Musings & News

May Your Coming Year

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

~ Neil Gaiman

Dragonfly :: Tall trees from little acorns grow

Hand-made custom birthday gifts from Jacob are always an unexpected surprise (he created this one with a chainsaw).


Dragonfly Ridge; Santa Ynez, CA

May your wonderful goodness & great spirit, continue to fly & soar as far and as long, as a worldly dragon.

Happy Birthday Tamra
— Love, Jacob

What’s Really Sexy?

The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous. Everything else is crap. I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it! Be smart, be thoughtful and be generous.

~ Ashton Kutcher
2013 Teen Choice Awards


You know what’s really, powerfully sexy? A sense of humor. A taste for adventure. A healthy glow. Hips to grab on to. Openness. Confidence. Humility. Appetite. Intuition. … Smart-ass comebacks. Presence. A quick wit. dirty jokes told by an innocent-looking lady. .. A woman who realizes how beautiful she is.

~ Courtney E. Martin


People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

~ Steve Jobs
Apple Developer Conference, 1997

The Best People

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.

~ Ernest Hemingway


Red Balloon

Of all the days and all the places this wayward “I Love You” red balloon lands in an oak tree on my little piece of heaven – on my birthday.

That’s the kind of thing my dad would do… Leave a red “I Love You” balloon lurking in a distant tree. Reminds me of 30 years ago when he left a red convertible Mustang lurking in a parking lot for me to find on my 16th birthday. Love you Dad!

Miss you more than anything here on earth.

red balloons red mustangs

August 29th, a day for red balloons and red Mustangs. Love you Dad!

A Few of Them are Truly Beautiful

A few of them are truly beautiful and I do have my favorites. But really, the images are plain and ordinary. What makes them engaging and beloved here is how they amplify the greatness and subtleties of the written prose they were intended to capture. And that was the assignment.

~ Tamra L. Dempsey
on my images in the book A Journey Through Literary America

Pass it on

Have you had a kindness shown?
Pass it on;
‘Twas not given for thee alone,
Pass it on;
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another’s tears,
‘Til in Heaven the deed appears –
Pass it on.

~ Henry Burton 


Greed’s worst point is its ingratitude.

~ Seneca


Ingratitude is a nail which, driven into the tree of courtesy, causes it to wither; it is a broken channel, by which the foundations of the affections are undermined; and a lump of soot, which, failing into the dish of friendship, destroys its scent and flavor.

~ Giambattitsta Basile

Trees and the Muscled Mountains: The World in Mind

Exhibition is in the Gabilan Gallery at the National Steinbeck Center, August 6 through October 22, 2010.
Fifty-four images by Tamra L. Dempsey. [ View the Image Collection ]

As we are reminded of Steinbeck’s great stories… envision the dreams and defeats of people as shaped by the land they inhabit.

Collected from a 20 year archive of world travels including images from A Journey Through Literary America, my hope is that you will see in these images, as in Steinbeck’s fiction, that our dreams and our defeats are largely shaped by the land we inhabit.

~ Tamra L. Dempsey

Trees and the Muscled Mountains: The World in Mind


Sacredness in Tears

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.

~ Washington Irving