2008, a Year in Review

Don't you hate people who say, "See you next year!" on December 31? I have been saying it all day. I am sort of professionally annoying.

So I thought I would take stock and make chicken soup, and also kind of review my stupid year.

2008 brought me my new blog, Bye Bye Pie, which you're looking at. It was supposed to be a health blog, which I guess it was. I am about 13 pounds lighter than I was at the beginning of the year, although I attribute that to my Topamax and not to eating well.

In February, I got me a puppy, which as you know has been either the bane or the light of my existence, depending on what she has eaten that day.

Lu

I think she still has that Black Power-looking fist or whatever it is. It is just much, much smaller. Okay, who can't even stand how CUTE SHE WAS? Look at her little toofs! And her piddy paws! How did I ever leave for work? LOOK at her! And yes, I do still think about Meadow. Does anyone remember Meadow? Kills me.

In March, I accepted my new job as an editor/proofreader at a yet-unnamed place where I went on to meet Tank and Hammy and other people who you may notice I do not mention anymore now that Tank and Hammy read my blog.

Haus

And of course, who could forget stressless April, when I left TinyTown, bought a house, lived away from Marvin and the cats and started my new job? What acne blemishes? What rash? What migraines? Okay, it wasn't that bad, but it was kind of stressy.

Nothing really dramatic happened in May, except that Marvin and I discovered that living apart wasn't nearly as fun as we were thinking it'd be. Oh, and Lula got fixed.

Cone  

And I know one reader who is going to be pretty annoyed with me if I don't mention that it was in May that I had gas at work.

And just one more thing. May is when I discovered we had a webcam.

Bug

I guess I spoke way too soon when I said nothing dramatic happened in May.

In June, our little family reunited. Also, I wanted to do Tallulah's DNA and Marvin didn't want to spend the money, so we compromised and I did it behind Marvin's back. I was delighted to discover that our girl was a charming mix of beagle, Tibetan spaniel and American Staffordshire Terrier, or as they say everywhere that they're NOT being politically correct, pit bull.

Some things are better left un-found-outable. Yes, this is a phrase. I would like to take this opportunity to say that my lovely dog has eaten the throat out of very few people, however.

July brought our one and only vacation this year, because we are some kind of weird, work-obsessed, self-punishing Puritans, or maybe because I have a new job and no time off.

Anyway, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary of being married by going back to the bed and breakfast where we did the deed. So to speak.

10yr  

Yep. Four or five years of happiness. BA! Hahahahaah! That's funny, is what that is.

I really don't remember August. Maybe that was the month I experimented with acid. Oh! I know!

Sweaty

I was training for that ding and also dang half-marathon that Sleeping Beauty and I ran. It is also when I taught you all how to Yoko someone.

Yay! I loved my half-marathon with Sleeping Beauty! I guess that also counts as a vacation, as I got to go to Virginia Beach. And get a ticket.

Zzzzzz

And then it seems like after that, all I did all autumn was worry about having a brain tumor and breast cancer. Doesn't it seem that way to you? I am still kind of not over how traumatic that whole thing was. Have I mentioned I am still trying to find a new doctor? Everyone I have called isn't accepting new patients.

Hypo

But you see? Life hands you lemons, and you get a nice hypochondriac's gift from one of your blog readers for Christmas.

So I guess that sums up my year. I hope yours was less drama-filled but that you got a nice hypochondriac's gift. And some use out of the whole how-to-Yoko someone thing.

And hey, people have asked what my theme for next year is, seeing as how the first year it was Bye Bye Buy, about not spending, and then this year was supposedly about not eating crap (not literally. There's a theme. Went another day not eating poop! Well, it really would be a theme for Tallulah). So, next year? My theme? Drum roll…

None. No theme at all. I mean, come on. I never stuck to either of my themes. Must I have a ruse for 2009? Puleese. You know I'm just gonna ramble about peeing myself or annoying Marvin or maybe even peeing on Marvin. Who knows? The world is my oyster.

So, see you next year!

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I’m a loser, baby, so why don’t you–well, don’t kill me. I’m so thin right now.

So, yesterday I went to work, which was silly because there were approximately .008 employees in the whole company; I 'fessed up to the woman whose book Tallulah ate; I had a coughing fit while going on one of my walks and I might have peed myself a little; and, oh, I didn't get nominated for a 2008 Weblog Award.

That nice Nester nominated me for a Best Hidden Gem award, which I don't know about you but whenever I think of a hidden gem award I picture a beautiful emerald placed precisely in someone's bung hole. Just so. And every time I say that to someone they looked shocked and horrified, so perhaps I am the only one whose mind works that way, so maybe that explains right there why I was not nominated for an award.

Anyway, there were 269 people nominated and only 10 finalists were picked, and I am not one of them, and I feel like Jennifer Beals when she first walked into the ballet academy with her work boots on and everyone else had on heels and ballet slippers and now I am on my way to the nightclub where I will splash myself with water sexily and Nick my boss will take notice of me and somehow get me into the ballet academy anyway.

Do I spent entirely too much time watching movies, you think?

And I really thought the woman at work whose book Tallulah ate was going to be gone until next week along with the other 99.998% of work, but I found out she was there, so I had Marvin bring her new book and a nice bookmark I bought her at that mansion I toured last week, and then Marvin and I had lunch, and who do you think walked into the restaurant? Was it the elegant women whose book Tallulah ate? And do you know I knew I'd see her at lunch? I just knew it.

So I dashed out to the car and got her book and bookmark. My plan was, I was going to give her these things right then and there and let her kind of see that the book looked just the same, then fess up after lunch when Marvin was gone. So I went over to her booth and she was lovely and gracious as she always is, and right in the middle of our conversation, Marvin lumbered over and said, "THE WHOLE THING WAS MY FAULT!"

The gracious woman and I stared at Marvin, she in confusion, me in horror. "This is my husband, Marvin," I said. "Nice to meet you," Gracious woman said. "We'll talk to you later," I said, pushing Marvin out of the booth.

Geez Louise. The rest of the lunch consisted of Marvin and me at our booth, bickering hissily.

When I finally worked up the courage to go the Gracious woman's desk and tell her the whole story, she first of all laughed hysterically and thought the whole thing was just great and said to go home and pull that dog's tail for her and she couldn't have been more wonderful about it, and then she said, "Oh! Is THAT what your husband was talking about when he said it was all his fault?" I said yes, and that he had blown my timing, that I had wanted to wait until he wasn't there. She said, "I thought he meant the bookmark you bought me was all his fault, and I had no idea what that meant."

So I am somehow going to find a way to blame Marvin for my not getting nominated for this Weblog Award. It is all his fault.

Marvin’s Hellman’s

Is everybody back from vacation yet, or do I have to wait another week? I am not ON vacation, so this is boring for me. I do not like getting seven comments instead of 27, and I know everyone who regularly gets seven comments on their blogs wants to staple my nethers right now. Using those really big industrial-sized staples.

Anyway, I wrote you a whole big, long post last night about my mother and the bookshelves, and stupid stupid stupid stupid Typepad crashed it yet again. Have I mentioned I am completely fed up with Typepad? Have I mentioned I have emailed them three times now to fix this issue?

So I will once again tell you the tale of my mother and the bookshelves.

Long about noon, when your hunger’s pokin’ at ya, pokin’ at ya.

Now, see, that’s not what I was gonna say. I was gonna say long about June. But sometimes old Snickers commercials pop into my head, and I often wonder if I could have used my brain to cure cancer or something useful but instead I gummed it up with commercials, such as the theme song to Freakies cereal. Oh, yes, we love our Freakies cereal, oh darling you know we do. Cause it’s crunchy and delicious and it’s good for me and you.

