December 31, 2015

Out of the Old Blog, a New Magazine is Born

Filed under: blogging,FEATURE STORIES — carolyncholland @ 1:00 am




6 years, 1,330 Posts, 327,848 views from 171 countries

Out of the Old Blog, a New Magazine is Born


Deep within every beginning is the seed for its ending.

Within each ending is a seed for a new beginning.

Welcome to Carolyn’s Online Magazine (COMe).

When  its predecessor, CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS, started on February 29, 2008 its seed of ending was built in: the WordPress space limitation. Never in my wildest thoughts did I imagine my endeavor would come to an end. But the warning light came on. There is little space left to post articles. The seed for ending sprouted.

The timing is right. The old—two-oh-fourteen—is at an end. January two-oh-fifteen, rings in the new. A ripe time for new beginnings.

As I move on I must ask some hard questions.

I’ll begin by answering the WHY.

As the editor, developing and maintaining CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS was a challenging, ever constant, learning process. It served as an entrance into a communications age that has already moved far beyond blogs.

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS has been an affirming project to both writer and reader.

It’s aided the writer in evaluating trends and issues. Its served as a place to work through issues—to write something requires processing it and putting it in words the average person can understand. It’s offered a forum for a variety of writing genres and provided a writing platform. It’s kept me, the writer of most articles, writing almost every day.

For the reader it’s provided education, fun reading, a different view of issues, and connections to other persons.

Below are a few comments that encouraged me to move on into a new blog.

  • ANCIENT BATHING TECHNIQUES  I must say, your topics are many and most informative.  I enjoy most of the posts that you send out.  Thanks for enlightening my days.   David
  • Playing Santa’s Elf on My Birthday …Carolyn, love your articles.   I read them every morning while drinking my coffee… Carol
  • I like your humor 🙂 and enjoy your articles… 🙂    Merri
  • Awesome pictures…Always looking forward to seeing your pictures and adventures :)…    Lena

And in response to particular articles:

  • Traveling on a Greyhound Bus with Children  Carolyn, thanks for the memories of riding the Greyhound! My mother loved riding the Greyhound, sitting in back of the driver. 🙂  Merri
  • THE HOLLAND 2014 CHRISTMAS LETTER  I love this post, it made me think of some of the articles I read during the year and how interesting your lives are.   I hope I am just like you when I grow up, lol.   I look forward to reading your online magazine…  Carol
  • REPORTS FROM STORM “KNIFE” IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK  November 17 to November 21, 2014   I can’t remember what year it was, but during one storm, I barely made it home from a night shift at our local hospital. I was pushing snow with the front bumper of my car off and on for about three miles. I parked in the drive and had to help a guy in a truck shovel out his truck from a snow drift later in the day. We were snowed in from about 10 a.m. Saturday until 10 p.m. Sunday when the State came through with a scoop bucket to move the snow drifts from the road, The plows couldn’t handle it.  Tom
  • TWO HOLIDAY RECIPES: HORS D’OEUVRES AND UMBLE PIE  Carolyn you have inspired me to check out the internet and see what umble pie recipes are there. Would be fun to have an umble pie contest!   Grace and Fred
  • NATIONAL POETRY MONTH, POEM A DAY, WEEK 4: April 22-30 I’m not much of a poetry person, my least favorite part of school – but your creative twist on it is worth reading!  Grace
  •  MARILYN VAN DERBUR (ATLER): MISS AMERICA 1958: HER INCEST STORY   abuse no matter how long ago it happens. it affects every day of  your whole life  Becky
  • WAS IT IODINE DEFICIENCY? MY STORY   Sometimes old wives tales aren’t so false – many of us have relatives who lived to very ripe old ages while doing and eating things that we now consider “dangerous” for our health – we’ve cut so much out yet we replace it with a prescription drug –  finding what works for us doesn’t always require a medical degree -feeling good is what matters and often invovles a combination of what the doctor can offer and what we can do for ourselves  Fran
  • THREE GARLIC RECIPES   Roasted garlic smeared on fresh bread is one of my very favorite things… and that soup sounds amazing! But make enough for everyone you come in contact with for the rest of the day to also have a bite or you’ll spend a very lonely evening. 🙂  Great recipes!  Jan
  •  These photos are so beautiful, just breathtaking! It’s like seeing the loving grace of God shining down upon you! Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos!!  Lori

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS enabled genealogical connections through its most commented on post, KILLED STRANGELY: A NEW ENGLAND MURDER STORY. It’s enabled two sisters to connect with their birth family after 60 years (read My Mother’s Special 90th Birthday Gift ). CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS has reaped many benefits.

