Monday, December 31, 2007

We're off!

JoyceFrances is packing the cooler with snacks for later. We're taking the L train to the Chelsea market to hang out, then to Ethiopian food for dinner, Gogol Bordello, then a walk to Grand Central station to take the train to Poughkeepsie.

I have my GB braids in and my walking shoes. TTFN!

Sunday, December 30, 2007


I'm off to Albany and then tomorrow to Poughkeepsie for the train to NYC. We (JoyceFrances, her husband Mike, and I) are taking the train in and out that same night. I don't think I can do the mosh pit at Gogol Bordello as you need a man in there, a strong one, and I ain't got nobody. However that does not mean I can't DANCE!

In case I don't get to a computer before it, Happy New Year, everyone! My resolutions are to meditate more, feel more joy, and furiously make out with the man I'm going to spend the rest of my or his life with, depending on who kicks the bucket first. Also to be in fantastic shape, write essays and maybe a book, and give back to the world.


Friday, December 28, 2007

The soothing sounds of Christmas...

...include Dr. Moo relaying the Unitarian Christmas service her bf had attended. First someone told the story of Jesus' birth from the point of view of the ox. Then someone told it from Mary's POV, to wit: "I felt the Christ child slide, moist and steamy, out from between my legs."

...and the requisite wacky uncle who, when we were discussing good and bad baby names, said not to go with Mabel. When asked why, he said "Hey there, Mabel, get off the table. That two dollars is for beer."

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Thursday, December 27, 2007


Got back last night at around 6:30, unloaded the car, changed my clothes, made my bed, got Daphne-Moon all settled in and walked over to a friend's house in Cambridge for squash lentil soup, rotisserie chicken, and chewy bread with Mexican hot cocoa (ole!) and cookies for dessert. These friends are expecting their first child; I was pleased to present them with a copy of one of the greatest children's books ever written: The Stinky Cheese Man.

Anyhoo when I got home from dinner I was exhausted, bone-weary, really, and I've had a case of the sleepys today as well. I'm sure it's just holiday hangover; although it's been two years now since I've had a Christmas meltdown it's been replaced by a general sense of malaise, coupled with a couple of hours of crabbiness followed by depression. Which is not to say Christmas wasn't wonderful; it was. But it was also emotionally draining.

Anyhoo, I'm too pooped now to tell any fun tidbits, save this one: One of my favorite gifts (along with a super cute yoga outfit) is this wackadoo llama ornament given to me by McMumsy. The llama appears to be dancing on his tippytoes and looks like he's forgotten to take off his ball gag. Tra-la-la!

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Monday, December 24, 2007

I wish you a Merry Christmas

I'm eating a big bowl of yogurt and honey; my kitty is sleeping next to the chimney, and McMumsy slipped on the ice this morning and broke her wrist so PolackPappy and I did most of the cooking and Dr. Moo is cleaning. Barry the chinchilla is settling in well. Chauncey the Wonder Corgi keeps trying to sneak in the kitchen while Tess the Wonder Hound hides from Pp. Mass is at 4 and dinner's at 7...turkey, shrimp cocktail, pierogi, potato/carrot gratin, corn chowder, two kinds of salad, and roast beast.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

It went over really well!

...although I was nervous for a while it wouldn't.

When I arrived at the McPolack homestead, my mother said "I'm nervous about this weird present Dr. Moo is bringing." I said, "How do you know about the present? Did you read my blog?" (She has stopped reading my blog because she says it depresses her.) No, she hadn't read my blog; Dr. Moo had called. "Is it alive?" she said, sounding a little cross.

"I can neither confirm nor deny that," I replied.

"McPolack!" she yelled. "You have to tell me what it is! Did she get him a goat?"


"What? No!"

"A pig? Is it a pig? Oh my God."

"No, McMumsy, it's not a pig. Listen, I can't tell you what it is; all I can tell you is not to worry about, OK? Don't worry about it. Dr. Moo has it all under control."

Then I left to meet a dear friend and spiritual advisor for coffee, stopped to buy a present for OSB, who is coming with Ella (and Lucy, due to be born this spring!) for pancakes and eggs and to meet the new member of our family.

