i read that the correct amount of coffee to use to brew is 20g. but that was with 380g of water; my moka pot can only hold 145g of water. but i was curious how much coffee the moka funnel could actually hold. i discovered it can take 17g of ground coffee, probably closer to 20g if i use a finer ground. with the moka pot, the portion is more concentrated, making less than a cup but using enough ground coffee to make 2 cups.
i was expecting it to stop raining by the afternoon and maybe even go out and run some errands, but it rain pretty much for most of the day. i even had to go outside at one point with a shovel and clear the blockage of wet leaves covering the sewer grate. i will run my errands tomorrow, enough things to do that i actually had to make a list. i saw on the webcam that my sister actually closed the cafe today even though i told her to open it. i decided to leave it alone as i saw her making some decorations.
i don't get a lot of sun but for some reason conditions are ideal that every year in late november to december i get an explosion of christmas cactus flowers. this year especially, because i actually left the plant outside on the backyard deck during the summer where it seemed to thrive in the fresh air, natural rain water, and dappled sunlight. plus i replanted it with new soil. i noticed my pachira money tree plant had some aphids; i moved it to the bathtub and washed them off of the leaves.
i wasn't particularly hungry when evening came around. of course maybe all the snacking i did (pita bread with tzatziki, malt vinegar potato chips, sour patch kids, clementine oranges, plum) might've something to do with it. not in the mood for sandwiches, i ended up just heating some canned soup and added some frozen kale to make it healthier.
after a cup of hazelnut cream coffee i drove to belmont around 10:40am to do some yard work. i mowed the leaves on the front yard before moving to the back.
surprisingly, there were still plenty of late season golden raspberries. the next round of yard work would be to prune all the canes and cut down the perennials like irises and lilies. i need to get a pair of hedge shears.
i read you can plant the smaller garlic cloves in tight rows for some spring onions. all the raised beds are occupied except for RB4. RB4 is not the ideal candidate because during the winter and spring it gets the least amount of sunlight, but it's the only available bed i can use to make a new garlic patch. but before i could do that i needed to repair the wooden box as it was falling apart. my original idea was to put new corner posts and nail the planks to that, but that was before i realized there were already long screws in the corners and they couldn't be removed because i didn't have the right star bit (T-20). so i ended up just nailing the planks to each other, before some of them started crumbling. now i'm hoping to find the right bit so i can remove the old screws and put in new ones.
i left for the cafe by 12:40pm. my sister asked me to come by and rake the leaves in the parking lot. when i got there my 2nd aunt and my sister's godmother were there helping my sister clean the cafe. they'd stripped the old caulk from the countertop and my sister was going to caulk it herself with a small tube of caulk. since she never caulked before, i ended up taking over the caulking project. she also wanted to put marble-patterned liner paper on the countertop, but i said it looked cheap and was hard to apply without looking terrible.
i took a 30 minute roundtrip to home depot to get 3 tubes of caulk before coming back to the cafe to work. my sister had disappeared by that point, angry over my criticism of her liner paper idea, angry that i wouldn't allow her to continue closing the store for renovation work that seemed like it'd never get done. it didn't take me long to caulk the countertop, about half an hour. i only ended up using half a tube, i'll return the rest tomorrow. i didn't think i did a very good caulking job, but the gap was wide which make it hard to work. i left by 3:30pm, my sister and her team of helpers still cleaning up.
back at home, i did some more raking of both the front and back yard. i raked 3 days ago but in that time everything was covered in leaves again. today's a good day to rake since it's supposed to rain overnight and into tomorrow afternoon. i also brought back the empty gasoline canister, i'll fill it up the next time i go to belmont. i left it outside as it smelled of gasoline.
having not eaten the whole day, i finally had a greek yogurt and a plum. later in the evening i made another italian sub for dinner.
i biked to belmont at 10am to turn off the foyer light my sister left on when she visited the house on saturday. temperature was in the upper 30's, a little cold but i warmed up soon enough. there wasn't a cloud in the sky. i noticed panel 23 was making 50Wh less production than neighboring panels. i climbed a ladder to inspect the panel, it looked okay, not sure what's causing the lower production. i didn't have time today, but i'll come back tomorrow to do some more leaf cleaning.
i left by 10:40am. when i got back home, i switched to my utility bike and went to market basket to get a few grocery items, including some better coffee. i had a choice of new england coffee colombian supremo and french vanilla ($3.99/bag sale), but decided on hazelnut creme.
