Monday, March 31, 2008

Sweet November

Well it's raining again and I can't decide if it's a blessing or a curse. Would it really have been better to be in the trees of NH, having to shovel out every other day and being unable to drive safely? I will say I'm tired of having almost this entire winter act like November: rainy and cold, albeit with a little less wind.

I am battling the PMS monster today. I'm cranky! I'm sad! I pull myself out of the hole. Then, cranky! sad! Then I distract myself with work. And so on. Last night I watched Junebug, which was a sweet, quiet movie which could have done with a little less quiet and a lot more of Alessandro Nivola's naked ass. I have a busy week; a friend from Albany is coming to stay tomorrow night. She's invited me to a dinner being held by the New Yorker. She works at a yoga retreat which advertises in the magazine. I wonder what it will be bags? Adam Gopnik? Gift bags and Gopnik?

Then on Thursday I'm having friends over for homemade pasta, then the previously-mentioned book club on Saturday. Would that I were in a mood to get off my fanny and do something about all this up-and-coming. Alas I am not.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Destination Exercising

I arrived a bit late to yesterday's yoga class, owing to the fact that the street it's on changes names rather suddenly and I went in the wrong direction.

Still and all, once I got there, it was nifty. Turns out I can get my heels down to the ground in downward-facing dog immediately if I do yoga for two days in a row. It made me wonder about my yoga skills if I were to practice more often. Which I'd like to do. I was able to get into a lot of the harder postures, whereas a skinny young thing to my right was not. On a positive note, while I got hit up by a total weirdo after class, it wasn't like the TW sniffed me out. I was the only person left. So it can't be said that he was coming for me specifically!

Today I jogged to Harvard Square to pick up a used copy of Eat, Pray, Love, which I am finally reading, after having avoided it because SO MANY PEOPLE said I would love the book and I figured that A, I would, and B, I would hate the author, because she had ridiculous problems: she was rich and got a divorce and lost a lot of her money but immediately hooked up with a hot man who broke her heart, which was immediately followed by a book deal that allowed her to have an amazing spiritual journey around the world because, say with me: SHE DIDN'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT MONEY.


Anyhoo, I picked the book up in my sexywexy running tights, then ran home. I'm nearly 50 pages in already and it's pretty darn good. I'm hosting book club at my apartment this weekend; this is the book we're reading for it and I picked it. I think I'm going to make lasagna.

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Friday, March 28, 2008


I'm having a fun morning with myself tomorrow, starting with a power yoga class (it's free!) in the South End, followed by (hopefully) a pecan sticky bun and coffee at a bakery there, where I will read the swell John Sedgwick book about his rich nutter East Coast family I took out of the library. I love reading about the well-heeled and wackadoo! Also I love pecan buns and yoga.

Then I will move the loving to Mings, a big stinky fabulous Asian grocery store, to stock up on all manner of deliciousness. My list includes rice noodles, tofu, fish sauce, coconut milk, thai red curry sauce, and fresh ginger.

And then I will come home.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Positive Feedback

I've been getting a lot of happy thank-you's for my work as of late; I did a recent project for my former career coach, bartering for more sessions, which I think is pretty neat, and she told me, "and I tell this to you specifically NOT as a career coach" that I am "very good" at what I do. I just need to be more business savvy and have a little bit of luck.

The business savvy is coming, slowly but surely. The luck, well, I don't know. I could use some more of it. If only there were a way to snap my fingers and let the world know if you're looking for good writing, editing, and research skills, I'm your woman. And I don't mean good in terms of I'm OK at it. I mean good in terms of I am exceptional.

I'm also still mulling how to get paid a decent amount of money for the stuff in this blog. Last night as I was falling asleep I thought "A-ha! I shall propose a three-month blogging residency at the MacDowell Colony!" And then I realized as it is an artists' retreat perhaps they would not look to kindly about my writing about my experiences there and posting it on the Internet for all to say.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Virtual Pack Rat

I recently discovered the joy of taking CD's out of the library and copying them into iTunes...I'm up over 1,000 songs now, which is quite nifty! I am all about the library.

However I have yet to listen to many of them. I've taken a shine to compilation albums, because it's more bang for your buck (you can take out 8 CD's at a time from the library and multidisc sets count as just one) but I don't take the time to weed through them to find the songs I like. This is partly because hey maybe I might like one of those songs whose title I've never heard of but I've got too much to do to listen to it right now. Which brings me to the reason behind the VPR title of this post. Mine iPod Sheena offers me a way to feed the pack rat in me virtually, storing away hundreds upon hundreds of songs that I may well never listen to. But! If I ever want to listen to them, they'll be waiting.

