Where the fun never sets!

Since the empty nester phase has arrived, my husband and I have been flipping through old photo albums. Remember those? Not a folder on a computer, but good old albums where memories come alive on each page. We ran across this article I wrote in the year 2000 that was published in our local newspaper. Talk about memories!

San Anselmo Memorial Park: Where the fun never sets!

It’s a beautiful summer day in the low 80s. My husband is at work and I’m the designated recreation director for our son and daughter. There aren’t any play dates scheduled today, so what would be a fun way to entertain them?

I’m a stay-at-home mom and have met many people since we moved to San Anselmo, mainly through school and extracurricular activities. One of the most popular pastimes for parents and their children is going to the park. I have never seen so many beautiful parks to choose from.

Memorial Park is the hot spot in this quaint little town. Although the equipment was old when we first visited, it was a great destination for our children to expel their energy. Then, about a year later, I heard talk of a possible renovation, making it more desirable for children to play.

Talk soon turned into a dream come true. With the help of community volunteers and hired architects, Memorial Park was remodeled in one week! I knew if I didn’t volunteer to help, I’d feel guilty for a long time. This park and our children had already established a close bond and would be seeing a lot more of each other.

So, I volunteered to get my hands dirty and to participate in the camaraderie. Hammering, painting, lifting, cleaning, whatever it took, the work got done. The newly improved Memorial Park is even more magical than before. I haven’t visited once when it wasn’t filled with happy, giggly children creating their own adventures, whether in the mystical castles, climbing on the long-neck dinosaur, or building sandcastles in the big sand box.

Now, instead of wondering how I will entertain our son and daughter, I choose the best time to leave for the park. Usually, our children meet up with friends they’ve already made, which adds more dimension to the fun. While they’re playing, I share in adult conversation with other parents, flip through a magazine, continue where I left off in a good book, or simply enjoy the relaxation on a splendid summer day. What better music to our ears than the giggles of our happy children!

I truly appreciate the many volunteers and their working hands who conceived the renovation, thought it doable, making it reality!

Lauren Scott (c) 2000

I don’t have photos of the park during that time because I probably didn’t carry my camera on me. My bag was most likely filled with lots of water and snacks. And those were the days before smart phones existed where a simple tap, tap, tap could create 1000 photos in 5 seconds.

So, the photos I’m sharing are from the current website, along with the picture of my children that was included with the article. Now they’re 29 and 26! How is this even possible?!

Are you about to embark on the same life chapter of becoming empty nesters…or, perhaps, do my memories evoke special memories of your own? If you’re inclined to share, I’d love to read.

And thank you for joining me on this day at the park!

~Lauren ❤️💙💜
All park photos: Memorial Park website

Dare to Discover

Zoom became an integral part of everyday language, and

Yes, learning something new is exhilarating – the

X-factor of life – acquire knowledge at every chance, for the

Well-being of humanity is the health of our world. But the

Virus caused the need for this communication tool – an

Unexpected fast-spreading, deadly pandemic, forcing

Tears and heartache to ensue around every corner.

Staying well by dodging fevers occupied frantic minds, but

Relief finally arrived because of innovative medicine.

Quality of life slowly shifts into a sense of normalcy, as

Promises of large, joyful gatherings bring excitement.

Optimism feels attainable, overcoming those worst fears,

Nourishing hearts and souls that have been patient, as we

Marvel at the hustle and bustle on downtown streets –

Loving the sights of mask-less faces with big smiles, but,

Knowing the threat has not dissipated. We are openly

Just aware that moving forward unharmed remains possible.

I, for one, exhale with reassurance, but even so, I carry

Hope closely for those who continue to suffer, and

Gratitude rests in my heart every day for all blessings.

Fulfillment manifests from a support circle of those who

Effortlessly carry us through uncertainty. So, forging ahead,

Dare to discover something you have missed through the slog.

Celebrate the community who has your back, for this is our new

Beginning…

At last!

Lauren Scott (c) 2021 ❤️
Photo is from our backpacking trip
to Spider Lake in the Sierra.
A new day begins…

Where to begin?

