Touched by an Angel Food Cake Drama

On the evening before his fifteenth birthday, the youngest son of a goose requested that she bake him an Angel Food Cake. Mother Goose swallowed hard, choked, rolled her eyes and honked as if to say, “Yes, dear, Mother will bake you that cake.” Though I have never baked an Angel Food Cake from scratch in all of my days, I am always hopeful that old dogs can learn new tricks. And as dawn was breaking over the Saturday horizon, Mother Goose was gathering her ingredients and her recipe and her baking equipment.

Should Mother Goose put on her glasses to read the recipe or just “wing it”?

I am a haphazard cake baker, I do the best I can and leave the rest to the “universe” or to fate or in this case, to angels.

Angel Food Cake is unusual in that it is mostly made of egg whites, those slippery yet fragile, messy yet vital, clear but sometimes foggy elements of the common chicken egg. By the way, I prefer chicken eggs to goose eggs for this particular cake recipe. Please separate your eggs carefully, avoiding egg shell and yolk pollution which would spoil the purity of your egg whites. Allow them to come to room temperature.

At this point, Mother Goose must interject a bit of humorous family history. When the children were quite young and prone to stomach flu, it was our family tradition to supply them with an aluminum mixing bowl in which to deposit their vomit — convenient and easy to clean, the bowls with egg whites now bring back those memories to the heart of Mother Goose…

Could be egg whites, could be the dry heaves.

Back to our recipe…

Whilst those egg whites are getting comfortable, combine your powdered sugar and your flour, sifting together at least three times until they are completely together in this and of one mind. Unity of the powdered ingredients is very important. Set this aside until Mother Goose directs you.

Some powdered unity for our cake.

Add vanilla and cream of tartar to your egg whites and begin to beat them in your Mix Master until first they are foamy and then beginning to form soft peaks and when indeed they are forming hard peaks like Mount Everest (or in my case Mount Saint Helens), slowly add the granulated sugar while the whipping continues. A question to my dear readers: what exactly is cream of tartar and why is it so very important to egg whites?

Foaming a little.

More foaming action.

Another angle of the whipping process

The beginnings of angel robes of whiteness

The soft peaks of angel cheeks.

Nearly full-blown snowy mountain peaks of angel goodness. As you can easily see, Mother Goose knows how to whip an egg white…

Perfection of the puffy clouds

When the peaks of egg whites are standing tall and firm, then you must VERY gently fold the powdery ingredients into them. Using a rubber scraper and many prayers, carefully and with much caution fold and turn, fold and turn until the powder has completely been ingested by the mountains of white. There must be no evidence of any powder. None.

Careful incorporation is critical. Please be careful!

And now, holding your breath, you will scarcely lift the beautiful mass of cake cloud batter up and into that special cake pan — you know the one in the back of your cupboard that you never ever use — it has a tube through the middle and the inner part comes away from the outer part and your little kids love to play with it — even more than they like to play with your iPad.

The least used cake pan in the cupboard of a goose.

Your oven has been heated to 350 degrees per the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. You have followed the step by step instructions faithfully and prayerfully. Nothing left to do but “pop it in the oven for baby and me!”

Oh it’s just gorgeous! Let’s bake it now.

Breathe a heavy sigh of relief and set your timer for about an hour. Feel free to clean up your messy kitchen at this time. Or turn on an episode of Touched by an Angel, because you will need to remember pretty soon that God really does love you and He has not forgotten you.

Another thing you should do now is to find a bottle with a long skinny neck on it. First Mother Goose found a bottle of Kentucky bourbon which I tasted. I decided its neck was too thick, and its bark was worse than its bite. Grand Marnier would be a better choice this morning.

Just a little nip whilst we wait….

When the timer went off, Mother Goose was feeling happy and light-headed. She removed the cake from the oven. She inverted the cake upon the bottle of Grand Marnier.

The Angel Food Cake is so beautifully and tastefully inverted upon the bottle, cooling happily and then we shall decorate it for the birthday party!

She raised her wings to the heavens in grateful thanksgiving for the success of the Angel Food Cake for the teenage son. After five minutes of heartfelt praise time, Mother Goose opened her eyes.

