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What It’s Like To Be A Lizard Lady

big al copy

Need a reason to keep fostering connections through your own blogging home? Every time I get frustrated with the latest round of online ‘improvements,’ I remember Big Al and the Lizard of the Loo.

I’ve never met Big Al. He’s just a child. In England.

But I have met his Auntie Kate. I started following Kate Shrewsday’s blog several years ago, because I love the oddball English trivia, weird Russian stories, dog-and-cat extravaganzas, and her husband Phil’s dedication to authentic pudding burning, I mean, making technique.

I love everything Kate writes. So much that when I happened to be in London several years ago, I begged asked her to meet me. We dragged our husbands to a pub, and it was like we’d been friends for years. (Meeting the people I read in this space is still one of my biggest arguments for doing it in the first place. With the dwindling connection we’re likely to feel in social media in the coming months, where better than to try to foster deeper connections than here, where we control our own platforms???)

Anyway.

My most favorite topic on Kate’s (or just about any) blog is when she gives updates about her wee nephew Big Al. I’m such an Al fan that Auntie Kate even sent me video from one of his school events, and I watched it like a preening relative.

Several years ago, when we had a lizard living in our bathroom, I even made a video for Big Al. Because they don’t have weird pink lizards in England, I thought Big Al might like to have a vicarious pet all his own.

And, according to Auntie Kate, Big Al and his family STILL watch the Lizard of the Loo video. It was one of my first Reader Questions, really. Since they’ve been so popular, I thought it would be fun to revisit early days.

To remember why we seek connection in this platform.

To reinforce why it still matters.

To see photos from my appearance at Landmark Booksellers Main Street Festival booth in Franklin, TN yesterday (and to see me really giddy over meeting Jim Crutchfield, author of The Natchez Trace: A Pictorial History), click here: Andra Watkins Tumblr

55 Comments Post a comment
  1. I remember the Lizard o’ the Loo. Handsome fellow he.

    And by the way, Kate is wonderful. Your blog has given me some of the best people to connect with. People I never would have met otherwise. I am in your debt.

    Hope you had a grand time in Tennessee.

    April 28, 2014
    • It was quick but grand. Ed Smith was a great host. I learned a lot about dance cheer teams, which was really interesting. In Atlanta today while MTM is working with the developers of Horizon. We’re making a dreaded IKEA run before we head back…….

      April 28, 2014
  2. Love the Big Al stories and the lizard is probably still taking care of your old place.

    April 28, 2014
    • MTM actually captured the lizard and put it outside, because it was clearly dying (ie not getting enough food and water in our lowly bathroom.) I’ve always wondered whether it made it.

      April 28, 2014
  3. Very nice tribute to the community. I agree with you totally. (Kate is great) …well you are as well.

    April 28, 2014
  4. That Lizard of the Loo video is hilarious! Glad Big Al still enjoys it. :-)
    You are a great connector of people, Andra!

    April 28, 2014
    • When Kate told me the other day that he still watches it, I knew it would end up a post.

      April 28, 2014
  5. Speaking of your old place, did the Loo Lizard qualify as one of those “disclosures” a homeowner must list when offering her home for sale?

    I, too, am grateful to have made the connections to Kate and others via your blog. I need not travel at all in order to meet delightful people, see new things, and learn many facts and oddities that I would never have discovered otherwise.

    Looks as if your weekend was successful on all counts, and I continue to be very excited for you. <3

    April 28, 2014
    • I used Jim Crutchfield’s book The Natchez Trace: A Pictorial History to map out places I’d like to visit for scenes in my book. I was very, very excited to meet him. I bought a new copy (because mine is pretty ragged now) and had him sign it.

      The Lizard of the Loo was long gone when we sold the house. If it were still there, I’m sure the mother would’ve found it. She was pretty annoying, I mean, thorough.

      April 28, 2014
  6. “There’s the toilet. There’s the lizard.” OMG. Those two sentences, delivered in that sing-song kindergarten teach voice, just made my life, Andra.

    April 28, 2014
    • According to Kate, Al loved the toilet pan to the side as well.

      April 28, 2014
      • Best part of the video, for sure!

