i had some spare time this sunday morning so i asked karen if she wanted to visit the nearby harvard museum of natural history. my last visit was nearly 2 years ago. it used to be anyone can come for free on sunday mornings, but now you have to prove you're a massachusetts state resident after tour groups inundated the museum to overcapacity. i was fine but karen didn't have proper proof although i was hoping her hospital ID would be enough.

it was a cold blustery day, with temperature barely in the 40's, and strong winds that felt even colder walking in the shadows. this was especially jarring given how warm it was the past 3 days, a mini heat wave in february. i also wore a light jacket for some reason, figuring it'd be a short walk and i didn't want to hang up a big jacket.

i took karen to see the community garden first, not much to look at with nothing growing yet. when we got to the museum we discovered that she didn't have enough credentials for free admission, but the ticket guy cut us a break and said she could enter free as his guest.

the museum is always crowded on sunday mornings with families and young children, this i knew. but there seemed to be an equally large amount of adult visitors today, as well as a few high school/college student groups working on some kind of assignment.

there's been a few renovations since my last visit. the glass flowers now has a new more open layout, though still boring unless you're really into botany. they changed their former egg exhibit to a high concept extinction exhibit. and the underwater exhibit has been redesigned as well, featuring new diagrams like under-the-sea or split-view coastline.

i brought my dSLR but opted not to use it, instead shooting with just my iphone. much of this stuff i've seen before, and with so many people around, it's not a good environment for my slow photo taking process.

there was an interactive station for children to feel different kinds of animal fur. i got a chance to took black bear, beaver, and bobcat. beaver pelt feels super nice, soft, waterproof, with a downy underlayer. i could see why it was so valuable for trade back in the days, made me want to own some beaver pelts of my own. bear skin felt thick but the hairs were a little rough. bobcat felt just like cat fur.

after the zoological half of the museum, we went to see the rocks of the world. they're pretty but there was just too much, and it was especially crowded here, so we quickly browsed all the displays before continuing onwards to the adjoining peabody museum of archaeology and ethnology. a few of the mesoamerican sites karen has actually visited before. i was dismayed that they seemed to have dismantled the oceania exhibit on the upper floor, but it makes sense because that was never a very popular exhibit.

we returned home around 1pm. i packed up my things and left for belmont soon afterwards.

i helped my sister's godmother do her taxes. she actually got them done for free from some harvard university service, but just wanted to double check if she could somehow pay less taxes. i ran the numbers through turbotax and they came back exactly the same. i still haven't done mine but it's just a matter of entering the numbers into the software. i will probably also need to do taxes for my 2nd aunt as well as my grand uncle. this time of the year, i'm basically the family tax man simply because i have access to taxing software. i'm still not sure how taxes work and all the different rules.

my mother was at home cleaning. partly because she wanted to leave a tidy house before she left, but partly because my godmother was coming over, said she was bringing over food, but there was a chance she'd also stay for dinner. my mother vacuumed but i ran the dyson a second time over some areas she missed. she also didn't know how to change the vacuum head and was waiting for me to get home and show her.

my godmother didn't show up until my father had already came home. she brought a bunch of dishes to add to the sauerkraut soup my father had made. we ate relatively early, that i could get back to cambridge around 7pm.

since it was cold during the day, it was just as cold at night. riding to belmont earlier, it was freezing but only because i didn't zip up my jacket and it was windy. i didn't bring any thermal underwear because i didn't think it'd be that cold, but my parents had a spare pair i could borrow. the cold weather would be a good test for my new eddie bauer shell layer. it blocked the wind well enough, even though it's only wind resistant and not windproof.

i settled in for a night of oscars watching. there seemed to be less star power this year. i haven't seen most of the nominated best pictures. where were the eastwood, or the julia robert, or clooney or jolie or pitt? no wonder - as i later learned - it was the second lowest rated academy awards broadcast.

these 4 months are going to kill me, like reality has somehow decided to flip the script. first in november trump defies expectations and wins the presidency on a technicality despite losing the popular vote by millions (i don't think even he expected to beat clinton). then early this month (february) the new england patriots are down 28-3 in the 3rd quarter and they come back and win the superbowl in overtime. and now tonight's academy awards, when la la land supposedly won best picture, only to be told moments later after already finishing their acceptance speech that actually moonlight won and the presenters just got the wrong card. if i've learned anything, it's that anything that can happen will happen, and to expect the unexpected.

no lie, but during the final award i was actually thinking about what would happen if they announced the wrong winner. and then i see some show producers with headsets frantically grabbing the award envelope in the background, and it seemed like something serious was going on, and i watched as one group of very happy people (the creators of la la land) suddenly became very unhappy, while another group of people (moonlight creators) suddenly became very happy. if all oscar ceremonies ended in surprise endings, i would watch it every year despite the nearly 4 hours running time. the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this wasn't some sort of sabotage by a trump supporter, purposely giving warren beatty and faye dunaway the wrong card. i know at least someone's going to get fired.