The Lizard Chronicles

Some of this is true. Some of this is better. –Too Much Joy

39 Awesome Things I Did While I Was 39 October 24, 2014

Filed under: Life tales,lists — lizardesque @ 9:56 am
Tags: , ,

“Today my age is tweedle and twee. I’m prettier than I used to be.”

–Woody Guthrie

 

  1. Finally ate at Girl and the Goat
  2. Drilled pumpkins for Halloween

    Pumpkins + power tools = pretty!

    Pumpkins + power tools = pretty!

  3. Put together a pretty kickass Medusa Halloween costume
    Medusa
  4. Achieved wheel pose in yoga
  5. Saw The Fitz and the Tantrums in concert
  6. Participated in (and won) NaNoWriMo
    NaNoWriMo
  7. Completed a 365 Somethings to Smile About project
  8. Began a 365-day Doodle a Day project
  9. Sent a card to a friend to thank him for turning 40 before I did
  10. Made a set of square plate for my mother to help her overcome her fears of unconventionally shaped dinnerware
  11. Saw the Edward Gorey exhibit at the Loyola University Museum of Art
  12. Saw cherry blossoms in bloom in Philadelphia
    CherryBlossoms
  13. Celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary
  14. Went zip lining in the Redwoods

    Wheeeee!

    Wheeeee!

  15. Recreated some honeymoon photo ops on a tenth anniversary trip
    2004

    2004

    2014

    2014

  16. Fed rosemary to goats at a winery

    Nom nom nom

    Nom nom nom

  17. Rode the Napa Valley Wine Train
  18. Tried (and liked) garlic ice cream

    Mmmmm...garlic!

    Mmmmm…garlic!

  19. Biked across the Golden Gate Bridge

    After biking across the bridge

    After biking across the bridge

  20. Visited Coit Tower

    Inside Coit Tower

    Inside Coit Tower

  21. Broke the 200-post mark on this blog
  22. Began working as a volunteer editor for a literary journal
  23. Watched The Princess Bride in a forest preserve
  24. Saw The Machine Inside exhibit at the Field Museum
  25. Saw the 1893 World’s Fair exhibit at the Field Museum
  26. Wrote a haiku for every day in July
  27. Took and pressed some ivy leaves from the house I grew up in before my parents closed on it
  28. Averted a bloody mary emergency by visiting a combination hardware and liquor store
  29. Went to Jazzin’ at the Shedd
  30. Attended a Mustache Bash (and won a major award)

    I won the "Name that Mustache" contest

    I won the “Name that Mustache” contest

  31. Coped with the stress of a horrible week by dancing in my living room until I was too tired to be stressed
  32. Completed the ALS ice bucket challenge…while wearing a tiara (because I’m fancy)
  33. Experimented with typewriter art
  34. Finally finished my button dress

    I didn't make the dress, but I did make it buttonful

    I didn’t make the dress, but I did make it buttonful

  35. Completed year 1 of a 5-year Q&A project
  36. Saw interactive disco Shakespeare theater
  37. Visited the World’s Smallest Museum

    I only wish I had time to see the entire thing!

    Slightly smaller than the Louvre

  38. Swung and spun on glowing swings

    LizSwing

    Swings were not this cool when I was a kid!

  39. Went to the Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute

 

 

Boston or Bust Part 2: Days That Begin With a Ride From Vision-Impaired Troglodyte Taxi Driver Can Actually Turn Out OK! September 24, 2014

The morning after my interactive disco Shakespeare adventure with my brother, I checked out of my hotel and caught a taxi to take me to his apartment, where I would spend my last night of the trip. Upon getting in the cab, I was immediately struck by the fact that my driver was a woman in perhaps her mid/late sixties. It’s not that this is a problem, it’s simply unusual. At first, I thought it was unusual in an awesome way–good for her! Also, there was something comforting at the thought of possibly getting a ride from someone’s grandmother. Perhaps there would be cookies.

