Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Arrived in Venice late this morning after too many stories to tell right now. Am typing at beautiful desk in corner room on canal near train station.

I am utterly in awe of Italy. The light, the views, the buildings. It looks just like all the paintings. As in, you are walking around in a painting. We drove around a curve yesterday and there was Lake Garda and I have never seen anything so beautiful in my life and I will be 37 soon. And five hours before that I was talking to cows while hiking in the Alps in Switzerland. Big brown cows with tinkly bells.

You'd think at some point you'd fill up on the beauty, but you just make more room for it. There is so much room for it, it turns out.

In other greater McP family news, my uncle, and father of the cousin I am traveling with, is in Kabul right now. You can read about it at www.unionleader.com. You'll have to do a search for "publisher" to get to his column. He should be blogging more once his luggage gets in from India and he embeds with the troops.

We prayed for him at churches in two countries.

Tomorrow we head to Rome in the early evening.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I am in Germany in a town we blew the beejesus out of in WWII. They actually sell placemats with colorful happy maps on one side and BW pix of razed buildings on the other. Earlier my cousin and I went on a pilgramage and walked under the bones of the magi.

I have not slept yet. When we flew over Ireland we crossed from the darkside of the earth to the light. It was stunningly beautiful. It was like God. Of course I also went to a convenience store and got many weird snacky things. Like a bagof something licorice with a Turkish guy breathing fire on the front and the words "extra stark."

Monday, September 20, 2010


Well my stinkbug friend reappeared last night, buzzing and flapping in one of the lamps in the living room. Only problem is, he's missing one leg.

I think Gustav might have eaten it.

Gustav is Walnut's Venus flytrap. He's my Fresh Air Fund kid. See, Somerville has more trash and scuzziness than Cambridge (where Walnut lives), which means there are more bugs. Gustav eats bugs. So it's healthier for him here. I fed him a dead ladybug the other day (I could tell it was freshly dead b/c it was still brightly-colored) and his jaws snapped shut so quickly they made a sound. It was a little creepy.

Anyhoo there's a leg-segment-like shadow inside one of Gustav's closed parts. I can't be 100% sure it's a stinkbug leg segment but you never know.

This morning the stinkbug was on the rug in the hall; I tried my best not to step on him. I almost put him out of his misery last night, with a wet paper towel, because he was buzzing around and looking like he was going to fly into me, and because I didn't know if he was suffering due to leg loss. But I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nerves, nerves, nerves, ball of nerves

My I am anxious about going to Europe on Thursday. All of a sudden it'shere. I'm bringing my sweet princess kitty to NH today and have begun gathering what I need. Next week this time I'll be in Germany. Wow!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Flirty old men

I've been visiting the laundromat more these days (not because I'm stinking up my clothes any more than usual). The one I go to is owned by an older Turkish man who might hit on the washing machines if they wore lipstick. It's more a business ploy on his part, and I don't feel uncomfortable; I think it would be more uncomfortable to tell him to piss off, especially considering that he clears out dryers for me whenever I show up.

But it turns out the young surly-looking woman by his side is not his daughter but his wife, and she's 30 years younger than him, at least. She doesn't like all the flirting, not one bit. I wonder why she's with him. The constant supply of fresh undies? The luxurious lifestyle of a laundress?

Then there's Gene, the flirty old man who grabs my hand and proclaims "Ah, there's my Mcp!" whenever I see him at the gym, and makes a sad face if I haven't shown up in a few days. I ran into him at the Basket yesterday afternoon and he gave me a big hug. In front of his wife, who works out with him, and who he's never introduced me too. I'm guessing she doesn't find me threatening.

Finally in Sims-land I got bored and started a new fake person. He's a sleazeball who needs lots of "Woo-hooing". His name is Buttersnatch and I'm trying to get him to Woo-hoo with ever single other fake person in the game.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm kind of a virtual jerk

So Walnut gave me her old iPod touch and she left all her stuff on there, including the Sims. And I have become a tad obsessed with the Sims. It is a virtual world game app thingy where you create a character, dress her (or him but no shims yet although Sim Shims would be a neat idea) up, give her certain character traits - mine is a maniac I named Ivory - and then just make her do stuff.

So far mine has stolen someone's boyfriend and married him, slapped and humiliated her boss, barged into multiple peoples' houses and used their without asking, and harvested 10 tomatoes. I've been trying to get pregnant but I think my husband's lack of attention span, combined with my being a maniac, may be causing problems.

In the real world I am uber-busy. Editing, plus school's in session at the LNFU plus I leave for Europe verrrrrrrrrrry soon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Big Toe Thumb

Mannnnnnnnnny members of the Mc side of the McPolack family sucked their thumbs for longer than is considered normal. Dr. Moo did not, but this is because she sucked her thumb in utero so aggressively that it is permanently deformed. It looks like a big toe.

