2020 Photo Challenge: Shot From Above

Travel Words’ 2020 Photo Challenge theme for September is “point of view” and for this final week, the subject is shoot from above.

Looking down on Maasai villages from prop plane flying from Serengeti National Park to Arusha, Tanzania
Plane ride Serengeti-Arusha, Tanzania
Hotel room balcony view, Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan, Egypt
Ruins of Roman settlement during the siege of Masada, from Masada plateau, Israel
Looking down from the courtyard behind the abbey atop Mont St-Michel, France
Looking down on the Rhine River from Marksburg Castle in Germany
Looking down on hoodoos from the Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
A trail we chose to view from above rather than hike down! Bryce Canyon NP, Utah

FOTD: Fall-ish Plant

This isn’t really a flower, but it’s an autumnal plant growing along the shore of our West Lake, where plants are just left to grow wild. I don’t know the name of it either, but when I spotted it, I stopped to examine it, and finding it interesting, I photographed it! It has a seed pod that resembles a pine cone growing on it.


Close-up of its seeds:

If anyone can tell me the name of this plant, I’d appreciate it!
Posted for Cee’s FOTD 10/1/20.

Last Photo: September

This is Bushboys World‘s monthly challenge, Last Photo: September to post the last photo of the month on your camera or cellphone (or both!). This is a fun and easy challenge to participate in. Don’t forget to click on the link to see others’ contributions!

I did a bit of editing to this photo of a katydid. It’s a rare insect to spot – at least for me. But I feel an affinity for this katydid, since we share a name! 🙂

I have now added this photo, because I downloaded the photos on my memory card for my Sony camera today. This is the last photo I took with my camera in September at a kitschy Egyptian-ripoff place in Wadsworth, IL (near Gurnee). At this place, they supposedly sell a special bottled water called “Gold Pyramid Natural Mineral Water” but the place was closed and the gold pyramid (which is a house) is no longer gold because they had a fire. So we took pictures at the entrance and through the gate.

The Changing Seasons: September 2020 – Beauty and Weirdness

Marilyn Armstrong of Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth has taken over a monthly challenge called The Changing Seasons.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month. To join in, you can either:
 1. post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month. Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots. 
2.  post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month. Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

In either case, tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them. One thing that won’t change though. Include a ping-back to Marilyn’s post, and she will update it with links to everyone else’s.

Marilyn says, “For those of us who have participating in this challenge for years … since the first years when Baron Guzman ran the challenge, I think we have our own style on how to make this work. I could never use a single picture. I’m too indecisive. Especially given the rapidly changing climate we are experiencing, I think this is an important challenge.” Ditto for me about indecisiveness! So here’s my September photo gallery: Visits to kitschy or pretty places in our area (because we can’t travel), flowers, and season changes were the things that characterized September 2020.

Recycling styrofoam at Dart Co. in Aurora; sculpture called “Solitude”; Mr. Eggwards (Humpty Dumpty doppelganger); sunflowers at Cantigny estate in Wheaton; Tribune magnate McCormick’s house at Cantigny; outdoor BBQ stove at my niece’s house in Evanston; 4 silos surrounding Inverness Town Hall; Black Lives Matter billboard (a little bit of sanity in an area full of Trump signs on lawns); all that’s left of a factory in Grayslake, now in the middle of a park; kitschy Egyptian copies of statues & pyramid in Wadsworth, officially known as “Gold Pyramid House” (the pyramid isn’t gold right now because they had a fire); hibiscus flower after rain; rare red flower called “cardinal flower” (it disappeared within a day or two); zinnias in my garden; mini petunias in my garden; tree branches on the campus of our community; katydid (I feel an affinity – we share a name!); sunset in a nearby suburb; another sunset in a nearby suburb; West Lake (pond on the campus here) with its many ducks – most of them young adults (a few months ago most of them were ducklings).

CFFC: Colorful Buildings

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge continues with her theme “all about buildings” and this week’s topic is colorful buildings.

In Amsterdam, Holland:
the red light district

De Pijp neighborhood (across from our Airbnb)

Miltenberg, Germany:

the Town Hall (Rathaus)

Wurzburg’s colorful cathedral:

Budapest, Hungary:

Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico:

Costa Rica:

Sports stadium in Aswan, Egypt:

Tucumcari, New Mexico, USA on Route 66:

Shamrock, Texas (Route 66):

Cuba, Missouri (Route 66):

Uranus, Missouri (Route 66):

5 Things & Truthful Tuesday: On the Subject of Eating

I’m combining Dr. Tanya’s 5 Things and PC Guy IV’s Truthful Tuesday, both of which are about one of my favorite subjects: EATING! This is possibly the first time I’m participating in Truthful Tuesday but I like PC Guy’s questions so probably will again.

