One Minute of Freedom

The day I saved a spider…My daughter taught me how when she was twelve years old; her heart loved all creatures. There is much to learn from our children.

Lucky for me, the dime-sized trespasser stayed still on the floor, as if paralyzed by my enormous presence, unaware of my heart pounding erratically, ready to jump out of my chest. But I mustered up an ounce of finesse and a pound of courage. I hurried into the kitchen, pulling a tall clear glass from the cabinet, a glass that has its own place on the shelf, and one we don’t drink out of. It holds the label of spider catcher. I placed it over the spider’s body. Then I grabbed a paper plate and cut out the flat base. I slipped that piece under the glass. When I picked up the spider in its glass cage, its speedy steps just about made me fling it across the room! I didn’t want to feel eight tiny legs skitter across my hand. I managed to tamp down those goosebumps, firmly holding the paper. Then again, I never thought the day would come when I felt compassion for a spider, but I did while watching it scurry around the sides, probably fearful. If it only knew I was the good Samaritan. Stepping outside in the yard, I laid the glass on the lawn, pulling away the paper. Out scurried the arachnid – in a cartoon, it would’ve waved to me. The happy spider didn’t waste one minute of freedom. If only humans could be so wise.

Have you lived with arachnophobia? Can you relate to my fear, my pounding heart, and the courage I had to muster up to save that lucky spider? Do you also prefer arachnids to stay outside? Is there a different creepy-crawler that speeds up your heartbeat?

Lauren Scott (c)
Cute spider photo: Google
I can’t look at real spiders on the screen yet,
but I’m working on it. 🙂

A Mind of Their Own

Tammy’s attempt at living on her own involved roommates and failed twice: one month following the first move-in date, her roommate became suddenly engaged, soon to walk down the aisle, then her second roommate unexpectedly chose to become a nun. So, she finds herself living in her childhood house again with her parents. The house is conveniently designed with three bedrooms – hers is on the opposite end from her parents with the kitchen and living room in the middle. A great floorplan that affords her a little privacy. She also has her own bathroom, not to mention, the third bedroom across the hall acts as her media room with a TV and the comfortable sofa that her parents will probably own forever. Tammy really has no means to complain, except that her twenty-sixth birthday is fast approaching, so she should be living on her own in the hub of independence. But she feels grateful that her parents allow the revolving front door, until she finds an affordable apartment of her own. She has dealt with enough stress with the roommate scene. 

She and her parents arrive home on the quiet block in their suburban neighborhood around the same time on this Thursday afternoon. The coffee cup shaped clock hanging on the kitchen wall shows five o’clock, and although Tammy is of drinking age, she doesn’t feel like joining her parents for their nightly cocktail. Work has been hectic, so she just wants to hunker down and fall into her Elin Hilderbrand book and its characters whom she feels like she’s known a lifetime. Her parents head for the black faux-leather bar in the corner of the dining room to shake their dry martinis. She strolls down the hallway, walking into her room and can’t wait to pull on her soft gray sweats before winding down. Funny, it’s only been ten minutes or so, but she doesn’t remember the weather raging outside. When she steps into her room, the wind blows up a storm, howling to the universe with what sounds like a very urgent message. Tammy rushes to the big window to pull down the blinds hanging above her oak desk.

Oddly, when she tugs on the blinds, they resist by pulling themselves up! They seem to have a mind of their own. With the fierce strength of the wind for support, it feels as though the blinds are angry at her. This struggle lasts only a few minutes, but long enough to cause some anxiety as she finally gives up and sprints out of her room. What just happened? Am I hallucinating? she thinks to herself, trying to catch her breath. Her heartbeat matches a marathon!

“Mom? Dad?” Tammy calls, her speedy footprints muffled on the tan carpeted hallway. The rest of the house stays eerily calm. She finds her parents sitting in the living room, sipping their martinis. Outside the slider, the sky can’t be any bluer and the sun shines brighter than a high-powered flashlight! What?

“I need to talk to you both!” The panic in Tammy’s voice piques her parents’ attention, so they follow her down the hall, as she motions with a wave of her hand.

