though today was friday, it felt more like a sunday, as my parents decided to close the cafe for the weekend, extending their thanksgiving holiday. my mother seemed to have recovered from her jetlag (though complaining about various aches and pains) while my father continues to sleep during the daytime. originally i was going to bike to belmont with temperatures nearly 20 degrees warmer than yesterday (though still in the 30's) but then i decided i'd take the bus (running on a more frequent weekday schedule still) before my sister called offering me a ride. she arrived around 11:30am.

i helped my mother buy some yarn through the michael's website using a 40% off all regular price items black friday coupon. we had it "shipped" to the store (they already had it in stock) for pickup. they were all out at the porter square store but still had them in stock at the everett store.

for lunch it was turkey leftovers. there didn't seem to be a lot of turkey left, with everyone - my aunt, my 2nd aunt, and then my sister - taking away portions. there's always that feeling after thanksgiving that this is the last turkey ever when in fact it's just as easy to roast another turkey, even though we've only done it once (2014 10 lbs. turkey 2).

yesterday i found the radiator overflow bin in the basement filled to capacity, a pool of water on the floor surrounding it. my father and i drained some of the water in the boiler expansion tank, hoping to alleviate the excess water, but when i checked the basement again today, the bin was nearly 2/3 filled. normally, when everything is running correctly, it should take a few weeks to fill up. i carefully carried the water to the laundry sink and poured it out. maybe it just needed a day to acclimate, i'll see what happens tomorrow.

the plum wine my father made has very good color and aroma. although we used black plums, the flesh themselves were yellow, so all that deep maroon color must've came from the skin. as for the smell, it has a sweet fragrance, perhaps hinting at its delicious taste. but one sip you will realize most of that sugar had been fermented, less a sweet wine, more of a dry one. some people might like a dry plum wine, but my father made it hoping to create the sweet wine from his childhood.

i brought my proof and tralles hydrometer purchased back in 2013 for a moonshine project that never took off (mostly because i went to go live for a year in chongqing later that summer). i wanted to measure the alcohol content of the plum wine. i pour an amount into a glass before transferring it to the graduated cylinder. i was pretty surprised when the meter read zero. in fact, it read less than zero, as it looked like the lowest number was floating above the surface of the wine. that made me realize that the hydrometer i had was for distilled liquor with higher alcohol content; what i needed was a hydrometer for measuring beer and wine.

since it was still in the afternoon, i quickly drove out to modern homebrew emporium in north cambridge via fresh pond. i thought they were closed because the door was covered with plywood but the open sign was still flashing. it was surprisingly busy, a variety of people - women, men, children, white, black - picking up equipment and supplies for their beer-making hobby. there was no one there to help me but i found my way to the meter shelves and picked up a triple scale alcohol hydrometer for $8.45 after taxes.

back in belmont, i measured the plum wine again. once again i was disappointed with the result as the meter floating to just 1% potential alcohol. i discovered that actually taking the alcohol measurement of low alcohol drinks is actually kind of difficult. there's no direct way to do easily with cheap equipment. what the hydrometer is measuring isn't even the alcohol but rather the amount of dissolved sugar. what you're supposed to do is take a measurement before fermentation, when the sugars are first added (the hydrometer will read a higher percentage of potential alcohol), then take another one when you're done. the difference is the assumed alcohol content.

i still think there's a lot of alcohol in the plum wine because i can smell the ethanol fumes when i take a sip and i feel a little light-headed afterwards. of course i get light-headed from beer as well, so the alcohol content could be anywhere between 3-20%.

for dinner we had some noodles with turkey broth made from leftover turkey bones. i added a dab of homemade habanero hot sauce for some additional kick. i drove one of the cars back to cambridge, along with my baking pans and an assortment of ramekins.

i did some more black friday online shopping. some more jeans from gap factory outlet, a sherpa hoodie to replace mine with the frayed cuffs, a 128GB samsung memory card ($20) and bicycle phone holder from amazon.