The Year of Meeting Lizards

Or how to slough off the past and be (more) fearless

Hint: One toe at a time. The tail will grow back.

In the past year, I have met more than a dozen lizards in different forms and phases of their lives. I have never encountered as many lizards as I have in the past 12 months. I wouldn’t have noted it if the first handful of lizard sightings were not intriguing. I am certain there are messages for me to learn from the lizards.

#1: Long, black, and semi-floating on a friend’s pool surface. High summer. Hot like today. I was on a mini-retreat to figure out what to do with my life and career post-pandemic and mid-freak out about my husband’s illness. Feet in the pool, journal in hand, sunscreen blocking the most pernicious sun rays, I leaped out when I saw what looked like a snake. Let’s say that it stopped my retreat’s calming focus and agitated me into a form of action. I still journaled my heart out and returned to the pool for a second day, but not with as much vim and vigor.

#2: One day later, I was walking with my husband around the block and noticed a small, grey dead lizard on the path leading to our home. Weird. I noted the doubling.

#3: A few days later, walking out to get the mail from our home, a short friendly lizard greets me at the door. Alive. It appeared to be speaking to me. It no longer seemed to be coincidental. There is symbolism here, attempting to bash me over the head. I did next what I love, researched lizard lore, and found that lizards represent dreams and shedding what doesn’t serve you any longer. Hmm. Food for thought.

#4-10: Lizards were everywhere, like the law of attraction; I would see them here or there by the porch, near the garage, or on my walk to the office. My family noticed them, too, and we discussed them like they were favorite pets during our dinnertime conversations. In the hustle and bustle of trying to run a middle school and get a proper diagnosis for my husband, I let the lizard messages slip away. And yet, I didn’t know what I know now; I was shedding my perceived reality for a new one.

#11: The bright orange lizard shocked me when it shimmied out of our garage almost a year later. I felt the sonic boom of a reminder. Had you shed all that you needed? Dual graduations of middle and high school sons appeared on the horizon. Daunted a bit but also excited about the move forward. The next phase holds new potential and opportunities for us– for me.

#12: One morning, almost one year after noticing the first lizard, I got out of the mini-SUV from the trip to and from college orientation and almost stepped on another dead lizard. I wondered if I had killed it when I backed into the spot. I knew I was reluctant, not wanting to loosen the next layer of skin, that of a parent giving over her child to adulthood.

#13: I give you a baker’s dozen in lizards. I am not sure it is the final lizard, but it is the one with the most meaning. In my new role as an advisor at school, two seventh graders rushed by me to save a very tiny baby lizard this week. They gently picked it up with their bare hands and carried it to a nearby flower bed to set it free. The students saved it from certain death: a new life, a new dream to be born.

I wonder, what messages or symbols have you read in the world?

10 Second Habits, daily draw, random thoughts

Summer’s End: Making Way for Change

random thoughts

What Do You Seek?

What you seek is seeking you.

I have been attracted to this quote attributed to the 13th century Persian Sufi poet Rumi since my 20s. It makes a lot of sense since I am a medievalist at heart. But I’m a lot older now and feeling impatient at the transitions I face in life.

But what is it that I seek? And what do you seek? Is it comfort, love, money, or status? The meaning of life, your purpose? All I know is that the paradox of the quote has me all tangled up in a loop because if you seek it and it seeks you- it’s like the prophecy in Harry Potter: neither one can live while the other survives. The resistance of opposites feels like an infinite loop.

I do have a mystic’s inclination, but at the end of the day, I want to feel like I can get grounded and not experience the infinity wrapped up in the spell of Rumi’s words. I would like to connect with what I seek. It’s time to create a new affirmation: I already have what I seek within me.

random thoughts, writing

I’m Back, and I am Thrilled to Share this with you…

I am back! It has been too long, but life offers us twists and turns along the way. If you know me, you know that I appreciate randomness and the magic of what appears random. If you are new here know that it is my intention to bring topics and conversation about creativity, writing, tending to joy, and random magic back to this page.

Right now, I am thrilled to share my friend Laraine Herring’s new book is out soon! It’s got ghosts and ravens! I am beyond excited to read her speculative memoir. Laraine is a graduate from Antioch University’s MFA program (like me!).

If you haven’t pre-ordered this book yet, there is still time!

If you would like a SIGNED copy use THIS LINK



I can’t wait for my copy of the book to come! You can check out Laraine’s web presence at https://www.laraineherring.com/ From there she has connected activities related to A Constellation of Ghosts. Perhaps you might want to speak to your dead. There is #onemorechance to connect HERE.

Thank you!

creative thinking, In Vino Veritas, summer workshops

Live the Creative Life

Introducing Summer Creativity Workshop Series!

Monrovia, CA

I am super excited to be able to offer a series of creativity workshops this summer designed to help us deal with this chaotic, busy life and find connection. The last thing we feel is creative with all the demands of our post-modern world.  However, creativity is the tool that, when cultivated, offers us a sense of meaning and purpose.  Enhancing our natural creativity will ultimately allow us to be a better architect of our here and now, and help us find our way to harmony.

The first session is almost sold out! There are two spots left— check out the Insta post below for details. Check back here and on Insta in the upcoming weeks for new workshop announcements.

Session 1: In Vino Veritas: Wine, Whine & Write (5/31)– Only 2 spots left!

creative thinking, Poetry

Magic, naturally.


