July 31, 2014

August 2014 Welcome Message (CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS)

Carolyn’s Compositions

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August 1, 2014 1:05 p. m.

August 2014…Entering a new month…which continues the whirlwind of July activity. The first weekend in August I’m attending the Mechling family reunion in New Stanton, PA., where I’ll acquaint myself with this family which became my ancestors back in the late 1770s.

July was a whirlwind of activity as my husband Monte and I attended a 50th wedding anniversary of Alice and Dwight King, friends I haven’t seen in 50 years, before attending Monte’s family reunion—traveling from Lakeside (Ohio) to DeKalb junction (NY). Between these two points we stayed a night in Cleveland Heights (Ohio), Slippery Rock (PA), and Buffalo (NY). Toss in two more visits to Buffalo (NY) after the Holland family reunion, and more time in Slippery Rock (PA). It’s obvious we spent much of the month rolling over highways and byways in our tin home on wheels—which broke down on our second stay in Buffalo, necessitating the third shuffling off to the city later in the month.

We enjoyed very much hosting friends from Singapore in mid-month—challenging their patience while they were stranded in a suburban Buffalo hotel room because our car broke down. Thank heaven for special friends and relatives! We made it past that crisis and continued home—en route visiting the Grove City Outlet Mall and touring the Amish country (Revisiting an Amish Wheelmaker). More of their visit in future articles.

It’s strange how Australia entered our lives in July: Alice and Dwight live in Melbourne; one of our Singapore guests is a student at a Melbourne university, and the 2014 AIDS  conference, which made the news when six participants died in a plane crash, was held in Melbourne the week of July 20th. .

The month ended with a community Christmas in July party at the pool. The water I waded in felt so good!

Perhaps August will be more restful—perhaps not. I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, enjoy August’s “dog days,” which we had few of in July. Grab a good book and sit by the pool, pond, lake, or ocean and enjoy a good read. Cool down in the water. Take some time off to enjoy nature’s blessings. Enjoy reading CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS (and if you haven’t subscribed, please do—go to the upper right and type your email address in—it will not be made public) as the evening bugs send you indoors. But most of all, enjoy life.

Carolyn Cornell Holland, founder of CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

July 29, 2014

Krista Blake: Teenage HIV Victim



No one can be left behind if the AIDS epidemic is to come to an end by 2030. This was one of the main messages of the 20th International AIDS Conference, which closed in Melbourne, Australia, on 25 July (2014).*

The publicity for the conference was increased, unfortunately, by an airline crash that killed 6 participants. Organizers of the conference, held in Melbourne, Australia, determined not to cancel the event because they felt continuing would be what the victims would have wanted.

Reading about the conference brought back memories of a young woman with AIDS. The Family Support Group (FSP) of Jamestown, Pennsylvania, invited her to speak to community members on September 30, 1992. In light of the Melbourne conference I thought it appropriate to retell her story, which is still relevant today.


Krista, who contracted the AIDS virus at age 16, learned she was HIV positive at age 18. In January 1992 Krista spoke at Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania. Margaret Young, an FSP board member, and I attended the event, at which a vibrant, capable speaker presided. In April, when speaking at Edinboro State College (PA), she was described as “gutsy, independent, funny…and she’s been given a virtual death sentence.”**

When the Ohio woman arrived in Jamestown September 30th Margaret noted “how downhill Krista had gone.” We saw that her health had deteriorated to the point that, as head of the FSP, I debated whether to even allow her to speak. She had trouble breathing and she had to struggle to get every word out.

It was difficult to stop Krista from speaking, even though her sister was present and knew what she wanted to say. However, I felt that Krista was due the respect of making the decision on what she could handle, even if she was tired and had a headache.

Krista was so unable to sit still during the presentation that she “unnerved” Margaret. She not only struggled with her words, at times she struggled with her thoughts. As she spoke, her sister had to answer many questions for her.

world_aids_day_special_poster-rf5f9f38e9e654de38cc1b2da8dc2586c_wjc_8byvr_324“I do pretty much the same things anyone else does. Maybe slower, maybe different,” she began. “But a couple of things have changed. I can’t


July 27, 2014

Do All Families Talk Perversely?


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A Devotion

Theatrical release poster by John Alvin

Theatrical release poster by John Alvin

After seeing the movie ET my friend Paul and I had a lively discussion.

