November 21, 2013

Friendships Help Prevent Alzheimer’s



Hug for Pat


Sitting in front of me is an AARP article titled Strategies to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s. Much of it is redundant of healthy living—exercise, eat smart, watch your waistline, cut bad habits—smoking, too much television, stress, take safety precautions (seatbelts, helmets)—all messages heard repetitively until they have become almost meaningless.

They listed one prevention method that caught my eye: FRIENDSHIPS. Keep friends close.

790px-Friend_or_Foe_(1230030259)I just contacted my only remaining high school friend, Pat. She is about a month younger than I am, and I try to call her each year. For us, this is a special birthday year. Due to circumstances, however, I still have her special-year birthday gift here—she’ll receive it before my birthday.

Growing up I didn’t learn how to make or maintain relationships. That’s just the kind of typically dysfunctional family I grew up in. I worked two jobs in college, and that left me little time to develop friendships. Michael is my one friend from the technical school I attended. I wonder sometimes that I had no meaningful (more…)


November 20, 2013

Date Rape Prevention Strips & Coasters

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONSMovicons2-hugsandkisses(3)Hug for Jordan, my 16-year-old granddaughter


I wrote this piece in 2003, but believe it is still relevant today. The drink being consumed by a woman does not have to be alcoholic. Women of any age in any setting should heed the advice in the following writing.

How can a girl protect  herself when a quick, underhanded move from a devious male slips a drug into her drink—even while she’s holding it?

  • Odorless, almost colorless, roofies or date rape drugs can be mixed in a drink without your knowledge. Perpetrators target unsuspecting victims, who become helpless once they consume the drugged drink. The amnestic effect allows the perpetrators to rob, rape, or otherwise harm the victim without the victim being able to remember exactly what happened, but the reminders can last for years.

She can do what is the difficult and impractical, because even a momentary distraction provides a perpetrator the instant he needs to sabotage her drink with physically and mentally disabling drugs such as gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and ketamine. She can—and must—monitor her beverage constantly.

These tasteless, colorless, odorless drugs render a woman severely impaired, even unconscious. Victims become vulnerable to sexual assaults they cannot remember, although they know something happened.

Other defenses include refusing drinks from strangers, drinking only beverages you open yourself, and using the buddy system.

Is that all a woman can do to protect herself?

Recently a business magazine article describing effective practices of new businesses informed me of another defense. The company produces a Date-Rape Drug Personal Test Kit. It includes a business-card sized test strip designed to (more…)

November 19, 2013

Gettysburg Address: 150th Birthday



and other


Today, the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, is also the 70th anniversary of a period of time that school children in Illinois pooled their pennies to purchase the Everett copy of that speech.

This copy is the only one of five existing copies that includes the phrase “under God.”*

The school children sacrificed their movie money and candy money for the cause, to raise the majority of the $60,000 needed to purchase one of the five known copies of the 272 word speech written in Lincoln’s hand.

“It meant something to us, being part of something like that,” said Gene Rubley, one of the students involved. “We were acquiring a piece of history.”*


I can attest to the fact that dealing with original documents has the effect of “acquiring a piece of history.” I’ve had the opportunity to handling such documents at the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) library in Worcester, Massachusetts; the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and the Lemoyne House in Washington, Pennsylvania. For the AAS and the Pennsylvania Historical Society you had to demonstrate a legitimate research project and participate in an orientation before being allowed to enter the hallowed halls to handle documents in the 1990-1824 time era of my under-construction historical romance novel.

Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia

I’ve handled documents on handwritten parchment, on paper so thin as to make them unreadable because the black ink produces a double exposure effect. Some of the documents have beautifully handcrafted script, while others may be totally undecipherable.

Old original deeds in the Ellsworth Maine courthouse have similar characteristics.

Perhaps the most impressive of documents I’ve examined was found in (more…)

November 18, 2013

Happy Wives Club…Do You Qualify?