So long about JUNE, my neighbor convinced me to get floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to replace the tiny bookshelves I had strewn hither and yon throughout my house. Or haus, as they often say in Michigan since everyone’s German. I really wanted these bookshelves, and mentioned this to Marvin, oh, six thousand times, but we couldn’t rush out and buy them because it turns out floor-to-ceiling bookshelves cost 11 million dollars apiece.

But finally in November we bought three said bookshelves, and Marvin spent the entire Thanksgiving weekend staining them a honey color to match the 1950s furniture that I got from my great aunt. Then we schlepped all of our books from the tiny bookshelves to these large bookshelves. My mother even paid for one of the shelves, as part of our Christmas present.

And guess what? I hated them. They were so…filled with books. And so wooden. And TALL. They seemed to LURK over the entire living room with their booky selves. Oh, every time I came home I got Nine Inch Nails depressed. It looked like a psychiatrist’s office in 1972 in there. Oh, I detested the new bookshelves.

I am certain that Marvin was wishing he had the strength of Sampson at this point, so that he could lift one of the shelves and bludgeon me with it repeatedly, seeing as he had to hear me wish for these things for five months, and then had to hear me complain about them nonstop.

Naturally, I took full advantage of my friendship with The Nester, who suggested I break up all the bookiness with framed photos, knickknacks, and stuff like that. She said she too got depressed by her all-books-all-the-time bookshelves.

So I was really looking forward to my mother getting here for Christmas, as she has the visual skills and would be good at putting stuff on our shelves. As you know, Marvin and I are not minimalists, and we have a lot of crap that can go on those shelves. If your grandparents had a rummage sale? Marvin and I were there, buying their 1960s martini glasses and their “Put Your G.D. Ashes Here” ashtray. Yes, we do have a “Put Your G.D. Ashes Here” ashtray.

Christmas got here and I was running around the house, and mom was on her mission to improve the shelves, and every once in awhile I would hear Marvin tell my mother, “No, you can’t do that, because…”

Now, here is the thing about Marvin. He is not exactly a member of the Optimist’s Club. Marvin’s first response to anything but sex is no, it cannot be done; it will not work, absolutely not. I do not know why Marvin is this way.

On Christmas afternoon, my mother gave me a look that said come into the kitchen, I need to speak to you in hushed tones. “Marvin won’t let me make any changes,” she hissed. “I really want to move your cedar chest that you’re using as a coffee table, first of all. It’ll make the bookshelves seem less huge if you use a smaller coffee table. Now, I know it’s his house and his table and everything…so the right thing to do is to get him out of here and make all the changes before he gets back.”

I thought this was a marvelous idea. I know this makes us sound like two terrible, scheming, Lucy and Ethel types, but we both knew Marvin would come home and say, “Oh! It looks good!” We have dealt with the No Man before.

I went into the living room, where my stepfather and Marvin were both reading books they had gotten for Christmas. “Why don’t you two try to find a store that’s open?” I suggested brightly. “There’s only half a bottle of Chianti left for dinner.” Then I did the Silence of the Lambs sucking thing with my lips, which I simply must do every time I say Chianti.

Well. You would have thought I’d suggested they grab a couple half-slips and a ukulele and do a hula dance for us before we ate. “I won’t drink any wine,” my stepfather said, returning to his book. The man is a psychiatrist. Couldn’t he have picked up on my subtle clues? I wanted to drive a corkscrew through his temple.

My mother came out and gave him the look. He went into the kitchen, and emerged minutes later with the enthusiasm of Al Reynolds on his wedding night. “Marvin, we have to leave the house for some reason, so let’s go find wine,” he said wearily.

You have never seen two banshees move as fast as my mother and I did. We got the myriad knickknacks off that coffee table in .07 seconds, only to discover the thing weighed eight tons. We couldn’t lift it, and pushing it was going to scratch the floor, so we decided to squat and use the area rug under it as leverage and sort of pull it.

It was in this flattering position that Marvin found us when of COURSE he came back in five minutes later. Now, how many times on this blog have I complained that Marvin is a boomerang, that he ALWAYS returns to the house before we ever actually leave anywhere? Why couldn’t I remember that before he found us doing our Scarlett-and-Melanie-moving-the-dead-Yankee impression?

“STOP MOVING THAT TABLE!” Marvin boomed, as my mother and I giggled a trifle hysterically from the floor.

Shelves

So, we didn’t move the stupid table, but we did rearrange the bookshelves, and I feel a lot less awful about them. And when Marvin and my stepfather came home with…mayonnaise (Yes. Seriously. They couldn’t find wine, but somehow they thought mayonnaise was a suitable replacement), he, too, agreed it looked pretty good.

Then we all toasted each other with a glass of Hellman’s and had a lovely Christmas dinner.

Ask June Part Two, Electric Boogaloo

In all the "guess what I got for Christmas" excitement, I slap forgot about it being Friday and therefore Ask June day. Today I went on the random number chooser thingie and chose the following queries.

Oh, but before I begin, we need another stern Ask June photo:

Grille

Who went to the 99 cent store for my stocking stuffers and got me a nice grille? Marvin tried to get me things I needed this year. What with the economic crisis and all.

So, shiny-toothed June will answer your pressing questions as follows…

Gladys asks June, What IS the  meaning of life?

Gladys, Merriam Webster says life is a noun or an adjective and it can be (a) the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body (b) a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings, and so on.

But maybe you were talking about the cereal, in which case you should have capped your "L." I think the meaning of Life is it's a cinnamon-y way to make us fat- and sugar-addicted as children.

Cyndi inquires, As a fellow owner of hair that tends toward bigness and poofiness, I'd love to know your routine for taming yours.

You're asking me how I TAME my HAIR? Cyndi. Please take a gander at my nice grille photo above. Look at that hair. It is like I came in from a wind storm after walking through helicopter blades. I have NEVER tamed that hair successfully unless I paid someone to straighten it for me.

The best I have ever done is to never, ever brush it, ever; have someone cut it to bring out the natural curls; put on seven pounds of heavy product; twist it up with my fingers into ringlets; and let it dry naturally. Now, this only works if you are trying to help a Brownie earn her shut-in badge or you're agoraphobic or something, because my hair takes four hours to dry naturally. But when I freelanced, I got away with it. After it dried, I tousled it, but not too much, just enough to loosen the ringlets so you don't look like Nellie Olsen.

Very important is that you DON'T MESS WITH IT WHILE IT IS DRYING. Every time you touch your wet hair, you are adding more frizz. I read this somewhere and I know it to be true. Leave it the heck alone. You are also never supposed to put it up in a towel but let's get real.

Now that I have a real job and have to blow dry my hair, it looks ridiculous all the time. Thank heavens I'm married and can look like crap.

Paula from NY ponders, Are you a crossword puzzle person?

Like, are you asking me if I am literally made from crossword puzzles? Because no. Also, I do not do crossword puzzles. Games stress me out. I used to do the TV Guide crossword puzzle at my grandmother's house when I was about 14, but my gaming ends there. Does doing the TV Guide crossword puzzle in 1978 make you a gamer?

Alicia questions, Why does the English language use so many unnecessary letters? I mean if they're silent, then why use them?

I remember being a little kid, and learning about the "b" at the end of comb and lamb. I was so ANNOYED! I was all, why are they there? You don't say "comba." Oh, it irked me.

I have read that the English language is one of the hardest to learn. I have no idea if that is true, and I am ethnocentric and only know my native tongue.

From what I understand, our language is based on so many OTHER languages, and often the letters that are now silent for us were actually pronounced when they were in their original language. Furthermore, our pronunciations have changed through the years, so some letters that are now silent are a result of us saying words differently, which really makes me worry that we will all say "supposably" like it's okay some day.

