Monday, September 2, 2013

Buddy Modifications

It's been a bit of a drama with the scooter lately.  I thought I'd post my stupidity and lessons learned with the hope someone else out there might not make the same mistakes.

Details: 2009 Genuine Buddy Scooter 125
  • NCY No Rev CDI (no RPM limiter which gives me about 2-3 MPH more on the top end then stock)
  • Deadlight replacement with 3watt LED's
  • Electronic flasher relay ELFR-1 (so I can run LED's in the turn signals)
  • Replacement amber LED's for the turn signals
  • Red LED strips from Autozone installed under the tank for more visibility
The Story:

I initially read about the now defunct and their bob combo conversion.  I liked the idea of using the dead lights up front but wanted more than amber turn signals. I found some people who had put white lights up front and stole some of their suggestions. 

Superbright LED's has 1156 LED Bulb - Single Intensity 1 x 3 Watt High Power LED w/ Reflector Lens that fit perfectly in the dead light location. I ordered two and installed them with some junk wire and quick splice adapters.  I found the positive wire running to the turn signal that is activated with the key and crimped on with a quick splice.  It's amazing what damage a little knowledge can do.

Of course I killed the battery by leaving my keys in the ignition in the garage right away.  That foolish choice was only the start.  Everything seemed to work just fine for over a thousand miles. Around the time I was about 800 miles past the second oil change, I took the scoot for a run to Eugene and back.  The next day the scooter wouldn't start.  Assuming it was just time to replace the plug or maybe the fuel filter, I took it in for maintenance.  I was right about the oil change, plug, fuel filter, battery...sigh.  It still wouldn't go more than a block from the mechanics.  

Turns out my crappy quick splicers and the low grade wire were shorting out the whole system. Only took my mechanic at a couple hours to shock himself and yank my crappy wiring out.

Lesson: Use the right gauge wiring with good insulation.  Don't use the quick splice adapters to tap into a secondary power source.  Sure it might work but these scooters are pretty sensitive.  One short and you'll lose power to the plug which will flood the engine and cause it to backfire (or die).

Now everything is 14 gauge, all splices are soldered and heat shrunk.  I've used connectors at all key points so I can disconnect the whole thing as needed.  It's run through a switch hidden just inside the storage compartment.  Power is directly from the battery (for now) with a 3 amp fuse on the whole thing.

In the end I think it worked out.  Much higher visibility at night from the front and the rear.  Might add a racing stripe out of retroreflective tape next. Then on to messing with weights and maybe add a 161cc conversion kit.  :)

BTW - My friend and I took both scooters on that Eugene trip.  I drove Nicole's red buddy and rolled over 1000 on the odometer.  The black one's got over 4000 now.  Wonder who rides more?

Happy Scooting!

Monday, February 11, 2013

XOXO Valentine's Cupcakes

As usual, I found inspiration on Pinterest this week.  Check out these cute XOXO cupcakes!

I was racing to prepare donations for the youth group's Valentine Dessert Auction, and decided these would be quick and easy.  I even took a short-cut by ditching the piping bag and opting for frosting in a can.

I think the frosting would have looked a little nicer if I hadn't taken the shortcut, but not bad for a quick treat!

Oreo Truffle Pops for Valentine's Day

I was enlisted to help a friend make truffle pops for a wedding shower.  When I figured out that they were easy, cute AND delicious I decided I'd better find a reason to make another batch.  Thank goodness the youth group needed donations for their Valentine Dessert Auction!  You might need this "fancy" trick up your sleeve, too.

To make truffle pops, you'll need:

  • One regular size bag of Oreos
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • One bag of chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles
  • Cake pop sticks (from Michael's)
  • Clear treat sacks (from Michael's)
  • Cupcake papers
  • Decorative wire garland or ribbon
1.  Place cream cheese and all the Oreos in a food processor.  Pulse until combined and lump free.

2.  Shape dough into balls about 1 1/2" in diameter.  Place truffles on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Insert a stick into the top of each truffle.  Refrigerate for about 20 minutes. 

