May 20, 2012

The Top Twelve Recent Posts (April 2012)



(April 2012)

Following is a list of the most visited recent posts on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS. The list was compiled in mid-April 2012. To review the list of the all-time top visited sites click on

I want to thank you, my readers, for visiting my writing site.

TWELVE: Posted January 4, 2011

Shoplifting in Munich, Germany?

    As the Munich, Germany, shopkeeper looked at me with suspicion, I knew he was about to call the police to accuse me of shoplifting.

     We spent two weeks in Munich, Germany, visiting my son when he held a post-doctorate position at the Max Planck Institute. While there, I was almost arrested for shoplifting another local newspaper.

     Early one day my husband and I stopped at the newspaper office, located off the main square. It was a site I wanted to visit, since I’d written for numerous local newspapers—all in rural towns.

     The lobby was akin to those found in large city newspaper offices. There was a manned desk, with a gate preventing entry to the offices to all but those with authorization. 

     “Can I…(to continue reading Shoplifting in Munich, Germany? click on

ELEVEN: Posted May 22, 2011

Seeking History in Brownsville (Redstone), Pennsylvania

      It was a beautiful day today. Sunny. Blue skies with white clouds. Sweater thrown in the back seat of the car, not needed. Car windows open, allowing the warm winds to blow across our faces as the car drove down Rt. 40 towards Redstone—oops, today known as Brownsville, Pennsylvania.


     I had changed my plans for the day. On Thursday, I’d seen publicity for the Market Street Arts Festival in Brownsville, and mentioned it to my husband Monte. It would be an opportunity for me to (to continue reading Seeking History in Brownsville (Redstone), Pennsylvania click on

TEN…Posted June 21, 2011

Bird Attack! Dive bombing birds attack humans!

Occasionally while I sit on my patio, a bird will sit on a nearby tree branch and squawk at me. I’ve learned that this means the bird is unhappy with my presence, because the mother is nesting, nurturing her babies. I listen, and tell them I’m harmless, I’m not going to move off my patio, and they’d just better adjust to my presence.

     No bird has ever attacked me.


     As my husband and I traveled to Lakeside, Ohio, on June 13, 2010, I read several days worth of newspapers. There was an article about an angry flock of crows which had the audacity to attack the police in Everett, Washington.

     The angry flock of birds were swooping down and dive-bombing the officers as they walk(ed) to and from their cars. One police officer tried to scare the velociraptors by turning on his siren, to which the birds responded by decorating his car with droppings. Crows, allegedly, have face recognition, and if angered, remember the face. But they apparently cannot distinguish one police officer uniform from another.

     Because the police learned that the birds, which are very protective of their young, are simply (to continue reading Bird Attack! Dive bombing birds attack humans! click on

NINE: Posted March 16, 2011

The Greening of the Chicago River

     “I wonder if they’re going to color the Chicago River green this year.”

     The question arose in a conversation while my husband Monte and I were visiting Chicago between March 2 and March 7, 2011. Unfortunately, I cannot recall when the conversation occurred, nor can I remember with whom.

     We were in the Chicago area because my husband, Monte, had tickets to the Big Ten wrestling matches held during the weekend at his alma mater, Northwestern University. I had agreed to travel with him, taking advantage of the opportunity to (to continue reading The Greening of the Chicago River click on

EIGHT: Posted January 27, 2011

How to Make a Beaver Fur Hat

     This week I received the following question by my new-found sister, Darlene: So, tell me about your “hats”.  I notice you almost always are wearing a hat   So begins our saga of getting to know one another. I referred her to my post Hats Make a Statement, which would answer her question.

     Although I am kind of late (I had the date wrong…) I am posting the following in celebration of National Hat Day, which was January 15, 2011.


From about 1550 until 1850, felt hats were fashionable in much of Europe… European gentlemen wanted fine hats. Quality hats demanded the best felting material available. Beaver fur was an excellent raw material. Beaver fur is tight yet (to continue reading How to Make a Beaver Fur Hat click on

SEVEN: Posted April 19, 2010

Eyes of lavender, violet & amethyst

     There are no photographs of Madame Rosalie de la Val, an émigré to America during the French Revolution and a major character in my historic romance novel. This fact leaves me free to create her physical characteristics in my image.

     Madame is a very strong, very unusual, woman. I visualize her being petite, with black flowing hair and violet eyes that change shades, or colors, according to her mood.


     Within three months of her 1791 emigratioon to the United States she became an independent land speculator, participating in a playing field that included General Henry Knox, Colonel William Duer, General Henry Jackson, and William Bingham. They themselves were involved in the whirlwind of land speculation following the American Revolution, which included large tracts of land in Hancock and Washington counties, Maine.

     She skillfully, artfully, and very business-like, maneuvered through this field, in spite of the fact (to continue reading Eyes of lavender, violet & amethyst click on

Companion article:

SIX…Posted July 8, 2011

Lightning Strikes Following Casey Anthony & Thomas Cornell Murder Verdicts

A tall tree in the same area where Caylee Marie Anthony’s remains were found was struck by lightning this afternoon — just hours after her mother (Casey Anthony) learned she would be released from jail next week.*

     Lightning struck this tree following the Anthony verdict*

     The event coincided with Casey Anthony’s acquittal July 5, 2011, of first-degree murder and the other most serious charges against her in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter. However, the jury convicted her on four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to law enforcement officers. Taking in the time she has already spent in jail, her release date is expected to be July 12.

