Thursday, August 28, 2008

Welcome to Nerdville, population me

So I spent all day dressed in my yoga clothes only to discover the studio was closed due to painting. But this was great because I didn't have to try to fit in a drive to the library to pick up some museum passes beforehand...I could instead strap on a backpack and run there. Yippee!

So run there I did. And then I stood all schweaty whilst the librarian got the passes for me. And then I ran to...another library! And I took out some CDs for Sheena. And put them in my backpack and walked to...yet another library.

And then I came home.

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Two old men, one young woman, and the sea: Part IV

So D told some jokes to try to make me forget my sea malaise. A sampling:

How do you get down from an elephant?
You don't. You get down from a duck.

To be said after someone has passed gas:
Did you say something? Your voice sounds different, but your breath smells the same.

Ah, me.

The jokes did help cheer me up and I was soon feeling, while not fit as a fiddle, OK enough to do some fishing of my own. I jigged for a little while. It wasn't the Irish kind of jigging, which involves moving your feet fast and also, often, whiskey. It was the kind where you move a fishing pole up and down so a silvery jig that's near the ocean floor, some 200 feet down, looks like something a fish would want to eat. I had no luck, so it was time to move on to bait.

As I am a lady, I did not touch the bait; PolackPappy baited my hooks for me. Casting involves letting the bait sink to the ocean floor. Then you sit there and crack jokes and pass gas and crack jokes about passing gas until you feel a tug on your line, at which point you set the hook by yanking up hard on the pole. Then you reel the fishie in.

And reel and reel and reel. And reel. And reel some more. 200 feet feels pretty far down on your forearms. I caught a few illegal cod, some cusk (which I felt bad about because due to an air bladder they often don't make it, leaving them flopping on the surface of the water while birds peck at them; when I told PP it looked like they were suffering he said "Don't go all PETA on me now.") and then...


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two old men, one young woman, and the sea: Part III

So D stops the boat and I go below deck for a pee break in the most luxurious of sea potties: a five-gallon plastic bucket. I've written before of how D gave me a squirrel tail in a Skippy peanut butter jar one year as a birthday gift; he promised to shoot enough squirrels to line the rim of the bucket. Luckily for the squirrels, this has not happened.

Post-pee, which also involves dumping the bucket into the ocean and swishing it out with seawater, I sat on a cooler, figuring a lower center of gravity was a safer bet, and it was. When we arrived at Jeffreys Bank, I went below for another pee (I have a small bladder) and this turned out to be my biggest mistake. Below deck is the worst place to be if you tend to get seasick. I was down there for all of five minutes and when I came up I could feel the beginnings of other things wanting to come up, if you catch my drift (oceanic pun intended, thank you very much). I told PP I wasn't feeling so hot. He looked a little annoyed. He likes his daughters tough as nails.

For all of you who were wondering if I was going to contribute some free chum to the fishing party (joe), I didn't. I don't know if it was the Dramamine, but I managed to avoid throwing up. I did this by laying flat on my back on a cooler with my legs on a bench for the better part of an hour. Sitting up or even rolling over made my stomach lurch.

Eventually I headed up to the bow of the boat and laid down up there. After another half an hour or so I felt well enough to sort of sit up and watch the horizon which, as D told me, can help. It did. Then D started rolling out some fantastic jokes in an effort to cheer me up...


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two old men, one young woman, and the sea: Part II

So the last time I went fishing with PP and D I threw up twice; it was the first time I'd been seasick in my life (and I've been on boats before). I blamed it on riding on the wee unpadded bench spanning the bow of the boat for pretty much the entire two hours it took us to get out to the fishing grounds, in seas that were three to five feet. This time it would be different!

I rode in one of two twirly seats next to D as he piloted the boat. Though the seas were supposed to be one to three feet, they were three to five in places -- a lot of places. And possibly even five to seven but I could be exaggerating. The twirly seat mid-boat was a better choice than the wee bow bench but not by much. My center of gravity felt really off and there wasn't much to hold onto so I ended up with one leg wrapped around the pole holding up the seat, the other barely hooked onto a shelf to my left, one arm up and holding an aluminum pole supporting the canopy and the other arm trying to get a grip on the hatch that led below deck. For more than hour. While being jerked up and down and all around by the choppy water. And we were riding in the troughs of the waves instead of straight through them.

