The Only Dog

Navi has handled losing Barclay better than we have. She quickly realized ALL the toys, treats, and attention were hers (well, some goes to the cats, but they don’t count). She was a little scared going for walks alone without her gregarious big brother by her side, and the first few walks she spent slinking around with her tail down. I tackled this by taking treats and a clicker, and clicking whenever she saw something scary. The idea was to teach her that 1) those things get her rewards 2) quit looking at the scary thing and look at the person with the treats. That has been working really well, and she is getting much better at walking on a loose leash too, because I’ve been clicking for that as well. She’s getting more confident and likes going on a walk to sniff things and get treats.

Since it’s Christmas season we are getting lots of deliveries for her to bark at, so she’s happy to have a job. When she’s not barking at the front window, she is under my desk or trying to get pets from me while I’m trying to work. She comes up and lays her head on the desk next to me to get attention. So cute!

She’s a good girl.

Lately she’s been getting snappy about having her nails trimmed, so I am working on training her to let me use the dremel on her nails. It’s so much easier to train one dog than two. With two dogs, the other one is always trying to nose in on the other dog’s training time. Now we only have to worry about cats.

Lockdown in the time of Coronavirus

I guess we’ve been hearing about the virus in China for a month or so, but it has suddenly hit us hard. With the knowledge that this bad new flu is circulating, but without testing capability, and an already overtaxed medical system, we are now in semi-lockdown. The play we have been rehearsing for over a month (Much Ado About Nothing) is on hold until later in the summer, I’m working from home, and people are wiping out the grocery stores (glad I went to Costco with friends and stocked up a couple weeks ago). Crazy times.

I had just settled on a plan to expand my photography into family portrait work, and decided that this summer I would train and do any odd jobs I could get, and hone my craft. I bought a new (used) lens just for this pursuit.

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This is a Sony f/4 70–200mm. It takes really sharp pictures with nicely blurred backgrounds. I’m really happy with the few test shots I’ve done.

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Combined with my full-frame a7ii, this is certainly a rig capable of producing high-quality images.

I also plan to dedicate any ‘hustle money’ I can make to my meandering Mustang project. But who knows when things will get back to normal, when I can start hustling, if I will even care about the Mustang when this is all over. Maybe priorities will change? Right now the poor Mustang is buried in the garage under shipping materials leftover from Christmas. The toy shipping season has stretched out significantly. Things are still selling now in March!

But I don’t mind working at home. I’m hanging out with my hubby and dogs and cats:

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surrounded by all my craft projects I’ve been putting off. Like my ‘learn to paint’ project. I’ve got my paints, I’ve got my easel, all I need is time.

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I can FINALLY follow along with BOB!

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It’s actually kind of nice, but I’m only a few days in. We will see how it feels by the end of the month! I hope to sneak off for some fishing when the weather warms up next week. We will see how it all goes. I’m just hoping people handle this sanely, take care of each other, remember to be kind and considerate, and we will all ride out this strange time, stay healthy, and be back to normal sometime this summer.

Until then I’ll try not to spend too much time riding the range in Red Dead Redemption.

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Possum!

Sake and Sitka were visiting a couple weeks ago when I heard the dogs going absolutely nuts in the backyard. I ran out to see what the big deal was, and there was a giant Possum crossing the waterpark!

He was HUGE!
And in true possum fashion, he decided the best thing to do was freeze. Which allowed the dogs to go nuts even longer than if he had just continued across the field.
I finally called the dogs inside, and then he continued his slow meander to go hide in the clump of trees at the North end of the field.
Mighty was just glad the dogs were harassing someone other than her for a change.
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Bored? Games!

We had an awesome after-Christmas part last night, with Michelle, Scott & Sherry, and Sitka and Sake. We stuffed ourselves silly and played board games, and after discovering we were all really awful at Trivial Pursuit, we moved on to Apples to Apples, followed by a rousing game of Pictionary – a good time was had by all!

Even Mighty didn’t let the company or the pack of eskimos bother her, she spent most of the evening sitting in laps, clawing the guests, and lounging in the middle of the action with her tummy up.

So, today I felt like we needed some more board games to add to our party stash. Now that we live in town, we can have friends over more often, might as well be prepared!

We headed out to the local games store and examined all the board games. I was very temped to pick up Settlers of Catan, just because I’ve always heard great things about it, but it was pretty spendy. Instead we picked up a new card game, I’ll report back on that later. Then at the first Goodwill store we found another old card game that sounded interesting. But the last Goodwill store turned out to be the jackpot, as I not only found a used copy of Settlers of Catan for $4 (!!!), but for another $2 I brought home something really unique!

The amazing acrylic tower is a game called See-Queue – and it’s a 3-D tic-tac-toe game. It was made by a company in Salem Oregon in 1993, and designed by Mr Karol Kersh, but I can’t find out much about it on the web. It was ‘some assembly required’, but everything was there except for the marbles. We headed back out to find some marbles…

All set up and ready to play. Do you know how hard it is to find colored marbles nowdays?

The trickiest part was figuring out all the win conditions, and then trying to build them without attracting your opponents attention. It was really fun! I imagine it would be crazy with four people! You can turn the board around as you play, and you are making rows using all four levels sometimes, it’s kind of mind-bending. Cool game!

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Blowing my top!

