i woke up around 4am to get ready to drive down to the airport by 4:30am to pick up my 2nd aunt at 5am returning from san jose (prior to that she'd been in taiwan for nearly a month). i was given this task because my father didn't want to wake up that early plus i had more free time. that's why i went to belmont yesterday afternoon to pick up the car. i'd slept for less than 3 hours and i could feel my heart thumping irregularly from operating during irregular hours.

the only good thing about driving to the airport that early is no cars on the road. after researching various routes, i decided to get into boston via the longfellow bridge then taking route 3N to the big dig underground to the airport. there were almost no cars until i crossed the charles river, with commercial night time pickup garbage trucks outnumbering all other vehicles.

even though i've driven to the airport a bunch of times, it still feels unfamiliar to me and i don't like it because i always think i'm going to get lost. this time around instead of entering the airport, i took a different route, via an access road, that led me to the cell phone lot directly instead of having to circle the terminals. i arrived at 5am, the parking lot nearly empty (whenever i come it's almost always nearly full), waiting for my 2nd aunt to call me.

my 2nd aunt called at 5:12am, almost to confirm that i was actually coming to get her, telling me she was waiting for her luggage to arrive. she called again at 5:19am, having left the terminal, asking where i was. i told her to walk to where you catch the silver line bus, and to call me back when she got there. minutes later she called and i drove down to terminal C. even though that terminal was nearby, logan airport is designed in such a way that from the cell phone lot the only way to get to the terminals is to circle back around (although i believe there's a secret access road shortcut which doesn't show up on google maps).

terminal C was a mess: multiple tracks, for taxi pickups, for buses, and for regular pickup. i tried to coordinate with my 2nd aunt, but she couldn't describe where she was, and i not only had to talk on the phone but negotiate all the cars coming in and out. i pulled up further ahead where i saw the bus stands, but didn't know where the silver line stop was. further up was a nice quiet empty area, probably for buses, but i stopped there for a few minutes waiting for my aunt to call me back. when she didn't, i decided to circle back again, taking a big detour around the airport to get back to terminal C. we tried again but once more we were unable to coordinate where to meet. thankfully i saw my aunt standing at the bus stand. i wasn't allowed to park there, but thankfully no buses were coming and i stopped for just a minute to throw her suitcases into the trunk to finally drive off.

by then it was nearly 6am, the sun was coming out, a beautiful sunrise over the city of boston, in which i had no opportunity to appreciate as i had to concentrate on driving back to cambridge. not only was the sun out, but the cars as well. it was still early though, we never faced any congestions. going back i had multiple options (one was to take interstate 93 north and get off at medford square) but decided to go back the way i came, from kendall square. but getting onto storrow drive i missed my exit (i was in the right lane, exit was 3 lanes to the left) so decided to go back the usual route, tracing the charles and crossing the eliot bridge to north cambridge.

i dropped off my aunt, helping her push one of her suitcases to her front door (6:19am) before leaving her. my day wasn't done yet, as i drove to belmont to return the car. my parents were still asleep (6:30am by that point). my aunt had given us some moon cakes and i left them with my parents. i did an early morning survey of the backyard before finally retrieving my fuji bike from the garage and riding back to cambridge. i'm rarely up this early in the morning, there's a whole different world i've never seen before. joggers were everywhere, and in the park people were congregating with their dogs. so early!

it was just 7am when i got back home. there was no point in going back to sleep, as i thought of what to do with my extra 2-3 hours of bonus waking hours. as rain was forecasted later in the afternoon, i decided it'd be a good time to take down my air conditioner. it was still filled with water from the last rainstorm, so i had to tilt the AC out the window to drain it. later in put it outside and sprayed the inside with some water to clean out some dirt before draining it again. it was that time that i got 2 mosquito bites on my left forearm.

after the AC was stowed in the basement, i took the time to clean up all the fallen acorns in the backyard. it's one of those years again, when the back of the house is drowned in a sea of acorns.

by the time i was finished, it was just 7:40am, still plenty of hours left in the morning. looking out the window i saw people jogging, people walking their dogs, and people going off to work.

around 10am i saw a girl outside my house who seemed to be having bike problems. i couldn't bear to watch anymore so i ran out to see what was up. the pedals of her bike seemed to be stuck, even though all her gearing mechanisms seemed okay. it was a mystery until she noticed that her rear rack had tilted back, rubbing up against her back wheel, which prevented it from turning. once the rear rack was tilted forward again, everything worked. i ran to my house to get some tools to tighten the rack. she introduced herself as kate, and just moved into the neighborhood at house 35. she was off to work but already called her boss to let them know she was going to run a little late.

around 6pm my lack of sleep and waking up very early finally caught up to me. i decided to take a little nap, got up around 8pm to start making dinner.

pasta salad
4-6 servings

1 lbs. tri-color rotini
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
8 oz. feta cheese
6 oz. ham steak, cubed
1 cup olives, chopped
1 cup fresh arugula
1 cup pepperoncini, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 cup cilantro, chopped

cook pasta. let cool. mix with remaining ingredients including dressing. serve cold.

pasta salad italian dressing

1-1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp dry oregano
2 tsp dry basil

mix all ingredients in food processor.

baked potato wedges

8 small potatoes, wedged
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder

soak raw potato wedges in hot water for 30 minutes. pat dry. drizzle with olive oil. mix with spice ingredients.