Hugs for Diane and Tom


We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. —Sam Keen

I’m shamelessly cutting and pasting a blurb from the Happy Wives Club website, for today’s post. After all, I’ve been immersed for years in couples (and families) involved in domestic violence. How nice it is to see another side.


First, there were the Stepford Wives.  Then came the Desperate Housewives of Wisteria Lane.  Followed by the “Real Housewives” of Orange County, Atlanta, Washingon D.C., New Jersey and New York.

Wives are miserable.  Marriages usually fail.  Husbands eventually cheat.  This is what so many have come to believe.  But this is not everyone’s reality.  It is certainly not mine.  I am a happy wife.  I love being married.  I adore my husband.  And I am not an anomaly.

Yes, there are some unhappy wives, marriages that end in divorce and husbands who are unfaithful.  But are they the majority?  We don’t believe they are and we’re setting out to prove it.

We’re searching for at least 1 million happy wives all over the world. Those like us who enjoy being a wife, absolutely adore their husband and are still head-over-heels in love.

Are you a Happy Wife?  If you are, just click here to ‘Join the Club’ or on the top of this page and give us your name, city, state and/or country.  That’s it.  It is that simple.  Once you’ve joined the ‘club,’ please invite your friends.  Together, we’ll get to 1 million members faster than you can say, “I Am a Happy Wife!”

Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile. —Franklin P. Jones


It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. —Friedrich Nietzsche

(A NaBloPoMo post)

November 17, 2013

Wallis Sands Beach, New Hampshire (Sept. 2013)

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hugs for Brenda, Maureen, Foster and the Tirrells


SEPTEMBER 24, 2013 IMG_3246E

September 24, 2013, our last day in New Hampshire, began slowly. We packed up the car, not expecting to return to that particular motel since it was time for us to move up the Maine coast.

At 10:40 a. m. we drove down route 1A to Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire. It was a road familiar to me from the days of my childhood when my grandfather, Albert Briskay, drove my sister and me, or my mother, who caught the bus, took my sister and me, to this small beach in Rye.


When we arrived there was an empty bus in the beach parking lot but only two people sitting at the far end of the beach. IMG_3794E

Determining that the tide was coming in and the sand area would disappear quickly I wrote “Goodby Wallis Sands” in the sand. I neglected to photo it.

Then Monte wandered to the southern breakwater rock wall while I shed my red pants to my bathing suit and took off down the beach.

Although the morning was crisp and  cool the sun poured its energy onto the sand and warmed my uplifted face. I walked the beach’s short length, partly on the damp sand, partly in the water. Half-way across were two smartly crafted sand castles, just above the high-tide water line. They reminded me of the temporary art my older sister and I used to create when we were on the beach over fifty years ago. IMG_3643E

At the far end I captured these birds:

IMG_3254EWandering deep into the water I realized I was overloaded with my towel and a small bag, so I walked to the dry sand to set them down. That’s when I noticed the couple sitting by the cement stairway wall.


The man was using a movie camera, and I realized I was probably a star in (more…)

November 16, 2013

Osprey and Seagull Photos



Hug for Fran



Osprey pictures taken in St. Lawrence County, New York.

First osprey:



Second osprey:


November 15, 2013

Birth…and Death

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hugs for Lena and her family


Birth and death are not two different states, but they are different aspects of the same state. There is as little reason to deplore the one as there is to be pleased over the other. —Mahatma Gandhi

We all know we walk life’s journey in the footsteps of generations of ancestors, and we leave our footsteps for generations of our descendants.

Sometimes, though, this knowledge is presented to us in a dramatic manner.


A child is God’s opinion that life should go on.—Anonymous

On November 13, 2013, 7# 13 oz. Samuel Patrick began his earthly life in Florida. Notably, he was born in birthing room #13 and weighed in at 7# 13 ½ oz.

All those 13s are dramatic enough for a young life to deal with.


