i noticed it last night when i was brushing my teeth: the gum around my lower right back molar was inflamed. i licked the area with my tongue, hoping it'd heal itself eventually. when i woke up this morning the inflammation still there, and affected my lower molar so that i probably wouldn't be able to chew on the right side of my mouth. outside it was cold, temperature at 18°F, and there were even a few flakes of snow.

i watched on webcam as my parents left the house this morning around 8:40am, only to come back about half an hour later. i didn't know where they went until i remembered they had a flu vaccine appointment at the fresh pond CVS (appointments i booked for them earlier in the week).

i left for belmont around 11:30am. by then the temperature had gone up to 21°F, still cold, but i was dressed warmly. riding the bike, the frigid temperature felt like tiny icy shards poking into my eyeballs. the sun was out though, and all things considered, this is typical new england weather.

first thing i did when i got to my parents' place was refill the empty squirrel buster bird feeder. i feel like this was the work of a squirrel, or perhaps a gang of starlings or sparrows, because they're dirty feeders and there were sunflower seeds everywhere. the suet feeder was fine, now that the squirrels can't get to it, the cakes will last a lot longer. i grabbed some unsalted roasted peanuts i bought from the supermarket and sprinkled a few outside, for the squirrels, although i didn't see them at all today.

my mother fixed me a bowl of noodle soup. i ate gingerly, unable to bite on my right side. i also had some spicy buffalo cream cheese pastries my parents got from the fresh pond trader joe's this morning.

i saw a few of the usual birds at the feeders. a group of juncos (with a few learning how to perch and get to the sunflower seeds), a flighty chickadee grabbing a seed and eating it elsewhere, a male cardinal, and a male downy woodpecker feeding from the suet feeder. my mother says only woodpeckers visit the suet feeder. we used to also get carolina wrens but i haven't seen them in a while, and on special occasions there might be nuthatches.

at one point my gum inflammation popped, which alleviated the pressure and my tooth felt fine again. but after a while it filled up again, and i was back to discomfort.

i help my father buy a MPPT solar charge controller for his future lithium battery project. it's the HQST MPPT 20A controller; i first saw it on ebay but noticed it was available via amazon and slightly cheaper ($71), so we bought it from amazon. we have plenty of solar charge controller, but they're all inexpensive PWM versions, which are not compatible with lithium batteries. the HQST MPPT 20A specifically states it works with lithium batteries as well. if i shipped it to my house i could get it by tomorrow, but we opted to ship it to my parents, so it won't arrive until monday. now we need to 4pcs 3.2V 105/130Ah LiFePO4 battery cells and a BMS controller to manage the batteries.

in the late afternoon was the first of 4 NFL playoff games this weekend, a matchup between the bengals vs. titans. tennessee was number one in the AFC so they had a bye last weekend. the game was close, but cincinnati beat tennessee with a game winning field goal kick, 19-16.

my gums were a bit better at dinner, i could chew on my right side at least, though gingerly. afterwards i biked back to cambridge. temperature was 22°F, about the same as this morning, just no sun to warm me up.

when i got back home i massaged by inflamed gum with the water pik. it hurt, but afterwards it alleviated a lot of the pressure and my jaw started feeling like normal again.

the 2nd night game was between the 49ers and packers. green bay was number one in the NFC so it was their bye week last weekend. they played in bitterly cold temperature, each player a column of condensation. packers were the odds favorite to win - they had the best record in the NFL this season - but san francisco's defense prevented them from scoring. when green bay doesn't score, opponents have a chance to steal a win, and that's exactly what happened. final minutes with a tie, 49ers got the ball and marched it close enough to the end zone for a field goal kick attempt with seconds to spare. their kicker made it, san francisco wins 13-10. it was an amazing football day, both number 1 seeded team lost. i'd love to see the 49ers - and jimmy garoppolo - win it all.

i tried licorice chalk tonight. it tastes even more like good & plenty because of the crunchy shell, but inside was packed with a gooey licorice candy filling. it's okay, but if i had to rank them, i'd put this last, and salmiak rocks about them.

i watered my mung beans when i got back home and watered them again before i went to bed. while inspecting the beans, i noticed not all of them have sprouted, and some beans seem to be stunted. not too much i can do about that, when i return to chinatown on wednesday, i'll try looking for fresher mung beans (fresher meaning more viable to germination).