Bouncing Gray Curls

While my car idled at a red light, an elderly woman in the sedan behind me caught my attention. Her left hand held the steering wheel while she snapped the fingers on her right hand. It’s as though musical notes danced about her bouncing gray curls. Who was the artist singing inside her radio? Sinatra, Clooney, Bennet? I itched to tap on her window and ask, but instead, we accelerated on the green light. As she soon turned left and I continued straight, I thought of silently wishing her a joyful day, but clearly, she was already feeling that joy!

It’s the little things in life that make us sing and dance.💗

Lately…

Lately…

the world sings virus lyrics
and lungs struggle to take in
gray air. I can’t help noticing
clouds parked on foreheads.
Looking to the horizon, dusty
cobwebs hang in each corner.
It’s time to dim the lights
out of memories, how life
once was. Fingers itch to
press life’s reset button
.
Answers remain ambiguous.
I want to watch the sun
breathe in and out and

the moon ride the night
as stars dance in the sky –
trying to find my place
in an
ever-changing
landscape.

Lauren Scott (c)

Pink

During the contraction, I held my Mt. Everest stomach and scrunched up my face as the pain made its way to the end. Matt felt helpless as he watched my face contort, wanting to do anything to alleviate my discomfort. But just having him near was support enough and he knew it. It’s Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, so what better timing to have a baby? Aside from contractions, the soft pastel blues in my hospital room relaxed me. The young nurse on my shift wore her long auburn hair in a soft ponytail and she had the warmest smile. Her voice was as rich and soothing as chocolate. She didn’t make me feel like another cow in line, ready to be forced out the door when all was done.

It’s amazing how calm I was on this day, considering how jumpy my nerves were when we first found out the news nine months earlier. I had a hunch I might be pregnant, so when I saw the ballet-slipper shade of pink, it may as well have been a bright bouquet of fuchsias. Mixed feelings swirled around in my mind. I was happy and scared to death at the same time. For some reason, I’ve always felt I had a low tolerance to pain. So, when the pink shined at me like a beacon for my future, I thought to myself, can I really do this?

Matt and I had talked about starting a family, so the timing was perfect. And despite my fear of pain, I chose to have natural childbirth. I wanted to feel each contraction and any agony that paralleled the miracle of giving birth. I needed to remember what it took to bring a little human being into our family of two, making it three. We found a method to help manage the contractions called Lamaze, so we signed up for a nearby course right away. There were several couples in the class, and it was special knowing we would all soon experience the same miracle of bringing new life into this world. Matt sat behind me, giving hugs every now and then as reassurance of his presence. This class was good for us to bond as parents-to-be.

Baby shower time!

Here comes another contraction as beads of sweat form on my forehead. I slowly inhaled, then exhaled, and repeated for as long as the drum beat of the pain continued. I didn’t morph into “Linda Blair,” although Matt’s story may vary. “Don’t do that!” I yelled, as he laid a cold compress on my forehead. His hand jerked back, and at that moment, we both learned I didn’t want to be touched when the pain ran full steam ahead. I closed my eyes and breathed in and out like I learned in Lamaze, but I focused on breathing slowly. The last thing I needed to do was hyperventilate. He waited until the agitated Lauren vanished and the kind Lauren returned. My blue hospital gown became drenched, and I prayed our baby wouldn’t delay its arrival. But whatever the time-frame, I had no choice except to stay on this wild ride and hold on with a firm grip.

It appeared that time passed like pouring molasses into a mixing bowl. Six and a half hours later, we welcomed our baby girl, and I couldn’t believe I made it through without any medication! One detail Matt and I agreed upon was wanting the element of surprise, so in the beginning, we didn’t know what the gender was going to be. All we were concerned about was having a healthy baby and we couldn’t wait to count those ten little fingers and ten tiny toes. But when we heard her vocals strong enough to make any singer jealous, it was like we had transported into the land of joy. Our family of two grew to three twenty-nine years ago.

Baby Stephanie

Our daughter’s birth came at a surreal time in our lives. My mother-in-law, Diane, was ill and passed away earlier that year, soon after we told her she was going to become a grandma for the first time. She was elated with this knowledge and it comforted her in those last days. But the fact that she would never hold her granddaughter or have the chance to spoil her like grandmas should do was heartbreaking. Even with the healing magic of time, we still feel cheated as though multiple chapters were ripped from our family novel. Because of this sadness, Matt had hoped for a baby girl. Too soon in life, he lost his mom, but he gained a daughter and she had a sweet way of softening the grieving stages.

