December 14, 2013

Trimming the Old Apple Tree



Hug for Nolan


After we enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner I told my husband it was time—time to trim back the old apple tree, leaning precariously with heavy branches sprouting a maze of smaller branches. I was concerned it might become top heavy if attacked by wet winter precipitation.
Monte hadn’t wanted to trim it back so far earlier. He wanted the apple crop. He also was concerned that trimming it would ruin the tree. However, new sprouts grew on the springtime tree trimming.
“We’ll cut it back in the fall,” he said.
With my son Nolan was here for the holiday I reminded Monte that he should trim the tree. He acquiesced. He knew I wasn’t going to back down this time.
And, of course, I had my camera ready. The first photo shows the lone apple that survived to its ripe old age in not so great condition. It was the best of our skimpy almost non-existent crop. It fell to the ground with the first branch.



Did he expect the following after this, our typical crop?


As it turned out, Nolan did most of the trimming with his father’s assistance. My, how things change from when (more…)

December 10, 2012

Have a need? Contact Carolyn Holland…



            This post will cause some people to say I have too much time on my hands. Not so…but sometimes it’s just interesting to take a break and research something that is off the wall.

Needing a break, I decided to research my name, Carolyn Holland. Yes, there are many of us, and our talents are as varied as our locations.

But first, what about the name Carolyn?

It’s English meaning is joy, song of happiness, and feminine manly. Its American meaning is Strong. An Italian feminine form of Charles.

People with this name have a deep inner need for quiet, and a desire to understand and analyze the world they live in, and to learn the deeper truths…Its Expression Number is 7…they are excellent at analyzing, understanding, and learning. They tend to be mystics, philosophers, scholars, and teachers. Because they live so much in the mind, they tend to be quiet and introspective, and are usually introverts. When presented with issues, they will see the larger picture. Their solitary thoughtfulness and analysis of people and world events may make them seem aloof, and sometimes even melancholy.1

Holland is a toponomical surname indicative of originating in the Dutch region of Holland, the Netherlands, or the English region of Holland, Lincolnshire. It ‘s also an Anglicized version of Ó hUallacháin (or Houlihan or Holohan) and is a common surname on the Beara Peninsula in southwestern County Cork, Ireland. It is also found in places where Beara immigrants settled, such as Butte, Montana and southeastern Massachusetts.2


     Call on Carolyn Holland if you need…

  • If I need an executive coach while I’m in      Massachusetts…

Carolyn Holland is a senior corporate trainer and executive coach who combines business experience with professional theater training. She spent seven years at Morgan Stanley, where she facilitated meetings of senior managers and developed and delivered a software implementation program. Carolyn has facilitated programs for leaders in major companies, and has led workshops at the Executive Education Programs at Harvard, Duke, and Columbia Business Schools. She developed and taught the Introduction to an Improvisation Workshop in Rome, NY, and has been involved in several presentation workshops around the globe.

Her professional acting training includes schools in Boston and the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Her favorite stage credits include Agnes of God and The Dining Room.

Carolyn spent a semester in French Studies in Paris, holds a BS in Physics from Tufts University, and currently makes her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.3

  • If my grandchild has a medical emergency in Ohio…

Dr. Carolyn K Holland, MD, Med, is an attending Physician, Division of Emergency Medicine and an Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her residency was in (more…)

November 16, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Thousand Words



As I flipped through my photo file searching for something I came across a few pictures that fit the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. I thought I’d post them even though it is a recent challenge, not of this week.

Do the following photographs “say a thousand words?”


October 21, 2012

Bells Ring Out from Southminster Church Tower



from the


(Mt. Lebanon, PA)


Bell encased in Wesley United Methodist Church (Connellsville, PA) bell tower

In great, metallic waves of sound, the bells of Southminster Presbyterian Church in Mt. Lebanon rang out Saturday for their 10th anniversary celebration.1

I missed the October 6, 2012, event. In fact, I was totally unaware of it until I read it in the newspaper the day after it occurred. However, I would have enjoyed attending.

Church bells were introduced into my life twice.


During the three years my husband Monte and I lived in Stone Mountain, Georgia, I joined my good friend Shirl in the St. Timothy United Methodist Church bell choir.

Shirl and her husband Wayne moved to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, the same year Monte and I did. We met and became such fast friends that we considered our relationship as family. However, they moved to Stone Mountain in the late 1970s.

In 1982 Monte decided to attend Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. We located in Stone Mountain because of Shirl and Wayne, and we began attending St. Timothy United Methodist Church with them.

