Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Finally, drawing something in my journal

I bought a $20 wireless doorbell the other day.
I attached it to my mom's hospital bed, so that it would ring in my room so I could hear her if I was asleep.
Last night she was ringing every 15 minutes, so gave up and stayed up all night.

I started to clean the room where I do my drawing.
The calendar on the wall said July!

I found a pile of papers and in it was a page I took from a magazine back when Mom was in the hospital. It was an idea for earrings.

I came up with this:
It still needs a dangle thing at the end.

I also scribbled and painted and pasted things and stenciled in my journal:

My fingers turned blue. Hooray!

I copied a face from a magazine because I hadn't drawn any faces lately.

Afterward I slept all day.
I dreamed that something (I forget what) made me so mad, I punched my computer screen.
It broke the monitor screen. It was very realistic.

I also dreamed that half of my face was sunburned.
Maybe because I spent all day in the sun while playing with the car Tuesday?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Spending time with the car

Today I took the green car to see Don the mechanic.

I have to smog test it sometime soon. (And paint it)
The first thing we did was go to see one of Don's friends who does smog tests.

He won't smog test some of Don's more customized cars anymore, because he doesn't want to get in trouble.
But he will put a car on the testing machine and tell us how it will do, without charging the $85 test fee, and putting the car's info into the government controlled computer system.
Knowing what the car will do, we can then make the changes to fix the problem before going to a smog station.

I didn't want to get Don's friend in trouble, so I didn't take many pictures of that.

My car did really well. Two years ago, it passed with those numbers. (I forgot what it ran)
This year, the state lowered the acceptable levels of hydrocarbons (HC) from 108 to 86 at 15 mph, and 80 to 56 at 25 mph.
So it almost passed but not quite.

Next up will be doing something to improve the car's emissions...

Since I had the green car at Don's shop, I asked him to take the headlight motor apart and see why it wasn't working.
Firebirds (and Corvettes, but not Camaros) have the headlights that flip up. They go bad all the time.
We did the red car not that long ago.

Lon, a member of the car club, has a business making headlight motor repair kits, so we always have these parts around.

Here is what a headlight motor looks like once it is removed from the car:

                                                 knob ^

The most common problem is that there are small plastic gumdrop-shaped bushings inside the motor and after 20 years they get dried up and turn into dust. They go into the part C.

We replaced that, but the motor would still spin freely and not raise the headlight up.

Another less common problem is that the metal rod (A) separates from the metal part (B).
That can be fixed by drilling a screw into B.

Don had a set of tap and dies, which was something that I hadn't seen before.
These are for making a hole for a screw, but they were too large for this project:

Fortunately, Don had another headlight motor where part A and B were still connected.
He took the headlight motor all apart again, and used that.
Now the headlight would crank up and down if you turned the knob.

We put the headlight motor back in the car and flipped the switch and nothing happened.
We plugged another headlight motor into the plug and that one worked.
So something in the motor (part D) was probably burned out.

Don had another one of those, but it meant taking the WHOLE headlight motor apart again.
I had to go to work, so there wasn't time to do that.
At least now I can raise the headlight by opening the hood and turning the knob manually.

My next visit will be Saturday to see what can be done to improve the car's emissions.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Still nothing. Waiting to catch a wave.

Yesterday I couldn't sleep, but it was Dad's turn to stay up with Mom.
I cleaned my room a lot, and turned a dress into a shirt, read chapters in a novel, and wrote words in my journal.
That was more than I had done all week.

I'm getting closer to drawing again.

I had to sleep in today, so I didn't check to see if Don the mechanic was around.
Tomorrow Mom needs to see her general doctor so we can order more insulin, so that will take up all of tomorrow.

Still watching this surfer guy's videos. It's just like being there.
Shooting the pier!

When I was in my early 20's, and had a lot less to do, I would hang out at the HB pier.
Walking from one end of the pier to the other gives you 30 minutes of something to do.
Sometimes they have a farmer's market.

I used to go to the US Open in July too, but it has been many years.
There was one memorable year when the waves were so big,  they actually had to tow the surfers with jet-skis.

I think I like surfing because it reminds me about art.
Sometimes there are big waves and sometimes there aren't any, but there will always be waves.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Not much on this day.

