More Fun and Love in the Hinterlands

Mother Goose and her goslings recently traveled to nordern Minnesota to visit the family. Let’s just say, the Hinterlands is another world away from Oak Park…

There’s something for everyone at the Frame Farm.

A little barn charm...

A little barn charm…

Chickens roosting in their coop...

Chickens roosting in their coop…

All American patriotism...

All American patriotism…

In the summer there are turkeys...

In the summer there are turkeys…

Turkey in a roasting pan...

Turkey in a roasting pan…

A friendly lap dog...

A friendly lap dog…

A very large lap dog...

A very large lap dog…

The Father of the Goose...

The Father of the Goose…

A glorious sunset...

A glorious sunset…

Mother Goose is blessed to belong to a family that just overflows with love and fun. Our journey “up north” was wonderfully filled with great times, delicious eats and much laughter. Thank you for stopping by to visit with Mother Goose today. God bless you!

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Mother Goose Travels to the Hinterlands

There are times when Mother Goose hears the Call of the Wild…

At those times, she loads up the goslings into the Goosemobile, sets the autodrive button to “up north”, and hangs on for dear life as they all fly up the road to visit familiar faces and places. Last week was one of those times…

In eleven short hours, we traveled from Oak Park to Keewatin, Minnesota where the sister of a goose lives. She and her dear hubby were so happy to put us up for a couple of nights. We happily enjoyed some brisk walks along the Mesabi Trail with Bunn, Allen and their hero dog, Dusty. Along the way, they always meet up with people to visit with — either their dear friend Joe and his dog, Remmi or the village mayor or the driver of a large Caterpillar loader who was clearing away some of the snow from the trail. Everybody knows your name and is your friend in Keewatin.

The Mesabi Trail stretches from Grand Rapids all the way to Ely, Minnesota.  Thousands of hikers and bikers traverse its beautiful winding ways twelve months out of the year...

The Mesabi Trail stretches from Grand Rapids all the way to Ely, Minnesota. Thousands of hikers and bikers traverse its beautiful winding ways twelve months out of the year…

We did a lot of laughing over the course of the visit…

A sister and a goose.

A sister and a goose.

Please come back next time when Mother Goose tells you the story of the little farm in the Hinterlands…

Would You See 10 Plays in One Night?

When Mother Goose finally recovered from her Phantom of the Opera swoon (in fact it took nearly ten days), she found herself back in a theatre waiting for another show to begin. Actually waiting for TEN shows to begin!

There is a wonderful small place in Chicago, near the intersection of Milwaukee and Lawrence Avenues, appropriately called The Gift Theatre. They have a GREAT repertoire group, and every year about this time of year, they present a production of ten plays, each of them ten minutes long and IT IS A WONDERFULLY ENTERTAINING bit of showmanship.

My friend, Kay Martinovich, directed “Winsor McKay” — again, appropriately so. Kay holds a PhD in Theatre Arts and is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre at Northern Illinois University. She is a VERY special friend of the goose. Of course, her little jewel of a play was the most delicious to Mother Goose, and I chewed it up and swallowed it with great gusto.

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The other plays were all quite good, some better than others. Some quite funny, some quite thought-provoking, some quite sad, and of course, Mother Goose was completely offended by a couple of the short plays, but that’s OK.

It was a unique experience to be sure.

And naturally there was a bit of “coincidence” — as we were sitting in our seats, an older woman (yes, older than Mother Goose…) sat down next to us. As we began to chat a little, it turned out that she was one of Kay’s dearest friends and mentors of the stage world! You know that Mother Goose does not believe in “happenstance” or “accidents”, but only the wonderful providence and sovereignty of our loving God.

We had a LOVELY evening at The Gift Theatre…

And just a few days later, we attended ANOTHER play! Stay tuned!!!

The Goose is Back

Mother Goose is back. After a much needed sabbatical, I’m rested and recovered and revived and ready to tell some brand new stories. Who can ever tell why a goose must take a break from her blog? Who can explain the sudden aversion to the compound word, WordPress? How do some writers keep writing and some need to fall off the wagon for awhile?

