Friday, February 29, 2008

A Leap Year with actual leaping

I was in the weight room at the gym this morning near where a guy who was probably 5'10" and in his mid-twenties with an athletic but not beefy body was jumping straight up into the air and onto these metal platforms with legs that the trainers use. They come in three sizes; he had stacked the shortest on top of the tallest and he was jumping a good three feet, if not more, from the ground, and landing on top. Not running and then jumping. Just jumping. It was amazing and everybody noticed and there was this great joyous energy about it.

I'm off to NH this afternoon, to visit OSB and her family, who are in a time of financial crisis at the moment. OSB is pregnant with her second child, quite so, and they may lose their house.

I'm trying to avoid my own financial crisis by working a lot but some days, being at home, it's hard to get my ass in gear. I powered through some stuff earlier this week and today, I don't know, I'm just avoiding. The good part about that is that I can do the housework I was going to do on Sunday and then do work work on Sunday. The bad part is that I feel like I never get a break, and I see all these bills rolling towards me -- taxes, annual checkup for my kitty, my car, a haircut, clothes, shoes. I know full well that money doesn't make you happy or a better person but sometimes I do wonder how much worry and anxiety would leave my life if I had more of it.


Thursday, February 28, 2008


Three yogini tidbits:

Tidbit one: I nearly burst out laughing at the beginning of class, which starts with three oms, because the instructor sounded like he was going to start hooting like Tarzan. But then he didn't. And then all of a sudden I found myself doing a really deep, awesome om that felt transcendent.

Tidbit two: There were a number of butt oms today, by which I mean farts. First it was the lady behind me, a nice wee toot. She broke the ice because later there were two really loud and, I don't know, flappy ones. Luckily they did not smell.

Tidbit three: Before transitioning in a prayer twist from a low lunge to a high, the instructor told us to look at our back leg and make sure everything was aligned. Can I just tell you my butt looked quite big in comparison to the rest of me? But in a good way. There needs to be a word for that. Oh wait, there is: bootylicious.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My fingers are bleeding

I have been typing typing typing all day, transcribing a focus group that featured, amusingly, a fat hairy man. How do I know he's fat and hairy? Because he used the words "man" and "boobs" in reference to his pectoral muscles and talked about what a pain it is to have an EKG, owing to the sticky goo on the nubbies they use to hold the electrodes in place yanking out your short and curlys.

So that's pleasant.

I'm a little frightened still by what's going to happen with my life in the future. Given my past, and even my present, I think that's normal, to a degree. But I can certainly worry less and pray more, and just get out and live. I'm for more of that. More life, less man boobs, please!

I did have a wonderful evening with L and my German friend. They're both testing the managerial waters in their careers and I loved sitting around the kitchen table eating bouillabaise and chatting. They're wonderful, lovely women and I'm glad they're in my life. Later we sat three long on the sofa, watched trashy TV, and ate cookies. I'm going to toot my own horn here: those cookies were fan-f*&*ing-tastic. I used Hershey dark (but not special dark) chips, white chocolate chips, and walnuts and shredded coconut that I toasted together in the oven before adding them to the mix. They are well worth the extra fat cell or 50 on your bum bum.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How to know you've definitively left your twenties behind, reason # 371

When coming across the series Quarterlife on MTV you find yourself, after watching a scene where an assistant editor at a women's mag is getting chewed out for submitting an idea for a new page that covers things like poverty and politics but doesn't leave any room for advertising you take the side of the chewer because, jeebus, without advertising the magazine will fold. Pull your head out of your activist bottom and think for a minute, chewee!

And you think to yourself, welcome to adulthood, sweetheart.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Things are finally looking up

It's the start of a much-needed upswing in my life. Here are three recent positive occurences:

1. I thought I had to mail-order one of my prescriptions from here on out, a big paint in the butt. Turns out I don't have to.

2. I ate dinner with a friend on Saturday and the friend she brought along, a handsome man in excellent shape, blushed when talking to me and paid for our dinner. No he is not romance material but still!

