Saturday, February 26, 2011

Penguin -- Another Day, Another Nature

                         [PHOTO SOURCE: National Geographic online images]


My grandmother used to say, “If you can't change something, change the way you think about it."
[-Maya Angelou]

**"GRAMs always 'know' best!"  [dht-2011]  **
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
[-Maria Robinson]
“Even though we've changed and we're all finding our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we'll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we're not all still friends.”

“The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.” 
[-Flora Whittemore]

“Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” 
[-Keri Russell]

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.”
[-Winston Churchill {Sir Winston Leonard Spencer -Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, PC, DL, FRS (30 Nov 1874 – 24 Jan 1965) was a British politician and statesman} (my Maternal Cousin, THAT's right!) ]

“Life can either be accepted or changed.  If it is not accepted, it must be changed.  If it cannot be changed, then it must be accepted.”  [-unknown]

“You've changed so much.  I guess that's what happens.  I wish you knew how much you changed me.  I wonder if I changed you, if your life is different because of me.  Because mine's different."

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” 
[-Reinhold Niebuhr]

“Change is the essence of life.  Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”  [-unknown]

“Everything in life is connected somehow.  You may have to dig deep to find it but it's there.  Everything is the same even though it's different.  Somehow, everything connects back with your life.  The faces in certain places may be different, but the situation is the same.  Irony is a hidden factor that creeps around us in life, letting its presence felt only after it has left.  Picture back to a year ago and the situations you were in.  Look at how things are different yet somehow everything is still in some way cognate [alike].  Everything connects together to form the balance of life, to maintain structure.  Change is and always will be inevitable, but everything is relative, and all the moments and times in your life will come back around again, you just might find yourself on the other side of the coin.  Things are always changing, as fast as everything stays the same.”

“Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret, and depression.  Do not repeat them in the future.”
[-Swami Sivananda]
“Life is change.  Growth is optional.  Choose wisely.”  [-unknown]

“We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love.  It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.”
[-William Somerset Maugham]

“It is always the simple things that change our lives.  And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen.  Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so.  You feel like running, but life is on a stroll.  This is how God does things.” 
[-Donald Miller]



TODAY, 26 Feb 2011, was a life-changing day for me.  So I am posting these sayings that seem to 'fit' my new perspective with a photo that seems to pair with the 'new' !!!!

MY FAV saying and the one that most 'fits' me today is the last quote by Donald Miller!

THE PHOTO illustrates to ME in its imagery ---

ALTHOUGH I may look different on the outside while among you, IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY, you will see how much we are the same—IF YOU TAKE THE 'TIME' TO LOOK CLOSELY!


Monday, February 21, 2011

SPRINGTIME in my Garden

                     [PHOTOS SOURCE: my camera—my garden, a "Brandy Rose"]

(I wrote this , 21 Feb 2011, and took some photos, just awed and inspired by the wonders happening in my garden with the arrival of Spring in California!)


I hear the remembered sounds of a spring
dawn in my garden
Bird song tempts me closer to my window—
camera at the ready
I thrust back the draperies
to reveal the restoration of my garden in full progress
Spring has arrived!

Flower blossoms greet the welcome blessings of sunlight
Butterflies flirt on petals
Bees conduct honeyed business
Hummingbirds anoint and twitter
Robins forage and primp

 A WALTZ is played –
the tune, the lyrics, and
the rites of SPRING!



                               [PHOTOS SOURCE: my camera—my garden, "Canna"]

                  [PHOTOS SOURCE: my camera—my garden, "Iris and Petter Pan"]

Sunday, February 20, 2011


                      [PHOTO SOURCE: National Geographic online images]


WHERE goes the day
Down yesternight's passage

How blind today's privilege
Lost fast in yesterday's grasp

Tomorrow's dream a pledge
Whence nature's precedence assures

Breast expanse upon deep breath
While shallow essence sums life's interval

What key holds true for grantor's trust
Whilst surety and worth stand anon
Time bespoke metered sameness
Whose vowel foretold spoiled fortune

Ribbons linger as fragments
Where once whole, a heart full

Shattered spectrum of hopes
Cast away on ocean's tears

Love's gamble played and lost
Age of regret the debt

Once concealed by life's chains
Now released by nature's bail

What hostage behind the threshold
Where compromise affords release

What sound the closing door
What venue the open window

What knock insures a beggars entrance
What token barters the price



In this offering:

What do you notice about the words? Their meaning? Punctuation? Sentence structure? Pairing of Sentences? First word, middle, or last words of Sentences? What words could be substituted? What connection words added for clarity? What meaning of your own would you assign to these words, phrases, sentences?

