Monday, January 30, 2012


I strolled Mount Auburn cemetery yesterday afternoon with Walnut and her bf. The bf is a tree fanatic and likes to gather seeds there for at-home tree propagation. I brought my binoculars and watched a pair of turkeys, a red-tailed hawk, and a woodpecker. Some dodo was making his way towards the turkeys. Lucky for him I am a volunteer nature cop. I told him to leave them alone because sometimes turkeys can be very aggressive.

Walnut's bf introduced me to the Kentucky coffeetree, whose seed pods are filled with hard brown beans encased in guacamole-esque green goo. Apparently the early settlers roasted the beans as a coffee substitute. Later we came upon a giant leaky maple and someone suggested I lick it. It didn't feel right to lick a tree in a graveyard, so instead I dragged my finger through the liquid and licked my finger instead. It didn't taste like anything. But I'm still pretty sure it was sap. I remember licking a maple tree at the corner of our summer fort at Grammy McQ's house. The fort was located in an alcove of sorts bordered on one side by a stone retaining wall and on another by a flight of cement stairs, at the top of which was a barberry bush with long red berries and lots of prickers. Apparently you can eat barberries. I was afraid of them as a kid.

There was a fair amount of creepiness at the cemetery; Walnut's bf found a fresh grave - I think the person had died nine days ago - behind a mausoleum. The ground had cracked in a rectangle, which I assumed was the size and shape of the cement box they tend to put coffins in these days. Earlier we'd peered in a mausoleum whose windows were dark and smeary, like plexiglass. What I saw inside made me want to wash my eyeballs. I don't really know why. It was a stained glass window of baby angels, but something about the quality of the light and the subject matter just made me shiver.

Luckily some douchenozzle who'd died a long time ago provided us with much-needed comic relief, in the form of a long epitaph extolling his many virtues. It continued on for at least two sides of an obelisk and used words like "thenceforth." But the best part was the mention of a trip to Europe, where he'd "ripened his powers." Ahem.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I've been doing a fair amount of reading these days. The NYer had a fawning review of a book of collected essays by a gentleman born a year after me, and the article talked about how we're in a sort of golden age of essays. And I thought: I missed the boat on that one, big time. And I felt: jealous, and disappointed in myself.

Then I requested the book from the LNFU and gave it a read. It was pretty good. It's some of the best writing I've read in a while - a mix of pop-culture references and feelings, but with the addition of multiple literary references-a Polish poet here, a bible verse there-and a mature and unique voice that is certain but uncertain at the same time, and OK with both.

I had been expecting uber-manly or at the very least super-egotistical, seeing as how the magazine article had lauded the author as the next Tom Wolfe. But this guy doesn't come across as an asshole. Though maybe that happens over time? I don't know. Anyway, I'm glad I read it.

I then moved on to a book about a taxidermist, which I'm reading right now, along with a book about Audubon. I have one more chapter to go on Hitch-22, which has been enjoyable if a bit verbose, something which is easily remedied by skipping entire chapters.

And I'm baking. Cookies, no-knead challah, pecan sticky buns. And I'm worrying, about what at times feels like a crippling inability to support myself financially. I need to go back to basics: meditation, a day at a time, no judgment. Love.

That's all for now.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Further Christmas tales

Our numbers have been dwindling on Christmas Eve at McPolack manor but thanks to reproduction there are a couple of tiny folks filling the empty seats. One of them came dressed in his holiday finest: plaid silk shortalls. With kneesocks - eek! And wee loafers. The adorable level was through the roof.

It was hard not to eat him alive. And harder still not to giggle when his father set him down on the leather sofa and little lord silkyshorts slid slowly onto his back. Because leather sofa + besilkened bottom is a gentler version of foot + banana peel.

The other tiny person was equally adorable and her pink velveteen dress had more traction. Also she is an animal lover. And by lover I mean this: when she was eating her dinner and food fell on the floor and a big, gentle, slobbery dog snuffled over to pick it up she SCREAMED with delight. She'd then catch the eye of someone near by, as if to say "are you seeing what I'm seeing and isn't it AMAZING?" Pure exuberance.

She felt this way about PolackPappy's chinchilla, Harold, as well, and asked many times to be carried to his cage, which she would smack with her little hand. Harold, btw, could have easily retreated to the man-cave Pp made for him out of cardboard, but he didn't. I think he liked the attention. Or perhaps recognized a fellow cute little package of fierceness.