Ask June · Grammar and Spelling · June's stupid life

Ask June

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wonder why I eat lunch alone so often?

So go ahead. Ask June!

Ask June · June's stupid life

June Answers

AskjuneI won't be ignored, readers. 

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

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

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

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

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

J wants to know, What is your IQ?

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

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

Heat RISES, folks. Rises.

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

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

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

Tee queries, Would you discuss affect/effect?

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

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

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

See what I mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, go do the right thing.

Ask June · June's stupid life

Ask June Part Two, Electric Boogaloo

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

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

Grille

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

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

Gladys asks June, What IS the  meaning of life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No. Well, maybe, according to Miss Manners.

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

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

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

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

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

Ask June · June's stupid life

Ask June III: Revenge of the Sith

AW

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means. For me, it means I'm really discombobulated, because I had yesterday off, so yesterday felt like Saturday, then today felt like Monday, but then I have tomorrow off again so I don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my arse.

It is also Ask June day, and really, why wouldn't you trust the answers of someone who is so pretty, eats so well, and clearly seeks the correct bosom support? Have I got SANDBAGS in my shirt? What gives?

This flattering pic is actually two years old, and was taken on our cross-country journey involving moving from LA to NC. You can see why Marvin made sure he took me along and didn't go screeching off in a trail of dust as soon as I hit the restroom or anything. Pretty.

Let's try to forget my SAG award and move on to the questions at hand, shall we?

Erin D. asks, What if you got to pick your name?

Well, Erin D., this falls under the category of one of those things I know I have talked about before, but I will tell it again because maybe not everyone has read it. And for all the Culpeppers and What  About Moms who are all, This tired story again? You guys can just bleep over to question number two.

My parents were big old hippies, Erin D. They were big old hippies in the factory town of Saginaw, Michigan, which was not something you encountered every day. I do not know why they became hippies when pretty much everyone around them was heading off to the General Motors plant to tighten the same bolt for eight hours straight day after day, but somehow the heady scent of patchouli reached them, and although they weren't going to San Francisco (well, actually, my father did, and brought them back some lovely matching tye dye t-shirts), they did kind of symbolically wear some flowers in their hair.

Tyedye 002

All this is to tell you that when they had me, when they were both approximately seven years old, they named me "June" (which of course isn't my real name, my real name SCREAMS 1965. I am totally the Hannah of my generation, and I am also kind of the Mildred of my generation, as no one–and I mean no one–names their kid my name anymore, and you can never find pens or cups or magnets with my name. You can, however, find 187,000 Jacob pens and cups and magnets, which my name decidedly isn't).

However, when I was around four, my parents, who looked when I was four as they did in the picture above (look at how hot mom was), sat me down for an awareness session. We probably sat on the floor. We may have had tea. Anyway, they said, "June, man, you're your own person, man." (I didn't even really know how to pull my own tights up yet, but okay.) "Your name is June right now, but when you're ready, if you want to name yourself, you come tell us what you want your name to be."

I am not making this up.

I ruminated on this for several days, although my parents were forever springing new ideas like this on me, so it wasn't that big of a thang. They had once told me it was okay to swear. That one was fun, until I really started doing it and I sounded like the kid from The Exorcist and they decided my free expression wasn't cool.

Anyway, I sat them down for another awareness session. "Pam, John. I've wrapped my head around this, and I have a name. I am Sparkly Rose Blossom."

You guys. It is the BEST NAME EVER for me. I really AM Sparkly Rose Blossom. And I do not know why my parents ever had the cockamamie ideas, because they said no to this one, too, just like the swearing and also to the whole let's-sell-the-car-and-get-a-motorcycle-and-June-can-ride-in-a-side-car thing we considered for awhile.

At this point, Erin D., you probably wish you had never asked. But I really think that I perfectly captured my inner name at age four. So let's go to question two.

Arlene ponders, The word is strength. I keep hearing it pronounced as 'strenth' as though the g is silent. In ancient days we pronounced that g! It sounds so lazy when the g is dropped. Dear June, do you have any words of wisdom for me…other than "chill?"

Well, Arlene, I am the last person to tell you to chill, seeing as just today someone at work said "You must have been taken back when that woman hit Tallulah!" (which is another post) and what I was TAKEN BACK by was that yet another person thinks it's TAKEN BACK and not taken Aback. I found myself answering, "I WAS taken AAAAAAAback" in a way that I hoped would be subtle, but you know it wasn't. So me? Tell you to chill? Come on.

Anyway, Merriam Webster, who I would marry if he/she/it were available, and what a fine wedding portrait that would be, tells us that both pronunciations are acceptable, but that pronouncing the "g" is preferred. I looked into it a little, and it seems that NOT pronouncing the "g" seems to be a Midwest thing. I'd be interested in hearing from people–how do you say it and where are you from?

Patty asks, I am pretty good with grammar and punctuation, but I've always been stumped by "bring" and "take." I've heard the rule a hundred times, and usually it's pretty intuitive, so I know which to use, but sometimes I don't know. Can you help?

Well. This is not an easy one, Patty. And let me tell you, when I have a question like this, and people start saying things like "object of the preposition" and all that crap (not that that applies here in the slightest, but you know what I mean, when they use all that English major gobbledygook, and I AM an English major!), I just get even more confused. And also really, really bored.

So what works best for me is a game of some sort. So here is my game for bring and take.  When you travel, you take. "Take a good bra with you when you go to A&W." You use "take" when the action is away from the speaker. So that's how I remember it, the "t" for travel. (Grammar Girl remembers "take" and "takeout food." You don't get "bringout" food.)

When the action is toward you, use bring. I am having the action come toward me. "Bring me that supportive undergarment." So I remember the I in bring.

Now, when the action can go either way? "I might bring/take a set of falsies with me next time I go to A&W." Believe it or not, either is acceptable.

Hyphen Mama, who apparently gave birth to hyphens and I would like to hear about that, asks, Why is it that I'm not allowed to "feel badly", I'm only allowed to "feel bad" (to "feel badly" would mean that I'm not able to feel very well). But I can miss somebody very badly, I can do badly on an exam and I can smell badly?

Mom of many hyphens, (well, really, I don't know how many hyphens you gave birth to. Maybe you are just hyphen mama to one. Are you planning to have more hyphens? Is there an em dash in the future? Okay, I'll stop.) "badly" is an adverb, which means it describes a verb. And there I go doing the thing I said bored me and made me confused.

So what I mean is, when people say they feel badly, as you know, what they are saying is they are not doing well at feeling something, like their fingers are numb or something.

Same thing if you say you smell badly. You are saying that you can't smell anything. The correct way to say it would be "I smell bad."

Grammar Girl says use "bad" with words having to do with feel, taste, and smell.

People get confused by this because it IS correct to say "She behaved badly" because "behaved" is a verb. So is "do," which is why it's correct to do badly on an exam.

CariOkie, who has the best name ever, wonders, How can I take anyone seriously who consistently says nucular when referring to nuclear energy? And I'm not just referring to George W. I hear it all the time!! Of course, I live in the part of the country where everyone is always "fixin" to do something, and where the phrase "all y'all" pops up regularly.

Cari and your Okie, I too am bothered quite a bit by the noocuular thing, but you know what? People think I am going to be bothered by vernacular stuff like "fixin' " and for some reason I never am. I am kind of delighted by it, actually. Okay, "all y'all" is pretty bad only because it is redundant.

But when I lived in California I loved learning all the Hispanic words like meja, which I guess is spelled meja, I don't even know if it's a real word, and all the really wonderful insults I learned from the African American women I worked with, like calling people heifer ("That heifer better not think she's leaving early.") And if you think I haven't learned 12 million hilarious Southern phrases already (my favorite thus far has been "grinning like a possum eating s**t off a hairbrush") (because really, you can so SEE how wide of a grin that would be. It is just so perfect. And so something my grandmother would have said had she ever learned that particular phrase).

And none of what I said above counted as incorrect English, but what I mean is, the fixin' and the axe and the Canadian "eh" and all that? I like 'em.

So I guess like the Nester, I think it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. But I would like it to be correct as often as possible. Does that make sense?

Ask June · June's stupid life

Ask June, and her little dog, too

SleepyHoly mackerel, Friday came and went and I forgot all about Ask June. I blame Patrick Swayze.

Before I begin, let me thank those of you writing in to ask about Francis, particularly my mother-in-law, who seems to think asking 4,935,095 times will somehow make me answer faster. He still seems to be in a lot of pain, although it comes and goes. I am loading him up with drugs, which he is taking easily and whoever invented those pet pill pockets is a genius.

You can see Tallulah is worried sick about the whole thing. And I know I look dreadful in this photo, but I was actually up with the screaming cat and didn't get any rest or a shower, so sue Ask June. Let's move to our queries.

Paula from NY asks: What type of reader are you (now and then vs always have your nose in a book) and what are your favorite genres?

