Less words. Less boundaries. Oh, I don’t even know if I can make this my title today—ugh.

There’s another blogger I admire who doesn’t actually blog anymore. She pretty much just keeps people apprised of her life via Instagram (@rebeccawooolf) and for all I know, Twitter. People seem to be Twittering a lot and I am not because I don’t need one more damn thing.

Anyway, her young husband died (suddenly and terribly) a few years back and then earlier this year she introduced us all to what seemed like a really nice man. We saw photos of him for awhile and then we went back to regularly scheduled photos of her life.

“What happened to Ted?” someone asked in her Instagram comments this weekend. “Did I miss something?”

Whenever I see that in my own comments, the “Did I miss something?” it sort of rankles and I can never pinpoint why. It just sort of makes it feel like … well. Let me just let the blogger I admire clear it up for me, as this is why I like her. She can articulate feelings I cannot.

“I’m responding to this because it’s one of all sorts of messages I’ve received over the last few months re my relationship(s) which include the words, ‘Did I miss something?’

“With respect, there are no missed episodes here. …I think it’s safe to assume that not posting about someone for 7+ months probably means what you think it means. Asking me for closure as it pertains to any relationship story I have opened on this platform insinuates an all-access pass.

“Everything I make public is a choice. Everything I make private is a choice. I would appreciate respect for the boundaries I draw between the two.”

@rebeccawooolf

Man, she’s good. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times she’s said things like that, where I’ve thought, THAT IS WHAT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO SAY and couldn’t form the thought. How come people can form the thought I cannot? Is it because they sit around thinking of it for longer and I eventually grab a 1960s Real Romance magazine or look at a cat or something?

Anyway I love this and have felt similar pressure to tell all when I just don’t want to.

Sometimes you feel great about the beginning of something but not great about the end. Sometimes the other person wants you to stop talking about them. Did you know AP Stylebook now lets you refer to one person as “them”?

Speaking of which, I’ve been binging this show I hate and much like my Hallmark movies I keep watching anyway because … I don’t know why and I wish Rebecca Woolf were always here to articulate for me why I do things.

Anyway, it’s this network show called A Million Little Things, and it desperately wants to be This Is Us and it isn’t. It’s entirely predictable and they have dialogue like, “Hey. [touches the person’s head] What’s going on up there?”

There is an attorney in the show, because there always needs to be one in every bad show, and of course they refer to her as “counselor” just in casual conversation sometimes. It’s that kind of show.

And yet I’m watching all 2949202030 episodes.

Because it’s Hulu, apparently you have to pay for it and watch commercials anyway, which sticks in my craw. And it’s like the same 5 commercials over and over again. For awhile it was this little girl in Food Lion who I wanted to punch directly in the face.

Right now some chick who’s married to Justin Bieber is advertising makeup. To show you how effective the advertising is, I don’t even know what kind of makeup it is and I have seen this ad approximately 467 times.

All I know is she keeps using “less” when she means “fewer.”

“Less ingredients.” “Less chemicals.” And I wonder, why are all the things that are important to me not the things that society values? Why does she get to be rich not knowing that it should be “fewer”?

I have to go. I must shower before work and I might call the vet. Iris has the irritable bowel disorder, as you may know from previous explosions. Anyway she’s having an episode, and while this is just part of the deal of having irritable bowel disorder, I want to call and see if there’s anything I can give her to make her feel better. This was a bad one. My poor girl.

I suspect she got into Forest’s kitten food, a thing I try to keep away from her but I might have screwed up.

Meanwhile, it’s been really cold here and it turns out cold is Forest’s jam. He adores cold. All he wants to do is be in it if it’s less than 30 degrees out.

That rock is like a block of ice. WHY would you want to put your bits on it? But I’ll worriedly look outside and he’s SLEEPING on the ICE. He’s delighted.

OK. Talk to you tomorrow. I know it’s that weird week so probably three people are reading me.

Hello, three people.

Luff,
Hoon

The big nor in the sky

Yesterday was sort of on the busier side, as people are out, so I did get a lot of, “Hey, can you copy edit this, you … substitute, you” at work. I allegedly stop at 5:30, and at 5:33 I was just sending my last job to someone when

ring!

It was Mario from AppleCare. We have become so close. I thought maybe he just wanted to see how my weekend was.

Anyway, we did NOT fix the issue, STILL, but what we DID end up doing yesterday was transferring my end-of-the-year video to iMovie. It is not exactly how I want it to be, but by the time we once again tested my Photos app and then made the decision to transfer everything to iMovie and then we did this screen recording session so he can send my issue to a level even higher up than him (I am now dealing with Apple’s engineers), after all that, it was 7:30 or 8, I think.

So I did not care. I really no longer cared. My video was playable and that was all that mattered. I know most of you saw it last night on Facebook, but every time I put something on Facebook I think of the two people—Sadie and Pam, my mother—who are NOT on Facebook and I—oh! And The Poet. She is also not on Facebook.

