Wednesday, May 31, 2006


So. I've only fallen about a hundred dollars short of the amount of money I set out to make this month which isn't so terrible and I keep getting back on the writing wagon every time I fall off. Time and again I read--or hear--from other writers that this is a painful process. David Rakoff likens it to pulling teeth from his, um, peepee. And it is hard. I can get a fair amount of stuff down on paper, and have, but now it's time to shape that stuff. A good friend of mine is in friendly with an agent interested in publishing work by women. So my next step is to put together a sample chapter. I'm affirming every day that I can be financially sound writing what I want, that I am on the right path, but godfuckingdamnit this is one of the harder things I've done in life. I'm really scared, sometimes. Because if this isn't it, then what is?

Tougher still is the financial aspect of it. I'm very, very embarrassed to be relying on my father at the moment for support. So much so that when after I confided in Dr. Moo that I felt bad having him pay to have my car fixed I blew up at her when she suggested that perhaps I didn't need a car living in Boston, and now that the muffler seems to be going, not two weeks later, I am afraid to tell him. But not so embarrassed that I won't take his help.

I've been sitting here at my laptop thinkathinkathinking and the conclusion I've come to is this: I can't accept mediocrity. I would be more embarrassed to be working in some shitty office job because I am supposed to BE somebody, to do something. Part of me thinks I'm better than that. But then part of me thinks I am being egotistical and fucking full of myself and that I'm a leech and lazy and just inherently not so much a terrible person as a loser. Because wouldn't a better person be out working like a dog so she could be independent? I have these nightmares where my mom (sorry Mcmumsy), chiefly, although other family members appear, are yelling at me for not being enough. Not good enough, not smart enough, not worthy enough. I've even had a couple of dreams about chickenfucker, where he's off gallivanting around with someone better than me.

I'd really like to let go of this. I'm really trying to let go of this.

Anyhoo, just thought I'd give you a view into the dark inner workings of my psyche.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Every Memorial Day when I was young, McMumsy would bundle us all up in the car for the visiting of our own War Dead: all the Mcs who'd come before. The Irish side of my family has been in this country since at least the 1730’s, living in pretty much the same area, so there’s lots and lots of dead people. Lonely dead people, apparently. We brought some of them pots of geraniums. I felt bad for the ones that didn't get any so I'd pick the lilies of the valley that grew along the hill where all the poor people we buried and lay them on their headstones.

There were stories, passed on through the women in the family, of many of the dead. Like the ancestor who fell down the stairs in front of his house and died a short time later. Or the cousin who passed away as a tiny baby, long before I was born.

Or the one who died from wounds sustained after he chopped himself out of a tree. I do believe this was four generations prior, and it’s someone I am unfortunately directly descended from. One of my first cousins once removed actually lives in the house he did. The story goes that one sunny afternoon he was fixin’ to do some yardwork. He saw a branch in a big old tree that needed to come down. So he climbed up the tree and shimmied out on the branch and took out his saw and set to work.

Naturally he was sawing between himself and the tree’s trunk and before he knew it—WHAM!—the limb fell to the ground and so did he. He broke his leg. His wife was so pissed at him that she refused to take him to the doctor and he eventually went to the big elm tree in the sky.

Good times, good times.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Beach Day

Got up a bit before 7 this morning so I could run before it got hot and then headed with L and her roommate to Crane Beach. L is a member so we were able to get in for five dollars apiece. It turned out to be a really beautiful day. L and her roommate both wore bikinis and of course looked fabulous in them; I was in my famous tank/jogbra combo because if I don't wear the jogbra the girls tend to float free. Still I am perfectly comfortable now walking down the beach wearing nothing but the bathing suit, a big improvement for me, especially when I can do it next to one of those fine ladies.

Anyhoo. I was sad to see that neither L nor the roomie was up for a dip in the drink. It was pretty much icy-cold but growing up in NH your first dunk is into water that makes your ankles hurt and gives you a headache so I just consider it something to get over. I dipped myself in a couple of times but didn't really swim. It's nicer to have someone else to swim with, even if you don't talk.

I got a couple of long-ish walks in, but again, due to time constraints and the fact that we didn't want to leave our stuff that long, the walks weren't nearly long enough. I'm the sort who can swim or walk, literally, for a couple of hours at a stretch. With a nice long beach I'm into a swim/walk combo, where you take a dip when you get hot and then head back out on the sand.

