here in new england, how do you tell when winter is over and spring is here? it's not just about a date on the calendar, although in 2 more weeks marks the vernal equinox which would technically make it spring at least when it comes to daylight length. maybe spring starts when the weather gets warmer? but how do i know it's really getting warm and not just another cruel weather joke and then next week it's back to the cold? perhaps spring implies no more snow? although it did snow last sunday and there's still plenty of dirty snow outside. possibly spring means all of these things!

i did not see my roommate this morning. even though i was ready to leave, i stuck around until noontime in the hopes of speaking with him before i left. nothing important, maybe show him how to work the washing machine, give him a few suggestions for possible outings. he never left his room and since i didn't hear anything, i assumed he was just sleeping late.

it was another warm day with temperature in the 50's. for me, another symbol sign of spring is the emergence of crocuses in the backyard. early march is when i usually see them, but i've seen them as early as february. it helps that much of the snow along the margin of the yard have melted, allowing these flowers to peek out of the ground. they're rather ephemeral and have to be appreciated as soon as possible because in a few weeks they'll be gone. why crocuses sprout so early i don't know; not many pollinating insects are out this time of year.

i helped my mother do some living room furniture moving. we collapsed the dining table by one leaf, relocated an end table, and moved the couch closer to the middle of the room. the resulting configuration makes watching tv a little easier because the couch now is more or less in front of the tv (before it was sort of off to the side).

my mother made this chinese goat stew (羊肉爐) for dinner which spent the whole day simmering on the stove, filling the house with its savory aroma. it required an assortment of chinese spices, everything from cinnamon bark to goji berries.

in the afternoon my parents also went to the burlington h-mart while i kept watch at home.

the goat stew was okay at best; i thought it tasted too much like chinese medicine (not a good taste). normally my mother cooks goat/lamb/mutton with homemade sauerkraut to create a broth that goes well with noodles; but because my sister doesn't eat sauerkraut my mother wanted to try something different.

i rode back to cambridge during an intermittent drizzle. this was just a meteorological appetizer as the bulk of the storm wouldn't start until the middle of the night and into the morning, leaving 1-2" of rain and possible localized flooding.

i found victor in the living room for a change, surfing the web on his laptop and watching raiders of the lost ark on tv. he left the blinds on which i closed as soon as i dropped my bags. walking by his empty bedroom i noticed he had his window opened again. victor told me he was shocked to see 2 girls today wearing shorts and sandals; i told him that's how we roll in new england - 50-60°F is like summer weather after so many months of cold.

i'm still working on that washington biography which i've been reading since the end of january, so a bit over a month. i was hoping to get it finished in time for president's day, but since i only read it when i'm using the bathroom or right before bed, progress has been slow. in the meantime i've amassed a bunch of other books on my kindle, waiting to be read: a lot of historical non-fiction, natural science, and some scifi. i'm still very much immersed in all things washington though: i've been rewatching the john adams HBO miniseries (washington has a few cameos) and i've been thinking about wearing a tricorn hat (non-ironically). i'm about to get to his 2nd term as president.