I think PP could tell by the expression on my face that I was a little wigged out but I told him I was OK and smiled, albeit with gritted teeth. I held out for as long as I could before requesting a pee break...


Monday, August 25, 2008

Two old men, one young woman, and the sea: Part I

I headed to NH this weekend planning on hiking but as I was heading out for a coffee run with Chauncey the Wonder Corgi (he gets biscuits at the drive-thru) out came PolackPappy asking if I wanted to go fishing with him on his friend Dennis' boat instead.

Dennis is from the small town I grew up in; he used to fix PP's chainsaws and such. He's got a 24-foot Mako that he docks in Great Bay. I've been fishing before several times and really loved it, except for the last time, several years ago, when I got seasick for the first time ever. If you've never been seasick, count your blessings. It sucks. And I knew that if I got seasick again that wouldn't change the fact that we'd be out on the water anywhere from 12 to 14 hours. So I told PP to pick me up some Dramamine when he went out for lunch meat and took one before I went to sleep. I took another as we were motoring out to Jeffreys Ledge but unfortunately it didn't help...


Thursday, August 21, 2008

I need to vent...

One of the projects I've been working on has been out of commission the whole time I had slotted out to work on it. And I finished all my other work for the time being...which leaves me not making any money. And I need to make money! Grrr...

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You made me love you (I didn't want to do it)

I used to not be much of a Today Show fan but I've always been a Meredith Viera fan and then I see this video and I realize that, man, I have been missing out!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cryptic blog entries...

...are a good way to get errant siblings to telephone, FYI. And provide a fresh crop of exciting gory veterinary tales!

Tale number one: Birthin' babies. Do you know what it's called when an alpaca gives birth? Unpacking! Seriously. Dr. Moo assisted an unpacking alpaca whose baby had been hanging head out from its hind end for quite some time. The baby was making weird gurgly noises. But Moo managed to save the day.

Tale number two: Bactine, please! Sometimes a stillbirth goes awry, leaving Moo with the icky job of cutting up the fetus inside the mother and then pulling it out. Recently she cut her finger, not on the scalpel she was using but on a shard of rotten cow spinal column.


Monday, August 18, 2008

If you gather en masse in Goverment Center...

...on a Sunday afternoon to play tag with strangers, the Man is going to notice.

Sorry for being cryptic, but that's all I can say for now.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thanks, Olympics!

For providing a two-week supply of equal-opportunity eye candy. I think I might like the swimmers the best, who seem to perpetually be thisclose to losing their pants. I especially enjoy when they do the slo-mo shots up and down and all around scantily clad stud muffins. Damn.

I think they made me ovulate earlier than usual.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Did it also make your belly?

I went to a small Indian grocer near my apartment on the way home from yoga yesterday because they occasionally have good prices on cauliflower, and I love cauliflower. The man behind the counter said "You like to cook, eh?" as he was ringing up my vegetables. I told him I'd thought of making an Indian-style dish using the cauliflower before. He said I should bread and egg-dip the florets and then deep fry them.

I said that sounded delicious but didn't that negate the healthy factor? Oh no, said my Indian friend, laying his long, dark arm out before me. "You see these bones? Oil made them."


Thursday, August 14, 2008


We've got another one! Tim, the very youngest first McCousin (there are younger first McCousins once and twice removed) is moving to Boston in September. He dined last night with his sister, who lives nearby, and mentioned that now that there are four of us here (including Little Brother), perhaps we could move one of the holiday celebrations down here so we could all drive less. I like the idea but the more I think about it the more I realize it ain't gonna happen...there are just too many dyed-in-the-wool Mass-hating New Hampshirites. I still remember Uncle J saying they should widen I-93 exiting the state to eight lanes while shrinking the incoming lane to just one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Small Furry South American Critters

* I was quite excited to find that the No Reservations episode where Anthony Bourdain goes to Peru was rerunning on the Travel Channel recently because I know how much Pp loves the country...AND its guinea pigs...AAAAAND the episode featured them, both in their live adorable fuzzy state and their dead delectable (according to some) munchy state.