It's nesting season for the piping plovers and they were hard at work. There were a fair number of sandpipers as well, and interesting shells, and the dunes, and all sorts of fun things. Normally L is up for exploring with me but for the first walk I went on I went with her roomie and she wasn't all that interested in the nature, something I just don't get.

I did pick up a tiny lavender-hued sand dollar. It fits on the tip of my pinky finger and is just a lovely, lovely wee sea treasure. As I contemplate it now (and after reading this post from Blueberry Pie) I wish I'd run up and rolled around in the sand dunes to just BE in NATURE but of course my big fat ass would have squished all those plover eggs.

On the way home from the beach we stopped for ice cream at a local farm where I saw an ENORMOUS piggy. I had this odd experience where I found myself unable to not talk to the piggy. I told him hello and that he was a fine piggy, indeed. He had black spots and these great, floppy ears, and a beautiful snout. What an animal. A sign outside his pen said he bites but I am sure that for me he would give only kisses.

And now I am back in my apartment with my kitty. I smell of sunscreen and I've got sand between my toes. I can't wait to go back when I have more time to explore the wilder sections of the beach and the dunes. I think I may need to get myself a bicycle though because if you're not a member it costs you 22 dollars to park your car.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Little Known Fact...

...about the McPolack family is that we all (save McMumsy, so it must be a Polish thing) haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate hot weather. HATE it. Anyone remember this past Easter weekend, when temps were in the 70s and the sun was shining? Well by the time we got to Easter Sunday it had cooled off considerably, which prompted Dr. Moo to say "Thank God! What the hell was with that disgusting heat? This is New England for Pete's sake."

I wholeheartedly agreed with her.

Last summer in the city was mostly unbearable, and was made more so by my second-floor apartment, which seemed to suck it in and hold it like a large electric steamer. I was trapped in my living room and/or bedroom for which I had air conditioners. And outside was no better. Outside it smelled bad.

Well now I see that its going to be 88 degrees on Monday and to this I say F-U-C-K. It's not even June yet! G-d global warming. Grrrrrrrrrr.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Tonight's Pathetic Friday Night In Brought to you by...

...Napoleon Dynamite, which I shall be watching alone whilst enjoying a large bowl of cheese and spinach ravioli with pesto, followed by some lemon sorbet and a choc-oat-whitechoc-walnut cookie from a batch I made myself.

I have been looked at with shockandawe! by several people upon hearing that I haven't seen the flick, which is apparently Right Up My Alley.

Well, we shall see about that. It does have a llama named Tina in it, which is promising.

In other McPolack news, I'm going to Earthfest tomorrow afternoon at the Hatch Shell and a single man shall be trotted out for my perusal. I do really really REALLY want to go hiking in NH on Sunday with someone cute. Now I tarted myself up today but good but then I sat on the train with my Best American Essays 2005 (which was edited by Susan Orlean who is this beautiful, talented redhead who I am SURE takes all the good men at the super talented writers get togethers. When I am one day attending one of this and I am sure I will be I will be certain to cold-cock her before she walks in the room and steals my thunder) pressed thisclose to my face not making eye contact with anybody so it did me no good.

Ah, me. I'm off to watch the movie.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I've been dyeing my hair blonde for the last ten years or so, ever since it stopped being blonde on its own and started turning brown. And not a nice, rich chestnut, either. A mousy, flat, horrid dun color. I've spent money twice to have it done professionally and although when I had my hairstylist cousin do it she did a fine job I'd say the box results are just as nice on their own.

I was a blonde when I was born and I intend to remain one, thank you very much.

So it's L'Oreal Couleur Experte (in the world of all things beauty, French=Fabulous) Dulche de Leche for me.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

You'll notice...

...a slight update to the links to your right. Enjoy! And apologies if I have forgotten anyone.

In other McPolack news, I just had to listen to my *&!(@$(*&# neighbor singing loudly along to some vintage Pearl Jam and then answer his stupid cell phone and saying "I'm wonderful!" Blecccccccccccccccccchhhhhhhhhhh.

I took in the season finale of 24 last night while enjoying Thai food and the company of L and my German friend. My German friend's boyfriend had a bit of a scare--between flying to Sri Lanka and taking a fall while waterskiing he somehow ended up with a pulmonary embolism. He's 30 and healthy and quite strapping and fit. It makes one think, it does.

Anyhoo, I've decided (and good thing, too, since Alias is no more) that I prefer Kiefer Sutherland to Michael Vartan. Case in point: During last night's finale he was racing through a submarine, stabbing people in the throat and saving the world for the umpteenth time, all while carrying, say it with me, a MAN PURSE!