Paula, I certainly wish I could put this nose in a book and leave the house without it. Oh, how I hate my round, bulby nose. I would like a sharp little squared-off nose, is what I would like. I'd even like a haughty Meryl Streep type nose if I could get one.

And bulby is a fine word.

When I was a kid, the only words you could get out of me were, "Let me just finish this chapter." My parents would put a book under my pillow at night, so that in the morning when I woke up early, I would have something to do before they got up. I was allowed to read whatever was in the house, nothing was too adult or off limits. You could say books were my first drug of choice.

I read a lot in college, because I was an English major. I can't remember the exact number anymore, but I know in a 10-week term I read some shocking number of books, like 36 in 10 weeks or something.

When I commuted by bus in Seattle, I read a book in one or two days, because I read on the way to work, at lunch, on the way home and if I didn't have a date, at night. Or sometimes if I did have a date. Like that guy who wore huaraches and ordered a peach wine cooler? Totally think I got a chapter in during that one.

My reading has slowed down now that I proofread for a living. I like fiction, and I like pretty girly books; no science fiction or fantasy or anything like that. If it is huge, involves multiple characters and takes place in the past, I am probably all over it. That said, I am kind of snobby about what I read, except when I am proofing something really hard, I read Steven King or Danielle Steele. It is kind of like eating sherbet between courses. It cleanses my palate somehow.

I like the Little House series, of course; anything by Thomas Hardy, Hemingway, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, and then I do love those Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard and I also really like the Mitford Series. Oh! And I love Fannie Flagg and Carrie Fisher and Nora Ephron. And if Oprah likes it, I usually do, too. So I'm not THAT snobby.

I cannot read Dave Barry in public because I laugh too hysterically and look like a crazy person.

Mary Ellen from Napa put down her glass to type: So, June, what was it like growing up with hippie parents? How come they didn't name you Thunder, or Rainbow, or Feather? Did they drag you to political rallies and make you hold a sign. Did you have to eat To-furky for Thanksgiving?

I know this is actually four, four, four questions in one (made me think of two-click-two-click-two mints in one) (what IS retsyn?), but since I addressed the whole my-name thing last week, I figured we could bleep over that one. Sparkly Rose Blossom is SO much cooler than Feather. Anyway, yes, they DID drag me to political rallies, both locally and in Ann Arbor. I do not remember specifically having to hold a sign, but I remember being in crowds, and that some kids were naked, which annoyed me. Even then I was more conservative than my parents. I'm five and I'm all, "Put some clothes on. Geez."

You'll be shocked to hear that I was often allowed to bring a book to said events, so I was pretty okay with it.

As for having hippie parents in general, it didn't take me long to figure out that no one else had hippie parents, except for the other kids my parents were friends with. There was a part of me that wished my dad wore cardigans and called me Kitten, but on the other hand, my parents were very cool and approachable. Everybody marveled at it.

I remember going to my friend Tammy Thompson's house and talking to her dad, who was lying on the couch watching TV. Afterward, she said, "No one ever just walks up and talks to my dad. They're always too scared." I didn't understand why you would be. My parents were just so happy and mellow. And I swear they didn't smoke pot–they didn't even DRINK until they got divorced. So in all, I think it was a positive experience. And provides tons of blog fodder.

Shannon asks June, Is it eventhough or even though? Is it eachother or each other?

Fun question: What do you want for Christmas from Marvin?

Heavenly days, woman, are you trying to give Ask June a stroke? Two words! Twooooo woorrrrddssss! Each other. Even though. Always two words.

Now, this is coming from someone who didn't know England was an island until she got there, Shannon, so I do not know where I get off pestering you.

And you know, Shannon, I had no dream gift that I wanted from Marvin, but I think he hit the nail on the head with that zoo sign from my childhood. That was a good one.

Shannon, but I think it's a different Shannon from Shannon above, wonders, What's your least favourite household chore? Pet related doesn't count. 🙂

I am thinking it's a different Shannon because she spelled it "favourite," leading me to believe she is from Canada or England or Australia or somewhere fancy like that, where they put Us everywheure we doun't and make thiungs loouk fancier.

And I'll tell you, other Shannon, that I am a slob, and the only person slobbier than me is that Marvin. So I really hate ALL chores, but let me see.

I guess mopping the floors, because you know why? You have to get that ding-dang pail, which I don't know about you, but for me it's behind the litter box, and not only is it behind the litter box, it is also FILLED with brooms, mops, Swiffers, and other tall, gangly things that must be REMOVED from the pail before I can eve get to it. Then I have to contort myself over the disgusting litter box and risk E. coli to GET the pail. And then I am ALLERGIC to ALL cleaning agents, parTICularly Pine-Sol, Mop-n-Glo, and all that crap, so the entire time I am mopping my throat is closing up and I am weeping. Plus, I always seem to forget that I need access to the sink to rinse the thing out, and I have always washed the floor by the sink and can't get to it.

Aren't you glad you asked, fancy Shannon with the Us?

Bonnie ponders, What is your idea of a perfect day?

Bonnie, it was just this question that led Marvin to propose to me in the way he did. We asked each other that question during a long car ride back when we were dating and did things like have conversations in the car, and he secretly wrote down all my answers and gave me my perfect day, culminating in a marriage proposal. That was 12 years ago, so my perfect day would be different now. Let's see.

I would be on a lake somewhere. Not an ocean. I grew up in Michigan, so lakes seem like the proper body of water. So I'd be in some really good old lake house where you could hear the water when you woke up. There would be french roast coffee ready as soon as I woke up. There would also be croissants and crispy hash browns with little onions in them.

I would eat these things down by the water, where I would be undisturbed by flies and thoughts of melanoma. After getting to read the paper for as long as I wanted, I would go to a dock and throw sticks into the water and Tallulah would retrieve them, which would never happen in real life.

At noon, I would head to the house where several of my good friends and Marvin would have made a stunning lunch involving a salad with strawberries; my favorite salmon marinated in brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and brown mustard; and some sort of very sharp cheese.

Then, grabbing several bottles of cold white wine, all of us would go on a wonderful boat ride in which no one would get seasick and no animals would be disturbed by our wake or the gas and we would see a dolphin even though we were in a lake. We'd get off somewhere and go to an antique store, where I'd find the coolest little thing and buy it.

When we returned, all of my grandparents would be alive and my whole family would be there, and we'd have one of those long dinners where everyone laughs hysterically and talks at once, followed by a bonfire and a meteor shower.

Before we went to bed, everyone would have to watch Arthur with me. I'd get to sit on my grandmother's lap in her rocking chair, even though I am 43 years old.

That would be my perfect day.

Ask June · June's stupid life

Inquire of June

Stache

Really, I've been bristling with excitement to get to Ask June. Let's whisk ourselves off to the first question.

Nosey…Picker? asks, "What is the single grossest thing you have ever done?"

Nosey, I have been thinking about this one since you asked, and you were one of the first people to Ask June, I just didn't get to pick you on my random pickerizer until today.

You know, I am an only child and therefore kind of prissy. And by the way, when I announced my only childness just now, all of my cousins who read this are rolling their eyes, as they know I am an only child all too well. I announced it to get out of having to do anything athletic, loud, untoward, or otherwise unappealing to me for the first 20 years of my life. "No, you guys go ahead and do the dinner dishes. I'm an only child. I really need to unwind with some alone time over here."

What I am trying to say is I don't do a lot of gross things because I am so easily grossed out. But I guess because I am such an animal lover (see above) that a lot of the pet things I tolerate would make non-pet people absolutely sick. That said, I guess the times I have accidentally French kissed and/or kissed my cats on the anus are probably the grossest things I have ever done. Trust me, if you have cats, you really can accidentally do these things.

Alicia ponders, "Why is 'c' the exception to the rule when it comes to 'i' before 'e'? Personally, I just think it's weird."

Well, Alicia, from what I can gather, it all started with derivatives of the Latin word capio such as receive, deceit, etc. However, many people argue that there are so many exceptions to this rule that it isn't a very good one. For example, we have beige, which doesn't come after c; or what about codeine, which does?

I say, look it up in a dictionary. Or go on m-w.com. And may I just add? GO ON M-W.COM., not dictionary.com, if you want a real, reliable dictionary. And Wikipedia does not count as a dictionary, nor does anything any regular schlub can contribute to, if you are looking for a CORRECT ANSWER. I really enjoyed making proofreading corrections at my old job and having some MARKETING PERSON come back and say, "Wikipedia says it's okay to spell it this way." Okay, and let me go back on Wikipedia so I can learn how to market things, let's see how you like that. And while I'm at it, why don't I drive this EXACTO knife though your HEAD.

Thank you.

J asks June, "Do you have a personal motto, such as 'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade' or 'The early bird gets the worm'?"