     Public reaction to the storm and the lightning-struck tree included that  it “could be” a sign from the angels, a message that the heavens are not happy, celestial justice for Caylee substituted for the lack of justice here on Earth, a sign from God pronouncing Casey’s guilt…*

     The tree is in a vacant Suburban Drive lot where the skeletonized remains of two year old Caylee were found in December, 2008. It has developed as a makeshift memorial of teddy bears and flowers.


      This is not the first time an angry God has spoken following a trial verdict.  There was another trial, one in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in (to continue reading Lightning Strikes Following Casey Anthony & Thomas Cornell Murder Verdicts click on

FIVE: Posted November 1, 2010

Change the Name of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations?

     On November 2, 2010, Rhode Island voters will decide whether to change their state’s name. Election results at the end of this post.

     Apparently not many Rhode Islanders realize their state’s official name is lengthier than its small size deserves: The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Although it isn’t listed this way on modern-day maps, it is on the state seal, and it is in many official state documents. It is also heard in the courtroom when the judge is announced.

     If asked, many Rhode Islanders don’t know what the term plantations means.

     State voters must decide (to continue reading Change the Name of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations? click on

FOUR: Posted May 25, 2009

Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships: Is this the right question?

Why would a woman who’s been savagely beaten by her boyfriend run right back into his arms?

     That was the question people asked when singer Rihanna, who not only didn’t press charges after her boyfriend (singer Chris Brown) allegedly assaulted her in February, but may have even reconciled with him.

     It’s a question asked repeatedly by persons familiar with any abuse situation where the victim returns to a dangerous situation. And it’s a hard situation for most people to understand.

     Most often, the abused woman’s self-esteem is (to continue reading Why women stay in abusive relationships: Is this the right question? click on

THREE…Posted July 5, 2011

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

While doing genealogy, I have discovered many truly kind researchers. The first random act of genealogical kindness that I experienced amazed me.

     My husband and I were on one of our first visits to Lamoine, Maine. We stopped at Shore Acres to speak with its owner, Chuck Hemingway.  

     Shore Acres is a bed and breakfast on property once owned by my ancestor, William des Isles, grandson of settler Louis des Isles and his wife, Mary Googins. William operated a massive dance hall on the premises.

     During the conversation, I mentioned a home more inland on the road to Ellsworth. It was owned by my great-grandfather Allen Walker. Noteworthy was a boat, the Arabella, he’d built in Quincy, Massachusetts, and sailed to Lamoine Beach each summer.

     Suddenly Chuck, a post card collector, excused himself from the dining room table he was sitting at. He disappeared for quite a while.

      “I found this,” he said, handing me a (to continue reading Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness click on

TWO…Posted May 13, 2011

Triskaidekaphodia a.k.a. Paraskevicekatriaphobia or Friggatriskaidekaphobia

Today is 2011’s only, lonely, Friday the 13th, a day perceived as bad luck in English, German, Polish and Portuguese-speaking cultures around the globe.*

Millions of Americans suffer from what some consider one of the most pervasive phobias—a fear of Friday the 13th, of friggatriskaidekaphobia…Do you avoid travel, business or other activities because of the fear of bad luck on Friday the 13th?*****


     It isn’t the day that is to be feared, but the number: thirteen: triskaidekaphobia,** a derived from the Greek language:

  • tris meaning three
  • kai meaning and
  • deka meaning ten
  • phobia meaning fear, or morbid fear****

     Friday the thirteenth is a specialized form of (to continue reading Triskaidekaphobia a.k.a. Paraskevicekatriaphobia or Friggatriskaidekaphobia click on

ONE…Posted February 11, 2011

My Mother’s Secret: An Adoption Story

I’m certain my mother would have strongly opposed SB335 as it progressed through the New Hampshire Senate and House in 2004. The Bill, which became law effective January 1, 2005, concerned access to records available to adult adoptees who were born and adopted in New Hampshire. These adoptees now can gain access to their own original, pre-adoption birth certificates…

 Why would she have opposed this law?

Because she had a secret.

Her secret was revealed to her family on January 19, 2011.


     Darlene, a woman fitting the law’s criteria, received her original birth certificate on January 11. Darlene’s daughter, Sara, using this document, was led to my blog,, almost immediately. On it is a category bearing the name of Darlene’s biological mother—and posts on her biological father. Putting all this information together, Sara posted three comments on three separate posts on my blog. She included her phone number.

     I called her. She immediately (to continue reading My Mother’s Secret: An Adoption Story click on


1 Comment »

  1. I enjoy reading your posts so much I decided to start a blog of my own. Keep up the good work. Inspirations flows from what you wrote

    Comment by Dame Gussie — May 20, 2012 @ 7:51 am | Reply

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