--------------- OR, Why didn't you just say so! ---------------

Today is just a memory that has passed into yesterday.

Thoughts of yesterday blind you to the beauty of today.

Tomorrow is a new beginning as sure as the sun will rise.

Now the lungs expands, as if you had been living with too little air for a long time, where before your breaths were shallow and the pain too great for deep breathing.

What is the secret to giving your trust to another, while other(s) do nothing to earn and secure your trust?

The rest of your life will be nothing but more of the same ... misfortune.

The ones you LOVED the most in this world, have all cut away a piece of your heart, until all is left are tattered ribbons of melancholy and despair.

A bright future so full of a kaleidoscope of hopes lays shattered, lost and washed away with oceans of tears.

It may be better for some to LOVE and LOSE, than never to LOVE at all; but what price must be paid and for what duration.

The years of aching emptiness and pain are camouflaged in life's daily routine, but soon there will be an end to the pain as nature ends its hold to death's surrender.

Where are the words of forgiveness and compromise that release pain's grip on a broken heart?

The silence of the closing door confuses the opening of a window; as the lack of plain speaking confuses the path to understanding.

What will it cost the one who knocks; and what more must the one who knocks surrender?



PHOTO CAPTION -- or just a few words to go with the PIX.

It is astonishing how a few short phrases pierce the gray of your world with a single beam of light. [DOROTHY HAZEL TARR, dht-2011]


How sharp the contrast between

the heart's abode now worn with time's despair


the gaping mawe of fate with

its distant vistas casting new shades of meaning

on another world (another life, another time, another place)

filled with vibrant colors, sweet breaths, soft gentle breezes,

and LOVE's warm embrace.



Saturday, February 19, 2011


                                        [PHOTO SOURCE: GOOGLE online images]


NOW, before you even think about trying this recipe of 'My Kitchen Chili', I'll have to tell you that it is one of my Crock-Pot-Recipes that I use to "empty my frig at the end of a week".

That being said, you will understand that the CHILI is never the 'same' from week to week, as each week my frig and pantry have a different variety of 'end of week food stuffs'!

SO, like any recipe make this YOUR OWN, by using YOUR OWN MAGIC TOUCHES and PROCESS! THEN, SHARE your magic with me -- by leaving a comment on this posting!

SO, I begin by putting the following basics into the CROCK-POT (or whatever favorite slow cooking pot you prefer from your kitchen). (With the changing sizes of cans and containers, you will have to use your 'cooking eye' to measure. I would guess that a can of 15 oz size would yield about 2 cups!) SO, here we go!!!


1 large can diced tomatoes (about 28 oz size)

1 can tomato sauce (about 15 oz size)
1 cup BEER (use your favorite!)
1 can black beans-rinsed and drained (about 15 oz size)
2 cans dark red kidney beans-rinsed and drained (about 15 oz each)
1 can undrained corn (or I use frozen corn, it's healthier) (about 15 oz)
1 small can jalapeno (about 1 cup)
(HINT—use the rest of the can of jalapeno for the cornbread. It is OKAY to make cornbread from a MIX, just add your 'magic' – like jalapeno, frozen or canned-drained corn, red bell pepper, and/or anything else that suits your 'fancy'!)


(I use a food processor or my NEW knives that I bought myself for my Birthday this Jan 2011—love those new knives!!!)

6 diced green tomatillos
(these are green tomato things in the grocery, or use can of tomatillos –they are in the 'ethnic Tex-Mex section of your grocery store' about 1-2 cups)
1 – 2 stalks finely chopped celery (I even use the leaves)
1 – 2 grated carrots (cleaned and peeled, I PREFER GRATED so I do NOT have to look at the carrots--for when grated the carrots sort of 'dissolve')
1 cup seeded and chopped green, red, and/or yellow bell pepper


Now I keep a package of Lawry's Taco Seasoning MIX on hand, and feel no GUILT about using it for this CHILI. BUT, sometimes I like to use my own 'magic' and 'seasonings', so that being said, DO YOUR BEST with these ideas and TEMPER them to YOUR SPECIAL TASTE for "hot" or "spicy".

