CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

March 16, 2011

The Greening of the Chicago River

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

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

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THE GREENING OF THE CHICAGO RIVER

     “I wonder if they’re going to color the Chicago River green this year.”

The question arose in a conversation while my husband Monte and I were visiting Chicago between March 2 and March 7, 2011. Unfortunately, I cannot recall when the conversation occurred, nor can I remember with whom.

We were in the Chicago area because my husband, Monte, had tickets to the Big Ten wrestling matches held during the weekend at his alma mater, Northwestern University. I had agreed to travel with him, taking advantage of the opportunity to meet my newly discovered sister, who lived near the University.

     I first saw the river while we explored downtown Chicago on March 7. While there, we walked over the bridge across the Chicago River. In light of the conversation about the greening of the river, I wondered if it would become green this St. Patrick’s Day.

Upon our arrival home, while leafing through our newspapers, a headline leapt out at me: Chief Leprechaun. The subtitle was: Mike butler and crew green the Chicago River.

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     With bagpipes wailing Irish tunes and green-clad celebrants watching from the banks of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago, Mike Butler’s two-boat crew slams over the choppy waves, scattering a fine orange powder (more…)

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January 29, 2010

Groundhogs and Punxsutawney Phil

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

GROUNDHOGS AND PUNXSUTAWNEY PHIL

     Don’t be surprised when the neighborhood groundhogs (doesn’t every neighborhood have one, two, three or four?)—thought long gone in the late fall, their burrows far too close to the house, backfilled—suddenly awake, emerge and begin foraging for fuel.

     Yes, all the signs are here—it will be an early spring.#

     However, the official word on whether it will be an early spring will not be made by the observations of Colin McNickle, journalist, but by Punxsutawney Phil. On Groundhog Day.

(To view illustration click on:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/beaneryonlineliterarymagazine/2493962362/ )

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Read the 2015 article: Groundhog Day Recipes & Pictures

NOTICE: As of January 15, 2015, CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS has moved to Carolyn’s Online Magazine. I invite you to visit the new site and to subscribe in the FOLLOW box in the upper right hand corner.

Additional reading: 11 Facts About Groundhog’s Day (Feb. 2)

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     The sixth century. That’s how far back the roots of the Groundhog Day celebration extend.

     Groundhog Day is associated with Christianity’s Candlemas Day, the day that candles used throughout the year are blessed. It is the mid-point of winter, the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

     Groundhog Day as a modern event was inspired by an old Scottish couplet:

If Candlemas Day is bright and clear

There’ll be two winters in the year.**

      Later, the Germans started trying to predict how much more winter they could expect based on the hibernation patterns of bears in February. In the 1700s, when the Germans settled in the United States, they switched from bears to groundhogs, for some unknown reason* After all, groundhogs have no interest in how long winter lasts, nor are they any interest in their shadows. Basically, they come out of hibernation for food (by February, hibernating groundhogs have lost up to half their body weight) and sex.  **

A clue might be found in the (more…)

December 19, 2009

Christmas Memories

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES

Suzy, guest writer*

      It has to snow in time for Christmas in Wisconsin. It’s the law! And snow it did, & snow it does. Dry, blowing snow, dancing across streets & highways, swirling around stop signs & lamp posts. Heavy, wet snow, sticking to your mittens & catching in the neck of your jacket. Snow drifts, snow banks, snow plows, snow shovels, snow balls, snow forts, snow men, snow angels: you can’t have Christmas in Wisconsin without snow.

     But when you get to your grandparents’ home, for Christmas, after driving 4 hours in the cold & snow, with only the sound of your own voice or that of your mother & younger sisters for company, you find that your grandmother smells just the same – White Lilac is her fragrance – & that your grandfather has lit a fire in the family room fireplace in anticipation of your arrival.

     And your grandmother hasn’t forgotten to (to read the rest of this post, click on http://sldeitrich.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/christmas-memories/ )

     *Suzy is a fourth cousin, both of us being descendants of Louis and Mary Googins des Isles from Lamoine, Maine.

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ADDITIONAL READING:

Christmas. Whose Season Is It?

A BROKEN LEG FOR CHRISTMAS

How to Count the Gifts Given in the Twelve Days of Christmas

Noel

CHRISTMAS LETTER 2008

CHRISTMAS LETTER 2006

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2007-A

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2007-B

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: 2008 STYLE

IN WINTERSCAPE…COMES THE SONG

SANTAS, MRS. SANTAS, ELVES & REINDEER WANTED: Please apply—Application #1

SANTAS, MRS. SANTAS, ELF and REINDEER WANTED: Application #2

DEER HEAD FOUND IN MAILBOX—A GIFT?

