A mystery novelist typing away,
She works through the night
She works day by day
Plots so twisty,
Characters so strange
To make the mystery look
Little stories about people I know and places I go
29 Apr 2013 3 Comments
A mystery novelist typing away,
She works through the night
She works day by day
Plots so twisty,
Characters so strange
To make the mystery look
25 Apr 2013 11 Comments
[a poem for my dear Mark...]
A sweet greeting card complete with a squirrel
Makes me feel like I might be a really loved girl
Then I walk through the door after work to find
He’s busy cooking dinner for the kids, so kind!
Though it rains cats and dogs, his work is not done
No, in fact, he’s really just begun
To replace the broken side mirror of my car.
I’ll travel with him forever, no matter how far.
17 Apr 2013 10 Comments
Jennifer joined Mother Goose at the East Gate Cafe this morning. We had met only once before at a meeting of mom entrepreneurs who wanted to do a little networking. We didn’t talk too much at the first meeting, but Jennifer invited me to meet her so we could discuss my big ideas and her projects. Mother Goose was very excited to have a new friend with professional experience.
I was already working my way through a bowl of cappuccino when Jennifer sat down. We had a preliminary weather discussion and then got down to some serious chit chat about working on our own businesses. She has had some great opportunities and had learned many things over the years and she was very willing to share her knowledge with Mother Goose.
We also got to talking about our families, of course. My large group of children and her only son, Andy — seemingly very different family situations. She and her husband Paul had adopted their son when he was a tiny fellow — they had lived in the city and Andy had attended some fine schools before they had moved to Oak Park.
In the middle school years, he had experienced some bullying by some really nasty kids. They had teased him for being of Asian descent — heartbreaking stuff for kids and their moms, of course.
She told me that Andy was doing well in high school, although he still wasn’t very involved in extracurricular activities. He’s interested in computer science and looking forward to college.
Suddenly Mother Goose had a weird sort of epiphany.
“Is your son a senior?” I asked.
“Yes,” Jennifer replied.
“And you called him Andy?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered again with a quizzical look on her pretty face.
“Well,” I continued, “I was just wondering because my son is a senior also and his best friend is an Asian guy named Andrew.”
Her mouth dropped open and her eyes got rounder than my bowl of cappuccino.
“My son’s name is Ben,” I explained.
And then all of the halogen lights went on inside our heads. We simultaneously reached the bizarre conclusion that our sons were indeed best friends!
I’m still shaking my feathery old goose head at this amazing situation. As you know, Mother Goose does not believe in coincidences, accidents or acts of chance. I believe that every single activity and meeting under heaven’s stars has a real meaning in the general cosmic state of affairs. And this was just one more proof of that fact — our loving God is totally in charge of every moment in our lives and loves to arrange the most interesting combinations of people. There is no shortage of mysteries in life and He is the grand author of them all, including this one.
Jennifer and I had been chatting for over an hour before the great bizarre situation was revealed to us. Oh, we laughed and hugged and almost cried. We shook our heads and looked at each other with brand new eyes of understanding and compassion.
Suddenly everything made perfect sense!
We will never forget that moment and surely we will be friends forever after this day. Don’t you just love those times when the universe suddenly opens up, love pours down on us and great joy is real and wonderful?
Mother Goose just loves times like these. God bless you today!
07 Mar 2013 6 Comments
The young and beautiful sister of Mother Goose is celebrating a birthday today! My oh my gooseness how the time flies…
Though it was 1964, it seems like yesterday that Dad drove my brother and me to the parking lot of the hospital in Bemidji, Minnesota, pointed up at a window on the fourth floor and said, “That’s where your mother and your new baby sister are. They’ll be home in a few days.” Dana and I looked at that window and then at each other in wonder — as in “I wonder how THAT happened?”
And in fact, it was just yesterday that our dear sister was back in the hospital though not being born this time. She arrived at the Bigfork Valley Hospital bright and early to participate in her very own Radiofrequency Neurotomy procedure.
