The Lizard Chronicles

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

Firsts July 9, 2017

Filed under: Family,Life tales,photography,Poetry — lizardesque @ 9:49 am
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IMG_6574

First time for all things
Lived mumbledeesomething years
Now, ballgame with Chris

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If Not For This… (a Haiku) March 31, 2017

Filed under: Family,Poetry,Writing — lizardesque @ 3:33 pm
Tags: , ,

Sweet, but gullible

Granny believed Gramps when he

Claimed to be sterile

 

Luxembourg Day 2: History and Culture (but First, Slides!) January 14, 2017

We began our second full day in Luxembourg City  with a walk through Municipal Park on our way to find somewhere to have breakfast. However, the morning meal fell a few notches on the priority list when we stumbled across a giant playground pirate ship–and just days after Talk Like a Pirate Day (yes, the trip was in September, and I’m just now writing it up in January–don’t judge me!). It was a beautiful day, and the playground was empty. Clearly, the universe was telling us that it was time to play!

pirateship

Breakfast can wait!

My father quickly went about climbing the tower on the ship because, as he said, “Someone’s gotta do it!” Well, of course.

dad_tower

Dad is on top of things.

liztower

My turn!

lizship

ARRRRRRR!

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About to descend the twisty slide!

As we continued to let our inner children frolic (videos here and here), several passers-by (all of them adults, mind you) came and joined the fun on the ship. Eventually, we gave in to hunger and continued on in search of breakfast…or maybe by that time, brunch. Whatever you want to call it, we ate it at Boulangerie Paul. Take it from a rhubarb enthusiast–their rhubarb tart is delicious.

Next, we explored the Bock Casemates, a series of defense tunnels that were dug out over a period of about 100 years during the 1600s and 1700s. They were seriously cool to see.

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Here, the ground reminded me of brains. (Bock Casemates)

mom_cannon

Is this thing loaded?

casemates

Bock Casemates

empire

Here, the ground made me feel like I was in The Empire Strikes Back. (Bock Casemates)

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A view from the Bock Casemates

tower

Tower at the Bock Casemates

vineyard

Vineyard under the Bock Casemates

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Panoramic view

heart

I  ^  Luxembourg

After a lunch of pizza and beer at Il Punto, we headed to the National Museum of History and Art. Ironically, we managed to get far more lost there than we did while wandering through underground tunnels earlier in the day. We saw some cool stuff, though, including an Edward Steichen exhibit. Plus, the mirrored ceiling in the museum’s elevator made for one of the coolest selfie opportunities ever.

elevator

Looking up!

We passed most of the rest of the day wandering about, eating gelato, drinking wine, and taking lots more pictures.

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umbrellas_and_wine

Danger! Umbrellas and wine?

 

gargoyle

Gargoyle

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Here, the ground reminded me of fingerprints.

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Evening falls on Luxembourg City.

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Luxembourg Day 1: Getting in Touch With My Inner Stevie January 8, 2017

Filed under: Family,Travel — lizardesque @ 2:56 pm
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We awoke the next morning to discover that our hotel room had quite a nice view, which we had not realized when we’d arrived the previous evening under cover of darkness.

hotelview

Good morning, Luxembourg!

After breakfast, our first order of business was to head to the Bierger-Center, where my brother Chris was to file his paperwork as his next step in reclaiming Luxembourg citizenship. My parents, Michelle, and I acted as his entourage for what was only about a 15-minute task.

bierger_center

One step closer to citizenship!

I had two main goals for my trip to Luxembourg. One was to visit the Modes Nita hat shop, which we did next, and I added to my collection of hats from my travels. My second goal requires a bit of back story…

It all began about a year and a half ago when I happened to noticed that, according the to calendar on the website of the the Luxembourg-American Cultural Society, August 12 was Stevie Nicks Day. The reason for this was unclear to me. It wasn’t her birthday, and a Google search yielded no obvious connection between the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll and Luxembourg. Determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, my mother e-mailed the LACS to inquire about the day and the Stevie-Luxembourg connection. She never got a response, and within the next week or so, Stevie Nicks Day mysteriously disappeared from the LACS calendar.