i wasn't planning on it but i ended up making a large breakfast for myself: omelette, basil pesto chicken sausage, salad, and coffee. besides onion and scallions, i also added some garden tomato ripen on my countertop to my omelette. the salad i used some of the garden arugula i picked on friday, along with some mini sweet peppers, parmesan cheese, and italian dressing. the chicken sausage i just grilled in a frying pan. finally, i brewed some hazelnut creme with the moka pot. the resulting coffee had no bitterness, very mellow, with a delicious sweetness. i'll need to go back and get some more while they're on sale over the next 2 weeks.
i ate while watching the NFL preshow. the patriots-titans game was at 1pm. it was a disaster for new england, patriots lost 10-34. new england went scoreless in the 2nd half but the game was already lost in the first quarter when tennessee already scored 17 points. good thing patriots have a bye next week, they could use the time to recuperate and reevaluate their strategy.
in the late afternoon i was catching up on my backlog of movies. i'm on a undead girl kick this weekend, with dead girl and the autopsy of jane doe.
i had another italian sub for dinner. i feel like i'm starting to hit my limit for subs, but i still have enough ingredients for 3 more sandwiches. i ate a honeycrisp apple for dessert and drank 2 mugs of eggnog before calling it a night.
i went to bed early again last night, waking up early yet again. i had nothing planned, maybe go down to chinatown and haymarket a little bit later. last night's rain had stopped, but it was still very wet and dark and cold outside, the roads covered with mashed up leaves. it looked like a day better spent indoors.
my sister texted me, said "they" (her godmother and my aunt) were doing clean-up at the cafe, said i could come help if i wanted. i don't like it when people ask me to do stuff out of the blue, particularly if it involves work. had she told me yesterday i would've considered it, but i decided to ignore her message out of principle. i'd already been doing paint work for her for weeks, and now she expects me to do more free work over the weekend on short notice? earlier last week she said she wanted to close the cafe for 9 days for renovations. when i asked her why so long and what sort of work she was doing, she couldn't give me a straight answer. even if the cafe closed for a whole month, with my sister in change, very little work would get done. i managed to talk her out of it, but she still threatened to close the cafe at anytime while my parents are away.
i made a fluffy omelette for lunch, 2 eggs, some milk, a handful of chopped scallions, and some goat cheese spread. cooked in butter, i drizzled some sriracha sauce to give it more flavor. because i didn't have any other coffee, i made a cup of café bustelo. even with plenty of half & half and sugar added it was still bitter like a dark roast, with a flavor somewhat reminiscent of licorice. it wasn't good, i'll try to pick up some better coffee tomorrow.
by early afternoon the sky began to clear up and the sun came out. i would be able to bike to boston after all. getting my ride from the basement, i noticed some gaps in the brick wall that could use some mortar repair, another home maintenance project on my list. temperature was in the 40's but warmer in the sun, though uncomfortably strong winds that blew leaves all over the streets.
my original plan was to go to chinatown first and get some vietnamese takeout before go to haymarket for some cheap produce. but i already have so much food at home, i opted to skip chinatown and go straight to haymarket and back. there was very little selection at haymarket. none of the vendors had yellow dragon fruits or figs. i left with: 9 plums ($2), 4 fuyu persimmons ($1), bag of clementines ($1), and bag of mini sweet peppers ($2, price increase). it was so windy it threatened to tear the roofs off of the vendor tents so some vendors opted not to set up their tents today.
returning home, i noticed some brilliant fall foliage in the late afternoon sun with boston as a backdrop. i had to make a detour to take some photos. i finally made it home a bit after 3pm.
one of the persimmons had some freeze damage so i decided to eat it first. fuyu persimmons are edible right away (unlike hachiya persimmons), don't need additional ripening to get rid of the astringent taste. this particular fuyu was supersweet.
for dinner i made an italian sub. to be honest, i've been waiting the whole day to eat a sub. i added everything from yesterday plus some pepper rings, for another level of flavor.
