Friday, January 30, 2009

En Espanol

Well holy mother. I just agreed to go on a double date in NYC tomorrow night with L and two Spanish guys that work at McKinsey. She met one of them on the train. And girlfriend is pushing the limits. First it was "Do you have something sexy to wear?" Then it was "Do you want to go out on a double date with two Spaniards?" I said OK but that I couldn't stay out really late because I have to be in line for the bus at 7:30 and have to go home and work most fo the day.

Then L said "Would you be up for some making out?"

Jeebus, lady.

It's going to be a great trip!

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sorry England but this one's from your side of the pond

There is a TV show called "101 More Things Removed From The Human Body." In order for that show to exist, guess what had to happen? Why, a TV show called "101 Things Removed From The Human Body."

I'm curious as to how many of those Things were Removed from the part of the Human Body known as the Salad. But not curious enough to sit through 202 Removed Things. I guess I'll just have to wonder.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quieting the Mind

So one of the things I'm doing as part of the whole 90-day thing is meditating daily. I'm starting small, usually 15 minutes or so, although yesterday I went for half an hour. Right now I'm in the same space I've been in for awhile with the practice: I'm slightly uncomfortable, uncomfortable, and extremely uncomfortable in varying degrees, with a few moments of utter peace.

What's most interesting is that while it's work, hard work to just sit down and shut up, I feel really good when I'm done, centered and relaxed. Like how I feel after yoga.

Speaking of yoga, I practiced at home for nearly 90 minutes straight last week. Including a headstand attempt. I can swing up into headstand but I have to have a wall behind me. I thought I could push my limits by replacing the wall with a sofa. I in fact did push my limits, most notably approximately a half-second in when I thought "uh-oh" and proceeded to tip right over. Luckily for my kitty who was watching me from her shoebox on my right, I fell to the left. But every time I practice yoga around her she moves farther and farther away.

She's a smart girl.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I wish there was more of this

I took season one of Extras out of the library recently. It is hilarious. Especially this scene. But really nearly every single one.

In other McPolack news I had a voice mail from McMumsy Sunday. "Check out the Vows section of the New York Times," she crowed. "There's a couple that met on Catholic Match!"

I checked and called her back. "Did you see how she married him despite the picture of him in the funny hat?" she said.

I told her I did. Then I reminded her what I'd found on Catholic Match: fat mustachioed men from Bridgewater, also home to the state prison. (OK one fat mustachioed man from Bridgewater plus an assortment of other weirdys.) And let her know that while the article DID say the guy had on a strange hat in one of his online pictures and it was a wedding announcement, it decidedly did NOT say what McMumsy was implying: That she went out on a date with him despite his appearing to be a tall drink of crazy.

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Monday, January 26, 2009


...this 90-day thing is really stirring up some shiat for me. I've been crying a lot which, for me, means twice in one day for nearly a minute each time. I'm not the sort of sobber I used to be, mostly because I get that stuff out in other ways, but more than a little because there are few people I feel safe being that vulnerable in front of. Which is what it is. I need to take care of myself.

Anyhoo, the great web of personal connections has brought me another project. It's small but it's a start and it could lead to another permanent source of income. I am wicked grateful! Also a check came in today which means I can pay my rent. Which is awesome! I remain behind on some bills nonetheless. But nothing is on fire or going to be before the end of the month.

In other McPolack news, I went to L's work party on Friday at a hotel on the waterfront. L works at the same company as Walnut and, as it turns out, L's boss (who was hired by Walnut but then Walnut left and he became a VP and ended up hiring her back) is one of several children in a hippy family whose attic I have slept in on New Year's Eve, back in my high school/college years. There was a trapeze in the attic. And in the kitchen, olliebollen. Walnut grew up with the family, where she saw Pete Seeger sing at one of the kid's birthday parties, when she was a kid.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Game

"Imagine waking up each morning with an excitement and passion that you haven't felt in years. Imagine going through each day, enjoying every moment, feeling purposeful and fulfilled. This is what you can expect if you live each day, week, and month of this year to its fullest -- if you show up at each moment with the commitment to use all your gifts, talents and brilliance."