Marvin and I just had dinner, and during said dinner I kept asking him, "What is my motto? I have to answer this question for Ask June." How sick of me and my blog is Marvin, do you think? Anyway, he kept coming up with really stupid mottos like "Don't turn around, uh-oh. Der kommissar's in town, uh-oh" and "Everything is sad" (which is something my grandmother once said). So we were eating and talking about something or other and I said, "Things could be worse. I could be Sting."

AND THAT'S IT! That's my motto. Ozzy Osborne said it once on The Osbornes, and I thought it was brilliant, and I say it all the time. Things could be worse. I could be Sting.

Elsie asks, "Have any of your Bye Bye Buy habits stuck with you?" 

Not many. But I have stuck with a few. For example, I do bring my lunch to work a lot, because I now know it takes less than five minutes to make your lunch. Also, I have gotten weird about my lipstick ( and look, there's another "i before e" exception–"weird"). I wait until the tube is almost gone before buying another. I used a Sephora gift certificate I had just today and ordered me up a new tube of nudey pink like I like. Here is my current tube of nudey pink, rolled all the way up:

Lipstick

Gettin' low. Hope Sephora doesn't take their own sweet time.

And finally, Paula "Always in the Wrong Lane" From New York, Dammit, begs June to tell her: "GONE missing. What is this? Why have people gone missing, why do they go missing? It makes it seem, to me, that this was a choice, like they have gone shopping or gone to the movies. They ARE missing, they haven't GONE missing. I think this is a fairly new usage, but I don't like it and I would like you, June, to tell me they are wrong and I am right. Thank you."

Paula, "gone missing" is a British idiom. Canadian people use it too. As far as I could tell by looking online, it isn't actually grammatically incorrect. It just bugs you. Do you hate the British, Paula? Tell us why. What's your issue? Is it the royal family that has you all bound up?

It bugs me when people say, "I was thinking to myself…" which, you know, isn't really incorrect, but it's stupid. Who else WOULD you be thinking to? I was thinking to 70 other people. So I understand how something can stick in your craw, Paula, like your deep need to murder all the people of Canada and Britain. Could you spare Barry Gibb for me? He's been here in the U.S. for over 30 years. He is one of us now.  DON'T LET BARRY GO MISSING, PAULA!

Okay, thanks for joining me for another chilling episode of Ask June. I hope you feel packed with peanuts and really satisfied.

Ask June · June's stupid life

Ask June, Quad Eight

Jammies

In my hometown, they opened the first multiplex cinema in the 1970s. It had four theaters, so they named it The Quad. I remember my father and mother and me driving out there before it opened, because my father had to photograph it for work. At the time, driving to The Quad was kind of a drive out to the country. Now it is surrounded by crap like Applebee's.

Anyway, it was a hit. I was there pretty much every weekend during my teen years. They even had midnight movies, like Rocky Horror, that we would all go to. Naturally, the Quad people decided to expand, and they added four more theaters. They called it?

The Quad 8.

I am sorry, but this is such a my hometown thing to do. The Quad 8. No one seemed to care that that meant THAT IT SHOULD BE THIRTY-TWO THEATERS.

There is also a store in my hometown called Unique Uniforms.

So let's be like everybody else in an original way and plunge forthwith into Ask June.

My Pal from MA, who I grew up with and probably went to the Quad 8 with, asks, "You know what drives me batty? When people write numbers and use 's to mean plural. It's never in the 20's as a temperature. NEVER. It's 20s. It's in the 20s and it's friggin COLD!! Same for things like: I grew up in the 1960s. No possession. UGH. Drives me nuts. Please discuss, June!"

Pal from MA, I feel you on this, really I do. It is not "20 is" degrees. It is not "1960 is." Nor do the degrees or decades own anything. But I am sorry to tell you that some very reputable style guides actually condone the use of 20's. And just typing right now made my parts pucker.

I still feel like it's wrong, and nowhere that I have worked has used it as a style, thank heavens.

Paula, who is pretty swear-y about being from New York, wonders "How do we get the nickname Peggy from Margaret?"

It is funny you should ask this, Paula from New York, %$##@!%, because our next-door neighbor has become a friend and she has always called herself Peg. Then when she started calling us, our caller ID identified her as "Margaret," a fact that annoyed the pee out of Marvin. Of course, just now at dinner Marvin said someone's bra size was 1000 QQQ, so I do not know how aware Marvin is of reality, but he really seemed baffled that someone could be named Margaret and legitimately have the nickname Peg.

The name Margaret has a ton of nicknames associated with it, in fact I'd estimate it had about 1000 QQQ of them. Included in the list are Maggie, Madge, Marguerite, and Meg. Some say "Peg" trickled down from "Meg." And then there's this annoying poem I kept finding when I looked this up online:

In search from A to Z they passed,
And "Marguerita" chose at last;
But thought it sound far more sweet
To call the baby "Marguerite."
When grandma saw the little pet,
She called her "darling Margaret."
Next uncle Jack and cousin Aggie
Sent cup and spoon to "little Maggie."
And grandpapa the right must beg
To call the lassie "bonnie Meg."
From "Marguerita" down to "Meg,"
And now she's simply "little Peg."

Whatev.

M, who is often funny in her comments, queries, "Will you and Marvin dress your hair as the singer with Flock of Seagulls and send us a picture? Thanx."

Dear M,

No.

Flokpik

M's sister J, who is also funny so it must be genetic, wonders, "In the spirit of a Playboy forum question, who sleeps in the wet spot?"

You know, J, it occurred to me some time ago that it was the Playboy Advisor, not Forum. In the original Ask June I said this could be like the Playboy Forum, but it's the Penthouse Forum and the Playboy Advisor. I do not really know why I am so well-versed in men's pornography, but there you go.

That said, Tallulah has not peed in the bed in almost a year.

And finally, Doodles said: "I have a blog question. When people leave comments on your blog, should you respond to each comment? If so, by what means? Email or how exactly? I'm so confused. I don't want to seem rude by not acknowledging them. I'm sure if I had a million readers (like you) I would not be able to respond to each and every one. I'm sure I only have about two readers!" 🙂

When you go on Doodles' blog, it's called Polly Wolly Doodle All the Day.

My friend Lisa's kid would NOT listen to any other song when she was a newborn, which led Marvin and me to become obsessed with that song, as well. He'd be in one room and start singing, POLLY WOLLY DOODLE! and I'd sing back POLLY WOLLY DOODLE! and we didn't annoy the whole world or anything.

And Doodle, no. Stop now with the answering everybody. First of all, you CAN'T email people back on Blogspot and second, you're not supposed to. You'll wear yourself out and start to hate your blog and you'll disappear like Miss Doxie and everyone will say, "Where's Polly Wolly Doodle? (Polly Wolly Doodle)?"

Your blog is the place where you communicate with people, and the comments are where they communicate back. I only email people back if they have specifically asked me to or if I have something pressing to say. And by "pressing" I mean I think I have a funny reply. But I think I respond to maybe 10% of my comments.

I don't think anyone expects you to respond. Although to this day I am a little resentful that Crazy Aunt Pearl never wrote me back even once when I was brand new and didn't know that no one "big" wrote back.

Does anyone else out there have a differing opinion on that?

Ask June · June's stupid life

Ask June’s Hair

Bighair  

It is rainy today in Greensboro. Can you tell? Someone at work asked if I was doing my General Custer impression. Everyone's a comedian. I told him I was from Little Big Hair.

So, above is my hair.

Below is Phil Spector's hair.

Philspector

Really, is there that big of a difference?

Let's untangle ourselves from the tress talk before you upbraid me for not getting right to all the Ask Junes that you asked me today. If you did not tune in earlier, I have a Very Special Ask June today. I had people write in today with their Qs, and I am answering them today. None of that going back to my December 18 post and getting old, stale questions. No, sir.

Lee asks, "If you were on death row, about to be executed, what would your last meal be?"

I wonder what my crime was. Did I murder Marvin? Was it a hair crime? Wow, I just looked at Phil Spector's buttons. My 11th-grade picture called. Wants its pearlescent look back.

I think I'd be too nervous to eat, but let's say I made peace with my inevitable fatal injection or hanging or whatever. Then I'd get me some barbecue spare ribs (and yes, I know a pig has the intelligence of a three-year-old human. I am about to go to the electric chair for knocking off Marvin. You think I have a conscience?), some dressing (which doesn't go with ribs, but see above re electric chair. Sue me), some chocolate-covered strawberries, several giant glasses of chardonnay and my grandmother's mashed potatoes and gravy. And some au gratin potatoes too. Why should I care about carbs?

Gladys queries, "Have you ever sold multi-level marketing products, such as Tupperware or Amway? Because I can just imagine your presentation."

Do you think Gladys thinks my presentation would be dull? I have often thought I'd like to sell Mary Kay, Gladys. First of all, they were one of the first companies to stop animal testing. Second, if I had a pink car I'd never be sad again. Ninety-eighth, makeup! Hello. And I think I would enjoy the whole getting-up-to-entertain-the-crowd thing. Do you think I should go for it? Maybe I could get a Mary Kay hairdo.