Yesterday I loaded up nearly every song Neil Diamond has ever written. I love Neil Diamond, but partly because Dr. Moo and I enjoy making each other giggle by belting out his tunes on long car trips. "I am I said! To no one there. And no one heard at all, not even the chair" is, for whatever reason, particularly silly to us. Then last night I decided "Say, I shall listen to this album right now!" So I clicked on "Yesterday's Song." And you know what? It's ridiculous and dorky, like so much of Neil's oeuvre. But in a bad way, as opposed to, say, "Girl, You'll be A Woman Soon."

So I shut it off, and loaded up the 7 other CD's I borrowed.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


It's not one of my favorite things in the world some days to write on this here blog how I'm really feeling. For example, today, when I feel tired, fat, old, and down in the dumps. I got up early today, went to the gym, and then into the transcription office and I really hated being there. I'm pissed at myself for still working there, nearly two years later. It pays 11 fucking dollars an hour. Given inflation I'm actually making less than I was (and with less responsibility) than when I was a newly-sober gal in her early twenties.

But, for whatever reason, my life has been one of extremes. I've worked at some pretty impressive places and also at some very unimpressive ones, often one right after the other. I've been anorexically skinny and morbidly obese. I suppose the fact that now I seem to have evened out to a mostly healthy size bodes well for this job see-saw settling at some point.

But still. Some days it's hard to be grateful for where I am and how far I've come. Some days I get the visit from the black dog, the same one that used to visit Winston Churchill. I don't admit this for sympathy but more for therapy and so that maybe someone else who feels this way will read this and know that even though I feel that way at times, I also feel good, and it isn't the end of the world to be in these shitty moods. It just is. Much though I wish I didn't feel like this, ever, but the only way out of it is through it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It never ends

I actually went in to work at the transcription office today; they had some project with technical specs that couldn't be taken out-of-house; I was waiting all day to hear the words "flux capacitor" from the speaker. Of course the ladies at the office were excited to have me meet a 22 year old they initially wanted to fix me up with, before coming to their senses and realizing that perhaps a college undergrad might not make the most appropriate suitor.

Anyhoo, I tried to be a good environmentalist and take the train to the bus to the library to return some books and CD's but it took forever owing to the fact that a green line train left my sorry ass at North Station for nearly 20 minutes, depositing me at Lechmere just late enough to miss my bus. It ended up taking more than an hour. As I was getting onto the bus I thought I saw a Latino kid who was 19 at the absolute oldest checking me out; those thoughts were confirmed when I caught him smiling at me after I sat down.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

My Sunday started off with Chauncey the Wonder Corgi meeting me at the foot of the stairs, with one of my socks in his beak. Naturally he ignored the lovely wool sock I gave him yesterday as a treat.

Anyhoo, it's church at 11 with Little Brother and his wife and McMumsy and PolackPappy (about whom I dreamed last night had moved to a hideously appointed condo on a street named Neil Diamond) and then further family will be showing up for a meal at 2.

Enjoy your Easter, everyone!

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

I'm off Andrews Square, former home of the Polish side of the family, who lived for decades in a triple-decker on Preble Street, attended the Polish church and school in the neighborhood, and shopped at the Polish grocery store. All the Poles related to me who lived there are dead or moved away, the triple-decker sold and converted into fancy condominiums. The grocery store is gone, too, but there are a couple that have sprouted up in its place, on Dot Ave, and I'm going to pick up some kielbasa and other treats for Easter, for PolackPappy, and in honor of Babcia.

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Friday, March 21, 2008


I had a bit of a rich housewife day today in that I took a yoga class at noon and then went to the fancy grocery store. I managed to figure out not one but two new poses so I was feeling pretty good...for the 10 minutes it took me to walk home, hop in my car, drive to the fancy grocery store, and get cut off by a for-real rich housewife. I honked my horn at her and called her a bad word.


Thursday, March 20, 2008


I need a change of some sort. I'm tired of being poor. Maybe it would be better to be poor somewhere else, where there are more trees. The trouble is, I think I ripped my bootstraps off the last time I pulled them up.

