i ate some leftover british breakfast cups for lunch. i heated them all, but could only eat 4 before i was stuffed. afterwards i started my painting project. john carpenter only fixed the front porch, he wasn't responsible for painting it (although he did prime some spots with some old paint steve had been hoarding). i took 2 passes with a bucket of hot water and a brush to clean off some mold and dirt. i then covered some sensitive areas with blue tape and began painting.
i started with the door frame insulation. when i had my house insulated in may 2015, they also added weather stripping to the edges of my door frame. unfortunately they only had one color - white - which didn't really match the house, so i've been meaning to paint over it since last year.
in order to paint the weather stripping, i'd need to leave the door open for the paint to dry, which meant i wouldn't be able to leave the house the rest of the day. painting onto the weather strips themselves was a slight challenge, since the paint didn't adhere nicely to the plastic/foam material (which means i might have to apply a second coat). but once it was done, you hardly notice it anymore, which can't be said when the weather strips were still white.
once the door frame was painted, i moved on to the porch itself. besides the base boards at the bottom of the porch, john carpenter also replaced some molding along the right and left side. while taping and cleaning and sanding, i noticed he didn't do a very good job. adequate yes, but i expected more from him, especially since we've been waiting since early june. there were a few areas that he should've caulked but didn't, and he cut a piece off from the railing top because he must've miscalculated and the old piece didn't line up with his new railing. i used two paint brushes, a small brush for detail work, a large brush for larger areas. this is only the first pass, i'll need to do a second coat. i'm not a big hurry, but better to finish sooner than later, especially with all this dry hot weather.
rest of the afternoon i waited for the paint to dry, with the front door opened just a crack so the door wouldn't touch the wet paint on the weather strips. finally by 6pm i closed the door.
i wasn't particularly hungry in the evening (i was going to make some cheddar shells with kale) so i just ate the last 2 english breakfast cups for dinner. cristina came home briefly around 7:30pm but left soon afterwards to go have drinks with friends. i was hoping she'd leave the bike behind but she took it with her.
throwing out the trash in the evening, i noticed it was unusually heavy, like somebody tossed out a pot of liquids. i also noticed the bag was leaking and i had to double bag it before throwing it out.
i came across a recipe for "english breakfast cups" that looked intriguing. baked in a muffin tray, it consisted of a bottom layer of hash brown, then top with baked beans, sausages, eggs, and cheese. so last night i defrosted a package of hash browns in the refrigerator. they were still a bit frozen this morning, so when i packed them into the muffin tray, they sort of crumbled. i baked the hash browns in the oven for 20 minutes. what came out wasn't exactly golden crispy, but i moved on to the next step. i spooned some baked beans into each cup, followed by cubes of beef kielbasa sausages, then poured eggs into each cup, topped with mexican cheese. into the oven it went for another 10 minutes. i figured the hash browns would form a greased layer but each breakfast cups was stuck and i ended up having to spoon them up which broke them apart.
as for the taste, the beans added a sweetness, while the kielbasa and cheese the saltiness. the hash browns unfortunately tasted a bit of soggy. tips for next time: grease the muffin trays, get better quality hash browns, and maybe change of the ingredients. i didn't care much for the beans and the kielbasa was a bit overpowering. i shouldn't have used mexican cheese either, it shifted everything a bit tex-mex. i ended up eating 6 cups, which was the equivalent of a big breakfast.
i went to the north cambridge city paint to get some paint for the house: benjamin moore woodstock tan (HC-20) and hot apple spice (2005-20). actually, i only needed woodstock tan for the front porch, and the hot apple spice was only for steve's new back porch door, but i decided to get both. even though we split the cost for everything we do around the house, i decided to pay for everything because back during the spring paul did a lot of backyard work and i never paid for any of those supplies. however, i wasn't expecting a quart of paint to be so expensive: i figured around $10, but it was actually $20 per can (total: $40+). steve did ask me how much he owed me but i told him no bother. i got it in smooth gloss finish for both, which i later discovered is also called satin finish.
i gone the whole weekend without visiting the community garden and since there was no rain, i was due for a visit. instead of going home, i made a detour via the motorcycle. my eggplants are developing, but they have a weird shape with vertical ridges, not the smooth skin i'm used to with eggplants. maybe they'll fill out once they fully mature. i also collected a container of cherry tomatoes with a sprinkle of thai chili peppers.