When the trio steps inside her four pale lavender walls, they can hear a feather drop. The window blinds hang calmly as can be, and if those blinds can wink at her, Tammy swears they are doing just that! She explains with trepidation the horror of the blinds, how they acted uncontrollably in the stormy weather as though they had a pulse and were very much alive.

“I tried to pull them down, but they resisted, and the wind blew even stronger against my touch.” Even after the words tumble from her mouth, Tammy knows how ridiculous she sounds. She closes her eyes for a minute, breathing in, slowly breathing out. She recalls the sun shining in the living room. They won’t believe me. Why would they?

Her parents look at the blinds then they look at their daughter. Tammy reads their minds. She understands their facial expressions, the concern in their eyes.

“Honey, we don’t know what to say. We had a little rain in the early afternoon, but it certainly wasn’t storming, and now look! The sun is shining; the day has turned out to be glorious!” Tammy’s mom says. She turns her head towards her husband, silently pleading for him to say something.

“Sweetheart, maybe you’re just tired and need some rest,” her dad says with empathy. “You said the bank has been especially busy with new clients recently, so maybe exhaustion is the culprit.”

“I’m not tired! I literally fought with those blinds! Every time I pulled, they pulled back with force! Look, I don’t mean to raise my voice. I know this sounds irrational, but it’s the truth! You guys have to believe me!”

Tammy suddenly sits up in bed, reaching for her cell phone that reads 5:03 am – her eyes the size of golf balls. A headache tries to attack every muscle in her head. She practically slides out of bed as quietly as possible, so she doesn’t rouse her husband out of his deep slumber. She walks into the bathroom, hoping to find unexpired Advil in the medicine cabinet. What the hell was that all about? Since when do I remember my dreams, and since when do window blinds come alive? Inanimate objects don’t communicate with humans…or do they? No!

Last night’s dream is so bizarre that Tammy fears it will control her thoughts throughout the day. She holds the title of Account Manager at the bank downtown, and with four new appointments on her calendar, concentrating on getting their accounts set up will take more effort. What is even stranger is the setting in her dream; her childhood home that she lived in with her parents before she married and had three children. Only her parents were in the dream, and they had passed away years ago. Tammy portrayed a younger version of herself still living at home with them. Made no sense at all.

Tammy’s desire to interpret this dream becomes all-consuming. Maybe recent threats of a drought manifested themselves through that storm, and the blinds were angry because of the potential fire danger developing. Yeah, that sounds perfectly logical.

But how her parents held the leading roles remain a mystery. Perhaps, subconsciously she missed their physical presence. She does miss them very much, and she often reminisces to her childhood. Okay, this reasoning sounds valid.

The supernatural quality confused Tammy, though, and it was a bit unsettling. She’ll never forget as a teen, watching The Amityville Horror in terror with her best friend, Melissa.  It took weeks to shake those images from her mind.

Will I ever unearth the why’s of this unnerving dream, pieced together with an array of question marks? I have no idea! But I’m keeping a close eye on the blinds in this house!

Lauren Scott (c)

A little bias, but…

I have to share this review written by my daughter of my latest book. Yes, it’s a little biased, but believe me when I tell you that my family and anyone who knows me well will be brutally honest. So, I’m touched by her beautiful words and her continued love and support for me…

More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose is a heartwarming collection of poetry and short stories about love, loss, nature, and parenting, all with the best friend of coffee close by. My name is Stephanie, and I am Lauren’s daughter. While I have heard these stories told before, written or expressed verbally, and have helped with the editing process along the way, reading the final product hit me in a deeper way. I was sitting on my couch in the apartment I share with my husband, reading my mom’s newest book, getting emotional on every page but mostly on short stories such as, ‘Ascent,’ about the journey of a backpacking trip after the loss of both her parents, ‘1989,’ my parents’ love story, and ‘The Way It Was,’ about my mom’s choir and solo singing opportunities encouraged by her teacher, that catapulted me, her daughter, in sharing that same passion for singing. Those are but a few examples that capture the raw emotions, authenticity and vulnerability she shares with the reader – aspects of life everyone can relate to. My mom has published two solely poetry books prior, but the amalgamation of the short stories and poems is a fine-tuned balance, one she has hit her mark on. I may be a little biased, but I couldn’t be any prouder! Do her the honor of purchasing and reading this book with a good old-fashioned cup of joe or your preferred drink of choice; you surely won’t be disappointed! Happy reading!