Fit and fashionable.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ah, Crap

I've been sitting here for the past twenty minutes trying to work up some sort of an essay on class, a subject I was discussing with an old friend this weekend. Said old friend mentioned she'd married into a class where you hold weddings at the VFW. I mentioned that one of my family members was marrying into a class where you hold weddings at an oceanfront estate owned by your parents.

But I got nowhere with it and realized I was feeling, first, cranky, second, cranky, and third, really frickin' cranky. Then I remembered that Aunt Flo is coming for a visit soon. Ah, that would explain the reason why the only words pouring forth from my fingers are Piss and Vinegar.

Okay, then.

Monday, May 22, 2006

i see dead people

So after spending a lovely Saturday with KBH and her sweet baby boy (KBH to her baby: What kind of a sound does a cow make? Mooooooo! What kind of a sound does auntie McPolack make?*loud farting noise*) I retired to the McP homestead.

On my way out to pick up pizza I stopped by the Babcia's to visit for a spell. She wasn't feeling so hot. She fell last week and split her head open; she showed me the staples in her head when I walked in the door and pointed out the bloodstain on her carpet. She said she feels sometimes like someone is pushing her over.

In between watching Will & Grace (when the Karen character came on Babcia got really pissed. "That woman gets up every morning and does drugs! Drugs! And she drinks!") Babcia complained to me that little children were coming in and turning her TV on in the morning. "Why can't people just keep an eye on their kids?" she asked me. "They shouldn't be running around in my apartment."

I asked her if she locked her door at night. She said she did. Then she said that sometimes when she's laying in bed she looks out and sees her husband and her mother sitting in the living room. "There's a lot of chairs," Babcia told me, by way of explanation. I said to her gently that it sounded to me like the kids were coming from the same place her dead relatives were. I told her I thought that since she was so much older, and therefore closer to death, that maybe the veil between here and the hereafter is thinner for her, and so these people come through. I recommended that the next time she sees them she should say Hi nice to see you now please get out.

I don't know if it made her feel any better.

When I shared this story with Dr. Moo, she told me she thought the children Babcia was hearing could maybe be her two older sisters, who died in the 1918 flu pandemic. When I shared it with my Dad he said Babcia told her that her mother would just sit their and stare at her, giving her the stinkeye from beyond the grave.

Boy howdy I hope McMumsy doesn't do that to me.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006


So to earn extra money I sit in this windowless room that smells of dog and weirdo and I listen to tapes that fall mostly into three categories:

A. interviews done by a large ivy league university of people from corporations all over the world,

B. taped classes from same ivy league university, and

C. insurance companies interviewing people who have run over other people with their cars.

Sometimes there will be tapes of other things. Now you would think the tapes of the people-squashers would be the best, and mostly they are, except for that they tend to make you lose faith in humanity, and quick.

Anyhoo, what I do is I type those tapes up, word for word. Normally the room is filled with clickclickclickclickclickthunkclickclickclickclickclickthunk because you run the tapes with a foot pedal, much like a sewing machine, typing as long as you can before your ability to type up what's being said gets surpassed by what's being said.

But then yesterday the lights when out.

And nobody talked. It was this room full of silent social misfits. Naturally I started asking people questions. And I started with pith helmet.

As it turns out, he’s leaving at the end of next week to go back to Hardwick, VT, where he’s from. Then he's off to grad school. Anyhoo, after hearing p.h.’s story I found out about the middle aged lady who's dressed like a goth. Although on further inspection she's more Wiccan than Goth. She makes jewelry and sells it over the internet and was on the game show channel the night before, as someone with a secret on I’ve Got a Secret.

I also talked with a strange little redhaired man with a ponytail who’d lived in Norway for a year and let us know that it was Norwegian independence day that day and that in Norway they don’t have military men in their parades, just people dressed in local costumes and lots of happy children. I could tell that having to type and not talk all day had been just killing the little red-haired man.

In Which McPolack Shares an Unappealing Aspect of Herself

So, along with being the Spit Capital of the Known Universe, Downtown Crossing is also home to a high number of teenage punks, people in wheelchairs, and the blind. There’s actually a blind woman who works in my office. She’s real surly and she has a wee bit of a white beard going on under her chin. I wonder: if I were blind, would I let my own chin hairs grow in?