I told the driver the address, and some confusion ensued. As it happens, there is a street by the same name in Boston, and it is near Cambridge Street. The driver asked if I was sure of the address since she didn’t know a street by that name in Cambridge. I told her I was certain.

“OK, I’m going to have to look it up,” she said as she picked up a large book and began to flip through it, repeating the street name to herself. “Ah, here it is,” she said and then handed the book back to me. “Can you read what it says there?”

Bewildered, I took the book from her. “My glasses are on the floor somewhere,” she said.

I read the text to her and handed the book back, assuring myself that plenty of people had problems reading small print but could see just fine for driving. She flipped through the pages again. This time when she landed on the page she was seeking, she produced a large magnifying glass to read the entry. “OK, got it,” she said and discarded the book. She then told me that, since she was not sure of the fastest way to get there, she would charge me a flat rate for the trip.

That seemed fair, so I settled back into my seat as she commenced with the usual cab driver chit-chat. When she got around to asking what brought me to Boston, I told her I’d come for a conference but was staying a bit extra to visit my brother. “Oh, was it that neurology conference that was just in town?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Oh, well, I’ve got something for ya. It’s not exactly neurology, but…did you hear that there was another beheading?”

I hadn’t had time to keep on top of news during the preceding days, but I figured she was referring to another in a string of beheadings of journalists by ISIS. I briefly considered the odd train of thought that led her from neurology to decapitation, but I didn’t dwell on it. “No,” I said. “That’s awful.”

What followed was a tirade against Muslims and how, in her opinion, they should not be allowed in this country. At first, I tried to argue, saying that a small number of people doing horrible things in the name of Islam did not mean that all Muslims were bad, but it quickly became clear that I was wasting my breath. She continued to spew her hate speech, and I clenched my teeth and waited for the ride to be over.

Several minutes later, her diatribe ended when she announced that I would have to help her look for address numbers, as she suspected we were nearing an intersection where we needed to turn right.

This, combined with her previously revealed vision problems, made me suspect that perhaps she should not be driving a vehicle for a living, but I told her the first address number I spotted so that she could, hopefully, pay attention to traffic. “Oh, OK, I know where we are. Not far.” She motioned ahead and to the right. “There’s a resale shop up here. You can donate clothes and stuff, and they sell it. They give all the money to AIDS research.”

I cringed, fully expecting that this announcement would be a precursor to rant against another group of people she did not like. Thankfully, I was wrong, and she instead began to ramble about how another resale shop she had donated items to had mishandled her shoes, putting them into a large, jumbled pile. Really, the nerve of people.

We made the right turn, “I think your street is down a ways,” she said.

At the same time, I looked up and, almost immediately saw the name of street where my brother lives, “No, it’s right here!” I said, and the cab stopped abruptly.

“Geez, how did you see that?” she marveled.

Oh, I don’t know…I am sighted! I thought, as she answered her own question. “It must look familiar from last time.”

“Right,” I said, handing her payment, just relieved that the ride was over. I got out of the taxi and went to the back to retrieve my luggage, but instead of getting out to the car to assist me or at least popping the trunk open, she began to drive away. “Hey!” I screamed and pounded on the back of the cab as I chased it a few feet down the street.

The cab stopped again, and the driver got out. “Oops. Sorry about that,” she said, making a motion as she was going to help me with my bags.

“I got it,” I said, quickly grabbed my luggage, and closed the trunk.

I’ve had some unpleasant cab rides before, but damn.

I figured the day had to get better from there, and I was right. I reunited with my brother and before long, we took off on our first excursion of the day: a visit to the World’s Smallest Museum in Sommerville.

I only wish I had time to see the entire thing!

I only wish I had time to see the entire thing!

Of course, that didn’t take up too much time, so we stopped for lunch at the nearby Independent. As we ate and chatted, it occurred to me that Chris and I had not spent much time alone together in a very long while, and it was nice. It was also striking how many of our conversations began with, “Do you remember…”

We occupied most of the day with reminiscing, drinking my favorite blueberry beer, and strolling around town.