The angel crashes down to the countertop. Disaster!

Mother Goose gasped in horror — there was no way to stop the fall of the cake. It fell and when it fell, all the trumpets in heaven were silenced. All ears were tuned to the sound of the sad honking in the kitchen of Mother Goose. The drama had played out so differently than I had planned. The Angel Food Cake was lost and soiled and irretrievably condemned to the garbage can. No touch of an angel could repair this cake. Humpty Dumpty came to mind as he lay broken at the foot of his wall with all the king’s soldiers standing around scratching their heads.

But was Mother Goose down and out?

Well, just a little.

And then I remembered the words of my mother, “No sense crying over broken and flopped angel food cake.”

I got my son a really nice chocolate cake at the bakery. Happy Birthday, dear Joe!

Isn’t it just wonderful? Happy 15 to my dear Joe!

Where in the World is Mother Goose?

Mother Goose apologizes here and now for the lapse in my stories. I hope that you will bear with me as I push through this transitional time in the life of a goose. The reason for my absence as of late? Employment. Yes, it is true — Mother Goose has been hired by a national retail giant as a “mystery shopper” and now my life is not my own…

This change in employment has caused a name change as well. You may now call me Dark Goose.

Living incognito as Dark Goose…

Being undercover in this new stage in my life has both benefits and drawbacks as you may well imagine. Consider the benefits: a regular paycheck even during this intense time of training. Consider the drawbacks: I must always be on the alert, always watching my back. If my identity is compromised, I’m immediately “not necessary” and WHO KNOWS what that might mean…

Hence, I must ask you, dear and gentle reader, for a very large favor, and I hope that you will comply with much grace.

Please do not share this information with anyone.

Watching you as discreetly as possible, I remain forever, your Dark Goose.

Photo Ops with the Goose

On our recent family trip through Wisconsin and into the great state of Minnesota, there were plenty of opportunities for posing in front of stuff, proving our tourista status. Enjoy the wonderful Minnesota theme song and feel free to laugh out loud (or gasp) as you examine our pictures. Just take your time…

Stepson Eric climbing in central Wisconsin near Devil’s Lake. Mother Goose nearly fainted when she saw this picture…

Somebody posing with a mouse in Wisconsin…

A lovely carved totem pole in Blackduck, Minnesota.

Allen posing with the totem pole.

Yes, there IS a black duck in Blackduck, Minnesota.

Much patriotism in Minnesota.

And the grand finale in Squaw Lake, Minnesota. A real goose and a not so real goose…

What a wonderful, unforgettable time we had on our short vacation to northern Minnesota! Thanks so much for coming along on this report with Mother Goose, and for putting up with my silliness — again.

Mother Goose Launches Her Eldest

Earlier this summer, the eldest gosling of Mother Goose graduated from college with honors. She’s got a really nice part-time job as a server in a cute little vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free restaurant in Oak Park. She’s been busy sending out resumes and applying for full-time positions here, there and everywhere. Mother Goose is exceedingly proud of her!

And yet, the media often talks about the young people today who “fail to launch” — they’ve got their degrees, their part-time jobs, their same old bedrooms at Mom and Dad’s house, with very little sign that they are moving on into the next phase of adulthood. They haven’t quite launched out of the nest and on to their own lives and homes.

Today Mother Goose was flapping very excitedly as she imagined the launch of her own daughter. She was so nervous and flabbergasted that she turned on her video camera accidentally and didn’t realize that she was actually filming. Please stifle your giggles as you watch this short video clip:

The vague reference to carbiners is just that…vague. It’s just one of those things that mothers and daughters often talk about, but with no real application to real life.

Silly Mother Goose to practice the filming of the launch…

And then Jessi jumped onto the bike which once belonged to the mother of Mother Goose and off she flew into the great unknown. Please pass the Kleenex…

There she goes…

Congratulations, Mother Goose, for this successful launch. Of course, she’s just going off to work, and she’ll be home in five hours. But still a great projection into the future!

