It’s Not An Iguana!

Okay, hissy-fit over.  Now back to the tale-

After posting my signs, contacting the neighborhood Facebook moderator, calling a couple people, I contacted my friend Vivian whose son is a reptile fanatic.  I told her a bit about the problem and she recommended “a lizard guy” at a pet store who might help us.  She also promised to stop by with Lio if she had a chance.

I was beginning to imagine that we might keep the guy.  He was super cute and couldn’t be too hard to care for.  I googled up on iguanas and was figuring in a trip to the lizard kingdom or whatever the pet place was called.

Meanwhile, lizard Lio from school stopped by to look at our iguana.  Lio peered over the edge of a box and said,—(What did he say Brad?  What?!  What?!)—, “That’s not an iguana.  That’s a Chinese water dragon!”  Yeah right, kid.

But we really should listen to kids, right?  We really should respect them for their unique intelligence and interests, ’cause guess what?  I get a call the very next day from a guy.  “Well, I was told to call you because I did lose a lizard.  But see, it can’t be mine because it wasn’t an iguana; it was a Chinese WATER DRAGON”.  And he lost it 3 months ago!

So I guess this is an iguana.

This is a water dragon. But they are both sorta green, right?

In order to comfort myself at the impending loss of the lizard, I looked up Chinese Water Dragons and what they need to live.  It ain’t pretty.  It would mean remodeling a significant portion of my house into a sort of wall of glass, water and heat lamp basking stations.  No thanks.

His actual owner did not really seem to believe that we had his lizard until the very moment that he held it in his hands.  It was so unlikely really.  He had been moving into a house with his girlfriend.  They had the lizard in a box to transfer to the aquarium.  They lost the lizard and thought the dog had eaten it.  It was hot, hot, hot when we found the water dragon (out of water, I might add), but it had been cold in May and June.  What the heck did this creature do through the cold nights?  And how did he remain unseen in the neighborhood?  Certainly his presence would have FREAKED OUT anyone who came upon him.

Off Beebo (oh, did I mention that the kids named him?) went down the street.  The owner promised to bring him back to see us when he was healthier and had put on some weight.  We’ve haven’t seen him yet, but at two blocks away, he remains our neighbor, just as he was all summer, hunkering down underneath someone’s azalea somewhere.

Summer Visitors

We’ve had a lot of summer visitors around here.  Here is one of the more surprising ones:

This post is a tale, so go get your cup of coffee or tea and settle in for a bit.  Ready?  Good.

Zephyr and I were driving home from a morning soccer camp.  We were heading down our own street when I saw a man with a golf club peering under a large SUV.  Poor dude… looks like he lost something I thought.  Then I saw a MASSIVE lizard run under his back tires.  Thinking this was about the coolest thing to happen on my street in a long time, I pulled the car over and got Zephyr out.  We hopped up to the car, totally amused and offered our services to help the guy catch the creature.  A young, shirtless, saggy-jeans guy joined us with a cardboard box that he grabbed from the dumpster across the street.  There wasn’t much talk, but the three adults and Zephyr started running the lizard from one end of the underside of the vehicle to the other.  Zephyr was reaching out his hands to the thing, which freaked me out big time.  The little guy (lizard variety) opened his jaws threateningly to reveal a whole lotta’ nothing.  I had about one second to think, Oh, he’s not a biter, and then suddenly the lizard ran towards me.  I grabbed him by his hind legs and stuffed him in the box.  As I shoved his scaly body in, my shoulders and spine did the heeby-jeeby dance; I was so grossed out by touching the thing.  Why did I grab him then?  I don’t know.  I am impulsive in this way.  It causes me great concern sometimes as I see that I act far before my brain processes the wisdom of what I am doing.  Obviously I need to go easy on my spazzy son.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and all that.

The two men spent less than one minute in congratulating me on my catch (and commenting on how they would NEVER, NEVER have touched the thing in a million years) when it occurred to me that this was no one’s lizard.  In fact, this was now my lizard, and the two men were quickly removing themselves from the scene of the heroic rescue.  I was giddy with the novelty of the whole experience, so I quite happily packed the kid and the lizard back in the car to make our way home.

I didn’t intend to keep the guy (lizard, not the kid).  I thought that we were logical care providers while we found the actual owner.  I had no intention of bonding with the animal; I couldn’t even fathom picking it up.  I put water and some plantain in his box and closed the lid.  Of course, next time I turned around, I saw this:

It’s hard to tell kids that something might not be a pet, that it might carry disease or bite you or not be the most precious thing ever.  Lucky for us, this guy turned out to be the most precious thing ever.

We sort of fell in love.

Yes, even me.  The first time I picked him up and he put his thin little creepy claws around my fingers as though we were holding hands, my heart just melted.  How tight can you hug a lizard?

Still, reality does intrude, and the awareness that we didn’t have a 50 gallon tank or heat lights or dead crickets, or whatever the hell else these guys need—- all these thoughts spurred me to action.

At this point we decided he was an iguana.  A little google search seemed to suggest that was what he was.  Up went the signs with the iguana with a bemused smile.  Some of them made him look sort of angry.  I’d be angry too if I was no longer in Mexico.

