Thursday, January 31, 2008


Part of the dream in which I am independently wealthy involves being able to go to yoga more than once a week. I like the physicality of it, and that there's stuff to work towards. I want to be able to lift my entire lower body straight up in the air using only my abs.

If I were going to yoga more than once a week then perhaps my poor hamstrings wouldn't have to take such a beating. I took a primary series class last Friday with my favorite teacher. He isn't all dreamy swami; he's got a little snark to him, and I like snark. Plus, he's not afraid to adjust you, and by adjust I mean he'll have you squeeze his sides with your legs so you can wiggle your elbows closer together in shoulder stand. Naturally, he is gay.

Anyhoo as I am the penultimate bargain shopper -- when I smoked, I smoked 100's because you got more cigarette for your dollar -- I'm going to start going to primary series every week, because it's 15 extra minutes of yoga for the same price and also, once I learn it the whole way through, I can do it on my own.

I'm just a little nervous about putting my hamstrings through the wringer again.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008


So the mom of one of my oldest friends, one of those people who I feel like God matched me up to (really I feel this way about her whole family) is due to go to see a specialist in Boston because after a recent car accident she was in with her husband, the CAT scan she underwent revealed some dark patches on her brain.

She's a breast-cancer survivor and has had heart issues as well. Most importantly, though, she is just the sweetest, most wonderful, beautiful, giving, person. She's full of love. Also she is a fantastic dancer, especially when Santana is playing.

I do believe in the power of prayer. And I would be so grateful if you could keep her and her family in yours.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Oh internets, thy powers amazeth me

So I signed up for Facebook recently, despite my misgivings, those misgivings being, specifically: 1. That I am too old for it and, 2. That Facebook will be like MySpace. On MySpace I got hit on a lot. By 18 year old boys. I would regularly get e-mails from some barely-legal extolling his desire to "know the love of an older woman."


Anyhoo, now I'm on the F-B and along with feeling still relevant (owing to my 18 and 21 year old cousins accepting my friend requests), I've found it has awakened Luddite-like feelings of awe in me. It's Scrabulous, a Facebook app, that did it. See, L is in Mexico City this week visiting cuarentayuno. Mexico City is pretty far away from Boston. And yet, for free, we can play an online spelling game, and send each other notes and photos, practically in real-time.

It's like magic.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Here kitty kitty

Went to a party at my fancy friends on Saturday night. They would vehemently deny living fancy lives but when someone treating you for a banged up knee recognizes you from the TV, well, there's a little bit of something more than normal happening there.

Anyhoo, along with seeing the parents of someone whose child is under the tutelage of a very important mentor of mine, chatting with someone who is a true moral crusader, and finally snagging a comfy spot right in front of the fondue pot, I noticed an interesting undercurrent amongst the gathered group. And that undercurrent was one of cat fancyin'.

I became friends with the wife of the couple hosting this party when we both worked at a New England publication; she saw my stuffed George and Martha sitting on my keyboard and decided we should hang out. We soon discovered we shared a bordering-on-the-ridiculous love for our kitties and it pleased me to see that you can in fact make it very, very far in this world and still walk around a Saturday night fondue party with someone else's fuzzy kitty in your arms, snuggling him and loving him. These people were devoid of all worry that they might look silly. They didn't care about looking silly. They just fancy cats.

Friday, January 25, 2008

McPolack Recommends

I occasionally make mistakes in my quest to not spend money frivolously. Take the time I decided to forgo fancier toothpaste, like Crest, which I get for a dollar when I have coupons, for Pepsodent, which you can get for sometimes less than a dollar without coupons. I was hoping ol' Peps would have a flavor not unlike Colgate; a little gritty, not-too-sweet.

Unfortunately brushing with Pepsodent is like brushing with easy cheese. The flavor is disgusting and it stays in your mouth, so instead of morning breath you have aerosol cheese breath. But funkier somehow.