3. I got my credit reports for free today and they -- and this is a HUGE shock to me -- are really good. I mean, they're sparse, but there is NOTHING BAD in them.

4. The sun was out here for two days in a row.

Hello, happy times! I've really missed you...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Thin Obsession

I think this is very clever.

I interviewed the guy who made this video for a story I wrote about social networks. He is the definition of a typical suburban dad. I like knowing quirk lurks in people like him.

McPolack Rates Elizabeth the Golden Age

If I had three thumbs, I'd give it three thumbs up. This despite its getting bad reviews for being soapy and with a smidge of high camp. Which it is.

Why three thumbs, you ask? Well, dear reader, here is why:

Thumb one: Cate Blanchett. She is just such an amazing actress. She could probably have made Gigli good. OK maybe not Gigli. But I just love her.

Thumb two: Self-identification. No, I do not think I am the Queen of England. But I do think I was raised (as was Dr. Moo) to be very independent and strong, so much so that it freaks men out. Too much female awesomeness + wussy feeble men = lonely women.

Thumb three: Clive Owen. I think I love him more than George Clooney. Because while George Clooney is dashing and he cares about saving the planet, he couldn't hold a candle to Clive in a bare-knuckle fight. I would not make Clive take a shower before getting in my bed, I don't think he would if I asked and I bet he smells even hotter when he's dirty. Clive, Clive, Clive, Clive, Clive.


Thursday, February 21, 2008


As I was shaving my legs in the shower this morning, which I do every other day, and have done, despite there being no one touching my legs save my gay yoga instructor, I started to wonder: at what point does all this upkeep and hope that a man is going to come along degrade into mouldering? When does a person become Miss Havisham?

Of course I don't mean this literally; in some ways what I do is the opposite of mouldering. I wear makeup every day, I wash my hair, put goop in it so it looks pretty. I dress relatively well given that I work from home. This is partly because I think it's important to take care of yourself but it's also a little bit because a fairly big part of me, the happy hopeful bright-eyed bushy-tailed light in me that refuses to be extinguished despite all the bad luck I've had, whispers in my ear that yes, this could be day that he shows up. And you want to look good, don't you?

But what if I'm waiting on a life that isn't going to happen, and meanwhile the life that I am supposed to have is rotting away on a table somewhere?


Bank Error in your Favor

Don't know how I managed it but in my brain it was already next week, which means I have an extra week in which to write the article I'm working on. Yippee!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Good luck with that

I for one have zero interest in washing my whole body with something made by a company known for its vagina cleaners. What's next, face wash?

I must say

That there is at least one resident of my apartment who lives the high life, 24/7. And that resident would be my kitty. She is at the moment stretched out, legs akimbo, on the Ottoman Empire (a blue Pottery Barn ottoman placed in the bay window of my living room), of which she is Queen, sunning herself. She takes the occasional break, hopping down with a meow to flop on her side on the floor so I can scratch her. Sometimes she'll hop in my lap. In the morning, when I get back from the gym, we play. She likes to pull all the toys out of her toy basket with her teeth, then roll herself up in the carpet like a burrito.

I'm in between interviews at the moment for a story I'm working on and I just finished lunch. And nowhere near as relaxed as the furball to my right. When she gets really relaxed, she snores, and it sounds just like you'd think a kitty snore would.


Cabin has already been snapped up. It's Somerville for a little while longer then.


So I just e-mailed someone about a one-bedroom log cabin for rent in Groton, Vermont. I'm not sure if it's still available but it's beautiful and an hour's drive from Franconia Notch State Park. It just felt right to write the owners. We'll see what comes of it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hungry Mountain

So I think the latest rescue ( brings the total to seven hikers who've been lost (including one who lost his life) in the Whites in the last month. A special shout-out goes to my Uncle Joe, publisher of the Union Leader, for adding the "reader comments" feature to the online version of the paper. I miss the outspoken ridiculous bitching that so many New Hampshirites are found of. The rescue efforts, including one for an ice grooming machine (the driver of said machine kicked the window out and swam up through 30 feet of frigid water, saving himself), have stirred up some piss and vinegar amongst residents of my home state. To wit: they don't want their tax dollars paying to pluck some durn fool off the side of a mountain.

