Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Oh, He's a Big Bear

I watched Grizzly Man recently, Werner Herzog's film about Tim Treadwell, who was, well, eaten by bears. I was very touched by the film and Werner made me cry.

Well, this spoof of it made me cry too, but only because I was laughing so hard. It is one of the funniest things I have seen in a long, long time. It's also kind of terrible. And hilarious.

(You may have to wait a bit for the video to load; be patient, it's so worth it.)

Monday, February 27, 2006

NYC: The Highlight Reel

I just now feel like I am recovering from my NYC trip, after dining on a nice big salad last night and taking a swell half-nap this afternoon. I present to you, sweet readers, the highlight reel:

  • Digs: We stayed 2 doors down from the theater that's playing Hairspray and could see the Winter Garden sign (where Cats played) from the windows of the teeny (think 280 square feet) but very Zen 22nd-floor studio. It was really cool to be up that high, and great for peering into other peoples' windows.
  • Ride: Took the sweet, sweet MetroNorth from Poughkeepsie. It was a wee bit slow but on the way back as we were riding along the choppy green Hudson and eating sandwiches made from crusty French bread, fresh mozzerella cheese, and really good salami, I sort of felt like we were in Italy, even though I've never been there.
  • Eats: Had a delicious, filling-yet-light GIANT bowl of ramen noodles at a little place near the apartment that was filled almost entirely with Asian people. Lots of nibbly bits of deliciousness were floating in the broth.
  • Had a delightful post-Frick salad at a basement tea shop. Tried the French vervain tea. Was like sipping at lemony springtime.
  • Dined Saturday evening at one of PBS chef Lydia Bastianich's restaurants. JoyceFrances had the pasta special -- all you can eat of three homemade ones, including mushroom ravioli, while I had frutti di mare, with some white polenta. It hit the spot. But what really made my mouth sing was dessert, a sampler of some sort of divine chocolate mousse-y pie thing, some custard, and the best g-d ricotta cheesecake that I have ever eaten.
  • Celebrity sightings: Apparently Bobby Flay was behind the open kitchen counter at his Bar Americain, where JoyceFrances had a drink and I had some chamomile tea and some pretty awesome creme brulee, but I think I need new glasses because all I could make out was a Bobby-Flay-shaped blob with Bobby-Flay-esqe hair.
  • Culcha: Saw the Goya exhibit at the Frick (and toured the Frick, too). I preferred Goya's doodles to his portraits, whilst the main museum had some lovely John Singer Sargents and Vermeers and some huge, beautiful windows with brass hardware. If only living in such a place didn't require being anorexically thin and accepting that your husband will start f-ing the maid three years into your marriage.
  • Non-food-related-yet-still-tasty nibbly bit 1: Went to dinner Saturday night in my four-inch heels, circle skirt, breasteses-flattering top, with leather jacket, fuzzy blue hat, and stripey scarf to keep warm. Was super windy and skirt kept blowing up. Elicited grins from several people on street and one woman in restaurant. Thought "Yes! I have achieved wry, sweet, sexy-wacky SITC look. Got back to apartment after dinner, looked into wall of mirrors in front of elevator, and realized I just looked crazy.
  • NB 2: Was rapped at on the street by some boy holding up a wall. Don't remember rap exactly but it involved "I need to get myself a mamma in a green hat."
  • NB 3: Was approached and subsequently hugged by stranger who was on a scavenger hunt. Am hoping that she really did need a picture of her "Hugging a stranger" as opposed to a picture of her "Hugging one of the wack jobs in Washington Square Park."
  • NB 4: Also in WSP, visited two doggie runs, one for large doggies, which smelled horribly of pee, and one for small doggies, which didn't. Some of the small doggies came over to visit me and most were wearing swell outfits.
  • NB 5: Overheard this snatch of cell-phone convo in WSP, where JoyceFrances and I sat for quite some time, just people-watching: "I bought two ape heads from a Hollywood studio, one for me and one for Ian."