So here. The three of you can see it too.

Now we have 9 more days in the year and what if something riveting happens to me and I have to redo the video? Am going to suspend self in amber so nothing happens.

As if I haven’t been doing that since March.

Once I finally got up from my computer last night (at one point I had to say to Mario, “I need to get up and feed Edsel and let him out.” Fortunately we’d already played Blu and walked at lunch. I’d done that in anticipation of it being the shortest day of the year) (Edsel and me. Not Mario and me), I stampeded outside to try to see the big “And” in the sky. There was supposed to be a conjunction in the sky last night. Jupiter and Saturn are mating or something and the next time this happens we will all be dead as nits.

Any time there’s a sky event I go into my backyard and see nothing. Not to mention some Neighborhood Watch YAHOO must’ve called the city because they came by and fixed the streetlights, so now it’s hard to see the stars. It was delightfully dark on our street for about a year.

Anyway, by the time I looked at my phone last night, I had about 42 messages from people saying, “There’s a star thing tonight” which of course I already knew but what is sad is they did not get to experience my “And in the sky” joke, which is right up there.

But The Poet left me this text, which I enjoyed.

Then I did that thing where I tried to go to sleep but I kept giggling at the thought of The Poet being Saturn.

Anyway, that sums up yesterday, the first day of the winter of our discontent. I have to go because someone asked if I could help with something and I said yes and now I see he has sent me 7 follow-up emails explaining the work and now I have the angina.

Luff,
June

Green chair for m’can and no can for m’cat

Dear anyone who knows I am trying to give up the caffeine:

I’M GOOD ON TEA. THANK YOU. GOOD ON TEA.

I’m like that joke about the kid who was just a head (“Not another hat!”). You know what I might could do, is take the tea out of the boxes and just put the bags in that bowl. Why did that not occur to me till now when I saw them all crammed in there like chickens at the poultry plant?

But speaking of receiving things, I don’t know about you, but I am getting boxes galore lately, and I’m certain it’s fun to be a UPS or FedEx or postal delivery person this year. What a pain in the ass we all are. Mostly I am getting boxes of tea from well-meaning people. But yesterday I got an ENORMOUS box, bigger than my promiscuous college roommate’s, and I was pushing it over to the “things that are obviously Christmas gifts” pile but there was a little PICTURE of what it was inside, which Dear Box Designer: There’s this holiday, see, where we all surprise each other with gifts, see, and if you put a PHOTO of the gift, see …

Anyway, it was the desk chair I admired! For all this time, this whole work-from-home year, I’ve NOT worked at my desk because while my desk chair is vintage and charming and you know I like vintage and charming, it’s all wood all the time and sitting on it is like sitting in a church pew, so I opt for my leather “cowboy chair” (that’s how they marketed it at the same damn vintage place I got the uncomfortable wooden computer chair) and my work laptop, and while the cowboy chair is comfy and offers me beans in front of a campfire, I do find that I’m looking DOWN into the laptop all day, which can’t be good for m’neck, which as you know needs several rounds of $700 shots that I won’t go get. Because $700.

So I longed for a good desk chair so I could sit normally at a desk, but $$.

And then, lo, an angel of the — a good desk chair appeared on my porch, and I was all, Who SENT this? And just then Ned called.

“Ned!” I said. “I just got a desk chair in the mail!”

“Goddammit!” said Ned.

“???” I said.

I sent you a desk chair,” he groused, “and now someone else has too.”

I never said that Ned was bright.

It turns out they told him it wouldn’t get here till January but here it is, here in NOT YET January, unless he’s right and two people sent me the same green chair and anyway here it is.

Isn’t it magnificent?

So today Ima work at my desk for the first time in 10 months of working at home and we’ll see how that goes.

Yes, I AM working this week. I’m not going anywhere so why not work? Things will either be berserk or so quiet I will organize my teabags. That’s how Christmas week usually — oh hang ON, someone just send me a work email at 8:16 a.m. Let me go see what THIS is.

…Oh. It was the thank you email. From someone who doesn’t yet know how I feel about the thank you email.

There’s no need to thank me for doing my job. There really isn’t. I mean, thank me with a raise, or a giant shout out at a big meeting. But don’t send me an email thanking me for sending the work. I’m not worried you “got it.” It’s email. You got it. If you didn’t, THEN YOU CAN EMAIL ME saying, “Hey, did you forget to copy edit that thing, you damp ham?”

Anyway, that’s how I feel about the thank you email. Eventually people know this because eventually I deliver that diatribe and I am a pleasure of life. I am a pleasure of work.

Some people email me to say, “I know you hate getting thank you emails but thank you!”

Sigh.

I realize I’ve become the old scary woman at work.

So that sums up the weekend, other than I ran out of canned kitten food, not that Forest is starving as he caught 1 vole, 1 small snake and 1 cute little field mouse this week. The rodents, he ate. The snake, he left. Thanks. Let me send an email: THANKS.

