was rooting for pittsburgh, since a cincinnati loss would move the patriots (currently no.3) up in playoff standings and a possible bye week.

football was momentarily overshadowed by birds coming to feed at the suet feeder. ever since i put up the feeder, i'd never seen any birds feeding from it. a few days ago my mother reported seeing chickadees, and when i checked the suet block i could see some peck marks. so when i looked out the window today, i was excited to see a downy woodpecker clinging onto the feeder. i quickly called my mother over and we spent the next 10 minutes birdwatching from the living room.

turns out downy woodpeckers was just the beginning. they were followed by juncos, pecking at the grass below the feeder, since they can't cling to the suet feeder like woodpeckers can. on the far side of the lawn we spotted a song sparrow, pecking through the grass as well. the next surprise was a little bird that i thought was a nuthatch at first but turned out to be a carolina wren. i didn't think wrens came to suet feeders, but they seem perfectly adapted to cling-feeding, like woodpeckers.

the birds kept on coming. i saw a male cardinal flitting through the kale garden, possibly looking for cabbageworms to eat. then a wintering goldfinch drinking from the birdbath. chickadees began showing up as well, late to the party, but no problems with the feeder. finally, a flock of house sparrows flew into the yard. i didn't think house sparrows could feed from suet feeders, but i saw one clinging onto the cage, feeding without any problems. at one point three different birds were sharing the feeder: a downy woodpecker, a house sparrow, and a carolina wren.

not yet spotted but hoping to see this winter: nuthatches and titmice. so basically it took a while for the birds to find the suet feeder, about 3 weeks. now that they know about it, i have a feeling it won't be long before the suet block gets completely eaten and we'll have to get another one (at $1 a block from OSJL). i can also probably make my own since i have a can of frozen bacon fat in my freezer (i finally found a use for it!). so far squirrels haven't discovered the feeder yet, but i'm sure it's only a matter of time. i'm not sure what will happen when that day eventually comes, but hopefully not for a long time. i may have to set up sacrificial squirrel feeders and bribe them with peanuts so they'll keep away from the bird feeder.

i wasn't paying attention to the game so i was surprised when i saw bengals QB andy dalton on the sideline with a cast on his hand. wasn't he just playing? i searched online and realized he just injured his thumb. later i learned it was a fractured thumb, and he could miss the rest of the season. that sort of made me sick to my stomach. while i don't have any feelings for cincinnati, i feel terrible that might lose their star QB while they're on an epic 10-2 run and second seed in the AFC. sure, the patriots and bengals are vying for the same playoff bye spot, but i don't want to see the bengals fall in the standings because of this. hopefully their backup QB can fill dalton's shoes.

bengals ended up losing to the steelers, while in the late afternoon game broncos lost to the raiders. that mean should the patriots win their sunday night football game, they will once again control the number one spot in the AFC playoff standing.

my mother left for the cafe around 2:30pm with my sister. there was some kind of support-your-neighborhood-business event happening and my mother went to see if she could sell some hats. i stayed at home with hailey. my father came home around 3:30pm, since my mother was at the cafe. for dinner, we picked up some whoppers from burger king around 5:30pm. i returned home before 7pm.

after a shower, i settled in to an evening of sunday night football between the patriots and the texans. it was an easy game to watch because it felt like new england had a pretty good handle against houston. a lot of injured players were back in the line-up, like amendola and gronkowski. the texans have a great defense, but their offense couldn't score any points. when new england finally won, it almost seemed perfunctory. hopefully the players can get some rest and recover in time for next sunday.

mauricio and alfonso came home around 11:30pm. alfonso was ringing the doorbell because his keys where in the suitcase. they told me of their new york adventures, how they made a mistake and the apartment they rented wasn't in time square but rather in harlem, up on 151st street. last time they went to a party at a club and a few LA clippers players were sitting at another table. they didn't have dinner yet so alfonso quickly made some scrambled eggs for the both of them to eat along with some bread. later i helped mauricio print out his boarding passes. everyone retired around 12:30am.