i woke up to an empty house, as kevin left for work this saturday morning. i left for belmont a bit before 11am. the temperature was in the mid-20's but a strong wind made it feel colder. about a few blocks away i started wondering whether i should've brought my wool mittens instead, but my cheap double-layered dollar store gloves worked well enough. i rode in a headwind most of the time, made going uphill even more difficult.

i had some meatball soup for lunch. i help my father with some more phone configuration, like logging into the nest and smart life accounts. i also turned on the chinese input options on his gboard keyboard. finally, i called verizon to fix a peculiar problem he's always had with his phone, that his voicemail never worked. unlike my phone, where my voicemail is integrated into with phone app, on my father's phone he has to manually dial into verizon's voicemail phone service and punch in his pin number and then go through the phone tree to retrieve his messages. originally we thought it was just a bug with his moto G4 plus phone, even though voicemail works perfectly well on my 2nd aunt's moto G4 play. however, once he upgraded to the G7, the problem was still there, so it had something to do with his account. a helpful error message popped up in his voicemail tab: "visual voicemail is disabled" with a verizon customer service number to call to activate this service. so that's what i did. most of the call was just trying to verify i was the rightful owner of the account. it took a text message to my own phone with a security code to finally gain access. from there it was a simple matter of activating visual voicemail on my father's account for everything to work.

i gave my mother the book safe i'd been working on the past 2 days, i figured she had more of a use for it than i do. besides, i have plenty more books to convert into hiding places. i think this one is my best one yet, completely camouflaged when placed on the bookshelf.

i refilled the bird feeder, even though two of the columns were still full, because larger dried berries and peanut pieces had blocked the openings again. i need to get better quality seeds instead of this mixed bag.

i never know this about white-throated sparrows - frequent visitors to the feeder - but they come in two forms: tan-striped and white-striped. that would explain why the first time i saw them i had a hard time with identification, because i was probably looking at tan-striped versions. equal numbers exist within the population, and the more interesting thing is that typically tan-striped will only mate with white-striped, and vice versa. behaviors are also different, with white-striped more aggressive and dominant, while tan-striped more nurturing and submissive.