Here comes my own native New Hampshirite piss and vinegarism: To the people who are pissing and moaning about paying to rescue someone off the side of a mountain, I say I don't like having to use taxpayers dollars to cover the medical costs incurred by the deleterious health effects of your choosing, instead of hiking, to sit your fat lazy ass in front of a computer, while stuffing your face with potato chips.

So there.

Monday, February 18, 2008

McPolack rates TV

I went through a period in my life where I didn't eat meat and I didn't watch TV. I like to refer to that time as my foolish youth.

Now I have a giant heavy flatscreen given to me by JoyceFrances and I turn it on nearly every single day. Tonight I am going to watch "No Reservations," a food show on the Travel Channel starring Anthony Bourdain. AB left his wife of many years for a hootchie mama Italian, whom he impregnated. Despite knowing this about him I cannot help but find him sexy, in all his cheating, gap-toothed, tall potty-mouthed wrinkly saggy oldish man glory.

Of course the TV brings horrors as well and there are times when I am sickened for humanity by what I see. But not sick enough to stop watching! Because sometimes a girl gets depressed and she needs nothing more than to lay on her futon with her kitty-cat on a Saturday afternoon watching "The Millionaire Matchmaker."

I give TV four out of five stars.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Norman, Norman, Norman

Ever read the Norman Mclean novella A River Runs Through It, or seen the movie?

I've read the book and seen the movie several times. The movie was on TV tonight, on TCM, so no commercials. And wouldn't you know it, by the time it was over I was sobbing yet again, not a real snotty sob, which was nice. It was more of a delicate dampish sob with some "huh-huh-huh-huhing" into a wad of tp I had clutched in my right hand.

There's a name for the sort of person I am but I'm too tired to think of it at the moment. I've enjoyed, no, required time spent alone in the woods since I was small. I am a highly emotional, sensitive person and I am much, much, much better at the spiritual and lofty than I am at the everyday nitty-gritty parts of life.

Both are required for a comfortable existence, and therein lies my problem.

Which leads me to what struck me from this viewing of ARRTI: The scene near the end of the movie, where Norman's little brother catches a fish. A voiceover talks (and I am paraphrasing here) about how he had caught the fish in such a way as to transcend himself and the bonds of the earth; he'd risen above it; it was art.

But he knew it couldn't last, because life isn't art.

In church this week there was a visiting Nigerian priest and he talked in his homily about the Transfiguration, which is, to sum up, when Jesus takes a couple of the Apostles hiking and at the top of the mountain, hey, there's God, and he says in a booming God voice from behind some clouds (naturally!) that Jesus is his son and the apostles are utterly and completely freaked out and then awed at what is before them. The bulk of the sermon was that if you pray you'll get more of that Transfiguration feeling but what stuck with me was what he said before the prayer elevator speech, that when you are walking in the woods in awe of the beauty that surrounds you, that is being transfigured. And I totally get that.

Which brings me back around to ARRTI. I very much get the God in nature thing. I often ponder the "profound metaphysical questions." But it's just as important to live, feet on the ground, here on earth, giving respect to yourself, your bill collectors, and your kitchen floor. And I know can do those things well, too. I'm getting better at them all the time.

Amen to that. I'm going to bed.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Look at me go!

So in yoga I can now put my head on the floor in this position, this position, this position, and this position. So that's neat.

Then I say Hello right foot! And Hello left foot! And then I sniff my own butt.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Yes I know what day it is

I remain flat-out in the work department. L has asked me to go to her house for dinner but as I am already in my stretchy pants (yay for stretchy pants!) and just spent 45 minutes on the phone catching up with JoyceFrances, thereby using up all my available "be social" minutes for the day, I am instead going to transcribe interviews with consultants who are far more educated (but only in terms of book learnin'!) and wealthy (but only in terms of fat cash!) than me. But then they sit around in windowless conference rooms all day crunching numbers and inhaling their own ivy-league educated Brooks-brothers-suit wearing stink, whereas I am currently enjoying the twin smells of ginger and garlic, which I marinated the chicken for my chicken sandwich in. And my kitty is sleeping in her sleepy box at my feet.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Puff the magic dragon

I'm working on a freelance article and realized this morning I'd put it off too long, which led to frenetic searching and calling and list-making, so that I remember to do everything I need to do. Lots of pressing stuff this week.

