Wednesday, October 25, 2017

1999 Mazda Protege vs 2017 Mazda 6

Early in February, I was told the lurching and hesitation in my 1999 Mazda would require a new engine. 

That would make moot my attempt to get to 300,000 miles.  New motor would mean starting over.  So I accepted the fact that my baby would need to be replaced.  

But not then.  I had only 3,200 miles to go to make it to 300,000.  The mechanic said it "probably" wouldn't die on me.  So the quest was on. 

Complicating matters is the fact that I have a work from home job now.  So it took me until July to rack up those last few miles. 

And it was getting scary at the end.  Mid-July.  Arizona.  I could have the a/c on.  Or I could use the brakes.  

Not both.  

Applying the brakes when the a/c was on caused the car to stall.  I went without a/c for a couple very hot weeks.  

But I made it.  

I had previously test-driven and evaluated cars so I knew I wanted another Mazda.  I drove my Protege into the dealership with 300,012 miles on it.  

And drove out with a new Mazda 6. 

A whole lot has changed in cars since I bought my Protege 18 years and 8 months before.  

There's the whole push-button start for one thing.  That took some getting used to.  My Protege was a manual transmission.  Seemed more logical to get an automatic this time.  Supposedly the gas mileage is optimized for the automatic.  But I kept forgetting to put the transmission in Park.  There were a handful of times I couldn't figure out why the car wouldn't shut off.  

The key fob in your purse threw me off as well.  I kept reaching into my pocket for my keys.  Gotta say though, I like the keyless door and trunk opening. 

The automatic headlights and windshield wipers are a nice touch.  I was paranoid for a while, thinking the lights weren't going to shut off on their own.  

love the backup camera and warning. The only thing I don't like?  I don't like that I can mute the radio, but not turn it off.  

I've adapted.  The dogs have adapted.  Back seat is still good sized.  I added seat extenders so they wouldn't fall off onto the floor.  The leatherette seats are more slippery than my old cloth seats.  The windows are a little smaller.  Bogie has to duck his head more to stick it out into the breeze.  

Overall, very pleased.  Haven't had a car payment in ages.  That's not fun.  But it's peppy and gets good gas mileage. 

And I can use the brakes when the a/c is on. 


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Building Lego Assembly Square

This kit, at 4,002 pieces, is the largest I've ever tackled.  I wasn't sure if I would enjoy following the very explicit directions, but I found it relaxing and a way to get out of my head.

Some people color.  Some people do jigsaw puzzles.  It appears that I will be doing Lego buildings.

The first hint that this was not as simple as the Beach Hut was the instruction guide - a full 1/2" thick.

There were 6 phases of building.  It took me 13.5 hours to complete.  And I enjoyed almost every minute of it.  (I admit the scallops along the edges were kind of tedious.)

Because these kits are made to be played with like dollhouses, a lot of detail goes into the interiors.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience.  Pictures below.

One of my favorite features was the "leaded" glass bakery window. But it was a little tricky to install. 

The detailed interior included an amazingly detailed dentist chair with spit sink and lamp:

A piano in the dance studio that was made from over 25 pieces:

And a roof hatch for the stairway:

That's not to overlook the tripod camera in the photography studio, the bathroom and folding fouton in the apartment, the drum set in the music store.

The completed front:
Pie lady in the front is from Series 17.  She just fit here.

The attention to detail continues to the back which is just as complete as the front, with a rear staircase and a rooftop cafe.

Level One:

Level Two:

Level Three:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Canine Acupuncture

Angel is 9 years old now.  But in basically good health.  She has the potential to live a few more years.  And plenty of love and wags to share.

But her arthritis has been getting worse.

She had knee repair surgeries on both knees.  The left in May 2011, the right in May 2013.  The shriek she let out when each of her knees went out still haunts my nightmares.

In any case, knees repaired, but arthritis has ensued.  My vet clinic recently hired a pain specialist and Dr. Patt, supportive of alternative treatments, suggested I give acupuncture a try.