Today I was unhappy.
I haven't done any drawing or painting in my sketchbook, for a long time! Maybe a month!
I thought I would have time to draw now that Mom is home, but there isn't time.
Tomorrow is my day off though.

I slept in late, so I didn't visit my friend the mechanic.
My tags expire October 2016, so the green car needs a smog test next week!

Unfortunately this is not the first time I procrastinated on the smog check.
What happens is, I have to go to the DMV and get a pass, that if I'm pulled over, says I am driving my car to get it fixed.
They used to give you a month pass, or a week pass, but now they give you a one day pass.
The last time I went through this, though, they left the date blank, and then I could write in the date, in case I was pulled over. (I wasn't ever stopped.)

Today an old friend got married at my church.
I forgot to tell my co-worker so I went to the ceremony and just left the office unattended.
I didn't care...
Everyone thought I had an emergency at home!

I realized I have never sat through a whole wedding at my church in 10 years.
If it is just an acquaintance I will stop by and say hi.
(My best friends were married at other churches)

I was invited to the reception but I knew I wouldn't be able to go.
I'll make it up to them, somehow.

The waves were big today, on that surf videographer's YouTube page:

Watch the guy get tossed into the air at 9:06

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Surfing the web

Today was a long day.
Mom is getting chemotherapy every Thursday.
Luckily she comes back home at the end of the day.
She is getting a lot stronger and my back is hurting a lot less.

Today I had only enough energy to watch some YouTube, to relax.

Last month I was watching "Most satisfying videos" on YouTube.
I think that trend is on its way out.

Lately I have been watching videos of surfers at the Wedge in Newport.
This guy posts videos on his YouTube channel a few times a week:

I like the uncut videos this guy posts.
They really capture the essence of going to a local beach when the waves are big.

I usually get bored after a few minutes, but it always puts me in a better mood.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Melting solder into molds

The first thing I did today was start my earring project over again, this time using a silver colored wire so that the solder would match.
All I had was cheap aluminum wire.
I spent a long time making the jump rings, only to discover that the low temperature solder I was using, doesn't stick to cheap aluminum wire.

I went outside for a bit of fresh air and I found a small dragonfly-like creature in the fish pond.
This is called a damselfly.

It is different from a dragonfly not only because it is smaller, but it carries its wings pinned behind its back instead of spread out.
We used to have a lot of these, but I haven't seen one in 6 years.
Ever since Sam the dog disinfected the fish pond... that's another story.
It's nice to see life coming back, like the big dragonfly earlier this year.

I went back to melting solder into the silicone molds, which is working better than actual soldering.
I bought a couple different molds at Michael's over the weekend. They cost about $7 each.

I got a donut sprinkle effect by using microbeads, which is a kind of glitter that is made of tiny balls of glass.
I put them into the mold first and then melted the solder on top of them.
This was not so great, because there were a lot of extra little beads that didn't stick to the metal.

Tonight I thought about using some of those flat glass marbles that go into vases.
I put them into the mold with the round side down and melted the solder around it.

This worked out really cool and I will be trying this again.
Overall,I think everything is a little lumpy.
I think I need to be using a torch and not a hot iron to melt the solder.

I'm afraid to go to Hobby Lobby, because I know they have tons of stuff like this.
And glass canes, to make into beads...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Learning to solder (long because I haven't posted lately)

Mom is OK.
While shopping for soldering tools at the hardware store, I bought an inexpensive doorbell.
It has a speaker that plugs into a wall socket.
It has a wireless button, attached to her bed, that she can press, so it rings in my room and wakes me up whenever she wants. Yay.

Waking up unexpectedly, combined with the New York/New Jersey bombs, gave me a lot of interesting dreams.
(I actually refused to watch the news until tonight)
I dreamed that I was at the schoolyard and I watched a jet crash. I heard the motor turn off. The news said it was a lady pilot, and a map showed that she landed on a hill in a wealthy neighborhood (maybe Malibu,) in order to avoid a crowded place. The news also said that she survived long enough to crawl to her house and give birth. (?)
In another dream I was at church, for a big ceremony. A lady showed up with a suspicious package. I ran outside and hid. The bishop was there. I forgot the details, but I think the bomb didn't go off.