korean-subtitled the predator became available via torrent a few days ago. i watched it overnight. written and directed by shane black, it's actually pretty good. i read some online discussions and fans of the old predator films seem to hate this latest sequel. i think the problem is they're hoping to see a serious scifi/action. i went into the movie looking to find a shane black flick and it delivered. action, yes, but there were also plenty of laughs and witty banter between the actors. i would gladly watch a series following the "loonies" as they go off on different missions and adventures (kind of like the A-team). olivia munn plays the token female, and normally i'm so-so about her performances, but i really like her in this film. her role was that of a real character, not eye candy. the movie is refreshingly sexist-free despite so much testosterone being tossed around.
i went to bed relatively early last night, around 12:30am (typically i don't go to sleep until 2-3am). i woke up at 7am but forced myself to sleep a bit more until 8:30am. i've been really tired the past few days. lounging on the couch, i can quickly doze off. it's a great feeling to be up so early, feels like i have plenty of time to do all the things i want.
i made myself a cup of coffee using the can of café bustelo i bought. made for espressos, i found the grounds to be too fine; i prefer a course to medium ground, so the grounds don't leech into the coffee during the brewing. but the coffee came out fine, no more grounds than usual. i don't like the taste though: no real flavor other than coffee, and more bitter. i still prefer what i was using before, new england coffee's colombian supremo, which has a courser ground. afterwards i was all jittery from the caffeine, which got me ready to start my day.
after making a grocery list, i drove to market basket to pick up a few things for the cafe and some stuff for myself. i decided i'd be eating italian subs for the next few days so i bought some deli meats. next i drove to the gas station to fuel up the car, which had been running on near empty. then i went to the cafe to drop off the supplies. it was strange to be going there and not painting (though even if i wanted to i wouldn't be able since it'd be raining later in the evening). i told my aunt i ordered a new charging cable for her xiaomi fit band (around 75¢; she told me yesterday she lost hers) but it's going to take a few weeks before it arrives; in the meantime, she could borrow my sister's godmother's charging cable or wait until my mother returns next week. next stop was the watertown home depot to pick up my online order of jobe's blood meal ($9.75). finally i went to belmont to do some yard work.
i mowed the lawn 4 days ago and already it's covered in new leaves. while pushing out the mower from the garage i accidentally knocked over a metal post which smashed into the mower, knocking off a section of the plastic covering (nothing that can't be superglued back). i was lucky it didn't fall onto the motorcycle or ripped the battery charging cables. i put in the last of the gasoline supply. today was a good day to shred the leaves as it'd be raining later. i even ended up raking the leaves from the side of the street, figured better to do it now than over the weekend when they'd all be soggy from the rain.
i then moved to the backyard. the only tree we have left is the large maple, with a circle of dead yellow leaves. i ran the mower across the leaves, making sure not to go over too large a pile or risk the mower blade jamming again.
i bought the blood meal to add to the garlic beds because i read the extra nitrogen helps them to grow bigger. i never used blood meal before. a 3 lbs. bag is actually a lot smaller than i'd imagined. blood meal has an awful smell, like rotten bone marrow. i thought it'd be granules but it was more of a black powder. i rolled up the salt marsh grass cover so i could sprinkle the blood meal into the soil. in RB0, half of the bed (right) i didn't see any garlic sprouts, while the other half (left) did have them. mades me think that maybe squirrels had gotten to the cloves before i added the chickenwire screen. not too big a deal because i still have plenty of other cloves in the other garlic beds. RB0 was the only bed where i saw sprouts, since it was the first bed i created. all other beds i didn't see any emerging garlic. in RB2 there was a layer of fine mycelium when i rolled off the salt marsh grass. don't know if this is good or bad for the garlics.
i stored the dahlia tubers in a box of slightly damp peat moss. trying to moisten the peat moss is an exercise in futility as it can absorb a lot of water. i misted the peat moss with the sprayer a few times but every time i mixed the peat moss the water disappeared. but hopefully whatever amount of moisture i added with keep the tubers from drying out completely. i just need a place to store them over the winter. the garage might be too cold, the only other place is the basement.
the only raised bed that hasn't been amended yet was RB3. RB3 is unique in that half of the bed has been taken over by foxgloves (with a smattering of snapdragons, hollyhocks, and daisies). i ended up adding 2 cu.ft. of peat moss and 50 lbs. of composted manure. peat moss is great as a filler; the soil of the raised bed only ever came up half way up the box, but after i mixed in the peat moss, it was nearly filled. peat moss of course has no nutritional value, but it makes the soil softer and easier to work with. i also don't know if autumn is the best time to amend the soil (seems like spring like would be the better time); my fear is any nutrients will leech away but next year's growing season.
