WPC: Sweet

Our recent trip to Tanzania began with four days in Amsterdam, Netherlands. My brother has been there several times and recommended a place to find the best poffertjes – a famous Dutch sweet that is something like a small doughnut but soft inside. They are served with butter and powdered sugar, and at De Vier Pilaren, we ordered them with strawberries and whipped cream!  Yummmmm!

1-31 poffertjes at De Vier Pilaren

This is what Wikipedia has to say about this delicious treat: Poffertjes are a traditional Dutch batter treat. Resembling small, fluffy pancakes, they are made with yeast and buckwheat flour. Unlike American pancakes, they have a light, spongy texture.

Here is a link to a recipe for poffertjes.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge 2/14/18: Sweet

WPC: Do You See A Ghost?

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is a photo or photos of a Variation on a Theme.

A few days ago, it looked like there was a ghost in our house!20180117_154902

Some odd specter floated in the air across our living room…20180117_154905

My husband noticed it first. I had been sitting in the white chair you see in the photo and I didn’t even realize I was being touched by a spirit!
From where he was sitting, I could see it and took these photos. What could it be??20180117_154922

It began to dissipate…20180117_160052

It turned a little bluish.

The sun that had been shining through the window in the next room disappeared behind a cloud, and with it went the ghost.

Because it wasn’t a ghost at all. It was the vapor emitted by burning incense in the dining room. A draft came from the back of the house, pushing the vapor into the living room, where it was illuminated by a ray of sun as it floated through the room.

If I ever again see a photo that someone has taken with this ethereal “ghostly” look to it, to prove they’ve seen a ghost, I’ll know it was Do-It-Yourself special effects!

And now for some ghostly music:   Spooky Ghosts

WPC: Winter Silence

Silence is a good topic for winter landscapes. There isn’t much sound when everyone stays indoors, keeping warm, perhaps, while enjoying the view of fresh fallen snow. Animals hibernate. Snow muffles sound. Non-migrating birds are too busy finding food to sing.

I took these photos today, a cold, blustery day, of a deserted park behind the walking track where I was getting my exercise.  The volleyball nets bend in the wind, but are silent; the bike racks and benches stand empty. The walking/biking path glistens with patches of ice. The only sign that someone has crossed the park since yesterday’s snowfall are cross country ski tracks.20180117_145239_001


Prairie Lakes Community Center, Des Plaines, IL


WPC: Weathered

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge this week is Weathered.  Krista says that she looks at “these relics from the past and wonder what they’ve been witness to over the years…They’ve survived decades of sun, wind, rain, storms, and even floods.”

Here are my interpretations of weathered:

My mother on her 96th birthday:
410 (2)
An old building at The Grove Nature Center, Glenview, IL:

Window of a ruined convent (Antigua, Guatemala):
KODAK Digital Still Camera

Old tombstone at Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA:


WPC: I Hate Winter!

We have been experiencing Arctic cold temperatures here in the upper Midwest since just after Christmas. Yesterday, I was commiserating about the cold with my dentist, who feels the same way about winter that I do.  Once Christmas is over, we are in for short, cold days and long nights.

“I don’t like anything about winter,” she said.

“Me either,” I replied.

But I was wrong: there is ONE thing I like about winter (OK, two things!). First, the landscape just after a snowfall, when snow laces each tree branch and the ground is pristine and white. (Best if admired from INSIDE the house!) Admittedly, it is a very photogenic time, though lacking much color.

New fallen snow at sunrise - from front of the house

New fallen snow at sunrise – from our driveway before I went to work (2014).


The second thing I like about winter is the END of winter – perhaps a little before the official end on March 21-22, when new growth appears, in my garden and around the neighborhood. And I wouldn’t appreciate this so much if we hadn’t gone through the winter months first. It’s amazing how perennials hibernate under the ground all winter and still survive to poke their way out into the sunshine.

New life in a new season of growth. Springtime!

First flowers: snowdrops – how I long to see them!


A patch of violets in my backyard

Violets last March


Growing things in my garden: tulips & daffodils

My garden in early spring


We are subject to the whims of the weather. The first photo was taken at about the same time (mid-March) as the others, but in different years!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth  

(I know – I’m submitting twice for this challenge – is that cheating??)




WPC: Journaling for Growth

WordPress’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge this week is about Growth: In this first week of the year, many people anticipate beginnings, changes, and opportunities for growth. Share with us an image that evokes this spirit of change and newness — [such as] an empty journal waiting to be filled. Growth is very personal, and I encourage you to interpret this as literally or as broadly as you like.

Jen H., who is hosting the WPC this week, also includes this quote in her post about growth:
“Our growth depends not on how many experiences we devour, but on how many we digest.” — Ralph W. Sockman

Thinking about growth this way reminds me of my favorite Christmas present this year, which was a new travel journal!

20180103_134941Our daughter gave it to me in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Tanzania at the beginning of February. She knows I always keep a journal when I travel (and use as the basis for my travel blog posts), but this one has a different focus entirely. I usually do my journal chronologically, but this journal encourages an entirely new set of parameters. There are pages for me to write, or draw, or tape something, on every conceivable topic. Here’s a sample page:travel journal page

There are pages to write or draw, etc., impressions to record using all five senses, as well as pages about the people, culture, etc., but all in a state of mindfulness. The first several pages gives some instruction on how to practice mindfulness, especially through meditation. I plan to use this as a vehicle for growth this year.

Experiences are great opportunities for growth, and working on this journal in a unique and mindful  way will allow my travel experience to be richer.

After I come back, maybe I will post some of the completed pages from this journal!