Any-HOO, this is about a product I actually like...and that product would be Ecover toilet bowl cleaner. Here are three reasons why:

1. Unlike the horrible "The Works" potty cleaner I got at Tarzhay for like a buck fifty, it does not require you to wear a Hazmat suit when using it. "The Works" has been lurking behind my loo, terrorizing the plunger, because I'm afraid if I pour it down the drain, my skin will melt off. I think I might sneak it into the store and put it back on the shelf when nobody's looking.

2. It smells like Christmas. Seriously. It's piney, but not in a fakey cleaner way.

3. Despite its being a hippy product (read: means well but does a crappy, no pun intended, job), it is good at removing the occasional, ahem, poocrete spots.

And if you don't know what poocrete is, well then you my friend are not eating enough fiber.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

I've been around the world

Well actually I haven't but it seemed that way at the bar I was just at, seeing L off as she leaves the large 'n fancy consulting firm we met at for a large 'n fancy advertising agency. Amongst our motley crew was a Brazilian, a Korean, a Brit, a Pole, someone from Japan, China by way of Vietnam, and Germany. A lively, lovely, swell bunch of people.

I also appreciated the bartender being nice to me when I showed up first, alone, with a cup of coffee from somewhere else and proceeded to sit down and not order anything.

However, I did not appreciate the part-time magician pouring pee on me, even if it wasn't for reals.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Patience is a virtue

That one needs to have in spades when one is given a carnivorous plant terrarium. I am glad this gift was given to me by a nearly-three-year-old as opposed to the other way around because I don't know if wee Daisy could wait the eight weeks of refrigeration followed by 3 to 6 weeks outside of the fridge required for germination of the seeds alone.

But once the plants grow, I will have a veritable forest of meat-eating greenery: Venus Fly Traps, Cobras, Sundews, and five varieties of Trumpet. I'll have to take my trash out less often so they have something to eat. Or maybe I'll just cook them up a nice filet mignon.

Mostly what I am is grinning from ear to ear; Daisy is the second two-year-old I've hung out with this week and I've got to tell you: I have a new respect for two. It is a mighty fun, super swell age at which both boys and girls are sweet, lovely, hilarious and smart little peanuts.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lies My Father Told Me (and Dr. Moo, her bf, and McMumsy)

"Ethel lives off the land."

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Monday, January 21, 2008

I am legend.

Dr. Moo, her bf and I did our first-ever winter hike on Saturday, climbing Tecumseh (which is the same mountain the Waterville Valley ski resort is on). It's one of the 4,000-footers and is 2.5 miles up, about a mile of which is a fairly steep, pretty punishing climb. We snowshoed all the way up. Dr. Moo wasn't feeling that great, whereas I was feeling like I really needed to just go at my own pace and clear my head, which led to my summiting 25 minutes before Moo and her bf did.

I had to turn around and head down the mountain before they reached the top because my body decided, with astonishing speed, that it was going to sacrifice my fingers -- all of them -- for the sake of my internal organs. It's one of those primal things you can't do anything about, save get moving, and get moving I did. When I met Moo and her bf a little ways down the mountain, I turned around and accompanied them for a second climb up.

Yes, you read that right. I climbed up to the top twice. Granted, the second time I was quite close to it already. But still. I should also note I got up there faster than a 27 year old guy. I'm in really good shape. Plus I have man legs. Days like I had Saturday make me feel pretty good about them, and less like a hulking Amazon who can't wear sexy sexy boots because they won't zip up over my incredibly muscular calves.

Anyhoo, it was a fan-frigging-tastic climb, made even better by the glissading I got to do on the way down. It is SO MUCH FUN to glissade. I took off my (borrowed from Moo's bf - thanks!)snowshoes, sat down, and slid. And slid and slid slid, on my bumcheeks, all the way down the torturous steep pitch I'd climbed up earlier. Unfortunately Dr. Moo's pants had this reinforced butt on them and she couldn't glissade. But we all made it safely down the mountain and went home to watch Superbad, which was good, piled on the sofa with Tess the Wonder hound and Chauncey the Wonder corgi.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

I am wiping the tears from my eyes...