i left the can of hot apple spice paint on steve's backyard porch before leaving for belmont. i watered the backyard garden. none of the delphiniums nor hollyhock seeds i sprinkled onto bare dirt patches have germinated. although i thought the foxgloves were biennials, i've noticed after they finished flowering that they started producing a lot more leaves, which makes me think they're preparing for the winter and might come back next season like proper perennials. the lupines have also been producing more leaves.
i helped my parents lower their cable bill. they pay $116/month for verizon FIOS. currently they're under a 2 year contract, which is due to expire mid-october. but in the meantime, i was seeing if i could reduce how much they pay, and decided to cancel their HBO which they never watch but get charged $20/month for it. i also tried to see if comcast had a better price, but they're actually more expensive, so my parents will probably continue using verizon.
my father really wants to get a ductless cooling/heating system for my parents' house, even though i'm totally against the idea. i just think it looks ugly, those wall-mounted units that resemble flattened air conditioners. my father wanted me to help him do some research, but i was hesitant. then we found some online mitsubishi product brochures showing a ductless unit that can hide in the ceilings. maybe those might be better.
cristina left the house early this morning to go visit the boston harbor islands with her friends. she said she was getting into the city by subway but still took the bike to get to the nearest station. i'd plans to ride the fuji today, but cristina has essentially claimed the bike as her own ever since she decided to ride to longwoods instead of taking public transportation.
around noontime i rode the motorcycle to my parents' place, where my mother made some rice porridge for lunch. my mother felt a little sick and went to her room to sleep with the air condition on. i watched the gift (2000) on preview TMC.
the evening news had a quick story about a cyclist being struck by a commuter train in somerville. turns out it was the park street train crossing, which i go by often if i need to get to somerville avenue. they said the gates were down by the man rode around the gate anyway, despite waiting pedestrians suddenly yelling at him to stop. what gave him the idea that this was an okay thing to do? i wonder if a ghost bike memorial will be set up there now, despite it seemingly like the cyclist crossed on purpose.
returning home, i took a short walk around the block, looking for sidewalk treasures, as this was the end of the month and a lot of people were moving and throwing stuff out. plastic milk crates i saw earlier were already gone, but i did manage to pick up a copy of DK eyewitness travel guide to the dominican republic, as well as a 1967 copy of a pulp fiction novel called obey the rules by shawna denelle.
i got myself ready for the series finale of the night of on HBO at 9pm. cristina came back around 8:30pm. spoilers i liked the way the verdict was decided. i kept thinking it'd be guilty or not guilty, but forgot there was a third choice, a hung jury, which was what ended up happening. i'm glad i finished the series, but it's not a show i'd watch again, just because of how nerve-racking it was.
i left at noon for the 1pm boston carnival parade. i asked cristine if she wanted to come, as another friend invited her out to walden pond later today. she was on the phone with her boyfriend discussing their NGO. she said would come later via subway, and i told her to get off at jackson square, which was the closest MBTA stop. since i'd be out in the sun all day, i had the foresight of spraying on sunblock in the bathroom before i left. that smell is the smell of summer.
i took the motorcycle as this was my quickest mode of transportation. the only thing was the tank was almost out of gas (trip odometer read 95 miles) and there wasn't any stations along the way (in hindsight, i forgot there was a gas station on hampshire-prospect). still, there should be enough gas in the reserve tank to get me to boston and back without any problems.
i rode onto beacon street for the very first time. for a short stretch it was nicely paved, but once it turned to crushed stone, it got pretty risky. i rode the whole way with my legs out, bracing for any potential slips. a car behind me even dangerously passed me because he thought i was going too slow. finally after park street the road was back to be paved again. construction on beacon won't end until november, in which point they will repave all the exposed roads and early stage cycle tracks will be put in place.
my route to roxbury was to go down mass ave into boston then take a right on tremont street (in the south end). the motorcycle began to act up around the christian science building, so i switched to the reserve tank. everything was fine until it came time to turn into roxbury from columbus avenue. i made a left on the wrong exit and had to improvise my way to marcella street to get to washington. i parked across the street from roxbury grocery. it was 12:40pm.