Also, some annoying hoo-hahs thought that if we kept some of the Latin features of our words (the example they always give is keeping the "b" in "debt" because it stems from the Latin word debitum), it would help us fix our all-over-the-place, melting pot language by showing the word's history. Okay, it didn't.

I think The Silent B of the Lambs is an even more disturbing premise for a movie than the whole it-puts-the-lotion-on-its-skin thing.

Stephanie asks, Is there a polite way to correct someone? I know several people who frequently say "anyways" and every time I die a little inside.

No. Well, maybe, according to Miss Manners.

I worked with a woman whose job it was to call attorneys to remind them they had depositions scheduled. She would say, "I'm just calling to alarm you that you have a depo scheduled at our office next Tuesday at…" The first time I heard it, I was astonished. Surely it was a slip of the tongue. The 37th time, I figured it was for the good of the company. So you know what I did? I played the whole "I know I am the annoying, anal proofreader" card and acted like I know this is SO picky, but you really want to say "I'm calling to alert you" not "alarm you" and she was amenable to that approach.

But really, in life, people just want to be right. I mean, that's pretty much the truth. People want to be right, including me, Ask June, and no one wants to be corrected even if it's for their own good and really, how often is it for their own good?

But Miss Manners–who generally says no one likes a know-it-all and that it is better for us to cringe than to cause discomfort to others–does offer kind of a clever suggestion if you are simply going to hurl yourself out the window if you hear "anyways" one more time. You kind of turn it into a point of conversation. "I had always thought the correct word was 'anyway.' Am I wrong?"

 Now, see? That way the other person can sort of save face in the moment and look it up later. So try that.

So, that concludes another week of Ask June. Sorry I was off by a day. Remember to ask any Ask June questions back at the original Ask June post so that I can keep picking them from there. Hey, I'm sorry. Don't get all up in my grille about it.

Amy Winstonhouse

Well, Christmas has come and gone another year, and as usual I have garnered 4,952 presents. I am sorry. I am an only child.

Goof 

And by the way, Marvin outdid himself not only on trying to find every way possible to get all the attention himself (and by the way, I guess that stocking is going to be yours for the rest of TIME, Marvin. Gross.), he also got me some fine gifts.

Shoes 

First of all, about three months ago I said to him, "Aren't these tennis shoes the bomb?" as I was looking in a catalog. I swear that was as long as the conversation got, and yet he remembered and even knew my size. He probably felt sorry for me because he knows that dog has eaten all my shoes. And he did actually buy me a left and a right. I don't have to go around with one slipper like that time Mary Tyler Moore won the award and she had a bad cold and had one slipper on. Am I the only one who remembers that episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show? That was a good show. Stood the test of time.

I will tell you the other great thing he got me as the grand finale to this post, as a reason to keep you hanging on through the torture, the drivel, that is the rest.

Tag 

For instance, I photographed this package because my mother was obsessed with showing me how the tag matched the wrapping paper. She was killing my buzz, man. I just wanted to rip into my gift, and she's all gettin' aesthetic on me. So here it is, immortalized.

Winnie 

Speaking of a buzz, some in our home did not care so much that it was Christmas.

Until a mysterious sock came out, embroidered in mice, that wonder of wonders, had the nip in it.

Stock 

I love this picture, with Ruby's silhouette-y self leaping up there to see if there is any of her drug of choice left.

They had other stuff in their stocking, too, including Francis' annual Baked Lay's, which he guarded like a sentinel all afternoon, and if you tried to get near them you pulled back a bloody stump, but Winnie was more into the catnip. Which he may have overindulged in.

Lizardking I am the lizard king! I can do anything!

After we talked old high-on off the roof and washed the gold body paint off him, we went on an afternoon constitutional, where we saw an Irish Setter gladly wearing reindeer antlers. I am not even kidding. She was fine with them.

Walk 

Leopard 

Really, we saw all sorts of things that were just kind of wrong, and yet oh so right.

Oh! And in a really terrible segue that takes you back in time to the opening-of-presents part of the day which you were probably over already, a while back my mother called me with the Vermont Country Store catalog in hand and asked me to get mine. Then we went through it and I told her what I liked. She kept saying, "Ew. I don't like that, honey. I don't want to get you that." Okay, why does it matter if SHE likes it?

Saltnpepa 

Anyway, this is one of the many items I just loved that she was creeped out by, and as you can see she acquiesced and got them for me. What says Christmas better than scary little holly-headed girl salt-and-pepper shakers wearing Christmas tree dresses?

Okay, but finally, and I know you are glad this whole recap of my day is coming to an end, here is what Marvin did. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with my local zoo. I went all the time. Did I mention I'm an only child? So if my parents weren't taking me, some grandparent or aunt was. It didn't even really have anything very exotic. A couple of spider monkeys, some llamas, a macaw. When I got older, I dragged my cousins there constantly, even as they were teenagers.

ZooI'm the big-haired one on the right, and I know that is shocking news, dragging my cousin to the zoo when she was, like, 17 and over it. See the train in back?

I got married right across the street from the zoo, and the day before my wedding a bunch of my guests and I went there.

The best part of the zoo? The train. It rode you through the whole thing, which took about a minute and a half because this zoo is small. But it went through a tunnel and you had to SCREAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMM! as loudly as you could through that tunnel, for no reason that I can think of, and your throat would be totally raw when you came out the other side.

So. My old boyfriend, the one who said, "Come upstairs, it's cooler" alerted me to the important fact that the old sign for my zoo was on sale on eBay! I mean, this sign is huge. It was the sign that was in front of the zoo for years, and it is a wooden, multi-colored train that reads "Children's Zoo" across it.

I showed Marvin that it was for sale, and who do you think got it for me for Christmas?! It was the last gift he gave me, although it is not physically here. If it were I'd probably be typing you outside as there would be no room. "It's in my garage," my mother said, with the excitement of a tree sloth. Apparently we're going to try to get it this summer. It's so exciting! I think we're gonna set it up in the back yard, although just between you and me I TOTALLY wanna hang it in the living room somehow.

So that was my Christmas, and now it must be time for next Christmas, as that took forever. I will talk at you later. I have to get Winston to rehab.

Ave Maria Antionette

Okay, I can't believe there is anyone out there who wants to read my stupid blog today, but then again I find it hard to believe anyone wants to read my ridiculous blog any day, so there you go.

Happy Christmas Eve! My mother and stepfather got here yesterday and everyone is getting Christmasy.

Lap 

Some of us are hearing our first Christmas stories. While trying to blend into the couch with our dog attire. Notice that the sweater really doesn't fit her anymore. She totally chested out of it. My poor broad man girl.

Anyway, mom and Harry (my stepfather) are staying at a fancy hotel nearby (I guess because they are allergic to cats and we have 70 of them).  We had dinner at their fancy hotel yesterday and then they came over and hung with Lula.

Harrylu 

Apparently she only likes to sit on that couch.

DSCF1613 

Also, my mother actually made dog cookies for her, which she seemed to enjoy.

Have I mentioned my mother is into Christmas, oh, just a smidgen? At their house, along with your regular Christmas decorations and tree and yard stuff,  is Christmas toilet paper, a toilet paper roller thingie that plays Christmas songs when you roll it, a Christmas clock that plays a carol on the hour, a Christmas bedspread, Christmas china and linens, my stepfather has a Christmas tie for every day in December, every DOORKNOB is covered in something Christmasy which makes it impossible to run out screaming into the night. And so on. A minimalist at Christmas she isn't.

We are planning to get up early on the 26th so she can get some decorations for next year.

Jacket 

Anyway, I was getting a charge out of her coat with Christmas pin and vest underneath with…

Vest 

Hey! a Christmas pin, so I made her model it for the camera.