I have noted before how much Pp loved Sheila Wheila Monster, the long-haired piggie that was a member of the McPolack family for many years. I've always been surprised by how people can so love something that they are eventually going to eat. (We never ate Sheila, just in case you were wondering.) I remember meeting a boy at the Deerfield Fair who was laying against his prizewinning beef cow...a cow that would soon be turned into hamburger, hamburger that he would eat. He seemed entirely unfazed by this fact.

Recently I learned of a guinea pig festival. It's held in Peru and the piggies are dressed up in adorable costumes. And then they are eaten. I asked Pp if he could explain to me why they did this and he told me "What you've got to understand is they live with these creatures everyday...they're running around on the kitchen floor. They love them." Of course it is a good thing, a VERY good thing, to treat the creature you are going to eat with love and respect. It seems healthy, honestly. I don't really know where I'm going with this so I'm moving on to...

*A chinchilla update: Harry the Wonder Chinchilla now has free reign of the family room. He's been working PP for quite some time now, sitting on his haunches, holding the bars of his cage with one paw and an apple twig in the other, staring at my dad and silently munching. I told McMumsy that Harry would eventually have the run of the entire house.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bear Grylls

I spent some time trying to come up with a post on how I feel about this fellow, but then I realized a recent e-mail conversation with my friend Heidi sums it up real nice. (I should note that I thought of Heidi not because she drinks her own pee but because she too is fascinated by the BG.)

From: McPolack
To: Heidi
Subject: I could hardly Bear to watch...

I thought of you last night when I turned on Man vs. Wild and Bear was eating a beetle, spitting the beetle out, squeezing the guts out of a pretty big grub, then eating the grub, all within the first 10 minutes.

THEN he caught a skunk in a snare trap and I had to change the channel...because people sometimes keep skunks for pets like kitties. And because it was alive for quite a while before he finally killed it. Yipes.

This was followed by bashing a rattlesnake's head in and then chopping the head off...then skinning and gutting the snake and eating it ( was a regular gourmet meal!) and then the piece de resistance: He peed into the snakeskin, looped it around his neck and took off into some salt flats. When he got thirsty enough, drank his pee -- mixed with snake goo -- from the snakeskin -- splashing a bunch of it all over the place.

Oh also he got stung by a bee and his face swelled up something fierce. Which I think was retribution for killing that poor skunk.


From: Heidi
To: McPolack
Subject: I could hardly Bear to watch...

Yeah, I saw part of that episode, too. The skunk was pretty nasty. It didn't even sound tasty. (He does sometimes eat things that look tasty -- I watched him cook a turtle in its shell on an open fire, then eat the turtle meat sprinkled with some grapefruit that he had found. That actually looked good. The eviscerated grub did not. Neither did the sheep eyeball that he boiled in volcanic water in Iceland. He should have stopped with the mutton that he had cooked in the same way.)

Anyway, I'm sure his wife was not pleased when he made it back home. "Cor, blimey! You're sleeping outside!" (Actually, I'm sure his fellow passengers were not all that happy, either. He probably sat with the luggage.)

I didn't see him whip it out though -- which I'm sure he did on camera in order to pee into the snakeskin. That boy is an exhibitionist. Once he whipped it out only 6 min into the episode. That was a record, I think. But it isn't the 1st time he's imbibed his own urine. If I were his wife, I'd make him use a whole bottle of Listerine before he puckered up anywhere near me! Blech.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mudboggin' in a MacLaren

Went to a rather sparsely-attended Medal Day yesterday. Met Joyce Maynard and talked with her about memoirs; also chatted with a poet and accidentally insulted a director. ("Oh, I know your movie...I keep not taking it out of the library.")

I blame the insult on fluster due to, A, said director's beard-y cuteness and B, the adventure I'd just had. I'd convinced OSB to take Ella, who is 2.5 and full of zing, and Ella's stroller, which is British and highfalutin, on a "shortcut" through the woods. It wasn't too bad at first, save the rocks and exposed tree roots, and there were lots and lots of nifty mushrooms (I dreamt about mushrooms last night) plus a toad.