Nevertheless, I decided that Stevie Nicks Day was a good idea and was best celebrated by listening to her music, wearing lace and fringe, and twirling–lots of twirling–basically getting in touch with one’s own inner Stevie.

aug12

Celebrating Stevie Nicks Day 2015

At some point before the trip, Chris told me I really needed to bring the vest I wore in the picture above and twirl in the Luxembourg City  square to celebrate a (somewhat belated) Stevie Nicks Day 2016. I decided he was right, and I’m happy to say that I accomplished my goal that morning. We spent the rest of the day exploring the city, which included taking a walking tour and taking lots and lots of pictures.

houseofunderwear

This sign was an easy-to-remember navigation point.

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The Golden Lady (with bird)

emobutcher

Emo butcher is actually a vegetarian.

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Red Lion (from the Luxembourg coat of arms)

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Panorama of Luxembourg City

ivy

Pretty ivy

momelephant

My mom with an elephant on parade

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No hand-holding!

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Municipal Park

 

Ireland to Luxembourg (and a Stop in Between) January 6, 2017

Filed under: Family,Life tales,photography,Travel — lizardesque @ 2:39 pm
Tags: , , ,

On the morning of the seventh day of our trip, Ian and Friday got up unfathomably early so they could get to the airport with ample time to catch their flight home. Michelle and I were continuing on our trip to meet my family in Luxembourg and had a later flight. So, we groggily bid our husbands goodbye and slept for a few more hours.

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Pylons in Dublin kind of look like small people wearing bowler hats.

We Ubered to the airport, got there  plenty early for our flight, and decided to spend some time souvenir shopping. I think just being in the airport elicited premature end-of-vacation panic in me, and I had to continually remind myself that I still had a few days of vacation remaining, lest I buy all the things before leaving Dublin.

Once we were en route to Amsterdam, it began to dawn on me that the connection to our flight to Luxembourg City was pretty tight. Living in Chicago, I guess I’m a bit spoiled by having direct flights available for most of my travels So, when I booked the tickets, I didn’t stop to think that making a connecting flight in 40 minutes, while not impossible, was not terribly realistic. Still, our flight out of Dublin left on time, and I tried not to fret. We even landed in Amsterdam on schedule, so I was still hopeful we’d make it as we taxied for what seemed like a really long time…ah, but that was just my anxiety, right? It probably just seemed like a long time.

The plane parked at a gate, and we were finally about to be let off when an announcement informed us that there were problems with the jetway. People were working on it, and it shouldn’t be long. Deep breaths.

Eventually, we got off of the plane and rushed toward our gate, still hoping we could make our connection. We followed the signs that pointed us toward the right terminal but gave no indication of the distance to our gate (which I believe, although don’t quote me on this, was about 17 miles). Our hearts and stomachs sank a bit when we saw the line at passport control (so much for easy movement between EU countries), but our flight was still listed as boarding by the time we made it through. So we ran. We ran until we couldn’t run anymore, then speed walked for a bit, and ran again. I had seen people running through airports before, and whenever I did, I felt glad not to be them. I hate being late for things. But alas, I was now one of those people–running awkwardly, dragging luggage behind me, sweating, and gasping for breath.

Insult was added to injury when we reached our terminal only to encounter a broken people-mover, which could have shaved precious seconds from our journey if it had been operational. Still not about to give up, we ran some more. Breathless, we arrived at our gate to discover that our plane had not yet departed, but its doors had been closed, and we weren’t going to be allowed to board. Disappointed, we walked (at a more leisurely place) to the rescheduling counters and were rebooked on the next flight (roughly five ours later). With some time to kill, we decided the best way to cope with our missed flight and at the same time celebrate the fact that we did still have a few days of vacation remaining was to visit an airport bar.

bubbly

Coping with a missed connection

 

michelle_airport

This bench/sculpture looks comfortable, but it actually was not at all.

