The Lizard Chronicles

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

Forty-two Awesome (or at Least Notable) Things I Did While I Was Forty-Two October 24, 2017

Filed under: Life tales,lists — lizardesque @ 9:20 am
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Today my age is tweedle and twee. I’m prettier than I used to be.

-–Woody Guthrie

  1. Was unbreakable! (at least for Halloween)
  2. Cheered, jumped up and down, and hugged total strangers when the Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908…


    Holy cow!

  3. …and then drank 30-something year-old whiskey (saved especially for the occasion) from a ceramic cub


    I’m not a whiskey person, but I took one for the team

  4. Finished NaNoWriMo for the fourth time
  5. Finished knitting my first afghan


    Stewart approves of my knitting

  6. Saw the Terracotta Warriors exhibit at the Field Museum
  7. Waffled many things

  8. Marched for women
  9. Contacted my elected officials more than I ever have before
  10. Successfully escaped another room with some friends


    The escapees

  11. Went to a murder mystery party (my fourth one) and (for the first time) was not the murderer
  12. Adopted Daisy


    Daisy also approves

  13. Knitted a cat


    Life imitates art

  14. Made a ceramic narwhal


    They’re the unicorns of the sea, you know

  15. Made robots


    Robot date night

  16. Knitted a bunny
  17. Took a knife-throwing class
  18. Won the family Peeps diorama contest


    Power to the Peeps!

  19. Marched for science


    Science is real!

  20. Became aunt to a furry niece


    Miss Cleo

  21. Brushed up on my Spanish



  22. Had a drink that contained Pop Rocks


    Candy Crush

  23. Visited La Sagrada Familia


    La Sagrada Familia

  24. Visited Montserrat
  25. Visited Sitges
  26. Visited Park Güell


    Park Güell

  27. Purchased a suitcase to bring home wine and shoes from Barcelona
  28. Added another European Ferris wheel to my collection



  29. Took a selfie with Jesus
  30. Had some fun in a hall of mirrors



  31. Ate at NoMi


    The view from NoMi

  32. Went to a baseball game with my brother for the first time


    Now if I could just convince him that there are not 27 outfielders on the field at once

  33. Waffled more things (yes, I’m counting this twice–I waffled a lot of things!)

  34. Got an honorable mention in the Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Contest
  35. Finished another year of Julaiku
  36. Explored weird Chicago
  37. Participated in much silliness


    Wedding photo booth fun

  38. Saw the total solar eclipse from within the path of totality


    It was freakin’ amazing!

  39. Saw Hamlet in the park
  40. Shot a gun for the first time (It was target shooting, and I’m hesitant to call this awesome since, deep down, I’m still a gun-hating liberal. However, it did seem like a notable experience.)
  41. Started…and eventually finished knitting a shawl
  42. Expanded my vocabulary

Forty-one Awesome Things I Did While I Was Forty-one October 24, 2016

Filed under: Life tales,lists,Poetry,Publications,Travel,Yoga — lizardesque @ 7:58 am
Tags: ,
  1. Got a piggy-back ride part of the way home from a bar on my birthday
  2. Got a picture of one of my cats wearing a witch hat (this had been a longstanding dream of mine)

    Toil and Trouble

    Toil and Trouble

  3. Achieved a NaNoWriMo three-peat
  4. Sipped and painted
  5. Attended the Grilled Cheese Meltdown (yum!)
  6. Made kitty plates
  7. Saw the Van Gogh exhibit at the Art Institute
  8. Attended the Cider Summit


    Cider: delicious and beautiful!

  9. Colored Ruth Bader Ginsberg on a unicorn
  10. Successfully escaped a room
  11. Had fun with helium
  12. Used a magical cupcake machine
  13. Read Infinite Jest (It’s somewhat debatable whether this counts as “awesome,” but it’s definitely an accomplishment, so I’m counting it)


    Footnotes and all!

