Was a rock lobster

When we last spoke, I left you in suspenders. But all is well. Ish.

I was writing to you two days ago when, at 8 a.m., my phone rang. The phone rings in this laptop, too, which is convenient most of the time (because god forbid I get up offa this chair) but at that hour it was jarring. Especially when I saw it wasn’t my lawn guy, who thinks nothing of calling at 7:15 a.m. “Hello, Miss June!”

It wasn’t my lawn guy. It was a relative. It wasn’t a rock. Was a rock lobster.

Anyway, it was 6 a.m. her time, so right away I knew. Right then I knew.

One of my relatives had taken ill, quite suddenly and quite awfully, and that relative went to the hospital for a night or two but has been released and it is a treatable illness so I can stop feeling like a bus is about to hit me all the time.

I had no idea you could be so drained from mental stuff. As I told one of my friends, I trotted a marathon once and I was less tired. Of course, I’m also an old woman now. [taps cane for emphasis] Things make me tired easier. Like, if I go to the bank I’m all in after. I haven’t been to a bank since 2019, but whatever. I’m old, is the point.

You know who’s NOT old is Forest, who I threw a mouse at this morning. A toy mouse. I didn’t forage for a live rodent in a field somewhere and bring it in and throw it at my cat, although that would certainly be interesting.

Anyway, I threw it at him and he’s been puffing about the house with his puff fur, dashing hither and yon over that fake mouse. My point is, he’s just managed to open the closet door himself, all in Mouse Quest. That’s a charming feature. He can open doors. Great. That’s just what you want.

I made a “how it started/how it’s going” meme out of him for his Instagram page (@forestmeep). His vest is ridiculous. Does anyone know from cats? I mean, I do. But I don’t know this. Is it possible he’s just a domestic cat with a vest, or does this mean for sure he’s some sort of breed? All my cats have come from shelters or gutters or cemeteries or dive bars or rehab, no, no, no.

Well, that’s not true. I just remembered that in 1985, I bought a Persian at the pet store because I didn’t know any better. He was the best kitty ever, though. He was cream-colored and I named him Confetti because I got him on New Year’s Eve. Oh, I loved that cat.

What perm? That was my natural—OK, look, it was 1988. What do you want from me? Even Confetti is appalled.

Anyway, I feel like I’m making shit up when I say, “I think he’s a Norwegian Forest Cat,” but given that Forest looks like that, is there any way it might be true that he’s just a cat cat? Or am I not wrong when I say Norwegian Forest Cat? Please advise.

I feel the same about Edsel, who one of you told me was a Carolina Dog and of course I don’t really know. His DNA didn’t reveal Carolina Dog, but DNA tests don’t know to LOOK for Carolina Dog. But when you GOOGLE “Carolina Dog,” here’s what you get:

No; somebody did NOT steal a photo of Eds from my blog. That’s a whole nother Eds being a Carolina Dog model, a gig he could clearly have also gotten. We could have put in a flipper on those bottom teeth. No problem.

You know who’d do well at a photo studio is Eds. “The Carolina Dog is not always shaped like a letter C.”

Anyway, I’d better go shower. I made a decision the other day to wear makeup every day, because I was rarely doing so and feeling like hell about myself so I said, “You might as well use it. It’s going to expire anyway, whether you use it or not.”

Do you know your makeup expires and gets bacteria-y? It does. You should replace liquid foundation every six months but mine is Chanel and I will use every drop till my face falls off in chunks.

You can keep lipstick for two years.

You’re supposed to replace mascara every three months, which is absurd.

Eye shadows and pencils? A year.

All of this makes you want to tell the cosmetics companies to fuck right off, doesn’t it? I mean, if you’re like me and expensive makeup is where you get your strength. I’ve ordered new eye shadow this year—actually, I think one of you sent it to me. But I’m being dangerous with the mascara. I’m cheating death each and every day. That mascara is all, Remember when you used to put me on and leave the house?

Even more tragic, I ran out of Latisse months ago and didn’t see the point of getting more, but my lashes have gone back to the sad teensy stumps of yore and it depresses me. My mascara is also, Remember when you’d put me on and then you’d actually see eyelashes after?

So when my tax return comes I think I’ll order Latisse. I gotta get ready to come out of hibernation. It’s not gonna be pretty. You’ll all have to see my face in its natural state and not shot up with filler or Botox.

Didn’t I say I was leaving? Yes.

OK, talk at you.


Up on the rooftop, raindrops’ paws.

I’ve got my forbidden coffee, I’ve got my phone in case I want to add pictures, I’m all signed in to the myriad things I have to sign into to use this work laptop (good gravy)…and?

Rain on m’glasses. I can hardly see. Why?


It’s raining, see, (and no, I CAN’T see) and while I know rainy days and Mondays might always get you down, they don’t bother me a bit. It’s just another of the dumb ways I’m not like everyone else.

Like, you know on those rare occasions a man sets up a whole romantic scenario? A nice evening, rose petals, what have you? Or it’s an occasion that you’re supposed to be feeling romantic? Your anniversary, a birthday, Valentine’s Day?

Soft cone. I have absolutely zero desire to ever fornicate at moments like those. Where it’s expected. I did do it on my wedding night but I promise you I didn’t mean it. I was just so dying to lose my virginity.

Now, when we’re dusty in your gramma’s attic and she’s right below us wondering if we found the crock pot up there? Let’s go.

Why I gotta be all weird?

Anyway, I’ve digressed into a whole nother topic for a change when what I meant to do is complain about my dog because I am a magnificent person.

So it’s rainy, and I mean, not a fine mist. The kind of rain you can hear on your roof. Up on the rooftop, raindrops pause.

Is it reindeer pause or reindeer paws? I guess paws makes more sense.

Up on the rooftop, raindrops’ paws.

So when I opened the back door this morning, all the cats said, “Yeah, not so much.”

“Milhous tryin’ to quit.”

“Lily gived at office.”

“Eyeriss can’t see a fekkin tbing.”

That never gets old.

Anyway, Edsel, a creature of habit and a habitable creature, not that I live in Edsel but I practically do, ventured outside.

Now, the thing with Edsel is, sometimes I suspect he doesn’t actually GO his first trip of the day. I let him out and then I do all my things and come back and let him in, then I FEED him and then he instantly wants out again, which means food travels through him like he’s a goose, or maybe the first trip outside he just kind of meanders. I don’t know. I guess I could spy on him but I have shit to do.