House 

So, for the holiday, my mother and stepfather got us a new house.

Right.

Actually, today we went to this beautiful mansion and toured around, which was lovely and basically made me very, very mad that I am not rich. They wouldn't let you take photos inside, but we took some of the grounds. I am going back in the spring, because I think it'll be to die for. This house had 10 bathrooms. TEN! Do you know how many I have? ONE.

Gate    

When you walk in, there is this lovely entryway, and to the left is a dressing/powder room for women modeled in Marie Antoinette style, which I am sorry to tell you our tour guide called Maria Antionette, and to the right is a rest room for men. This was because people would have journeyed a long way and would need to freshen up before coming all the way in.

Have I mentioned I'm annoyed that I'm not rich? And that I can't banish people to the Maria Antoinette room for a makeover right when they come in? Also, why don't I have a formal breakfast room with marble floors and paintings of winter/spring/summer/fall on my ceiling? And my shower? One nozzle. Their shower head? In the MASTER bath? Had like 20. Plus they had a bathroom scale built right into the floor. Do proofreaders ever get wealthy? What about people with BlogHer ads? Do they?

Crap.

Anyway, Merry Christmas, everyone who celebrates Christmas!! Talk at ya!

Answering Meme. But not a meme.

Faithful reader Meme asked me a bunch of questions in yesterday's post, so I thought I would just answer them as today's post.  Here are her questions. I do not think they count as Ask June questions:

This post has caused me to do a lot of thinking, which doesn't happen often. I have a lot of questions, if that is okay with you….

Did any of the dogs jump in the water? Do you cry during Somewhere Over the Rainbow because of the Topamax or the migraines? Does Marvin leave his shoes on when he is on the bed or was that totally for the photo? I have to get back to this Topamax. Before the weight loss phase – during the Cheech phase – did you gain any weight from having the munchies? Can you get Topamax if you tell the doctor that your (mine-not yours) weight gives you migraines? Have you encountered book loaning beauty yet? Please don't leave us hanging here….:]

I am not sure what Meme's emoticon was at the end, there. Sort of a very-square-jawed smiley face. Perhaps it is Maria Shriver smiling. Anyway…

Dear Meme,

Is your name Meme like those questionnaire memes that people send around?

Yes, all of the dogs jumped in the water many times, but Tallulah was not so crazy about it. She mostly waded. The others swam. Tallulah is a lot like me. I never went in for those athletics as a child.

I do not know why I cry during Somewhere Over the Rainbow, except I really do wonder why if happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow why, oh why can't I. It pisses me off.

We were at a hotel when Marvin had his shoes on the bed, which is no excuse. Marvin is kind of slobbeldy. And yes, J, we WERE at the B&B on our anniversary. Wow. Nice attention to detail. The angle does make him look thigh-y, but in real life he is not.

I never have had munchies at any time since beginning Topmax. Today for lunch I ordered fries from McDonald's and a bottle of water and I ate approximately seven fries and got bored, and most of the water is still in my purse. I do not mean that water is sloshing at the bottom of my purse, I mean even drinking water is boring to me.

I suggest you all start getting migraines. However, your doctor will make you take other medicines for a few years first before he rewards you with Topamax. I found that out from a woman at work who is just starting to get migraines and wanted to go stampeding straight to Topamax after she saw me have the appetite of Mary Kate Olsen. I do not know what dreadful reason doctors give for not putting everyone on it. I do not wish to know.

The woman who will never, ever loan me anything again and who will probably stop liking me after she hears what Tallulah did to her book is on Christmas break, which means I did not get a chance to fess up today. I did tell my boss, who is friends with said elegant woman, and after clasping her hands over her mouth and saying, "Oh, JUNE!" 150 times, which really made me feel a lot better, she pointed out that said elegant woman will be gracious about it. Which she will, but you know on the INSIDE she will hate me.

Oh, I get douche chills every time I think about it. It is so awful. But see? She would never have been friends with anyone who said "douche chills" anyway.

The guy I walk with at 10:00 and 3:00 every day–who many months ago I said I was going to call Christopher Walken and I never, ever have–offered to loan me a bunch of his Twilight Zone episodes over Christmas and I said, "You sure you want to do that?" and he said"….Oh….yeah." See? I have become the person you don't want to loan stuff to. I told him maybe I'd borrow his DVDs when Lula was two. It's like being Regan from The Exorcist's mom.

So, there you go, Meme. I hope you have stopped hanging. Wait. Is it like Mimi? Is that how you pronounce it? Now I am hanging.

And my head I’d be scratchin’…

DSCF1055It has been a long time since I threw random photos in, so I will do that today, because The Nester recommends photos in one's blog and she gets 79 million readers a minute. 

I had many pressing things to tell y'all, but The Wizard of Oz was on, and it was important that I watch the entire thing from start to finish, and cry during Somewhere Over the Rainbow, because I haven't done all that 290 times throughout the course of my life or anything.

And yes, I do understand that The Wizard of Oz is a musical. I like it anyway. It is the one exception I make in the whole I-hate-musicals department. I didn't even mind the Cowardly Lion's speech about courage as much as I usually do.

ComehitherDid you ever notice that right before Dorothy sings Over the Rainbow, she takes ONE BITE of that cruller Auntie Em gives her, and then throws the rest on the ground? What sort of person wastes a good cruller that just rose up, which Auntie Em tells her it just did, clear as day? Also, when she wakes back up after the tornado and is back home, what's going to stop that Crabby Appleton Miss Gulch from taking Toto again? Are we to assume she actually melted in real life?

I totally want Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead played at the beginning of my funeral, and I will be really angry if it doesn't happen. Serious haunting during pooping will occur, loved ones. 

Anyway, my pressing pieces of news are as follows.

First of all, do you remember how I am on Topamax, which is an anti-migraine drug that I take every day? At first I was so cloudy on that thing it was pathetic. It was like that scene in Gone With the Wind where Scarlett can see nothing but fog, (and her hair looks limp and flyaway). But I stuck with it and I started remembering that conditioner came after shampoo (no, really. At first I struggled with it. It is like you are always Cheech or Jethro Bodine when you first take Topamax). Well, one of the OTHER side effect of Topamax is weight loss, and let me tell you what. I have lost TWELVE POUNDS since I started taking that stuff about two months ago.

DSCF1328 TWELVE POUNDS! I am a rail! Okay, I am a rail if a rail had a marsupial abdomen and kind of fleshy hips, but still. I am noticeably thinner. I really do not care if I eat or not. Every 12 hours or so I'll go, what is that uncomfortable feeling and I realize it's actual hunger. Then I take two bites of something and I am over it. Is this how that stylist Zoe whoever feels? The one whose bones show like that piece of meat Fred Flintstone orders that tips over his car? Because it's pretty great.

Perhaps I, too, would throw the Auntie Em cruller.

And now page two. The other thing I wanted to tell you is that a really elegant, fancy women at work, who I admire and wish to be JUST LIKE, and who I am never gonna be like because I use the F word 700 times a day and have tattoos and let's face it, I am one needle away from being Nancy Spungen so why do I admire Jackie Kennedy women? Anyway, said woman at work loaned me a first edition, SIGNED book and I have been not eating while I read it, which for me is saying something because I love to read and eat. Also, I have been putting it way up high in a closet when I am not reading it, as opposed to the dangerous Tallulah smorgasbord bookshelf. Anyway, today I was holed up in my room because Marvin had his friend Ron over to play guitars, and I was reading said book, and I got up to get some juice and TALLULAH ATE THE BOOK. SHE ATE IT.

