Just A Short Post

Oh, and there’s also one that’s fallen over.

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Review of, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose, by Lauren Scott

It’s pretty green outside these days, every flake of the white stuff has melted back into H20. But no matter what Nature’s decided, we’ve been coasting into the Holiday Spirit here.

The tree’s up, it’s branches adorned with bulbs and baubles for the exclusive swatting pleasure of our two felines. Outside, soft white lights are strung across the lilac bush and a spotlight highlights the Nativity.

But I’m not here to discuss Christmas, well, unless you’re looking for the perfect gift for that book lover.  

So, without further ado, let’s raise a glass and toast a great read!

What’s it about?

From the early woes of childhood and teen years, this collection of stories and poems paints a picture of young dreams and fears. But as adulthood sets in, these dreams and fears change. More than Coffee touches on love and loss, nature and endurance, marriage, and parenting. In these memories, humor diffuses fear and taking risks proves to be a powerful method in boosting self-confidence. Through it all, whether in the wilderness near a sparkling lake or in the comfort of home, there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. A poignant and reflective collection of verse and prose that is best enjoyed sipping your favorite coffee roast.

My Thoughts:

The title gets it right. This book is about far more than coffee, more than a journal; it’s a love letter to Life. An exquisite and heartfelt testament to a life well lived.

Every anecdote and poem is a window to a different season that is relatable to anyone who’s been on this journey for more than a decade. The stories and poems are thoughtfully crafted and wonderfully penned. They complement each other nicely and capture the intense emotions of those moments and milestones.

I smiled at the tales about her bouts with arachnophobia, but not because I’d wish that on anyone. It reminds me of my own, ‘tour of duty’ in the defense against spiders when I had to “save”  my youngest daughter. Then again, I feel the same way about snakes.      

I highly recommend this book for those who savor each day!

Meet Lauren and grab your copy in time for Christmas!

Lauren writies poetry, memoir, and fiction short stories who lives in California with her husband of thirty-three years and their chocolate lab; they have two grown children. She has authored two collections of poetry: New Day, New Dreams (2013) and Finding a Balance (2015). Her latest book, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose was published in 2021. And in 2022, she contributed four poems to the anthology: Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships. Lauren writes about family, experiencing loss, finding joy in the smallest things, and nature from her many backpacking and camping adventures.

Parallel to her passion for writing is her love for reading. Whether it is a gripping thriller or a heartwarming romance, she enjoys exploring different worlds and meeting diverse characters, drawing similarities to reality that translate into her own writing. Her writing projects are sometimes serious – drawn from painful subjects and raw emotions – or they spotlight her silly side – pulled from humorous moments captured in photographs.

Lauren is inspired to write from her love of nature and the marvelous wild world that surrounds her: the smell of the woods, the sound of a babbling brook, and the chorus of birds singing. Recent backpacking trips with her husband along the California coast and Sierra Nevada mountains have stirred up thoughts to pen about love, lost friendship, family, and the possibility that anything can happen. Hikes along the Paper Mill Creek remind her that life is fragile. From trout hatchlings to swallowtail butterflies, Lauren marvels at how the world is interconnected and that every living thing matters. She hopes her readers will find a little nugget of delight, comfort, or understanding in her poetry and stories – some detail that resonates with them beyond her words.

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Photos With Captions To Make You Smile And Think

I’m back with another round of photos from daily life. My, things have changed both inside and outside since my last post. Outside, we’ve acquired some white groundcover, love or hate it, winter’s here. Personally, I’ve got mixed feelings about winter; I hate the shorter days, but love skiing and the fact that the cold kills off a lot of nasty bugs. Meanwhile, indoors, it’s looking a lot like Christmas, and much earlier than usual this year.

Let’s get this picture show in the air! Onwards Rudolph, Dasher, Blitzen, Prancer, Crasher, Comet, Vixen, Cupid, Dancer, and Donner! Did you spot the extra reindeer?

“Can’t say for sure, Jeb, but I’m sensing a pattern.”

When you answer, “Sure.” to, “Can I borrow your camera, Dad?”

Not even the pouring rain could snuff their evil glow!

My prayer for you, today.