Bunn has been waiting and preparing for this procedure for months. For many years, she has suffered acute and chronic back pain as a result of a crazy life and arthritis. She had tried many of the traditional conservative treatments options to no avail. Physical therapists, chiropractors, and various medical practitioners had all done what they could to help her pain, but the arthritis grew worse and the pain became excruciating. No amount of physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medications could ease her suffering. Would she need back surgery? Was that the only option left to my sister?
Thankfully, the answer was no.
She became acquainted with the very promising work Dr. Paul Olson at Bigfork Valley. She has been diligently working with a biofeedback technician named Marlene who has helped her with relaxation methods and introduced her to the wonders of Alpha-Stim, a very interesting therapy for depression, anxiety, chronic pain and PTSD. Bunn has also benefited from self-hypnosis and finding her “happy place”.
Mother Goose would like to ask her all of her faithful readers, “Where is YOUR happy place? Where do you go in your mind when you need to relax and delve into the peaceful places of your heart?”
Anyway, back to my long and winding story…
So, Bunn was not nervous at all as she walked through the friendly doors of the medical facility yesterday. She was well-informed about the procedure and confident in the good doctor’s skills. She was well-medicated, and easily persuaded of the compassion of the nurses. She was covered in prayer and psychologically armed with this important conviction:
“The needles will slide into your skin as easily as butter.”
Mother Goose is not entirely knowledgeable or educated about the basic procedure of rhizotomy, which uses radio signals to cauterize the nerves bundled around the arthritic joints in the spine. I have only been told several times that the doctor would insert several large needles into her back bone area where the pain from years of trouble have taken their toll on her joints.
By noon, she was released from the hospital and happily reunited with her dear husband, Allen and special pup, Dusty.
She is miraculously pain-free!
And today, we celebrate her birth and the first forty-nine years of her life!
Mother Goose is convinced that this special sister will thoroughly enjoy her next fifty years and beyond now that the pain in her back is gone. She can actually stand up, walk, sit, lie down, cook and LIVE without that chronic and acute pain.
I hope that if you know somebody who suffers from serious back pain (or other types of pain!), you’ll remember this story from Mother Goose and share the good news that there is always hope, always a healthy solution — there can be real healing!
We say “Thank you Jesus” and “Thank You Dr. Olson” for giving Bunn back her life.
23 Feb 2013 11 Comments
(Is Mother Goose a fool? Am I a saint? The story continues…)
Mother Goose was dozing on the couch when the sharp knocking on the door startled her to wakefulness. I had been plagued by a stubborn headache all morning on Wednesday and was resting my head. Oddly, my good dog, Fran, did not bark. Mother Goose got up slowly from the couch and made her way to the front door, noticing the time on her phone said 1:00 pm, and it was still Wednesday.
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to guess who was on the other side of the door. Mother Goose knew it would be Lawrence, and then also remembered that she didn’t have a job in mind for him to work on. There was obviously no yard work, no shoveling to do, no cleaning or painting. Maybe he could clean the steering fluid puddle off the driveway? Nothing was coming to mind as she turned the handle on the front door.
And there was Lawrence smiling brightly.
“Please, won’t you come in?” asked Mother Goose as though she were inviting the President to enter her home.
He stepped across the threshold of our home with a look of surprise.
“Would you care for a cup of coffee?” she asked.
“Yes ma’am, I would,” answered Lawrence Little, the homeless man who was looking for work in the general area of a friendly goose.
“Did you find a place to stay last night?” Mother Goose asked as calmly as if she had homeless people over to her house for lunch all the time.
“Oh, I ended up staying far away from Oak Park last night,” Lawrence replied. “Sometimes I just sleep on the el, but it’s hard to sleep when you are on the el. You have to keep looking over your shoulder to see if anyone might rob you. Of course, I don’t have anything to rob…” His voice just trailed off.
Lawrence carries no backpack, has no baggage, just the clothes on his back. The “el” is Chicago’s elevated train system. There are many routes or lines of this mode of transportation: red line, green line, blue line, brown line, pink line, etc. The blue line runs all night and is known as a semi-safe place for homeless people to spend the night if they aren’t close to a homeless shelter or can’t afford one.