Seasonings (as I said to your taste)

3 Tablespoon chili powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp dry parsley
1 Tablespoon dry, diced or fresh garlic
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cocoa powder (NOW, this is my SPECIAL MAGIC!!!)
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (this makes your chili hot and spicy)
1 tsp Tabasco (this makes your chili hot and spicy)
1 tsp white sugar (or sweetener, honey, or brown sugar)
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 T white flour to thicken


BROWN and STIR 1 pound lean ground beef with 1 large chopped white or yellow onion (the BROWNing gives the onion and beef more FLAVOR. POUR off any fat!

POUR / sprinkle seasonings onto beef onion mixture and heat to release the flavor of the seasoning and infuse them into beef and onion.

NOW, pour the beef, onion, seasonings into CROCK-POT! AND, cook until you cannot help yourself anymore, and just have to have a serving!!!!


WELL, now that I have 'worn out your eyes' and 'scared you with all the fixings';
here is my usual 'LAZY-BONES KITCHEN CHILI'!


1 pkg Lawrys Taco dry mix
1 large can diced tomatoes
2 cans red kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 cup frozen corn (always a staple in my freezer)
1 cup bell pepper (fresh, or frozen in my freezer)
1 lb browned and drained ground beef
1 large chopped onion (cooked in microwave for about 3-5 minutes)
1 stalk chopped celery
1 carrot grated
1 Tablespoon chili powder
Garlic to taste (dry, powdered, fresh, whatever is on shelf)
½ tsp cocoa powder (NOW, this is my SPECIAL MAGIC !!!)
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (this makes your chili hot and spicy)
1 tsp Tabasco (this makes your chili hot and spicy)
1 tsp white sugar (or sweetener, honey, or brown sugar)
2 Tablespoon white flour to thicken
¼ cup olive oil

NOW, after about F-I-V-E hours of slow cooking--

GARNISH and serve with any/all of these toppings
cilantro fresh leaves to sprinkle on
sliced green onions (pretty when cut on diagonal)
grated cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)
Serve with warmed (in microwave) corn tortilla chips,
sour cream
diced avocado
sliced black olives

Side serving of a terrific green salad and/or Corn Bread

SERVE with your favorite BEER, TEA, or beverage



My BELOVED daughter has this to say about this posting of My Kitchen Chili,
"Sounds YUMMY!  Hadn't thought of cocoa, but it soungs GREAT!"


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WHY tell your story -- HOW to write your story

                    [PHOTO SOURCE: The Smithsonian Collection online image]

(8 Feb 2011 – One of the most important things in Life is our Family.  Every Family is unique and has its own History and Stories.  What Family Stories have your heard?  What ones have you shared?  dht)


A recurring theme in some of my writing and notes is the importance of keeping your FAMILY HISTORY 'alive' by telling a story, writing a family history, using a genealogy program like Ancestry to record the 'source of the brook and the root of your TREE' !

After we have "heard" or "lived" a family tale or story, it then becomes our responsibility to pass the story along to family and friends and our children; for now, we become the STORY TELLER, and have the sacred HONOR and PRIVILEGE of passing it on to friends, family, and children.

In this way, the STORY continues; for you see, a FAMILY TALE or STORY is only "alive" during the telling, listening, and sharing.

If it is not being told, the STORY dies, FAMILY LORE is lost, and the richness of our lineage is diminished.

The death of a FAMILY STORY is something we must never let happen, for they are our sacred heritage entrusted to our care.

These STORIES are good; remember them, for they help to explain some of the mysteries that we find around us, some things that happen in NATURE, in the FAMILY, in FRIENDSHIPS, and in RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.

Below is an excellent commentary from a correspondent of mine that believes in the value of shared family history on how to 'share your family stories'.

However, no matter the media or method, start TODAY by thinking of some things that you would like to 'share' and write them down in a list, just like a 'shopping list' or a 'to do list'.  Then while you are going through your daily routine, imagine if you will, 'telling' the story to a dear one.  Later as time permits, write down the story in whatever form fits your style (i.e., a letter style, msword, tape recording, video recording, etc).  And, don't forget to think of additional things like mementos, bibles, photos, souvenirs, badges, trophies, news clippings, cards, etc, that will add texture and flavor to your FAMILY HISTORY STORIES!