after finishing up in belmont, i left and got back to cambridge by 3pm. my day of yard work wasn't done yet as i still had to rake the leaves around my own house. i finished by 4pm. only then was i able to get something to eat, the last of the pastries my sister gave me on sunday.
for dinner i made an italian sub: sub bread drizzled with apple cider vinegar, topped with some provolone cheese then toasted in the oven, prosciutto, salami, capicola, shredded lettuce, garden tomato slices, and onions. it tasted pretty good. i also collected the arugula leaves from the plants i brought back from belmont, washed them, and put them in fridge for a future salad.
the rain started in the evening, an incessant drumming of raindrops. the storm will last overnight, but by tomorrow morning everything will be dry and we may even see some sunshine. the forecast says temperature in the 40's with strong northern winds.
same as yesterday, woke up at 8:30am, left sometime after 9am, started working at 9:30am. only things different was i didn't bother making any coffee and i rode the bike instead because 1) i wanted to take a photo of this beautiful japanese maple tree on linnaean street, and 2) i didn't want to give up my parking spot.
today was 10 degrees cooler than yesterday, though not as windy. i took off my jacket because i didn't want to get paint on it but kept my hat on. working in the 50's was okay at first but eventually i felt really cold being in the shadows the whole time.
today i was applying the final coats on the door and touching up any bare spots on the porch. i was hoping it wouldn't be a full day and i could go home early, maybe even go to belmont to mow the leaves from the lawn.
i cracked open the quart of door paint in a color called "stunning" which looked like a dark slate color. when my sister first told me what color she wanted her doors painted, i told her it was the wrong choice. unfortunately she had already bought the paint months ago and it couldn't be returned.
because of the white primer base, it would take at least two coats of final paint to hide the white underlayer. the first coat looked especially bad. but in the time it took me to paint one door (to my sister's place), i went back to do some touchups and this quick second coat looked much better, less visible brush strokes, nearly hidden white primer. i should've taped up part of the door as the dark color bled onto the other side of the door which was entirely white. i also made a few mistakes and accidentally touched the door frame, leaving splotches of dark paint that can't be wiped off and can only be repainted over with white.
i then painted the second door (to the upstairs apartment). this one seemed easier to paint, but only because it swung inside the apartment where it was darker and more forgiving to bare spots. i did put down some tape onto this door, so maybe that made it easier to paint. once that was done, i went back to my sister's door to officially put down a 2nd final layer. with that done, i switched again, to the other door to put down a 2nd final layer as well.
2 coats wasn't enough and i had to do a 3rd coat to completely hide the bottom layer and for a uniform coverage. i probably even did a 4th coat if you count the times i went back afterwards to touchup any spots i might've missed, or any places where i could still see the brushstrokes.
the doors were finally finished by 2:30pm. after cleaning the brush, i took another brush and started painting the porch. even after a quick 2nd coat, there are spots where you can still see the bottom layer through the brushstrokes. by that point i only had a little but of the final paint left, not enough to attempt a 3rd coat.
by then it was after 3:30pm, with just another hour left of daylight. my sister helped me to clean up, removing blue tape and some old tape marks (not my doing) on the vinyl siding. i rolled up the plastic tarp and threw it away. the final result looked surprisingly good, the blue doors sort of grew on me, which may be due in some part to how much work i put into it. coating the primer coat and the 4th final touchup coat, i painted each door 5 times for a total of 10 times when you count both doors. and i hate painting doors!
now the only problem is the threshold, which is still unpainted and looks terrible juxtaposed with the newly painted doors and porch. my sister originally wanted me to strip it down to bare wood and then stain it. the amount of work for that would be days, and might involve heat gun and paint dust getting inside the house. and that all depends on the weather, of which we don't have many more warm days if any. i told her it might just be easier to give it a light sanding then paint over the threshold with a dark paint. if we get some workable weather next week, i might do that.
i finally returned home by 4:20pm. riding the bike, there was no rush to get home in order to find a parking spot. sara texted me earlier, said a bike luggage crate was arriving today, and asked if i could either bring it inside the house or put it in the basement. outside the house was a large box. i was worried it'd be heavy but it was actually pretty light and i was able to put it in the basement.
my street was actually sectioned off because the somerville road crew were repaving a long stretch of beacon street today. out of curiosity i went out to take a look and they were still working, not sure if they'll be finished by tonight as the sun began to set.