I had asked Lawrence if he’d tried staying at the Oak Park homeless shelter. He said that it’s like winning the lottery to get in. Many people try, but few are chosen.
Mother Goose led him to the kitchen and had him sit down at the table. She poured him a cup of orange juice, set it in front of him and asked if he’d had anything to eat yet today.
“Yes, ma’am, I had a sandwich.”
“Would you like some bacon and eggs?” asked Mother Goose.
“Yes, ma’am, I would. Thank you so much.”
The hands of Mother Goose shook as she scooped the coffee grounds into the coffee maker and then poured in the water. She was trying so hard to appear casual and confident as they made small talk about his family and hers, his life on the streets and hers in a house with children. Mother Goose knew very well the potential for danger in this situation.
But he talked and talked, and Mother Goose listened and made agreeable conversation whilst she melted the butter, fried the bacon, cracked the eggs into the pan, split the bagel and put it in the toaster. Mother Goose is very good at listening to folks make small talk and making breakfast for people — she can practically do both in her sleep…
“What church do you go to, Mother Goose?” Lawrence asked.
I looked him square in the eye and said, “Lawrence, I love the Lord, but I just don’t do well in church. The people there just don’t seem to understand me.” Dear reader, you can read an allegorical account of my latest bad church experience if you just click here.
“Oh, I know all about that,” he said. “But I have such a good church now. Maybe you’d like to visit our church — it’s right here in Oak Park.”
He gave me the name of his church, the address where it’s located and the name and phone number of his pastor.
Mother Goose set down a bacon and egg sandwich in front of Lawrence, and then wrote down all of his churchy information.
I asked about his family, of course. His mother moved to Jackson, Mississippi many years ago. She has a whole set of problems of her own. He says that she loves him, but says that he has to work out his own life on his own. He also has an older sister who is a doctor, he said. He didn’t mention a father.
“I’m forty-five years old,” Lawrence announced.
“How long have you been unemployed?” Mother Goose asked politely.
“Since 1998,” he answered. “I used to work at the Jewels in the Chef’s Kitchen, but then I got into some trouble because my mother, she was having some problems. I’m a momma’s boy, I’m the youngest, you know. I made a lot of bad choices, and that’s how I ended up here.”
“But things are getting better,” Lawrence continued as I tried hard to process all of this conversation and this unusual situation I was in. “I have a place to stay. The lady there said I could stay for thirty days if I’d just get some work and pay her some money. And here’s my Illinois ID card.”
He showed me his card which had an address and his picture on it. He told me the name of the landlord and the address of where he could be staying if he could just come up with the rent money for one month. I shakily scribbled it all down on the opposite side of the paper as the pastor’s name and number.
Poor Mother Goose was beginning to feel very overwhelmed. The bagel sandwich was quickly disappearing, and Lawrence was talking about how kind she was, and how they were friends now. Mother Goose got out her wallet to give him some money to help him with his potential rent payment.
“I have to walk over to the school and get my daughter now,” I said.
“Oh I understand,” said Lawrence. “Ok. Thank you so much for the lunch. It was so good. Which way are you going?”
Mother Goose put on her coat and shoes at the front door. We walked down the block together. He asked when he could come back and do some work for me. “Well,” I said, “Tomorrow is my daughter’s birthday so I’ll be busy with that. Maybe Friday?”
“Oh thank you, Mother Goose,” he said. “I’m just so happy that we are friends! Do you know I can draw pictures? Maybe I could draw a picture for your daughter.”
We said “goodbye” and parted ways. He continued to talk as I walked west and he walked east. I knew that I needed to tell somebody really soon about my new friend, Lawrence.
That evening I said to my dear husband, “I made a new friend today! He’s a homeless man.”
You won’t want to miss the next chapter of my story, “The Lawrence Little Dilemma”.
23 Feb 2013 16 Comments
Mother Goose didn’t really plan to invite a homeless man into her home for lunch.
And yet, the truth of it was that here she was in her kitchen making coffee, frying up bacon and eggs, and toasting a bagel for a man who had been living on the streets for the past ten years.
