5:30 am. A song from the old, but reliable Sony radio wakes my husband and I up on work-day mornings. Four years ago, getting up before the sun would’ve been unthinkable, insane. Too dark outside, too quiet. Just too early. Four years later, our minds and bodies have initiated this routine we’re still acquainting ourselves with.
When that song enters into our sleepy minds, whether it’s rock, pop, or country, a new morning has arrived and so has coffee time. One of us heads for the pantry, grabs a filter and the bag of Peet’s for the good old Mr. Coffee pot. It may not be fancy, but it does the job well and has never disappointed. The delicious sound of coffee percolating is music to our ears, and when that music ends, we stroll into the kitchen to doctor up our mugs. Holding those hot cups of coffee, we take a seat in the living room – a quiet place for us to chat, read, or to simply sit together in silence.
During those years of raising our children, time was of the essence. There were never enough minutes in the work and school days to begin with leisure coffee drinking and casual chatting. It was more of a race, eyeballing the clock on the wall every two seconds, getting ourselves and the children ready for the day. Busy was the new normal. Busy was our middle name.
Yesterday, my husband drove out of the driveway on his motorcycle, setting out for a 5-day trip with several buddies. But as I sit on my sofa, lights turned on, with mug of coffee in hand, I think of him. How this early morning feels different. Peet’s remains our go-to coffee, but the taste seems duller, the effect inadequate. The silence in the house, instead of serene, feels empty like something is missing. As I turn the pages of my book, the thrill of finding out what the next page reveals has fizzled.
I realize that our early mornings aren’t just about a good cup of coffee, they’re about us. So I sip the brew anyway, and in a few days, I look forward to hearing the motor of his bike as he pulls into our driveway.
“The simple things are also the extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”
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. 🧡🧡
Guess what? Your baby girl turned 60! Can you believe it? 60 doesn’t feel different, but it sure has a more profound ring to it than 40 and 50 did. I suppose then it does feel different. It’s Thursday, and Matthew, Michael, and I took the day off. They surprised me with an adventure – a relaxing drive surrounded by lush rolling green hills, cows grazing, majestic redwoods, and the crashing waves and beauty of the Pacific. I loved sitting in the back of the Pilot, chauffeured, enjoying the gorgeous scenery. The weather couldn’t have been better – sun shining in all its glory and the sky blue as ever.
Lunch was enjoyed outdoors encircled by those redwoods. I splurged on a patty melt and thought of you, Dad. How you loved your patty melts and chocolate malts! Well, I skipped the malt and indulged in Chardonnay!
We stopped in Bodega Bay to browse a little, then we resumed on Highway 1 driving along the coast heading for home. A fabulous all-day adventure that continued into the evening with champagne and more surprises. Family and friends in TN. and So. Cal. celebratedvia Facetime, phone calls, and text messages.
I’m sure you’re aware of the pandemic that has stricken the world for over a year now. Well, Matt and Michael wanted to throw a big party, but even though things have improved, a large gathering just wasn’t a good option this year. But for my second Covid birthday and this big milestone, my entire family and circle of friends made the day as special as perfection.
In the big picture, we’re all healthy and doing fine, so please don’t worry about us. I wish you had been here to join in the celebration, to enjoy some bubbly and that sinfully delicious carrot cake that a friend made for me – you know carrot cake’s my favorite and how it counts as a vegetable in my kitchen.
I just want you to know how much I miss you, how much we all miss you. And I knew you’d enjoy some snippets from my 60th. Mom, it’s okay to let those tears fall, and Dad, I can see you smiling. I know you’re happy to hear your family is ok! I’ll end this now before it becomes a novel, and before I liberate those tears, too.
I’m excited to tell you that my next book will be out later next month!!! A compilation of poetry from all seasons of life and short memoirs reflecting back on the years as my 60th approaches very soon. 😉 Life’s canvas has changed colors with the passing of my parents and our children well into their adulting years. My first-born will be 30 this year! How did that happen so fast? And with my husband and I discussing our next chapter when retirement arrives, exciting, scary, and adventurous times shine ahead!