The Questions for this week on Truthful Tuesday:
  • Are you an adventurous eater, or do you prefer to play it safe when you’re feeling peckish?
    I do often play it safe but every once in awhile I am compelled to eat something I think I don’t like and end up surprised. For example, I don’t know when I got the idea that I hate eggplant, but would never eat it until I had to sample it at a family’s house in Egypt in order not to offend. And I LIKED it! What I’ve been missing! But I also tend to choose what I am familiar with when at ethnic restaurants, especially when the cuisine is known for being spicy. I cannot tolerate spicy.
  • Do you prefer dining in or dining out?
    Both. I love to eat out but after awhile I get sick of choosing from a menu and spending more than I would spend to eat at home. So I try to see it as special to eat out. Now my husband and I live in a senior living community so we have to choose from a menu even to eat at “home.” Especially now, during the pandemic, we are having our food delivered to us. But I enjoy being able to just open the refrigerator and select from what is in there. I tend not to gain weight as much that way!

    One of the great things about eating out is that I usually bring home leftovers. American restaurants serve way too much food, but that’s okay – then I get at least two meals for the price of one!
  • When you dine in, who does the cooking?
    My husband, mainly because I’m lazy and also because he enjoys being a short-order cook. A couple of times a week, he makes omelettes with lots of veggies and usually some kind of meat, unless I protest. I get to choose what kind of bread to eat with them! He’s really good at breakfast and also he makes an awesome turkey meatloaf! We always have the option of eating in, because we have food in our freezer, but usually just eat what the dining service here offers us.
  • When you dine out, do you tend to stick to places you know, or do you look for new places to try?
    I like to try new places but also enjoy returning to the ones I have eaten at before that I like. It’s fun to try something on the menu I haven’t had a chance to order previously. And sometimes I have the urge for a certain meal I can get at a particular restaurant – right now I have a craving for ceviche so I want to go to my favorite Mexican restaurant and order ceviche on tostadas. I’ll invite a like-minded friend to go with me!

And now Dr. Tanya’s Five Things: 5 Favourite Ways To Enjoy Potatoes

This is a hard one, because I love potatoes any way they are prepared – when it comes to potatoes, I can’t go wrong whatever I decide to order or cook. But I do have favorites. Here they are in no particular order.

  1. Steak fries – this is what we Americans call the British “chips” – sort of like French fries but thicker and more substantial. Leaving the skins on is great too! The kind I like are also called “potato wedges.” I usually eat them with ketchup but I also would love the garlic mayo that Dr. Tanya mentions! If I cook them at home, I’ll roast them with olive oil and parmesan cheese!

2. Mashed potatoes – definitely with butter, never gravy. The picture below shows how I like them best.

  • 3. Baked potatoes – what I order when I’m trying to eat healthy. I also like them with butter and pepper. (I do like them with sour cream, but when I’m trying to eat healthy, I won’t eat sour cream so as a result I rarely eat sour cream on baked potatoes.) Usually baked potatoes are so large at restaurants that I cut them in half and take one of the halves home. As a leftover, I like to heap it with veggies and melted cheese on top! The image below shows “twice baked” potatoes, which I also love! The things on top – tomatoes, scallions, cheese, maybe a little bacon – are the things I like to put on the leftover potato.
Twice Baked Potatoes - Jessica Gavin
  • 4. dauphinoise style or potatoes au gratin
Dauphinoise recipe - BBC Food
  • 5. Bistro chips (“crisps” to the Brits) – these are potato chips only better – usually not as greasy and they tend to be a little burnt around the edges, which I like the best!
Bistro Chips | Seasoned chips, bleu béchamel, balsamic driz… | Tom Noe |  Flickr
Don’t these bistro chips look scrumptious?

I once bought online a tool to make potato chips at home. You cut the potato (raw or slightly cooked) in thin slices, and insert them into the little slots on this potato chip maker, then bake them at a hot temperature. They turned out well but I lost the thing to put them in so I never did it again!

Potatoes are one of the foods I find hard to resist, no matter how disciplined I am about not gaining weight.