It’s nearly the end of  National Poetry Month and today is World Book Day (yay!). Though I haven’t been a strong presence in my actual poetry community, I am trying to remain present in the online community.  I have been writing daily, and reading as much as time permits with my busy work-mom-life schedule.

So it is fitting that I am reviewing another poetry collection.  And I am over the moon excited about getting to do so!  This time, MAGIC WITH SKIN ON by Morgan Nikola-Wren is my latest dessert for poetry this month.

Decadent, a bit gothic, and filled with delectable moments of urban fantasy, Morgan’s writing atmosphere is complete and propels the story.  There is a whole world involved in the character’s need to make sense of and control the whimsy of her absent muse.  A tale told in seven acts, readers will devour it in less than two hours.

More than once, I was reminded of my favorite Lilith Saintcrow (fiction) series– Working for the Devil — the dark hues, the temptation the muse (or fallen angel), and the heroine’s quest to remember herself.  It is gritty and wonderful.  I highly recommend it for a fantasy escape into a chewy world in which the heroine finds enormous agency in a sea of doubt.  She magics herself into completeness; threads the muse into her body. They become one as she powers forward into a world of word-bliss.

I have always been a fan of genre crossing and mixed forms of art.  This collection is like that — it can be read as a collection of stand alone poems, but it is really a complete story. It drives the reader all the way to the end.  When I read poetry collections, it is common for me to jump around and bop in and out of place with the poet.  Here, I was bound to stay on track and read through.  But at the end of the journey, I find that reading it backwards also has its pleasures.

So many of Morgan’s lines are bite-sized and perfect.  The toothy-ness of her story is worthy of adorning coffee houses, and home-offices for writers and others to draw inspiration.  My own wall beyond the computer screen now boasts this, my favorite line, “tonight,/i say we host/a dinner party for our demons” .   Yes, let’s.  They have been eating me alive for years, but I never thought, perhaps if I invited them to dinner, we could be friends.

Morgan’s collection gleams with the kind of magic that heals our (very) human, messy lives.  A fitting read for our time/s.  Brava!


random thoughts

Summer Reading List (Redux)


After all that I am not even reading anything from the list I posted last week.  It is probably not surprising to most of you experienced lurkers out there.  Most of what we see online is a ‘curated’ image of people.  What I post of my life follows this philosophy too.  There are so many things that I won’t write or post for a variety of reasons, and the items I do post are only what I want the ‘public’ (even if that public comprises relations and friends) to see about my experience.  I am quite sure that this is the reason depression skyrockets in adolescents (and adults) when the constant perusal of social media only shows images of perfect vacations, dream dates, exotic food and the like.  Ok, I admit, I don’t read overly negative content though I know it exists too which probably makes the depression quotient that much worse.

But I digress.

I think it is interesting to note that I am reading two books that came to me by chance, random magic, if you will.  The first book (with iced-coffee) is pictured above: The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula. If you are a history/vampire nerd like me– this is a great read.  I love Eric Nuzum’s tone and self-deprecating sense of humor.

Also, I am reading a chick-flik of a book in A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena di Blasi.  I have to say it is quietly satisfying.  It is a slow burn of a book.

I am just noticing that other than Martian Chronicles and The Hound of the Baskervilles (which I have read/am reading for a tutoring client), I am reading quite a bit of non-fiction.  I think this is odd…but maybe I should not be too surprised. I find a lot of life pretty fascinating.  Fiction is great, but reality is more zany most of the time.


creative thinking, daily draw, Poetry

Big Poetry Giveaway 2013

My Try Poetry Giveaway

Yes, It is NATIONAL POETRY MONTH! 🙂  I so love this month. Don’t get me wrong, I love many other months as well.  At the end of this April, however, I will be giving away TWO books of poetry.  I will ship them to the winners (selected by the random list generator at random.org) in the first week of May.  Come on, give a shout out to poetry!  It is one of the FEW balms that heals our sore souls as we journey this earth.  Check out the writers who started it all many years ago over at The Alchemist’s Kitchen (Kelli Russell-Agodon and Susan Rich) too!

To Enter: Post a comment at the end of this post with your email address and (first) name if you want to be included in the drawing for the poetry books.

The poetry books I am giving away:


Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson:

She is a contemporary poet/writer I most admire and aspire to be like.  She takes ancient myth and makes it relevant for our times.  You have to chew her work and it may be a hard business, but in the end it’s quite satisfying.  I love the connection between classical stories and our times.  I believe that our ancient twins experienced the same emotional space as we do– just without our particular technological advances.  Though it should be noted that technology has always been faster than the emotional speed of humans.  We live at the edge our own comprehension and so did the ancients.  I think Anne Carson understands and takes advantage of this truth in her work.  She has just released a continuation to this story– Red doc>.

Blue Arc West: An Anthology of California Poets


What better than an anthology to whet your appetite for more poetry?!  I am a (southern) California poet and am proud to be included in this anthology along with some powerhouse poets from this sunny state.  If you enjoy collections and want to experience a kind of California mind this anthology may be for you.

Happy Reading!


random thoughts

Proud Mama

The Pharaoh, The Ninja, and the Sorcerer.  This is the name of a story my eldest just recorded on the iPad.  It is an homage to the Hunger Games.  I am impressed to find it has a story arc, complete scenes and a decent resolution.  Good suspense too!  For anyone wagging a finger at me about letting an 8-year-old read the Hunger Games, I must say this: 1) He didn’t read it; I read parts of it to him, and 2) We don’t censor what he has in interest in reading/hearing (for the most part).  So Proud! 🙂