annie's mother left the house this morning at 10am. i asked her where she was going, she said to check out MIT. for someone who seemed so meek the first time i met her, she certainly seems to get around. i watched as her mother was ambling about outside, seemingly lost. i felt bad for her and put on my shoes to go outside and at least bring her to harvard square. i could also pick up an extra charlie card for her to use (she was borrowing her daughter's MBTA card). i almost reached her when i got a call from my mother, asking me to come to the cafe to help my father prune some trees for my sister and also to bring a bag of bean sprouts. i aborted mission-to-help-annie's-mother to run my errands.

at my sister's place my father and i pruned some grapevines before climbing to the roof of the house (using two ladders) to reach the neighbor's tall fir tree. it had branches that were overhanging the house, making it easier for squirrels to get to the roof. we used an electric pole saw to get at the branches. i finished by 12:20pm, leaving with a container of curry rice noodles. instead of going home, i went to belmont to check for new skunk holes and to try out my new baby nasal aspirator AKA diatomaceous earth sprayer.

the fencing by the southwestern corner of the yard was breached again, despite my best effort to block it off with logs. whatever came in was strong enough to bend upwards the chicken wires. i reworked the barrier, this time blocking the hole with a large rock.

inspecting the buttercup squash plants, i picked off a few SVB eggs but i also noticed a few times that might already have been infected. i will inject them with thuricide over the weekend. i originally bought the thuricide back in july 2012, it's only supposed to have a shelf-life of 3-5 years, but i'm hoping it's still effective. i also noticed our one solo maturing squash seemed to be dying, it as turned yellow instead of remaining green. i'm not too sad about it as more squashes are developing, but it's never a good thing to see fruits withering on the vine.

the nasal aspirator worked okay, better than the plastic up with holes cut in them. it can suck up the diatomaceous earth (DE), and spray it out in cloudy bursts. i did notice that the first few squirts always seem to have the highest concentration of dust. maybe i need to hone my technique, don't squeeze so hard at first. most of the DE i applied over the weekend had been washed off by yesterday's rain, but i was surprised that some still remained. there were still flea beetles though, i remember it takes a few dusting before the beetles are gone for good.

i left belmont by 1pm. instead of straight home, i stopped by the cafe briefly to pick up some soft pretzels my sister had gotten me. when i finally got back by 1:30pm, only then did i eat the curry rice noodles for lunch.

in the afternoon i walked down to the community garden to do some watering. even though it rained yesterday, i hadn't been there since saturday, and wanted to inspect the garden to make sure everything was okay. it was a hot but dry day, not uncomfortable, but i still sweated a lot. i managed to harvest my first japanese cucumber, a slender long specimen, not enough for a meal, maybe an appetizer.

returning home i received an e-mail from a chinese person i didn't recognize inviting me to a barbecue tonight. i racked my brain trying to figure out who this person was, but then i saw the signature: leon. my neighbors from upstairs! i agreed to go, and asked if they needed anything, while i already left for the supermarket. i picked up some italian sausages from MB (manager's special sale $1 a package!) and a case of IBC root beer. still thinking what else i should get, i got a response from leon saying his kids would love some dessert, so i got two cartons of haagen-dazs and a box of ice cream drumsticks.

i returned home by 4pm, with another hour and a half to kill before the barbecue started at 5:30pm. i took a shower, changing out of my acrid sweat-soaked t-shirt.

annie's mother returned home around 5pm. besides MIT (which she said was busy with student activity and you could sense that these were science and engineering students), she also crossed the charles river and went to quincy market. i found that a little surprising, she does have an adventurous streak after all.

at 5:30pm i told annie's mother i was going upstairs because i'd been invited to dinner. i found leon outside on the upstairs deck preparing the grill. he was looking at something in the neighbor's yard. "is that a turkey?" he asked in disbelief. his younger son ethan (5) was home, his wife and older son bryan (8) yet to come back. ethan was more playful and outgoing, but maybe too playful, as he casually grabbed my ass and asked alexa to play "baby shark". he also kept asking me to guess where his different relatives lived, the correct answer was always "beijing". leon had two slabs of ribs coated with sweet baby ray barbecue sauce and a large piece of steak. to that i added my half dozen italian sausages. he offered me a yuengling beer, although i would've much rather preferred the IBC root beer i brought, which ethan ended up sampling.

close to 6pm ting and bryan finally came home. even though i've spoken to ting on two separate occasions, she couldn't get over how good my chinese was. it was a little surreal having dinner upstairs. not that i haven't in the past (on one other occasion), it didn't feel like my house yet it was at the same time.

once everything finished cooking we ate in the dining area. bryan had also grabbed a root beer, his mother momentarily shocked because she thought it was real beer. besides the meats, there was also a salad which i almost neglected.

we chatted about a bunch of different things, from US and european differences, health care, education, and raising bilingual children. after dinner ethan and bryan dug out the ice cream drumsticks from the freezer. later in the evening bryan attended a web-based english class; they learn english in school, but his parents felt it wasn't enough. ting also told me they went to a red sox game last week, the 2nd game between the red sox and yankees. i told her about the bitter rivalry between boston and new york, and if you were to wear a yankees hat people might treat you with less courtesy. they went with bryan (who's been playing baseball at camp) (left the younger ethan elsewhere) but even he couldn't explain the rules.

i finally left a bit after 9pm, simply went downstairs. they said they might be another barbecue before they leave on the 15th.