mary woke up right when i was about to head out around 8:30am. i had the thermostat automatically set for 7am, because she told me normally she liked to go out for a run in the morning before breakfast then off to work. i should've known that was all talk. running in the new england winter with patches of ice on the ground is serious hardcore running, not for the casual runner.

i opted to ride down to OCB cambridge instead of taking the bus. afterwards my plan was to spend the rest of the day in belmont. temperature was brisk in the 20's but i quickly warmed up once i began riding. i made good time, arrived with 10 minutes to spare. there were already people in the waiting room. after i filled out 4 pages of forms, a nurse came out to take me into one of the exam rooms.

the first and last time i was at OCB cambridge was december 2009. i saw a taiwanese eye doctor who was still there so i decided to see him again. doctor shu's assistant megan came in to ask me a few more questions and administer eye drops. the first drops were the yellow ones that numb my eyes for pressure testing. "are my eyes yellow?" i asked. megan replied yes. the next drops were the dilation ones. she gave me a far-sighted reading test. i was able to see the bottom line just fine. she told me i'm right in the transition area where i'm not so far-sighted enough that i needed reading glasses yet. the only thing i can do is to just learn to live with my progressively worsening far-sightedness. i then waited outside in a smaller nearby waiting room. it was already difficult to see my phone. in the end i just gave up and sat waiting.

i didn't wait too long before doctor shu called me into his exam room. i'd forgotten what doctor shu looked like, or maybe he'd just changed a lot in the 6 years gap between appointments. he sort of reminded me of jerry, that taiwanese guy i met in shanghai working in the chinese construction field. i only saw doctor shu briefly. he said my prescription hasn't changed (which i kind of figured; it wasn't the far distance that was bothering me; it was the near distance), only a slight adjustment to my astigmatism. as for farsightedness, nothing i can do about that except wait until my eyes get worse enough for bifocals.

OCB sent me home with a pair of "slip-in post mydriatic" AKA temporary sunglasses. they look silly, but better than nothing as my eyes were super sensitive to brightness due to my dilated pupils. i didn't have far to ride, just 1.2 miles. the wind pressed the temporary sunglasses to my eyes, making it hard to see. when i arrived in belmont i ate a tea egg i'd brought for breakfast.

checking out the suet feeder, i spotted a pair of white-breasted nuthatches. the nuthatches have returned!

nuthatches weren't the only things to return: the squirrel has come back to the suet feeder! i was in the sunroom when i saw the slinky springing up and down. i went to the dining room to see what it was. sure enough, it was a squirrel, and from the looks of it, it must've made an attempt to climb the slinky pole but was unsuccessful. undeterred, i watched it try again. this time it managed to cling onto the pole without falling off by holding on to the pole itself, not the slippery slinky sides. it then managed to hop upwards, each time grabbing onto the pole, until it got close enough to the suet cage to swing over. even though it was quite acrobatic, one hind leg on the pole, other hind leg on the suet feeder hook, and two fore paws grabbing onto the cage. after i watched it for a little while, i opened the window to scare it away.

later i went outside to against the slinky spring anchor, which is just a pill bottle filled with water. i poured out some of the winter (in the sink, since it was frozen) to make the anchor a bit lighter, hopefully giving the slinky spring some more bounce instead of being taut like it was before.

i also finally set up the duncraft cling-a-wing globe feeder. i figured with the snow, birds would be having a hard time finding food, so better to put out an additional source of nutrition. the difficult part was finding a way to mount the feeder without squirrels getting to it. i had a used pole but it was missing the lower half. fortunately i found a long rusty pipe in the backyard (was this the original base? maybe) and was surprised to discover i could pound it into the semi-frozen ground up to a depth where it could stand up on its own. once the pile was anchored, it was easy to put the birdfeeder pole into the pipe. i also set up a slinky defense system, and attached a clear baffle to keep the rain and snow out. the feeder turned out to be super high, which will be good for deterring squirrels.

in the late afternoon we drove to the waltham market basket to get some groceries. we've only been to this MB one other time, and it was coming back from framingham after visiting a friend. we've never actually gone from the direction of belmont, and this fairly new MB wasn't even on our garmin GPS database. i tried using google maps on my phone but we still ended up getting lost, but after some turns we finally found it. we ended up getting a dozen package of fried chicken for dinner.