But today, after his after-breakfast constitutional outside, he followed me around and led me to the door a third time. Edsel, a creature of habit and a creature I cohabit with, does not usually do this, leading me to come to the conclusion that the rain freaked him out and he was going outside, surveying the situation, and saying, “Edz pee some other time” and then 14 seconds later thinking, “Man, Edz really haff to pee” and heading to the door again.

So, the THIRD time, I let him out but stood at the door. He hesitated, but I encouraged him with my soothing dulcet tones (“Edsel, COME ON.”) and he walked to the grassy portion of our yard. The gassy knoll. You’re welcome.

And then?


C you next Tuesday, when Eds will actually pee.

Oh my GOD he was a C. He C’d helplessly in the yard, rain making him blink, and did nothing but curve at the spine. He was like modern art out there, all curved and making no sense.

“God DAMMIT,” I said, in my soothing tones, and took off m’socks. These are my favorite ones, with rubber stuff on the bottom so I don’t skid. I didn’t want to get them wet and ruined.

So that is how my glasses got wet. I had to walk around with the dog, hoping it would encourage him to go, and he never did and for all I know he’s not gone at all today, which between you and me is giving me the willies.

But speaking of my back yard, I had an incident where I was kind of a Karen, if you’ll forgive me for saying that.

As you know, from your big book of … as you know, I have a pear tree in the back.

Last summer was the second summer I lived here, and the pear tree went nuts. Branches were on the ground, so weighed down with pears were they. “Oh, you gotta trim your pear tree every year,” the internet told me, but not till it was too late. I mean, it was berserk. Branches got all twisted and broke. It was unpearable.

“Why do I come back day after day for 14 years? Things like ‘unpearable,’ that’s why.”

“Trim your pear tree in the winter, and consider comedy school,” said the internet. So in DECEMBER, I started looking for tree-trimming companies.

“That will be $500,” said the first company. Lily trying to quit.

“That will be $275,” said the second company, and I said OK. They couldn’t come for weeks, though.

“I can do it for $150,” said company three, not three’s company, and he actually physically arrived at my home, which was better than the other two.

“You’re hired,” I said. And then waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I made sure to only call every 10 days or so. “Yes, ma’am, you’re on my list, it’s just …” and every time there was a reason. We’d had ice storms so he was overbooked. Or it had rained and then he was behind. They all seemed fairly legit, but you’re really supposed to cut your pear tree in my zone in January/February, which is why I booked this in December.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but time has marched on, and it’s March, and the tree looks like it’s fixing to bud. I checked my phone, and I’d last called him February 16, and he had assured me I was on his list for not that week but the week following.

I added it up. That had been 12 days before., meaning once again the week he’d said he’d be there was once again the week he wasn’t there.

Do you ever just go along just fine and then the injustice of the world just gets to you? I was SO TIRED of men disappointing me. So tired of it. Ned, who was nice enough to put up my Ring camera for me this weekend, said HE couldn’t trim the tree because “it’s muddy.”

I thought about the day that second place called and said, “We can come today” and I said, “Oh, no thank you. ANOTHER place is coming for $125 less.” Boy, I showed THEM.

So here’s what I did. I gathered up my clipper and my saw thing and my ladder and I called that company, company three.

“Yes. I just want you to know I’m 55 and have bad knees and I’m going to climb a ladder and cut the damn pear tree myself. I called you multiple times and you always said ‘next week’ but next week never came. I have several large, mature trees I would have used you for when the time came, so you should’ve considered that before you blew me off.”

Then I hung up victoriously and immediately felt bad.

But I pulled on my damn wellies and got my damn clippers and —

I just got bad news on the phone. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Party store

My boss wrote me on our chat feature at work, and whenever it isn’t work-related she starts: “Not work-related.” So then I can take off my suit and floppy tie, kick off my low nude heels, and talk as a regular human.

She was reading a book by someone who grew up in Detroit, and the author kept referring to a “party store.”

“I just assumed she meant the kind of place where you can get streamers and balloons, but after awhile it was clear she meant a convenience store. Is this a Michigan thing?”

Is this a MICHIGAN thing? You’d better believe it. We ALL call convenience stores party stores. When I first moved to Seattle, I went out with one guy who caught me saying “party store,” and also, “the UP,” just assuming everyone knew that meant the upper peninsula. Assuming that everyone knew there was an upper peninsula.

“A party store?” he asked, when what I described didn’t involve pinatas or colored paper plates.

“Yeah; you know, where you buy your liquor and your beef jerky and your lottery tickets,” I said. The other thing about Michigan—at least when I lived there, which was 30 years ago—is you can buy alcohol the same place you buy beer and wine and why the hell not?

Here you have to go to the ABC store, and I don’t even know why they call it that. Like, liquor is one of the first things you learn? Liquor is as easy as a, b, c? Anyway, whenever I go to to one, which happens like once every two years or something—before a party, but not before a party store—I feel sort of sleazy.

Also, they are not open Sunday, because of God, and Sunday is one of the two major days you might want liquor, if you ask me.

Anyway, to reiterate, the guy I was dating, who turned out to be a terrible ass, asked, “A party store?” And when I gave him the line about it’s where you buy your beef jerky and your liquor and your lottery tickets, he said, “That’s a party for you people?”

Well. Yeah. Kinda. Wouldn’t it be to you, Mr. Seattle Snob? What’s a party to you? Asian fusion and a latte? Getting on a ferry and donating to Greenpeace? Asshole.

There was a party store I stopped at after school when I was in junior high (and it was junior high then) where I’d get faux 7-Up slurpees (I mean, that’s a 7-Eleven thing. So this guy, knowing what his competition had, imitated them but they weren’t called Slurpees, which if you ask me is a disgusting name) and a Chick-o-Stick.

And do you know that TO THIS DAY the guy who runs the store knows who I am?

So, party stores aren’t ALL about liquor. They’re also about candy and soft drinks and cigarettes. All the things that make life worthwhile.

My point is this: What local thing do you guys say that somehow you found out was a local thing? What’s your “calling soda ‘pop'” of your locale?

When Grammy first moved to Michigan, she was at the grocery store and told the bag boy to just “put it all in a poke,” and he didn’t know that meant “bag” in West Virginian, and she was humiliated and never said it again.