Over the weekend I cleaned off a nice, little, old roll-top desk in the patio, where I would be doing my soldering.
The desk came from my uncle who passed away last year.
He bought it in 1980 so it isn't a real antique. The receipt is still in the drawer. He liked it very much.
My mom had filled it with envelopes and old prayer books, anticipating her retirement, but in reality it was just collecting dust.
I put her stuff into a plastic container.

I put a large tile, 15" x 15" that was left over from when we redid the patio, onto the desk top to protect it.
Actually, I placed a recycled cloth grocery bag under the tile, so as not to scratch the desk.

The desk will probably get messed up anyway, but life is short.
In fact I tried to put that red C-clamp on a corner and it started to eat into the soft pine.
I left the tile, rough side up to see what effect the solder had.
Here in the picture it is shoved back, to see if the roll top will close, but when working I pulled it up to the edge.

I got an idea from this website to make trinkets from plumber's solder:

I noticed the person pressed rubber stamps into the solder to make an impression.
I happened to have a silicone mold for baking Fimo clay shapes. Up to 400 degrees, it said.
If the solder didn't destroy a rubber stamp, then it would be OK in the silicone mold.

First, however, I tried to wrap a piece of mosaic glass in the copper foil.
This did not work OK.

The copper foil stuck to nothing.
I soldered onto it, and it would fall off of multiple things.

I used the heat tool to heat up the solder and dripped it into the molds and this worked really well:

The resulting trinkets are very jagged, but seem to be easy to trim and sand.
Maybe if I used the torch like the video, it would result in smoother edges.
I have a Dremel tool somewhere that I've hardly used...

Soldering on the jump rings afterward, to make a hanger, was not easy.
I learned what flux was for.
Here's a pile of trinkets.

I tried to solder closed the hoops for my earrings, in a more traditional way.
It looked messy, and the silver solder didn't match the copper, but I am still learning.

I haven't yet finished assembling these earrings.

I was disappointed to not be able to find real or fake, copper-colored solder anywhere.
The last place I didn't look that everyone told me to look, was Hobby Lobby.
Otherwise I will have to go online.

I experienced firsthand how quickly metal conducts heat. I had tweezers but that was awkward.
So I will need a tool I saw, a third hand, that rests on the desk, it has alligator clips to hold the piece of metal while heating it.
I saw it at Michael's for about $20, but I thought Home Depot would have one cheaper, and they didn't.

Friday, September 16, 2016


Today Mom spent the day at the hospital getting her second round of chemo.
They are trying a different combination of drugs that hopefully will have less side effects.
She doesn't need to stay at the hospital overnight, either.
She seems OK for now...

I came home at noon and took a nap while Dad stayed at the hospital.
My neighbor has 6 kids and they are sometimes noisy. They must have been playing in the yard.

I dreamed that Mom was sleeping with the TV on, and some teenagers were playing a game on the street.
One would drive as fast as they could and others would run into the street and try to dodge the car. It kept getting scarier, and more reckless, and there were near misses. Finally two of the youths ended up getting decapitated in a very detailed way. In the dream, I noticed this was a video clip on the TV show called America's Funniest Home Videos. I didn't understand why anyone would find that funny. "I wish I had lived my life," said one of the teens before he died. They kept replaying it. Then I woke up.

When I fed the dogs this afternoon, I noticed that some thing had killed three goldfish and two koi fish and left them laying around the yard.

This has happened about every two years.
I don't know if it was a raccoon, or the dogs.
They didn't look guilty or smell fishy.

I still have other fish, and they didn't get my largest or most favorite.
I noticed I don't have any good pictures of my fish.
I tried to take some pictures tonight:

I still don't have any good pictures.
It's hard to do, with the water reflections, and the camera on my new phone isn't as steady as the last one. Next time.

At work Weds night, I saw a big possum when I took out the trash.

Possums don't eat fish, but raccoons do...
Maybe the water sources in the neighborhood have dried up?

Driving to and from the hospital I noticed that one of the buildings being demolished in the Bristol Street widening project, was a house where one of my ex-boyfriends used to live.
(It's adjacent to a house with a bunch of dolphin fountains in the yard.)