        April 28, 2014
  7. Thanks for this reminder. I, myself, have felt lost in the world lately, and not sure why I should bother. But the Lizard of the Loo seems to be an excellent reason.

    April 28, 2014
    • I tried to comment on your blog yesterday, and my comment never went through. (I only had mobile access all day, and that may’ve been the problem.)

      I read articles like the one you put up from The Washington Post (about kindergarteners not doing a play because the adults believed the wee ones needed to focus on reading/math/etc to get into a good college), and I despair for humanity. We are such a categorized, closed-off, classified, genrefuckied (my word for what Big Publishing has done to reading) bunch of people, and all the big money wants us to be even more disconnected so that they can gain even more control. And, of course, there’s the whole “Art Makes People Think” thing, because in that messed-up world, nobody at the top wants anyone to learn how to think.

      April 28, 2014
      • Amen, and I love the word genrefuckied. I don’t know if you saw my post on Facebook yesterday about what the reviewers said after reading only a chapter and a half of my manuscript. It’s this hypocritical, this is so good but bullshit that just makes me want to scream.

        April 28, 2014
      • I didn’t see it, because Facebook, but I’d love to hear about it. I’ve been waiting for an update on this, and I didn’t want to ask.

        (Every stinking one of these people reads with an eye toward what they think will sell, not with an eye toward what readers will actually read. Look at the numbers on how many times they make mistaken prognostications on that score……….)

        April 28, 2014
      • I’ll send you an email with the actual comments.

        April 28, 2014
      • I am thinking that the idiots “at the top” have lost all touch with reality and need to go….. to a desert islands ….where they shall spend the rest of their natural lives…..and leave us normal people…. the hell alone. :)

        April 28, 2014
  8. I so agree with Nancy. Absolutely adorable you! Nice to meet Kate.

    April 28, 2014
  9. I’m going to need to watch that video when I get home! I’ve connected with some ridiculously awesome people through this blog – the way you foster community is lovely, Andra.

    April 28, 2014
    • Having felt somewhat disconnected of late, it’s good to hear that, Katie. I can definitely see that I’m a better community member now that I’m not blogging every day. My responses are bigger, and my comments on other blogs are generally better thought.

      April 28, 2014
  10. tarakianwarrior #

    Kate is one of my favorites also – and I love hearing all her tales, but like you…I especially love hearing about Big Al. Zest for life.

    April 28, 2014
    • I hope I get to meet him someday. He’s going to go places with all that energy.

      April 28, 2014
  11. I’m following you! I dropped my old blog omtatjuan.. You know me, follower of one woman journey up the trail and winner of a Ella Fitzgerald CD which I listen to:) the old blog morphed into Yeseventhistoowillpas.

    April 28, 2014
    • Glad you let me know, Juan. I just followed you back.

      April 28, 2014
      • Yeaaaa.. Tell me you are going to go on a journey along the Oregon trail! I bought you book:)

        April 28, 2014
      • My walking shoes are retired for a while, but I hope, just for a while. :)

        Thanks so much for buying my novel. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

        April 28, 2014
  12. As if I needed another reason to love your blog and this great community.:) Thank goodness you control your own platform because I know this is the only way I will get to see things like the Lizard in the Loo! I love the photos from your Tennessee event and hooray for the hat!

    April 28, 2014
    • I hope the greater message is that WE CAN ALL DO THIS. We don’t need Facebook and Google+ and Twitter and all that (though some of it is nice and even useful.) We can make connections and remain engaged this way.

      I’m still learning how to do these events. This was the first one I’ve ever done, and it really is a sales show. I had to chat people up, make jokes, ask questions and try to close every sale when people stopped to read my boards out front. (I probably closed about a third of them, which isn’t the kind of return I want, but I’m not a natural salesperson.) They invited me to come back in October, and I’m taking Dad. He can roam around the two blocks of people and send them to my booth to buy. Ha.

      April 28, 2014
      • Closing a third of your sales the first time out is a great percentage, Andra! I sell all day long and if you let your passion for your subject show people will respond. :) Just remember you are the expert in your field (book) and don’t be afraid to enjoy the confidence that brings.

