Wednesday, September 30, 2009


What with all the writing I've been doing about labor and delivery lately, as part of a new project, I dreamed the other night I was pregnant. Hugely pregnant. It was a pretty vivid dream in that I was feeling the top of my belly, under my breasts, and it was round and firm.

I've also been nesting. McMumsy is no longer willing to let my stuffed animals reside at her abode so they came home in a big tub, and I put them in their crib (yes, I have a crib of stuffed animals in my bedroom, but it's not what you think) which left me with this empty tub.

So I started going through my full tubs and it's led to an all-out reorg/cleanse. I'm going to ride this wave as long as I can. One night I even vacuumed the baseboards in the hallway and washed them with wood soap.

But back to the stuffed animals. I tried to bring Lyle Crocodile home with me but McMumsy stopped me. "That's your sister's. How do you know she doesn't want it?"

I told her I thought Dr. Moo had taken her favorite stuffed animals a long time ago. At which point McMumsy admitted that she wanted Lyle Crocodile for herself.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Wore what I thought was a fine outfit of green fat-lady shorts (read: capri pants) and a grey v-neck 3/4-sleeve top to the office today. But the wind was a-blowin on Atlantic Avenue and it a-blew up my shirt, exposing my lovely white belly and plumber crack.

Oh well.

Monday, September 28, 2009


...I can't decide if Somerville is adorable, or irritatingly hipster. Probably it is both.

Not too much to update. Went apple-picking this weekend with Walnut and her bf; then visited a community farm that had some of the most humongous vegetables I have ever seen. Like these kale plants.Note that a butternut squash has prostrated itself before the great green gods.

The apples at the orchard were pretty ginormous, too. When I told McMumsy she said she'd noticed this, but that they weren't very flavorful, on account of all the rain, and I tend to agree with her. Plus the skin on the giant Mac I ate yesterday was really tough. Still I did greatly enjoy eating fruit right off the tree, and there's nothing like the long green grass that grows in orchards. I wanted to roll around in it. Alas, as I was a guest of Walnut and her bf, I had to control myself.

Sunday I worked. And it was good.

Next weekend it's the Deerfield Fair, but I have yet to find anyone willing to spend 12 straight hours there eating, looking at stuff, patting animals, cleaning the poo off your hands, then repeating the cycle. It's a damn shame.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Big Red"

As I was exiting the T this afternoon there came over the intercom a different sort of announcement for a different sort of incoming train. I could hear the air quotes. Loosely paraphrased, the announcer said the next inbound train to Braintree was "the special high-capacity train, 'Big Red.' Seating is available in the first and last cars only."

I wonder who came up with the name? Is it called Big Red because it's big, big, big and it's red, red, red?

I was searching for a clip of the old SNL parody commercial for Big Red, the toxic-blood spewing Viking toy, but couldn't find it. Dr. Moo and I used to lay on our backs and pump our legs in the air and sing "Big legs!" in a deep and manly voice, to the tune of the Big Red jingle.

Good times.

In place of one fun commercial, here's another:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spreading the joy

Came across this organization earlier. A bright spot in a bleak day. Their "signs" page is especially awesome.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Went to the farmers market at Harvard today. It is fancy. South Station has its fm the same day and compared to this one, it's kinda trashy, almost. Although the Harvard fm did have Lady Gaga music playing loudly in the background.

I met up with a dear friend at her place in Cambridge and we walked over together. She asked me if I'd seen Pooh's house at Harvard. I hadn't. Here it is:

I did not take this photo but found it here

According to my friend, a professor built it some years ago; there is another one near where she (my friend) lives.

Monday, September 21, 2009

McPolack's Believe it or Not

This picture was taken on Saturday afternoon.

I hiked the Falling Waters/Franconia Ridge/Old Bridle Path loop with JoyceFrances and her friend J on Saturday. It was still summer as far as the calendar was concerned. As far as the tops of Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette are concerned, winter is fast a-comin'.