Thank you for stopping by and reading Stephanie’s review. If you’ve bought my book, I hope you’ve enjoyed the memories. And if you haven’t already written an Amazon review, I would greatly appreciate it if you would. I once read that reviews are like hugs for authors. And if you don’t already have a copy of More than Coffee on your kindle or in your book case, I hope you’ll check it out. Simply click “Buy on Amazon” below the image.

Thanks again,
Lauren ❤️❤️❤️

The Sandwich

I go light on the mayo,
add some Grey Poupon,

layer sliced tomatoes,
pickles and cucumbers,

pile on leaves of romaine
for the final touch,

in between two slices
of whole wheat bread.

The kids are adults,
living on their own.
It’s just hubby and me at home.

Yes, I still make lunches.
I have mastered “the sandwich.”

From turkey to tuna to egg salad
or chicken, to this new veggie delight.

Suddenly, I’m standing in the kitchen,
my kids are little, small shoe sizes
by the door, Lego on the floor in
his room, barbies scattered in hers,

the days in the nineties
when peanut butter and jelly ruled.

I should tally all the peanut butter jars,
jelly flavors or jam, if you prefer,

and slices of bread that
were consumed back then.

The hustle and bustle of early hours
on school-day mornings,
kids tossing a coin for the shower.

Hair dryer working overtime with her long
thick mane. He and I, donning various
hats for our roles as cab driver, cook,
teacher, counselor, hugger, father, mother.

I shake my head, smiling,
in the present on a workday.
I reach for an apple
.

Tomorrow, we buy!

Lauren Scott (c) 2022
Photo: Pixabay
Some fun for a Saturday smile.


Is that most embarrassing moment still buried deep in your subconscious?

Mine is! Even after more than four decades!

The year was 1978. It was my best friend’s father’s birthday, and I was invited to go out to dinner with the family to celebrate. When we arrived at the popular restaurant, we had to wait for a table – it was crowded even for a weeknight. But the lobby was decorated in reds, oranges, golds, and greens – a warm atmosphere, inviting us to sit down while we waited. Most of the group found seats, including me. I sat on the edge of a comfy sofa. One you can sink right into and wonder how on earth you’ll get out of. On my right side was an end table with a slim glass vase holding one single red rose. Very dainty and pretty.

My friend’s father – the man of the hour chose to sit next to me. I scooted to my right a couple of inches to give him a little more room. What I didn’t realize was the comfy sofa had no arm and the end table was so close that this fact was camouflaged. Before I knew it, before I could shift the direction of my body, I slid off that sofa, landing on the hardwood floor! What seemed like slow motion, that beautiful end table skidded a foot across the smooth surface, prompting that dainty, pretty vase and rose to tumble off into a dramatic crash! Footsteps of restaurant patrons dodged scattered rose petals, shards of glass, and tiny puddles of water. And there I laid, stunned, wanting to melt into that hardwood and disappear for a few months. Long enough for everyone watching to forget about this mortifying moment.

Mel, my friend, offered me a hand. I must’ve stood up, accepting her help, but what actually happened honestly remains a blur. That event, though, from over forty years ago, stays vivid in my camera roll of memories. The difference between then and now is that I can laugh about it. To just laugh and let those silly giggles escape with delight is always a great solution!

