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

     So, all you writers out there.  How often have you sat at a conference or in a writing class or critque group and tried to write something really impressive in response to a writing exercise the leader set out there?  For you non-writers, just know that this happens a lot.  Writing exercises are a common way to get the creative juices flowing. Writing exercises come in all shapes and forms, but a common one is to complete an open-ended sentence that sets up a story idea.
     Well, this time the exercise was to write a few sentences to set up the following phrase for a great story.   “And that’s how the fight started.”

All by itself, this line is a perfect story starter, but here’s what a few very clever writers’ did with it that made it even better!

 

One  year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a  cemetery plot as a Christmas gift…
The next  year, I didn’t buy her a gift.
When she asked  me why, I replied,
“Well, you still haven’t  used the gift I bought you last year!”
And  that’s how the fight  started…..

 ______________________________

My  wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A  Millionaire while we were in bed.
I turned to  her and said, ‘Do you want to have  Sex?’
‘No,’ she answered. I then said,
‘Is  that your final answer?’
She didn’t even look  at me this time, simply saying, ‘Yes..’
So I  said, “Then I’d like to phone a friend.”
And  that’s when the fight  started…

 ________________________________

I  took my wife to a restaurant.
The waiter, for  some reason, took my order first.
“I’ll have  the rump steak, rare, please.”
He said,  ”Aren’t you worried about the mad cow?”
“Nah,  she can order for herself.”
And that’s when  the fight  started…..

 

n  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When  our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife  kept hinting to me that I should get it  fixed .  But, somehow I always had something  else to take care of first, the shed, the  boat, making beer.. Always something  more important to me. Finally she thought of  a clever way to make her point. When I  arrived home one day, I found her seated in the  tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny  pair of sewing scissors. 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I watched silently for a short time and then went into the  house.. I was gone only a minute, and when I  came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I  said, “When you finish cutting the grass, you  might as well sweep the driveway.”
The  doctors say I will walk again, but I will always  have a  limp.
My  wife sat down next to me as I was flipping  channels.
She asked, “What’s on TV?”
I  said, “Dust.”
And then the fight  started…

 ________________________________

Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my  lunch, and
slipped quietly into the garage. I  hooked up the boat up to the  van, and proceeded to back out into a torrential  downpour. The wind was blowing 50 mph, so  I pulled back into the garage, turned on the  radio, and discovered that the weather would  be bad all day. I went back into the house,  quietly undressed, and slipped back into  bed.. I cuddled up to my wife’s back, now with  a different anticipation, and whispered, “The  weather out there is terrible.”
My loving  wife of 5 years replied, “And, can you believe  my stupid husband is out fishing in  that?”
And that’s how the fight  started…

 ________________________________

My  wife was hinting about what she wanted for our  upcoming anniversary. She said, “I want  something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about  3 seconds.”
I bought her a bathroom  scale.
And then the fight  started……

 ________________________________

After  retiring, I went to the Social Security office  to apply for Social Security. The woman  behind the counter asked me for my driver’s  license to verify my age.  I looked in my  pockets and realized I had left my wallet at  home. I told the woman that I was very sorry,  but I would have to go home and come back  later.
The woman said, ‘Unbutton your  shirt’.
So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair.
She said, ‘That silver  hair on your chest is proof enough for me’ and  she processed my Social Security  application.
When I got home, I excitedly  told my wife about my experience at the Social  Security office.
She said, “You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten  disability, too.”
And then the fight  started…

 ________________________________
My  wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom  mirror.
She was not happy with what she saw  and said to me,
“I feel horrible; I look old,  fat and ugly.
I really need you to pay me a  compliment.”
I replied, “Your eyesight’s damn  near perfect.”

 

And then the fight  started……..

Maybe you would like to give this writing exercise a try at your next writer’s conference or writer’s club meeting.  I guarantee, however, you’ll never get any results quite as good as these!

 

If you are going through hell, keep going!

Winston Churchill

After several times of re-writing and editing The Birthday of a King, the Christmas story I wrote last year,  and choosing illustrations, my plan was to self-publish it.  I was all ready to send it to the printing site when I discovered that I could not get permission to use several of the photographs I had included for illustration.  RATS!!!  I had hoped to announce the publication and sale of the book this week on this site.  I did have a few test printed and it looks great.  So, as soon as I can find alternative illustrations, I will get it published.  Stay tuned.

So, all you writers out there. How often have you sat at a conference or in a writing class or critique group and tried to write something really impressive in response to a writing exercise the leader set out there? For you non-writers, just know that this happens a lot. Writing exercises are a common way to get the creative juices flowing. Writing exercises come in all shapes and forms, but a common one is to complete an open-ended sentence that sets up a story idea.
Well, this time the exercise was to write a few sentences to set up the following phrase for a great story. “And that’s how the fight started.”
All by itself, this line is a perfect story starter, but here’s what a few very clever writers’ did with it that made it even better!

One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a Christmas gift…
The next year, I didn’t buy her a gift.
When she asked me why, I replied,
“Well, you still haven’t used the gift I bought you last year!”
And that’s how the fight started…..
______________________________

My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while we were in bed.
I turned to her and said, “Do you want to have sex?”
“No,” she answered. I then said,
“Is that your final answer?”
She didn’t even look at me this time, simply saying, “Yes.”
So I said, “Then I’d like to phone a friend.”
And that’s how the fight started…

________________________________

I took my wife to a restaurant.
The waiter, for some reason, took my order first.
“I’ll have the rump steak, rare, please.”
He said, “Aren’t you worried about the mad cow?”
“Nah, she can order for herself.”
And that’s how the fight started…..

