The Letter M

August 28, 2013

A bit of variety for my M post in Basically Benita’s Alphabet Photo Challenge.

First up, a Morning Glory Mess

morning glory mess

After two hours of untangling and rerouting all the vines Saturday morning, I had just plain Morning Glories  :-)

morning glory done

On my way to work this morning, this song, Make Believe It’s Your First Time by the Carpenters, had me singing along at the top of my lungs…with the windows closed  ;-)

Make Believe 1st time

The sign for the Mobil station at an intersection near the office…

Mobil sign

The Chocolate Chip Muffin I had for breakfast…


A piece of latch hook canvas, also called Mesh


Some interesting Mailboxes I’ve seen along my route to work…

mailbox brick west

mailbox wheel west

mailbox shadows 2

I saved the best for last — My Mommy!!!  I Miss her…


The Letter L

August 21, 2013

So many words start with the letter L…or at least that’s what I thought until I tried to plot out my photography for Basically Benita’s Alphabet Photo Challenge.  I was very surprised at how much I struggled, procrastinated trouble I had with the challenge this week.  Of course, next week the L images will be screaming at me…good thing I already know what I’m doing for M!  :-)

Onwards and upwards…time for Show and Tell!

First, the Lint Trap in my dryer…

lint trap

I never would have thought of that except I was in my Laundry Room to take this picture of the way I painted the Long Wall.

laundry room

Here’s a Locker Hook Kitty wall hanging that I designed and hooked…

locker hook kitty

Here’s a view of Lake Elsinore from high above in the Santa Ana Mountains…

Lake Elsinore

Here’s a peek at a Lizard hanging out in the seam in the block wall behind my house…he was a bit shy but still photogenic…

lower lizard

To add some color to this post, here’s a roll of Lifesavers


For some architectural appeal, the Lights at the Transit Center in the town next to mine…

lamps at trans ctr

For that ahhh moment, here’s Little Bit, A.K.A. Kitty Skittles!

Little Bit

I hope you’re not hungry because this piece of Lasagna might be considered a terrible tease if you are!


Finally, this is me being completely Lazy after my 8+ hour cookfest!

lazy after cookfest

Chez Judy Is Restocked!

August 19, 2013

Freezer Fritz was empty…

fritz empty

The container and lid drawers were overflowing (I had a stack of containers on the counter too!)…

container drawer before

lid drawer before

To rectify the situation and to once again add variety to the menu at Chez Judy, I spent just over 8 hours cooking 11 different meals.  It wasn’t the most relaxing way to spend my Saturday, but it was highly productive!

Why all the meals?   About 23 years ago I started cooking full size meals and freezing them in individual portions so I could bring them to work for lunch.  Many of my co-workers went to fast food restaurants and brought their purchases back to the office to enjoy.  I had just purchased my first home and was truly house-poor.  In order to resist the urge to participate in their awesome smelling lunches, I scrapped the idea of sandwiches and started to bring the home cooked meals so that my taste buds could enjoy something healthy and tasty.  The system worked great so I still use it.

I love opening my freezer in the morning and deciding what I’d like to bring to work for lunch…kind of like a restaurant with all the choices…hence “Chez Judy”!

The key to cooking 11 meals in one day is organization.  I set all the non-perishable ingredients on my counter, grouped by meal with the recipe on top of each pile.  (All those dark bottles are flavored olive oils…not ingredients for the cook-fest.)

counter of ingredients

I’d been accumulating the meats for three weeks so they thawed in the fridge for the 2 days prior to the cook-fest.  The fresh veggies were on shelves and in drawers, and the rest of the perishables helped fill the shelves.


I hauled out my large skillet, my large pot, a medium pot, the crock pot, my basket of spices and got to work.

First up was filling my crock pot with potatoes, carrots, sauerkraut and kielbasa.  I was going to use the crock pot a second time so I needed to get that going right away.

Next up was lasagna because I needed to cook the noodles and the meat mixture.


Once that was in the oven I filled the big pot with pea soup…

pea soup

…and used the large skillet to make Manwich sauce (the easiest thing I made all day!).  I love to sprinkle this with shredded cheese and enjoy it over a bed of lettuce, spinach and kale.


I reused the skillet and made American Goulash…

american goulash

…and while that was simmering for 20 minutes I peeled, diced and boiled 3 potatoes for the Shepherd’s Pie.  I had just a few minutes to wait before I could reuse the skillet to fry the hamburg for the pie.