I’m not musical at all. However, playing the bells is a matter of being able to read the music (that I can do to a sufficient degree to participate), counting—that is, knowing on what count to ring the bell, along with a few other finesse details that don’t involve the ear. As one of the Southminster bell ringers said, It’s fun, it’s really an intellectual game,

Of course, ringing the bells at St. Timothy’s differed from the ringing of the eight bells at Southminster, which were not lying on a table but were located in the bell tower. They were all cast between 1814 and 2000 in London by the same foundry that made the Liberty Bell and Big Ben…1 The bells weren’t rung in the traditional church-bell ringing style. The particular style used at Southminster originated in England and used several people in the bell tower who swung the bells through a full 360-degree circle, creating a continuous wall of sound… Standing in a circle in the bell tower, the ringers pulled eight ropes that lead to the loft above, where the bells rest, open-side-up, attached to huge wheels. When the ropes are pulled, the wheels turn, and the bells swing and ring.

By speeding up or slowing down how fast they pulled, the ringers changed where their bell sounded in the sequence. The resulting wave of sound seemed like it’s undulating, rising and falling without a discernible tune.1

The anniversary celebration peaked Sunday afternoon, when the group attempted a “peal:” a three-hour-long cycle through all possible arrangements of the eight bells.


Which brings me to my next bell experience, which didn’t include any bell-ringing. Frank, Dan and I ascended the church tower at Wesley United Methodist Church in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, to visit its bell and to view and shoot (with photographs, not guns) the city.

Figuring that it would be dirty ascending and it would be windy and cold high up in the bell tower, so I layered my clothes. I was correct about the dirt. It came with the territory, so to speak.

We came to the bell (pictured above). It was (more…)

October 18, 2012

For Whom Does the Bell Toll?



A Photographic Story of Victory

in the




Carolyn Cornell Holland

Curtis Franks

and witness Daniel Omatick

Curt and Dan assisted Carolyn in climbing 85 feet up the ladder to the bell tower of Wesley United Methodist Church in Connellsville, Pennsylvania.

The bell is neat, they agreed, examining it.

But Frank was distracted…his real intent is to dispose of the Carolyn, the pastor’s wife. Where is she?

He spots her in the corner. Where, oh where, can I find a weapon? He looks down…What a find! What a perfect weapon this is to do Carolyn in. (more…)

October 11, 2012

The 2012-2013 Weather Prediction from the Woolly Worm & Accuweather




Two weeks ago when my friend Mary visited me she brought with her disastrous news: the 2012-2013 winter weather will be severe.

She’d seen a wooly worm. And it was all black.


This woolly bear predicts a mild mid-winter and quite unmild season ends

In our neck of the woods (Southwestern Pennsylvania) the woolly worm is an autumn insect that can tell us what to expect in the coming winter weather.  What we refer to as the woolly worm is more accurately called the Banded Woolly Bear, the larval stage of the moth Pyrrharctia isabella. It’s common name, woolly bear, refers to its long, thick, fur-like hairs called setae

  • seta is a biological term derived from the Latin      word for bristle- or hair-like structures on living organisms (setae      is plural).4

The woolly bear is a copper color with varying bands of black that supposedly tell a story. This insect is found in many cold regions, including the Arctic. The banded woolly bear larva emerges from an egg in the fall and overwinters in its caterpillar form. During the winter it literally freezes solid. First its heart stops beating, then its gut freezes, then its (more…)

October 9, 2012

Navy White Coming to Town



Soon I’ll no longer have to travel to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to see the white coats. That’s because the white coats are coming…to Moon.

Moon, Pennsylvania, that is.

I’ll only have to travel ninety minutes to be surrounded by white uniforms when a new Navy Operational Support Center opens in Moon., Pennsylvania, in February 2014. The ground breaking ceremony was held on October 6 at the 911th Air Force Reserve.1

Growing up in Portsmouth I lived among Navy personnel stationed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The presence of white uniforms was the norm, nothing special. At the time, my uncle, John (Jack) Walker Briskay, was enlisted in the Navy. I remember how attractive he was in his white uniform.

Then when I was eleven years old we (more…)

October 2, 2012

In the News: A Calf, A Pig, and An Osprey



What do a calf, a pig, and an osprey have in common?

They endanger—or point out danger to—humans, according to three news stories in the October 2, 2012, issue of the Greensburg Tribune-Review:

  • A calf points to the danger of abandoned mine shafts.
  • A farmer may not be safe from bodily harm inflicted by his pig.
  • An osprey may endanger airplanes in flights.


