If you have an Apple computer, you know how annoying it is that they tell you your mouse battery is very low–never going on low, or low lite. It’s always a dramatic “very low.” The way to CHARGE your mouse now is you know that cord that you plug into the back of your computer that charges your phone? You use that same cord to plug into your mouse.

Well, guess what. YOU CAN’T USE THE MOUSE WHILE IT’S CHARGING. And your computer only tells you the mouse is

VERY LOW

SO LOW

when you sit at your computer to, oh, I don’t know, USE IT. So.

The point is, this is a Very Special June Doesn’t Use Her Mouse episode of Book of June.

I wanted to show you a photo of today’s very pretty sunrise, but that involves my mouse, so dig if you will the picture of you and I engaged in a sunrise.

Fukkit. I went rogue. Took the thingie out of the mouse and plopped this photo in here. How come you can never quite photograph how pretty a sky is? Especially if there’s a really good moon. You take a photo and it looks like someone poked a hole in paper.

Oh, but also? Speaking of mouses, just this morning I was putting away my shoes, which I tend to kick into this room at the end of the day, because god knows this house is so big with its 999 square feet that I can’t possibly traverse all the way in here and put my shoes in the closet. Also, I have to hurry and get dinner for the kids. I’m extremely busy.

Eventually it looks like DUI Shoe Warehouse in here and I get disgusted with myself so I put the shoes away. I was doing so this morning after I noticed it looked like a centipede lived here, and as I bent down to get a shoe, I noticed a gray mouse right under my face, and just assumed it was a toy mouse

WHICH IT WAS

but you know what? One day a real mouse will fool me. Although maybe not. Because cats. So many cats here all the time.

Also, what I usually like to do is scroll up and see what the fuck I’ve been talking about thus far, and if there’s anything I meant to tell you, and sort of review whatever I wrote and edit it a little, but not today, Satan.

This is like raw-juicing Book of June. Book of Juan.

Oh, I know what I was gonna tell you. Yesterday I came home from work and had a package. I don’t mean suddenly I had man bits, which I might have led with. I had a box from Amazon. I don’t mean I ordered girl bits from Amazon, and this is why it’s usually better when I have a mouse and can start all over.

Anyway, I couldn’t recall ordering anything from Amazon, but there the box was, addressed to me, and in it?

Brass cleaner. I guess I forgot the big brass was gonna be here. I guess I want a nice brass.

And here’s what I do when anything goes wrong. I blame myself. Perhaps you think my narcissism won’t allow that, but it does. “Why did I order this?” I asked me. “What sort of clean streak was I on?

“Do I own any brass?”

Eventually I put it away in the pantry that Marie Condor or whomever really needs to come organize. In the doorway I have cleaning agents on a wire shelf, but half of them fall out every time I open the door. In the shelves are batteries and light bulbs and wrapping paper and steam irons that don’t really work and a Nest Thermostat I can’t install myself because wires and oh my god that whole closet is a cluster.

Anyway, that’s where that brass monkey cleaner is now.

Last night I got a text.

“I accidentally sent you my brass cleaner oh my god!” Miss Doxie said.

She’s sending me a gift, see, but apparently Amazon thinks ALL her orders are coming to me and she said I’m about to get an intimate glimpse into her life and I for one cannot wait.

“I’m just sort of impressed you clean your brass,” I said.

She said I’m not to mail the brass cleaner to her, but I say I should with something extra special in the package. What should that extra special thing be?

I’d better go. I have to get to work and also I forgot I should be drying my hair, which is soaked, and normally I’d have Laila Ali on my head but the whole mouse thing threw me because you know I can only think of one thing at a time and this was just too overwhelming.

Also, I can’t scroll up to read this so oh my god you’re so getting raw June, did I mention?

Love,
Raw June

Oh, hell, how Ima push “Publish”?

I went to the doctor yesterday for my ovarian cyst. Naturally, I was nervous AF, and when I told her all my woes, she got a concerned look that made me nervous AFker.

“I think we should do an ultrasound,” she said, which I was expecting all along and kind of thought would be a given. “We can schedule that for a few days or a week from now.”

“No,” I said. “We need to do it today. I’ve been living like this since October, and I’m sick of being scared and waiting for the next test.”

So we got me in at 3:00 yesterday, which means I had to leave the doctor, work for five hours, and go back in. I was nervous AF all day long.

I got to see everything they were ultrasounding on a big screen in front of me, which I imagine is really there for happy expectant mothers, because some people get excited about being pregnant, whereas I spent my entire fertile years fearing it the way I feared this test.

“Okay!” said the technician. “Go to the room and the doctor will be in in a second.”

It was more like 45 minutes, a time I felt nervous AF, did I mention? I tried doing all my panic attack exercises, and scrolling through my phone to distract self, but I kept Googling pictures of ovary ultrasounds. Did mine look like this? Or like this?

Finally my doctor strolled in. She made light small talk, so I figured this would be good news.

“Well, that big cyst is nothing. It’s completely benign,” she said.

Before I could even feel anything approaching relief, she continued.

“But now you have another cyst, a really small one, on the other side, and it’s got some, I don’t know, stuff in there that’s probably nothing. Your blood tests will assure us of that.”

I’d taken a blood test that I knew was to see if it was ovarian cancer. I knew this because of course I’d Googled it before I walked in there.

“Really,” she said, “I don’t want you to worry. It wasn’t there at your CT scan last month. It’s probably just a normal cyst.”

Before I could convince myself not to worry about that, she continued.

“Also, I want you to take a look at this,” she said, and brought over her laptop.

There’s something odd going on in my insides, and she wants to

BIOPSY

it. “I really am not worried about it,” she said. “I just need to get my ducks in a row, and make sure it’s what I think it is, which is nothing.”

A biopsy.

You know what I am now? I’m fucking furious, that’s what I am now.

STOP FUCKING FINDING THINGS.

First I have a UTI. Oh, you don’t have a UTI, but here, we found some blood in your urine. Better get that checked!

So I get it checked, after much fear and angst.

Oh, you don’t have bladder cancer, but here, we found this giant cyst. Better get that checked!

So I fret about that for ages till I can get it checked.

Oh, the cyst is fine, but here’s another worrisome cyst, and also, let’s biopsy that other weird thing!

I’m so fucking sick of feeling this scared. I’ve been scared for three months straight. I’ve been grinding my teeth and isolating and curling into a ball and I’m so tired of this.

The biopsy

FUCKING BIOPSY

is January 27. After that, as long as my blood test comes back okay today or tomorrow, we will remove my damn ovaries. At this point I just want to remove every organ that can get cancer. I will just be marrow walking around.

Can you get marrow cancer? They’ll probably find that next.

Nervously,
June

As you know, from your Big Book of June Events, Volume 67, Edsel has congestive heart failure.

Well. That’s a broad term. Like “pit bull,” which incorporates a bunch of breeds.

Edsel, who is most notably not a pit bull, has an enlarged heart and also a leaky left valve, which apparently one day will become congestive heart failure. I think. Really the vet either didn’t describe it all the way or I was too in shock to hear.

But what I did do was go home and Google his medication and it scared the SHIT out of me with all the congestive heart failure nonsense and how did we scare ourselves before Google?

Anyway, he’s on his way to congestive heart failure. He’s a heart failure apprentice. And so what I’m supposed to do is give him his two pills each morning and night and then take him in every six months to get assessed. To see where we are on the heart failure highway.

Naturally, whilst Googling the crap out of this disease, I read up on signs of how you can tell The End Is Near, because that is what I do for fun. One thing they mentioned was that dogs with congestive heart failure get up in the night, roam around, because fluid buildup makes them uncomfortable. “Especially dogs who sleep on their sides.”

I want you to consider this a moment. How the hell else do dogs sleep? They don’t sleep on their backs with the covers up.

Anyway, Eds sleeps in his million-dollar special dog bed with foam to accommodate his hips, which are also giving out on him. He’d be welcome to sleep in my bed of action with me, but he resents any movement I make and has even on occasion showed me his TEETH when I move one inch, which makes me want to punch him right in the liver, so in order to keep the relationship going, he sleeps at the foot of my bed in his dog bed made of gold.

His dog bed might have cost more than my bed, which I got on sale during one of those mattress sales they have on Labor Day or Memorial Day. I’ve hated it ever since. We should switch beds.

Anyway, he’s woken me up lately because he gets up and paces the room. Usually I keep the doors closed to my bedroom (yes, my bedroom has two doors. My mirror only has one face, however) so I don’t also have to sleep with 90 cats, so Edsel can’t pace far. He just paces around me.

This worried me, as I have read the signs, and also I saw the sign, so I put down my Ace of Base and called the vet. Did I have to bring him back in early? We’re due to return in April.

“Here’s what you do,” the vet said. “When he’s asleep, count his breathing.”

Wut.

“Watch him take one breath. In. Out. That counts as one. If he breathes more than 36 times in a minute, you need to bring him in now rather than April.”

Wow. That’s…specific.

Also, don’t you hate it when someone spells it “breath”? “I couldn’t breath; it was awful.” You wanna know what’s awful? Is an adult not knowing how to spell. That’s what’s awful.

I was dying, just dying, to get home and watch Edsel breathe, or breath, but I had my trainer first, who of course was stuck listening to me talk about Edsel and his 36 breaths a minute. She made me do a lot of planks to shut me up.