Obviously, life for these past six weeks have been jam-packed with adventures — to be sure, my life has never lacked for subject matter. We had a lovely Christmas holiday, a fun and surprising New Year (yes, Mother Goose woke from a deep sleep and jumped off the couch at exactly midnight, surprising the family with a dance that included much jumping and flapping and merriment!) and January has proven to be one theatrical performance after another.

Whew! The goose has been on the loose!

Did you make a New Year’s resolution? How’s that working for you? It’s been nearly a month since January 1, and my resolution is still holding strong. And here is what I resolve for 2014:

Always dance in the Kitchen.

In the home of Mother Goose, the kitchen is the place where most of the action takes place and most of the goslings hang out. What better place to dance? One of the priceless gifts I received for my birthday last month was a G-Pop wireless and bluetooth audio speaker, and so I simply connect my favorite Pandora stations to the G-Pop and CRANK IT UP.

Pandora radio is such fun! I have created nearly one hundred channels! So much selection, so many favorites, so many thumbs up! Since the beginning of the year, I have been mostly listening to the Family Road Trip station and the Lenny Kravitz station. Yes, I know — eclectic tastes for a goose, indeed.

Anyway, imagine the scene as Mother Goose is preparing the meals:

There is twirling and whirling, stepping and stomping, dipping and tripping, wings extended and tail wagging.

There is giggling and wiggling, peeking and winking, oblivious to the stares and intensity beyond compare.

goosedancing

Mother Goose has found the perfect combination of exercise and entertainment — it’s good for the goose and good for the gander!

They may laugh at my moves, but in the long run, they will remember this has been a very Happy New Year.

I hope you’ll return tomorrow to hear the story of Mother Goose and the Phantom of the Opera, opening night at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago….oh my gooseness!

Sailor Recruits Enjoy A Magical Thanksgiving

“Welcome aboard the USS Thanksgiving! At the helm today, we have Captain George who will be steering us into a magical port called Oak Park, Illinois — a place where they have TVs….computers….phones….and good food.”

The thirty-four sailor recruits cheered and ooooorah’d as we pulled out of Great Lakes Naval Training Center heading for a Thanksgiving Day to remember. Most of them had been told they would be picked up and taken to a community soup kitchen to serve dinner to poor homeless people — they had no idea that Mother Goose and Company had made other plans for them!

The day started at 7:30 a.m. at the garage of Mid-America Charter Lines in Elk Grove Village, IL. Mother Goose had been chosen as the hostess with the mostest for this most exciting day — of course, as a Navy Mom, Mother Goose is very familiar with young sailors and relished the idea of riding the tour bus to pick up the recruits at the boot camp so bright and earlie in the morning.

Mother Goose and Captain George Kousakis in front of the 46 passenger tour bus!

Mother Goose and Captain George Kousakis in front of the 46 passenger tour bus!

We arrived at the base in plenty of time and with just a little bit of run-around, we loaded up the recruits. The U.S. Navy has implemented the Adopt-A-Sailor program for the recruits who can’t get home for the holidays. Organizations can apply to adopt as many recruits as they can accommodate, and if the application is accepted, you get to pick up your sailors for the day! It’s such a GREAT program! Look at their smiling faces!

Onboard the USS Thanksgiving...

Onboard the USS Thanksgiving…

We arrived in our magical port where the computers, phones, TV and food were warmed up and ready for them. The sailors politely lined up to remove their coats, scarves, gloves, and covers (hats) and then politely asked where the computers and phones were. AND THEN THEY STARTED SMILING AND DIDN’T STOP SMILING FOR THE NEXT EIGHT HOURS!!!

In boot camp (also referred to as basic training), the recruits are completely unplugged. There are no TVs, no radios or music, no computers, no phones, no internet — nothing but marching and training and discipline and eating their meals in five minutes. They learn new names for things — the bathroom is now the “head”, hats are now “covers”, time is now measured in 24-hour segments, they are known by their last names only and there is no hugging.

So Mother Goose hugged them all day long.