All-in-all it was a great trip, although quite exhausting. There's a lot of stimulation in NYC, and we were staying in the stimulating-est part of it. There's no way I could live there as I was beyond pooped after being there only from about 6 on Friday night until 1 on Sunday after noon. But I would go back to visit again.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hee hee

Fresh from yoga class where I asked about what the Astanga class was (I was in intermediate), I googled "primary series" and found this. It made me giggle.



So I'm at the gym this morning doing my usual circuit training when I look into one of the maaaaaaaany mirrors they have at my gym, even in the woman's section, and see a pair of bulging biceps connected to some rather large shoulder muscles. They look a wee bit manly. What are they doing in the women's section of the gym?

Oh, riiiiiiiiiiight. They're my ginormous man-arms. Which match perfectly with my ginormous man-legs. I have gotten up to 45 pounds on the bicep curl machine. I thought you were supposed to just keep adding weights because eventually the weights would stop working and you would revert to flab but oh no, instead what happens is that you turn into Arnold Schwarzeneggerina. I do understand the basic principles of weightlifting -- I just didn't realize my body would react in such a grapefruit-like (okay, more like orange-like) fashion, and seemingly overnight.

Wish though I might for the slender and delicate frame of a genteel lady, I have instead the build of a strapping, potato-eating peasant farmer, and I am learning to love it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Big City

So to calm my anxieties over working I started packing for my weekend trip. I leave Friday to drive to Rotter-DAMN! to meet JoyceFrances, then we drive together to Poughkeepsie to get the train to NEW YORK SIT-EH! I have only ever been there twice in my life, which is a wee bit embarrassing.

And let me tell you, I am excited to put together outfits, and also a little anxious. I loved all the wacky stuff SJP wore on SITC and I am thrilled to go to the C and wear wacky outfits on my own. I have packed my tan and green embroidered circle skirt with tight black puckered-shoulder top, my tube top with the sparkly banding, my best jeans, and some four-inch spike heels. Also my orange leather jacket because even though it's going to be in the thirties, I don't know that I can be seen in my winter coat. It's just not cool enough.

As JoyceFrances and I are both low on funds, we intend to do a lot of people watching. We're also staying in Manhattan proper, which thrills me to no end. God, I am such a dork. And God, I am going to have such a fabulous frickin' time.



So I've been trying to do this freelance writing thing and I'm realizing I've really been going by the seat of my pants and that I am learning as I go and that there is a lot I don't know. I had a gentleman call me today who wanted me to rewrite his Web site, which I can do, and also write an employee handbook and some contracts, which I have never done before, and which I always thought an attorney should handle. So I told him I could do a, and would be happy to tackle b and c, but that he needed to call his attorney first.

And I wonder to myself, how does one get an attorney? I mean, my aunt is one so I suppose if I ever needed one myself I could go to her, and one of my mother's cousins sits on the state supreme court, but when I think about "contact your attorney" I think about television shows, and not real life.

Sometimes I wig myself out when I look at my own resume and see the fancy-pants places I've worked for. Is this really me doing this work? Am I that smart? Or is it that they, as in the they that employed me, aren't as all-out wonderful as I thought they were.

I guess what I am starting to experience is being treated as someone who is experienced, who Knows What She Is Doing. It's exciting and frightening because hey, I've done the work, but I also like fart jokes. So there's a dichotomy there.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bawk bawk bawk ba-cawk

To: McPolack
From: Chickenfucker
Subject: Hello

Hi McPolack. I was wondering -- how are you? Chickenfucker

Yes, chickenfucker (bawk bawk!) has now contacted me. (Some months back he contacted my friend Contagious.)

Interestingly enough, in my coaching session this week we have reached the place where I take actions to resolve old issues that are keeping me from moving forward.

Not sure whether I am going to write back or not or what I'll say. I am going to meditate on this and let go of any residual feelings I have on/for/about him. I had a dream last night that my mother bought a vacation house that slept 23 children on the top floor and had a publishing house on the bottom floor and in the basement that printed books in the public domain because their copyrights had expired. The house was on a lake and was sort of leaning into it, scarily, in places. In the dream, chickenfucker and I were together -- he had his arm around me and was with me as I moved through the house until I realized that, hey, what are you still doing here? And in my dream I brought him up to the top floor where the 23 beds for children were and told him that I didn't want to see him anymore and he just left, and, justlikethat, I was free of him.