“Did they really have to include the kids smoking and the off-color jokes?” I asked. “This ruined the movie for me because it role-modeled negative behavior for kids.”

“This is how all families talk,” said Paul, a youthful manager of a local pizza business, implying I was being too critical.

His statement troubled me. All families talk perversely? The style of joking and pattern of smoking didn’t exist in our household! Was our family different? Was I too critical of “normal” behavior?

I began an unscientific mental survey of our friends. Merle and Naomi, Tom and Diane, Shirl and Wayne, Phyllis and Gene. Did any of them talk that way? I didn’t believe so. Apparently not all families talk perversely and in a manner debasing God’s creation.

Perhaps these families, modeling their behavior on Scriptural imperatives, are not the present day norm. Perhaps these families who show (them)selves guileless and above reproach, faultless children of God in a warped and crooked generation, shine like stars in a dark world and proffer the word of life. (Philippians 2:15, NEB)

Perhaps if today’s perverse and crooked generation whose faults have proved them no children of his(Deuteronomy 32:5-6, NEB)

were to review their behavior they would be convinced to become more Christ-like.

Meanwhile, don’t be fooled. Not all families accept the standards put out in today’s media frenzy.



A 6-Part Study of The Lord’s Prayer: Part 1

Jesus Refuses to Drink the Wine Mixed With Myrrh

Is Your Table Big Enough? If not, add a leaf…

July 26, 2014

Up From the Dirt of the Earth



One of the things of summer I love (although I prefer to say appreciate, saving love for relationships)  is the evidence of the way the dirt of the earth feeds us in so many ways, one by pushing up from its depths the food that sustains us and another by pushing up the flowers that sustain our souls.

My husband Monte and I spent much of July 2014 enclosed in a tin box on wheels, seeing the richness of the dirt’s offerings along the way. While speeding down the highways of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York at 55-65 miles per hour I took many photographs (through the car window) of these offerings. Below are a select few.

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Tiger lilies

 Rows of wildflowers and corn


July 24, 2014

Cat Tales: Two



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Cats have demonstrated many talents through time. Recently a cat’s talent was blamed for a man criminal acts —stealing a car, robbing a bank, and ramming a police car.

When the Fayette County, Pennsylvania, man was caught, he told state troopers that a “cat told him to take the car and get the money with the plastic gun.” He stole the mid-size car when the same cat “jumped up on the car and told him to steal it.” He wasn’t as successful getting the money. As he exited through the bank’s front door he dropped a plastic bag filled with cash, scattering $582 in 50s, 20s, 10s and other denominations. He next backed the car into the front of a pursuing state police vehicle, stating that the “cat was telling him to hit the cops.” He fled. Troopers took him into custody when he lost control of his car, causing the pursuing police car to hit him.

Chalk up one for a cat in control. Perhaps a cat needs to get his tongue. Maybe he would talk less.

In ancient times, a criminal’s punishment sometimes including have his tongue cut out; the tongue was fed to the King’s pets. Hence, there is some     historical truth to the phrase “cat got your tongue?”

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Oscar, a Rhode Island cat, has a different talent. He can predict when someone is going to die. Because of his gift he is portrayed as a furry grim reaper or four-legged angel of death.

Oscar was raised as a therapy cat in a nursing and rehabilitation center after being adopted from an animal shelter when he was a kitten. Patients at the center suffer severe dementia and/or are in the final stages of various illnesses.

From the time Oscar was about six months old the staff noticed that he curled up to sleep with patients who were about to die. He has accurately predicted about 50 deaths.

There is no scientific evidence to explain Oscar’s abilities, but the thought is that the cat might be responding to a pheromone or smell that humans simply don’t recognize.

Or perhaps he knows something that scientists are still studying—that a death fluorescence, observed as a glowing blue color within worms, spreads predictably from cell to cell until the entire creature is dead.

Apparently this isn’t science fiction, as the strongest colors perceived by cats are purple, green, and blue.

Whatever the root, Oscar exhibits a special gift that has been acknowledged by families who thank him, in obituaries, for providing some comfort to persons in their final hours of life.

At one time, people believed that fur and blood drawn from various parts of the cat’s anatomy cured all ailments.