There are words for anything in life,
so I have some thoughts but where to begin…
Donned in whites and golds, dusted with flavors of life,
its creamy texture and enticing aromas mesmerize.
Palates delight whether it’s spread, sliced, sprinkled,
melted, or shredded. So versatile in the industry.
Ahh, but why the calories? Yes, where to begin.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021
Photo: Google
🙂

Cake

I opened the oven door with my young children peeking around me and we all laughed! Instead of the meringue cascading in still perfection, cracks engulfed every inch as though an earthquake rumbled over the top. Through giggles, we yelled, “The Earthquake cake!” A Blitz Torte. It was my dad’s favorite, stemming from past generations of his German heritage.

The memories! There was Mom, standing in the kitchen of dark wood cabinets, hand mixer purring as she blended the magical ingredients for dad’s birthday each year. Mixing up this feather-light textured cake was no simple culinary experience; separating egg yolks from their counterparts, the egg whites, was a step mastered with practice over time. The meringue topping had to be whipped to precision like an image of still cascading waves in the ocean. Having only attempted this recipe once with the result resembling the earth riddled in quakes, Mom and Dad cracked up when they saw the cracked-up cake! Hilarious to the eyes, but the slight almond crunch of the meringue and creamy texture of the custard filling decadently pleased our palates.

And then one day I tasted carrot cake – the mixture of spicy cinnamon, tangy crushed pineapple, shredded carrots, and crunchy walnuts immediately deemed this cake my utmost favorite. Add the smooth, delectable cream cheese frosting (that I could eat by the spoonful) and you have life’s essentials on a plate! And it’s advantageous that carrot cake counts as a vegetable in my kitchen.

It was the day of my bridal shower. I walked into my maid of honor’s home, instantly inhaling the spicy scent. Carrot cake! She knew me too well, and her mother created the best recipe. Our moms and all the girls were in dessert heaven with each bite of that delicious piece of art. And so, the top of my 5-layer wedding cake was carrot – it had to be that way for my special day. Fortunately, my husband was a fan, too!

My two teenagers on a spring March day pulled on their carrot-shredding gloves and presented to me their creation while belting out, “Happy birthday to you...” With its two uneven layers, it wasn’t pretty, but it brought on the biggest smile. Their efforts earned them an A+, and when I treated myself to that first bite, I tasted spicy, creamy excellence. With their love and thoughtfulness stirred into the process, satisfaction was redefined!

I often delve into the carrot shredding and cream cheese whisking myself, watching my family revel in each forkful of the sinfully delicious dessert. This recipe has become a treasure in my collection evoking these precious memories. Whether it’s a Blitz Torte bringing to life images of my parents who have since left our physical world or a Carrot Cake from wedding and birthday celebrations, the stroll down memory lane becomes more poignant with each new bite.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Header: My birthday carrot cake this year that a wonderful friend made for me. 🧡🧡

After All This Time…

Dear Friends,

My blog sat alone for almost a year and a half, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Baydreamer and I had been forgotten. At the end of 2018, I posted about the success of a medical procedure, and then I fell off the blog for over a year? Since then my health has been back to normal, but soon after, I felt the need to disengage from technology. Now, I’m drawn to blogging again because with physical distancing, the connections that blogging offers are welcomed. As to writing, I drifted from poetry; instead, I have been writing personal essays and trying my hand at fiction, which has been challenging but rewarding. Occasionally, though, a poem begins to form.

How surreal I return in uncertain times, living in a pandemic world. I realize when the sun shines and the sky brightens to a beautiful cerulean blue, my attitude shifts to positive thoughts. When I stroll around our backyard, enjoying all the spring blooms, I wonder if the flowers have the slightest hunch of what Covid-19 is and its impact on human society. Probably not, which is why they bloom in spite of the bleakness all around the globe.

Don’t these flowers radiate joy? How can the same elation flood through our veins despite hearing the grim accounts of this virus? Answers vary, but two thoughts come to mind: Faith and Hope. Whatever you believe in and no matter how far you need to stretch to grasp even a fraction of Hope, without these, we can easily become defeated and remain in that gloomy headspace. It seems taking one day at a time is applicable once again.