From Ligonier Township in Southwestern Pennsylvania1

When a calf fell into a mine shaft his mother allegedly saved its life by acting out of character, drawing the attention of the owners.

Dozens of firefighters did a great job in rescuing the calf, which was possibly in the shaft up to twenty-four hours. They removed the bucket from a backhoe and replaced it with a nylon sling, which was lowered into the shaft (estimated to be eighteen feet deep with a diameter of forty inches), and carefully looped around the calf and hooked to the backhoe. This allowed the rescuers to hoist the animal out of the shaft.1

What this calf incident demonstrates is the danger of abandoned mineshafts. Its story brings to mind the myriad of incidents where underground mining a century ago is resulting in sinkholes today, sinkholes that swallow up cars and endanger structures—and lives.


From Oregon: Farmer eaten by his hogs, authorities say2

Is it cannibalism if you eat pork from a hog shortly after it ingests a human being?

This question occurred to me after I read this short article stating Oregon authorities are investigating how a farmer was eaten by his hogs…2

Allegedly a seventy-year-old farmer set out to feed the hogs, which later on were found in their enclosure, licking their chops (italicized are my words) and surrounded by pieces of the man’s body and the man’s dentures. What happened?

Perhaps the farmer…had a medical emergency, such as a heart attack, or was knocked over by the animals before he was killed.2 Or perhaps the hogs were exacting (more…)

September 30, 2012

Making Sandwiches with Doughnuts, Not Bread?



You gotta be crazy!

 It’s afternoon. The children are famished. ‘Burgers are on the menu—the patties are prepared and cooking. The tomatoes, shredded lettuce, mayonnaise are laid out on the table. Suddenly you realize you neglected to get the ‘burger buns from the refrigerator.

You open the refrigerator door and look in. Nowhere are there any buns. What to do? ‘Burgers require bread.

On the counter there are six glazed doughnuts in a white bakery box with red lettering. Your husband bought a dozen of them this morning.

I recall recently reading the online magazine New England Travel from Kim Knox Beckius. In this particular issue she reported about the Craz-E Burger1, a hamburger sandwich made with glazed doughnuts instead of ‘burger buns.

Yes, I considered it crazy, but desperate times call for desperate measures, as the cliché goes. I wondered if it wasn’t a similar situation that the influenced the creator of the Craz-E Burger to consider substituting glazed doughnuts for bread when making creating the his ‘burger. Kim Knox Beckius wrote the following:

The Craz-E Burger was the gooiest, craziest, most decadent dish at the 2009 Big E…Want to know the truth? It’s pretty tasty.

To try this bacon cheeseburger on a glazed donut bun for yourself, head to the Big E, which runs September 14 through 30, 2012, in West Springfield, Massachusetts.1

The post had jiggled my imagination. Were there other sandwiches out there that substituted glazed—or any other kind of doughnut or breakfast treat—for bread?

Yup—I found more. First there was the Doughnut (more…)

September 27, 2012

I’m Angry at My Adult Daughter



In August my daughter Sandy did something that made me angry. And I may never forgive her.

Like most mothers, there have been times my child has made me angry.  Not often but it has happened. At least, I think it’s happened. I can’t recall an instance of being angry with her. She wasn’t perfect, but when something happened we dealt with it and moved on.

Sandy, now at the beginning of her fourth decade, is mother to an upcoming fifteen-year-old. They live around the corner from me, and we get along just fine. If I need something, she shares. If she needs something, I share. It’s a healthy relationship that’s becoming richer as we age. But as I am the older generation, I tell her I am better and wiser.

One of my para-professional interests is photography. When I worked at the Fay-West (Tribune-Review weekly insert) newspaper they had a feature photo on the front page. There were times I would trump my photographer/editor’s photo. He once told me that someone at the main office asked him who the new photographer was.  I’d like to think I’m a decent photographer.

I’ve taken thousands of pictures, although I haven’t entered them in competitions. This August I decided I would enter some in the Westmoreland Fair (Greensburg, Pennsylvania). Sandy had just returned from a vacation to Boston (which didn’t help the later situation any since we unhappily decided to postpone our New England trip this year) and decided to enter a photograph she took at Cheers Bar (again, this didn’t help because one of my favorite programs is Cheers and I’ve never been to the bar).

Since she had plans I offered to take her single photograph, along with my eight photographs, to the fair on entry day. However, I gave her a caveat: her “back and white thing” category photo wasn’t to trump my photo entered in that same category.

When my husband and I went to the fair several days later we checked out the photo competition. Of my eight photos I pulled a third place (black and white animals), two fifths (color animals and place), and one honorable mention (place).

And (more…)

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