There was a fire near the building yesterday and we had to evacuate and she was led downstairs by another employee. While we were outside waiting for the all-clear she complained about how she had houseguests over the weekend and they were bitching about the rain like it was her fault, and she told them, there are other hotels in town but they’re not free. Later I helped her turn her computer on. When she got up to use the bathroom, she bumped into my chair. She said something along the lines of the fact that she was just feeling her way out the door. I said “Don’t worry about it” and she barked “I won’t.”

Then when I was getting on to the T today I was behind one blind guy making his way to the orange line. And as I step into the waiting area for the Red Line, there’s yet another blind guy. They’re everywhere!

One of the great things about blind people is that you can TOTALLY stare at them. You could even count their chin hairs. Because, ha-ha!, they can’t see you.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Back to the book...or back to the blog?

Back to the blog it is. What with the new eating thing happening today (see post below) I am having a wee bit of trouble focusing. Also I am microwaving my macncheese and don't want to break concentration from the book writing to go grab it.

Anyhoo the sun's return to my corner of the universe has brought out birds, kitty cats, stupid asshole neighbor! He's back out on his porch, where he just finished jib-jabbering away with god knows who. He noted he'd be seeing said person soon, which I hope means that he and his wifey will be heading for the hills for a goodly amount of time, so I won't have to drag their maggoty trash to the curb or deal with backing out my own car while trying to avoid hitting their second newly-purchased vehicle, a big black gas guzzler. To be fair, they do manage to squeeze both vehicles in and leave room for mine and even though my car's been in the shop for two weeks they haven't taken over my space. But it's not fun to read about how nice they've been, now, is it?

What is extra fun is when they have friends over. Of course, they can't be bothered to get parking passes, I mean, it's a whole ten minute walk away and might cut into valuable porch ass-sitting time. So everyone crowds into our tiny driveway. They always invite me to stop by at their soirees and I feign busyness. Because what else am I supposed to do? I'm certainly not going to go. That might make me like them more.

I thought it might be kind of fun to write a children's book about them. You know, something along the lines of The Boxcar Children. Only instead it would be called The **&*(^&$&%& Neighbors and none of the kids who read the book would want to be anything like them. It could serve as a cautionary tale.

One more neighbor item of note: They have been doing lots of shopping as of late, purchasing not only the big black gas guzzler but also various and sundry things that come in large cardboard boxes, which they then leave, unbroken down, out by the trash cans. I had to wrestle a trash can free of a sodden cardboard box nearly twice the size of it when I took the trash out last week. Yet strangely there was a note slipped under my door that the landlord thought had been mistakenly written by me. It was from Sir Shithead downstairs, asking the landlord not to cash their rent check for a few days, as this would "Help out greatly."


As I am not like my neighbor I immediately called the landlord and let him know he could cash my check but should hold off on the asshole's. Who I referred to by his Christian name. I'm just that kind of person.

Eat When You're Hungry

Eat what you want. Stop when you're full.

It sounds sooooooo deceptively simple. But for a woman who was bulimic for 13 straight years, not so much. I'm seven years out from the disease now and I've slowly but surely been becoming more of a "normal" eater which of course for a woman in American society is anything but.

Still, I've felt chained in by my eating patterns as of late and in this life coach program I was guided through by a friend of mine what came through for me after some deep introspection was that I need to let go. Let go of the idea that if I eat dinner before 8 o'clock at night something bad is going to happen. Let go of the need to eat 8,000 pounds of steamed vegetables a week. Embrace what my body really wants. It may want 9,000 pounds of steamed vegetables. Or it may want macaroni and cheese, as it is starting to right now, the frozen Howard Johnson's brand that has 47% of your daily supply of saturated fat in one wee serving. Let me tell you, eating nearly half the satfat you need in your day in one sitting is pretty tasty.

Anyhoo. Today's the day. The big day where I test out my new eating. I'm really trying to not remain chained to anything -- and it's, honestly, really scary. I keep running through what I might eat for dinner in my head and then stopping myself. I tucked a protein bar in my tote bag to bring with me for when I get hungry at work later. Part of the problem is that I am flat broke, so if I have a craving for, say, sushi later it's a no-go. My dinner options include leftover chicken and stuffing, reheated frozen pizza, ravioli, frozen chicken pot pie, and scrambled eggs. And of course the requisite 8,000 pounds of vegetables.

I just need to breathe through it and not judge myself. I've already come a really long way.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Oh My God it's the SUN!!!

