my alarm went off at 7:30am for the head of the charles. my sleepy mind tried to rationalize myself out of going and returning to bed, but i finally forced myself to get up. i was nervous to use the bathroom, i think i must've been traumatized by the past 1-1/2 week, where i tried to avoid using the bathroom because i didn't want to flush with a bucket. now that the toilet is back to normal automatic flushing, i'm still not used to it quite yet. after a shower, i noticed my pinky toe had started bleeding again. last night i wrapped it up in a waterproof bandaid, just to keep it from turning my bed into a bloody mess. i wrapped it up with another new waterproof bandaid and got dressed.

temperature was in the lower 50's by the time i finally left the house at 8:20am. compare that to last year, when morning temperature was in the lower 40's. i wore a thick fleece jacket, which was enough to keep me warm, along with a container of hot jasmine green tea. i carefully biked down to the charles, keeping my mind that my brakes don't exactly work. unlike last year, they'd already closed up memorial drive to car traffic, so i was able to ride in the street to get to eliot bridge.

i arrived by 8:30am, with the women's youth singles already in progress (started at 8:01am) and the women's youth fours soon to arrive (started at 8:19am). i walked down to the spot i had last time, thankful that it was still empty. youth events aren't a big draw; the highlight of the head of the charles is the collegiate events which draw the most raucous crowds - those don't start this afternoon, by which time it'll be raining. the sky was grey but the sun still strong enough that it peeked through the clouds. i made sure not to look in its direction, deceptively stareable.

i came with just my 55-250mm telephoto lens. i also brought the 3D camera but ended up not using it. i started snapping photos. the camera was set to f/8 with a 1600 ISO for very fast shutter speed, so i wouldn't get any blurry images. i did occasionally step it down if i wanted to try getting a chase capture with blurry backgrounds, but for the most part i should with a fast shutter.

after the youth fours somebody came up behind me to watch as well. i could smell him before i saw him, some kind of perfume (probably not his). we started chatting. he had a british accent, and when i asked where he was from, he said oakland. he was here to cheer on the women's youth eights. his name was david, and he's actually scottish, but lived in the US for 25 years. actually, he's getting naturalized next week. when i told him i originally immigrated from taiwan, he said he's been to taichung during the 90's, on some kind of seaport project with an australian partner who spoke fluent mandarin (he was married to a chinese woman). the thing he remembered most about taiwan was everyone taking naps in the afternoon, then working into the nights.

david explained to me the different between a quad and a four: it's the number of oars. in fours and eights, each person has a single oar. in quads, each person has two oars. the coxswain - when there is one - actually steers the boat with foot pedals besides motivating the rowers. he said of the events, the eights are consider the most prestigious. he said his daughter is a junior, and up until this point her team have only been racing in short distance sprints. the head of the charles is different because the course is longer (6km) so it's more of a marathon, you have to pace yourself otherwise you won't have energy to finish the race or lag behind. he said it's serious business for high school rowers, because a lot of colleges are recruiting, and if they do well, it could mean a rowing scholarship.

the directors' challenge women's quads (mostly seniors) was followed by the womens youth coxed quad, then the women's youth eights. david and i exchanged infos so i could send him photos of the oakland rowers. once they passed by, he went off to find them at the finish line.

i stayed and finished watching the rest of the women's youth eights. a couple came up behind me. the man left to wander, the woman stayed (to stake the spot) and screamed loudly into my ear to cheer on her teams when they passed by. she sheepishly apologized "for deafening you," i smiled but didn't say anything. i left after the event was over. the next was the women's youth doubles ad the women's under-17 fours, but those didn't interest me. besides, i still had a lot of work to do at home, like clean up the house and do laundry.

i didn't get back home until 10:45am. i spoke with my mother yesterday. because my taiwanese aunt and my cousin and niece are arriving at alewife tomorrow afternoon, there's enough time to treat them to dinner before they leave for their new england tour on tuesday. we were trying to think of restaurants we could possibly take them, but decided to just have a barbecue at my parents' place. the only problem with that plan is it's supposed to be rainy for much of monday. my mother asked me to make my blue cheese burgers and my pasta salad.

i when i got home i downloaded the oakland photos, put them in a google album, and sent the link to david. i also used the bathroom, wasn't able to go this morning, then took another quick shower. finally, i went out and fixed the brakes on my bike. i only adjusted the front brakes, which are the more important brakes. while i was at it, i also tightened the wires holding on to the left side of my rear racks, as well as pump the rear tire. i finally left for market basket, arriving by 11:50am.

there's a reason why i don't go to masket basket on weekends: it gets super crowded. there was hardly a spot for me to lock my bike. all the checkout lanes were active. after i gathered up my ingredients, i went to go pay. i picked the wrong line, the couple checking out bought so much stuff. the man fished out a roll of hundreds to pay. i wanted to ask him if he was a drug dealer, how come he carries so much cash.

pasta salad dressing (italian)
(2 cups)

1-1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp dry oregano
2 tsp dry basil

mix ingredients in food processor.

pasta salad
(4-6 servings)

1 lbs. tr-color rotini

4 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 oz. feta cheese
8 oz. ham steak, cubed
1 cup black olives, chopped
1 cup fresh arugula
1 cup pepperoncini, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped

cook pasta. let cool. mix with remaining ingredients including dressing. serve cold.

i got back home by 12:20pm and started making the burgers and salad. the burger meat needs to be mixed a day in advance, so the ingredients can congeal together. as for the salad, i read somewhere that it tastes better the day after, also something about the ingredients melding together better. also while i was cooking, i also started doing some laundry: first a bunch of dirty clothes, followed by a bunch of towels (using the vinegar-baking soda trick). plus whenever i could, i'd also tidy up around the house.

so even though i made all this food, none of it was for eating today. lunch? snacked on some tortilla chips while watching sunday football.

so the rest of the day was all about football and cleaning. it's more important for the bedrooms to be cleaned, even if the rest of my house is a cluttered near-horder's mess. the master bedroom is the one place in the house where i rarely go. i prefer sleeping in the smaller guest bedroom, simply because it's warmer during the wintertime, and closer to the bathroom. anyway, because of the neglect, the master bedroom is not only gotten really dusty, but also some mold have started to grow on the furniture and in other spots. it was really bad a while back when i caught it and cleaned everything, but i guess i missed a few spots. plus i had clothes and other junk just piled up in the room, which i needed to sort out and file elsewhere (or throw out).

i ended up doing another load of laundry, this time the bedroom sheets from the master bedroom. i'd washed it before, but i haven't sleep in that bed for more than a year, so the sheets are all dusty. that gave me an opportunity to vacuum all the dust from underneath the bed.

i also cleaned the bathtub, dumped a whole box old baking soda from the fridge and scrubbed away the soap scum and grime. i still need to wash the mold from the shower curtains, while i'll do the next time i shower.

even though i was cleaning all day, i don't seem to be making much dent in the clutter. worst case scenario is i throw everything into the guest bedroom closet. that's my contingency plan if i'm unable to clean everything in time.

i finally had dinner around 11pm, finished the rest of my meat sauce with a cup of pasta. looking around the house, it doesn't seem like i've done any sort of cleaning. after i finish this blog post (12:30am), i'm going to go clean again for another hour or so.