That one rare one where June finds cats

I don’t know if I have a gift or I’m an idiot savant or I’m Rico Suave or what the deal is. But last night, after dinner, which was a fattening hamburger because that’s what Hello Fresh sent me and I am powerless, after that, I took a walk.

Pretty much every time I take a walk in my neighborhood, something interesting happens. In this case, I thought it would be the cool car parked behind the Masonic hall.

“Ooo,” I said, and wondered where Gramma’s Eastern Star ring was. (I know where it is. I just meant it made me think of her mysterious Eastern Star activities. Eastern Star is like girl Masons. It’s the sexy Bugs Bunny of the Masons.)

But see how just beyond the car is another parking lot? That goes to a church, of course, because every freaking thing here is a church. Good GRAVY, South. At least in Michigan it went: Catholic church, bar on the corner. Nother Catholic church, nother corner bar. What this town lacks is any corner bar. Corner bars. Where everyone’s dad could be found!

I once heard that all men’s activities with each other are side by side. Sitting up at bars together. Sitting at sports events together. And all women’s activities are facing each other. Which is not true if you count pedicures.

My point is this. I walked on, to that parking lot, and I got the feeling I get. The “there’s an animal about” feeling. First of all, I heard a rustle in the leaves under the tree. Which could be anything: a squirrel, a drunk guy. In this hood it’s not out of the realm. But I stopped, because my feeling.

And here’s why there’s something wrong with me.

WHO ACTUALLY SEES THE CAT IN THERE EXCEPT ME. And this is my phone, zooming in on it as best I could. So it was even LESS clear to the naked eye. My eye wasn’t actually naked. It had on the cutest outfit.

“Hello, kitty,” I said, and remember a few years ago on Facebook, at the end of the year they’d take all the words you’d said that year and made a big circle out of them? And the words you’d said most were prominently displayed in larger font and bolder colors? And you’d be all, “Here’s what I said the most this year!!” and those of us who were sick and fucking tired of hearing about your kid Pevyn were not at all shocked to see a giant green PEVYN at the center of your circle?

If you did that for my whole life, for all the words and phrases from my entire existence, I assure you the biggest one would be, “Hello, kitty!” My first WORD was kitty. Go ahead. Ask my mother.

As I scanned the whole woodsy area, there, my eyes adjusted and I saw two more kittenish cats. I think this clear-as-a-bell one, above, might be grown up. And jaded. But the other two were smaller.

“Hello, kitties!” I said, in a shocking turn of events.

Now, feral cats would pick up their skirts and run. These two younger ones did not. Miss Camouflage, up there, never moved.

One even came out and started batting at the leaves. So I named him Russell. “Hello, kitty,” I said to Russell, and at this point everyone was bored with me and my conversational skills. I kept my distance. These images are of me zooming in as hard as I could.

This is the best photo I got, of Alexander Graham Bell, there, next to the telephone pole.

I sat with them for awhile, trying to remember if I own a — what are those called? A friendly trap. A jovial trap. Oh, hell, you know what I mean. And I do not. I borrowed the last one from an older man in my last neighborhood when there was a stray gray kitten, and he and I (the man, not the kitten) struck up a little friendship those last few months I lived there. I really, really liked his house, and he said, “Well, just hang on. I can’t live THAT much longer.”

That was nearly 3 years ago. I wonder how he is? That house had a screened-in back porch, which is one of my dream scenarios. Now that I’ve had a mail slot that goes right in the house, this is my next goal.

Anyway, cats.

I sat with them for quite awhile, and while they never let me pet them, they hung around, cautious but not horrified. They looked fed, and their fur was soft. There are houses behind this woodsy part, so I began to wonder if they lived in one of those houses. So I didn’t try kidnapping them.

Yet.

Ima go over there today, being some food and water, which is dumb cause they were clearly fed. But just in cases.

So anyway, that’s my latest in what is now 6 hundred billion cat sightings in my life. Does anyone need a cat? You know who doesn’t?

Luff,
Juan

Alexis and Crystal, Milhous and Edsel

I just want you to know that I did my trainer today—I don’t mean I fornicated with my trainer. First of all, COVID.

I KEPT MY APPOINTMENT with my trainer despite having an ax on the side of my head. I don’t know if it’s a migraine or just a bad headache, but it started last night around 4:00, and

Dear June: 4 p.m. is not “last night.”

I was in the middle of a very stressful work thing, with one of those out-of-nowhere, can-you-copy-edit-this-by-EOD things and yes. It’s true. I am not a copy editor anymore. I am transitioning to being a copywriter. So they still use me as a copy editor from time to time and this is one of those “to time”s.

First of all, I couldn’t find the thing I was supposed to copy edit. Sometimes they send you a link and you click on it and the link is to, like, 20 folders. Oh, thanks. This is specific. Anyway then I did find it, after a Jetsons video call with a coworker who walked me through where to find it by sharing her screen, which was generous. Now I have two screens.

But then it was of course complex, and required me to check facts, and we were in a hurry and guess what, copy edit you can’t rush through. So then what do you know, I got a headache. A bad one.

Migraine meds haven’t touched it, and today it’s, like, a bad headache. Have I said that?

Could it be a side effect of my vaccine, even though I got that vaccine four days ago? I don’t know. I went to bed early and awoke in the dead of the night with my head throbbing and also I was crackly. Do you ever breathe in and sound crackly in your throat? I think it’s my asthma. Why is everything falling off of me? Other than this weight?

The grandmother I’ve turned into had asthma. Or, as she called it, “my stupid asthma.”

Anyway, feelin’ fine, is what I am. Hello, world.

As I was lying there throbbing and crackling, I realized it was Tuesday night, which meant trainer early Wednesday. SON OF A BIRCH TREE.

Naturally, I showed up for my trainer and let her know the great sacrifice I’d made, showing up and all. “Could this be a side effect of the shot?” I ashed her. We both had our second vaccine on Saturday, and on Monday we had both had trouble circling our arms, which comes up often for adults.