Tune in next time for the exciting conclusion of “The Night of the Iguana”.



Better Tighten It

Review the Facts for this Case- Missing Tent, Case 0009

This is the tent in question


  1. Ingrid and Brad had a tent- 3 person, REI Taj 3, forest green case, silver and black fabric, gold poles, and a mustard yellow rain fly.  They slept in it on July 16th in Eugene, Or.  It rained all night.  They wadded the tent up, shoved it in the trunk of the car (1998 Nissan Sentra) and drove back to Portland, Oregon the next day.
  2. On July 17th, Ingrid hung the tent outside in her backyard on the line to dry.
  3. It rained July 17th.  She moved the tent inside during the early evening and stretched it out on the kitchen table.
  4. It sat there all of July 18th.
  5. On July 19th, Ingrid folded up the tent on the dining room floor.  She usually does not fold the tent.  Brad commented when he returned home from work, “Nice job folding the tent, honey”.  She does not remember if she returned the tent to the basement closet or left it sitting in the dining room.
  6. On July 20th, the family left Portland for a trip to Ashland, Oregon.  They did not take the tent with them as they planned to stay at a swanky rental house.  Again, they are unsure if anyone in the family put the tent away in the “gear closet” in the basement or if the tent was left out (but folded and in its case) in the dining room.
  7. On August 4th, Ingrid’s sister Anne visited her home with the intent of borrowing camping equipment.  She pulled a tent, a sleeping pad, and a sleeping bag out of “the gear closet” in the basement.
  8. On August 9th, Anne visited Ingrid to return camping equipment after her trip.  She presented the borrowed camping equipment.  “This isn’t my tent,” Ingrid stated.  “This is the one I got out of the closet”  Anne protested.  “And  it sucked.  It didn’t have tent poles.”
  9. The “wrong tent” is a huge Coleman without tent poles.  It does not belong to ANY of Ingrid’s immediate family members.  No one knows how it got in the gear closet.  And the ACTUAL tent (a decent one that Ingrid and Brad loved) is completely MISSING.


Ideas and suggestions are appreciated.

They Are Killing Zebras on my MAX Line

I just got off the train and I am soooooo confused.

On the train, 10 feet ahead of me, a young woman was sitting…. in a zebra print skirt.  Across from me I saw a 20-something in the same zebra skirt plus she had a matching handbag and shoes.

I got off the train.  Neither women got off with me and yet just ahead of me crossing the street was a woman in the SAME zebra skirt.  “Wait!  Did that chick get off and pass me?  Is it National Zebra Day?  AM I ON SAFARI?”

How can there be so many zebras in Portland?

Just for kicks, what do you make of the zebra-as-fashion?  Love it?  Hate it?  Vote here.

What Does Happen Next?

Zephyr got a fascinating piece of homework this last week.  It is a series of two pictures where you have to draw what you think will happen next.

He drew the dog putting the bone in the hole and the bird adding the stick to the nest.

On the next page, he extemporized a bit.

The squirrel does not hide those nuts.  Oh no.  He eats one and “is about to eat” the other one.  And that bird is not about to fly.  “She’s too young.  She falls,” Zephyr said quite seriously.

This whole assignment had me giggling a bit.  Here is what it would look like if I did it:

We have this squirrel who sits on our fence and displays his huge, furry, well testicles.  It’s true.  Me and him—we don’t get along.  He tries to run up my window screens and jump on my bird feeder, and he even knocked it down once.  So I hit the window when I see him and laugh as he shoots like a firework off the sill because I’ve surprised him.  Then he comes back and hunches over to display his goods.  I’m not intimidated, but I know what would come next in the story.  And if I had two nuts (ha!) I know exactly where I would aim them.

Here is my other one:

Okay!  Now people are wishing that I wasn’t blogging again.  But aren’t the possibilities endless?  What would you put for picture number three?


I finally got my diagnosis for what has been troubling my neck and shoulders, and although it isn’t really funny nor particularly good news, for some reason, it makes me smile.  I saw the spinal specialist again last week after having more x-rays and an MRI done.  Yes, my spine has a reverse curve, and yes, there are a couple vertebrae that “move independently” (that’s bad I guess), but my largest problem is that I have arthritis running down my neck.  It is taking up space and shoving the vertebrae in my spine around a bit, and that is causing me pain.

My grandfather Si was a sweet man, sometimes funny, sometimes whiney, often charming.  As he got older, he often complained of his “arthur-itis”, which always sounded like a proliferance of Arthurs.  Those Arthurs really plagued him, and the family had many laughs about his pronunciation without ever correcting him.  Now arthur-itis plagues me and yet gives me a little giggle.  My grandpa’s goofiness has made something disappointing sweeter.  In short, it is a bummer, but I’m going to be okay.  I start physical therapy on Tuesday, so here is hoping I can kick Arthur in the….neck?

Keeeeraaazzy Lady

I am officially a totally crazy mother.  I have begun to say the most bizarre things… and it is all my son’s fault.  I only have one son, and he is just four years old, but my, does he bring it out in me!

