Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Global Warming is Fruitylicious

So today for lunch I had local raspberries in my yogurt and I'll have them tomorrow as well.

Tomorrow it will be NOVEMBER.

My tummy is all confused.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ode III A Mellowcreme Pumpkin

Sweet jolly jack-no-lantern
You always make me glad

Despite the fact methinks most surely
For my teeth you are bad

Alone I've been three years this June
In bed save for my cat

And many a night I've thought, lo!
I shall let myself grow fat

But then I think of you, my friend
There for me every Fall

And I go for a run instead of a binge
'Cause if I got Type II diabetes, well...

I couldn't eat you at all.


Monday, October 29, 2007


This is a shaggy mane mushrooms, on the lawn at Moo's place. A bunch of them appeared overnight after it rained.

You can eat this mushroom; it has a fishlike texture (but not taste) due to its many delicate gills. I didn't cook any of them up though on the off chance I could die. What's neat about the shaggy mane is that it undergoes autolysis -- which means it digests itself! That's what these fellows are doing, and very prettily, don't you think? In olden times (hee hee) people used the ink from this process to write with.

I couldn't figure out what kind of mushroom this was; it was made up of a bunch of individual mushrooms clumped together and it looked like doggie diarrhea or maybe frat boy throw-up. Oddly enough, it wasn't slimy or soft at all; it was more spongy.

On our way back from Sunday brunch we finally stopped by the wildlife sanctuary near Moo's. It was snow geese migration time and there were many bird geeks there with spotting scopes and binoculars. I warned Moo to be careful about asking questions as I was once trapped by a BG at a hawk migration. BG's wait all year for stuff like this because it's the one time someone will actually listen to them yammer on and believe you me, they are just FULL of information.

This is a pretty apple tree on the front lawn at Moo's; she and I sat near it on Sunday morning while I drank coffee and she read me the sports pages for women. I brought a sample apple to the apple guy at the farmer's market near my house; he said they're some heirloom russet variety.

These are black walnuts from a tree by Moo's door; note how many stages it takes to get to nut-meat. Also note that nut-meat is a dirty-sounding word.

And finally, in the slate stones leading to the house of the retired rich NY-ers whose garage Moo lives over is one of many fossils I found when I was taking the black walnut pictures.

Moo said I would make a good home-school teacher but it's been my experience that home-schooled children are wussy freaks so while I will be happy to teach any future children I may have about the wonders of nature, they're going to have to go to regular school, too, so as not to turn out any stranger than nine long months of growing in my womb followed by 18 years of living with me is going to make them.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


This makes me happy and doesn't surprise me at all. Go 7D, go GB, and go Vermonters!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Man, with PolackPappy, sometimes you just can't win.

Take yesterday, for example. Yesterday I realized I would be traveling to NYC next weekend to see Gogol Bordello play (JoyceFrances and I, to save cash, are driving in from her place in Albany and driving back that night). And I had a busy workweek coming up, one that I would need to start on Sunday. So I called Pp and said hey, why don't I come rake the leaves for you this afternoon? And he said, good idea, because it's going to rain tomorrow.

So rake the leaves I did. And rake and rake and rake. Well first I had to grab Chauncey the Wonder Corgi, who had chased the dog of the neighbors behind us, and the proceeded to take several short whizzes all over that doggie's lawn while the dog, who is twice the size of Mr. C, cowered between his master's legs. Then I brought over a chipmunk tail, a gift from Ethel the barn kitty, to show Pp. When I showed it to Pp, the neighbor said "How can you be sure it was your cat that killed it?" Implying of course, that maybe his cat had done the killing. Well first of all, buddy, if we're taking the behavior of your wimp-ass dog as an example, I know what to expect from your cat, and it's not this.

And second of all, I found the tail right next to the door that leads to the back porch. Ethel always leaves her gifts there. This morning, there was most of mouse. She'd disembowelled it but left a fair amount of leftovers. I let her smoosh her wee drooly face into my armpit this morning as a thank you.

But back to the main story! Pp left to go clamming with Dennis the Menace. Sea clams is what they were after, and you get them by wading waist-deep into the water at Hampton Beach and plucking them out with -- well, I don't remember what you pluck them out with. They're used as bait. The last time I went fishing with Pp and D the M, I threw up, a lot, over the side of the boat and I said "Treat me like a man. I'm no wimp." For D the M, man-treatment meant calling my name when I was mid-wretch and then dangling a sea clam between his teeth, and growl-laughing as he shook it back and forth maniacally. You know, to help with my wretching.

