The Lizard Chronicles

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

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



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



July 28


Morning alarm sounds

Rudely announcing

The weekend is gone


July 29


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
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July 19


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


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
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July 12

Rain Check

Alas, soggy day

Not very conducive with

Outdoor concert plans


July 13


Laundry forgotten

Since yesterday, mildewy

Requires rewashing


July 14


On my walk, rain starts

At the farthest point from home

As if the sky knows


July 15


During my workout

Roxie flops in front of me

Wanting belly rubs



July 16


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


Wrong turns remind me

How I envy those born with

An inner compass


Julaiku Part 2 July 11, 2014

Filed under: Life tales,photography,Poetry,Writing — lizardesque @ 1:51 pm
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July 6


T. rex skeleton

Sixty-some million years old

My brain can’t quite grasp

T rex


July 7


Composing haiku

While riding my bike today

Poet on the move


July 8


“Cleaning” eyeglasses

In actuality is

Smudge relocation


July 9

Perilous Drawer

Seeking salad tongs

Cut my finger on steak knife

Painful irony


July 10

College Memories

An old photograph

Gussied up for formal dance

Made silly faces




July 11


Contortion required

To put on my dress today

Stupid back zipper


Julaiku July 5, 2014

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — lizardesque @ 2:03 pm
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A Haiku for Each Day of July (first installment)

July 1

Wait, where did June go?

The year is now half over

How did that happen?

July 2

Bright morning sunshine

Later became gloom and rain

A cold July day

July 3

The fortieth birthday

Of my dear husband Ian

Warrants bread pudding

July 4

Killjoy I may be

Unimpressed with, annoyed by

Amateur fireworks

July 5

Ah, three-day weekend

Like having two Saturdays

Back-to-back. So nice.





That California Trip Part 9: The Second Flitterwochen Finale June 29, 2014

All good things must come to an end, and so we arrived at the last full day of our second flitterwochen. Despite this being my fourth and Ian’s second time in San Franciso, neither one of us had been to Coit Tower. We decided to rectify that. It was a pleasant day, and we were sure to get a nice view of the city, so we boarded a cable car and headed for the tower.


Coit Tower

I sometimes wonder if tourists are pretty much the only people who ride the cable cars in San Francisco. I imagine there are times when it would be convenient for locals to use them, but whenever I have been on one, it has been populated mostly by tourists. On this particular ride, we chatted with some men from Winnipeg.  The conversation quickly turned to hockey because a) we were talking to Canadians, and b) the Stanley cup playoffs were in progress at the time, and the Blackhawks were still alive. Turns out, these fellows knew Jonathon Toews. Then again, Canada is not all that populous–most Canadians probably know each other, right? :-P I should have asked if they know my cousin who lives in Winnipeg…

Anyhow, we made our way to Coit Tower (another place I suspect you will find mostly tourists), and as expected, it offered lovely views of the city and the bay.

Saints Peter and Paul Church

Saints Peter and Paul Church

Another view from the tower

Another view from the tower

View of Lombard Street from Coit Tower

View of Lombard Street from Coit Tower

Next, we went back down to the waterfront and grabbed some lunch at Pier 39. We had been thinking of visiting Distillery 209 and tasting what they had to offer but were perplexed when we could not find the pier on which it was located. You’d think that Pier 50 would be fairly close (11 piers away, to put a fine point on it) to Pier 39, right? Well you’d be wrong. When we finally gave in an consulted a map, we realized that the last pier on our side of the harbor was 47 and the numbering picked up at 48 all the way over on the other side, just under 4 miles away. It was then we determined our need to visit the distillery was not that pressing.



Instead, we decided to take the cable car back toward Union Square. The line at the turnaround seemed long, but we really had no idea. During the 45 or so minutes of waiting in line, we tried to figure out the system for dispatching cars. We failed, as we were unable to make head or tail of it. Cars would sit empty for long but varying periods. Every so often, one would be filled with passengers and only to stand still for another long period. Then suddenly, inexplicably, it was time to go. Thankfully, the weather was nice, and we were not in a hurry.