Then I screeeeeeched home, knowing full well he’d be awake and excited to see me and so on. We did all our evening things and then I settled in on the couch, hoping he’d fall asleep on his less-than-million-dollar-but-still-cute-shabby-chic-living-room bed I got him at TJ Maxx awhile back. It’s a pink paisley. He’s okay with it. Eds secure.

That rat bastard with the bad heart? Would.Not.Fall.Asleep.

Oh my god. It was like he was on a sleep strike.

Dudes. I’ve lived with this dog almost 10 years now. I know the way of his people. He falls FAST asleep ALL the time in the evening. You might say it’s his signature move. It’s what he does. It’s his trademark.

Not last night.

Oh my god. He even, at one point, got on one of the chairs, and I thought, Perfect. Now he’ll fall asleep where I can stare right at him rather than having to mince over the edge of the couch and peer at him in his little shabby chic bed.

Nope. Apparently he was going to sit in that chair with eyes wide open, and stare at me unblinkingly while I tried to pretend I was watching TV.

I even went on the YouTube and got Soothing Sounds for Dogs or what have you, which we played at work when we had all those shelter dogs in.

It only gave Eds more energy.

I JUST WANT TO COUNT YOUR BREATHING, I was screeching on my insides. Finally I gave up and went to bed. Often I’ll retire to my room for a bit before bed, and Edsel will lie on the bed

ASLEEP

while I read or peruse the internet.

Oh my god.

No one has stayed awake longer than Edsel. He was Jerry Lewis on Labor Day weekend.

Finally—FINALLY—he started to seem drowsy. I was considering getting something swinging and trying to hypnotize him to sleep. And just to torment me further, he’d start to shut his eyes and then

POP

them open, just to annoy me. But finally? After being aware of that damn dog’s every move for more than three hours?

Zzzzzzzz…

And?

Fourteen breaths a minute. He takes 14 a minute. I measured it three times. Oh my god, he’s completely fine, other than a little heart failure.

So that was my productive night last night. It was a real snoozefest. Bah.

Love,
Joooon

RING!!

It was 9:01 Saturday morning.

“hullo,” I said, half awake and also trying to be as dramatic about it as possible.

“Oh! Did I wake you?!” asked my mother. She was cheerfully driving through an ice storm, because in Michigan an ice storm is just part of your day.

“yes,” I said, striving for drama, which might as well be my mission statement.

“I thought you’d be at work already,” she said, spinning 360 degrees on the ice and continuing on, waving at abominable snowmen.

“It’s Saturday,” I pointed out, noting Edsel dragging himself tiredly to my pillow, mouthing “wtf.” Even he knew what day it was.

“Oh, right. When you’re retired, all the days are the same,” said mom, as she slipped on her crampons so she could traverse the parking lot to get my stepfather.

I know what crampons are because Marvin made me watch 39493494 Mt. Everest documentaries before I finally had to divorce him. I finally had to see the other side of the mountain.

My stepfather, who is smart and so forth, goes to philosophy club every Saturday. No one called off said club due to the, you know, ICE STORM because Michigan.

“Oooo, my windshield is getting frozen over!” my mother said cheerfully.

So I got out of bed. It was the least I could do while the rest of my family was in the cast of Frozen.

Oh, and before I forget: On Friday I took Lily to work, as you do, because we had a photoshoot.

She was the only cat there. There was also a guinea pig in a skirt who killed me. Not literally. Anyway, Lily did SO WELL. “My cat would be calling the authorities if I’d brought her,” everyone said. Not Lily. She was all, “nother day on set. yawnz.”

“shoot me like one of your french fries.”

“lileee not get out of bed for less than 15,000 treets.”

Anyway, afterward she made out with The Other Copy Editor’s Pomeranian.

Oh my god, they loved each other. The saw the floof in one another. Namasfluffay.

Anyway. Back to being awakened at an ungodly hour Saturday.

So since I was up, I headed to Belt, as my mother called it once and I can’t let it go, but really it’s called Belk. I was out of my $3939329 Chanel foundation, which fortunately I only have to buy once a year, but the time was here. I mean, I still had a teensy bit left, but I had to meter it out like gold and it was getting ridiculous.

Almost as ridiculous as being phoned early on a Saturday. It was a pretty good resentment for a Saturday. The regular grouse shuffles in.

And I sit at the bar and put bread in my maw and say man, what’re my hips doing here.

Anyway, Belt.

There is little that makes me happier than shopping for makeup, whether I’m at CVS or the fine cosmetic-y rows of Belt. I looked at Urban Decay, like I’m not three decades too old for it. I admired the makeup on the man who sells MAC. Finally, I headed over to Chanel for my let’s-face-it-dowager-our-fun-makeup-days-are-over $393949383 foundation.

But as I made my way, I felt a little click. All morning my leg had kind of been bothering me, but as I wandered Belt, looking at purses and shoes and decaying urban, the click got worse. It felt almost like if I just kicked my knee out straight like I was Flea or something, I’d get it back in place.

I’ll bet Flea still wears Urban Decay.

By the time I’d gotten approved for the loan and made the down payment on my foundation, I was limping out of Belt like Quasimodo, or even Genuinemodo. Oh my god, it was awful.

I’d been to my trainer Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday of last week. I musta knocked something out of place or something. I was loath to alert my trainer, even though she always says to alert her should something like this happen. But she’d just sent her daughter off to Africa, as you do, for a semester. Like, that day she’d sent her.

Because I am sensitive, I texted her anyway.

“Oh, no!” she wrote back immediately, ignoring her child’s goodbyes. Then she told me to do some stretches.

I went home and did them. Then?

RING!!!

Sunday morning. 8 a.m.

“How’s your knee?” asked my trainer, and that is when I killed everyone and now I am completely alone but at least I can sleep in on a goddamn weekend.

Love,
June

The Eds and I have a routine. When my alarm goes off, he LEAPS from his dog bed onto my bed, hips allowing, and presses his dog head into my shoulder and we have our good morning hug. I allow hugs from Edsel.

Then we get out of bed together and stretch at the same time. He always looks at me before he stretches. Then he goes outside while I pee for the first of 30430430404 times that day, lately.

Then I get his pills ready and he takes those with his breakfast while I make coffee and shower. Also, I’ve begun to observe that I shut the door when I shower, and really, why?

Then?

He gets in his chair and watches me blog. I’ll bet if I look over there right now he’s peering at me like I hung the moon. Hang on.

HAH. He was.

They say dogs with his condition live 6–24 months after they’re diagnosed. It’s only been three, so I’m trying not to even consider any sort of Edsel end.

I’ve had four years of having just Edsel alone, without Tallulah, and in some ways I’m glad I did. He came on as the backup dog, but I believe he’s done a fine job of being the main dog, a few chewed puppies notwithstanding.

Oh my god, I looked over there again and he’s still staring at me. Put it back in your pants, Edsel.

Anyway, thank you for your words of wisdom yesterday. I will take them to heart. You know things are bad when Miss Doxie texts you for your address. “I know your address is in here somewhere,” she said, having scrolled through our stupid myriad texts, “but just tell me and end this misery. I’m sending you a subpoena.”

Hooray!

You could probably make a book out of our texts. Also, she is not in my address book, which means I never send her a Christmas card, and I realize there are a lot of people I know since we all went digital who I don’t send Christmas cards to.

In fact, that reminds me.

Back in the ’90s, when we all liked Sugar Ray and brown lipstick, I worked with a woman who broke her foot. She needed a ride to work for, like, six weeks and I volunteered to be her driver. I came to call her Broken Foot Woman, and we got quite close over the weeks. We stayed friends after we left that job. I remember several giggly brunches, back when I was the kind of person who went to brunch. And giggled.

She moved to Iowa, and I moved here. I send her a Christmas card every year (Broken Foot Woman, 1 Main Street, Iowa). She’s not a Christmas-card-sender.

I think people who only send cards to those who send cards to them are the most mean-spirited of people.

Anyway, this year she mailed me a letter! She said she felt bad that I write her a card every year and that she never sends one. (See. That doesn’t even register with me. I just like sending them.) She’s coming to town this spring and wants to get together, and she added her phone number, and have I remembered to call or text? No. I have not.

So I’m glad I brought this up right now because now I will possibly remember to get in touch with her.

You know. Maybe.

Broken Foot Woman always had a gigantic Thanksgiving, where she took the furniture out of her living room to make room for tables forming a giant L shape. I went to it once, with my mother, stepfather and husband, fmr. I was sitting next to an earring-ed middle-aged man whose music we were playing. He’d brought a CD of his band or what have you.

Broken Foot Woman’s teenage daughter was sitting across from me, as we had formed a kind of bond and had spent much of Thanksgiving in her room talking about makeup.

“What is this cheesy music?” she asked.

Oh, dear.

Also, June says, warming to the subject and getting more coffee, Broken Foot Woman and I were among the first people at work to get cell phones. I’m certain getting a cell phone was Marvin’s idea, so I could call him when I’d been kidnapped or whatever bad thing he was certain was going to happen finally happened.

I had this giant gray phone the size of your shoe. One day, someone at work said wouldn’t it be hilarious if I called Broken Foot Woman on HER cell phone, from across the aisle. So I did.