Friday, February 17, 2006


So I'm sitting on the couch at my German friend's new condo last night. L and I helped she and her boyfriend move and it's the first time I've seen the place set up. It looks great. We've just finished some delish homemade pizza, salad with homemade vinagrette, and some homemade cookies. L lifts up her shirt and rubs her belly and says "I've got the biggest belly ever."I then lift my shirt and rub my belly and say "Oh, no I think mine is bigger."Then L looks over and says "Come on. Your belly isn't that big."I then pop the rest of my belly out from my jeans. L's eyes widen as she says "I guess you win."



As I was walking the windy streets of Somerville and Cambridge today on my way to the gym I began thinking about my own personal list of dealbreakers, those things that would make me run screaming in another direction should they appear in a potential suitor.

We'll get the obvious out of the way first: No abusers, no unrecovered addicts, no smokers (sorry, boys, but I can't be around the cigs), no morbidly obese fellows and nobody too old (39 and up) or too young (under 27). No adulterers. Also (of course) no bigots or homophobes. Oh, and no axe murders. Definitely none of those.

And now for the good stuff:

1. No wearers of sunglasses on cloudy days
2. No serial-killer glasses
3. No Transitions lenses. Ugh!
4. No boat shoes without socks
5. No boat shoes with socks
6. No white sneakers
7. No high top sneakers of any kind except Converse
8. The debate is still out on the Air Jesus'
9. No moustaches
10. No soul patches
11. No mutton chops
12. No comb-overs
13. No hair plugs
14. No purposely ill-fitting pants
15. No Iroc-Z drivers
16. No minivan drivers (because they are probably married)
17. No Hummer drivers
18. No Bush supporters
19. No NASCAR lovers
20. No Joey Buttafuoco-pants wearers
21. No pleated pants wearers
22. No pleated shorts wearers
23. No lycra shorts wearers except for hot, hot bicycle riders
24. No assless chaps wearers aaaaaaaaaaand, finally,
25. No nose pickers who eat their findings. Note that nose picking alone will not disqualify you! I'm not that picky.


Thursday, February 16, 2006


So. I'm feeling crappy today. I just am. I'm blue. I'm questioning myself: What is the matter with me that I can't hold down a job? I'm 32. Last night I was at a party attended by 2 married couples and 2 successful gay couples, all homeowners. What do I have? A dwindling bank account. A secondhand futon I got for free from people I met at a party that I have to continually wack with a hammer to keep it together. What don't I have? Health insurance. Dental insurance. A man. A job. (I do have a wonderful kitty)

So, as I try desperately to pull myself up from the muck, searching my mind for ways to just move through this awful feeling, I think, Aha!, I will call the Babcia (my 89 year old Polish grandma, for those not in the know). She will cheer me up and I will cheer her up at the same time.

Except for that when I call her she's busy. What? How could she be busy? She lives alone and watches the tube and reads books all day, and occasionally rolls pennies into tubes. But the visiting nurses were there (they come every week) taking her vitals and so I am going to have to call her back.



Wednesday, February 15, 2006


So when McMumsy came to visit last week and L was over and we were having dinner, she started reminiscing about when her three darling children, myself included, were born.

"You were all fat," she said. "Fat, fat, fat. And Littlebrother, my lord." My little brother, who is now maybe 6'3" and all muscle was just a ginormous little boy, with a big potato for a head and a bag of them for a body. His nickname was Friar Tuck. Mine was porkchop; luckily, my parents stopped calling me that in enough time so that I don't answer to Shake and Bake commercials. McMumsy did admit that she most likely caused my eating disorder because she was constantly battling with her own mother over what I should be fed (Grammy tended towards ice cream and hermit cookies, McMumsy towards apples and sugar-free cereal) and was freaked out that fat kids equaled fat adults.

My favorite McMumsy quote of the evening, however, would have to be this one: When Dr. Moo was born, at a healthy 9lbs 6oz, she told me she complained to my Aunt P: "Oh, great. Now they're coming out fat!"

