Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chinchilla Update

Harry and PolackPappy continue to grow their relationship. As Harry became more comfortable in his environment, he started taking bites from every chewable surface in the bathroom, where he takes his daily out-of-cage exercise. He was eating, in no specific order, the toilet paper, the soap, the toothpaste, the baseboard, and the walls.

So now PolackPappy sits with him and reads a book, which Harry also chews. But first Harry likes to take bank shots around the room for several minutes. Because he is locked up in a cage most of the day Pp has taken to calling him "The Prisoner of Zenda." Pp called Dr. Moo recently asking if she could take Harry for the summer as there is no AC in the room Harry's cage is in. McMumsy said she'd install it and then lock Pp and Harry up with it until September.

Fortunately they came to a compromise: Move Harry out to the family room, where Pp watches movies at night, and put an AC unit in there.

Oh and according to McMumsy Harry is now a Chub Scout.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I still feel thbbblpt. I had a good conversation with a friend this weekend over just how dark and miserable a cloud financial issues can create in an otherwise happy life. I don't really want to get into it, mainly because it's convoluted and complex and feels too personal to talk about, even here, the place I go to spill my guts. Also people then want to give you advice that you do not want to hear and it makes you want to give them some advice that they don't want to hear and then everyone is sad.

Also also I am tired of listening to myself whine. So instead, then, a list of happy things!

1. I am soon to be the recipient of new furniture! My sister-in-law and brother are in the process of decorating the home they bought together and my sister-in-law is very generously giving me a sleeper sofa, armchair and ottoman, and coffee table. I'm picking them up in a couple of weeks with help from a friend who has both a strapping boyfriend and a nice big vehicle.

2. On Friday if all goes well I will go to the Monadnock region of New Hampshire for the greatest rummage sale in the world, where I have in past years found a North Face puffy jacket for 10 dollars and a Pringle of Scotland cashmere sweater for a buck. The fancy summer folk and wealthy retirees deposit their leftovers in the carriage bays behind a local church and then twice a year they sell it off.

3. I happened upon two great finds at the library, the movie La Vie en Rose and the book The Naughty Bits by Anthony Bourdain. I am one of the library's biggest fans. I've got a nice Maria Callas box set out right now as well.

Monday, April 28, 2008


In my quest to post Monday through Thursday at the very least I can usually come up with something. Unfortunately I am feeling see above. And I don't want to talk about it with anyone. So until I get in a better mood, or until tomorrow, I'm over and out.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Those are the shrieking eels!

Today I went to the MFA with my friend H. H is one of two wonderful women who came into my life via the chickenfucker. Proof that every cloud has a silver lining.

H is a PA and was at one time a surgical PA, assisting in things like chest-crackings and rib-spreadings, and therefore entirely comfortable with lunchtime conversations around blood, guts, gore, and number two. Surprisingly -- or unsurprisingly, once you have gotten to know me a little better -- I somehow manage to bring up inappropriate things at mealtimes, kind of a lot.

After lunch H led me excitedly to one of the many treasures the museum has to offer. And by treasures I mean Greek urns depicting scenes of debauchery. For example, there is one urn with an orgy scene whose placard not only helpfully points out a dildo, it also explains for viewers that the gentleman brandishing a sandal intends to use it in a "sadistic" fashion.

Then there's another urn featuring a prostitute and her john; the placard describing the scene notes the john is telling the prostitute, who is bent fetchingly over a chair, to "hold still."

Anyhoo for some strange reason I keep running the sentence "Those are the dirty urns!" over and over in my mind, but instead of my voice I hear Wallace Shawn's.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

You can't polish a turd

Got the mail today. In it were three envelopes, one for each apartment. These envelopes were trying verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry hard to be official-looking. They were from the Official Mailing Center! They reminded anyone who cared to look that it is a Federal Offense to Open Someone Else's Mail! And lots of other self-important jibberjabber in black type on a white background.

Of COURSE it was junk mail. I know the people who send this stuff do it because people fall for it; mainly elderly people. Which makes me wonder what chicanery like this will be disguised as when I'm 99 years old.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another day in paradise

Dr. Moo has been v.v. busy lately and I have not heard much from her. Imagine my delight when she called me the other day in a foul mood. Why was she in a foul mood, McPolack, you ask. Well I'll tell you. She'd been dehorning all day and had to follow that with some other work that both stretched her day on the job into an evening on the job and soaked her right thigh in blood.

What, pray tell, was this "other work?"


