for the first time since i've been back at home, i slept in my own bedroom. up to now i'd been sleeping in the guest room, just because with it's central location in the house it's actually one of the warmest rooms. also my own bed was a mess, stacked with linens. but when my parents stayed over a few weeks ago prior to our new york city trip, i managed to clean the bed. eventually i would've relocated to my old bedroom, but i was motivated last night because i was afraid tang tang's friend might decide to stay at my place after all so i'd have to give up the guest bedroom.

with 2 uninsulated walls facing the outside of the house, my bedroom was colder to be sure (the coolish all blue color tone didn't help either). but once i got into bed, it felt like home, so comfortable. why didn't i move in earlier! instead of the twin bed in the guest bedroom which had been giving my back and neck cramps for the past week. falling asleep was like sleeping on a warm cloud.

my doctor warned me to take the hydrochlorothiazide in the morning instead of at night, because it makes you want to urinate. i went to the bathroom before i went to bed, but then in the middle of the night i woke up to use the bathroom again. and then this morning the urge to pee was what finally woke me up for good.

my father called me around noontime, asking me if i needed a ride to belmont. i told him i'd take the bike. it was cold, but the sun was out and i had on a lot of wool layers so i quickly warmed after a few minutes. when i finally arrived around 1:00, tang tang's friend wasn't there, out with my sister walking the dog at middlesex fells. since i didn't eat yet, my parents fixed me some rice porridge.

tang tang's friend is currently a junior at the miss hall's school in western massachusetts. i'd actually met before, last summer when i was in taipei for a few weeks before then spending more than a year in china. my cousin took me out to dinner and we met her daughter tang tang along with this friend. since her school is currently on thanksgiving break and she's an international student, she had no where to go, so she got in touch with tang tang and asked her if she could stay with us. originally she was supposed to live at my place because i'm conveniently located close to restaurants and supermarkets and subways, but then she had second thoughts about living with a strange man and decided to stay with my parents in belmont.

when tang tang's friend finally came back from walking the dog, i discovered she's kind of a chatty girl. i found out this was her first time in boston. originally she was supposed to go hang out on newbury street with some chinese classmates who rented a hotel in boston for the week but they ended up bailing on her. tang tang's friend is more of a nerd girl anyway, getting upset over little things like an A- in class. i recommended some museums, many of which are free since she's still underage.

having tang tang's friend at my parents' place did feel a little awkward though. but it's only for a week and she seems like a nice kid. hopefully she makes good use of her time in boston. i could probably show her around if she's interested: in my spare time i am an amateur boston tour guide after all.

after dinner my parents suggested i take one of the cars back to cambridge. that way i can also bring back my aquarium, which my parents and sister were taking care of when i was gone. my one remaining fish did eventually die (my father overfed it), but aquatic java ferns are still alive, the only living thing to have survived during my year long absence (all the other plants in my house died because nobody came by to water them). the fish tank first had to be drained before i could move it into the car. and once i got back home, i had a mini-crisis when i somehow dropped the car fob onto the floor. i went back out with a flashlight to search for it and eventually did find it in a pile of leaves behind the trunk.

i gave the tank another vacuum and wash before filling it up with cold tap water. since there's currently no fish living in the aquarium, i don't have to worry about neutralizing the water first. i think eventually i'll get some fish. i may also upgrade to a bigger tank: the 7 gallon minibow is nice, but it's several gallons smaller than a traditional 10 gallon tank (of which i have several in my basement). my current dream is to set up a aquatic garden first, upgrading my lights (LED's instead of fluorescent) and pumping CO2 into the water to boost the plant growth. with no fish yet i don't have to worry about CO2 poisoning.

the brine level in the second batch of sichuan paocai i started yesterday was still a bit low. fortunately i saved a jar of brine for just such an occasion and topped it off so at least the liquid level would cover most of the remaining top cabbage. just a day of fermentation, and already so much bubbles rose up when i opened the lid. of course the kitchen smelled like paocai for sometime afterwards.

i finally finished watching byzantium (2012), about a pair of lady vampires. i downloaded the film before but erased it, not realizing what it was. when i read a synopsis recently i was intrigued enough to download it again. it took several days to watch, but in the end it was worth it. it puts a fresh spin on vampires.