Thank You

To all my wonderful friends. I have had one hell of a crappy week, culminating today, when a potential $90 an hour project that was supposed to start next week, and pay my rent, fell through. I don't know what the &*)* I am going to do.

But I can feel the love. I am being taken to a swell concert in March, given a terrarium of carnivorous plants, and a sweet two-year old boy told his dad and mom he thinks I'm great. I'm so grateful for all of you. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The finer things in life

Something in my apartment has really good taste in woolens. I found holes in two of my fine-knit cashmere sweaters, my gorgeous thick soft cabled wool cardigan, my pretty violet cardigan, and the cashmere scarf my parents brought me back from Italy. That's hundreds of dollars worth of warm and fancy. I'm a little miffed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I've been having kind of a bad week. I don't really feel like talking about it other than that I can attribute at least part of my shite mood to seasonal affective disorder and Aunt Flo. I'm just exhausted and I've been having trouble falling asleep, and having bad dreams when I do. I feel stressed, stressed, stressed, and alone. It stinks. I have been reaching out a lot more to people though, which feels good, and this weekend I'm going to the McPolack homestead to meet Dr. Moo's new beau, go hiking in the Whites (yay!) and play with Harry. I also just tonight got an e-mail about a new good-paying project which is excellent news as I have run out of money.

Anyhoo. I hope my heart catches up with my head soon.

One other item of note: I took season one of The L Word out of the library. You should never watch this program unless you are the sort of person who gets off on lots of naked women going at it. Not that there's anything wrong with naked women going at it! It's just that there's so much of it and so little of anything else, like decent stories and interesting characters.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Two things

First thing Done learnt a new word yesterday, from the TV: plum smugglers. That'd be what you call a pair of men's bicycle shorts.

Second thing PolackPappy, in a valiant attempt to recreate the Sheila years (Sheila being his long-haired guinea pig love who used to shuffle like a wee dust mop across the family room floor, wheating as she went, chasing our first corgi, Toni.), plopped Harry the Wonder chinchilla right under Chauncey the Wonder corgi's beak. They ran in opposite directions and Pp had to chase Harry, who moves significantly faster than Sheila ever did, and put him back in his cage.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

I Heart Huckabee

I know I shouldn't. I know he's an evangelical Christian, a Republican. There's no way I'd ever vote for him. But, God help me, I just think he is adorable. See how chipper he is, bounding up the steps of his plane:

He looks like a kid excited to go to school because it's Daisy's birthday! And Daisy's mom makes the best cupcakes ever! Plus, there's going to be a spelling quiz, and he's really good at spelling. Yay for cupcakes! Yay for spelling quizzes! Yay for running for President! It is super fun to run for President!

Oh Mike, I just want to pinch your soft, Jesus-loving cheeks.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I spent an hour or so today working on a piece that started out as a flash fiction challenge sent by a friend of mine. Here's the original:

Amy was having her favorite breakfast – strong dark coffee and a lemon scone, iced and flecked with bits of zest, big as a man’s closed fist. She walked every day to the bakery around the corner, dressed in various mismatched layers, to buy the scone. The coffee she brewed at home, using glossy dark beans she ground herself. Since the glass for the French press broke she’d been using a contraption that made enough coffee for just one person.

While she ate, chasing bits of melted icing around the plate with pieces of scone, she thought of the dream she’d had the night before. It was her mother again, telling her she wasn’t doing it right, although what the what was had gotten lost in the dream’s ether. But the feeling hadn’t. It was a kind of simmering anxiety, a not-rightness that she couldn’t place. Amy had been told by ten thousand dollars worth of therapy that she was OK and still she didn’t feel it. She’d had enough therapy to know, too, that it wasn’t her mother she was dreaming about but some hidden aspect of herself.