When I think about the meaning of life (which I do kind of a lot), one of the ideas that keeps coming up for me is that figuring out what unique thing you can do to make the world a better place is an important part of it. Pastel-sweatered-Stuart-Smalley-sounding though it may be, it's true. It is all about you, but it isn't. What I mean by that is you have to take time to figure out what you are good at, and you have to nurture those gifts-more selfish stuff. And then since they're gifts you have to give them away-not so selfish.

I am embarking on 90-day program to try and shift my worldview on things. Ostensibly it is going to be by going through my blog and categorizing everything I've written and turn it into some salable pieces.

The biggest positive shift I ever made in my life started with a 90-day process. I'm hopeful this is going to be a positive shift as well. Honestly I feel a little bit ridiculous about it and I hope I don't sound like I'm sniffing glue. But I need to shake stuff up and I think this will help. One of the things I am supposed to do is share 10 gifts with 10 different people. I've e-mailed a couple of people so I only need eight people to look at my unique gifts and I'm good to go. I think I have eight readers. Anyways, enjoy!

1. I am an excellent writer
2. I can make people really laugh
3. I have the ability to put my head down and plow through tough times
4. I am good at making friends
5. I am more in touch with my emotions than a lot of people
6. I have a great relationship with my family
7. I am very resourceful.
8. I am thoughtful
9. I am willing to do things I find a little bit ridiculous, like put a list like this on the the Internet, to figure out how I can take care of myself better so I can give back to the world
10. I am a master exerciser.

So there you have it. Rock on, people!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Sometimes I wish teleportation was real because then I could hang out with all my favorite people at once, or each separately, or any combination, whenever I wanted.

But then at least the people I love aren't scattered all over the globe.

Someone had WICKED b.o. in yoga tonight. I kept inhaling as deeply as I could, because that's the best way to manage stink, but you sweat in increasing amounts as class goes on--that's part of the point of it--and so every time my poor beleaguered nostrils got used to the terrible stench it got terribler. Plus at some point a far-away fart snuck its way in. I haven't checked but I bet most of my nose hairs got burnt off.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009


So my usual McPolack family role of making decisions based waaaaaaaaay more on my heart than my head is being usurped at the moment by Dr. Moo. She's been on the hunt for a new treeing walker hound since shortly after Tess died and yesterday she informed me she's found one. In Virginia. And he has a big, quite possibly cancerous lump that's been there for quite some time and hasn't been looked at yet.

But it will be looked at just as soon as Dr. Moo has him shipped from Virginia to either Vermont (where she lives) or Massachusetts (where vet friends of hers are going to remove the lump and biopsy it for a better price than she can find in Vermont). So yes, Dr. Moo is adopting an animal from another area of the country who requires immediate surgery, the outcome of which may well point to a fatal illness.

The lady who is fostering him told Dr. Moo he normally would have been put down because they just have too many doggies, but that she couldn't leave him there because there was "something special" about him.

Also also his name is Jim! Which is a stupid name for a dog and therefore perfect.

Also also also just look at him. Let's hope his lump is benign like Esmeralda, the fatty tumor that lives on my left forearm.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama

Got to watch (OK on the teevee) the first African-American President get sworn into office today. Words continue to fail me. I watched it at home with my kitty but was online all day and therefore not alone.

I'll be praying for Obama, lots. As I'm sure everyone else will.

What a wonderful day this is.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Holy Frijoles

I almost cannot believe that we're going to be swearing in the first African-American POTUS tomorrow. The MLK day celebration Walnut and I attended this afternoon did help make it a little more real. Paul Farmer spoke, and there was poetry, music and dance. Walnut noted the energy seemed a little off. This was due in part to there seeming to be no one manning the ship that was the event...and also to the crowd which was, naturally, full of Bostonians, a group not known for their joie de vivre.

