Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jesus Update

Last Saturday I went to my first group reunion, which is part of what you do after you go on a retreat like I did. I actually used to attend this reunion as a child, but wasn't a participant. It's the one my parents have been going to since 1983.

I really enjoyed it. First we prayed together, then everyone got to chime in with their own individual requests for people or situations or people in situations. Then the hostess read something and initiated a discussion. This went on for about an hour or so. I was given a rose and welcomed in and some mention was made about how, 26 years from now, maybe I'd be in a long-running group. But not with them. Because they'd probably all be dead.

Then we held hands, prayed, hugged, and the dirty-joke portion of the evening began. People kept apologizing, and I was all, "Um, I remember this part." The difference is that now I get the dirty jokes.

Also we had snacks. You haven't lived until you've sat at a table full of folks who have known you since you were nine, eating carrot sticks and listening to your father tell a dick joke. Followed by your first cousin once removed telling you about the time she drowned a rooster for crowing too much.

When I got back to the McPolack homestead, McMumsy went to bed, and PolackPappy brought Harry the Wonder Chinchilla into the bathroom. I let him nibble on my hair while I ate mango sorbet.

Anyhoo, I hope I can find something like what my parents have around here. We'll see.

Monday, June 29, 2009


So today my doorbell rang, and since I wasn't expecting anyone, I didn't answer it. Then, for at least an hour, a car idled at the end of my driveway. I went downstairs and there on the front door was a note off a custom post-it pad that has the print on the same side as the sticky so when you stick it on a window the person on the other side of the window can read it. The note said it was from someone who worked for a federal office that does background checks on civilians who apply for government jobs. I went to their Web site; they seemed legit, but I still didn't go outside until after the guy left. He left the sticky note on all the doors of the house. I'm not sure if he rang every doorbell. When one of my neighbors came home, he took the note off the door. Since he didn't stick it on the bulletin board, I assume the note was meant for him.

Or maybe it was about him?

I fully admit to being a wee bit too suspicious of people. And I can't help but wonder if this office runs into a lot of suspicious people, seeing as how they have sticky notes you can read while hiding behind your curtained front door while Mr. federal agent hangs out in his car in your driveway.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Thriller is the first album I ever owned. I got it for Christmas in the sixth grade. I still love it. I was just listening to it two days ago.

I am really shocked. But, as Walnut noted when she came by earlier for a meditation session, it's hard to imagine Michael Jackson growing old. I didn't even realize he was 50.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


A third of the strawberries I bought at the farmer's market today had mushy spots; I had to cut quite a bit of yuck away to end up with edible fruit. I blame this disgusting weather. Because how hard could it be to pick a quart of non-rotten strawberries? I got a quart at the farmer's market in Albany and had the same problem.

I don't know if it's the mugginess that gets worse every year, or my tolerance for it, but this is just gross. Anyhoo, since it was only cold and muggy today, as opposed to warm and muggy (which it's supposed to me tomorrow), I took the opportunity to clean, clean, clean. And now I am schweaty. And Miss Kitty Fantastico is sticking her bum-hole in my face. So I must be off...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Biker Man

A friend from my alma mater is traveling New England by bicycle and writing about it. He's put up an excellent blog chronicling his journey. You can participate, too, if you want: suggest a route, take a ride with him, or let him couch surf at your place. I was once part of a long van trip with him and some other college students and can attest to his being a fine companion in close quarters. He hated that stupid REM song "Shiny Happy People" which puts him high on my list.

Oh, and also? He can write.

Monday, June 22, 2009

State Capitals: New York

I visited JoyceFrances and her husband in Albany this weekend to hang out and help out as a waitress at her first ever underground restaurant dinner. For the waitressing part of the trip I went by the name Natasha; JoyceFrances was Ratatouille, and her husband was Frank. Frank and I mostly stayed in the kitchen dropping f-bombs and doing blow*, which is what Anthony Bourdain says waitstaff do. But also we helped out. We were quite popular and the dinner was a success.