Just thought I'd share with you that after one solid week of rain that left more than 15 frigging inches in parts of my neck of the woods, that happy gaseous ball of goodness just set some rays down in my backyard. I immediately opened the window to the right of my desk and looked out and breathed in. I sort of wanted to celebrate by taking off all my clothes and running naked through the streets with my chest held high but then I realized what that would look like.

So I posted here instead.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Something I wrote

Thought I'd give you all a taste of the book I'm writing. My process is evolving as I go. I've decided to either, a., get thirty single-spaced pages down, which is 60 double, and then trim and edit and write more, b. just keep going, or c. read the first thirty pages to give me an idea of where to go next. Like I said, it's evolving. Anyhoo, here's something I just wrote:

My paternal grandmother’s house was a treasure trove to dig around in, too. Her husband was an alcoholic shopaholic, a disease combination the result of which was 81 acres of land that was peppered with junk cars and boats and trailers and even a school bus, and a two-story, 11-room house and several outbuildings that just almost literally groaned with stuff. And when I say stuff I mean at least three of almost anything you could think of in the world, plus a lot of stuff you might not have given much thought to at all. There were hatboxes, endless hatboxes, with all sorts of hats, hats with feathers (and one covered entirely in feathers), hats with netting, straw hats, bowler hats. There was a whip made out of a rhinoceros tail. A blurry black and white picture of a group of mustached doctors standing around an autopsy table, complete with dead, splayed-open body. Cosmetics from the 1940’s. Cars from the 1950’s. Record albums from the 1960’s. Broken violins. Spare parts good only for watches. Cars good only for spare parts. Shoes without mates. Heels without soles. You never knew what you were going to uncover and I dug around until I was 27 years old and didn’t get to the bottom of it. My father is still going through boxes from the place, three years after he sold it. Just yesterday he handed my grandmother a white cardboard candy box with a poison ring, a Mexican silver bracelet, a stone bead necklace, and two miniature handmade pewter ladles half the size and width of your pinky finger inside.

No news is no news

Blech. I am having the sort of writers block day that extends even to my blog. I think the fact that it has been raining for a week might have something to do with it.

Went to the dentist today. I go to this big place in Cambridge and I always feel like the dentists there are undressing me with their eyes. And they're all short. Short, eye-defrocking tooth doctors. Ick. But my hygenist is very sweet. She's from Montreal and has an 18 month old and is pregnant with another baby and didn't get anything for Mother's Day because her husband said "You're not my mother." That fucker. Here's a note I'm sending out via the email of the universe to the future father of my children: Try that shit with me and I'll put ground glass in your oatmeal. I'm just sayin'.

Anyhoo, the hygenist and I discussed crepes versus pancakes while I tried to avoid getting my tongue speared with the plaque-scraping thingy. She said "I do not understand why you Americans do not eat crepes."

Honestly. Who understands why we Americans do anything? We're just a bunch of wacky, unknowable imperialist bastards.

Friday, May 12, 2006


I came up with this topic whilst walking back from the gym today, where I had almost the whole place and a fat back issue of Vogue featuring the ridiculous wedding festivities of Marilyn Manson and Dita von Teese all to myself.

I like dirt. More specifically, I like digging in dirt. When I was a kid I remember being in awe of the lowly potato. My father grew a patch of them at his mother's house and I got to help with the harvest. I loved digging in the ground and finding the little starchy brown-jacketed treasures. Later, I discovered carrots and beets, and then parsnips, the Bunniculas of the carrot world. I'm a big fan of root vegetables.

When I lived on Martha's Vineyard part of my trade for living there for free was manual labor. A high school friend and I would bicycle home from our jobs, strip to shorts and a bra, and hack away at roots in the scrub brush that dominates the center of the island. We employed elementary physics to move large rocks, and hauled in soil from a pile up the driveway. It was immensely satisfying work. When we were finished for the night, we'd eat salads and enormous bowls of 10-bean soup while listening to the radio.

Later I decided to start a vegetable garden of my own. This was when I was rooming with an artist friend close to the banks of the Souhegan river, in Wilton, NH. We were living in a converted barn with a full basement and a lush backyard. I didn't get around to planting anything in the garden until quite late in the summer, mainly because I was having too much fun just tilling the soil. I'd come home from work, put on my torn gray Hampshire College t-shirt with the sheepdog on it, some green shorts, sandals, and a floppy straw hat, and just start digging. I used a green oak-handled shovel I got from the Agway owned by the family of a friend of my sister. I turned up horseshoes, rusty nails, broken glass, and bits of bone.