“It could be,” she said, as she sashayed from one foot to the other with weights in her hands. “I woke up with absolutely no energy.” At this, she leapt across my screen. “I’m a limp noodle.”

“Only a trainer would say she had no energy while she leapt about like a gazelle,” I pointed out.

Anyway, my throat has mostly stopped crackling unless I breathe in really hard. Is it pleurisy? Is that what I have? My point is I feel like hell and I hate to complain.

In other news, Iris is still on her morphine and boy, does that cheer her up. She’s old Iris, rolling about and simpering across my ankles. It’s kind of nice to have Iris, fmr., back. It’s too bad it takes morphine to get it. Also, she seems not thrilled with her new food, which I am mixing with her old, and for a blind cat she certainly is good at leaving all the new-food pellets.

Naturally, Milhous just loves it, because he is the first finicky cat I have ever had (remember when he was a kitten and wouldn’t eat??) but adores any expensive prescription food I bring in this house.

The other day I poured Edsel’s dog food in the bowl, and does anyone recall when last fall I accidentally ordered two huge bags of dog food, and I told you I probably had dog food till April? I was right. I’ll probably run out near the end of this month. I wish I could make money off this dog-food-prediction skill.

Anyway, I poured his food out and then went to let him inside, and I saw Milhous, finicky-ass Milhous, run to Edsel’s bowl and begin eating the dog food.

“Well, this ought to be good,” I thought, as I let Edsel in. It was going to be like that scene in Dynasty when Crystal and Alexis fell into the pool.

But really, Edsel just meandered over there and began eating like a cat head wasn’t in his bowl. And Mil left the building. So it was far less dramatic than I was hoping it would be, which is the story of my life.

I have got to go. I have to begin working, all while an ax is sticking out of the side of my head, and while I’m Cracklin’ Rosie in my throat, and why do I have to live in such a work ethic-y country?

Axially,
Joop

Blended lettuce

We’re facing a moment of truth together: One of you told me to get this jar of powdered, plant-based something-or-other to lower my cholesterol. I have added a scoop to my coffee because said scoop of plant is allegedly flavorless. Let’s see what happens.

{sips}

Hunh. That really is flavorless. Unless I have the COVID. It’d be just my luck to get me the COVID while I’m waiting for my post-vaccine two weeks to be up.

…Nope. Really is lacking in any flavor.

Do you know what I miss? Are those Lick-M-Aids, with the big vanilla stick, and you put said stick in the bag of colored sugar. Ask me how my diet is going on the Noom.

I HAVE GAINED WEIGHT.

How is that possible? I’m over here blending lettuce, and don’t tell me it’s from working out with my trainer. I am not paying a trainer to GAIN weight. I am not paying Noom to GAIN weight. This whole thing sticks in my craw.

No, I’m serious. Reese Witherspoon, my personal friend who pops in to visit me in this charming neighborhood, blends two heads of romaine lettuce, a crap-ton of spinach, a pear, an apple, a lemon that she cuts the rind off of, and some protein power or coconut water and drinks that every day and celebrities are nutty why do we make friends with them?

So I got all that stuff and blended it and I can tell you do not add the lemon. I deeply regretted the lemon. But most days this past week I’ve had that damn smoothie. And?

Gained weight.

COME ON.

So, that’s it. I’m just a chubby person now, and no one point out I’ve been a chubby person the whole time you’ve known me. In my MIND I’ve been svelte but temporarily bloated for, like, 25 years.

Anyway, what’s new? I couldn’t write you yesterday because — and by the way, don’t answer “Nothing much” when someone asks you what’s new. Must you be boring? I’ve found any time you press someone on that, something actually is new.

“What’s new?”

“Not much.”

“No, really, what’s happened this week?”

“Well, I’m radioactive.”

Anyway, I couldn’t write you yesterday because I am working on something huge at work and I worked on it all weekend so I could get ahead, and when I came in here and saw my laptop yesterday I didn’t think of it as “place to blog” but more “place to finish work.” Which I won’t, for a week. The thing is due next week. But I want to keep ahead of it and not panic.

…White guy just pulled up across the street, then a Realtor® pulled up and they shook hands. OK, fancy white guy is not interested in living in the formerly condemned house across the street. He’s looking to buy it and rent it to god knows who, or maybe he’ll fix it up and flip it, which I can live with. Living in a transitioning neighborhood is sort of riveting. Seeing who comes in, seeing who goes out.

Since that house across the street went up for sale (“As-is. Copper plumbing was stolen.”), it’s been interesting to see, like, BMWs drive down our usually quiet street. It’s just so jarring.

What was I talking about? …Oh. Nothing.

So, this weekend I mostly worked, but I insisted I take Sunday off, as it was Easter and you all know about my deep religious practice. I toyed with making hard-boiled eggs, but did not. Instead I went to the cemetery, which seems like an Easter tradition with me now.

I didn’t go to Forest’s cemetery, mostly because I didn’t think of it till I got to the other one, but also because I see that one every day. It’s not a special cemetery.

I went to the really good one in the neighborhood Ned and I almost moved into.

Do you remember back when I was actually dating Ned, and we’d been together two years, and he said, “I have to decide if I’m going to sign another year’s lease or move somewhere cheaper.” Do you remember that?

We’d been together TWO YEARS plus, and there he was, thinking he was going to sign for another year in his place. And I said, “You know, we’ve been together two years. Did you ever, you know, consider moving in together?”

I could tell he had not. It had not even dawned on him. I spent much of that relationship being appalled at how differently we looked at things. But I do have to say, whereas he had no thought of moving forward, he has, till this day, remained in love with me, while I’ve waxed and waned in response to the above. So, in a way, he’s been more committed than I ever was.

So, it took him awhile to (brace yourself) decide. Like, a few months, it took. And one snowy night I drove over to his apartment, and we went down to the bar next to his downtown apartment for trivia night, and at one point in that night he just said, “OK. Let’s move in together.”