The top seven crazy things that I have actually said to my son in the last month:

7)  You must, must, must learn to wipe your own ass, sweetie.

6)  Take that toilet plunger out of your mouth!

5)  Why are there barbecue tongs in your bed?

4)  Do not scrub the sand out of your butt with your toothbrush!

3)  Don’t chop that tree with a hammer; get an ax!

2)  I don’t want to ever, ever see you putting gravel in your foreskin again!

And the top quote, which I swear I have said multiple times this month to both my older kids:

1)  “Take your feet OUT of your sister’s mouth—NOW!”


What. A. Bummer.

I’ve always prided myself on the ability to quickly assess situations and judge whether it is a real emergency or not.  My background in social services and teaching has further assisted me in those frenzied moments as a parent, ostensibly “the one in charge”, when I have to decide if we are grabbing a big cloth to mop up the blood or grabbing the big cloth AND racing to the emergency room.  I have found that I am a master at keeping my mouth shut at those times, and rather than gasping and screaming, “Oh my Jesus!” I am able to remain calm and neutral as I inspect the head wound.  Although I am good at these things, I have also learned that I tend to under-react.  I am quick to say, “s/he will be FINE!” and “Buck up kiddo!” and slow to make the doctor’s appointment.

This last week Francis got poison oak…. badly.  The kids like to play in a pretty spot of the woods at my parents’ house, right on the edge of our property and the neighbors’.  Unfortunately, it is full of the stuff.  I did see it, but as I seem to be immune from the stuff, it didn’t occur to me that it could hurt any of us.  Wrong.

On Monday Francis had a rash on her face.  I didn’t immediately think of how we had been through poison oak.  By Tuesday it itched.  Her school sent her home.  While on a shopping trip at New Seasons, a nice man instantly diagnosed her rash in the shampoo aisle.  “Of course!” I thought, and bought the product he suggested (Tecnu).

I brought her back to school Wednesday with some calamine lotion slapped on there.  The school was not hearing of it.  They wanted her to go to a doctor.  They weren’t going to let her come back to class until she brought a note.  “What?!  For poison oak?  That is ridiculous!” I said, muttering under my breath how this would never happen in the county.  Haven’t these silly city people ever seen a rash from poison oak?  They wanted to know how I knew it was poison oak.  They didn’t like my answer much.  (I guess growing up in Sheridan does not grant you medical credentials, nor does chatting with a nice guy in the shampoo aisle.)  So we went to the doctor.

Good thing we did.  Francis’s rash got worse throughout the day.  By the afternoon her eye was swollen shut.  An icky crust formed over the rash which the doctor diagnosed as a secondary staph infection.  Yuck.  Prescriptions ensued.  The good news is that she is feeling better and was allowed to return to school.  The bad news is that maybe tomorrow morning it will be her other eye.


I’m getting organized.  Scientific even.  I bought a white board at SCRAP and nailed it to the wall in the chicken coop to keep track of number of eggs per day.  I am even sort of trying to track who is laying what.  So far the results are dismal.  It seems that we are getting three eggs a day from the same three chickens–Rita, Hasty, and Evelyn.  Hmmmm.  That would mean that Agnes and Rosey aren’t laying at all (old ladies), Hildy is on sabbatical (I don’t know what her excuse is as she is only 1 1/2, Bella is molting, and Frankie is just a lazy, good-for-nothing chicken, eating a lot and not pulling her weight, sort of like Inez except that Inez is not a chicken.  (I don’t know when I decided that it was funny to joke about babies not doing their part, but it still cracks me up.  It seems to be the only acceptable way to talk trash about a baby.)  Frankie, like Inez, might just be too young as she was hatched at the end of June last year.  It is hard to tell with chickens who reach laying age right as the days are short and the rest of the flock is not laying anyway.

Evelyn might well be my hardest worker around here.

She is laying almost every day.  This last week she popped out this MASSIVE egg.  It was the second of its kind to be presented by this lady.  When I told Brad that it was a double yoker, he was unduly surprised.  “Those are real?” he said.  Of course they are real!  Even though he had heard about them all his life, because he had never seen one, he didn’t really believe they were real.  Weird denial of reality is what I call that.  I hear that the sun is made of gas, and you know what?  I believe it.

This is a comparison photo:  normal egg from Hasty, giHUGIC egg from Evelyn.  This worries me a bit actually.  It is fairly common for chickens who produce these huge suckers to get egg bind, a condition where the egg literally gets STUCK inside them.  A friend on our street lost a chicken to egg bind lately.  I am freaked out that I might have to reach up in a chicken and break an egg to get it out if this were to occur with one of our hens.  Here is hoping it doesn’t.  A friend of a friend also told me that she gave her hen a warm bath when she had egg bind.  The egg came right out.  Hmmm.  I guess I like baths.  I’ve never had one with a chicken though.

More photos to impress and (in the case of Anne) disgust?

Ahh yes!  Look at those old lady hands!  (It was because I was working with clay all day; I got a lot of terra cotta stuck in the cracks in my hands.)

We need to hurry up and come up with a use for this egg as it does not fit in the carton.  Really.