Things like that. What you got?

Go to the party store and get us all drinks and maybe the latest Elle and then we’ll talk.

Some break

Here’s a dumb thing I just noticed I do. All the other cats get dry kibble, but Forest, who is still technically a kitten, gets canned kitten food. The vet said the canned part is important for male cats. Ima go ahead and assume we’re avoiding crystals. I don’t mean that we’re avoiding Crystal Gayle and Cristal Carrington, although I am. And Crystal Gayle should avoid me, as I will COME AT HER with scissors.

Anyway, while the other cats are situated over their bowls of delicious pellets, I get a can for Forest, who meeps impatiently.

And every day, I announce the flavor to him. “Oooo, ocean whitefish and tuna today, Forest!” I’ll say, then sploonk it in the bowl.

I just noticed myself doing it today. Why do I do this? He doesn’t understand me. And who am I to “Oooo” over any of the flavors, anyway? For all I know, ocean whitefish and tuna is the ham-n-cheese Hot Pocket of canned cat food.

Anyway that’s enough about cats. I’ll never mention cats again.

I was opening the blinds this morning, which by the way takes forever. There are eight of them. Nine if I remember to close the blind in the laundry room. Anyway, I was in the midst of this arduous task when I noticed a woman taking a walk past my house.

She had on a long winter trench coat, as in it was puffy. She had gloves. She had on a knit hat. And then she topped off this look with earmuffs.

“Hey, Google, what’s the temperature?”

“It’s 42 degrees right now,” said Google, who you could tell was also judging this woman. Google was rolling its computer eyes.

It’s 42. You’re not walking on the Arctic Circle. Geez.

Ima feel really bad if that was Faithful Reader and Neighbor Audra walking.

I, too, have been walking, but at night after dinner, to try to ward off this layer of fat I’ve acquired over the break.

The break. Why did I just call it that? Let me get my spiderweb so I can web it in there with my ass thread: Some Break.


Anyway, I know women are supposed to hate themselves and obsess over their weight but I usually don’t and I assure you I need to be talking a walk to, like, Scotland and back each night to burn enough calories.

There’s a woman at work who looks fabulous, and she just walks like 10 miles every night like it’s nothing. Someone else at work needed a document, and the fabulous woman just strolled over the 7 miles and dropped it off.

“You want a …ride home or anything?

“Oh, no! I’m good!”

See, I wish that were me, but I literally dreamt I was eating Little Debbie Swiss Roll Snack Cakes last night, and maybe my goal could be to walk 10 miles to a Little Debbie store.

God, that was a great dream. I was so happy to have a Swiss Roll. I haven’t had a LDSC in, well, since whenever this break started. I really need to stop calling it that.

I’m gonna HAVE Swiss Rolls if I don’t cut it out.

The last time I ordered groceries, I got a bunch of stuff that would be good if we lost power because we were getting an ice storm and they literally said “Power failures are likely,” which is always comforting. So among the many room-temperature groceries I purchased, I got those pink iced animal crackers. Remember those, from childhood?

In case you’re wondering if they’ve held up, if they’ve passed the test of time,




And this particular bag has varied the icing, so sometimes you’re eating a white-iced camel and sometimes a pink-iced monkey. That sounds like an insult. Why, you pink-iced monkey.

My grandmother—the nice one, not the one I turned into—worked in some factory during WWII while my grandfather was off in the war. She told a story often of this man in the factory who would pat her on the ass. That’s how gramma put it. “He was always pattin’ me on the ass.”

My grandmother had patience until she didn’t, and one day she had HAD it and she said, “Why, you goddamn 4-Fer son of a bitch” and hit him over the head with whatever little tool she used in the factory.

Of course, SHE got in trouble for it and not the #metoo guy. They said she’d “questioned his heritage” by calling him a son of a bitch.

The whole story is maddening now, but I’m telling it to you because whenever she told that story, I’d think “4-Fer” was another swear. I thought it was maybe the F word 4 times, although in a million years I never heard gramma say the F word. “Goddamn son of a bitch” you’d hear 46 times a day. But not the F word. (During the war, if you were someone they determined couldn’t fight, you were classified as 4-F.)

Once my mother had a friend over, a friend who outwardly seemed very sweet, and my grandmother dropped something and she said, “Why you — oh, BANANAS!”

It was just so phony that everyone laughed. Don’t whip out the banana for company.

Anyway, I seem to have gone off on a tangent, which is not like me.

I have to go, but I do have one more exciting bit of news. As you know, from your enormous book of June events, months ago, maybe even a year ago, Miss Doxie sent me a Ring doorbell and it’s one of my favorite things. If I were Julie Andrews I’d include it in my song. Doorbells that spy and they call themselves Ring. These are a few of my favorite things.

So she and I were on a Zoom cocktail party the other night. Miss Doxie and me, not Julie Andrews and me, although she is always welcome. Doxie showed me on her tablet the MYRIAD Ring doorbells and cameras she has all over her house and it was beautiful and then she said, “I’m sending you the camera for the back of your house” and two boops on her tablet later, she said, “You’ll get it Thursday.”

But I got it WEDNESDAY, and I am going to put it up on the back of the snake shed, so I can see the alley behind me, which I assume is usually free of shenanigans but you never know now that 72 people have moved in next door. But what I DO know is animals are back there and I cannot WAIT to look at them all with my new wildlife camera. Do you like how I changed what it really is in just one paragraph?

What I’m saying is, brace yourself for many Ring camera captures of raccoons and antelope. And maybe Little Debbies in the wild.

Talk at you.

June and the imaginary appraisal

Today, I’ve gone exotic. I’m writing you from Grammy’s chair, which I hardly ever sit in. Edsel sits in it a lot. It’s sort of his chair. The cats also sit in it a lot. In fact, I’m sitting on the little throw I’ve placed on the cushion to catch the majority of the fur, thereby negating the point of putting the throw there.

Anyway, I’m goin’ ham.

I have a coworker who brings the same lunch every single day: peanut butter sandwich, tortilla chips and a glass of water in his depressing John Deere clear glass cup. I wrote him on our work messaging system a few months ago to ask if, now that he’s home, he still has that same damn lunch. Answer: pretty much, yeah.

