January 10, 2015

Warmth on a Wintry Day



The December 26, 2014, WP photo challenge seems more applicable today, January 11, than it did on the 26th, when the sun shone brightly against blue skies and jackets were barely needed to go outside. The good weather  continued on the 27th, affecting snow tubing that just barely was not cancelled due to the efforts of snowmaking machines. The wonderfully unseasonable December finally caved in to the bitter cold and snow beginning January 6, 2015. Thus, I take on the WordPress photo challenge today as the temperature outside is a bone-chilling 20 degrees, albeit the sun is shining brightly and the whipping winds have calmed down.

Yes, I’m toasty warm, taking photographs inside and responding to the December 26th WP photo challenge: Warmth: This week, let’s keep things nice and cozy150110 IMG_6058E1

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January 8, 2015

Old Man Winter Sleeps in Until 1/7/2015


NOTE: Considering the trials and delays in beginning my new blog site (read Problems Creating a New WordPress Blog ) I decided to continue posting on this site until the issues are resolved. Thank you all for bearing with me.


He Doesn’t Arrive Until January 7, 2015150106 IMG_5985E1 On January 7, 2015, Old Man Winter

is startled awake

as his alarm clock bbbrrriiiinnngggsss.  

“Dang,” he says surprizedly. “I slept in.”*

Not only is the weather bitter cold, It is the first big snowfall. Motorists sometimes just don’t know how to handle the first several snowfalls until they get used to driving in snow again, according to PennDOT spokeswoman Juliann Sheldon.***

As I pushed our cats out the door I admired the artwork on the frosted windows and noticed the temperature on our little protected step-in porch: 180 Fahrenheit. Brrr. I shivered as I reminded myself the cats are wore the cutest fur coats—King’s a beautiful shade of gray, Little Dog’s white with calico markings.

150106 IMG_5986E1I poured myself a hot cup of coffee and sat down to review my January 7th file folder, which contained journals of January 7ths past. The tree lights were lit for their final morning display, soft music was playing on the radio, as I reviewed the papers in the folder.

150108 IMG_6010E1On January 2, 1998,I’d flown to Bangor, Maine, where my mother was in the hospital. Unfortunately, she didn’t survive, so I’d traveled with siblings to her hometown, Presque Isle, where I spent the past few days.

Maine winters aren’t known for being gentle. Caribou, Maine, a short distance from Presque Isle, has been reported on no few occasions to be the coldest spot in the nation.

No, Maine winters aren’t gentle, and 1998 was no exception.

I take that statement back. It was an exception. I flew into Maine during a massive ice storm that covered the northeast from Pennsylvania north. Although the storm had passed the ice remained, creating cold and hazardous conditions.

Landing in Boston en route to Maine---tien ice storm had arrived

Landing in Boston en route to Maine—tien ice storm had arrived

On January 6, after spending several days in Presque Isle, I drove south to Bangor in the backseat of my niece’s sports car, which I could barely squeeze my body into. Down the icy highway we went, and I stayed in a room at the hospital’s inn.

On January 7 I took a cab to the airport. There was ice everywhere. Old man winter was still wreaking havoc. My flight was delayed and delayed until it was cancelled and the airline put the passengers up in a hotel for the night. The next day I was able to fly to Boston, then to Buffalo, New York, where my husband met me and we visited with family.1998-0103-14E1


September 7, 2014

Doing the Tanka



The WordPress Weekly Writing prompt for September 2, 2014, encouraged me to write in a genre different than my usual—tanka, a cousin of haiku.

Traditional haiku is present tense, and captures a moment in time. It is a metaphor, not a simile, and  has 3 non-rhyming lines containing a total of 17 syllables in a 5-7-5 line structure (lines 1 and 3 have 5 syllables, line 2 has 7 syllables).

Traditional tanka contains 5 lines and 31 syllables, in a 5-7-5-7-7 line structure, although it was noted that many contemporary poets take liberty with these specifics.

We were encouraged to write about something in our lives, perhaps in the past week. Below is my attempt.

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Mercilessly cut

the apple tree’s twisted limbs

no matter—who cares

likely his lifespan’s over

autumn brings apples galore

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Spring seeds embedded

in rich soil under the sun

seedlings do flourish

yield vegetables, flowers

that served deer and storm, not man


June 14, 2014

Photos With an Extra



The photo prompt for May 13, 2014 is extra…A beautiful photo is one thing, but a photo with an unexpected detail has personality and pop. This week, share a photo that has a little something extra.

I chose photos with an “extra” that was unexpectedly added…something I didn’t see in the photograph when I shot it…


It that really a spider reflected in the shade?

It that really a spider reflected in the shade?

Where did that fly come from?

