Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve--Starting Anew

Paris Photo Stories

December 31, 2012

Although I am not really into New Years' resolutions, I like the idea of "starting fresh" and finding ways to start anew.

I was watching the morning news and saw someone talking about what to look for in the 2013. One thing to look for, the commentator noted, is Unlike Twitter and Facebook, the "smartest" stories and posts tend to "organically" rise the top by their popularity.

To me, it seems that "Medium" allows the cream to rise to the top, and you are not left wading about in the the muck, just to find a nugget somewhere/somehow.

The nice this about living with an open heart and head, is that often, the best comes to me. Listening with a spirit of being open to starting fresh pointed me in the direction of Medium and all the creativity it can conjur!

This kitty may look like he is just being lazy, but perhaps he is just being open to ideas for starting anew.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

~~Paupers' Cemetery~~

I read an article in the local paper recently that stirred me to my core. The focus of the article was the "White Tanks Cemetery." Cemeteries have always fascinated me; I'm even a grave site photographer. 

This cemetery, The White Tanks Cemetery, in Phoenix, AZ, is different than any cemetery I've ever visited. It's a cemetery in which those that are unknown or have no one to take care of them when they die, are buried by the county. 

The rock and dirt cemetery sits at the very south end of Luke's Air Force Base. Visitors park on the outside and must walk in. 

Markers are just tiny brass discs with the name of the person (if known) and the date of death.  That is it.

This is the disc for Macy Cady, a baby. A toy car rests with him.

The backdrop of the cemetery can be quite beautiful.

And yet, you turn and see much barren sadness...overwhelmingly barren sadness, knowing that these are PEOPLE that had lives and souls and families and hopes and dreams this....

"Baby Row"...way too long....

A woman from Ohio finally found her

Sometimes, the local chain gangs--men and women--bury the dead (as punishment for not behaving in jail, by the way). Today, there were just a few people attending the "funerals."

As terribly disturbing as all this is, I found solace for the rested in that they have frequent flyovers that are simply magnificent from Luke's Air Force Base. 

And the roses outside their gate.................

Sunday, December 9, 2012

~~Biosphere 2~~

Located on a 3.14-acre compound just outside of the remote town of Oracle, AZ, Biosphere 2 was a born of an idea to create a self-sustaining eco-system that would also sustain humans.

Eight people, including a physician, engineers and scientists lived inside the structure from September, 1991 to September, 1993. They grew crops, chickens and a few goats. During the first year, they could not grow enough to maintain healthy weight, but the following year, they did.

Biosphere 2 created a lot of conflict in the scientific community. In fact, federal marshals invaded the compound at one time because it was believed its own were sabotaging the structure.

In 2011, the University of Arizona bought Biosphere 2 in hopes of revitalizing the buildings and grounds.

I found the IDEA to be interesting...and certainly the structure is. But the REALITY is truly wanting. It is run down, seems quite haphazardly put together and is just kinda...well...sad.

In November, 2012, U of A commissioned a 7.5 million project for a "New Life for Biosphere 2."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

~~Turkey Tortilla Soup~~

Wasting food makes no sense, so I try to make multiple meals out of an initial meal. The other day I made a simple meal of a turkey breast, a yam and that crazy good cranberry salad. The next day I boiled the carcass and put the broth in the refrigerator over night. The reason is that any fat will float and congeal, making it easy to remove. Luckily, there was no fat on the broth.


- Leftover turkey or chicken, pulled into bite-sized pieces
- Broth, from the night before
- 1 can each--corn, black beans (rinsed), and Italian style stewed tomatoes
- 1 cup salsa--you choose
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon or more chili powder
- salt to taste

For some spicy taste~~
- sliced or chopped fresh (from your garden) or jarred jalapeƱo

Combine all ingredients in a pot or crockpot and heat...the longer, the better!

Garnish with fresh cilantro (from you garden) and a dollop of sour cream, and serve with gourmet tortilla chips.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

~~The BEST Cranberry Salad...ever!~~

Trust me on two things: 1) that this is the best cranberry salad ever, and 2) the directions!

