i fixed myself an english muffin egg ham cheese sandwich for breakfast, just to use up the peppered ham which is a day or two away from going bad. next time, just buy half a pound, a whole pound is just too deli meat for one person to eat before it expires. around noontime i biked down to belmont to watch the last patriots game of the regular season against the miami dolphins.

the first thing i saw when i looked out the window into the backyard was a squirrel clinging onto the suet feeder and eating from it. i quickly went outside to install the slinky junior squirrel deterrent. i attached one end of the slinky to the hook of the squirrel baffle dish. the slinky didn't seem like it'd be long enough, and i wondered if i should've bought another one so i could combine the too. but a slinky - even a slinky junior - looks deceptively short when in fact it can be stretched pretty long. as there was nothing to attach the other end of the slinky, i tied a metal trowel to that end with a bungie tarp cord. the trowel was heavy enough to stretch out the slinky. now all i had to do was wait for the squirrel to come back and see if the slinky pole would work.

birds didn't seem to have any problems with the slinky, and i even saw a downy woodpecker cling onto it without hesitation. all the usual birds came to visit the suet feeder, with the exception of nuthatches, which i haven't seen in a while. a female cardinal came to investigate the feeder, looking at it from ground level from several different vantage points, until she finally flew onto the feeder and pecked at the suet cake for a little while before flying away. suet cakes are not for cardinals! hopefully we can get out seed feeder set up sometime soon.

we bought a bag of "sweetie" fruit from costco yesterday, at about a dollar per fruit. they sort of sit midway in size between a grapefruit and a pomelo. having never tried a sweetie fruit before, we bought them because they were advertised as sweet and imported from israel. after some research, i learned they're also called oroblanco grapefruits. invented through creative citrus breeding, they sort of resemble a smaller version of a pomelo but without the fragrant aroma. but what it lacks in smell it makes up for in taste, as the fruit is entirely sweet, without a hint of sourness or bitterness as found in grapefruit/pomelo. but the sweetness is all there is, since there's almost no telltale citrus flavor.

in the late afternoon i noticed the slinky was oscillating wildly and saw a squirrel down below. it must've tried climbing the slinky but apparently failed (otherwise it'd be eating from the suet feeder again). i watched as the squirrel circled around the pole, taking its time, casually take a drink of ice water, pretending like the pole wasn't there, then running up to it as if to climb it but finally deciding against it. moments later it ran away. so the slinky pole seems to be successful, at least for today. i don't doubt that given enough time, the squirrel will find a way to get to the suet feeder. it could try jumping directly onto the feeder from the ground, or climb a nearby tree and attack the feeder from above (although the baffle dish would make that challenging).

the patriots ended up losing the early afternoon game against the dolphins. there didn't seem to be a sense of urgency with new england, since win or lose, they were already guaranteed a bye next week. the only thing to play for was home field advantage, but at what cost, and would it make more sense to rest guys and have them healthy for the playoffs instead of going full tilt for another win? even when the running game seemed to be non-productive, the patriots kept running in the first half until they finally started throwing more in the second half.

the patriots have lost a bunch of games recently to teams with losing records that they'd normally beat effortlessly. true, the patriots have suffered a lot of injuries, but these recent loses don't make me feel very confident going into the playoffs. the pats can either turn it around and everyone will say what a genius they are, or they could lose in their first playoff game, and everyone will point to the unsurmountable injuries as the reason why. either way, it's nothing we as fans can control, all we can do and sit back and enjoy the ride for at least one more game.

that meant the late afternoon broncos-chargers game was important because if denver lost, new england would continue to have home field advantage. but unfortunately san diego didn't help us out, and the broncos couldn't have scripted a more perfect season-ending game, with the return of peyton manning to replace an ineffective brock osweiler, and not only ending the game in exciting last minute fashion, but to reclaim the number one spot in the AFC. it's a good time to be a broncos fan.

my father came home early around 4:30pm. we had dinner around 5:30pm, chinese sauerkraut stew with pork, wood ears, tofu cubes, ginger, and fish eggs stuffed with roe.

according to the schedule, i was supposed to go to my grand uncle's place afterwards to replace his urine bag, but my father said he'd go instead, because my grand uncle hadn't defecated yet today. so instead i just biked home, temperature at 30°F. i wasn't carrying too much and according to my android phone i made it back home in 12 minutes, which i find hard to believe. it was already 8:10pm. i turned up the heat while i used the bathroom and took a shower, finishing up just in time to catch the very last NFL game of the regular season between the packers and the vikings.

out of curiosity, i used my infrared thermometer to measure the temperature around the house. every room seems to keep in the heat relatively well (walls only off by a few degrees at most, with many at the designated room temperature) with the exception of the guest bedroom closet and the kitchen area near the back of the house. the closet is always cold because it's the space below my upstairs neighbors steps, and i'm pretty sure their house is not well insulated. it's not that bad, temperature around 60°, but definitely colder than elsewhere in the house.

then there's the kitchen. i realized tonight that most of the cold air is actually seeping through the bottom of the baseboard (behind the shelves where i keep my pots and also the used dresser i picked up a while back but now use as kitchen storage), where there are gaps from the house sagging over the past 100+ years. i need to plug up those gaps with some foam tape (AKA backer rods AKA caulk saver) then caulk up any remaining gaps. if i can warm up the kitchen, i can do some redecorating and turn that area into a secondary living space apart from the living room. the kitchen area (more like the dining area) is the part of the house that rarely gets used.

i replaced the feet pads on my living room sofa after i noticed some scratched on the wooden floor by one of the legs. i should've done something earlier, when the sofa wasn't gripping anymore and seemed to slide whenever someone plopped onto it. i found some tape-backed foam fabric in the approximate size that i managed to use. now the sofa doesn't slide anymore!