Where did that fly come from?


May 17, 2014

Photographic Reflections of Ligonier



May 16, 2014  WP Photo Challenge: Work of Art

 The WP Photo Challenge for May 16, 2014, is Work of Art: share a photo of something that’s art to you.

The following photographs depict (artistically, I hope) Reflections of Ligonier (PA)…the photographic reflection presented in automobiles (most at a car show). Look carefully to see views of the center of town, known as The Diamond.





May 3, 2014

WP Photo Challenge 5/2/2014: Tree of Life




 The WP Photo Challenge for April 18, 2014 is tree of life…which brings to mind the old apple tree at my childhood home, 29 Spring Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. My sister and I used to sit under it to read, let the bees land on our arms (a practice in sitting really still), and just jostle about. I now have an old  branch-tangled apple tree outside our kitchen door, the first tree that will illustrate the tree of life.

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A lone apple remains on the tree during the winter:

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Its tangled web is a great place for birds to make their nest:

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Spring! The apple tree shouts it out with colorful blossoms:

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April 20, 2014

Spring Resurrection. Easter Resurrection.

(A FIFTY-WORD STORY: WP CHALLENGE 4/7/2014Movicon2-happy

Hugs for Dmitri and Noah

The WordPress weekly writing challenge for April 7, 2014, is fifty: write a story in fifty words.

April 15, 2014: Onion snow

April 15, 2014: Onion snow

The late-season onion snow* left in its wake…the truth of spring.**

A pure white trillium aims skyward not far from school-bus yellow colts-feet and lemon-yellow daffodils, Nature introduces, like clockwork, rainbow colors amid the early spring browns.

Resurrection is the order of Easter in more ways than one. Happy Easter.**

On March 28, 2014, this daffodil had some maturing to do. It was blooming the week before Easter.

On March 28, 2014, this daffodil had some maturing to do. It was blooming the week before Easter.


11 Facts About Easter

Easter—Children’s Stories & Poems

SHALOM! MY LORD AND MY GOD! The Easter Story as told by Mary


* onion snow n. Chiefly Pennsylvania A light snow in late spring, after onions have been planted.

** Saturday Essay: Resurrection by Colin McNickle





God’s form of communication? Lent Devotion #20


April 19, 2014

WP Photo Challenge 4/18/2014: On Top



WordPress Photo Challenge 4/18/2014:

 The WP Photo Challenge for April 18, 2014 is on top—your take on a monument (broadly defined)…anything can be monumental as long as it’s imbued with a shared sense of importance.

On top of Schoodic Mountain—215 years after the main character of my novel-under-construction climbed to the top. Madame de Leval wanted to view her promised land, land she had a tentative contract to purchase, up to 220,000 acres in Downeast Maine, Hancock and Washington Counties. This photo was taken when my husband, niece’s family, and I climbed Schoodic Mountain to see Madame’s promised land. It was a monumental climb for both Madame and myself. [Read more: OH, TO CLIMB SCHOODIC MOUNTAIN (Maine)]

The view was captivating

The view was captivating

How can a cat feel powerful, monumental? By sleeping on her master’s paperwork. (Read more: Little Dog (a cat) Adopts Us)

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Perhaps we are all sacrificial beings in this world. This photo (which I obviously didn’t take myself) is me lying on the sacrificial table at Stonehenge in Salem, New Hampshire. How monumental is that?  (Read more: Stonehenge in Salem, New Hampshire)



March 27, 2014

Winter to Spring: Snow Cover to Snowdrop Blooms




CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is now located at Carolyn’s Online Magazine.


The WordPress weekly writing challenge for March 3, 2014, is threes:

write a post using three photographs for inspiration.

March 1, 2014

According to a Tribune-Review article This winter has been so bad, it’s spawned a whole new vocabulary to express the misery many persons (except winter sports enthusiasts):

  • The Weather Channel began naming winter storms and the term Polar Vortex entered normal conversation
  • …a pair of Midwestern meteorologists developed a way to measure winter’s severity—their Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index, which ranks winters from category one (the least severe) to category five (the most severe).
    The meteorologists studied two dozen cities, using a combination of accumulated and daily snowfall and daily high and low temperatures to calculate the severity of winter weather, but exempts wind chill and ice storms.

Sadly, the big city of Pittsburgh, around which I’ve lived all but five years of my adult life, wasn’t one of the two dozen cities chosen for the study. To make amends, index co-creator (Steve Hilberg, a meteorologist at the Midwestern Regional Climate Center at the University of Illinois) crunched the Pittsburgh numbers.

And he declared the city had just edged into a category five winter.

