Topamaxed Out

I got my hair cut and colored at a new place today and I would show you but we let it air dry and it isn't quite dry yet so when I took a photo it looked whippoorwill-y and that is not how I want to represent my new hair to you. It's too bad I couldn't have run on more with that sentence.

But speaking of my personal appearance, remember Topamax? The lovely drug I have been taking for my migraines? You know how it made me all thin, but also kind of stupid? I went to the doctor to see about renewing my prescriptions and it went like this.

"So, how's the Topamax going, June?"

[Silence from me, because there was a shiny object out the window.]

"June? Is the Topamax working on your headaches? Any side effects?"

[After I realized the shiny object was a car bumper, I turned to look at the doctor and started picking nits out of his hair.]

"Um, June, have you noticed any trouble with your cognitive functioning with the Topamax?"

"My name is June Gardens. People call me June Gardens," I said.

Anyway, the doctor decided maybe I wasn't so bright on Topamax and maybe I shouldn't be taking it any more, and after the 18 minutes it took for that to sink in (his stethoscope was so SILVER!) I got so mad! I know I am stupid on this drug, but I have lost SO MUCH WEIGHT. It's so lovely to be thin! I don't have that shelf of water on my buttockal region when I emerge from the shower anymore! I no longer look like a marsupial! My size is in the single digits!

Oh, and my migraines have lessened, too. Whatev. The doctor said Topamax isn't the only drug in the world for eliminating migraines, and he just doesn't think this one is agreeing with my IQ. Then he made me take the doorknob out of my mouth.

My mother pointed out that I could maintain this weight by eating sensibly, to which I reply, "?" Eating sensibly. Where does she come up with the cockamamie ideas?

And I'd just like to add that all sorts of people in my real life said, "Oh, I am so glad to hear you are going off that thing. You just haven't been yourself." It's kind of like when you break up with someone and THEN you hear no one liked the guy. No one could have told me I was a numskull?

All Marvin said was, "Are you gonna get fat?" That Casanova.

I will sign off with the awarding of the Special of the Week, which goes to Grace for her comment about Henry's neutering. It's kind of a topical discussion, given the whole Jon and Kate thing swirling around. I have never even seen that show and I know that man is henpecked. So, go click on Special of the Week at right to see Grace's pithicism.

Anyway, my headachy, fat self will be back at you soon, so congratulations on that.

Ask June 612: The Revenge of Michael Meyers

Can you tell I am running out of things to call Ask June? I mean, every Friday I am supposed to come up with a new name for Ask June. Does anyone have any good ideas?

And speaking of good ideas, let's spray it and not say it. Who won the Love's Baby Soft giveaway, you ask? Are you all a-tingle?

Some of you tried hard, and some of you tried soft to win the perfume and Bonne Bell Lip Smacker, whose flavor I would announce had I actually gone to the drug store to buy it yet. But the big winner was Joanna, who I am not even kidding you won because I had Marvin pick a random number, but look at her ridiculous comment, which I will put in Love's Baby Soft pink:

"When I was younger I was an orphan. All I really wanted was a mom and dad. Every time the potential parents would come to the orphanage my fellow orphans and I would clean ourselves up, brush our hair and put on our best outfits. We would line up and put on our saddest faces (or smiles depending on what we thought the potential parents would enjoy). But, alas, every time another child would get picked. One day a very well-to-do couple came to pick out their child and, again, I was not picked. They gave the rest of us children some Love's Baby Soft as a gift. I had the exact set you have now. I drew a face on each of those bottles and called them Mom and Dad. Right before I turned 18 and moved out of the orphanage (you see how I never got adopted?) I was packing and my Mom and Dad rolled off the top bunk and shattered into a million pieces while sending a lovely pungent scent into the air. I would do anything to have a second chance at a family June. Please send those wonderful perfumes to me. Also, my kids would like to meet their 'grandparents.' Thanks."

Seriously. Like I wasn't gonna send her her mom and dad. And Joanna, if you have a particular flavor Lip Smacker you'd like me to try to find, just let me know. You poor orphaned thing.

But enough of bad giveaways and phony sob stories. Let's inhale the sweet smell of Ask June, shall we?