Below are a few poems in my book just to give you a glimpse…
With childlike fascination, I leaned against the door frame watching her apply a little powder to her nose, a touch of red to her lips. No more, no less. She was flawless. Then our eyes locked, sharing an unspoken connection.
Questions arise, so I gently tucked her wisdom in a safe space where I could draw from it easily.
I’d love to share tales of life she’s missing. Perhaps, again someday.
I watch your car fade into the sunrise as distance broadens between us.
Dreams desire to be unhindered. We crave the chase.
When you capture yours, hold it like a new puppy, wiggling with excitement.
You are in my heart. Feel the joy emanating.
You know the rain may linger…
Oh, but the magic is knowing my love travels wherever your dreams may guide you.
On the little country road to the country town we go where hands on the clock tick slow, slow, slow – leading to reflection of memories that flow where thoughts transport to a time that stays aglow.
Its canary boldness rises to the sun alone, yet not lonely, fearing nothing, but wearing bravery on each petal – standing tall with strength in lean green attire, as if soaking up the day’s endless possibilities.
Do you trust me? Will you take my hand and let me lead the way to a place transcending the boundaries of our reality? Let us get lost in tranquility – dancing to the majesty of the surroundings, feeling the rhythm vibrate through our bones. For as long as our hearts desire, this is our destination. Time is but a memory. Its existence leaves no trace on the path where we tread. There is only you, me, and the intensity of our belonging to each other.
In the last difficult year, while I’ve heard that others have lost their inspiration to create, mine flowed like a raging river! I envisioned this book: mapping out the format, choosing writing pieces to include, then finally putting words into action. A long time coming since my last book was published in 2015. Seems like a hundred years ago. So, with new spring blooms follows the completion of another creative goal.One more box checked off!
KEEP YOUR VISION IN FOCUS AND PERSISTENCE EXERCISED!
I hope you continue to pursue your goals, checking off those boxes, as well. And if you are happy and willing to help promote my book, please let me know in the comments below.
HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY AND I WISH YOU AN ABUNDANCE OF POSSIBILITIES IN THE NEW SEASON TO COME.
~Lauren Scott (c) ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ Photos: Google & my garden
There it is, every morning, just waiting for Donna’s acknowledgement. Its gold, shiny appearance is appealing, hard to ignore. She steps on it with bated breath, knowing that what she sees will steer her mood to one side or the other. Only once in a while does the pendulum stay centered. Will she feel happy enough to click her heels in the air? Or will those numbers be the catalyst to a self-degrading approach for another day? It’s an obsession difficult to break like a bad relationship. And yet, she hasn’t been able to muster up the courage to snub its magnetic lure.
Donna still cringes when she looks at old photos of her as a young chubby girl. One memory focuses on her ten-year-old self in the hospital having her tonsils taken out. After the procedure, she rested in the recovery room where there were other children. One red-haired boy her same age wore a wicked grin while calling her “fatso.” His hurtful words caused her to crumble into the white sterile bed sheets. Maybe this bullying sparked her insecurities, along with those extra childhood pounds that dogged her footsteps into adulthood.
All Donna needs is a truck load of willpower to shed the weight. Sometimes, she’s there, and sometimes she’s not. It’s no easy feat to gain a strong grip on self-discipline, as though she’s trying to keep a slippery fish in her hands. She’s always been an emotional eater. She’ll find something to munch for any reason: when she’s happy or fighting back tears, when she’s in a celebratory mood, or in a nail-biting situation. Whatever the emotion, food tempts her like a dangling carrot to a rabbit. But she doesn’t crave carrots. She craves chips.
What’s even more challenging is maintaining the weight once she’s lost it. Those pounds seem to conjure up a foolproof system for finding their way back to her. It’s a never-ending cycle while she allows her weight to determine how likable she appears to others. She lets those digits control her self-esteem. When will she see in her reflection the beautiful, green-eyed woman that others see? Society itself doesn’t persuade her into feeling this low about her body image. She knows when her body is healthy and when she’s taken a detour. It’s simply time for her to make better choices.
Someday Donna will transform her thoughts into action to shed the pounds. Until then, her obsession with the scale has to end. She considers tossing it out the window! Her family often tells her how she gifts kindness to others, so when will she offer that same compassion to herself? She wishes for the moment when she can look in the mirror and say, “You look awesome!” and mean those words with every ounce of sincerity.
