Sunday, February 27, 2011

Davos Schmavos

I've been transcribing some interesting things lately, including an interview with a major (not that I've ever heard of him but then I don't follow these things that closely) Wall Street player. I garnered the major bit from listening to him piss and moan about appearing demonized (my words) on the cover of a major (that I have heard of) newspaper.

He also talked about Davos, which is where the World Economic Forum is held, and four months ago I was in Davos, in a small parking lot across from a restaurant, with Cousin B, as he looked at directions.

And let me tell you something, people: Davos doesn't look like much. At least not in rainy September twilight from the passenger seat of a German automobile. I distinctly remember thinking "Is this it?" followed by "I don't get it."

Of course I blame the media for my overinflated view of a tiny mountain town. But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense: most of the wealth and power in the world is concentrated amongst a very small number of people given the size of the overall population and the amount of overall currency. Is it any wonder that they would congregate in a tiny town?

They are both things which can seem enormous and shiny from afar but which in reality are small and dank.

Friday, February 25, 2011


This afternoon, because I needed to get out of the house and still had a 25-dollar Amex gift card, I drove Phyllis the bitchin' Honda over to Watahtown, where there's an F-21, an F's-B, and a Marshalls.

And also a Targrocery, but more on that in a bit.

I have been visiting the baby section of every store I go into lately, looking for outfits for the babies in my life. But I can never find anything, because baby outfits these days suck. Where are the sweet rompers with the snap-crotches, or the dresses with the ruffle-bum diaper covers? Instead there are leggings. Which are going to give any baby worth his salt (i.e., a fat baby) chub rub. Blech. Then to go with the leggings will be shirts that say things like "cutie" on them. Double blech. If you are a cute baby, it goes without saying. If you have to declare your good looks on your shirtfront, you're probably a troll.

Anyhoo, I bought not one thing on my trip, despite spending three hours wandering about. I bought nothing for babies and nothing for me. I'm not feeling very confident about my figure or my hair or my skin. I think I might kind of look like shit. I certainly feel like shit. But I soldier on.

Today that soldiering included a march through a Target I haven't been to in years, it turns out, since when I asked the girl at the in-Target Starbucks when the in-Target Starbucks was born she said 2009. OK then. This Target also has a grocery store, like a super W-maht. When did that happen? It was all very strange, a bit Lion Witch Wardrobe in that I was walking through a familiar place full of clothes and all of a sudden I was somewhere entirely new and unexpected, only instead of Narnia it was a Targrocery store which sold Tarcupcakes and Tarmadelines and frozen Tarcrabrangoons.

The other thing new about this Target is that it no longer smelled occasionally like farts. Because, and this is why I stopped going to this Target years ago, you might be looking at hand lotion or maybe you're checking out undershirts when all of a sudden you smell something and that something is a nasty Masshole fart.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

PolackPappy and the incredible edible egg

On my last visit to the McPolack homestead PP gave me a dozen eggs. But these were no ordinary eggs. They came from 18 hens owned by members of an Irish Catholic family populated by alcoholics whose taste for booze had led them to backslide from a life of education and class into one where toothlessness is deemed a-ok. There are also some sober alkies in said family, and Pp was attending a birthday party for one of them. The eggs were, I suppose, the swag.

Anyhoo, these were by far the best eggs I have ever eaten in my entire life. The. Best. And I have eaten mannnnnnnnnnny eggs. I was bragging about these eggs to OSB this weekend, and she showed me her eggs, which come from happy hens near where she lives, and were different sizes, much like my Irish alcoholic eggs. But when I scrambled a bunch of them up, while they were tasty, they weren't the same.

Could it have been due to the lack of poo smears on OSB's dozen? Because some of my eggs had chicken poo smears on 'em.

Well, yes, at least according to the PolackPappy Egg Bureau. When I asked Pp last night about the difference in taste, he said that even grade-A eggs can be up to six weeks old. Whereas the eggs he gave me had "just slid out a chicken asshole that morning, covered in slime. It's the freshness. No, wait, it's the slime."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hork hork

The NY Times sez kids these days aren't blogging anymore, which given my lack of blogging lately makes me feel young again. As does the fact that I caught a nasty sick (yellow goo is slowly settling into my chest) from a two-year-old this weekend. Her parents didn't catch it but her five-year-old sister did.