CoppertoneI SCREEEEEAAAAAMMMED and I cried and I do not know how that dog is still alive and not at the pound right now. I went online and found another first edition, signed book and bought it, even though we are dead broke, and tomorrow I have to tell this elegant, perfect woman and every time I think about it I want to THROW UP in fear.

And in conclusion, my Sirius radio? Gettin' an ABBA channel. My life is complete.

You know what? If there were a tornado and my house blew over to Oz, Tallulah would just EAT my ruby slippers and I would never get back home.

SAHP

It is 2:34 p.m. and I am in my pajamas with my hair lookin' pretty. I certainly hope Hugh Jackman became an Avon lady and knocks on the door today.

I'm BUSY. Doing HOLIDAY things. What do you want from me? But I also took time out to crown a new Commenter of the Week, and you will stitch up your sides when you get the funny, funny pun I made right there.

Ma Ingalls didn't like puns. Did you know that? Have you ever seen a picture of the real Ma Ingalls? You know how the one on the TV show was all pretty and smiley? Yeah. Not so much with the real one. And what buck teeth? She could often be found eating corn on the cob through a mail slot.

Because mail slots were so common out on the Dakota prairies.

So, hey, I got an email from a faithful reader yesterday who wanted to know about becoming an at-home proofreader, and since I get this query a lot, I thought I would address it here in a post, and then from now on when people ask me, I could just say, "Please see my post from December 20, 2008" and with my luck some distant relative of Caroline Ingalls will tune in and get really offended.

But really. She came in handy during logging time, Ma Ingalls did. Girlfriend had some choppers.

So, I didn't set out to become a proofreader, first of all. I had no career ambitions whatsoever. The only thing I ever wanted, ever, from about age 12, was to get the SAM HILL out of Saginaw, Michigan, where I fit in about as well as Ma Ingalls' uppers (okay, I will get over it), and move to a big city and live in some swank old apartment with big windows and have cool friends and go to trendy clubs. The job part was always nebulous, but in my mind I got to wear pink pumps to work.

And you know I pretty much achieved that goal? Except by the time I got to Seattle in 1992, pink pumps were tres outre. But I wore a lot of angry, thick-soled black boots.

Anyway, I had thought I wanted to be a public relations person, but my first real job outside of college was so nightmarish that I got totally traumatized by PR. I got to Seattle and on one of my first days went downtown and opened a checking account, got to talking with the banker there, and immediately got a job on the 12th floor of the bank building, as a receptionist. I took the job because (a) it was there, (b) the building was really pretty, (c) the view of the water from my desk was fabulous, (d) the people I worked with were hilarious and (e) there was a bar on the first floor and we all went to it every single night after work.

Have I mentioned I have no career ambitions whatsoever, really?

And here's the thing. Turns out? I LOVED LOVED LOVED being a receptionist. Like bartending, which I also did, everyone has to walk in and focus on you. Hello! Also, your job is to talk to people all day. Plus, in Seattle, there are these bike messenger boys who deliver things to offices, and they all had long hair and really athletic bodies, and who do you think dated every single straight messenger boy in town? Was it what-career-angry-black-boots-receptionist-bar-hopper, over here?

So I am sorry to tell you that I was a receptionist in Seattle for, oh, FOUR YEARS until I started dating Marvin and he said, "What are you doing? You have a degree IN ENGLISH." So when I moved to LA he basically made me become a proofreader, which I did by applying for a job and taking their proofreading test and apparently I passed it. The end.

So that's the story. I didn't start proofing at home until I had worked full time as a proofreader for two years, and even then I still worked full time and then did extra work at night and on weekends. I think it'd be hard to get someone to trust you to proof their stuff if you haven't been a full-time proofer before.

But let's say you have, or you have incorporated proofing into your current job. How can you find at-home work? Here is some of the stuff I have done. Go on Craig's List. If you work anywhere near a big city, they sometimes advertise for freelance proofreaders and copy editors. If anyone offers to pay you 8 dollars an hour, write them and tell them they are horrid people to expect you to do all that work for that small of an amount. Never, ever work for $8 an hour. You will kick yourself. Proofing is hard, tedious, and did I mention hard?

I have had people offer me everything from 25 cents a page to $100 an hour. It depends on who is hiring you and the kind of work it is. Court reporters are often looking for proofreaders — not all of them work in courtrooms; some of them go to offices and take depositions. They have to keep what everyone says verbatim, but you look for spelling errors, things like the reporter using the wrong their/they're/there or something. In 1999 in LA, they were paying 25 cents a page for people to proof their work, but if you find a court reporter who works five days a week? That is steady employment, right there.

Try Monster and other big hiring sites, as well. You never know when they will advertise for freelance proofers. Usually what it takes is you passing a company's proofreading test. And of course temporary agencies may hire you, but you will not work at home at first, you will go to companies as a temp and perhaps later you can start working at home as those companies come to trust you.

I worked full time from home for four years and I made about half what I do now. But I didn't have to get dressed, or drive anywhere, or eat lunches out, or do any dry cleaning or haul any dog's blonde arse to day care. So it really wasn't bad, moneywise. Some people might get lonely. I had a very close relationship with LaTonya, our mail lady. We still exchange Christmas cards.

I went back to work when Marvin became a teacher, to supplement our income. I have to tell you that those four years at home were the happiest in my career, other than that receptionist job with the bar on the first floor. So if you can do it, do it. But if you are thinking you can proofread with seven kids running around, you absolutely cannot. I have to close myself up in a room and all I have are pets and one husband. You need absolute focus to proofread, no matter who you are. So keep that in mind.

I guess that's all I have to say about that.

Hey, did I mention Caroline Ingalls had a bit of an overbite?

Wheel of Torture

Well, the holidays are seeming kind of official now. For those of you who work in offices, did you have your last day today? Pretty much everyone did in my office, with the exception of ME, the NEW girl, and the OTHER new girl who similarly has no time off. I think it is going to be the two of us, my boss and one designer next week. Other than that, everyone pretty much had their sleigh bells on and they were glistenin' out that door in a merry fashion.

Our geese have returned, which is kind of exciting. I do not know what to tell you about these boomerang geese at work. I mean, is this as south as they plan to go? Did they already go south and they are on their way back up? Cause you're being pretty premature, there, bubs. But can I just tell you how excited I am that in a mere couple of months it will be BABY GEESE time again? Who is gonna set up scented candles and some Barry White tunes around the pond, there? Open up a few bottles of Cold Duck? Get it? Cold Duck?

Maybe Grey Goose would have been funnier.

Anyway, I got home tonight and faithful reader Jessica had left me a gift on my doorstep! She hadn't flown in from Brazil or anything; Jessica is also a Greensboro person. She kind of found the perfect gift, and if you are one of the poor saps who has to get me a gift this year, you are gonna be mad you didn't think to get it for me.

DSCF1602It is a Wheels of Wisdom–which I see I cut off to read "Heels" and nice job being a photographer's daughter–Yes, You're Probably Dying Hypochondriac's Wheel!

You find your current symptom, like fever, turn the dial, and it tells you the really awful thing it might be! Like, it says fever may be typhus, which is a bacterial illness and you have to see an infectious diseases specialist. Or the pallor that I seem to have in this photograph above may really be myelofibrosis, which is a bone marrow disorder and I should see a hematologist because I may need a bone marrow transplant.

Can you think of anything I needed more than this wheel of worry?

Also, sometimes the mistakes in life, the bloopers, the outtakes if you will, are more interesting than real life, so may I please show you the first photo I took of said wheel of misery?

Anus 

Wow. Yes, I am probably dying of some sort of cat anus disease that spreads itself on my dining room table. This is why people don't like pets, isn't it?

Also, Marvin, will you please REMOVE YOUR TSHIRTS FROM THE TABLE? As you can see, I like it pristine. Thank you.

