annie was still home when i woke up this morning at 9am, which was new since she's always gone by the time i get up. she was in her pink pajamas reading her GRE book at her desk. it wasn't too big a deal because i planned on spending most of today doing garden work at my parents' place anyway.

one of the lotus seeds looks like it might be ready to grow out its stalk, but for the most part it's still slow going for some reason. i wonder if it isn't because these 2nd batch of germinating seeds are from a different kind of lotus (there are only just two true lotus species). i'm also starting to wonder if bubbling might not be a bad thing. it bubbles not because the seed is alive but because its dead and it's gone rotten and gas is being released from the decomposition. this would also explain why some seeds are floating, because decomposition gas has built up inside.

as today was a nice day, i went out to run some errands. first to the dollar store to pick up some safety pins for my mother. next to porter square, to see if the charlie card my mother found more than a week ago has any money on it. when i tapped it to the machine, it said the card was invalid. i'm guessing it was a monthly pass and the card owner had it cancelled somehow after losing it. you couldn't even add money to the card if you wanted to, so i'm just going to throw it away.

finally, i went to the community garden. since it rain yesterday and will rain again tomorrow, i really didn't need to be there, but i just wanted to check up on my plants. they're fine, but every time i go to the garden i get so angry because i see dave's plot next door, which is not only bigger (by 1.5x), not only gets more sun, but his vegetables are also so much larger than mine. gardening is not a competition but it makes me so jealous that i secretly wish tragedy will somehow befall his plants.

when i returned home by 11am, i caught annie right when she was about to leave the house. i'd completely forgotten that she was still home. she was wearing a pink sweatshirt jacket and a wide brim pink hat to keep out the sun. the only thing she was carrying was a drinking glass, not even her backpack. i assumed she was going to the office, but i didn't ask.

after i had two packets of instant oatmeal for lunch, i was out again, this time taking the motorcycle to belmont. i strapped a 12-pack box of seltzer to the back of the bike, and in my bag i had a container of häagen-dazs ice cream for my parents in an insulated tote.

even though it's only been monday since i planted the lotuses, i was still curious to see how they were doing. sitting out in the bright sun submerged in warm water, the two lotus stalks seemed to be fine. both had their tips out of the water, ready to open up their first floating coin leaves. the water was clear, with meant none of the clay mud had seeped out from the containers. through its depths, i could see the emerging sprouts of the 2nd coin leaves ready to grow out from the sand substrate.

i'd forgotten i had a soil test kit (luster leaf rapitest soil test kit) until i rediscovered it a few days ago stashed away in a sunroom shelf. i purchased it back in june 2012 and only used it once to test some lawn soil (pH 6). i took a reading of one of the potted jasmine soil. the pH was 6.5 - in the immortal words of anatoly dyatlov, "not great, not terrible." jasmines prefer acidic soil, and can go as low as pH 5. but the slightly acidic pH might be preventing the plants from absorbing the iron that it needs. the leaf yellowing could very well be chlorosis. that meant i could try some iron foliage spray first to see if i can bring the green back. an earlier search for "liquid iron" on the home depot website showed they didn't carry it. but i figured hillside garden supply on blanchard road might have what i was looking for.

so i took the motorcycle and headed down to hillside. before i went i, i first visited the nearby turf equipment and asked them about snowblower tune-ups. labor is a flat $289 not including parts. usually, for a well maintained machine the final price comes out to $350, but it could run as high as $500+ for a snowblower that needs a lot of work. at hillside one of the employees helped me look for chelated iron. they didn't have any chelated iron on its own, but they did have miracle-gro miracid ($5), a fertilizer for acid-loving plants, and that had 0.325% chelated iron. they also had bonide liquid iron ($14), which contained 5% of iron (in sulfate form). i ended up getting the liquid iron simply because it had more iron. since i still had so much iron foliage spray left, i decided to spray the ring of violets underneath the maple tree. i noticed many of the violet leaves have started turning yellow as well. they may also be lacking enough iron, hoping the spray will green then back up.

back at home i prepared the iron foliage spray. first i poured out the copper solution that was previously in our sprayer tank. i then mixed 1 gallon of water with 1 ounce of liquid iron (instruction said 1-1/4 ounces, i figured it wouldn't make that much difference). the liquid iron was brownish black and had a surprisingly nice smell. maybe not "nice" but in my mind i was expecting it to smell like blood for some reason, or more metallic, of which it was neither. i sloshed the tank to thoroughly mix the solution before i started spraying. i only selected 2 of the 4 potted jasmines (not including the new belle of india jasmines, which show no signs of chlorosis). this would allow me to do a comparison but would also have some additional plants in case the liquid iron ended up hurting instead of helping. the guy at the garden store reminded me not to expose the newly sprayed plants to direct sunlight, so i moved them into the shade of the grapevines for the time being.