When I called their mom to yell at her, I hollered "You made auntie McP sick!" as soon as I heard someone pick up on the other end. Of course I'd dialed the wrong number, but the older-sounding lady who answered was quite gracious.

Anyhoo, I wore fairy wings and put sneakers on the front feet and slippers on the back feet of a pony this weekend. For grown-up time I snowshoed Saturday and walked Sunday. Then it was back to kiddo time, where I scrambled some eggs while singing shake your booty, hooty hooty, and shook my booty. The two-year-old shook her booty too. The five-year old busied herself with smacking my shaking booty, one cheek after another and then back to the first, laughing all the while.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Boy kitty

On Sunday I joined Dr. Moo and the four-year-old child of a family friend who's undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The kiddo, who we'll call meowmeow, needed to burn off some steam, so we went to a kiddo museum. As the only child of a single mom, said kiddo is very good at playing by himself, even while navigating a crush of other shorties in the big ole shorty habitrail that's suspended from the ceiling of the kiddo museum.

(While meowmeow was clambering about in a separate museum crawlspace, Moo and I were giggling at an adorable pink-cheeked tubby little fellow who was running around yelling "I'm a big boy! I'm a big boy!")

It turned out meowmeow's momma wasn't feeling well enough to go out to an evening meeting, so Dr. Moo and meowmeow stopped by my place post-museum to meet my kitty. The Daphs is not known for her social skills, and she made her scariest-sounding yowly noises at meowmeow. He immediately informed me "I don't mind" and then gamely sniffed the dry cat chow I poured into a bowl for him. Later, he crawled down the hall to check out where kitties go to the bathroom, and then grabbed a couple of stuffed kitties from my bedroom, then sat with them in a circle that also included my live kitty.

When he left I gave him a scratch on the head and a catnip toy. He tried to convince Dr. Moo to let him crawl on all fours down the fire escape, but Dr. Moo smartly told him real kitties would be scared of fire escapes, so he let her carry him to his travel box (aka booster seat) in the car.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Birthday Daisy

I went to the sixth birthday party, grownup version (though this year there is no kid version since D is being taken on a mom-and-daughter trip to Disney), of my friend A's daughter Daisy. I have known Daisy since she was in utero, and actually lived with her mom and dad during that time. She was born during the last terrible winter we had; I remember how well her Mom maneuvered a Subaru through giant snowbanks, and how we would both get all wrapped up in scarves and hats and coats before driving into Cambridge, where we both worked.

Six is such a nice age for a girl. Daisy had on a fantastic polka-dotted party dress complete with crinoline. Plus shiny pink patent-leather shoes, pink sweater, and awesome pink-and-white birthday cake party hat. When I arrived she asked me, very grown-up-like, if I was still doing yoga. Then she showed me her yoga pose, which was the one where you sit with the soles of your feet pressed together, and the palms of your hands pressed together at your heart.

Then we played with her Zhu Zhu pets pizza play set, the pizza restaurant apparently a cover for a rock-star hamster with a pink and black Mohawk. Daisy informed me that nobody liked the pizza because of the name of the restaurant. I told her maybe the real reason nobody liked the pizza was because it was full of hamster hair.

Later we clasped hands and spun in circles in front of her pile of birthday gifts. Then, because it was fun, we did it again.

I gave her a small but important gift: her very first bottle of nail polish. It was the sweetest pinkest sparkliest one in the store. And while I am all for feminism -- and many of Daisy's presents were science-themed -- I think it is possible to be powerful and smart and pink and sparkly all at the same time.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Clif Garboden

Found out some sad news in my travels on the Web today. I was introduced to Clif by one of my bosses at the alternative newspaper I worked at in Vermont, and though I doubt he would even remember me, I remember him. In the process of trying to figure myself out, I went on a few interviews at the BP, all of which arose from my initial conversation with Clif. In that conversation, he treated me, a very young woman in many more ways than age, with a lot of respect and honesty.

And what's key about the latter is that while he had a no-bullshit approach, he wasn't a jerk about it. There are people in the world who seem to need to smack other people in the face with the truth with a two-by-four -- they're doing it out of aggression. And they judge. Clif just told the truth.