Celk

We live in the country, on a back road that the township forgot but is Grand Central to an abundance of wildlife. We’re talking everything from cocky chipmunks that used to torment our yellow lab, to black bears, wolves, and even a moose that wandered from up North. Yup, there’s still plenty of ‘North’ in the tundra above our toques.

If I compiled a file of soundbites, I’d bet most of you would be surprised at which woodland creature is letting you know they’re around.

The title of most terrifying belongs, hands down, to our warm and fuzzy friend, the Fisher. A couple of notes into that murderous cry is enough to flash freeze the blood of even the most stout-hearted.

 Now, while the Fisher is downright spooky, what I heard during a twilight walk with Tanya, can be classified as Area 51. Truth is, it wasn’t the first time I’d heard it.   

A week prior, I was awakened at that three am timeline, when the weird stuff is supposed to happen, by a hybrid howl. Each call began as a coyote howl but rose in pitch, transforming into what I can only describe as an elk call. You know that shrill sound they make, just before they stomp you? Kinda’ like that scene from Polar Express, where the Caribou cause the train to make an unscheduled stop. Yes, I know the two are different and live in different regions, but that’s what pops into the pumpkin.  

The poor thing seemed to be a crossroads, unsure of what category of species it fit into. “Hooves or paws? Do I like the taste of rabbits or wheatgrass? Hmmm . . . dunno, but I can make this sound. Watch me go!”

 I did a bit of research and discovered there was more Wile E., than Rudolph, in the DNA batter. Bang the pan lids together! Mind blown! I’ve lived rural for most of my existence, and I’ve never heard anything make that sound.

Oh, back to our walk. So here we are, sundown, reflector vest on and flashlight at the ready to protect us from those really dangerous animals; the ones with four rubber feet and that feast on long extinct flora and fauna alike, when my friend, I’ve named him Celk, starts saying, “Hello!”

Celk was off in the brush to our left, and he was calling out to his crew that were having a party in the brush to our right. What happened next was that the dudes he thought were his crew went silent. Rude! Maybe this is nature’s version of ghosting? I mean, the poor bugger went on for another five minutes and no one answered.

We reached our turnaround point and started for home. Celk must have crossed the road to see what’s up with his boys, because now he was over there calling around. For some reason, I’m picturing them crouching beneath some juniper bush, holding their breaths, and willing themselves not to fart. They were having no part of Celk, who’s invitation must surely have gotten lost in the mail. Or maybe someone blew up his mailbox with an ACME bomb.

My heart went out to poor Celk, who was still giving a shout out to his “pals” ten minutes later. I even voiced my opinion for any and all pointy ears in the vicinity that he’d most certainly find a pack that appreciated  him for the unique fellow he is.

The next night, I listened for Celk, but there was nary a yip nor howl, from anyone. I think there’s a slight possibility I may have offended the ghosting Canis latrans and they’d shoved off. I don’t care if I hurt their feelings, they had it coming.

Not sure what happened to Celk, but I like to imagine he’s found his peeps and is joined paw in paw around an old oak somewhere, belting out his special tune.

Could this be Celk?

Tough Nut Negotiations

“So here we have our, ah, deluxe bachelor street suite. Perfect for the fast-paced lifestyle of a made guy like you. It’s only 49.99 acorns per month . . . nope, no cupules or stalks accepted as payment for the .99 . . . nuts only.

“It’s quaint, and even turns into a swimming pool when it rains! Cool, huh! Hey, buddy, why the face? Look, I’m not buying your story of just wanting to retrieve some dime you dropped in there. And sure, you’ll fit a bit snug, but that’s why you’re getting it for a song.

“I’ve gotta’ be honest with you. Can I be honest? Please, without you freaking out about talking chipmunks? You think you guys have the monopoly on language and capitalism? You do! Don’t you? Pssh! What a schmuck!

“Naw, never mind that . . .  what I just said. Fug-get-about-it! Look, you seem like a nice guy, but I’m gonna’ tell it straight. This is the best thing for you. Yah, I hear you going on about the whole, ‘casual attire, out for a walk thing.’ But here’s the thing . . . I’ve been doing this since before this was a thing, and I’m telling you that your whole thing that you’ve got going on here, well that doesn’t holler, Oak Heights.”