Mmkay

Patty wonders, "What do you think happened to Miss Doxie? I Googled her after you referenced her in one of your posts a while back, and she was so funny that I went back and read every single one of her old posts (like I did with yours). But then she left me hanging."

For those of you who don't read her, Miss Doxie was just the bomb. She was so ding-dang funny that you had to stop reading or else you'd barf. Also, she was a lawyer and really beautiful. It kind of baffled how one person could have all that going on. She blogged for several years and won all kinds of awards, and then her posts got further and further apart. Like, seven months apart. Last time she posted was October 29. I think she just got over it, Patty. And she has a new boyfriend, and I imagine being a, you know, attorney, is time consuming. I miss her.

Carpoolqueen requests, "I want to know what the inside of your fridge looks like. Think you can post a pic?"

Carpoolqueen told me that she feels pressure to make witty comments on my blog. Remember in Grease when Olivia Newton-John invited John Travolta for tea and he said he didn't like tea? And she said, "You don't have to drink tea." You don't have to be witty to comment here. I just like comments. I like validation, so I know I'm not typing into a void. If you ever just want to let me know you're out there, I you can do what I told Carpoolqueen. Say, "What a lovely post." Then I'll know you're saying "Gee, this was a good one. I have nothing pithy to say beyond that, but thanks for posting."

Anyway, here's the fridge:

Fridge

It's really depressing to look at a photograph of your refrigerator. Plus, it annoys me that there are apples on the top shelf and the bottom shelf. The syrup is in the fridge because Marvin can't remember that we don't live in LA anymore and that the syrup won't be covered in 49,000,000 ants if he leaves it in the cupboard. Same with that tub o' sugar.

Oh, and for extra Faithful Reader points, where did the mayonnaise come from? The first reader to get it right gets a special Ask June gift.

Jan asks, "How did the ever-romantic Mr. Gardens propose?"

On a Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica pier. And I have always thought that had I said no, it'd have been a really awkward rest of the ride.

Kerrin ponders, "We all know your love for animals knows no bounds. If you could have any animal in the world as a domestic, legal pet — any crazy animal you wanted — what would it be?"

My first thought was leopard, as long as it didn't bite my neck out. And my second thought was pink flamingo. Can I have both? Oh, how I would kiss them.

Bell rang me up and asked, "What's your all time favorite salad dressing?"

I told Bell I actually had an answer for her on this. For those of you from the Midwest, remember Hudson's? It was a department store. I think it became Macy's, which is a shame because I abhor Macy's. Anyway, at Hudson's they had this salad with this orange salad dressing that I still crave. I remember the salad itself had almonds. Oh that was a good salad. I have never seen that orange salad dressing anywhere else. Certainly not at any stupid Macy's.

Nose in a book looked up long enough to ask, "In honour of Friday 13th: are you at all superstitious? In what ways?"

Nose and your book, I am afraid of everything. I am the most fearful person you have ever met. So today made me a little tense, but really every day makes me tense. I never walk under ladders and I always toss salt over my shoulder if I spill any. I figure, why take any chances? Of course, since I have a black cat, one crosses–and pees on–my path every day. So I guess I'm doomed.

Meme wrongly assumes, "With a name like June Gardens, I bet you are a master gardener. What will you be planting in your garden this year?"

Oh, Meme. When I go to the gardening section at the store, you can see all the plants trying to hide. All the mom plants sheltering their young. At the plant post office there is a Most Wanted picture with my nice image on it. But Marvin planted a garden. It has peas, carrots, lettuce, and radishes. We are hoping to attract bunnies, apparently.

Master Instructor Susan Harris asks, "What is the correct use of terms like bimonthly and semimonthly? I often hear people use bimonthly to mean two times per month and that doesn't seem right."

MISH, when you look in my good pal Merriam-Webster, the first definition is every two months. Then the second definition is twice a month, or semimonthly. What can I tell you?

Jan, who already asked a question but apparently thought of another one, asks, "Did you ever run away from home? Or think about it when the hippiness got to be too much?"

Yes. I remember being really pissed off about something. Who knows what, as I was like seven. I got my suitcase and told my parents I was leaving. I remember they were sitting on the couch listening to records and seemed really unconcerned. My father told me to take bottles with me, because I could take them to the store for deposit money. Even at my tender age I knew he was being sarcastic. I took my suitcase and huffed down the street.

I got to the next block and rethought things. I had a Freakies Cereal habit that was being enabled nicely back at that house. So I returned.

Jenene wonders, "I don't live in Seattle, but I live close to it. Since you actually lived there once upon a time, what did you like about it? What didn't you like about it? (Besides the rain, obviously)."

Oh, I liked everything about Seattle except that ding-dang weather. It was 63 and rainy whether it was January or July. And also too? I hope I don't make anyone mad. But Seattle people are absolutely convinced there is nowhere better to live than Seattle. That got annoying sometimes. Like, you know, Vermont is pretty too. There was this whole "We've figured it out" thing that kind of bugged me. You're wearing long underwear on the 4th of July. You haven't completely figured it out.

That said, oh! The flowers were to die for, and there was so much to do, and the people were creative and funny. There was one restaurant that had tons of Jello molds all over the front of it. And the first neighborhood I lived in had dance steps permanently embedded in the sidewalk. They were these gold footsteps, and they showed you how to do the cha-cha, or the rumba. And you'd see people on the sidewalk following the footsteps, doing the dances.

And anywhere that you can constantly see the water and mountains is never bad. I would never have left Seattle had I not married Marvin.

Carrie queries, "June-ay – What is your most outrageous outfit that you currently wear?"

Okay, who loves Carrie for calling me June-ay? And Carrie-ee, I tell you, I used to dress to call attention to myself. My mother, who is a therapist, used to watch me walk out the door and say, "Honey, you look disturbed." Okay, she just didn't know from '80s fashion. But Carrie-ee, I got old and kind of fat, and all I wanted to do was wear something that didn't call attention to my bowling-ball waist. Now I wear jeans and turtlenecks or turtlenecks and black pants every day. I am boring. But when you're 43 and look disturbed it's not as cute as when you're 23 and look disturbed.

M wonders, "Have you ever mooned anyone? Why and when?"

Heavenly days, no. But I did pose nude once. My friend was getting his master's in photography and he needed a male and a female for his portfolio. You know what everyone should go out and do? Go out and have a really skilled photographer take your naked photo when you're 22. Because it's all downhill from there. I'm really glad I did it. So I guess technically I mooned the Chicago Art Institute and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Those are all the Ask Junes for today. This took like an hour, and I want you to know that for some reason, Marvin was listening to Duran Duran's Rio the ENTIRE TIME I wrote this. He is (sit down) watching a documentary on them and he kept starting and stopping the Rio part.

Perhaps we have circled back to my last meal, eh?

Ask June · June's stupid life

Ask June, because apparently she thinks quite a bit of herself

Heartme

In case you didn't read it on the front page of your local paper, I am narcissistic. See my post from earlier today if you are baffled. Although if you have read this blog for seven seconds, I don't know why you'd need to read anything to be convinced of that.

Spotwin

But enough about me. Let's look at pictures of me while we read my blog about questions people have asked me. (Could Winston look any more like he's pleading with someone to get him and his spotty tummy away from this self-involved freak?)

Lee asks, "I'd like to know what the meaning of 'is' is."

Oh, poor Bill Clinton. That was not a high point for him. But I like me the Bill Clinton. I do.

Lisa inquires, "With political correctness, why don't they have dog shows for dogs that are not quite perfect? My dog Sage…is a mutt. What do you think we should do?"

Lisa, there is good news. Not every dog has to be a fancy purebred to be in a dog show. There is a show called Nuts for Mutts, in Los Angeles, and it is a dog show for the…mixed breed.

Nuts for Mutts is also a nice fundraiser that places homeless pets and things like that. I am sorry to say that they described it as "the most unique" dog show, and you know how I feel about anybody qualifying the word unique. It's either unique or it isn't, Nuts for Mutts people.

But that's part of my narcissism. I tend to feel superior. You'll have to forgive me, Nuts for Mutts. I actually think you are a wonderful cause. The next Nuts for Mutts dog show is coming up May 17.

Mewin

I thought maybe you missed seeing a picture of me.

Another person named Lisa asked, "Why is the background green, red, off-white and the text section blue? It is very incongruous."

Gee, I always liked my colors. But I guess if you were really disturbed about how very incongruous the colors are, Lisa, you could always yell at my designer, Sadie Olive. I have, however, been really thinking about a redesign. Something with a very clean background. This may make you happier, Lisa. If and when I do it, let me know.

Finally, Shannon queries, "What do you think Lula's career choice would be if she had the option?"

Carnival barker. And she would volunteer with Neighborhood Watch.

As always, ask June here.

Ask June · June's stupid life

Ask Francis, and also June

I thought my cat Francis and I could sort of team up today for Ask June. Didn't Ann Landers team up with one of her daughters toward the end, there, when she was gettin' old?