Here are some photo highlights:

That's my girl, Daphne, meatloafin' in the Museum of McPolack's Childhood. She held down the fort while I was away.

This is one of two doggies JoyceFrances watched on Saturday. Her name is Sadie. She is wonderful. What was not wonderful was going to the park with Sadie and her sister, where we met a dachshund/terrier cross named Tanner. I said hi to Tanner. It was raining. I was wearing sandals. Suddenly it was raining pee. From Tanner's wiener. Onto my foot. The bastid.

We found this poor fellow outside a flower shop in a fancy strip mall and had to give him CPR as he was near death. Lord knows where that sunflower had been but I tried not to judge.

He was very grateful for the "kiss of life" and paid us back with one of his own.

*We weren't really doing drugs.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


The landlord is here today, mowing and trimming. And making a lot of noise.

I hate noise. Living in a city, you'd think that would be a bit of a problem. And, depending on my mood, it is. There's a fair amount of traffic on my street and if I'm feeling irritable, which I am right now, a deep-in-my-chest, hot irritable, it can get hard for me to tune things out. There are also a surprising amount of birds but them I don't mind so much.

We didn't listen to a lot of music growing up and I wonder if that's contributed to my love of silence. I like to listen to music when I'm driving and when I'm exercising, and that's pretty much it. When I'm visiting friends who consider music a part of their everyday existence, who have it on perpetually in the background, I feel a little trapped by it. It's weird.

The Babcia was a pianist, and attended the New England Conservatory, but none of her musical talent was passed down to me. Instead, I got her man legs. Thanks, lady!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Meditating with Walnut was great. She did very well, and we may make it a regular thing, hanging out, laying on my living room floor, just being. She brought me a sweet card that says "a clean house is a sign of a wasted life" to which I say amen, sister. Although just before she showed up I was multitasking, talking on the phone to PolackPappy while cleaning some of the chairs I found on the sidewalk quite awhile ago. They get really sticky, which may be why they were on the sidewalk in the first place.

Anyhoo, I hung up on PP, twice, and he told me that when you multitask, you don't do either task well, and I said, well, multitasking is very American. And Pp said he hates that about America. And I told him I do, too, but I've got to live in this country, and so I at least need to make some sort of effort. Not with the clean, but with the Go! Go! Go! on which this great nation of ours is founded. Even if I think to myself as I am doing it, Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


So tomorrow night Walnut's coming over, and I'm going to teach her how to meditate. I'm not particularly qualified to teach anyone to meditate, IMHO, but I have been attempting to meditate for years now, on and off, while I don't believe Walnut's meditated at all.

I remember asking an old boyfriend if he wanted to meditate with me. He was all for it. I think I was hoping it would help him move past his feelings about his state in life, and into action.

It turned out he was just a whiny bitch.

Walnut is most definitely not a whiny bitch, and I am excited to sit in silence with her.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What do you get when you take...

1. Overzealous use of bad CGI to simulate destruction of Las Vegas, Houston, Mount Rushmore, the Hoover Dam, a formerly extinct volcano in the Midwest, and a large part of Utah, among others;
2. Kate Hudson's brother, the second-most-recent incarnation of Superman on TV, a bloated Kim Delaney, and the guy who played Nixon in Frost/Nixon;
3. Shades of that bad cruise ship disaster movie from the 70s (?), which was badly redone recently, now yet even more badly redone, only not on a cruise ship but in a sinkholed casino with sand pouring in instead of water; and
4. Beau Bridges crying like a baby on Mary from Little House on the Prairie's shoulder?

Why, 10.5 Apocalypse!

Seriously, it's the worst TV movie I have ever seen. It is a MONSTER. So, so overdone. So unbelievably, horribly bad. Yet not quite bad enough to be kitschy. The premise is Pangaea in reverse, which naturally makes a giant fault line split the entire country in half, wreaking all sorts of havoc, including bad, bad, bad, bad, baaaaaaaaaaaad acting and good actors saddled with lines so atrocious your heart breaks for them, a little.