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It's a big week for birthdays in McPolack land. On Monday it was my Chinese friend L's birthday, and the German friend and I took her out for sushi. I bought her a lovely apron/potholder combo from Anthropologie and baked her a lemon cake with vanilla frosting and lovely pastel girly sprinkles. As I said to L, don't get too excited, it's from a box. But it was tasty.

Tonight it's wee Camellia's very first birthday (well, second if you count the day she was actually born) and I'm going to walk the few miles to my friend's place as it is warm and delightful out, where I will enjoy pizza and the ever-popular ritual of watching baby mash fists into cake and spread it all over her face. I appreciate a girl who likes to get into her dessert and for Camellia (as I noticed when babysitting her that books were in short supply) I have purchased a couple of board books: Harry the Dirty Dog (which is waaaaaaaaay more innocent than it sounds) and an illustrated version of a kid's song I love to sing: Baby Beluga.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Whoopsie #2

So there is a Catholic church at the top of my street and a very popular time to have funerals there is around 10/10:30 in the morning. When I left later (and was slower) on my runs I tended to come upon the funeral as the casket was being pall-beared up the front steps of the church. Now that I'm leaving earlier I tend to miss the funeral all together.

But not today. Today I left at the perfect time to:

1. Round the corner and see four large men in dark suits with sunglasses, striding mafioso-like down the street towards me and walk out into traffic.

2. Watch from the middle of the sidewalk as a shiny black hearse pulled up that same side street I had just come off off.

3. Think to myself "Hmmm. What would be the respectful thing to do here? Should I cross myself? No, that's too Godfather. I'll just bow my head in silent prayer."

4. Whilst bowed in silent prayer, totally miss the fact that, since it snowed like a ton the hearse needs to drive up on the sidewalk (and might always drive up there anyway; I can't remember) and park, essentially, right where I am standing. Finally, a guy who I think is a groundskeeper from the church politely informed me that I needed to move. I apologized and crossed the street.

Just another faux pas to add to my list.


Monday, February 13, 2006

The busy McPolack social calendar

After a weekend visit to hang with OSB and her baby (24 hours in new momma land and my main observation is: OSB's wee girly likes to eat!) and JoyceFrances I've got next weekend free, then it's off to NH, NYC, and VT, respectively, which takes me to mid-March.

Oh, I'm so popular I just (almost) can't stand it.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Even in a blizzard...

...it's probably not the best idea to where one's ski mask into a Store 24. I wore mine for the walk there and then stretched the eyes hole out under my chin when I went inside to buy my papers. (NYTimes for the crossword and the writing; Boston Globe for the Berke Breathed and the coupons.)

In other news, Bally's is closed, g-damnit. I'm a wee bit obsessive about my exercise and I already missed yoga last week. At least there will be plenty of snow to shovel.

And now Sunday stretches before me with nothing to do but ride out the storm (until 4 when I have to shovel, followed by a Moroccan birthday dinner with bellydancing for L at 8). I plan on enjoying it.

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That's what we're having, shortly, if not already -- visibility is at 1/2 mile and falling -- and I was just watching some people in Marblehead standing and watching the harbor, waiting excitedly for high tide, when "the waves crash right over the street" and throw rocks as big as your fist onto the road. There were maybe four or five people on with the newscaster, including a couple of older folks (which will so be me when I am an older person) who drove in from the VT/NH border "just to experience the storm."

I understand that fascination. I remember going out more than ten years ago, after a hurricane brought the Atlantic ocean up over Rte. 1A in NH, with a schoolteacher friend. We parked our car in Portsmouth and walked in because the road was closed. The power of nature and of the ocean always amazes me, as does seeing the sea swallow up civilization.

Of course the flip side of "enjoying" this kind of weather are the truly terrible incidences, like the tsunami, and I think it is important to temper your excitement with the realization that for Mother Nature, at least at times, chaos reigns, and she'd kill you just as soon look at you.


Friday, February 10, 2006


So I live in this upstairs apartment in the back of a house that was chopped up into 3 apartments. And when the doorbell rings I don't answer it unless I know someone is coming, because I can't see who it is. And McMumsy had been using the fire escape to come in, rather than ring the doorbell, and was due in a bit after 4.