The hike was fantastic, if a bit French-Canadian. It was like there was a convention or something. I've done this hike maybe a half-dozen times and never have I heard so much Francais. Unfortunately, most of them were rude. Much of the trail is very narrow, and the ridge trail is true to its name -- there are deadly steep drops on either side. Common courtesy calls for one person to step aside and the other to say thank you.

This did not happen much with the F-Cs.

One group of three sat next to our group of three as we stopped to snack and cower from 50 mph winds behind a rock; this was after I'd answered a question for them and they'd taken a picture of me. They didn't talk, though, which was weird. They just sat. They sat next to us later in the trip, but again, no talking.

In defense of the F-Cs, one older couple I irritatingly barreled past on my way to the Greenleaf Hut did pick up the mitten that fell out of my pocket and called after me. I felt like such a merde-head for being rude that I practically kissed the gentleman of the couple as he handed me my mitten and said "C'est bon? C'est bon?"

"Oui," I replied. "Merci. Merci beaucoup."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm no hoarder

JoyceFrances came to stay at my place a few weeks ago while I was away; when she left, she commented on how full my freezer was of chow. She also said she'd watched this show about a hoarder lady who had a refrigerator full of ancient yogurt and a freezer bursting with expired meat.

I watched that show and looked at my freezer with fresh eyes. Actually the eyes weren't so fresh. I call them my "Am I crazy?" eyes and when I pop 'em in, it's so I can spend some time wondering whether or not I'm a whack job.

Now I've gotten pretty good at realizing I'm not any nuttier than the next person, all things considered. But every so often something trips me up. After I watched the hoarder lady, I went on a throwing-things-away rampage. I also took four bags of stuff to Goodwill.

Truth be told, I do keep food like there's a war coming. I don't like to run out of things. So as to remind my rat-brain that the world won't end because there aren't 15 Fage 2% yogurts in my fridge, every so often I let my supplies dwindle. Like now. I'll be out of ravioli after tonight and I have less than a week's worth of yogurt left, among other things I eat a lot of. So I went to the Basket to stock up. And they were all out. Of almost everything.

There was, however, a cute Eastern European bag boy, so that was something.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Getting older...blecccccccccch

In a few short weeks, I will be 36. In the grand scheme of things, this is pretty young. In the grand scheme of my uterus, I'm like 3/4s of the way to rotten eggs. And this really sucks. I am fine with being a late bloomer; I just wish it didn't come with a biological clock. And I'm not looking for advice here. I am going through a bit of an anti-advice phase at the moment. Although maybe that's just what happens as you get older--there's only so much advice in the world on any given subject, and at some point, you've heard all of it.

I was talking with OSB about the plight of the single gal recently, and the conclusion I came to was this: everything they say about relationships is true, all the time, for someone, and not true at the same time for someone else. It's timing or it's being ready or it's fate or it's the internet or it's joining a club or it's getting fixed up. It's any and all of these things.

Really what I want in my life first and foremost is financial security. Please? I promise to use it wisely and well.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Emergency response

I walked right by this on my way to the office today, which happens to face South Station. Honestly, my first thought when I popped up from the subway and saw the line of fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, and news vans-and heard the helipcopters flying overhead-was, "are they doing some sort of live test?" I wasn't too worried.

Of course, I absolutely wanted to know for sure what was going on. I always want to know what's going on. Because I'm nosy. And I come from a long line of journalists. So I asked a couple of maintenance guys who were standing on the sidewalk, and one of them told me about the train accident. Then I was frightened, for the people onboard. I'm glad nobody was seriously injured.

On my way home I walked by those same maintenance workers. When I smiled at them, one of them said "We don't stand out here all day. We do actually work. I swear."

"Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuure," I replied.