When I got back from my trip, Pp was super cranky. He was grumbling that the rain we're due to get today was going to make the roof fall in. I get these moods, too, and there's nothing to be done but wait them out. Or, as I did, say "Don't worry about the roof, PolackPappy, you can climb up there with the help of your gift! Which is a pony! Haven't you always wanted a pony?"

Pp ignored me. McMumsy said "Oh, come on, let's go in the back room. I need to talk to you about what to make for Christmas." I followed her. She grabbed some cooking magazines but as soon as she sat down she said "Oh for God's sake, did you get your father a miniature horse?"

"No!" I said. And then I told her...we got PP a...


And I am not overselling it all when I tell you that he loved that little guy pretty much immediately. He sat with the chin on his chest for a good 45 minutes while my sister set up his cage, petting him and talking to him -- and telling us about a cousin to the chin, twice his size, that he'd seen scurrying about in the Andes in Peru, when he was in the Peace Corps. (Dr. Moo got the chin because it's from South America; Pp was one of the first waves of Peace Corps volunteers and hasn't loved a president like he loved JFK. Growing up, my sister had a long-haired guinea pig which was really my father's pet; he used to eat them in Peru and he loved that piggie.) He'd actually guessed that Moo got him another guinea pig -- either that or a cane made out of a bull penis.

Anyhoo, he read through the book on chinchilla care that Moo had gotten him and as we were leaving for dinner he told us to go buy him an exercise wheel and a hidey-hole. I purchased the wheel as Moo had already spent nearly $200 on all the other items, including the chinchilla, and by the time we got home my parents were in bed but Pp had already built the chinchilla a makeshift hidey-hole out of cardboard.

Now he needs to come up with a name for him. Oh, and teach him to dance because yes, you can train chinchillas to dance. They also take baths in dust. But PolackPappy with a dance-on-command chinchilla -- that, people, is comedy gold.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Have a Hairy Jolly Christmas

I am QUITE excited by Dr. Moo's gift for PolackPappy...she's giving it to him as soon as she gets home, early this evening. Why am I so excited? And why can she not wait until Christmas to give it to him? You'll have to check back to find out...(Well, those of you I haven't already told what the gift is to will.) It could potentially Not Go Over Well!

I'm off to pack the car with laundry, presents, pierogis, and one soon to be upset with me fluffy grey bunny-footed kitty cat. I'll let you all know how the gift going went later.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007


During the second big snowstorm of the season, as I was crossing from the T station to Charles Street, in my big Bean boots through a river of wintry mix, I noticed a woman standing near me in high, expensive-looking heels. As I made my way through the muck, a fellow with an Italian accent started chatting up the lady in the fancy shoes. Then he picked her up in his arms and carried her across the street and through the slush.

The next day, as I was walking back from the gym, an elderly gentleman stopped and let me pass, and patted my arm as he did so, telling me to be careful. Then yesterday, I was a buck or so short buying PolackPappy his gift at the Army-Navy store at Downtown Crossing and the clerk told me not to worry about it.

Tis the season.

: )


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oh crap

Mouse crap, to be exact. Mouse crap on my kitchen counter, a decent sized-sprinkling, under my clean dishes. I noticed Daphne-Moon had been looking in an excited predatory way under the stove recently and I was hoping she'd keep Mr. Mouse-ums at bay but, well, given that she's only ever killed one-and-a-half mice. (I had to finish the job on the second rodent, which I did by putting it in an elevator that played muzaked-Coldplay songs. OK really I rolled it up in some paper towels, then in a plastic shopping bag, apologizing all the while, before STOMP! I squished it with my foot.)

So now I've got to do something about the mouse problem and my heart has shrunk to the point where I might just go for poison, as opposed to the hav-a-heart traps, but I'm worried D-Moon might eat it. Glue traps are out of the question, as are the snappy ones. I wish I could just write them a nice note and ask them to go but let's be honest, it's cold outside, and they don't speak English.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Antisocial Butterfly

While chatting with Carmen, who bravely joined me on one of my epic strolls in search of fancy food (she navigated the icy sidewalks of Cambridge for an hour because I got lost trying to find Savenours; I repaid her with pork products and dark chocolate), I discovered she is a lot like my friend L. For them, more than one night spent home alone is a bad thing. Carmen likes to be out and about, doin' stuff.

