my plan today was to retrieve my motorcycle. i was planning on walking down to the cafe in the afternoon, then ride the motorcycle to my parents' place to do some gardening. when i told my mother, she said my 2nd aunt was taking the week off to spend with my grandmother, which meant my parents had to be at the cafe. after warming up a frozen chicken burrito for lunch, i headed down to the cafe. the burrito didn't seem to agree with me and i felt a little digestive issue. i was only 2 blocks away from my house and thought about turning back but decided to power through it.

my mother had already left by the time i arrived, off to my aunt's apartment. only my father was at the cafe. since there wasn't any customers, he locked up the cafe to go with my to my grand uncle's backyard to get the motorcycle from the tool shed. since i installed the battery last week, all i had to do was start up the bike and then ride away.

last year i didn't start the riding season until late june. i had a good excuse though - i was in chongqing all of april and may. but it seems like i ride the motorcycle less and less every year. one reason is i haven't been doing a lot of nature photography. that used to be my thing, but i sort of grew bored of it. hopefully this season i can get back into it.

i went to belmont anyway, as i had a few things to do there. but first i had to use the bathroom. while playing with my iphone, i made a startling discovery: that black blob i noticed on saturday? it's disappeared! camera seemed to have fixed itself. maybe it was a chunk of dust that managed to get onto the CMOS chip, that somehow dislodged itself. unfortunately i already ordered a rear camera replacement kit late saturday night. it was only $6.99, so nice to have as a backup in case the camera decides to break again.

i had to find a utility bill for the solar panel consultant coming to visit us on wednesday afternoon. after digging around through piles of paperwork, i managed to find a bill from january-february. it didn't have to be recent, as the solar company was more interested in seeing the annual historical amount so they can figure out how much solar panels to install.

next i needed to buy a replacement chain for the electric homelite chainsaw. i almost ordered one last night, but i wanted to make sure i got the correct length, whether it was 52-links or 50-links. i don't think chainsaw links are the kind you can manually shorten, like i do with bike chains. i brought out the chainsaw from the garage and manually counted the number of links: 50. ironically, the chain had been replaced before with an oregon-brand chain, which was the same brand i ordered off of amazon.com ($12.89).

i spent the rest of the time outside working in the yard. i moved all the bundles of branches out onto the curb for garden refuse pickup tomorrow morning. i weeded some dandelions. i emptied the dyson vacuum. i mowed the little bit of unmowed lawn on the western side of the backyard then gave the front yard a nice mowing while i was at it. i threw the grass clippings into the compost bin and mixed it with the piles of dead leaves. by 3:30pm i was finally done. i did want to get my motorcycle inspected but i'll leave that for tomorrow. i deserved a well-earned trip home so i could clean up.

riding the motorcycle is a nice feeling, especially having been on the bicycle for all these months and getting passed by much faster cyclists all the time. it's also nice to arrive at a destination not being sweaty and tired. but i also love riding the bicycle. true, a long trip can be an ordeal, but i like the feel afterwards, of accomplishment, and the fact that i got some exercise. whenever i take out the motorcycle for the season i'm always slightly worried that i've forgotten how to ride, but as soon as i'm on the bike, it all comes back to me, the clutching and the gear shift and the braking. i really should ride more this season. at the very least manage to break the 1000 miles mark. last year i think i only managed to ride a few hundred miles at most.

karen didn't leave for work until 10am this morning. my opposite door neighbors - the early solar energy adopters - had solar vans parked outside their house. i looked up and half a dozen men were standing on the roof of the very tall house (i think the tallest in the neighborhood) inspecting the panels. they have both solar water heating and solar electricity panels. i wonder if he's thinking about dismantling the water heating? interestingly enough, the solar company he uses is the same one that's visiting us on wednesday - direct energy solar. even more interesting, the consultant that's supposed to show up? he wrote me an e-mail this morning saying how he left direct energy solar last week to work for a different solar energy company, and asked if i'd still be interesting in keeping the appointment but speaking with his company instead? solar energy business is pretty cutthroat! i was fine either way, maybe this guy has some juicy gossip on why he left his previous company.

for dinner i heated up a bag of trader joe's readymade mushroom risotto. it was okay, i've had it before, but it can't compare to my own risotto recipe. as i'll be cooking for myself the rest of the week, i have to think of what i want to make for dinner. as the weather seems to be cold all this week, i'm kind of in the mood for a spicy mexican soup, this time with real hominy and not just israeli couscous.