Oh, I was so happy. I felt like I’d gotten the golden egg or the golden goose or the Little Golden Book or something.

So then we had to look for a place. Please note I said it was a snowy night when he said OK. We moved into our new place on October 1th.

IT TOOK PRACTICALLY ALL YEAR.

My point is, the first place we looked at was really, really nice. And it is my personal belief that Ned wasn’t really into the whole idea until he saw the place. It was a beautiful old house with window seats and crystal doorknobs, and right down the road was the cemetery above. Also, it was even closer to work than I am now. It was so close to work that if I hadn’t walked to work, it would be shameful.

Anyway (brace yourself), I was sold right away but Ned had to

DECIDE

and we lost it. We lost the house. And we always speak of that house the way I do about the paint color Quietude. Like there’s nothing quite as good.

Anyway, that’s the cemetery I went to.

And that about sums it up, because other than that it’s been trainer and work. Oh, and they condemned the house next door. So now the condemned house across the street is being sold, but we have a brand-new condemned house next door. It’s like Whack-a-Mole. My hope is they get bought, fixed and flipped. And then I will live next to people with, you know, jobs and regular addictions to craft beer rather than anything illegal.

Look, I’ve put in my time. I’ve been generous and understanding and given the people next door ice because they didn’t have running water. I’ve listened and I’ve offered suggestions (but never cash). But after awhile you lose patience. I don’t know how Jesus did it. Didn’t he ever roll his eyes and say, “Oh my Dad, go to NA already”?

No offense to anyone, but I hope me living here doesn’t turn me all Republican.

OK, I gotta go. I have to shower, as I had trainer, did I mention? Oh! Before I go, speaking of narcotics, Iris is on morphine. She had another bad bout of her IBD, and we switched her food and I have to drive her to the vet once a week to give her B12 shots (I had B12 to give her in PILL FORM, and we all know how that went) and in the meantime, she gets liquid morphine to get her through it.

Man, does she like morphine. She’s rubbing her face on chairs, and chirping happily, and she fits right in around here now. So.

I did ask the vet, “Am I being awful, keeping her going?” And he said no. He said no the LAST time. He probably thinks I’m dying to kill Iris, but whenever I hear people being all, “Oh, we give Bosco an IV twice daily, and then once a week we screw off her head and air out her brain,” I am sorry to tell you that I judge. I think, “Give poor Bosco a break.”

So I hope I’m not being that person with Iris. I see times she seems to enjoy her cat life, and she’s GAINED weight since her last bad bout, so. Am I misspelling “bout”? It looks weird.

OK, really going. Hitting the shower. Literally. I’m just gonna go punch it right in the cock.

Love,
Jooooooooooooooooooooon-a

The one where June gets into a car accident while remaining home

One thing Noom does is set a step goal for me every day; yesterday it was 2,300, and considering I used to plow through 10,000 steps a day, 2,300 doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But try working from home.

…Oh, you do?

Anyway, I had to (a) take my stupid phone with me everywhere to make sure it counted the steps and (3) actually get up and walk around.

So after an intense day at work, where I did not, in fact, get assigned “walk around the room” as a task, I still had 1,000 steps to do. So I (wait for it) walked into my living room, and I was in there, walking in place, when the accident occurred. I normally would’ve walked outside, but it is cold AF and was going to freeze overnight. This worried me, as I have two little baby dogwood trees I planted in the fall. I’ve been obsessively making sure it rains each week, because if it doesn’t I have to water (instructions per Chris and Lilly who own two plant businesses, so shut it), getting the weeds out from around it, exclaiming over everyone’s little buds when they popped out. So I wondered about covering up my little trees, or bringing them inside to sleep with me.

Anyway, that’s why I was walking in place, inside my living room yesterday evening when

A

DIRT

BIKE

zoomed out from my neighbor’s back yard. As a dirt bike does. It

ZOOMED

out from the back yard, past our shared side yard, ACROSS MY YARD

and this is the moment I saw the cop.

“Wait. What the—” I said, forgetting to step anymore.

A cop was chasing some asshole, an asshole I now hate with the fire of a thousand suns. The cop was on foot, the ASS was on a dirt bike, I guess. I don’t know what it is. Anyway, the person (ass) on the bike, SCREAMED at a furious pace across my yard and

BOOM!

into MY CAR.

“WHAT THE FUCK,” I yelled, not only forgetting to step but also to stay safe inside. I RIPPED my door open and ran out there, and it really was impressive, this cop. He’d grabbed the kid (I think it was a kid), whose shoe came off in my yard as a result, and the kid got away but they went tearing through the yards across the street and out of my view.

The dirt bike or whatever it is lay running, STILL RUNNING, FFS, and still plowed into my poor car, which never goes anywhere or does anything. My car, that I’ve put less than 2,000 miles on in 17 months of owning it.

I walked over to my car but couldn’t see the damage because dirt bike was on it.

At this point, the neighbors had all come out to see what the heck was up. “Who was that?” we all asked. It wasn’t long before other policemen showed up, and one of them removed the dang bike from my car. I have scratches and dents on the fender and the hood.

“Goddammit,” I said, and turned to go inside to call my insurance.

And then I saw the tree.

“NO!!!” I screeched.

That asshole had run right into my little dogwood tree. You could see his stupid, inconsiderate, selfish-ass tire tracks go right across it. And he’d ripped off the top of the tree.

“Oh, NO!!!!” I screeched, and I realize I’ve gotten all Tom Hanks and Wilson over my little trees, but I really am attached to them.

At this point I started to cry.

“I AM MOVING OUT OF THIS GODDAMN NEIGHBORHOOD!” I screeched to the audience at large. Then, sobbing, I called Chris and Lilly to see if they thought my tree could be saved.

Meanwhile, neighbors gathered and started cleaning up the debris. He’d also driven through some bushes at the side of the house. I watched a neighbor take my tree’s little broken branch away, so I couldn’t see it. Another neighbor came over with a sheet, and someone got a stick, and they covered my little broken tree like it had passed or something, but really it was to protect it overnight.