But a few times a year, like maybe three times, he’ll be Mama Cass and bring a ham sandwich. His kids call it “goin’ ham.”

That’s me today. Goin’ ham in the unusual chair.

I got nothin’ to tell ya, really. I came close to refinancing my house this week but there was a snafu with the agent telling me I had to pay up front for an appraisal. “It’s $500,” she said.

Lemme ask you something. Do you just have $500? I don’t. I mean, I can pay all my bills, and maybe get something fun for myself for like $30 or $40 each pay period, like my tarot t-shirt that I love.

I don’t think it was fully $40 but you know what I mean. Also, OH MY GOD I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT’S FROM. Instagram advertised it to me one day, because Instagram knows me like no one ever has, and I said, YES!! and bought it. The end.

Anyway, I did not have $500, maybe because I blow $40 each pay period on satanic t-shirts, which is what I told the woman at my mortgage company who was trying to convince me to refinance for 1.67% less of an interest rate.

“I’ll have $500 on Friday, but I do not right now,” I emphasized. She said that was fine, that she just needed my card “on file” and that once the appraisal people called and we made an appointment, THEN they would charge me.

“As long as that’s the case, OK, cause I just don’t have it now,” I said, getting my card and wondering how I was gonna live for the next two weeks minus $500.

It was seriously not 10 minutes later I got an email.


Oh my god, I was mad. So I canceled the whole shebang in a strongly worded letter. “This is not some $11 app I’m buying that might be shady,” I said. “We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. If I can’t trust you from the get-go, why should I trust you with all that money?”

I was worried about the appraisal people coming over anyway. Did you ever get the up-and-down look from a bitchy gay man? That’s how I figured they’d look at me. And they’d be all, “Why is this house pink? Are you expecting Hansel and Gretel?”

“Were you going to keep those birthing hips for a whole decade after menopause, or what, honey? Cause you may be berthing but you ain’t birthing.”

Now I’m starting to like my imaginary bitchy appraiser.

So that’s off, although I understand that I can look for another refinance institution in the next 14 days because my lovely credit score already took the dang hit. But I don’t know. 1.67%? Why bother?

In other news that’s house-related, and here I told you I had no news but LOOK. I’m SOAKING in it.

Yesterday I got an Amazon package and that is nothing new. I get about 47 hundred of those a week. I get my vitamins from Amazon, pet stuff from Amazon (mostly Chewy. But also Amazon), cleaning supplies from Amazon. I’m an Amazon woman.

So I ripped it open, just like it was your bodice.

And there? Was fishing stuff.

“Hope you catch a big one, Rick! Happy birthday!”

I looked about. Had I changed my goddamn name to Rick again? Stupid multiple personalities.

I wish I could get another personality and it would actually be likeable. And then you all could check in in your ripped bodices and see which one you get that day: likeable June or me.

Anyway, I stood in my kitchen with a Jethro Bodean expression for awhile and


The guy who used to own this house, the guy who lived here for almost 60 years, is named Richard. Someone musta had this address on file at the Amazon.

So I called him and I forgot what a perfect Southern gentleman he is.

“Yes. Hello, Richard, this is June Gardens, the person who bought your house?”

“Well, hello, June! My goodness! Hope you’re well.”

Actually I forgot the best part. At the beginning, I said, “Yes, is this Richard Pinkhouse?”

And he said, “What’s left of him.”

This is going to be my go-to line from now on.

Anyway, he’s coming over today at 1:00 to get his fishing birthday present and I guess I ruined that surprise. Of course I’m nervous he’s gonna see things on the house that have gone to ruin in his absence, as he ran a tight ship and I’m berthing, but really I’ve kept it up pretty well.

I will close with a charming image I just happened to capture this morning. It’s a sweet moment with Eds and Fo.

From her pink house,

June checks in from her isolation booth to inform you she’s not a Ho-Ho

[shoves coat and purse in first, slides into booth]


[unwinds scarf]

Oooo, did you get nachos?

[crunches a nacho]

I don’t even like going to restaurants. Part of my myriad phobias is a restaurant phobia. But if I could go to one RN, I would. The last time I went to a restaurant was the day Kobe Bryant died. It was on the screen in the restaurant that he’d died and I gasped.

Are we that bad at talking to each other now that we need the TV on while we eat? I remember when I was a hostess, before cell phones, this one dad brought a transistor radio to dinner with this family. I assume there was some crucial sporting event that was more important than his family. That was 35 years ago and I still remember it. I wonder if he’s an old man now who wonders why his kids never visit.

He didn’t look up when I brought their water, so glued was he to his stupid radio.

Also, when I say, “I was a hostess,” I mean at a restaurant. I didn’t used to be a Twinkie. Or a Ho-Ho.

Anyway, how are you. I’m tryina think of anything actually of note has happened to me in the last few days. Really, no. I had been watching a show and ran out of episodes (oh my god, and as of this moment I can’t even remember what show I ran out of episodes with. I liked it, too, and was disappointed. And every time I run out of episodes on a show, I think, Well, I should just give up. I won’t find anything I like as much. And then I do).

Oh! I remember. Firefly Lane. I didn’t even like it very much, now that I say it out loud. It was stupid. It had that Kathryn Heimlich or whoever, the one with the big round face.

Anyway, then my TV told me to watch a Netflix show called Love. And you know how now they give you a preview while you’re mulling? It looked clever. So I said OK to the man. That is a line from When Harry Met Sally that probably only Fay is catching.

So, the female character in Love lives in Silverlake, as I did. Silverlake is a neighborhood in Los Angeles. She is a love addict, and I am. Or was. I feel like I just sort of grew out of it. Or can you be in remission?

Anyway. She fucks up all the time and you’re like, Oh my god, stop fucking up.

In general I am riveted by this show. And what do the trolls say? “Triggered”?

People are so mean to each other online. Remember when we used to be nice online and send each other pokes and IM each other on AOL at inopportune times and that was as far as it went?

So I watched a lot of Love, and I read people’s tarot cards, and I took a long walk in Forest’s cemetery. And that about sums it up.

Every time I go in that cemetery I look for kittens now.

And I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but Forest has a routine that is annoying and cute. Most of the day he’s either sleeping on my bed, with Iris, or he’s outside playing in the back with Milhous.

Important film from this weekend.