About this time the pea soup was done so after putting it in containers, I washed out the pot and filled it with my Mom’s spaghetti sauce.

I cut up two chicken breasts then sautéed them in the skillet.  I added the chicken to a bunch of cut up fresh veggies and made a chicken pot pie, doubling the Bisquick recipe.

chicken pot pie

While that was in the oven I cut up a couple more chicken breasts and lots of fresh veggies and made an awesome chicken stir fry!

chicken stir fry

About this time my feet were screaming mad at me, my back was aching and my energy was sinking…fast.  I looked at the counter and when I saw I only had two meals left to make I buckled down and plowed through.

The crock pot was emptied and refilled with beef stew, and the large pot was reused to make Joan Lunden’s Mean Bean Chili.

The final tally of individual meals in Freezer Fritz is 82!!!!!  Manwich sauce – 8, lasagna – 9, pea soup – 10, American Goulash – 4, shepherd’s pie – 5, chicken stir fry – 5, chicken casserole – 9, chili – 7, beef stew – 6, kielbasa, sauerkraut & veggies – 7 and spaghetti sauce – 12.

Freezer Fritz is now about 3/4 full…

fritz full

And the container and lid drawers are each about 1/4 full…

container drawer after

lid drawer after

Next cook-fest will be Thanksgiving weekend when I cook a turkey just so I can make meals with leftovers…including soup!

The Blocking Room

August 15, 2013

I’m an avid knitter with a semi-short attention span when it comes to projects.  I always have several in the works so I can bounce between them when I get frustrated or bored.  Right now I’ve got four projects in the works – the Asymmetric Sweater I posted about here, a pair of sox, a Sockhead (slouchy) hat and a scarf.

The benefit of having many projects in the works is that I get a great sense of accomplishment when I finish several projects within days of each other.  :-)

The negative though is all the sudden I have multiple projects that need the final touch – the blocking to the correct size/shape.  :-(

I’m a knitter who loves to knit, tolerates assembly and procrastinates in major way when it comes to blocking.  I’m not sure why because it’s really not that hard to do, and when it’s done the results are spectacular.

A couple of months ago I finished an Altostratus sweater using a custom-dyed red yarn from BC Yarnings.  About a month ago I finished a Wingspan Shawl using Deborah Norville Serenity Sock yarn color Surf.  Last week I finished all but the back neck collar on my Sojourner Cardigan from Webs using Valley Superwash DK yarn, color Red.

I finally set aside a couple of hours to block all three using my front bedroom carpet for pinning purposes.  Of course once they were all pinned to the carpet there was no way I was going to let my kitties in the room so I shut the door.  This totally confused Skittles as the only time the door is closed is when company using that room as a bedroom.

closed door

Here are the three blocked and drying projects…

sweaters and shawl

The Sojourner Cardigan is at the top left, the Wingspan Shawl is top right and Altostratus is lower right.

Once they’re dry then all I have to do is wait for cooler temperatures so I can wear them.  Layering in 100 degree weather is as appealing as blocking.  :-(

The Letter K

August 13, 2013

While blocking some knitted goodies on Saturday (more about that in my next post) my mind wandered to the K pictures needed for Basically Benita’s Alphabet Photo Challenge.  A seed started to germinate and the more the idea grew the more excited I became.  The more excited I became the more anxious I was for Sunday morning to arrive so my camera and I could get busy.

I bounded out of bed at 6:45AM, threw on some clothes and headed out the door with my camera and K subject for a 2+ hour adventure that would once again show a creative interpretation of Benita’s challenge.

What did I do?  I photographed KEYS!!  Not the kind that unlock doors or hearts or start vehicles.  Nope, the kind your fingers fly across to make music – Piano Keys!

There was a piano in the basement of the house where I grew up and I spent thousands of hours tickling the ivories.  I never took a lesson but all my digits flew over the keys and pressed them down in the order and speed the notes on the sheet music indicated.  When the dampness of the basement rotted the leather straps that connected the keys to the hammers, my Dad dismantled the piano and brought the pieces to the dump.  I asked for, and was given, an octave of keys.  I’m not sure why I asked for them but I cannot begin to explain how important they are to me, even though they just hang out in this wine basket in my family room.

at home

What I decided to do with the piano keys was to mimic the Flat Stanley Project.  Though I didn’t receive a colored image of the keys in the mail, I made the the actual keys the focus of a photo adventure as if I had!