i took a box of curry rice noodles from the cafe for an early dinner since once again i didn't have breakfast or lunch. later in the evening, around 8pm, i had some instant noodles. tempura will have to wait again. i ate my noodles while watching thursday night football between the panthers and the steelers.
i woke up at 8:30am, made some coffee, used the bathroom, then left the house by 9am to get started on the painting at my sister's place. just as i thought, when it comes to painting, the painting itself actually goes by pretty fast; it's the preparation beforehand that takes the longest time. plus the fact that it's been unusually rainy since september didn't help either. when i arrived at the cafe i found bin bin there working from her macbook.
today and tomorrow seem to be the last two remaining warm days of the year before temperatures dip down into the 40's and below. today the temperature would be in the 60's, while tomorrow it'll be in the 50's. fortunately 2 days is all i need to paint everything. i'd paint the porch today then prime the doors. tomorrow i'll finish painting the doors.
i started working at 9:30am, my sister still asleep at that time. instead of painting, i decided to prep the doors first, so any sanding i might do won't contaminate the fresh coat of paint. two simple doors ended up taking a long time to clean up, scraping off dried paint chips and patching a few spots with wood filler. i ended up not painting the porch until 11am, so much for trying to get an early start.
today was warm with a crystal clear blue sky. it was also windy. i had to anchor the plastic tarp with a bunch of paint equipment otherwise it'd blow away. i could've taken off my sweatshirt, but kept it on and was still comfortable.
i thought putting down a second coat of paint would go much faster, but it took just as long as last time, 4 solid hours. i finished by 3pm. my sister wasn't home, taking hailey out for a walk. it's total bullshit that my sister hasn't done any work in painting her own damn porch, says she's too busy when it seems she has plenty of free time. when i went to go wash the brush, the kitchen sink was stacked with dirty dishes, so i had to clean in the bathroom.
once that was done, it was time for the second portion of painting, priming the doors. it was a smart decision to prep beforehand, because all i had to was just paint. midway through i realized i made a terrible mistake: why was i priming with white when the doors will be painted dark blue? i should've just painted with blue, and then tomorrow i can put on a second coat, since a dark paint will probably need at least 2 final coats to achieve that darkness. but i'd already started so i just finished painting with white primer. i finished by 4pm.
tomorrow morning i'll paint the first coat of dark blue on the doors, before doing some touch up work on the porch on any spots i might've missed. after that i'll paint a second coat on the doors. it should only take a few hours at most, shouldn't take up the whole day. my sister kept insisting i use mini rollers instead of painting with just a brush. if she has all these great ideas, how come she's not painting herself? there's not enough flat surfaces to warrant using a roller. rollers also use up more paint than a brush, and splatter paint everywhere.
i left with my hair and face covered in paint. at least my hands were clean because i wore gloves. returning home, i realized i didn't eat any breakfast or lunch today, other than that cup of coffee. surprisingly i wasn't very hungry, just felt a little tired, which could be a combination of working and hunger.
after a shower i ate a pastry while watching the news. it actually felt kind of liberating not knowing what was going on with the world, especially the day after the midterm elections. so imagine my surprise when i saw that trump had finally fired jeff session.
for dinner i wasn't in the mood for cooking but still did the bare minimum by heating up some tomato sauce and cooking up a bag of frozen spinach and cheese raviolis. i chopped up the last of my mini sweet peppers for some added flavor.
nothing like waking up early riding in the fog for a dentist appointment. doctor huang has his practice in the same building as an english school that sees non-stop traffic of international kids coming in and out. he was the only one in the office. he didn't see me right away, which gave me a few minutes to catch my breath and stop sweating.
it's been 2 years since i last saw doctor huang. he looked the same, maybe more whites in his close cropped haircut. i told him my parents were currently on vacation in taiwan, he said he just came back himself after a 3 week trip visiting his 97-year old mother in kaohsiung.
he examined the implanted crown, tapping it from multiple directions to see if it was loose. from his examination it seemed the molar was pretty solid. i told him to wiggle it back and forth, and that's when he saw what i was talking about. he said the problem was just a loose crown and not a rejected implant. he said sometimes the screw isn't tightened down enough and could come loose over time. the fix was simple, just drill into the crown to access the screw top, tighten it back down, and then patch up the hole.