Cat

Em-Cat, who is sort of appropriately named, given today's special Ask June theme, wonders, "When is it appropriate to use 'people' and when is it appropriate to use 'persons' or are they interchangeable?"

Francis says, "YOU REAL CAT? IF YOU REAL CAT, HSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! GET OUT! OUT MY HOUSE NOW!!!!!! NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!"

It's okay, Francis. Em-Cat isn't really here, and I don't think she is really a cat. Cats can't blog. Well, you are blogging. But you are special, Fran.

At any rate, Em-Cat, obviously "people" and "persons" both mean groups of humans, and both words go way back, having Latin roots. There are no hard-and-fast rules about use of the words, and they are basically interchangeable, but generally, "persons" is used more formally, as in "Persons coming into our home disguised as cats will be hissed at by Francis."

Faithful Reader Jan asks, "Ten years later, if you could change anything about your wedding, what would it be?"

Francis says, "WHY I NOT AT WEDDING? WAS FISH TO EAT?"

I say, really, I would change nothing. Maybe I wouldn't have had acrylic French manicured nails. But at the time they were the shizzle. As was the phrase "the shizzle."

Wedding 001

I liked my wedding, despite this charming look I had going.

Hey, when I just went into my wedding pictures to get this flattering shot, I found the coolest photo of my grandparents. Wanna see? I cannot begin to tell you how much my grandfather looks like my Uncle Jim.

Grandparents 001
How cute are they?

Speaking of husbands, Arlene asks, "June, would you please tell us a story about parrots and Marvin and bronchitis?"

And I didn't say "speaking of husbands" because I am married to Arlene. Wouldn't that be a bombshell!  Arlene asks this rather bizarre question because weeks ago I said remind me to tell you the story of the time Marvin had bronchitis and I saw the parrots.

So, we used to live in Burbank, California. The story was that years back someone had let their pet parrots go and that it was just warm enough in Pasadena that the parrots had survived and mated and created a small parrot colony right there in Pasadena. I have no idea if that is true.

Burbank was about 15 miles away from Pasadena.

Anyway, it was early one morning and Marvin was home ill with bronchitis. He was sick and he was not happy about it. He was not being a trouper, is what he wasn't being. I was getting ready for work and I heard some odd bird noises in the back yard, so I went back there. I stood really still and quiet for a while and I finally figured out I was hearing parrots!

Now, for me, this is the equivalent of you seeing a unicorn or something. I was so excited to see parrots. I figured out what direction they were in, and I could tell they were getting nearer. I also decided I'd better get to the front yard, because it seemed like they were headed that way.

I ran to the front, and seriously, you'd have thought I was getting ready for a Loch Ness Monster sighting, so excited was I to have parrots fly over me. Then? They were coming toward me! I could see them in the distance! They were green! If I stood there, they'd fly right over me! I waited, waited, they were on their way, and–

"What are you DOING!?" Marvin said, throwing open the door, Nyquil in his hand, wearing his pajamas.

The birds, startled, flew the opposite direction.

I have never been so annoyed with Marvin. I was SECONDS from those parrots flying RIGHT OVER ME, like TWENTY FEET above me. If he'd have just NOT NEEDED TO KNOW, like Gladys Kravitz, what I was DOING, I'd have had the experience of a lifetime. He is just lucky that Nyquil did not end up out his bung, is what I am telling you. Oh, I was mad.

Francis says, "PARROT TASTY. SERVE PARROT AT WEDDING?"

I guess Francis kind of has a one-track mind.

That sums up Ask June and her cat for this week. The not-sick Marvin and I are going out to dinner now, for some grilled parrot and Nyquil cocktails. Remember to Ask June here.

Ask June · June's stupid life

Ask June, special holiday edition

Yes, it's true. Ask June even works on Easter, bringing you all that funnyness eggs-actly when you need it most, at the end of your long holiday. That is, if you celebrate Easter. June does not wish to exclude.

Marvin and I celebrated the day by coloring eggs and by me looking incredibly old.

Cagefree 
No, seriously. Father Time called. Wants his look back. I look 192 in this picture. Am I one of the Gray Gardens sisters? Maybe I should have put on some of that there makeup before I got my photo taken. My defense is that I spent all day cutting monkey grass and THEN posed for this shot, but still. The eggs weren't in a cage, but maybe I should be. Where's my kennel? Yeesch!

I guess I do not like this photo of myself.

Anyway, I boiled the eggs last night, and had to actually Google "How to boil eggs," which is a step up from what I usually do, which is call one of my parents. I do not cook a lot. Finding anti-aging creams takes up all my time, as you can see.

After the whole boiling activity, we did the dyeing deed this morning.

Colors

Marvin did not grow up coloring eggs, and he and I have not colored eggs that much, seeing as we're, you know, adults, so his first move was to plop the first egg in really hard and crack it. Oops.

Eggs

Nevertheless, he did a fine job and made me a nice pink egg. And if we get into the "what are those polka-dot balls in the background" discussion again I will rip off my skin and run with my skeleton down Park Avenue.

The rest of the day we spent (sit down) cutting monkey grass, ripping out ivy, stomping a rotted stump in the front yard, and scraping paint off our rusted chair. Wooo!

Rustychair

I love this chair, and it used to be all turquoise before I moved somewhere where it actually rained. It got rusty in one year here in North Carolina, and was pristine in California for 10 years. Anyway, we scraped and scratched and clawed our way to the top, and then Marvin put primer on the chair and we will paint it next.

Funny

Everyone's a comedian. And no, we aren't painting it black. Who are we, the Addams Family? That's just the rust-y primer-y thing. I am painting it pale pink, actually. Because I would paint the world pale pink if I could.

Those are all the things I needed to tell you, but let's say it and not spray it over at Ask June, shall we?

Paula from New York Dammit asks, "Are/were your parents as funny as you?"

I wonder why Paula put this in the past tense, since I talk about both parents all the time, and I know she reads this blog daily, so she knows they are still, you know, around. Do you think she is insinuating that there is a possibility one or both of my parents used to be a laugh riot and now they're dull as mud? I guess it can happen–can't it?–that someone used to be funny and they get unfunny.

Remember in Say Anything when John Cusack says to his sister in the movie (who was played by Joan Cusack, his sister in real life), "What happened to you? You used to be hilarious?" and she said, "I was hilarious, wasn't I?"

Anyway, Paula, who probably wishes she hadn't asked now, yes. Both of my parents are funny. When I was planning my trip to New York, my father said, "Have you saved a lot of money? Because you know how you're at the airport and you buy a sandwich, and it's $17? Everything you buy in New York is like everything you buy at the airport. It just seems like it can't possibly be that expensive, but it is."

Maybe that wasn't his best line, but he is funny.

And all of my mother's friends always say, "Oh, you get your sense of humor from your mother," which, I guess if anyone remembers her nice cleaning tip that earned her comment of the week a while back, perhaps might be true. I get my refined sense of humor from mom.

Kerrin says, "My Ask June question is about the ankle tattoo you displayed while wearing the snazzy aqua dress. Could you tell the story of what it is and when/where you got it? I love tattoo stories of a grown person's spunky youth…"

Okay, I have told this story before, but people come and go from this blog, so I might as well tell it again. The year was 1994 and I was living in Seattle with an artist with long hair. He kind of had an Anthony Kiedis look about him and he was really funny. He wasn't, however, ready to get married and I was allllllll ready to be married and apparently I didn't care who I got married TO because looking back on it if I'd have married him we'd have been divorced in a year.

Anyway, he kept saying he wasn't ready to be married, so I moved out. I was very proud of myself for taking this firm stance. I moved in with Faithful Readers Sabrina Duncan and Master Instructor Susan Harris and I think they can back me up on the fact that at first, I was just fine! Which might tell you something about how good it was I didn't marry him.

Two months later, I ran into him. He was with a woman. Of course he was with a woman, he looked like Anthony Kiedis. I said hello to him and tried to be dignified and somehow mentioned his girlfriend, and he said, "She's not my girlfriend, she's my wife. We eloped at the Church of Elvis in Las Vegas last week."

Well.

The only good thing I can say about a blow like that is that it is a MARVELOUS diet plan. I got down to 118 pounds. I looked FABULOUS except for the part where I cried all the time. Anyway, because he had something that would last forever (and it did. He is still married. Two kids), I wanted something that would last forever. And so I got a tattoo.

Moons_3

And you know I felt kind of better? And then a few years later I went back and got an Eiffel Tower on the other ankle, because I just like the Eiffel Tower. Wouldn't it be awful if someone ELSE I dated got married 10 seconds after we broke up and I had to get another tattoo because of that?

Eiffel

When I don't shave my legs, my tattoo looks like a rainy night in Paris. I probably used that line last time I talked about my tattoos.

Okay, my wrists really, really hurt from shocking the monkey (grass) all weekend, so Ask June will bid you adieu, even if you are happy with the hair you have.