When I first held our little girl, I was on a high that I had never experienced before, unsure if my feet were still on the ground. Steph had beautiful little rosebud lips and the softest skin. I instantly felt the bond between us. The pain I so vehemently dreaded in the beginning faded into no man’s land. As a result, when we decided to have another child, I didn’t have second thoughts. I was ready for deep breathing, for sweating, and to face that pain head on with boxing gloves because I knew the reward would be worth it.

We repeated our plans with the element of surprise, so it was euphoria again when our baby boy was born. After an even shorter labor of two and a half hours, I can’t deny being lucky. When I held our son for the first time, looking at his precious little face, my heart melted into a puddle of love. We named him Michael, a popular name but a favorite of ours, and he completed our family almost four years later.

Baby Michael

I recall the varied emotions from becoming a parent almost thirty years ago…the joy, the fear, the uncertainty, the second-guessing of whether I’d be a good mom or not. Experiences I can’t touch again, but memories and details I can hold forever. Becoming a mother was the first career I wanted; no other vocation equaled my longing. Parenthood turned out to be a lot of things…rewarding, thankless, fulfilling, and frustrating. Although challenges are unavoidable, those become overshadowed from the joy that manifests itself like finding the pot of gold. I’m grateful for the positive pink that even in its muted shade, shined brightly, changing my life twofold in the most worthwhile ways.

Seems like just yesterday 🙂

Since my daughter recently celebrated her birthday, I thought it was perfect timing to share my memories of becoming a mom. As the years pass, some details fade, but others stay vivid in my heart and mind. 💗

Azure Sky

As blue embraces the glow
and pink shades shimmer,
I liberate my worries
then hope delivers.
With beauty so near
of a soothing deep sapphire,
thoughts become clearer.

I attended a painting party sometime ago and this landscape was my first attempt at painting anything, except for walls in the house. The process was so much fun and it was interesting to see the final masterpieces of the other “students.” Not a single one was identical. They were all vibrant and magical in the same color scheme, but included details only distinctive to the artist.
Then recently, a friend told me about Seguidilla poetry, which inspired me to write a poem to pair with the painting. And so, I present to you another first attempt. It’s good for the brain to step out of the box now and then and I hope you enjoyed
bot
h.
~Lauren 💗

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

A Calming Landscape

When the sun ascends
and birdsong fills the mountain
air, when lake water
cleanses every ounce of us,
we are lost in nature’s home.

When the trail leads us
into depths of silence and
mountains touch the azure sky,
when wildflowers paint the land,
all senses become spellbound.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020
Photos from our lake camping trip (prior post)

💗💗💗

From Fabulous to Flames

We’re home now after another wonderful lake adventure and so grateful to have had blue skies before they turned hazy. Our hearts are heavy; praying for all those affected by over 600 wildfires burning up and down the state of CA, and for the firemen and first responders. Yesterday, the air was very smoky, the worst yet, and the advisory continues through Wednesday. The surroundings are a bit eerie. As more dry lightning is possible for today, our bags are packed because at the top of our street is dry open space. So, we’d rather be prepared in the event that hill ignites. It’s frightening, and I can’t imagine what others have endured who have had to evacuate, who have lost their homes or loved ones. And then think of the animals affected. It’s heartbreaking. We’re keeping all who are in the path of fires in our hearts. In the meantime, we swam in the refreshing lake, relaxed in our site, and did some hiking. It was great to get away, but also good to be home safely. Hope you enjoy these photos (only a few of the many we took; I can’t help but take too many)…

Stay safe wherever you are!
Lauren 💗💗💗

Alluring Altitude

Not a sound can be heard
Except an occasional chirp
And the wind’s whisper
Gliding through evergreens
Protecting from sun’s burning rays

Peace flows through veins
Its gentle movement calms the mind
As fragrance renews all senses


With my love beside me,
Gratitude embodies my heart
Together we stay mesmerized
Sitting on the shore
Watching the dragonflies
And reveling in the melody of silence


Lauren Scott (c) 2020

We’re off to the lake next week, so I’ll be disconnected from technology.
It’ll be good to get away and unwind in the fresh mountain air.
I’ll see you when I return, and in the meantime, I want to give a Big
“Thanks” to all of you who pop in a regular basis and to those who
visit now and then. All I can hope for is to write a poem or story
that resonates with you, so that you’ll have a special take-away
each time you leave. Thank you, Thank you! I appreciate you so
much! Stay well, stay happy, stay healthy! Love, Lauren
💗💗💗