But I had these two large boxes, larger than my promiscuous college roommate’s, of kitten food on the shelf, and I just kept reaching in there for a can like it would last forever, like they were Everlasting Gobstoppers, and one day one box was empty, so I reached in the other and it had one can.

So I dashed over to Chewy, who might as well name themselves Juney, and ordered more cans TOOTSWEET, but they have yet to arrive because see above re everyone getting boxes. So this morning, for the first time since he got here in August, Forest found himself sans cans.

He has DRY food. He’s not STARVING. But oh, is he annoyed. I swear his FUR is drooping. He’s walking around with his head low. And every time I get up, he dashes to his bowl like I finally remembered. Like as soon as I put a can in his bowl he’s gonna email me, “thangsz!”

My ex-best-friend and I used to talk on the phone maybe 20 hours a day, and her husband, her now-ex-husband, who by the way I miss and who knew? Anyway, he would do this thing where he’d walk into the room she was in and half open his mouth and raise his eyebrows as if he were about to say something but got frozen in time by Endora on Bewitched. This was his not at all manipulative way of letting her know he wanted to say something to his wife who was on the phone 20 hours a day.

Anyway, that’s Forest right now. Any time I move, he’s got his insistent face on.

I feel TERRIBLE about this and as soon as his cans arrive I will plop one in a bowl whether it’s a mealtime or not.

Poor canless Joe Jackson.

Anyway I guess I’d better “go to work,” which means sitting here waiting for work. But in my good green chair. Which might be from Ned or maybe Ned and some other person at the same time.

Sensibly,
June

Boynton lizard

Honestly, I try not to get too attached to any of you because you are barn cats.

When I used to go visit the farm where my stepfather grew up, I’d be all into the cows and the chickens and the barn cats, saying hello to all of them and so forth. Then the next day I’d be all, “Hey, where’s that little orange kitty?”

“Cow sat on him.”

That’s how you guys are. I mean, you have the ability to just come and go. It’s the internet. It’s ethereal. I don’t know where you live. I don’t know what you look like, most of the time. If Paula H&B knocked on my door, I’d be all giving her a cool “Yes?” from behind my Ring app. I wouldn’t even go to the door.

It wasn’t like that at first. At first, when I realized someone was reading my blog, I got all friendly, pulled up a chair. There were long, impassioned emails (emails! quaint!) where we’d tell each other our stories, check in daily, ask how that job thing went or did that guy ever call.

Then one woman tried to steal Marvin.

And one woman just ghosted. Oh, that one killed me. I was one Boynton e-card from being someone I didn’t like over that one.

So I cloched myself. You know what I’d really like? Are more cloches. Like, to put a silver reindeer under at Christmas, or something gaudy under any other time of year. But they cost.

I digress, however.

I mean that I kept a bit of a distance between myself and any internet relationships I had, because they aren’t quite real, and because people come and go so quickly here. We’d all be chugging along, leaving comments and posting on Facebook and then someone here would say, “Hey, what’s happened to Framantha?” and I’d be all, “I don’t know. Cow sat on her?”

But despite that, despite being a gaudy reindeer under a cloche, sometimes I got attached to people anyway. Cheech was one of those people. And I didn’t even realize I had gotten attached. She’s just been here forever, day after day. I’ve come to count on her leaving a comment, or saying something on (Face)Book of June. Face the Nation of June. Fleecebook of June.

I digress, however.

She was as regular to me as the clouds or a mug of coffee. I knew she’d be there. She was part of the fabric of my day.

And just like that, barn kitty.

I dreamed of her all night. In one dream, she was fading away and waving at me. I know I had that dream because I was working on my end-of-year video till rather late, the one I tried to show you last night. When I export the video to my desktop it stutters and won’t dissolve from one photo to the next. It gets stuck. I’ve tried a million things to fix it and it won’t work. I have to call Apple Care, and while I cannot predict the future, signs point to Edsel being a letter U while I speak tersely on the phone later today.

Anyway, I’m sorry I don’t have my video ready for you but it really does get stuck on one picture for like 15 seconds. It’s not the end of the year yet so there’s not really a rush. I just said I’d have it and I don’t and what I really want to do is go to my desktop and bring Cheech back because she was a delight.

I’ll be here under my glass dome.

Love,
June

End of the year in the middle of the month

Today I learned that a longtime reader, Cheech, has died. It seems like she’s been here forever, with her funny comments and her good stories. I was talking with her just last week and all was well in her world. No one seems to know what happened.

The last time we talked, she was busy trying to help a family in need.

So because I’m sad, I did my end-of-year video. You all mean more to me than you know.

P.S. Because it’s 2020, the video turned out all wonky and so I have to redo it. But I stopped working on work things to post this tonight, so I will have to take down the video, work on work, then work on this video and repost in the morning.