Ask June · Hair · June's stupid life · My pets

Ask Henry and June. Hey, wasn’t that a dirty book by Anais Nin?

Henme

One of us has the cute hair. I will not name names. One of us has hair shaped like Prince Valiant. I do not know what to tell you.

Let's valiantly page June and see what questions she'll answer for us this Friday, shall we?

Carrie queries, "When my mom and I talk about you, we refer to you always, as Our Friend June, as in, 'Hey, you know Our Friend June? Well, today she had a great tip for cooking rutabaga,' and such.

"We have an creepy amount of things in common: I have an Aunt Mary that makes jewelry, my mom's nickname is Pitty Pat (making her Aunt Pitty Pat to my cousins), I have incredibly big hair, love sparkly things, and incessantly stated that crows would like said sparkly things about anything shiny I came across. Now these are just similarities, of course, but do you think that somewhere in the word, you have a doppelganger?"

What Carrie and I also have in common is that it takes us an hour and a half to get to the point. Which makes me think we must at least be related, if not doppelgangers. And Carrie, I'd hate to think someone else out there got this hair AND this bulbous nose AND this pointy-ass chin. So I am going to say probably not. Because nature can't be that cruel twice. Can it?

Jenene, whose name is fun to type because there are all those Es, says, "Okay, I'm giving in and asking you a grammar question. When I use parentheses at the end of a sentence, do periods and question marks go inside or outside? I can never figure it out, and it drives me nuts!"

Jenene, is the period or question mark part of the entire sentence or is it just part of the stuff you put in the parentheses? That's how you figure it out. Here's an example.

She went to the store (and why does she keep going?).

Now, see? The question is part of the parenthetical stuff only, so it goes inside the parentheses. Here is another one.

Why does she go to the store (and get toilet paper 75 times a week)?

See?  The whole sentence is a question, so the question mark goes on the outside. Now, as for a period, usually the period would not go on the inside of the parentheses, unless the entire sentence was a parentheses.

My kitten won't stop meowing (and he is driving me nuts).

(Marvin wishes I had not gotten a kitten.)

(That isn't true, by the way. He loves the kitty.)

So, I hope that helps, Jenenenenene.

I must exit, because this kitten is in fact meowing endlessly and I do not know what his issue is other than his brain is the size of an olive.

Lapkit

He's lucky he's cute.

Ask June · June's stupid life

Ask Irritated June

Remember back in December when I started this cockamamie Ask June idea, and I told you all to direct your questions back at the original post from December? Do you have any idea how many &$##&@ questions were back at that site? And I had to SLOG through them, and keep track of which ones I answered and such, and man, was it getting annoying.

So tonight I went into Typepad and gee, do they ever make it convenient to go back into December to delete comments.

Dishkit

[Obligatory Henry photo.]

They start at today's date and only show you 50 comments a page, and you have to SCROLL to the bottom of each page, hit "older," wait 470 years, get 50 MORE comments, hit "older" again, as you GROW older, and finally after you've grown a Rip Van Winkle beard that has wedged itself into a log like in Snow White and Rose Red you finally get to the December 18 comments and I am telling you what.

So to make an agonizing story longer, I am saying that I went back and deleted all queries that were already querieied, and yes that is so a word, and I will answer all the leftover questions that are still on there, but from here on out please address all your Ask Junes right here. Under this cute picture of Henry.

Let's have another one before we begin, shall we?

Henry

Seriously. Who is ludicrously cute? His eyes are turning green, I think. No more baby blue kitten eyes pretty soon. Crap.

Conveniently, Sarah B. asks, "How many cats is too many? My husband thinks 2 is enough and 3 is a crowd. I tend to disagree."

As many of you know, Marvin has often told me that if I bring a fourth cat home, I might as well name it Divorced White Female. And the part where we have three is kind of a fluke, too. Let's face it, three tips you over the edge into crazy cat people.

See, when I met Marvin, I was 31 with two cats. And that appeals to any man. But somehow I reeled Marvin in with my Mr. Horkheimer and my Ruby, who was just a kitten.

Marvin had never lived with cats before, so the first year we were together I'd hear a lot of "OW!" from the other room. He did not catch the cats' subtle body language telling him to KNOCK IT OFF with the petting their fur backwards or rubbing the base of their tail or whatever annoying thing he was doing, and he got a lot of the scratches that first year. But still, he would say, "Cats are fascinating!"

Marvin used to like me a lot. So had my thing been collecting my own urine in tear collector bottles he'd have said, "Your urine is fascinating!"

Anyway, we'd been together a year when we found two-week-old Francis hanging off a vine in our backyard, having been abandoned by his cat mom because he was NUTS and she was trying to let NATURE TAKE ITS COURSE but ohhhhh no. Not with old cat woman around! So the plan was to nurse Fran to health by bottle feeding him and teaching him how to pee and stuff and if you think you can give a kitten up after you have done all that for him. And it was MARVIN who didn't want to give that lunatic creature up and here he still is in our house in a special padded room.

And you notice that both Mr. Horkheimer and Ruby are dead, but we keep replacing the cats to keep our quota of three. So Sarah, technically your husband is probably right, but once you get started on three, it seems normal. Which is probably how people with 19 kids feel, too.

Bell chimes in with, "What was Marvin's job before he became a teacher? And has he ever been on the cover of Rolling Stone?"

Right before he was a teacher, Marvin had some boring-ass computer job that paid a lot of money but totally wasn't him but was hard to give up because it paid a lot, kind of like prostitution. Cause man, do I ever know what that's like.

But before he did that (and he did that for six or seven years), he was a sound mixer for the movies, which means he recorded the dialog. It doesn't mean he created the sound effects, which for some reason is what people always think.

Don't ask me why he gave up that perfectly cool job to go work at a computer/prostitute job. At the time he said the sound mixing jobs were getting harder and harder to get, and he wanted something more reliable. Or something grownup like that.

Yes, he met a lot of celebrities. And no, he was never on the cover of the Rolling Stone. Gonna get my picture on the cover. Gonna buy five copies for my mother.

Bambi asks, "How do you hang your toilet paper–rolling toward the front or toward the back against the wall?"

Do you have any idea how bad I want to make the obvious joke about why a deer even needs toilet paper? Can you imagine how sick Bambi must get of deer and/or Walt Disney jokes? So I will abstain. Bambi, I prefer it so it rolls toward the front, but I am generally in a state of duress when I am putting it on, so I kind of also don't care.

Once Oprah timed how long it took to replace the toilet paper roll and it takes seven seconds. Time it once, you'll see. Seven seconds. And yet you know everyone in your house tries not to be the one to replace it.

Winzap

Poor Winston never gets any pictures of himself in this blog anymore, now that the KITTEN gets all the attention. He is shipping himself out of here. That is IT.

Mary asks, "What hair care products do you use daily???"

Apparently this is very important to Mary, as it required three question marks. Do you think Mary wants hair as pretty as mine? Let's take an impromptu shot of my calm hair. It rained today, so this could be good.

Hair

Mmm-hmmm. Yes, Mary. Perhaps you are wondering so you know what NOT to use.

I will tell you what I use. I use everything on earth to weigh it down. Recently I was getting my color done and two women asked my hairdresser, "What can I use that won't weigh my hair down?" and I was aghast. I would hang free weights off this mess if I could.

So I use serious conditioner every day, then a leave-in conditioner (yes, really), then some sort of cream or gel, then sometimes a serum. And LOOK at it!

Carrie writes, with just a hint of despair, "June, I am writing to you in desperation! A week and a half ago, I adopted a dog from my local animal shelter and we have had quite the week and a half! She had an upper respiratory infection and has had to be on antibiotics, she ran away (which I'm sure is how she got to be a stray in the first place), and yesterday when I got home from work, she was out of her crate, but no one was home to have let her out! I figured the dog walker had not latched it all the way or something. Then, this morning, she escaped twice within 15 minutes from her crate. I put treats in there. I put toys in there. I tell her she's a good girl for being in there. Before you took Talullah to Doggie Day Care, did you crate train her? How did you keep her in there!?"

You know, maybe I should have an emergency Ask June, as well, since poor Carrie asked me this in March. When I went to link to her blog, I see that she still HAS the dog, so that's good.

I have heard of this from other dog owners, Carrie. I have a friend whose dog will stay in its crate all morning but when my friend comes home at lunch, if she takes too long to get to the crate, the dog lets itself out. So it was ABLE to get out all that time.

As for me, Tallulah was just a teeny puppy and it never occurred to her to try to escape the crate. Well, that first night, the one and only time I have ever actually heard her howl, it must have OCCURRED to her, but she never figured it out.

I would assume by now your dog likes the crate. They always tell you the dogs grow to love them, and mine did. Of course, now she sleeps on my face.

That is all for Ask June on this fine Friday which is almost Saturday, seeing as it took me 29 hours to delete all the old Qs. From now on, ask your Ask June questions here.