March 1 in Moldovan

 March 1 is a national Moldovan holiday, a day when people present each other with the traditional flowers. One old Moldovan legend says that once in a fight with the winter witch, that didn’t want to give up its place, the beautiful lady Spring cut her finger and few drops of her blood fell on the snow, which melted. Soon on this place grew a snowdrop and in such a way the spring won the winter.

March 12, 2014

A late evening heavy snowfall amidst a few days hinting of spring, with temperatures reaching toward 500 F. Late in the evening it begins to snow. I quickly retrieve my camera and snap a photograph of the apple tree. The flash reveals the thousands—no, perhaps millions—of large snowflakes.

Looking closely at the picture later I wonder—could it be? Under the old apple tree? Could it be snowdrop stems attempting to reach through the snow blanket toward the stars?

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Snowdrops are a traditional flower for January. Native to Switzerland, Austria and of Southern Europe, its blooms look like drops of milk hanging from a stem—thus, its Latin name Galanthus, which means milk-white flowers.

In myth the snowdrop symbolizes promise—a promise to break winter’s spell and bring back spring. The snowdrop has a split reputation. The following tale tellw of its emblematic meaning of consolation/promise or death.
“When the first winter lay white upon the earth, Eve sorely missed the beautiful things of the fields. An angel who pitied her seized a flake of the driving snow and, breathing on it, bade it live, for her delight. It fell to the earth a flower, which Eve caught to her breast with gladness, for not only did it break the spell of winter, but it carried assurance of divine mercy. Hence the flower means consolation and promise.

March 16, 2014

No snow. Temperatures enable me to remove the purple and the blue Christmas bulbs from the outside shrubbery. A nice break from the continual phone calls in the wee hours of the morning, calls that inform me that the Ligonier Valley School district is indeed closing for the day due to the region’s severe winter weather.

Not today.

I step outside my back door, set my booted foot on the spring-muddy driveway, and walk to the apple tree. Yes, droplets of milky-white blossoms mark the arrival of spring.

Well, perhaps. Wishful thinking. Last year we had a late-April snowstorm.

It is the year’s earliest flowering bulb, are usually borne singly on stems that arch like they can’t handle the weight of the light blooms.

The snowdrop is variously known in England, France, Italy, and Switzerland as virgin flower, snow piercer, winter gallant, firstling, blackbird flower, little snow bell, little white bell, baby bell, spring whiteness, and white violet, bulbous violet,fair maid of February,Candlemas bells, Mary’s tapers.

Its scientific name is galanthus nivalis (nivalis is a Latin adjective, meaning ~relating to~ or ~resembling snow). It belongs to

  • Kingdom, Plantae
    Division Magnoliophyta
    Class liliopsida
    Family Amaryllidaceae
    Genus Galanthus (Greek in origin, the word signifies Milk white flower).


March 16, 2014

Iodine Deficiency: My Story



Hug for Fran



How do I begin telling my story? I have numerous choices:

  • Everything that is healthy for you is bad for you
  • I can’t share my symptoms with my family, friends, or doctors.
  • A simple test clarified my physical and mental symptoms.
  • I’m one of the estimated 40% of Americans experiencing this.
  • My three-day miracle.

Whenever someone tells me they don’t know how begin telling their story I tell them to “just start.” So I guess that’s what I’ll do.


The annual stress of the year-end triple holiday can be exhausting, even depressing.

During December 2013, however, the feelings I experienced were intensified. How I celebrated my 70th birthday didn’t matter. Preparing for Christmas was a true chore. I wanted to escape, go to the New England coast with my husband Monte, and experience Christmas on the beach. I didn’t care—about anything.

I excused the feelings. It’s just the stress of the season. Depression isn’t uncommon.

There was a settled layer of pea soup fog between my conscious and subconscious mind.

I excused it. It must be a result of my almost debilitating cataract which makes reading challenging.

I was overwhelmed with diminished cognition skills. If you told me something, I couldn’t recall it several seconds later. I had to struggle with writing and other tasks. It was a weird feeling.

Perhaps it’s the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s.


I didn’t tell anyone about what I was experiencing. I didn’t want to be told the obvious: I was depressed. For some instinctive reason I knew it wasn’t depression. It just didn’t seem to fit. I also didn’t want to hear that I was just experiencing the effects of aging, something I couldn’t dismiss, something very frightening.

After the holidays I shared my concerns with a friend I trusted, telling her how I felt, not expecting her to do anything but knowing she would at least listen and hear me.

“Try something,” she said.

What she instructed me to do sounded like an old wives tale, something taken from mythical and ancient medical remedies. But I trusted her. As long as I’ve known her, her information has been reliable and well-researched.

“Purchase a bottle of tincture of iodine,” she said. “Swab a quarter-sized spot on your wrist. If the color (more…)

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