OK, onto the main story! So I raked. And raked and raked and raked. I was helped along by my iPod and listened to Paul Theroux read short fiction, and Robert Reich talk about, shockingly, the economy on an Economist podcast. Then I listened to Neil Diamond sing about his imaginary friend because sometimes I have very cheesy taste in music. Actually when I was listening to Neil Diamond, it was dark out, and I had finished the raking -- there was an enormous amount of raking and I got blisters on both hands, even though I was wearing gloves, one of which poppped and bled before I noticed it, the other of which is filled at the moment with fluid and blood and is the color not of regular Kool-Aid but of the watery bug juice version of Kool-Aid you get at camp.

Anyhoo, I had told Pp I would also cut back branches but by the time I got around to that it was dark out. So I spent part of my Friday night first with a strategically-placed 1 jillion candlepower spotlight and then, when that burned out, a blue flashlight tucked in my armpit, cutting brush. "Be careful not to cut yourself!" said McMumsy. I didn't, but I was determined to finish the job, and I exhausted myself. When Pp came home, I told him of my accomplishments and showed him my blisters. "Why didn't you wear gloves?" he said. "I did!" I said, expecting him to be impressed that I had raked so dang hard that even with heavy leather gloves on I still busted up my hands, but instead what I got was "Oh, you poor wussy city person with your pale hands. All you ever do with those is type away on a keyboard." Hey! I thought. "Hey!" I said. But there was no convincing him.

For with Pp, when it comes to the city mouse, country mouse argument, you cannot win. For he can take out a chipmunk at 200 paces on a cloudy day! Or drive several different kinds of tractors! Or chop cord after cord of wood!

But also! Until he was 12 he lived on the mean streets of South Boston, where he used to play in a big field with hoboes. Yes, hoboes! And those hoboes would beat him up and steal his pocket change! Ultimately it does not matter whether you, A, fight off a pack of snarling coyotes with one hand tied behind your back or, B, fight off a pack of snarling disenfranchised urban youth. You will have to have done both, is what I'm saying.

Now I'm going to go put band-aids on my blisters.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 25, 2007


1. My first cow surgery: Moo called me to tell me our patient is doing just fine. According to the farmer, when he went out to the barn the next morning, "She looked like a completely different cow!" Perhaps cow nurse is a career avenue worth exploring.

2. My fancy cellulite cream: Well I forgot to apply the cold flesh-like stickers after the first week (until tonight; there's one working its magic on me flabs right now) but have been rubbing the cream on one side of me religiously. I thought I actually looked jigglier when I looked at myself in the gym the other day. But I will soldier on!

3. The mens: Meh. Nothing happening there. To be honest, I've sort of given up on the whole thing. When I was visiting Moo I flipped through one of those for sale by owner real estate guides and found a beautiful red house with an attached barn in Bennington, Vermont that was affordable and perfect, perfect, perfect for a single person such as myself. And now I think perhaps if I hadn't devoted all that time and energy to men maybe I would have taken a different path that led me to solitude in that house in Vermont, as opposed to solitude here. Who knows. But I'm striding confidently forward solo, and I feel OK about it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dateline: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Apparently no one is having sex anymore, at least according to Viola, who is 49 but looks 36, and was in charge of playing that game you always play when you give blood; you know the one. It's called "How many degrees of separation are you from having done it with a diseased monkey in the last week/month/since 1980?"

Trying to save V some time, I let her in on the fact that it has now been years since I've done it with a man, never mind a monkey. V told me that a lot of the people she'd talked to today said the same thing. So the area is undergoing a dry spell; it's not just me.

In other McPolack news, giving blood meant an entry into a raffle for World Series tickets for tomorrow's game; if I win them, I am hoping to sell them for a grand or so, to cover the cost of the new transmission I was told I'm going to need "soon" by the kindly fellow who inspected my car today. I do not know if it was the drive through the mountains that did it or just wear and tear, but g-d, I do not have money for that at the moment. So it's fingers crossed that my sweet girl Phyllis keeps her tranny working until such time as I can afford to fix her up.

The inspection was an interesting event itself. I went to a place around the corner from me, and the owner, when he saw me sitting with my crossword puzzle, said "What, are you doing your homework?" When I told him no, he sat down across from me and said "Tell me all about yourself!"