And now, thanks to a needle stick, it looks like a REALLY big toe. She poked herself with a vaccine for pinkeye and black leg. It's meant for cows, obviously, and it's so potent that all the cells in her thumb are inflamed and are going to stay that way for 7 to 10 days. When Mr. Moo asked her to stick her big toe thumb between one of her real big toes and the toe next to it, for a double-big-toe photo op, she wanted to but couldn't because it hurt too much to squeeze her sausage-sized thumb in there.

In other Moo news, Dr. and the Mr. were at a wedding Saturday night which featured a giant dance floor and a mechanical bull, all in a field outside. At 11:00 Moo was called in for a twisted uterus. She brought Mr. with her. Mr. was drunk and in fancy clothes. The hired man was drunk, too, and his wife had to drive him over. Luckily there were enough coveralls for all, nobody threw up, and the calf was delivered safely. Just another Saturday night in the life of Vermontahs.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

No habla Espanol

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, Market Basket. How is it that you continue to delight shoppers, year after year? Today, for example, I was in the produce section, fondling some cauliflower when the PA system crackled. "Shoppahs, we have a special unadvertised special at the end of aisle ten," said the announcer. Who sounded similar to the announcer from the NH MB my brother and sister worked at in high school.

"Chips Ahoy Cookies ah two for three dollahs but with the special coupon which is right on the package you can get a dollah off each package. That's right, that means yah two packages ah Chips Ahoy cookies fah one dollah...dos packages fah one dollah."

I kept waiting to see if he'd throw some more Spanish in there but he just hesitated a bit and went back to crowing in English about the cookies and the aisle ten and the dollah. Later I got to go through the 12 items or less line despite having more than 12 items.

It was a good trip.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I'm not quite ready for the apocalypse

If parsnips are a requirement to survive in a world without grocery stores, I'm in trouble. This is what grew out of the nine seeds I planted.
However, if it's melons you need...
Here's a shot of the two together, for perspective.
I actually have no idea of my true parsnip or melon growing capabilities as all I did was plant the seeds and then visit them maybe 5 times over the summer, when I weeded and cooed. I almost weeded the parsnip but something in me knew that even though it was tiny I needed to leave it.

There were a couple of beets, too. Or, I should say, four tiny beet greens, two of which were attached to a beet the size and shape of the eraser at the end of a pencil.

The scabby marks on the melon are from a chipmunk, probably the same one that dug a hole in the melon hill TEN MINUTES after I planted the seeds. G-d chipmunk. I couldn't wait to taste the lovely melon myself and of course it wasn't ripe, save for a teaspoon of orange flesh. But it was a tasty one.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Went on a hike with cousin B and his swell girlfriend Jess on Saturday.

We climbed Osceola and there was a rainbow at the top.

Plus there was this crazy lady.

In the fall there tend to be a lot of Europeans hiking in the Whites, like the German family that reached the peak a little before we did, where they met its resident scamp, a wee red squirrel straight out of central casting. He held his luxuriously fluffy tail curled just so as he darted across the mountaintop, coming closer and closer to each lunching hiker, testing the waters for chow. Would his adorableness win him some snacks?

Well of course it would! Although not from us.

It was cousin B who noticed one of the German kids, a boy of about 10, trying to get the rodent's attention. "What's quite impressive is that he realized it's an American critter and so he needed to speak to it in English," said B.

What wasn't so impressive was that the kid thought it was a chipmunk. "Chippymunky...chippymunky...GET OVER HERE!" was his siren call.

Here's some big mushrooms on a birch branch. I took this shot on the way down. I regret that I did not get a shot of the mother moose and her calf that cousin B spotted on the trail in front of us. It was my first in-woods moose sighting in nearly 15 years of hiking. And it was amazing. I didn't believe B at first because the moose made nary a sound. B said he heard one branch snap and then...there they were. I only saw the calf myself because the sun was setting but it was horse-sized. The mother was apparently enormous.

It was quite an afternoon.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Ned update

The third in the line of horrible hounds with monosyllabic monikers is doing well, despite having an unsightly scrotum (it hangs too low and is an unfortunate color, says Dr. Moo) and despite having run away from home while Dr. Moo was out of state.

Ned, you see, is afraid of Mr. Moo. Very afraid. I think Ned might think Mr. Moo is a white supremacist, for three reasons: 1. Mr Moo is a bald white guy. 2. Ned was in prison recently, human prison. 3. There are lots of white supremacists in human prison and they are mean.

Lucky duck

I love Roger Ebert. He's been in the news a lot lately, at least in my left-wing liberal news-a Fresh Air podcast and this article. The title of this post refers to how I feel about the article's author. (I also liked reading about the author's feelings. Three cheers for sensitive, overly-emotional types!)

I read a bit of the Q&A with Roger Ebert that accompanied the piece, and ended up on his blog, where he'd written a long post about how he wasn't really so sad that he couldn't eat anymore.

I had been looking at pictures of Ebert and feeling a deep sadness for him. The loss of his lower jaw has made him look incredibly vulnerable and soft. But I've come to the conclusion that what I'm really seeing is a person who is wholly himself. That softness is what we all have behind whatever we cloak ourselves in to get through the day, falsely believing we're protecting ourselves. It's God. And I like it.