Thank you for reading and remember to give those giggles some freedom!
Do you have an embarrassing moment to share? 🙂

Lauren Scott (c) 2021 ❤️❤️❤️
Vase photo: Google
“Just laugh” photo: dry erase board on my fridge. 🙂

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
🙂

Happiness Hyperbole

With all the stress, loss, loneliness, and changes to our “normal” routines 2020 has delivered, sometimes the thought of “moving” to the town of Hallmark sounds appealing. An escape where only happiness and love abound. At times, though, some of the movies are just a bit too predictable and perfect for even me. Still, if you’re in need of a deluge of joy, the Hallmark channel won’t disappoint. And I hope my little piece of happy Hallmark writing below brings a smile and a positive start to your week…

Out of a Hallmark movie

How heavenly to have home in Hallmark. A huge, humble harvest of happiness. The “happy” hyperbole hurries a headache. However, hear the harmony, harness the hope, humility, hospitality, and huggable humanity. The hummingbird’s hum is a highlight. Holiday honey, hazelnut, and Havarti heighten the hunger in the household. It’s happening! Heed the harmonious and heartwarming high spirits!!!!

A real town in Maine that looks just like Hallmark.
Two Hallmark favorites: Paul Greene & Candace Cameron Bure

Wishing you an abundance of happiness this week
and a very Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!
~Lauren
🧡💗😊🍁🍂

A Little Appreciation…

“For those who read, there is more than one world.”
Greetings!
Lowlights & layers Covid safe just in time for Halloween –
Beware of Foilhead!
👻
Our first, cozy fire on a cold autumn night
paired with Chardonnay
I pass by this driveway every day on my walk with Copper,
always admiring how inviting its set up is…

I hope you enjoyed these snippets of my appreciation, and know that I appreciate all of you who continue to pop in and read what’s been on my mind. The last couple of weeks have been tough in some ways, but today is a new day. I hope you’re doing well and wish you a wonderful week.

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

First the Lights Went Out

Can you believe the holidays are just around the corner? It seems unreal because of the virus – how our everyday living has changed. Even though it’s hard to fathom that the year is coming to a close, my trusty calendar says it is, so I thought it would be a good time to post this Christmas tale from last year.

In excitement we wriggle from head to toe anticipating our daughter and fiancé’s visit from Nashville. The newly-engaged couple flies out early December to beat the holiday airport chaos. Thanksgiving dishes barely sparkle when we push and pull our Noble Fir through the front door. I want the house to be dressed in holiday attire for when they arrive. But the day after Thanksgiving is early to buy a tree, so the pickings are slim and the cost is a heart-stopper. Yet, there in the living room by the window stands the evergreen, reflecting in the paned glass.

My husband takes charge of putting up the outside decorations – hanging the Christmas flag, stringing the lights on the house, and sprinkling big ornaments on our shrubbery. My son and I begin indoor decorating by winding the lights among the branches on the tree. As we hand the wiry bunch to each other, around and around, they blink awake like eyes opening brightly. But then suddenly, they go out like sleepy eyes closing. When we tested them earlier, they lit up just fine, so their slumbering is surely a mystery. Feeling frustrated, we fuss with the tiny bulbs, and eventually, they blink “Merry Christmas” again. (Problem solved or so we think.) Then come the ornaments – many made by our children’s’ little hands: photos of them skirted in gold stars or in the arms of pink angels. The clothespin reindeer look excited to join Santa on Christmas Eve, and the homemade sequin ornaments from my husband’s grandma transports him back to the sixties. His grandma was stern but kindhearted, and when she cooked each Sunday for the following week, there was enough food to feed everyone in the county. Then my fingers feel around in the box for another ornament, latching onto the white puffy heart engraved with Dad’s birth and death date. It’s like hanging memories one by one, triggering teardrops or raising smiles. When the tree stands fully adorned, it truly looks Noble.

Copper’s on full alert for a Christmas treat!

Outside for onlookers, the house lights blink a winter white with a splash of red, gold, green, and silver hanging among the greenery, but more Christmas spirit arrives with our Nashville kids. They gave us a beautiful wreath which hangs on the front door and completes the decorating. In the evenings, we gather around the table, catching up on life and sharing delicious food. They share their wedding plans and we hear their excitement to search for a special place to exchange vows. And we bake! Having my daughter home to help mix up some sweetness conjures up delightful baking memories.

