February 27, 2014

How to Write a Letter to the Editor


Hugs to the members of the Beanery Writers Group


On February 12, 2014, the Greensburg Tribune-Review printed my first letter to the editor, Open birth records.

What inspired me to write this letter? Why would you, I, or anyone else want to write a letter to the editor?

I wrote the letter because I felt strongly about an issue I hadn’t seen in the local Pennsylvania media, yet it affects a great number of the state’s citizens—

  • adoptees (born and released for adoption in Pennsylvania
  • adoptive families
  • women who released their children for adoption

I wrote the letter to inform citizens about HB 162, which, if passed by the State Senate, will allow adult adoptees access to their original birth record. The Bill passed the House unanimously on October 23, 2013.

UPDATE: HB 162 will be heard in the Senate Committee on Aging & Youth on March 18 at 10:00 a.m. 


There are many reasons why you might want to write a letter to the editor. 40 reasons (from a survey asking this question of National Post readers) are presented in an article by Paul Russell.

I’ve excerpted three here. Visit his site to read the others.

  • The “letters to the editor” page is the perfect forum for exchanging ideas and finding out what other people are thinking about specific issues. Even if I don’t change anyone’s mind, at least it might make some people think and realize that there is more than one way to look at anything. Sometimes I think I am the only person with a specific viewpoint until I open my National Post to the Letters page and find that there are many likeminded people.
    — Renate Roy
  • Letters matter, otherwise nobody would bother writing. While factual reporting and editorial content are important, private citizens comments are no less so. Letters are metaphorically the hooting, foot stomping, hand-clapping, head shaking, tongue-wagging ministrations of a (more…)

February 25, 2014

11 Facts About National Pi Day: March 14



Hug for Monte



No—there is not a misspelling in the title of this quiz. It is not National Pie Day. It really is National Pi Day. I elected to celebrate National Pi Day because my husband Monte is a retired physics professor (State University of New York and Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania).

Hopefully you will be less confused than I am after you complete this quiz.



  1.  What is pi?
  2.  Why is National Pi Day celebrated on March 14?
  3.  What alphabet is the word pi from, and where does it fall in this alphabet?
  4.  When was the first Pi Day believed to have occurred
  5. Where was the first Pi Day believed to have occurred
  6. Name the scientist whose birthday fell on March 14
  7. Is Pi Day an officially designated day?
  8. Why is pi an irrational number?
  9. How are hat sizes determined?
  10. What does knowledge of pi contribute to society?


What is the record for computer calculation of Pi’s digits? ___________

What is the record for memorization of Pi digits? __________

Marc Umile holds a personal record of memorizing and typing out from memory how many digits?  ____________

Click on MORE to learn the answers


February 23, 2014

To be fluent in any language…which would it be?



Hugs for Daneen, Gretchen, and Ann Aberg


The two years of high school Latin I studied provided me with an excellent background for my studies in medical lab technology and occupational therapy. But Latin is not a spoken language.

I found little personal value in the German I studied in college. There was no reason why I selected German. I could have flipped a coin, or the class could have fit my schedule best.


Linguists estimate there are six to seven thousand languages that are spoken in today’s world. Some of these are dialects in the process of diverging into separate languages.

About 200 languages have a million or more native speakers.

Would it surprise you to learn that English is the third most spoken language (numbers from year 2000)?

  • Mandarin Chinese was the forerunner language, having 874 million native speakers—16 countries had a substantial number of native speakers.
  • Hindi (India), with 355 million native speakers, is a distant second. Seventeen countries have a substantial number of native speakers.
  • English trails third, with 341 million native speakers. There are a substantial number of native speakers in 104 countries*

The daily prompt posed on February 10, 2014, by the WordPress blog host site, was: If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?


The globe called earth has 77 million native speakers, with 53 countries having a substantial number of native speakers in the language I would choose. It claims the 11th spot on the list.* And that language Is French.

I should have chosen French in college, but I couldn’t foresee any reason to do so. But life and times change things.