i've been going to these carnival parades since 2005, so more than a decade at this point (back then i was still rocking my nikon coolpix 4500). i've been going for so long (rain or shine), i recognize people from years past. i walked down martin luther king boulevard, getting a preview of the parade procession as people were still getting ready. i went to the corner of warren street and waited behind a light post for some shade.
the beginning of the parade is the most boring, just your slew of local politicians and interest groups. i saw the mayor and the police commissioner. will boston ever have a cool mayor? although menino was much beloved by the end of his career, he wasn't exactly what you call cool. his successor marty walsh put on a garish hawaiian shirt before changing it last minute to something much more muted. a few lucky constituents got their photo taken with the mayor while he was still in full-on hawaiian mode. there was also massachusetts senator (2nd suffolk district) sonia chang-diaz, who's a common sight at these parades, up for re-election this year.
i watched a bit from the corner, but my view kept getting blocked, whether it was from the rabble of other photogaphers, to turning semis, so i decided to follow the parade route south along warren street. there was one photographer that i found especially annoying, an old man grabbing a prosumer camera with one hand and a cane with the other. he seemed like a dirty old perv, and my suspicions were confirmed when one outgoing girl started shaking her body, he crashed through a sea of people just so he can direct his camera on her ass. that's when i decided to take my photography on the road.
when the parade first began i sent cristina my location. she replied half an hour later saying she was still on the subway with no bike. at 2pm i got a text telling me she'd arrived at jackson square. i accidentally gave her the wrong instructions, saying that the parade was moving north on warren street when in fact it was going south. she wrote me 30 minutes later saying she was at the intersection of washington-warren but there was nothing there. she sent me her gps coordinate on a map and i could see exactly where she was. i did the same, not realizing whatsapp has a gps location feature (or maybe it's a feature of iphone). she finally caught up to me at wabon-warren around 3pm.
we followed warren street to where it intersects with blue hill avenue, the farthest i've ever gone at this parade, just a few more blocks away from where it ends at the franklin park zoo. we watched from blue hill avenue and another washington street. we watched until after 3:30pm, where i got all paraded out. i walked back to my motorcycle, while cristina walked to carson beach, about a 40 minute walk. i helped her take the bike helmet back home (originally she wanted to bring the bike with her on the subway).
i thought i could come home via washington street to mass ave, but washington street becomes a one way at dudley square plaza, so i got rerouted to harrison avenue instead. i kept following that street (which coincidentally crossed a eustis street) until i hit mass ave, and from that point it was easy to navigate back to cambridge, returning home via vassar and galileo.
the past few days i've been reading the girl on the train
. it was gripping enough that i found myself trying to catch a few chapters when i could, just to find out what happened next. last night i got to the midway point of the book and finally broke down by reading the full synopsis on wikipedia. i loved the story, but i felt the tedium of having to read all those inner dialogues was too boring. the murderer was not who i thought it'd be and it did caught me a little bit by surprise.
today was another futile day waiting for potential storms that never materialize. middle of the day was when it was supposed to rain, but by afternoon i gave up and went down to my garden to water before returning home and doing the same for my backyard.
afterwards i biked to market basket for some groceries. i saw an animated recipe for english breakfast cups on reddit and wanted to try it out. i tried to focus on healthy foods (in light of my recent cholesterol report) so no chips. i did get a package of glazed pecans (trying to eat more nuts).
for dinner i boiled a package of garlic cheese raviolis, mixed it with half a jar of garlic tomato sauce. cristina came home later around 9pm, back from visiting st.anthony's feast in the north end after work.
i left a little early for my 11:15am MGH appointment, thinking that it was at 11am instead. it was a warm day in the 80's but not bad, and better than if it was raining, then i wouldn't be able to bike down to the hospital.
i ended up arriving 30 minutes early, but i spent the time reading the stacks of people and US magazine in the waiting room (instead of playing on my phone, which bothers me when i see other people doing it). when the nurse called me up to take a preliminary blood pressure reading, i was surprised how low it was: 117/77. but maybe i shouldn't have been surprised because that was also the reading i got when i took one last measure with my BP cuff (112/74 with a pulse of 64).
i got one of the large window exam rooms today, compared to the tiny windowless cell i typically receive. since doctor L wasn't there yet (running a bit late the nurse told me before closing the door), i took out my phone out of curiosity to see if there were any nearby pokestops. pokemon go uses a flat 2D map, and doesn't take into consideration the elevation. even though i was 6 stories above up and far away from any pokestops, the game still though i was on ground level, and let me tag a few pokestops accordingly, even capturing a few small pokemons (somebody had set a lure).