So I did. The guy who was inspecting my car came in when the inspection was done and, upon hearing I had given up on dating said "I really like women!" He was clearly offering himself up for a date. Meanwhile the auto body shop owner, who was delightful, was telling me about marriage -- he's been with his wife for 32 years -- and about how you should just be upfront about yourself right off the bat. "You want sex? OK. You don't want sex? That's OK, too. Just be honest." He told me he got married young but it was the right choice for him because look at him now, he gets to sit around all day and talk to pretty girls. After I paid for my inspection and to have a headlight replaced, I sat and chatted with him awhile longer, because he asked me to and because he's a good person. And a reliable mechanic, thank God. I've got a good sniffer for these things.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

80 Gigs of Tasty Techy Goodness

Here are the first three songs I bought for and played on my sweet sweet iPod:

1. "Catch the Sun" by The Doves.

2. "Johnny Appleseed" by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros.

3. "Grease" by Frankie Valli.

I am a tiny bit in love with my iPod right now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fun in Vermont

My Saturday ride along with Moo turned out to be quite an eventful one, as Moo asked me to assist in a surgery. As I've noted before, cow surgeries are done in the barn and the cow is awake (although she does get a local block and is quite comfortable).

So the cow was awake, I was awake, Moo was awake, and the farmer (who say "ayup" so perfectly I wanted to ask him if he got paid by the department of tourism to do it) was awake. Then the farmer was impressed. "Guess you're not gonna pass out," he said in his classic Vermonter accent as I stood to the side of my sister, with one hand partway in a footlong gash cut in the side of the cow, holding the large and small intestines out of the way so Moo could do her work. Eventually I got both hands in there. It was pretty neat.

The large intestines are suspended in a bag, while the small intestines are more free-floating, but they're both pretty slippery and holding them in place was like trying to corral a bunch of kitties, albeit slimy, bloody ones -- but not nearly as bloody as you'd think.

And it didn't make me sick at all. I was more bothered by the cow that shot an arc of manure out as I walked by her, splatting the wall and me in the process. That made me a little nauseous. But not so nauseous that I couldn't have lunch in a cafe filled with tourists (including some yahoo cyclist who kept his bike gloves on while he was eating his sandwich). Moo had a sandwich; I had poached eggs. Moo was wearing a bloodstained shirt and I was wearing poostained Carharts. It was great.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cow Country

I'm heading off to Vermont this afternoon to hang with Dr. Moo, driving through the Green Mountains to catch what's left of the color. Then on Saturday I'll do a ride along -- not with the police, but with Moo, as she careens (and I do mean careen; she's a terrible driver) through Addison County traveling from farm to farm doctoring cows. It should be Big Fun.

Also I am picking up my sexy, sexy iPod. Here's hoping I don't get mugged for it!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dick Cheney, Baby Eater

Frontline is back with a fresh crop of depressing documentaries. Michael Kirk, who does a fantastic job showing just how the current administration has gone about doing so many naughty things, this week turned his lens on Dick Cheney. And I must say that, in between knitting a hat to quell my anxiety, I giggled, just a little.

And that is because Mr. Michael Kirk is a man who gets a wee bit too theatrical at times. Cower before the evil ministrations of Dick Cheney's nasty lawyer coconspirator! Shudder as you read the gobbledygook snuck into the Congressional Record -- and during the Christmas holidays, no less!

Snicker as you imagine the narrator, whose voice has been your companion on many a Tuesday night, saying this: "Dick Cheney chose not to comment for this story. But we have this interview with Cheney, regarding the day a sweet little baby came crawling into his office at Halliburton. That baby was trailed by a golden retriever puppy with only three legs being walked by a hooker with a heart of gold...within 30 minutes, Dick Cheney had eaten the baby, run over the puppy with his car, and turned the hooker's heart from gold to inky black...bwah ha ha haaaaaaaaaaa!"


Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Meet OSB. She’s the shy, retiring wallflower sandwiched between mine and JoyceFrance’s big fancy peasant asses. Truth be told, OSB has a big PA herself, but she’s not as fond of showing it as we are.

We three met some six years ago now, at a small publishing house in the Monadnock region. I remember the first time I gave OSB a hug, as a thanks for a Christmas gift she gave me. It utterly freaked her out. Pre-baby, OSB and her then-boyfriend and now-husband bought a house. OSB then painted the dining room of that house 15 different times trying to get it perfect. She’s a little neurotic, but then, aren’t we all.