Even while practicing physical distancing, there is some good that comes to light: I have seen more smiles on the street while walking our chocolate lab mix, Copper. Not to mention, the neighborhood has never been so joyfully packed with people of all ages out for a walk. This truly is a welcoming site. Stories of people helping each other are abundant – offering to grocery shop for a neighbor or reaching out to those who are lonely where isolation is more challenging. These simple gestures are a means to stay sane in the midst of this insane scenario. Acts of kindness make us feel good and they afford a sense of purpose. At 8 pm each night in our community, everyone howls in gratitude for the heroes working in essential jobs risking their lives for us. My family participates in this gesture of appreciation, and Copper sings his part in the chorus, too.

However, five weeks into sheltering-in-place does not advise complacency. It’s not over until it’s over. We still need to be responsible in taking precautions to help mitigate the spreading of the virus. We wash our hands a million times a day, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes stay within reach, and we wear masks and gloves, not just to protect ourselves but to protect each other. Those who have lost loved ones to the virus remain in our hearts. This health crisis is serious and if any doubts arise, simply turn on the news. There is no exemption card. The effects from Covid-19 are devastating, overwhelming, and heartbreaking.

But while staying at home, the time is at hand to find beauty in each day: an opportunity to complete unfinished projects, spend quality time with family, get exercise, pick up a good book, put thoughts to paper, or step outside where flora and fauna are abundant. I revel in the gorgeous spring blooms where hope blossoms. They provide a sense of normalcy in these most abnormal circumstances. My family and friends are doing well and we are beyond grateful. And after all this time, thank you so much for stopping by, but mostly, I hope you’ll stay safe and healthy. 

For those of you who are new to my site or who haven’t visited my other pages, I encourage you to visit my “About Me” page and sign my “Guestbook.” 

In Love and Friendship,

Lauren

 

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

 

 

 

On The Wings Of Peace

My friend, Sue, shared this post from Teri in Ireland, and hopefully many are spreading the ripples of peace. This is my turn and may you find it in your heart to do the same. With love and blessings, Lauren ♥

Masked Native

Mike's card for world peace0002

During the 1980’s, Mike Bryant created a Peace card. He hoped that by sending it to friends and relatives, they would sign it and re-post, and a chain of Peace would spread around the world. I have to admit that I never got around to sending on the card. I wish I had, but as Mother Earth heaves with sadness, and her people are drowning in sorrow and grief, I offer this Peace chain, to join with other Peace chains along the way. With today’s technology words travel further and faster. Taking up the sword is not the answer. Peace is the answer.

hummingbird circled

Image of world globe from original card by Mike Bryant

Wings of Peace is author’s own.

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What reminds You of who You truly are?

You picasa 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I I enjoyed this at Peter’s site, https://avulnerablespace.wordpress.com/, so I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t as easy as it seemed, but it was fun digging up these thoughts. I encourage you to try and if you do, please share. 

What reminds You of who You truly are?  

  1. My husband and marriage
  2. Singing my heart out 
  3. Dancing into the night
  4. Quiet beach time
  5. Serenity of the mountains
  6. Sunsets
  7. Romance ♥
  8. Walking my dog
  9. Trying to be the best mom 
  10. Laughing to tears
  11. Writing poetry, writing in general
  12. Iced Nonfat Chai Lattes
  13. Christmastime
  14. Time spent with my Sisters and good Friends
  15. Baking with Mom, then baking with her memory
  16. Watching movies
  17. Reading, reading, reading

 If you have a response to anything on my list, I’d love to hear it,
and now I share a wish for you:

Serenity picassa 2014

 

 
Love and Blessings, Lauren

Who’s in charge? Five Photos/Five Stories 2

Copper boy

Copper, “It’s all about me”
Lauren (mom), “You’re absolutely right!”

If you’re a dog owner you’ll relate to your pup wanting to be fed, eager to fetch, ready for walking, longing for his/her belly rubbed, anxious to play and cuddle, i.e. it’s all about them! It’s up to us, their owners, to provide the best, loving home so they feel safe and secure. 