Ask June · June's stupid life

Ask June, and her sort of trampy shirt

SluttyDo you think this shirt is a little snug? Am I going to the Harper Valley PTA, or what? This is what I wore to the dance recital the other night. Since then I have been wearing a robe, as I have number 862 in a series of colds caught from Marvin's fabulous job. Fifth-graders. Bringing you germs from around the world.

And no, it isn't swine flu. Thanks.

It is time for Ask June, everyone's favorite Q & A time with your tawdry know-it-all pal, June. Let's all put on our thinking caps and tight sweaters and get right to it, shall we?

Kristy queries, "June–I have a question that has bothered me for a while. My last name is Kish (rhymes with fish and dish). Last year, I wanted to write Christmas Wishes from the Kishes on our Christmas cards, but I realized I don't know how to pluralize Kish. Is it Kishes? Kishs? Kish's? Or is it just Kish (similar to fish)?"

June wonders if you married into the name Kristy Kish, which is kind of a cute all-K-all-the-time kind of a name, or if it has always been your name. June knows someone whose name sounds very much like Kiss the Cook, and that friend sometimes reads this blog and she will be kissing the blogger if she reads this subtle shout-out.

At any rate. Kristy Kish, when you pluralize a family name that ends in sh, you add the es on the end, so your instinct was correct. If anyone wants to give Ask June heartburn, they will add an apostrophe into their last name. Merry Christmas from the Smith's! Well, you've just ensured that June, here, will not have one. Thanks.

NO APOSTROPHES IN YOUR LAST NAME. YOUR LAST NAME DOES NOT OWN ANYTHING. I MEAN, MAYBE IT DOES. MAYBE YOU ARE THE ROCKEFELLERS. IF YOU ARE, GO ON MY WISH LIST AND GET ME THOSE EARRINGS. BUT LEAVE THE APOSTROPHE OUT OF YOUR LAST NAME.

Thank you.

Kerrin wonders, "When you were a freelance proofreader, what kind of material did you proof? Do you mostly do textbooks and such or have you ever proofread a book that was a bestseller?"

Oh, Marvin is laughing at the "book that was a bestseller" part. Well, he would be laughing if he ever still read this blog. People come and go, talking of Michelangelo, here. Including Marvin.

I worked for the entertainment industry (which I feel like I can't talk about so much), the legal field (ditto) (well, okay, I proofread depositions, and I got to read a lot of celebrity cases, and THAT I cannot talk about), textbooks (zzzzz), and yes, people's fledgling novels.

Oh. People's fledgling novels. I am sorry to tell you about the hours of entertainment Marvin and I got out of these things. And you know what's great about a lot of people writing novels? A lot of them are rich rich rich. I read one guy's novel, a guy who thought the phrase was "another clog in the machine" and during a lunch he ended up giving me, piecemeal, three or four hundred dollars. He was a gay guy, so he wasn't hitting on me. He just kept saying, "You are so helpful. Here, let me pay you more." Who was I to say no? I mean, this was on top of the fee I was charging him.

I also got a lovely set of Tiffany champagne glasses from a woman whose novel I proofread, and hers wasn't bad, actually.

My favorite part of proofreading books was the medical writers. I got everything checked out for free as thanks for my services. I got my hair analyzed for mineral content, free chiropractic, psychic readings, all from people I proofread. It was delightful. I like how I just put psychics in with "medical."

But do you have any idea how hard it is to get your book published? So, no. There wasn't one person whose book I proofed who had a bestseller. Very few got published.

Anyway, my experience with these writers is part of why I scoff when I get the whole "I like your blog, you should write a book" line. Everyone thinks they have a book in them. They don't.

Playpals

That wraps it up for Ask June and her first-person/third-person, trampy-shirted self today. She has thrown in the daily photo of Henry lest she hear it from everyone. Now she has to blow her nose. Again.

Ask June · June's stupid life

Ask June, Part 972

Winhen

Smack

Tappy

Gloweyes

Our neighbor, Peg, bought this little toy for Henry, and could he be more obsessed with it? It's nice, though, because I have been afraid to buy him little mice or balls, lest they end up in Tallulah's gullet.

Since I was busy depressing myself with poor Farrah's special last night, let's bop over to Ask June, shall we?

Meme says, "Please explain global warming…

"Could everyone be wrong, and we are really heading into an ice age?

"What will Gore do then?

"Speaking of Gore, can you please, please, please explain these green credits I keep seeing on the back of my Sun Chips bag?

"Can we start a Green Credits company?

"If everything is covered in ice soon, shouldn't we really be starting some white credits? Blue credits? Help me, my head is spinning off it's (did you see that – it's) axis!!!!"

Meme has a lot to ask about global warming. All I can tell you, Meme, is I am haunted by that scene where the polar bear swims for its ice in An Inconvenient Truth. Also? I do not eat Sun Chips.

Elizabeth Joy queries, "I had always thought the correct way to write 'all right' was as two words, but my editor always changes it to one, 'alright.' This is for fiction, if it makes any difference, usually in dialog. Who is correct?"

Technically, the word "alright" is all wrong. Who loves herself right now for coming up with that little sentence? Is it June, here? Anyway, in real life, like if you were writing a cover letter or a letter to the editor or a ransom note, you really should go with "all right." "Alright" is kind of slang, so I can see why it'd be used in fiction.

Here's how to tell if something is acceptable or not. Look a word up in a real dictionary, such as my best friend Merriam Webster (m-w.com). (And not a fake dictionary such as dictionary.com.) If you look up a word like "alright," you'll know it's unacceptable because the definition will be "all right," or whatever the acceptable form if the word is. The dictionary will always steer you to the correct spelling of the word.

Isn't the dictionary wonderful? Have I ever told you I read the dictionary when I was 10? Have I ever told you there is something deeply wrong with me? Did that need to be said?

I must go now, as I am once again going to the farmer's market with the other June. Perhaps you wonder why we feel the need to attend the farmer's market every single weekend, and I guess it's time to tell you we are shopping for farmers. Because we are hoes. Get it? Oh, the hilarity over here at Ask June.

Before I go, I am going to tell you that Comment of the Week goes to Roxie's Mom, who make something funny out of my sloppy writing yesterday. Roxie's Mom has got it going on.

Ask June · June's stupid life

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.

Pamme 

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.

Ask June · Faithful Readers · June's stupid life

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.

Ask June · Hair · June's stupid life · Times I Amused My Own Self

Query June

When I got home tonight, I fell onto the couch and had me a big nap, a nap that involved Tallulah similarly sleeping, on my head. When I got up and remembered we had to Ask June tonight, I headed in here and saw this hair on the webcam.

Hair

Okay, seriously. What is up with the 'do? Did I time travel in my sleep and become an 18th-century composer for awhile? It is truly a thing of beauty. So I decided to dress it up.

Hairwithheart

Now it's flowery bad hair. You know you miss me playing with the special features on my webcam.

Let's pick our locks elsewhere, shall we? It's time for another brilliant installment of Ask June.

Aubrey "I want to know all those 'vs.'s' including 'lie vs. lay.' You have me so nervous I'll type something grammatically incorrect."

Aubrey. Do I seem like someone who would pick on you for being grammatically incorrect? Would I poke fun at you for that inappropriate apostrophe in "vs.'s"? Never!

I don't know why everyone thinks I am going to judge them for mistakes. First of all, I make them all the time. That's why there are people like me, people who see the flaws in everything and CORRECT those mistakes. Really, I'm not going to care if you make errors in your comments to me. I promise.

I do not know what other "vs." type things you mean other than lay or lie, Aubrey, but I have a good one for remembering lay or lie. Did I cover this in another Ask June? It feels like I have.

When you LAY something, you PLACE it. Just think PLAYCE. "Come lay down with me" (okay, don't really, stalker). Now, think about that. Is that correct? Try it with place. "Come place down with me." Makes no sense, right? So it should be "Come lie down with me."

Here's another. Lie that down right there. Place that down right there. HAH! It should be "lay"!

Thank you. Tip your wait staff.

Aubrey also wonders, "I'm wondering if you could tell us again how one learns to be a copy editor."

Be bad at math, geography, athletics, and science. Be good at English. Have no choice but to major in English. Endure four years of people saying, "Oh, are you gonna TEACH!?" Graduate not knowing how to teach, but knowing how to read books really well. Discover no one wants to hire someone who can read books really well.

Really, Aubrey, I think you have to have a natural knack for knowing parts of a sentence, the grammar rules, spelling. I mean, you have to be able to look at something and know if it's right or wrong.

Also too, you have to be detail oriented. You know what I hate? I hate it when people say "orientated" when they mean "oriented." I guess you also have to be cranky to be a copy editor.

After that, it just really takes practice. Once you miss something huge one time–like a who/whom kind of thing–you will never forget to look for it in the future.

