the biggest challenge of winter riding is the cold. having a windshield really helps to block the wind. i remember when i rode my old honda rebel during the cold season, even with multiple layers it was still a struggle keeping my body warm. after that, freezing hands are the next concern, since the handlebars are exposed to the elements. but ever since i came back with motorcycle handlebar mitts from china in 2014, my hands have been toasty warm, so long as i remember to use my mitts. with torso and hands taken care of, the next concern is the face. i can always duck down so the top of the windshield blocks the wind from my face, but usually i ride with my face fully exposed. this is compounded by the fact i wear an open-faced helmet. this morning it was so cold, tears were streaming down my face involuntarily, if anyone saw me they'd think i was crying.
when i got to belmont i found my father by himself in the living room. tangtang was probably still asleep in the guest bedroom. earlier my father drove pansusu to alewife so he can catch the go bus to new york city. my mother left even earlier to pick up my 2nd aunt and go to the cafe. soon after i arrived my father left to relieve my mother of duty so she and my aunt can return home and make scallion pancakes for tangtang for lunch. their original plan was to take her shopping, but she said she had 3 papers to write and needed to stay home and finish them (due on monday).
while waiting for my mother to return home, i went and cleaned the garage a bit to make room for the motorcycle i'll be putting in temporarily storage tomorrow to wait out the 72-day mixed rain/snowstorm. i rewrapped the garden hoses (to the best of my ability, some of them were already pretty stiff from being in the unheated garage) and put them in a refuse bin. i gathered up the snow shovels. finally i took out the mower and gave the front lawn one final mow to clean the leaves (i had it in recycle setting so it'd just return the clippings back onto the lawn). i then went to the backyard, dumped out the bins of leaves, and shredded everything with the mower. i dumped the bagged pulverized leaves into the compost bins. say what you will about our ugly DIY-pruned backyard maple tree, but every year it provides us with a lot of leaf refuse for composting and mulching, so it's still an important tree.
my mother and aunt got back right when i was finishing up. i could smell the oil frying from the kitchen exhaust vent. i love scallion pancakes but it was too much of a good thing, and i was already full after having 3 pancakes (cut up into quarters). i prefer the pancakes without eggs, which i thought was weird, but it was something tangtang asked for, as it's one of the varieties of taiwanese-style scallion pancakes. even though my mother and aunt came home just to make pancakes for tangtang, she could only eat so much as well. she had a glass of apple cider (from a gallon jug), which was one of the drinks i bought for thanksgiving. apparently it's one of her favorites and it seems to be all she drinks, so that turned out to be a good choice. she thinks it's too sweet though, and dilutes it with some water.
while tangtang returned to her room to continue working on her papers, my mother asked me to roast another bag of hazelnuts, which she now says is one of her favorites. around 2pm my godmother came by to ask my mother for help casting on a new knit project. the three of them sat in the living room knitting the rest of the afternoon.
at 3pm my aunt reminded us that we should be roasting the turkey. it took 20 minutes to preheat the convection oven while i pulled the brined bird out of the bucket (which my mother had brought back when they came home) and put it on a roasting rack. every thanksgiving so many people end up taking leftovers home that we're left with hardly any turkey. so this year we decided to get a second smaller bird and roast it over the weekend so we can replenish our turkey supply. while the one we had for thanksgiving was a 21.5 lbs. giant, this one was a smaller 16 lbs. turkey. it went into the oven around 3:30pm, to be done in 2-1/2 hours. at the 1 hour mark i opened up the oven to drizzle some dripping turkey juices onto the skin to crisp it up, and then every 30 minutes after that.
my godmother left when it got dark, but not before meeting tangtang who finally came out of her room. she was wearing her winter jacket because she said it was so cold in the bedroom. she hadn't been working but instead had been sleeping this whole time. my godmother gifted tangtang a scarf and a sherpa wool reversible oversized vest. my godmother left right when my father returned from the cafe with my sister's godmother. my sister showed up an hour later after feeding hailey and leaving her at home.
november wasn't that great in terms of production - a third of the days we only made single digit kWh of electricity - but we did end the month beating not only last november's numbers, but also beating october 2019's production by about 1 kWh. here's hoping we get some good numbers in december but once we get past the winter solstice, the day length will slowly begin to increase again. the official start of winter is also the beginning of the end of winter as well.
the first thing my father did when he got back home was to make the bing with the dough he'd prepared earlier this morning before he left for the cafe. around 5:30pm my mother was crying that she thought the turkey was done even though there was still another half hour of roasting, but when i looked inside the oven, the embedded turkey thermometer had already popped, so it was time to take the turkey out.
after we finished eating, my sister said she was going home to her dog. that immediately brought the evening to a close, as she was the ride for my aunt and her godmother. as for me, i had to prepare myself mentally for the cold ride home as the temperature had dropped to 32°F by that point. i tried starting the bike without jump starting it but it didn't work, no surprise. then for the third time i got a chance to jump my motorcycle battery with my custom terminal extension. each time i do it i get better with practice. i closed everything back up, put the handlebar mitts on, strap on my backpack, and rode back to cambridge.
once again, the parking spot i've been parking in for the past few days was still available. even though it looks sizable, it's probably too small for a standard-sized car to fit in. i noticed the upstairs lights were on, steve and paul were back in town again. i noticed the wire fencing on our front yard was gone, most likely the handiwork of paul.
i ended up buying a mi fit 4 for around $20. maybe i might use it, or maybe give it to my mother as an upgrade for her mi fit 2. it's being shipped from china but said it'd arrive by december 15th, so who knows if that's true or not.