May I have your attention, please?

Everyone in my family talks at the same time.

You know the part where I never shut up? I mean, you kind of don't, because you have never really talked to me, but you know the part where I post every day and I post a lot of words? That is because I spent my whole life spewing out a constant stream of words hoping that 8% of them would get caught.

Last night I tried to tell Uncle Jim's son the story of the white cat.

"…and then Jim said he kept dreaming of a white cat–"

"Do you guys want a piece of cake!?!"

"No. I'm trying to tell the story of the white cat. …And then Jim said he kept dreaming of a white c–"

"Grab the baby! He's gonna pour pomegranate juice on the dog!"

"And then Jim said he kept dreaming of–"

"June! When did you get here?!"

Honestly. That is how every conversation goes. My whole life. I have never once told a story from start to finish while somebody gave me their undivided attention. I would like to lace everyone's coffee with Ritalin. Is Ritalin what you give people for ADD? What do you give people for Interrupt-y Disorder? For Pay No Attention to the Part Where I AM ALREADY TALKING Disorder?

Also, if you read this stupid blog with some regularity, or even if you are kind of stopped up, you may know that I am a tad sensitive to the smells. Like, I cannot even walk past Bath & Body Works in the mall without my throat closing up. Marvin thinks I am making this up but I am not, and I come by it naturally, as my grandmother was the same way. And yes, we all kind of thought she was a drama queen, too, and now it turns out she wasn't. Well, she totally was, but NOT ABOUT THIS.

Anyway, my mother has all kinds of Bath & Body Works soaps and lotions and candles and what pinhole for a throat, over here? The worst one was some sort of anaphylactic-scented candle, over there, in the kitchen, by the coffee pot, of all places, and finally I said, "Could we put this in a cupboard while I'm here?" and I saw everyone roll their eyes, like look at old hypochondriac June, over there, with her phony hives and her made-up wheezing.

So who thinks he is a laugh riot, getting that candle out and placing it behind me everywhere I go? Is it Marvin? Just now I was peacefully writing this and Marvin said, "How's your throat?" and I said, "Still scratchy" and he giggled and THAT CANDLE WAS RIGHT HERE ON THE DESK, hovering at my shoulder like we were posing in an Olan Mills photo together.

And then he made his move. Okay, am kidding about that part. I am just saying. I think I should be sainted, with all I put up with. They should make little statues of me for your dashboard, except for the part where the hair would interfere with your view of the road.

I did get to see my Aunt Sue yesterday and she looks surprisingly well. When she feels more up to it, I am going to print out all of my Uncle Jim posts along with all of your comments about him. A lot of other family members have read what you wrote and they just loved it. My Aunt Kathy sat here last night and read some of the comments out loud.

Of course, everyone interrupted her.

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You just don’t find any Ritzes described as “out behind the Bob Evans.” Is the thing.

Dear Gitmo,

I apologize. I seem to have wandered onto your facility.  Really, you should work harder on that security thing.

When we shut off the light over our saggy, creaky, walnut-sized bed last night, it was like in The Brady Bunch, and I am not even going to try to go back and italicize Brady Bunch, because the computer is crawling as I am stealing the broadband or broad width or broad hips or whatever from the Bob Evans, I am not even kidding, but remember when they would turn out the lights on Brady Bunch and another light would kind of come on?

This light flooded our room like we were sleeping on the planet Mercury.

And the humming. Even deaf Marvin heard it. Then he kept imitating it, .3 inches from me in the saggy walnut. "HMMMMMMM!" He thought he was hilarious. Then he made his move. Yes. Let's please expose more of our flesh to whatever viruses abound in this hellhole.

Fortunately, it is finally time to go. I woke up 700 times. I can't imagine why, with the chorus of hums and the interrogation light in my retina and Marvin getting up from the walnut EVERY HOUR to do GOD KNOWS WHAT. Oh, and apparently the wall between the bed and the toilet is made of cardboard, because I might as well have laid at Marvin's feet while he was in there, so acute was my hearing of everything he did. "You're going to enjoy this next part!" he announced gleefully.

My home town, Saginaw, has fallen on hard economic times, and I suggested to my mother they may want to become one of those quickie divorce towns, like Reno.

I'm going to miss this place. The way one misses a festering cavity, or an aching boil.

The White Cat

Marvin just took the turtles back to school; the art teacher is going to take care of them for us. Our neighbor, Peg, is pet-sitting. Marvin also bought a bag of snacks that I do not enjoy (licorice and goldfish) (ugh), and we are off to Michigan for the funeral. Road trip! Snacks-I-hate road trip!

I just wanted to check in and say I may not be around tomorrow based on what horrific motel Marvin makes us stay in. My father was always very persnickety about nice hotels when I was growing up. I did not marry my father. Which, you know, is probably good because I think that is illegal. But Marvin will be all, "Oh! Look! The Crack and Lice Motel! This looks nice!"

We once stayed at The Wagon Wheel Motel and Bowling Alley. I am not making that up. Someone was arrested while we ate breakfast. This is why I am telling you we may not have Wi-Fi or whatever tomorrow. We may not have wallets tomorrow.

Before I go I wanted to tell you something sort of weird. I don't know. It's weird.

I don't know.

Okay, I'll tell you.

You know I got to go back and see Uncle Jim I think four times this year, and one of the times was on my birthday. He and I ate my birthday dinner next to each other, and he admired my new lawn edger my mother got me, and gave me tips, because Uncle Jim's lawn HAD TO BE PERFECT as did HIS HOUSE, as did HIS CLOTHING and physical appearance. He was a tad tidy. Did you ever meet Howard Hughes?

At any rate, after dinner we were the only two to wander into the living room. I guess we got away with not clearing the table because it was my birthday and because he was sick, although between you and me, in any other scenario neither he nor I were clear-the-table helpers anyway.

Somehow we got on the topic of spirituality. "Do you believe in God and spirits and all that stuff?" he asked me. "I never did growing up," I told him. "But now I kind of do," I said. "Why?"

"I keep seeing a white cat. I dream of a white cat all the time," he told me. He was really intense. "I don't know what it means."

"Well, I think it's Native Americans who believe you have a spirit animal. Maybe that's yours and it's helping guide you or something. Do you believe in that?"

"I don't know," he said, sitting back on the couch. "Sometimes." Then he dismissed it. "It's probably the medications they have me on."

I pretty much forgot that conversation, but after my Aunt Sue called me yesterday to say Jim had died, and after 86 more people I am related to called me in a row to say the same thing in rapid succession, I walked in here to the computer to tell it on my blog. I saw something out the window, really fast.

It looked like a white cat running past the window.

There are no white cats in our neighborhood. I hadn't been thinking of a white cat, or that story, at all. I just thought, "Was that a white cat?" cause you know I am up in cats, even in times of grief. And then half a second later, I gasped, remembering the story. I looked out the side window and saw nothing.

Now, it could have been a squirrel. Or my eyes could have been playing tricks on me.

Or it could have been a white cat. Saying, hey, I got him there!