However, when you flip the coin, our time with them is more about us because all they want is to please their owners; to make their families happy. They look at us with those eyes that melt our hearts from the first meeting and there’s no turning back.  They can sense our moods and they have our backs.

I’ll use one example using my dog, Copper, when he hears any of his family crying. He’ll walk over to us, rest his head on our leg and look up with his amber eyes as if to say, “I’m here for you.”

Their unconditional love is a gift to be cherished.  If you’re a dog or cat owner, I’d love to hear your thoughts, too. ♥

I would like to thank Jean at https://socialbridge.wordpress.com/ for tagging me in this photo challenge.

Here are the rules for the “Five Photos Five Stories” challenge: “Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.
(I’m unable to post each day so mine are days apart, which is alright if posting each day is difficult for you, too.)

My second nomination for the challenge is Scott over at http://worldiction.com/.

Lauren Scott © 2015

 

 

 

Love Connection ~ Five Photos/Five Stories 1

frig

I would like to thank Jean at https://socialbridge.wordpress.com/ for tagging me in this challenge.

Have you ever wondered how you’d meet your soul mate? In sixth grade I actually believed that I’d be a wife and a mom with two children at the age of twenty-four.  I had it all planned out. However, I didn’t meet my husband until I was twenty-six and my second child wasn’t born until I was thirty-four so clearly my plan was overdue!

We met while working for the same company. During that time I decided to move and I needed to sell my refrigerator. I placed an ad in the break room and later that night he called me to buy it.  I suggested he look at it first so he came over to my apartment the next night, checked it out and bought it! The plan was for him to pick it up the following Saturday.

On Saturday he drove to my place using a friend’s truck, loaded the frig and we chatted for a bit before he left. Through our conversation I discovered the apartment complex I was moving to was only ten minutes away from where he lived.  It was almost too perfect…

After the frig was all bought and sold, the next weekend he called me while visiting his family for Thanksgiving  and as a nice gesture he sent me flowers. Upon his return home he asked me out and I didn’t have to think about it! I felt something I had never felt before, obviously something was happening! The rest is history! We dated for six months, he popped the question and we were married six months later.

I don’t have a photo of that magical frig and we later sold it but after almost twenty-seven years of marriage, that appliance brought us together. Funny how things happen. This is one example of how accidental meetings sometimes work out better than looking for love “in all the wrong places.” And that, my friends, is a brief summary of how a simple appliance can become a “love connection!” 🙂

(Photo: Google images)

Here are the rules for the “Five Photos Five Stories” challenge: “Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.

My first nomination for the challenge is Irene over at http://positiveboomer.net/. 

 

Five Ways Novelists Are Just Like Poets

I’m sharing a wonderful and informative post by my good friend, Louise, from her blog, A.B. Michaels and am honored to have been included in this comparison between novelists and poets.  She is the amazing author of a romantic series, Sinner’s Grove, The Art of Love, and The Lair, which are all available on Amazon. I encourage you to take the time to visit her site, http://abmichaels.com.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NE18GYY
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Love-Origins-Sinners-Grove-ebook/dp/B00K5C0JYA/
http://www.amazon.com/Lair-Sinners-Grove-Novel-ebook/dp/B00YYJT2G6/

The Lair by AB Michaels

A very good friend from my years in northern California is the poet Lauren Scott. (lscotthoughts.com). We are both writers, but while she writes pieces with minimal words, I write full-length novels. Not much overlap, right? Wrong. The truth is, long-form writers and poets have quite a bit in common:

We both love words. I mean love them. I know that even though she may write a first draft intuitively, Lauren considers every single word that goes into every single poem she writes. Is it conveying the emotion I want it to? Is it describing the scene I’ve created as well as it could? Does it sound right next to the other words I’ve chosen?
As a novelist, I do the same thing, except that I have a bit more latitude, because my readers are kind enough to give me ample space to set my scene, introduce my characters, tell my story, and so forth. But sometimes, having all that leeway causes “bloviating,” as one television commentator calls it. I simply write too much and have to get rid of the excess. Sometimes that’s painful. Sometimes, for the sake of the story, I have to say goodbye to a bit of writing I love very much. My guess is, sometimes Lauren has to say the same goodbyes. With such a short form within which to share her vision, she can’t afford to have even one word that doesn’t work for her.
BOOK COVER FINAL 1.26.15

