Tag Archives: family

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: november 2015

11 Nov

1) I don’t care for the term “start a family” when referring to having kids. Whether or not you have kids does not determine the start date of your family. When you and your partner committed to each other, you started a family right at that moment, no? That moment of commitment is for you to decide, of course. Maybe it was the day were married. Or on your eight month dating anniversary. Or more likely, it was a Tuesday morning and you were eating toast and you looked at your person and thought, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, I do not want to be without this person.” I can’t decide that moment for you, no one can except you. The point is, THAT is when you created your family–and continue to create, because family can be very fluid–with your person, and your extended family, and their extended family, and all the dogs and goddamn cats that might come along with that.

So kids? Kids are expanding your family, not starting it. They are starting a new chapter for your family, if that’s a chapter you want to write.

2) I got myself a Divvy membership and every once in awhile—yes, even now that it’s getting colder—I’ll Divvy to or from work. Chicago has put in an ever-growing system of bike lanes, which makes for a protected ride, or as protected as you can be, riding city streets next to crazy asshole drivers, and I can say that because I am a crazy asshole driver when I’m not riding a bike. (It’s considered part of your driving test when you get your license in Illinois—how much of a pleasant asshat can you be? Highest score gets the finger.)

Let's roll, bitches.

Let’s roll, bitches.

Anyway, it’s pretty awesome to be able to commute via bicycle. Not only do I get to sing, “I want to ride my bicycle! I want to ride my biiiike!”* much to the confusion and/or chagrin of other bikers and some drivers, it’s freeing to pedal along, the breeze rushing over your helmet, your cheeks pinked with exercise. It’s like being a kid again, except with much more traffic, and an increased level of perspiration. (Hence why I typically ride home from work, and not to work.)

3) Swede and I are hooked, hooked, I tell you, on The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. Have you seen it? It’s extraordinary. It surpasses American reality television in just about every way, namely that they don’t create a lot of artificial drama—the natural drama of baking is what drives the show and keeps viewers engrossed. On top of that, they’re just so nice to each other, so civil, even when, say, a judge is telling a contestant that their bake isn’t terribly good. And the contestants are nice to themselves—they’ll say, “That was disappointing” after getting a bad review, but then typically follow it up with some sort of live-and-learn, I’ll try harder next time type of comment. No one is bitching about anyone else, or catty-talking what this bitch said to that bitch over there and who does he think he is and blah blah shriilllllll scrreeeeeeching polluting the airwaves omg please be quiet only dogs can hear you now. You know? It’s just civil. The icing on the cake (pun completely and utterly intended) is that some of these bakers are just terrifically talented, and their creativity is simply stunning to watch.

So if you haven’t watched, do so immediately. Even if you’d rather eat a cake than bake one.

*Please note that I am fully clothed when divvying to or from work.

on potty training when they’re not even your kids

16 Jan

The Chicken Nugget was recently potty trained, and while this was cause for much rejoicing on the part of Sister #1, I, for one, am saddened about the ordeal, because I no longer have the cause to ask him the question, “Did your dupa explode?”* Ronnie Bass better start speaking soon, is all I have to say.

Now, I don’t remember being potty trained myself, but given that I use the bathroom on a daily basis, let’s just go ahead and assume that I was. I’m pretty sure that my mom did not use the seemingly de rigeur method, wherein one gets a pebble of candy for every successful potty use. I think I would have remembered if my mom had bribed me with candy (or, more likely, potato chips) to do something. Usually I am the one bringing her food items to do something for me.

“Mom, I’ll buy you a bottle of wine if you drop me off at the train at fool o’clock in the morning on Friday.”


Anywho, this M&M method is apparently how my sister and brother-in-law got the Chicken Nugget out of diapers and into ScoobyDoo skivvies, though technically speaking it was chocolate chips, not M&Ms. Either way, it inspired a Very Serious Dedication in the Chicken Nugget, and potty training? Potty training is not something to joke about, Aunt Molly. And neither are chips.

As I was getting Chicken Nugget ready for bed on a recent babysitting expedition, we carefully went through the steps of his new, improved, diaper-free bedtime routine.

“Are you all done?” I asked as he finished at the potty.


“Great. Pull up your drawz and let’s wash your hands.”

“They’re not drawz, Aunt Molly. They’re underwears.