These sailors immediately found their way to Facebook, their emails, their favorite online games and surprised their moms and dads (and in some cases, their wives!) with phone calls. Most of the guys and gals had not heard the voices of their families since they left their hometowns for boot camp five or six weeks earlier! Imagine the tears on the cheeks of the moms all across the country as they heard the voices of their young sailors…

"Thank you, Ma'am.  Is this Heaven?"

“Thank you, Ma’am. Is this Heaven?”

Checking in with family across the country.

Checking in with family across the country.

This is Edward -- he's from Puerto Rico and not especially liking the Chicago winters...

This is Edward — he’s from Puerto Rico and not especially liking the Chicago winters…

Ms Melvina, her caterer friend Kimberly chatting it up with some happy recruits.

Ms Melvina, her caterer friend Kimberly chatting it up with some happy recruits.

Besides the young recruits, our amazing team at Easter Seals also invited the veterans in our community who participate in our programs and services. It was a wonderful mix of young and old, squids and old salts, volunteers from all walks of life serving turkeys and the fixin’s donated and cooked by so many gracious helpers. It was a team effort and those are the best kinds of efforts according to this goose.

Dear Erin cooked a turkey and connected us with the amazing bus!

Dear Erin cooked a turkey and connected us with the amazing bus!

Retired Army Drill Sergeant Daniel, his wife and son Ethan served all day long.  They are the owners of an amazing online biz, Gruntstyle.com.  GREAT place to go on Cyber Monday for some VERY cool and patriotic American apparel.

Retired Army Drill Sergeant Daniel, his wife and son Ethan served all day long. They are the owners of an amazing online biz, Gruntstyle.com. GREAT place to go on Cyber Monday for some VERY cool and patriotic American apparel.

So many smiles...

So many smiles…

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The food line was amazing!  Seven turkeys, two hams and a partridge in a pear tree!

The food line was amazing! Seven turkeys, two hams and a partridge in a pear tree!

Our dinner with the recruits and veterans had a full agenda, including the Presentation of Colors by the Oak Park Police Department, poetry reading by Ms Josie Pierce of the American Women of Oak Park and Austin, presentations of roses to veterans and live music by a really talented musician named Ernie.

Ernie sang with passion and style about America and love of country, love of God.

Ernie sang with passion and style about America and love of country, love of God.

And then it was time to climb back aboard the USS Thanksgiving and head back to the base…hugs and tears all around. As Mother Goose climbed onto the bus, the sailors started singing at the top of their lungs!

“Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh. Farewell to foreign shores, We sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay. Through our last night on shore, Drink to the foam, Until we meet once more. Here’s wishing you a happy voyage home.

Blue of the Mighty Deep; Gold of God’s Sun Let these colors be till all of time be done, done, done, On seven seas we learn Navy’s stern call: Faith, Courage, Service true, with Honor, Over Honor, Over All.”

When we arrived at the base, thirty four sailors filed out of the bus with thankful hearts and happy faces. Each and every one of them gave Mother Goose a GREAT BIG HUG and said “thank you” and “happy Thanksgiving” and “God bless you”. Mother Goose smiled…

Young Sons in Love

Many moons ago.

Twin sailor sons of Mother Goose.

Home for an extended leave of absence…

Reconnected with a couple of young ladies they knew in high school.

Sisters.

Twin sisters.

Mother Goose always prayed that this might happen…

Sparks flew.

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Up to their necks in love.

Like life in a hot tub.

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Amanda and Adam

Amanda and Adam

Shelby and Erik

Shelby and Erik

Perhaps happily ever after?

Big Goose on Campus

Oh what great joy to visit my son’s college campus on our “private family weekend”. Ben was a wonderful tour guide, cordial and helpful. He filled our parking meter with just the right amount of change to get the sixty minute tour which was just the right amount of walking for this old goose.

For weeks, Ben has been sending me text messages with pictures of his lake on campus. I haven’t heard of too many college campuses with their own lake. This lake is creatively named, Campus Lake. As a waterfowl, I was very excited to head there directly. And believe me, it’s more beautiful in person than my Silly Pix camera can capture. And yet I tried…

Ben would like to live in the dorm across the lake for next year...