  14. Was on TV! (I’m in the background in the orange jacket)
  15. (Obviously) did more SUP yoga
  16. Took this fierce selfie
  17. Experimented with buttons
  18. Experimented with lots of new hairstyles
  19. Took an arm balance yoga workshop
  20. Met a dog named Friday while with a person named Friday
  21. Stayed at a goat farm in Ballyvaughn, Ireland
  22. Visited the Cliffs of Moher
  23. Brought a cutout of my alma mater’s founder along with me on my travels


    Bradley alums with Flat Lydia at the Cliffs of Moher #CelebrateLydia

  24. Saw the Poulnabrone Dolmen
  25. Visted Ailwee Cave
  26. Visited Dunguaire Castle
  27. Learned about King Puck
  28. Saw a traditional Irish music session in and Irish Pub
  29. Wrote limericks while in County Limerick
  30. Visited Killarney National Park
  31. Visited the Rock of Cashel
  32. Went on a literary pub crawl in Dublin (and won a t-shirt by correctly answering the most quiz questions afterward)
  33. Saw the Book of Kells
  34. Took a selfie with an Irish sheep
  35. Toured the Guinness Storehouse
  36. Twirled a la Stevie Nicks in the Luxembourg City town square
  37. Took a walking tour of Luxembourg City
  38. Visited the Bock Casemates
  39. Sang about a buck-toothed girl in Luxembourg while in Luxembourg
  40. Helped bring You Don’t Know Us..., the first collection of stories and poems from one of my writing groups, to publication
  41. Celebrated  the Cubs’ first pennant win 71 years

Julaiku 2 (Electric Boogaloo*) July 1, 2016

Filed under: lists,Poetry,Writing — lizardesque @ 1:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

I don’t recall when it began or exactly what prompted my love for haiku. In elementary school, I learned the basic haiku format and a cursory history. It was then that, as part of a homework assignment, I composed (and unwittingly memorized) my first haiku.

Flowers smell so sweet
Smelling them is a real treat
Go smell a flower

This sounds very much like a poem written by a 9-year-old. Even so, there is something inexplicably powerful about the short, restrictive 5-7-5 format of haiku. Somehow, everything sounds a bit more profound when stated in haiku. Since being considered profound (or at least humorous in my attempts to be profound) is one of my ambitions, I enjoy writing haiku about the mundane, annoying, and/or silly. I know some people feel unnecessarily constrained by the haiku format, but I often find it to be a fun mental challenge. Also, I have a mental list of 5-syllable words that, in case I get stuck, I can use as the last line. And hey, if they don’t relate to the rest of the poem, all the better. That makes it profound and mysterious!** Here are some examples from the list.

  • Velociraptor
  • Colonoscopy
  • Diabolical
  • Defenestration
  • Radioactive
  • Hypothalamus
  • Electrocution
  • Ridiculousness
  • Hallucinogen
  • Dodecahedron
  • Anticlimactic

Two years ago, I dubbed the month of July “Julaiku” and wrote at least one haiku for every day of the month. I lapsed last year, but I’ve decided to bring Julaiku back for 2016. I hope you  enjoy it. Please feel free to participate by posting your own haiku in the comments.

Haiku for all!


It just so happens that this July begins on a Friday, which means it’s not only Julaiku but also Fri-ku (in other words, it’s a twofer)!

July 1, 2016

Two Julys ago
I wrote haiku for each day
Now, begin anew




* In case you have ever looked at my picture and thought, “Wow, she looks far too young to be as old as she claims to be!” I offer this pop cultural reference as evidence of my membership in Generation X.
** Or pretentious and nonsensical, depending on your viewpoint.


Forty Awesome Things I Did While I Was 40 October 24, 2015

Filed under: Life tales,lists — lizardesque @ 12:30 pm
Tags: ,
  1. Became the Morton Salt girl (for Halloween, that is)

    When it rains...

    When it rains…

  2. Saw the New Pornographers in concert
  3. Participated in and won NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row
  4. Secretly made Thanksgiving dessert healthier with avocado pumpkin pie…and got rave reviews
  5. Witnessed rampaging Santas on bicycles in downtown Milwaukee
  6. Attended an ugly Christmas sweater party


    Getting our ugly on!

  7. Learned how to arm knit

    Not bad for a first effort!

    Not bad for a first effort!

  8. Learned how to regular knit

    My first regular knitting project

    My first regular knitting project

  9. Saw Billy Idol in concert (with my mom, brother, brother-in-law, and bestie)

    Rebel Yells

    Rebel Yells

  10. Visited a black sand beach

    Punalu'u Beach

    Punalu’u Beach

  11. Saw the Halema’uma’u Crater


    Halema’uma’u Crater

  12. Visited the Thurston Lava Tube

    Thurston Lava Tube

    Thurston Lava Tube

  13. Saw the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs

    Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs

    Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs

  14. Tried Mochi
  15. Visited the southernmost winery in the United States
  16. Snorkeled at the Kapoho Tide Pools
  17. Visited Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau National Park
  18. Was waved at by a sea turtle

    Hi! I'm a turtle!

    Hi! I’m a turtle!