“Oh. Sorry. Well, pull up your underwears and let’s rock and roll.”

“I want my chip.”

Ermmm….Huh. Think quickly, Aunt Molly. The chips were All The Way Downstairs. And Aunt Molly Is Lazy.

“Well, you’ve already brushed your teeth. And we’re all out of chips. And Mommy will give you a chip in the morning,” I replied, Totally Lying About The Chips Part. And The Handout Of Chips In The Morning Part.

Cue toddler glare.

Cue Innocent Aunt Molly stare right back. 

Cue distraction with one more (okay, two) more storybook readings, and call it a day. 

The next morning, Chicken Nugget had thankfully seemingly forgotten about his promised chip, and crawled onto the pullout couch with me so he could get his daily fix of that red and furry megalomaniac kids are obsessed with who, IMHO, doesn’t hold a candle to Grover. WHAT?

Wide awake and needing to get ready for work, I threw off the covers and eyed my nephew, who had one eye on the television, and one eye on me.

“I’ll be right back, man. Aunt Molly has to go potty.”

Chicken Nugget nodded his approval of this measure, and then turned and said in his most solemn manner, “Don’t forget to give yourself a chip when you’re done.”

I swear I heard sarcasm in his three-year-old voice when he said it.

Smart, that one. Very smart.

*To which he replied NO, 99 percent of the time, even though even the dullest senses of smell would tell you otherwise. 

photo friday: happy hour somewhere

12 Oct

I traveled to Ireland with two of my three sisters, and this photo right here represents…..



I was going to get all thinky and philosophical and be all, “It represents our bond of sisterly sisterhood and etcetera and so forth!”

But really it represents this: We went to Ireland. We had some dranks. They were good, so we had some more.

wherein there are apples to be picked. sorta.

3 Oct

The other weekend Swede and I headed out to the apple orchard with my Sister #1 and brother-in-law, and their babies. Well, I guess at almost three years Chicken Nugget isn’t so much a baby anymore, BUT HE’LL ALWAYS BE MY BABY NEPHEW <SOB>. And Ronnie Bass, well, yes, he is still a baby, one who was completely bored by apple picking. He was all, “Ho, hum, I’ll just hang here in my Bjorn while you fools blabber on about all the apple sauce you’re going to make and other such stuff an nonsense*.”

Not that I can blame him. Due to the drought this year, the apple crop has not been bountiful.

But! That doesn’t mean that orchards don’t want your business. They do! Very much so! So much, in fact, that they will go to great lengths to get you to come and “pick” apples, though there aren’t really any apples to pick.

Instead, they provide you with hand-stocked apple gutters:



Can someone please get me a Farmer’s Almanac? I want to see what it says about next year, or if I should just give up hope of ever again eating a honeycrisp that doesn’t cost the same amount as a gold nugget.

*Oh, Ronnie Bass, how much you have to learn about your mother, canner extraordinaire. You’ll be eating this season’s apples for the next six months once she gets her hands on them and purees them into delicious mush. Have you not seen the three-deep shelves of pickled green beans in your own basement?

photo friday: always here

30 Mar

I have spent many several hours here,in my parents’ backyard, thinking, talking, drinking, smoking secretive cigarettes, drinking some more, talking even more than that.

It is one of my most favorite spots on earth. You’re welcome to join me anytime.

photo friday: new addition

9 Mar

Dear Eamon,

A week ago you made your way into the world, only one day later than you were supposed to, thanks to the miracles of modern science.

Your dad called to tell me the good news as Swede and I sat on the porch of Walnut House, our DC abode, enjoying cocktail hour, which obviously turned into a YAY THE BABY GOT BORN celebration. I asked your dad eagerly, “What’s his name?! What’s his name?!?” Over the past nine months, I’ll have you know, I guessed every other name in existence, as well as some that are not, to no avail. I think Eamon was the only name I didn’t guess, though I did manage to get a correct answer when playing the guessing game for your middle name.

That’s neither here nor there, really, as I’ve decided to call you Ronnie Bass, or, on days I’m feeling spunky, Sunshine.

(You can thank your Aunt Lizzy also for that one. We’ll explain later, when you’re better able to understand the simple and sincere relationship we have with heart-warming sports movies. You’ll be receiving a copy of Hoosiers for your first birthday.)