First, a few pictures I took in the privacy of my home…

black and white from side

numbered keys with window


And now the public pictures!!!  First, sticking out of my box in the mailbox cluster…

mailbox 2

Looking down at the keys climbing the jungle gym ladder at my neighborhood playground…

playground from above ivories in focus

Hanging out on the fence at a neighborhood school…

black fence with school from side

When I was getting ready to leave the school I wondered what the keys looked like from the back so I walked around the fence and took this picture…

black fence hanging on

The keys decided they weren’t overly thrilled with hanging so they voiced a desire to kick back and relax.  I honored that request…

railroad tracks

As the photographer, AKA the boss, I decided that a water image was needed so it was off to the coolest pond I know for both sun and shade pictures…

pond with sun and signs

pond in shade with waterfall greenery

On the way out of the parking lot there was a Target shopping cart screaming that it wanted to be a prop so I pulled over and had some fun with shadows and light…

target shopping cart

I headed the car towards home but made one final stop.  I couldn’t resist setting the keys up in a tree…

in tree from underneath

Then the kid in me CLIMBED the tree to snap this picture…

in tree from in tree

Finally back at home, the keys and I went into the front yard for two more pictures…

cactus from street side

on bench

I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them!  It’s always so much fun to go out in public places with my camera, props or no props, and watch people watching me play!  :-)

An Unforeseen Outcome

August 11, 2013

I had the best of intentions, really I did, but there was a tiny oops or two…or three…that I didn’t anticipate.

See this box?

box of receipts

It’s full of receipts, cancelled checks, pay stubs, bank statements, utility receipts, etc.  I file all my receipts and at the end of the year I gather them all up, put them in a brown grocery bag or big brown envelope, tape it shut, write the year on the outside then add it to this box.

The packages in this box date back to 1997!!!!!!!!

A month or so ago I decided it was time to get rid of some of this paperwork so I googled “how long to keep financial records” and when the government and Suze Orman both told me I was a pack rat I decided to shred all the years of papers that were able to be shredded.

I was determined to get it all done in one week.

The first oops I encountered was that I killed my paper shredder.  It went on strike once and after ignoring it for 2 days it worked again for about 20 minutes before dying again.  This time for real…it was dead dead…no hope of ever shredding again.

It took me about 2 weeks to stop procrastinating, but I finally picked up a new shredder and returned to the task at hand.  After shredding everything I could I had a teeny tiny problem…A.K.A. Oops #2.

bags of shred

One box of folded up paper turned into 9-1/2 garbage bags full of shredded paper!!!

I decided to keep 1-1/2 bags so I would have packing material for shipping Christmas presents,  but the other 8 bags were definitely disposable.  Given that the contents of each were all paper, the eco-friendly part of me refused to throw them in the trash.  At the same time, I wasn’t about to empty the bags into my huge 96 gallon recycle barrel and have confetti flying everywhere when the barrel’s contents were dumped into the belly of the recycle truck.

What to do?

I brought home 3 boxes from our cardboard recycle pile at the office, figuring three trash bags would fit into each box.

Oops #3.  :-(

Only 2 bags fit into each box!

box of shred

Closing the flaps and taping the box shut was much like sitting on an over-packed suitcase to close it, but I was successful…3 times!

Two boxes fit into my recycle barrel last week and after box shopping at work again, the other two will go out this week, finally ending a chore I thought would be so simple.

You’d think I’d know myself by now and know that anything I think is simple, while not necessarily ending up difficult, will definitely be riddled with challenges…or oopsies! ;-)

A Trip To Oceanside, CA

August 9, 2013

There are two great perks about living where I do in Southern California.  The first is that the Santa Ana Mountain range is between me and all the craziness & overcrowding that is Orange and Los Angeles counties.  The second is that the snow-covered mountains as well as the Pacific Ocean are just about an hour from my house so visiting either doesn’t require a lot of planning or an overnight visit.  Nope, one can just visit for a couple hours and then go back home.


As I mentioned earlier this week, I needed some supplies from the Pacific Ocean so I took a jaunt to the beach in Oceanside, CA.  There are times when my fingers need to prattle on and on about something, and there are times when they know they should be quiet.  This post is one of the latter, so other than hit the keys to upload pictures, my fingers aren’t participating in this post.


north side of pier from street

bubbles over pier

bubble man with kid

fishing pole

catching the wave 2

waves from pier 3

waves from beach 3


older surfer

Looking south from pier

view from street

looking north from pier

My Yellow Swing

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Joan Elliott

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