  19. Took a star tour at the Mauna Kea Observatory visitor’s center
  20. Saw fireworks from above while coming down a mountain
  21. Knitted something non-rectangular (on purpose!)

    My first knit hat

    My first knit hat

  22. Visited a cheese castle

    Say "cheese!"

    Say “cheese!”

  23. Made kitty mugs

    Kitty Mug!

    Kitty Mug!

  24. Made ceramic cocktail glasses

    I like a little whimsy with my cocktails.

    I like a little whimsy with my cocktails.

  25. Visited Vermont and New Hampshire for the first time
  26. Tried Escape the Room
  27. Toured Fenway Park
  28. Had cocktails at the Top of the Hub
  29. Visited the Baseball Hall of Fame
  30. Visited Watkins Glen State Park
  31. Tried SUP yoga
    Yoga on a stand up paddle board!

    Yoga on a stand up paddle board


  32. Posed with racing sausage statues
  33. Took this selfie and wrote the accompanying haiku

    Om nom nom. Om nom. Om nom nom nom nom nom nom. Om nom. Om nom nom.

    Om nom nom. Om nom.
    Om nom nom nom nom nom nom.
    Om nom. Om nom nom.

  34. Began a dress coloring project

    Tabula rasa

    Tabula rasa

  35. Did sunset SUP yoga, and a pretty awesome wheel pose

    You can go ahead and be impressed.

    You can go ahead and be impressed.

  36. Did SUP yoga again and achieved shoulder stand (yes, I’m counting SUP yoga multiple times because it’s really, really awesome)
  37. Rode a hippo (never mind it’s on a carousel, it was during a spirits tasting event at the zoo, which was fun)



  38. Saw the super blood moon lunar eclipse
  39. Successfully cultivated a hand-crafted (by me) chia pet



  40. Started a yoga for strength workshop

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
  4. Achieved wheel pose in yoga
  5. Saw The Fitz and the Tantrums in concert
  6. Participated in (and won) 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
  13. Celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary
  14. Went zip lining in the Redwoods



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




  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



  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


    Swings were not this cool when I was a kid!

  39. Went to the Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute



Charmingly Odd and Seemingly Random February 2, 2014

A List of Very Brief E-mails and Texts From My Mother:

  • Have you ever heard of lexile measure? (August 7, 2013)
  • Do you eat potato salad? (August 8, 2013)
  • What size shoe do you wear? (September 8, 2013)
  • Have you ever worn stockings with seams up the back? (September 24, 2013)
  • OK, there was the Beat Generation, the Hip Generation, what came next? (October 6, 2013)
  • Festivals is on! (December 23, 2013; I’m pretty sure she was referring to the Festivus episode of Seinfeld)
  • Do you have any brown/white paper lunch bags? (January 15, 2014)
  • Ain’t. I’ve been hearing this more and more. It bothers me. (February 1, 2014)

Publications (Updated November 2013) November 1, 2013

Filed under: Fiction,Life tales,lists,Poetry,Writing — lizardesque @ 5:08 pm
Tags: , ,

Sister (Poetry, Journal of Ordinary Thought, October 2013)

To the Unconceived (Poetry, Journal of Ordinary Thought, April 2013)

Just Be Happy! (Nonfiction, Journal of Ordinary Thought, April 2013)

Dear Anne (Nonfiction, Journal of Ordinary Thought, September 2012)

A Host of Problems (Nonfiction, Journal of Ordinary Thought, May 2012)

A List of Possible Reasons More of My Work Has Not Been Published (Nonfiction, Bylines 2012 Desk Calendar)

The Elephant on the Lawn (Nonfiction, Journal of Ordinary Thought, September 2011)

Dear Writer’s Block (Nonfiction, Journal of Ordinary Thought, June 2011)

Regarding Emma (Fiction, Nil Desperandum, April 2011)

The Little Blue Book (Nonfiction, Flashlight Memories [Silver Boomer Books], March 2011)

Thought for Food (Nonfiction, Journal of Ordinary Thought, March 2011)

The Sign (Fiction, Journal of Ordinary Thought, November 2010)

Three Minutes (Fiction, Gemini Magazine, October 2010)

Waking (Poetry, Journal of Ordinary Thought, September 2010)

The Kid Question (Nonfiction, Skirt! magazine, November 2009)

Not Tonight (Fiction, Runner Up in WOW Women on Writing Quarterly Flash Fiction Contest, November 2009)

The Wedding March (Fiction, Third Place in WOW Women on Writing Quarterly Flash Fiction Contest, August 2009)