3.  Using a double-boiler (or your microwave), melt the chocolate chips to a consistency that will be good for dipping.  Dip each truffle into the chocolate until uniformly covered.  

4.  Shake on some sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet.  Return truffle to the baking sheet.  When all the truffles have been dipped, refrigerate for another 15-20 minutes.

5.  Slip a cupcake liner into the bottom of a treat sack.  Add your truffle pop (stick side up) and secure with a piece of wire garland.  You can twist the ends of your garland around a pencil if you want them to have some curl.

Happy Valentine's Truffle Pop Day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 Holiday Greetings!

We're looking back at a very pleasant, low-key 2012!

In January...
  • Jim went to San Francisco to work at the MacWorld conference.  All his tech-gadget itches were scratched.
  • Nicole opened a new learning center for Engineering students at OSU.  It continues to be a big focus of her work.
In February...
  • Mom & Fred came to visit.  Since our birthdays are three weeks apart, we shared a party.
Celebrating a combined 98 years! 
In March...
  • Jim and OSU Glee hosted their first "Sing Off" concert.  They collaborated with OSU's a ccappella groups to rock our socks.
OSU Glee

In April...
In May...
  • Nicole got to go to Anchorage on a work trip and snuck in a quick visit with the Taylors.
  • We were "drafted" to the Methodist Marmots softball team. Nobody can tell us where the team name came from, but we won a few games and had a lot of fun!

We did some landscaping...and discovered a convenient way to transport trees.
In June...

Uncle Jim & Eloise snuck in a little beach time
Mom & I met up with Brenda in Seattle

In July...

  • Jim chaperoned the youth group mission trip to Juneau.  They built a community garden and celebrated the 4th of July Alaska-style.

In August...

We spent a week in Montana.  Sunsets at Mom & Fred's are the best!
Nicole's grad school pals had a super fun Corvallis reunion.
In September...
  • Our sister-in-law Treena visited for Labor Day weekend.  We shopped till we dropped!
We got the dog dirty. 
In October...

Nicole traveled to Nashville for a conference and saw the Grand Ole Opry
In November...

Jim & Nicole reunited with old friends for a Willamette Choir Reunion

Jim served as Music Director and Band Leader for a production of RENT.
(See the back of his head under the platform?)
In December...
  • We spent a few days in Phoenix enjoying 80-degree weather with Erin & Aiden.
  • Jim hung enough Christmas lights to ensure that our house can be seen from space.
As always, we are reminded of the many blessings of this life, and are so grateful for the family and friends we share it with!  We wish you the happiest of holidays and a joy-filled new year!

Jim, Nicole & Sugar

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Wave

I can remember vividly the interior of my uncles tow truck.  The dingy saddle blanket seat cover embedded with dirt and cigaret smoke.  The quarter inch of dust and smoke layered on the dash, CB and miscellaneous paperwork that wouldn't get touched for months.  I can still remember getting woken up at 5am by my uncles low cool voice and slow demeanor.  A mixing bowl of Frosted Flakes in my lap as I tried desperately to keep up with him at breakfast.

The cab of the truck afforded a great view of the north-east tip of the Olympic Peninsula.  Most of it was viewed with my head out the window gasping for air as my uncle filled the cab with cigarette smoke regularly.

"You smoke yet?" he'd ask every summer when I came to visit.  It was almost ritual.
"Nope," I'd reply.
"Good, don't start, it's a nasty habit." Of course his way with words is hard to recreate in type.  The low voice and almost kung-fu like pace of speaking somehow put extra weight on things.  The irony of him telling me not to smoke as he habitually tapped the pack of cigarettes on the steering wheel and lit another wasn't lost on me, even in my teens.  He should have died of emphysema, not 25 bullets.

Conversations with my uncle were usually short, sweet and to the point.  Much of them fundamental in driving or a great life lesson.  It's amazing how much you learn from a person who doesn't say much.  The company he kept always intrigued me with its wide variety of characters from all walks of life.  He was a man's man but the way he looked out for those around him showed deep compassion.  He seemed to always have an eye out for the future, how his actions now might best affect the world around him later.