 

So Mr Miata came with a little problem in the ‘top’ department – it was torn and useless at it’s primary function – keeping the interior dry. A new top costs a couple hundred plus installation, and a used hardtop runs about a grand. I needed to find a cheaper solution.

 

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Luckily I found a junkyard Miata with a good top. So I handed over $150 in hopes of ending up with a Miata I could actually drive in the winter. Winter is far too long to go without driving a Miata if there’s one available! While I was there I also scored a number of other nice parts, like good doorpanels (Mr Miata has had most of the fasteners broken on his doorpanels), M Edition sill plates from the 94 M Edition parked behind the red miata, and some other bits and pieces.

 

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I clamped up my torn back window and got to work. Mighty is assisting by keeping the top from blowing away Winking smile

 

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Step 2, remove the seats so there is room to work in that tiny little car.

 

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Remove the carpeting and try not to panic as it tears apart in your hands…turned out 23 year old carpeting gets a little dry-rotted after all those years in the sun.

 

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A few more trim pieces, a few bolts, and tah-dah – topless!

 

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Lesson one – even on a tiny car, tops are significantly bigger and heavier than you might expect! Plus that frame makes this the finger-pinchiest repair job I’ve ever taken on!

 

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The new top goes on (Dave had to help me wrestle it into place), and Mighty is happy to resume her top-holding-down duties

 

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It’s not perfect, there’s a little loose seam on the driver’s side.

 

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And a little wear on the passenger side. But it kept the junkyard car nice and dry, so I think it should last the winter for me.

 

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Dang, I managed not to pinch my fingers in the frame, but the metal on the rear shelf got me while fastening down the top. No job is complete until you bleed and swear. This job was definitely done!

 

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One thing that was very different from previous car projects – bringing the ipad out to the garage to both play music through a little portable speaker, and act as instant reference material. I did most of this job with the help of documents and advice from Miata.net.

 

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All done, top looks tight at all the seams, just needs a wash to get rid of the junkyard dirt. I’ll just have to drive it in the rain to see if it’s water tight.

 

 

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The bedroom accent wall

I was reading on my favorite vintage-house blog, Retro Renovation, about vintage houses that featured wall murals. I guess it was a thing back in the day. So I went searching around on the web for vintage wall murals, and found a site which features just about any image you can imagine, blown up to wall size. Intrigued by the boldness of a wall-sized image, I started searching for 70’s style images in the colors I was interested in, and found one I thought was pretty awesome and 70s looking. Only problem – wall size murals cost about $200. That’s a lot of money to pay and then decide you hate it. On the other hand, if I painted it myself, for the cost of less than $50 in supplies, I could decide if I liked it or not, and then just paint it all a solid color if it was not to my taste.

And hey, I was home sick anyway this weekend, so why not have a little fun?

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I laid out the tape by hand, following the top half of the image above as a pattern.

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At this point the first layer of colors are in, and I can’t wait to get the tape off and see how it looks with white outlines.

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I laid on a second coat of all the colors late last night, and this morning, stripped off the masking tape to see how it looks with white outlines – I love it!

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The masking tape had a lot of bleed-under that needs to be touched up.

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All the touch-ups are done, and the final touch is a piece of wall art we picked up a few months ago. I knew it was going to fit perfectly in here somewhere!

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And the outdoors/geese theme bedroom is complete. We love it!

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New Camera, Kitty update

Yesterday I did my part to help the economy by picking up a new Nikon 5100 DSLR at Best Buy on a Black Friday sale. In my research to buy a new camera I discovered they are pretty much priced the same everywhere, with sales popping up here and there, and the sales are always the same amount too. I don’t get how that’s legal. Anyway, I decided to go for it and get the latest model in the amateur DSLR line. Unfortunately only one of my old lenses will work with it, but the kit lens seems good.

My first test shot: Mighty – on my desk:

Handheld, without Image stabilization turned on, with just the light from my desk lamp – nice!

BTW, the kitties are doing fine in our new home. I’d kind of like to keep them inside, but I don’t know if they would be too bored after having been outdoor kitties on the farm. On the other hand I don’t want them annoying the neighbors, catching birds, getting hit by a car, or chased by neighborhood dogs. A friend suggested an invisible fence they make for cats that could keep them in the backyard, but they would still catch birds, and the gardens in the backyard are full of birds. The other morning we were making breakfast and watching all the birds playing in the bushes and taking baths in the bird bath – fun! I think if we let these two out the birds would go somewhere safer! So for everyone’s sake, we’ll see about keeping them in for now at least.

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Spring Flowers

 

The very first sprinkling of color is popping up all over the yard…

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Of course I had company while on my photography spree.

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Cats! They always seem to have such goofy looks!

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Navi had a grand old time in the backyard, hunting mice in the tall grass and digging holes.

 

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Barclay preferred to stay clean with a good game of stickball.

 

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Even Mighty seems disturbed by how filthy Navi got!

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I never get tired of taking pictures of her when she’s muddy – I just think it’s so cute! She really puts her all into digging for treasure!

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How clean she gets after a quick round with the hose and drying off is simply miraculous!

Watch out for the laser eyes!

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Mighty

 

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Mighty always looks so dignified. Lets see if we can take care of that.

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By catching her in mid-yawn…

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Or in the middle of a good shake!

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Well, she can’t help it if she’s naturally beautiful.

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