Monday, September 14, 2009

McMumsy = Helen Mirren

Went on a dress-hunting trip yesterday with McMumsy and a childhood friend of Dr. Moo's (one of three of her childhood friends who are more like family, now). I have yet to find what Dr. Moo would really like me to wear: a green velvet Oscar-type dress. I found a lot of gorgeous blue silk floor-length dresses, a couple of meh brown numbers, and one ugly green thing. I'm hopeful that as we get closer to the holiday season, more options will appear. (I should note that I have distaste for the entire bridesmaid dress industry; I think they make a shoddy product, and then jack up the price. So I refuse to give them my money and have been looking at - and will continue to look at - other options.)

Anyhoo, the surprise of the day came when McMumsy put on this tuxedo-ish mermaid dress, black with a black-and-white jacket. She looked, in the words of that anorexic stylist whose reality show I unfortunately anticipate just a wee bit every week, a-mazing. Remember those bikini shots of Helen Mirren? It was similar in terms of shock level. McMumsy is a schoolteacher and she dresses like one. She also has had cankles for years, which I never realized until she told me, because everything she wears is ankle-length. Well, except for when she's running around in her underwear, which, again unfortunately, both she and PolackPappy do. And when you complain about it they chase you around. So it's best to just pretend like everyone is fully dressed and look at the dog.

I don't think McMumsy is going to get the va-va-voom dress. I'm bummed. Let me tell you, it would make for quite a spectacle if she were to fling open the doors of the church and march down the aisle in it. But as she rightly noted, it is Dr. Moo's day to shine.

And shine she will.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy 100th, Grammy McQuaid

It's my Grammy Mc's 100th birthday today. She died when I was 17, in a fire that was started by the unfiltered Camel cigarettes she'd smoked for more than 60 years. It's funny how we dealt with that as a family-at the time, it was top-fold local news, owing to her connection to said local newspaper, and they ran a story about her on the local TV station, complete with a picture of her large Irish-Catholic brood.

McMumsy has always said it was in some ways a blessing that Grammy went the way she did. She was just starting to get to the point where she couldn't live independently, something she valued highly. And she was briefly revived on the front lawn of her house by the EMTs, which always made me think she poked her head up, took a quick look around, said "Yup, I'm done," and then made her way home.

According to the older generation of cousins, born to Grammy's pre-WWWII children, they only got bananas and other boring healthy crap to eat when they visited. By the time my group came along, it was crap food all the way: frozen Stouffers french bread pizzas, Wise potato chips, hermits, and Hoodsie Cups. The only nod to health was the gum, which was Carefree sugarless.

I have acres of memories of Grammy McQuaid, and they're all good ones. I only get more grateful as the years go by that I got to know her, and spend time with a bunch of wonderful cousins and aunts and uncles at her house every Sunday. It feels in many ways like a big part of the foundation of the happy parts of me. Grammy Mc really was our rock. I miss her and I love her dearly.

Happy Birthday, Grammy, wherever you are...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Levar Burton now completely out of work

Reading Rainbow has been canceled. I was a little too old for the show when it came out, but that didn't stop me from watching it, for years. My favorite babysitting charge, a little red-haired kid who played a mouth-harp and said he wanted to be a Rastafarian, liked it, too. We watched that and Star Trek: The Next Generation, which also featured Levar Burton. "Levar has two jobs," the little red-haired kid would tell me.

And now he has no jobs.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Swell Saturday

Saturday found me driving to NH, where I got a lovely Roger Tory Peterson bird guide from the fifties for a dollar. Later, OSB and I hiked to the top of Monadnock up a semi-secret side trail that I'll never reveal, tapped our toes on the elevation plaque for the second time in a month, then made our way to a more private outcropping where we ate apples, bread, and cheese that we tore off in great hunks, followed by chocolate for dessert. We got home, tossed the kayaks in the back of her husband's truck, grabbed her older daughter, and headed to Harrisville Pond. Which was spectacular. Calm water, blue skies, slowly setting sun. After we brought the boats in OSB and I brought her two girls to the town beach; I swam. I tried out all the old strokes - crawl, back crawl, backstroke, sidestroke, breaststroke - just because - then settled on floating on my back for awhile, until it was time to head home for dinner. Once the girls were in bed, OSB and I spied on the contra dance that was happening in the mill across the street.