I watched the whole thing, naturally. I had my fingers crossed that Godzilla would crawl up out of the ground at some point. (Alas, he didn't.) Today I found out OSB, who managed to stay up past 8 for the first time in quite awhile, watched the whole thing, too. Poor woman.

The best part? It was a sequel.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


My Achilles tendon is tight. I can't figure out what I did to it, but I've been scaring myself reading medical stuff on the magical Interwebs, which says things like I can't run on it again for, like, the next 30 years. Meanwhile, my other leg has had the jimmies for, like, 48 hours straight. I just want to shake it all the time, move it around. Jimmy, jimmy, jimmy. Arrgh!

In other McPolack news, I've found a church I think I might like: the Paulist Center, in downtown Boston. It's a place for marginalized Catholics. According to McMumsy, they walk the razor's edge of being booted out by the Pope because they are so liberal. Of course I felt entirely at home there. I was practically crying during parts of the service. There was liturgical dance, which I haven't seen since college, and a lady in a motorized wheelchair serving as a Eucharistic minister, and different music, and no kneeling, and no patriarchal use of the word "man." One of the priests even does Jungian dream interpretation. I grabbed a copy of Commonweal on the way out and read it on the train ride home. I'm finding the good stuff in Catholicism in a big way and I'm so excited about it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


by Thursday

What is your current obsession?
N/A. I'm not fixated on any one thing at this particular moment.

What do you hate that most everyone else seems to love?

Disney. Blecccccccch. I even hated it in the fifth grade, when I was dragged there by my parents.

What are you wearing today?
Green blouse, blue jeans, wool socks.

What’s for dinner?
Fried egg sandwich. Tomorrow, turkey sausage on a bed of lentils.

What would you eat for your last meal?

I would be too nervous to eat if I knew my death was imminent. No thank you to knowing when I am going to die.

What’s the last thing you bought?
Two-for-one hair conditioner.

What are you listening to right now?
Tweeting birdies.

What do you think of the person who tagged you?
She's super-duper. I'm so glad I got to meet her in person, especially considering she lives an entire ocean away.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
Center Sandwich, NH.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

Center Sandwich, NH.

Which language do you want to learn?
Spanish would be the wise choice but I'd rather know Medieval Latin.

What’s your favourite quote?
Don't have one.

What is your favourite colour?

What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
A pair of purple-trimmed green underpants printed with crocodiles and rainbows.

What is your dream job?

Describe your personal style?

What’s your favourite tree?
One that bears fruit.

What are you going to do after this?
Go to Whole Paycheck for kitty food, bagels, and cauliflower. Then edit. Then quarter-host cable access tv show.

What’s your favourite fruit?

What inspires you?

Your favourite books?
A Wrinkle in Time, My Side of the Mountain, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the AMC White Mountains hikin guide.

What are you currently reading?
Dorothy Day's autobiography.

Go to your bookshelf, take down the first book with a red spine you see, turn to page 26 and type out the first line:
"Abbott says, 'Biggest...difference...between...people...is...quality...of...attention.'" - The Sweet Hereafter, Russell Banks

What delighted you the most today?
Watching my kitty munch the pot of grass I bought her at a farmer's market.

By what criteria do you judge a person?
Their generosity.

The rules:

1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your invention, add one more question of your own.

2. Tag eight other people.
So many of the people on my blogroll no longer blog...so I pick Overmatter and Raising 4 Kids in NH.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

It's getting worse...

In the last month there's been a stabbing, a shooting, and a flambeed Mormon church on my usually peaceful running route, which includes the fanciest stretch of Brattle Street, home to the v.v. fancy, and pahhhhhts of Hahhhhhhhhhhhhvahd, school of the v.v. fancy.

Well now a deer has gone and impaled itself on a fence surrounding the graveyard of the v.v. fancy that I jog by. Impaled and disemboweled. Yuck. Poor deer.