June Answers

AskjuneI won't be ignored, readers. 

In what universe did I think the questions would trickle in?

You asked June, and now June will answer. Apparently, all these questions have made June refer to herself in the third person.

I wanted to throw in an official Ask June photo, by the way, one where I look stern and full of answers, but this one with all the Christmas decorations in the background just kind of makes me look like the least-fun person you'd ever meet at a Christmas party. Also, I like how I have clearly smeared my mascara a little on my right eye, making me an un-fun and also sloppy party guest. Back that ass up.

Anyway, I will answer my mother's question first, which is how am I gonna answer all these ding-dang questions? Here is my plan; tell me what you think. So far, you have asked about 43 questions. Rather than KILL you and drive you to DRINK by answering them all, I thought Fridays could be Ask June day, and each Friday I could answer five more questions — five more of the ones you have asked, and/or any additional questions that come in. Each Thursday I could remind you that Ask June day is here, and you could commence to asking.

The five questions I have answered today (and it is officially Thursday night, but I figure the majority of you will read this on Friday) I picked by going on a "please pick five random numbers" site, which was fun, is what it was. Way more fun than that stiff glaring at you in the spectacles, above. Who am I, Miss Grundy?

J wants to know, What is your IQ?

It's 127, which happens to be the same as Tony Soprano's. I loved The Sopranos, didn't you? Don't you hate people who pronounce it Sopraaaaanos? I know my IQ because my Uncle Leo, who was a schoolteacher, had to give IQ tests for some reason or another and he used me as a guinea pig, even though if you'll recall from my fifth-grade diary, I'm nobody's guinea pig.

He also coincidentally tested a kid who went on to be my high school boyfriend who sometimes reads this blog, and that high school boyfriend recently reminded me that he tested five IQ points higher than me, which bugs me. Said high school boyfriend reminded me that it bugged me then, and I guess I need to feel like I am smarter than my high school boyfriend, even though he did trick me into losing my virginity by saying, on a hot summer day, "Come up to my room. It's cooler upstairs."

Heat RISES, folks. Rises.

Bell wonders, Do you keep a little trash bag for trash in your car?

Oh, Bell. Honey, no. You clearly do not know me in real life, for I am a slob of gargantuan proportions. My car is practically brand-new and it is COVERED in dog fur and coffee and 97 receipts from Harris Teeter and straw wrappers from Sonic. To have a trash bag in my car would mean I was remotely organized, which I am so not.

I was a lot more organized when I freelanced. I do not know how working mothers do it.

Tee queries, Would you discuss affect/effect?

Why yes, yes I would. Here is the most simple method I use for choosing effect/affect. Can you use the word "alter"? Then the correct word is affect. That marijuana really altered my mood! That marijuana really affected my mood!

Your tone has a negative alter on me. Makes no sense, right? So it's "effect." Your tone has a negative effect on me.

Let's try another. The poor economy is really going to alter how often I get my brows waxed. The poor economy is really going to affect how often I get my brows waxed. (By the way, no it isn't.) Will you put a new budget into alter? Will you put a new budget into effect?

See what I mean?

Kristen says, I can do affect and effect but what is the difference between farther and further? 

I swear I used the random chooser thing, but that was a pretty cool segue, if I do say so myself. Plus the word segue is a pretty cool word, as well. How not cool am I? Do you think Fonzie ever cared about the word segue? Do you think that my ideal of cool being Fonzie just made me sink that much lower into uncool territory?

I'll tell you, Kristen, what the difference is between further and farther. One has an 'a' in it and one has a 'u.' BAhahahahahahaha!

Really, though. Farther is always talking about an actual distance. "She ran father than Joe."

Further is your hippie, nebulous, political science  major friend who won't get a real job. It refers to degrees, not real distances. I always think of the line, "I won't discuss this any further." Further is never a real, measurable amount.

So, farther is the accountant, further is the poet.

Bonnie queries, What do you miss about your job as church secretary in Tiny Town?

Oh, so many things. First of all, the building itself was stunning. The church was built in the 1800s, and I was there alone so often, and churches are somehow lovelier when no one is in them, I think. Also, the rector was just a hoot, and who could complain about the hours? Eight to 12, Monday through Thursday? Woo! Tough.

But most of all? Come on now. The women. Those church women were the bomb. They were hilarious, so nice to me, full of the stories, totally fascinating, and I loved it whenever any of them came in. Each one of them was like a little gem in my day. I liked it when they were in the kitchen together, a bunch of them. I would sit in my office and just listen to their voices. They all had classy accents.

So, those are my Ask June questions for today. I enjoyed Ask June. I am dying dying dying to answer all those grammar questions, but I will have to be patient.

Now, go do the right thing.

Ask June

Faithful reader Catherine of Our Lady of Perfection–and by the way, she is also a proofreader and who is angry she didn't think of the blog name Our Lady of Perfection for her own self?–was waking a loved one this morning and she heard herself call, "There's muffins!" and then she thought, Oh dear God, June would vomit and die a thousand deaths if she heard me say "There's muffins" and yes, yes I would.

But then Catherine at Our Lady of Perfection went on to wonder if I had any colloquialisms of my own and of course I do, and then she went on to wonder just what was wrong with her that she was spending this much time thinking about someone she had never really met, and perhaps you at this point are getting a little twitterpated rolling around inside Catherine's brain for as long as you have so I will get to the point. For once.

Catherine had the idea that I should have an Ask June feature, where you could write in and ask me anything you wanted to know, like gee, does June ever say anything dreadful like "There's muffins" or is it really incorrect English to say "golfing" or whatever.

I was thinking maybe it could be like the Playboy Forum, where y0u could ask about any topic, from insanely personal questions you may have about me, to grammar, to what do you do when your cat steals socks (I just got that query the other day), to how to grill steaks (people always want to know that in the Playboy Forum and for the record I have no idea seeing as I am "vegetarian" [Sonictarian] and have no grill), or whatever.

Am I the only person here who reads the Playboy Forum? Really?

So, I don't know if you will barrage me with questions now and therefore Ask June will appear tomorrow, or the questions will trickle in and Ask June will appear later after I have compiled a few, kind of like the email I have for the guy who makes our website at work. Rather than email him with errors I find on our work website each time I find them, they are making me compile a list and email him with it all at once so that he doesn't come to my department with a rifle and spear me through the gullet. Because apparently I am the only one who finds the everyday/every day error to be an emergency that needs to be taken care of right now.

I wonder why I eat lunch alone so often?

So go ahead. Ask June!

The cooked turkey pops up to say hi.

My day is all topsy-turvy because I had a dentist appointment first thing and apparently it has driven me to use phrases like "topsy-turvy." On Barry Gibb's website, which I'm sure you all frequent as regularly as I do, he thanks his wife for going with him on the topsy-turvy ride through pop stardom these past 38 years. And you know, even though she stayed with him from Jive Talkin' through Islands in the Stream (yes, he DID write that. Shut up), if I were her I'd have to divorce him for saying topsy-turvy. But now I just said it and I have to divorce myself.

As I was leaving this morning to go to said dentist, Tallulah kept heading to her leash, thinking we were going to work and dog day care, and I do not know why I thought I could reason with her about this. "No, honey," I told her. "I have a dentist appointment for my permanent crown, and then I'll come home and take you to dog day care after that."

Do you really think she was catching all the logistics? All she did was tilt her head when I said "dog day care" and look incredibly disappointed when I left without her. I saw her looking through the window in a forlorn manner when I pulled out of the driveway and I actually considered taking her to the dentist and asking Nancy the receptionist there if Lula could just hang in the lobby reading Highlights while they put on my Imperial Margarine crown.