An Alarming Visit to the Zoo

Mother Goose and her offspring love animals so much that we have a membership to the Brookfield Zoo and visit there quite regularly. We’ve been somewhat disappointed, however, at the lack of animals this year — cages empty, exhibits temporarily closed, animals out on loan to other zoos. We scratch our heads in puzzlement — is it a zoo or just another pretty park?

We were especially alarmed at the things we saw in July. Please try not to cry as you view these pictures from the zoo!

River otters. Notice the one with a plastic straw in his mouth. Where is the sense in that? I seldom let my own children use plastic straws for the choking danger it could pose to the drinker…

Gorilla depression is serious, but can be treated if detected early on.

Is this big fellow holding a weapon in his right hand and feet? Mother Goose is afraid, very afraid.

We moved on to the dead snow leopard exhibit. Perhaps the gorilla had already been here…

I hope your Kleenex box is close at hand.

And just when we thought we had seen all the possible trauma at the zoo, we entered the Australia house. Mother Goose was prepared for the potential of seeing bats flying loose within the dark places of this place. Nobody, including Mother Goose, was prepared for this:

Some joker had dropped an unlit cigarette on him in his demise. The dear, precious wombat… such an indignity to the little fellow. Please pass the tissues…

Dear readers, it was a harsh time, an alarming time. It was actually time to call the authorities to report the situation at the zoo. AnnaRose quickly dialed 9-1-1 and spoke to the dispatcher about these things.

“Hello? Yes, I’d like to report many problems at the zoo.”

But wait, there’s more! Tomorrow…

The REAL Bikers

In yesterday’s post, Mother Goose announced that she was a biker. Well, we all know that sometimes Mother Goose stretches the truth just a little bit… However, it is true that there are REAL bikers in the family of Mother Goose. Today I’m proud as a peacock to show them to you. Please listen to this song as you enjoy today’s pictures of REAL bikers!

My brother Goose with my daughter Goose on his Heritage, special edition

Cousin Jeff Goose with his Heritage. He is also a former mayor of Nimrod, Minnesota.

A REAL biker vest, belonging to my bro-in-law Allen Goose

Another REAL biker vest, worn by my Sister Goose

Sister Goose doing some stunts on her Sportster

Allen to the rescue when Sister Goose ran out of gas…

The Heritage of Allen Goose, needs a little wrenching now and then…

Allen on his Heritage.

This picture shows Sportster Love.

People often get nervous or even afraid when they see a pack of Harley-Davidson riders on the road or parked near a drinking establishment. People often assume that bikers are unkind people with cold hearts. Many people have the preconception that because motorcycle enthusiasts dress and talk differently they might be dangerous. So many of my readers wonder if motorcycle club members might be like gang members.

I assure you, REAL bikers are real nice people.

Dear reader, Mother Goose would like to encourage you to hug a biker today. Wherever you are, if a REAL biker crosses your path today, remember the words of Mother Goose and embrace that person. Tell them that you care! Listen to their stories with an open ear, and shake their hand. Thank them for their American spirit and just give them a big hug.

[photos courtesy of Sister Goose -- THANKS Sissy!]

As Busy As A Goose

We’ve all heard the expression “as busy as a bee”. And that’s really busy, I know. The bee is a tireless worker — they take the work ethic to the next level and then the next one after that. It’s a common “bee expression”.

A honey bee at work…

But what about a goose? Is there an expression for a busy goose?

Here are some common (and also some uncommon) expressions about a goose I’ve discovered at this website:

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

We’ve used that one before, haven’t we? But what does it mean, for gooseness sakes? What is good for one person is good for another; often what is good for the man is good for the woman. Have you heard this version? What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander? I like that one!

“She doesn’t have the sense God gave geese.”

Simply put, it means the person is stupid, perhaps more stupid that a goose. Mother Goose finds this expression very offensive…

“The goose hangs high.”

This expression means that everything is good. I find it ominous…

“It’s as slick as goose grease.”

Well hmmmpph…how about it’s as slick as human grease…

“The story gave her goose flesh.”

