i noticed the sign a few days ago but today the vans arrived: 3 from solarflair (a solar energy company) and 1 electrician parked elsewhere. the house that they're working on is actually facing southwest, and their view of the sky is slightly blocked by an equally tall 3-story house as well as a very tall pine tree on the southeast. i'm surprised that house is getting solar because i always thought it was a rental; maybe the landlord wants to get some tax savings for going green.

i had some yogurt-granola-blueberries for lunch, before heading out to market basket to pick up a few things. i forgot to mention this, but the last time i was there they were undergoing renovations, rearranging the aisles. they still haven't finished, and the place was busy with workers restocking the shelves. besides the rearrangement, they also seemed to have made the aisles wider somehow (maybe by getting rid of one aisle, but i don't see how they could've done that). but now everything is not where it normally is and takes a while to get used to the new order.

i bumped into paul in the backyard while i was checking on the status of my stratifying seedlings (the balloon flowers seemed to have germinated finally). he said he wanted to add some new plants and wondered if i had anything in mind or any objections. i told him any sort of shady perennials would be best, like hostas or ferns. he confessed he didn't know much about plants (so why did he think he knew what to do in the backyard?). as if punctuate that point, he was referring to a backyard evergreen as a hawthorn. paul, i know hawthorns, and that is definitely not a hawthorn!

the fermenting kimchi have been stinking up the house something fierce. i warned karen but maybe she didn't realize how bad it'd get. for me it's an acquired taste so i don't find it too bad but it's definitely a strong odor. not surprised that karen closed the door to her bedroom when she went to work today, normally she leaves it open. i packed up the 4 jars of kimchi (saving the half jar for myself) in a box stuffed with newspaper, strapped it to the back of my bike, then rode off to belmont.

i helped my father prune the backyard pussy willow tree. a good portion of it was overgrowing into the neighbor's yard. as the tree itself is diseased and the trunk mainly hollow, we were afraid that the tree would one day topple over, causing not only damage to the fence but the neighbor's detached garage. the pussy willow is one of the remaining original trees from when we first moved to this house back in 1984. every spring i look forward to seeing the fuzzy catkins. getting rid of this tree doesn't mean we can't get a new healthy pussy willow in the future. in fact, all the trees all on the southern edge of the yard can be removed (other than the hawthorn which we planted last season), and new trees planted. cutting the trees down is the easy part; taking them apart into pieces for yard waste disposal is the tedious hard part.

anyway, due to the awkward positioning of the overhanging willow branches, we couldn't just simply cut them without the branches landing in the neighbor's yard. so we ended up tie a rope to a part of the branch we want to cut; while i pull in the direct we wanted the branch to collapse, my father was up on a ladder with an electric extensible pruning saw. we managed to cut all the overhanging branches, although there were a few near misses when the branches came crashing back into our yard. we picked up whatever we could to put into refuse bins (trash pickup tomorrow), leaving the rest to clean up another time, but not putting them on the ground so the rain tomorrow and wednesday can properly soak up the lawn.

yesterday my mother found fresh mouse droppings in the empty kitchen drawer. so we placed two sticky traps inside, hoping to catch the mouse. when she checked the drawer this morning, she found new droppings but no mouse. apparently the mouse had outsmarted the sticky trap, or maybe they weren't well positioned. so we ended up putting 4 more traps inside, to the point where if the mouse returned to the drawer, there was no way it wouldn't get caught.

i returned home after dinner. earlier i noticed a neighbor had thrown out a trio of old english bikes. i went to check if they were still there, and sure enough they were. i was tempted to take one or two, but they're in rough shape, a lot of rust, broken fenders, and all missing saddles. if i took all three i could scavenge the best parts and build an okay bike. but i don't have time to do a bike rebuilding project, so reluctantly i didn't take any bikes. there would've been a time when i swooped up on all three bikes in a heartbeat. i still love bikes but i'm not as obsessed about it as i used to be. besides, i still have 2-3 bikes in the basement i want to get rid of! for me now, it's more about quality than quantity.

karen came home around 8pm and immediately told me that her friend paula got fired. "fired" is too strong a word, more like laid off because the clinic is getting rid of her position, whether due to lack of funding or something else we don't know. the layoff isn't immediate, until the end of may, but they're giving her time to look for a new job within the next month. the problem is made more complicated do to work visa issues, and if her friend doesn't find work within the next 2 months, she'll have to return to mexico (or she can remain in the US, she just can't work legally).