I like to be out and about doin' stuff too but I'm the reverse. If I spend more than two nights in a row away from home I start feeling a little weary. I've been out the last three nights and I'm going out again on Friday; I'm happy to be home tonight, alone with my kitty and an eggy sandwich.

Of course I can go to far with the being alone thing; being alone too much isn't good for anyone and it's especially not good for me, given my penchant for moodiness, depression, and creative worrying. My social life, like everything, is all about the balance.

One more curious tidbit: A friend of mine gave me a psychic exercise to do to rid myself of the energy other people attach to me all day. She believes I have a very powerful aura; people like being around me (which also sort of explains the Bizarro post below). This is all well and good, but the downside of it is that at the end of the day I feel like the life has been sucked out of me. Which then (and this is my own conclusion) results in my short fuse around strangers, my extreme irritation, and my tendency towards passive-aggressive mumbling whinocerousity.

Anyhoo, I am going to try the exercise she gave me and see what happens.

Monday, December 17, 2007

It says something...

...when the highlight of your weekend, which included a holiday party featuring a bar made entirely out of ice, 20 different kinds of cheese, all you can eat sushi, and a dessert selection with nibbly bits like molded white chocolate sleighs filled with raspberry mousse and topped with a perfect ripe berry -- followed by a Sunday afternoon holiday party where I got the pick of the litter in the Yankee Swap -- that what I'm most excited about is the bootleg copy of the Star Wars Holiday Special given to me by my cousin B. Did you know Chewbacca had a family? Me neither! I don't know if I'll be able to make it through the whole thing as it is apparently atrocious but I am sure going to try.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Now who's the crazy neighbor?

Last night while shoveling out from the latest storm the people across the street were out doing the same, with their dog, who was playing in traffic. After watching him come very close to getting killed I yelled at them and they told me to mind my own business. And I felt a little bad about the yelling but then I realized it's the third time I've done something like this in the last few years and I can't seem to stop myself. More importantly, I don't know that I want to stop myself. I don't want some poor animal to suffer and I don't want to watch some poor animal suffer because I've seen them suffer and it's no good for them or me.

I did apologize for snapping at the neighbors a bit later and they said they could "see my point."

I caughtt a glimpse of the crazy old lady that exists all women. I'm glad mine is compassionate.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


After seeing The Kite Runner the other night (which, R4K, I recommend) and having some dinner, I accompanied L to the large 'n fancy consulting firm. They've got a deliverable coming up and they've all been working hard; L needed to check her e-mail one last time and grab a couple things.

When I went to the supply room to grab a couple of pens and sticky notepads, I discovered that there was a bulletin board in that supply room. And on that bulletin board there were three pictures. Three pictures and not much else. I am in every single one of those pictures. In one of those pictures, I am the only person featured, and my name is written underneath it.

Now while I did attend the holiday party last year and am attending the holiday party this year, I have not set foot in that building or done any work for that specific subgroup within the overall firm, in more than a year. In fact I was not asked back to do any further work for them for a variety of strange reasons pretty much unrelated to the quality of my work. And yet there I hang, smiling, on the bulletin board in the supply room of their work pod, in triplicate. It reminds me a smidge of my time at a NH publication where, upon leaving due to a conflict, I continued to housesit, FOR THE OWNER, on a regular basis. I slept in his bed (which as I read this over sounds really f*&%ing weird and upon further reflection kind of was), and had easy access to all sorts of files about the company that had let me go. Of course I never looked at anything because that's not the kind of person I am, but still. Why does shit like happen with me?


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I've got one hand in my pocket

I've been doing the sort of work lately that lets me listen, albeit with just one ear, to podcasts. Today I discovered the Savage Love podcast. It's pretty filthy but quite informative and episode 59 made me wish that, like Mr. T in your Pocket (but at the same time utterly unlike it), there existed a Dan Savage in your Pocket. Handed out to girls from the ages of 18 to 30, Dan Savage in your pocket would do what the flesh and bone Dan Savage did for the caller in Episode 59. Which is to say point out loudly and in no uncertain terms what a fucking douchebag your manipulative loser boyfriend is.

