the idea came to me last night, that i should roast my hazelnuts to improve the flavor. so i gave it a try this morning, baking them in the oven at 275°F for 25 minutes. not only they did taste like hazelnuts now, but roasting them somehow improved the texture, and made them taste sweeter. still warm and fresh from the oven, i could've easily eaten the whole tray of nuts. from now on i will roast all my nuts.
i was on a bit of a hazelnut kick today. besides actual hazelnuts, i also drank 2 mugs of maxwell house instant hazelnut cafÃ© and ate some hazelnut-flavored italian loacker quadratini wafer crackers. the only thing i didn't have was some ferrero rocher chocolates, which also have hazelnuts in them.
today was a cold day, with daytime temperature in the teens, not factoring in the wind chill. i turned up the heat briefly in the morning, but turned it back down again the rest of the day until the evening. with my long underwear and wool socks, i actually felt rather warm. i asked my father about the solar panels, they were still snow-covered, not much melting when it's this cold. i went out briefly just twice, once to take out the trash, another time to grab a package on my doorstep. at first i thought it was the christmas present alex said he sent me from japan, but it was actually the black diamond spot headlamp i ordered last friday.
i do have headlamps but they're old, so i was due for an upgrade. the one that i sometimes use on my bike helmet riding at night for safety reasons is a petzl tikka plus i bought from the harvard square EMS back in 2003 for my costa rica trip. the nearly 15-year-old petzl has 4 white LED's that give a combined total of 35 lumens of brightness. compared that with the black diamond spot 2017 version ($20) which can produce 300 lumens of brightness for the same amount of batteries (3 AAA's). instead of 4 LED's, the black diamond has one very bright LED, one dim LED, and one red LED. it's rich with features, which involves various sequences of button press to activate. different LED's, dim, strobe, lock, battery level indicator, last setting memory recall. the different button presses take a while to learn, but they're not difficult. the headlamp is blindingly bright, i'd be afraid to use it with other people around for fear of blinding them.
in the late afternoon, with just 2 more business days left in the year, i wrote lucas to ask 1) if he thought it was possible that belmont light would have time to schedule the final inspection, and 2) if there was any other additional forms of proof to state we got our solar installation done in 2017, for tax purpose reasons. he called me back 15 minutes later having not even read my e-mail. he said he contacted belmont light yesterday. the town inspector knows perfectly well that people need inspections done before the end of the year, but they might not be able to do them all, so in order to keep everyone happy, they will issue the permission-to-operate (PTO) letter before the inspection, just so everyone will have them by 2017. lucas was still waiting to receive the letter, but if he didn't get it by today, he'll get in touch with the inspector again tomorrow to push for it. it's going to be close, but once we get the PTO, that will say we officially got the installation done this year. with the same PTO letter, united solar will send documentation to mass solar loan to authorize the release of the remaining money. the PTO will also allow lucas to finally set up the solaredge account for us, and he said he'd come by and show us how to use the app (most likely next week).
my upstairs neighbors finally came home, blissfully missing since friday. steve got a package on the day they left, i put on the steps while they were moving things into the house, i don't think they even knew it was me who kept their package safe, i didn't want the credit anyway. if they want to make it up to me they can disappear again this weekend for the new year day long weekend.
as it was trash night, i did some rudimentary refrigerator cleanup, tossing out a bunch of expired foods, including jars of indian curry, moldy jams, and cans of whipped cream. i could easily toss out more if i spent more time looking. next week i'll try emptying out some expired items in the cupboards. one thing you learn when living in a small space is being able to throw out anything you don't need anymore. it's a no-brainer, especially when it comes to expired food.
i finished the evening with a few more marvelous mrs. maisel episodes streaming on my HDTV via amazon roku channel. i finished watching episode 6, there are just 2 more episodes left in the season. fortunately i read amazon already picked up the series for 2 more episodes. i can't get over how much the show is like a mash-up between the gilmore girls and mad men with a lot more profanity.