In the morning, though, as soon as I open this laptop, he jumps up here and gets on my lap between me and the keyboard. Oh, he LEANS on my wrists, and he PURRS, and he gets his dreamy look, and basically typing is a pain in my ARSE because there’s 10 pounds of cat on my hands. But he seems so happy and I hate to deprive him.

He’ll be 1 in March, Forest Lawn Gardens will. This is exciting because I can stop giving him kitten food and I can feed everyone the same thing, Iris’s $700 special food that they all like.

Also, and I hope this is not too controversial, but I’ve decided to just give him the same birthday I gave Lily when the shelter said she was born in March: March 11. They can share a birthday.

Lily will be 11 and Forest will be 1.

Oooo, and the other thing I did was watch the Woody Allen documentary on HBO. It’s in four parts and I saw part one, titled Woody Allen is a Monster and This Is a Very Balanced Documentary. On Facebook of June, I said I think Woody Allen is innocent, and I noted someone left the group, unfriended me and unfollowed me on Instagram all on that day.

Here’s what I have to say to that person, if they are still reading this blog: Fuck you.

Seriously, fuck you. I write a fekking blog for 15 years, I entertain you on social for almost that long, and I have one opinion you disagree with and you’re all, “Well, that’s it.”

Go. Go and fuck off. I probably had to read your shitty political posts for a decade, and never said a word. But go. Go.

I’d better go (hah) and get my work stuff started. I have a big thing to work on due today, and that’s actually pretty exciting because normally Mondays are slow because copy editing is the last step, and on Monday everyone is starting everything and what’s really fun for copy edit is Friday afternoon.

WE NEED THIS BY 5:00!! It’s 4:47!!!

But not today! Today someone started something last week, GAVE it to me last week, and said, “Can you get this back midafternoon Monday?” so I actually have something to do right away.

All right. I’ll talk to you later. Someone give me an idea for what I can blog about whilst I’m stuck here.


One year. One person. One day. 19 viruses.

So, this is it. On February 17 of last year, I got up, showered, put on clothes and makeup and drove to work. Worked a whole day, then said to everyone, “I’ll see you in two to six weeks!” and left.

I was having (wait for it) surgery the next day, and depending on what they did when they were in there, my recovery was going to be short or longish. It turned out to be the longish one, and then it turned out to be really King Kamehameha long.

My calendar back at work still reads February 2020. I’ve gone back since then, to an empty office, to do various things. I think everyone else’s last day was March 13. When I go back, there are all these “keep your distance” signs about, which I assure you had I been going into the office woulda freaked me the eff out.

And I know I’ve said this before but it’s weird. The weekend before my surgery, I went shopping with Ned. I can’t remember what we bought. Shoes, I think? And then we went to Old Navy for who knows what. But I remember before we got there, to the Old Navy, he felt sluggish, so we got coffee and drank it in his car in front of Starbucks. And I felt one of those surges of happiness. You ever get those?

“I wish this weren’t all ending,” I thought. And then I thought, what the hell did I just mean by that?

Then at work on that last day, a year ago today, everything was going so well. I was helping pitch this new account and the work was so interesting. “When I return, can I keep writing on this account?” I had asked. Usually I copy edit at work, but sometimes I write, too.

“I don’t see why not,” said my boss, and I felt that happy thing again and then the wistful thing again. Almost like a nostalgia.

What the hell do I feel like this for? I remember wondering.

And at the end of the day, I said goodbye to everyone, but it felt very Titanic. It felt very goodbye-y. I walked to my car almost in tears. Oh my god, you’ll be back in two weeks, I thought. Calm down.

Of course it occurred to me that maybe I was going to die on the table like Kanye’s mom or something, but I also didn’t really fear that, either. I just felt such a strong feeling about everything ending.

And here we are.

So that was weird and I don’t know how to explain it. I’m Sylvia Browne. To throw out one of my current references.

This past year has been the longest and shortest, ever.

My winter clothes have hung unused in my closet. When summer came, I didn’t really switch over the closet much; I just wore t-shirts and shorts from the drawer and my Frida Kahlo cotton robe all the time. Now we’re back to a year later and there those clothes are. I have sweaters in there I haven’t worn for a year. Jeans I don’t dare try to cram into.

In the grand scheme of things, I haven’t had it very bad at all. I kept my job (I ended up “returning” early when the pandemic became official. And by the way, if you wish to irk me, be sure to say “When COVID hit,” because I haven’t heard it phrased that way enough). I got to work from home. I haven’t caught the damn thing yet. I’ve been Icy I. Solation all year, but that has bothered me less than it might others who are wired differently.

But what a weird fucking year, right? And I think I’m OK, but I get livid, like throw my phone livid, at any article that has a headline indicating we might live like this forever.

After September 11, there were certain news shows that tried as hard as they could to scare you to death. You’d be watching some show and they’d burst on during commercials. “Osama Bin Laden is headed to June’s. Story at 11.” Stuff like that would ruin whatever show I was watching. I’d just get scared all over again, and eventually there were some shows I stopped watching because their news briefs made me too upset. And I have NEVER FORGOTTEN which channels did that to me.

Same with these newspaper headlines, WALL STREET JOURNAL. NEW YORK TIMES. I know what you’re doing logically, but that doesn’t help people who are generally anxious, and you are real fucksticks for not caring how your little click-me headline ruins anxious people all day long.

Anyway, here I am. Honestly, the thought of getting up and showering and heading to an office for 9 hours sounds absolutely exhausting now, and I wonder if I’ll come home that first day back just drained from too much. Too much with the driving and the people and the chatting and the overhead lights and the interruptions. I wonder if that will be weird. If I’ll be Tom Hanks at his welcome back party after he was on that island for four years and Helen Hunt had stampeded for Mr. Big.

I wonder if I’ll stand alone with a long lighter.

Ironically, to celebrate my Year of Being Home, yesterday I went to the grocery store. The one I used to go to 11 times a week, by my old house. The one where I watched the 4th of July fireworks in the parking lot with all the bag boys four or five years ago. The one where the salad bar had pudding so guess who used to have salad pudding for dinner.

I’m taking this medication. Remember when I went to the urologist for my penis a few weeks ago, and I only went cause he held my medication refill hostage? CVS texted to say it was ready, with a fine, reasonable price of $400.

“For the year?” I wondered.