Of course, this is the bumpy condition of the skin induced by cold, fear, etc., caused by contraction of the muscles at the base of the hair follicles with consequent erection of papillae: so called because of the resemblance to the skin of a freshly-plucked fowl. Also called: goose bumps, goose pimples, goose skin. Mother Goose is alarmed at the thought of freshly-plucked fowl! Please know that I apply multiple hand lotions and creams all over my bumpy goose skin.

“The soldiers were goose-stepping through Berlin.”

This is a military march step in which the leg is swung rigidly to an exaggerated height. Perhaps you’ve seen footage of the Third Reich army… This is definitely not a positive image for the goose.

“All his geese are swans.”

This saying refers to the person who constantly exaggerates the importance of a person or thing. And is there a reason why a goose should ever wish she was a swan…

“To cook someone’s goose”

This expression means to spoil someone’s plan or bring about their demise. Again, Mother Goose takes offense.

“To kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.”

And we know this expression suggests the sacrifice of future benefits for the sake of momentary present needs. Very troubling indeed…

“To goose a person” is to prod them playfully in the behind. I do not think this is an appropriate expression at all. It seems to imply that a goose would run up behind a person to bite their bottom…

“As often as a goose goes barefoot.”

This is a new saying to Mother Goose. It simply means ALL THE TIME. Looking down at my own webbed and rubbery feet, I quickly grasp the meaning.

“She cannot say boo to a goose.”

This is a way to describe a shy person. Believe me, plenty of introverted and shy people have said “boo” to this goose!

“Off on a wild-goose chase.”

Mr. Charles Funk defines this expression as a vain pursuit of something, which even if attained, would be worthless. OMIGOOSENESS to attain a goose is worthless? Perhaps I need to goose Mr. Funk once and for all…

Well, dear reader, that gives us much to ponder!

Tomorrow we will explore just how BUSY this goose was on Saturday. I have pictures to prove it! Hmmmpphhh…. HONK!!

As busy as a goose…

Never a Plain Jane

She was born with a fancy name, Jane Marie Belongea. Though she entered our world in the usual way, she was in Wisconsin. And if she stayed there, she’d never meet Mother Goose. So after many teenage adventures, Jane learned the trade of fashion design, earned the degree of textile delights and moved to Illinois, where I was already waiting for her but she didn’t know it.

Because we were both living incognito lives at a local grocery store, she as a Salad Bar technician and Mother Goose as a Bake Shop clerk, Jane and I immediately recognized in each other the mysterious presence of the Holy Spirit. There is sometimes a wonderful, knowing look in the eyes of a new friend when you just know this is going to be good.

We shared a back room, behind-the-scenes work space at the grocery store. It was a dark and stormy evening outside, but where we worked the air was filled with the sounds of laughter and camaraderie as I prepared the bread and rolls for baking and she assembled hundreds of chef salads.

Suddenly Jane shrieked in horror — I went running to her side. “What is it, Jane dear? Are you OK?” I asked with much concern.

“I’ve lost my heirloom pearl earring,” she exclaimed with great sadness. “I thought I was wearing it when I got here, but now it’s gone. I’ve looked on the floor, but I just can’t find it. Do you suppose it fell into one of the salads?”

Mother Goose looked at her new friend with amazing compassion. “I will help you find it,” she offered.

Jane smiled gratefully.

Together, the two friends opened and perused the hundreds of pre-made chef salads. With our delicate touch, we carefully dug through the cheese, the turkey and ham strips, the hard-boiled egg halves, the lettuces and carrots. For hours we searched for the lost pearl earring — salad after salad — trying not to disturb the artfully arranged beauties in their clear plastic houses. The pearl, the pearl….where can the pearl earring be?

Of course, we never found it….because it was at Jane’s house, lying on her bedroom floor where she had accidentally dropped it!

And so began our sweet, always interesting friendship which has amazingly lasted nearly twenty years.

She was hysterically present at the birth of one of my babies. She designed and stitched my most recent wedding dress as well as several other fancy dresses for me. She has always been a great source of inspiration and good cheer. She has weathered many storms and tragedies. She has redefined and redesigned herself so many times, I have nearly lost count of her many identities. Oh, but she has always remained a true sister in the Lord.