STEP ONE. Ingredients.

- 1 can whole cranberry sauce
- 3 oz package of JELL-O--cranberry, strawberry or cherry (I used cranberry.)
- 3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained--keep the juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice (I like the full pulp kind)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup finely chopped celery

STEP TWO. Prepare all the ingredients first. (Chop celery. Put all measured ingredients in containers, ready to mix.)

STEP THREE. The magic!

Put the JELL-O into a bowl. Then, boil...yes...boil the orange juice and the pineapple juice (should be about a cup of liquid). I boil in a pyrex measuring glass in the microwave.

Pour the boiling juice into the bowl. Mix until the JELL-O dissolves. When the mixture starts setting up, add all the other ingredients. Stir and refrigerate.

Be amazed and delighted!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

~~Phunny Stuff~~

You know that I live in the present, but every once in a while something reminds of me of phunny stuff in the past.

Many of us have "Bucket Lists," stuff we want to do, see or experience before we kick it.

At one time, I had "Drive a Big Rig" across the country...just one time...on my list. One day that fantasy got fulfilled in the most unusual way.

I was a traveling salesperson in a most unglamorous industry (another time), and I was driving back home from a seriously long day of visiting prospects and customers in southern Illinois. It was late afternoon and I was between little towns. Yes, you guessed it--I ran out of gas. So not phunny.

Those were the days before cell phones, by the way, so I got out of the car and started walking along the side of the my fitted red suit and black high heels.

Wonder why....but less than a minute passed and a big rig pulled over. There were two men in the cab and they asked me what happened. I was relieved and nervous--relieved that someone stopped, but nervous, because this is not a safe situation. Crap.

Embarrassed for being stupid enough to run out of gas, I told them.

"We can drive you to the next station about 20 miles north. Can you get up here?" Really? REALLY? My skirt is tight and the first step is up to my EAR! Phor Phuck's Sake!

The shotgun guy climbed down and said, "Okay, Lady, I won't look." I hiked up my skirt, he crouched down, grabbed my ass and launched me into the cab!

Off we go.....and check THAT one off the list!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

~~Today's Find A Grave~~

Patricia L. Hawkins Leonard (1952-2011)

Rio Verde Memorial Gardens, Maricopa County, Arizona.

Monday, November 5, 2012

~~Grave Site Photography~~

I'm a photography nutcase...okay...a nutcase in general. Most of my photography is candid life--nature, people and animals.  However, I do use photography to gift families by giving them a "virtual cemetery experience" by photographing their loved ones' final resting places.

People ask me about the process.

First, I get a request from 

Then, I visit the cemetery to ensure that the person is, indeed, there.  If he or she is there, I need to find them, using cemetery maps.

Then, because I think it is the right thing to do, I clean the marker.  I clip the grass, and brush any debris and goose poop away.  I wipe the marker as much as I can.

I take a few shots, making sure my shadow stays out of the shot!  (Morning shooting is best....)

Finally, I post the "fixed up" photos on the web site to the family, where-ever they are, can visit their loved ones.

Sometimes...I see something special I can add...

Friday, November 2, 2012

~~Mingus Mountain~~

According to the book, "Roadside History of Arizona," by Marshall Trimble, "Mingus Mountain was named for Joseph and Jacob Mingus, two brothers who settled in the area in the 1880s and later operated a sawmill near the base of the mountain."

I took these photos at the summit, 8,000 feet up!

(The second one is my favorite....)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

~~Here Piggy Piggy!~~

When one lives in Arizona, one never knows what they will see when they go put something in the trash bin!  I walked out to this the other evening. (And yes...I always carry my there.)

Javelinas, or peccaries, are really not piggies, although they have similar characteristics.

Javelinas (HAVE a leen a) can be quite aggressive, especially if their babies are present. And in this case, a baby was present!

Notice how the entire herd surround the little one!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

~~Arizona Autumn~~

Horton Creek Trail is just north of Payson, Arizona.
What a remarkable place to take in the Arizona Autumn!

Deep Red

Fire and Ice



The Path



Falls...lots of falls...

Friday, October 19, 2012