The Early-Morning Walks

Carol still grieved the loss of her husband, Bill. Twelve months had slipped away, but forty-six loving years of marriage wouldn’t allow her to let go of her beloved. Living without him was like living without air. Sadly, they couldn’t have children of their own and Bill wasn’t keen on adopting. So, they lived their life together spending time in the outdoors and traveling when they could. At seventy-three years old, Carol recognized that her friends circle had shrunk. She had several acquaintances to occasionally meet for lunch, but she no longer had that best friend to rely on for laughter or tears or to confess her deepest anxieties. The friends she thought would be in her life forever had drifted away like the wind carrying a lonely leaf over a meadow. But Charlie, her friendly pug, needed love and attention, so he filled that role in this chapter of her life. She talked to her furry friend all the time and he was an intent listener. She swore that he could understand every spoken word. He was quick to pick up on her emotions by giving her a lick on her cheek or a nudge from his tiny wet nose.

Because of Charlie, Carol couldn’t wallow in the stronghold of sadness. By eight o’clock each morning, she had locked the door behind her, and she and Charlie were walking around the neighborhood. She had remained in pretty good shape and maintained to keep it that way. Carol and Charlie usually spotted Jenna who lived around the block and who was the first to introduce herself over a decade ago. During that initial conversation, Carol learned that Jenna was married to Tom, and they had one son, Jack. They had moved into their home shortly before the two women had met.

It was a Friday morning when Carol and Charlie were about to reach Jenna’s house on their walk. She was standing by her car but walked over to meet them. “Hi Carol, it’s good to see you,” Jenna said as she bent down to pet Charlie on his soft little head.

“Hi Jenna, how are you? Why the long face?”

“Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news…Tom and I are getting a divorce. I haven’t seen you all week to tell you.”

“Oh, I’ve had a nasty cold that kept me inside. I’m so sorry, Jenna! I didn’t see this coming!

“I didn’t either, even though we’ve had some rocky moments. But after Tom and I talked, we thought it was for the best. I’m glad you’re feeling better, but I wish I had happier news to share.”

“Don’t worry about me. I feel bad this is happening, but it’s good you and Tom reached an agreement. I hope you’re staying in the house…”

“Actually, I’m moving out, but Tom didn’t ask me to. It’s my choice. I already found an apartment where Jack will live with me part of the time, and the move is Sunday.”

“This weekend? That’s so fast, Jenna. I’m at a loss for words, except that I’ll really miss you.”

“I’ll miss you, too, and our morning chats. You and Charlie need to take good care of each other.” Jenna wrapped Carol in a good-bye hug before the two women parted ways.

Carol felt the beginning of tears pushing through as she and Charlie continued their walk. She would miss her friend, but she was also saddened by the news of their impending divorce. So many young couples were separating, and these statistics made her heart ache. She missed Bill so much and wondered, why can’t couples find what we treasured for what felt like a lifetime? Ironically, Jenna had been friendlier than many of the new residents in the neighborhood – one of the reasons Carol felt a pang of sympathy and concern for this lovely young woman.

The neighborhood had changed since Bill and Carol moved into town decades ago. She recalled former neighbors with nostalgia. Mr. Angelino across the street no longer played his accordion – no music flowed from his backyard patio. Mrs. Miller didn’t toss saltwater taffy from her kitchen window for the youngsters; her kind gesture always brought high-pitched laughter that could be heard over the noise of cars rolling up and down the street. Then there was Mrs. Arnold who extended a generous invitation to the neighbors for a swim in her pool that amusingly resembled a kidney. Her joy in cooling off in the aquamarine water on those scorching summer days should be shared with others; that’s how she saw it. I enjoyed so many refreshing dips thanks to kindhearted Mrs. Arnold. These three lovely friends had passed away long ago, and these times are now distant, precious memories. Therefore, Jenna’s affable demeanor brightened Carol’s days. And now Jenna’s moving, she thought with a heavy heart.

Younger couples lived in these older homes now, but they seemed nonexistent. They were probably busy with their jobs, and occasionally, the cries of a baby escaped through billowing curtains. Maybe computer screens had become their new companions. Computers are terrific tools, but they can also be sneaky time thieves! When Carol does happen to see any of these young people, they don’t smile or wave much, not like her old neighbors did.

The following week when Carol and Charlie spotted Jenna’s house on their walk, it was apparent that Jenna had moved out. Her green SUV no longer hugged the curb in its normal spot. Two living room chairs, a worn sofa and ottoman, and a dresser sat on the dried-up brown grass. The roses and lantana in the front yard that once blossomed in soft pinks and rich reds had wilted, looking sad and forlorn. Tom’s black truck was still there, sitting in the driveway. But the tan stucco house looked exhausted, probably from emotions pulling its walls in several directions.