Sarah gets ready for church each Sunday because attending deepens her faith. Just walking through the mahogany double doors causes worries to shed. She learns from the Word and singing songs of worship provides comfort. She believes because the evil in this world must be endured with a greater presence filled with compassion and love.
Peace stays nearby during somber times because of her faith. Yet, some people who attend in this sanctuary…they sing, they pledge, they sip coffee and chat during fellowship hour. But they are the reason she has one foot in and one foot out the door.
Lauren Scott (c) Fiction – Drabble (100 words) Featured photo/header: Google
He was about to walk out the door for work when I told him his tie was crooked. I thought I was doing him a favor. He took it the wrong way. That’s when he slapped me.
Mandy hid the journal on her side of the closet, high on the shelf in an old box where she kept childhood mementos. Rick didn’t care about her childhood. She knew he wouldn’t look there for any reason.
Her mind drifts to the wedding ceremony when Rick gently slipped the diamond-studded band on her ring finger – the adoring look in his eyes as they exchanged vows: to love, to cherish, to respect, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, ‘till death do us part…the last phrase brings chills to her skin. She didn’t notice any signs before their wedding day. How was this possible?
She wonders how she let herself be pulled into this marriage. In the beginning, love was what her heart and mind felt. She knew she had found the perfect partner as they planned their California May wedding. Rick helped choose the venue and the whimsical invitations as they perused numerous websites. He spoke with several florists on the phone about a spring selection that would meet her color choices of pink, lilac, and ivory. They skimmed through their music collection, searching for the song that would be perfect for their first dance. His actions portrayed the love she thought he felt for her.
Mandy had dreamed of a tropical honeymoon, so when they strolled hand in hand, feet sinking into the warm sand outside their Maui hotel room, she was living her dream. Candlelight across a table was the only thing that separated the two of them as they dined out each evening. And when they wanted privacy instead of sitting in a crowded restaurant, room service was delivered. The aqua water invited them in for snorkeling and swimming each day. Rick was perfect. They were perfect.
But after a couple of months of Mr. and Mrs., she no longer knew this man she lived with. It’s as though body snatchers transformed him into a completely different male specimen – not the man she fell in love with or who indulged in chocolate covered strawberries in bed.
The insults and criticisms began slowly with comments about her cooking and her weight. Then the hitting followed with a push of her shoulder, a slap across her face, to punches in her stomach. She iced the bruises. Took Advil for the pain. Rick wasn’t a drinker; alcohol wouldn’t be found in the house, so she couldn’t even indulge to numb the mental and physical agony. Long sleeves covered the effects of his violence on her arms and long pants did the same for her legs. No one would see her back and stomach since wearing a bathing suit in public was not in the foreseeable future. Then the physical abuse turned into control. He typed up her resignation letter for her teaching job because she was to stay home where a wife belongs. He restrained her like one would a dangerous animal. When he left for work each morning, Mandy was resigned to existing within the walls of their condo. When Rick voiced these demands, she could’ve spit nails but held her tongue.
As though being confined to her home wasn’t humiliating enough, Rick ensured Mandy had no contact with the outer world by disconnecting the home phone. She was only permitted to use her cell to answer his calls, but she was not to trouble him at work. As an upstanding police officer for the city, Rick’s schedule stayed busy trying to keep law and order in the bedroom community. He had little time for nonsense. Mandy was fully aware that if she called anyone or if someone contacted her, the cell phone bill would be her worst enemy. She wished she had her old iPhone with internet and texting capabilities. But no, he replaced it with an elementary phone for calls only. He was too damn smart, but she wouldn’t expect anything less being the police officer he was.
Sitting on her bed one morning, hearing the door lock click in place, Mandy is left alone to stare at the sun’s rays as they push through her window. Normally, she’d welcome their warmth and ability to lift spirits. Not today. She’s cold and clammy to the touch and she gives the tears permission to fall. Rick’s fatal threats hold her back from leaving him, along with that damn fear of wondering if he’d catch her once she bolts out the door. What scares her most of all is that her abusive husband is a cop. The irony. Her story doesn’t stand a chance. She didn’t invent this scenario; it’s as old as time.