So I got on Good Rx, which is like a miracle site, and found the same medication for $17 at that grocery store’s pharmacy. And that’s how Edsel and I ended up driving there like it was normal.

And apparently it is normal, as it was bustling and everyone was shopping and getting pharmaceuticals and looking at the Burt’s Bees display just like it was 2019, which is the last time I was ever in that store.

I’d better go. I’m super busy counting days since I’ve been out in public exposing self to COVID. (Countdown: 1!!)

From her isolation booth,

Fat cat

You know how I’m a giant fat ass currently? I went to my Hello Fresh ordering system and selected dinners that were lower in calories this week. So, last night, I made a chicken breast with scallions, ginger, wasabi and just a tiny bit of this packet of sauce they included that was like citrus soy or something. I just assumed it was loaded with MSG so I was really sparing.

Then I made ginger rice and broccoli. I know technically we’re not supposed to eat rice if we want to be thin but whatever; it was delicious.

The whole thing was delicious, and that is why I ate both servings.


Hey, June, how’s the fat-assing going? Oh, it’s going well. I’m fat-assing super well.

Also I did Tracy Anderson this weekend. See above for reasons. I did the half-hour cardio I used to do obsessively about 10 years ago now. I did that thing every single day back in aught 12, which I guess is oh god this whole being in the 20s thing is confusing. Nine years ago? Don’t make me think about numbers. I have literally had no caffeine yet.

I realize I’m supposed to have no caffeine. But whatever.

{sips coffee.}

I further realize a middle-class white woman droning on about her weight is incredibly original and you can’t get that kind of content just anywhere. So I’ll wrap up this kvetch by saying there is now, post-Tracy, some sort of fire in my left knee. It’s not there all the time. Just if I move a certain way, all of a sudden my kneecap-al area is fire.

You’re drivin’ in my car. You turn on the radio.

But let’s talk about the middle-class part.

Technically, I am. I looked on a chart once. I don’t really make that much money, but I can’t complain. I mean, I have enough to pay the bills. I usually have some left over for fun, too.

But I bring this up because slowly, over the last few years, I’ve gotten my money thing in a lot better of a place. People, I’ve observed, like to feel smug about my not doing well with money and I’m here to say you can shut it because I’ve pretty much conquered it.

You know, that’s a shitty thing to do. Everyone has a thing they struggle with, and what a shitty, shitty thing, to judge it and comment on it. I don’t comment about what a dull piece of unimaginative crap you are.


First of all, credit card debt was a big thing for me for ages. A few years ago, I gave my mother all my credit cards so I just couldn’t use them. I kept the vet credit card because I knew I might need that for big things and thank goodness I did, what with Edsel’s faux heart situation that cost a fortune and Iris’s many woes.

Other than that? Credit card debt? Zip. Zip-a-dee-doo-da. It took awhile. Any time I got a big chunk of money, like from taxes or a sugar daddy, I’d throw it at debt. I had a very obsessive chart I kept where I listed all the cards I owed money on and what the interest rate was.

When I moved in here, I had money from selling the last house and moving to this cheaper house, and when that money got to me, I couldn’t even wait. At lunchtime, I went to Subway’s drive-thru and sat in their parking lot with my phone and my faux tuna sub, opening each credit card’s website and BOOM! paying off a card. BOOM! paying off the next card. It was so fekking satisfying.

Every time I pass that Subway I feel that BOOM.

I also obsessively kept track of all my bills and got them as manageable as possible. I switched car insurance. I switched home insurance. I switched cable and then got rid of cable. I switched phone providers.

Then I got on those payment plans with my utilities, so each month they take out the same amount and at the end of the year, I’ve gotten a free month of utilities because they overestimate how much one person in a 999-square-foot house will spend on, say, heat. Then after that they lower the bill a bit. But the point is, I know. I know that every month, Duke Energy will be $85. I know Piedmont Natural Gas will be $40. There are no surprises.

So, with all this being careful, my credit score is now 795 and my whole goal in life is to get to 800. Getting to 800 is my Dean’s List of 2021. Back in college, to find out if you’d made it on the Dean’s List, you had to walk down to the student union and look at this typed, paper list posted behind glass in the main hallway.

Every time I made it (and once it was a goal, I always made it), I practically flew home. Also, when I think about how far I fekking lived from the student union and I walked all the way there, it’s no wonder I used to be lithe. I lived off campus, and it was like a 30-minute walk each way. I used to read and walk at the same time so I wouldn’t get bored.

Anyway. I have it in hand. Money, I mean. The only problem I have anymore is I just don’t make that much, so I’m not prepared for big emergencies. If a big emergency came, I’d have to call my mother and have her send me a credit card.

So my new goal is to work on that: After I hit the 800 score, I will work on saving absurd amounts. I DO have a lot going into my 401(k) each paycheck, and maybe I could save LESS there and more in real present life. I don’t know.

I currently have Netflix and Amazon Prime and Hulu and once we aren’t homebound I will eliminate one of those, but frankly I have so little entertainment I am loath to give one up now.

Also I’d save a fortune if I drove these animals to a field and became petless.

In the past, how I chipped away at credit cards was to freelance, but work can be very busy now so I don’t dare freelance. I’d promise some place I’d get something done and then have to work late at my real job and that would be terrible.

Plus? This year I had work burnout for the first time, and that was actually really scary, so I want to be careful not to get there again.

You know what I enjoyed? I liked reading everyone’s tarot cards. Maybe I could do more of that as a supplemental thing. I mean for people beyond all of you.

I don’t have to figure it all out this morning. My point is, I’m doing better in this category and I don’t know if I’ve come out and said that, point blank, so I’m saying it today.

June Moneybags Gardens

Sniff the grinder

I just noticed that the last time I ever wrote you, I said I bleached my teeth and died, and then I very dramatically didn’t return. Perhaps you thought I died of teeth but I did not. Since like 89% of you are my social media friends, you already know this.

By the way, not long ago I unblocked Ned on Facebook, and I now know which of you are still Facebook friends with him and really?


Anyway I didn’t die of teeth. I had a normal day Tuesday, except that the day before I’d had a lot of dizziness and lightheadedness and also an aura, and I don’t mean that in the I’m-dancing-naked-in-my-fire-circle-my-aura-is-gold way. I mean I had a premigraine aura. So there I was on Tuesday when all of a sudden BOOM.