We killed some more time by wandering around the airport and browsing in shops until hunger prompted us to see out some dinner. It became quite apparent that we were still discombobulated by the wrench that had been thrown in our schedule when we both accidentally bought non-alcoholic beer (when meaning to buy real beer)–at airport prices even!

notbeer

Damn it! Oh well, at least there was pie.

Thankfully,things were relatively uneventful after that. We made our flight without any problems. As luck would have it, we arrived at the lobby of our hotel in Luxembourg city at the same time my mom and brother had decided to visit the lobby vending machine (which has beer and wine!). Instead, we all decided to visit the hotel bar once Michelle and I were checked in. There we enjoyed some beer–this time, the real stuff–and toasted  our impending Luxembourg adventures.

beer

That’s more like it!

 

Northeast Road Trip Part 3: No Escape! (Also, Beer and Cupcakes) July 14, 2015

We rolled into Cambridge on Sunday afternoon. There was some short-lived navigational confusion owing to road construction and street closures, which was only compounded by an electronic street sign announcing road closures, not for construction, but rather for a dance party. At first, I thought the sign had been hacked, but there had indeed been a dance party. Alas, we’d missed it. Anyhow, we were able to recombobulate our bearings and find our way to the apartment of my brother (Chris) and his husband (David), where we hung out, chatted, and drank some of my favorite beer until it was time to check into our B&B. The inn was quite lovely, with the exception of the weird mosaic in the bathroom of our room. The old buttons, watch faces, and pieces of tea cups were charming enough, but every now and then there was a disembodied foot from a porcelain doll or a creepy old photo.

Can you find the missing extremity?

I’m afraid this child wants to eat my soul.

I will forgive this one piece of disturbing decor, especially since the inn had a beautiful winding staircase, and our room had a loft and a funky dresser. Also, there were delicious cupcakes.

I had to restrain myself from sliding down the banister.

Feeling lofty

Funky

Yum

The rest of our evening consisted of cocktails at Alden & Harlow, dinner at the West Side Lounge, and attempting to escape from a room. Perhaps that last one requires explanation. It’s an interactive game in which you are locked in a room with nine other people and have one hour to find clues, solve puzzles, and escape to freedom. I was a bit apprehensive knowing that, if we failed and were trapped there indefinitely, I was likely to be the first one eaten. Actually, the game makers are legally obligated to let you out of the room, even if you fail to solve the puzzle, which is good because we didn’t solve it. I must note, however, that in walking us through the puzzle solution after our time was up, our game maker discovered that one of the clues to the puzzle, a joker playing card, was missing. It had never been placed. Although it would have been possible to solve the puzzle without that clue, I’m going to go ahead and blame our failure on the missing card. We totally would have crushed it if we’d had that joker. Just try to prove me wrong!

Friggin' Joker

Friggin’ joker (Photo credit: Escape the Room Boston)

The next morning, Ian and I had the entire breakfast room to ourselves at the late (9:30) breakfast seating, as we were, apparently, the only guest of the inn who like to sleep in. Beer sounded like an excellent follow-up to breakfast, so we headed to the Sam Adams brewery for a tour and some beverage appreciation. Because Ian is a home brewer and I’ve taken brewery tours before, much of the information from the tour was not new to me. However, I did learn the following fun “facts” from our tour guide Zach.

  • Yeast is not only where bubbles come from but also where fun comes from
  • The Sam Adams “perfect pint” is the most stolen piece of glassware in the US
I like some whimsy with my beer.

I like some whimsy with my beer.

It's funny because one of my cats actually likes beer.

It’s funny because one of my cats actually likes beer.

That's totally Bob Cannon behind me, not just a cardboard cutout of him.

That’s totally Bob Cannon behind me, not just a cardboard cutout of him.

A tour of Fenway Park was next on our agenda. One of these days, we’ll actually get around to attending a game there–just like one of these days, we’ll get around to taking a tour of Wrigley Field and seeing parts of it that we normally don’t.

Hard to argue with that

Hard to argue with that.

At Fenway

At Fenway

I've heard of keeping your eye on the ball, but apparently, your butt works too.

I’ve heard of keeping your eye on the ball, but apparently, your butt works too.