Laughing Spiders

My dad saved my life when I was a little girl, or at least, that’s how I felt. My parents, sisters, and I were at our cabin for a weekend getaway in Sugarloaf, California, just south of Big Bear City. Sugar pines surrounded our little bungalow on the big corner lot in the mountains. We had just finished Mom’s lasagna dinner and everyone was relaxing in their own way for the rest of the evening. I was engrossed in a book, sitting on our coffee-colored sofa by our gray stone fireplace, and that’s when Dad noticed the spider heading for me at lightning speed. He caught it just before it began the climb onto my leg. In those days, any spider who found itself inside our home didn’t live to see the sunrise the next morning. For a little girl, this moment was traumatic, so these little pests have been the bane of my existence ever since. Even as I evolved into my teen years, they seemed to follow me everywhere.

These wee beasts spent much of their time in my peaceful and cool bathroom with the sky-blue walls and plush soft matching rugs. Never did they tour my parent’s bathroom. My mind drifts to the morning when I was about to take a shower, getting ready for another day of high school…as I turned the knob and looked up with eyes wide open, I watched a spider ride the waves of the cascading waterfall down, down, down. I jerked my head back just in time, and I cringed thinking of that eight-legged creature tangled up in my long hair.

Mornings began to fuel unfamiliar anxiety as spider social calls manifested soon after the crack of dawn. The sun brightened the sky and another high school day was on the horizon. I grabbed a towel to dry off after showering when I felt something unnatural. Looking down, I watched in horror as a brown spider scuttled across my chest. I jumped, avoiding a nasty fall in the tub, and brushed the spider off not caring where it landed. I just wanted it off my skin.

These creepy-crawlies seemingly watched for me so they could plan their next prank. During another shower with my head full of shampoo suds, I spotted a black spider near my feet. The dance I did wasn’t a happy one. With a swish here and there, my foot managed to nudge the scary intruder down the drain with ripples of water, as I imagined it whirling into the dark unknown of the water system. I quickly rinsed the suds out. Just as I felt calm run through my body, I looked down and saw that damn spider climbing out of the drain. This could only happen to me.

I’m not afraid of fangs digging into me. It’s the spider’s startling presence that makes me jump high enough to tap the moon. They appear when I least expect it, so any hope of building armor to avoid fear taking control is hopeless. And they have too many legs; this, combined with their sudden movements of jumping or crawling at high-speed, send me into a tizzy as my dad used to say. Also, from my view, spiders are not pretty. The visual doesn’t compare to reveling in the beauty of a swallowtail butterfly. In fact, their creepy looks propel me into a panic as much as their sudden company.

Even after five decades, I haven’t been able to shake my skittish reactions. Even though I’m a giant compared to the spider, with any fear, the source becomes magnified. So, I’ve diagnosed myself with arachnophobia. And the tale continues…

One unforgettable incident took place later in life. I’m now a wife and mom with two little children. On an evening like any other while my family was getting ready for bed, I walked through the house locking the front, patio, and kitchen doors. I turned the lights out in the living room, but noticed a dark spot the size of my palm on the carpet. I almost – almost – reached down to touch it, but a bell went off in my subconscious warning me not to. I turned on the light and staring back at me was a black hairy tarantula!

     “Oh, Shit!” I screamed, backing up slowly.

     “Uh, oh! I think Mom found a spider,” my husband, Matt, said to the kids. But he silently questioned the kind of spider that would cause me to shriek. This scenario sounded different from all the rest.

After I managed to widen the space between the tarantula and me, my feet felt like two cement blocks. Fear crept into my veins like a drug. I had never seen a tarantula up close, although I was thankful it stayed put. It didn’t budge at all. It wasn’t afraid of me. What a fiasco the night would’ve been if the tarantula had run. I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about the thick-legged, ominous-looking intruder finding comfort beneath the sofas (that I would never again sit on).

Matt was taken back when he saw the reason for my shriek. He was also surprised I hadn’t passed out! My daughter instituted the trend of saving spiders with a glass and a paper plate. So, by grabbing those two items, Matt scooped up the uninvited guest while I held the door. Per my request, he walked far enough away from the house before setting the big guy free in the yard. No tarantula was killed in the telling of this event. Our front door had been open earlier in the evening with the screen door closed. Spiders can maneuver through any cracks, but I see homes on our block with front doors open all the time. Don’t spiders find their way into those homes, too, where prime opportunity awaits?

Several days after Matt had introduced “Harry” to his outdoor residence, my phobia eventually quieted down. Until, just recently, when I sat at the kitchen table typing on my laptop. I noticed a spider crawling over the top of the screen. It appeared like out of a horror flick, magnified by the white backdrop, growing to an enormous size – my skewed perception – as each leg made its way over the top. Since Matt was home, I yelled for his help. He grabbed the saving tools, but was too slow for the speedy spider. He’s off to the races! So, Matt lobbed the glass to me like we had teamed up for an egg toss.