Early American colonists believed that a broth made from boiling a black cat would cure tuberculosis, but no one wanted to risk the bad luck that would befall them if they killed the cat.

DSC02737E  090728Cat owners are generally fiercely protective of their feline friends, which may be why a new website, “Cats to Go,” calling for the eradication of New Zealand’s domestic cat population is gaining attention. It states that we must overcome our denial and acknowledge that we are harboring a natural born killer, a serial killer.

The premise behind the eradication of the cat population is conservation: protecting and enhancing New Zealand’s native fauna, even supporting a predator-free country. The web site claims that New Zealand’s domestic cats have helped drive nine native bird species into extinction and that the remaining 33 endangered native bird species are endangered.

The request isn’t that pet owners kill their cats, but that once these pets have died they not be replaced.

Fierce cat lovers are giving the website backlash demanding  it not deprive them of the beautiful companionship that a cat can provide individually and as a family. Scientists say eradicating cats is a too simplistic solution for revitalizing the bird population: cats kill rats, which also kill birds.

Some people who wanted to get rid of a cat but were afraid of the consequences went so far as to hire professional feline “hit men.”



Stay tuned for more cat tales in the future.



Honey’s Coming Home! Our cat must recuperate

Honey went home—She’s romping in animal heaven

It’s Been an Animal Day

July 22, 2014

Cat Tales: One

Filed under: Cats — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am
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Monopoly fans voted. The iron is history.

But don’t throw away your iron token. Save it—I suspect will soon become a collector’s item, since it will no longer be a player’s choice to march around the playing board. The sometimes-detested home appliance received the least amount of clicks in a “save this token’ online vote held between January 9 and February 5, 2014.

The iron will be replaced by a shiny shorthaired cat wearing an “M” on her collar.

cat-monopoly-600In an earlier competition determining what token would compete with the iron, the cat token was chosen over a new guitar, a helicopter, a diamond ring, and a robot—claiming 31`% of that vote.

In the future I expect the cat to give the Scottie dog a run for the money—and, of course, out-beat the dog a good percent of the time.

Which is as it should be. Cats are “the man,” as they say.

A stand-in for Idgie

A stand-in for Idgie

The Scottie dog token could take lessons from a real life Florida dog named Idgie—the Scottie could befriend the cat token, becoming the friend that everyone, even a feline, needs.

Idgie, a two-year-old Dachshund, was found by the Seminole County Animal Services by a gated driveway, where he was protecting a 7-month-old (more…)

July 20, 2014

7/20/1969 Singapore Guest Revisits 7/19/2014





 On July 20, 1969, my husband Monte and I hosted a back-yard picnic at our then home at 69 Clarence Avenue in Buffalo, New York. Our black and white television was outside on a table across from the food.

During the evening, while the late evening temperature descended from the day’s high of 84.9F to a low of 62.1F*, all eyes were on the primitive pictures—made as good as could be by rabbit ears. We were waiting for the pivotal moments of the evening:

  • 4:17 pm EDT – The (lunar module) Eagle lands (on the moon).
  • 4:18 pm EDT – “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed,” Armstrong reports as the lunar module lands on the moon’s surface at the Sea of Tranquility. The module has only enough fuel to run for 40 more seconds.
  • 10:56 pm EDT – Armstrong says, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he becomes the first human to set foot on the moon.
  • 11:15 pm EDT (approx.) – Buzz Aldrin joins Armstrong on the moon. The men read from a plaque signed by the three crew members and the president, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”**

We were reminded of that evening 45 years ago by our recent house guest, Singapore resident Hung Pheng. He, his wife Bee Oon, and their son CZ, visited us in Laurel Mountain Borough between July 15 and July 19, 2014.


In 1968 Monte taught physics at the State University of New York at Buffalo. That same year we became Hung Pheng’s university host family. The math department graduate student didn’t live with us, but we opened our home to him for visits, meals, and events.

Although Monte and I moved to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, (he accepted a job there as physics department chairman) in August, 1969, our relationship with Hung Pheng continued. The student visited us numerous times during the remaining time of his five-year stay.

While acting as his host family we took Hung Pheng and a friend of his to New England. While camping at a York, Maine, beach,  the two Asian students went to the shoreline and dug clams, which they cooked for their breakfast. I’m certain they were amused that they had to share car space with the two pet cats we took with us.