Chris and Lilly, who thought one of my cats had died, so hysterical was I, assured me the tree would live. The top got taken off; the roots were fine.

It had just made so much progress, and now it has to start growing from scratch. Poor little tree.

I know I’m being weird about the tree.

The police talked to me and gave me a report. They caught the idiot. I don’t know much, but he did not steal the bike; it was his reckless driving that got their attention. His mother made him leave it at my house and they arrested the kid (again, I think it’s a kid).

There’s almost no chance the thing was insured (*****I know maybe his mother might be*****), so I have to pay the deductible myself to get my car fixed. Today, the bike is gone and I imagine someone vultured it and I don’t even feel bad.

“The law finally came to YOUR house! You’re one of US now!” someone texted from my neighborhood.

OK; that was kind of funny.

I’m so mad about that damn deductible. Just when I was getting ahead on savings and stuff. And I am heartbroken about the tree. I’ll let you know how it’s doing.

And that’s how I managed to get into a car accident while I was home.

Oh, and after it all died down? I finished my damn steps.

Impactfully,
Juan

The one where if June had been a decent person she wouldn’t have to do all this.

Have I told you guys about my quest? I’ve told my mother, I know that, and now she’s reading that this is today’s topic and slamming her laptop shut in disgust. “Get some original material, you damp ham.”

In 1992, when I was 26 for half of it and 27 for the other half, and that’s the problem with a July birthday. Oh, sure, I was always on summer vacation and the weather was always good on my day, but I can’t say, “In 1978, I was 13.” I have to say, “Well, I was 12 for seven and a half months of it and 13 for four and a half months.” I guess everyone has this problem, with the exception of my pal The Poet, who would say, “In blah blah year I was 30, except for the very last day of it, when I was 31.”

She was born on New Year’s Eve, see. Which has to kind of suck since everyone is celebrating … not you.

Still. Your birthday is associated with champagne and streamers if your bday is 12/31. Which is funny since she’s so mild-mannered. She’s not a streamers, shout at midnight kinda gal.

And my birthday is in the dead of summer, associated with lying about with lemonade and watching a dragonfly, which is so not my personality. Well. The lying about part is.

How is it that I get off on these tangents? Oh, right. ADD. Minus the H. Sans H.

So I have a quest. It all began in 1992, when I was 26 and then I was 27. Did you know that part? Perhaps I need to cover that more thoroughly. I was working in my hometown at my first real job in which I had to wear dresses and jackets and so on. And somehow at work I read about how our local symphony was providing grants or scholarships, I forget which, to teach adults piano. And I mean, “adult.” I fit the bill, sort of.

I also remember that my coworkers wanted to start an on-site Weight Watchers meeting and I wanted to join just because everyone else was doing it, but at 127 pounds I either didn’t qualify at all or I just barely did. In either event, I wish to go back in time and punch myself right in the ass.

If I even had one to punch, that is.

So, I applied. For the grant or the scholarship, whatever it was, and I got in. I got to take free piano lessons. And lest you think I was somehow gaming the system, I worked full time, usually more than 40 hours a week because we had events all the time that I had to go to, and I made (are you ready?)

$17,000 a year.

When I think of how that place mistreated me, and never appreciated anything I did. I was managed by two damp hams, I can tell you that. They did not encourage my strengths. We’re doing StrengthsFinder at my current job, where they treat me better.

My point is this. I took the free piano lessons for I think six months or so. I went every week to this woman’s home, and she could always tell if I’d actually practiced or not. And when I did well, she’d say, “VERY GOOD, June!!”

I’m very rewards-based. All I need is a “very good” or a “You’ve advanced to the next level” and I am all set for months. You’d think that wouldn’t be so, what with my people-displeasing personality, but there it is.

I liked her, that teacher. And I went pretty faithfully, practicing on my mother’s keyboard. One song I had to learn went: All day, all night, Marianne. Something something something sifting sand.

…Oh, it’s a real song! As opposed to Bone Sweet Bone, which I learned when I took piano when I was 10. Well. For seven and a half months I was 9. Then I was 10.

The point of me telling you about all day, all night, Marianne was that right after this, I moved to Seattle and met my friend Marianne 47 seconds later. I always thought it was prescient that I learned that song.

But Seattle is why I’m on a quest. Because at the end of 1992, I decided to move to Seattle, sort of on a whim because those bosses at my first real job pissed me off. And at the end, there, as I was wrapping things up and packing and all, I didn’t go to my very last piano lesson. I just didn’t show up. I remember being in my room and making the decision that I just wasn’t gonna go.

And I’ve felt bad about it ever since.

I mean, that teacher was so nice, and I just feel like she probably bought me a goodbye card or something. She was that type. And I just fekking didn’t show. Even if she hadn’t gotten me a card, I still should’ve thanked her for teaching me all day, all night, Marianne.

But of course, that was ages ago and I can’t recall her name. And for years it was just a thing I figured I’d have to feel bad about.

But for some reason, the other day I put on Facebook part of my saga. I asked people from my hometown if they could guess who my teacher would’ve been. And do you know within minutes people had some guesses? I had two names. One person I found on Facebook and I wrote her.

“Yes. I took piano lessons in 1992…” I began.

The teacher wrote me back saying she wasn’t my teacher, and that I’d probably feel better if I just let this go. Well, maybe. But if I can FIND the person and apologize, wouldn’t that be even better?

The other person I spoke to on the phone. She was just a delight, and totally understood. “Oh, those things eat at you,” she said. She wasn’t my teacher, either, but she suggested I call the symphony and see if they can figure out who the teacher would have been. So that’s my next step. Probably I’ll find her and she’ll be all, “WHO are you?” I mean, I know that’s probably the case. But I feel bad anyway and want to apologize.

So that’s my quest. That’s my Nancy Drew moment for the week. Now, where the hell is Hannah Gruen with my luncheon?