Soooo, naturally, when the doorbell rang once, and then again, yesterday afternoon a bit after 4, I did not answer it. I was peering out a window trying to figure out who it could be.

Turns out it was McMumsy, with heavy bags she didn't want to haul up the fire escape, and a bunch of gerbera daisies (one of my favorite flowers, along with the peony) she'd bought for me. She was a little pissed.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

And the hits just keep on coming

"Luscious baby diarrhea. Mmmmm." would be the words out of McMumsy's mouth as she spread cashew butter on her bagel this morning. "At least it's not cat diarrhea. That's what almond butter looks like."

And that, my friends, is four mentions of the d-word in half as many days.



Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Other Other White Meat

I just got back from an afternoon of babysitting, the first I've done in over ten years. I nannied for one summer while living on Martha's Vineyard and had many babysitting jobs before that, but nothing after.

And I'd say my foray back into the realm of wee ones was a success. I sat for a baby girl who will be one in about a week. We'll call her Camellia. She has chubby pink cheeks, blue eyes, and bow lips, and she really took to me when I was at book club at her home a couple of weeks ago, so her mom asked if I would be interested in sitting. And I thought: Why not? It's a win-win situation, as this friend is someone who has done wonderful things for me, so now I can do something for her, plus I get paid, and her stay-at-home husband gets a break to do his creative thing. Honestly I would do this for free and I told her as much and I am still a little uncomfortable with how much I am charging her but -- okay, I'm not going to have diarrhea of the mind here. I just realized this is the second time in 2 posts I've used the d-word. Oh, well. I may as well go right into...

...the fact that I changed my first diaper in more than ten years today, too. Camellia's daddy said she wouldn't need a diaper change, and that she might have a wet diaper, if anything, so I took the poopy smell emanating from the wee one's bottom to be gas. That is until Camellia started giving me this funny look, and bouncing up and down, and then looking at me funny again, followed by more bouncing, and the wheels sloooooooooooowly started to churn in my brain...baby...needs...diaper...changed.

"Do you need your diaper changed?" I asked her. Then I scooped her up and strapped her into her changing table and went to work. It was a poopy one; smelly, too! But relatively firm. Camellia was very cooperative. She watched me while I cleaned her up and velcro-ed (yes, velcro!) her into a new diaper. I couldn't quite figure out the diaper genie but otherwise it went a-okay.

Then we played until she dropped one of her toys on her chubby little feet and she cried and cried, while I bounced her and walked her and stroked her little head. Then she nestled into my neck and fell asleep and I sat with her on the sofa.


So McMumsy arrived this morning for a brief stay at chateau de McPolack. She's taking a class at Lesley, which is one T stop away from me, and the station is right around the corner. She's here until Friday.

One of the first things she did was to use my bathroom. She was in there kind of a long time and when she came out she told me I was out of tp. I told her it was by the toilet. She said there wasn't any there. I told her to look over the catbox. She couldn't find it. I sensed she wanted me to come to her, so I did. I grabbed a couple rolls of tp and went into the loo...

...and heard my mother say "I had diarrhea," followed by mad giggling.


No wonder I'm such a freak. It's because I was raised by wolves. Well-educated wolves who vote their consciences in all presidential and local elections, but wolves all the same.


Monday, February 06, 2006


This time by male mannequin. (Note to mm: You are not lame!)

Four Jobs I've Had

1. Whopper Maker
2. Garment Factory Employee (I spent one summer in college sizing the inseams of thousands of pairs of brown polyester pants. That job is a post all its own.)
3. Big Mac Seller
4. Writer/Editor/Front Desk Girl/Circulation Manager/Newspaper Deliverer/Classified Ad Salesperson/Designer -- believe it or not, this was all at one job, with a small startup weekly paper.)