June briefly loses it; rallies

The boy cats and I are having a bit of a standoff. It’s terrible outside: It’s like 29 degrees or something, and there is freezing rain. Usually, they dash to their dishes for breakfast, then dash to the door to go outside, like they have to catch the A-train or something.

Today I opened the door, and Edsel ran outside, did his business—which involves many high-stakes dealings with heads of major conglomerations—and dashed back in with his newspaper under his arm. The girl cats didn’t even consider going out, but the boy cats stood in the threshold. Only those of you who HAVE cats know from the annoying “stand in the threshold” stance, while you stand there holding the door like you should be wearing a jaunty doorman cap.

Then they decided, nah.

After I shut the door, Forest and Milhous seemed to reconsider. They both hovered around said door, unsure.

“Meep!” said Forest, which seems to be his one expressed thought.

“You guys are insane,” I said. I opened the door again.

They tentatively took steps outside. “You want back in?” I asked.

“We good,” said Milhous.

“Meep!” said Forest.

And when I left them, they were crouched—crouched!!—in the freezing rain, refusing to give up. Hang on and let me see if they’ll come in now.

Jerks. Then they were all, “feel free to dry our furrr. it so raynneee.”

So, all that’s happened. I wish it would just SNOW. I keep asking my Google machine if it’s going to snow and she keeps very smugly saying, “No. There is no snow in Greensboro this week.” Oh, shut up. Can’t you throw me a bone? I’ve been in this house for 9 months. I need some fun. Give me a little percip, would ya? And not fekking boring freezing rain.

Normally at this time of year I’d at least have my work party and then my smaller team party, which is held somewhere cool downtown. Last year we had it at this cool old building where they sell weird eyeglasses now. At the front they had a person sketch you as an animal and at the back a guy wrote a poem about you. In the middle were snacks. It was all you need in a party, really.

This year I’m chatting with cats and hoping for percip. Don’t you wish I’d stop calling it “percip”?

Maybe I need a new hobby beyond cats and old romance magazines. What should my new hobby be? No one mention crafts or sports or games. That leaves a wide array of choices, does it not?

In other news, today I read that even after you get your coronavirus vaccine, you still should not travel or go out without a mask.

I think this is really about the time I might start to crack. Are you fucking kidding me?

Look. I’ve done this hard thing. Not to be smug, but I think I’ve done it pretty thoroughly. I’ve stuck to it pretty hard all year. I will wait my turn, till regular folk can get vaccinated. I will sit here in this 999-square-foot house till summer, if that’s how long it takes. That will mean I will have been here alone in my house, almost never leaving, for about 18 months. I have put gas in my car once since February, and that was really only because I had to drive Iris to Chapel Hill for her procedure.

But now you’re saying that even after all that, even after you told me in March oh, you just have to do this a few weeks. Then, oh, maybe a few months. Oh, wait, fall is gonna be really bad. Oh, don’t have Thanksgiving with people.

I mean, I did all that because I am not a nuttenheimer who thinks this is all made up, or that the government is trying to get us, which, why are people so weird?

It’s an illness that swept the world and we are doing our best.

Well, no. We did not do our best.

But I think scientists did their best with what they had to work with and with our blatant noncompliance. I did what scientists told me to do as they struggled with all that.

They told me maybe a vaccine in October. No. Maybe the end of the year. OK; it’s here but you won’t get it for awhile. OK; you won’t get it till next summer, probably.

OK. I will do ALL OF THIS WAITING.

But now you’re telling me AFTER ALL THAT, after I do ALL THAT, I STILL CANNOT GO ANYWHERE even after I get a vaccine? Which by the way isn’t one but one, then wait, then another? Even after all that, I STILL HAVE TO WAIT?

No.

NO!

STOP MOVING THE GOAL.

Everyone else got fed up way before I did, it feels like. Everyone else is cutting a corner here, meeting up with people there. Oh, we went to a restaurant but there were hardly any people. Oh, we went for a mountain weekend but we all got tested, mostly.

I have FOLLOWED THE RULES 100%. I will wait for my damn vaccine. I will wait for the stupid FOLLOW-UP vaccine. Then that’s it. That’s all you get. Go fuck your own self. After that, I’m going about my life. Which I just sat out on for at least a year and it’s looking like a year and a half.

I did not know I was going to just crack like that just now but there it is. Honestly it’s like a study in how far people can be pushed, this thing. And I am and have always been a rule follower. I find rebels to be not brave or inspirational; I find them to be assholes. So, I sat here and followed the rules. But reading that last thing just sort of pushed me over the edge, man.

Anyway, so I need a hobby. Looks like I’ll be here awhile longer.

On the edge and anthropomorphizing my pets,
June

14

Fourteen years ago today, I began nkogging—

nkogging. Ding DANG it. That’s the Eskimo word for it. There are several Eskimo words for it.

Blogging. I began BLOGGING. I am not at all eating Christmas cookies with one hand and typing (nkogging) with the other. Later I’ll share how to lose inches off your hips and yeah no I won’t.