Selfie by the river

Selfie by the river

Around dusk, we headed to the Lawn on D for fun with glowing oval swings, enjoying a lovely sunset along the way.

Sunset

Swings weren't this cool when I was a kid.

Swings weren’t this cool when I was a kid.

I like the way it makes his socks glow.

I like the way it makes his socks glow.

It was dizzying but awesome. We followed that up with more conversation and cocktails at Drink and a late dinner at Veggie Galaxy. As the thoroughly enjoyable day (well, except for the bit with the awful taxi driver) came to a close, I found myself wishing I’d extended my trip just a little bit longer and vowed not to let so much time elapse before my next visit.

 

Boston or Bust Part 1: Luggage Envy, Velociraptors, Chupacabras, and Disco Shakespeare September 20, 2014

I recently traveled to Boston to cover the joint ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS meeting for my job. My originally scheduled flight was cancelled due to the anticipation of bad weather, but that was fine with me since it meant I didn’t have to get up at OMG-early-thirty to get to the airport on time. I was rebooked on an early afternoon flight, and, upon receiving my boarding pass, I was completely unsurprised to be in boarding group 18 of 4. I invariably find myself in the last possible boarding group, as if the powers that be are planning to let me on the plane only when everyone else is not only seated but has been served a round of cocktails and is napping comfortably. I miss the good old days when planes were boarded from the back to the front, as I also always seem to get a seat in the back of the plane. This time was no exception. Of course, the overhead space near my seat had been full for roughly a decade before I arrived. A flight attended told me she’d figure something out and instructed me to wait in the area at the end of the aisle. After several minutes, it became apparent that said flight attendant had forgotten about me, and a second attendant inquired as to why I was standing around at the back of the plane with my bag.

“The other woman told me to stand here and wait, but then she disappeared.”

Second flight attendant told me she would look into it and scurried off. Not too much later, first flight attendant reappeared and motioned for me to come forward. They had found a spot for my bag in first class. I found myself slightly jealous of my bag’s luxe accommodations as I hoisted it into the overhead bin and shuffled back to my seat in coach.

The flight was uneventful, and for the next few days, I spent most of my time on conference coverage. I’ll spare you the details and just mention a few highlights.

  • When I work long hours, my mind sometimes plays tricks on me (I think, to provide some comic relief). It is times like these, when I see T-cell receptor vaccination on the screen in front of me and my brain somehow changes that to velociraptors. I’m guessing that it would be pretty hard to get IRB approval for a trial of velociraptors as a treatment for multiple sclerosis, but the very idea was good for a laugh.
  • I’m not sure which excites me more, free lip balm or free cookies. It probably depends on which I have a greater need for at the time, lip moisture or a sugar bump. Anyhow, both are appreciated and often available at conference exhibits.
  • My team and I completed our work before midnight on two out of three nights. OK, it wasn’t much before midnight, but still, this is precedence breaking!
  • The room service menu at my hotel offered this on the children’s menu (which I sometimes peruse for in search of meat-free options). Somehow, I managed to resist the lure of the souvenir hippo, but, let me tell you, it was not easy.

GelatoHippo

By mid-afternoon on Saturday, I was done with conference coverage, and it was time to prepare for a bit of fun time in Boston, which included a brief shopping trip for emergency tights. The weather was much cooler than I had anticipated, and I knew I would be chilly wearing only the dress that I had brought for Saturday night. I needed tights and a scarf or wrap. The irony here is, not only do I own about a metric ton of tights and boatload of scarves and wraps (all of which were at home), but also, I usually over-pack for every trip I take, ensuring that I have many options and am fully prepared for unanticipated meteorologic phenomena. I’m not sure why I neglected to bring tights or a wrap, but I was able to properly equip myself with a quick trip to Marshalls.

My brother Chris, who lives in Cambridge, met me at my hotel, and we had a drink at the bar before heading out to dinner at The Gallows, where my friend Jenny also joined us. I liked The Gallows from the moment I walked in and saw this on one of the walls.