The summer I left the chickenfucker I spent one solid afternoon in OSB's side yard with one of those skinny tree saws, a shovel, and an axe, taking out my frustration and an ancient flowering bush. I spent a fair amount of time with my heels dug in and my ass hovering just above the ground, pulling with all my might. I got the bush out eventually and OSB and her daughter and I picnicked recently in the clearing that's left.

Now I live in the city, where there isn't any dirt to dig. I suppose I could have at it with my Agway shovel in the Boston Common, but I'd probably get arrested. The lack of dirt gives me something to work for, I suppose: A plot of land all my own, with soil ripe for tilling.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Well Jung

I finished my last library book (a history of McLean hospital) and didn’t have time to look for a new one so had to resort to my own bookshelves. I stock them from time to time with books I find on the cheap that I might want at some point to read.

I picked two books from the trove: Memories, Dreams, Reflections by everyone’s favorite German, C.G. Jung, and For Laci, by Laci Peterson’s mom, which was given to my by my mom, who told me Scott Peterson kind of reminded her of the chickenfucker and has said to me on occasion "Well, at least you didn't end up in the bay like poor Laci."

Now my intention was to read the latter book before bed and the former on the T, so as to impress my train mates, any one of whom could be boyfriend potential. I admit this is juvenile of me and I shouldn’t pretend to be into Jung if I’m not into Jung but it’s been almost two years since I've even snuggled with anyone. And I did buy the Jung book with the intention of one day reading it as opposed to using it to mack on men.

I expected to be really into the For Laci book which, let’s be honest, is a trashy read, and potentially bored and confused by the Jung.

I should also note that I used to work for a woman who published Jungian titles. And she was batshit crazy.

Anyhoo, no one was more surprised than me to discover that the trashy book is a drag while Jung is a real winner! Why, on page twelve we discover that in the first dream he can remember, he’s descending a flight of stone stairs in a hole in the ground, and walking through an archway to find seated at the end of a red carpet on a golden throne what he at first thinks is a really big tree but what turns out to be…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

A giant Cyclops penis!!!


Of course Jung also has very interesting things to say about religion and the nature of human life, which he likens to a bloom on a rhizome. I don’t like him just because of the penis dream.

But it certainly helped get the book off to a good start.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Nature Abhors A Vacuum; McPolack Abhors A Schedule

And yet McPolack must have a schedule.

It is day number one of living my life with the help of a calendar program from the Microsoft empire. Though I do not much like schedules I realized when I started working last week that if I didn't start writing shit down, shit was not going to get done.

Let's take a look at today's schedule, shall we?

6:30-7:30 am: Wake up, get breakfast, get ready to go to the gym, pick up a bit
7:30-10:30 am: Work out, shower, get dressed (I was out of coffee and had to go to the grocery store so this actually extended to 10:45)
10:45-12:45: Write
12:45-1:30: Lunch, get ready for outside work
1:30-7:30: Outside work
7:30-8: Do schedule for tomorrow, call airline (a dear friend is giving me some frequent flier miles so I can visit her on the West Coast. Wait, that's two dear friends since I get to hang with her husband, too. And their kitty makes it three. I've never been further than South Dakota. I'm going for a long weekend in August, hopefully), make dinner.

At 8 is Alias and I do believe this week's episode will feature Mr. Michael Vartan. Hot damn. Conveniently my pal OSB watches America's Next Top Model and lets me know what has happened on that show (eg, no, that bitch Jade still hasn't been voted out) while I let her know what has happened on Alias (yes, MV is still a stone fox) I realize this makes me sound very uncool and also unworldly but I am okay with that.

I'll probably also try to do a bit of cleaning and tool around the internet for awhile.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Well it's raining to beat the band outside.

Sweet jesus, did I just really type that? I must be getting old.

But it really is raining. My yoga pants got all wet because I wore them outside and when I got to yoga my mat got all wet from my pants and then we were doing inversions and the teacher used my mat to demonstrate and I thought, oh crap, she's going to think I'm a sweaty hog. To her credit, she didn't bat an eye. And I almost got into a headstand! Yay for me.

On my way home (and on my way there) I passed a dead baby bird on the sidewalk. It was very young; it didn't even have feathers. I felt so sad for it, mostly because there's something about laying dead on a city sidewalk that feels colder than laying dead in the forest. When I was little I used to bury the smaller roadkill, mainly chipmunks, that I'd find when I was out on bike rides. And I used to think this was just because I was one weird kid but now I realize it was compassion.