Is “Eskimo” racist now?

Anyway, 14 years ago today I began nkogging, and all those 14 years culminated in me driving myself berserk last night.

As you know, from your years of sitting over there adding inches to your hips (there are several Eskimo words for your widening hips) at the end of each year I do a little wrap-up video, a veeeedeo, as my grandmother would pronounce it.

For delightful 2020, I thought of just showing “January” and then me living my life normally. “February” and then me recovering from surgery. Did you know I had surgery? Then from “March” to “December,” just photos of my living room.

I adored myself for this, and strummed love songs for self on my guitar. I gazed at self in mirror like I was Jodie Foster as Nell. “Chick-o-pay.” “Nkogging.”

But then I saw I had some really very cute photos of LIFE INSIDE THIS HOUSE, so I decided to make a traditional veeeeedeo anyway. After culling and Edward Cullen-ing all my photos, I gathered them together to hear the Lord’s blessing and then I had to decide what music to use for my masterpiece that any idiot with a Mac and cheesy taste could make.

And that was when I discovered I have added no new music this year. None. Not one song. I think it’s because I’ve spent the whole year going, “You’re kidding” and also “Chick-o-Pay.”

Remember Chick-O-Sticks? Those were good.

Look! It would appear that not only do Chick-O-Sticks still exist, you can buy them by the box! Later I’ll show you how to lose inches from your — yeah no, I won’t.

So I asked all y’all all on Facebook yesterday if you knew any good songs I could put on my end-of-year video and you had really pretty songs and I tried some of them but they didn’t go, “Yeah, HELL YEAH,” when I played them with my riveting 48 pictures of Lily.

So I looked around and somehow stumbled on this.

Oh my shattered ass, I just loved it. I looked at the lyrics in English to make sure they didn’t say, I love eating cats or anything. Yay, I found my song! My 2020 song!

So I downloaded it on my phone, plugged my ding-dang phone into my ding-dang laptop, and?

Wouldn’t sync.

I mean, ANY OTHER TIME, my phone and desktop sync, no problem. This time? I had a problem. It wouldn’t sync so hard that I had to call Apple Care, and that never ends in happy for me.

The woman at Apple Care was a lovely person, but we couldn’t sync and she had to get her supervisor but you know what? We finally got that damn song to sync. To le sync. And just as we were about to hang up, I said, “Hang on.”

Because there in my slide show, I could finally SEE the song, but it was grayed out. I could SEE the song but I could not USE the song. I could use ANY OTHER SONG from ANY OTHER TIME I had ever downloaded songs but not that one.

Let me tell you what.

I ended up talking to her supervisor, then I ended up talking to iTunes, then Apple Music or something, then everyone’s supervisor, then Bill Gates, then the inventor of the internet, then the inventor of computers, then the inventor of music, then that inventor’s supervisor, and at

EIGHT P.M., I finally said, “I am exhausted and wish to quit for today.”

They gave me a case number and we hung up.

The best part of this is, for most of the time they had to share my screen. “Ope, you’re on Do Not Disturb,” the first guy told me. Normally, the top-right corner of my screen tells me when anyone IMs me or texts me or calls me or thinks fondly of me or reads my nkog or eats a Chick-O-Stick. I turned off Do Not Disturb. “You’ll see why I have it set to that,” I said.

Five minutes later, he was all, “Holy crow, you weren’t kidding!”

Are the rest of your lives like this? Do you get texts and instant messages almost every minute all day every day? If so, do you wonder if other people have, you know, jobs and responsibilities or do they just send messages all the time or what? What’s going on in the world?

Anyway, (I swear to all that is holy and merciful I JUST GOT A TEXT just now at 8:25 a.m.) I give up on that song. And now it’s the ONLY SONG I WANT. And no matter how good my veeeedeo is I will hate it because I can’t have that song.

So that wraps that up (I swear to all that is holy and merciful I JUST GOT ANOTHER TEXT)

(I JUST GOT ANOTHER ONE)

So that wraps up (STOP TEXTING MEEEEEEEE)

So that wraps up the saga of my end-of-year veeeedeo and you will see it at the end of the year and be sure to text or IM me about it.

Love,
JUUUUUUUN

2020 and the luxury toothbrush

If you’re a migraine person you might feel me: Often you get them AFTER something. After an interview, or a party, or a holiday. After the late gig.

Anyway. Despite having not a very stressful week, I woke up Saturday with just a hint of a migraine, just a whiff of one. The way you can smell snow before it gets there.

“GodDAMMIT,” I said, throwing the bedclothes back. Well, THIS will be a fun weekend. I did all my cleaning things with it lurking there. I read my romance magazines while it stabbed at me just a bit more as the day went by.