Ouija

I was also highly amused to see this on the menu.

BoonesI was somewhat aghast at the price, though. I’m not sure what Boones costs at the supermarket these days, but when I was in college (which was, I admit, a shockingly long time ago), it cost about $2.50 per bottle. But then again, how can you really put a price on an experience that is like licking a unicorn?

As tempting as it was to drink in some college nostalgia, I opted instead to order a drink called the chupacabra. I really enjoy saying the word chupacabra, so I’m pretty pleased any time I can easily work it into conversation. It was also a delicious drink. The Gallows menu also offered something I don’t recall ever having seen before: vegetarian poutine. I’d never tried poutine before, mainly because of the paucity of vegetarian versions, but also because it always sounded to me like something that could be really good, bad-for-me comfort food but also had the potential to go very wrong and be a soggy, repulsive mess. The vegetarian poutine at The Gallows, however, was great.

After dinner, Chris and I headed to the American Repertory Theater to see The Donkey Show, which I can only describe as an interactive, glittery, disco-dancing, Shakespeare extravaganza. Not once, but twice, during the show, my brother was pulled up on a platform to dance with a chorus dancer, and I couldn’t help but think that this will be a cherished family memory for years to come.

 

The Road Not Taken August 1, 2014

Not long ago, I visited my doctor for a routine checkup. I was seeing this particular doctor for the first time (the one I had been seeing previously had left the practice). As we discussed my health and history, the conversation turned to contraception. “You have not had children, correct?” she said, glancing down at my file.

“That’s right.”

“Is having kids something you want to do in the future?” she asked.

I couldn’t help but brace myself before I even answered. I had heard all the retorts so many times. Really? Why not? Oh, you’ll change your mind. But you’d make such a good mom! I’ve come to expect some sort of argument or downright dismissal of my lack of desire for offspring. To be fair, I have always been open to the idea that I might reconsider and want kids some day. After all, you can only be told that you’ll change your mind so many times before you start to think that you will, or at least concede that it’s within the realm of possibility. Never say never, but probably not has been my stance on my own procreation for some time now.

But back to the doctor’s office…

“No,” I said, steeling myself for the barrage that was sure to follow.

“Okay, that’s cool,” my doctor said. “I only ask because if kids were something you definitely wanted in the future, I would advise you to think about trying sooner rather than later. But that’s not an issue if you don’t want children. So, no worries.”

It’s difficult to describe what I felt in that moment. Gratitude, for one thing. I was thankful my new doctor was so cool about this. There was no pressure. She just wanted to know where my head was and be sure I was medically informed. Then I was annoyed that I was grateful. I had become so accustomed to people challenging me on what I think is one of the most important and personal decisions a person can make that I was practically jubilant when my statement went uncontested. There wasn’t even a tone in my doctor’s voice that suggested incredulity, no gestures to imply that, although this was my decision, I would surely regret it. I was irritated at how surprised I was that she would simply accept my answer so matter-of-factly and move on. On one hand, I was happy. I liked this new doctor, but I was annoyed that this attitude of hers should necessarily be so refreshing.

There was something else in the mélange of emotions I was feeling, something unexpected and hard to explain. Was it sadness? Disappointment? No, neither of those adequately describe the feeling, although they were somewhere in the vicinity. It was that bittersweet sensation we humans sometimes get when we make choices. Even if we are confident the choices we are making are the best ones for us, there is no denying the fact that opening one door usually means that another stays shut. In a way, we mourn the loss of the option. It’s not regret. It’s simply acknowledgment of fleeting thoughts about what might have been if we had chosen differently.

I’ve heard parents express similar feelings shortly after having a child. It’s not that they don’t love their child or that they would choose a different path if they somehow could. There’s just a moment of pause when it all hits—there is no going back. The option of not being a parent is officially off the table.