Here are just a few of her many personas — you may begin to think that she is like poor Sybil with all the fascinating characters she has living inside of her:

Bridal and formal wear designer
Salad bar technician
Personal tailor to a well-known midget gentleman
Loving mother
Faithful wife
Wilderness camp director
Missionary to the children of Cabo San Lucas, Baja, Mexico
Professional stylist to Christian recording star, Virginia Hill
Devoted coach of the high school girl’s track team
Stephen’s Ministry counselor
Avid cross country skier and able canoeist
Licensed real estate professional
Amazing and forgiving friend…

We don’t see each other often because of our crazy schedules, but Mother Goose is all in favor of a good texting session. Just last Saturday we brought each other to tears of joy and incontinence with the following text conversation. The cell phone of Mother Goose sometimes predicts what she wants to say — with hilarious results. By the way, we were attempting to encourage one another with some paraphrased thoughts from God’s Word…

Jane: Hey sweet dear Mother Goose…hope u r doing well! Sorry for the late response…..am working 3 jobs lately…LOTS of hours…coming to an end soon! Luv u!
MG: Oh precious friend…let the joy of the Lord be your strength
Jane: Oh ya! He is sew faithful!!! :-)
MG: His mercies r new every morning!
Jane: Shelter in the time of need!
MG: By his grace I can leap over the wall
Jane: Praise the Lord, I heard His call
MG: He rejoices over us, singing love dongs
MG: Ha ha songs
Jane: wat r love dongs?
MG: I’m laughing so hard, tears
Jane: lol!….ouch!
MG: Kum BA yahoo my lord
MG: OMG hilarious
Jane: Tears…!!!!!! Wetting pants now!
MG: Thx for the laughs honey
Jane: U too!
MG: Love u Jane Marie dear
Jane: :-D

Overjoyed with Jane.

Happy Birthday Brother Goose

Today my dear brother celebrates fifty one journeys around the sun! It’s a little odd that even though I was the first born in our family, I always think of him as the oldest in our family. [a little sisterly tease there...]

My brother (his name is Dana) is AWESOME! He does all these cool things that I just wish I could do. Sit back, relax, sip your Canadian whiskey whilst Mother Goose tells you the story of Dana Frame.

Once upon a time, there was a young man who liked to draw cars, but not just ordinary cars. Dana liked to draw really radical cars and trucks with big pipes and engines sticking out of the hood. He liked to draw huge monstrosity trucks and cars with gigantic tires and flames shooting out of their tailpipes.

As he grew older, he dreamed that someday he might actually OWN a truck like those he used to draw. And he grew older. And he grew even older. And older…

Dana wanted to drive cars very badly. He could not wait until he turned sixteen so that he could get his driver’s license. So he didn’t…wait. One dark night, our parents were not home. Dana and his friend Jeffrey borrowed the car without asking permission of mom and dad. He did not have his driver’s license. They “borrowed” the car and went driving around. Finally they decided it was time to head for home. Dana came up over a hill and somehow lost control of the vehicle, sending them plunging into the ditch. Unable to retrieve the car from its awkward position off the road, Dana decided the best and only option for them was to make this look like a crime scene.

“Yeah! Great idea,” Jeff responded enthusiastically.

They proceeded to tear all the electrical wiring out from under the steering wheel and under the hood, making it look as though the car had been stolen and then vandalized by the thieves.

Then they quickly walked to their respective homes and crawled under their covers.

Imagine the shocked look on Dana’s face the next morning when Dad asked him where the car was! “I don’t know,” he sleepily replied. “Probably someone stole it last night…” He rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. But you know how it is when we have guilt in our hearts. Dana couldn’t rest. His mind was very troubled.

He heard Dad on the phone talking to the police, reporting his stolen car. And it didn’t take long at all for the authorities to find the missing vehicle, lodged in the ditch down the road. Hmmmm….

For some reason, nobody fell for the “stolen car” story and Dana had to confess his mischief. But as Mother Goose remembers it, he didn’t even get into any trouble! Mom and Dad just said, “Well, that’s how young boys are…” and they got the car fixed. He wasn’t grounded or fined or required to make any type of reparation for this stunt! Mother Goose, on the other hand, was continuously grounded between the ages of 13 and 18, and for much smaller altercations…

But, of course, Dana has always been the favorite child…and my sister, Leslie, has also been the favorite child as she is the baby of the family. He’s always been the smartest — she, the cutest. He’s the only son, and she’s obviously the most fun daughter.