“That just cost me $4,” she groused.

Where the hell did I carry that giant shoe phone? In my purse? I remember graduating from that to a phone with blue buttons on it.

Or maybe the phone itself was blue. It played Moonlight Serenade when I got a call.

But then I got a silver flip phone, and I went to the mall and had it bedazzled with pink gems that formed an Eiffel Tower. I also hung a Hello Kitty from the antenna.

I was 37 years old.

Anyway, I know this has all been pressing news and I will leave you now to head to work, with my phone that does not flip or have buttons. One day they will sell iPhones at the vintage store and 21-year-olds will think they’re quaint and use them as their dating profile name.

iPhone 8 Plus, 27, M. Not here for hookups.

This has all been very important.

June

The sun is shining right onto my hands as I type, and they look 700 years old. When did my HANDS get old? Yeesch.

Anyway, I’m not doing well. I know I have an ovarian cyst, and that those are common and usually benign, but of course I’ve gotten myself into the “What if it isn’t?” lather and this is driving me crazy. There has not been one night I’ve slept the entire night through since October.

I am at a low point.

What do all of you do when you’re at a low point? Like, what do you say to yourself to get out of it?

Also, I had a very unpleasant exchange with someone who it turns out doesn’t like or respect me very much and I always thought she did and, oh, that stings. Plus also, two people I don’t know all that well unfriended me on Facebook and I know it shouldn’t matter because they’re, like, the wife of someone I barely know and the big sister of someone I was friends with when I was 13. Why do I care? And yet I do.

I am at a low point. Did I mention?

Plus I can’t even think about Australia. I can’t. I can’t look at pictures or read anything about it. I get too upset.

So, really. Tell me. How do you pull yourself out of these low points? I keep telling myself, and have since October, that after the next doctor’s appointment, I will feel better. I just have to make it to December 10, or December 16, or January 2. But each appointment I go to just involves making another appointment. For all I know, when I go get my Cystine Chapel [(c) Faithful Reader Fay. All rights reserved.] looked at next week they’ll set me up for yet ANOTHER appointment. At this point, I feel like I will live in this fever pitch of terror forever.

My blood pressure is high–a thing it’s never been. I have Bilbo Baggins under my eyes. I can’t sleep. Oooo, maybe I’ve lost weight. Hang on…

Four measly pounds. Really? Geez.

I gotta go. I have to get in the shower and go to work and try not to be Eeyore all day. Actually, I’m more that high-strung rabbit right now, whose name I think is Rabbit, and why did everyone else get a good name and he had to be Rabbit? Well. Piglet. He also lost out in the name department.

Talk to you later.
Person (I guess that’d be my name in wherever the hell the Winnie the Pooh people lived.) (Not that they were people.) (Oh my god I have to go.)

I made a stupid goal for myself last year and I pretty much met it.

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. The very next day…

No.

God, no.

Last Christmas, Christmas of 2018, Chris and Lilly gave me a bunch of fancy soaps. In early spring of 2019, I was running low on them, but then someone put two wrapped, fancy soaps on the anyone-can-take-it table at work.

I took them. I was the anyone who took them.

“I wonder if I can go all year without ever having to buy soap,” I wondered then, because these are the deep thoughts that run through my head.

And do you know I did it? My mother sent me soap for my birthday. I stole soap from hotels that I’d already opened and used, so it wasn’t really stealing. That’s what I tell myself, as I have no moral compass. Anyway, somehow, I managed to go all year without buying soap.

Except for one screwup.

Do you remember when I went to the beach with Lottie Blanco and all of her friends? I don’t know if you’ve ever rented a beach house, but first of all, you could fly to Paris for what it costs to get a beach house for one week at peak season here. Also, they provide you with nothing. Nothing.

You gotta remember sheets. Towels. Pillows. And?

Soap.

It was the one thing I forgot to take with me, so I had to go to the dollar store at the beach and buy one bar of Palmolive bar soap for, you know, a dollar. I’d say spending one dollar on soap all year is pretty good. It practically makes me French.

So let’s all set a dumb goal this year. Something fun and achievable. I don’t know what mine is yet; I was just making up this post as I went along. Let’s see if we can go all year without buying more flour, or without ever paying a toll on the road, or something equally dumb.

Let me know your thoughts.

Soapily,
June

P.S. Chris and Lilly gave me more soap this year. I opened a bar of sugarpear and winterberry this morning, and I have no idea of either of those are really things, but it smells delicious.

Now that it’s over and it looks like it’s gonna be pretty okay, I will tell you that I’ve just had the darkest three months of my life.

In October, I was finally getting over my concussion from my car accident, and things were going well. I was having fun at work, going to my trainer, getting over the screaming fear of a car slamming into the back of me. Things were good.

Then I started to feel like I had a UTI. (I know I’ve told you some of this but then I got scared and clammed up.)

For me, when I feel a urinary tract infection—and I’m assuming every woman reading this has had one and the two men who read haven’t—but for me, it feels like I have to pee so bad, I do, then I DO pee and once I’m done I think, Man, I have to pee so bad, I do. It feels like that all the time.

I had to go to the doctor anyway, for my regular checkup. My doctor is big on me coming in 47 times a month, a thing that annoys me. You never leave without her saying, “I want you to come back in [x] weeks.”

Anyway, here was me in the last sedate moment I had all year. Waiting for the doctor. I was just screwing around with my phone and happened to capture it.

“I definitely have a UTI,” I told her, and they had me pee in a cup (a thing I’ve done 4935893504043 times in the last three months). (I’ve gotten really good at it.)

I tested negative. They gave me antibiotics anyway. This made me anxious, because once I had an allergic reaction to penicillin and I always worry my tongue will blow up.

It didn’t. But the UTI didn’t clear up, either. I went back to the doctor. Tested positive for UTI this time.

Next round of antibiotics didn’t work.

I was miserable. I was running to the bathroom every 14 seconds. I was in such agony one day at work that I zipped over to the urgent care on the next block.

That time they found blood in my urine (but no UTI). “Well, if it were bladder cancer, it’d hurt, right?” I was just joking in my June’s-a-nervous-joker type of way.

“I don’t mean to scare you, but this is one of the signs of bladder cancer,” said the snip at urgent care. “You’d best go to your doctor.”

See.

You can’t say shit like that to me. You can’t. Because that was in mid November, and since then I have become a urologist specializing in bladder cancer. I know the percentage of times people with asymptomatic microscopic hematuria end up having bladder cancer (4%). I know the percentage with gross hematuria who have it (10%) if they’re asymptomatic. Which I wasn’t. I had a symptom that was driving me out of my gourd.

All I did was lie around and Google and work myself into a tizzy. By the time my regular doctor opened the door to the room I was in, I was sobbing. “I just know I have bladder cancer,” I said to her. “Oh, you do not,” she said. But she hadn’t known about the microscopic hematuria, which by the way just means you had blood in your urine that you can’t see but when they test your urine they can.

Anyway, they set me up with a urologist but I couldn’t get in till mid-December. The fever pitch of anxiety I was in was astounding. And I know if you don’t have anxiety—well. I IMAGINE if you don’t have anxiety, because I can’t picture life without it, but I imagine medical scares go like this:

“Well, I’ll see the specialist in a month. For now, I’ll hope for the best.” Then I imagine you making the bed, looking smug and calm.

Oh my god.

I had trouble functioning. I lost 10 pounds. I’d asked my doctor for Xanax, which I only took on very bad nights, but I’d wake up four hours later in a cold panic. And then I’d Google some more.

I had to work every Saturday in November, and it was work I did with dogs and cats, and that was like a blessing from God or something, because it was the only thing that would help me do okay for maybe 20 minutes at a time.

Finally I saw the urologist.

Here I am, waiting for him. Let’s compare the two doctor visits from October to December.

Hey, you cut your hair. And went through the stress machine.

Anyway, the doctor was so reassuring. “The chances of it being bladder cancer are low,” he said. I don’t have the risk factors, and as he said, “Ninety-nine percent of the time, people SEE blood in their urine first.” I didn’t correct him that it was 96%.

He gave me some estrogen cream and some papers on being an old lady with a bladder and sent me back to work, where a coworker who had no idea what a tailspin she sent me into asked, “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you SURE?”

Oh my god that sent my anxiety through the roof. Was I sure? Was I?

I kept telling myself it was just one time they saw traces of blood in my urine, out of the 68 times my urine’s been tested. I reminded myself that the doctor said, “If you SEE blood in your urine, come back.”

That Saturday I went to a Christmas show with Marty and Kaye and Jo. I was in particular agony that day. The having-to-pee-all-the-time thing comes and goes in intensity and that day was red letter.

After the show, everyone went to dinner but I went home as I felt rotten. Of course I ran to the bathroom …

and saw blood.

I can’t even describe yet how scared I got. First, there was a helpful numb feeling that lasted maybe an hour. Then I started shaking and I believe I shook until yesterday afternoon.

That meant all of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, I shook. Like a chihuahua. And I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to ruin Christmas. I made myself go through the Christmas motions. I have this clock my mother sent me: Every hour it chimes a different Christmas carol, and it was like it was mocking me. The cheerful Christmas songs when I was in this black hell.

Finally it got so bad that I took matters in hand. I mean, I couldn’t live like that anymore.