Anticpating a late lunch, I had brought a container of crunchy salty snacks, and during a long period of dead space caused by no one manning the ship, during which the audience was darn near silent, I bit into an almond. It was LOUD. Walnut said maybe I should have a Clif bar instead because once you get the wrapper open it's a silent food. But I just waited a couple of minutes and crunched while the gospel choir was singing.

It is truly an amazing thing to have moved in a lifetime (though my parents', not mine) from how we used to treat African-Americans in this country to having an African-American President. Too amazing for words, actually. Walnut said she said she wanted to thank her parents for having her when they did. Oh and for being part of the generation that helped make what's going to happen tomorrow possible.

And so to McMumsy and PolackPappy I say thank you. McMumsy worked in inner-city (yes, NH inner city but you go where you're needed) teaching reading for many years. PolackPappy, inspired by JFK, served in the Peace Corps in the sixties. They both continue their service to those in need today. I'm proud of them and wish I was more like them. Good job, Mm and Pp...

and GObama!

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

On the outs

My social calendar is filling up again...last night had dinner at a friend's house, meeting a friend who just moved back into town for cheap eats and some live music tonight. Monday Walnut and I are going to see Paul Farmer speak and then go play with kitties at the MSPCA. I've got plans Thursday and Friday and possibly Saturday of next week as well, and the following weekend I'm off to NYC.

Which can only mean one thing: Exciting things will happen and I will write about them here!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


It was so cold today that when I stopped near the end of my run at the coffee shop to pick up a lemon scone they forgot to give me earlier I could hardly speak; my tongue was frozen. But I managed to get the words out. It was, after all, a baked good, and my people love baked goods.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Though I run outside I still act like a hamster on a wheel. I've done the same route for a good two years now. Except for Sunday, when I decided some cheese would be nice. So I ran a slightly altered route. Three-quarters of the way through, I stopped in at a cheese shop all beet red and a-sweaty, a cheese shop where I hope am not famous for my practice of stopping by to eat a bunch of samples and leaving without buying anything.

But not this time! I marched right up to the a cheesemonger and asked for something that tastes like a meadow in summertime and would be good in an egg sandwich. Then, realizing I sounded like an asshole, I said how about something grassy that would be good in an egg sandwich. The cheesemonger, who had something orange on his nose, sliced a sliver off a cheese made with the milk of goats who feed under a lemon tree in Italy. It was awesome. And thirty-five dollars a pound. I asked the cheesemonger if he had something similar for under twenty.

Then I told him he had something orange on his nose. He wiped it off and said thanks and wondered why nobody'd told him. I managed to not share the story about the time I went to a party and just one person out of the 20 guests told me I had the biggest black booger he'd ever seen stuck on the side of my nose, and I didn't believe him, and it was a sleepover party, and when I looked in the mirror the next morning, well, wouldn't you know it.

The now-no-longer-orange-nosed cheesemonger cut a slice of a less expensive but still yummy goaty goat cheese. I bought some, ran home holding it in one gloved hand, ate too much of it, and got a stomachache and gas that was smelly in direct proportion to the deliciousness level of the cheese.

The cheese was very, very delicious.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Past Lives

McMumsy says she gets the distinct feeling Harry the chinchilla was a human in his most recent spin around the wheel of existence because of the look in his eyes. She's kidding, but not really.

I was talking with a track coach the other day about his star runner, a kid who apparently never, never ever runs as fast as he is capable of. He always holds back. I told the guy that maybe this kid was a bunny in a past life, and when he ran as fast as he could he ended up getting run over by a car.

I don't have a lot of insight into my own past lives but if it turns out the Buddhists are right I'll be back. Hopefully not as a chinchilla.


Friday, January 09, 2009

I may be a swingin' single city gal but sometimes I shop like a Midwestern housewife. Case in point: today I took a mid-afternoon trip to Target; there was a fifty-dollar gift card burning a hole in my pocket and I wasn't due to get more work until later.

