karen was in the bathroom when i got out of bed a bit before 9am. she told me last night she was leaving for the 10am MIT food conference at 9am. she didn't seem rushed, still having time to make coffee and then video chat with her boyfriend around 9:20am. i'm starting to get the feeling that she's a bit carefree when it comes to time management. as i didn't know when she was leaving, i refrained from using the bathroom because i was afraid she might need to use it, so i ended up not making a daily deposit or taking a shower. when my sister pulled up outside around 9:40am, i quickly told karen i was leaving before heading out the door.

inside the car were my parents. we were going to malden again for dim sum, this time arriving early to beat the crowd. it was probably my sister's idea to go, under the pretense of taking my father because he didn't come the first and last time we went. my mother suggested we go to a different restaurant as there a few in malden center. but in the end we decided on ming's seafood restaurant again because she thought the food wasn't all that bad the last time we came. in my opinion, the best dim sum restaurants in the boston area is still chinatown, but it's difficult to go there (no free parking for one thing) and clothes always smell like oil afterwards.

we arrived around 10am, found a free one-hour parking spot right in front of the restaurant. just an hour earlier than last time and the crowd was significantly less (maybe only 40% to capacity), although schools' winter vacation schedule probably also took a toll. we didn't mind, they gave us a large round table centrally located in the restaurant, prime spot for passing carts.

the food this time around tasted a little better, or maybe i've just reduced my expectations. the tripe was good, and although i like mine very-well cooked and nearly melting, the tripe here still had some crunch but the flavor was decent. the chicken feet didn't seem like it was cooked long enough for that falling-off-the-bone consistency, and they also tasted a little off, like a hint of chlorine from using chemically-treated claws. my father ordered 2 plates of cantonese egg tarts since he wanted to bring some home for my grand uncle. they were not good, the custard itself sickening sweet and with a hint of artificial sweeter. the custard consistency was also off, like maybe they added water to the mix to stretch it out. we would've been better searched trying to search for a chinese bakery in the area.

even though we were 4 people, we ordered less compared to our last visit, knowing now which dishes are good or bad. in the end, the bill came out to $50.50, a reasonably priced lunch given our party size. though it got a little more crowded, it still wasn't at the level we saw back in mid-january.

i kept my eyes on my pokemon go from the back of the car. last night i evolved a jolteon, today i caught a phanpy and a wobbuffet.

when i got back home it was still early, barely 11am. karen was already gone, i had the whole house to myself again. i joined my neighbor outside, who was busy reducing one of the snow piles at the end of my street. i'd seen her before, she lives more towards the middle of the neighborhood, so i was surprised to see her this far up. i introduced myself, her name was jess. i asked her if she was the one ramming her minivan into the snow piles yesterday, she answered yes. apparently she's taken up the solo mission of reducing all the snow piles on our street, and finally worked her to my end. her reason was because since she usually gets home late she can never find any parking available, so took it upon herself to help create more spaces. she sort of reminded me of julie, this is the sort of stuff i could see her doing.

anyway, i bought out my shovel and started reducing the snow pile in front of my house. jess was being more polite about where she dumps her snow, neatly piled on the other (sunny) side of the street. i was less diplomatic, just tossing the snow (really more like slush at this point given our 3rd straight day of record high february heat) out onto the road for passing cars to roll over. even after i finished and bid jess good bye, she was still outside reducing the piles even further.

only then did i have my satisfactory morning dump followed by a hot shower. i also took the opportunity to wash the bathtub as it was starting to get a little dirty. i boiled myself a mug of tea, packed up my things, and headed out to belmont, close to 1pm. temperature was in the upper 60's, but the sky was starting to cloud up in anticipation of the somewhat heavy rain forecasted to fall in the evening. all that snow pile reduction, while good exercise, was probably unnecessary as the warm rain would finally wash it all away. i was taking a gamble biking, as there was the possibility that it'd be raining hard enough later that i wouldn't be able to bike back. but i figured i could just take the bus if that happened.

in belmont, i hooked up my motorcycle battery to the battery tenderer in the garage. i helped my father move my sister's super heavy electronic keyboard from the back of the car down to the basement. later he left to help a new tenant move to my grand uncle's upstairs apartment room. it's been a lengthy drama, as he originally promised a visiting chinese astrophysicist researcher the room more than 6 months ago, but the person kept delaying her arrival, until my father finally gave the room to somebody else. my sister came home and took my mother to target, dropping off hailey, who looked out the window waiting for her master to return.

it didn't look like it was raining until i stepped outside and discovered it was drizzling. not bad enough that i couldn't ride, but i'd be a little damp by the time i got back to cambridge. fortunately i had my fuji, which is completely decked out in lights for maximum visibility. i made it home okay, but was spluttering rain from my lips and the droplets on my glasses hindering my ability to see. karen was fortunately not home, as i stripped out of my wet clothes and ran into the bathroom with dry ones for a hot water.

i fired up the infinity mirror diffuser and went online and ordered some more essential oils. actually just one kind, eucalyptus, because my sister was using my supply. originally i was just going to get a little 15ml bottle of 100% pure eucalyptus essential oil, but decided on a more robust 2 oz., which only cost twice as much. even sweeter, piping rock was having a buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO) deal, so i essentially got nearly 8 15ml bottles for just the price of two. one bottle for me, one bottle for my sister, who was at the emergency room getting glass splinter removed from her toe after an x-ray. i also order some eyedroppers, as the 2 oz. bottles don't come with them.

karen came home finally around 8:30pm. she told me earlier but i forgot, but after her MIT conference which ended in the late afternoon, she and her coworker paula were consulting with a few patients looking for nutritional help. they did this at paula's house around alewife. karen seemed dry, and said she listened to my advice of always bringing an umbrella, an advise i didn't manage to follow as i was a bit soaked earlier.

i'm up to episode 5 of the first season of the expanse. i've heard some good things about the show, but i always get it confused with the other similarly sounding scifi drama extant starring halle berry. so i finally started watching it, and if you're not hooked by episode 4, too bad for you. it takes place in the future where there's a power struggle between earth, mars, and the asteroid belt. certain parts of the belt has a bladerunneresque vibe, while the militaristic martian stronghold had shades of battlestar galactica. besides the drama, there's also a lot of interesting scifi ideas and technology on display, a great show for scifi fans. the series is already on season 2 (ongoing), if i watch these episodes fast i might be able to catch up to the live broadcast.