The Green Monster

The Green Monster

Those are not *real* bleachers, but I do like the one red seat.

Those are not real bleachers, but I do like the one red seat.

From Fenway, we headed to the Top of the Hub to enjoy the view and some cocktails.

Boston from above

Boston from above

Then we met up with Chris and David again for drinks (yes, more drinks, we’re on vacation, dammit!) on the patio at our inn and dinner (and three shared desserts–again…vacation!) at The Foundry. There, our topics of discussion included

  • How much does Chris know about sports these days? (Apparently, a lot more than he used to! He’s come a long way from thinking that there were 21 outfielders in baseball. It’s not as much fun to quiz him anymore.)
  • What if Antonin Scalia were a baseball umpire? (Of course, he’d be wearing his robe)
  • How can David not like chocolate and peanuts together?? (It’s not as bad as hating penguins, but it’s still weird.)
  • My super awesome idea for a new twist on seemingly played-out vampire stories is sure to be the next big thing! (I’m hesitant to even mention it here for fear that someone will steal it and run with it, but knowing me, I’ll never get past my fantastic tagline. Vumpires: You’re Never Safe!)
 

Wait, so those aren’t eggs? (TIPSHRMETID) January 30, 2015

Welcome to the first in what I hope will be a series of posts under the theme of things I probably should have realized much earlier than I did or TIPSHRMETID for the acronym lovers. I know there are quite a few items that fall into this category, so the real tricks will be 1) jotting them down when I think of them and 2) actually getting around to blogging about them. I’ll give it a try because I know everyone loves to read about times when other people felt very stupid (or is that just me?). Anyhow, on with it…

I was born in the 70s, a time of harvest gold kitchen appliances, shag carpeting, and colorful crocheted afghans (the latter of which are apparently now being made into pants by some people, but I digress). My mother is a crochet wizard; so, over the years, we had several afghans, but there’s one in particular that stands out in my memory (see the background of the picture below–against the burnt orange couch, just in case you needed further proof that this was, in fact, the 70s).

Try to ignore adorable me and focus on the afghan.

Try to ignore adorable me and focus on the afghan.

It was colorful. It was warm. It had a fun, bumpy texture. It didn’t even bother me that it depicted fried eggs (a food that I loathe to this day). It was my favorite. The afghan was around for several years of my childhood. Then, at some point, such things fell out of fashion, and it was put away in a closet or attic and replaced with a new, more stylish throw.

Many years later (I think I was in my late 20s or early 30s at the time), I was with my mother, doing something or other around her house, when we came across the afghan. “Oh, it’s the egg blanket!” I exclaimed. It was a little like seeing an old friend.

My mom laughed and gave me a puzzled look. “The egg blanket?”

“Yeah, you know. Fried eggs.”

She laughed again. “Those are daisies!”

I looked at the afghan, somewhat taken aback. To me, this had always been the egg blanket. It had not occurred to me that the white and yellow circles were anything else. Besides, the 70s were an esthetically weird time, and a fried egg throw sort of fit right in. “I always thought they were eggs,” I said, unsettled by the fact that, for all this time, the afghan had not been what I thought it was.

“Why would I make an afghan of fried eggs?” my mom asked.

It was a fair question. For a moment, I considered countering and asking if it made a lot more sense to make an afghan of daisies, but it was hard to deny that, in general, floral patterns are much more popular than egg patterns. I’d had tops, wallpaper, and sheets with various types of flowers on them, but I couldn’t recall any of those things depicting omelettes or huevos rancheros.

I examined the afghan again. It’s true that, for eggs, the whites seemed rather small in proportion to the centers. Also, the yellow centers lacked the slightly orange tinge seen in egg yolks. Suddenly, I felt silly for assuming they were eggs, not daisies. In my own defense, I should note that, for daisies, the yellow centers are rather large in proportion to the white petals. However, I also realize that we’re talking about something that is made of yarn, so a certain degree of realism goes out the window.

I occasionally wonder about the possibly psychological implications of my seeing eggs where most people would see daisies, but perhaps I shouldn’t over analyze this. Better to call myself a divergent thinker and move on.