I told myself that so far, the worst part of this whole thing had been my attitude. Yes, peeing ALL THE TIME also sucks, but it was my fear making this intolerable.

I called my friend Paula, not the funny reader Paula but the one in Seattle. She is more scared of medical things than anyone I know, and on her first mammogram ever, which she’d put off for years, they came in and said, “Don’t even get dressed. We found something.”

“How did you deal with the terror?” I asked her one dark December afternoon as I lay in my robe.

“I had to accept it,” she told me. “Those first few months I just fought with everyone, and was belligerent, and once I realized I had to accept the truth of the matter, things got better.”

So I told myself sternly that I just had to wait to get my tests, and accept whatever came after. And you know that helped? I had a few days there where I felt almost normal, other than that Damocles sword of doom hanging over me.

Last week I drove myself to a CT scan in private, then returned to work like I’d just gone out for an errand. Yesterday I drove myself to a cystoscopy, where they drive a tube into your urethra, and if you’re looking for a good time…

Anyway, it turns out I have an ovarian cyst the size of your head. I’ve had it for years–they have records of it from an old scan. And there it still is. It’s a CYST, so please don’t scare the shit out of me with stories, THANK you. I go to my regular doctor next week and we’ll talk about getting it the hell out of me because chances are it’s pressing on my bladder and causing me to feel like this.

So I’m not 100% out of the woods of dark fear yet, but I 100% do not have bladder cancer, and oh my god that got solved so fast. I mean, the CT results came back clear (“Except you DO have an ovarian cyst the size of Guam”) but I knew the real results would come from that cystoscopy. I thought he’d be in there looking around for 15 minutes and I’d have to lie there with my heart thumping, but almost as soon as he was in there with his yellow submarine, he said, “Everything’s looking very normal, June.”

I like him. Also he’s handsome AF. We’ve already gotten to 6th base, where he sees your bladder.

So that’s what’s been new with me and I have some new anxiety-reducing techniques now and thanks, world, for that lesson GOOD GRAVY.

Love,
June and her cyster.

This is the first time in ages I actually held out till the last day of the year to show you my end-of-year video. It’s because I’m mature now.

I know most of you readers aren’t in my video, because we don’t ever actually see each other, but you are a huge part of this and every year. Thank you.

Happy new decade!!

(Song: Reflecting Light by Sam Phillips)

I’ve decided I’ve been phoning in my appearance, with the lack of Botox and fillers, and my dumb hair, and especially with my clothes. Hello, same things year after year. So I revamped my Stitch Fix (SF) membership, a thing you should be familiar with as we usually delight in voting on the SF outfits that come to my boss. But she has put her SF membership on hold so it’s up to me to take the reins, apparently.

These and other horse refs hoofing your way as I welcome you to the “Yay or Neigh on June’s Stitch Fix Roundup.”

If you AREN’T familiar, SF is a subscription service where they send you clothes and you decide to keep them or return them in a huff. You can help me decide on that, right here in this blog.

The advantage my boss had is that (a) she gets to be my boss WHAT A REWARD and (2), she had me to photograph her when her SF box came to the office. Seeing as I live alone, except for with pets and they have no thumbs, I had to improvise by placing my phone on my kitten scale, then setting the timer.

Here is a photo of me before I tried everything on, in my regular outfit, so we have some idea who we’re dealing with. The silhouette we have, so to speak.

Kidding. But her hair is magnificent.

Do you find it sad that I posed like a mannequin alone in my kitchen in front of my kitten scale? That’s because you don’t know the meaning of fun.

All right. Here’s our first item up for judgement. Please keep in mind I requested everything be machine washable.

This is the Whitley Striped Open Cardigan. Here it is from the back.

You see that I began putting away all my Christmas cards and then lost interest, a trait my old college roommate Sandy can tell you dates back to at least 1989.

Let’s vote!

Next up, another sweater! Will the unpredictability ever end?

I know this looks like a careful art pose but really I noticed that counter needed wiping.

Just to shake things up a tad, let’s get into my jeans. I’ve NO idea what these poses are meant to do.

I guess I didn’t step far enough away from the camera, but they go all the way down to the ankle. In case that affects your decision-making. [From the movie Arthur. Burt: “I never drink. I think drinking affects your decision-making.” Arthur: “You may be right. I can’t decide.”]

Let’s move on to a pink top that we will assume won’t normally be worn with my black bra.

I think really the best part of me are my yes-or-no lines on these polls. I was born to write these.

Finally, they sent me a purse. I’m pretending to hail a cab, what with all the cab hailing I do here in Greensboro. You can also see the jeans again.

Here are its guts.

Please vote at some point before tomorrow morning when I have to send these items back or keep them forever like my grandmother’s dance card.

Thank you for your participation in this pressing matter. Thanks for fixing my stitch.

I love this thread,
June

I know I never write you on Sunday, but once Christmas was over, I kept thinking it was the weekend so I didn’t write and about 3 p.m. each weekday after Christmas I’d think, ding dang it, I forgot to blog because I thought it was the weekend and the next day I’d do it again and I don’t know why I’ve become Faulkner today with the sentence that won’t end.

So I thought I’d better write today, which I think is Sunday, and I really hate Christmas and how it throws you off and also because of this…

Thank god it’s telling me where an ATM is near me so I can withdraw that 62 cents. I get paid tomorrow. And I have food out my ass. I’m good. I made brownies yesterday and forgot I made them and woke up this morning and was all, What’s this and IT WAS BROWNIES and while that was good I don’t like this time of year did I mention Love, Faulkner.

Anyway, hi. It’s that week between Christmas and the new year, did I mention? How’s everyone been? Here’s what I’ve been up to other than being disoriented.

My therapist recommended a book. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Also, I worked on Monday, which is the day I saw my therapist, who recommended a book to face my stress, pain and illness, and in the meantime, I had no work to do at work. None. There were like four people in the office and apparently they produced nothing that needed copy editing. So I looked at stuff online a lot and did you know rich people are now buying dinosaur bones to keep at home, not in museums?

Rich people piss me off. That said, would love a peacock. Do you think I can get one for whatever 99 cents plus 62 cents is?

Anyway, work shut down at 3:00, and someone finally sent me work to do at 24 minutes to 3:00. I am not making that up.

Then I went home and waited for Christmas. Because I love it so.

My Christmas Eve plans got canceled due to illness, which was perfect for me because I got the joy of being invited somewhere and the pleasure of not having to go anywhere. But I got in my car and drove through the ball light neighborhood. For blocks, people in this neighborhood make these chicken wire balls covered in lights, and hang them wayyyyy up in their trees and the effect is amazing.

I drag all guests to that neighborhood in December. It’s my favorite in all of Greensboro even when there AREN’T lights.

Finally, after an evening of no creatures stirring or even shaking…

it was effing Christmas.

I got many things I liked, from a combination of my mother and my aunt, who probably get annoyed that it’s an extravaganza and I usually can’t remember who gave me which thing after.

After opening my gifts and getting 495385030530 texts (why is that the thing now? Why the Merry Christmas text?), I got dressed

and headed to Aunt Chris and Uncle Lilly’s. Once I had one of my dogs accidentally calling them that, in a blog post from aught nine or something, and I have never gotten over it.

Aunt C and Uncle L left no Xmas stone unturned. They had four trees, each with its own theme.

Then I forced everyone to go look at animals with me.

Those “hurrrrr” jokes never get old. That’s the beauty of them. The Black Beauty.

A few months ago, a pig just wandered onto C & L’s place, and why does stuff like this not happen to me, puppy in a shoebox on my front seat notwithstanding? Anyway I was dying to meet their new pig and oh my god he is so charming.

He was kind of shy with me, because he didn’t know if I was there with toast, lettuce and tomato. But oh, he let me pet him and he snorted and I want a pig so bad, I do.

Then we had dinner, which was delicious, and for dessert Chris made a buche de Noel, as you do, with MERINGUE MUSHROOMS.

We need to admire it from all angles.

So, as Christmases go, it was a good one.

Then the days all melded and I went out and did stuff and stayed in and cleaned and oh! Faithful Reader Paula sent me some of my old romance magazines and I’ve been lying about sipping coffee and reading those, just like my gramma used to do. I just need a leather case to hold my Benson & Hedges.

At some point in what feels like an endless weekend, I went to a store here called Replacements. It has all the old china patterns and also other doodads including estate jewelry and OH MY GOD I love it there.

Now it’s Sunday, right? Isn’t it? Oh my god. So tomorrow I sort of go back to normal, except New Year’s Day is in the middle and everything will confuse me again, and GIVE ME NEXT WEEK ALREADY.

XO,
June in December

Last week, in the midst of the 200,009 things I’d agreed to do in celebration of a time of year I cannot even stand, I said, “This Sunday, Ima sit around and do nothing.”

“Me too,” said Faithful Reader Jan, but not in a Harvey Weinstein kind of way. Jan said this in the comments, I think. Or maybe on Facebook. I can’t remember which. It all blends.

Anyway, that is the genesis of this brilliant collaboration invented by Faithful Reader Jan and me, brought to you by Jan and me, in which we present to you in photos how we did nothing all day yesterday. Photos by Jan and me®.