I miss the asparagus bed by the garden on the back forty at Babcia's house. And the rhubarb, which came up before the asparagus. But oh, the asparagus. You could almost watch it grow. Sometimes I would get down on my hands and knees and eat one directly from the ground, and that's the freshest vegetable I ever ate. I've also always been in awe of the root veggies. I think it's the neatest thing in the world that stuff you can eat grows underground away from the sun. Digging potatoes and carrots is like digging for buried treasure.

I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It's about the year she and her family spent living off the land in West Virginia. I've always liked the idea of it. The only thing I'd have a real issue with would be meat. I know I can kill a fish and I think I could kill a chicken but when it came to a big, well, cow-eyed cow, that I'm not so sure about.

Anyhoo it's the first day of spring PLUS Mr. Roger's 80th birthday. I'm wearing a sweater to celebrate the latter. Mother Nature is celebrating the former with a whole lotta wind.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I watched Gone Baby Gone last night and if I didn't have relatives on the Polack side of the family who lived in the grittier sections of Boston I would have thought the babbling brooks of curse words that flowed from the characters' mouths were a put-on.

Alas they are not. My dearly departed great aunt G, whenever she saw me, would have this to say: "Jesus Christ Almighty, you were such a beautiful fuckin' child. But you were such a god-damn fuckin' bitch. Jesus fuckin' Christ." Then one of her daughters would yell at me to "Help your fuckin' grandmotha."

Also despite my fancy NH upbringing, I can do a mean curse-word-ridden bad-side-of-Boston girl impression.

Also also that Amy Ryan character reminds me a little bit of my downstairs neighbor.

Anyhoo, it's a good movie and you should see it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Church Update

So my excursions back into the Catholic fold have brought me closer to what may be the sweetest people I have ever met. They are husband-and-wife journalists with one child; I met them through friends of mine. I've seen the husband at Saturday Mass; he sits with me when I'm there, and I saw the wife at a baby shower I was at on Sunday. She reiterated her invitation to "stop by" their place any time and I could tell that she meant it. Just now I got an invite from the husband to sit with him at Easter Vigil if I choose to go.

I've also been able to spend more time with Amelia and wee Daisy because of the church connection; when I go to Sunday Mass, I go with them, and we get breakfast after. A recently asked if I would be OK, if she found the money, with her paying for me to have my eggs harvested and frozen. Which as I'm writing it doesn't come across in print the way it did in person: as an awe-inspiring offer.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

The McPolacks love a rebel

To give you an idea of the type of behavior that's lauded in the McP family, I present this snippet: My parents have replaced their three children with three animals, a dog, a cat, and a chinchilla. Polackpappy loves to brag about Harry, the chinchilla, and the latest addition to the family. Harry takes his exercise every night at 8 in the downstairs loo. Recently Pp opened the door and discovered Harry standing on his hind legs "admiring himself in the mirror."

"Then," Pp said, and rather proudly, "I looked over and saw one single turd on the bar of soap."


Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's all Greek to me

I ended up getting my hair cut by an oddly skinny Greek woman. Actually she had an incredible body, thin thin thin in all the right places but with really cut arms. As she was finishing up three chunky men walked in at once, her next appointments. If I was a man I'd have her cut my hair, too. If only the reverse existed for ladies.

Anyhoo I'm not that excited by the hair cut and it was expensive, but no more expensive than any other cut I've gotten around here. She did comment on my dye job but offered helpful advice, that I should alternate between lighter and darker shades of blonde, so as not to have differently-colored ends. I took that advice to CVS where, lo and behold, there were two different shades of blonde hair dye for just five bucks apiece. Plus buy one get one free shampoo and conditioner.

I dyed my hair when I got home from the haircut and I'm not thrilled with the color. I washed my hair the next morning with the new shampoo and conditioner. And I'm not so thrilled with the results. Unfortunately it does pay to spend more money on hair products then less, I've discovered.

In other McPolack news, I ran from Somerville to Boston today to pick up some transcription work. It took me about 45 minutes, which isn't bad, and overall it's a nice run. Then I got home and realized I am getting fat again. Boooooooooooo! It's time to lay off the egg and sausage sandwiches for dinner.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Once more into the breach

I'm heading out in a moment to get my hair cut. Despite the fact that I have just 20, count 'em, 20 dollars in my checking account. Because my hair looks terrible. I look, and I hate to say this, a little frumpy.