It's rough to spend a whole day lopping things off of cows but hey, at least she got to mix it up a little, right?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I've been doing this more lately, which, when added in to Sunday Mass and yoga is coming close to a daily spiritual practice. I met with a friend and mentor on Sunday afternoon; we sat under a tree in Cambridge Common and talked about life. She recently lost her mother. She said that it took her mom's passing (at a ripe old age after a good long life) to really clarify for that the best way to love your mom is to live a good life and to be happy.

McMumsy stopped reading my blog because it was making her sad. I don't know what to make of this.

Anyhoo, my friend on Sunday said "Well you know what I mean, and it's harder for you because you're even more like that." What she meant was that she understood why it was harder for me in the world. The first boy I ever kissed told me "Life is going to be hard for you."

I tried out a positive affirmation meditation last night. In it, I imagined myself living somewhere woodsy, with a family -- husband, dog, kitty-cat, kids. While the husband was away at work I was working at my job, which at that moment was learning about the mushrooms that had sprouted up in the backyard overnight, after a rain. I feel guilty for wanting this and at the same time fiercely protective of it.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Last year I made $16,000

The older I get, the sicker the practices of big business in this country make me. I've had the opportunity to see what life is like for factory, fast food and retail clothing store employees and what I like to term, because I felt like one myself, sub-atomic office particles -- the people, mostly women, who do the busywork required to keep the great hungry engines of business running.

I've also worked alongside incredibly intelligent, Ivy-League educated movers and shakers. One thing I can tell you for sure is that many of the members of one of these factions of the American workforce have no fucking clue what life is like for the other. Barbara Ehrenreich put it best in this quote (which is also mentioned in one of the articles I've linked to below) about have-nots: “They neglect their own children so the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect.”

This article is what set my blood a-boiling. There's also an excellent
Book excerpt.

What's to be done about all of this? I honestly don't know. I will say -- and with the full disclosure that I've seen more extremely lean years than not -- that I've never bought into the need to accumulate endless amounts of stuff. This doesn't mean I am anti-feathering your nest; not all. It's more that I am unwilling -- utterly and completely -- to kill myself at work so I can have, have, and further have. I don't say this much in mixed company because I think I'll be looked at as very anti-American, but I think it's disgusting the amount of pressure there is to give so very much of yourself to your job. Why? So the company you're working for can make ever higher profits? It's pointless.

Anyhoo, happy Patriots Day!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

This is TOTALLY going to thrill McMumsy

Today at church a single man sat down behind me and then ANOTHER one sat next to me in the SAME PEW. He looked a little nervous. I peace-be-withed you both of them but that's as far as it went. I am so not up on the rules when it comes to picking up men at Mass.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sunny Saturday

I made the most of my day today, getting to the gym right as it opened, then coming home to work, followed by a trip to the outskirts of Chinatown and a 20-minute walk from there to Beacon Hill, for groceries. Right before I left, my phone rang. It was OSB's husband; she'd had the baby last night, about two weeks before her due date. Her water broke on Thursday at noon, two hours before she was due to attend the funeral of someone we both worked with. He died last week at 59 after a series of small strokes. Three days before he passed, his wife, who worked for more than a decade in an office right next to his, underwent surgery for cancer. Her prognosis, thankfully, is good; she'll just need radiation.

OSB's baby, Lucy, is healthy and OK.

When I was on the phone with OSB last week she said that when she was reading to Ella, her two-year-old, she started crying, because the person who died would never get to read to his grandchildren again.

I remember him giving me one of his family's old air conditioners; he came to my house and installed it for me. Since I lived alone on the first floor, he cut and a piece of wood for me to stick between the top of the sill and the bottom of the window frame, so the window couldn't be opened from the outside. He also brought along his seven-year-old son, I think so that I wouldn't be uncomfortable.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Blood on the streets

L caught that awful flu strain that's been in the news; after being on the mend, she stayed up too late too many nights and fell right back into full-blown rib-bruising hacking. Meanwhile, my German friend got stuck in Germany with visa troubles (thanks, terrorism!) and L was supposed to go pick up her plants. But she's sick, so I did it for her. Both L and my German friend live in, while not completely sketchy areas, places that are at the earlier stages of gentrification. Or so I thought until today, when, as I passed a dark alley before my German friend's condo, I noticed a trail of fresh blood leading from it down the street past where I was headed. I did my best not to get any of it on my Keds. Then, as I was driving through a busy (and by busy I mean 16 total lanes of converging traffic) intersection, a woman at an auto body shop nearby was screaming so loudly at a tow truck driver that I could hear it.

Ah, East Cambridge and Somerville, you have just enough grit to make a gal from the sticks such as myself feel like she's really alive.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My cat is stronger than your cat

No, really, she is. She was just batting around one of my five-pound dumbbells.