As for how I got my first job, there was an ad in the paper for a proofreader. I applied, they gave me a test and I passed. I do not know how others got into this charming career. Is there anyone else who copy edits who can help a sister out with how they got into it?

And remember, being a lover of books does NOT mean you can proofread. You are hardly reading when you are proofreading (or copy editing) (they are vaguely different) (in copy editing, you are allowed to make some changes to the copy. In proofreading, you just change bad spelling and punctuation). You are looking at every letter, every bit of punctuation. You are noticing if the leading is off. You are noticing if the folios are right. You are noticing if there is consistent space before the cutlines. You also must know what all those terms mean.

I guess you shouldn't get me started on this topic. I have a lot to say in the subject. I have been doing it for 12 years.

Shannon inquires, "What do you see yourself doing at age 60?"

For one thing, Shannon, I'll just be happy to be alive, with my cancer-gene family. Seriously. But if I am still here and not dying of anything, I hope to be near retirement, with several pets, living near the water. And I do not mean the hose out back.

What if I'm still blogging at 60? How annoying would that be? "Welllll, my rheumatiz has been acting up, and I've been stopped up for days." Really, it wouldn't be that different from now, would it?

That wraps up another hair-raising week of Ask June. Thanks for your questions, and as always, Ask June here.

Ask June · June's stupid life

Hey, June, what’s shakin’? (Or, I’d rather be blogging)

I saw a really good bumper sticker on a car today. It read, "I'd rather be driving." Then below that was the name of some zen center near here.

Okay, I love this bumper sticker. I have always been sort of annoyed by those "I'd rather be…" bumper stickers. Instead of moaning to all of us about how you'd rather be shopping at Nordstrom or poking baby chickens or whatever, how about just being happy where you are, right now? 

So gettin' me an "I'd Rather Be Driving" bumper sticker.

Which leads me to a brief discussion about this Funniest Blogger contest. I am now officially in third place, and you know what? It's fine.

I never wanted to be the funniest blogger in the ding-dang world. I don't want to disparage other funny bloggers, or kill myself to be more amusing than they are. I love my blog, and all my blog friends. I will be happy if I win that thing, and happy if I don't. Do you have any idea how nice it was to tell you all I was nominated and then get into second place overnight?

I don't need some super-secret-squirrel, sitting-behind-a-table-like-that-committee-in-the-last-scene-of-Flashdance group to tell me I'm funny. You all tell me I'm funny, and you are all I need. What a feelin'.

And speaking of the invisible friends I have made in blogging, my close personal friend Jan, who I have never met or even talked to, is in cahoots with me to fix one of her family members up with one of my family members. If this works, it'll be the weirdest thing this blog has produced.

So, I was perusing the Ask June Qs, and came across these Jan questions I have not yet addressed. Let's answer those today. Have a little All Jan, All the Time kind of an Ask June, shall we?

Medino

 You know I like to throw in a picture on Ask June day, and this old shot was on the desktop. Seriously, I crack myself the hell up sometimes. 

Jan asks, "Why do celebrities name their children such odd names?"

Because celebrities are annoying, Jan. And hey, did you see John and Kate plus Bicarbonate or whoever are getting a divorce? You mean Kate is available?

Jan also asks, "How did Marvin propose to you?"

Haven't I already told this story? Poor Culpepper, the person who's read me since 1850. She is so over this story. But if you're new, here we go.

Marvin and I dated in college for three terrible months, then we broke up after a certain beer bottle got thrown at a certain someone's head. Because maybe someone didn't PAY ENOUGH ATTENTION and needed a little jarring. And maybe that plan backfired, and the person getting the beer thrown at him was instead completely repulsed and didn't think getting glass thrown at his noggin was sexy and compelling like someone thought it might be.

So, after that dramatic breakup–and ALL my breakups were dramatic, I am sure you're shocked to hear–Marvin and I somehow remained pals. He moved to Los Angeles, I moved to Seattle. Ten years after the beer toss, I invited him to visit me in Seattle and seven months later the following happened.

I had moved to Los Angeles and one day Marvin gave me my perfect day, based on the information I gave him after he'd once asked me, "What would your perfect day be?"

I tell you what. It's been 13 years since that proposal day and if I were ON FIRE Marvin wouldn't even ask me, "Why are you on fire?" We are so over each other. I cannot fathom that he ever asked me that question, but there you go.

So, he served me breakfast in bed, and he had made hash browns with onions in it. Then we went to the beach. Then we drank outside. Then we got on a ferris wheel at Santa Monica pier and that is where he did the deed. And I have always thought, what if I'd said no? How awkward would the rest of that ferris wheel ride have been?

RingHe gave me a beautiful ring from the 1940s, as I had told him I wanted an old ring. I have since been told the ring may even be from earlier than that, but whatever. He did well with the ring.

Then we ate barbecue, as that was also part of my perfect day. It really was kind of a good day.

Finally, Jan wonders, "My sister and I just had terse words regarding how to pronounce 'Horkheimer' as in Mr. Horkheimer.  I say it is 'Hork-Heimer.'  She insists that it is 'Horkheimer.' If that makes any sense, kind of like 'Hork-her-mer.'  Kind of.  Please tell us who is right."

Mr. Horkheimer is my dead cat. He was the love of my life.

Franhork 001

Here he is with a much younger and thinner Francis. Horkie was the love of Francis' life, too.

Hork

Here's Horkie now. I want you to know I just took his ashes and posed them next to Francis because I thought that'd be a HILARIOUS photo, and the stupid camera battery died. Just like my cat.

Anyway, it's Hork-HYE-mer, if that makes sense. Long "I" sound in the middle.

And that wraps up another pressing week of Ask June. And you know how I do that annoying link and I say ask your Ask June questions here? I think what I'll do from now on is remind you it's Ask June on Thursday and you can ask them right there. I wish I knew how to do buttons. I mean, the button to vote for me was already made, and that took 850 hours to get up here.

I'd rather be signing off till tomorrow.

Ask June · June's stupid life

Saturday (horn) in the park (horn) I think we’d better get to Ask Junnne (horn horn horn horn)

We are mixing it up this week, having Ask June on Saturday instead of Friday. Ask June likes to keep things wild and unpredictable. I know your teeth are vibrating.

Menlu

Also plus, Ask June, her spouse, and her dog are headed to a state park today, so she has to kind of stampede through the questions. Ask June is not at all thinking about being eaten by a panther or falling off a cliff today or anything. Because Ask June is so able to relax and enjoy herself, ever.

So let's hang over at a potentially posthumous Ask June, shall we?

Bonnie wonders, "Do you have a favorite grammar book? My favorite is 'Woe is I'…"

Ask June knows she seems as though she were the type to sit around reading grammar books, but in fact she is not. Ask June did read the dictionary the summer she was 10, so she understands she was headed that way. Until she discovered boys and wine.

Confused Grizzly queries, "I was very impressed with your affect/effect explanation. Do you have one for which is bear is bare? I'm not sure I can bear or bare to hear the answer."

Ask June knows she seems like she'd have a pithy way to remember bare or bear, but she does not. I guess you could always think, "I can't bear to go bare." How about that? (And as a reminder, if you can use "alter" in the sentence, the word is affect. Remember a with a.)

Tee frets, "How is Francis doing? Poor baby."

Tee asked this question back in January, when poor Fran had a kidney stone. But he is doing well, Tee, for an angry 690-pound, 12-year-old cat. I think he had another one in March, but it too did pass.

Carrie asks, "Don't you think it would be fun to have a luncheon with all your Michigan readers the next time you're in town?"

Let Ask June tell you something about when she goes back to Michigan, Carrie. Ask June lived there for the first 27 years of her life, and therefore formed a lot of close bonds and Gold Bond Medicated Powder. And her family and her husband's family all live there. Whenever Ask June returns to the Mitten State, she is booked like Maria Carey was right before she had that breakdown where she came out with the food cart on MTV. Ask June has gotten to the point where she does not say on her blog that she is returning to Michigan, lest she get 952 "You're coming back for 17 hours for a wedding?! Let's get together at some point!!" messages. (But please don't stop wanting to see me, friends in the Mitten State. Ask June kind of enjoys the chaos when she is back.)

But yeah, that does sound kind of fun, actually. Particularly the idea of a "luncheon." Will Hanna Gruen be serving it to Ned Nickerson and Nancy Drew?

Shannon ponders, "Do word scrambles/searches drive you insane because it's just not right or do you strive to solve the mystery?"

Ask June knows she seems like the kind of person who would do word scrambles and such, but she is not. That said, lately Marvin printed out several word searches for his students because it was the end of the year and apparently he was over teaching, and he got irate because I would often take them and do them, when he was going to use that printout to make copies at work. Ask June say relax. And help her find "poignant" backwards and sideways while you're up.

That wraps up another compelling episode of Ask June. Next time you hear from Ask June, it'll be on the 11 o'clock news: "A yellow dog was found wandering alone at the state park today, and in possibly related news, a panther at the park coughed up a world's record hairball."