karen's friend began loading her stuff into her car this morning. before she left, they went to the corner liquor store to buy some wine. apparently wine is more expensive in canada, and each person crossing the border can bring in 2 bottles duty free. i thought maybe she was going to get some fancy vintage, but ended up getting 2 bottles of cheap 2016 argentinan wine for $5 each. and with that they finally left before 11am, karen returning the parking permit. her friend was dropping her off at porter square, where she was also waiting to pick up 2 passengers to take back to montreal.

i spent a little time cleaning the kitchen. the countertop was a mess of food stains and crumbs. i have a small frying pan which karen had been using to heat her tortilla, but she runs the pan dry and leaves it heating on the stove, so now the non-stick has pretty much been scorched off. i really should have a set of pans for personal use, and another set i bring out when i have roommates.

next i cleaned the bathroom. karen and her friend managed to use 3 rolls of toilet paper in just a single weekend, to the point where i was all out. when i live by myself, a roll of toilet paper can last a few weeks. after a shower i plunged the tub because the drain was getting unbearably slow. i seemed to have made it, and the drain was even slower than before. i plunged it one more time, will need to wait until my next shower to see if i need to resort to drain-o gel to unclog it.

every few days the grow closet needs to be watered. not only the cups but also the gravel tray needs watering, to maintain the proper moisture level so the seedlings don't dry out. i thinned out a handful of new seedlings that sprouted within the past few days, an eggplant, a pepper, a tomato.

my transplanted mallow zebrina didn't make it. in its place i transplanted one of the extra lupine seedlings. it's also strange that the seedlings seem to be growing at different speeds. of the mallows, there is one plant that is way bigger than all the other mallows. likewise there's one very tall tomato, and one very tall lupine.

elsewhere, outside, i noticed my greenhouse container of stratifying columbines and balloon flowers were completely soaked. the lid must've shifted and rain and snow got inside the greenhouse. i hope the seeds are okay, but they're built for over-wintering, and a few days of wet soil should be nothing for them.

after making an omelette for lunch, i biked down to market basket to get a new bundle of toilet paper as well as a few miscellaneous grocery items, including some gold nugget mandarin oranges ($1.89/lbs). while packing my bike baskets, i heard a deafening roar from up above. i looked up, trying to find the jet fighters i knew was making those sounds for the flyby over fenway park for opening day. a pair of old italian ladies were freaking out until i told them what the sound was.

i tried one of the oranges when i arrived in belmont. it tastes similar to a typical clementine, except slightly larger, with a very think but easy to peel wrinkly rind. it sort of likes like an ugly fruit and that's what my mother thought at first. it was sweet, but not that sweet, with also a citrusy tartness.

there was a lot of bird activity in the backyard today. only chickadees could use the globe feeder, while all the other birds were feeding from the dropped seeds down below. we ran out of suet cake since the weekend; not because of birds but because of squirrels. hopefully this week we can get some more. i saw something today that i've never seen before but have often imagined: red cardinals feeding next to blue bluejays. all we need is a white bird and we could have all the colors of the flag. unfortunately my view was partially blocked and i couldn't get any decent photos.

for dinner we got some chipotle takeout. i used the website to order our food online and around 5:45pm my father and i went down to fresh pond to pick it up. traffic was a little intense around the rotary, but not that bad. neither of my parents could finish their burrito bowl but i managed to eat all of mine.

weather today reached 62°F, but by the time i bike home it was down to 50°F. i only had my light jacket, but luckily i brought a long-sleeve pullover. i got back to cambridge around 7:20pm. karen wasn't home yet, which was something i expected, since she went to work so late. i took a shower and was happy to see that the bathtub drain was performing normal again (or until the next blockage).

karen didn't get back until 8:40pm. we chatted about opening day and how the traffic around the fenway area gets crazy whenever there's a baseball game. she also told me they only get half an hour for lunch, so there's not enough time to go anyway but to just eat in the office. and often times they have these lunch conferences, where you eat while having a meeting, which means no lunch breaks. before she retired to her room she gave me this month's rent.

i got in touch with wangyang tonight, asked her about her first day at the factory. she said she was busy all day, but looks like the issues can be resolved. despite that, she still doesn't know when her work will finish, and thinks that she might still be here next week. they had pizza for lunch, which she didn't particularly like: not because it was different from chinese pizza (which it was), but because she doesn't like pizza in general. the hotel shuttle bus driver took her to the supermarket where she got some fast food for dinner. i told her there was a wawa just a 9 minute walk from her hotel, where she could get some famous philadelphia sandwiches.

wangyang told me she has a friend at penn state (宾夕法尼亚州立大学), a PhD candidate studying personal health informatics. her friend's only been here for a month (will stay for a year), but said she could come visit next week if she was still around. i asked wangyang if she wanted me to come see her, she said sure but was afraid it was too far. that's when she learned that i live in boston; all this time she thought i lived in houston. "that explains the snow," she remarked. driving distance wise, boston is just 5-1/2 hours from philadelphia. even from penn state, that's still a 3 hour drive to west chester.

i asked wangyang if she had any new observations about america, since it's always interesting to hear foreigners' opinions about us. she said the people here are very friendly and quiet. friendly i believe, but quiet? she said she was going to do some yoga for her back pain which she suffered after being stuffed on a plane for the 24 hours. i asked her if she was also experiencing any jet lag and she told me yes, she felt sleepy all day.