doctor L was happy my blood pressure reading was so low, but i wasn't as optimistic, as i know through my own readings that my blood pressure tends to fluctuate. but the highest it ever goes to these days is 130/90, which as far as the doctor was concerned, my blood pressure was under control. so happy he was with the results that i didn't even bother asking if there was alternative medication, so i didn't have to take 3 different HBP pills every day. the thing i did ask was to get my monthly prescriptions upgraded to every 3 months.
the second thing on my list was to talk to him about my sinus congestion problem. i ran through all the symptoms, talking fast as there were a lot, and ongoing since may. he didn't consider a big problem, said it was either allergies (normally my nose would be runny this time of the year from ragweed) or acid reflux. he told me to continue using the nasal spray and clean out my sinuses with a neti pot as well and see where that goes. i wasn't happy with the answer and was pushing for a pharmaceutical solution but he said with so many drugs i'm currently taking, he doesn't want to add anymore.
with that i signed out at the front desk. doctor L also asked me to get some blood drawn so he can test my cholesterol (it was high last time) and potassium level. they changed their system: they used to print out a spool of stickers (for the specimen test tubes) regardless if you're just getting one sample or multiple samples. this time around, they just printed a single sticker, and once i got to the lab, they'd print out only as much as they needed, reducing waste. it was fairly routine, as much as i hate needles, the nurse took my blood fairly quickly, so it wasn't a big deal.
i returned home across the longfellow bridge. to think: there's still 2 more years before construction on this damn bridge is finished! why do these infrastructure projects take so long and cost so much? i snapped a photo when i went underneath the bridge on the cambridge-inbound detour.
i took a detour to market basket to get some grocery items before returning home, including hauling back a large watermelon ($3.99). bungie cords were useless, what i really needed was the bungie netting, which i didn't have with me. but i still managed to get the melon back home without smashing it, just riding slowly and avoiding bumps.
john carpenter didn't show up today. i know he will come back eventually because he left some equipment here (plastic sawhorses) and i don't think he simply forgot about them.
|notes: all units mg/dL, cholesterol desirable <200, HDL typical 35-100, triglycerides typical 40-150, LDL desirable <130.|
john carpenter arrived at the house around noontime. this is the extent of my social awkwardness: i didn't leave the house the entire day just so i wouldn't accidentally bump into him while he was working. plans of grocery shopping, watering the garden, all dashed because of him. fortunately i had enough to eat in the house that i didn't need to go out, and the garden could go another day without watering given how much it rained early yesterday morning.
when john carpenter finally left by 6pm, only then did i take a peek outside to see the work he done on the front porch. it's okay, apparently he had some biege paint which he used to prime some of the bare wood, but also accidentally painting over some blue slate areas. on the left side of the stairs one of the wooden panel is not completely flush. i did notice he worked on our side gate yesterday, nailing a piece of wood to the post to keep it front falling apart. i wonder if that was a freebie?
i felt much better this morning, my fatigue was gone. it rained overnight, the cool moisture breeze blowing into the bedroom window. the patter of rain drops was noisy but i didn't mind, it's been a long time since we heard rain. boston ended up getting 0.9" of precipitation. i don't know how much of a dent it'll make in our drought numbers. rain is good, but too much rain too fast means it doesn't penetrate into the ground and most of that water will just run off into the sewers instead. our next scheduled rain event looks to be on friday.
john the carpenter finally arrived today to do some little fixes around the exterior of the house. he was supposed to be here back in june but that never happened. i already paid steve my share of the bill, but he never cashed the check. john kept rescheduling, from days in july, to the latest being last tuesday, then postponed to thursday, then finally to today. the sort of work he's doing doesn't seem so hard, i could probably do it myself if i had the DIY inclination, but it's easier just to pay someone who has the expertise. he started with steve's backyard door before moving to the front porch. there's some wood rot along the right handrail and i watched as he pried apart the pieces with a small crowbar and a hammer.
i motorcycled to belmont in the afternoon. i brought the wood filler so i can patch the bare wood window frame in their bedroom, which has been unpainted since the window was replaced during my yearlong china sojourn. the surrounding walls also need to be sanded and repainted.