It was Thursday of that week when Carol paused for a moment…I want to believe this house could tell joyful tales from the past, but now I feel that if this house could talk, it might shed a tear or two from the second story windows, and those tears would fall into the neglected garden.

Carol missed Jenna, a bright light on those early-morning walks. Perhaps after experiencing the loss of my old friends, then losing Bill, Jenna’s move is one more loss added to the list. It’s a heavy burden Carol will have to bear but then let go of when the time is right. She was aware the stages of grieving differ for everyone.

Despite my own sadness, I hope this family can gather courage for acceptance of a new trajectory that lies in their future. I suppose I need to do the same thing. A year has come and gone and I’m no better off than the day I scattered Bill’s ashes on his favorite mountain.

Charlie nudged Carol out of her deep thoughts with his tiny wet nose as they began to turn another corner.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Like a Child

I’ve never seen him act this way
So listless rivalled to fun-filled days
Head hangs low with each new step
Where is his happy, bouncy pep?

Pacing round and round the room
Sunshine doesn’t fade the gloom
Seeking comfort with a whine
His distress infects my mind

He tucks his body in real tight
Leaning on my feet, he might
Those amber eyes touch my soul
Emotions begin to lose control

I’ll care for him until the day
He romps around, eager to play
His floppy ears will tell me so
My love for him will overflow

Our Copper Boy has been sick all week and
it’s been
heart-wrenching to see him not feeling well.
This is a first for him in his almost eleven years.
❤️

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Love Carries On

Another dog, that’s what I needed back then when our
Black lab, Lucky Girl, on that gray November day
Crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Then Mom,
Doris to those who knew her well, gracefully entered her
Eternal home a few months later. I honestly
Felt empty inside – all enthusiasm drained,
Grasping for unreachable acceptance through the tears.
Handling the loss of our sweet furry family member
Involved revisiting those memories of the love she gave
Joyfully to her four adopted humans.
Keeping emotions intact, yet missing Mom – her voice,
Laughter, funny off-key singing, and mouth-watering cooking
Made greeting each sunrise challenging.
Naturally with active emotions, our family felt
Overwhelmed. Dad was devastated, losing his Gal of sixty-seven
Precious years that began in days of World War II. Mom was the
Queen. Another memory was her unequivocal love for dogs.
Riley was one of many canines she and Dad loved over the years.
So, amid these painful losses came Copper, our lab. The
Time was right, and I felt Mom’s otherworldly approval because
Underneath Copper’s quirkiness lies his loyalty, cuddliness, and
Vigilance in holding the guard dog role. He’ll be at our feet
When we call him, shake a paw when he sees our hand.
Xenial describes our friendly lab when anyone visits. Even at the not so
Youthful age of ten, Copper carries an abundance of
Zest for bounding through life, for loving his humans – reminding us that love carries on.

Lucky Girl
Precious, sleepy Lucky Girl
Mom & me
Mom & Dad February 24, 1945
Copper Boy
Regal Copper Boy

Lauren Scott ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

I Found a Home!

Mom and me in 2012 when I joined the family

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.”

Mom, Dad, and Me

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!

Sister and Me

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.

Brother and Me

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 💗

A little bit of a few things…

Dear Friends,

I’ve lost blogging momentum because of some health issues in our family and procedures during the holiday. My mind has been a little preoccupied. But on the morning of Thanksgiving, my husband and I enjoyed a walk around the neighborhood. The sun was shining and the temperature was invigorating and brisk. After turning a corner, we stumbled upon a van that invited passersby to write their gratitude on the colorful hand turkeys provided. Sharpies and hand sanitizer were also conveniently supplied. We gladly participated and added our turkey to the eye-catching and humbling collection. God Bless the owner of this van, for even in dark times there is much to be grateful for.

Just like many others, we were ready for some Christmas joy, so we bought our tree on black Friday and we’ve never seen the line so long! Patience really was a virtue that day! We call our tree the “Family tree” because most of the ornaments are homemade from our son and daughter when they were little. The angel on top is our daughter’s creation and there is no reason to replace it. Our senses are heightened by the Noble Fir fragrance and the room is cozier than ever now.

Copper enjoys the warmth and coziness of the fire,
but he prefers not to be too close to the snap, crackle,
and pop.

Lastly, WordPress tells me that I have a 10-year anniversary to celebrate! Time sure flies when you’re having fun creating, along with meeting wonderful people all around the world. So, Thank You, for your support and friendship!