The migraine doctor has me take nothing right now. Well, that’s not true. He has me take this phony muscle relaxer, which I do have to admit sort of blunts the pain somehow, but I am only allowed to take it twice a week. Fortunately I am now getting migraines every 8 days so it’s not been a problem but I can’t KNOW that when I first get one, so I put off the taking of the relaxer till I really need it.

All I was living for Saturday was 8:00, when the Bee Gees documentary was going to be on HBO. I don’t HAVE HBO, and people are very helplessly saying the same thing on the internet and it sort of drives me berserk when people don’t—god helps those who help themselves, you know. That’s what my gym teacher said to me in high school and that’s what I say to the “But I don’t HAVVVVVE HBO” people.

I also feel this purse-lipped about people who think the phrase “all of a sudden” is “all the sudden.”

You can TRY HBO for a WEEK for FREE. And that is what I am doing now, and who want to bet I will be hooked and end up paying $15 a month for HBO, hmmm? It’s how they gitchya.

By the time 8:00 rolled around, I had an entire migraine going. I bought this ice crown online some time ago, so I wore that, to sort of put pressure on my head and also, you know, ice it.

The documentary was good, although I already knew 89% of it. If you’re a real Bee Gees aficionado you’ll recognize a lot of the footage and some of the interviews, but what can you do? Three of the four are dead (if you include Andy).

But it was still good, and I still learned some new things, and the end killed me, so at 10:00 I took my head to bed.

I woke up Sunday with a raging migraine.

“GodDAMMIT,” I said, throwing the blankets back. I had nausea now, too. I stumbled to the bathroom, because also dizzy, and I grabbed my bonus toothbrush.

We’d gotten Christmas bonuses at work, and I was excited to get one. The day they were to come, my toothbrush fell off the shelf and into the toilet, so I had to spend my bonus money—yes, all of it—on a new toothbrush.

I told this story on (Face)Book of June and I have two things to say.

First of all, oh my god. Would you really drop your toothbrush in the toilet, then “just rinse it off” and use it again? Really? And it wouldn’t make you totally sick just thinking of that every time you brushed your teeth? In a million years I could never get over that. I guess it’s like how I saw the shed snakeskin in my shed, and say shed more often, and now I can’t enjoy my shed. Maybe the snake took the word “shed” literally.

Honestly I’ve thought of having the whole thing torn down. I won’t, because where would I store my crap like my Christmas decorations and shovel, but I can’t have any fun in there anymore. Even in winter, I’m all, “This place is crawling with snakes.”

That’s how I’d be about that toilet toothbrush.

Also, my toothbrush is high dollar. For YEARS, every time I went to the dentist, they’d ask me, “And do you floss?” Oh, that rankled, as I have floss next to the couch and next to the bed and in my makeup drawer. I floss alla goddamn time. I’m Flossy, Mopsy and Cottontail’s sister.

Also, every time I went to the dentist, which I haven’t done all year, they’d find something wrong. This tooth needs a filling, this gum has receded, this whatever needs whatever. And when they did that thing where they stick that pointy thing in your gums and say, “Three, four, three”? They were SUPPOSED to be saying, “One, two, one.”

So I asked what I could do and they recommended this Sonicare toothbrush and so I got it and I’M LYIN’ I’M DYIN’, they have never asked if I floss ever since and also too I no longer get threes and fours in that gum reading and I haven’t had things like GUM SURGERY in decades now.

Prior to that, I had been using $30 electric toothbrushes you get at the CVS.

So that is why I spent all my bonus money on a replacement toothbrush, which I was staring at as I fought off nausea yesterday morning as my head throbbed and my body wavered with dizziness.

And as all that was happening, I tried not to cry because crying makes migraines worse. But for some reason, in my head I heard,

“I’m Barbara Walters. And THIS is 2020.”

And then I giggled. It sure is. Fekking 2020.

Construction-Paper Christmas

Somehow yesterday I was reminded of a Christmas past—but not a Christmas PSAT because that would be boring—that I am now going to tell you about, so put your ’80s hats on.

I dropped out of college a billion times. I criticize myself for this flakiness a lot until I read my college-era diaries, when it all comes back to me how

FEKKING CRIPPLED

I was by anxiety and panic attacks that I was not telling anyone about except my beleaguered boyfriend du jour, who did his best but he was 19 and I feel bad for him and he’s one of two boyfriends I am not in touch with out of the 60343834223442. And can you blame him? I sort of can, because it was almost 40 years ago, and get over it, dude. Check in and see if maybe things have gotten better for me, asshole. Yeesh.

I will always want to know how my exes are doing, even the ones who turned out sort of wonky. I don’t understand people who are still harboring resentment decades later. bUt shE haD anXIEty! Yeah, I did. I’m 55 now. You lost your virginity to me. There’s no, like, curiosity about how I’m doing or if I look good or am I a bag lady muttering to herself or anything?

Anyway, this story has little to do with men or exes, so I digress. Can you even digress if you’ve not started the story yet?

