Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/congmicj/cathyconger.com/wp-includes/query.php on line 751

As a writer, needle artist and photographer, I invite you to share my pursuits with me on this site. Among other things, there is a weekly post called “D-mail” that examines the spiritual meaning in current stories, both personal and news events.  I invite your comments at  cathycongerblog@gmail.com

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.”  N. Platt

Minnesota farm after a thunderstorm

Minnesota farm after a thunderstorm

Boe Chapel St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

Boe Chapel St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

Puffins nesting on Haystack Rock - Cannon Beach

Puffins nesting on Haystack Rock - Cannon Beach

Sundown at Cannon Beach

Sundown at Cannon Beach

Oregon coast on rainy day

Oregon coast on rainy day

Oregon Coast near Cannon beach

Oregon Coast near Cannon beach

Oregon coastal highway

Oregon coastal highway

view of beach from Oregon coastal highway

view of beach from Oregon coastal highway

Estuary on rainy day - Oregon coast

Estuary on rainy day - Oregon coast

Oysters for lunch anyone?

Oysters for lunch anyone?

My son and his wife at U of Oregon

My son and his wife at U of Oregon

Sweet Cheeks Vineyard near Eugene, OR

Sweet Cheeks Vineyard near Eugene, OR

After the storm - Minnesota

After the storm - Minnesota

Pacific coast - Cannon Beach, OR

Pacific coast - Cannon Beach, OR

My grandchildren

My grandchildren

Snow covered Long's Peak viewed from my son's balcony

Snow covered Long

Fountain in rose garden in Portland, OR

Fountain in rose garden in Portland, OR

A rosebud in Portland

A rosebud in Portland

Sun through the clouds over Long's peak

Sun through the clouds over Long

For 10 days the end of May Chuck and I took my parents (who are from Pittsburgh) on a car trip to see the sights of nature they had never seen.  We flew to Denver, rented a car, spent three days sightseeing and visiting with our son, Michael and his wife, Kim and 2 kids, Katie and Andy arounf their stomping grounds near Denver.  We saw the garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and then rode the cog wheel train up Pike’s Peak.

After that, Mom and Dad, Chuck, and I drove over the Rockies through Vail, Glenwood Springs, and Grand Junction into Utah.  There we saw Arches national Park, Capitol National Park and the sights along Utah Hwy 12.  Then we visited the amazing Bryce Canyon National Park and on to Zion National Park (my favorite).  We crossed the desert through the Navajo reservation and on into Arizona where we met up with Chuck’s brother and his wife at the Grand Canyon.  Wow!  After that we made our way down through Sedona and Prescott Valley

where we visited friends from Wisconsin Rapids now retired there.  We flew home from Phoenix having shot 1700 photos!!  But don’t worry, I’ve spent all summer editing them down to a reasonable amount.  Hope you enjoy seeing them.  They can be accessed by going to the following website:

www.flickr.com/photos/congerfamily

These first two photos I took of the full moon last night at about 9:30 pm.  I used a Canon Power Shot camera for all of these photos. I shot the moon with the night camera setting.  I took the remaining photos two weeks ago when I was babysitting my grandchildren who live near Boulder, Colorado. As it was over 100 degrees every day, we spent a lot of time at their pool.  Further north, outside of Ft. Collins, a huge forest fire was blazing.  We saw evidence of it in the smoke across the sky that ironically produced the beautiful sunset you see in the photo just before the ones of the children.  Enjoy!

very possibly retirement condos?

Sheboygan Riverwalk -very possibly retirement condos?

For my husband’s birthday, we took a four day trip to the Siebken’s Resort in Elkhart Lake, WI.  I think you’ll agree that this little lake is a gem!  Siebkens is nestled between 2 larger resorts along Elkhart lake, all of which date back to the turn of the 20th century when tourists came up from Chicago and Milwaukee on the train.

Our weather was perfect, there was a heavenly breeze, and the water temperature was ideal.  We ate all of our meals al fresco along the lake at some of the many restaurants there.  Very few tourists were there because school had started most places, so we had a quiet, restful time.