The one where June says “eye purveyor” like it’s a thing

I am still on the floor, with a mat underneath me, holding my laptop on my, you know, lap. I just got done with m’trainer. But hang on. I gotta get more coffee.

…I have returned. This room is a mess. The mat is splayed across the floor, resistance band on the mantle, weights all over the place. Especially on m’hips. BAHAHAHAHA. I’ll clean it up when I’m done, as I have gotten oddly tidy during this, our break. I’ve been oddly tidy when absolutely no one comes over and sees my oddly tidy house.

My trainer told me a funny story whilst we were stretching today. Years ago, she had a new client and they were walking outside my trainer’s neighborhood. She made me do this too, sometimes slinging weights around like I was a mall walker. Anyway, said client had been through a bad time and had gained a lot of weight. She was telling her story to my trainer, saying how bad she felt about herself and how heavy she’d gotten.

“BE QUIET, CHUBS!” said my trainer, then looked in the horrified face of her new client.

The neighbor’s dog, Chubs, had been barking at them, and without thinking of the dog’s name, my trainer — well, you understand. Then my trainer was laughing so hard it took her a moment to explain to her new client. Who stayed with my trainer for 7 years and they are still friends. And by the way, she lost the weight. So the neighbor had to change her dog’s name to Slender.

Today, said trainer made me lie on the floor. I could do that part. I was a champ at that part. Then I had to bend my legs and sit up without any government assistance. She made me do this like 10 times. I struggled with this.

“Is it hard on your back?” she asked.

“No. It’s hard because I’m a fat fuck,” I said, and then my trainer said I had to be kind to myself, and give me a break. I’m the reason I’m a fat fuck. Why can’t I be honest with myself? If I’m not honest with myself, who will be?

So, that’s how that’s going, and I’m still Nooming. I know I just told you yesterday that I was joining Noom and I’m all proud that I stuck with it for a day. Really, I think this is day three. Or maybe four. Whatever. Am I rail-thin yet? Why not?

I used to be one of those people who was really really thin due to zero effort on my part. Then I wasn’t. I have always found that unfair. If I’m gonna have this nose, I should at least get “she can eat what she wants and never gains weight.” But no. I get both of those AND THIS HAIR, TOO. Come on.

At least I was blessed with this personality.

Today I have to scream over to the eye — not doctor. To the guy who sells me my glasses and contacts. What’s he called? Eye purveyor. I have to go to the eye purveyor, as I am plumb out of contacts and let me tell you: Working out in glasses is a pain in the ass. Not to mention these are the glasses I bought on Propofol, so careful readers will realize how old these glasses are.

2015. I bought these glasses in 2015. I had that outpatient procedure where they knock you out on the Propofol and look down your throat, and when I awoke, they said, You will feel normal but you are not normal.

I mean, God said that when I was born.

But they said, You will FEEL normal but you are not. Do not drive. Do not make major purchases. Do not run to Vegas and elope.

Ned, who was in charge of me that day, naturally insisted we use our “day off” after my surgery to run errands. So while we got cat food and shopped for kale, I remembered my contacts were ready at my eye purveyor. I use dailies so I have to go there every 90 days, same as cash. So we headed over there to pick up m’quarterly contacts.

I believe I really should have been resting but Ned is not a resting person. It’s one of his annoyinger qualities. Ned has no resting heart rate.

He owns zero footrests. Or headrests. You get my drift.

Anyway a few days later I got a call from the eye purveyor. I really need to stop saying that.

“Your new glasses are in,” he said.

“My what?”

Turns out I’d tried on and purchased new frames that day, the day of the Propofol. I was Michael Jackson, buying everything up. And thanks, Ned, for stopping me. “You seemed normal,” he said, clearly not listening to my aftercare instructions.

But the thing is, I did GREAT buying my glasses on drugs. They are a black-frame cat-eye, with teensy rhinestones on the tips. I look like a secretary from 1956, which is of course my whole point.

I have gotten new frames since then but they hurt. They assault my ear. So I still wear the scratched-up, wrong prescription, this-is-your-purchasing-power-on-drugs Propofol frames.

God, I was rich when I lived with Ned. We each paid like $550 a month on rent. We split all the utility bills. And he was rich, so he paid for most frills, like dinners and trips and shit. I used to be able to go to Banana Republic and just get a sweater without thinking about it. I know that’s not, like, how Bill Gates determines if he has wealth, but trust me. A $90 sweater is major for me normally. It really was nice to be rich. I paid tons of debt off that year and so did he. If only we weren’t over there murdering each other every other week.

Ned was describing that year to a friend not long ago. “We’re talking right in each other’s faces, screaming as hard as we could at each other,” he said. Yep. That’s how it went. But we sure had extra cash!

I’d better go. First of all, this shirt doesn’t breathe and I’m all hot and it’s annoying. Second, I wish to straighten the room even though Edsel is now fast asleep on the mat looking cute. I had a weird feeling today. I let him out first thing, as per usual, and as I watched him wander to his poop portion of the yard, I thought, “One day I’ll be letting a puppy out here instead of old Eds.” Then I got a terrible chill. I always want a puppy. But I don’t want a puppy instead of Edsel.

I don’t know why I do that to myself. The whole time I had my magnificent cat Mr. Horkheimer, the whole time, I thought about how one day he’d die. I could never enjoy him because that thought was always there. I mean, I did enjoy him. I adored that giant, unflappable cat. But the thought was there. By the time he did die, I was all mentally prepared.

I guess this whole post is about the dumb stuff I tell myself. I didn’t mean for it to have a theme. But there you go. We have ourselves a theme.

OK. Ripping off this sweaty sticky shirt and heading for the showers in the locker room, where I will playfully whip my towel at the other men.

Life. Boy.

June

Pork chops and cats

On Friday, my pear tree was little white buds and today it’s mostly leaves already. I’d get up and take a picture for you, but that would require effort. I’m going to go out on a limb (BAH) and assume you can picture a tree with buds and then leaves.

