The Lizard Chronicles

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

A Year Later (Another Post About My Hair…Plus Some Other Stuff) December 2, 2018

Filed under: cancer,Life tales — lizardesque @ 5:38 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Today marks the anniversary of the day I underwent the big chop, that is, when I had my hair cut short before starting chemotherapy for breast cancer. A few weeks from now, it will have been a year since my hair started falling out and I shaved the rest of it off. It’s been a long, difficult year, and there were times when I thought it would never end. Five months of chemo felt more like five years. There were days when I was so fatigued that simply sitting upright was a struggle. For a while, I had blisters on my hands and feet, which made it painful to walk or do pretty much anything with my hands. I had frequent nose bleeds. My sense of taste was dulled, but not enough for me to shake the weird chlorine-like flavor that took up residence in my mouth. For 12 of my chemo sessions, I endured the considerable discomfort of having ice packs on my hands and feet in an effort to prevent neuropathy. Despite that, I lost some sensation in my fingers (most of which has returned, although I still have some lingering effects). Since finishing chemo, I’ve had surgery and radiation therapy, and I’ve begun what’s likely to be 5 to 10 years of anti-hormone therapy.

On the bright side, during all of this, I was on the receiving end of an outpouring of love and support from family members and friends. My husband took me to and sat with me during every chemo session without complaint. While I could not drink because of chemo, he concocted special mocktails for me. He took up the slack when I just couldn’t do some of my usual household chores. He was patient, loving, and dependable. Other family members and friends reached out in so many ways to let me know they were thinking of me. They visited. They sent flowers, cards, and gifts. They brought over frozen meals and offered to help in any way they could. So, even though the last year has been no picnic, I do realize I’m very lucky in so many ways. I’m on the other side of the hardest part of treatment now. I responded well, and odds are good that I’ll be just fine in the long run. And I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who helped me through it.

But I’m still pissed about my hair.

If I had to choose a single thing about what I’ve been through during the past year that has had the biggest effect on me, it would be losing my hair. Sometimes that seems absurd. It’s just hair. It grows back. It is growing back (although not nearly fast enough for my taste). It’s also something that’s been practically impossible for me to ignore. From having it cut short to having it fall out, from shaving it off and muddling through the hassles and rather large learning curve involved in dealing with a wig to coping with the awkward phases of hair regrowth–my hair has been on my mind every single day. I’ve tried to make the most of it. I have worn (and continue to wear) lots of fun hats. I’ve dyed my hair a variety of fun colors as it’s been growing back. I’ve smiled and thanked people who’ve told me I look good with short hair. I’ve acknowledged milestones like first post-chemo haircut and first use of a hair dryer.

I’ve tried to remind myself how incredibly lucky I am, but on this one particular front, it’s been really hard.

At times, I wonder what it says about me that, a year later, I still haven’t adjusted particularly well to this change. I fear that my sustained reaction to the situation has wandered into petulant child territory. I’ve had recurrent dreams that my hair has somehow returned to its former length overnight, and I wake up from those dreams crestfallen. I’ve cried about my hair on multiple occasions. I look at old pictures, and I’m insanely jealous of myself. Did Past Liz with her long, wavy red locks have any idea how good she had it? I don’t think so. I sometimes look in the mirror, half expecting to see Past Liz instead of my current reflection, and then I’m surprised and disappointed when I don’t. It’s not even that I think my current reflection is bad. It’s just that it doesn’t look like me. In many ways, my life has gotten back to normal, but I still don’t feel like me.

I know I’m more than my hair, but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss my long locks every single day until I have them back. I just want to feel like myself again.


The waiting is the hardest part.


Amusing Searches That Have Led People to My Blog (Part 2) November 4, 2018

Filed under: lists,Oddities,Writing — lizardesque @ 2:14 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Not to toot my own horn (honk), but I’m being a goddamn overachiever by writing a blog post in November since I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. I’m not even going to count these words toward my total today.

Anyhow, last night, a comment was posted on a 6-year-old entry post of mine. It seems someone typed “Jackie Paper is a dick” into google, and it led them here. That reminded me that several years ago I had compiled a list of amusing searches that have led people to my blog. After chuckling over that, I looked over my blog stats and decided it was time for an update.