Our last day we drove a few miles to Sheboygan, WI on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Sheboygan is the Bratwurst Capital of the USA and Chuck looooves a great brat.  We ate at a restaurant waterside along the Riverwalk, Sheboygan’s lovely development of shops, restaurants, condominiums, and marinas along the Sheboygan River just before it empties into Lake Michigan.

Osthof Resort walkway in Elkhart lake

Osthof Resort walkway in Elkhart lake

cardinals survived the storm

cardinals survived the storm

buck at neighbor's backyard feeder
buck at neighbor

Buck at neighbor’s feeder 

a farm on the way to Neilsville
a farm on the way to Neilsville

 

There's a sidewalk under here somewhere!
There

There’s a sidewalk under here somewhere! 

Collapsed Metrodome in Minneapolis 

Last weekend my husband, Chuck,  and I were to have driven from home in Wisconsin Rapids (central WI) to Stillwater, MN for a 3 day get-away.  I was really looking forward to a few days relaxation, enjoying the Christmas spirit, food, decorations, etc. in the touristy town of Stillwater, along the Mississippi River south of St. Paul.  We had reservations at a romantic bed and breakfast.  Saturday morning I awoke to 8 new inches of snow on the ground on top of the 5 inches we’d gotten the week before.  It was so pretty! I dressed in a Christmas sweater to attend a luncheon.

I had done a tablescape for one of the tables at our annual hospital auxilliary luncheon and was anxious to get over to the golf club where the luncheon was being held.  It is always a festive event with raffle prizes donated by area businesses, a lovely meal, 40 decorated tables, and local entertainment.  Chuck promised to be ready to leave for Stillwater as soon as I got home from the luncheon. 

When I came out to the parking lot after the luncheon to load my decorations into the car, the snow was falling pretty hard.  However, when I got home, my husband said he wasn’t alarmed.  We had an SUV and would be just fine.  So we left.  That was at two pm.  As we headed west, the snow got worse.  About an hour into the trip I discovered that I hasd forgottn my medicine kit!  I couldn’t get through 3 days without it.  By this time we were pulling into Neilsville and could barely see.  The wind was howling.  After a fruitless search for a pharmacy (my husband is a doctor and could write me a Rx for a few days’ meds) , we decided to push on to Eau Claire where there would be a 24 hour drug store open.

Besides the heavy, blowing snow, it was now dark at 4 pm.  The country road from Neilsville to the interstate 94 entrance in Osseo was deserted.  I was getting scared because the snow seemed to be piling up faster than even our SUV could plow through.  A snow plow passed us going the other direction, so we drove on that side of the road where it was plowed.  “Don’t worry,” my husband said, “We’ll be at the interstate in a few miles and it will be fine after that.”  By 5:30 we came up on Osseo.  We couldn’t believe the sight before our eyes.  Over 75 semi trucks were parked in the parking lots of the Stockman’s Supply, the gas stations, and the four restaurants.  Barrels were across the entrance to the interstate and state police cars were enforcing the closure.  Cars were left stranded in snow banks all over the place.  We looked at each other.  There went our romantic get-away.  Instead, we crept forward past the traffic mess to try to reach the motel on the other side.  I prayed they hadn’t already sold out all their rooms.

At the Osseo Motel, the unplowed parking lot was littered with cars stuckor spinning on the ice.  I got out and walked down the hill from the road to the motel office, the wind nearly picking me up off the ground with each step.  Inside the office, two desk clerks were doing their best for all of us stranded travelers.  I procured one of the last rooms.  The clerk was telling those behind me in line that the town had opened up the high school to house the stranded “refugees” from the storm.  Nobody knew when the interstate would be re-opened but the snow was predicted to stop by 6 am.  Meanwhile my husband had helped move several cars in the parking lot and shovel out some parking spaces.  Looking like the abominable snowman, his beard caked in snow and dragging our suitcase, my darling came through the door of the office.  We were safe. Snowed in at the less than romantic Osseo Motel.