Nancy McKee asks, "I have a trip planned to Mackinac Island in late June and need to plan my itinerary. I have never traveled into the far northern netherlands and, being a GRITS, don't know what goes on up there. Could you give me some ideas on places to stop and visit? No museums, theme parks, etc where there might be families with their precious little angel/devils…..My interests include: oddities, junk, fabric, shoes, food, craft fairs."

Oh, Nancy. Mackinac Island is nice. I mean, it's touristy, but it's also pretty cool. We went there for part of our honeymoon. You know there are no cars on the island, right? Now, listen. If you can save your pennies, I cannot recommend highly enough that you stay at The Grand Hotel. It's where we stayed, and I stayed there when I was a kid, too, and it is TO DIE FOR. It's where they filmed Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve. Stay there. Listen to me.

Does anyone else have untouristy things for her to do there? The only thing I know to tell her to do is stop in and say hey to my Uncle John in St. Ignace across the way, there. Cause, you know, I was on my honeymoon and 10 when I was there. Not at the same time.

Also, what's a GRITS?

M queries, "Dear Cat Lady June, Will you help me name my new kitty? I'm having trouble coming up with a name for her. You would too if this was only about your 9,000th cat. Thanks!"

Felicity. (My Aunt Mary is good at cat names, so I called her and she came up with it.)

Jan ponders, "Does it bother your mother that you are not going to have children? Did she really want grandchildren? Has she ever tried to convince you to change your mind?"

Dear Jan: Yes, yes, and also yes. Did it work? No. Did it work even for a minute? No. The good news is, one of my really good friends lives in my hometown and has a little girl, and for the first few years of Emma's life my mother took care of her a few days each week while my friend worked. So my mother has kind of a pseudo grandchild. Plus, she has three lovely grandcats (four if you count my stepsister's cat Duncan) and a delightful granddog. Things could be worse. I could have married Rush Limbaugh or something. Wouldn't THAT have gotten her goat?

Is "kind of a pseudo" really bad English?

Jan, who I assume is the same Jan as above and who asked me three different questions on the same day and clearly needs a Junetervention, asks, "Do your pets have middle names?"

Those of you who have pets, don't you end up calling your pet all sorts of things that aren't his or her original name? Like, my old cat Mr. Horkheimer eventually became Sam Foley Horkheimer, even though I never officially gave him a first or second name. He just kind of had "Mister" for a first name, like the bad guy in The Color Purple.

That said, yes. It would appear that Francis is somehow Fran Ellen, even though he is a boy cat. Tallulah is Tallulah Blueberry Gardens, and Winston and Henry do not have middle names. Winston's last name is Tripper, though, because when we first got him Marvin tripped over him and broke his hand. Which I did not believe for a full 12 hours and made him go about his Saturday like a normal person because he could MOVE the hand and isn't that always the golden rule about whether something is broken? It was only till it looked kind of purple that I started to worry. I felt really guilty when it was, in fact, broken. 

And I must break these chains of Ask June now and go about my day. As always, direct your pressing questions for Ask June here.

Once upon a time, there was one little girl who went to the blog academy


In honor of my Love's Baby Soft giveaway, I Farrah-d my hair. What do you think?

And by the way, I lied. What I have is a duo, not a trio, of Love's products to give away. I was hallucinating. And because I feel so bad about this, I will go to Walgreen's and get you a Bonne Bell Lip Smacker as well, because yes they do still sell them.

Here is my fine photo of the duo of Love's Baby Soft and Love's Old Lady Hard. I think the other one is actually called Heart Throb or something. I can't open the package and I can't get the dang thing turned around. There is a little clippy thing you'll have to cut should you win it.


So far I have about 20 people who sort of tepidly want this, if you count my pal Calyx, who wrote in to say he doesn't want it. Which I guess hardly puts him in the category of even tepidly wanting it.

I have no idea who I'm going to pick, but I liked Culpepper's suck-uppy I-have-read-you-for-two-years-two-months-and-11-days plea, as well as Jan's anything-you-have-owned-I-want-to-own thing. But probably I'll just do the random number picker. Unless anyone has a really good sob story about Love's Baby Soft.

Okay, so when I get home from work tonight to do Ask June, I will announce the winner of this compelling prize. Seriously, is this the worst giveaway ever? No, my Totie Fields dress was worse.

Leave your comment saying you want the Love's Baby Soft/Bonne Bell Lip Smacker here.