I should mention that I’ve “known” Jan—and I don’t air quote that because I have known her biblically—since maybe aught seven or eight, when her sister wrote me. I’d recently had an MRI for my disease du jour, and Jan had had a particularly difficult birth. Her sister told me that once Jan awoke from said difficult birth, she asked, “Did June get the results of her MRI?”

I had. I’d had a sinus infection. So Jan and I were much the same when it came to pain and suffering right then.

Anyway I’ve liked her ever since. Who wouldn’t?

So here’s our Sunday of nothing, in which you’ll note one of us did less nothing than another.

8:50 a.m.

As soon as I stir, Edsel gets on the bed with me, should his hips allow. Some mornings I hear him try to buck like a bronco but he can’t quite make it up.

9:20 a.m.

Jan says she almost never gets to lie in bed and watch Meet the Press, but yesterday she did. Also, am big fan of the Jan bedspread. Ooo, and her bedroom door.

9:24 a.m.

Everyone at my house gets let out, pilled, fed and generally tended to, while I make coffee. Then I drink said coffee.

9:45 a.m.

I unload the dishwasher because that doesn’t really count as doing a thing. Besides there are dishes from the day before in the sink. Perk of living alone: Dishes from day before are one plate, one fork and a cup.

10:07 a.m.

More reading, now with cats!

11:51 a.m.

Jan has made it out of her bed and into her living room, but her dog Wilbur has plans for her. News flash: I love Wilbur.

12:53 p.m.

Jan shows me her impressive elf slippers.

1:27 p.m.

I’ve showered and headed out to play Blu with Edsel. When he first got diagnosed with congestive heart failure, I didn’t play Blu with him at all, and walked him like we were each 109. But as the months have ticked by I’ve carefully, carefully, gingerly learned what he can do and now we play Blu for a decent amount of time and he tolerates it nicely. Look how cute his back feets are in that last photo.

2:31 p.m.

Jan is still lounging about. Am a fan of her huge TV. And the pretty wood thingy that divides the rooms.

2:32 p.m.
Meanwhile I get restless. I am going to Chris and Lilly’s for Christmas and I’ve gotten small gifts for their kids, but nothing for them. Try thinking of something to get people who own a store that sells candles, soaps, plants and geegaws for your yard. So I head out to find them something.

6:37 p.m.

Back home (did finally get something for C&L, and 8 million things for self), now with cats!

6:58 p.m.

^^^ Meanwhile, over at House of Jan… ^^^

And that’s it. That was our combined day of nothing, in which I guess I did something, but it’s because I am so full of Christmas cheer.

Today I have to work, then tomorrow I have Christmas plans and then it’s Christmas and I have plans and then it’s the 26th and I have plans and then it’s the 27th and I have plans.

Overwhelmingly,
June

P.S. Thanks, Jan, for participating. Can I just have your house?

Last night, I schlepped downtown for a change and parked in the rape garage for the third time this week. (Can’t they do anything to de-pee that place?)

Anyway, I took my coworker Murray Slaughter, who sits next to me. Not only was he going downtown to our creative team party, afterward he was headed to see It’s a Wonderful Life at my old theater, with his wife. He didn’t want to deal with his car and her car downtown, so he just walked there from the party. I noted that we sat in the car the same way we do at work, me on the left, him to my right.

What was sort of cute was I led another coworker down there, as he isn’t from Greensboro and didn’t have a clue where to park or anything. At this point that parking structure is called The June Gardens Rape Lot, so I led him there. But at the same time we arrived, like, 48 other coworkers got out of their cars, and we all walked in a gang to the eyeglass shop like in Reservoir Dogs. A gang of editors. We’ll cut a sentence.

I know I’ve used that line before but come on. It’s a good one.

At the entry to the store was an artist who would draw what she thought you looked like naked. “Get me one glass of wine and you can all see that without your imaginations,” I said professionally.

I never did get my naked image done, but two male straight coworkers had themselves drawn together, embracing like John and Yoko, and I died of happy when I saw that.

I was mostly in the back, because there was a guy with a typewriter in a glassed-in room, and you went in there and told him your life, and he wrote a poem about you.

There were chairs back there and that’s how we stood in line for our poem. This was actually rather great, for I was able to hold court and talk to people without having to flit.

The following is a series of people being annoyed at my photographing them while we spoke, and I want you to think of that next time I am somewhere public and you say, “No pictures, June?”

Also, we were at an eyeglass shop, and one dude from work actually ended up buying some frames. Austin was also considering it and made me take his picture even though the store is strewn with iPads so you can send yourself an image. Still, I had to be Austin’s photojournalist.

Let’s tell Austin our thoughts on his frame choices, shall we? Do we like…

I also tried on frames but unlike Austin I am not a vision in every frame.

The store is cool but the lighting is such that taking a photo in there is hard. They’re screaming down at you from beams above.

Anyway, eventually I got my poem. I loved the guy’s typewriter and that he just sat there and focused on you. That’s all I need. Just some dude focused on my every word, with an old typewriter before him. Well. That and a good 401(k).

I have no idea what that poem means but I like it. Another woman there got a lot of moon imagery that I coveted.

So that wraps up yesterday’s party, and now I don’t have another one till Christmas Eve, which means I have three entire nights of not doing things till I start all over and when’s January 2.

Frame this one.
June

In case you’re worried sick, I did remember to take the trash cans out last night, just as soon as I got home. But a quick check at my text from the city, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, tells me that it’s not recycle week and my bin is FULL, dammit. Full. Stupid holiday season.

There’s no room at the bin.

In other important updates, last summer I decided to try natural deodorant instead of antiperspirant, for myriad reasons. Fortunately this decision coincided conveniently with my car accident, which was good because that first week or two that you give up the antiperspirant ain’t pretty, and I was mostly home during that time. Lying in the dark being concussed.

Upon my earth-shattering decision last summer, I bought this vanilla lavender hippie deodorant they have at my Ghetto Lion, and I liked it, but you know how I am. Once I ran out of that I had to try a new brand, because it’s always better out there somewhere. This time I got this Tom’s of Minnesota brand, or whatever, and it’s coconut-scented.

What’s with everything being coconut-related nowadays? Coconut is the lemon of the ’10s. Remember in the ’70s when it was Love’s Fresh Lemon this and LemonUp that? Now the whole world is Gilligan’s phone.

Anyway I hate it. I smell like a lime-in-the-coconut hippie, and I do not wish to smell this way nor drink it all up, and now I am stuck with this scent till it runs out and I will be needing your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

In another update that is meaningless, every day my phone goes off at 6:35—that’s what I use for an alarm now, is my phone. When did we become these people?

Anyway I’ve somehow set my phone up to say to me, “How come you never take me to the airport anymore?”

That was a line from When Harry Met Sally that .02 people will get, so you’re welcome.

I’ve somehow set up my phone to say, “Good morning. It’s [insert temperature here] and the high will be [insert meat thermometer here] and it will be partly/mostly not at all [insert your opinion here].”

So what I’m saying to you is my phone gives me a little brief on the weather and why do we care so much? It’s not like any of us are walking to school.

My point is that then I get out of bed and draw the living room blinds (I have a giant easel and a puffy artist hat). As I do this, I tell my Google Machine [® my mother], “Hey, Google, good morning” and I’ve already done too much good-morning-ing for my tastes.

I hate the phrase “good morning.” Fuck off.

“Good morning. June.” First of all, my Google Machine literally calls me June. Hello, delusional. And then also it always halts before saying my name. My “name.” Like even my Google Machine thinks I’m an asshole for having it call me June.

Anyway, as I make my way around the room, because I have four fucking blinds to open, Google Machine tells me the weather, and here’s the thing.

It always diverges wildly from what my phone has told me. Like, the phone will say there’s a high of 63 and it’ll be mostly sunny. Google Machine will say it’s going to be 48 and cloudy.

Someone in my house is wrong. I just don’t know who. Does my phone think I’m in San Francisco or something? Does Google Machine think I’m in Minnesota with Tom and his deodorant? If so, how do I find out and how do I fix it?

Computers have made life harder than it used to be. Now you can get work texts at 10:30 p.m., for example.

I’d better get ready. Tonight is the Christmas bash for my team, the “creatives,” and we are having the party downtown at a cool wood-floored old store that sells fancy eyeglass frames. I would get dolled up but everyone at the party will have worked with my Merle Haggard self all day so why bother?

I leave you with two things. One is my rod.

Faithful Reader Kris sent me a message saying I would get a package from her and that I could open it BEFORE Christmas. Look! It’s a Frida! I think I will keep this out all year long and not just at Christmas.

Sometimes I feel bad that I don’t send all y’all gifts who send ME gifts, but if I did that I would be destitute and living in a neighborhood of meth addicts.

Wait…

The other thing is, as I went to the kitchen to take a picture of Frida, who is hanging from my kitchen light fixture, I saw out the window Edsel and Milhous, and they had their backs to me, looking at the sunrise together like a douche commercial and it was so cute but by the time I took a photo of course they had moved.

But what I enjoy is how Milhous caught on that I was staring at them in Personal Growth (another When Harry Met Sally joke, and who is annoying today?) while Eds remained oblivious.

Anyway, everyone’s inside now and Edsel is accusing Mil of being one of those conspiracy theory people and Mil is insisting 9/11 was an inside job and that sums up my life.