I want to freeze time – for it alone is an illusion: drifting by like the slow drip of honey, yet, flying by like a hummingbird seeking nectar. With a blink of an eye, our visit with them has ended and it’s time for goodbye-hugs which are never easy; bittersweet tears fall like liberated water over a broken dam. Too soon my cell phone pings, telling me they’re boarding their plane. Once their feet safely touch Tennessee ground, I push the restart button in my routine. Phone calls, Facetime, and text messages don’t replace their presence but will suffice until their next trip.

Our focus is back to the Noble Fir and we notice it doesn’t appear to be thirsty. This evergreen that cost an arm and a leg is beginning to dry up faster than a drop of water on a sun-kissed sidewalk. Then to our surprise, the bottom lights go out! A couple of days later with one tilt of our heads, we spot the lights on top of the tree are out! Frustration seeps into our veins for a second, then trickles of laughter follow, and because we’re too busy to shop for new lights, our tree remains topless and bottomless where festive colors once shimmered! We join Charlie Brown and call it our Peanut’s tree – a little forlorn to our eyes but beautiful just the same. The angel our daughter made years ago, though only a toilet paper roll with lacey craftsmanship, sits in a place of honor on top of the tree. Replacing this dear angel is out of the question, so we look to her for hope that the tree lasts until the big day!

Moving on from our tree-light calamity, it’s time to bake again. I find my mother-in-law’s gingerbread recipe, preheat the oven, then press the button on my faithful hand mixer. When all ingredients are blended, I dip a spoon into the sweet-spicy batter. I have to make sure it’s fine for others to eat. Of course, I do. I was about to put the pan in the oven, opening the door, when I realize 350-degree heat did not whoosh out at me in the face. I call my husband over and we do some button-pressing, hoping our magic touches will perk up the oven. No luck, but no need to panic fully because the burners work, so not a total loss. The gingerbread stays overnight in the fridge, but I’m unsure as to how refrigeration will affect the batter. I call on a friend for help and use her oven the next day. When the timer beeps, the bread looks done, except for the molten-looking center – mushy, but honestly, gooey and delectable.

Two weeks pass since the oven’s demise, and no repairman is available until December 30th. It sounds like the death of many appliances! At least the oven functioned when my daughter and I needed it to for our upcoming cookie exchange. Four dozen buttercream-frosted sugar cookies were displayed on glass platters: stars, Christmas trees, gingerbread men, and angels all bejeweled in red and green sprinkles. Now, as Christmas draws closer by the minute, I feel off-kilter because I’m unable to bake.

While the oven sits waiting to be repaired, the alternator in one of our cars dies! First the lights, then the oven, now the car! But wait, there’s more…our big TV is next on this chain of events! What a kerfuffle this holiday season has been with things going kaput! I won’t ask, because if I do, we’ll wonder what’s next! I didn’t ask!

Because of the unexpected and unfortunate events, our shopping sprees have barely begun. But we’ll still find merchandise sitting on the shelves, contrary to popular belief that Black Friday is the only day to shop for Christmas. And each time I walk past our unique Christmas tree, I am reminded of the quote, paraphrasing, of course, “It’s not about the beginning or destination; it’s about the journey.” Well, the tree’s middle glows with Christmas enthusiasm and so does our journey through this holiday season in spite of the blips.

These hiccups caused us to pause, but they’re not the end of the world. Baking later could develop into a new tradition. Our tree will remain noble until Christmas Day, or at least we hope it will. Those temperamental lights will be tossed when the tree comes down. The car is on its wheels again. So, regardless of these glitches, the blessings stand tall: precious family time, safe travels for our Nashville kids, and gifts beneath the tree acting as an evergreen anchor. Saving the best for last – our family’s good health. What more can we ask for besides new lights for our tree next year!

I hope this account of my family’s last Christmas brought smiles and maybe even a few giggles. And I have a strong hunch, this holiday season will look a little different. But if good health abounds, that’s what matters most. And Cheers to hoping 2021 is much brighter for all!

Lauren💓💓💓