Along with the fact that I was one weird kid.

Anyways if I'd had a paper towel or a plastic bag with me I would have picked up the baby bird and put it somewhere more respectful.


Monday, May 08, 2006


I came home on Friday to a piece of mail announcing that had been called to jury duty...for the fourth f-ing time! Granted this is the first time in MA; the prior three were in NH, but come on! I've decided it must be because I'm a Libra. We're all about the scales. The scales of justice. Maybe I should become a judge.

In other McPolack news, life at the new job continues to be freaking bizarre. I finally asked Mr. pith helmet "So what is with the hat?"

He told me he is an anthropologist but that he'd had the hat since middle school. That was the extent of our conversation. Then I overheard him mention he had a Ph. D. and all I could think about was, you know how when you're in prison and no one in prison belongs there because they're all innocent? I wanted to tell him that I didn't hold up a convenience store either, that I was totally framed.

Another thing I have to look forward to in the job is that I may soon be having my leg humped by the office dog, as he "really likes blondes."


Friday, May 05, 2006

Louis Rukeyser, RIP

I just found out that Louis Rukeyser died and I feel a little sad.

Why, McPolack? you may ask. What do you care about Wall Street?

Well I'll tell you. When I was small enough that my bedtime was eight o'clock I used to lay in bed and listen the funky music from the opening credits on the downstairs tv, where my mother sat watching. When I got old enough to stay up past eight McMumsy was still watching. I'd sit in the kitchen or the dining room and listen to Louis go on about money. He was a regular part of what was an irregular childhood.

It's strange how a finance man could make me feel so warm and fuzzy. Then I read this quote in the WSJ:

His program's format was comfortable and familiar, like a big easy chair at the end of a tiring workweek.

I guess he made a lot of folks feel that way.

Thanks, Louis!

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Born Into This

So I've been spending a fair amount of time trying to figure out just what it is about my parents' view of my writing career versus my own view of it and I think I've figured out what it is that's bothering me so much.

My Mom and Dad are a little bit depressing.

In an attempt to cheer me up the other day as I was bemoaning the fact that I had a frighteningly low amount of money and no prospects for making any, my mother said, "Well, look at Emily Dickinson. She never even left her house but she still wrote a lot of great stuff."

Okay, Emily Dickinson? I mean, at least she didn't cite Sylvia Plath or Anne Sexton, but come on. I absolutely do not get inspired by being told that if a brunette agoraphobic weirdo can write, why can't I?

And Polackpappy wasn't much better. I was left after our good long talk about finances and life in general thinking--fuck. I need to get ready to accept toiling away in shitty-ass jobs and never making any money and suffering because of the life I've chosen. Then he recommended that I watch a documentary about another author--"He worked in the post office for 15 years because it gave him time to write. He even quit and then wrote a letter asking to be let back."

The movie was about Bukowski. It was interesting; Bukowski's life was quite fascinating. And also filled with violence and booze and horrible, horrible, needless pain.

I don't want that. I feel like I need to buy a pair of sequined red shoes and click my heels together however many times it takes to make that not be my future. I understand my parents are trying to prepare me for reality. And the reality is that if it weren't for them I would quite possibly be destitute. But when I think about years of slaving at low wage jobs and accepting less I want to curl up in the fetal position under my bed with all the dust bunnies and dead bugs and cry.

I see the world through rose-colored glasses. I do this to the point where it's sometimes detrimental. But I have to believe that good things are going to come to me. I have to reach for the light. Because I've spent waaaaaaaaaay too much time in the dark.

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To the Asian Lady in the Small Brown Car who wasn't Watching Where she was Going in the Parking Lot and Gave me a Dirty Look when I Used the Crosswalk

Sorry for giving you the finger. I mean, the stinkeye I gave you in return was totally acceptable but I probably shouldn't have flipped you off as well.

The Writing Life

So I'm on day number five now of the new lifestyle I officially began on Monday, May 1. In this lifestyle I write every day for two hours. This has been surprisingly hard to do, what with going to the job with Mr. pith helmet and exercising and trying to keep the apartment clean and sleep. Today I was up at 6:30. I did a brief morning meditation, did the dishes from the night before, answered some emails, watched the news, ate breakfast, then got on the train at 8:25. Worked until 2 with a 1/2 hour break where I got an iced coffee and strolled around Downtown Crossing, the Spit Capital of the Known Universe. Everybody spits there! Young ladies, old ladies, cops, bums. I almost got hit by phlegm globbers twice within a five minute period the other day. It's as if everyone thinks they're an extra on the set of Gangs of New York. Yugh.