My head's out the window, it's mid-afternoon and we're passing Jefferson County International Airport.  As a 15 year old kid I'm watching everything, soaking it all in.  I notice my uncles hand raise up off the steering wheel in an almost obligatory wave.  The truck going the other direction returns the sign.

"He must know that guy," I thought to myself.  A few more cars pass and another pickup truck passes, the hand goes up but this response.

Odd, he's only waving at specific people but not all of them return the wave.  I keep silent and start to monitor this pattern, wondering if I can build the courage to ask about it.  I start to figure it out.  He waves when it's a truck but not at cars or vans.  But then, just as I think I've got it, a couple Harley Davidsons pass and he waves.  Amazingly enough, they return the sign.

Now I've gotta know.  What's with this wave thing.  I finally muster up the courage to ask late in the afternoon.

"Why do you wave at oncoming trucks?"
"I want them to notice the tow truck so I wave," he replies.
"But you only wave at certain vehicles?"
"Most of our customers are local and drive pick-up trucks, plus now that we can tow motorcycles, I wave at bikes too."

How often do you see people waving from the drivers seat?  The friendly gesture intrigued me but disappeared from my memory as life barreled forward.  It was a genius way to drum up a report with the locals and caught potential customers off guard when they received a friendly gesture.

Half a lifetime later I found myself waving just like my uncle used to, but for different reasons.  Now I own a Jeep Rubicon and a Scooter.  Both vehicles build a population of drivers who wave at one another when you pass. It's not about building a customer base but encouraging a community.  The obligatory wave is a recognition of another human in a similar situation.  You might not know them, you might never actually see them again but the wave does something to the soul.  It's hard to be emotional distressed when your riding around with the top off and another Jeeper waves at you.  It's a gentle reminder how good life is and that there are people out there always willing to wave back.

I don't think I got into riding motorcycles or jeeps just to wave at other people but the ever constant reminder of my uncle every time I gesture at a passing rig is a welcomed God-wink.  I'd like to believe that action is paying it forward just a little bit.  Heaven forbid we reach-out to others, even when it's just a simple wave.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

DIY Tablecloth

A nice dining room set is currently on our wish list.  In the meantime, we get along just fine by covering up our sad old table with a nice tablecloth.  I went out and bought a formal white tablecloth and a festive tablecloth for the holidays, but was wanting something more casual for everyday.  Not seeing anything that fit my criteria (1. must love it, 2.  must be able to afford it) I was biding my time.  

And then I stumbled onto this Tablecloth Tutorial on Pinterest: 

Photo & Tutorial from Hamburger Panda
Duh!  I own a sewing machine.  I can sew straight lines with it.  Therefore, I can make my own tablecloth.

About a week later we were helping Jim's family with an estate sale at his Aunt Judy's home.  Judy was an avid seamstress and had an enviable stash of fabric.  Low and behold...there it was...perfect tablecloth fabric for $1 a yard!  

I like it when Pinterest teams up with the Universe to send me important messages. Make your own tablecloth, Nicole.  Seriously!

When my mom came to visit in February I felt confident that I had the back-up necessary to fire up the ole Singer.  In one afternoon (which was more measuring and ironing than actual sewing) I was able to whomp up our new tablecloth.  

Ta da!  Of course, my initial attraction to the fabric might have been motivated by the perfect match with our Peacock and Scarlet Fiestaware.

I like to call them Ms. Peacock and Miss Scarlet.  We have Mrs. White, too.  Looks like any future Fiestaware purchases will need to be Plum, Mustard, or Green...

Nicole did it.  With the Singer.  In the Dining Room.  

PS - The Hamburger Panda tutorial was great - very easy to follow and lots of good photos.  

PPS - Whomp up is Montanan for make.  As in, "bein as I'm hungry I oughta whomp up some dinner."  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Secret to Happiness

When my mom came to visit in February we found a very cute shop on NW 23rd, and I bought the first cute thing for our mantle:

It's true.  Love and a dog have made my life very happy.  

All you need is love...and a dog.  

And a mop. 
You need love, a dog, and a mop.  

Do you see that face?  She's so guilty she won't even look at me.  Good thing I'm so happy ;)