I’m on a diet. Perhaps this is why I’ve been in a MOOD as of late. Perhaps this is why effort is not so much do.

Last year, after my SURGERY, I really wasn’t hungry for a month, and I wish someone would explain to me the physical phenomenon of how I was (a) foggy as hell and (4) not hungry for a MONTH after having surgery. I mean, I really was out of it. And anyway, as a result, I lost 10 pounds that month. SAY “MONTH” ONE MORE TIME.

And this is what I regret about the pandemic time. About this, our break.

Because I started off 2020 as svelte. Well. Svelte-ish. I haven’t been svelte since the year 2000 when I ran a marathon.

So I started off svelteish. And I had two or three inches of white roots in March 2020. I could have gone all last year getting actually svelte and growing out the white in the privacy of my home, with only my lawn guy to see it every two weeks. The lawn guy, who said, “Maybe you go back to brown now.” So whatever.

Anyway, I could have gotten sveltish-er and grown out my roots and did I do either of those things? No. There was a BOY, of course, a BOY I’d been talking to in the summer of last year, and he said, “We should get together” in July, and I was all excited because he, like me, had been totally isolating himself and I thought we could have some kind of outside distance date and so I sent away for hair dye and then he ghosted.

So he’s the reason I relented on the hair. Ghost boy.

And then also I was bored, because see isolation, and ghosting, and I ate. Oh, did I eat. I ate pork chops and mashed potatoes and nachos and ice cream sandwiches and barbecue and onion rings and malts. I ate and then I wasn’t bored and it was delicious and I’ve never been someone who cares much either way about food and now all of a sudden, I do. It’s all I got, man. Well. Cats. I have pork chops and cats.

So now I’m unsvelte and back to growing out the roots. I have to start all over.

It’s like when you’re in AA, and you get all these days of sobriety, and then you have these disturbing dreams where you drink. And your first thought in the dream is, “Oh, my god, now I have to go back to counting days.” Because at first it’s all, “Can I make it 30 days without drinking?” then, “I made it 30, but will I really get to 90?” And you get these chips at 30, 60 and 90 days, and people clap, and it becomes a thing. And then you’ve got a couple years and newcomers see you as an old-timer, a wise old-timer and then you dream you drink a mai-tai and DAMMIT, back to counting days.

That’s me with m’roots right now.

Also, I spent 7+ years in AA and then I dropped out and now I don’t drink. I mean, I do, but I drink maybe once a quarter. And then I have two drinks and go to bed. I have no idea what happened, there, as I really used to plow through the wine. Like, a bottle of wine, by myself, on a Wednesday night. That was routine for me back in, say, 1999. I guess a big part of it is the drinking-gives-me-migraines thing, and it became Pavlovian. I look at a bottle of wine and I feel a slight migraine start.

I do not say this to anyone in AA with the hint that you should give it up. I think I had a very rare and lucky break, there.

At any rate, now I’m back pushing that boulder up a hill, and I’m on a diet and growing my roots, which is what I started out saying but you know how I am. I went on Noom, because one of my friends is doing Noom, and so far all they’ve done is tell me clever little things about psychology and also I’ve weighed in (UGH) and recorded what I’ve eaten and now I have a coach and I’m already annoyed because said coach texted at 6:58 this morning and it was a tome. It’s like how Marvin used to be chipper in the morning.

Hi, June!!! I’m your coach, Pelma Haversham, and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah!!!!!

Ugh.

Anyway, further reports as developments warrant, and — oh! A little bird has landed on my camellia bush, which is not a euphemism. I think there must be a nest nearby, as there has been a lot of bird action on that bush. Again, not a euph.

I also heard baby bird peeps in my backyard yesterday, and I do have two birdhouses out there so I hope someone in the bird world is using them.

Anyone who makes an Iris eating birds joke gets a tired, dieting look from me. She hasn’t killed a bird in probably 5 years. She’s old. She’s sick. Her eyes are just awful now. The other day I watched her cross the patio and stumble, because she didn’t know she’d gotten to the grass part. She hardly ever goes outside anymore, really. That day she just wanted to eat grass and come back inside.

Poor Iris. Makes me sad. She is my f-a-v-ro-r-i-t-e.

I had better go. I have to shower and try to break from work before 1:00 today, as the eye place has m’contacts and I am plumb out. I am Eve Plumb. I’m practically Iris, so without contacts am I.

God, I wish I had an Egg McMuffin. I hate dieting. Makes me—OH! TWO birds on the camellia bush now! Two! Ah! Ah! Ahhhhh!

Oh my god, once I start making The Count jokes, it’s a definite goodbye.

What ADD? What hunger? What effort?

June

Bandtoinette

I wish you coulda been here five minutes ago, although it’d be weird if all 10 of you were here at once. Also, hello, superspreader event. But Edsel was in an altercation with a crow, and the crow was clearly tormenting him, bouncing from branch to branch right over Edsel’s head and cawing at him. And there was the Eds, his head thrust up, the sun making a halo around his fur. He was appalled. He was outraged. He was singin’ songs and carryin’ sides, mostly say hooray for Eds’ side.

But by the time I stopped admiring the conflict of nature and got my camera, he was back to his usual serene wait to be let back inside. For all I know he got the crow and was digesting it.

So that brings me to now, wherein I am writing you with shaking arms (of cancer) because I worked out with my trainer. And if you don’t know the arms of cancer joke, try to read every post, will ya?

Doesn’t that drive you berserk? Like, when you post something on social media and people ask a question that was answered in the post? Carole Radziwill, with whom you know I am obsessed, posted a video of her waiting for a coffee pod to be done brewing, and her post was punctuated with a coffee emoji, and someone below wrote, “No info on what you’re drinking?”

Okay.

