January 11, 2014

WP Weekly Photo Challenge 1/3/2014: Beginning

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONSMovicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hug to Kirsten, Happy Birthday



The WP Photo Challenge for January 3, 2014, is beginning : This week’s theme might be obvious, but I couldn’t help it — it’s a simple and common word, yet can evoke very powerful, emotional images.

The first photo illustrates the beginning of a new day in the hills of the Laurel Mountain Ridge in Southwestern Pennsylvania. It was taken during a dawn photo-shoot at Kentuck Knob. However, this day there was no sunrise.


Also see The Sun Rises Over Boston, Massachusetts —another beginning of a day, a day when the sun did rise.

The second picture is a newborn baby (granddaughter Jordan, 16 years ago), just beginning her life here on Earth:

971207-21 OV SMITH, JORDAN

January 7, 2014

Pittsburgh’s 1/7/2014 Cold Snap is Vostok’s Heat Wave

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONSMovicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hugs for Sandy, Jordan and Alexis




NOTE: Perhaps I should have titled this post as LAUGHLINTOWN’S 1/7/2014 Cold Snap. From the Tribune-Review 1/8/2014 front page:

  • …before Tuesday morning was over, Laughlintown would realize its 15 minutes of fame when the National Weather Service proclaimed it the coldest spot in Southwestern Pennsylvania during a blast of frigid weather that sent temperatures across the nation plunging to levels not seen in two decades.
  • 39 degrees with the wind chill, according to the weather service,…Other places in Southwestern Pennsylvania were cold…but none were as frosty as Laughlintown, the sleepy, unincorporated village in Ligonier Township about 20 miles southeast of Greensburg and perched at the base of Laurel Mountain.

And, it must be noted, the sleepier borough of Laurel Mountain, our home site, is but a mile from the iconic Original Pie Shoppe, where the Trib reported a pre-dawn…ice, snow and minus-17 temperatures.

  • “It was so cold you felt like your eyeballs were going to freeze,” said (Sherry) Davis, a cashier at the shop (where) About 3:30 a.m., the temperature inside was just 46 degrees and, though the heat was on overnight, some pipes froze.

Although Some hardy souls just made the trip to stop at the post office for their mail my husband, Monte, who looks forward to doing that  each day, decided it was too cold (although he did take a short walk through the Borough). But going to the Laughlintown Post Office wasn’t easy. It was so cold the post office door was frozen solid. (Read more and view photos in the Trib report )


The media warned us for days about record-breaking chilly weather—Be prepared: Brief yet brutal cold arrives in Western PennsylvaniaThe National Weather Service in Moon issued a wind chill warning from 1 p.m. Monday through 10 a.m. Wednesday. Temperatures could drop as low as 8 to 15 degrees below zero Monday night, the coldest Pittsburgh has experienced in at least five years. Combined with wind gusts of up to 20 mph, the air could feel as cold as 25 to 40 degrees below zero. *

Perhaps any person living at Russia’s Vostok research base or in one of the many pockets within the heart of Antarctica would consider the coming weather a heat wave. At Vostok the official planetary record low temperature, minus 128.6o Fahrenheit (F) occurred on July 21, 1983. That record was broken on August 10, 2010, when, In the pockets of Antarctica, the temperature plunged to minus 135.8o F.

I watched the weather yesterday, Monday January 6, 2014.  My husband Monte noted that at 1:00 a. m. the temperature was 47o F. At 9:00 a. m it reached 28o F, and pretty much remained there until early evening when it slowly slid lower. Still, it remained in the 20s when I last looked at 11:00 p. m.

The wind didn’t seem two bad here except for two gusts around midnight. A cat curled up on my lap arose and looked out the window when it heard the gusts throoshing along our driveway.

  • It was so cold the dogs were wearing cats and the rats were bribing the alley cats for a snuggle.**

My friend Fred and my sister Lee called before I went to bed. It was 20o F. in Huntsville, Alabama. “The heat pump doesn’t work well in this cold,” he said. Later I wondered: But was it snowing? I hadn’t thought to ask Fred. Below is an undated picture he sent me:

Yes, it does indeed snow in Huntsville, Al. (Pix sent to me from Fred)

Yes, it does indeed snow in Huntsville, Al. (Pix sent to me from Fred)

My sister said two feet of snow had fallen in a very few hours. She planned on staying inside during the cold blast.

She called again this morning.

“There’s a (more…)

May 31, 2013

Tenant Connects Phone in 10-year-old’s Name




PA…Identity theft suspect used identifying information of a 5-year-old child…to open telephone and Internet service…incurring a bill of $941/32. After suspect was identified by state police, victims declined to prosecute.1    

The report reminded me of former tenants  (I’ll call them Phil and Rose) who rented the efficiency apartment in the basement of our home, which was also rented out. We lived an hour away due to my husband’s work.

We also owned a four-apartment building down the hill from the house.

Almost immediately after they moved in we received complaints about the couple from renters in the house and tenants in the apartment building. Allegedly, the husband had beat the wife, and she ran screaming down the hill to the apartment building  and left bloody handprints on the wall of the inside corridor.