Ben would like to live in the dorm across the lake for next year…

Mother Goose loved the large lily pads on Campus Lake.

Mother Goose loved the large lily pads on Campus Lake.

It seemed to Mother Goose that some of the architecture of the department specialty buildings reflected the nature and personality of the distinct disciplines.

The Engineering Building

The Engineering Building

Wham! Educational Building

Wham! Educational Building

And then there are the classic designs which we might expect from a college chartered in 1869.

The iconic clock tower with quarter-hour Westminster chimes

The iconic clock tower with quarter-hour Westminster chimes

A campus castle behind the canna

A campus castle behind the canna

Shryock Auditorium

Shryock Auditorium

The Morris Library is a much more modern structure than the others, and named for former university president, DeLyte Morris. Mother Goose just loves that name! They’ve named one of the cafeterias, DeLyte Lunchroom, in his honor and there’s a nice statue of him in one of the common areas near Shryock Auditorium.

The modern Morris Library

The modern Morris Library

There’s a forest right smack in the middle of campus! It’s called the Thompson Woods, and there are signs at the entrances warning us not to enter the paths and the woods after dark. We did see a six-point white tail deer near Ben’s dorm on Friday night — he was just munching grass under a streetlight. Mother Goose nearly had a conniption — how exciting to see an antlered buck on a college campus!

I  believe there may be a sasquatch somewhere on this woodsy campus.

I believe there may be a sasquatch somewhere on this woodsy campus.

We found an outdoor sculpture app entitled “Here” and it was so very reminiscent of Stonehenge. The college seems to have an Egyptian theme — their mascot is the Saluki (a long-haired Egyptian canine) and there are allusions to pyramids and Sphinxes here and there around the campus. But Stonehenge? Hmmmm…..

Possibly the sun would align with these mini-monoliths at certain days and times...

Possibly the sun would align with these mini-monoliths at certain days and times…

Well, who is that goose peeking out from behind the sculpture?

Well, who is that goose peeking out from behind the sculpture?

Yes, it was a lovely tour. And it ended all too soon with the “goodbye” session near Ben’s eighteen story tower dormitory. My tall and handsome college man walked away, thinking of many things: the good family fun we enjoyed, the five-page paper that would be due in the morning, the 100 pages of reading he had to do by Tuesday.

We all loved our visit with Ben!  Not ALL of us got a piggyback ride though...

We all loved our visit with Ben! Not ALL of us got a piggyback ride though…

We pointed the goosemobile north and headed for home, hearts full of love for our Ben and our family time together. Blessings and happy faces to you from your friend, Mother Goose!

Touring with the Idols

I have written previously about my beautiful sister-in-law, Suzanne. She’s a lovely and amazing woman who adores her brothers.

Bill, Mark, Suzanne and Jim -- Cramers all of them...

Bill, Mark, Suzanne and Jim — Cramers all of them…

For most of the year, Suzanne lives and works in a sweet quiet little California tourist town at a Whole Body Vibe studio where she helps clients realize their full health potential and sensible weight loss. She also keeps herself in excellent health with organic eating and exercise — I’m sure she’ll never have to take any blood pressure medicine OR cholesterol medicine! She’s just a beautiful lady with a great perspective on life. Love is written all over her face.

And did I mention that she’s also a jewelry designer? Suzanne creates some gorgeous gold and silver “roadie shackles” that are for sale at her website — so cool for folks who can’t get enough rock and roll jewelry.

And then summer rolls around and her life does a 180. For the past several years, Suzanne has been the primary rigger on the American Idol Live tours. The rigger is the person who travels with the musical entourage and rigs up the motors which run the lights on the grid rack way up above the audience, way up over the stage.

She easily travels thousands of miles each summer, rigging up the shows, and then tearing them down and packing them away to be loaded on buses and hauled to the next venue down the road.

