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

Today I’m daydreaming about going  somewhere warm and tropical.  I bought a new swim suit yesterday for our Caribbean getaway next month.  I decided to go through some of my ocean photos to get in the mood, since the view out my window is gray and snowy.  So you get to go on an armchair trip along with me in this mini-gallery of some of the favorite water pictures I’ve taken around the world.

Next month, Chuck and I will be headed here, to St. Thomas, VI to spend 10 days with my parents and aunt and uncle (they rented a condo for a whole month, the lucky ducks).  I took this photo from the deck of Frenchman’s Reef Hotel on our first visit to St. Thomas in 1985.

II snapped these mini-Viking vessels tied up on the bay across from the Thor Hyerdahl Museum in Oslo, Norway.  I loved their vibrant colors on one of the few sunny days we had during our Norway trip.

 

I took this shot of a village on a Norwegian fjord just as the sun caught it over the mountains just north of Bergen, Norway.

I took this from the ferry going from Vancouver, B.C. to Victoria on a gorgeous May day. The Pacific was smooth and icy cold.

I was terrified when I took this picture - not because of the view but because I was in a heliocopter for the first time on a very rainy, windy day!  This is the north shore of Kauai, Hawaii, which you can only access by heliocopter or boat -both of which we did (the sailboat was even rougher than the heliocopter!). 

 

A beautiful “peephole” vista on the road to Sunset Beach in Kauai.

A pile of driftwood I found on a beach in Kauai, Hawaii 

 

I took this with the shutter wide open one July evening in Bayfield, Wisconsin.  This is a small harbor on Lake Superior in the Apostle Islands. 

 

I took this photo of the famous Cliffs of Moher on the Atlantic coast of Ireland in October on the windiest, most frigid day of our trip. Nobody swims in this water!

I took this photo of the famous Atlantis towers in the Bahamas from a rope bridge over this lagoon, where hammerhead sharks were swimming. 

I took this photo from the balcony of our room at the Atlantis resort.

I took this photo in Charleston, S.C. on Sullivan’s Island as the fleet of Tall Ships sailed out to sea right past us!  I caught the last ship just as the sun settled on the horizon.

 

 OK, so I didn’t take these last two photos, but I thought you’d enjoy seeing me do something “on the edge”!It’s me parasailing in the Turks and Caicos!  I went up yonder with my son, Michael and we had a blast!

Our family are Packer fans - you know, the fans that sit out in sub zero weather, wear crazy headgear, and have undying loyalty no matter how badly our team performs.  Katie’s father (my son, Michael) has taught her important words like “Packer backer”, “Cheesehead”, “touchdown” and “Go Pack Go!”  She wears this leather hat as a helmet and tears around pretending to play.  One day she allowed me to wear the Packer “helmet” while Grandpa snapped our picture.  What fun!

Katie is 2 1/2 yrs and loves to “cook”.  Her mother and father are excellent cooks and she has her own “cooking chair” to stand on at home to help them.  I must admit, we made a perfect pumpkin pie together for Christmas dinner!

Andy Conger at age 4 months.  What a precious baby!!

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I must tell you a good Thanksgiving story.  My husband’s great aunt Madge and great uncle Frederic Windoes lived in Evanston, Ill.  They were both high school teachers; she English, he physics.  Madge was a good cook and many accepted her invitation to Thanksgiving dinner each year.  Because she was a working woman, she indulged in a serving girl for the meal so that she could relax at table with her guests.  She was nothing if not a consummate hostess.

A few Thanksgivings back, Uncle Frederic had discovered something strange inside the turkey as he was carving.  He reached in and pulled out a paper bag!  “Good heavens, Madge,” he shouted.  “What is this?”                                                                                                                                                                 “Why, it’s the giblets of course,” she answered sweetly, as if to imply that cooking the giblets in a tiny , butcher paper bag inside the turkey was the latest in culinary trends.  Uncle Frederic, following her lead, placed the bag on the platter and continued carving with aplomb.  However, since that year, he’d been careful to check the turkey ahead of time for unlikely “tumors”.  You never knew what could happen in Madge Windoes’ house!

Now, this year, all the guests were seated at the lavish dining room table with all going swimmingly when the big moment arrived.  Madge rang the little servants’ bell and called, “Oh Louise!  You can bring in the turkey now.”   Madge felt as if the Vanderbilts weren’t leading an upper crust life any better than she.  The kitchen door swung open and out came the huge turkey, glistening on its platter in Louise’s arms.  Suddenly, Louise’s toe caught on the edge of the area rug.  With eyes as big as saucers, the poor girl watched the turkey careen off the platter onto the Persian rug!  Gasps escaped from every horrified diner - everyone except Madge, that is.  As a mortified Uncle Fred dropped to the carpet to save the turkey, Madge calmly turned to the weepy, hand-wringing Louise and said,

“Oh, that’s all right, Louise. No matter. You can just bring in the other turkey.”  The crisis taken care of, she went back to sipping her wine.

Down on their knees beside the turkey, Frederic and Louise looked at each other.  The other turkey?  Madge added sweetly, “Frederic, dear, won’t you help Louise to dispose of this one in the kitchen?” 

 Without delay, Fred and Louise scooped up the turkey, took it to the kitchen, gave it a good rinse, poured some basting juices over it, and in record time returned it to the table.  It must have been Aunt Madge’s cool demeanor that kept her husband from spilling the beans (notice I didn’t say “turkey”) as he carved the “recycled” bird.  The rest of the meal went without a hitch.  In fact, the society page of the Evanston paper printed a glowing report of the lavish Thanksgiving dinner that was held at the Windoes residence on Hartray Avenue that year.  Who knows if any of the Windoes’ guests that day ever guessed the secret? 

For many years after that, the dropped turkey story was told (within the family) with delight.  Aunt Madge loved to tell it, but her favorite part was, “Oh my, oh my!  You should have seen Frederic’s face when I told Louise to bring in the other turkey!  Flies could have landed on his tongue, his jaw was open so wide!  And when he was carving, he was so speechless and his face was so red, I thought he had swallowed his tongue!  What grand times we used to have on Hartray Avenue! ” 

And now eighty years later, you know the secret too.  Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

photo taken Thanksgiving 2008 - my son and daughter

My new grandson -  age 2 months

 

My son and grandson -taken Halloween night

Me and my precious grandson

 

 

Have you ever tried to take a portrait with kids involved?!  Here are the highlights of our attempt to get a portrait of the grandkids and their beautiful mother (who, by the way, smiled perfectly under pressure in every shot!)

Portrait :  Take 1

 

Portrait: Take 2

 

 

Portrait: Take 3

 

Portrait: Take 4

Potrait: Take 5 - just kidding, but that’s how it seemed at the time!

PORTRAIT  SUCCESS !!!!

WHITE WINTER WAITS   by Cathy Conger

 

November, when trembling rain

drips from each gray eave,

trees stripped of red and gold,

shiver in the brief, autumn light.

 

The corn drawn in,

the apple orchards shaken,

black crows curse

an unforgiving sky.

Clouds of ashen shades

bring stinging sleet

in the teeth of the wind.

 

A branch taps the window

like a scolding finger.

Quivering drops hang on it,

questioning whether to fall

or turn to ice,

while white winter waits.

 

Photo taken of the harbor in Ephraim, Wisconsin (Door County)

Granddaughter Katie at the pumpkin patch!

I took this photo of granddaughter, Katie, getting to know her new baby “brudder”, Andy.  Look at her eyelashes!  To die for!