What brings people here more than anything else are searches related to sherbet push-ups (because of this particular post). I wasn’t necessarily looking at the most popular searches when I compiled the following list, though, just the ones that tickled me the most.

  • Wedding arm wrestling
  • T-rex running
  • How can I write the tale of lizard in apostrophe?
  • Hemlock stairs hallway ideas
  • Footlessnesses
  • Analogy lizard vagina
  • View of wine from giant Ferris wheel
  • Fruit loops banned why?
  • Elizabeth zazzy
  • Epilady vulva
  • My nickname puffin
  • How to wear sexy sleepwear in public under clothes without people noticing
  • Lizard sings Call Me Maybe

I hope everyone found what they were looking for, and if not, I hoped they at least enjoyed the search. Stay weird, people!


Forty-three Notable Things I Did While I Was Forty-three October 24, 2018

Filed under: Life tales,lists,photography — lizardesque @ 5:09 am
  1. Had fun in the photo booth at Gilt Bar
  2. Visited the Catcade


    I’m a kitty!

  3. Took control of my hair loss by getting my hair cut and later shaving my head


    Perhaps the most badass I’ve ever looked

  4. Donated my hair to charity


    I hope it made someone else happy!

  5. Colored my hair with a Sharpie


    Before it fell out–not like I was worried about damaging it!

  6. Finished knitting an afghan for my brother


    All cozy under the afghan with Yoda

  7. Went to Story Sessions at City Winery
  8. Added romance to chickpea burgers


    I had chemo on Valentine’s Day, so we kept it low key

  9. Knitted a ridiculously long stocking cap
  10. Escaped another room



  11. Attended a Seder for the first time (and found the afikoman, thus winning a major award!)
  12. Finished chemo—fucking hooray!

    Another major award!


    I wore these for every chemo session

  13. Made funnel cakes at home


    I hardly even burned myself!

  14. Had a lumpectomy (especially notable since I was originally was looking at a mastectomy before chemo shrank my tumor down to almost nothing!)
  15. Helped produce Monsters, Myths and Other Matters
  16. Got a Lyft with Snoopy


    I wonder how much Snoopy increases this Lyft driver’s tips

  17. Had fun with new hair colors
  18. Got a Kit-Kat clock
  19. Kept up with my Spanish lessons (almost daily)
  20. Danced on the ceiling


    Oh, what a feeling!

  21. Leaped into a pot of happiness


    The big leap

  22. Played in a confetti room


    Silly fun

  23. Hugged a giant rubber duck


    You’re the one!

  24. Gave and received henna tattoos


    We’re not quitting our day jobs to become henna tattoo artists, but it was fun.

  25. Completed Julaiku for a fourth year
  26. Educated people about feral shopping carts
  27. Saw Anthony Rizzo’s 1000th career hit (live and in person)
  28. Banged the gong after finishing radiation therapy


    Get it on!

  29. Made use of the emergency crown that I keep in my wallet


    You just never know when you might need one!

  30. Applied to be a Cards Against Humanity writer
  31. Was depicted in painting


    Amazingly, a friend of mind did this in about 10 minutes!

  32. Visited House on the Rock as an adult for the first time

    The Infinity Room




    Who doesn’t want to sit on a giant hare?

  33. Visited the National Mustard Museum


    Yes, this is a thing.

  34. Got crafty with my husband
  35. Knitted a shrug


    It’s cozy.

  36. Saw some cool stuff during Open House Chicago

    Charles Deering Library


    Charles Deering Library


    Book and wine return? (look closely)


    Dearborn Observatory


    Dearborn Observatory

  37. Visited the American Toby Jug Museum
  38. Visited Few Distillery


    Distillery or giant clarinet?

  39. Took some pretty cool black and white photos

  40. Went on a major organization kick and finally made a dent in my clutter
  41. Sent a goat to a friend
  42. Got my old tattoo spruced up


    Like new!