Amy paused and took a bite out of the soft warm center of the scone, closed her eyes as she chewed. Remembered the day two years prior that her mother had chased her around the kitchen screaming and slapping at her; she’d scurried like a mouse being thwacked with a broom, searching for dark corners. Couldn’t find any. Couldn’t understand why people still thought it was OK to hit her. Wondered when she’d ever stop flinching whenever anyone raised their hand.

Recently she’d dug through a musty trunk in which she stored her old yearbooks and some photos and letters; there, at the back of a small photo album, was the last remaining picture of a time she’d tried hard to forget, this in a life filled with times she’d rather not remember. She was good at dropping the bad things and pedaling furiously away from them without looking back, but terrible at making a plan to go forward. She didn’t know where to go, or what to do with what was left.

She did know some things. She knew she needed to strive, not rest. She knew that she wasn’t to feel that it was her fault. She knew that she loved her mother, desperately.

But she couldn’t move as quickly as the world seemed to want, and she couldn’t stop feeling it was her fault, all of it, and nothing she’d done, good or bad, over all the years of her life, not the inflating and shrinking of her physical body, not the meditation, not the medication, not all of the hugs and love, had done anything to change that. What was left was guilt and bad dreams and fears of inertia. So she sat, and sipped her coffee, and spun her wheels, and tried to feel hopeful, because at least that was movement.

This is the problem I have with fiction: I am super good at beginnings. I get inspired to write beginnings all the time! It's the rest of the story where I have trouble. I want to write an entire short story and send it in somewhere; I'm starting to get a feeling for this character. But it takes a long damn time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Minimalist Cooks Loser Food

I became entranced with this recipe when it first appeared about a month or so ago. The oranges segments just look so pretty and I could picture myself eating them with creme fraiche and mint...delicious.

But who has two days in a row where they can spend a minimum of eight hours each tending to a pot on the stove?

I'll tell you who. Losers. People who have no lives whatsoever. I'm including myself in that group, at least for the moment. I went to the gym this morning; I'm waiting on some work to come in later today or tomorrow and don't have to next leave the house until 4 tomorrow to go to yoga. I have four fat gorgeous oranges in my crisper drawer and a nice heavy cast-iron saucepan. Which means I can stay home by myself for more than 24 hours and slowly make a simple fancy dessert normally only cooked by the idle rich.

And by losers.

(edit. note: I don't really think I'm a loser. I think I'm great. I think you're great, too!)


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Wardrobe Malfunction

I think I shocked the good people of Cambridge today. I went out at noon for a run. It was warm out. I don't think anyone else got the message though because I, in my blue shorts and tank top, Sheena strapped for the first time ever to my bare upper left arm, felt like a honking big naked white rhinocerous for all the looks I got from people clothed head-to-toe.

Despite feeling a little nude, I ran with confidence. I reminded myself of a recent clothing scrape. On Christmas Eve I sat near the feet of both happy newborn baby Jesus and sad, stabby crucified Jesus wearing an extremely low-cut dress. I forgot to bring the shirt I wear underneath it when I want to keep my lights under a bushel basket. It was high beams all the way. McMumsy gave a disdainful look at the bosoms I - hello! - inherited genetically from her side of the family and I said to her "Jesus doesn't care. He's just glad I'm here."

I did feel a little Mary Magdalene when I went up for Communion.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

First in the nation

One of my uncles has an interesting column in the newspaper today. As a former (30-plus years) New Hampshire resident and in some ways a reluctant Massachusetts one with a family that's been involved with the only statewide newspaper for generations, the first in the nation primary status of NH has always been close to my heart.