Sometimes, Mother Goose has to just shake her head at the unlikely turns that her life takes!
On Tuesday, as she was climbing the front porch steps after a long emotional tutoring session with the squirrels, Mother Goose heard a man calling out, “Ma’am, excuse me, ma’am, do you have any work for me to do? I’m homeless. I haven’t eaten in two days. I’m a man of God. I just need to do some work so that I can get into a hotel tonight. Do you have any work I can do for you, ma’am?”
Mother Goose turned to look at the middle-aged man walking up her sidewalk. He was dressed in a Carhartt chore jacket, baggy light-colored Carhartt overpants with a black stocking cap and gym shoes. His face looked a little tired, but he smiled at Mother Goose when he reached the bottom of the porch steps. He looked clean enough and didn’t have a beard. He didn’t smell bad and seemed to have his teeth. Most homeless folks really look homeless, but this man looked pretty “normal”. Mother Goose hates to use that word, but my readers will surely understand…
Normally, I do not strike up conversations with strangers who are walking by. I greet folks with a hearty “How ya doin’?” and then let them pass by my house.
We live just two blocks from the western border of Chicago, near a neighborhood where shootings happen regularly and gangs own the blocks. Territories are staked out and street corners are occupied. I drive through the Austin neighborhood everyday on my way to work — I am curiously drawn to these streets and the people who have little choice but to live in such extreme conditions.
Unemployment, drug deals, violent crime and guns are the real facts of life for these folks, and yet there are families who live on the residential streets of Austin. There are little kids who walk to school, and moms who pray that their children will arrive safely.
I typically stay in my car when I’m in the Austin community. Perhaps you read the story of the time Mother Goose rode her bicycle to an oasis within the neighborhood, the Garfield Park Conservatory…
Unless I’m going to a meeting where we are working out ways to connect military families and veterans to the social services and VA-sponsored services they may need in their community, I try to be as safe as possible and just keep driving.
However, if I’m waiting at an intersection and see a homeless person walking between the cars trying to collect some change, I’ll immediately reach into my purse for whatever I can find. I drop the money in their cups — they say “God bless you, ma’am. God bless you.”
When Mother Goose looked into the eyes of this homeless man at the bottom of her front porch steps, her heart was filled with compassion for him and his circumstance. “I don’t have any work for you,” she explained. “But I’d like to help you anyway.”
Opening her wallet, she found some bills and handed them to the man. He smiled gratefully as he reached for the money, and said, “Thank you, ma’am. My name is Lawrence. Thank you so much.”
Softly, Mother Goose replied, “Oh my grandfather’s name was Lawrence.”
The homeless man beamed knowing he had made a connection. “Well, there you are,” he said. “I knew we had something in common. And what is your name, ma’am? I’d really like to do some work for you. Could I come back tomorrow for some work? I’d sure like to do some work for you.”
I told him my name and said that if he’d come back tomorrow, I’d find something for him to do.
Though I am a very giving person, even this was way out of the box for Mother Goose. This is called beginning a relationship with a homeless man. It starts with the exchange of names. Now it is no longer anonymous donations in an empty coffee cup. Now it’s personal. Now there are expectations and hopes and suggestions of help to come. Now it gets real. Now there’s a commitment of sorts.
Some people would say “Now this is an open can of worms.”
Mother Goose said, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Lawrence. Around noonish?”
(Please return tomorrow to hear more of this story…)
18 Feb 2013 4 Comments
“You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.” ― Oscar Wilde
Mother Goose is amused at the relationship between men and their cars. In the past six weeks, three different men who are dearly loved by Mother Goose have traded in their old rides for newer and better wheels. Mother Goose smiles…
The first sailor son comes home for his thirty-day leave from the U.S. Navy. Within three days of his homecoming he visits the local Carmax dealer and trades in his Mazda Protege for a beautifully bright white and shiny Toyota Camry.
Two weeks later, the next sailor son returns home for leave. He’s just experienced a harrowing trip through the snow belt of New York, Ohio and Indiana. After a good night’s rest, he jumps back into the Subaru Impreza for the last time, trading it in for a very stylish Honda Civic.