For certain is death for the born And certain is birth for the dead; Therefore over the Thou shouldst not grieve. —Bhagavad Gita

During Samuel Patrick’s birthing his great grandmother, Lydia, about 6500 miles away, was entering her eternal life. About seven hours after he arrived she departed this world.

Lydia’s earthbound journey left 83 years of footsteps for Samuel to walk in.


Death is the privilege of human nature
And life without it were not worth our taking… —Elizabeth Fama

Birth and death. Welcome into your new lives, Samuel Patrick and Lydia.



A Baker’s Dozen List of Number Thirteen Facts


(A NaBloPoMo post)

November 14, 2013

Kristallnacht Service 2013 at Seton Hill University (PA)



Hug for Carolyn a. k. a. “Bink”




November 12, 2013

Burning synagogue on Kristallnacht in Nazi-Germany

Burning synagogue on Kristallnacht in Nazi-Germany

When Fritz Ottenheimer was asked what the most terrifying experience in his life was he didn’t have to think long.


  • Kristallnacht, literally, “Night of Crystal,” is often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass.” The name refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938, throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops.
  • Instigated primarily by Nazi Party officials and members of the SA (Sturmabteilungen: literally Assault Detachments, but commonly known as Storm Troopers) and Hitler Youth, Kristallnacht owes its name to the shards of shattered glass that lined German streets in the wake of the pogrom—broken glass from the windows of synagogues, homes, and Jewish-owned businesses plundered and destroyed during the violence.

Ottenheimer and three other Holocaust survivors, Yolanda Willis, Shulamit Bastacky, and  Solange Lebovitz, were acknowledged during the interfaith Kristallnacht memorial service at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Synagoge of Siegen, Germany, burning during Kristallnacht (9 November 1938) in Nazi-Germany

Synagoge of Siegen, Germany, burning during Kristallnacht (9 November 1938) in Nazi-Germany

Ottenheimer was 13 on November 9-10, 1938, when, across the Third Reich,  267 synagogues were burned, 700 Jewish businesses were looted, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps, and 91 Jews met death.

Early in the morning of November 10 a synagogue was blown up near his home. A few hours later there was a knock on the door. Two Gestapo were there to arrest his father.

Jews are being forced to walk with the star of David during the Kristallnacht in Nazi-Germany in the night of 9-10 november 1938

Jews are being forced to walk with the star of David during the Kristallnacht in Nazi-Germany in the night of 9-10 november 1938

“How could that happen?” he wondered. His father had committed no crime. “We did not know what was happening to us. I felt hurt, helpless, (more…)

November 13, 2013

First Snow Brings Out Santa & Mrs. Claus


Hug for Santa and Mrs. Claus



 (A NaBloPoMo post)



 Fresh fallen

Accumulated flakes

Wove a white blanket

Over a brown world.

The white world

Greets me in the morn’.

A new season dawns.


Tuesday morning, November 12, 2013, arrived white after a nightfall of snow. It emitted brilliance even under mostly gray skies.  Below are the first pictures of winter in Laurel Mountain Borough, in Ligonier Valley, in Southwestern Pennsylvania. IMG_1919E


November 10, 2013

Farewell to Polamalu’s Golden Locks



Hug to Troy Polamalu.


Say goodbye to the best hair in the NFL,* hair so valuable it is insured by a shampoo company for one million dollars.

At least, say goodbye to some of this valuable hair sprouting from Troy Polamalu’s hair follicles.

Young Polamalu fan

Young Polamalu fan

Why is Polamalu snipping off his valuable locks?

And why is the company that insures these locks allowing him to do this? After all, the company boasts that Polamalu’s legendary locks are “so ridiculously full and thick that end to end [his hair] spans 100 football fields.”

The insurance company MUST be allowing Polamalu to cut these locks but I wonder if they are putting limitations on the cut…I haven’t seen this issue in any of my research.

So why is Polamalu cutting his most valuable trademark hair?

Because he is a longtime, passionate, supporter of United States veterans he is uniting with the (more…)

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