I did manage to not buy any of the horrible bras there. I need new bras and it seems like the only cute ones they make any more are padded. I do not need padding.

But I digress. Here's what I got: four white vinyl shower curtain liners; 2 boxes of hair dye; 1 digital meat thermometer; 1 tube clearance mascara; 1 sink drainer; 1 clerance spatula; 1 package of hair elastics; 1 bottle Suave brand shampoo (on sale); 1 box tampons; 1 bottle all-purpose surface cleaner; 1 pack sponges; 1 pack scrubbies.

Right after Christmas I bought a tall plastic tub (for 10 dollars!) designed especially for holding gift wrap. I was SO excited to find that puppy, let me tell you.

I think I might start hosting Tupperware parties and making cold molded desserts.


Thursday, January 08, 2009


I'm looking forward to yoga today as my back is a little wonky from the hour I spent trying to de-ice the sidewalk last night. Landlords in the 'ville are only required to clear a path from the door to the sidewalk; mine doesn't.

I'm trying to transform my irritation at the whole snow removal situation by just sucking it up and doing it myself. My two apartment-neighbors occasionally help out (one more than the other) and they bitch about the landlord (who is the brother of one of the apartment-neighbors, as a matter of fact) and about how someone needs to say something to him. Meaning me. I keep telling them it's us, not the landlord, in charge of shoveling; they keep bitching. (Full disclosure: I bitch too sometimes.)

Ugh, I don't really know where I'm trying to go with this post other than that when you share responsibilities with a passive-aggressive pot addict (but not all bad!) and someone who is slightly unglued, needy, and confrontational (also not all bad!), well, sometimes it's hard. Oh and that sometimes when I hear it's going to snow it makes me want to cry.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

RIP, Peter

Peter Freyne died today. He was one of the people my bosses at my very first "real" job out of college managed to snag from the competition at the time, convincing him to come write for their brand-new newspaper.

When I wrote a column about PolackPappy's battle with cancer, he stopped me on the street to tell me how impressed he was with my writing, with my honesty, at such a young age. I didn't really grasp what he meant then. I do, more so, now. And I feel honored to have known him.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dinner Music

While cooking a tofu/spinach/red pepper/peanut stir-fry with quinoa I listened to a bunch of the "unknown artist" songs on Sheena. It turned out to be a mix of dirty-word-filled gangsta rap, old-timey tunes like "Pennies from Heaven," and Gogol Bordello.

It was oddly apropos and really great. I danced and chopped and danced and minced and danced and grated and danced and stir-fried. It made me excited for New York again. Which is where I'll be the end of the month, visiting L. I got a bus ticket for a dollar!

In other McPolack news, here's hoping tomorrow's "wintry mix" errs on the rainy side of mix so I don't have to shovel.

Monday, January 05, 2009

To balance out the previous pissy post...

...which I deleted because it was too whinocerousy.

This made me cry a little.

Friday, January 02, 2009


I rang the new year in quietly, so quietly, in fact, that I was asleep before midnight. It was the same with a lot of people I know; I think 2008 just kicked our collective asses. Boston didn't even have a fireworks display. This was due to wind but I think there's something to be said for symbolism.

Things have been quiet in general, mostly owing to my lingering sicky-poo-bronchi-laryngitis that came on the day before Christmas. I'm still coughing quite a bit at night and horking up gunga (you're welcome!) in the a.m. I'm also still tired, but less so every today, and today I went to the noon astanga primary series class, which is 90 straight minutes of sweaty mcsweat. I wanted to take a nap when it was over but I persevered. I want to take a nap now and my eyeballs feel like they're going to fall out but it's too late for napping and I think there's some sort of string keeping my eyeballs in place anyway.

So. Tomorrow brings more work followed by a lovely afternoon break, a proper tea in Harvard Square with Lydia and Amelia. I'm excited to go and snack on dainty sandwiches and gab. And tonight I'm excited to lay on the sofa and eat reheated pasta from last night and reheated cookies from the night before.

It's all good.