For those of us who choose to be childfree, usually, there is not one single, well-defined moment when the option of having a child is taken away. Instead, it fades gradually, such that, most of the time we don’t even notice unless something calls our attention to it. It’s not an option we’re interested in exercising, so we don’t pay much mind when it becomes more and more of a remote possibility.

Perhaps all of this is really my apprehension about getting older rearing its head as I edge closer to forty. That’s probably part of it, but there’s more to it than that. The fact is that there will be no resounding gavel bang to mark the end of my potential childbearing years, but the conversation at the doctor’s office that day was a warning shot of sorts. Suddenly, my attention was drawn to the fact that my choice would not be a choice forever, and suddenly, it felt more real.

Don’t get me wrong, I did not abruptly change my mind and want to have a baby. I’m still confident that motherhood is not for me. In fact, for a moment, I almost felt as if I shouldn’t allow myself to acknowledge this strange emotion I was feeling, as if permitting any room for such thoughts would give way too much satisfaction to all those who told me I would one day regret my decision to be childfree. Ultimately, though, that’s wrong. I can grieve the loss of a choice. I can mourn the fact that I cannot have things both ways. Opting for one road means leaving the other unexplored. Both paths may have their own beauty, and likely, their own pitfalls, but I can only choose one.

By the way, happy International Childfree Day.

Photo on 2010-07-21 at 13.18 #2

 

Julaiku: The Conclusion July 31, 2014

July 24

No, Really, I Am

Days full of meetings

Almost make me forget

I am a writer

 

July 25

The Hazards of Long Hair

Nice day for a drive

Rolled up hair in car window

Inevitably

 

July 26

At Least There Was Beer

Bummer when Cubs lose

Even bigger bummer when

The Cardinals win

 

July 27

The House on the Hill

Seven eleven

My beloved childhood home

I bid it goodbye

SevenEleven

 

July 28

Monday

Morning alarm sounds

Rudely announcing

The weekend is gone

 

July 29

Aloha!

The Tiki Terrace

Tropical umbrella drinks

Make for tipsy Liz

 

July 30

Duty Calls

It is my day off

Yet, somehow, I am working

I’m doing it wrong

 

July 31

Finish Lines

Last day of the month

So, with this final poem

I end Julaiku

 

 

 

Julaiku Part 4 July 23, 2014

Filed under: Poetry,Writing,Yoga — lizardesque @ 8:07 pm
Tags: , ,

July 19

Namaste

Intense yoga class

Jelly-legs burn and quiver

Shavasana soon

 

July 20 (Bonus day: Three haiku for the price of one! But they are free anyway, so I guess it’s not that big of a deal.)

Strange Texts, Stranger Disagreements

Parents, brother meet

Without me. I, from afar,

Must adjudicate

 

Sticky Situation

Super glue better

At bonding my fingers than

What requires repair

 

Oh, Dusty

Been here eight years

Neighbors’ dog still barks as if

We have never met

 

July 21

Morning Surprise

Slippery substance

Underneath my desk–cat puke

Thank goodness for shoes

 

July 22

It’s the Little Things

Too excited by

A pack of new highlighters?

Nah, not possible

 

July 23

Sigh

Begin the morning

With ambitious intentions

But ardor dwindles

 

Julaiku Part 3 July 18, 2014

Filed under: Life tales,photography,Poetry,Writing — lizardesque @ 4:23 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

July 12

Rain Check

Alas, soggy day

Not very conducive with

Outdoor concert plans

 

July 13

Neglect

Laundry forgotten

Since yesterday, mildewy

Requires rewashing

 

July 14

Figures

On my walk, rain starts

At the farthest point from home

As if the sky knows

 

July 15

Breather

During my workout

Roxie flops in front of me

Wanting belly rubs

RoxieWeights

 

July 16

Client

Give us what we want

Not what we said we wanted

You silly vendor!

 

July 17

For Ezra

Oh, Oxford comma,

I certainly give a fuck,

a shit, and a damn

 

July 18

Directionless

Wrong turns remind me

How I envy those born with

An inner compass

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 325 other followers