The violence disrupted the lives of the house tenant.  One of them stayed up all night because they had heard threats of arson during the couple’s fighting.

“I’ll burn this house down like (more…)

April 16, 2013

Daily Prompt 4/14/2013: 7 New Words Used in Sentence


WP DAILY PROMPT 4/14/2013:


Over the past few months I’ve collected a list of words that are new to me. I will list six and attempt to use them in one sentence.

  1. CATBIRD SEAT: an idiomatic phrase used to describe an enviable position, often in terms of having the upper hand or greater advantage in all types of dealings among parties.*
  2. PORTIERE: a heavy curtain hung across a doorway
  3. VERDURE: greenness, especially of fresh, flourishing vegetation.
  4. CELERITY: rapidity, swiftness, speed
  5. JEREMIAD: a long literary work, usually in prose, but sometimes in verse, in which the author bitterly laments the state of society and its morals in a serious tone of sustained invective, and always contains a prophesy of society’s imminent downfall.
  6. CADASTRAL: A cadastral map is (more…)

March 12, 2013

New Words: Dit and Quatorziens

Filed under: New Words — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am
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In researching fear of number thirteen I came across the word quatorziens. In genealogy materials in my file, received from my good friend Peg, I came across the word dit.
Both words, being French, fit well with my genealogy research and my novel background.
quatoriziens: French professionals who made themselves available to be a fourteenth guest at the dinner table in order to save the gathering from (more…)

February 2, 2013

February Welcome Message

To subscribe to CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS, a multi-genre online magazine, type your e-mail address in the E-mail Subscription box to the right of this post. —>
You will receive an e-mail from WordPress asking you to confirm the subscription. Say yes, you accept, to receive e-mail notification of each new post.
NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published. Thanks for visiting
anniversary-2xFebruary 2: Since Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow we can expect an early spring (had he seen his shadow we would expect six more weeks of winter). This in weather that wind chill makes 10 degrees F. Just a note: there was a tremendous response to my Groundhog Day post, which gave the top three days of post views in the history of my blog.
Speaking of its history, I received a comment from WordPress on Groundhog Day::
Happy Anniversary!
 You registered on 5 years ago! Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

January is now history. I enjoyed hibernating—which offered an opportunity to catch up on cleaning, writing, and rest following the holidays. It also allows me to limit contact with the virulent flu bugs.
I made several batches of soup and froze them for busy days.
Since I didn’t get my tree up until Christmas morning, I left it up to enjoy—redecorated with snowmen and Valentines—until February 15.
I plan to continue decluttering—at last what I’m doing is showing progress now.
Something strange happened in January: Monte was hit with a solid case of poison ivy/oak. He’d had a rash that continued to get worse, and of course, it being January and cold we never considered poison ivy. However, one Sunday he was driving west of Ligonier (PA) and just over the crest of a hill he came across a tree stretched across the road. He backtracked, pulled to the side of the road, and exited the car. Just as he walked to the tree another car pulled up, and then a state trooper, who turned on the flashing lights on his vehicle. The three of them managed to remove the tree. Monte was at the top of the tree, and remembers wilted growth there. He wore no gloves because the day was warm. Anyway, he was miserable for several weeks.
The news is redundant—a new female entered our family at the end of December—the third year in a row where we have added a new member to our family. Watch for the coming post on the new adoptee.
I want to focus your attention on a political issue—opening adoption records for adult adoptees, enabling them to obtain their original birth certificates. Please pass these links on to anyone you know, send them to people on your email list, and/or post them on your FaceBook pages.

Sign to Support Adoptee Rights to Their Original Birth Certificates

Pennsylvania House Bill 162: Adult Adoptees Right to Access Original Birth Certificate

Adoptees Right to Original Birth Certificate in Pennsylvania


January 15, 2013

Daily Post: 32 Flavors…of Writing Resolutions Part 2


Two items came to the fore consecutively. The title of the WordPress Daily Prompt was 32 Flavors. A writing article, Thirty-One Writing-Related Resolutions, with one resolution added, could become 32 Flavors of Writing.
Below is Part 2 of my evaluating the 31 New Year’s resolutions (plus one) in terms of my 2013 writing goals. Resolutions with a singles star denote what I accept as my 2013 Writing Resolutions. Items with a double star are already a part of my writing philosophy.
If you are a writer, evaluate your 2013 goals as you read. Post your conclusions and comments in the comment box at the end of this post.
To read Part 1 click on Daily Post: 32 Flavors…of Writing Resolutions start writing...

…to start writing…

17. Get Organized* ** I don’t need to file financial records (making no money) or queries. I do need to adequately file the papers I’ve gathered on the novel background. Fortunately, most of that is done—filing and research. Keeping it accurately filed is problematic.

