this morning i was on the phone with my mortgage company, trying to figure out what happened to an additional principal payment check that never seemed to have arrived. i wasn't sure if i'd be able to reach anyone since christmas fell on a sunday so today monday was the postponed observed holiday. banks, libraries, post offices, they were all closed; the only places that were opened were super markets and malls. so i was actually surprised when i actually got a live person on the other end. unfortunately it sounded like someone from an overseas call center, and not only was she hard to hear but she was also hard to understand. she put me on a hold a few times but from what little i could understand it seemed like there was something wrong with the check. fortunately my mortgage is a subsidiary of a larger bank, and i should be able to visit a local branch (tomorrow, when banks are open) and talk to somebody in person and straighten everything out.

i've always had sweet oatmeal but i wanted a change of pace so decided to try some salty oatmeal. into the porridge i also added a pinch of salt, some white ground pepper, some fried garlic flakes, and a few chicken sausage meatballs. the oatmeal itself was rather bland if it weren't for the chicken bits.

i would've been entirely content to spend my post-christmas holiday staying home reading (more on that later), but my mother called me in the afternoon. business was slow at the cafe so my parents were going to close shop early. my mother told me to go to belmont for dinner.

my parents made fried spring rolls, which by itself was already enough food for dinner, but then my mother made some rice noodles. i managed to finish a bowl but it was way more calories than i needed. the sooner we get our first blizzard of the season the sooner i can put away the motorcycle and begin riding the bicycle exclusively (more exercise).

although temperature was in the 30's, it didn't feel particularly cold when i returned home via motorcycle. i think maybe because i had a fleece scarf this time. once again parking was hard to find and i had to grab a spot a bit further down one of the side streets. it's only for overnight; i'll move the bike tomorrow to a better location.

i've been reading under the skin by michel faber, a novel that came out in 2000. i'm not sure how i found out about it in the first place, but it's been on my amazon wish list for a while and i finally tracked down a copy. the genre is horror, about a petite woman who trolls the scottish countryside looking to pick up male hitchhikers. not just any male, but muscular ones, the bigger the better. the story builds gradually, and at first you're not sure what she does with these men. is it sex? murder? or something else entirely? i don't want to say anymore for fear of spoiling the surprise. if you're into can't-put-down horror novels i can't recommend this book enough (don't even google it so as to not spoil anything). i started reading it late last night and i'm already 75% finished. i normally don't read novels (i'm more about non-fiction) but this one really got to me.