i rode my bike to market basket this morning to get some ingredients. my sister volunteered the cafe to make sandwiches for the memorial of an old customer who passed away. the service was later this afternoon, i had to get some deli meats. back at home, i watered the very dry front and back yard as well as pruning some of the climbing ivy before going back inside to take a shower. afterwards i arrived in belmont by 11:40am.

i was out in the backyard watering all the plants (after my father already watered earlier this morning). we've been watering from the wall spigot ever since the rain barrels went empty. you can tell it's town water because of the higher pressure and the temperature is colder than rain water. i came back inside for some wonton soup for lunch. my parents left around 1pm for the cafe to make the memorial sandwiches.

i continued testing the various vacuums, even though we already decided to return the dyson. my sister was here earlier, and i showed her how much better the levoit was compared to the dyson, but she's pro-dyson (being otherwise would mean her $300-400 vacuum purchase was a mistake), even though it's the weaker machine in all categories (performance, ease of use, power, price). out of curiosity i plugged in the corded shark vacuum. since it doesn't run on a battery, it's much more powerful. but the shark vacuum wasn't designed for portability, so everything about it seems heavier after having used a cordless vac. the levoit is so good i'm tempted to retire the shark and replace it with that instead. while using the shark vac, i smelled dog dander. i opened up the filter compartment and decided to wash the dust-covered filters. i also disassembled the shark vacuum head: what i thought initially was a fuzzy brush head turned out to be caked on animal hair and dust. that would explain the smell! i scraped off the debris and clean the vacuum head of additional dust and hairs. the shark vacuum is relatively new - we got it back in september 2020 - but apparently i've never once cleaned the vacuum head before. from what i can remember of our old dyson DC47 canister vacuum, i had to clean the vacuum head all the time, it had a tendency to get long hairs tangle in the brush head.

i was watching the baseball hall of fame induction ceremony, waiting for david ortiz to be immortalized and give his speech. he was the last person to go, so i had a long wait. in the meantime, i worked on adding photos to some old blog postings.

checking the weather station at my parents' place, the temperature today only reached 99 degrees. the official boston temperature however (taken from longan airport) was 100 degrees. it was hot but also very dry, so it didn't too bad outside, especially if there was a breeze or under a shade. i could live with dry heat. humid heat is a different animal though, and that seems to be tomorrow, when the temperature will only be in the 80's but the humidity will be back.

my parents didn't return until 4pm. my father went out into the backyard to collect some seeds (japanese red mustard, cilantro). i joined him a bit later, collecting foxglove seeds. i made the mistake of collecting all the stalks first, when i should've just cut the stalks and then shake the tiny seeds into a container. now i need to sift through the shells to collect all the seeds. foxglove seeds are so weird: the plants produce an abundance of seeds, but only a few will ever make it to adulthood. i don't remember raising foxgloves from seeds, but i must've done it at some point to start the initial batch (after some research, i found out i started the original batch of foxglove seeds back in april 2015; by june i had way more seedlings that i knew what to do with; late in november i dug them up and moved them to various parts of the yard, thus starting our self-sowing foxglove population).

i noticed something large flying awkwardly in the air. at first i thought it was a carpenter bee, but when i finally had a good look at it, it looked like a green scarab beetle with khaki-colored markings along the sides. i tried to catch it (to take a photo) but it never stopped flying. later after some research, i think it was probably a green june beetle (Cotonis nitida). i don't remember ever seeing one before, i thought maybe it was an exotic stray, but they're actually native to the eastern US, predominantly in the south.

i noticed a weird smell in the backyard, like rotting seafood, and i casually said something died. neither my father and i thought much of it, but apparently he smelled it to and found the source of the odor: a dead squirrel underneath our log pile. apart from being dead, it seemed to be relatively intact, didn't seem like it died from an attack. it was an adult squirrel too, not sure what happened, if i had to guess, maybe it ate some poison, natural or otherwise (like those dead bunnies we found in our backyard). we buried it underneath the japanese maple tree in a shallow grave (my father wanted something deeper, but it was too hot to try and dig a proper grave, it's more of a dirt mound).

it was close to 6:30pm before we finally came inside for dinner. my mother made 三杯雞 ("3 cup chicken") which is a taiwanese dish that involves chicken and thai basil. she also made a pickled radish dish, plus plenty of leftovers from yesterday including the pork & beans stew.

the first thing i did when i got back home was turn on the AC: it was 87 degrees inside the house. i then walked down to the community garden to water my plants. i was just there friday morning, everything looked fine, but apparently my garden didn't get enough water, and one of the squash vines has withered up. i'm not too sad about it, it did produce a single squash fruit, hoping it can still mature on the dying vine. i also have a lot of hot peppers (currently all green), after not seeing any a few weeks ago. long beans are doing well, i'm going to save them all for seeds. before i left i harvested 4 medium-sized tomatoes.

i took a shower after getting back home, enjoying the AC, drinking my ice water, eating my cherries.

i was surfing amazon (as i'm wont to do), and noticed a sale on some oral-b electric toothbrushes. i've been meaning to replace mine, and it seems like something i do every 3-6 years (2013 professional care 1000, 2007 vitality, and 2004 my very first electric toothbrush), so i'm long overdue.

i did almost replace my current 1000 toothbrush back in 2016, after returning from china and learning about mary's psychotic break and how she threw a bunch of bathroom items (including my toothbrush) into the toilet and tried to flush them all down. the brush head was all bent and i bought a new brush from costco (oral-b 2000) before i realized i could just retwist the brush head on the old brush so i returned the new brush.

since then - 8 years later - the oral-b professional care 1000 has seen better days. stained, the battery only hold enough charge for 3-4 brushes at best, and i'm not even sure if the oscillating is up to speed anymore - all reasons for replacing it finally. i've had my eye on the oral-b smart 1500, which seems to be the model next higher up. it looks pretty much the same, but has a lithium ion battery that can last for 2 weeks and supposedly removes 500% more plaque compared to regular brushing (the 1000 only removed 300% more plaque). i was waiting for the price to drop into the $50-60 range before buying (currently it's in the $70-80 range).

anyway, back to the oral-b electric toothbrush sale. it was mostly on their line of smart toothbrushes, their genius X and iO series, that comes with bluetooth and has a fancy phone app to record your brushing sessions and use AI to teach you the right way to brush. was this something people actually needed? i can understand for a child's toothbrush, but what adult needs to relearn how to brush? also, would you be willing to pay $100-300, which was how much these fancy toothbrushes cost. it seemed like a waste of money, when i'd be very happy to go back to manual brushing in a heartbeat.

but while browsing the selection of toothbrushes on sale, i came across one that wasn't: the oral-b smart limited. how it was "limited" i couldn't tell - limited in capabilities, or like limit-edition? it was selling for $96 - too rich for my blood - but for some reason if you bought it on a subscription plan, you could get a 30% off coupon. i don't know how it works and thought it was a mistake at first, but out of curiosity i put it in my shopping cart and true enough, the price dropped down to $62, so i decided to get it. with an oral-b pro 1000 costing $40-50 (bearing in mind i paid $20 for my old 1000 back in 2013), it was a little over $10 to get an upgrade toothbrush that can remove 500% more plaque. it also has some smart features but i don't think i'll be using any of them (other than to play with when i first get it). because it's on a subscription, the toothbrush won't arrive until next monday. i also need to cancel the subscription, otherwise amazon will send me another toothbrush in 6 months.