She gets on with the day, walking into the kitchen to empty the trash – one of the chores Rick reminded her to do. Stepping out front to deposit the bag into their bin on the side of the house, she begins to sweat. Mississippi’s temperature rockets close to ninety degrees and ninety percent humidity, so she burns up in the long-sleeved tee. But she doesn’t dare get caught in short sleeves by Helen, the nice old lady next door. It happened once when Helen noticed the bruises on her arm and asked Mandy about them. She scrambled for a viable excuse: I was silly enough to try to move our TV and it fell on my arm! Helen bought it, or so she responded like she had.
Maybe it’s the long-sleeve on a ninety-degree day – a signal that indicated enough is enough. To see those blues and purples show up on her body have proven to be more painful than the pain itself. Shame takes up real estate in her mind, and yet, she knows she’s not to blame. She can’t put on the brakes to the bruising, but she does have choices. Choices that seem clearer than ever before. She won’t let him strip her of all dignity. Her escape would stamp an exclamation mark on the separation from him and his flood of invectives and physical abuse. She wants nothing more than to know he’s locked up in a cell. But how can she get away without him finding her? Blowing her nose and wiping her wet eyes, and even with the company of uncertainty, she asserts, I will not-die-on-his-watch!
Lauren Scott (c) 2021 (Fiction) Story photo and Feature image: Google
wish there were more hours in a day? Sometimes, it’s difficult to fit in all that we strive to accomplish in that set of time. Some days and weeks pass by where nothing has been completed because of lazy moods or wallowing in self-pity.
Well, it’s important that we remember to…
make time to sit still…to think, to listen. Keep those dreams alive even when they fall to the wayside. Create new dreams, set new goals. When we keep the wheels turning in our head and work towards accomplishing a goal, there is little time for wallowing to become real estate in our minds. And working towards achievement implies always trying – standing tall when failure smacks us in the face.
Of course, we’re never too old to learn. So, keep reading, allowing your brain to be the sponge its meant to be. And where there is time to work, there must also be time to play – to release worries and let laughter and childlike wonder lead the way.
So, simply said, take time to grow and embrace each new life chapter. But whatever you do, don’t waste that precious time!
No stars are unreachable No matter their height No hope is invisible No matter your plight No dreams are unattainable No matter how great No burden is unmanageable No matter its weight!
Hi! I’m Copper! Humans call me a chocolate lab mix. My legs are tall and my belly is shaped like a barrel. I hear I’m a big boy, weighing about 80 pounds, but I’m all muscle. I got my name because my coat is the color of copper like the metal. Humans often tell me I’m handsome, and if dogs could blush, I would blush. I love to cuddle and roll around the floor on my back, and my family gets to rub my barrel belly as often as they want. You see, I’m very generous, but my biggest job is to protect them.
One thing you must know, though, is that I’m not comfortable being left alone at home. I get a little nervous which makes me want to chew…especially, plastic and cloth. The last family I lived with got really mad at me, but it was their fault. They left me alone in the yard, so my nervousness snuck in. I scoped out the area, saw some furniture, then zeroed in on the cushions. Bingo! I chewed and gnawed and tugged to my heart’s content. My teeth were so happy! Next thing I knew, I was jumping into the car, heading to a white building where, much to my dismay, other dogs like me had been dropped off. And their cries hurt my heart, but I joined in the wailing when my human walked out the door without me. If I can’t be with my family, how can I be their protector? I’m amazed at how illogical humans can be.
Luckily, I didn’t stay at the white building for long because I went to live with a foster family. This kind of family couldn’t keep me forever, but they would care for me until I got adopted again. Heather was my foster mom and she was nice enough, but her two dogs scared me! Every time I trotted over to them, just wanting to play, they bared their teeth! The nerve! I realized I was the new dog on the block, but they should’ve welcomed me with friendly butt sniffs.