In keeping with tradition, I am going to a different salon than the one I went to the last time I got my hair cut, which was different from the one I went to before that hair cut, and so on. Never (well almost never) the same place twice. It's the TJ Maxx approach to beauty.

The real reason I don't go back is that I have yet to like a single one of my hairdressers, save my cousin S, who's in NH and therefore unavailable, and this sweet Jheri-curled Caucasian queen-ish fellow who told everyone in a salon near Peterborough NH how pretty I was. Usually my experience is one of awkwardness. I never know what to say to the hairdressers, or they do a crap job on the cut and then I really don't know what to say to them, or they make a snide comment about the fact that I dye my own hair.

Anyhoo. Here's hoping I look better at 6 pm than I did at 5.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My new workplace

I tried working from a coffee shop today; I'm actually in one right now. It would be fantastic if only the wifi were more reliable. It's more reliable here than the place I was at before but the work I'm doing requires a constant connection; when it turns on and off all the time it's a giant pain in the ass.

I don't know what the policy is here in terms of what you have to buy vs. how long you can stay. Since I'd already drunk a lot of coffee the last place I was at, I have been nursing the one I'm drinking here. I've been here nearly two hours and spent $2.50, not including tip. It's not like people are waiting for tables but I do feel a little guilty, especially since I just ate half a protein bar I brought from home on the sly. If I could afford to purchase a snack here, I would totally do it, and I'm considering coming back tomorrow after the gym to have breakfast here (or perhaps another day this week). It's a pretty nifty place and they're playing an easy listening station which makes me feel like I'm back in NH, where it's all easy listening all the time. Actually they just played some Barry White which made it feel more sleazy listening than easy listening.

Anyhoo I tarted myself up today, just because, but I still feel on the inside like a girl from the sticks. Which is fine.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Almost Famous

So yesterday I ate a chocolate chip cookie from the same silver tray that held brownies, cookies, and a life-size molded chocolate eagle at Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver's wedding. It was a Conan-sized, good for snacking off of when you're all tuckered out from crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women.

The cookie itself, from a recipe that was a favorite of John-John's, kind of sucked. It was thin and flavorless.

I had my brush with fame at the Kennedy Library, where I'd gone to see a former chef of the Kennedy's talk about his cookbook (which I gave McMumsy a couple of years ago) and make a recipe. The host, a local celebrity, kept reminding the audience how "lucky" we were to have won tickets. I beg to differ.

First of all, the chef made lobster stew, which we didn't get to sample because NECN, which sponsored the event, was too cheap. Second, the chef himself was bland and when he wasn't bland, he was mean. One of the stories he shared was about that same silver tray; he said that once the brownies and cookies were gone, he found Oprah ("And this was when she was doing The Color Purple," he said, adding a few more choice words to make sure we knew this was fat Oprah) breaking the tailfeathers off the life-sized chocolate eagle and eating them.

Of course once Oprah started eating the eagle, it became an eat-the-eagle free-for-all, said the chef. Later, when someone asked him to name his least favorite culinary trend, he said he hated how big portions had gotten and that he was disgusted by people filling their plates up at buffet-style restaurants and then laying down to nap. This in front of a crowd filled mainly with somewhat squishy middle-aged to older women. When someone mentioned what a fat lard Ted Kennedy is, he defended him, saying he'd broken his back and couldn't exercise. And whenever anyone wanted to know anything remotely who was a picky eater, as if that were a scandalous question compared to, I don't know, a question about why the Kennedys seem to keep dying off in fantastically horrible ways...he'd avoid answering the question. Mostly he came off as a cantankerous, pompous oaf who felt like he had better things to do then be there.

L came with me and I was glad for the company. She pronounced my cookies way better than the Kennedy cookies. Which they are.


Saturday, March 08, 2008


Well. I just took a bath and it's pouring out, which seems a bit like taking a sauna in Arizona in July but it just felt right. I like a good Saturday night bath. I feel like Laura Ingalls in the washtub, scrubbing behind her ears with gooey brown soap, washing the week away so she can start Sunday new.

Last night I had dinner with Carmen; it was good to go out, although I went for sushi at a place that's changed hands thinking it would be cheap and delicious. It ended up being expensive and just OK. I blanched a lot at the 30 bucks I shelled out but I would have spent that on gas driving to visit Dr. Moo, and it was good to go out on a Friday night instead of sitting at home with a fried egg sandwich and my kitty. Which would be what I'm doing tonight.