  43. Finally got the new tattoo I’ve been talking about for ages


    My favorite punctuation mark


The Mystery of Stevie Nicks Day August 12, 2018

It began in 2015 (at least as far as I know). The online calendar of the Luxembourg-American Cultural Society proclaimed that August 12 wast Stevie Nicks Day. Why? I had no idea. A quick google search revealed to me that Stevie Nicks was not a Luxembourger by heritage, nor was she born on August 12. Curious. An e-mail to the LACS asking about the Nicks-Luxembourg connection was met with no answer, and within a few days of said inquiry, Stevie Nicks Day mysteriously disappeared from the LACS calendar.

Was it a joke? Was some Stevie Nicks fan at the LACS messing around or running some sort of test? Oh, Starlee Kine, where are you and your Mystery Show when we need you?!

Regardless of its unclear origins, let us don fringe, or perhaps some leather and lace, to celebrate this joyous day! Stand back! I’m going to do some twirling!


Celebrating Stevie Nicks Day in 2015


Straight Talk About Feral Shopping Carts August 3, 2018

Filed under: Life tales,Oddities,photography — lizardesque @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , ,

During the warmer months of the year, I spend quite a lot of time walking and riding my bike on the path in the forest preserve near my house. I’ve been frequenting this preserve for more than a decade now, and until quite recently, feral shopping carts were a pretty rare sight there. Sure, I saw a few over the years, but I certainly didn’t consider them a problem.

A little over a month ago, I spotted this cart. Having seen feral shopping carts in the past, I probably wouldn’t have thought much of it normally, but it’s bright orange color and the fact that it was flipped on it’s end made it stand out to me. My initial impulse was to help it by setting it on its wheels, but I know better than to get too close to a feral cart. They have been known to ram and scratch and are notorious for spreading disease.


It begins.

A week or so later, I spotted another cart, and then another just a few days later. Before I knew it, just over a month had passed, and I had seen seven feral shopping carts in that time. I can’t say for certain that each sighting involved a different cart, but there were at least four of them–I know this because of their distinct markings. I could no longer deny that feral shopping carts were becoming a problem in my neighborhood forest preserve.


A blue one!


This one is a little shy.


OMG, they’re everywhere!

In an effort to curb this growing problem and prevent similar issues in other areas, I feel compelled to offer the following tips on how to avoid contributing to the problem.

  • Do your part to keep carts from going stray. If you use shopping carts provided by retailers, return them to the proper places after you have finished your shopping. Proper places include depositories within stores (usually placed near the exits/entrances) and conveniently placed corrals in parking lots. Do not leave your carts free to roam in parking lots, as this increases the likelihood of their escape. Besides, only sociopaths abandon their carts uncorraled.
  • Do not set shopping carts “free.” You may think that by taking a cart out of a store or parking lot, you are opening it up to a glorious and free life, but that’s not the case. Most carts have spent their entire lives in captivity and have not developed the skills necessary to fend for themselves. Sadly, some carts have been altered by store owners who aim to slow shoppers down in efforts to increase the time (and thus money) they spend in stores. Such alterations further hinder carts’ survival in the wild.

The sad fate of one feral cart

  • Resist the impulse to acquire your own cart. Think carefully before bringing a shopping cart into your home. Sure, shopping carts are cute and fun, especially when they are young, but remember that they require care and commitment. The sad fact is that many shopping carts acquired on impulse end up being neglected. Often, these carts run away or are “set free” from their neglectful homes and must survive in the wild (see above for more on this) .

This poor cart was overturned and we unable to right itself on its own!

You may be wondering if there are trap-neuter-release (TNR) programs for shopping carts (as there are for feral cats in some communities). Unfortunately, at the present time, it’s not possible to spay or neuter shopping carts as they have no discernible genitalia. In fact, although shopping carts hav long been reproduced in laboratories, scientists remain mystified as to how they breed in the wild. Thus, the best defense against an out-of-control shopping cart population lies in not letting the carts get out in the first place.

We can solve this problem if we all do our part!


As Julaiku Draws to a Close, Remember This All Year July 31, 2018

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — lizardesque @ 4:18 pm
Tags: ,

Everything sounds

A little more profound when

Stated in haiku


But Who Wouldn’t Want a Pocket T-Rex? July 30, 2018

Filed under: Poetry,Writing — lizardesque @ 7:32 pm
Tags: , , ,