I don't know.

The blue thing from when we stepped on a glass at our wedding. And if that title doesn’t suck a reader in, I don’t know what will.

Yesterday, I included a picture from my wedding day, which was 50,00 years ago, before everyone had cell phones and felt the need to constantly text each other and Skype and Hulu and whatever else you all do out there with your modern conveniences such as getting water out your refrigerator doors. In the comments from yesterday, someone asked if Marvin and I stepped on a glass at our wedding.

I am always stunned when you all remember details from my life, which is stupid because I have been blogging daily for three years now, and why wouldn’t you remember a thing like Marvin is Jewish. You know what I need to put up one day? Marvin’s bar mitzvah pictures from 1979. Oh, you haven’t lived. I am just saying, get several beach towels, because you will pee your own chair. Why you would want to pee on your beach towels is beyond me. It was the first thing that popped into my head.

At any rate, we DID step on a glass, which is a Jewish tradition, and I do not mean that Jewish people go around cutting their feet all day, but rather at the end of a wedding, you step on a glass that is under a napkin or something, and I imagine it is for good luck, but right up there with the part where I was supposed to have something blue, I have really no real idea why.

What we did was, we had our glass in a bag, and someone took all the dangerous shards of glass and had those made into a little sculpture-y thing. I can no longer recall if Marvin’s mother did this or one of my mother’s Jewish friends, and now I am GONNA HEAR IT, because I should certainly remember who did what 12 years ago at a wedding of 250 people.

Anyway, I offered to take yet another of my bad photographs (hi, dad!) of said sculpture-y thing for this blog and in the comments people said oh yes, please do, and they also said “I heart Journey,” and also “David Byrne does not like Applebee’s” I know I tell you to read the comments and you refuse to listen but you don’t know what you’re missing.

So I got the brilliant idea to pose everybody who lives here with the stepped-on-the-glass thing from our wedding, and you know what everybody here was in the mood for? Me. And my camera. And my mad photography skillz. Is what they were.

Yubotherhen

Why you bother Hen? Hen needs his shrimpy sleep. Hen chair need to be not centered in photo. Hi, photographer grandpa. Why you allergic to me, grandpa? Why your throat close up? Why your daughter not inherit your skillz?

Anyway, there it is. I guess the glass must have been blue. I never looked at it. I was busy getting married and greeting guests and sticking bottles of Bud Light down the front of my $2,000 dress. If the glass was blue why did I have to kill myself getting something blue for my wedding?

Zzzzztalu

Shhhh. Lu tongue out. Lu dream she lick things. Why you put blue blob in front of Lu? This psychological test? Lu fine. Lu not phobia of microwave. It just small fear. That straightjacket? That butterfly net? LU FINE.

Winnie

Win sleep on unmade bed. Win clean self because mom clean nothing else.

Franhateallyoustandfor

fran hate you. fran never move till you put offensive blob down. now fran get up. time for revolution. time to act be now. been planning.

Francontemplates

maybe time to act is tomorrow. fran tired. hate so tiring.

Me
Yes, I did pick this up with my feet. I cannot wait till Marvin sees this, because you know how he enjoys feet.

Marvnflo

Heeeee. Then look what I did. I had him hold it, not knowing it was held by my feets just seconds earlier. Oh, the hilarity. Also too, Marvin is holding Flo. Not Aunt Flo. Because that would be gross.

Okay, so now you have seen enough of the sculpture-y thing from when Marvin stepped on the glass at our wedding 4,000 years ago. I am certain you are glad you asked.

The day we offically got uncool

Marvin and I were gadding about all day, and then when we were done I said, "Let's go to Target on a Saturday in the afternoon, because that's sure to be relaxing and enjoyable, and also because we need bird seed because like Rik my idiot neighbor from LA, I need to feed my babies, the wild birds."

Anyway, does your husband do this to you? You are shopping like a normal person, and even perhaps saying things, and you turn around and he is nowhere? NOWHERE. Oh, it IRRITATES me. If I were remotely attractive anymore, I would grab the nearest man and make out with him every time Marvin does that, but now if I did that people would report me to the authorities.

I found him over in the music section this time, and come ON. The MUSIC  section at TARGET. You cannot tell me that is a remotely compelling place for a music snob such as Marvin. Was he perusing Eddie Money's greatest hits? (I just said that to irk Faithful Reader and Commentor Hulk, who seems to get up in arms when you insult Eddie Money.)

"What are you DOING?" I asked him, a giant bag of bird seed on his shoulder like he was Johnny Appleseed of Target.

"They have that one song about how it's after one and I'm drunk. Do you know that song?" Marvin asked.

I paused. Because sadly, I DO somehow know that song.

"We have lived in the South for too long," I surmised.

"I might buy this," he said, the way he used to say at Amoeba Records on Sunset Blvd., where they had rare things, and cool things, and not drunk-at-one-in-the-morning things.

"The hole in your soul is not shaped like a CD," I told him for the 114th time. "Let's go."

Honestly, I do not know what's become of us. We used to be hip. Didn't we? Soon we'll be eating at Applebee's.

I love Applebee's.

Anyway, I found this photo today and I thought it summed everything up. Not the part where we have become old and uncool, just the part where I never shut up.

Alwaysyakking

From DAY ONE he should have known my pie hole would be flappin'. It was right there from the first second. Look how he seems to be mulling his decision over right then. But the tux had been rented, and everyone was there, and he was stuck with me.  Fortunately he is getting deaf as a doorknob from all the music listening and band playing, so my incessant chatter and telling him about the hole in his soul literally falls on deaf ears.

Who sings that terrible song, anyway? About being drunk at one in the morning? Could someone drunk dial me and let me know?

My LA life comes back to haunt me

About a year and a half ago, I told you all about our really cool apartment in LA, and how the stay-at-home actor guy who moved in and scammed our landlord basically drove us out of it. Here is the link to the whole sordid tale: click here. (I make links really obvious for people like my cousin Katie, who is younger than me but not so into the computers, and who has been known to say, "I wanted to click on the link, but all that was there were blue words.")

If you do not feel like reading the whole story, my landlord was a lovely old queen who had no family, and this guy moved in, isolated my landlord from all his friends, isolated my landlord from us, and eventually tried to say the house was his. We reported this guy to elder abuse and the whole thing went to court and we had to move because things got ugly, as you can imagine.

Finally our poor landlord died and the "actor" who never acted had to move out, and the point of me reiterating this tale of woe is that SOMEONE MADE A SHORT FILM about this guy! And they made him look like a giant hero! Because he feeds pigeons!

Our whole house was ruined because we had 80 million pigeons at our house. He had giant unsanitary and it turns out illegal pigeon dwellings (we reported him to the Health Department, too. You can see why we really had to move) in the back yard, and they found FOUR DEAD PIGEONS in our chimney, and I got a bizarre fungal infection in my throat that took two rounds of antibiotics to clear up.