The only food available was at the bar, where the football game and the weather were on the Tvs.  The tables were full, but there was a sense of comeraderie, as there is during most crises, and a young couple offered to share their table with us.  They said the burgers and fries were pretty good.  For the next hour we chatted and ate and made calls to those who needed to know our condition and plans.  Our daughter and son-in-law in St. Paul, once they’d told us that we were crazy, told us that everything in the Twin Cities was shut down tight - not even busses were running.  We agreed to meet Sunday afternoon if the roads were open.   Then we were ready to collapse in bed.  Unfortunately, the room was bare bones, 2 double beds, a small TV, a coat rack with a few bent hangers, and a tiny bathroom.  Despite lousy pillows and hard mattresses, it was warm, although the heater that provided that heat clanked loudly on and whooshed off about everry fifteen minutes all night.  The hamburger did not agree with me and I was up most of the night ,while my exhausted husband snored away.  I didn’t have my night time pills and my ear plugs were…you guessed it…in my medicine kit.  I was glad someone was getting some sleep anyway while I laid there listening to the wind whistling and howling ouside.

In the morning, the sun shone brightly and we could hear the sounds of many snowplows and snowblowers at work.  By the time we got our car ready to go, I still didn’t feel well and they still had not cleared much away in Stillwater, so we decided to head home.  The trip that had taken us 4 hours the day before, now took us the usual one and a half hours!  The B&B kept one night’s fee of our money and we were awfully disappointed, but happy to be back in our own beds Sunday night.  We used the free days to decorate our Christmas tree, wrap some presents, and do the last of our local shopping.  And now, as my mother-in-law always used to say, we had a good story to tell at our next dinner party!  And we sure don’t have to hope for a white Christmas.  We have 25 inches of it!   Above are some photos of the sights we saw during the December blizzard of 2010.

My parents, my husband and I stayed two days in Portland after the wedding to sightsee.  Here are a few photos of what we saw.  I haven’t mastered the process of posting photos in the right order yet so a few are out of order.  I’ll have a few more to post later.

Photo below is my husband and father eyeing the bridge across Multnomah Falls.                                    Who’s up for the climb on the path up the mountain to the bridge?  

 

Fisherman on Willamette River
Fisherman on Willamette River

Path through autumn wood on Sauvie Island

Path through autumn wood on Sauvie Island

Multnomah Falls in Columbia River basin east of Portland

Multnomah Falls in Columbia River basin east of Portland

Falling water at Multnomah Falls in Oregon

Falling water at Multnomah Falls in Oregon

Our outing to the pumpkin patch on Sauvie Island in Willamette River
Our outing to the pumpkin patch on Sauvie Island in Willamette River

Me sniffing a prize rose at the Rose Garden in Portland’s Washington Park 

 

Portland skyline taken from Washington Park - Mt. Hood in background

 

 

I took this photo at my son’s wedding.

 
 Here is a heart warming photo.
A Nativity Scene was erected in a church yard. During the night some folks came across this scene.

An abandoned dog was looking for a comfortable, protected place to sleep. He chose baby Jesus as his comfort.
No one had the heart to send him away so he was there all night.
We should all have the good sense of this dog and curl up in Jesus’ lap from time to time.

No one mentioned that the dog breed is “Shepherd!”

“DRENCH  YOURSELF  IN  UNSPOKEN  WORDS.”

I took this photo at Middleton Plantation in Charleston, S.C.

During a recent visit to see my grandchildren, I noticed that the polar fleece slippers I had sewed my daughter-in-law several years ago for Christmas were falling apart.  She “loved them hard.”  So I promised to sew her a new pair.  Using her old pair as a pattern, I bought fleece and sewed her a pair on her old machine.  They were too small!  Back to the fabric store for fleece I went and sewed her a bigger pair.  I tossed the pair that were too small, but my granddaughter, Katie, fished them out of the trash.  “Look, Grandma. It’s a puppet!”  She even gave him a name - Scruffie!  I took Snuffie to the button box and sewed him a face.  With scrap yarn, I made Scruffie an attractive hair-do.  Katie was thrilled. See the photo!  I took the other slipper home with me and made a girl puppet and mailed her off to rendevoux with Scruffie.

The other photo is of my grandson, Andy, in his hand-knit froggie hat and scarf, which his Aunt Laura made him this winter.  So cute!!  If anyone would like to knit the frog hat, I can get the pattern to you.