I had mixed feelings about it being demolished.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Busy at home

Mom did come home on Sunday, after all.

Although we thought we were prepared, it was a very stressful weekend.

My Dad and I scrambled around trying to make sense of the list of medicines, (now a lot less,) organize the care products where they could be handy, since she is staying in a hospital bed in the front room, and buying groceries to plan healthy meals.
(I think Dad and I ate frozen pizza for two months, when we ate anything at home at all)

Everyone was glad to have Mom back at home.

I got to spend an hour Sunday evening in my back yard, which I hadn't done since July 4th.

Today Mom got visited by a lot of nurses and physical therapists to plan her home care.
They will only be coming a few days a week.

At work, I ended up staying late to finish the parish newsletter.
It has to be mailed in by the end of the day (technically Tuesday morning would be OK.)
I just wasn't happy with the layout of some of the announcements. Oh well.

So, no new drawings or jewelry.

Tonight, while I was making my dinner, I decided to bake some rice to have it ready as a side dish,
I mostly followed this recipe:

I dumped all the ingredients in before the rice, and the spices looked nice so I took a pic:

It looks like a lot of spices but they are just floating on tomato sauce.
My food usually ends up extremely bland, anyway so it should be OK.

It smelled good enough to eat even before it was cooked!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Thinking about something new

Mom is not doing as well as expected to be able to come home on Sunday.
She needs to be monitored a little more.

The other day, on the way home from the hospital, I stopped at Michael's and looked for something to help me solder.

I saw a roll of solder, but for some reason I didn't buy it.
I'm glad I didn't because I still had to figure out what kind of solder I needed.
I learned there is lead-free solder, which is probably what they sell at Michael's (and probably not what I will find in my dad's tool shed.)

Also I learned that soldering would be OK for closing the rings in my latest project.
If I had been using real silver or gold, I would need to use a torch.
I'm not ready to try the torch yet...

What I did buy at Michael's was a roll of copper foil tape.
It is basically what it sounds like. A thin strip of copper with adhesive on one side.

I didn't know what it was for, but I hoped I could melt it. I spent today looking it up.

It isn't for melting, in fact.
It is used to wrap around an object, like putting a frame on a piece of glass.
Then you melt the solder onto the copper foil.

I saw a lot of neat ideas online.

Here is a blog with a lot of jewelry making tips:

These pictures from this blog above kind of gives an idea of what can be made with it.

Also soldering can be used to make stained glass window type things, but for that they tend to use solder with lead in it.
I can't wait to spend some time at home (in a well ventilated, fireproof place) and try this out.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

purple flowers

Thursday I was at the hospital or work, so I didn't get much done at home.
Dad still has a cold so he is at home resting.

Wednesday I took some pictures of flowers to copy into Painter later.
I worked on sketching  this one about mid-day before I went to work:

I wasn't really inspired.

Tonight I sketched a different view of the same flowers:

It's interesting to me to compare the photo with what I expressed on the sketch.

For some reason I had a craving for Alfredo sauce all day and I couldn't concentrate on anything.
I'm going to leave the hospital in search of groceries, before the last store close at midnight.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

News about Mom, copying some earrings.

Mom's oncologist today said that they would continue with her chemotherapy, because the results on the tumor had been good, but give her two different and less intense medications, because the first  chemo they gave her had left her too weak.

She is scheduled to come home on Sunday.
She will continue to get physical therapy at home.
The new chemo will not require hospitalization.

Today I continued working on some earrings that I started on Sunday.

I copied them from a old magazine I found, In Style from 2006.

No offense intended to the original artist, and I am not copying the design for profit.

I didn't have real gold wire, and the gold-colored wire I have is painted.
So if I were to hammer on it, the color would flake off.

Copper wire is much cheaper and I did have some of that, and it is colored all the way through.

I had to cut out a lot of loops. The largest is about 2" diameter.
The ones on the right have already been hammered.

The small loops were supposed to be different sizes but it didn't turn out that way.
I made regular loops by wrapping several times around different diameter pens and things.

I assembled one earring part way, and it is looking nice.

However, the loops are still "open" because they aren't soldered or welded.
So it will just fall apart if you move it.

I really want to wear these so I am going to have to learn how to close the loops (without superglue)

Update on the red car. No pics.