My regular readers know I am writing a historical romance novel tied in the 1790s. My main character is a French woman, Madame de Leval, who came to the United States to escape the French Revolution and immediately became involved in land speculation in Maine with Gen. Henry Knox and William Duer.

Picture taken in Paris by a friend...

Picture taken in Paris by a friend…

NOTE: Madame would likely have dined at the Café Procope before she left Paris.

Because the novel is historical and I respect the historicity, and because Madame is from France and has limited command of English, I’ve found myself immersed in numerous documents, publications, and books written in French.

KNOX MSS 53 136 10-B FeI assume if I were to be fluent in a language, I would also be able to read it. As it is, I’ve had to seek out persons with a command of the French language to interpret some of these research items.

Being able to speak French would allow me to converse with French persons who could offer me insight into the background issues or France.


The first thing I would do if I woke up fluent in French is to call Jocelyn Moreau-Zanelli, a French author from Paris who wrote Gallipolis:un mirage américain au XVIIIe siècle, a book about the land speculation Madame was involved with (written in French). The difference is that she had access to the French documents, while my access is mostly United States documentation.


My second choice would be (more…)

February 22, 2014

WP Weekly Photo Challenge 2/21/2014: Threes




The WordPress weekly photo challenge for February 21, 2014, is Threes — creating three-picture stories.


The following set of pictures were taken on my son’s birthday, January 18.

I recall that, as my husband and I drove to Butler Hospital (Butler, PA), at 2:00 a. m., January 18—1972—every star in the sky shone in the clear night. On January 19 I woke to a white world. A snowstorm had made everything beautiful, as my son was beautiful.

I could have taken a similar set of pictures after that storm had I not caught the flu and had to remain in the hospital extra days. The staff told me it was the worst case of flu they’d had.

We used cloth diapers back then, and we didn’t own a dryer. I hung clothes (including diapers) indoors when the outside lines were covered in snow. In good weather I hung the diapers outdoors.

But I digress.

The suggestion was to take an establishing shot (a broad photo of the subject), a relationship shot (two elements interacting with one another), and finally a detail shot (a close up of one part of the subject).


IMG_2502E 140118


February 20, 2014

Carolyn’s Compositions 8th Birthday


Hugs for all CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS subscribers



For some reason, for some years after my 1966 marriage to my current husband Monte I “forgot” his birthday.

That statement isn’t totally true. What was true was that I “missed” his birthday, because I mistakenly had it in my head that it was June 18 when it was, in fact, June 12. While I was preparing to honor Monte’s birth the actual date passed me by. It took a number of years for me to do things in a timely fashion.

Birthdays are important in that they mark milestones, not only in the lives of individuals, but in the lives of other events.

So I must confess. I misread the birthday for CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS, thus believing it was February 19 when it was, in fact, February 5.

Lest I let the month of February 2014 pass by without noting that in this month, in year 2008, on the 5th day, I posted my first article on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS.


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS originally began on another host site, which I can only confirm back to October 4, 2006.. However, in 2007 that site changed ownership. It held the top position in blog site visits for that host site.

When the new ownership took over, it asked those of us with blogs what we wanted in our blogs. I said it was important to have the folders, and the list of the folders.

When the format was changed it became unworkable for my purposes:

  • It no longer used folders—to find a post, a reader had to (more…)

February 18, 2014

11 Facts About National Pig Day (Mar. 1)



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National Pig Day is set apart to recognize and to thank domesticated pigs, which are clever and intelligent animals which can be pets and be taught tricks. For some unknown reason, big, pot-bellied pigs are often the symbol of the day. It was created in 1972 by a Lubbock, Texas art teacher. This is not a true National day, because it doesn’t meet the National criteria: an act of Congress.


  1. What is the color of National Pig Day?
  2. How many toes do pigs have on each hoof?
  3. Why do pigs roll in the dirt?
  4. How long does it take a pig to run a mile?
  5. What do you call a female pig which hasn’t had piglets? What do you call a castrated male pig?
  6. What is the only continent without pigs? How many toes do pigs walk on?
  7. Pigs rank what number in animal intelligence?
  8. How many teeth does a mature pig have?
  9.  The scream of a frightened pig can reach how many decibels?
  10.  Why did the ancient Chinese want to be buried with their (entire herds) of pigs?