You know I am an animal lover, but feeding wild animals is not such a stellar idea. It leads to overpopulation and messes up the ecosystem and yes, I know I have a bird feeder in my front yard. Anyway, here is the short film if you want to see it, and it shows my old neighborhood with the pretentious grocery store on my corner (not that I was a prostitute, I just mean the corner of my street), and my old pink apartment that I loved so much, and the EFFING ENDLESS BIRDS he brought around.

And for my cousin Katie, here is the link. Click here.

P.S. I love how he talks about the odd jobs he does, like detective work and acting. I would like to discuss with you all the hard acting and detective work he did. "I do odd jobs, like scamming helpless old men, and claiming I own valuable property in trendy parts of LA…"

Marvin’s modern dance moves

A. Marvin bought Mint Milanos and did not tell me. What sort of demon does not reveal this information? He put them in the refrigerator, because he cannot remember we no longer live in LA and will not be invaded by 2939439202884292929482 sugar ants if we put them in the cupboard like normal people.

K. We no longer have Mint Milanos, to speak of.

C. Marvin also does not hang any pictures over the beds, even though I continue to remind him that we NO LONGER LIVE IN LOS ANGELES and have not done so for nearly three years now. An earthquake will not smack said picture on top of us in the night. It’s okay now. Really. But no. We continue to live with depressing blank walls above the bed, like Bartleby the Scrivener.

12. Why do people Facebook friend you and then never comment on your updates, never email you and never post anything themselves? Why bother joining Facebook, then?

Q. My father, the photographer, has been reading my blog suddenly, after years of not reading my blog, and he is seriously disturbed by the quality of my photographs. I do not know if anyone noticed in my post about my neighbor Pollyanna that after a few hours the photo of her azaleas got noticeably cropped. This is because my father broke out in 20 hissys and sent me said photo all cropped up with a terse note about how when you are showing a picture, it is generally a good idea to try to show people, oh, the thing you want to show them and not a bunch of other crap in the background.

He was also up in arms about the red eyes my pets have, so today I wanted to show you a cute picture of Henry:

Hen

which, really, is there anything else? He’s just so cute. Although stunted. The other day Marvin caught me giving him instructions on growing. “Just shut your eyes, Henry, and really think about it. Then push push push.”

“Are you trying to get him to grow?” Marvin asked me, disgusted. He thinks I should accept Henry as he is. I would have been one of those parents whose kid had a nervous breakdown when he didn’t get into Harvard.

Anyway, I am acutely aware of Henry’s red eyes now, and father, there is NOT some magic button you push to get rid of red eye, rather you have to SELECT something and kind of color it in, I think, and oh, it’s a whole thing and I can’t do it. You know me. It’s like when you tried to get me to go under water. Where’s my dollar?

But what I did discover was I have all these special effects on my computer. Look!

Smushy hen

Henry is smushy! Because he needs to be any smushier. What I like about this is now you’re even MORE aware of his red eye issue.

14.9(a)[b]. My Uncle Jim is still hanging in there. Every time the phone rings I about jump out my skin. Someone called at 8:30 this morning and I wanted to skin her and splay her in front of my fireplace like a rug. Except I have no fireplace. Honestly, if you know someone is waiting for a phone call like this, why would you call them at an odd time like that? Geez.

A-E. Marvin lost a bet last night (our waitress was from Michigan, which we knew because she kept announcing it at the top of her lungs to everyone in the restaurant, and he guessed Kalamazoo and I said Mt. Clemens, and it was Flint and I was closer), so he had to sweep all the floors when we got home, and it turns out we have dramatically different ideas of what it means to “sweep a floor,” I think. For me, it means get all the stuff that was on the floor off of the floor. I do not know what Marvin’s  modern dance artistic interpretation is.

Should I make Smushy Henry coffee mugs?

I never really liked you all that much

Yesterday I called my Uncle Jim's house and left him a message. I didn't even know if he'd be able to listen to it; I wasn't sure if he was alert or what.

I told him that despite the COUNTLESS TIMES he scared me by leaping out of the bedrooms at Gramma's house, he had been a good uncle.

Certainly I have told you about how he used to scare me, haven't I? I think I have. But if you haven't heard the story, here it is.

Every Friday night, I would spend the night at my grandmother's house, and because my uncle is only 10 years older than me he was always there, too. You can imagine how it pleased him, being the BABY of the family, suddenly having my cute self (and I was cute, I am sorry) always over there every Friday night, my grandmother getting all excited that I was coming over, and so forth.

Cute
(You do not even want to know the nightmare this was scanning this in. The picture is like the size of a walnut. I think it came from a contact sheet. So it scanned all crooked. At the back in the flowered blazer is mom, in the bangs is Aunt Mary before she knew about QVC, then dad in his tie, then my grandfather, then Grammy, and my cute self. I look a little drunk.)

Gramma–who was from the other side of the family and why I showed the photo above is beyond me except it was the only one of me being little I could find–would buy all my favorite treats, and I'd get to watch my favorite shows (specifically The Brady Bunch, and seeing as there were only two other channels to choose from I cannot imagine what other dreck my uncle wanted to see instead. I mean, what else is there?).

One thing I really liked was peanut butter and marshmallow creme, all swirled up in one jar. Do you remember that?

Fluffjif_1

That sounds delicious to me right now. At any rate, Uncle Jim would be so annoyed that I was coming over that he would eat the entire jar of peanut butter and marshmallow before I got there.

But the REAL thing he would do to torture me is he would scare me. Gramma had just one bathroom, and it was upstairs. Most of her kids had moved out, so there were lots of dark sort of abandoned bedrooms up there. The whole vibe at night was creepy. If you were going up there to go to the bathroom, you had to really mean business. I mean, you had to have had several cocktails.

Okay, I was four or whatever. I'd had no cocktails. But a lot of Tang had been consumed. I'd psych myself up. "Okay, I'm gonna run up there, do my thing, and maybe I'll even wash my hands down here, in the kitchen sink. Can I stand to have germs that long? Okay. It's a plan."

Now, Uncle Jim must have also felt the spookiness of the bathroom at night (by day that bathroom was delightful. Squishy toilet seat, a breeze moving the curtain in the window, a crocheted hoop-skirted lady covering the spare toilet-paper roll. It was only at night that eek!). Because what he'd do is, he'd wait till I came out of the bathroom and he'd

LEAP!

out of one of the dark scary abandoned bedrooms and

"ARRRRRR!!!!!"

scream at me

and I would flap my hands around and shut my eyes and

"GRAMMA!!!!"

yell for my grandmother and pretty much do everything he hoped for when he set out to scare me.

And he was so GOOD at it. He'd vary which bedroom he'd jump out of. Or sometimes he wouldn't leap at all, rather he'd just emit a low terrible growl from under one of the beds.

Even better, sometimes he'd LIE on the LANDING, arranging himself so he looked beheaded, rolling his eyes into the back of his head.

"GRAMMA!" Oh, I'd flap, flap, flap my hands. Being an only child, I had no semblance of cool whatsoever. I had no way to act not scared.

