i rode down to the porter square post office in the late morning to mail my state tax returns and to get some postage for my 2nd aunt's and sister's godmother's taxes. it was a cold day, temperature in the 40's, but sunny. it was so cold in fact that i have to put on my gloves midway because they were freezing.

i was surprised there was no line. the clerk did something i'd never seen before: after weighing the manila envelopes, she affixed a generic stamp with no value. i think that special stamp just means that i'd already paid for the postage at the post office. (actually i'm wrong, the stamp she placed on the envelope was a 75¢ california dogface [butterfly] stamp; for some reason it says non-machineable surcharge on the bottom with no denomination).

i went to the cafe to drop off the envelopes. my 2nd aunt was already there, knitting with my mother.

next destination was the community garden. i received an e-mail yesterday saying that all plots are to be lead tested for free. we're to dig in our garden up to 12 holes and collect soil from 6" deep. the soil is to be mixed together and a cup's worth will be dried then submitted for testing. i had my old plot tested (which is now a part of the community pathway that leads to sacramento field), but not for my new plot. all plots - other than the raised beds - have some amount of lead, some more than others.

i ran into anne on her way out. i see her all the time around the neighborhood, she seems to know my name but i don't know hers. she's very friendly and we chatted a bit, not about the garden, more about the pandemic and how we both got vaccinated. she received both her pfizer doses at the hynes convention center.

the first thing i checked when i got to my garden were the tomato seedlings i planted more than 2 weeks ago. i was sure they were dead but was surprised to find the two seedlings under milk cartons were quite alive. they didn't seem to have grown much in the two weeks since transplanting (not when compared to my grow closet tomatoes) but the fact that they were alive was a miracle. it was 33°F last night! even more amazing were the two seedlings that i planted out in the open; they'd survived as well, just a bit smaller. the seedlings grown under cover were a bit pale because the plastic filtered out much of the sun. i removed the covers so they can receive full sunlight.

i went about digging the holes and collecting the soil. i must've dug 7 holes. i collected way more dirt than necessary - more than 2 cups. i'll return what i don't use tomorrow, after drying the dirt back at home.

i also did some weeding, pulling up mainly unwanted grass and buttercups. my garden monkshood seem to be thriving, compared to the one at my parents' place which only has a few leaves. another surprise was one of the hydrangeas i planted on the northwestern corner of my plot has sprouted leaves. i'm not going to nurture it too much, it's a leftover plant, but if it managed to survive this season, then it deserves a place in the garden. it was nearly 1pm before i finally returned home. despite the low temperature, working in the full sun seemed to have warmed me up and i even took off my jacket.

i had a very healthy lunch: matcha latte with fresh guacamole on toasted everything bagel. i had one last avocado in the fridge in had to use it, and the bagel was from a package of frozen ones my mother gave me last week.

later in the afternoon i went to star market to get some potato chips on sale, for my junk food larder. i don't want to find myself with a craving in the middle of the night and discovering i'm out of junk food.

i finally ordered an HDTV for my sister's godmother from best buy: TCL series 4 50" 4K HDTV with android tv ($300) and an insignia brand amplified HDTV antenna ($30). she originally wanted the 5 year extended warranty but i thought it was a ripoff and she ended up not getting it. the antenna arrives tomorrow, the HDTV by tuesday.

i find myself retroactively updating missing blog entries. for the most part i usually do a writeup, but occasionally i don't have time to add the photos, especially if it's on a day where i've gone on a photo trip and i have hundreds of photos to sort through and distill it down to a few choice pics. hopefully i can get caught up by tomorrow, these things take time.

even though i was very hungry in the evening (which is surprising, because i actually had lunch, not just a matcha latte), i still didn't start preparing dinner until after 9pm, reheating the last of my century egg pork congee. i wonder if i can freeze congee? this way i can make a whole pot of it and freeze them up into individual servings and have it whenever i want. congee is so easy to make with the instant pot, i'm curious about other variations besides my century egg and pork combo. in china there are restaurants that just sells different types of congee. i should visit their websites to get some ideas.