I hope she's not on steroids.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I do not know what to make of this.

Did it make you sad? Have a look at this, then, to cheer yourself up.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


So last night L and her LA friend and I went to Toro, a scene-y restaurant owned by Ken Oringer, who recently won an Iron Chef contest on the Food Network. It's a tapas place and expensive but the food was really quite delicious. Especially the foie gras. Which now that I think back on it I am hoping is from geese that are treated nice, as opposed to the usual way they are treated, which is not good. It was amazing foie gras; I closed my eyes and felt the eating of it all through my body.

Anyhoo, we also shared cheese, mussels, eggplant, pork belly, empanadas, potatoes, and roasted corn. And told stories. And then L's LA friend, while L was in the bathroom, started to ask about what I thought of him and L -- he knew that I knew he'd made at least one pass at her already and been rejected -- and I told him about her recent heartbreak and his living so far away before L came back from the bathroom. Naturally, once he went to the bathroom I told L what he'd said.

It was a little bit exciting!

Then the LA friend ended up paying for our dinner. Was part of that him trying to impress me so I would tell L to go for it? Eh, maybe, but really I think it's more that he's just a nice person. I'm just glad L is getting some happiness in her life, because she needs it.

In terms of updates on the activity of what's happening with people trying to get into my pants, well, nobody is.

Monday, April 14, 2008

LA Story

I hung out yesterday afternoon with L and her houseguest, a curious breed of creature, indeed: the Los Angeles male. He's 28, and starting his residency in emergency child psychiatry in the fall. Though heterosexual, he carries a man-purse -- and not a messenger bag man-purse but a small leather bag -- and is familiar with Frederic Fekkai. He's very attractive and touchy-feely and excitable and kind and has an Adrian-Grenier-in-Entourage look about him. He and L and I sat for a couple of hours yesterday at Whole Foods eating fruit and sushi while he splayed his legs, draped his arm over the back of my chair, and smiled at L, on whom he has had a crush for some time.

What I realized after our hangout session is that, A, I am old, and, B, 28-year-old men are like puppies, sweet and adorable and playful and noisy. This fellow was in town to hang out with his two best friends; I met them at a brunch place as they were finishing their meal, after which they piled into the back of L's car for a drive to Beacon Hill. I haven't been around that kind of energy in a while. It was, well, curious. I didn't know quite what to do with myself.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Morning Coming Down

So just after I walked in the door from church, my phone rang. It was L. I was surprised she was calling so early. We had plans to go to the Whole Foods on Charles Street in the afternoon because, according to my sister-in-law, there are lots of attractive men shopping there then.

Anyhoo I was fresh from communing with the Lord and all and had an americano brewing on the stovetop.

L was still in bed and sounded hoarse. "I was out dancing last night until four in the morning with three boys!" I asked if they were in her bed. "No, but one of them sure wanted to!"

Honestly it was the cutest thing ever getting a chirpy, happy call like this from L, who very recently had her heart very, very broken. I was glad she thought to call me right when she woke up.

She wanted to know if I wanted to go to brunch with her and the three boys and I couldn't, because I can't afford it, and have other stuff to do. But I think we're still on for the Whole Foods man-a-thon later.


The Pope is fond of cats

Just in case you were wondering. This is one of the things I learned in church this morning, from the priest, in his homily. The priest is also fond of cats. And I of course am fond of cats. It's nice to know that if the Pope, this priest and I ever happen to be alone in a room together, we'll have something to talk about. Well, other than Jesus and the state of my immortal soul.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Simple Pleasures

It was 70 degrees out today, a temperature we haven't seen in Boston for five long months. I had to work indoors most of the day but I got out for a run in the morning and ran some errands by foot in the afternoon. When I got home, I opened the windows, and Daphne-Moon got her first sniff of spring. Her nose is all atwitter.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

West meets East

L, who is Chinese, J, who is German, and M, who is Japanese, came over for dinner last night -- homemade pasta and sauce prepared by an Irish/Polack. Daphne-Moon has met L and J before and L has even come over to visit with her while I've been away. Daphne-Moon will hang out with guests in the living room and she'll eventually come sit on the futon with me and whoever the guest happens to be, but she's pretty whiny about it. This is because I have spoiled her absolutely rotten. We're home alone together for hours at a time and I talk to her and play with her and tell her how pretty she is. She's not anti-visitors but she lets everyone know who the princess in the room is.

