CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

February 6, 2010

The snow came softly and gently: Feb. 5, 2010

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THE SNOW CAME SOFTLY AND GENTLY

February 5, 2010

       Today will be a great day to sit at my laptop on my porch, looking out at a winter wonderland, working on a short story and my novel.

     Thursday, February 4, wasn’t like this. It was a beautiful day that invited me to be outdoors. The snows of the earlier series of precipitation had virtually disappeared in the Ligonier valley area of Pennsylvania, but in my little corner of the world remnants remained. The sun that sparkled off these remnants cast s (more…)

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January 31, 2010

Nauru: Wealth from Bird Guano (Poop)

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

NAURU: WEALTH FROM BIRD GUANO (Poop)

     It’s a joke.

     That’s what I thought when I read Joel Brinkley’s column on January 3, 2010. I thought he was writing satire about an imaginary country, Nauru, that became wealthy from bird poop.

     According to Brinkley, Nauru has known the best known the best of life, and the worst of life. Once it was once the second wealthiest nation on Earth, per capita. Today it’s among the poorest.

     Even though I thought he was joking, I went to the Internet to find out if a country named Nauru really existed.

     And I learned that Brinkley was not writing satire. There actually is a country named the Republic of Nauru. And it actually did make a fortune on bird poop. My research affirmed the statements in Brinkley’s column.

     Nauru is the smallest republic in the world, just eight square miles, and 80 percent of the territory is a forbidding, barren wasteland. Alone in the Pacific Ocean, on the equator northeast of Australia…*Brinkley wrote.

     The small, oval-shaped, western Pacific island is just 42 kilometers (26 mi.) south of the Equator. It is one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean–the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia.**

     And this tiny island nation did once boast the second-highest per capita GDP in the world, following Saudi Arabia. Its nominal per capita GDP exceeded (more…)

January 30, 2010

Replace Punxsutawney Phil with a ROBOT?

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

REPLACE PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL WITH A ROBOT

 IS MY ILK TO BE NEXT?

Cochran Cornell the Cantankerous Cockroach

     OK, so you haven’t heard from me for a while. Writer’s block. That’s what I suffer from. Just when I thought it was hopeless, I was injected with a jolt of verbal energy…just as you would be if someone suggested replacing all humans with robots.

     I’m so shocked!

     I had pulled myself out of my doldrums just enough to scoot over the local newspaper that my creator Carolyn was reading. And what did I spot? Why, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is campaigning to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robot

     (Carolyn has this illustration for Punxsutawney Phil—

http://www.flickr.com/photos/beaneryonlineliterarymagazine/2493962362/ . He is so cute as a Beany Baby that someone adopted him.)

     Who do those folks think they are? Personally, I think it’s just a publicity stunt. But if the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals manages to succeed in their quest to robotize my friend…well, fat chance of that…

     PETA claim that humans should treat Phil with compassion. That drew the ire of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, and drew battle lines with the thousands of people, perhaps millions worldwide, who rise early each February 2nd to find out what the near-future weather will be.

     When I heard PETA was campaigning for humans to be compassionate to Phil, I thought to myself, “Rubbish!” But to get the real scoop, I scooted off Carolyn’s newspaper onto the road. Fortunately, I was able to hitch a ride to Punxsutawney, not too far from Carolyn’s Pennsylvania home, in (more…)

January 25, 2010

Update on the Rector and Export Post Office Suspensions

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

UPDATE ON THE RECTOR AND EXPORT POST OFFICE SUSPENSIONS

     NOTE: Below is the January 13, 2010, updated information on the Postal Regulatory Commission’s public inquiry, Docket No. P12010-1.

     Two Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, communities are experiencing a problem common to many communities across our country: the suspension of local United States Postal Services. Both the Rector Post Office and the Export Post Office were closed when their building landlords refused to renew the Postal Service lease.

     Rector’s post office was located in a front room of a private home on Rt. 381 for 107 ½ years before it closed on August 27, 2005. The current owner of the house, Ida Ankney Tenney, was unwilling to sign the required twenty-year lease. By signing the lease, the post office facility would remain on the premises even if the family decided to sell the home.

     Export’s Kennedy Avenue postal facility closed its doors on June 26, 2008, after the owner of the building in which it was located decided not to negotiate a new lease. Arthur Spagnol, who owned the building since 1962, claimed it was too expensive to make the renovations the Postal Service wanted.

     Betty Eichler, a retired postmaster involved with the national group, maintains that post offices can be closed only in the case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster.

     “It’s not right what they’re doing. The Postal Service, in order to get around the law, temporarily suspends an office,” Eichler said. “The people have no rights. There’s nobody they can appeal to. … All I want to do is make them do it the right way.”

     Export’s case has garnered national attention.

(To read the complete story, click on:

Post Office Closings in Rector and Export, Pennsylvania, Mirror a Larger Postal Service Problem

 Or https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/post-office-closings-in-rector-and-export-pennsylvania-mirror-a-larger-postal-service-problem/ )

      On November 9 the Postal Regulatory Commission in Washington initiated a (more…)

January 1, 2010

Post Office Closings in Rector and Export, Pennsylvania, Mirror a Larger Postal Service Problem

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

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POST OFFICE CLOSINGS IN RECTOR AND EXPORT, PENNSYLVANIA,

MIRROR A LARGER POSTAL SERVICE PROBLEM

     Rector is a small rural community on the outskirts of Laughlintown, Pennsylvania, near the eastern border of Westmoreland County. Rt. 381, near Linn Run State Park, passes through the community that is about five miles south of the Lincoln Highway, Rt. 30. Its population is undetermined, since it is included in a regional count. However, it has just over one hundred post office boxes.