Suzanne has been doing this for nearly thirty years, traveling with many famous people and bands: Bonnie Raitt, Beyonce, Aerosmith, and Gloria Estefan to name just a few.

What an interesting life for this sister of a goose!

The fun thing is that when Suzanne comes to town with her friends and the American Idols, she arranges for her family to join her at the concert AND backstage! Imagine Mother Goose backstage at an American Idol concert!

Yes, it happened!

We arrived early at the Allstate Arena VIP parking lot on Monday night in our Goosemobile. Regular fans and curious onlookers, of course, wondered who we were as we pulled up to the gated entrance.

I spoke right up, “We have VIP parking for the concert tonight. My name is on your list!”

The parking lot security agent looked at Mother Goose. He seemed to recognize me, but still it’s his job to ask, “And your name is…?” When I told him, he was gracious and truly delighted to see me with my daughters.

“Ok,” he explained. “Just pull up there to that entrance by the tour buses and park in that lot. Your entrance door is behind the buses.” We happily followed his directions, walked behind the buses and entered the arena through an unmarked door. We were immediately confronted with a pack of security personnel who apparently hadn’t been informed that Mother Goose would be at the concert this evening.

“Who are you? How did you get in here? Were you on the bus? Who let you in? Why are you just standing there flapping your wings and stomping your rubbery feet?”

Graciously and with my best southern belle accent, I explained that my sister, Suzanne, would be meeting us and she’s very important too. As they surrounded us, I quickly dialed up Suzanne’s number and waited for her to rescue us. And of course, she did. Because she’s much more important and famous than Mother Goose. The security people just melted away when Suzanne showed up on the scene. After loving greetings, she hustled us away to another building, past more curious gapers with their mouths hanging open in wonderment of who we might be.

As we walked to the building where the crew and idols would be enjoying their delicious catered dinner of a freshly roasted pig, Suzanne supplied us with special backstage passes to stick onto our thighs and wrap around our wrists. We were now officially VIPs. With all the splendid and special benefits of those who know that status…

We ate hurriedly and happily.

Suzanne introduced us to her friends and explained that even though the rigging for the show was complete, she has an additional behind the scenes job for this tour. She assists in the “quick change” area during the show — the young singers change their costumes several times in the course of the evening, and she helps them to get into their outfits, attaches them to their lovely jewelry and makes sure they get the right shoes and cowboy boots on their precious idol feet.

As you can already imagine, we gasped in wonder as she showed us the place where these talented young singers change their clothes!

Wardrobe of the American Idols...

Wardrobe of the American Idols…

Jewelry of the American Idols...

Jewelry of the American Idols…

With eyes full of wonder and awe, we followed dear Suzanne to the place where we would be sitting to watch the concert. Of course, it was in the center of the arena in a fenced-in area reserved for those who are pre-designated as VIPs…

We hugged her mightily as she left to dress the ladies and then we waited with great joy and anticipation for the show to start. We entertained ourselves with taking many silly pictures. Because we are VIPs…

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And then what FUN when the concert started and all those really talented singers entertained us for a couple of hours! With all of their costume changes in place. And there were no wardrobe malfunctions to speak of…

Great light show!  Lasers galore!

Great light show! Lasers galore!

Miss Kree

Miss Kree

Miss Kree up close and personal on the big screen.

Miss Kree up close and personal on the big screen.

Miss Candice, the winner of American Idol 2013.  Oh man, can this woman sing!

Miss Candice, the winner of American Idol 2013. Oh man, can this woman sing!

Afterwards, with stars in our eyes, we were kindly and graciously escorted away from the masses to that private secret exit by Suzanne’s dear friend, Bobby. A fine Southern gentleman from Knoxville, Tennessee, he walked us out past the security personnel again while the eyes of regular fans watched us with great envy. Of course, Mother Goose easily slipped back into her southern belle mode in talking with Bobby much to the great chagrin of her daughters.

“Mom,” Jessi and AnnaRose asked, “Who do you think you are?”

“Well, I’m a VIP, of course, and so are you, my dears!”