Anyhoo, she was really into my Japanese friend, sniffing her as soon as she came over, and sitting nearby and mewing at her and letting M scratch her back. It was the funniest thing. I think she might have thought M was another kitty, because instead of talking to Daphne, M meowed at her delicately. All the women who were visiting my home last night are catlike in their own way but I think M is the most kitty-like. Daphne-Moon certainly picked up on it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Well I decided to break out my shorts for this morning's run, which I am delaying further by writing this post. It's in the high 40's right now. I think I should be OK as I've got a long-sleeve top on and a fleece vest.

Also I've got some Odetta on Sheena. A couple of weeks ago, when I was waiting at a crosswalk in Harvard Square, I was blasting Dusty Springfield, and some guy smiled at me. I smiled back.

In other McPolack news, it looks like I may be getting a decent P/T job -- 20 hours a week at 25 bucks an hour to start, mostly from home, with a good chance the pay will increase. This could be just what I need -- something steady and then I can fill in the blanks with writing, et cetera. It also may involve a trip to NYC for a face-to-face meeting. I've done a couple of steadyish freelance gigs now where I've never seen and in some cases never talked to the people I work for; it's an entirely electronic relationship.

Anyhoo, based on my past experiences with the city, it is full of babes who like me. Twice now I have met and had flirtations with attractive men. Of course nothing ever came of any of it -- and according to those in the know, this is how the city works -- but I sure do like the attention! It makes me think I'm just too much woman for Boston.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Church Update

Well I saw my church experiment through to the end, going every week between Lent and Easter, and I've decided to keep going. I may start trying other parishes, on the weeks my friend and her daughter aren't going to be at the church at the end of my street, just to see what else is out there. This week they talked about feeling a burning in your heart and while this may be totally unrelated I do get that sort of feeling when I'm at Mass. This doesn't mean I don't also get frustrated, just like I used to when I was younger when, for example, they turn amen into a song instead of just saying it, thus drawwwwwwwwwwwwwwing out the service when part of me just wants to get it over with so I can go eat some sausage.

But I digress.

Today I've been looking at all my posts about yoga, as I'm going to be writing an essay about my experiences with it. I'm very excited to be paid for something first-person. It's my favorite kind of writing to do and it's what I do best.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008


I'm feeling old today. Specifically in my hips. They bother me from time to time; I get really achy under my butt and occasionally on the sides of my hips. I took two ibuprofen and it's taken the edge off but I can still feel it. It worries me because in terms of physical fitness I take really, really good care of myself. I do different things every day; I stretch, I lift weights, I do yoga -- and yet, there's this pain.

I think this could be my first age-associated ache. Hello, mortality!


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The flossy, flossy

Well the Noo Yawkah dinner turned out to be not so ra-sha-sha after all. Poor JoyceFrances had terrible stomach issues from the salmon (I opted for steak); she called me late this afternoon to ask if I knew how to get rid of built-up gas. Natually, I was able to help her out.

There was no Gopnik but there were gift bags. However they were of a rather crappy nature. One OK book, one meh book, one promotional piggy bank leftover from the money issue, a magazine, pens, a sticky-note cube. Really I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth but the woman next to me said she'd been to another event that was way swankier; Queen Latifah was there. All we got were two ad reps. But they were lovely ad reps. And the antipasto was good.
And again with the not looking the gift horse in the mouth.

Any-HOO, in the file of "crazy things that could only happen to McPolack" goes this one: Somehow (and by somehow I mean because I am me) I ended up seated next to a dirty old man who, it turns out, lived right up the street from one of the houses I grew up in (there were two, in the same wee NH town).

He'd moved there after my parents left but it was fun to talk about people and places. Well mildy fun as he kept touching me and at one point asked "Was your house the one with the big stump in the front? Because I'm a sculptor and I thought that looked like (and at this point he makes the universal vertical two-handed s-curve movement signifying the female form), you know what I mean?" And then he makes the universal movement signifying tune in Tokyo! That's right, he did a double-air-boob-squeeze. Yuck! Come on! This isn't Maxim. Apparently he would like to get ahold of this stump and carve it into a curvaceous lady with bodacious ta-ta's.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Opposites Attract

While walking back to the train after the New Yorker dinner, JoyceFrances and I compared notes. "I had lovely conversations!" said Joyce.

"Me too!" I said.

"We talked about bike trips and staying in NYC."

"We talked about single parenting, and the nature of addiction."

The thing is, we both truly enjoyed our chats. And we truly enjoy each other. We were trying not to giggle on the train home, because we didn't want to further upset the weepy emo kids sitting across from us. We were unsuccessful.

More on the dinner tomorrow. And now, to bed.