Perhaps blogs are becoming dated, being phased out by other electronic communication media. But perhaps, also, there is room for blogs to hold their own, to still be worthwhile in today’s evolving communication world.

So I welcome you to subscribe to COMe. Your e-mail will not be publicized. However, you will receive an email from asking you to confirm your subscription. Please do. You will then receive an email informing you of each post on COMe.

I want to again thank my subscribers, my readers, and my commenters for their making CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS a success. Thank you for visiting COMe, Carolyn’s Online Magazine.

Carolyn C. Holland

November 23, 2014

Reports from Storm “Knife” in Buffalo, New York



November 17 to November 21, 2014

Photo by Kirsten

Photo by Kirsten

In 1977 my sister Lee was driving in Alden, New York, when the Blizzard of 1977 began. When she could drive no longer she parked her car on what she hoped was the side of the road. She, her 5-year-old son Todd and her 10-year-old daughter Deb exited the car and proceeded to the distant lights of a farmhouse.

Almost immediately she lost Todd in a snow drift. She frantically dug into the snow and finally managed to uncover him. Frightened, the three headed towards lights in the distance, never realizing they passed another closer house on the way. The owners let them in and cared for them while the blizzard blew wild outside.

Fast forward to Monday, November 17, 2014.

Sunday and early Monday, Nov. 17, 2014 Contributed photo.

Sunday and early Monday, Nov. 17, 2014
Contributed photo.

Lee is now a senior citizen experiencing health problems. Her daughter lives in a trailer with her husband, Tom, and 3 children: 7-year old, 5-year old, and a 6-week old baby. Kirsten could only open her door slightly open. The snow is falling. Fast.

Photo by Pat

Photo by Pat

Below are conversations I had with her, Kirsten, my long-time friend Pat, my sister Sally and sister-in-law Marge.

Snow blocking Kirsten's door --- photo by Kirsten

Snow blocking Kirsten’s door — photo by Kirsten

Kirsten's girls, photo by Kirsten

Kirsten’s girls, photo by Kirsten

Tuesday. November 18.

Lee. 10:00 a. m. While Monte and I drove to a doctor’s appointment I called Lee. She was snowed in.

“It’s sunny here, blue (more…)

November 20, 2014

11 Facts About Loyalhanna Creek in Southwestern PA



Bridge spans Loyalhanna Creek in Latrobe, PA

Bridge spans Loyalhanna Creek in Latrobe, PA

Loyalhanna Creek is nominated for 2015 River of the Year.

You can make it happen by voting before December 15, 2014.

Vote here.

Help Loyalhanna Creek beat out the Ohio River, the Neshaminy Creek and Watershed,

Conewango Creek, and the Lackawanna River.

Winner receives a $10,000 grant to promote the creek

through various programs and events throughout the coming year.

For more information contact Angela Vitkoski at

Westmoreland County’s Loyalhanna Creek isn’t the nearest trout stream to metropolitan Pittsburgh, but the volume, breadth, minimal overhang, variety of water types and abundance of stocked trout through the Loyalhanna Gorge has made it a invaluable classroom for countless Southwestern Pennsylvania anglers. The natural beauty of Westmoreland County and the water flowing gracefully down Loyalhanna Creek attract people from near and far.^^^^

As one would expect, the Loyalhanna Creek does hold some secrets. There’s one particular boulder — I won’t tell you where — that for decades has remained undercut by the current. Even in the summer when Loyalhanna Creek is low and the water warms, big trout find comfort at the edge of the current a yard or more under the protection of the rock, picking off any Wooly Bugger that passes.^

Below is a quiz to test your knowledge of the Loyalhanna Creek.