________________________________

My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at a nearby table.
I asked her, “Do you know him?”
“Yes”, she sighed. “He’s my old boyfriend. I understand he took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn’t been sober since.”
“My God!” I said, “Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?”
And that’s how the fight started…

________________________________

When our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed . But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first, the shed, the boat, making beer - always something more important to me. Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point. When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house. I was gone only a minute, and when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I said, “When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway.”
The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.

________________________________

My wife sat down next to me as I was flipping channels.
She asked, “What’s on TV?”
I said, “Dust.”
And that’s how the fight started…

________________________________
Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, and
slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the boat up to the van, and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50 mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather would be bad all day. I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed. I cuddled up to my wife’s back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered, “The weather out there is terrible.”
My loving wife of 5 years replied, “And, can you believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that?”
And that’s how the fight started…

________________________________

My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary. She said, “I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds.”
I bought her a bathroom scale.
And that’s how the fight started……

________________________________

After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security. The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver’s license to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later.
The woman said, ‘Unbutton your shirt’.
So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair.
She said, ‘That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me’ and she processed my Social Security application.
When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the Social Security office.
She said, “You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability, too.”
And that’s how the fight started…

________________________________

My wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror.
She was not happy with what she saw and said to me,
“I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly.
I really need you to pay me a compliment.”
I replied, “Your eyesight’s damn near perfect.”
And that’s how the fight started……..

Maybe you would like to give this writing exercise a try at your next writer’s conference or writer’s club meeting. However, I guarantee you’ll never get results quite as good as these!

I realize that I haven’t posted anything for quite a while.  This is the busiest summer I think I’ve ever had!  In early July our clan gathered up on Lake Superior for the annual family vacation.  We rented a house on Madeline Island in the Apostle Islands.  We took the car ferry out to the island and stayed put. There were so many things to do out there.  We had perfect weather - so warm that we could actually stand to swim a bit in Lake Superior!  We had an interesting house called Next Farm Down.  On a large, grassy lot facing the lake the house actually consisted of three separate buildings connected by a huge wrap- around deck.  There was a fire pit and a small beach with a long, wide pier to sunbathe on.  Our granddaughter celebrated her 3rd birthday while we were there.  Twice we spent the afternoon at the county beach, which was sandy and not far from our house.  Only Chuck and Andrea had energy to go see the fireworks on July 4th.  One afternoon one bunch went kayaking while another rented a large sailboat and sailed around several of the Apostle islands.  We even picked raspberries at a berry farm!

Our two grandchildren (3 and 1) and our daughter-in-law went home with us and spent a week.  Next thing I knew, it was time for me to attend the University of Wisconsin School of the Arts in Rhinelander, WI.  I took a playwriting class and a short story writing class.  The week gave me the opportunity to finish my full length Christmas play!  The class did a read through of most of it and it was well received.  I came home and crashed after that.  After a few days sleep, we drove to our son’s (the one with the kids) in Ames, Iowa.  I stayed on while my husband went home to work in order to help with the kids while they moved to Colorado.  What a week!  In 98 degree heat with 100% humidity, we finished packing.  Their friends came to help load the truck.  It was so miserably hot!  Then 2 torrential rainstorms came which thwarted the loading and deposited over 9 inches of rain in 2 days!  The day we finally got off, the Skunk River and Squaw Creek were above flood stage.  A few hours after we left, they closed all roads in and out of town, the power went out all over town, the Iowa Sate campus flooded, as did all of the low-lying ground, and a water main connecting the city water tower to the area broke, cutting off any clean water for consumption.  And the heat index was 120 degrees!  We got out just in time.  Thirteen frazzled hours later, we arrived at the kids’ new apartment near Boulder, CO.  It was still hot, but no humidity and it cooled down at night.  They also have access to a lovely pool - which is where I watched the kids as often as possible while boxes were being unloaded and unpacked.  We slept on aerobeds on the floor and woke each morning to a spectacular view of the Rockies!  I flew to O’Hare from Denver on Friday.  My youngest daughter, an archeology grad student, was flying out the same day from O’Hare to Turkmenistan to work on a dig for 6 weeks.  I was able to see her off.

I’ve been sleeping and tending to my fibromyalgia pain since getting home.  This weekend we help mmove another of our children!  This time to Indiana University where she’ll begin her doctoral program in anthropology.  Her belongings are everywhere in the house, but Friday she and my husband will load up the trusty U Haul and we’ll head to Indiana on Saturday.  Upon returning, I will be diligently sewing 8 bridesmaid dresses for our middle son’s wedding October 17th in Portland, OR.  Like I said, “What a summer!”

I’ll post the current D-mail and maybe I can post some other things in my abundant free time (Ha Ha) I have some beautiful photos from Lake Superior to share as well as shots of the grandchildren too, so check in again!

 

“If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research.”

-A. Einstein

“DRENCH  YOURSELF  IN  UNSPOKEN  WORDS.”

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

It is no disgrace to move out of the path of an elephant.

“Whoever it was who searched the heavens and found no God, would not have found the human mind if he had searched the brain with a microscope. ”   George Santayana

Getting around on my knee scooter

Getting around on my knee scooter

Because of a particularly stubborn case of plantar fascitis in my right foot, after a year of unsuccessful treatments of all kinds, the foot specialist suggested giving the foot complete rest for 8 weeks.  I am thus wearing a cam boot to immobilize the foot.  I cannot bear any weight on it so I have this nifty scooter contraption to get around.  I am a complete failure at crutches so this is a godsend.  I’ve discovered muscles I never knew I had!