Turn, turn, turn

Turn, turn, turn



At last, we boarded a car, which eventually got moving. Our next destination was Gump’s. This local department store is known  primarily for high-end home furnishings and decor, but I like it for array of fun, quirky, occasionally ridiculous, stuff you can find there. Collage of the Golden Gate bridge made from cutouts of vintage books? Check. Whimsical watering can shaped like a pig? Of course! Gorgeous crystal cocktail glass that I love but would never dream of spending anywhere near that much money on? Yup. Bronze meerkat? Sh’ya. Giant glass insects? I couldn’t find them on the website, but I did see them in the store. It’s just a fun place to browse around for a while.

We then returned to Union Square to enjoy some beer, sunshine, and people watching. Actually, we ended up doing a fair amount of pigeon watching as well. A particularly persistent pigeon kept pecking at a clear plastic container that housed a woman’s sandwich. Although confused and flustered (Damn it! I can see the sandwich. It’s right there! What is this cursed invisible barrier?), the pigeon persevered. Occasionally, it turned around and, feigning nonchalance, started to walk away, only to dart back and peck at the container again, as if the element of surprise would somehow cause the plastic container to surrender its contents. Eventually, the sandwich owner noticed the pigeon’s antics, pulled her sandwich closer to her and shooed the bird away. I felt kind of bad for the pigeon. Good effort!

While in Union Square, we took the opportunity to recreate (well, sort of) a couple more honeymoon photos. Along with several other locations in the city, each of the four corners of the square has a painted heart sculpture. We took a couple of pictures with the hearts on our honeymoon, the first year the sculptures were there, not realizing at the time that the hearts would be part of a continuing annual art installation, with new ones being placed and eventually auctioned off each year.

Okay, not the best picture, but you get the idea (2004)

Okay, not the best picture, but you get the idea (2004)



"I knew I left it around here somewhere." (2014)

“I knew I left it around here somewhere.” (2014)



Later that evening, we went to the Starlight Room for pre-dinner cocktails and more lovely views of the city.

View from the Starlight Room

View from the Starlight Room

We wrapped up the evening with dinner at Millennium, which I had been highly anticipating after hearing many good things about the place. Unfortunately, it fell rather short of my expectations. Although we had made reservations a few days earlier, our first inkling that there was a prix fixe menu that evening came when the menus were put in front of us. Had I known this in advance, I would have made reservations for another night when the regular menu was available. But, it was our final night in San Francisco, it was after 9:00, so we had little choice but to go with it. The theme of the menu was “Southern Comfort”– traditional southern foods made with a vegan twist (and a fair amount of snark it seemed if you read the menu). It’s not that anything we ate was bad, it was just not what we were expecting. When I think of high-end vegan food, I don’t expect anything Dorito-encrusted. Heck, I wouldn’t have even guessed Doritos were vegan (apparently, certain flavors are). Also, you can dress up iceberg lettuce all you want, but it’s still iceberg lettuce. The dim sum tater tots were decent, because well, how can you not like tater tots? Still, it was not the kind of thing I had expected from and allegedly gourmet establishment. Dessert was an “ice cream” concoction, and we were directed to the table of toppings where we could customize it to our liking–or, presumably, we would have been able to if there had been anything but a few dregs of toppings left. All that, in combination with the seemingly indifferent waitservice, made for a somewhat disappointing last dinner of our trip.

So as not to end on a sour note, we agreed to go out for breakfast the next morning. Each day we had passed David’s Delicatessen and had been amused by signs under the awning that said things like, “Mel Brooks doesn’t eat here, but we think he’d like it if he did,” and so we figured we’d give it a try. It’s a cute place a 50’s diner kind of vibe and mostly counter seating. The apple pancake was delicious, and I had one final mimosa before vacation ended and day drinking would no longer be a regular occurrence. Also, there were chickens! Okay, they were ceramic, but they were very cute, and, especially after the Sonoma chicken letdown, they left me with a smile to round out an altogether wonderful trip.





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