I hope those of you in the U.S. had a wonderful Thanksgiving and wish you all a blessed Christmas and holiday season.
Stay safe and well, too! Lauren
💗

Free Rent…

Is there a challenge enticing you, but your lack of confidence makes you shy away from even trying? Well, do you realize you are allowing negative voices to control your actions? You are giving them free rent in your brain. How kind of you. Kidding. Only You know what your capabilities are without having anyone remind you, not even yourself! So, you should evict those voices! Now! Don’t wait! But it’s not easy, is it? We’re too quick to second guess ourselves, so we listen…well, listen to this…

Copper thinks he’s a lap dog. He has no idea that he is tall and lean, weighs 75 lbs. and is all muscle. Hence, he is not a lap dog! Truth is, because he’s confident in how he feels and because he sees himself as a chihuahua, he gracefully curls his body and folds his long legs to fit into the tiniest space – especially in the spotlight of the sun. He is the most faithful sun worshiper. And he’ll place himself between two pieces of furniture and lean. Yes, he’s a leaner. He leans on us when he sits next to us. He leans against the sofa and chairs and anything else that will hold his weight.

So, be like Copper and just do what you set your mind to. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t give those voices free rent anymore! You have more important data to occupy your mind and Dogs really do know best, don’t they? 🙂

Stand tall on your own two feet – don’t give doubt the upper hand. And observe your furry family members who truly know how to live a life of happy!

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

Happy 10th Birthday, Copper!! 🎈🎈🎈🎈

Our furry family member turns 10 today! He’s a big baby and he still thinks he’s a lap dog even though he weighs about 78 lbs. If we sit on the floor, he’ll back his butt into the circle of our legs and park himself. “Oh, Copper. You filled a void when we adopted you eight years ago, welcoming you into our family. And in turn, you give us unconditional love and kisses, and let us rub your belly as often as we want. Look how generous you are! You continue to melt our hearts with your golden eyes and make us smile with your funny faces. We love you!!

Happy Birthday, Copper Boy!
🎈🎉🎇🎊🎼

All Good Things

In these unsettling times, it’s important to find joy in each day,
even if digging a little deeper is necessary
. Anxiety, fear, and sadness
have certainly been fueled this year, which is reason enough to find things in life that make us happy. Throw in a dash of fun and a sprinkle of silly – bring on the smiles and laughter! It’s important for our mental and physical well being to find a balance so that all of our energy and focus isn’t directed only to the negative. I’m sure you’ve heard of a gratitude journal, so let’s count this post as one of my long journal entries, but first the visuals:

I’m grateful for another drive through the majestic redwoods and then onto Bolinas Ridge where the view of Stinson Beach was stunning – no fog or wind, just a glorious June day. I find joy in receiving fun gifts like the musical note earrings my daughter gave me because of our shared passion for music, and then the socks from her that tell me “I’m gorgeous, don’t change.” Wearing this kind of encouragement throughout the day is definitely a mood-booster.

I’m thankful for how I followed in Mom’s footsteps as my family indulges in sweet decadence once in a while, as well as baking for gifts. The plate of cookies are oatmeal chocolate chip, so don’t be shy! The cake was for a birthday: lemon with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting (all homemade). I also look forward to our relaxing patio time where we can talk about the day, make plans for tomorrow, and clink our glasses to celebrate being healthy and employed in these Covid times.

And then there are books! Can’t live without the exciting and adventurous worlds they draw me into. My son gave me “Little Fires Everywhere” not knowing anything about it. It turned out to be an engrossing and riveting read, and the mini series starring Reese Weatherperson and Kerry Washington was just as captivating. I found “Nineteen Minutes” listed on one of Stephen King’s book recommendations and am half-way through it. Can’t put it down either, but I must so that I can write this post! I highly recommend both books.

You see Copper lying on the bed…he was also enjoying “Little Fires Everywhere.” He is diligent in practicing how to relax and has become very good at it. 🙂 The love and joy this big puppy gives us is priceless. Oh, and look at Mini! As a child, I lived in Anaheim with Disneyland in my backyard. So, Mickey and Mini will always have a special place in my heart.

Nature provides serenity. It calms and emboldens us to look deeply within ourselves. It is a teacher of simplistic living, especially while backpacking. The sunset was taken at one of our favorite campgrounds, Look Lake – a gorgeous body of water in the Sierra without the crowds. The other photo is of Spider Lake that is a higher elevation, and I’m happy to report not one spider was found! Both destinations were perfect to take in the beauty around us, to spend time together, and to simply be. No technology, just a tent, a couple of chairs, and a picnic table. This is what we love to do, and we hope to venture onto the trails as long as our bodies will allow.

I hope you enjoyed these samples of some things in life that bring me joy – the list is never-ending. What do you lean towards in these times of uncertainty? What brings you calm? What turns your frown upside down? What makes you chuckle? Do you find that some of these photos bring you joy, too?

Wishing you a wonderful Friday and much joy in your days ahead,
Lauren
💗🎉💗🎉