my upstairs neighbor paul finally returned from wherever he's been for the past few weeks. the very first thing he did was to put a christmas wreath on my door. i appreciate the gesture but they never asked me if it was okay, they just assumed i'd be fine with it, when in fact i prefer not to have a wreath on my door because it blocks the window and makes my foyer really dark. fortunately this year they picked small wreaths, so there was still some gap at the bottom for light to shine through. since christmas is less than a week away, i was hopeful that maybe this year my upstairs neighbors would forgo the wreaths, but apparently that wasn't the case. i wonder if they're expecting guests this weekend, because they typically do a lot of sprucing up the days leading up to it.

i cleaned up my coffee table yesterday; today i vacuumed the house. i still need to do some dusting, especially underneath some of the larger pieces of furniture. for lunch i steamed two frozen jumbo meat buns. i left them on the stovetop until i smelled something off and realized the steamer was running dry, all the water had been boiled off. the buns were good, though a little soggy on the bottom from where i ripped off the parchment paper.

i went out in the late afternoon to run some errands, including returning the eton elite executive shortwave radio. i got halfway there when i realized i forgot to bring the radio so i had to return home. while i was back, i decided to replace the brake pads on my front wheel. neither the front nor the back were braking very well, but i figured replacing the front pads would be more effective, i'll worry about the rear pads some other time.

i locked my bike in front of walgreens before crossing the street to the UPS store. apparently amazon has some kind of agreement with UPS where they will accept my return package without me having to put it in a box and put on a shipping label. all i did was show them QR code and they accepted my package and gave me a receipt. i then returned to walgreens to pick up my 3 prescriptions. i then biked to market basket to get some green mountain hazelnut keurig coffee cups for my mother.

riding was okay for the most part. cold, but i was well bundled up. the bike paths were cleared, it's the transition spaces that can be tricky, like black ice patches filling pot holes or spots where nobody shoveled and all the trampled slush has now frozen solid. i learned to avoid riding over anything that looked like snow (there could be icy patches underneath) or if i really have to, slow down and walk the bike over the obstructions.

i returned home to drop off the coffee and pills and pick up my camera before heading down to harvard square, my last stop. the neighborhood dog walking woman saw me riding and yelled out, "you'll freeze your nose off!" i was in harvard square to visit the gap store there, looking to see if they had any flannel-lined pants so i can replace the ones i got yesterday. after a fruitless search i asked one of the clerks who told me they only carried those pants online. she said they could accept my returns, but i told her i'd think about it a little more. the pants are very comfortable and fit great, just not long enough for me to roll up the pant legs to show the flannel pattern on the inside.

back at home, i went online to gap to see if they had any new sales with the christmas shipping deadline fast approaching. i checked yesterday, there was a 40% discount plus another 10%; however today it was down to 50% plus an additional 10%. so i ended up rebuying the flannel-lined pants, at a cheaper price than i originally paid the first time around. tomorrow i'll go back to the harvard gap and return the wrong size pants i already have.

we made a decent amount of electricity today, 26.82 kWh. not all the panels were operating at peak efficiency: from the panel view i could tell a few panels on the sunroom roof were still partially covered in snow and ice as they had decreased production. but i think it just cost us about 1.5 kWh, not too bad considering the situation. tomorrow looks to be another sunny day, hopefully the black solar panels will continue to melt some of that snow despite the cold temperature.

i waited the whole day just to have another greek salad for dinner. i still have enough for two more servings as this and i'd like to use up as much salad ingredients as possible before the weekend, so maybe tomorrow i might have salad for lunch and dinner. i was wondering if i'd have a bad reaction again to the feta cheese like i did last night. this time around there was no ill effects, so i think last night's diarrhea was due to bad feta. tonight i used the fresh stuff, so no problems. i ate my greek salad while watching the greek freak and the milwaukee bucks face off against lebron james and the lakers in wisconsin. bucks ended up winning, they currently have the best record in the NBA with only 4 loses (lakers have 5, celtics 7). boston is actually behind milwaukee in the eastern conference standings. celtics beat the bucks back in october, but that was without giannis antetokounmpo playing. they meet again january, it's going to be a marquee matchup.

i have the heat in the house set to 60 degrees during the day. sometimes when i wake up i might turn up the heat to 65 degrees for an hour just to warm up a bit. today because it was so cold outside, the heat kept on firing. in the evening i turned it up to 65 degrees. it was fine initially when it was pushing hot air throughout the house, but once it achieved the target temperature, it felt cold again, cold enough that i turned the termostat up to 68 degrees later in the evening. 68 degrees is also the night time temperature when i have a roommate. even though it might be 68 degrees in the living room, in the bathroom and the small bedroom the temperature is much higher, by 10+ degrees. that's why i love spending time in the bathroom during the winter, and that's why it's such a luxury to sleep in the small bedroom during the cold months, as it's one of the warmest place in the house.