Sam Sherry of Wilpen, PA with Bigfeet

Sam Sherry of Wilpen, PA with Bigfeet


  1. What was the original 18th century name of Loyalhanna Creek and what did it mean?
  2. What is the Loyalhanna Creek?
  3. Where is the Loyalhanna Creek located and where does it originate?
  4. The Kiskiminetas River results from the confluence of the Loyalhanna creek and what other waterway? Where does this confluence occur?
  5. What unique siting was made along Loyalhanna Creek on May 17, 1987, and who made it?
  6. What part of the Loyalhanna Creek is stocked with fish each spring?
  7. What is the elevation of the mouth of the Loyalhanna Creek?
  8. When is the Loyalhanna Creek classified as a river?
  9. The Loyalhanna Creek Watershed encompasses how many square miles and how many miles of miles of stream?
  10. Why was the Conemaugh River green, and the Loyalhanna Creek usually orange?


Name the 6 sections of the Loyalhanna Creek, and the mileage of each.

To check (or learn) the answers click on MORE


October 23, 2014

11 Unique Facts About New England Lighthouses



(Also try the questions at 11 Unique Facts About Lighthouses )

2003 NE 1288-H E

 Lighthouses in New England…sounds very romantic, although the life of a keeper can be challenging. Recently, the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in New Castle was named the best lighthouse. I learned it does have one special feature: on Sundays from May to October you can climb the 44 steps to the Watch Room, then a ladder to the Lantern Room. This adventure will certainly be on my non-negotiable list of things to do in New England if we ever travel there again. After all, Portsmouth is where I spent my younger years.

But I digress. Below are 11 questions about New England lighthouses. Have fun!



  1. What was used for the first fog signal, installed at Little Brewsters Island Lighthouse?
  2. What horrifying event occurred at Minots Ledge Lighthouse (near Cohasset, Massachusetts) one of the first screw pile lighthouses?
  3. From what lighthouse do romantics interpret to signal “I love you?”
  4. What was a lighthouse keeper’s annual salary in 1879, which held steady well into the 20th century?
  5. In August 2013 the federal government closed out an auction for Boon Island Light Station, New England’s tallest lighthouse. What was the top bid for this lighthouse built in 1855 on a tiny rocky island six miles off Maine’s coast.
  6. Which New England lighthouse has traveled the furthest?
  7. Which lighthouse boasts an enormous first-order rotating Fresnel lens fitted with a green light?
  8. What happened to the first lighthouse keeper in America, George Worthylake?
  9. Name the most haunted New England lighthouse.
  10. What special item did Nubble Lighthouse keeper Eugene Coleman inherit from the previous keeper?
  11. What four unique facts describe the Boston Harbor Light?

2003 NE 633-V E


What four features describe the Boston Harbor Light?

To learn the answers click on MORE

Beaver Tail Lighthouse taken from the boat

Beaver Tail Lighthouse taken from the boat


October 21, 2014

Finite Creatures We Are




Cemetery in East Lamoine, Maine

I’m eyeing the stone of Louis and Mary Googins des Isles, circa 1794-1825

Interesting this WordPress prompt, finite creatures, appeared the day I after I did research on deaths and funerals in Downeast Maine in the 1790s-1800s. Lest you think I’m strange for picking this topic I’d better inform you that I was researching it for my novel, in which one character, Mary, must deal with having her husband Louis sail for France in 1812 and never being heard from again (oops—there is a surprise in this true life story that mimics the later well-known epoch written by Tennyson, Enoch Ardon).

Thus, mortality has been on my mind these days.

The prompt asks At what age did you realize you were a finite creature, that you not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?

Two of my earliest memories are of death.

Our family dog, a cocker spaniel named Buffy, died after being hit by a car.


The man whose car hit him made a pine box for his burial. Buffy was buried under what is now an addition to 29 Spring Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I don’t recall my age but I might have been 5 or 6 years old. During a burial “service” I ran about the yard laughing. Was this an apartness from death or a (more…)

October 5, 2014

11 Facts About Pumpkins

Carolyn’s compositions


Watch for upcoming quiz on jackolanterns…

Hubby Monte

Hubby Monte

Ahh, autumn, a season of holidays which feature the pumpkin—be they the traditional orange or yellow, white, green or red^^ The traditional American pumpkin is the Connecticut field variety.*

But what is a pumpkin? It is a squash, is a member of the Cucurbita family which includes squash, cucumbers,*** honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini. **

Autumn is the season when my husband, Monte, becomes enthused about making pumpkin pies, filling our home with the sweet odor of cooked pumpkin.