the crown turned out to be extremely hard and took a long time to drill through. whenever doctor huang wasn't looking, i'd feel the hole in my molar with my tongue, which was surprisingly larger than i'd imagined, like a crater. i wasn't worried, i left it in my dentist's capable hands, figured he knew what he was doing.
after he drilled the crown to reach the screw, he used a tool to release the screw and removed the crown. it was weird suddenly not having a tooth. he polished the crown and inspected the neighboring teeth. he thought was looked to be a cavity, gave it a scrape, but took an x-ray just to be sure. the x-ray revealed that the titanium implant itself is perfectly fine, no danger of it ever falling out with it's aggressive thread design.
put the crown back in was much easier than taking it out. he pop it in, used a tool to screw it down tightly, then patched up the hole with some kind of enamel material that cured via UV light. he also said i needed a cleaning but did a quick pass through all my teeth with a scrubbing pick. when i went to go pay, he said it wasn't necessary, on the house. that was very generous of him for an hour of his time, he i've been going to doctor huang since the late 80's, back when he had an office at fresh pond, so we're practically family.
while i was riding back home to cambridge, the newly installed molar felt weird. it felt like it was misaligned, that it was set too tightly to one of my other tooth. or maybe my mouth was still getting used to the newly set tooth, that i could detect even a small difference, but over time i'd get used to it and not notice it anymore. still, i kept playing with the tooth with my tongue the entire trip home.
i made it home by 10:30am, but left an hour later, in the direction of belmont to bring in all those garden refuse bins, stopping by the cafe along the way. i brought in the trash cans there and brought hailey to belmont with me because my sister wasn't home.
in belmont i waited; garden refuse pickup is the last pickup and typically they don't come until the late afternoon. by 2pm the foggy day turned into a dark and rainy day. there was even the potential for thunderstorms but it never came. prior to that hailey and i were outside in the backyard chasing after squirrels. while i called her back inside so she could sleep, i was researching on how to get rid of the verizon FIOS gateway router and replace it with my own. i also set up the 2nd webcam so it was pointing to the front of the house. i ate a pastry i brought with my from my house for a late lunch.
my sister was supposed to come to belmont to pick up her dog, but she called me at 3:30pm asking if could bring hailey back. garden refuse pickup still hadn't come, but my sister said she'd come back to the house tomorrow to bring in the bins. so i called hailey and took her back to my sister's place before i returned home by 4pm.
i ate the last of my tonkatsu for dinner. i made such a large plate of vegetables and rice, i had to use a separate plate just to hold the tonkatsu. besides shredded cabbage and picked radish, i also chopped up some sweet mini peppers. by then my fixed crown was no longer bothering me. maybe it took some time for it to set properly, for it to feel like my tooth again.
today was the midterm elections. by 8pm i was parked in front of the television, watching the results. democrats won the house, but republicans retained control of the senate. many star democrats lost their election: beto o'rourke in the texas senate race (lost to ted cruz), and andrew gillum lost in the florida governor race. republican control of the senate means donald trump will be safe from an impeachment, but it depends on the findings of the mueller investigation, which will gain protect with democrat control of the house. one wild card is mitt romney as the junior utah senator: as a moderate republican, hopefully he can be the voice of reason should the senate need to vote on key issues.
anxious about what i needed to do this monday morning made me wake up earlier than usual. after casually surfing the web from bed, i woke up before 9am to get ready, leaving by 9:30am for belmont. the morning weather forecast said rain wouldn't arrive until the late afternoon early evening, but i still followed the report from yesterday, which was rain by lunch time. it certainly looked like there'd be a lot of rain, with dark thick clouds overhead.
i called my dentist doctor huang. i was afraid he'd retired so was surprised when i heard his voice on the phone. i told him my crown was loose, and wasn't sure if it was the crown itself or the titanium screw implant itself that had been rejected. i managed to make an appointment for tomorrow morning 9am. i'll find out whether it's going to cost me a little or a lot to fix this problem.
i was in belmont to mow the lawn which was a substitute for leaf raking, as i realized it was easier to pulverize the dead leaves with a mower than it is to rake them. plus, shredding the leaves this way helps with decomposition when i dump everything into the compost bin. the construction guys weren't there, perhaps scared off by the unpredictable weather forecast.