Christmas 1985, I had dropped out of Michigan State, as I was wont to do. Honestly, having secret almost-daily panic attacks and trying to attend a large college is taxing and I just need you to believe me on this. I can elaborate on it in a different post if you wish.

I’d gotten back together with my high school boyfriend, Cardinal. I moved back to my home town and got an apartment that was so adorable, just blocks from where he lived. I don’t recall discussing with whether he wanted me to move back home blocks from him, but I did and that’s what mattered.

The apartment was the top of an old house. It had a front and a back entrance and I always entered through the back door and didn’t realize I had like a month’s worth of mail, including bills, piling up in the front hall. was 20, did I mention?

Anyway. I found these blue, red and yellow-flowered curtains for the kitchen and then as luck would have it, I found the SAME PATTERN in a shower curtain. Oh, man, I was stylin’.

The living room had these double doors and behind them was a Murphy bed! Also there was a walk-in cedar closet that had this built-in bench you could sit on. I had a party there once and someone looked in the closet and found my calendar where I’d written each day’s outfit so I wouldn’t repeat my looks too soon.

I got two jobs: as a cocktail waitress at a club and selling shoes by day. I owned a lot of unnecessary shoes. I was too young to drink so I didn’t spend much at my night job.

To furnish my new pad, I went to the world’s most successful garage sale experience. It was in a nice neighborhood, and the older couple having it was moving to Florida. I purchased their really nice couch for I think $35, a couch MY AUNT KATHY STILL OWNS. She’s had it recovered like three times. Every time I see it, I say, dammit. Kind of like Faithful Reader Andrea when she sees Forest.

I also bought this forest, if you’ll forgive, green cardigan, this old-man cardigan. It was a v-neck, sort of fuzzy, and it buttoned, as it was a cardigan. I think it was 50 cents.

I WORE THAT CARDIGAN FOR 20 YEARS.

There are times I peruse my closet—or there were, back when I put on clothes—and I’d think, “I wish I had that cardigan.” I wore it backwards sometimes, to be cute. When the buttons all fell off, I wore it with lacy tanks. I wore that cardigan probably longer than the original owner lived.

My point is this. I moved into that cute apartment in the fall. I made probably $15,000 a year with my two impressive jobs. Then winter came and Christmas arrived.

I didn’t have much money, but my boyfriend Cardinal and I headed to the Christmas tree lot across from the movie theater. You know how I’ve told you when I was a kid we lived walking distance from a movie theater so in the summer I saw The Sting and Rocky like 20 times apiece for a dollar? That theater.

We got a fairly short tree, because $$. We brought it to my cute apartment and set it up. I think we went to the antique store to get a tree stand. I can sort of envision a really cool old stand.

And here’s the part I remembered yesterday.

After the tree was up, I put my cousins to work.

In 1985, my cousins Katie and Maria were, I think, 8 and 6. You know how I am. They might also have been 18 months and 20 years old. Whatever. They were young. And I don’t recall asking, I just recall retrieving them from their home, getting supplies, and putting them to work.

They sat in my living room with scissors and glue, and made me all my ornaments. My whole tree was covered in construction paper and tinsel. I don’t even know if I had any lights.

One thing that sticks out is the star. I recall a very crooked star, just covered in dangling tinsel.

That tree was fekking adorable. And you know what I did? I took zero pictures. I took zero pictures of that apartment at all, I think. I had an old parasol open, hanging in one corner, over a cool old fishbowl with a blue beta fish in it. I had a vintage cookie jar that looked like a big elf head. I had stuff in there I bet I’ve forgotten all about, and is any of it captured on film? It is not.

So yesterday I texted my cousins.

Neither of them remember this, and that is good, because I’ll bet you I made them work for hours and did not give them any snacks or anything.

“I do remember that apartment,” my cousin Katie wrote me. “I wanted to have one just like it when I got older.”

I mean. That apartment was pretty cool. I don’t know if just everyone achieves the matching kitchen curtain/shower curtain thing.

Anyway, that was yesterday’s memory. Of my crooked-star, construction-paper tree in 1985. How come the nicest memories are of things you didn’t pay much for? And that you used child labor to get?

I wonder if I could get Chris and Lilly’s kids to just do shit for me. I must ponder this.

Hansel and Gretel-ly,
June

#s

It is Monday morning, but you knew that. I am in my kitchen, at my round breakfast table, writing to you atop my grandmother’s Christmas tablecloth.

Gramma didn’t go in for subtle when it came to Christmas. She wasn’t all, “Oh, I’ll just place this pine branch across a white tablecloth and call it a day.” No.

Don’t you hate it when people pronounce it “acrosst”?

Anyway, it’s Monday, which I mentioned. I had a ridiculous morning in which everything took longer than I wanted it to, and just as I was getting ready to write you, and also rite you, with my communion and my oils, I got a text from my trainer, fmr., who is chipper in the a.m. By 8 a.m. she has been up three and a half hours and has already gotten in 10,000 steps and worked with at least two clients.