Oh, but I do digress…

Anyway, Dana did grow up to be a fine young man. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a major degree in Forestry — following in the footsteps of our father and grandfather. He was immediately hired by the state and has made quite a fine career for himself in his field. Just recently he received a very nice promotion to Area Forestry Supervisor and can call himself the boss.

Dana married his high school sweetheart! Linda (or Loon as she is most commonly called) and Dana are living happily ever after out in the country in northern Minnesota — married for more than twenty-five years now! They have a young pup named Harley who is an English mastiff — just a small 150 pound fellow with large soulful eyes and stringy drool.

Harley Windsor of Sturgeon

Dana is a fine fisherman — he’s out catching crappies today to celebrate his birthday — and also a great hunter. He provides venison for the whole family every year.

But I hear you asking, “What about his dream to own a large and loud truck?” Here’s the answer to that:

Points champion, Northern Minnesota Mud Racing Association 2011, Dana Frame. The handsome guy on the right!

He’s definitely the winner! Look at all that bling!

Dana grew up to be a mighty mud racer! His expertise in building and racing cars and trucks has brought him to the forefront of northern Minnesota mudracing circles. The Winners’ Circles.

The following video, however, is quite disturbing. Mother Goose has chosen to include it in this birthday post only to illustrate the danger of my brother’s chosen hobby, but be forewarned, this video is not for the faint at heart. Also, please keep in mind that nobody died in this terrifying crash. You might want to take another sip of your Canadian at this point…

A huge thanks to my sissy for filming and posting that video for us. Loon doesn’t drive quite so often at the races as she used to, but that’s OK. She’s definitely made a name for herself in northern Minnesota mudrunning.

And a very HUGE happy birthday to my dear brother goose — wish we could celebrate together, but hopefully this fun little story from Mother Goose has been entertainment for you! [hugs and kisses]

To Be Alive is To Procrastinate

Mother Goose must ask: is procrastination a problem in your home? Do you happily put off for tomorrow what you could easily and stresslessly do today? Some of the people in the nest of Mother Goose have an issue with procrastination. I shall not name them today…however, I will tell you some of the shocking things they did this past weekend in order to delay the inevitable research paper and school projects.

One gosling (who will graduate from Columbia College Chicago this coming Saturday and has approximately 32 pages of research papers due this week) found it was the perfect time to completely clean her bedroom. She picked up all the clutter, vacuumed everywhere, dusted all of her knickknacks and reorganized her closet. She cooked herself an exotic vegan meal. She went for several walks and offered to wash dishes. She found time to play with the cat, and praised the dog. I may have spotted her weeding the garden…

Another nameless gosling of Mother Goose had a five-page honors history paper due, complete with endless pages of endnotes and citations. He had previously emailed his teacher requesting that the entire class be granted a weekend extension to the deadline due to stressful ACT testing and other humongous projects last week. The history teacher graciously extended the due date of the paper for which all students were very thankful. And so this son of mine was busy yesterday afternoon with several activities, none of which had much to do with his research paper about Ronald Reagan.

Suddenly he needed to shave!

Not too surprising, he needed to drink a Red Bull.

Most surprising…he wanted to accompany me to the grocery store. “Mom, I have never wanted to go to the grocery store with you as much as I do today!” And then he really REALLY wanted to help me carry in all the groceries…more than he ever wanted to in his whole life.

Some of my dear and gentle readers may have watched an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants where this condition was addressed. If you have never watched it, I cordially invite you to take the time right now. Maybe you have your own project to delay for as long as possible…

Mother Goose is proud to announce that the papers were eventually started. Some were completed by 2:00 a.m. Some projects were not quite completed by 2:00 a.m. Some were not begun at all. But then, you know what they say:

If it weren’t for the last minute, I wouldn’t get anything done. ~Author Unknown

The clock is ticking...

And I wish you all the time in the world today. Love, Mother Goose

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