Dear SANTA from COCHRAN

(SANTA) SUED FOR NON-SUPPORT

SANTA IS DEAD!

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2007-B

November 30, 2009

CHRISTMAS LETTER 2006

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT!

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is awarding a monthly prize to the reader who makes the most comments at www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com. To enter, comment on any post. The more comments you post, the greater chance you have of winning. For further details click on https://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/monthly-prize-for-comments/ or visit the page MONTHLY PRIZE FOR COMMENTS at the top of the column to the right.

CHRISTMAS LETTER 2006

Each year our family contributes to the annual Christmas letter (dreaded by some persons). Tonight, to kick off this year’s Christmas season, I am posting excerpts from my section of our family’s 2006 annual Christmas letter, with a few necessary updates.   

     Year 2006 included a “maternity watch,” for grandchild Marcus, son of Nolan and Tammy, born July 8. We arrived in Cleveland right after his birth. Marcus is a happy baby, has a big smile and lots of conversation. Vince enjoys being “big brother,” accenting his job with two-year old exuberance. He attends softball games his parents play in, and his favorite toy is any kind of ball.

     The year’s events, however, began Christmas night 2005. It involved a 1971 promise my late friend Charlotte and I made to each other.

     We had adopted our girls, Sandy and Kathleen, at the same time from the same agency. They grew up as sisters. Us mothers agreed that (more…)

November 21, 2009

WHAT? NO PUMPKIN PIE FOR THANKSGIVING?

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

 WHAT? NO PUMPKIN PIE FOR THANKSGIVING?

     Will Mother Nature’s 2008 and 2009 weather conditions deny many Americans their traditional pumpkin pie? If so, the holiday dinner tables will look more like that of the first Thanksgiving in 1621.

     The menu for fifty-three immigrants who watched half of their group die of malnourishment and disease, and the ninety Indians, all of whom attended that three-day feast, didn’t have pumpkin pie on their menu. It was an improbable dessert because (more…)

June 21, 2009

A Father-Daughter reunion after 30 years

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A FATHER-DAUGHTER REUNION AFTER 30 YEARS

    On this Father’s Day, 2009, I decided to review some letters I received from my father and to journal the first of our two reunions.

     I wear my Cornell University jacket and cap very proudly and very humbly.

     And not, in the least bit, deceitfully.

     No, I did not attend or graduate from Cornell University, I tell people who want to know. However, I did attend “Cornell University”—the “Cornell University of (more…)

June 5, 2009

June Celebrations: Part 1

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

JUNE CELEBRATIONS: Part I

      Get ready for battle! The enemy is the nasty fly! June is National Fight the Filthy Fly Month, and the war continues from last year. However, there are those who swear that the battle against the Maine black bugs is more of a priority! (read BLACK FLIES AND OTHER INSECTS: Then and Now) Something easier to handle is National Adopt a Cat Month. Every cat has a right to a good home. To read about cat’s other rights, read (WHAT RIGHTS DO CATS HAVE, I ASK  & FERAL BIRDS: THE LATEST COMMUNITY HAZARD).

     June is also Dairy Month, Turkey Lovers Month, and National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month. Think healthy: Milk/cheese is loaded with calcium, but if it’s not low-fat, you are at risk of ingesting more bad-fats than good fats. If you have to eat meat, turkey is far more acceptable than red-meats. However, I am wondering about JUNE being (more…)

May 10, 2009

May celebrations: Part II

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

MAY CELEBRATIONS: PART II

Click on May Celebrations: Part 1 to read about special May days in the first half of May.

May 11 is my day, Eat What You Want Day. Perhaps I should make Monte take me to that restaurant I haven’t been to, that serves prime rib and lamb chops. An exclusive place. And I have never been. This is what I want to eat on this day. What would you like to eat today? Of course, if you are trying to lose weight, you might find yourself in (more…)

Reflections on motherhood

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

REFLECTIONS ON MOTHERHOOD

     I lost my mother six and a half years ago. We had just reached a point where she would talk to me about happenings in the past, and we had had numerous conversations over the previous eighteen months. I grieved the loss of getting to know the woman who, I often say, taught me how not to live life. In spite of being a the matriarch of a typical dysfunctional family, she did (more…)

April 5, 2009

April Days to Celebrate

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

APRIL DAYS TO CELEBRATE

     It’s April 1. I’ve had six different persons wish me a happy birthday. One wished me a happy fake birthday. Another wished me a happy unbirthday.  
     OK. So it is not my OFFICIAL birthday. It’s an alternate birthday celebration in response to having been born at a time of the year when a birthday is secondary to a holiday celebration. Thus, when I turned forty, and considered it my right to reveal my hidden eccentricity (OK, so not so hidden), I chose an alternate day to celebrate. My criteria: a date (more…)

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