Another two weeks passes quietly. And then up rises Husband Goose, and he flies away to Peru, Illinois to trade in his clunky old Chevy Camaro for a lovely luxury ride — a Cadillac Eldorado.
Mother Goose is waiting excitedly for the next two weeks to pass, for surely I am next in line for a new car! I cannot help but wonder what it might be? How could I possibly upgrade from my very practical Goose Mobile?
Men and their cars…
Let it be known here and now: Mother Goose does not love her men for their rugged good looks or their fancy clothes or their fast and shiny cars. Mother Goose loves each of them for their unique and heartfelt songs.
And I’m the only one who can hear them singing…
14 Feb 2013 11 Comments
In days gone by, Mother Goose was known as quite a swinger.
(For my younger readers, a swinger is defined as a person who actively seeks excitement and moves with the latest trends or one who is being modern and lively.)
Modern. Lively. Trendy. Excitement. These are all buzzwords and keywords, perhaps even synonyms for Mother Goose.
Perhaps you would only consider me an old floozy now, but in my youth I was a pretty happenin’ gal.
Can we altogether say “Woot woot”?
Let me just tell you a short story — a Valentine’s Day story from the early 80′s. The 1980′s.
Once upon a time, Mother Goose worked at a marketing agency in the great city of Chicago. She had recently moved to the Windy City of Big Shoulders from northern Minnesota with her college diploma rolled up and tucked under her arm. She was a very proud young goose to have landed such a promising position in a growing business — I mean seriously! Talk about Mary Tyler Moore dancing in downtown Minneapolis — Mother Goose had found a nesting zone right at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive with an office overlooking the Chicago River and a receptionist with big 80′s hair. Mother Goose flew regularly to NYC, NY and LA, CA to visit her clients.
What an exciting life for a country girl!
Many of the young men in the office admired Mother Goose from afar — some of them even admired her right up close in her face, maybe just a little too up close in her face. Perhaps they had never seen a goose of her stature in the mad advertising world. Perhaps they wanted to look into her sky blue Land-of-1,000-Lakes eyes. Maybe she just smelled really good and they wanted to get a good sniff.
Whatever the reason or the season, Mother Goose was quite popular and never lacked for dates or dinners. So many suitors, so little time…
One day as she strolled briskly along the Avenue, she heard a voice calling out her name.
“Miss Goose! Miss Goose! Wait just a minute for me to catch up with you!”
Mother Goose turned around to see a young man with a bushy mustache running up behind her. She recognized him as one of the most handsome young art directors from the agency. She thought for a moment to remember his name…
“Mark? You are Mark, right? How nice to see you today! Isn’t it a lovely day? Are you on your lunch break?”
Out of good-natured Minnesota habit, Mother Goose smiled at him and noticed he was carrying a red rose. “How unusual,” she mused to herself. “Here we are out walking on our lunch hours, and this fine young man is carrying a lovely rose in his hand. I wonder who the lucky lady might be…”
Shy young Mark looked down at the sidewalk and said, “Miss Goose, I wonder if you’d like to join me for a lunch today. I’m heading over to Su Casa for some authentic Mexican cuisine, perhaps a small margarita. Will you come along? Please, Miss Goose?”
How could she resist his boyish charm? But still she wondered about the rose in his hand. Perhaps someone had given it to him? Maybe he had just found it on the street and didn’t want to see it run over by a speeding car. Surely it was for his mother…
And then the mustachioed Mark dropped down on one knee right there on the boulevard and handed the beautiful red rose to Mother Goose and said with much passion and emotion, “Miss Goose, may I just say that I have admired you from afar. But starting today, I would like to call you my very own goose. I shall be your gander, and we shall travel to all four corners of the world together. Please take this rose as a sign of my undying affection for you. And I shall remain forever yours. And by the way, Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Miss Goose.”
Well, what could I say? Of course, I said “yes” to lunch. And I said “yes” to many of his other questions and invitations after that one.
Some of the details of this story have been modified due to the notoriously bad memory of the goose…