Went to the pharmacy yesterday and wouldn't you know it, the medication I was able to switch to because having health insurance meant I could finally afford it is not covered by said health insurance any longer. I got one more month because it's not the sort of thing you can just stop taking and I'm grateful for that.

Anyhoo, had dinner with friends tonight -- I made homemade pasta, homemade red sauce, salad, garlic bread, wheat crackers with goat cheese and quince jam, and tea and chocolate cupcakes with ganache and cocoa topping for dessert.

And I heard something hilarious. The subject was, not to put too fine a point on it, the latter of the two in the spit versus swallow debate. One friend said "It feels like when you're waiting for that puff of air in your eye. You're all "is it coming yet? Is it coming? Oh, why won't it come?'"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Death on the mountain

I was sad to read this story in the paper today. The loop they hiked is one of my favorites; it's a great workout, and the Franconia Ridge Trail is absolutely stunning. I've never tried it in winter. Dr. Moo's been partway up on snowshoes. It's the sort of trail that can do what it did this past weekend -- kill a man.

I can honestly see where you could get to a level of comfort with being out in nature, especially if you've had trip after trip of good luck. In some ways, I consider myself lucky to have had scares, whether it's having brought an inexperienced hiker above treeline only to get caught in a thunderstorm and have to give her my extra clothing because I didn't a, check the weather and b, remind her there's a reason why you don't wear cotton, or finding out just how frighteningly fast frostbite can set in. I'm grateful for the occasional boot to the ass from the powers that be.

Monday, February 11, 2008

So the sun finally comes out...

...but it's too cold to enjoy it.

Oh New England, I still love you but sometimes I wonder if we have an abusive relationship.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Why thank you, elderly man in the Somerville Market Basket, for brightening a dreary day

I needed groceries and a challenge and so off to the Somerville Market Basket I went. It was at about the right level of craziness for an early Saturday evening, and as I was checking out the broccoli crowns an elderly gentleman to my right leaned in and said "You know, these are great for keeping your hair from falling out and stopping it from going gray."

Naturally what little hair he had was nearly white. I told him it looked like the broccoli was working. Then he said to me "Oh, I used to eat salads but they take so much work. Now I just eat a little of this, plus some turnips and cut up carrots. It's wonderful. Of course you can't convince anyone under the age of 30 of this...except for you."


Thursday, February 07, 2008


I thought Mass started at noon; turned out it was 12:10, so I was pretty early. The parking lot was nearly full but the church wasn't; it was mainly old ladies, with a few young ladies in between. I felt like I was in a room full of Babcias.

I liked the homily; the priest talked about the meaning of the word sincerity, how it came from not putting wax into marble to cover up any imperfections, and that Lent is a time to just be who you are, flaws and all. Oh, and to repent. Which -- well, he wasn't selling it as you're all a bunch of lousy sinners. It felt more to me of a God loves you despite that big bag of shit you're dragging behind you. Oh and by the way, now's a good time to let that shit go.

So. When it was time to get a cross of ashes made from last year's burned up Palm Sunday palms mixed with oil and then blessed, there were three good-sized lines of parishioners, some men and younger women; a couple of kids. One little girl smiled at me. At communion there was only body, no blood. Not sure why, but whatevs. I took communion. I prayed, for my friend's mom, for Babcia, on the off chance that there is a Purgatory and she's stuck there. (And as a side story, at the lunch after Babcia's funeral, Little Brother announced he was going to start praying every day, saving them up until he dies, then once he gets to Heaven he'll sell them to people stuck in Purgatory for a profit.)

I prayed for guidance.

