i went to star market this morning. didn't really have anything in mind, my mother wanted some vegetables, i went to check their selection and price. there was a security guard in a mask roaming the store, i'd never seen that before. they had pasta but i didn't buy any since i still have some at home. they were all out of toilet paper, but plenty of generic brand kitchen paper towels. for some reason the nut milk and juice shelves were empty, i think it was because they were restocking, not hoarding related. i saw a weirdo in a mask, gloves, rain coat and rain boots. a minute later he said my name and i realized it was my neighbor franz, i didn't even recognize him. i ended up buying some bananas and bags of potato chips.

after having some leftover scallion pancakes from a week ago for lunch, i left for belmont. i brought my laptop along because my mother called to let me know my sister's godmother's plane ticket to taiwan scheduled for next week got cancelled again. this is the second time they cancelled on her. she needed me to try again for the 3rd time, to get her a ticket through EVA airline. there were still flights available, one as early as tomorrow, but they were $400 more expensive ($600 vs $1000). but my sister's godmother was determined to return to taiwan regardless the cost (i don't think she's safe in the US anymore), so we got her a ticket for this thursday afternoon.

my father was busy in the backyard reconfiguring the rain barrel connectors. we needed to prune the maple tree as well as the grapevine. we decided to tackle the grapevine first, as our neighbors were busy repairing their backyard deck, and i didn't want them to see us as we dangerously cut down maple tree branches.

the grapevine needed to be trimmed because it was getting too tangled. opening up the canopy would also allow more light penetration, hopefully help with the annual case of black rot we got on the concord grapes. i was of the mind to cut everything down to a few remaining central branches, but my father left intact more smaller branches. we'll see how it goes, if the black rot continues, we'll trim back even more branches next season. i saved a few grape branches and soaked them in water, maybe they can become cuttings.

when the next door neighbors looked like they were done with the deck repair, we decided to prune the maple tree after all. at first we were going to use the electric pole saw but it has weak cutting power, so we finally switched over to the electric chainsaw. we basically cut off all vertically growing suckers, which was essentially the top canopy of the tree. this maple is in pretty bad shape - a lot of diseased main branches - but it still provides some shading and screening, and once the leaves come in it won't look so bad. we ended up with a tall stack of sucker branches, which we moved as much as we could onto the picnic table (so it doesn't crush the grass) and what was left we moved to a grass-less area of the lawn.

i saw a ladybug on the picnic table. i was going to capture it and put it in our grow room, but it must've gotten smushed during all the falling branches because it was dead.

i biked back to cambridge by 4pm. i was supposed to go pick up my valsartan prescription, but earlier i received a call from the walgreens pharmacy. i thought it was just a courtesy call to remind me that my prescription was ready for pickup, but the pharmacist had some bad news: the valsartan i was supposed to pick up on friday but backordered until today monday was further backordered. the new tentative date it'd be available would be 6/5/2020, 7 weeks away. there wasn't much i could do and the pharmacist didn't really give me any advice, as i mumbled to myself and told her i'd get in touch with my doctor to seek alternatives. so when i got home i wrote my doctor an e-mail through the patient gateway website. a nurse responded right away, said she would pass the message to my doctor.

today the may futures price for west texas intermediate crude oil fell to -$37.63/barrel. too much production and not enough buyers means oil suppliers will need to pay to get rid of their excess oil. this is mostly symbolic, as the price is expected to bounce back into the positive, it doesn't mean that people will start getting free oil. but it just shows how the global demand for oil has dropped dramatically because of the coronavirus.

i had some of the leftover salisbury steak my sister gave me last week. because i didn't know when i'd eat it, i ended up splitting it into 2 portions and freezing them. i only removed it from the freezer in the late afternoon, and when i went to reheat the portion, it beef hunk of ground beef was still cold. i ended up breaking it apart to cook it faster along with the mushroom gravy and a bit of hot water to reconstitute the sauce. i also cooked some rice. the final result was actually pretty good, the mushrooms had a nice crunch, the sauce was surprisingly sweet yet savory. it wasn't like any salisbury steak i remember though, from childhood meals of frozen tv dinners and school lunches.