First of all, WHAT IS THE OBSESSION with everyone wanting to know everything about every detail in a post? “What is that wallpaper?” I saw that this week on some other celebrity’s Instagram post. OH MY GOD HOOO CARE. Also, do you honestly recall the brand name of your fekking wallpaper??

And SECOND, SHE WAS AT A COFFEEPOT MAKING COFFEE AND USED A COFFEE EMOJI. What do you THINK she’s drinking, green Hi-C?

Purposely obtuse people stick in my craw.

Anyway.

I’m trying to think of anything interesting that happened on this, my third-to-last weekend of captivity. The house across the street is on the market, so I watched a parade of people drive down my normally quiet street. And just, for the record, if you’re looking at a house for sale? Could you be fekking quiet? You’re in someone’s NEIGHBORHOOD. Could you not, you know, shout at your person from opposite ends of the yard? Could you not screech into your phone?

Apparently I’m in a mood today, and that mood is June’s normal mood.

So that was interesting, and I secretly vetoed several people, and if they return, I’ll just chain Edsel up to the front of the house so he barks endlessly. And if any of my “yes” votes return, I’ll dress like Bugs Bunny whenever he dressed as a girl, looking all sexayyy. Many people would be driven to move into the house across from the sexy 55-year-old. “Hey, what about the house across from Whatever Happened to Baby June? That one was nice.”

Also, before the weekend started, I had a rather pleasant experience.

I started working at my company—not that I own it and if I did I would not be living here on Opium Street—on May 2, 2011. I was newly separated, and the Sunday night before I was to start I drove over there, just to make sure I totally knew how to get there and wouldn’t panic on my first day. When I got to the empty parking lot, there was Marvin.

“What’re YOU doing here?” I asked.

“I just wanted to see where you’d be working.” Then he got in his car and drove off to his mysterious apartment that I had told him to not tell me where it was. Turns out it wasn’t far from my office. Not that I own the office and if I did I’d have less of a nose right now and more of a jawline.

Anyway, when I started at that job, I worked on one client’s account, as did about 50 other people. We had one whole floor of the building that was just us working on that one account. And I don’t quite know how to describe it other than it was magic. And that’s not just me: Lots of other people who had been on that account said the same thing.

We all liked each other. And even when we slightly didn’t like each other, we all respected each other. And we worked really hard but we had the best time. We just—we had chemistry, man. Do you recall those first five years I was at work? We were always stampeding to happy hours together, and to parties at each other’s houses. We hung out at lunch and on our breaks. It was really great every day. I never dreaded going to work.

And then things changed. We got moved to other accounts on other floors. Some people left. Some people still worked there but you never saw them. I got put on another account where I was the oldest person and everyone ignored me. I’d go home on Friday night and an hour later I’d see a social post of everyone out for drinks and I wasn’t invited.

That was hard.

But then things shifted again and I have friends at work, some of them from that magic first group. The people who snubbed me are mostly gone. I can’t wait till THEY get old and ignored. I’ll be 92 and shaking my cane at them. “HOWWW DOES IT FEEEELLLL?” That was my old-lady voice.

So, last week, one of the core members of that original magic group told us all he was leaving to go work for a Finnish company, as you do. He was Finnished working at our office, is the thing.

You’re welcome.

We had a Zoom goodbye, and our group being our group, we made a goodbye presentation for him with photos through the years. And I’ll tell you what. For an hour, we were back together. We got the band back together. It was all of us talking at once, and me laughing so hard my throat hurt. There was Ryan, with a hilarious one-liner. And Griff, just being Griff. It was the best hour I’ve had in a long time. If I were that guy I’d rethink Finland after that meeting.

So that was lovely, and I think I’m the only person in America looking forward to returning to the office. Which isn’t even a plan yet at my office. But still.

Oh, and while we’re up talking about returning to life, not that some of you ever left it and if you think I will forget that, ever, I will not. I saw your true character. It’s not something I’ll just get over one day. I saw you. Prioritizing your fun over other people’s lives. I don’t care how you spin it; that’s whatcha did, man. You are a “Let them eat cake” person.

Anyway. While we’re talking about it, here’s a thing I did that I regret. Last year I don’t know if you noticed but we were mostly at home. Most of us. And I TOOK that time to grow my roots out, my white roots, and then in July I relented and dyed them again. And I wish I’d just kept at it because by now I’d be totally white and I’d see if I liked it or not.

So I haven’t dyed my hair since November 2020, and I have a hair appointment in April and I can’t decide. Just get it cut and not dyed or do the whole shebang? I really can’t make up my mind. I’m Ned with a menu right now. Ooo, how about a poll?

OK, I gotta go to work. I am late getting something to Ryan, of the one-liner Ryans mentioned above.

Rootedly,
June

That darn comma

Lily out there drankin’ the rainwater. Can you see her? She’s behind the turquoise Adirondack chair, which for no discernible reason Ned calls a hurricane chair. I bought that chair on impulse at the grocery store back when I went to grocery stores and I do not regret it. I remember tryina cram it in my Mini Cooper.

It rained last night, and I guess you can figure that out, Einstein, due to the flooded yard. It didn’t just rain, it thunderstormed, which led the Eds to get up from his bed, up onto mine, and squeeze his dog self up on top of my head. So he was crammed between the top of my head and the headboard, like he was some sort of nightcap. And not the fun kind with whiskey.

“It’s OK, Edsel,” I said to him. “You stay up there as long as you need to.” And then I put my arms of cancer around him and we fell asleep that way.

Perhaps you’ve stopped on “arms of cancer.”

It’s dumb.

Long ago, when I was married and lived in Los Angeles and did not look like an apple doll, Marvin and I picked up one of those free periodicals they used to make all over yonder back when people printed things on paper and didn’t just consider themselves writers by posting to the internet, she says, posting something she’s written to the internet.

Anyway, back then, I picked up some sort of animal-themed free magazine. I forget what it was called. Let’s call it Sharona. What I do recall is reading a story about a woman who had a dying animal of some sort. Let’s say it was her sloth. Her sloth, Sharona, had the cancer. So I was reading this story aloud to poor Marvin, who went ahead and divorced me later, and I got to this line about the woman and her sloth. “Eventually, Sharona succumbed to the disease and died in her arms of cancer.”