A huge THANK YOOOOOOU to my dear Suzanne for making us the VIPs for the evening! You are my idol, dear!

Blessings to y’all from Mother Goose!

Art Matters to a Goose

Many of my loyal readers have asked, “Mother Goose, does art even matter in this high-tech society?”

This story will address that question, and I’m sure that my most astute readers will already know the answer…

Mother Goose was kindly invited to join her friend, Linda, and Linda’s dear daughter, Sarah, on a trip to visit Chicago’s world-reknown Art Institute. Because I live in Oak Park (which is actually the center of the Universe), I was able to easily catch an “El” train downtown whereas my two lady friends had to ride in to the city from the far distant suburbs on a Metra passenger train. I arrived at the museum several minutes before they did and was able to take an early morning picture of one of the iconic lions.

You can almost see a lion behind the iconic head of Mother Goose...

You can almost see a lion behind the iconic head of Mother Goose…

The ladies arrived in due time, and together we began our exploration of the ever-growing and ever-changing Art Institute of Chicago. We made a unanimous decision to run quickly to the place of the special exhibit, “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity”.

This exhibit was wonderfully educational and inspirational. We ladies especially love the Impressionistic style of art — in fact, it’s really the only part of the museum that we ever see. Something about the colors, the great globs of paint, the light in the paintings, the Frenchness of it all. We absolutely adore Impressionism!

This exhibit looks at the fashion of the time, French haute couture, of course. The paintings are arranged topically and with the added bonus of seeing the actual dresses from those fashionable times. What a thrill to see the painting alongside the actual dress worn by the model in the painting! Mother Goose nearly fainted from the historic wonder of it all.

Unfortunately, photography was not allowed within the area of the special exhibit. We frowned and made little mutters about that strict rule…but as soon as we left the special exhibit, our 21st century cameras clicked crazily in all directions. Well, actually, only the camera of Mother Goose was flashing and clicking as Sarah’s REALLY nice camera died of uncharged battery syndrome.

Let’s just let these photos speak for themselves…

"At the Moulin Rouge" by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

“At the Moulin Rouge” by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

"Water Lilies" by Claude Monet

“Water Lilies” by Claude Monet

"Cafe Singer" by Edgar Degas

“Cafe Singer” by Edgar Degas

"Two Sisters (On the Terrace) Plus one" by Peirre-Auguste Renoir

“Two Sisters (On the Terrace) Plus one” by Peirre-Auguste Renoir

Does art even matter?

If you ask these ladies who laughed, lushed and looped around the Art Institute of Chicago for more than five hours without even realizing how quickly time flies when you’re loving art, the obvious answer is a loud honk and a resounding, YES!

P.S. We also toured a related exhibit: “Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy” which explored informal dress and undress. Mother Goose was asked to stop her gawking and twitters in these galleries — seeing so many nudes makes a goose giggle nervously.

And Then We Went To The Beach…

As if visiting the tallest building in the world AND the largest stainless steel bean in the world wasn’t enough, we also took the dear sister of Mother Goose to the most beautiful urban beach in the world! The sand was soft and golden, the waves on beautiful Lake Michigan were soothing, the water was warm on our tired and blistered feet, and the view of the Chicago lake shore skyline SPECTACULAR.

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Oak Street Beach snuggles up to the city just as cozy as a fresh beach towel after a swim. Though we were only yards from busy Lake Shore Drive on a Sunday afternoon, the sound of the waves on the shore drowned out any traffic sounds. If we closed our eyes, we could imagine a tropical island. If we looked out across the lake, we could see lovely luxury ocean liners crossing the horizon. If we looked behind us, the unique view of Chicago was breathtaking.

The sun slowly set behind the skyscrapers, but rays of light suddenly shot through the tall buildings and lit up The Drake Hotel. Surely it was a sign that next time my dear sister visits our fair city, we should plan a visit or perhaps a stay at this famous Chicago landmark. In the meantime, all foots in and love from Mother Goose!

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I just think this is a funny pic...

I just think this is a funny pic…

Just a couple of gooses...

Just a couple of gooses…

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