my christmas cactuses have started to bloom. it's one of the few things that can grow in my sunlight-deficient house. not only grow but thrive as well, as the colder posterior end of my place seems to be ideal conditions for inducing flower production. now that the backyard oak tree has shed much of its leaves, what little sunlight i do get is fairly strong for the brief period when it does shine through the french door window. enough so that the solar-powered fortune kitties and tibetan prayer wheels are waving and spinning like crazy.
after two sandwiches made from leftover italian sausages and sliced bread, i was ready to ride into boston. it was warm enough that i could wear shorts. about a mile out i realized i forgot to wear my helmet. too late to turn back, i kept going, enjoying the freedom of not having my head covered.
first stop was mass general hospital to get blood drawn for an A1C test my doctor put in back in july but never told me about until one day i checked the patient web portal and saw the test waiting for me to do. i could've done it tomorrow - where i need to come back to MGH for my gastroenterology appointment - but it's on veteran's day and i don't know if the lab will be open. plus, i wouldn't know how long the wait would be, i didn't want to come in early tomorrow to do the test and have it run into my GI appointment. since my objection was to go into chinatown and MGH was along the way, i might as might stop to get the test done.
going to MGH meant i could get a free face mask. the lab department on the 2nd floor of the wang building wasn't too crowded, just a handful of patients ahead of me. they removed even more chairs, with taped marks on the floor indicating how far the chairs have to be and where to stand. i sat across from a real local townie who overshared and at one point was talking loudly into his cellphone. he had his phone wrapped in a plastic bag secured with a rubberband that snapped and landed on my lap. i tossed it back to him, he was then telling me how the nurses here work fast and it never hurts. phlebologist called me my, cutting short the conversation.
i had blood drawn from my right arm. it was just a single test tube so it went quick. it hurt but it wasn't too bad. i got bandaged up and went on my way. the whole visit took about 25 minutes. a few hours later i got the results online: my A1C level is 5.6%. the normal range is between 4.3-6.4%, so it doesn't look like i have diabetes.
next i headed into chinatown. i stopped by the c-mart on the corner of herald and washington street first, since ming's market didn't have some of the things i wanted. c-mart has a bigger selection, but it also meant more crowds. there was zero social distancing but everyone wore masks. they had the tonkatsu sauce ($3.49). they also carried an assortment indomie noodles, but for some reason they were all chicken flavored. they had the spicy konjac jelly snack my mother loves so much. i also bought a few dragon fruits on sale (pink with white flesh, $1.99/lbs). there was also a sale on napa cabbage, $1 for 3 lbs. i have to think about if i want to make more kimchi.
i went to ming's market a little further down the road. the only thing my father asked me to get when i called him to see if he needed anything was rose brand sweet (glutinous) rice (for making jiuniang). i forgot to check if c-mart had any, but they didn't carry it at ming's market, and i wasn't prepared to go back to c-mart. that means i'll need to come back to chinatown tomorrow to look for it. i also forgot to buy the duck feet. i did however buy some glutinous rice balls which were on sale, as well as bottles of plum juice.
i finally left chinatown by 2:45pm. i just less than 2 hours left of daylight and it felt late as i made my way home via the charles river bike path before crossing the mass ave bridge into cambridge. i stopped a few times to take photos. i didn't get home until 3:30pm.
last night i soaked my lotus rhizomes in a gallon of water along with a tablespoon of bleach to disinfect them before storage. i was worried the chlorine would hurt the plants, but this was a recommended pre-storage procedure i found online so i decided to give it a try. one thing i learned during the pandemic is bleach can actually expire. the bottle of bleach i had under my kitchen sink was probably close to 20 years old. i could still smell the chlorine, but most likely it had reduced to salt water by this point. so i ended soaking my lotuses a second time, this time using a tablespoon of the new bleach. it didn't smell very strong but when i mixed it with the water it became more potent. it also got on my hands pretty good when i was dunking the rhizomes, to the point where i could still smell the chlorine even after i washed my hands several times, so this was definitely the real stuff. after an hour of soaking, i rinsed the lotuses and put them back in the ziploc freezer bag and tossed the rhizomes in the crisper cabinet of my fridge.
tommy heinsohn died today at age 86. for anyone who's watched the celtics on tv for the past few decades, he was the voice of the team. to say he was pro-celtics was an understatement. he was an on-air cheerleader, not afraid to chew out officials for making bad calls or castigating opponents for dirty plays, real or imagined. i know he stepped away from the mic recently, wasn't sure if he'd retired, but occasionally he'd get invited on the air to make comments. players loved him as he represented celtics history and still had infectious enthusiasm for the basketball even after these years.
for dinner i reheated a portion of the pasta meat sauce and boiled a bowl of cellentani noodles.