Our words must tell a story. Novelists like me have hundreds of pages in which to tell their story; poets like Lauren measure the length of their work in lines, not pages. Yet we must both serve the same master: the story.
I so admire the discipline that Lauren and other poets use to shape their work, that I thought I’d share a writing exercise that fiction writers sometimes use to fine tune their editing chops. The general term for it is “flash fiction” and those of you who like poetry might also follow flash fiction writers.
I subscribe to a writing blog written by Morgen E. Bailey (she’s a writer in the U.K.) https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/flash-fiction-fridays/ and she regularly publishes examples of very short fiction (less than 500 words) and better yet, six-word stories. That’s right. Six words. Even Lauren’s poetry has more than six words!

The key to this exercise is that your six words must tell a story.

“She had a new blue cell.” Is there a story there? Meh.

“The cell beeped and she screamed.” A story? Possibly. As readers, we wonder, why did she scream? Who was calling her that she should have such an extreme reaction? Is she in danger now? Yeah, but maybe she just wasn’t used to the sound and that’s all it was. Not much of a story after all.

“The cell’s silence lacerated her heart.” Not great, but best of the bunch, I think. We imagine something intense is going on with the woman; she’s experiencing a profound sadness because someone on the other end of that cell isn’t calling. There’s a story there. Both Lauren and I look for the story and try to tell it the best way we can.

We seek an emotional response. Okay, so the beeping cell that caused the woman to scream? Maybe it’s a story, maybe not. Let’s say it is. Are we emotionally invested? We might surmise the woman’s in danger, but do we really care enough about her at this point? I don’t (but maybe I’m cold and heartless!). In example three, however, the reader has a sharper sense of what’s going on. We don’t know the details, but we wonder. And we empathize. In short, we connect. Lauren strives for that response from the reader and so do I.
We strive to capture the imagination through imagery. In long form, this is a matter of style. Some writers take great pride in their descriptive ability; they love to use metaphor and simile to describe character, setting or emotion. Others feel their work is best served by keeping such word play to a minimum. I’m somewhere in the middle. Too much of “The willows undulated like dancers in a riverfront’s far flung chorus line” takes me away from the story; too little leaves me feeling like I’ve just eaten unbuttered toast. I strive to keep the right balance in my writing.
For poets like Lauren, however, capturing the reader’s attention through vivid imagery is their stock in trade. Since they work with so few words, they have to make virtually every word do some heavy lifting. Here’s an example from Lauren’s poem, “Pillow”:

It’s not the best night
for a mutual agreement
instead my stomach
entertains a live
basketball game
where thoughts dribble
and strategy is weak
You ask about the score?
It’s looking like a blowout,
not in my favor

©2015 Lauren Scott

I can perfectly picture what Lauren’s protagonist is going through, thanks to her basketball game metaphor. I too look for ways to bring the idea I want to get across through vivid images.

We want our readers to take something away from the experience. Let’s face it – most writers, even if their main goal is to entertain, consider it a bonus if their readers walk away with something – a thought, a feeling, a new way of looking at some aspect of life, a nugget they might remember and mull over after they’ve read the last line or the last page. Consciously or not, we interject theme into our work, that underlying takeaway. It’s our way of saying, “Hey, this is what I think or feel or wonder about this subject, and I’d like to share it with you.” Poets and writers of any form have this trait in common. It’s what keeps us tapping away.
Are you a poetry lover? Have you ever used that form to express yourself? What other similarities do you see with longer forms of writing? I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. Lauren’s books of poetry are available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and Xlibris (links are below)

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Finding+a+Balance+Lauren+Scott
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-day-new-dreams-lauren-scott/1117050670?ean=9781483685687
http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-0140289049/New-Day-New-Dreams.aspx

(ALL proceeds will be donated to The Chris Klug Foundation to help spread the importance of becoming an organ donor; to offer second chances on life.)