        April 28, 2014
  13. I’d have staring contests with the lizards in Charlotte. It was cheap amusement.

    April 28, 2014
    • I generally try to avoid them, Nate, but look how helpless I am in the face of a little boy.

      April 28, 2014
  14. i’ve had some great connections made as well, and i really enjoy meeting people in the real world – love the lizard video and love kate’s blog too )

    April 28, 2014
    • Well, if I’m ever anywhere near Ann Arbor, you’re the first person I’m looking up. :)

      April 28, 2014
      • and i would enjoy every minute )

        April 29, 2014
  15. I do not believe I remember the video Andra, thanks for sharing it again. :)

    April 28, 2014
    • I was glad Kate reached out and told me it was still popular.

      April 28, 2014
  16. Ah, another normal post with a tricky title! And here I was, queuing up some dusty old Hammer horror flick:

    April 28, 2014
  17. Big All, Auntie Kate, a lizard in the loo – and you! What more could I ask for as I finish out my day here on the Cutoff, Andra. Loved it. I’m sure you know, or at least imagine, how much I enjoy Big Al stories. That was nice of you to send something his way, and nice as well to share it here.
    Hope all is well with you. I owe you a bit of correspondence, which I will take care of in a few days.

    April 28, 2014
    • I can’t imagine anyone not loving Big Al. :) Glad it gave you a bright end of day, Penny.

      April 28, 2014
  18. Got a kick out of the lizard & Big Al. How adorable are both??? I’m used to lizards in PR though I wouldn’t be so calm if it lived in my loo! Also nice pics on Tumblr! :)

    April 28, 2014
    • That thing scared me to death, Maria. It would zoom across the bathroom when I’d get up to go in the middle of the night, leaving me wide awake and horrified for hours afterward. :)

      April 28, 2014
  19. Okay, so Felix just watched Al’s Lizard, and whispered to me very seriously, “I think he likes the toilet,” then ran away giggling. Because little boys. And toilets. And lizards. Then we fondly recalled all the teeny lizards at Disney World, and decided it was pretty cool that yours was pink.

    April 29, 2014
    • I’m so glad Felix enjoyed the lizard as well. It has everything to do with the toilet, but still. :) It’s great that you got to share a good memory from watching it.

      April 29, 2014
  20. Andra, I am sorry to be so belated: have just emerged from 3 day migraine to find this wonderful post in my in box.As Lizard-Of-The-Loo groupies, may I point out that the Lizard’s Kirk Douglas stare renders him worthy of an Oscar nomination. But it is the presenter’s sense of comedy timing which makes this a film which elicits peals of laughter from various youngsters again, and again, and again.
    Thank you. What a gift you have given us.

    April 29, 2014
    • Glad you back in the land of the pain-free, Kate. Why do these things always last three days? Such awfulness. May you be spared another for a long while.

      April 29, 2014
  21. I wonder if Big Al has any concept of what a following he has? I just love that little guy, and of course, have never even seen a full photo of him. Doesn’t matter, Auntie Kate has done a wonderful job of sharing him and his precocious personality. In my lifetime I’ve seen how nothing stays the same–EVER! and so I take my joys in the blogging community any way I can get them, and refuse to mourn the inconsistencies. I delight in relationships that have been made, and consider them a gift I’ll nurture as long as the “nurturee” on the other end reciprocally values the effort. You, my dear, are a treasure. I say that with total sincerity!

    April 29, 2014
    • I always miss people when they decide to leave. It’s hard to see people and get to know them, only to not see them. I’m very glad you and so many others here are in my life, however we accomplish that.

      April 29, 2014
  22. I adore the Lizard of the Loo. What fun. And I agree that it is through blogging connections that I find some of my best-est friends. Ideas bring people together in a way that binds as much as [or more than] pages and pages of FB photos. IMHO.

    April 29, 2014
    • I feel bad when I click “like” on anything now. It’s an acknowledgement, granted, but it’s pretty paltry, compared to real interaction.

      April 29, 2014
  23. Very lovely tribute. And Lizard Legs was my nickname on my little league football team. Thank God I grew out of it

    April 30, 2014

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