Anyhoo, in the years since we’ve met, we’ve only grown closer, and I consider these ladies two of my closest friends. We’ve shared joys and sorrows, and lots of meals. One thing that hasn’t changed from the beginning is the true pleasure JoyceFrances and I take in shocking OSB. The most recent event happened a few weekends ago, at JoyceFrances’ Albany row house. It was OSB’s birthday and we decided to wrap up my spectaculary huge shiny metallic blue handbag to give to her. Oh and inside the handbag we tucked a Ziploc bag that JoyceFrances had written “Happy Birthday, OSB!” on with a Sharpie.

I am only mildly embarrassed to tell you, dear readers, that I’d passed gas into that bag a couple of times the night before. "We'll all pass gas into it!" said JoyceFrances. "It'll be great!"

The next day, we gave OSB her "gift." She was dismayed by the shiny blue bag – “Isn’t this yours, McP,” she asked me. “Oo, oo, look inside!” I said. She did. JoyceFrances told her to open the Ziploc. “OK,” said OSB. As she cracked it open, I started shaking with laughter. “I farted in there! Hee hee!”

“What is wrong with you?” said OSB.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


My friend A's husband, dad to wee Daisy, who I've spent some time babysitting, shared a special present with me a couple of weeks ago: a copy of the album he made. It's called Stay At Home Dad and while he says it is just an exercise in silliness, I must say it's a very fine one. I was laughing out loud in my kitchen last night listening to it.

The album is made up of both instrumental and lyrics-filled tunes, with songs like "New House, New Kid, No Job" and "Friday Brunch at the New Yummy Hut."

But my personal favorite would have to be the instrumental tune that samples all of wee Daisy's noisy-ass toys, like Elmo, Leap Frog, and a whole host of other beasties that seem to have minds of their own. It's called "My Daughter's Asshole Friends."

Monday, October 15, 2007

On Being a Groupie, Tra-la-la

Well, dear readers, I have just agreed to travel to NYC with Joyce Frances in a couple of weekends, to see Gogol Bordello play for a second time. I VERY much enjoyed Boston's show but it was apparently very tame compared to what you see in NYC. JF told me when they started playing at the show she saw there, the floor started shaking, and as she didn't have the energy to keep up with the crowd in the mosh pit, she was squirted safely out the side. Without taking a step, mind you.

I got within four feet of the stage on Thursday and while I wasn't such a big fan of having white girl dreads scratch my face or smelling someone's obnoxious farts, I was surprisingly OK with sweating copiously, and being pressed against other people, some of them shirtless, who were doing the same. When people fell over, they were picked up, and everyone was jolly. At the end, one of the band members leapt into the crowd and we passed him around on our outstretched hands. Someone in the audience said "OK, send him back up front," and "Great job, team!" And I honestly have to say I felt proud for my contribution. It was cute, and dorky.

The only thing missing for me was someone else to dance with, but alas, one cannot have everything.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hot Damn

So JoyceFrances and a few other folks are coming to town tonight to see Gogol Bordello, which is apparently a smidge indescribable. I've never seen them play live before but I hear it involves lots of sweating, crowd surfing, and out of body experiences. At the last show JoyceFrances went to she brought her 19 year old son while another friend brought her sixtyish father. Good times!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


So last night a friend took me to dinner at a swell Cambridge restaurant for my birthday. As she knows the chef we were treated extra-nicely. I had duck, and a beet salad, and although they don't make dessert, the chef brought out a little plate of nuts and chocolate with a candle stuck in it at the end.

As if that weren't nifty enough, this friend has access at her job to what is known in the magazine industry as a "beauty closet." And she'd raided it that day and picked out something fabulous!

That something? Why 86 dollars worth of cellulite treatments. Which means, of course, it's time for me to sacrifice another buttcheek to science. Yes, dear readers, I will again be testing the viability of of cottage cheese reduction claims, only this time instead of lowly coffee grounds I will be using these weird patches that you stick on your "critical zones" at night and a nicely scented body cream that you rub on during the day.

I did my first patch last night. Want to know how it felt? Well I'll tell you: sort of like skin. The cold, damp skin of the dead. But sticky.

The next morning I have to say I did not notice much of a difference, although the skin did feel a bit smoother on the patch side versus the non-patch side. Then I rubbed in the body cream and went about my daily business.

I'll let you all know how it turns out because GOD KNOWS we ladies can't look unsightly in any way now, can we?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Full of Grace

Ding! I just turned 34.