And sometimes he'd go a few weeks and not scare me at all. I do not know if he was that diabolical, if he was the Steven King of 14-year-olds, or if he simply was bored of scaring me. But just when I'd let my guard down and think it was okay to go back to the bathroom,

"ARRRRRR!"

I happen to know that even now, as an adult, he would sometimes scare my Aunt Sue. He would pretend to be asleep and when she'd come to bed he'd leap up and scream at her.

Really if you think about it it was kind of me to call him, wasn't it?

Anyway, a few hours after I left my message, Aunt Sue called me.

"June? Jim got your message."

I waited. You know what I wanted her to say? I wanted her to say, "Your Uncle Jim said to tell you he never really liked you all that much."

Now, maybe that is not the kind of message you would like to get from someone in your family. But that would have been just such an Uncle Jim thing to have said. Oh, how I wanted to hear that. That, or, "Your Uncle Jim said to tell you you're an asshole."

What she said was that he was able to hold the phone up, and that he nodded that he heard the message. So at least I know he heard it. At least I know I got to tell him that.

I should have said, "Uncle Jim? ARRRRR!"

As I was looking for a picture of me as a youngster I found this:

Jimnme 
It's from my high school graduation in 1983. I was about to turn 18 and Uncle Jim would be 28. Let's jam out to my mullet and what I'm sure I thought was a new wave shirt. I also enjoy Uncle Jim's Topsiders. And that damn cigarette.

I should have taken it out of his hand and stomped it into 250 pieces.

In which June discusses everything and nothing

It is 11:07 a.m. and I am printing out a job to proofread and drinking coffee out of my Bye Bye, Pie mug. It has been awhile since I hawked my merchandise. Be cool! Buy Bye Bye, Pie! merchandise!

Wow. Do you think I should give up this proofreading career and go into marketing? Because I think I can hear the crowds stampeding to buy my tshirts and mugs. With that persuasive copy, up there.

But that reminds me. I do have a photo of Faithful Reader Fawn Amber looking stunning in her Bye Bye, Pie tshirt:

Fawn

Every time someone buys a design I haven't bought, I think, Now I want to buy that style. I like the V-neck look, and I totally want to be wearing Norma and Vern on my chest like that.

For those of you just tuning in, that couple featured on my masthead are Norma and Vern. I do not know them. And yet I own 8,000 photographs of them. I know. What can I tell you?

Anyway, there is nothing dramatic happening at my house. Oh, except we have turtles. And daffodils.

Daffs

We came to look at this house right at this time of year. Tallulah was just a puppy so we had to take her with us house-hunting. I'm certain people were delighted to have a rambunctious puppy in their homes. Screw 'em. At any rate, I remember pulling up to this house and the yard was full of daffodils. This past week they have been out in full force, whatever that means. I think we have more this  year than the past two years. I have no idea why. They seem to have minds of their own.

Ohturtles

I know I mentioned to you that Marvin got turtles for his classroom, who he named Flo and Eddie but who I keep calling Cuff and Link (the turtles, not his classroom). He had a field trip on Friday and then spring (lowercase) break next week, so he just decided to bring them home for awhile, and I am certain it's been relaxing for them, with Winston's giant cat head watching their every move like this. Winston did this for, oh, nine hours when they first got here.

So we moved them into the bedroom.

Henrysee2

Which only served to alert Henry, so then TWO huge scary cat heads were watching their every move. "Gee, thanks. Sure am glad we moved to this house. This is so much more relaxing than when 30 kids threw erasers into our tank."

Finally Marvin got them a whole different aquarium and moved them into the 1940s standup radio we have in the back room. I went back there to photograph it for you, but you can't really see in. But you know what you can see?

Whatisay

Francis' big scary cat head sitting right next to the aquarium. It's the first time he's gotten up in two years. It's like in Willy Wonka when that grandpa finally gets out of bed to go to the chocolate factory.

I like how Fran matches the keyboard. And won't Marvin be happy when he sees Frannie smashing the keys. I wonder what he's playing. Maybe He Ain't Heavy, He's My Francis.

In other non-turtle-related news, it's been nice out, so I have been leaving the back door open, because I'm your back door man, and I am delighted to report that Tallulah has been hanging on the deck like a normal dog.

Doggieinsun

Honestly, it's the first time she has ever moved three inches from me since we got her. Since day one she has sat right next to me, and if I go five minutes not noticing her, she says, "Mmmm!" I realize she can't say much else, although she is also capable of saying, "Rrrrr!" when someone has the nerve to walk by with a stroller (it's the pit bull in her, I guess), and I just can't begin to tell you how nice it is to get a half-hour to myself. Without the "Mmmm!" In fact, am tempted to go nudge her with my nose and say, "Mmmm!" myself, just to see how she likes it.

I think I am going to get a pedicure today. I have not had one since I quit my job, as I have felt guilty about spending the money. However, I worked every day of February and March, except for the days I was in Seattle (and I worked on the plane), so forget it. I'm spending that $18 and you can't make me feel guilty. I think I am going for a sky blue or some other similarly trashy color. My toes, my choice.

Oooo! Maybe daffodil yellow!

Pollyanna

My across-the-street neighbor has azalea bushes–well, really, everyone in the South has azalea bushes, it is kind of a requirement, along with ham biscuits and humidity. But hers are just glorious. They bloom into every color possible in the spring.

And by the way, Facebook status updaters. Spring. It’s a lowercase word. “So glad Spring is here!” No, you’re not. You’re glad spring is here. Lowercase. Please. Before I go to a water tower and start picking people off. I beg you.


So my neighbor. Her azaleas. They bloom in every color possible. Okay, no, they do not bloom clear with iridescent and beige zebra stripes, nor do they bloom in, say, rust and terracotta polka dots. Do you have to be so literal? But a lot of colors, okay? Her azaleas come in a lot of colors. And it’s just beautiful.


Flowers
 Here are her flowers last spring, and I had the bad camera, so the prettiness was not even really captured. It’s the kind of thing where you gasp when you see it. Trust me. Pretty.


This will be the third spring I have lived here, and I keep meaning to knock on her door and thank her for her azaleas. I have seen my neighbor and I know she is elderly, and she is one of those older people who leaves the house all the time. I mean, she gets out more than I do, sitting in here at my computer, all Gladys Kravitzing my neighbors all day long.


Finally the other day I went over there, with my business card in my hand because it has my home phone number on it. I figured she should have the number of one of the neighbors should she ever need it, as well.


I knocked on her door and saw she hadn’t picked up her mail yet, and her big ol’ Soap Opera Digest was waiting on her. I already loved her.


She answered the door in a peacock blue velor sweatsuit.


“Hello,” I said. “I’m June Gardens. I live across the street, there. I–“


“Well, won’t you come in! I’m Pollyanna!”


Honest to God. I am not making that name up. And aren’t people from the South nice? If it were anywhere else we’d still be talking through the screen door.


“Sit right down. Aren’t you nice to come over. I declare I never get to meet the new neighbors anymore. Take off your coat, honey. Are you cold?”