18. Read Your Mentors*
I’ve been reading a number of books, not necessarily my favorite authors, but books related to my novel’s historical background. One reading was Enoch Arden by Tennyson, whose story line matches almost exactly the story line of two of my characters (note that my story line is historical, from (more…)

January 13, 2013

Daily Post: 32 Flavors…of Writing Resolutions


Part 1

Two items came to the fore consecutively. The title of the WordPress Daily Prompt was 32 Flavors. A writing article, Thirty-One Writing-Related Resolutions, with one resolution added, could become 32 Flavors of Writing.
Below is Part 1 of my evaluating the 31 New Year’s resolutions (plus one) in terms of my 2013 writing goals. Resolutions with a singles star denote what I accept as my 2013 Writing Resolutions. Items with a double star are already a part of my writing philosophy.
If you are a writer, evaluate your 2013 goals as you read. Post your conclusions and comments in the comment box at the end of this post. start writing...

…to start writing…

  1. Write Daily.* **
    Last year I intended to complete the first (and perhaps successive) drafts of my novel. Life, however, had other ideas, and walloped me with exhausting happenings which sapped my energy took so much that I chose to concentrate on writing shorter, less demanding pieces rather than stressing myself out writing the intense historical novel.
    I prided myself on maintaining CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS throughout all the crises. And I managed to write something most days, even if it was only journaling.
  2. Self-Edit* **
    Due to much of my previous work I find myself self-editing as I write, but even more-so with second or third drafts. My intention on Carolyn’s Creations is not to have extremely polished work (the kind I send to editors) because I’d never finish most pieces doing so. My intention is to self-edit to a reasonable degree (and correct errors when readers point them out).
  3. Try New Genres* **
    Facilitating (or belonging to) a writers group forces me to partake of genres which I might not enjoy. Posting on Carolyn’s Creations allows me an outlet where I practice different genres. I believe my writing is improved by practicing a variety of writing styles.
  4. Get Educated*  **In writing a historical novel and historical pieces accuracy is a must. To attain accuracy one must research, thus gaining education. Primary sources are the best to use.
  5. Add a Subscription
    Subscribe to a new writing newsletter or magazine or choose a publication in a field you frequently write about to stay up on the latest trends.*** I’ll reject this resolution because I already subscribe to several writing newsletters and my time constraints prevent me from doing more.
  6. Go Query Crazy
    Queries can be quick to write, so write more of them. Aim to have a certain number circulating at all times…*** I’ll reject this resolution also. Since I’m concentrating on writing my historical romance novel my writing energies will not be in marketing writing pieces to magazines and other publications.
  7. Embrace the Internet* **
    This is a continuing effort on my part. I have three writing blogs—CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS, INTERTWINED LOVE, and a blog on the Ellsworth American newspaper in Maine. This is an attempt to develop my name as a writer so that when (or if) my book is published I have name recognition.
  8. Think Outside the Border* **
    I think beyond the border for future book marketing ideas. In so doing I am preparing several different power point presentations to use with groups, and am developing a game booklet to share with people in the groups.
  9. Attend a conference.*  **Choose a writing conference that will build your skills and provide networking opportunities.***
  10. Get Critical* Rather, get critiquable.**
    I’ve belonged to critique groups since the mid-1990s, and have facilitated the Beanery Writers Group in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, for six years. I don’t like the word critical because it implies (more…)

January 6, 2013

New Words: Drub and Sobriquet

Filed under: New Words — carolyncholland @ 3:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,



While doing his daily puzzles my husband Monte asked me if I could define sobriquet. I couldn’t, so I looked it up:


If people start calling you “Mac” because you like to eat macaroni and cheese for every meal, then you not only have a strange diet, but you also have a sobriquet — in other words, a nickname.

A sobriquet (soh-bri-kay is a nickname, sometimes assumed, but often given by another. It is usually a familiar name, distinct from a pseudonym, assumed as a disguise, but a nickname which is familiar enough such that it can be used in place of a real name without the need of explanation. This salient characteristic is of sufficient familiarity that the sobriquet can become more familiar than the original name. For example, Genghis Khan, who is rarely recognized now by (more…)

January 3, 2013

Redoing Bedrooms: What Fun It Is



In February 2012 an infant girl my mother released for adoption sixty-three years ago contacted me through this online magazine, CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS. Recently she sent me an email and agreed I could post it. I’d told her I would do so without including her name.

Do you recall me telling you in an e-mail about a month ago that it’s redecorating time? Someone needs to have me committed. Permanently.

This all started after seeing the nicely tiled master bath in my married son’s new house and my husband watching too many home improvement shows on Sundays.

After both of us agreeing that our master bath of twenty-two years needs a make-over, off we went to Lowe’s and bought a couple of tile samples that we liked. We also looked at new vanities and decided we don’t need two sinks—one will do nicely. We also decided we weren’t going to spend $1000 on a new vanity top made of granite.

I said it’s likely to be a winter project. Of course, my husband and I are among those who cringe at the thought of paying to have someone do what we can do ourselves.

With that project put on hold until early next year, your brilliant sister’s thoughts turned elsewhere (you’re likely to disavow me after reading this). There was something I’ve wanted to do for about two years now: (more…)

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