I always think the putting-on-of-the-permanent-crown part is going to be not scary but you know what? It is. There are still pointy instruments and that suctiony tool and cement and it hurts when they shove that tooth in. Plus also too, I have to go in next month for a cleaning. I don't know about you, but by the time they finish with my cleaning I am in a fetal position and my back is soaking wet.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy the dentist?

Anyway, thank you for all your comments yesterday about when you started reading me and whether you read all my posts or just jumped in in the middle. I liked the person who said they just popped up in the middle like a done turkey. As of this writing I have 109 comments, which, dang! You never know what thing is gonna make people comment and in turn make me stick a boll of cotton on my arse, and I just like the word "boll." And you didn't have to say such nice things to me, such as that I am funny, which you know right there will mean I will never be funny again because I will FREEZE UP with the pressure and all.

So I think what I will do is continue to repeat myself and tell old stories, so that people just tuning in will have SOME idea of what I am talking about, and if you have read all my posts you can just bleep over me when I talk about something you already know.

Oh! I just remembered that I can chew gum again! With that temporary crown I couldn't and I had JUST BOUGHT a pack of Ice Breakers Ice Cubes gum. I feel just like George Bailey being given a chance to live again. Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, emporium!

In honor of my cotton blogiversary (or, do I have more time on my hands than anyone else you know?)

Stache 

I say! Is it my two-year anniversary of blogging? Good show!

Beard  

Some of your snobbier people say beard equals weird, but I have never believed that.

Tail 

Hope to be hoppin' down your trail next year! 

The traditional gift is cotton. Go buy me some cotton.

Man, how did the weekend get over with so quickly? One school play at Marvin's school, another French film, 200 hours of Christmas decorations and it's over!

One of our neighbors left chocolate truffles on our doorstep yesterday with a nice little Christmas note. I like our neighborhood.

Anyway, I have a query for you. Sometimes I am going to tell you a story and I think, well, I touched on this story back in April of 2007. Will people know that? Am I being annoying repeating myself?

I do not know how long you have been around, and I do not know how many posts you've read. Today is my two-year anniversary of blogging. The first person to write in with the word "blogiversary" will get a personal bitch slap from me.

I started in December of 2006–which given how many changes I've made since then feels like 58 million years ago–to document our year of no spending. I sent my blog to 15 friends and family members. After a few posts, I started getting comments from an A. Diamond. I didn't know A. Diamond! It was so exciting! She (I assumed she was a she) told me she was a friend of one of my friends, but preferred to be anonymous beyond that.

I do not know if A. Diamond still reads, but she hasn't commented, so I doubt it. But, see, I am in the dark about when you all started reading and how much you have read, so I never know how much background info to tell you. Some of you write and say "I just found you and I have spent all day reading all of your posts from both years," but I assume you are the exception to the rule.

So that I may better serve you and not drive you crazy either telling you stories you already know or telling you things you have no background on, can you let me know (a) how long you have been reading and (b) if you just popped in and started reading in the middle, or if you went back and read old posts? Thank you.

And if A. Diamond is still out there, I will die die die.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Kermis

DSCF1553

Winston, on my lap today. Do you enjoy my heart pajamas?

You know what was a brilliant idea? The idea that, hey, I'll just pop into Target for some Mucinex. On SATURDAY, DECEMBER FOURTEENTH.

Still, it was nowhere near as busy as it would've been in LA. Ditto for the post office, whose doorstep I darkened yet another Saturday. This time there was a bit of a line, and when it was my turn I said to the woman, "I have something unusuall for you; I have some Christmas boxes I need to send."

And you know she didn't smile? What a crabapple. I can't imagine why she'd feel stressed at this time of year.

It is hard for me to say "Christmas" and not "Kermis," because back when we were engaged, my grandmother–not that I was engaged to my grandmother. She asked, but I just wasn't ready to commit–gave Marvin the Christmas list I made for her in about 1972, which would have made me seven years old. It is titled "Chirmas Lest" and I ask for exciting things such as a white belt and "underpantch," which, hello mom. Nice telling me what to ask for for Christmas. Or Kermis. So, yeah, my misspelling in 1972 has resulted in Marvin and me mispronouncing it to sound like Kermis for 11 years now, and it is right up there with how I always want to say "big-bone-ded" instead of big-boned, which is an old family joke and I will bet anyone on my mother's side has trouble not saying big bone-ded.

And yes, we do also pronounce it "underpantch," as well. I imagine listening to us talk is a lot like when twins make up their own language or whatever.

So ANYWAY, the balls are up!

DSCF1565 

Marvin spent eleventy hours this morning with his Jewish self, hanging lights and balls. Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel…

Winston got all manly and helped him too. He was quite proud of himself.

DSCF1560

We also put up our tree this week, which is my first fake tree ever. Last year I got a North Carolina tree and immediately ceased breathing for the three weeks it was in our house, and also broke out in a lovely rash all over my chestal region, because I am sexy that way. What is up with people being allergic to trees all of a sudden? My whole life I've had a real tree and all of a sudden I get all verklempt.

So I decided if I had to have a fake tree I was going really fake.

Kermistree  

Hello, drag queen tree. Seriously, I love it. It is like Liberace's tree. Getting a fake tree was the best thing that ever happened to me. It totally fits with my glitter and boas and over the top thing I like to do at Kermis.

Orn  

Here is a close-up of one of my grandmother's ornaments that I now have. Most of my ornaments are silver and gold (surprise! Miss Piggy called. Wants her taste back), but I love my grandmother's things, too.

Anyway, after running around all day I got home right at sunset and as I turned the corner I squealed!

DSCF1566 

Look at our cool lights! Cars were stopped looking at them! Should I tell them how easy it was?

Comment of the Week

I will be back later today to show you my balls hanging in my yard, so right there you should be rapt at your computer all afternoon. In the meantime, I have updated the Special of the Week and it was a reader who did not leave an email, so I hope he or she checks in.

***UPDATE***

Hah! I just figured it out, with my fine computer sleuthing skills. "Left Field" is our mysterious, funny commentor, "J" who often says funny things and then slinks off into the night. All quiet-like.

It’s more than a cold. It’s a blogging opportunity.

I went to bed last night at 6:43 p.m., which is the nice thing about having a cold, you get your rest.

In fact, it may be more than a cold, and right there I have turned into my father. My father has to make everyone around him as miserable as he is when he is ill, with the moaning and letting you know every symptom. One time he was going on and on about how he was at death's door and how he could see the light at the end of the tunnel and I said, "Father, it is just a cold" and he said, "It's MORE than a COLD, June."

Really, the only reason it was more than a cold was because he was experiencing it.

Nevertheless, my more-than-a-cold started to concern me when yesterday morning I started brushing my teeth and MOTHER OF GOD why did it hurt so much? My TEETH were so PAINFUL! And do you know I stood there in agony and brushed them the whole two minutes anyway? I have one of those timers on my toothbrush. I do not mean that I have a regular toothbrush with a gigantic kitchen timer on it; it is an electric toothbrush and it makes this series of warning buzzes at two minutes. But perhaps you knew that, you highfalutin' oral hygiene person, you.

Anyway, I went to work and told Computer Guy, who for some reason I tell the entire minutae of my life to, mainly because he is usually willing to listen to it (except for the time Marvin called to tell me the toilet was broken and I might as well poop at work. I told that to Computer Guy and he said, "Yeah, I think you think we are way closer friends than we are"), and apparently Computer Guy is also an MD, because he says every time a bell rings, and angel gets its wings. He also said every time your teeth hurt like that, it means you have a sinus infection.

Well, crap. You KNOW I do not want to call my scary doctor, the one who said I had a brain tumor. I didn't even tell you the horrifying things he said to me when my mammogram came back suspicious; suffice it to say by the time I hung up with him I was in a BALL in the couch shaking. So if I call him with this, he will tell me that several people die of sinus infections every year and by this afternoon I will end up having facial surgery that somehow insurance will not cover.