     “Oh no, I missed him, too!”

     “Hon, it’s just a spider,” Matt said with a smile and a pinch of courage. He knew Harry’s disturbing image had been ingrained in my mind, and no matter how much effort I exerted, it was stuck there forever.

I couldn’t believe Matt said, just a spider, but I knew he was teasing because he always comes to my rescue. As it happened, this little fellow was faster than lightning, so maybe he fled the household.

     “He’s on the floor…hand me the glass!” Matt tried again. “Ahh, now I can’t see him; he blends into the tile.”

     “It’s time for the vacuum then; I’m so sorry, I said out loud. When I finished pushing the vacuum back and forth many times, relief washed over me because I assumed the spider had been swallowed into oblivion. Then guilt followed because we usually tried to save the creepy creatures. I sat down at the table again, but not before examining my laptop with eagle eyes to ensure no more spiders needed screen time.

Five minutes later, I saw the spider again!

     “Oh my gosh, Honey, he’s following me!”

     “Who’s following you?”

     “Who do you think is following me?!

I ignored Matt’s teasing, but without him hearing, I let a chuckle escape. All I wanted to do was send an email. I grabbed the glass but missed the spider again. Good thing Matt and I weren’t on a baseball team. The spider certainly had an agenda – still racing to who knows where and surely faster than us. My eyes stayed focused on the little pest as it made its way to the living room. I was sure he was having the time of his life – the furniture would turn out to be a guaranteed playground.

     “Just watch, I’ll find him on my chair in the morning,” I said.

     “Could be. Should I make a bigger pot of coffee?” Matt replied, as he took a step back hiding behind a grin.

It seemed I had survived yet another spider episode, and so I had! We didn’t see the eight-legged visitor again and extra coffee wasn’t needed.

Now that I’m approaching another decade, my eyesight isn’t as sharp. And yet, I’ve memorized a few spots on the carpet that just won’t disappear with any amount of scrubbing. So, I can distinguish between a spill to a creepy unwanted visitor. Admittedly, I don’t shower without a peek behind the curtain. Fully overcoming this fear most likely won’t happen. However, if I can save a spider and watch it skitter around in a glass, then make my way to the door to give it freedom, that’s progress. Amazing progress! Once outside, I gently lay the glass down and with leg synchronicity, the spider crawls out heading to the roses and lantana, making us both sigh with relief.

I never had a green thumb in the garden; the last thing I wanted to do was deliberately put my hands in a spider’s haven. Nowadays, I’m more in tune with the blooms in our yard than I’ve ever been. I don’t worry about the creepy-crawlies when I’m offering a drink to the thirsty blossoms. This evidence shows the fear doesn’t have the firm grip that it had in years past. I haven’t conquered arachnophobia one hundred percent, but I realize this phobia doesn’t prey only on me. Knowing I’m not alone while learning to exist with arachnids and acknowledging they’re not out to get me, is a work-in-progress. I’ve come a long way since that evening at the cabin when Dad saved my life. Maybe his reaction incited fear. Yet, if the spider had begun its ascent onto my leg, fear would’ve hurled into full force regardless.

And so, I wonder, had the spiders been laughing at me when their presence whirled me into a frenzy? My intentions were always good; I simply didn’t want to be roommates. Laughing with me would’ve been perfectly welcomed.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020
Please note: No images are included due to the aforementioned phobia.

A Glance

The pocket-sized community in Marin County became home twenty years ago. This town of deep-rooted cottages and newly modernized homes is tucked away nicely among the rolling hills. A variety of trees dot the neighborhood streets and as I look out my living room window, deer saunter by. This infers in me comfort, knowing nature and people can coexist in harmony.

Anywhere I go, whether it be to the local shopping center or to downtown for delicious dining, I am likely to run into a familiar face. But even in this cozy community, the streets can turn into a cluster of blinking lights. Regardless of its charm, this town succumbs to crowds and traffic jams.

When respite is needed, my husband and I take advantage of the beautiful outdoors in “our backyard.” This means a journey into West Marin – a favorite place on our map for day trips. In only a ten-minute drive west, Sir Francis Drake Boulevard takes us over White’s Hill where we exhale into relaxation. We pass what once was the shimmering emerald green lawn of San Geronimo Golf Club and cruise towards one of our favorite stops, the Lagunitas Deli, for a mouth-watering sandwich. This little market provides a few outdoor umbrellaed tables where patrons can sit, chat, and watch cars go by. Occasionally, we order our sandwiches to go, setting out for another favorite destination, Samuel P. Taylor Park.