Coconutly,
June, writing from where it’s either 48 or 63 degrees out.

In my quest to be constantly on the move like a shark, last night The Poet and I went to the movies.

We’d discussed going to the movie last week, then the weekend came and you know how she gets at the weekend, with her clubbing and binging. Or maybe her cello and church. Either way.

Yes, The Poet plays the cello. In an orchestra. I am clearly the most trashy part of Poet’s life.

She always has Mondays off, The Poet does, as many years ago she got some sort of fancy poetry fellowship and she was allowed one day a week to sit about and think poet-y thoughts.

Me too.

Anyway, she’s been a four-day-week kind of gal ever since, at least since I met her in aught 11.

But the thing is, she wasn’t at work yesterday, either. Word around the streets was she took a day off. Beretta told me. Apparently she has 147 days off left this year that if she doesn’t take, she’ll lose.

That’s all well and good, but what about my needs? Were we going to the pictures or nah?

But they’ve invented this feature called texting

so I used that to get in touch with her and it turns out we were still on.

All four men who read me are like, “None of this was germane to the story.”

“I will pick you up at 7:05,” I texted her. I text her. “But look for a bigger, darker Fiat.” See what she misses when she takes days off all willy-nilly?

She was waiting for me in the lobby, with a magazine, (but not like Darling Nikki) when I arrived at her abode at 7:06, and I guess lateness like that warrants a deep dive into a back copy of The New Yorker. “You know, you can just mindlessly scroll your phone to pass the time,” I alerted her, although what someone mindlessly looks at if they aren’t on social is beyond me. She could call up the electronic version of The New Yorker.

I do like The New Yorker. Ned subscribes to it, and when I lived with him for that one year, during my year abroad, I would peruse it. He never, on the other hand, picked up one single issue of my Star Magazine.

We headed downtown, which is all doo-dadded up for Christmas and they do a good job here. They put blue twinkle lights on the trees and it’s lovely. I guess everyone thinks blue is the religion-neutral color, although it doesn’t really address the atheists, does it?

We parked in the rape garage on the 109th floor, as all the other floors were full. “It’s a TUESDAY,” Poet kvetched, and I am glad someone else finds Christmas annoying.

Anyway, once we descended all 500 stairs and had the wind knocked out of us by the wind and I realize that’s ironic, Alannis, we walked 78 blocks to the theater, and?

There is a ticket taker there who has always loved Ned. Oh my god, any time we went in there, she’d be all, “I have your tickets, Mr. Nickerson!” She’d always joke about how she knew his name, and how she recognized him, and she’d flash this giant smile and glow up at him.

She was at the ticket booth yesterday and recognized me not one iota.

“Sold out?” I asked the future Mrs. Nickerson.

“I’m afraid so,” she said, zero hint of recognition on her face. Hi, I’m the woman who accompanied Jackie Kennedy to the movies. I mean, I was there next to him 700 times while she pranced and twisted about. Oh my god I wanted to throttle her back then.

Dejected and movieless, we headed out, but at the door I said, “Look disappointed” to The Poet, who immediately gave me this:

You know, a few years ago I took The Poet to the movies at this theater, and as we got out of the car the person in the next car said, “I have one extra ticket. Do you want it?” to The P, and she took it, and then when we went inside I entered her into the drawing to win a free pair of jeans, and SHE WON THEM.

LAST night, as we dejectedly galumphed down the sidewalk, a woman approached us. “Did you just try to get in to see Love, Actually?”

“Yes; it’s sold out,” we told her.

“I have two extra tickets,” she said, and handed them to us for free.

Is The P a good luck charm?

So we got to go anyway, and now The Poet can finally say she saw Love, Actually, and she found the Colin-goes-to-Wisconson storyline a tad far-fetched, and I just like that scene now because one of those hootchie-gootchie girls is Betty Draper.

The only thing I have to do tonight is take out the trash, and you act like that’s minor but have you met my ADD? Then tomorrow I have a party to go to and Friday I have the trainer and Saturday I’ve been invited to a party and I finally said NO. NO NO NO and plan to sit around listlessly until next week when I have 79 things to do.

Love,
June

If I could just have 14 fekking seconds where I’m not doing something between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., I could write you.

That reminds me: Speaking of doing things, last night I saw my trainer, who has decorated her gym for Christmas, which kills me. Anyway, she said when she was a kid she was in the choir and sang, “Oh bring us some frigging pudding” because that’s what she thought the words were.

Makes more sense than figgy. We sing all sorts of Xmas songs that make no sense like it’s normal. “…the angels did say was to certain poor shepherds….” …What?

“Should auld aquaintance…” …What?

I guess it’s cause we’re singing songs from 1412 like we’re the Wife of Bath.

Anyway let’s look at my photos so I can remember what all I’ve been doing other than running hither and yon since someone invented Christmas. When did Christmas become a whole month? What we need is some sort of movement to take it back to how it was in 1412. You celebrate one day then go back to having pox.

[…a pause while June peruses her photos…]

For some reason, last Friday started out light at work, so all of us copy editors in my row got together and ordered sandwiches at 10:30 in the morning from the pharmacy that time forgot. I’ve told you about that place before. It’s near my house and it’s near work because work is near my house.

The pharmacy (with a lunch counter) that time forgot decorated for Christmas. I love going in there. I’d have taken a photo of the counter but it was filled with old men.

I got a ham and swiss on wheat for like 17 cents. The other copy editor got a cheeseburger and the other other copy editor got cream cheese and olive like she’s 79 years young today, brought to you by Smuckers.

How full of yourself do you have to be to call your company Smuckers when that word makes no sense other than it’s your name? It might as well be a Christmal carol, so little sense does it make. “Good King Whathisname looked out on the feast of Steven…”

…What?

Oh, I know what else is new! I traded in my little tiny roller skate car for a 2018 Fiat 500X. Let me find an ad for one so you can see it from the side.

I had taken my little blue roller skate car to the dealership because I had two lights on the dashboard: a vulva on a rubber mat and excited cheese.

I have a warranty so that’s why I went there. But you know how that takes longer than you think (the repairmen ran for crackers to go with the cheese), so I wandered the lot and saw that cute car, and it was one year older than mine but with the same mileage (3,800 miles). Turns out they’d never sold it; the men who worked there used it and they offered it as a rental car.

Anyway, it’s the same car payment so I traded it in. Oh, my heart tugged as I pulled away from that baby blue little car. I really did love it. But after my accident I always felt like a sitting duck in that teensy thing. It’s been 4 months since my accident and I still felt tense.

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly.” What the Sam Holy Hill are boughs?

On Saturday night, I drove my new vehicle to a church, because you’re sick and tired of hearing about me being at a church. Jo’s grandnephew was in a production there, so Jo invited Marty Martin and Kayeeeeee and me to it.

Lemme tell ya something. Those Baptists? Are into Christmas.

They left no frigging pudding or stone unturned when it came to Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, and when can we not in December, I got a card from Lottie Blanco and her wife, Lottie Blanco, and look how they signed it.

Dying.

I guess that wraps up everything I’ve been up to other than literally wrapping things up, and have I mentioned this time of year irks me?

Last night after work I screamed on over to the trainer

to work out, unfortunately, and also to meet her NEW DOGGIE, who came from a Lab rescue. He is 7 or 8 months old and was originally adopted by an elderly couple who found him to be too energetic. What made an old couple say, Heyyyy, how about a mild Lab puppy?

My trainer, who has the energy of 10,000 suns, took this ball of fire and is whipping him into shape. Really, he was rambunctious but he was such a good boy. He didn’t jump on me, and okay, he stuck his entire snout in my bag, but who doesn’t? Also, I said, “Shake” and he shook paws with me and my trainer said, “I didn’t teach him that. I didn’t know he knew that.” So clearly he is a genius who has retained his old lessons. He probably could tell me what a bough is.

Then she put him upstairs and I could hear Hank, the puppy, and her other cute black-and-white dog, Rosie, playing the whole time we were downstairs. It was like the Clydesdales were up there. Mother of god. Apparently they play all day.

Then I screamed to my old theater, where I pointedly did NOT see the Muppet movie, but rather Shop Around the Corner, which was showing in the smaller upstairs theater they have. I’d never seen it before and why don’t more people love that movie? It was great. It was You’ve Got Mail but with Jimmy Stewart.

Tonight I’m going BACK up there, as The Poet has never seen Love, Actually and they are showing it tonight and we shall be in attendance. Then Thursday I have a Christmas party and LET’S GO BACK TO CHRISTMAS BEING ONE DAY OH MY GOD.

Love,
Jooon

P.S. I forgot to mention that when I woke up today, I had a dog hat because it was thundering out. Fifty pounds of dog, right on my head.

P.P.S. “Round yon virgin…” …WHAT??

Last night I got home from work, had a smackerel for dinner, and really, really wanted to stay inside where it was warm and my new/old couch was comfy, to catch up on Call the Midwife, as if I haven’t watched 700 episodes of it this week already. I can’t believe they killed off Barbara.

Instead, I got on my hatty and coaty and grabbed a bottle of Prosecco-y (or as I now call it, a bottle of migraine) and headed to the home of the neighbor I had never met, as she was having an open house.