Isn't there a possibility that this will just go away on its own? Isn't that what your immune system does? I do not want to pop antibiotics at every turn. I mean, when that anthrax letter comes to me, I want the Cipro to work, you know? I want antibiotics for the big stuff, not this.

Anyway, by the time I got home last night, the left side of my face felt like I had a bag of hot beans under it. It was all I could do to get that poor dog at day care and get home. I went to bed in my work shirt and necklace, and tuckered Tallulah came to bed too. She got under the covers and put her head on my leg, spreading her jowls all over my calf. We were a dynamic and exciting duo, is what we were. We were kind of like Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, except we were more Exhausted Woman and Dying Girl.

And do you know an hour or two later Marvin woke us up? He came in to tell me he was (a) going to the gym and (b) planning to drink the last of the cranberry juice.

Okay, really? You really had to wake up a sick person to tell her these pressing things?  A NOTE would not have sufficed? I do not see any reason to awaken a sick person except to say carbon monoxide is leaking and we need to evacuate.

And the cranberry juice. Did he think I was in bed because I had worried myself sick about some pending urinary tract infection he was going to pick up?

Tallulah, who was still under the blankets, had come up to similarly glare at Marvin, and the way her head stuck out of the blankets she looked just like the Virgin Mary if the Virgin Mary had, you know, a fuzzy snout. Marvin didn't know she was under there, and he laughed and said, "What is she doing?"

Neither one of us dignified him with an answer. I rolled over and went back to sleep and the Virgin Tallulah went back to her rightful place with her lips smacking on my calf.

Anyway I am up now and feel less awful. Perhaps I'll wake up Marvin and tell him I plan to drink some coffee.

Hooray! Hoorah! We’re on our way to the ball!

HairAnd this, my friends, is what washing dry, coarse hair with clarifying shampoo will do. Warn your loved ones.

Wow.

So, hey, have y'all been remembering to check my comments of the week, affectionately referred to as Special of the Week, because everything here has to be pie-related? I update it every Saturday, and if you have provided me with an email address, I will email you to tell you you are this week's brilliant commenter.

And speaking of your brilliant comments, my balls are made. I actually ended up with lots more poultry fencing than I thought, so I may make more. I have to hang them in the trees to see if I need more. It was raining tonight, so you can imagine that both Marvin and I were rarin' to get out there and hang.

And speaking of raring…

DSCF1537Who is tired?

Who was tired at 6 p.m., and still at 7:30 p.m. and who finally put herself to bed at 8:00?

DSCF1542This dog day care is wearing a girl out.

I did call her and make her come in so I could be rude and pose her with one of the balls…

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…but she didn't care. Do you like how we have almost no rugs at all anymore because Ruby pees on them? It is fun to be us. As is evidenced by Marvin's happy expression.

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So, here's the ball tutorial that is so much like how The Nester would do it. So, what you do is, you get like 24 feet of poultry fencing, which as you can glean doesn't irk me in the least, because it's CHICKEN WIRE, folks. They are used cars, not preowned, and it is CHICKEN WIRE.

Then you measure out 45 inches of it, and you take these dreadful little wire clippers and dredge up the strength of Sampson and clip them and I do not see how anyone could be strong enough to do that and my boss had to do it each and every time.

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Then you get out gloves that you use to call hawks over to your arm and you meet the ends of your poultry fencing to form a cylinder, and you twist the horrid sharp little ends together and even though you have your hawk gloves on, you end up getting your sweater caught in all the ends and then when you take the gloves off to untangle your sweater you cut your hand to ribbons on the sharp shards of metal, slicing an artery and bleeding out on your boss's floor.

At least that was my experience.

After you have twisted those horrid, sadistic ends together, you lay (if I just lay here) the cylinder down, and mash mash mash (you do the monster mash) all those sharp ends down, then you pick the stupid thing up again, and on each side you fold fold fold the tops down to make a circle.

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But of course you can't really MAKE a circle out of a cylinder of steel, but you try, and you get kind of globby tops, and you end up thinking of that scene from Ghost where Demi Moore is making the pottery and you wonder why you never could look that cute with short hair and no makeup, and if you tried that look you'd just get hit on by beefy women. And then you get the Unchained Melody theme in your head all afternoon and you think about how annoyed you are by people who refer to Unchained Melody as "Theme from Ghost."

At least that was my experience.

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Finally, you take TWO strands of outdoor, colored lights, and sticking the FEMALE end (tee-hee) into the steel "ball" which of course isn't that circular or ball-like, you start wrapping the lights around and around, then when you are done with the first strand you plug the SECOND strand in, and every time you are just about done your boss will say, "Did you remember to plug those in to see if they work?" and you wonder if you can get fired for saying the F word in front of your boss during lunch because of COURSE you didn't remember to check, why does she think you remembered THIS time, you haven't remembered any of the other times and has she MET you yet?

At least that was my experience.

Finally, you will end up with seven lovely balls, all of which you will have to carry to your car on a rainy evening down some rickety metal stairs, causing one coworker to say, "Hey! You look like the safety video they make you watch at orientation!" before screaming off into the night without helping you.

But aren't they pretty? They were kind of hard to photograph, and even harder to get my cats to pose with. I look forward to the divorce-inducing experience we will have sticking them into the tree.

Many balls

We are in for a tragedy in about an hour. I was just in the shower, which I know is sexy for you right there, and I used Marvin's shampoo. Marvin and I have different shampoo; I get mine at the salon, and I get extra-special, for-coarse-curly-huge-wavy-why-do-I-have-such-fat-hair shampoo, whereas Marvin gets his at the grocery store.

Marvin got new shampoo this week, and the bottle was pretty, so today I used it and after I had lathered and rinsed I actually read the bottle, only to discover it was clarifying shampoo, which basically strips all the oils and anything that weighs your hair down. So I am telling you that if you live latitudinally from North Carolina, GET OUT. Go visit a long-lost friend north or south of you today. Your weatherman is going to come on and say, "Our Doppler radar shows…blonde hair coming at us from North Carolina."

It is going to get wide, folks. Wide.

In other pressing news, I keep forgetting to tell you about my balls, and whatever you do, please make an immature joke now, because I haven't heard 147 of them all week. I have been making these balls since Monday, and if you'll recall my gas-at-work story (which of you recalls the date of that story? I remember one of you told me you know the date I wrote that. I am too lazy to find it and link), you know my boss and I are at the end of the hall. So all week I keep saying to people, "Come see my balls!" and every time I do, my boss giggles.

Here in Greensboro, since the Christmas season began, people have started putting these huge lit balls in their trees. They are so cool! They look like Dr. Seuss! Not literally. I was dying to buy them, but it turns out you have to make them, and if you'll recall my Christmas-cookie fiasco where all my cookies ended up looking like the state of Pennsylvania, I am not handy that way.

But my boss said, "Oh, it's easy," which is what handy people always say when handy things need to be done. So 24 feet of chicken wire–which they now call "poultry fencing" so they can charge you more–and 14 boxes of outdoor lights later, my boss and I have spent each lunch making these huge balls to put in my trees. Five balls down, two to go. Yesterday we started to gather a crowd, and one person even got on the floor and helped.

My boss has said she is astonished that I have so few analytical/spatial skills and yet remain such a good proofreader. I TOLD her I was terrible at crafts. No one ever believes me when I tell them I am bad at things. It is just like when I joined the bowling team at my old job and I said I was a bad bowler and they said oh we are too and they all bowled 200s and I bowled 62.

So, I will take pictures tonight and show you my balls. Go ahead, be in seventh grade.