Migraine. Also, it’s not “all the sudden.” It just isn’t. It also isn’t “butt naked.” Please read books and things.

I guess I’m on edge today. As opposed to my usual sunny disposition. My Sunny D.

The point is, it hurt, my migraine did, and it lasted (are you ready?) UNTIL FRIDAY, which was a pain in my patoot for various reasons, one of them being that I had something important coming in at work and I didn’t know when, so rather than call in sick and shut off my messages and so on, I lay in bed with ice and heat and nausea pills and agony, constantly refreshing my screen so my computer wouldn’t go dark and I’d look offline.

Also, they’ve set up our work computers to go dark in like TEN MINUTES, which is annoying if you’re just getting up to let the dog out and back in and maybe make some tea. You return and boom. You hafta sign in all over again. And it’s not just one password, no. It’s your whole sign-in name, a password, then another screen and another password. And who can remember all those dang passwords?

Pepperidge Farm remembers.

I have no idea why that entered my head.

So I never got to really rest those days; I had to stay awake to hit the space key on my computer every 10 minutes so I’d look reachable.

The work thing came in on Friday afternoon, after I felt better. I marked those days as sick days, because staying awake and hitting the space key doesn’t count as being at work.

So that was my week and then I rallied and decided Edsel needed a nail thing. I can’t think of the word for it right now. I know it’s fun to read me when I’m so quick with a joke and a light of your smoke, but there’s someplace that he’d rather be.

Back when we were free to roam about and it generally didn’t kill anyone to do so, I’d have Edsel’s nails trimmed either at the vet or at dog daycare. I’d say, “Oh, can you trim his nails?” He only needs it done a few times a year. But I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we’ve had a year now where at least I’m not doing a damn thing.

Eds had his nails trimmed at the vet’s office I think in the summer when he went to learn he had no heart problem. What a day. A pedicure and “You’re not gonna die of heart or teeth” report. But I noticed he’s getting a little Howard Hughes-ish around his claw-sal area now, though. He’s starting to look like Cher in her variety show years.

HOW HE LERN TO HATE THE WERD. {Even tho that two word.}

I used to have a dog-claw trimmer, but when Tallulah was a puppy I messed up and cut her claw too close it traumatized me and I can’t do it without getting the willies. Nevertheless, I bravely looked for it in my two (2!!) cupboards reserved only for dog and cat things: eye ointments, flea treatments, shampoos, medicines, leashes. You know the drill. You have pets. Otherwise why are you here.

Anyway I must’ve thrown out the dog clippers at some point because see above re amputating Tallulah. So I went online and looked for dog nail thingies. What the hell are they called? Like a sander for dog nails. You kind of file them down electrically, like you do when you get nail tips put on.

I looked online and did the whole “sort by customer review” shopping, because did you ever notice Amazon sorts by “recommended!” which is code for “most expensive!”?

Eventually I decided on this one pair that wasn’t that expensive (less than $30) but well-reviewed. On Sunday, Valentine’s Day, the dog nail things arrived.


{click, click, click} Neber new how much Edz claw grew.
Dey growing past his dog paw hair.
When mom get a grinder for Edz, mom get mad and start to swear.
You give Eds grinder.
When you grind Eds.
Grinder on Edz nail beds.

A GRINDER. That’s IT!!

Why in the SAM HOLY HELL couldn’t I think of the word? Ima blame my 72-hour migraine for slowing down my brain. Or maybe this is it. This is just the day my brain stops working for me. It stops giving me words and I start to talk like my gramma did. “Honey, get grandma the thing over by the thing.”

Anyway I was very excited to grind the nails of Eds. I opened the box, which came with a little wrench, and that’s never a good sign.

I thought the round gritty sandy things would go right on and I could get to work but no. It didn’t go right on. The wrench shoulda tipped me off.

So then I opened a thin book of directions, and nothing in there made sense. It was one of those books of directions that said things like, “Grab center tube and blocket phram, twisting the blickblack counterclockwise while gazing thoughtfully at the switz swatz krim.”


So I opened the larger, thicker book of directions. Two books of directions, which is an ever better sign, beyond the “this comes with its own wrench” sign. Both signs point to Ima be using the F word toot sweet.

Eventually, since not one word of one page of those goddamn directions, volumes I and volume screaming, made a lick of sense to anybody — and why is it someone’s job to make a book of directions that don’t make sense? Since all that was happening, I decided to go online like a normal person and see if I could get help there.

I Googled “tutorial for Edsel Grindr 3000” or whatever the damn thing is called and sure enough there was the world’s nasal-ist person giving me nasal directions on how to just GET THE DAMN SANDER THING ON, and why does that even have to be hard? Why can’t it just slip the feck ON?

My theory was she was the owner’s daughter. The nasal tutor. That’s how she got this gig. She nasaled, “Dad, I really want a career in online tutorials spoken solely out my nose” and he said, “Why, honey, why don’t you tute everyone on the Edsel 3000, since our two books of directions don’t even make a lick of sense?”

I am very sorry to tell you that there is a car store here, and that’s not what they’re called, are they? Migraine head, I’m TELLING you.

Anyway it’s called Dick’s. I guess the owners are named that and they thought that would be a great name for their car store and once again I realize that us not what car stores are called I AM SORRY. And they have the owner’s daughter, a TEEN, coming on TV and saying, “Give Dick’s a try!” and why did NO ONE, in the entire scheme of things, tell the owner this was not a good idea?

The point is, I sat through almost that whole nose-talk tutorial until I realized I was looking at a tutorial for a whole different dog grinder.

For the love of…

Finally, FINALLY, I found a tutorial and after much F-wording and using of the wrench I got the DAMN sandy thing on the damn dog grinder and I did all the things the tutorial told me to do, which involved going over to my dog, and letting him sniff the grinder. Then I turned on the grinder so he could get used to the noise. Then when he seemed as calm as Edsel ever is (Tasmanian Devils seem laid back in comparison), I picked up his dog hand and put the oh sandy baby/can’t you see/I’m in misery grinder on, and?


Died. It died.



At this point I’m just willing to let Eds be in the Guinness Book of World Records for Dog With Longest Claws. I no longer care.

So that about sums up everything that has happened to me since we last spoke, and I’ll bet you’re glad I checked back in, what with all my cylinders clearly running on full strength, much like that grinder.