It was eight hundred and fifty degrees in her house. Honestly. I am someone who is always cold. I wear a wrap when it’s 75 degrees out. But her house was like I was sitting in the core of the Earth. I half expected Tony Soprano and Uncle Junior to emerge in towels to discuss who to whack next.


“Oh, no,” I told her. “It’s nice and toasty.”


“I can turn it up if you’re chilly,” she said. “I always said, if I go without anything else, I’m gonna have heat and I’m gonna have food.”


If she’d turned that heat up I was going to be sitting there in my pasties and g-string.


Anyway, here is what I love about old people. Her house was so “come on in and sit down” ready. I don’t know about you, but I am a slob. If someone were to come in right now, they’d call the City. There are always magazines and books strewn about, coffee cups on the arm of the couch, throws thrown here and there, and of course the eight feet of animal fur. It’s like I have a bearskin rug, only really disbursed.


But Pollyanna? She had a white rug, for one thing. Spotless white rug. And no animals. And a light couch with no coffee stains on it. And I noted an enormous white Bible on her end table. If I had any kind of white book, it’d look like I read it in a mine within the week. What is wrong with me?


She did tell me she had a den, and maybe that’s my problem. I need a den in which to be my slobeldy self, and a “come right in” living room which stays pristine. But who am I kidding? You really think my “come right in” living room will stay at all tidy?


Anyway, I stayed an hour and we discussed just everything. And Pollyanna was not one to hold anything back. I learned her political views, her social views, her views on the neighbors:


“Have you met that neighbor down yonder?”


“Oh, yes, I–”


“I don’t like him.”


and I’ll tell you what. Pollyanna is exactly the kind of old person I adore. She did not care if her opinions offended me. She told me what she thought and that was that.


After an hour, I wandered back home. “I thought she’d kidnapped you,” Marvin said. “Oh, I would have let her.” I said. I told him all about the shocking and hilarious things Pollyanna had told me.


“Sounds like you met the next Grandma Sophie,” he said.


He was right! She was like the Southern version of Marvin’s Grandma Sophie, who had been one of my favorite people, ever. I wonder if they would have liked each other. Probably Pollyanna would have asked Grandma Sophie some kind of blunt question about being Jewish that would have shocked and kerfluffled the rest of us, and Gramma Sophie would have asked Pollyanna some offensive question about being Southern that would have made the rest of us gasp, and they would have been fine with it and gone on their way.


Anyway, I have a new friendship blooming among the azaleas, over here. I mean, if I can ever catch her 88-year-old self at home.



And I ran. I ran so far away.

I just got back home, because today is my holiday. It's marathon day here in Greensboro. And no, I don't mean we're all eating Marathon candy bars. Do they still make those? I am not a fan of caramel-only candy bars.

At any rate, I did not bring my camera because I was in such a rush to get out there and commence to cheering. Ever since I ran a marathon in 2000 (and yes, the term "ran" is a little strong), watching other people run marathons is my favorite thing to do.

On marathon day in LA, I would bring packets of aspirin, or tortilla chips, or orange slices to share with the runners, but as this was my first year watching the one here, I brought nothing and just concentrated on actually finding it.

But find it I did and YAY! I heart marathon day. I stand there and cheer like an idiot. Which is why Marvin does not come with me. Marvin is not what you'd call a cheer-on-the-side-of-the-street kind of guy. He does not cotton to the sight of me jumping up and down and screaming, "You go, girl! The end is in sight! Wooo, yellow shirt guy! Almost there, dude!"

I am hoarse by the end of marathon day.

I stay until the people who take six hours to run a marathon come in, because those are my people. Oh, shut up. Do I see your jiggly ass out there running 26 miles? Okay, then. The nice thing about this marathon as opposed to the LA one is there was actually a bench near the finish line that only had one guy sitting on it. He had a racer's number on and ice on his knee.

"Can I sit here?" I asked.

"Of course!"

Southern people are nice. Even after they have finished a marathon and have ice taped to their knee.

He was waiting for his friend to finish, and we just had the nicest visit. He had finished in two hours and something, so naturally I hated him, and he told me how he competes in races in this area all the time, and how every single race there is this guy who runs in a kilt, and the guy beats him by just a smidge each race. This humiliates him, getting beaten by a guy in a skirt, so I told him about the guy who had one leg in MY marathon, who beat me by an hour.

An HOUR. He had ONE LEG.

Anyway. Mr. I-ran-a-marathon-in-two-hours-and-something told me about his Lab, who runs with him, right next to him, and I told about Tallulah, who does not. He says he can take his Lab to downtown Greensboro, leave her unleashed outside, go in and have coffee, and the dog just sits outside and waits.

Do you know what I would find when I came outside the coffee shop? Chaos and Tallulah's dust, that's what I would find. Fifty car accidents while she darted around traffic, children crying as she stole their plush toys right out their hands, people's tacos stolen right from their mouths, bistro tables knocked over, banks robbed, computers hacked, armored trucks stolen, acts of terror.

The LAB sits outside the SHOP. Waiting for the TWO-HOUR marathoner. Why did I enjoy talking to this guy, again?

After awhile it was getting hot and I told the guy I had better go, as I was getting hungry and I was thinking of stopping off at Sonic for a foot-long chili cheese dog on my way home.

"Really?" he asked, astonished. I guess two-hour marathoners do not imbibe in Sonic.

"Yeah," I told him. "I have the diet of a 16-year-old boy."

"Well, you're hidin' it good," he told me.

Oh, right. That's why I liked talking to him.

Anyway. We finally have a comment of the week, after 28 weeks of me forgetting. This week it goes to BlondeCarol. Also too, book club is going to be NEXT Sunday rather than tomorrow, seeing as I have not finished the book. Because I am busy eating Sonic. And hidin' it good.

Talu fill in

Talucolumn

Mom get up. Every day I look at mom hair. It do different thing every day. It interesting.

Mom and her hair go to machine in kitchen where she make the hot brown water come out. When the brown water come out, mom get happier. Mom hair calm down after she drink the brown water.

Talu wait for brown water before she start to click around by back door. Before mom have brown water, mom scary.

Mom let me out back door. She call me good dog. Like mom when she has her brown drink.

When I come back in, mom at computer. Talu know what that is, because mom always say, "Talu, leave mom alone. Mom at computer now."

Talu sigh a lot and sleep near mom when she at computer. Talu not like computer. When mom there, lot of time Talu not get to go to park. A lot of time Talu not get to go on the good walk. When mom there, a lot of time Talu not get to go in car. Computer suk.

Mom at computer all day today. She keep saying, "Why more work come in? How much work there possibly be?"

Mom hair starting to get scare again.

Mom know she supposed to remind everyone on blog that book club is Sunday, but mom worry she not finish the book by Sunday. Mom worry she not able to blog today, she so busy. Mom make more of the hot brown water. Mom use the bad words.

Talu typing this to you to ask if it okay we have book club next Sunday instead this Sunday. Talu doing this so mom not get so mad when she notice the toilet paper.