As you know, because I never hush about it, I live in an old mill neighborhood that’s on the National Register of Historic Places (so is my vadge). All the houses are exactly the same—except for one stretch we call Snob Hill, with TWO-story millhouses. Fancy TWO-story ones.

Anyway my neighbor on the next block bought her house in January of this year and she started an Instagram called MyMillhouse. Someone here found it, ya buncha stalkers, and said to me, “Isn’t this your neighborhood?” Naturally I started following MyMillhouse myself, and she’s done things like knock down walls to expose the other fireplaces (there are three. Only one of mine is exposed). (Let’s have a knock-down party!!)

She started announcing on Instagram that she was having an open house, and I decided I should go, as I’ve been dying to meet her and didn’t want to seem insane by just, you know, knocking on her door and asking if I could have a piece of pizza.

I can’t believe I mentioned that yesterday and no one said anything about it in the comments.

As I pulled up to her house (yes, I drove. It’s a block away. Look, it was COLD. Who are you, Tenzing Norgay, over there? You’d have driven, too.), this young couple was also pulling up, and I say young but they are probably in their 30s, which at this point is young and oh very young why did you leave June this time?

“We wondered if we should bring something,” the wife said, eyeing my Prosecco.

“We’ll all go in together and say we brought it as a group,” I assured them, their old maiden aunt in sensible oxfords.

Anyway, it turns out I love that couple, and we are all best friends now, and I plan to move in with them and be their Alice in nude hose and Keds. Except I won’t clean.

The other news is that I love the owner of the millhouse, who showed me all around her exactly-like-mine-but-not house, and oh my god let’s talk about her front door.

She and I both have our original front doors. And see this thing on mine?

See the box? It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Bah.

See how there’s an outline on the front of my door, an outline of what was once a beautiful Art Deco doorbell ringer? It goes with the box on the back of my door.

THE MY MILLHOUSE WOMAN STILL HAS HER FRONT DOORBELL PART.

All I can think of is the day whoever lived here said, “Ima just rip this beautiful ringer off the door.” WHY. Where was I when this happened? Was I 9 and feeling a sudden cold chill of revulsion while reading Little House books in Saginaw?

Naturally, because I’m an asshole, which is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, I rang the neighbor’s said intact doorbell with the couple I made best friends with. Also, sorry, Chris and Lilly, for cheating on you with another couple but y’all are in Disney World and this is what happens.

Oh, it made the most lovely, chingy noise!! I want the lovely, chingy noise at my door! Come and ching on my door! We’ve been waitin’ for youuuuu.

But here’s the thing: The reason this was an open house was it was an open house for members and people interested in the Greensboro Historic Preservation something-or-other (chairwoman: my vagina), or some name like that, and everyone at that thing was into old houses, and if you think there weren’t 700 ideas for where I could get my old front of my doorbell back…

Oh my god it was great! I heard about everyone’s old houses, and old-house renovations, and there were other neighbors there too (one couple from Snob Hill, with their elbow-length gloves and monocles) (they have my favorite house in my hood, actually, other than mine).

So now I have a new goal. FIND THAT DOORBELL FRONT.

The hostess of the party and I exchanged digits, and I was told about the next meeting of the preservation society which I am so going to, and right now I kind of feel like George Bailey.

“I’ve been nominated for membership in the National Geographic Society.”

I guess what I am saying to you is I am glad I got off the couch and traveled one block to my neighbor’s open house, and now I am on the hunt for my doorbell and stay tuned for many excruciating posts about finding feeling fingering and forgetting that doorbell and

you

are

welcome.

Love,
June

Why do people think it’s okay to use words like “preggo”?

Anyway. Merry Christmas. Last night was my work holiday party. It’s at the country club that’s right near me now, which is lovely and convenient.

For the first six Christmases that I worked there, it was way out yonder at a fancy hotel, and I like the country club better. I ought to become a member. I’m certain it’s affordable.

Lottie Blanco did NOT wear this to the party, which did I mention was at a country club?

Anyway, for the second year in a row, The Poet was my date. I left my house at 5:17, and due to holiday traffic, I got to her place at 5:20. We left her parking lot at 5:21 and we were at the party at 5:23. “I hope you brought snacks for this long drive,” I said to her.

I should offer the disclaimer that both The Poet and I live rich-people adjacent. I imagine in the days of yore all the mill workers lived in my hood and all the mill owners lived in the hood with the country club. Oh, they’re grand old beautiful houses. How I wish I were rich rich rich.

“Do you think any of these people are copy editors?” I asked the poet as we passed grand houses. The Poet lives in these beautiful old white-brick apartments, and I don’t know WHO used to live in those. Maybe single millworkers! Maybe she knows. Poet, do you know?

I just heard a rustle out in the hall and Lily

you heard me

is out there playing with a fallen ornament. It’s so cute Ima let her do it awhile. It’s like watching an old grizzled sea lion at play.

Anyway, as you walk into the country club—and when don’t you, richy—there’s a giant Christmas tree and we have a photographer take your photo with your family or your date or just you, and a few days after the party they send us an email saying, Photos from the party are ready.

Yesterday it became my goal to get in as many family photos as I could, so that when they announce photos are ready everyone will flip through them and be all, Why the hell is June in all these photos?

You’d be surprised how many people were amenable to this idea, and I look forward to the All June All the Time extravaganza of photos. Also the photographer we hired this year was a very amenable young woman who is probably horrified of me at this juncture.

Here’s a very festive photo of my festive table. Woooo! Christmas!! There’s Lottie Blanco; The P; and the guy who sits next to me, Fewks, with his wife, Mrs. Fewks. Although sometimes when I’m messaging with Fay I call him Murray Slaughter.

I was talking with Murray Slaughter’s wife and was stunned to find she didn’t know half the stupid stories about work. “Don’t you TELL your wife about us when you come home?” I asked. Apparently, he only tells her stories that affect him, which. I am sure.

Anyway, eventually our festive table was joined by the copy editor who took care of my black kitten last spring while I jaunted off to the beach with Lottie Blanco and that copy editor’s girlfriend, and also by Jane West.

I think we need a better name for that copy editor. Let’s call her Cat.

They have a ton of good food, and you should see The Poet pack it away, but every year I get the food aimed at the children: mac and cheese and chicken fingers.

Ryan was one of the many people I forced to take official Christmas tree pictures with me, and you can see that baby thinks I’m obnox.

It was good to see everyone in their holiday finery. I know in years past there was an after party and I’d always get told where it was, but now not only do I not get told, I also have zero desire to go. After two hours at the party, I was exhaust.

As I was readying to leave, a guy from IT, with whom I kibitz, said, “Do you like my tie?” I said I did. Y’all know I like a januty blue.

I’ll be sure to show you the official photo of Poet and me in front of the tree, and the 29429429042 other photos of me with everyone’s family.

Afterward, I got into my footie pajamas and called it a night. I mean, it was a night already. I didn’t have to call it that to make it one.

Tonight a woman a block away is having an open house. She moved to this neighborhood the same time I did, and she has an Instagram account showing the changes she’s made to her millhouse and I follow it with great anticipation. I have never met her but twice now on Instagram she’s invited people so I am totally going. The walk with probably be two to five minutes, which apparently is my limit for attending holiday get-togethers.

I hope the open house has family photos you can take by a tree.

Festively,
June

P.S. This weekend marks 13 ding-dang years I will have been blogging. Isn’t that ridiculous?

Yesterday I had to get up early and drive a long damn-ass way to a specialist who pretty much assured me I was fine. I’ve had a medical woe since late October, and have felt miserable, and after testing me (it was multiple choice on a scantron sheet) and talking to me we decided: (a) I am old and need a cream, (ii) I have to make changes to my stellar diet and (3) I was probably also having a side effect from a medication, because I started taking it in mid-October, started feeling terrible in late October, stopped taking it November 25 and started feeling a bit better a week later.

This was all good news because of course you know how my mind is. I was riddled with cancer, up here in my mind. I was The Riddler. This despite my regular doctor saying, after I asked her if she thought it was cancer, and I quote, “Oh, god no. Sorry; should I have mentioned that to you right away?”

And despite my nurse cousin saying I wasn’t riddled with cancer. And also my mother’s beleaguered neighbor, who is also a nurse. Plus also the physician’s assistant at the urgent care.

STILL. I’d stopped eating or sleeping or trying to not bite my nails. I got self into a froth.

Anyway, once I saw the specialist and he gave me some creams and a prescription and a nice piece of paper telling me to cut out all of my food groups, once that all happened, I decided, you know what? Ima go to my old restaurant tonight and get something delicious and celebrate life.

Back in my old neighborhood, where the neighbors didn’t knock on the door for a piece of pizza when one is delivered to me* (*actual thing that happened here last week) [Dear June: That’s not how footnotes work], I used to go to this Italian place in a strip mall near my house. It’s unassuming yet fairly delicious, and they have a rotisserie chicken I like, but last night I marched in there and got the lobster ravioli, which is $20 a plate, but I love it and I was celebrating life and lobster ravioli is not one of the things I have to cut back on so shut it.

I have to say it was 100% worth it. Afterward, I went to the Harris Teeter that I used to go to 70 times a week. I was out of toilet paper and had been using Kleenex and I need to celebrate life and use the right paper products for the right uses.

As I was walking from the restaurant toward the grocery store, I heard a very sharp,

“HEY.”