After making a left turn into the park, we drive to the ranger station to check in, handing over a few bills for the day-use fee. Then we continue further into a magnificent redwood forest as though entering into a magical paradise. After parking the car, we unfold our legs and stretch, tipping our heads up to match the awe-inspiring Redwoods’ height. We stand in a world where breathing is easier.  Our eyes search for a picnic table by the Papermill Creek so we can be soothed by the sound of gentle flowing water – perfect music for unwinding. After the last bite of our sandwiches, we stroll around hand in hand, delighting in the laughter of children playing and the mesquite aroma of the barbecues. The group picnic site evokes special memories as we approach: birthday celebrations and college graduations with barbecued meats, bean bag tossing, cake, and camaraderie.

But the deli and park aren’t exclusive to pulling us out of the stop and go traffic back in town. We detour off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard by turning right on a side street, driving at the posted fifteen-miles-per-hour speed limit through the blink-of-an-eye town of Nicasio. This town is where the Rancho Nicasio restaurant and concert venue resides. The “barbecues on the lawn” find their way onto our summer to-do list each year: great food, a margarita or two, the tree-lined scenery, and band of the day. But when the sun sets, the atmosphere takes on a new alchemy – enchanting strings of lights and stars in the night sky twinkle to create an unforgettable evening.

Passing Nicasio and nearing Bear Valley Visitor Center where we’ve hiked and picnicked, our eyes notice the cows grazing in the pastures. They often lift their heads to see who’s passing by. We arrive at the center and wander through, reading displays on all types of wildlife: deer, coyotes, jackrabbits, bobcats, gopher snakes, and great blue herons – education at our fingertips. I always manage to find something appealing in the gift shop: another t-shirt or bandanna to add to my collection, or one more book to keep others company in my bookcase, waiting to have their pages turned.

If we don’t plan to hike or picnic at the center, we head less than ten minutes away to the delightful town of Point Reyes Station. First stop, I spoil myself with a latte from Toby’s Coffee Bar. Toby’s is our favorite store in town. From chocolate, nuts, and jams, to shirts, jewelry, greeting cards, and books, this inviting store has everything! We mosey around, never walking out empty handed.

After finishing up at Toby’s with bags in hand, we enjoy one more spree and it’s for cheese! Stepping into Cowgirl Creamery, we hesitate, unsure of what delectable variety our palates crave: an Aged Sharp Cheddar or Gouda, a crumbly Goat cheese, or a Soft Brie or Camembert. When minds are made up, we add to the shuffling of bags with cheese in hand, and look for a table to savor it. If we didn’t lunch already, we may head to the Palace Market’s deli for a sandwich, saving the cheese for later. A bench suffices while we satisfy our hunger and watch regulars and visitors amble by. We then immerse ourselves into perusing each little shop with gusto. Point Reyes Station offers enjoyment for all. It’s a quaint town for a shopping expedition, to simply wander and window shop, or to satisfy appetites. It is the texture of Bay Area country living – a leisurely embrace of life.

Marin County brims with cozy and tranquil destinations where life is unhurried. These lovely locations offer reprieve from idling on crowded streets with frustrated drivers. We pause, crossing the threshold into a simpler time. Choosing whatever journey’s-end we prefer, Marin County is full of magic. We transport to where the air is refreshing, birds delightfully sing, trees welcome our company, and since the pace is easy-going, we actually have time to “smell the roses.”

This was written pre-Covid, but I’m optimistic that we’ll have the chance to repeat this adventure when life enters into a another new normal – one without masks and social distancing, when hugs and handshakes are welcomed, and smiles are seen again.

I hope you enjoyed! Lauren 💗
Photo credit: Google images for Samuel P Taylor picnic ground
& Pt. Reyes. All other photos are mine.

           

Jewels

I found this photo
while browsing the archives.
In 2014, we vacationed
in Bend, Oregon,
which seems like
a million years ago.
A time of large gatherings,

not worrying about
what we touch,
and no mask-wearing.
It was a different world.
Sisters, Oregon was a

fun day adventure
and a destination
for beautiful
sightseeing.
I thought this
would make
a good Monday post.
So, I send wishes
of peace
for a new week,
and I’m grateful
for all of you
who stop by

my little piece
of blogland.
I hope you

continue to find
inspiration here

that keeps you
coming back.

Lauren 💗