I felt really lucky that I have the space in my life for experiences like that. And friends who want to share them with me. OSB and I are especially well-matched when it comes to hiking; I think it's because we're both more than a little bit Polish. Our people have been hauling ass up and down mountains and up again for generations. She and I go pretty much the same pace, with one or the other occasionally pushing ahead. Except for on the way down, where she's more like Dr. Moo, who just wants to get to the bottom. Whereas I am just like I was on the way up, randomly stopping to check out a mushroom or a tree or a bug or a leaf or a flower or whatever else catches my fancy, and cooing over it.

The next morning, before I left, OSB's older girl made a caterpillar friend; she named him Pillary.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Beefy Chunks!!!

Thanks to Dr. Moo for sending these shots of her bovine acquisition. Here is B. Chunks sittin', standin' and, finally, meatloafin' with his new pal Jimberley, who likes to eat his poops. Now that's what I call friendship.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Getting It

So today I had a couple of aha moments. The first was this morning, in yoga, where I managed to suspend myself upside down in the middle of the room, for juuuuust long enough to get an idea of what your body is supposed to feel like in handstand. I wanted to keep trying and trying, but all things in good time. Later, I nearly kicked the head of the lady next to me while trying this pose.

The second aha moment involved sigur rós (careful! there's a naked bum on their home page). I have to admit I never understood what anybody saw in this band. I figured I just wasn't stoned or sophisticated enough to appreciate them. I think instead of weed or the conservatory what I needed was time. I listed to them on my ride into the office today, and, hey--I liked them, a lot. They are good for cleaning to, I think. Or meditating. Or doing crossword puzzles on public transportation.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

"Well, he's not organic anymore."

That would be what I heard Dr. Moo say, over the phone, after she sprayed Beefy Chunks (yes! she went with my name suggestion!) with Off, to keep away the mosquitoes. I told her she should let them bite him, so as to tenderize the meet.

Of course I was kidding. The only tenderizing Beefy Chunks needs is the kind that comes from lots of hugs and kisses.

I will try and get Moo to send some pics of the latest addition to the family.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

How now, beef cow?

Yesterday Dr. Moo called to describe the sensation of sticking one's gloved hand into a sand-dollar-sized suppurating maggot-filled wound on the side of a cow. She used the word "interesting" (I think). I might go with "squirmy" but as I've never had my hand in anything maggot-filled other than a trashcan, I'm not the authority on it.

In other Dr. Moo news, she delivered a beef cow by c-section today. It was a tough delivery, b/c both mom and baby were bratty. Some hay got stuck in someone's abdomen. The calf was going to be sent to auction and for many reasons this would not have been a good experience for him.

In a true transference of familial relations, Dr. Moo decided to adopt the calf, asking permission from her fiancee first (as the calf will be living at his place) but neglecting to remind him that, a, she's leaving the state soon for a conference which means that, b, guess who's going to be in charge of twice-daily bottle feedings? Welcome to the family, future brother-in-law! Once you've been married a few years, you won't even get asked if it's OK to bring the critter home. You will come home and the critter will be there, possibly in your living room, hungry.

When Moo's fiancee asked if they could eat the cow, Moo said "Sure." So the plan is to bottle-raise him at home in one of those cow doghouse thingies for a couple of months, and then send him off to a friend's farm, where he'll fatten up for two years--and then it's t-bone time.

Though Dr. Moo has been a vegetarian since age 9 she recently professed she would eat meat if it came from an animal she raised. I told her I thought there was no way she'd be able to bottle-feed a calf for two months and then be OK with eating it, and recommended she name it "Dinner," just to be safe.

Then I decided "Beefy Chunks" would be an even better name.