We don’t suffer the hardships the Pilgrims suffered when arriving on the shores of the New World. One 1630 Pilgrim described his hardships as follows (1630):

“For pottage and puddings and custard and pies,
 Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies:
 We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
 If it were not for pumpkins, we should be undoon.”****

What do you know about pumpkins? Below are 10 questions plus a bonus question. Answers are on the next page.

130928 IMG_6611E


  1. Name the only continent that cannot grow pumpkins.
  2. Why do some people think that the pumpkin should be our national fruit?
  3. Where did the pumpkin plant originate?
  4. Where is the self-proclaimed pumpkin capital of the world? Why there?
  5. How many pounds of pumpkin are produced in the United States every year?
  6. In early colonial times how did the colonists make the original pumpkin pie?
  7. What is the origin of the name “pumpkin?” What did Native Americans call them?
  8. What is the water content of pumpkins, and how many calories of energy does 100 grams produce, and what is its dietary benefit?
  9. How big was the largest pumpkin pie ever made, how much did it weigh, and how long did it take to bake?
  10. Giant pumpkins are often grown for competitions. The heaviest pumpkin on record weighed  __________; the largest “official” pumpkin on record weighed ________,


The largest pumpkin pie used ____ pounds of cooked pumpkin, ____ pounds of sugar, and ____ dozen eggs.

131002 IMG_8214E

To learn the answers click on MORE


September 24, 2014

Separation of Church & State: A Historic Boiling Pot




 The melting pot that America’s Christian founders guarded never boiled like this…Their historic wall between government and religion kept the peace among fractured Protestant sects, helping the United States build shared schools and a common culture early in the 1790s.*



Did religious freedom exist as Europeans settled on North American soil, in what was to become the United States of America?

In my background research for my novel Intertwined Love I’ve discovered that the melting pot on American soil has, from the time of the founding settlers, been boiling “just like this”

The Province Charter of 1691 provided that, in Massachusetts, there be “a liberty of Conscience allowed in the Worshipp of God to all Christians Except Papists.”

  • Note: Papist is a (usually disparaging) term or an anti-Catholic slur, referring to the Roman Catholic Church, its teachings, practices, or adherents.)

Barely a year later the basic principle of religious establishment was laid down by statute:

  •  “Able, learned, orthodox” ministers “of good conversation,” approved by a majority of the church-going voters in a “town or place” were to be supported by taxes levied upon all of the inhabitants…For towns which were delinquent in providing such a minister, the Court of General Sessions for the county could “take effectual care to procure and settle a minister qualified as aforesaid, and order the charge thereof and of such minister’s maintenance to be levied on the inhabitants of such town.”

Each Massachusetts “town or place” had an established church or congregation that represented the beliefs of a majority of community residents—generally Calvinist doctrine and (more…)

September 23, 2014

Autumn Leaf Masquerade Ball



Almost every time my husband and I travel to New England in the autumn I’m asked Are you going to leaf peep?

I ask them back Why would I go to New England to leaf peep? I live in the Ligonier Valley, in Pennsylvania, at the northern end of the Appalachian mountains, which is one of the best leaf-peeping regions in the country.

untitled 6e

(Photo taken in Boston in autumn, 2013)

This is not to say that, when traveling home from New England, I don’t enjoy following the north-to-south progression of autumn’s brilliant foliage. I can simulate the leaf-change progression locally by traveling into the Ligonier Valley from atop Laurel Mountain, close to 3,000 foot elevation. Truly, I agree with George Eliot who wrote Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns, and Albert Camu, who wrote Autumn is a second spring when every leaf’s a flower.

Accordingly, autumn is the time at the green-theme Autumn Leaf Masquerade Ball, when deciduous tree leaves gradually remove their masks and show their true colors. Their mask is created by a green pigment, chlorophyll—a biomolecule essential for converting sunlight into energy during a process known as photosynthesis. Once this green mask is shed the true colors that have remained hidden, yellow and orange (called carotenoids), amaze all whose eyes view them.