We again hosted Hung Pheng in 1988 while living in New Castle, Pennsylvania, where Monte was pastor of Emmanuel United Methodist Church. This time we met Bee Oon. One day we visited Slippery Rock. There they found a pine seedling deep in the woods, and they planted the tiny seedling beside the pond near the house we were planning to retire to.

The tree grew large through the years, and we tried to send pictures so they could see its growth.

Pine tree blends in with other greenery,,,

Pine tree blends in with other greenery,,,

Fast forward to 2014. Hung Pheng and Bee Oon were back in the United States, this time accompanied by their college age son, CZ.  We met them in Buffalo, New York, on our way back to Laurel Mountain Borough after attending Monte’s family reunion in DeKalb Junction, New York. En route we stopped at a wharf (on Rt. 20) on Lake Erie in Erie, visited an Amish quilt store and an Amish wheelmaker shop (and were shown a century old wagon being restored); shopped at the outlet stores in (more…)

July 19, 2014

Photos of A Deer in a Fenced Garden

Filed under: CREATURES,PHOTOGRAPHY,WordPress prompt or post — carolyncholland @ 9:00 am



First thing this morning, before I even poured my cup of coffee, my husband Monte called to me. “There’s a deer in the garden.”

I grabbed my camera. Below are a few of the shots I captured of the deer who stood feasting on weeds at least three feet away from me—the least he could do since previously he’d feasted on my snow peas, beans, potted plants and tiger lilies.

The photos fit the July 18, 2014, WordPress photo prompt, containers: show us something that contains something else.

The deer fencing (netting) was somewhat contained the deer in the garden. However, he somehow figured out how to bypass the deer netting to enter and leave the garden.

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July 17, 2014

Ancient Bathing Techniques



 …(bath)tubs are “in” right now… A tub is about a rest, not a bath…Buyers want a deep, soaking tub that can provide a lot of relief after a long day of work…Yes, you need one … (However)Bathroom designers and installers insist it is better to concentrate on a dramatic shower in the master bath and move the tub to a secondary location. The shower has dramatic power for resale, but a tub has a role in reality…But not in the master bath.


One of the first known bathtubs comes from Minoan Crete that was found in the palace at Knossos and is dated about 1700 B.C.

The palace plumbing system had terra-cotta pipes that were jointed and cemented together and were tapered at one end to give water a shooting action to prevent the buildup of clogging sediment. Their technology put Minoans in the hydrological vanguard.


In Ancient Rome part of the bathing and personal hygiene routine in involved cleaning the body with oil. Having rubbed the oil in, a strigil was used to scrape away any excess as well as any dead skin and dirt. A small bronze bottle was used for the oil. The loop, known as an annulus, was moulded into the shape of a (more…)

July 15, 2014

Minimalist Photography



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In April 2014 I finally attended a meeting of the Westmoreland Photography Society, which meets the second Monday of the month at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. New members are welcome.

The topic for the night’s photo critique was minimalism in photography. Wanting to know what photographs to take or cull from my archives I looked up minimalism in photography on the Internet.

  • The word minimalism describes a concept that refers to a work of art that is stripped down to its most fundamental features… In photography minimalism is somehow more open to creativity. But, it is also based on the general rules of minimalism in the other forms of arts. Generally speaking, minimalistic photography can be described as the art of “less is more”. Although in this type of photography, the composition is basic, with the right framing the subject in the photograph can be emphasized very nicely. Using fewer details in the picture can actually draw the attention to the subject more easily and it can appear to be more intense to the viewer…
  • In minimalistic photography, you should choose the elements carefully, as their number should be kept to a minimum and they should also reflect something interesting and beautiful… That subject will be your main point of focus and also the essence of your image…

Lest I be convicted of plagiarism I will refer a continued discussion to my website source, Understanding Minimalism in Photography.

IMG_8678E 130914As I read this article and viewed the illustrations I realized I’ve been taking minimalist pictures already. That elusive osprey in the sky near Ogdensburg, New York; the surfers in the post storm surf at Hampton beach, New Hampshire; the Naval Blue Angels and a low-flying plane at the Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the child on a New England beach —all these were, by default, minimalist due to their distance away from the camera.

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