since it was such a nice day out, i ended up doing some more gardening work. i weeded the raised beds. cleaned up all the pruned quince and lilac branches my father had made. watered the plants. turned the compost. put plastic collars around the newly sprouted bottle gourd seedlings. pruned off all the spent iris flower stalks. pulled up some invasive black swallow-worts. admired the handywork of a solitary bee making a nest in one of the old wooden boards (i saw it repeatedly flying back with pieces of cut leaves). our next door neighbor was having some sort of birthday party and i kept hearing sounds of children playing.

i finally left by 3:30pm. annie was already home when i got back. she was making food in the kitchen, some kind of burrito wrap, chopping up a mess of broccoli, mixing it with some ground beef which she added some barbecue sauce. i left her to improvise her meal while i took the bicycle to market basket. i needed a jar of pasta sauce and while i was at it i also got a few cartons of häagen-dazs ice cream on sale ($2.99/carton).

i'd totally forgotten that my canon 60D camera and 18-200mm lens were at the canon factory service center. it felt like so long ago even though i shipped everything monday morning (2 days ago). it broke last friday, and in between that time and now i went to the saturday pride parade and shot with my panasonic SZ40, which was serviceable. canon sent me two e-mails, one for the camera body, the other for the lens. i was afraid to look at them, like getting a report card, i didn't want the sticker shock after seeing how much it's going to cost me. i saw the estimate for the lens first, $128 labor plus $14 2-day shipping, for a total of $142. that wasn't bad, and it was a flat repair rate for all lenses, which included any replacement parts. what's strange was the description of the problem wasn't what i wrote; instead it said "the unit makes a rattling noise," which i assume is what canon says for any lenses that come in for servicing. i went online and authorized the repair, what the case may be, the lens would get repaired regardless.

next was the repair estimate for the camera body: $209 for labor, $46.04 for parts (didn't say what, i assume it's for the shutter mechanism), and another $14 for shipping, for a total of $272.79. that was what i'd estimated the cost to replace the shutter assembly, but i was still hoping it might be cheaper. the price is fair, and definitely less expensive than going to a local camera repair shop.1 i'd seen online videos of a canon dSLR disassembly, and it's complicated and there are a lot of parts. the price was high enough that i looked on ebay first for used canon dSLR bodies, either a 70D or 80D. even the cheapest ones i saw were $380 ($100 more), and they seemed sort of sketchy. as much as i'd love to upgrade my camera, and even if i did, it still made sense to get the 60D fixed first, regardless if i'd be using it or not. i'm satisfied with my 60D, i could use it for many more years without any complaints. so i took a deep breath and authorized the repair on camera body. hopefully by next week i'll get everything back good as new.

i wasn't expecting much in terms of solar production today but it surprised me by scoring another 50kWh+ day with a final production of 52.91kWh, the 5th 50kWh+ day of this month so far. even though we're able to make 50kWh+, the numbers seem to be steadily going down each and every time. i'm guessing it has something to do with the sun angle: when the sun gets higher in the sky, it's better for the panels on the sunroom (11) but less so for the main roof panels (13).

i rewatched weird science (1985), the john hughes' outlier that doesn't easily fit into his oeuvre of 80's teen dramedies. as a kid i must've watched that movie a hundred times, don't think i ever saw the widescreen version before. the fashion was deeply 80's (baggy, clashing patterns, lots of accessories), the jokes dated, but it was nostalgic nevertheless. not only was i fan of the movie, but i also watched the USA series when it came out as well, even though vanessa angel is no kelly lebrock.

i weighed myself before taking a shower: 143.8 lbs, the lightest i've been this year. maybe this summer will be the summer where i hit the 130's. i'm more active during the warm months, but i still occasionally snack. i should look into some healthier snacking options, like vegetables and fruits.

i cooked up some frozen tortellini for dinner, mixed with half a jar of pasta sauce. tonight was all about the stanley cup final: could the boston bruins win it and give us a 3rd sports championship in less than a year? the elusive trifecta? all day long i was seeing people decked out in their bruins wear, the local fan support was palpable. the blues scored twice in the first period, while the bruins couldn't get anything off of st.louis' rookie goalkeeper. neither teams scored in the 2nd period. when the blues scored a 3rd goal in the 3rd period, the inevitable seemed certain, and when they scored a 4th goal, it was the end. boston managed to get one goal for pride when they emptied their net but it was too late. the st.louis blues won the stanley cup, the first time in their franchise history.

of the floating lotus seeds, a few look rotten. not only are they squishy, but they also give off a mild vomit odor. if i squeeze them i can see a tiny sprout on the inside but don't know if they'll actually germinate. i decided to peel one so all the white was exposed, and another one i peeled but left on the thin brown skin. maybe taking off the soft leathery outer skin will give these floating seeds more room to expand.

1 case in point: when i realized my canon 70-300mm had lost its IS ability back in 2012, i first took it to sanford camera repair in arlington, figuring that having canon fix it would cost me more. sanford was going to charge me $340, so i ended up shipping the broken lens to canon, figuring i had nothing to lose (besides cost of shipping). turns out it's actually cheaper to get things fixed by canon, the final cost being $193. and now it's even cheaper, at least for lens repair, with canon's flat rate fee ($142).