Autumn in the hills of Ligonier Valley, Pennsylvania

Autumn in the hills of Ligonier Valley, Pennsylvania

Red and purple pigments (anthocyanins) are also buried under the green mask. These colors are revealed only when the sugar in leaves breaks down in late summer. The more prevalent the anthocyanins the more fiery the leaves will be…think red maples, red oaks, dogwood and sweet gum trees.


As autumn leaves unmask

A population of thousands

Caps their host trees in (more…)

September 16, 2014

11 Unique Facts About Lighthouses



11 Unique Facts About Lighthouses


Have you ever wished you could live in a lighthouse? If so, this is the time to buy this unique type of real estate:

Technological advances and a desire to purge unneeded properties have paved the way for the federal government to get rid of more than 100 lighthouses over the last 14 years, and it intends to keep selling and giving them away. The sold lighthouses, located on both coasts and in the Great Lakes states, have become everything from museums to bed-and-breakfasts.

Dave Waller, who purchased the Graves Island Light Station in the mouth of Boston Harbor for a record $933,888 last year,

Sixty-eight of the lighthouses have gone for free to preservationists while 36 others sold at public auction thanks to the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, which allows the government to dispose of federally-owned lighthouses. The act turns 14 next month. The Coast Guard, which maintains lighthouses, has 71 other lighthouses queued up to go through the transfer process, and four are at auction now.

But what do you know about lighthouses? Below are 11 questions on lighthouses (watch for the future quiz limited to New England lighthouses).


  1. Which United States state has the most lighthouses?
  2. Henry Hall, the keeper at Eddystone in Great Britain, was the oldest known lighthouse keeper. How old was he and what happened to him?
  3. What was the first U.S. lighthouse to use electricity?
  4. What uniqueness can the America’s St. George’s Reef Lighthouse in California claim?
  5. What were the first Great Lakes’ lighthouses?
  6. When and where were the first electric lamps used in lighthouses?
  7. What is the world’s first known lighthouse?
  8. How many female lighthouse keepers were there in the United States in 1852?
  9. What caused many lighthouse keepers to go mad after they served years of duty
  10. The United States is home to more lighthouses than any other country. Where is its newest U.S. lighthouse located? What is the oldest active U.S. lighthouse?


List four facts about the La Coruna Lighthouse. Located on the northwest tip of Spain, it marks the entrance of Spain’s La Coruña harbor.



To learn the answers click on MORE…


September 11, 2014

9/11: 13 Years Later—2014




Today we pause to remember the 9/11/2001 events that altered so many aspects of the United States. My husband Monte and I live about 20 miles from where Flight 93 crashed in Somerset County. Below is a list of articles I’ve posted through the years since the tragedy. I hope you take time to read some of them on this day of remembrance. Click on the titles to access the complete articles.

All of the following articles are posted on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS except LMB RESIDENT’S SEPT. 11, 2001 STORY: Part 1 of 2 and The Twin Towers 

NOTE: The Westmoreland County Historical Society magazine being released later this month contains an in depth article on Flight of Valor, the music composition commissioned by the Somerset County Community Band. It ties in the roles many Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, residents took following the crash of Flight 93 in the adjacent county of Somerset.

NOTE: September 11 is also the birthday of my late nephew Todd James Jay. Keep my sister in your prayers today, too.

LMB RESIDENT’S SEPT. 11, 2001 STORY: Part 1 of 2

NOTE: This story is posted on the Laurel Mountain Borough newsletter site.

LMB resident John was working in one of the twin towers in New York City the morning of September 11, 2001. His story will be posted in the LMBoroLMPark Newsletter in three parts. To view photo illustrations taken by John, click on: September 11, 2001, John was in New York City working as a freelance sound recordist/video engineer. He had many clients in downtown New York, where he found most of his jobs. He also worked in Philadelphia and other places, but the New York work was most challenging.This Tuesday he was working at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (Company), a very large financial consultant company similar to J. P. Morgan. He’s worked there a half dozen times. They had a television studio they’d just built, completed in December 2000.They had called me to (more…)

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