Let me know how it goes!  Put a comment here!

[Dorothy Hazel Tarr]


[The following comment is proffered by permission of author:  Paul Lewis]

I at one time wrote for a monthly charity bingo newsletter.  The audience in the bingo-hall was in the majority senior women, so the focus of most of the articles was things in past and family connections.  In addition, on my own I had been writing articles on our family, both past and present.  I hope that one day it would go into an unpublished, but family circulated book entitled, "A UNIQUE FAMILY".

One of the articles I wrote for the bingo newsletter was about writing ones family history so it could be passed along to children, grandchildren, and future generations.  I was surprised when many of the women came to tell me they were always being asked by their grandchildren, "What was it like when you were young Nana?"  They added the children would sit fascinated as they told them of times past.  They said they had no trouble talking about the past, but they were not skilled in writing such stories.

After giving this problem some thought, I came up with what I thought might be a solution for many of their generation.  Most of their generation had been skilled letter-writers, writing to distant family members and in many cases writing to soldiers during the war.  Each one of those letters was a story, or a combination of stories, of what was going on in their daily lives and their family's lives.  Therefore, I subsequently wrote an article explaining, all they needed to do was sit down and pretend to be writing individual letters telling a grandchild about something in the past.  They did not even have to send the individual letters, but could place them all in a binder or envelope and clearly labeling it "OUR FAMILY HISTORY".

A number of women came back to me and said "Thank You", saying they knew they could do it if it only involved writing letters.

I pass this along to you in case you encounter anyone hesitant about his or her writing skills.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson – Dawn and Doors

[Photo Source: My photo, my camera, my backyard capturing a fleeting beautiful Dawn.]


POEM about 'Dawn and Doors'

(Below is a short poem written by my maternal Cousin Emily Elizabeth Dickinson that I first read 5 Feb 2011.  I have a fondness for poetry and prose that use "doors" and "sunrise" for thoughts and feelings.  A door used with sunrise, to me, means 'beginnings'.  Enjoy this short poem, again or for the first time, and let's see what it means to YOU !!)

Not knowing when the Dawn will come,

I open every Door,

Or has it Feathers, like a Bird,

Or Billows, like a Shore –

[Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, Poem # 1619]


Emily Elizabeth Dickinson -- (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) "The Belle of Amherst", was an American poet.  Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life.  After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Although Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime.  The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time.  Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation.  Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.

Although most of her acquaintances were probably aware of Dickinson's writing, it was not until after her death in 1886—when" Vinnie" Lavinia Dickinson Norcross  (1833-1899), Emily's younger sister, discovered her cache of poems—that the breadth of Dickinson's work became apparent.  Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, both of whom heavily edited the content.  A complete and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry became available for the first time in 1955 when The Poems of Emily Dickinson was published by scholar Thomas H. Johnson.  Despite unfavorable reviews and skepticism of her literary prowess during the late 19th and early 20th century, critics now consider Dickinson to be a major American poet. 

SOURCE:    [  ]


Tribute to Cousin Emily – A Kindred Spirit

I am honored to share with Emily Dickinson the same many-Great-Grandparents (Moses Payne [1581 England-1643 Massachusetts, USA] and his wife Mary Benison Payne [1585 England-1616 England]); they were my Maternal 9th Great Grandparents and they were Emily's Maternal 6th Great Grandparents.  I feel as a kindred spirit with Emily for we both endured the day-to-day tasks of keeping house while caring for dear ones and making time to pursue songs of our heart.  Emily was an artist and used her genius to write beautiful poems as she used words to weave her thoughts and feelings of nature and life.   

Emily enjoyed the early hours of the day, and wrote many descriptive passages that included imagery of nature, sunrise, birds, and the hopes of what would be revealed in the new dawn.

WHAT THIS POEM sings to my heart

The newest addition to my bookshelf is a book of Emily Dickinson's writings.  It is a wonderful way to spend a few moments in the early hours opening to a random page and letting her poetry flow over my heart as she shares her thoughts on her daily life with poetic observations of time, nature, death, love, hope, society, and dawn.

In this particular poem, I can feel the myriad possibilities and opportunities that are available anew with each sunrise, as a 'new door is opened with the dawn of a new day'.