My very first political memory is of the Reagan campaign my uncle mentions; I recall standing just below the doorway to the kitchen (you had to step down to get to the dining room and the rest of her house) at my Grammy Mc's. The house was a flurry of activity, and filled with very serious-looking grownups, none of whom even noticed I was there. Except of course when Ronnie came over and shook my hand. There was snow outside and it seemed like the house emptied out as quickly as it had filled up, Reagan leaving in a scatter of popping flashbulbs and a convoy of dark automobiles.

Of course once I was old enough to vote I turned Democrat and I've never looked back.

I wasn't born the year the Union Leader made Edmund Muskie cry but I felt the sting of it about 30 years later when, while working at another NH publication, I realized one of my fellow employees, with whom I met regularly, was his son, and I stupidly told him who my grandfather was.

He was never as nice to me after that. Ah, politics.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Dick Van Patten's Sausage


Saturday, January 05, 2008

I'm here for you

I took a tour of the search words that send people to this blog and there are many references to Fagina (which is in the top ten!)and Poop Balls (these made the top 20). To wit: alotta fagina naked, alotta fagina nuda, alotta fagina nude, picture of a girl fagina, poop is in little balls, poop little balls, why is my poop little balls.

Well I wanted to have something in here for the many people in need of some information about faginas and balls of poo.

Fagina: I think you mean Vagina. Girls have them. Boys don't.

If your poop is in little balls: Eat more fiber.

You're welcome.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Updates Mishmash Slapdash Corned Beef Hash

* PolackPappy still loves his chinchilla, but he's changed his name to Harry. Harry will hop right into Pp's outstretched hands to be taken into the bathroom, where he loves to run around. He's also been using his wheel or, as Pp likes to call it, his "carousel." Apparently Pp saw a poop in it. No word on when Pp is going to buy Harry a sequined leotard and tap shoes and teach him how to dance.

* I pitched an essay to the BG newspaper.

* I've still got work. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!

* My two words of the year are knock, as in "knock someone's socks off" and sedge, as in "thick grass." Does this mean I'll find my husband in a marsh? Stay tuned this year to see how it all plays out.

* I have yet to eat my way through all my Christmas candy. Thank you to Santa for presenting me with such a delicious challenge.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I Heart New York

I really do. It's better than Boston. Well, I couldn't afford to live there and I don't know that I could handle all that stimulation but when it comes to things to see, do, and eat -- and the city's overall friendliness -- New York just wins out. I continue to be surprised by this because I fear the city more than a little bit. My image of it is as big and cold and mean and the only thing it is of those three is big. I just love the energy there, the people, the activity, the fact that so much happens there, all the time.

So. My New Year's in the Big Apple was quite swell. Though to tell the truth I was pretty blue for most of it, and at the GB show I stood by myself waiting for the band to start for nearly two hours. I wanted to be closer to the stage but couldn't do the mosh pit and I'd had it with doing what other people wanted. I've had a real bee in my bonnet lately about selfish people and this has been working itself out through me realizing that on some level it's that people are taking care of their needs, and I think, F them, I'm taking care of mine, and on another level it is of course about me not liking the selfishness I see in myself. I want to be a giving person but being a giving person doesn't mean the world is going to give you anything back; expecting that is folly. I want to stop being so disappointed in other people.

Anyhoo there were, as per usual, lots of interesting folks in the big city, from the chain smoking Brothers McMullen types behind us in line for the show to the guy on the train on the ride home who was taking care of his passed out hunchbacked friend Neil and calling his friends every five minutes and loudly proclaiming "I had the WORST FUCKING NIGHT OF MY LIFE!" or "Neil got us KICKED OFF THE FUCKING TRAIN!" or "I need some PUSSY." or my personal favorite, "I'M GOING TO GO FUCK SHEILA." He was even singing at one point. But the greatest moment happened at the end of the ride when, as he was exiting the train, having spent the last two hours preventing me from any kind of real sleep with his loudly professed tales of woe, he turned to an old lady seated near the door and said, very politely, "Ma'am, would you like any help getting off the train?"