after dinner i returned home. for the first time, the weather felt a little brisk with temperature in the 70's. could be time to bust out the longsleeves for those evening rides. when i got back i took some photos of the front porch, was in a state of disrepair. i figured john will come back tomorrow to finish the job.
cristina came home later in the evening around 7:30pm. i haven't seen her since saturday afternoon, when i left her at the galleria mall, more than 48 hours ago. she ended up spending several hours at the mall before finally returning home. along the way she stopped at whole foods and said that it was cheaper than organic produce back in spain. later on saturday she went to a barbecue followed by a reggaeton night dance club. sunday she left the house by 7am, so i must've just missed her when i woke up around 7:20am. instead of going straight to quincy (as was the original plan), she went to rendezvous with the friend who was driving who just happened to live on elm street, across the train tracks from our place. i thought they were going to provincetown, but they ended up parking at falmouth and taking the ferry to martha's vineyard instead, bringing with them their own lunch/dinner. obama might've been still on the island, and there was also a sailing boat event, so traffic was pretty crazy. elsewhere, hillary clinton was holding a fundraiser at p-town, so a busy time to be on the cape. she returned home by 11pm but was surprised to find me already asleep (i went to bed at 10pm).
only today did i hear the news that somerville is banning plastic bags next week. cambridge already enacted this ordinance back in march, but i hardly do any shopping in cambridge. somerville however is where all my markets are located (star market, market basket, rite aid). i usually use canvas shopping bags for groceries (a habit i actually picked up from a roommate long ago), but every once in a while i like to get a few plastic shopping bags so i can recycle them as small garbage bags. now it looks like i will need to buy small trash bags as well.
it was cold enough tonight that i slept with the window closed. i tried not to sleep on my back to prevent myself from snoring (and subsequent dry mouth). i look forward to seeing what my doctor has to say about my condition on wednesday.
i'm not sure why but i feel absolutely drained today. maybe a combination of waking up too early, not being able to sleep because of my sinus congestion, eating very little, and finally the humidity. it feels like the flu but other than fatigue i'm not showing any other symptoms. it's the sort of fatigue where i can't ball up my fists and the bottom of my feet hurt when i walk on them. hopefully a good night's sleep will get me back on track.
my sinus condition is causing me to have dry mouth. i've heard of dry mouth before, but snicker every time i heard it. dry mouth is a thing? but apparently i have it. although i can breathe through my nose, there's enough congestion that while i'm sleeping my body will automatically switch to mouth breathing. yeah, i'm a mouth breather! and when that happens, it leaves my throat and mouth super dry when i wake up in the morning. mouth breathing also causes me to snore something fierce due to the obstruction in my sinus, and i find myself making strange whistling and wheezing noises, loud enough that it wakes me up several times throughout the night. all this i'm hoping to talk to my doctor about come wednesday. the congestion is also making me cough again.
cristina was going down to the cape cod for the day. i knew she came home last night because i saw her bedroom door was closed when i got up to use the bathroom around 5am. she was supposed to be in quincy to rendezvous with her friends at 9am, so i was listening to see if she'd wake up. by 8:20am i finally got out of bed to see she was already gone! she must've left very early (i was up by 7am because sunmeng was texting me).
i didn't have the energy to walk down to the community garden to water the plants nor water my own backyard garden. with a strong storm arriving early in the morning tomorrow night that will hopefully dump at least half an inch of rain, i figured a day without watering wouldn't be too bad.
i left for belmont. instead of taking the motorcycle (i'd already covered it up), i took my bicycle instead. the bike ride wouldn't be so strenuous if it weren't for those darn hills along the way. even when i took it easy, i still arrived pretty sweaty.
today was the last day of the rio olympics. as far as sports events, there was just a few, the last one beginning a finals basketball game between the US and serbia. everything was gearing up for this evening's closing ceremony. there was free showtime this weekend so my mother was watching mostly that instead. i feel asleep on the couch and later moved to my parents' bedroom. i watched some how it's made before falling asleep. earlier i was outside watering the garden.
back at home, i watched a little bit of the olympics closing ceremony. a lot of empty seats, some athletes already went home (like the swimmers), and it was raining throughout. still everyone seemed to be having a good time. at 9pm i began chromecasting the latest episode of the night of via HBO go.
feeling unusually tired, i went to bed around 10pm.