I think it might be safer for me to start running in Winter Hill.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Green thumb

L and I got big bags of potting soil for free last weekend and I just repotted one plant that hasn't been looking so good (and is the only plant I've every owned that lived more than a couple of years) and put some zinnias I got from the Catholic retreat in another couple of pots I had under the sink.

I am hopeful.

In other McPolack news, my new grandma called me last week. I was so glad to hear from her. She'd just been shopping at Market Basket, surprise, surprise. Then we talked plants; she's a big gardener and has a lot of weeding to do. I told her I would look at my schedule and see if I could find some time to come help her out. I also warned her about the one time I weeded for the Babcia, and ripped out a bunch of her perennials, because I got confused.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Burning the (almost) midnight oil

Boy howdy am I ever having a life these days. It's a good thing, really. Today I was up at 6:30 (!) and did some work and cleaned the loo. I also took a nap for a good 40 minutes. I went for a run. I vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed. I went almost to Brookline for dinner. I came home and did a little more work. Tomorrow, JoyceFrances arrives. Then Friday two more lovely ladies will be sleeping over, and another will join us for Gogol Bordello. The show is sold out and at the House of Blues, a much bigger (I think) venue than the last time they played Boston.

What I'm really trying to say is that the Grandma story is on hold for now. But only because I am filling up the old stew pot with more exciting stuff!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

So, no time to tell the grandma story today...

I am too tired to give it justice.

In its place, though, take a look at THIS

I semi-automatic kissing machine the Daphs all the time but she seems to like it.

Monday, June 01, 2009

It has been five days since I wrote "It has been five days since my last confession"

Here then is Part Deux.

So, when I last left me, I was getting ready to confess my sins to Zac Efron next to a bed in a seedy motel.

I'd committed a good half of the sins listed in the pamphlet they handed out, and when you add in the behaviors that result from years of being a slave to an addiction, plus my bad attitude and lack of respect for any authority figure I deem an idiot -- and I deem a lot of authority figures idiots -- well, I had a lot to talk about.

But first I had to get something off my chest, namely, that I was worried I was going to get booted out of the Catholic church because when you go to confession you are supposed to be sorry for your sins. I told the priest I thought gay people should be allowed to get married and that I wasn't sorry for thinking that. He said "Are you willing to pray to God about this?" I said yes. He said that was enough. I asked him what it meant if when I prayed to God, God told me the Catholic church was wrong, and I can't remember his response.

What I do remember is that I cried a LOT. I laid out every terrible thing I'd ever done, including the stuff that I am really ashamed of, the stuff I've told no one. The sticky, inky, stinky black tarry stuff that was weighing down my soul. I went on and on and on and ON.

As an aside, Father Zac Efron was wearing an Inspector Gadgetesque robe from which he would occasionally pull things appropriate to the moment. At one point he reached in and pulled out a crucifix and gave me the whole "JC loves you" spiel, which was really cheesy. But I went with it b/c part of the magic of the weekend was that I was able to keep my judgment to myself and just go with the flow.

But I digress. I'd gotten myself really worked up and emotional and upset and when I'd finished my long list, he said this to me: "Do you know what I think is going on, McPolack?"

"what?" I sniffled.

"I think you just don't like yourself very much."

It was only after repeating this story to a bunch of people that I realized how common my reaction was. I was all "Oh my GOSH. How did you KNOW?" Honestly, it was at that point that God entered the room for me, by which I mean it wasn't the priest I was speaking to, but the Divine. He gave me a mantra to say when I start telling myself I suck. And my penance was to read some scripture on a piece of paper that he pulled out of his go-go gadget robe. Then he put his hands on my head and worked that old Catholic magic.

And, just like that, I was redeemed. I actually said "That's it?" To which he replied "Are you kidding?"

I walked back to my room and laid awake for a long time. The next morning, I had terrible diarrhea. I think it was all that bad juju.

A lot happened for me in that motel room.

A lot happened for me that weekend.

For example, I got a new grandma, and she shops at the Babcia's Market Basket and has been in the Babcia's house. I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.