Toilet paper delish.


Breaking celebrity news

Okay, wait, what? Sandra Bullock's husband really slept with someone else? Y'all know I am off celebrity gossip. I had not heard of this until it was on my CNN page. WHO did he think he was gonna find who better than SANDRA BULLOCK? Sandra Bullock, who not only is beautiful, she rescues three-legged dogs?

Shock the monkey

I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when Marvin picked up my Oprah magazine. ” ‘Oprah’s battle with food is over,’ ” he read. Then he said, “Food won.”


It was one of those terrible things he says that makes me laugh the entire time I am brushing my teeth, all the way into the bedroom, through the entire clothes-picking-out process, and on into half my makeup application. Yes, my handbasket to hell is ready. I know I am sitting at the right hand of Old Pitch.


My punishment, however, is that I must begin cutting back my monkey grass today. If anyone remembers that arduous task from last year, you will recall it really is a punishment. I do not know what Marquis de Sade decided we needed 950 feet of monkey grass in this front yard, and I do not know why we have the gardening tools of ancient man. Seriously, I have to go to the Smithsonian and borrow back our gardening tools from the exhibit.


The Smithsonian does not have any ancient man exhibits, does it?


I am certain there must be some high-falutin’ power tool that would cut my monkey grass back in half the time, but have I mentioned the part where I took off to Seattle like a millionaire and cannot gad off to Home Depot like I’m Paris Hilton and just buy whatever power tool I’d like? You know how you always see shots of her just buying any old gardening supply like she owns the world.


So once again I must go out there with baby scissors and clip clip clip for hours on end, while my forearms ache and I curse my very existence. I would just like to meet the yahoo who formed the thought, “Hey! How about 10 acres of monkey grass out there!” Monkey “How about we curve it into all sorts of odd shapes, then put uncomfortable wood chips you have to kneel into when you’re cutting it!”


That picture up there shows you about one fourth of our monkey grass. ONE FOURTH!


Really, I would. Just give me 10 minutes and my baby manicure scissors with this dink. I beg you.

St. Patrick’s Day. The day we all gather around and cut soap.

Shamrock

Every year, I think about writing my post in green on St. Patrick's Day and every year I never do it, because my blog is annoying enough.

I would like to give a shout out to Emma, my friend Dottie's daughter, who was born on St. Patrick's Day. Top of the Lucky Charms to ya, Emma!

Today is one one those days where I just have eight million topics to tell you, so let's stampede to them, shall we?

1. If you read this blog a lot, you will recall a few weeks ago the story about how a friend called and said, "I'm in your neighborhood, can I stop by?" and I said okay and CUE THE SANFORD AND SON MUSIC. I tore around like a dervish cleaning up, and since then have completely lost my favorite reading glasses, runner's watch and address book.

And by the way, why can I NEVER find these posts when I want to link to them? Why must I post every day? Why must I never shut up? Irritating.

I can tell you it has been quite some time since that friend came over, because that was the day she convinced me to try the first of those embarrassing Twilight books, and as we all know, I have humiliatingly read the entire series at this point.

This is why, when I saw a cute address book in Seattle, I bought it. It was getting stupid how many times I was inconvenienced by not having one. I might as well admit the thing was gone.

Newaddress

On Monday I sent an email to everyone I could possibly think of, and you know, it was like a little psychological test to see (a) who responded (nearly everybody) (although one person wrote back and said, "I don't do Christmas cards so I'm not sending you my address," which I thought was odd) and (b) who just coldly wrote their address and who sent a funny little note. Very few people just coldly sent their address. Some people sent huge emails that I have yet to respond to, because hi, did it occur to you I would be getting 75,000 emails that day?

The point is, I spent hours filling out that cute green address book above, with the help of Henry, my assistant, who needs his coffee if he is to be remotely human in the morning, and then guess what happened.

Oh, you know what happened.

That #*$@&@%# old address book turned up. In that second drawer you see there barely in the picture. Like I didn't look there 700 times. Like Henry my assistant didn't hear the swears then.

2. I like how I said I was gonna be brief and that story took 900 centuries.

Hork

Paula sent me 8 million images of me scattering Mr. Horkheimer's ashes while I was in Seattle, and I put in the one where it looks like I sprinkled him by hand. What I was doing, actually, was shaking his poor self off the bush, there. We traipsed out to those enormously prickly blackberry bushes, I said a few words about what a good cat he had been, we called my friend Marianne, because she had asked me to, then I scattered him. I asked Paula why he had enjoyed being in this dense, prickly place, she said she had no idea, she took 8 million pictures, and I said, "Goodbye, Hork. You were a good cat."

He was a good cat. I have had many cats. He will always stand out among them. My Hork.

Waitingforgodot
2(a). Paula also sent me this picture of her dog, Buddy, and me staring out the window. I think we were admiring the cherry blossoms. I love this picture. I tried to teach Buddy "bang" while I was there, but he was unable to learn, with his clear ADD. Tallulah can do "bang," but it's the least-dramatic shooting incident you've ever seen. It's like Kristen Stewart getting shot. "Oh. I'm shot. Whatever." Tallulah rolls over really.really.slowly. "Okay, I'm dead. Now where's my treat?"

3. Also while I was in Seattle, Faithful Reader Lynn, who makes beautiful jewelry, sent bracelets for Paula and for me! She sent us a big ton of them, and said we could pick one and send what we didn't like back to her. I said, "Well, what if we like more than one?" Because I am greedy. And terrible. Lynn said she was HOPING we'd like more than one, and to take as many as we liked, so we did. Because did I mention we were greedy?

011

This is my favorite one. Look how I posed with it next to my lights, which match. Do you like how I styled the whole thing like that? I can't get enough of myself.

I have worn this bracelet constantly and I keep pawing at it and saying, "LOOK at it! Look how pretty!" I am annoying. Anyway, thank you, Lynn, for sending those to us. I know it was mostly to cheer Paula up and it did. But look how happy it made me!

Finally, I wouldn't want you all to lose your minds with the wondering about my tape dispenser from yesterday.

Tape
 

Here it is. I think Marvin's Auntie Mickey got it for us, and if it was someone else, like my Aunt Mary, I'm sure I'll hear about it. Anyway, it's convenient, because you never say, "Where's our tape dispenser?"

Okay. Those were all the things I had to tell you today. I have to proofread celebrity interviews today, and I am not even making that up. I cannot tell you about it but it's not like it's anything you don't know anyway. It's just publicity junk. But it's more exciting than statistics. What if some celebrity is making a movie about statistics and I end up reading about that all day?

Jennifer Aniston in The Chi-Square!

An entire post about calendars, and I really did have stuff to talk about, like the BIRD BEAK I pulled out Tallulah’s mouth.

I have to go to the post office today to mail my father a calendar. I KNOW. It's March. It's the middle of March. And by the way, two different times yesterday I mentioned the Ides of March and got a confused look from people. I said, "Beware the Ides of March!" to a receptionist yesterday and her reply was, "Ma'am?"