I am lucky to have known him.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Another fun bird of prey story...

I like that this owl, though starving, was limiting itself to only one chicken head a day. Biologists nab owl taking heads off chickens

But I do feel bad for the chickens.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hawk on Deck

This story is cool for two reasons. The first is obvious - imagine finding a hawk! On your fire escape!

The second may be less so, depending on your taste in puppet variety shows.

Monday, February 07, 2011


The rice pudding turned out pretty well. I'm very close with the proportions I picked, and I managed not to burn it on the bottom, which is one thing that used to annoy me about the Babcia's rice pudding. I have to say, though, I'm not one for "improving" on recipes - it drives me crazy when people have to put their stink all over everything.

Anyhoo, this weekend I cooked a lot of sausage, and also felt trapped. The sausage was for a friend and then for a bunch of homeless men. The trapped feeling came from this endless winter. There was heavy equipment on my street for 12 hours on Saturday, removing snow. This was much-needed and I was very grateful, but I couldn't really go anywhere in my car. Then when I woke up on Sunday (after spending an hour venting my frustration by hacking at the sidewalk ice with the crap-ass snow shovel the landlord provided) the entire driveway was three inches thick with ice. I decided to go to yoga after having not gone to yoga for more than a month because I haven't any money, but I stupidly went out the side door instead of the front and soon found myself having to crouch down on my haunches and slide to the bottom of the driveway.

Some guy walking down the street laughed at me and then said I should probably remove the ice. Really? Thanks, asshole.

As you can see, I was in desperate need of yoga.

Later, I meditated, using an online meditation timer, but the "chime" they used to let you know when your time's up was a really loud gong. It was like a fat Japanese guy in a diaper crept up next to me while I was sitting, held his breath, swung his mallet, and "GOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG!"

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Sometimes I think the Babcia is hanging around the edges of purgatory, whispering things in peoples' ears like Milquetoast the cockroach. Example one: Polackpappy has purchased a chest freezer much like the chest freezer the Babcia used to keep on her porch. I have not peeked inside Pp's cold storage, but I imagine that like the Babcia's it contains freezer-burnt ice cream, and fish sticks.

To be fair, when I was a kid and Babcia was still alive, PP kept a chest freezer with fish sticks in it in the barn. But that was over 20 years ago.

While the Babcia has been saying "Jasiu, stock up on Klondike bars!" to Pp, she's been telling me to make rice pudding. Which I've been avoiding, because it involves purchasing stuff I normally don't: white rice and whole milk. And because she didn't write down the recipe.

She did show me how to make it once. This involved me trailing her as she cooked up a bunch of rice, dumped it in the rice-pudding dish, sprinkled raisins on top, put milkeggssugarnutmeg in a blender and whirred it, poured that over the rice/raisin mixture, and baked until the custard set.

On my first attempt I used jasmine rice and not enough custard. It wasn't any good. I had to throw it all out. Which made me feel like I was lighting a ten-dollar bill on fire.

Tonight I decided to try again. I used Uncle Ben's this time - only to discover it had worms in it. Worms that were squirming after I'd cooked the rice.


Then I discovered I didn't have raisins or nutmeg. But I did have a surfeit of eggs AND a surfeit of nervous energy so I tossed out the Uncle Ben's and the worms, washed everything, and tried again.

I had to use jasmine rice and craisins, so it won't be authentic. I went for a 1-cup-dry-rice/1-pint-whole-milk/half-cup-sugar/six-eggs ratio and didn't measure the craisins. The custard set, and it looks more Babcia-y. It's cooling on the counter right now. I'll let you know how it tastes later.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Ethel the barn kitty vs. a groundhog

I visited the McPolack homestead this weekend and took this photo of Ethel the barn kitty, who is FRIGGING HUGE with fur. She is a beast. She is the abominable snow-kitty. I tried to capture her ginormous fluffiness from several angles; this one seemed to be the best.

I think she makes a fine weather forecaster and groundhog replacement. Only instead of checking whether she sees her shadow, the way you tell the tenor of winter is by the length and thickness of her fur.

Well, people, when it comes to the rest of this winter, based on the Ethel indicator, I've got two words for you: we're fucked.