Holy cow!  Angel has had 6 sessions now with Dr. Paster, and she is much more active and energetic.  She still has trouble rising from the floor and that may never go away.  But she is doing so much better.

And what's not to like.  We sit in an exam room.  They talk sweetly to her and insert the needles, which she doesn't seem to feel, and feed her treats the whole time.  Bogie lays next to her to keep her company and he gets treats as well.
With lots of little blue-tipped needles stuck into her trigger points.
Bogie keeps her company
 Acupuncture isn't cheap, mostly because it takes multiple visits.  But if you have a dog that is suffering, and you have the disposable income, it's a treatment to consider.

This is only useful to readers in Arizona, but the clinic my dogs love to visit, and where we get the acupuncture, is Little Critters Vet.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Toy stuffing everywhere

My sister likes to give the dogs toys they can destroy. 

This lamb was about 12" long and survived mostly intact since Christmas. 

Last night Bogie put one paw on its head, grabbed the other end, and pulled in a long, slow rip. 

Then he picked up the carcass and shook the stuffing out. 

This does not show all the scattered stuffing which covered a bigger area than I could capture.  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Lego Winter Village tableau

I put together a Christmas tableau on my dining room table.  It's made up of 6 kits of varying sizes, plus figures from 2 other kits.

If you move the train the Christmas tree on the flatbed car, revolves.  Very cool kit.

The horse in the sleigh kit can move his head.  Most Lego horses are stationary.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Lego ideas was Accepted!

I submitted my idea for Fun at Waterfront Park to Lego Ideas and it was accepted!

So I need people to support my project.

If I get 100 supporters in 60 days, I will then have a year to garner 10,000 votes.  Then maybe Lego will decide to make my kit!  

I've been a Lego fan since I was 8 so this is a big deal. 

So please vote. Sorry, you will need to register to vote. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Bogie has not had a good year.

It's been a stressful month.  I never did find out what caused Bogie to have his toe amputated, despite the advanced fungal tests and even more x-rays. 

His foot has healed and mostly seems to not be bothering him.  A couple hours after we go for a walk, he starts to chew on it.  But pain medication stops that. 

Still, we've been to the vet 6 times in the last month. 

His Valley Fever numbers are down.  Yay!  But he kept having a loss of appetite, diarrhea, his coat got rough, and he was shedding up a storm.  Which he usually doesn't do. 

Add to that, he developed a wattle.  Suddenly instead of a smooth throat, he has a ruff.  Sometimes it shrinks almost back to normal, but mostly he looks saggy.  

Lots of test, including 2 days I had to leave him so they could do before he ate/after he ate comparison tests.  

I hate those days.  I have a hard time not feeding him in the morning.  And I won't feed Angel if Bogie can't eat.  Nor will I eat in front of them. 

Bogie goes into the car just before time to leave for the vet, I rush back into the house and feed Angel and gather my work stuff.  Then I eat after I've dropped him off.   

The upshot of all these test is that Bogie has been diagnosed with Addison's disease.  

Addison's is an adrenal disease where the glands fail to produce enough hormones for normal function.  Cortisol is the "bad" word in all those weight loss commercials, but it's necessary to prevent symptoms like weakness, dehydration, low blood pressure, depression, vomiting, blood in feces, and weight loss.

Yeah, those symptoms could be almost anything.  Add to that, Addison's waxes and wanes.  I'm convinced this recent flare-up was from the Valley Fever. 

I've even wondered if the people who abandoned him knew about his condition.  He's had diarrhea off and on ever since I got him.  If they knew, it would have saved me a bunch of money for the tests.

Initial treatment is steroid pills every morning.  Thankfully he's been taking his pills willingly.

Addison's is very rare in dogs. Even rarer in large, male dogs. With odds like these, I should win the lottery.

Bogie has not had a good year.