I wouldn't say we've all had fucking manipulative loser douchebag boyfriends, but I've had one and I know a couple of other women who have had them and to be honest I don't know that it's the greatest thing in the world for women to learn lessons about themselves via spending their quality time with a jerk.

Here's how the Dan Savage in your pocket would work: If the woman suspects her boyfriend sucks, she speaks into the handheld device and some sort of software program would then detect by the cadence, tone, and inflection in her voice -- along with the use of words like "but I love him" -- and would then play the appropriate response. Which would be something along the lines of "dump the asshole immediately and move on, sexy mammajamma."

I'm off to apply for a patent...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

End of the Universe

I am still suffering from a powerful case of the crankies, which was not helped along by having to navigate icy sidewalks on my run this morning.

In non-cranky news, it turns out that rather than being stood up last week there was some weird end-of-the-universe twist wherein I was in one Starbucks and the person I was to meet was in another Starbucks and both of us had never heard of the Starbucks the other person was in. Wacky!

Anyhoo, after my meeting I am going to do a little strolling and X-mas shopping, then off to a free screening of The Kite Runner, followed by pizza. In the meantime, I wish the Internet gods would make it run a little bit faster because I haven't been able to get anything done and it is driving me a smidge batty.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Much busy-ness yesterday...woke up at 8 or so, had a scone, read the paper. Went running. Then worked, shopped, walked, visited with a friend, shopped some more, baked, cooked, cleaned, watched Cops (I know), went to bed.

I'm having that same not-Christmasey-even-though-it's-Christmastime feeling I had last year but as soon as I realized I felt it last year, I didn't feel so bad. Mc family Christmas is Sunday; on Saturday night I'm going to the fancy consulting firm holiday party again for the free food and the chance to watch uber-educated MBA's get completely and utterly shitfaced.

But right now I have PMS and BOY am I in a bad f&%&*^* mood.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

A You're Adorable

Check out this blog, the future home of JoyceFrance's food writings as she is thinking about going into catering. That's her in the picture. Then there's Laura's blog. Laura is an amazing writer. She's been to Yaddo. She turned us all on to Gogol Bordello. And in a small world chain of events, ran into Carmen at a writing class she took at Grub Street last weekend. Carmen told me she heard Laura talking about GB and went over to her and said "You should meet my friend McPolack!" Of course she was staying in my apartment that weekend.

Finally there's this page, which has photos taken by JoyceFrance's artist hubby Mike. One of the pictures was taken when I was visiting them in Albany; Mike was following us around silently shooting. We felt like young starlets except we were wearing our underpants.

Mike has taken pictures for this blog before. Recently, he gave me his old camera. And by old I mean fabulous, as it's a Canon EOS Rebel G with a Quantaray zoom lens. I tried to use it last night to take pictures of the spread L and I cooked up. We had spring rolls, and had set out a big white platter with carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, spinach, and shrimp on it, a bowl of vermicelli, some spring roll wrappers, homemade peanut sauce, and tofu. We had homemade cookies and fancy hot cocoa for dessert and we watched Rushmore, but I forgot to read along to the movie with the script Carmen gave me.

Friday, December 07, 2007


The job I was vying for and really didn't want ended up not wanting me, a mere 30 minutes before I was going to tell them I didn't want them, which left me with that bereft feeling you get when someone who you were planning on dumping dumps you first.

The other job, the job I really really wanted, has thus far come to nothing, though the person who used to work at the company that I went to for advice is apparently back working at that company again although I have been assured that one has nothing to do with the other and in all honesty this is probably true. But still, boo on getting a nibble on a job I don't like and no nibble on one I do. It's like it is with men; all the weirdoes want me while the non-weirdoes are unresponsive.

Or maybe it's more that it takes time to find the really right things in life.

I struggled with whether to say anything about the work sitch at all on here, mostly because I was feeling lots of pressure in general to take the job I didn't want. I do believe that security was the word on the tip of most tongues. To which I say security is overrated, and if my life thus far has taught me anything, it's that what is most important is strength in yourself, because this world is all about shifting sands. In fact I might use a yoga analogy, in that having a strong core helps you stay balanced and handle all the tricky maneuvers.