June does a giveaway

Since so many people mentioned it in yesterday's '70s post, I am inspired. I have this little zipper bag of brand-new Love's perfumes, including a bottle of Love's Baby Soft. I do not know why I have them; I think Marvin gave them to me as a joke earlier this year. The other two perfumes are like Love's Old Lady Hard and Love's Teenage Not Hard or Soft or something. I do not know what they are; I have never opened them. Does anyone want them as a trip down memory lane? Leave your comment here if you do. I will announce Friday during Ask June.



Day before yesterday, Henry got fixed. Not that he was broken, I was just trying to avoid any little Henrys, if you can imagine anything littler than Henry.

I know you may be thinking, How can he possibly be big enough to be getting fixed already? Or maybe you're thinking, Geez Louise, is she really going to talk about that kitten again? But the rule nowadays is as long as you weigh two pounds, you are big enough to get neutered. And also, if it's my blog, I get to discuss this kitten ad nauseum.

I looked it up on Google, because as usual I do not know what I did before Google. Was I able to form a thought or an opinion? Anyway, they said when you neuter a kitten really young, the recovery time is remarkably brief.

He had to be gone overnight and our house was depressingly devoid of ridiculousness Tuesday night. It was so calm and insane-kitty free. Last night when I picked him up, and he looked so tiny in his big kitty crate, which reads "Winston" across the top (all of our cat crates have the names of our cats across the top from when we had to fly them here from LA), they told me that I had to limit Henry's activity.

He is a two-and-a-half month old kitten. Limit his activity.

Also, they said not to feed him much, because he may throw it up.

He slept in the car on the way home, which was a relief. When we got home, the other pets gathered like the three wise men to see who was emerging from the carrier, and as soon as I opened that crate, out bopped Henry.

"HI!" he seemed to say. "I'M HOME! WHERE'S THE DING-DANG FOOD?" He ZOOMED! over to the food bowl.

"Henry, watch your movement!" I called after him. He seemed ravenous. I let him eat for maybe 30 seconds and he meowed angrily when I pulled him off the food. He ZOOMED! after Tallulah. "Henry, please," I said. I put him in the spare room with a litter box, and he mow mow mow mow mowed for an hour, so I let him out.

Within seconds, Henry was leaping on both cats and the dog, and the dining room chairs, and he was back at the food bowl again. It's like he has no clue he is singing soprano. I'm gonna put him in the spare room while I'm at work today, but I know he's gonna be irked. HE SEEMS PERFECTLY FINE. How can he be perfectly fine? The woman at work who had her appendix out has to be gone for four weeks! He had surgery yesterday and he is hanging from the ceiling like a bat.

He's having a ball. And yet he isn't.

Staying obsessed is nicer with a little Tickle

Remember Tickle deodorant? It was the deodorant of the '70s.


I think it was exclusively aimed at teenage girls, much like Virginia Slims, Daisy shavers, and wine coolers.

I totally had the Daisy shavers too. Well, and the Virginia Slims a few times. This old neighbor girl, who just found me on Facebook, told me we used to smoke them until the "Virginia Slims" part burned down to the word "Virgin" and that totally sounds like something I would have done, even though I don't remember it.

Anyway, there was nothing I wanted quite so much as Tickle deodorant, if you exclude Barry Gibb. Aren't advertisers evil? There was no reason that Tickle was any different from the Mum or Old Spice or Sure or whatever my poor mother wanted to buy at the store, but I NEEDED the Tickle. See that polka-dotted container, there? It also slid off, so you could just use the slim inside part. What a bonus!

If anyone can remember the individual scents, I will love you forever, because I know I ended up getting the green one, which was kind of herb-y, but I do not know what the others were. One assumes blue is unscented. When did advertisers decide blue doesn't smell like anything? Do you think the orange was citrus-y? It was the '70s. We loved us the citrus scents in the '70s.

What ridiculous, unnecessary things did you need, thanks to advertisers?

I will sign off now, as I must shower and get to my job at an advertising department.

June’s Garden

Don't you just want to kiss his fat tum?

As you may know, the house we live in now is the first house we have ever owned. That is because before this, we lived in Los Angeles, where the average price for a home is 95 billion dollars.

