April 26, 2014

WP Photo Challenge 3/14/2014: Inside


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With the March 14, 2014 WP Photo Challenge being inside I couldn’t help but post the following series of Christmas photographs of Vince—obviously taken a few years ago—for this subject. Amazingly, as I am creating this post (in April, 2014) the public radio station is playing two Christmas carols, The Sussex Carol and On High. 





December 24, 2013

Santa Claus Christmas

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hug for Jesus


Snowflakes fell gently and lazily while we rang the Salvation Army bell. Occasionally the breeze would pick up, offering us a wind chill factor. One breeze was sufficiently strong to knock over the kettle support, which we caught before it fell.

Ringing the Salvation Army bell for Heritage United Methodist Church was just one of our Santa Claus gigs this 2013 Christmas season.


Up to two inches of rainfall, causing some flooding. High winds toppling trees and power lines. Temperature varying between 72o and 60o Fahrenheit.

Typical, if not perfect, spring weather.

Except this was December 22, 2013, the day after the Winter Solstice, in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

For a complex combination of reasons the Salvation Army kettle campaign wasn’t reaching its goals this year, making their work challenging. But an additional challenge was met by the Salvation Army Mon Valley Citadel in Monessen, Pennsylvania, the rains brought added complications. In the midst of a Saturday afternoon downpour their basement experienced a flood that destroyed $3,000 worth of toys stored there, toys collected for needy children.

Lt. Joel Thwaite  and Lt. Susan Thwaite, husband-and-wife team leaders of the Citadel, were amazed when they arrived at the Citadel was again filled with toys donated, overnight, by community members, including three truckloads from the Mon Valley Leathernecks (sponsors of the Toys for Tots campaign).

“Everyone else is being Santa today. We’re just (more…)

December 22, 2013

Turtle Doves (2nd Day of Christmas)



Hugs for Fran and Jim


  On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree
Two turtle doves…


A couple of years ago I was in Buffalo, New York, during the Christmas season. While at the home of my (Kensington) high school friend, Pat, I examined the ornaments on her tree. I was taken aback when I recognized that numerous ornaments were familiar—they were ones I’d sent her through the years.

This often happens, as our family Christmas card has, for 42 years, been a tree ornament. My sister Sally has a tree set aside to display our ornaments.

One goal on my “bucket list” is to complete one ornament representing each of the gifts listed in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. Because the ornaments are interspersed with other timely themes, I have many to do.

Couldn't use photo of baby doves

Couldn’t use flash…nighttime…best photo of baby doves

In June my friend watched doves nesting in a planter hung on her porch. I was fortunate to see the baby birds shortly after they hatched and the day before they left the nest. It was even more fortunate that I photographed the latter.

Ready...set...not yet...

Ready…set…not yet…

The picture of two now-adult (or late adolescent?) doves provided the theme for this year’s ornament—On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two turtle doves… In the musical piece the doves represent (more…)

December 17, 2013

Christmas—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More







For children (of all ages) I surfed the Internet and found the following sites with stories, poems, and finger plays that provide CHRISTMAS entertainment.

NOTE: To access a companion Christmas post click on Santa Claus—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More

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Why was the turkey the drummer in the pop group?
Because he was the only one with drumsticks!

What’s a sheep’s favorite Christmas carol?
We wish ewe a merry Christmas.


Q: What is Count Dracula’s Christmas story? (more…)

December 15, 2013

Santa Claus—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More




 For children (of all ages) I surfed the Internet and found the following sites with stories, poems, and finger plays that provide Santa Claus entertainment.

NOTE: Also visit Christmas—Children’s Stories, Poems, & More is devoted to the meaning of the season, celebrating Christ’s birthday, as opposed to Santa Claus, a secular approach to Christmas. Together with this post the Christmas season is covered for children.

Subscribe to this site to receive an email of current posts. Type your email address in the subscribe to box at the top right of this page. You will receive an email asking you to confirm the subscription. (Your email will not be made public). christmas-28


Who delivers Christmas presents for cats?

Santa Paws!


What do you get if you cross Father Christmas with a duck?
A Christmas Quacker!

Why does Santa like to work in his garden?
Because he likes to hoe, hoe, hoe!

What is invisible but smells like milk and cookies?
Kris Kringle burps!

What do you call Santa when he has no money?
Saint “Nickel”-less!


Q: How do you know Santa Claus is good at karate?

A: He has a black belt!

Q:  What’s black, white and red all over?

A: Santa Claus after he comes down the chimney!


What comes at the end of Christmas Day?

A: A Y!

More: christmas-coloring-pages


Seven Santas sang silly songs.

Comet cuddles cute Christmas (more…)

December 12, 2013

A 70th Birthday Lunch & St. Joseph Hospital (R. I.) History


Hug for Santa

St. Joseph Hospital History

For days before my three-score and ten birthday my husband Monte kept asking me what I wanted to do.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I just want a quiet day.”
That wasn’t what he wanted to hear. He wanted to do something special.
The day before my decade-turning event he asked me if I wanted to go to a Holiday Luncheon Buffet at the Latrobe Airport branch of DeNunzio’s Restaurant.
“That sounds nice,” I said. “But I’ll only go if we can attend as Santa and Mrs. Claus.”
My daughter and a friend he’d invited couldn’t go with us. The next morning the friend called, asking if she could come over, since she wasn’t going to work because she had to take her car to the garage for emergency repairs.
The three of us took off.
En route, Monte and I had to make several short stops—a grocery store, a pharmacy… Many of the other customers smiled and spoke to us. After all, how often do they meet Santa in these places, even at Christmas time?