     Export is a community of less than 830 residents, not far from Monroeville, Pennsylvania. It is on Rt. 22 in Westmoreland County, on its northeastern edge.

     These two communities are experiencing a problem common to many communities across our country: the suspension of (more…)

November 8, 2009

It’s Been an Animal Day

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

MONTHLY PRIZE FOR COMMENTS

NEW CONTEST! A MONTHLY PRIZE!

 

     CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is awarding a monthly prize to the reader making the most comments at www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com. To be eligible for the prize, comment on any post. The more comments you post, the greater chance you have of being the winner.

     The first prize, to be announced on December 3, 2009, will be awarded to the reader who made the most comments on during November.

     The winner will be notified by E-mail. In the event of a tie, a name will be drawn. Winners will be listed on this page. 

     Thank you for your loyalty to my writing site.      Carolyn C. Holland

 IT’S BEEN AN ANIMAL DAY

      It’s been an animal day.

      Black bear. Cat. Cat. Owl. Horse.

     While I groggily prepared my morning coffee, something caught my eye. I glanced out my window and was amazed to see a small black bear strolling through my driveway. I called my husband Monte, and we watched the bear lumber to the path leading to my daughter’s house.

     I grabbed the phone and called Sandy. She and her husband, Michael, watched the bear approach their yard, meander between her house and the neighbor’s house, return (more…)

October 20, 2009

Should your cat be kept indoors or outdoors?

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

SHOULD YOUR CAT BE KEPT INDOORS OR OUTDOORS?

      A Humane Society I researched estimated that feral cats have a life expectancy of five years, while indoor, cared for, cats live as long as seventeen years.

     How long does a cared-for house cat with outside privileges live?

     In August, our about-sixteen year old cat Honey died (to read her story, click on: Honey’s Coming Home! Our cat must recuperate & Honey went home—She’s romping in animal heaven). She lived her life happily as an outdoor cat, as did many or our cats which lived long lives, fifteen years and more.

     Virtually all cat shelters have a non-flexible clause in their cat adoption papers that requires (more…)

October 13, 2009

Living with OCD

LIVING WITH OCD

As told to Carolyn C. Holland by Dmitri Beljan

     I was initially going to talk to you at a local café. However when you invited me to sit down, the place I was seated was not cleaned up from the previous guest. Although tolerable to sit there, I found myself uncomfortable and distracted by concerns about the dirty table. It took away from giving you my full attention.

     Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to worry about germs. For example, how many times have you ordered a baked potato at a particular fast food place and the waitress  who handled your money then squished the potatoes with her fingers and handed it to you? I found myself several times reminding food service personnel that you don’t handle food and money both. I don’t think that’s so bad.

     However if this behavior is carried to an extreme—e. g., asking her to clean the table twice—it could be considered a symptom of OCD.

     Thus began my interview with Dmitri.

     October 12-18, 2009, is National OCD Awareness Week. Dmitri is willing to share his story of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, commonly called OCD. Below he tells of live with OCD.

     My genetic makeup predisposed me to OCD. This condition was aggravated by my very religious family and the paranoia of the 1950s Cold War.

     When I was a little boy the thoughts that are now called obsessive thoughts were not recognized by me as such, and with the influence of religion, I interpreted it to be that I was possessed by demons.

     This scared the hell out of me. I became more concerned about (to continue reading this story, click on: Living with OCD or  http://beanerywriters.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/living-with-ocd/

Website for the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation: http://www.ocfoundation.org/ocdawarenessweek.php

 ADDITIONAL READING:

Online Sites for Caretakers & Families of Brain Injury Victims

!¡Anger¡!

BROKEN CIRCLE

Can You Write Your Memoir in Six Words?

Her Gift

I BELIEVE GOD INVENTED DANCING

October 9, 2009

BIG CHICKEN STOLEN IN LIGONIER TOWNSHIP (PA): The “Big Chicken” Hunt

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

BIG CHICKEN STOLEN IN LIGONIER TOWNSHIP (PA)

The “Big Chicken” Hunt

    The picture of a “big chicken,” in the May 28, 2009, issue of the Ligonier Echo was eye-catching. The chicken was missing from the Dave Tetkoski’s yard on 956 Route 259 on May 25. Tetkoski was preparing to have the fowl statue restored and display it in the 2009 Ligonier Days Parade when the foul play of theft occurred. Tetkoski estimates that the “one-of-a-kind” fiberglass statue is at least 50 years old. (more…)

September 13, 2009

From flax to linen: The Stahlstown (Pa.) Flax Scutching Festival

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

FROM FLAX TO LINEN: THE STAHLSTOWN (Pa.) FLAX SCUTCHING FESTIVAL

      The making of linen from the fiber flax plant is celebrated by the Stahlstown (PA) Flax Scutching Festival, held in September each year.

     “We actually make linen that day,” said Marilee Pletcher, publicity chairperson.  “We use flax from our own field but when necessary we purchase it from outside sources. The distributors grow their flax the same way we do.”

     When asked if flax is grown in western Pennsylvania, Kathie Plack, who lives in Herminie, said (more…)

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