The education system in this country upsets me.

And we have a new rule on this blog. There is a no "I don't know what that is, either" rule. You may not leave that comment. You must GOOGLE IT rather than leave that comment. That is why God invented Google.

Yes, I do know that I am a school marm.

Anyway, the calendar. I was on the phone with my father the other day, who was mentioning how he was glad it was a leap year, and I don't even know why he was glad it was a leap year. Why would anyone be glad it was a leap year? He wanted someone to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance? I can't recall. All I recall is the part where of course it is NOT a leap year.

"Father," I asked, "don't you have your cheery holocaust calendar?"

For years, my father has been getting my grandmother's holocaust calendars, which she got for free because she used to send money to some organization, which I will guess was maybe the Holocaust Museum? Maybe? At any rate, if you knew my upbeat grandmother, the part where she has a holocaust calendar is perfect.

My grandmother was the very first emo person. Had my grandmother been born 50 years later, she totally would have been goth.

She lived, with her optimistic self, with my father in her twilight years. This is why he is getting her mail to this day. I guess whatever organization that sent her holocaust calendar finally caught on that she is no longer sending a donation, so they stopped sending a calendar. It is very my-father-ish that he, then, did not get another calendar, but rather soldiered on.

"No, I didn't get the calendar this year," he said. "I just have the pin in the wall."

"So you were hoping it'd work like kind of a sun dial?" I asked. "Oh, look at the way the sun shines on that pin. Must be a leap year."

My father also was getting Grammy's old lady catalogs, which I think I have told you about before, because he and I got way into them. Old lady catalogs are hilarious, and I do not mean, of course, that they literally sell old ladies.

"Mildred, 87, loves her stories and lilac dusting powder. On sale now for $179.98, just in time for Easter."

No. I mean that they sell stuff only old people are into. Like those toenail clippers that are way long, so you can clip your toenails from the comfort of your La-Z-Boy without bending over.

Or those magnifying glasses you wear on one eye so you can tweeze your brows.

My father and I would read this catalog and pee our leg, the stuff in there was so hilarious, and finally he wrote the company and told them to start sending me my own copy, so we could call each other and page through the catalog over the phone.

And then you know what happened?

I'll tell you what happened. We started getting into the stuff in the catalog. That's what happened.

"I don't know," he'd say. "What about that plastic disc that has different-size holes in it, so you know how many servings of spaghetti you're making?"

"Oh, father, that's a terrible waste of plastic," I'd say. "But ooo. Fleece-lined reading-glasses holders. In black and tapestry."

"Where?"

"Page 34."

We both own the fleece-lined reading glasses holders. In both black and tapestry. See what happened? We went from reading the old-lady catalog ironically to being paying customers. Somewhere we crossed a line.

Juneisanoldlady
Anyway.

So I have an extra calendar of pictures of Los Angeles that my friend Kista sent me, which was sent to her by her County Commissioner or something. They are pictures of our neighborhood that she and I both lived in, and I was enjoying them, but I had already bought a main calendar that I had put all the dates in, of birthdays and so forth.

And by the way, Grammy, the one with the holocaust calendar, not only put in birthdays, she also put in death dates. I noted the year after my grandfather died, on October 18 she wrote, "Chuck died," which you'd kind of think she'd remember, since he was her husband and all.

But you know what? She got dementia, and she remembered his name all the way up to the end, but there is no way she would have remembered the date he died without having the date on that ever-cheerful holocaust calendar, so she was right on that one.

Maybe just to be a jerk, I'll note the date on the calendar before I mail it off to my father.

Yep. I’m back.

"Scrape! Scrape!" That was the sound Henry was making as he dragged his evil cat claws against my great-grandmother's doily, which rests on my dresser.

"Mmmm!" That was the sound Tallulah kept making, because she gets distressed when Henry is bad, and Henry WAS being bad, because he was scraping something at 4 a.m.

"Scrape, scrape!"

"Mmmmm!" Tallulah, who had been resting her jaw on my leg, climbed on top of me and shook a little, which was a little bit because she was distressed, but mostly because she was being a Nellie Olsen tattle-tale. Did I mention it was four in the morning? Did I mention I had so been looking forward to sleeping because I had flown a red-eye the night before, and sleeping in an actual bed sounded so nice, as opposed to cramping on an airplane?

Did I further mention that not only had I cramped on an airplane the night before, but that the person next to me on the plane had brought a giant box of Puffs with her on her lap, so I had also contorted myself to get as close to the wall as possible all night?

And I do not mean to judge a book by its cover. But she was young and very pretty. She had a sparkly purse and a track suit and really long eyelashes. You'll forgive me for surmising she was traveling for pleasure. Did she really need to travel, and give her cold to 200 people? Was spring break or that Latisse convention so crucial? Irritating.

"Scrape, scrape."

"Mmmmm!" Shiver.

Oh, how I just wanted to sleep. I tried to imagine what Henry was up there batting at. My antique engagement ring? My favorite snapshot of my grandmother wearing a holster and spurs? The dark-chocolate-covered strawberries I bought at the airport, in which case if they were loose, would he knock them to the ground for Tallulah to eat and in the morning would Tallulah be beyond dead?

Crap.

I rolled Talu off me and got out of bed via the foot, because I'm sure I've told you before how Marvin panics if you wake him up. He grew up in a perfectly good suburb and has never once had anything bad happen to him in the middle of the night. Okay, once. Northridge. He woke up in the middle of the Northridge earthquake. So once in 44 years. But if he wakes up in the night, he is in full-blown anxiety mode, as though he assumes a 40-armed god having a manic episode is standing over his bed with axes.

My attempts to leave via the Cesarean method did not work. "PICKLES!" Marvin screamed.

Sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph and their shiny red sedan. I was irritated with everyone.

"It's OKAY," I said, slamming on the light.

"WHAT IS IT?" he continued to scream, grabbing his enormous flashlight, which is not a euphemism. He really does have an enormous flashlight that he keeps for viewing said 40-armed god.

"Henry has something and I got up to make sure it's nothing bad."

And of course I saw nothing. Henry really WAS doing something bad, of that I assure you, because Winston was glowing up at him from the floor. For four years, Winston went around being the perfect cat, and then we got Henry, and Winston walks after him going, "I had no idea you could climb the Christmas tree!"

"I had no idea you could scale the pantry to get to the bags of stuff at the top!"

"Do you mind if I watch you shred the magazines? I'm just such a fan of your work."

I looked all around the dresser while Henry and Winston stifled giggles, but all I saw was my emory board, an empty dish where I keep change, and my great-grandmother's beleaguered doily.

Did you see the remake of Amityville Horror, and that guy looks in the closet and sees nothing, but what he doesn't notice is that the ghost has a child on the ceiling, and he's holding her mouth so she can't scream? It's really the only scary part of the whole movie. It was probably something like that that I missed. But I slammed the light back off and climbed back over the foot of the bed.

"Pickles!" Marvin called out weakly again.

"Mmmmm!" Tallulah warned me.

