Thursday, January 28, 2010


I shared the last of my pirogi two nights ago with L and my German friend. After dinner we sat around talking meditation. My German friend has started meditating. Five or ten minutes every morning, she stares at the wall. Only she thinks, she says. But she feels OK about this. Because she's never done that, just sat still and stared at the wall and thought.

Her dad meditates for a few hours every day. He goes and visits with a little Chinese guy. He doesn't leave the house and meet the Chinese guy. He meets the Chinese guy on another plane of consciousness. The Chinese guy tells him everything's going to be OK.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


That would be what my tummy has been doing for two days now. There's some kind of stomach bug going around and I think I've got it.

Of course my entire GI tract is cast-iron so I went to the gym this morning despite my illness and to the post office to complete my passport application this afternoon. But I had to lay down when I got home from the gym.

Tomorrow is the annual meeting at the cable-access station and I'm going to attend. The mayor is going to be there! And there's a raffle. I'm sorry to all (especially you, Joe) that I never was able to get F or B online. I will look into it at the meeting, though, because we have a sweet new studio. And last week a creepy weirdo called in when I was trying to hug my depressed cohost and chastised him for ignoring such a beautiful woman. If they think you're pretty that means they're not going to peel your skin off and wear it as a suit, right?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I debated over whether or not to even tell this story for fear of coming across like an a-hole but maybe it's better to have confirmation so I can work on that part of myself.

The relationship between black people and white people and rich people and poor people and crazy people and not-crazy people in Albany is much, much different than here. Everybody talks to everybody else and it is all very nonchalant. No one wants anything. OK occasionally a crackhead needs money for a "bus ticket" on a Sunday morning but other than that it's just...nice. Even the crackheads. It's different than Baltimore, where the people were even friendlier but when you turned on the tv news it was Homicide: Life on the Street only for real.

I love many things about New England but sometimes I don't love that we all sit in our magic invisible bubbles pretending we are the only people on earth.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Trust in God but keep rowing

I just said a rosary (I went with the Joyful Mysteries) while listening to some folks from my parents' church recite it on Sheena. I think the male reciter might be the mustachioed weirdo McMumsy wanted to fix me up with. He appears to be living in a parallel dimension, and in that dimension it is 1983. Since I was not of marrying age then, I declined.

I reprised my role as Natasha on Friday, serving pizza to nine people. One of them was a real red-headed stepchild, if you know what I mean. In case you don't:

He had red hair
He was only 25 yet thought it was OK to...
...mock me when I slipped from a Russian to an Irish accent

And it wasn't a friendly mocking. He irritated me.

I'll have more observations on Albany tomorrow. Now, I must watch The Bachelor. And check out day hikes in the Swiss Alps during the commercial breaks.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Big news!

Just got off the phone with my cousin B, who wondered if I might want to accompany him on a trip to Europe this fall because, A, I am fun, and B, he has diabeetus and does not want to travel alone.

The plan so far includes driving (stick shift, of course) through the Alps, hiking in the Alps, plus a big photo show in Germany and chow and (maybe) dead saint body parts in Italy.

Am v.v.v. excited! And honestly a little in shock. Am saying "holy crap" a lot, but quietly.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wiggedy wack

As promised, here's my hip-hop yoga review.

It is, in a word, bizarre. While I was trying to kick up into a forearm stand, this song was playing. The playlist ran the gamut from Black-Eyed Peas to gangster rap, and it was LOUD. So loud that I couldn't hear the instructor. Then I remembered she said at the beginning of class to not be obsessed with getting things right, to go with what your body told you-and I realized what was going on with my body, and probably everyone else's, was that ears weren't built to hear someone talking when there's loud music blasting.

I'm on the fence with this class. It felt a little white-people-dreadlocks-y - by which I mean here's a bunch of white, mostly upper-middle-class women co-opting something that belongs to an entirely different social group. Don't they have enough already? Oh, hee hee hee, pimps and hos and downward dog, we're such rebels! You know?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I am so in love with libraries right now. On Saturday I went to the BPL and tried self-checkout for the first time. The guard said I did a good job. I've started requesting books online; surprisingly, I was able to get Elizabeth Gilbert's latest book-just out this month-in about a week.