Because I was always a renter I never had to worry about yard work. Some landlord always had to worry about the grass and the trees and the flowers. It was kind of lovely.

But you know, I started noticing our yard was getting a little overgrown, and I thought, "Where is that negligent landlord with the gardeners?" and then I realized I was the negligent landlord. And that's when I became obsessed with the ivy.

You don't know how I wish I had before pictures of the ivy in our front yard.

Oh, yay! Guess what I found! Remember at Christmas last year, when I made the lit balls? Okay, ignore those and look at my ivy in the foreground (you can click on the photo to make it bigger).


See that–that HUMP in the foreground, there, covered in all that ding-dang ivy? What you can't see is that it extends to the front of the yard and chokes to death the two azalea bushes up there, too. The hump is not a troll or that scary thing from The Lady in the Water, it is an old stump.

So about a month ago, I was walking past that ivy to take the dog for a stroll, and I kicked that stump, and do you know it gave way? Turns out it was rotting.

That's when my obsession began.

Ever since then, I have been out there with my free time, stomping that stump, chopping at it with an ax, chipping at it with gardening tools, and when I finally got it almost gone? I started pulling out that ivy. I mean, I know ivy can be pretty, but it is just so randomly there in the front yard, looking weedy and ridiculous and like it's up to no good.

Sometimes I thought I was gonna break my teeth, I would be pulling so hard at those ivy roots and they'd come out so violently. Sometimes I'd have to get the shovel, and DIG the roots out. Oh, there is nothing quite as satisfying as hearing the crack of a root when you have gotten to the bottom of it.


Now, I understand that this looks depressing and bare, but I have since raked and today I got new azaleas and some other blooming plants, and some mulch, but really, the POINT of this photo? Is that you know what you don't see any more? You don't see any ivy! You don't see any stump! It is all gone because I removed it! With my bare hands! And several gardening tools.


I put some of these in, and if anyone knows what they are, could you tell me? Because I bought them at the farmers market and I have no idea what they are, but they are doing great and I think I'll get more.

Oh! And while I'm on the subject of gardens–and this will only amuse you if you read me when I lived in TinyTown–Marvin forwarded me an article from the TinyTown News Record Intelligencer newspaper (no, honestly. It has like 80 names and it's four pages long). My garden club got abandoned on the side of the road recently and they had to call to get someone to pick them up, and naturally it made the paper. Here is a picture of my club! Look how cute! How I miss my garden club.


At any rate, getting back to my current life, by the time I dug and mulched and planted and Miracle Grew today, it was pitch black and I can't show you how nice everything looks, but I can tell you this. Yesterday someone was driving by and he pulled up to my front yard.

"Excuse me, ma'am," he said. "I live in this neighborhood."

I was all, oh Lord. What has one of my animals done?

"I just wanted to commend you for all you've done for this yard," he continued. "I am so glad you got all that ivy out."

I could have kissed him flush on the mouth and made him a Salisbury steak. I told him how I really didn't know what I was doing and how much his compliment meant to me. We had a nice chat where he said he thought he might have met my husband but he didn't think so because the fella he met was so young, so I had to endure that humiliation, as usual, where we are George and Barbara Bush and I look 110 compared to Marvin.

Nevertheless. What I learned is, when you fix your yard, it's not just for you, it's for all the people who live around you who have to look at it.

The other lesson is, marry a man who looks hagged out.

Happy birthday, Cluck

I just looked at the calendar and realized it's my grandfather's birthday. He'd be 89 today.

I have these great pictures from his birthday 17 years ago, which, hello. It totally doesn't feel like 17 years ago. It feels like five years ago. Why does time move faster once you're old?

Picky 001

Part of my job required me to take black-and-white photographs, so I always had a camera with me and also black-and-white film. And how many personal pictures do you think I have in black and white from this time? Whenever I'd go to the photo developing place, I'd end up feeling guilty and paying for the developing out of my own pocket, because half the work pictures would be of my cats, or my grandfather's birthday.

I love these pictures because I can tell throughout this entire afternoon we all had the giggles. My grandfather was not was you'd call a solemn person.

My grandfather could do an impeccable impression of the sound of a bottle opening and then the liquid pouring into the glass. It is an important thing for a grandfather to know how to do. Every time we ever talked on the phone, he'd say, "How are you? You're lookin' good!" It always annoyed my grandmother that he said that.