Then I went to the fancy hippy grocery store on the edge of the peoples' republic of Cambridge with a big black cross smack dab in the middle of my forehead. That was fun.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Oh Jesus

Today marks the beginning of a great experiment in my life: I'm going back to church, one mass a week, for Lent. There's a beautiful church at the top of my street and today, at noon, I'm going to go to Ash Wednesday services.

I'm doing this for several reasons, including that I've felt pulled to the Catholic church since I left it behind as a teenager, and as a sign of respect to McMumsy, who has been so helpful to me in the months since my ADD diagnosis. I feel like our whole relationship has changed for the better. And she keeps recommending church and I keep not listening. And she keeps supporting me despite my not going. So I'm going to go. When I told McMumsy this, she told me she'd done the same thing some years ago -- tried church for Lent -- and ended up getting back into it.

I'm not sure what's going to happen with all this. The Catholic church is far from perfect. But then again, so am I.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I voted!

And they gave me a sticker. Which seemed a little weird because grownups aren't that into stickers. Stickers are more of a fourth-grade thing. Of course this is coming from someone who peeled the metallic kitty-cat stickers off a note from someone whose cat I watch, and stuck 'em on my laptop. So maybe they're onto something.

Anyhoo, you can consider this blog to be an official endorser of Barack Obama, because that's who I picked, by connecting the disconnected arrow to the right of his name with a black line. It wasn't the easiest of decisions and a few of my friends went with Hilary but I just couldn't do it. I want someone different and fresh and new and Barack is that. I hope he wins.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Lookee's Munch and Fin, Little Brother and Sister-in-Law's new kittens!

I'm so glad Little Brother married a cat person.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Well Mayor Menino has requested we all try not to kill one another after tonight's game. I for one hope to hop on the T before the madness starts and am glad that, although there will be yelly boys, a giant TV, and nachos at the party I'm attending, there will also be women that don't really care about football, roll-your-own spring rolls, and Twister. Thank God a-mighty.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Stocking Up

I made my dinner for the week tonight instead of Sunday, owing to my visiting one friend tomorrow afternoon and then a group of them, at a Super Bowl party, tomorrow night. It was spaghetti with meat sauce and I always make enough to freeze. Really if I had my druthers I'd make enough to freeze of everything. I have this need to store things, like a chipmunk or a squirrel.

I was discussing this recently with another friend; she, too, tends to keep a lot of food on hand. When I asked her why she said it's because she's scared about the state of the world right now, and she wants to keep her family -- husband, son, and newborn baby daughter -- safe.

It's something more primal for me, this desire to have two, at minimum, of everything. It's related somehow to my big hips, where I tend to keep the extra food that's not in the freezer, and my fondness for pulling the covers up over my head and wrapping my arms around my pillow at night. I want to feel safe.

But then at the same time I think it would be wonderful to have a family to feed. I would like to have people around all the time to eat my cooking, someone to act out my domestic urges on. I suppose until that someone shows up I'll keep cooking for more than one and keep a steady supply of freezer bags on hand. Or maybe just have friends over for dinner more often.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I consoled Dr. Moo last night after a hard day on the job; she'd lost three patients: A cow from a university herd, of respiratory distress, a pet pink piggy, possibly from tainted food, and a six-month-old alpaca, who seized and died while Moo was making a phone call, due to there being something really wrong with his bladder.

Some days Moo deals with a lot of suffering animals, and even when she does the best she can, she can't alleviate their pain. I was glad to have words for her; sometimes, it's hard to know how to help the people you love. I told her the truth: that those animals were lucky to have her, that they didn't die terrible deaths unloved and alone in some horrible factory farm or alone or with a vet that didn't care. She's a benefit, always.

Anyhoo, there have been more cheerful tales from her as of late. She visited with a potbellied pig who lives indoors and hops up on the sofa like a doggie. And then with a doggie who is fat like a piggie because despite getting just a half cup of food a day, he drinks the cows' milk and eats their feed and hounds (heh heh) everyone that shows up on the farm for biscuits.

Oh and sometimes he hides behind the driver's seat of the UPS man's truck and the UPS man drives off only to have to turn around and come back when the porkchop makes his presence known.