I read it quickly, and although it wasn't our official book-club selection, people have strong opinions about EG and when she came up in conversation she ended up being the focus of the conversation. Feelings about her seem to split between those who wholeheartedly approve of and love her and those who think she is a spoiled, whiny rich lady. I'm more the former and while I can see where the latter is coming from, it also makes me a little sad because why shouldn't she travel the world to heal her heart if she can? It's not as if she was running around beheading kittens and smothering refugees.

Anyhoo, on Wednesday night I sat around talking about EG. On Thursday night I stayed up late reading about EG's marriage.

On Friday morning, I tried a hip hop yoga class (more on that in an upcoming post) at a studio in downtown Boston. As I was exiting the studio through a pair of glass doors there was a woman coming in. I tried to go through the door she wasn't using but it was locked, so there was a moment of confusion and awkwardness. I felt like maybe the woman was looking at me funny but then I realized holy sh*t it's Elizabeth Gilbert and she must have thought the reason I waited inside the door was because I recognized her, hence her looking at me funny-but then I DID recognize her, and I thought "I was just reading about your marriage" and she knew I knew who she was and it was all very meta or something else totally not meta but I can't think of another word.

She held the door for me, I said thank you, and that was that. Well, except for me walking to the T thinking "That was EG! That was EG! I wish I had a cell phone so I could tell somebody!" But I didn't have the cell phone and nobody on the mean streets of Boston would have given a crap. Nor should they have.

But I gave a crap, and I enjoyed it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dining in

This is what I had for dinner tonight

It's a green curry with tofu, tomatoes, two kinds of onions, and shiitake mushrooms. L alerted me to the 4.99 a pound fungi when we were at the under-new-ownership Ming's in Chinatown. I also bought frozen chestnuts, mango gummies, and local veggie dumplings, but otherwise managed to restrain myself.

The curry was goooooooooooooooooood.

Last night my food writer friend invited me to try a new restaurant she will soon be reviewing. Unfortunately for said restaurant, the food was meh and the service worse. The waitress brought me a bottle of ginger beer I had asked her to ensure was alcohol-free. One sip told me otherwise. "There's 13 years sobriety down the drain!" I joked, but then had to reassure my horrified friend that it didn't count.

In the restaurant's favor, the desserts were delicious, as were the complimentary pickles. I liked the monkfish, too. And the company was of course tasty, satisfying, warm and lively.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

People people people

Had more people in my apartment at one time than I ever have before: 7, counting me. For a one-bedroom, that's kind of a lot. I hosted book club. It went well. I served pirogi and rolls with sugared raspberries, some bean dip, and roasted broccoli. Unfortunately for my guests, who skipped the part of my e-mail that said I have no decent booze accouterments, opening the bottle of wine they brought was a bit of a hassle.

JoyceFrances was also in town, as you can see from yesterday's video. She wanted to check out a teacher at a yoga studio downtown and she paid for part of a two-week unlimited introductory membership for me. Now all I need to do is get my bum on the train and I can try doing yoga every day. I cooked for her this morning-just scrambled eggs, rolls, and reheated pirogi, but it was nice-and she taught me how to hula-hoop. It made me want to buy one of these. Once you know the secret, hula-hooping is way easy.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So this is a thing

The Mistress of the Mizzentop is visiting and she's brought with her a thing. And what a thing it is.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


One effect of the aging process for me is a decrease in my ability to stay warm. The past couple of weeks I've had to put the heat on higher and longer; when I don't, my fingernails turn blue.