GOOD MORNING! [happy emoji of some sort]. OK if I get my equipment today!!?!?! [sunny cheerful embrace life active emojis that enjoy kale] [is there even a kale emoji? because she may have used that]

I’m all, wait, wut? Who is this? What…is this still 2020? Who am I?

Anyway, I had to lug the exercise ball, the 8-pound weights, the 3-pound weights, the resistance band, the OTHER resistance band holding its fist in the air and the…well I guess that was it. But I had to lug it all to the porch. That was today’s workout.

…OH MY GOD WHAT’S WITH THIS COFFEE?

I’ve been taking that anti-seizure medication for four weeks now, and I think it’s messing with my sense of taste. I can TASTE things, COVID police, they just taste wrong. Like, I made ground turkey the other day and it tasted like bug spray. This coffee I’m supposed to be giving up anyway tastes like … hang on…

Maybe it’s because I have my violet lip balm on. It just tastes off. It would be virtually impossible to have the COVID as I go nowhere and do nothing, although I did see the Lottie Blancos this weekend for about 10 minutes, outdoors at a distance with our masks on. Maybe I got cursed with the COVID then. That would be just my fekking luck while the rest of you go off on girls weekends unscathed.

This would have been the weekend that the L Blancos would have had their Christmas party, so because they couldn’t have it, they made little gift bags and went to each guest’s house and dropped off a bag really fast. In my bag was dark chocolate, and homemade poppy seed cake with this glaze on it that is delicious, and pretty much I have torn through my gift bag and please note the juxtaposition between the trainer and my Lottie Blanco gift bag.

I am enormous, have I mentioned? It’s absurd. All I do is lie around and read romance magazines from bygone eras and grow large. And is that so bad, given we are in a plague? Probably. Because see above re huge. I forget being huge is also bad for one’s health.

In other news, I tried to start making my end-of-year video this weekend. First of all, I have literally added no new songs to my music this year. NONE! Now, romance magazines from bygone eras. THOSE I’ve added. Cats? Added! Pounds! Brought those on board!

So then I tried to look at songs I already own, to find a song that says, yes, this sums up our current situation, but it seemed so obvious to have, like,

So I’m still playing with songs. I finally just went down my list and waited till a song delighted me and the only song that did was the Pixies’ Where Is My Mind. Which has nothing to do with anything; I just like it.

John Lennon needed to get over himself. There’s nothing worse than a youngish man anyway–men that age are so certain they know everything. Then be the most famous man of your era and be kind of an asshole anyway, and you get John Lennon. Carrying on about how he was abandoned while abandoning his son. It rankles.

That said, I have high hopes that he’d have realized all this had he had a chance to age. He had good person potential.

Also, I just have one more thing to say. If you’re on Facebook of June, we have a little thing going on where we’re posing with our Christmas trees, based on this series of old snapshots someone found of middle-aged midcentury women posing with their trees.

I thought I’d saved some of those to my desktop but it appears I did not. I did, however, save a bunch of midcentury women in furs, such as this gem, and everything about this photo delights me other than thinking of the poor animal. Still.

Anyway, I took my OWN photo with my “Christmas tree,” which is really a foot-tall feather tree that Wedding Alex gave me. I keep getting her leftover feminine Xmas decorations that her husband eschews.

As time marches on and I see more comments re my festive holiday photo, I am realizing people do not realize I AM WEARING A DRESS. What the eff do you think I’m wearing? My festive holly t-shirt?

It’s a dress I ordered offa the internet last year, for my work Christmas party. It was like $6 and came from China and it’s practically see-through so I didn’t wear it. But I also put this photo on Instagram and people are all, “That’s a DRESS?” and I just can’t figure out what the hell else it could be.

In summation, yes. It’s a dress. I also tossed it, as not only is it see-through, it doesn’t even fit, because all I do is lie around and read romance magazines from bygone eras and eat literal pound cake.

We need to bring back the long-form romance magazine. If I have the attention span for them, others do too. I like them not because reading romance interests me that much. It’s part of my obsession with reading about the everyday of bygone eras, a thing that began with Laura Ingalls Wilder, got further enhanced by my 1940s photographs of Norma and Vern, and is probably why I keep blogging even though everyone else went on to, I don’t know. What does everyone else do now? They tick and tock or whatever.

I just love reading about how someone gets a letter saying, “My secretary quit. Would you like to be my secretary now?” Or how they have coffee after dinner. Or how they’re delighted to have a “cute two-room apartment.” That’s the stuff that rivets me. I never care that Brett huskily tells Mona how beautiful she is. We all know Brett’s gonna fuck up somehow.

I gotta go. I knew it’d be quiet at first, as everyone has to do whatever it is they do first at work before stuff gets to me, but now there are messages coming to me asking if I can, you know, copy edit stuff and I said yes. She said yes! He went to Jared! He went to copy edit!

Love,
June