A security guard was standing next to the Salvation Army bell-ringer. Was the bell-ringer doing something wrong? How exciting. Did he jingle when he should have jangled?

“You know I mean you,” the security guard shouted next, venomously. At this point I was passing a

[wait for it]

[what a surprise this will be]

young man of color, who had a small plastic grocery bag without much in it.

I also want you to brace yourself for the news that the security guard was an old white guy.

The way he said, “You know I mean you” was so mocking. It was so full of hate.

The black kid didn’t follow up with a “Is something wrong?” He immediately held his bag up. “I paid for this,” he said.

It was the way he said it. Calm. Resigned. Like this had happened before, or he’d at least expected it to happen at some point. He also said it in a way that told me he was being completely truthful.

“No you didn’t,” said the security guard. Did he need to shout across the parking lot? Could he not have walked over to the kid? Instead he stood in the lit entry of the store, where everyone could hear. Almost like he was …scared.

At this point I was at the door myself, and trying not to stare, to add to the kid’s humiliation. The last thing I heard was the kid (again, resigned, calm) saying that he had a receipt and that his girlfriend worked in the deli section and that’s what he’d bought, was something over there.

I don’t know what happened. Maybe his girlfriend charged it to her employee account or something. Maybe he sailed past the checkout and it looked suspicious. What I DO know is a few years ago I stole a box of hair dye from there. It was early on in the check-yourself-out days of grocery shopping, and I bought a bunch of stuff and marveled at how cheap it all was. When I got home I checked my receipt and when I scanned the hair dye it didn’t actually scan.

When I took the box back to the store and told them, holding my $10 out at customer service, do you know what they told me?

“Don’t worry about it.”

Don’t worry about it. It’s like that Eddie Murphy video when he paints himself white. So I get free hair dye and this kid gets screeched at for allegedly taking a few slices of ham or whatever.

I also, another time, put on some reading glasses they had for sale there so I could actually read any damn labels, and took them right home on my head. Carried those reading glasses out like they were the hero of the football game.

No one noticed that, either. Also, they don’t carry football heroes on their heads, do they?

What I wanted to do last night was go back outside and stand next to the kid but I didn’t. I didn’t want to be the old busybody.

But I wanted the security guard to know that someone was watching, and that he couldn’t get away with what he was doing.

Be a security guard, sure. Absolutely. That’s your job. Ask the kid to come back in and question him in a room or something. Be, oh, I don’t know. Respectful. Don’t bellow hatefully at him from yards away. And while you have your eagle eye on the black kid, there, Profile-y, the old white ladies are carrying Clairol and reading glasses out by the gross.

That kid and I have opposite problems. He’s too visible. He can’t shop or drive or grill in a park or sell water or walk into his building or throw out his trash in his complex without someone staring at him nervously. I could wear flaming pasties and people would barely glance at me.

I guess all I can do is never shop at that Harris Teeter again, or maybe I could file a complaint. Be a Karen. Get a horseshoe haircut and demand to speak to the manager.

Goddammit.

Every year in my downtown, they light this huge evergreen. It’s in the same park where careful readers will note is the park I go every New Year’s Day, to do the guided meditation.

I debated going this year, because I may not have brought it up but I’ve had a cold, but I went because I am tough and no nonsense.

It was

RIDICULOUS

getting down there, as the night was mild and everyone and their chicken decided going to the tree lighting was a good idea. But I found (free!) parking after driving around and turning to butter, and walked 105 miles down to the park, thinking, “I wonder who I’ll run into that I know?”

Anyway, they lit the tree.

That’s as close as I could get with the thronging crowds. And I saw people from work, and of course Kit because she works down there. (Not only do they light the tree, they close off the streets and keep the shops and galleries open and some stores have free wine, which may be why I saw Ned, who hates Christmas. And who lives walking distance away, if one wants to walk for 45 minutes. Which one never does. Unless one is Ned.)

Kit’s store was full of adorable things as it always is. She runs the shop, see, and has vintage things, then she rents out sections of the store and people sell either vintage and handmade stuff.

She offered me some fine gum but I declined.

I admired the crowds, and looked in at shops, including my midcentury modern shop where the cute man works. It was full of his cute-man friends, all drinking IPAs and speaking in British accents. They ignored me because I am their age.

Also, I looked in at the cat cafe, where you can drink coffee and play with cats, and when I go there I always feel guilty about spending $10 to do what I could do for free at home. Gettin’ some strange.

Anyway, I always enjoy the Christmas thing downtown and despite my huge cold I’m glad I went. About 9:30 I hit an “Oh my god I’m so stuffed up” wall and went home.

On Saturday I cleaned and did some shopping, and in the afternoon I got up with an old friend. An old, old friend.

S and I have known each other since we were tiny. First of all, her brother and my Uncle Leo were friends in high school, and I remember him coming over to our house, having band practice in the basement. It’s like I grew up being Stella McCartney without the success and riches.

Then S and I went to elementary school together, and were at Michigan State at the same time, and anyway she was in Greensboro this weekend because her oldest kid is in some soccer thing for his college. The hotel she stayed at would have been walking distance to my old house. Not a ridiculous Ned walking distance. A real one. But it was a 10-minute drive and that’s not too shabby.

Anyway, we ate desserts and drank coffee and had ourselves a time. It was so good to see her. I had to go, though, cause I had to get ready for Lottie Blanco’s partayyy.

Lottie Blanco and her wife, Lottie Blanco, live in another town and I don’t know how she stands that commute. I’ve been to her Christmas parties before, but I giggle when I get there. “Oh, is this the house?” I ask myself, then fondle self cheekily on the way in, giggling.

I adore this photo of us, because inevitably she is astonished at something I did. I know I told her, as I was reapplying it, that I invented this lipstick. “You know those Instagram ads, that read, ‘Design your own lip color’?” I asked her.

“No,” she said, turning the channel to another football game on her 70-foot TV.

“Well, there IS such an ad and I made this color, AND I opted for the rose scent!” I said. I have no idea why LB likes me.

The Lottie Blancos have two Corgi puppies—Wrigley and Addison, which I guess has something to do with sports?—but my heart belongs to Riley.

Oh my god, Riley is so beleaguered. I adore him. He is still on the fence about those damn puppies, too.

After I’d eaten all the food and made out with every dog 12 times, at about 9:30 I hit an “Oh my god, I’m so stuffed up” wall and had to drive home for 17 hours and then I fell into a dead sleep.

Yesterday, I finished all my damn Christmas cards. Do you know what I need? Some sort of stamp that puts my return address on the envelope. Why do I never think to purchase such a thing until my cards are done, and then next year as I’m writing my endless address I’ll think of it again? Why?

I mentioned on Facebook yesterday that filling out Christmas cards is a great time to get online and Zillow your friends’ and loves ones’ houses to see what they’re worth, and that is what Christmas is all about.

I also mentioned this: Many of my friends, from years past, have since gotten married and had children and here’s my problem. I don’t KNOW the people they married or their children, and what I really want to be doing is sending a card to my old friend, and making a Barry Gibb reference, but I feel stymied because I’m sending the card to the whole family, and feel certain there are young adult asshole children out there who say, “Your weird friend sent a card again, mom.”

Look here, you little imagination-less millennial twit. I am not your mother’s weird friend. I am her friend from when she was fun and drank at 10:30 in the morning and wore nipple clamps. It’s not me who’s weird. I just haven’t changed. I stayed true to myself. Okay, sure, I go to bed at 9:30 on weekends now. BUT EVERY TIME I CHEW MY EARS CLICK RN. I HAVE A COLD, YOU IMAGINATION-HAS-LEFT-THE-STATION MILLENNIAL TWIT.

Anyway, my point is, can we make it acceptable to send cards to JUST your friend, and not the whole family? Unless you’re the kind of person who makes a Christmas post card that’s already signed and addressed, and you don’t write anything personal anyway, in which case why do you send Christmas cards?

“I still exist! It’s December! Love, Person you once knew.”

Oooo, and by the way, I was in here, writing something personal on EACH CARD and then Zillowing everyone’s house, when I heard helicopters. Not parents, real helicopters. In LA you heard them all the time, but here, not so much.

I ran outside in my Jessica Savitch bunny slippers. Oh, not Jessica Savitch. Those are wet. The one Jessica who used to sing and now she makes slutty heels. I like all her shoes, including her bunny slippers. What’s her name?

Anyway, FOUR military helicopters. I felt tempted to run dramatically through my backyard like I was a nurse on MASH, but I did not. I did fondle self cheekily over the thought, though.

Also, at some point a few years back, I bought a GROSS of depressing austere deer Christmas cards on sale, and who knows what kind of blue period I was in, but I felt the need to apologize for them in each card.

Also, I have return labels from not giving any money to St. Jude’s, and I am a wonderful person, and I found myself matching the color of winter berry stamp to the color house on the particular I-gave-nothing-to-St-Jude’s label I used, and I probably need professional help.

Or a cheeky adress-label stamp. Will you remind me to get one?

Last night I watched Call the Midwife until about 9:30, when I said Oh my god I’m so stuffed up, then fell into a dead sleep.

All right, I have to go. This was an entire post about nothing and I hope you enjoyed it. Remember you don’t need a name or email to comment, fuckers.

XO,
Christmas June

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