I still have yet to turn the heat on in the bedroom, though. Not even once. I've worn a wool sweater over my pajamas to bed a couple of times but that's it. When I'm rich I'll live in an energy efficient house and when I'm in the mood I'll stay warm by burying myself in a pile of kittens. Because that's the sort of rich person I intend to be.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Just got back from visiting with Dr. Moo and her husband as they dropped off Little Brother's car on their way through to NYC. Moo is most excited to take a spin class tomorrow morning at the same place the Cosmo Radio girls, Kelly Ripa, and Chelsea Clinton ride. It's 32 dollars for 45 minutes, plus three bucks to rent shoes. Yowza.

I quickly ran a passage from Nowle's Passing, the book I'm reading for book club, by Dr. Moo. The book is by a woman who lives on a cow farm and is about a dairy farm murder. I don't recommend it; I found it too overwritten--but the cow stuff is apparently spot-on. As I read a dramatic cow-death scene to Moo she said "Milk fever!" and that in fact is just what the cow had. The author also got the tears right-when you turn a cow's head to the side, the cow cries.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Polack Driving Gene

Little Brother graciously agreed to drive my ass home from the wedding. We hit the road early in his Audi, as it was snowing. A lot. Burlington, less than an hour north, got a total of 33 inches of snow and while Middlebury didn't get quite so much, it was pretty crappy out.

Naturally this was a perfect time to take the Audi up the Middlebury Gap! That'd be a mountain pass. In a snowstorm. Why not? When I was in college in Burlington PolackPappy drove me back in a blizzard, in one of several aged Volvos he's owned over the years. We had to keep pulling over to wipe snow off the windshield. Pp refused to stay over in my dorm and ended up pulling off the interstate in Barre and sleeping in his car.

As luck would have it, Little Brother's German automobile pooped out just as we were climbing the first hill. We rolled back into town and called our newest family member, who came and picked us up. It was a wonderful welcome to the McPolack family. In a fine passing of the torch to the next generation, Little Brother ended up driving us back to Boston in Pp's dress Volvo. (The work Volvo no longer has its passenger seat.) Pp rode beside him.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Godpolack

No Polack can refuse a request on his daughter's wedding day.
(Thanks to cousin B for taking the pic and for the idea.)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


At the bar after the wedding, the McCousins were sitting around chatting. Little Brother admitted to handcuffing this ginger brat from ManchVegas who lived up the street from cousin M because he and cousin A were unable to keep their babysitting charge in line. Turns out cousin M had a similar problem and had dealt with it by tying him up with an extension cord and duct-taping his mouth.

While riding to the wedding I mentioned my tailbone issues (it hurts when I sit on it) to my nurse auntie P. She said maybe it's a cyst, then snickered and said one of my uncles had to have his tailbone cyst drained on his honeymoon. When I came home, I googled "tailbone cyst" and ended up at a boil slideshow. Recommendation A: do not google "tailbone cyst". Recommendation B: if you do, do not click on the boil slideshow.

Recommendation C: avoid babysitting gingers at all costs.

Monday, January 04, 2010

So my mom

did not end up coming to help Dr. Moo get ready. It was just her, me, two dogs and a crochet hook, which took pretty much the amount of buttons up the back of her dress to learn how to use. Her dog stepped on my dress; later, my Dad stepped on my dress, but nobody stepped on Moo's dress, and hers is the one that mattered.

I'm sure I'll blog more about the wedding in the coming days but what I feel right now is a sense of relief. I don't have to worry about Dr. Moo anymore. I didn't feel this way after Little Brother's wedding, for many reasons. I'm also sad. I feel like we sent her off on a little boat away from the island of our nuclear family. And she isn't coming back.

But that's the way of things.

(The pics below are of me and Francois Clemmons, aka Officer Clemmons from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. When I first laid eyes on him I think I looked like I wanted to eat him. He graciously agreed to this photo and then said we could be pen pals. Oooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Wedding was fantastic. More on that and these later.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


It's little more than an hour to Dr. Moo's wedding and I am alone in her apartment with her dog and my parents' dog. Moo is getting her makeup done; I did my own. Her friend did our hair. Can't believe she's getting married-very surreal. I'm wondering if McMumsy is coming to help Moo into her dress-maybe not. It might just be me and her. Oh boy.