IMG_2082 When we arrived at DeNunzio’s the owner asked if he could take our picture.
“Certainly,” we responded at this unexpected request. Later, he said, his photographer was arriving later. “Could he take some pictures?”
I was pleased to be taken to a table with a window view of the runway, although no planes landed or took off within our sight while we were there.
We filled our plates with delicious salads, soup, roast turkey/cranberry sauce, beer battered cod, and more. Their chef attended pasta bar allowed us to create our own pasta dish which the chef cooked on the spot. We downed all this with hot apple cider before approaching the dessert bar.
While we were eating a woman came over to us and asked (more…)

December 8, 2013

Nativity Scenes—Quiz, History & Ligonier, PA, Photos


Hug for Polly



All photographs are from the December 2013

Ligonier, Pennsylvania, nativity display

at Heritage United Methodist Church


(Answers are at the end of this post)

From Stone Mountain, GA, 25 years ago.

From Stone Mountain, GA, 25 years ago.

  1. How many nativity sets did the world’s largest display of nativity sets contain?
  2. How many Nativity sets were displayed at Heritage Church in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, on December 8, 2013?
  3. Who is credited with creating the first nativity scene?
  4. Catholic and Mediterranean Nativity scenes counteracted what other tradition?
  5. The oldest Nativity set in Italy, created in marble, is attributed to whom?
  6. What Sicilian King was known to be a passionate collector of nativity sets?
  7. How many square feet did the world’s largest physical nativity contain?
  8. How many living figures were in the nativity containing the most living figures?
A friend, Fran, gave us this striking nativity set

A friend, Fran, gave us this striking nativity set

Early art depicted the nativity scene in mosaics and ornately stained glass in Churches and Cathedrals across central Europe.

A nativity scene or crèche, also known as a manger scene, or crib, is the special exhibition,, particularly during the Christmas season, of art objects representing the scene of the birth of Jesus.* Nativities  are created with static figures, living figures (persons or persons and animals), or a combination of the two. Characters are baby Jesus, his mother Mary, and Joseph. They can be accompanied by shepherds and sheep, angels, and farm animals.

The term “Nativity scene” is thought to have been used for the first time with regard to St Mary Major’s Basilica on the Esquiline Hill in Rome, known since the 7th century as “Sancta Maria ad praesepe” because according to tradition it was here the that the relics of the Cradle of Jesus were brought.**

This colorful nativity is the size of a large egg. A gift from a friend on an Arizona trip. Anne Mary Campbell

This colorful nativity is the size of a large egg. A gift from a friend on an Arizona trip. Anne Mary Campbell

St. Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first living nativity in 1223. He intended to (more…)

November 25, 2013

Santa Hat Walk 2013 in Laurel Mountain Borough



November 24, 2013


A mid-20s cold chilled by strong breezes and enhanced by tiny sultry snowflakes drifting through the air didn’t discourage 14 persons from walking almost one mile in Laurel Mountain Borough. The Santa Hats they wore created not only a unique group, but reminded observers that the holiday season is upon us.

Signing in for the Santa Hat Walk.

Signing in for the Santa Hat Walk.

The November 24, 2013, walk was sponsored by the Laurel Mountain Park Association backed by the Beanery Writers Group and was timed simultaneously with the 5th Annual Santa Hat Challenge held which was held in Brocton, Massachusetts. The purpose of the challenge, initiated by Brocton businessman James Merian, is to set a world record for most persons gathering and wearing Santa Hats in recognition of Brocton native James Edgar, the first department store Santa, 1890. The Laurel Mountain Borough event was sponsored by the Laurel Mountain Park Association backed by the Beanery Writers Group (Latrobe, Pennsylvania).

Waiting to start walking

Waiting to start walking

Leaving Laurel Mountain Park's shelter house

Leaving Laurel Mountain Park’s shelter house


A straggler, on time but walkers left early. He must catch up

A straggler, on time but walkers left early. He must catch up


December 30, 2012

Boilo: A Pennsylvanian/Lithuanian Yule Beverage




 New Word: Boilo
Pronounciation: BOY-low
Definition: alcoholic yule-tide cocktail; coal country cocktail, …1
(Not just any coal country. Pennsylvania coal country.)
…a name unique to a handful of Pennsylvania counties.
And not just any Pennsylvania coal county.

My sources speak of counties that, more than one hundred years ago, were BRISKAY, ALBERT PIX 005epopulated with Lithuanian immigrants who mined anthracite coal. This includes the Schuylkill County community of Minersville, town where my the family of my maternal grandfather—Adam Borinsky, a. k. a. Albert Charles Briskay—emigrated from Europe to America in 1894 when my grandfather was two years old.
Thus it can be concluded that boilo is a part of my heritage, probably consumed, and perhaps made by, my ancestors, who lived in boilo’s epicenter: Brewing up a batch of wassail-like boilo is a time-honored traditional event, with roots in the early mining communities and cultures of northeast Pennsylvania, especially in the Schuylkill county area.2
The invention of (more…)

December 28, 2012

Christmas Lights Brighten Our Home



Photo taken by Monte

I returned home from running errands to discover my husband, Monte, had installed our Christmas lights. Along with a lit garland were two large old-fashioned candles.
That evening, when I spoke with my daughter Sandy, who lives “through the woods” from us, commented about the bright candle light.
“I can see them from my kitchen window,” she said. “When you no longer need them, I’d like them.” (This isn’t an off the cuff “I want” statement—I’d told my children that they should let me know what they wanted when we no longer needed the items.)
Later Monte noticed how bright they shone from her kitchen window.
Perhaps few people will see our lights due to our living on a dead end street. But our daughter, our neighbors and we can all enjoy their brilliance.


Rack, the Green-Nosed Reindeer

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