He figured out something cool when I was little. He was born in 1920, and I was born in 1965, and from the time I was 1, we could always work it out so we were the same age. Like, the year I was 1, he was 46, and 4 + 6 = 10, and  1 + 0 = 1.

This year he would be 89, 8 + 9 = 17 and 1 + 7 = 8. This year I will be 44; 4 + 4 = 8. I am so excited it still works out.

Gnp 001

 Look at my grandmother. She is about to spit up, she's laughing so hard. What on earth were we laughing at? My grandfather went by the name Chuck, and one year the bakery accidentally wrote, "Happy Birthday, Cluck!" on his cake, but I know it wasn't this particular year.

Mary 001

Aunt Mary, the one who likes to shop, was there, too, that day. She lives in Colorado. I've always liked this picture of her, the way the sun is streaming in.

I'm glad I took these pictures illegally with my work film, because it was my grandfather's last birthday. He died pretty peacefully five months later. We had all been in his room, laughing like we had been on this day, then when we left he died in his sleep, at the age of 72.

I was 27. We were both nine.


Today, Marvin and I went to Asheville to spend the day with my old friend Paula.


Paula does not live in Asheville. She lives in Seattle. In fact, she was my housemate in Seattle. It is safe to say she was one of my closest friends in Seattle. We not only lived together, we worked at the same place, too. It is a wonder we did not stab each other in the night, really, what with living together and working together.

Anyway, Paula happened to be in Asheville so we saw her.

When we were housemates, Paula was really, really into that show Hart to Hart, with Stephanie Powers and Robert Wagner. Do you remember that show? I mean, I lived with her in the mid-90s, it wasn't even a real show THEN, it was already old. But she used to tape it, which meant I couldn't do my Firm workout tape sometimes, because she had the stupid tape in to tape stupid Hart to Hart, and to this day I can hum for you the theme song. It goes do DO do do, dodoDOdo… Remember?

One night she was about to watch one of her stupid Hart to Harts, and I said, "Is there a way we can turn this into a drinking game?" I don't know if you have gleaned by now that I took many opportunities to turn things into a drinking game into my youth. Remind me to tell you about my Space Needle drinking game.

Paula said, "Yeah, that'd be easy. Any time Jonathan Hart tells Jennifer Hart she looks beautiful, we could take a drink."

"Okay," I said.

"OH! And any time they kiss, we could take a drink."

"Okay," I said.

"I have another one," said Paula. "Any time they call each other darling, we could take a drink."

"Great," I said. They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no.

So, I got us a couple of Heinekens and we put the tape in, and I am not kidding you, the very first scene of the show, Jonathan Hart walks in, kisses Jennifer and says, "Darling, you look beautiful."

We were so busy trying to drink three times in a row and laugh at the same time that I am sorry to tell you Paula ended up spitting up in the sink. It was a proud moment for us both.

So we had fun in Asheville. Although no one spit up anything.


Not even a hot dog.

We ate at a vegetarian restaurant and I have to tell you I had the best sandwich of my life. Both Paula and I made them substitute the tofu for swiss cheese (sue us), and the bread was toasted and it was that pretentious I'm-at-a-vegetarian-restaurant-in-a-hippie-town kind of bread that weighs 85 pounds, and there was a black bean spread, and really good tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, and really that might have been all, and yet that sandwich was to die for.


Of course, what healthy sandwich would be complete without an individually wrapped chocolate-covered strawberry after? Also, the Panama Canal called. Who needs Botox and filler in that forehead wrinkle?

Anyway. Now we are home and Tallulah is not here, because we were gone for a long time so she is boarding at dog day care.


Here she is on her way to boarding school this morning. She looks a little dejected, doesn't she?

Do you have any idea how much quieter it is when there are only cats in a house? No tinkling tags, no growly dog play noises, no barking at rabbits in the yard. It's horrible. Who invented this peaceful existence?

At any rate, I will close with the comment of the week. And this week, we have a dilemma, folks. In my post Nutrition Information, I think every single person who commented about me getting the healthy salad and then the tub of macaroons was hilarious. I am sorry. I cannot pick. So you all get comment of the week this week. Each one just got ridiculouser than the one before.