Got home at 2:30 and had some lunch and, well, I did loaf for a bit -- until 4, when I went for a run. Did a new route and didn't get back until almost 5:45. Then I took a shower and chopped veggies for my dinner and g-dangit, it was after six. So I won't be getting two hours of writing in today. It always ends up being almost two hours. I know that I can be more vigilant about this but it's only the first week so I am trying not to beat myself up.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Gym Rat

So last night on Gilmore Girls, the first view we get of Yanic Truesdale, who plays the always-more-annoying-than-the-French French Canadien desk clerk at the inn owned by one of the two female leads, is of him bouncing up and down and up and down and down and up and...well, you get the picture.

Turns out he's doing all that bouncing to burn off the extra calories he consumed when he accidentally drank two percent milk instead of skim.

Now, while I am not quite that bananas when it comes to the state of my body, I do have an addictive personality and since I don't drink/smoke/binge/purge any more I've channeled my energy into keeping fit. Which for me means that I like to sweat, a lot, six days a week, every week.

And I like to keep fit on a schedule. Since I've started working again I've been trying to shuffle my hours so I have time to work out. I switched them yesterday so I could go to yoga, but skipped the gym because I hadn't taken a day off in awhile. As I NEVER take two days off from exercising in a row (and I'm sorry, but yoga doesn't count as exercising), this meant that today was meant to be a gym day.

I set my schedule up so I could work out in the morning. I got up early, didn't dilly-dally, and was at the gym before 8:30. And the power was out. Not only in the gym but in the building the gym is in and all up and down Mass Avenue.

Now I fully realize it is a wee bit strange to get upset about this, but g-damnit, I had my day planned! Now I shall have to go to the gym at 5:30, when it may well be filled with people. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to get on the machines that I like. As I work out for 2 hours (addicts do not do anything lightly) I'll get home sometime around 8. Then I'm getting up at 6 in the morning to run.

Or maybe I'll have to shift things around a bit yet again. Yugh.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I'm at it again

So one thing that has been true in McPolack history is that I veer wildly from job to job. I've worked for a well-known publication as an editor and then ended up sandwiched in between a guy who likes online role-playing games and knives, and a woman who welcomed me to my "Dirty Thirties" (her term) by telling me that the fact that I was going to now want sex all the time would be met with the cruel irony of an ever-ripening smell emanating from my lady bits.

From there I catapulted to the upper echelons of the publishing world, writing for a company closely associated with a fancy, fancy school. Then I sold sweaters at the J's Crew. Then it was off to the large and fancy consulting firm.

And now in true McPolack style I have rubberbanded back to CrazyTown. I am currently under the employ of a firm that does -- well, I don't want to say what they do because I don't want to get into trouble. But suffice it to say: The pay sucks (well, it's in line with the work being done, which isn't rocket science) and I am yet again surrounded by the Very, Very Weird.

Let's take for example the gentleman who sits to my right. He stood up and stretched the other day and then headed out the door for a break. In his pith helmet. Uh-huh. This is why I don't need to write fiction, people. Another of my office mates is a goth-looking fifty-something who stores her shoes in the standalone closet and then walks around barefoot.

I do not expect the rubber band to flip me back to fancytown anytime soon. But this is a good thing. I want to write and to find jobs that support me in my writing by offering flexible hours, enough money to pay the bills, and some scope for the imagination. This job has two out of three.

I'm on my way!


Monday, May 01, 2006


So of course the very FIRST thing I do upon receiving my alumni newsmagazine is to flip to my class and see which of my ex-boyfriends have gotten married. I had a sneaking suspicion that this was going to be the issue where I discovered that "bug boy," the philosophy club president who was the first boy I kissed, had tied the knot. He was so named because when we broke up I broke out -- in an itchy rash that may have been caused by scabies. That's right, body lice.

Well, lo and behold, the louse-infested lothario with the silver tongue has gotten hitched. First let me say: Bastard! Because as we ALL know, ALL ex-es move to the island of old boyfriends (which is nothing like the Island of Misfit Toys and everything like Mordor) where they grow large beer guts and watch ESPN and moon over their ladies immediately upon breakup.

Well naturally I went and Googled the woman he married. And she LOOKS LIKE ME!!! I mean, it's not an exact match, and she's chunkier, ha-HAH!, but she looks kind of similiar.