GNN: A Twist

Goose News Network (GNN)

I’m back from vacation and would you believe, I thought about these silly geese almost daily while I was gone. In fact, there was a funny incident where we saw some geese somewhere in Germany, and I said to Ross, probably a dumb question but are there Canadian geese in Europe? He replied, DUH, NO MOM, CANADA? And I said, of course, of course. A couple of days later, in Luxembourg, we saw Canadian geese by the water. And Ross immediately retracted his earlier words and apologized for saying my question was dumb.

Anyway, I didn’t ride Metro yesterday because I just didn’t feel like it on my first day back, but I rode this morning, mostly so I could check in on Rosemary and Joseph. Sure enough, there was Rosie, sitting on her nest in the median:

Rosemary aka Mother Goose

I kept a respectful distance, as I always do, but as I was slowly walking towards her, I noticed this:


Look – it’s one lonely goose egg in a hole, a few feet away from where our avian heroine was busy incubatin’. How? Why? Was this the original nest and she had to move to another one? Or did she remove the doomed egg from her nest? Or maybe some curious human moved it?

As soon as I boarded the train, I Googled, “why do geese abandon eggs.” And I learned that the Humane Society has a “Canada Goose Egg Addling Protocol” – addling means “loss of development” and there’s a contraceptive drug that can, with a federal permit, be administered to reduce hatching in order to “manage population humanely.” Geese who consume the contraceptive will lay eggs, but those eggs won’t hatch. They’re infertile. There are other ways to addle eggs, too.

Yes, I know that it’s important to control the goose population, for a bunch of reasons, but I’d be lying if I said this didn’t make me feel kind of sad, to think that some goose mamas lay and incubate eggs that never hatch.

Is that what’s up with the mystery egg? Perhaps it happened naturally. It stands to reason that it might.

I pondered this as I walked towards the station. All the way on the other side of the garage, I found Joseph, perched atop a sewer lid in the bank leading to the station entrance:


That’s the farthest I’ve seen him from Rosemary. Did they have a tiff? Are they grieving? Is she giving him the silent treatment?

Am I over-anthropomorphizing these geese?

Probably. But that’s OK; this is entertainment, not science.

Stay tuned!


Things lately

IT’S BEEN HARD RECENTLY to know what to write here. I’ve started a few posts, but nothing felt like it was coming together. Today, however, is the Winter Solstice, and as we noted in our eulogy, nobody anticipated the Solstice with more eagerness than our mom. Her fervent hatred of cold weather was unparalleled. And, while the Solstice marks the first day of winter, her glee was directed toward fact that from here on out, we get a few more minutes of daylight, and therefore less darkness with each passing day.

She hated darkness, too.

I was browsing through a batch of old photos that Mom had converted from slides – a real treasure trove of photos from back in the day. Many of them are overexposed and most are not particularly well composed (no one has ever accused anyone in my family of having above-average photographic skills), but some of them are gems. Like this one:


She hated snow with unmatched zeal, but not even Young Rosemary could resist measuring the new-fallen snow with a yardstick and grinning for the camera.

I shared this one on Facebook because, well, Winter. And Snow. And, Mom. It’s a fun photo I hadn’t seen before – those slides languished in boxes for decades until she finally had them converted to digital images a few years ago. But after I posted it, I found myself frowning back at her smiling face wondering and why she had to leave us so soon. I mean, she was only 78. In the year 2018, why couldn’t Modern Medicine fix her?

And then I got angry at her.

How dare you not be available to commiserate with me when my Thanksgiving gravy was too salty!

How dare you leave me the tedious, time-consuming task of settling your estate!

How dare you leave us all of these boxes of STUFF to go through, leaving us to make decisions that you didn’t want to!

How dare you leave me to make decisions about investments and required distributions and other financial concerns that have to be dealt with!

How dare you not be here for me to call and share the excitement of the holidays!

How dare you succumb to your illness!

How dare you!

It’s been almost five months, and at times it still doesn’t seem real. Will it ever? To the end of her days, my mom remained wistful for her own mother, who died in 1992, and for her mother-in-law, who passed in 2005. Maybe it never gets better.

But if there’s one thing Mom would not want, it’s for me to pout. She’d probably clear her throat in that way she did when she wanted you to know she was being serious, call me Margaret Ellen, and remind me that she trained me to be a “steel magnolia.” After our dad died, leaving her a widow at age 42 with two young daughters, people would remark about how strong she was. “What choice do I have?” she would reply, with a shrug. “The rest of us are still here; life must go on.”

I allow myself to have these moments, because grief is a process, but then I take a deep breath and carry on. After all, I have much to be joyful about, always, but especially this time of year. And even though my first Christmas in a lovely new home** with Steve is offset by the first Christmas without my mom, it’s that first part I’m trying to hold onto.

So: Christmas is four days away, and I still have to bake the sand tarts. Mom didn’t bake a lot, but these were her specialty and if you ask me, it isn’t Christmas without ’em. The dough is made; I just need to roll / cut / bake. And while of course they made me think of her in the past, this year I’ll be summoning Mom’s spirit more than usual. “They’re too much work,” she said of these cookies in her later years. “Someone else can make them now.”

Challenge accepted, Mom. I’m on it.


**Did I tell you, we moved? Still in the same neighborhood, much nicer digs. I wish my Mom could see it – she’d approve.