In her arms of cancer.

Who can take a poorly constructed sentence and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile for like a decade? Was it Marvin and me?

“In her arms of cancer,” we both said, waving our arms about.

We milked that joke for years. “I worked out last night and now my arms of cancer are sore.”

The building I lived in when I met Marvin was the Something-or-Other Arms, I can no longer recall. But it had window seats and a real ice box in the kitchen. I loved that apartment. The point is, when Marvin dragged me to LA to live with him, our apartment building was called The Something (Marvin would totally remember). Let’s say it was called The Sharona. So instead we called it The Sharona Arms, in honor of making fun of my old building. And then of course it became The Sharona Arms of Cancer.

How did I get off on this tangent? …Oh. The rain. Right.

So Edsel was splayed on my head, and I could hear his poor heart, and I remembered how I went a year thinking he had congestive heart failure and how awful that was, and got briefly resentful of how much that misdiagnosis COST me, and then I fell asleep. BUT THEN I WOKE UP, because guess who was yipping in his sleep?

yip yip yip {jolt} yip! yip yip yip!

It was Yom Yipper up in here.

Edsel is a barky animal. You could have let Tallulah out in the yard and forgotten all about her, because she just did her Talu things silently unless you were a rabbit. But Eds barks at fekking everything. Crows. A change in wind direction. His tail.

I’m acutely aware of this, and go FLYING to the back door after one bark to make him come in. In fact, now if he barks once he starts heading for the door, because he knows his fun time is over. Once a neighbor mentioned this. “You don’t have to do that,” he said. “He’s a dog. Dogs bark.”

I do it anyway.

I mention this because of COURSE he barked in his sleep. Of course he did. He was probably trying to reach his daily allotment that gets snubbed by old EnDOORa, here.

Anyway, that was relaxing, and when the alarm went off I was most displeased. Most days I wake up one minute before the alarm. But today I was in the middle of sawing logs and kissing Valentino by a crystal-blue Italian stream.

I am sorry that is all I talked about today, but I have a meeting in 16 minutes so I must go. I guess I’m the sort of person who has meetings in the early morning now. Copy editors don’t meet that often. What is there to say? “That darn comma.”

I realize this whole post was a waste of your time and you’re crossing your arms of cancer at me disgustedly. But that’s the crapshoot you get when you read someone’s blog that’s been going on for nearly 15 years.

“Nearly 15 years.” It’ll be 15 years in 9 months. Hey, reality, how’s your grasp?

Not good. Cause I got arms of cancer.

Sensibly,
June

Sprang

I had my trainer at 7:15 today, which I forgot till 7:10. I mean, I knew I had her, but I was thinking 7:30, and then when I realized I was off by 15 minutes, there was a … a rush, if you will, that may have been less than dignified. But I got there on time, and by “got there” I mean I clicked Zoom at 7:15 and 30 seconds or so. And then once that was done, I ran around here in what might be called … another undignified rush, as we had a team meeting at 9 a.m. and I wanted to look presentable.

Not that we have to turn on our cameras, but I was worried they might mention me and for some terrible reason they’d say, “June! Turn on your camera so we can gaze upon you!”

I realize that is self-centered and absurd, but there was a ghost of a chance that could happen, and I will tell you why. Remember how I said I had good news I could not tell you yet? I have signed all the paperwork and had a bust of myself made, so it’s official and I can tell you. I applied for a different position at work and after some suspenseful Alfred Hitchcock black-and-white camera tilted funny moments, I got said job.

So now at work I have to stand like this.

…Oh my god, I Googled weird positions and was gonna put one on here to be hilarious, but don’t ever do that to yourself. Don’t Google weird positions.

Anyway. What I mean is, now I write all the time at work rather than edit all the time at work. I have a new boss, but it’s someone I know already so it’s not scary or anything. And it’s officially a promotion, and I know this because my offer letter read, “Congratulations on your promotion.”

In sum, I’m fancy.

So, I thought, Oh lort, what if they tell everyone at the team meeting about my new position (really, every time I say that, I picture me standing like a little teapot) and I have to, like, wave hello loftily or something? So I went to all the bother of putting on one of my nicer sweatshirts from The Gap that I got on sale after Christmas, and I also put on mascara, and then?

I started working early, so I could get stuff done before that 9 a.m. meeting, and then I worried about why my machine wasn’t alerting me that the meeting was coming soon, so then I looked at my calendar and?

Meeting is tomorrow.

Ding-DANG it. Waste of a good sweatshirt. Also, it’s scary that we wonder things like, Why isn’t my machine telling me something.

So, since I already am ahead of myself workwise, I decided I should blog. I wanted to show you all my cheerful spring pictures, which I took yesterday from the confines of my yard. I really should get out and photograph other things, because spring is my favorite season and I know the dogwoods and tulip trees are out there showing off and I’m not looking at them. So without further dos and as, without further hairdos, let’s look at June’s springy photos.

I don’t know what those little purple flowers are around my tree but they’ve come back every spring and I like them. This is also where I moved a rock and saw a snake, so I try not to go over here very often. But, pretty flowers! Pretty—ow.

Yell-o. They call me mellow yellow. I’m curious, George. OK, I’m done saying yellow things.

I call this plant Belle Watling. I’ve no idea what it really is. Someone out there will know. This plant will ring a bell.

I also don’t know what this tree is in my yard, but I adore it. I should really know things about things.

Naturally, I brought Edsel over to make him pose under said pretty tree.

Some day, Eds will write a tell-all. “Dog whoo force to be blog dogg.”

But wait! Those 49 photos were worth it, Eds, because look!

Here we have our ultimate spring shot, and it was so worth getting out the crop.

All right. I have to go do things.

Springing into her new position (teapot),
Joon