Soon after I was taken to Heather’s house, a mom with a young girl and boy visited me. When my eyes locked with theirs, I felt the connection! I just knew they would take me home, and they did! Excitement bubbled through me because I wanted to belong to a family; yet, I wondered if I would see that white building again. When I first trotted through the door and into the house, I met my new dad. He fluffed my ears and patted me on the head and said, “Hello there, Boy.” He had a strong, firm voice, but I sensed kindness in his touch. These humans welcomed me into their family, and I grew to love them all the same.
Mom became my main human. Each day, I watch her pour my food into the silver bowl more often than the rest of my family, but that’s because she has more time. She takes me for walks around our neighborhood, and at home, we cuddle on the soft carpet. That’s when she head-butts me gently, letting me know she loves me. In the beginning, I was so scared of the vacuum. She would push it past me and I’d run across the room, afraid it might attack me! Her voice was soft and gentle, though, so I finally realized that was her way of saying it wasn’t going to hurt me. When the vacuum roars past me these days, I just lay there watching the cord slither in front of me, ignoring it. I’m cool!
Now Dad’s a funny fellow. His laugh echoes throughout the house. Mom says, “He sounds just like Santa!” Dad also calls me silly names like log-dropper and doo-maker! He rubs my neck like he’s giving me a fancy massage. My eyes get tired and droopy and he says, “Copper’s drunk on love.”
My siblings are the best ever! Sister and Brother give me so much love it’s like the sun shines even when it’s raining! I’m their cuddle bug! Sister and I run together, which makes my ears flop up and down. Then we stop for what she calls a photo op, but I’m always camera shy. Brother takes me on adventures – up and down hills and into the woods we go! Lots of new scents to sniff and trees and bushes to lift my leg on. Life is good! I heel perfectly, prancing like a proud buck, and that’s when I hear, “Good boy, Copper!” Unless, of course, I see a squirrel skittering on the wire above us. I jump up and down! But that little enemy gets away! My humans laugh, and I still don’t know what’s so funny about a squirrel getting away!
My family loves to sing around the house, except for Dad, and I hear that’s a good thing. I always sing, too, holding my head up high, howling to match their voices. And every time they sit on the floor with their legs crossed, I back my bottom into their lap and plop right down. I feel their arms wrap around me and their faces next to mine and my heartbeat slows to contentment.
Then a very gloomy day came when Sister moved out of the house. She was older by this time and was going to live somewhere else. I watched tiny drops of water roll down Mom and Dad’s faces. My heart ached. I’m so glad Brother still lives with us, but it’ll be another gloomy day when he leaves and I think that day is coming soon. I’m preparing my heart. I guess that’s what Siblings do; they leave the house when they’re grown up. It doesn’t make sense to my doggish way of thinking, but it’s not my job to know these things. My job is to stay focused so I can guard my humans and give them lots of cuddles and sloppy kisses.
I still have to stop chewing. My new family had some things to learn, too. The water bowl they first put outside for me was plastic. They didn’t know I LOVE plastic. After lapping up water from that bowl, I grabbed it with my mouth and ran out to the grass, romping all around the yard. I ripped and tore and chewed and I had so much fun. When my family saw white pieces of ragged edged plastic strewn all over, their voices boomed!
I had prepared myself for another miserable ride to the white building. But I was surprised to find my bed still in Brother’s room and me tucked in each night. They must know my intentions are good! You know, being a dog isn’t easy. It’s a HUGE responsibility trying to keep my special humans safe!
After I got to know my family’s’ funny ways, I really wanted them to be my forever family because it’s the first time in my life that my heart didn’t hurt. As I’ve matured into my handsomeness, I’m not as tempted when I saunter by cloth or plastic, and besides, my family buys me really cool bones that I can’t destroy! I can also sit, stay, shake paw, and perform my fancy rollovers and crawls. These tricks come in handy when I want to melt their hearts. I’ve learned a lot since they adopted me a long time ago. I am here to stay! And they love my cool amber eyes. They tell others, “It’s like he sees into our souls.” I think my soulful eyes have kept them focused on me – the dog who loves them as much as I love peanut butter, and that’s a lot! And what makes me happier than peanut butter is that Mom, Dad, Sister, and Brother gave me the chance I longed for…to be a part of a family forever.
My family got these shots of me, and boy, were they sneaky! Thanks for reading my story. I hope it warmed your heart. Sending sloppy kisses, Copper 💗