Off to give Dick’s a try,

The one where June tries to bleach her teeth, dies

I’ve bleached my teeth before. When I was getting married—oh, you should say a silent thanks to the deity of your choice that there weren’t blogs when I was getting married. Because nothing mattered more than my looks for the year leading up to my wedding day and I’d’ve spent that year talking about nothing else. I lived on water, peaches and Lean Cuisines. Yeah, yeah. Don’t bore me with how much sodium and MSG those have. In 1997, Lean Cuisine were the starving bride’s meal of choice.

Every day after work, this other girl, Angie (who had already gotten married so why did she bother), and I would head across the park to a gym, where if you lived or worked in this suburb of LA (glamorous Commerce, California, where I proofread for a textbook publisher), you could work out free. They had step aerobics in a trailer next to the gym, and rather than use the free gym with weights and stuff, we inexplicably did step aerobics, using two steps, every weekday without fail.

Then I’d drive the hour home, because LA, and eat my dinner peach and I’d down 47 more pounds of water.

I also went to the dentist and got a teeth-bleaching kit so I could dazzle m’crowd. I was gonna be bones and white teeth bones. ‘Twas the theme of my wedding. If they’d yet invented those freestanding places you drive to to get your teeth bleached, they must have been exorbitantly $$ because otherwise I’d have used them.

As it was, my dentist made me a mold of my teeth, then sold me this goop that twice a day for like an hour each time I had to put on and live my life. Seeing as the only time in the day I wasn’t eating peaches or leaping aerobically onto a step was during work, so I’d put that terrible goopy tray on at 10 a.m. and then again at like 4:00.

I remember one assy coworker accused me to trying to “get attention” by doing this during work, but all I did was slip on a guard and lean over my work and read it. I had a job where I literally never had to speak or look at anyone if I didn’t want to. I just took my work and slid it back into the in-box for whoever the hell looked at it next.

People are forever accusing me of trying to garner attention when in fact attention just comes to me. I don’t have to ask for it. I’ve never once said to myself, “How can I get anyone to notice me at this juncture?”

Anyway, to tell you the truth, I don’t remember my teeth looking any whiter.

Then in 2010, I was getting my hair cut at this salon right across from Ned’s old apartment but I didn’t know Ned yet because I was married. Stuff like that is weird, isn’t it? When you think back on a time you were near someone who’d become major in your life but you were blissfully unaware at the time.

Anyway, a drag queen worked there (at the hair salon, not Ned’s apartment), doing manicures and so forth, and she was running a special on teeth bleaching. I signed up mostly because I wanted to hang around a drag queen. It was two sessions, under a blue light. After, I tried to friend said drag queen on Facebook and got an “I’m not accepting more friends, but follow my page!” response. I wrote back, “You’re kidding” and that was the end of that.

To tell you the truth I don’t recall my teeth looking any whiter.

Two years ago, I was at my dentist because I used to go places and not fear it would kill me to do so. I saw in the corner a contraption. “Is that for teeth bleaching?” I asked. I never, ever, ever give up because Winston Churchill was huge on teeth bleaching.

So I made an appointment to get my teeth bleached on what turned out to be the day after my car accident, so then I had to cancel cause concussion, then when I finally went, they laid me in a chair, put this whole thing over my face, stuffed my mouth with cotton, laid another thing over my mouth, then shone this light on my face and I said,

“Ahh-ahhh. AHHHH! Ahhh-ahhh!!”

“You want me to stop?”


I had a total claustrophobic panic. I was totally smothering under all that shit they’d piled on my face and nose and nose and face and then they’d crammed my mouth with shit and where was breathing supposed to happen, exactly? My gills?

I couldn’t do it. And I was totally humiliated and felt like a diva but my whole back was sweating in a panic and I left that chair looking like the Shroud of Greensboro.

“You can buy our at-home bleaching kit instead,” they said. “We already made a mold of your teeth for your at-home touchups anyway.”

So I did, mostly because I felt I owed them something for smothering me to death and rescheduling and all.

Then for two years that whitening kit has sat there mocking me. I’ve been busy worrying about my bladder and my ovaries and my pandemic. But this weekend, I saw it and thought, What if I emerged from this cocoon looking marvelous? Sure, I’ve gained 25 pounds and my silver roots are two inches long and I’ve shot absolutely nothing in my face for more than a year so I look like the puppet Madame, but what if I emerged from this cocoon looking marvelous because white teeth?

Because history has shown teeth whitening has a dramatic effect on me.

So Sunday night I got the mold of my teeth out, and the gel, which is almost expired so good thing I got it out. I read the instructions and carefully applied it to the mold. Then I slid it onto my teeth and thought of that fekking bitch from the textbook place, accusing me of seeking attention.

“I’m doing this all alone, in the privacy of my home. Bitch,” I said to her. And as you can see I didn’t go on about it in my blog later.

I shut off the bathroom light and moved to the living room where



“OWWW!” I said out loud, by the time I reached the couch. “OWWW! AH AH AH AH AH OH MY GOD OH!”

Edsel is acutely aware of my every move and mood, and this outburst rendered him into a nautilus shape. He was terrified. So I tried to keep my emotions on the inside, where they belong, but




the pain was exquisite. EXQUISITE.

It was in my lower back teeth, on both sides. It literally felt like someone was doing dental work to me with no Novocain. Oh my GOD, it hurt.

I minced to the sink and ripped the mold out my mouth and even though I was scared for water to hit it, I rinsed that crap out my mouth.

BOING, BOING, BOING, went my nerves in my teeth.

The pain was all I could think of.

“Am I going to have to go to the ER and catch COVID because of my stupid bleached TEETH?” I thought. I mean, that’s how bad the pain was.

I minced to the cupboard and took some Advil and minced to the couch (I learned to mince during pain or sickness from my Aunt Kathy) and willed myself to be calm while my teeth said BOING! BOING! BOING!!!

After about 40 minutes of exquisite pain, and I wish I were into pain because that would’ve made it a lot more pleasant, it subsided.

You’ll be stunned to hear I threw the gel out. I also threw the teeth mold out, as I would be scared even a trace of that gel is in there and just the thought makes m’teeth ache.

So that’s the history of my teeth bleaching. Stay tuned for next week’s history channel, when we’ll explore all the ways I’ve tried blush.