"Oh, everybody shut up," I said.

I thought about those four glorious nights in my king-sized bed in Seattle. I'd go right to sleep and NEVER WAKE UP AGAIN until daylight.

Crap.

Red-eye flights. Screwing people up since whenever they invented red-eye flights.

I got home at 9 a.m. and then I just woke up. Tallulah was zero inches from me, by the way. She was doing the thing where her snout was up the back of my neck and in my hair. I think she did not like it that I was gone. I am gleaning this in part by the 10-minute undignified waggling when I walked in.

I brought her a treat.

Boneandhenrytoy

It's some kind of chicken-flavored Nylabone they had at the pet store Paula took me to, and I see Tallulah also absconded with the gift I brought Henry, there. That mouse is decidedly NOT for Talu.

Tallulah seems so petite and bite-sized after spending most of a week with Paula's enormous dog, Buddy. I would guess Buddy is a Great Dane/Rottweiller mix, and I just heard all of you say, "Oh, dear!" at once, and I KNOW. And Paula's house is not what you'd call large.

Buddychew
Here is Buddy and what he has done so far to the windowsill in Paula's living room, which you can imagine pleases Paula to no end. She has trained him to do this. It's a whole look she's going for.

And by the way, you know I cannot stand it that we're all sitting around speculating about what this dog is. Who's getting a dog DNA test for her birthday? Is it Paula? Will we be swabbing that creature's enormous cheek in the near future? Because I need to know.

At any rate, he is sweet, and like Tallulah, not so pleased with the balloons. Paula got 20395839 floral arrangements this week, and one had a Mylar balloon attached.

Evilballoon

Despite the fact that he is 297 times larger than it, Buddy barked and cowered and stared and "Oooo"ed and generally worried himself sick over said balloon, so Paula deflated it for him.

BuddyscaredBuddy fear.

Before I forget, Paula took pictures of Horkie's ash scattering with HER camera, so we have to wait for her to send them to me before I can tell that story. In the meantime, here are my other vacation pictures. Aren't you lucky?

Heartandharttohart

While we're still vaguely on the topic of Paula's flowers, one thing I think I have never told you about Paula is that she is obsessed with the band Heart. Yes. Heart. Yes, the band from the '70s. Yes, with the sisters, Ann and Nancy Wilson. Yes, they're still together.

They tour all around, actually, and Paula and some of her friends tour all around after them, kind of like they are The Grateful Dead sans the drugs. Paula will leave work, fly to New Orleans, see a concert, get back on a plane and return to work the next morning. Seeing as I am in my same clothes I had on yesterday and just spooned my dog in REM all afternoon, I cannot understand being able to do this, but there you go. At any rate, the above flowers? Are from Ann and Nancy Wilson. Of Heart. I know!

And careful readers will note Paula loves the show Hart to Hart and the band Heart. Paula's husband wanted to make her a bumper sticker that read, "I heart Heart and Hart to Hart." Oh, the fun we have at her expense.

BMRS

On my first day in Seattle this week, I went to my old workplace, where in fact Paula, her husband and I all worked together. We worked on the 34th floor. Other than the three of us? It seemed like everyone else was STILL THERE. In their SAME OFFICES. It also seemed like there was something about the oxygen or something, because everyone looked the same. It was uncanny, really. I am so glad I stopped in. It was surreal yet really fun.

Oldapt

Here was my first big-girl, living on my own apartment in Seattle. I remember being so thrilled with this place in 1992, but when I went back I was all, Wow, this place is kind of dingy and depressing. It had hardwood floors and it was sunny and roomy, though.

Oldhallway

There's the old hallway. Because who smacked her camera up to the doorway and took a picture? I remember sitting on those stairs talking to neighbors, while we did our laundry in the basement. I felt so big-city and important in this now-depressing-seeming place. I think I paid $450 a month.

Pinkelefant
Yay, my pink elephant's not gone! And see the weather? See how you're thinking, "Oh, too bad the weather wasn't nicer." Yeah. This is easily 350 days in Seattle. It's June, it's December, it's March.

Inbloom
Oh, but you can't beat the year-round foliage.

Trees

By the way, EVERYONE has a Subaru. With a kayak on top, 90% of the time.

Herkimer
I had forgotten about the coffee shop almost named for my cat.

Burntsugar

And there's just cool STUFF in Seattle. Everywhere you go.

View
This was my view from my apartment that I had when I met Marvin and he made me leave Seattle because he is awful.

Lastapartment

I lived on the top floor, on the right. It looks sort of depressing, too, but wait, I know I have shown you pictures of the inside of this place before.

Oh, forget it. I just spent 10 minutes looking at old posts and have I mentioned I am tired? Anyway, it was a pretty apartment, built in the 20s, and from my kitchen window was the view of the mountains.

You aren't going to ask me what mountains, are you? Because I never have any idea.

Buddyhappy
On my last night, some of Paula's 2038030598505383845 friends came over, and did I mention Paula's cell phone rings every eight minutes? And did I mention all of her friends have nicknames, and for some reason, said nicknames are all of the noun variety?

"Toodeloo, toodeloo," will go Paula's cell phone. And I know it's her hour of need, so her friends are probably calling with greater frequency, but I am thinking maybe that frequency is, oh, 15% greater. Because I have known Paula for 17 years now.

"Oh, hi, Can Opener!" she'll say. Or, "Hey, Lhasa Apso! No, I'm feeling great!"

"Smiley Broomstick! What's up! No, I'm up and around. I'm with June. Yes, the one with the blog."

All the rest of her friends must think I'm so weird with just the name June.

Paula's husband, by the way, is as opposite of extroverted as you can be. He is a cranky curmudgeon, is what he is. And yet? Somehow? Everyone really likes him. And everyone always says it like they think they are the exception to the rule. It is kind of like how you know you like Oscar the Grouch. "I really LIKE Paula's husband" people always say.

Anyway, I told Paula that if I were married to her, I too, would be IRRITATED by the 109 phone calls a minute from Credenza and Stapler and Door Handle and her gadabout life. Paula was contemplative. "You are a lot more like my husband than you think," she said.

I told this to my old boyfriend, with whom I had lunch yesterday. We went to my favorite old place on one of the islands; it used to be a brothel and now it's a dark old pub. I had a pile of nachos as big as your head. Anyway I said, "I guess I got curmudgeonly in my old age."

"What do you mean, GOT?" he asked. "You were always curmudgeonly." He was dead serious.

"I was?"

"Yes. You've always been an old grouch."

Really, you guys, I had no idea. In my mind I was an extrovert and I have turned kind of introverted in my old age, especially since I don't drink anymore. That was my theory. Yeah, no. Turns out I've always been crabby and liking of my alone time. Who knew?

Anyway, the final thing I have to show you is I bought a little initial necklace, and instead of my own initial, I bought a T, because I thought it would be cute to wear  T like Tallulah does on her collar. I have officially gone around the bend.

T
And won't you enjoy my sun damage? If I'd have stayed in Seattle I wouldn't have any.