In other McPolack news, I'm all itchy again to do something new, to burst forth from my chrysalis. I want to let this little light of mine shine.

Anyhoo, I've got a date with God tomorrow morning at 9. And also with Amelia and wee Daisy. I kind of don't mind springing forward a bit earlier this year; winter's been so dreary and I'm ready for rebirth.


Friday, March 07, 2008

I'm Embarrassed (and also sad)

First the sad. Due to the coming crappy weather I am not going to visit Dr. Moo this weekend and I was really looking forward to being in sweet, sweet VT.

Then, the embarrassed. I make up songs on the fly for my kitty when I am so inspired. This morning she had a dire case of the friskies. It was almost incurable! And as she sat with her fluffy fluffy fur all poofed out and her eyes wide, staring down her toy, I sang this to her:

You're my fluffy funny bunny and I love you very much.
You're a great big nerd-face and you've got that nerd-face touch.



Thursday, March 06, 2008

Holy Shit

Is this ever a good movie. It starts off slow and you'll want to turn it off but man oh man does it get good. It's got a corgi in it! Yes, a dead corgi, but still. Also, ruminations on God and the nature of existence. Also, colorful crazy people.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I finished the story!

Yay me!

It turned out fine. Not spectacular and I wasn't able to incorporate everyone I talked to but I turned it in and I'm relieved.

In other McPolack news, Carmen suggested I put together a cable access show and we decided it could be a call-in program where people call in to compliment me. I think that's a fine idea.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Pulling my hair out

Aaargh. I am fucking hating the article I'm writing right now. I interviewed so g-d many people and now the night before it's due it occurs to me I went too broad on the broad and too shallow on the deep. I wish my monkey mind would stop making me feel like a loser and I'm keeping the faith in the fact that all writing is rewriting. I'm turning this article in tomorrow and it's going to be good and I'm not going to get the jimmy legs tonight over it.


Monday, March 03, 2008


I went to mass on Sunday morning this week because I didn't get home in time from my NH visit on Saturday. As luck would have it, or maybe God, Amelia was there with wee Daisy, for her second attempt at church. (The first attempt, on Ash Wednesday, ended soon after the organ music started up and D chanted "Gohomegohomegohomegohomegohome" until she got her wish.)

Yesterday, though, she was braver. She told me she was a little bit scared; I told her she had nothing to worry about. And she did really, really well, especially given the longest Gospel reading I've ever heard, followed by a long homily. Apparently during the homily Daisy and her mom played "I Spy."

When I related all this to McMumsy, she told me Uncle J had seen Aunt S at a noon weekday mass in NH last Wednesday with her two charges, Charlie, her grandson, who is not yet one, and Trevor, her great-nephew, who is not yet two. Trevor was crawling all around the altar and at the end of mass the priest said his mother told him he used to do that as a baby and look how he ended up.

Anyhoo I was pleased, on only my fourth visit, to be able to introduce some people to the priest with the Irish name. Who keeps calling me Meghan, "Probably because he doesn't want to say Maggie since that's an Irish whore's name," said McMumsy. Then we went and had breakfast at Kelly's diner, after which I came home and hung out with L all afternoon and then made some dinner.

And now I'm freaking out a little about an article that's due on Wednesday. Pretty normal stuff, really.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Holy Pregnant Lady

So. Just got back from a visit to OSB, who's due in early May. She and I went for a snowshoe this afternoon. Concord, NH has had nearly 100 inches of snow fall so far this winter...and the Monadnock region has had more than that, though I'm not sure how much. And it's not like a lot of that snow has melted. I broke trail for us, in a good three feet of powder in places, but pregnant OSB kept up very well. We took occasional breaks, leaving twin butt prints in the snow.

However by far her most amazing feet was scaling the, I shit you not, 10 foot high mountain of plowed snow that awaited us at the beginning of the trail we took, which is at the end of a dirt road. I looked at it; she looked at it. I said "You want to go around?" She wanted to go up. And before you get all nervous, it was snow, people. Soft snow. If she fell, it would have been like falling into a big pile of cotton. And since I was breaking trail I was doing a lot of the work.

OSB, like me, is half-Polish and this article gives a good description as to why our people do so well in the frozen tundra. Three cheers for the Polacks! We are one tough bunch.