I was born the Tuesday after Columbus Day at 1 o’clock in the afternoon at a hospital in ManchVegas that no longer exists – “They were tearing it down as I was having you,” joked McMumsy. The maternity ward was right next to the morgue, and McMumsy recalled having seen two creepy men pushing a body past the door to her room.

PolackPappy, true to form, said that when McMumsy’s water broke, at midnight, he didn’t realize he’d married a bed-wetter.

At Sunday’s dinner PP and MM shared tales of loaded guns carried around by alcoholic family members, and the accompanying (occasionally) murderous threats – oh, and the fist fights -- and we were all glad in a way in which people who have come from such backgrounds, who then work hard to overcome them, and do overcome them, are.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 08, 2007

The last day...

...of being 33 is upon me. I'm all lubed up with the body oil OSB gave me and will head out at noon to redeem my free perfume and underpants coupons with L.

Last night I lit the chakra candles from JoyceFrances, and meditated, before heading to dinner with PolackPappy and McMumsy at Harvest...the food was delicious and one of the high points of the evening had to be when PP said a man at another table had been checking me out all night. "Is he a million years old?" I asked. "Yup," said PP.

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thank you, whoever you are...

So today a small envelope came in the mail. There was no return address, a Pooh sticker on the back, and a Manchvegas dateline. Inside was an old driver's license of mine, one I got in May of 1995, just after I graduated college and a couple months prior to The Fall.

It's interesting to see your twentysomething self looking up at you as you are soon to transfer from early 30's to mid 30's. For me, it's a good reminder of how far I've come.

And a good reminder to still believe in the kindness of strangers. So thank you, mystery ManchVegasan! And may your karmic rewards for your good deed be great.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

B-slapped by Love

So I have been blue, blue, blue for a while now, made worse by Period Monster. A-sittin on the pity pot. Not wanting to infect others. When, totally undeserved due to aforementioned pity-pot sitting, I head to A's to sit for wee Daisy and am instead given a sturdy envelope with specific instructions not to open it until my birthday, and a lovely dinner of double-cheese bacon onion and mushroom pizza followed by cupcakes from the new cupcake shop around the corner with candles and an early birthday serenade.

Plus Daisy still calls me Uncle McPolack and her parents taught her all about chicken butt.

I guess what I'm trying to say is thanks, world, for giving a girl a hug when she really needed one but sort of didn't deserve it.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Do not say nuthin!

Had a full busy city-day day today. Got up early and saw a friend in the hipster cafe where I picked up coffee and a scone; chatted with her on the train. Then waited in line at the RMV (or AH-M-V according to the security guard who gave me good (wicked good) directions). Got my Mass drivers license and surrendered my NH one, which apparently is shipped off to some warehouse for a mass cremation with other peoples' out of state licenses. I was sad to see my NH license go, but let's be honest, when it comes to the mean streets, I'm pure Masshole.

Then it was off to transcription land, where I typed up part of a seminar on back pain in which I learned Dr. Kevorkian got the most requests not from people with fatal illnesses but from people with chronic low back pain. So let's all stand up and stretch now, OK?

Then I came home, vacuumed and cleaned, and went to yoga. Picked up a bagel. Came home again and discovered Miss Melissa T, who is now a Mrs. (she wed this weekend; I was invited last minute but unable to attend) and who was my spinning partner and lifelong friend of Dr. Moo had called. I called her back and she was just packing the last of her stuff into the moving van, shipping off with her husband to Atlanta by way of Uxbridge, so I walked over and said goodbye.

Then I chatted with Moo who kept asking "do you hear that?" as she held the phone up to Tess the Wonder Hound, who was lap-lap-lapping away at herself.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 01, 2007

Quick Change Artist

Went from Fenway-area soiree where I wore spike heels and dark wash jeans (and got hit on by my second vagrant in two weeks - thanks for noting how good I looked, homeless fellow!) and caught up with a dear friend to my home, where I quickly shed those clothes for what I call my chickenjays, purple short button-down chicken print pajamas. Then I realized I had to take the trash out. I thought, well I can't be seen outside in these. So I put on some exercise pants and my llama-print shoes, but no bra, just the chicken top, and headed out. Really I was just missing an eau de hooch and a face mole.

Oh wait, all I was missing was an eau de hooch.

Then when I came in from taking out the trash, my kitty was meowing for greens so back out I went in my uberchic outfit, to crouch down in the front yard and pick grass for her.