Of course it's important to take care of oneself; I'm not for a wild, no-strings-attached, hippy existence. I'm just saying that, for the most part, security is an illusion and whenever I've felt like I've had it, it turns out I really don't.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Public Bathroom

So I just got off the phone with Moo. She's moved from Lake Champlain into downtown Middlebury and will be starting work at a new practice in January. She needed advice on baking and on men. I helped her out with both.

Then we got into the odd quirk in my personality that causes people to spill their deepest (and sometimes darkest) secrets to me, after not having known me very long at all. Usually what I'll hear is "I can't believe I'm telling you this." I then say "Oh you don't have to tell me." And sometimes I wish they wouldn't. It's hard sometimes to be a secret repository.

Moo, scatalogical creature that she is (she talked to me about how Tess the Wonder hound was running around busy downtown Middlebury with a turtle head), likened me to, well, a public toilet, where people make secretive, smelly deposits. Then we decided together I'm not any old public toilet, I'm more like the grand handicapped stall that has a sink in it, or the separate "family" restroom that is a room all its own, separate from the main bathroom. Because you feel safe leaving your unpleasantness there.

If there's a contest out there for unpleasant analogies I think this one should win first prize.

(And as a side note to my friends, I'm not talking about you guys.)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Happy Chanukah

Unlike when I was a child, I now count several Jewish folk amongst my friends. I'm sure I would have had more Jewish friends as a child, if only there had been more than two Jewish kids in my school growing up. Their dad worked for the FBI. I did have hang out with one Jewish girl for a year or so; she took an art class with me in Manchvegas and was the star of a Bradlee's commercial. Hot stuff, that one.

In other religious news, McMumsy insisted we all participate in the blessing of the Advent wreath, but not before she called us all heathens. Moo is an especially heathenous heathen as she has gone to Baptist services in the past. For whatever reason that's the worst alternative to Catholic when you're shopping for Sunday service. I get bonus points for praying the rosary and visiting the Eucharistic Adoration chapel but I'm still lumped in with the baddies.

Anyhoo, Happy Chanukah everybody!


Monday, December 03, 2007

Fatty fats

The quiches I made for McMumsy's 60th went over well, although little brother was (rightly) horrified by the amount of fatty fat in them. The custard consisted of a cup of heavy cream, a cup of whole milk, and two large eggs plus two egg yolks. I filled one with two leeks cooked in two tablespoons of butter, which you toss in the crust with four ounces of goat cheese. The other called for a half pound of bacony bacon plus a cup of Gruyere.

They were delicious.

Unfortunately I effed up the crusts the first time around. I tried to blind bake frozen premade crusts and ended up with a puddle of oily dough. Then I called McMumsy to bitch and she reminded me that as it was her birthday I was making the quiches for, perhaps it would be better to whine to someone else.

Point well taken. I walked off my frustation on my way to the grocery store where I picked up more crusts, and all was well.

In other news, Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul. Sometimes I wish I could clip its wings.

In other other news, that's never going to happen.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Get over yoself

So my Mom will be 60 this year; we're celebrating her birthday tomorrow. As I was taking the quiches I made for her out of the oven, a Judy Collins song came on Sheena. I bought the Judy Collins song because it reminded me of being small, really small, like six, when PolackPappy just wasn't able to to handle himself, let alone an entire family. McMumsy had to take care of all of us, on a schoolteacher's salary.

She's a survivor.

So Judy Collins was playing and I just started crying, like edge of bawling crying, although I managed to hold it back to more of a subdued sniffle.

I write this with the caveat that I have friends, close friends, who have lost parents way before their time, and with gratitude that McMumsy is around to do the thing that is freaking me out right now which is grow old and die. It's like I always knew this was coming but 60, man, 60 is something.

And despite our tumultuous relationship, I need my mother, need need her, and I don't know what people do when their mothers are gone.

OK also yes this is something that happens to everyone and I'm not the first and I won't be the last.

I just needed to share.

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