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over

1. The Shining
2. Jaws (and I especially love this scene )
3. Girls Just Want to Have Fun (The only DVD movie I own.)
4. The Mosquito Coast/The Professional (tie, although it has been awhile since I've watched either)

Four Places I've Lived

1. Chester, NH
2. Winooski Park, Colchester, VT
3. Martha's Vineyard
4. Peterborough, NH

Four TV Shows I Love

1. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
2. Frontline
3. General Hospital (Oh, does it pain me to admit this. But it has been in my life on and off for twenty years. Which is frightening.)
4. MST3K

Four places I've vacationed:

1. Maine
2. Vermont
3. New York
4. Virginia

Four of my favorite dishes:

1. Cheese ravioli with pesto and broccoli
2. Fried egg sandwich on a bagel with butter and cheese. 1 whole egg plus 2 more whites. Yolks not too hard, if you please, and a bit of salt and pepper on the egg. No icky yellow cheese.
3. Bode Miller. Scroll down for the shirtless picture. mmmmmmm, nipples.
4. Anything homemade with love and care.

Four sites I visit daily:

1. NY Times
2. Gawker
3. CNN (sucks but it's good for quick-hit news)
4. Google

Five places I would rather be right now:

I actually think it's good to stay in the now. But if I had my druthers, I'd go with:

1. A warm and cozy home near the woods
2. A warm and cozy home by the sea
3. A warm and cozy bed by Bode Miller
4. Yalta. Okay, kidding. How about New Zealand?
5. A fabulous exclusive island getaway where the sand is white and the water is blue and clean and warm.

Four bloggers I am tagging:

1. Cuarentayuno
2. California Eating
3. Regina Does Academia

ummmm...I don't know any others who haven't done this one already. If Raising 2 Kids in NH reads this blog (I read and enjoy hers but not sure if she visits this one) then I tag her as well.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Not the smartest thing to do first thing in the morning...

I don't know how this got in my head but I was checking my email, sitting with Daphne-Moon in my lap (she likes to put her two front paws on the desk and watch me as I surf), I decided it would be fun to look for doggies, specifically daschsunds, on Petfinder, and who do I find? Francis, who is wearing a neckerchief and who, when he barks at you, likes for to clap your hands and then -- chase him!

Reminder to self: You need a JOB, kid, not a wiener dog.

But, oh, Francis.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

It's Done

I've taken myself off the last of the dating sites. Okay, I'm still on MySpace and there's one boy there I am talking to and meeting soon for coffee but I'm counting him more as a friend. I just haven't had much luck with the Web and I'm tired of it. I dread every date I go on, and it's like catalog shopping for men only there aren't any I want to buy and the ones I do either are bad for me or I can't afford them.

So. To celebrate I hung out with L tonight. She'd seen there was an open house at a cool craftspersons' school in the North End but when we got there it was more like an open walk-in closet. There was one wee room where they were displaying 1 violin, a dozen or so handmade books, three pieces of furniture, and some jewelry in glass cases. We went for a cannoli and a sfgliadelle then walked around some, spending time in Urban Outfitters where they had tshirts from our childhood and were planning DuranDuran but these things were of course marketed to people half our age, and then ate pizza and took a T/bus combo home. L paid for my pastry and pizza. She was a good date. And on a side note to McMumsy if she ever happens to read this: I'm still not gay, mom. None of your kids are gay. Sorry. Maybe one of the grandchildren will be.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

For Better

"No matter how lonely you get or how many birth announcements you receive, the trick is not to get frightened. There's nothing wrong with being alone."

This is a quote from Wendy Wasserstein's play, "Isn't It Romantic." She died this week, young. I remember seeing her name and her play "The Heidi Chronicles" bandied about when I was in high school. I always remembered her name, and the name of the play, although at the time the play came out it didn't apply to me, even remotely.

And even though her plays speak more to women born a generation before me, that quote above speaks to me. As do the choices I have in front of me as a woman now. I don't want to settle. I want to say when I get married, I really do, but it's if. If I get married it is going to be to a great person, the right person for me, and I'm going to be the right person for him. I'm not going to get married for the sake of being married, or just so I can have kids. I don't want it that badly. What I want badly is a good life, and to give of myself to the world the things I am supposed to.

I just got off the phone with OSB; she had her baby girl with her. She was alternately cooing to her, while talking to me. "I wish I had someone to fix you up with. But for better or for worse, everyone's paired off."

It's "for better" that I'm looking for.