On Tuesday I returned to the mechanic.
The part I bought, the IAC was the right one after all.
When I got there the car was warmed up and maybe that's why the thing went in without any trouble.

Although in general it runs better now, it still has the same problem.
When I start it cold, the idle is too low and it dies.
When I start from a stop, it wants to fall on its face, which is more annoying.

Don said to let the computer refresh itself and if that didn't work, then maybe he would have to trace the wiring back to the computer.

I can't remember how to change the idle speed.
I've seen it done enough that I should know these things. (Without looking it up)
However if the problem is when it's cold then that would have to do with the IAC or computer?

We also discussed the green car and why the latest rebuilt engine didn't produce the horsepower and torque as expected...
Could it be a fuel delivery issue?
That would be cheaper to go after than swapping in another motor.

A person could spend all day speculating, but that's part of the attraction of the hobby.
A never ending puzzle to put together.
I'm contented that at least both cars are drive-able.

I had a long day at work also, and didn't take pictures or draw or anything.

I tried uploading a video of the dragonfly from my home computer instead of from the laptop.
It looks awful, but I think it works.
(I deleted it for now.)

Mom is going to travel to see her oncologist Weds.
The future of her cancer treatment is still in limbo.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Even longer, day off. Cars and hospital.

It seems like I am always working on my cars on my day off...
This morning I decided to try to change the Idle Air Control sensor.

Here is the inside of the red car.

The red car has a 305 and the base model features. It is not a carb although it looks like one.
This was kind of a transitionary motor between carb and fuel injected.
(The green car is also a 1992 and has the better setup.)

The interior of the round air cleaner actually has two fuel injectors.
I had to move it to get to the sensor. (Center of the picture)

I removed the old sensor. The new one looked exactly the same...
I don't know why, but it would only screw in halfway and then stop.

There was something red painted onto the threads. Maybe that was it?
I didn't want to force it in, because that could ruin the threads.

The old one will go in and out just fine.
I decided to wait and see what my mechanic said. He was out for the day.

Dad still had a cold so I spent the rest of the day at the hospital.

I found a rack of books in one of the dining areas. (Most hospitals have plenty of books to borrow.)
I found a romance set in the Regency era. I spent my day reading instead of drawing.

My smart phone reminded me I had not walked enough steps, so I got up and explored.

This hospital might be 100 years old, and every inch of wall has huge, blown-up photos from OC's past.

This one is in a restroom.

At noon there was a BBQ but by 7pm the place was mostly deserted.
There are a lot of recreation rooms and big comfy chairs.

I found a pool table but nothing and no one to play with.

A lot of rooms had big screen TVs with movies queued up ready to play, but nobody around.
I think this is a dining area in the daytime:

Nobody was watching Cast Away, but the menu screen was making a soothing ocean sound.

At the far end the dining area was a dark  room with a vending machine.
I was really inspired by this creepy old chair in there.

(Actually all the chairs in this place are old and creepy.)
I made a video of the chair hoping to catch a ghost in it.
Unfortunately I'm still having trouble uploading videos from this old laptop.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Long Sunday

Today Dad had a cold, so I spent the whole day with Mom at the hospital.
I brought my sketchbook, but I didn't do much in there.
I didn't have any games on my laptop, so I learned how to download an App for the first time.

I came home for dinner and started working on some hammered wire earrings.
I'll finish them tomorrow.

On the way back to the hospital, I stopped at O'reilly's and picked up the sensor.
It took me awhile to remember what the motor in the red car was called.
(The red car has a TBI and the green car is a TPI.)

I asked them if they had solder. They didn't.
I have a multi-purpose heat tool and I am determined figure out how to solder.
I've seen people do it often enough...It's the next step in making my jewelry better.

At the hospital, I copied a picture from an old bridal magazine into Painter:

Here's a sketch:

I didn't want it to look as grotesque as the last face I did, so I stuck to tools I was familiar with, like oils.

A little farther along:

Mom was feeling much better, and using the controls on her bed for the first time to sit up and down.
She offered criticism on my drawing.
Even though I was sitting all the way across the room.
"Her neck is too long. Her face looks like a dog's snout. Make her chest bigger," she said.