Bug June with your queries

Ask June is just joshing you with her title. She likes your Ask June Questions. You know what she was thinking? She was thinking maybe you could ask some personal-woe types of questions. Do you have any relationship issues, money concerns, or work troubles you wish you share with the world? Go ahead, Ask June.

Perhaps you are wondering, "Why on earth should I take my woes to Ask June? In what possible way is she qualified to deal with my troubles?" I'll tell you how. My stepfather is a psychiatrist. If that doesn't make me qualified.

Before we begin, let's add a photo for visual stimulation. I am way too lazy to get the camera, because if you must know, Ask June episodes take a long time.You have to go back to old Ask Junes and physically GET the questions, you have to link to the questioner's name, you have to copy and paste the questions, then you have to think of a pithy answer. Trust me, you don't want to be Ask June. I mean, I know you don't, in so many ways.

Okay, I will go into my already existing photos here on my desktop and let's pick picture number…27. Okay? Whatever that is, we'll plunk it here so we are visually stimulated.


Wow. This is from last summer, at my mother's place in northern Michigan. Look how chubbeldy I am. I wonder what we put our books down to discuss. Maybe I wondered where I could get pizza. "Hey, mom, do you enjoy my cankles?" "Yes, honey, and I wish to punch you should you decide to get any fatter."

Really, mom doesn't have a closed fist so much as maybe she has a "guess what I have in my hand" kind of a look going on. And I'll bet I hope it's food! Okay, not my fault I hadn't discovered Topamax yet.

Let's stop chewing the fat and get to Ask Slim June, okay?

Cyndi asks, "I am curious about why you use a pseudonym here on the blog. Have you had problems with stalkers in the past, or perhaps you're in the witness protection program?"

I know this is kind of a dumb question, but are there really people in the witness protection program? People always use that line, but there must be people who are really in it, right? If I were in the witness protection program, would the government, like, pay to fix my nose and would I get to wear a silky-haired wig? Because maybe I want to turn somebody in right now.

Cyndi, when I first started blogging, my husband insisted we use fake names, or to use your fancy, college-educated term, pseudonyms. I thought it seemed a little paranoid, but the reason I started blogging was because we went all of 2007 without spending any money, so I was hyper aware of my bank account, and a few months into blogging someone took money out of my account and my first thought was, "Is it someone who is reading my blog who knows we are saving oodles of cash?"

And really, wouldn't you just WANT to steal from someone who thinks words like "oodles"? I eventually decided it was just coincidence, but I'm now kind of glad we're anonymous. Well, as anonymous as two people can be who put their photographs on the Internet every single day.

Hyphen Mama wonders, "Have you ever had an 11 year old cat who has lost half their body weight in 3 weeks and has horrible diarrhea ALL OVER THE PLACE? My enormous fat cat is shrinking before my eyes and the vet cannot find the cause after her blood work came back perfect. Thanks, cat lady."

When I went to link to Hyphen Mama's blog, the first thing I saw was her reference to her dying cat. Which again makes me think perhaps I should have some sort of Ask June Emergency button, if I knew how to create buttons on my blog. Does anyone know how to create buttons? If you use one single computer-y word, like "Mac," you will have lost me.

At any rate, Hyphen Mama, I am terribly sorry about your cat and no, I have never had that particular trouble. I have had a cat who suddenly started falling apart for no reason they could discern, and it is so frustrating.

Jan wrestles with, "Would it be wrong, morally, to sneak into a yard of a house that is foreclosed on your street, under the cover of darkness and pilfer all of the perennials? I think I know the legal answer. But really. Not that I'm considering it. Not that there are 10 hostas and several BEAUTIFUL dark purple dwarf irises that aren't being cared for just sitting down there beckoning to me, uh, I mean someone. Really? Does the bank really care about those neglected plants? That want a place in my, uh, I mean someone's yard????"

Jan, it would be morally wrong, but who am I to judge? Go rescue those poor plants.

Ask June has to make herself scarce now, as she must get up early to go to Asheville with her spouse. Asheville, which her grandmother used to pronounce Aysheville, is sort of the hippie town of North Carolina. It is the Berkley of North Carolina. It is the Ann Arbor of North Carolina. It is the Madison, Wisconsin of North Carolina. Okay, I am out of hippie towns to compare it to.

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend and that no birds drop any snakes on you.

Remember to Ask June here.