Who brought the first pig to North America? When did it happen? What was the highest know price paid for a hog?

Click on MORE to find the answers.


February 16, 2014

Madame Explores Philadelphia: An Excerpt from My Novel


Hug for Joanne





The following is an excerpt from the first draft of my novel –under-construction, Intertwined Love

A central character, Madame de Leval, arrived in Philadelphia after several weeks sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from France. She cannot speak English (don’t expect me to write this conversation in French, and I won’t expect you to read it in French) and came to the United States to gain relief from the French Revolution. The year is 1791.

She met a countryman she knew, Louis Des Isles, on the dock. He took on the responsibility of indoctrinating her to this country. In this excerpt from what might be the second chapter Louis is showing Madame and her daughter Philadelphia. They converse easily.

NOTE: A nice map of historic Philadelphia in  the late 18th century


Louis began explaining the easy street layout in the city.

“You won’t have any difficulty following anyone’s directions. William Penn’s simple street plan was adhered to by his successors,” Louis told Madame and Saraphine. “Its rectangular arrangement with perpendicular streets is easily understood, allowing people to know what to expect at every turn and corner. The streets having names of fruit and forest trees traverse east to west, beginning at the Delaware. They were named for the trees the original Americans found on this land.

“The numbered streets go north to south, intersecting with the named streets. It’s impossible for strangers to go astray in this town.

“Each block was calculated to contain one hundred houses, and is numbered accordingly. All the dwellings above High Street are marked north, while those on the other side of High Street are marked south.”

Louis offered this explanation to Madame as they strolled down Third Street, where Madame’s ordinary was located. Before he completed the explanation, he saw her looking down Dock Street, which puzzled her in light of Louis’s explanation.

“That’s the only street that’s out of grid,” Louis said. “It took its form and name from (more…)

February 15, 2014

WP Weekly Photo Challenge 12/20/2013: One




The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for December 20, 2013, was ONE.

Lone apple on tree limb about to be cut off

Lone apple on tree limb about to be cut off

It’s (one) finger lickin’ good

It’s (one) finger lickin’ good

One mother bird up in tree overseeing its babies

One mother bird up in tree overseeing its babies

View more photos

February 14, 2014

2014 Valentine’s Day Card From Carolyn to You






Valentine’s Day Photos & Quotes



Carolyn’s Online Magazine (COMe) in January 2015.

I invite you to visit the new site and encourage you to Follow it.



 To all my loyal and all my new readers, Happy Valentine’s Day.

Welcome to our home

Welcome to our home

Laurel Mountain Borough's snowfall today---over 4 1/2 inches

Laurel Mountain Borough’s snowfall today—over 4 1/2 inches

Hubby Monte clears the driveway

Hubby Monte clears the driveway

Valentine from Monte to Carolyn

Valentine from Monte to Carolyn


February 13, 2014

News Bulletin: Kudzu Blackout!




Hug for Linda


Our nation is experiencing numerous blackouts due to the 2014 winter storms. In fact, there are currently severe weather warnings in Atlanta due to an expected ice storm, for which I’ve heard there might be up to 1 1/2 inches of ice which is expected to cause blackouts.

It’s been shown that 9 months after such blackouts there is an increase in the number of babies born.

Winter storm aren’t the only danger causing blackouts in the south. Read on…

Our family lived in Stone Mountain, Georgia (an   Atlanta suburb) for three years in the 1980s. I was sole proprietor of a   craft etc. company and wrote a booklet about a prolific southern plant,   KUDZU, to accompany the craft line. Below are excerpts.


The   southeastern section of the United States must prepare for sudden irregular   population spurts in future years. These spurts will coincide with   unpredictably timed energy blackouts. Women are being forewarned to prepare  for these blackouts so as to prevent mini-population booms, which would occur   predictably nine months following each blackout.

Although   the causes of the projected blackouts might be increased energy demands,   electrical storms, power plant break-downs, etc., the major culprit is   expected to be Puerraria Lobata, AKA the (more…)

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