t
o
n
y
a
n
g
'
s
 
w
e
b
l
o
g


i left at noontime. 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.

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).

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.

datecholesterolHDLtriglyceridesLDL
notes: all units mg/dL, cholesterol desirable <200, HDL typical 35-100, triglycerides typical 40-150, LDL desirable <130.
1608242173392166
16021025442111190
1507102193999160
15011424238251154
14101022544124156
1305312254681163
1207112034499139
1205302384862178
11113021647114146
1006221723973118

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.

AUG

21

2016

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.

i invited cristina to come see the red bull flugtag with me on the charles. we were in no hurry to leave because the event lasted until 3pm, so we left close to noontime, when the flugtag had already begun around 11am. i had a feeling it was going to be crowded, and even in the website it warned people to arrive early. my plan was to see the event from the opposite side of the charles river, riding past by MIT along the way (which cristina hadn't seen yet). i wasn't the only one with that idea, and as we got closer to the longfellow bridge, we began to encounter ever increasing amount of people.

from across the river, the flugtag was actually hard to see. the only way i could see it was using the 30x zoom of my lumix digital camera. it wasn't all that exciting anyway, and after i saw one vehicle launch and then drop into the river, i figured i'd pretty much seen it all already. we tried making it into boston across the longfellow, by the further we got, the more crowded it became, until it was impossible to push the bikes through. in the end i threw the bikes over the barricade so we were back out onto the roadside bike lane, where there was no pedestrian traffic.

from there we made our way to chinatown, another place cristina hadn't visited yet. we parked our bikes outside the chinatown gate.

we wandered around a bit before getting lunch at pho hoa. afterwards we went to c-mart on lincoln street where i got some longans on sale ($10/4lbs.) and some guava.

the easier way to return was by charles river bike path over the hatch shell bridge, but that was were the flugtag was still ongoing, and i didn't want to run into the sea of people again. instead we returned via longfellow, on the other side, where was only a pedestrian walkway, but far fewer people. we made it over by going over beacon hill, which was quite the uphill slog, but cristina managed to keep up.

once we crossed longfellow, i decided to take a detour to the galleria mall, just to show cristina where it was. i had no intention of visiting, but since we were already there, cristina decided she'd stay and do some shopping, while i returned home instead. i helped bring back her leftover vietnamese vermicelli. the route back was fine until i hit the stretch of beacon street closest to my house, now reduced to a dusty dirt road. i ended up riding on the sidewalk, fortunately there weren't many people.

i took the motorcycle to belmont. earlier my parents had gone to the burlington market basket and brought home a bag of fried chicken. the longans turned out to be a good purchase, as my mother kept saying how sweet and delicious they were.

i asked my father if mary ever showed up yesterday. he said eventually she did. i asked him if he knew where she was living. he said in some harvard housing. he told me that he told her to get psychological help when she returned to shanghai. not sure what her response was.

later when i went home, cristina had already left. i didn't see her the rest of the night when i finally went to bed.

a friday where utterly nothing happened except a visit to the garden and a trip to the supermarket for snacks. i ran into dave again while watering. besides his own plot, he's responsible for 2-3 plots where the owners have decided to take extended leave for the summer.

for dinner i heated up my leftover vodka sauce and half a box of rigatoni, which turned out to be way too much. cristina came home around 9pm, hanging out with coworkers (eating emac and bolio's near fenway).

my old crazy roommate mary texted and called me last night via wechat around 12:30am. i wasn't going to answer it because it was her, and i sure as hell wasn't going to answer it being that it was so late at night. who knows, it could've been another nervous breakdown, and i didn't want to have any part in that. then this morning at 10:30am i received a text message followed by two calls, none of which i looked at or answered. finally out of annoyance and curiosity, i read her messages. the first one - from last night - was written in english. she basically asked if she could have her suitcase back, the one she let me borrow. this was the suitcase i had every reason to return to her, but when my parents asked her about it when she abruptly moved out of my place, she said she didn't want it anymore. i figured letting me have it was the least she could do after trashing my house. so i wasn't expecting her to contact me 3 months later asking to have her suitcase back. the other message was written in chinese, and i figured it was just a repeat of what she wrote in english.

i was going to confer with my parents for advice. i had no immediate use for the suitcase, and technically it still belonged to her. i figured i would just leave it on the side of the house and have her come pick it up at a certain time so i wouldn't have to even see her. but before i could reach my parents, my father called me, asking for the whereabouts of the suitcase. apparently i wasn't the only person she contacted, as mary also got in touch with my parents about retrieving her suitcase. i told my father i had it and that i was just going to leave it by the side of the house, but he said he already spoke to her, and asked her to pick it up from the cafe, for one final moment of awkwardness before we hopefully never see her again.

i got the suitcase from the basement. it's actually a very nice suitcase, a chinese brand (binhao) hardshell luggage, and i'm actually a little sad to see it go. mary retrieving her suitcase also gave me the change to return the USB backup drive i found in her bedroom. but i wasn't going to give it to her without making a backup first. not that i'd ever spy on her, but if her craziness ever starts some shit again, i like to have some insurance that we can at least track her down in china. my father arrived before to pick up the suitcase before i could finish copying. after i successfully made the backup, i threw the usb drive into the luggage and my father took everything to the cafe.

mary was supposed to pick up the suitcase around 2pm but when i called my father at 4pm she still hadn't shown up yet.

i had some yogurt granola for lunch, taking some of the blueberries cristina had bought from last weekend. although it didn't seem that hot, the temperature today broke 90° again. in the afternoon i walked down to the community garden to water the plants. i picked another container of thai basil leaves, a container of cherry tomatoes and thai chili peppers, and finally a bag of garlic chives. when i returned home i watered my backyard plants as well (paul being away on the island this week, and can't depend on steve to do anything).

i got a swedish postcard from wangyang today. i could tell she doesn't often send postcards because she forgot the most important thing, which is the date. often times the date sent can also be found in the postage stamping, but for some reason this postcard arrived unstamped.

it was hot enough that i decided to take the motorcycle to belmont (less strenuous). my father had watered the garden but he always seems to miss the perennial beds on the sides of the house, and without proper watering, those perennials might be live to next year, not to mention the foxglove seedlings, or the larkspur seeds i scattered in certain spots. so i went out and watered those neglected spots.

rest of the afternoon was spent in the darken living room watching olympics coverage: first a rebroadcast of the team synchronized swimming event, followed by an NBC documentary on romanian gymnastic coaches the karolyis. i didn't know their story of defection to the US from soviet bloc romania, nor leaving a young daughter behind that would only be reunited with her parents in the US a few months later. that got us interested in gymnast nadia com─âneci and seeing all her greatest perfect scoring 10.0 moments via youtube (all at the young age of 14). i like that she rarely smiles, a farcry from the forced smiles of modern olympic gymnasts.

for dinner we had xuelihong noodles. i came home around 7pm, finding cristina in the kitchen trying to make a heated burrito over the frying pan. i went back out briefly to star market to see if they had anymore seedless grapes but they were all sold out. i spent the evening watching the pats preseason game against the chicago bears. jimmy garoppolo started again, as tom brady was absent due to a scissor blade accident involving his thumb. the head qb-backup qb relationship is a strange dynamic. the backup can't be too good, otherwise it puts the job of the head qb in jeopardy. yet at the same time you want the backup to do well, because you don't want to see your team lose. i suppose in the end having two great qb's is a problem many teams would love to have.