leaves along the curb next to the sidewalk i throw away because they contain too much pollutants, including leftover road salt and sand from last year. at one point the mower jammed because i was going over a too large pile of leaves. i stuck my hand in the blade to get rid of the obstruction when i suddenly realized how dangerous this was and used a weeding tool instead. there was just too much leaves along the street and since i'd throw them out anyway, no point in shredding them so i did some manually raking, filling half a dozen garden refuse bins with dead leaves.
leaves on the lawn i shredded with the mower. it's messy, and bits of dead leaves flew everywhere, but whatever doesn't get picked up in the bag will end up being fertilizing for the lawn. there were more leaves in front of the house, partly from the large dying sidewalk maple tree, partly just from neighboring leaves blowing onto our property. there were less leaves in the backyard, only that single maple, which still has a good amount of yellow leaves on the branches. i finished mowing the backyard just as the mower ran out of gasoline, around 11am.
i unloaded the bundle of peat moss and bag of manure from the car, but didn't do any work with them. i did prune a bit more of the holly because it looked a little lop-sided. i set up the 2nd webcam in the sunroom.
i left by 11:30am and went to the cafe. when i saw my 2nd aunt on saturday she didn't seem to need anything for supplies, but today she seemed to be in urgent need, everything from milk to eggs. i hadn't plan on going to the supermarket until wednesday, but she seemed so worried i told her i'd go right now and bring back the supplies. she also needed mayonnaise and whole wheat bread. market basket was surprisingly busy for some reason despite it being a monday afternoon. as soon as i got there, i suddenly forgot everything i had to get. i walked through the aisles, hoping it'd all come back to me. in the end i remembered everything. while waiting in long, my aunt suddenly called me and said she also needed eggs. i had to step out of line (where i'd already been waiting for a while) and go to the back and wait again.
i returned to the cafe to drop off the groceries. i could hear the furnace in the basement making periodic clicking sounds as the nest thermostat attempted to sip electricity. when my parents get back in about another week we're going to need to fix this (i.e. installing a common wire) because over time it's going to ruin the furnace. i went to my sister's place and checked out the prime condition from yesterday, everything looked good and dry, although the bulk of the rain won't come until this evening, so that's the real test. i'm hoping to put down the 2nd and final coat of paint wednesday morning. i still won't be done though, i still have the doors to paint, which should be easier but involves leaving the doors opened for the paint to dry when the temperature will be getting colder next week.
i got back home by 1:40pm. i hadn't eaten yet all day. i was going to make one last english muffin sandwich but my final muffin had turned moldy. instead i made some coffee and fixed myself a arugula sweet pepper salad with prosciutto, along with one of the pastries my sister gave me yesterday.
in the early evening wu weiyu contacted me for camera advice, couldn't decide whether to get the sony 16-70mm f/4 lens ($998) for her sony A600 mirrorless camera, or buy a new sony RX100 v4 or v5 ($800-900). when i asked her if she was going on a vacation, she finally revealed that she's going to taiwan at the end of december. why are china people so unforthcoming with information? she knew i'm from taiwan, she should've told me as soon as she knew she was going. i told her to get the RX100 v3 instead, which is very similar to the v4 but only costs $650 (still a lot of money, but she's trying to save however she can). she said she was traveling with 2 other friends and they were going on their own, not with a tour group. they were also only going to 8 days, even though she must've saved up a month's worth of vacation from all the overtime her company forced them to work.
for dinner i heated up my remaining 4 slices of anchovy and onion pizza in the large oven. i tried to reheat it in the toaster oven, but it could only fit a single slice at a time.
last night was the end of daylight saving time. i normally go through the house before i go to bed and set all the clocks back one hour, but i was too tired so decided to do it this morning: living room led clock, kitchen wall clock, and microwave clock. everything else - either connected to the internet or a time signal radio station - automatically set themselves.
i was scheduled to do two things today: final work day at the community garden at 11:30am, followed by some porch work at my sister's place around 1pm where i was going to finally prime everything. i decided to skip the work day so i could paint first then go over to my parents' place to mow the lawn (better to do it today than tomorrow as i heard it'd be rainy again). but before all that could happen, i was hoping to make a quick trip to the somerville home depot to pick up some more peat moss and exterior wood screws. i made myself a mug of moka pot coffee to give me some energy (this was essentially my breakfast and lunch) before i left the house at 11am.