God do I miss the woods.

Anyhoo, we finally came to a pond, looked at a map, and realized we were almost to a road. But how to get around the pond, surrounded by dense forest? OSB looked behind some bulrushes and announced she'd found a way so she and I picked up the stroller, kid and all, and started walking...right into a big old pit of funky-smelling swamp mud that squelched up around our toes nearly to our ankles and sucked off one of OSB's sandals. Ella got a bunch of pine branches in her face and, as she was overtired, pitched a fit the likes of which is only seen in a two-year old. I couldn't blame her, turns out we somehow got the bottom half of her all wet and she was strapped in tight with no way to escape. Poor boo.

But Auntie McPolack was OK! I took off my sandals and walked barefoot and it was h-e-a-v-e-n.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I briefly wondered whether I should boycott this year's Olympics, owing to China's many evildoings but I soon realized that a, what difference would it make and b, the Olympics are pretty much the only time the kind of sports I like are on TV. I've never been a fan of basketball, baseball or hockey and even soccer games bore me. But I love, love, love swimming, track and field, diving, and gymnastics. I'm in it more because I'm fascinated by what real athletes can do with their bodies than I am for thrill of the competition, although that's part of it. And I think solo sports appeal to my loner side.

In other McPolack news, I heard both a cardinal and a red-tailed hawk outside my apartment yesterday, which is pretty neat. Luckily I did not hear a red-tailed hawk eating a cardinal.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


So Dr. Moo did pretty well at her first cow competition. She and Carnation placed seventh out of 22 overall, a fine feat especially when you consider that many of the top cows cost thousands of dollars, whereas Moo's cow was, well, a townie.

Moo ended up showing a second cow, Anneke, in another competition (placing fifth out of 10) Anneke is older and therefore bigger, but not big enough to merit a poop bucket. What is a poop bucket, you ask? And of course I have your answer: A poop bucket has hay at the bottom and is used by people showing big bovines to catch those big bovines' big BMs. They also clean their backsides with baby wipes afterwards. The poo-catching is done to save fairgoers the experience of stepping in a steaming cow flop, while the baby wipes are used to ensure the cows have shiny clean bottoms. Because nobody wants to show up for a beauty pageant with a dirty derriere.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

McMumsy and McPolack in the City

McMumsy showed up yesterday afternoon for our evening of adventure. And by adventure I mean we went to the Kennedy Library and sat with a large group of people McMumsy's age and older to hear Nancy Pelosi speak. Unfortunately, we couldn't do any good fancy-person watching (one of Ted Kennedy's children, plus a Supreme Court justice were in the audience) because despite getting there 35 minutes early the main hall was full; we had to sit in an overflow theater and watch NP on a movie screen.

What struck me as I looked around was how filled the room was with older folks. Pretty much entirely. There are very few people my age who actually make the effort to go out and see things like this, which is one of the things I've been telling myself to make myself feel better about the fact that a recent survey showed that out of the top five cities in the US with the most single people, Boston is number five, Somerville (where I live) is number three and Cambridge (on whose border I live) is number two. WTF? I am not seeing all these single people.

Anyhoo, as I was commenting on the age of the room to MM she said I had gotten the "political bug" from her, and it's true. I just find stuff like getting to see the Speaker of the House, well, speak, fascinating. When MM was in high school she used to get into fights with her little brother over who got to read Newsweek first.

Then we settled in to listen to NP, who was pretty good, but kudos to MM for commenting on the fact that NP's trip from "the kitchen to Congress" didn't just happen out of the blue, which is how NP was playing it. She's the daughter of one mayor of Baltimore and the sister of another; really she's been in politics her whole life. I take issue with people in her position saying "oh, anyone can do this" when clearly she's had significant advantages others don't. I just don't think you should set unrealistic expectations. This could be a little conspiracy theorist for me, but who's to say she wasn't placed in her position of power by men? Eh, I don't know. I do think regardless of how she got there it is a fantastic accomplishment and when she mentioned that when she first assumed her role she heard -- literally -- the women who'd come before her, upon whose shoulders she was standing -- say "we finally have our place at the table," I believed her.