what was supposed to be a quick trip took more than 1-1/2 hours. i tried going up central street but ran into a road block. i didn't know what it was, at first i thought it was road construction (perhaps related to the green line extension), or possibly a street fair, or maybe some kind of parade since i saw some people dressed up as colonial british red coats down one of the streets. the detour led me out to union square. i was thinking about postponing my home depot trip, but at the last second decided to go up walnut street. i came out by somerville public library, where it looked like all of highland avenue was blocked off. i got onto mcgrath highway, then took a right by stop & shop to get onto route 38, a forgotten shortcut to home depot.
the somerville home depot carried 3 cu.ft. bags of premier peat moss for $10.98 a bundle, which is about 30¢/cu.ft. cheaper than from hillside garden supply. i ended up getting 2 bags, one for me, one for my sister. i also picked up a bag of black cow composted manure. as for the wood screws, i had a hard time deciding between exterior screws and deck screws. deck screws were slightly more expensive with fancy threading and required a special screw bit (which comes included). i ended up going with a box of 3" generic exterior wood screws which only required a simple philips screw bit.
returning home, i didn't know which way was the best. i still wasn't sure what the highland avenue detour was all about. how far did it extend? i decided to risk it and go back via my usual way up temple then school street. unfortunately there was a road block on school street, so i ended up taking a detour onto medford street. i then spent a long time in bumper to bumper traffic through residential streets trying to find a way out. i went up lowell, then central, each time turned back. i ended up just following the google map directions, which took me to ball square then towards teele square. even that was no match to road blocks that would suddenly pop up. i ended up going as far as teele square before i could finally turn towards mass ave and to the cafe.
by then it was already 12:30pm. my original plan of getting an early start on painting pretty much went out the window. an additional challenge was since we turned back the clocks, sunset would be at 4:30pm, so i only had 4 hours of sunlight to work with.
i used the bathroom quickly before i started working. i was able to go online and figure out what was happening in somerville. apparently it was their postponed memorial day parade from back in may when it got rained out. the route starts from somerville city hall and ends at teele square, going down highland avenue. it essentially bisected somerville, and there was no way to cross it, you just had to go around.
painting comes naturally to me and i went on autopilot. i put down the tarp, set up the ladder, applied some more blue tape, and gathered up the primer paint and brush. it was also thankfully warm even though i was on the northern side of the house where it was in perpetual shadows. just a simple sweatshirt was enough to keep me comfortable. i put in my bluetooth earbuds, turned on the playlist on my android phone, and went to work.
so here was my strategy: start high, work my way down. paint the hard stuff first, like the hard-to-reach inner arches or the outside faces where i had to climb on both ladder and railing to get access to. just painting one side took so long i was beginning to fear that i wouldn't finish priming today. i took off my watch and my hands were too dirty to fish for the phone in my pocket so i didn't know what time it was, just eyeballed it from the position of the lowering sun in the sky. after i finished the right side, i started painting around the doorway, then moved on to the left side. only then, finally, did i paint the front. by that point it was already getting dusky but i only had a little to paint and was able to finish priming everything.
i left by 4:45pm, patches of white paint in my hair, the soles of my shoes dotted with dried primer. i drove to armando's pizza and got myself a large anchovy and onion pizza for $17.25. i've been dreaming about their pizza for weeks now, and finally, after 4 straight hours of painting, this was my well-earned reward. i didn't call it in so ended up waiting 35 minutes for my pizza. i finally returned home by 5:30pm.
i only had 4 slices of pizza (half), even though i was hungry enough to easily eat the whole thing. armando's pizza are gooey (new york style?) and you need to fold it in half to pick it up. i chose anchovy because it's not one of the available options for domino's pizza, where i usually get my pizza. anchovy naturally has a fishy flavor which i don't like, but that's offset by a delicious salty savoriness.
the highlight of the evening was the packers-patriots sunday night football game. new england got the early lead with a touchdown, green bay responded with just a field goal. patriots finished the quarter with a field goal of their own, bringing the score to 10-3. in the second quarter, the packers scored a touchdown to tie the game, but the patriots ended the half with another touchdown, bring the score to 17-10. in the 3rd quarter green bay scored a touchdown to tie the game, but new england finished the quarter with a touchdown to regain the lead, 24-17. in the 4th, brady threw a bomb to josh gordon for a touchdown, which also seemed to have sapped the will of the packers. patriots win, 31-17. i feel bad for green bay, i really like aaron rodgers. i hope they do better and make it into the playoffs.