(You’re welcome.)

The doctors were mildly concerned about your oxygen levels when you were born, because you came out so quickly. Their concerns were quickly put to rest, thankfully. I could have told the doctors that, though, as you screamed your little face off in the background as I talked to your dad.

You came home on Sunday, and on Monday I got to meet you in person. You slept in a little bundle in my arms. Annnd…that’s it. That’s all you did. Was sleep. Well, that’s not true, you cocked an eye half-open for a split second, and I imagine blurrily sensed that the person holding you was vaguely like your mom so it was all cool, ergo safe to go back to sleep. You also thrust the occasional Power To the People fist in the air. Are you crafting plans for some sort of coup? You and the dog, taking over the house? Standing tall for the cause, even though you cannot yet hold up your own head? What cause do you even have? You’re a week old, for God’s sake. Talk to me when you’re 12.

Now that you’re here, you’ve usurped the Baby of the Family position from your brother, which he usurped from me. I’ve almost forgiven him. So far Chicken Nugget seems to find your presence a good thing, and often likes to announce that either A) he is going to have a baby brother soon (at which point we have to remind him that his baby brother is already here) or 2) You are his baby brother Eamon. Any time you make a noise, crying or not, Chicken Nugget will turn to the nearest adult and ask concernedly, “What’s he trying to say?”

Oh, if only we knew what you were trying to say, little Eamon Jude. Your face is so expressive when you scrunch up your nose and your forehead, making you look even more like a little old man in a nine-pound body. I wonder what’s going on inside that little brain of yours.

I don’t know, but I do know what’s going on in mine: We are all so, so glad you are here, and I love you very tremendously much.


Aunt Molly

Power to the people, mah bitches.


girls, girls, girls: introducing women on wednesdays

7 Mar

March is national women’s history month.

Did you know that?

Actually, I did. But the only reason I knew this is because last year I wanted to do something on McPolish to celebrate women during March, but then things got crazy with the whole moving and the packing and the whatnot, so…yeah, it never happened. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity this year to celebrate women, because that would suck. Plus, I like to give chicks high-fives whenever I can. Virtually AND in person. But not really for any other reason than general solidarity and because I like high-fiving people.


Right. Back to the topic at hand: Women.

I went to the Googler earlier to look up information about National Women’s History Month and learned that this year’s theme is Women’s Education—Women’s Empowerment. I read further down the page, and learned it was only 36 years ago that Title IX was enacted—meaning education and activities funded by the feds can’t be discriminating against vaginas—and about fell over.

Huh. So as recently as three years before I was born, things were a bit…different. What was life like for women then? What was it like to raise a daughter?

Obviously I wasn’t around then, so I decided to talk to someone who was.

My mom.

That in mind, dear Interwebers, I now present to you the first in this March series I’m calling Women on Wednesdays wherein I chat with people about womanhood, historical women, womanly things, and insert-XX-chromosome-talk-here.

And so I give you my interview with my mother, Kathleen, (Li’l Kath as some of you may know and love her) mother of four girls, grandmother to two boys, retired school librarian, lover of political debate and avoider of house cleaning:

As the mother of four girls, what did you hope would change in society for them?

I hoped that they would have more choices in careers than being a nurse, a secretary or a teacher.

What would you have been?
Hard to say. Maybe a researcher. Maybe like an economic researcher. Someone has to do the research in a company like a brokerage firm, on different companies are you going to buy their stock or not. Women in business now, in my day they would have been the business teacher in a high school.

Do you like being the mother of daughters?

Yes, but I never had sons. You don’t miss what you don’t have.

You have sons-in-laws.

Yeah, they’re nice.

What words of wisdom would you give your daughters if they have daughters?

Good luck.

What words of wisdom would you give your granddaughters?

Whatever interests you, don’t say you can’t do that. If you want to give it a try, give it a try. School, career, a hobby. Because your mothers will always support you. Go beyond the boundaries. Don’t be put off by society’s self-imposed boundaries. Achieve what you want.

What did you like best about raising daughters?

Watching them grow up with sisters, because I didn’t have any sisters.

Did it make you resent your brothers?


Did it make you appreciate your brothers more?


Why did you encourage your girls to go to all-women’s college?

I read the research that said since they don’t have think about competing with the males in class, they think about who they are and who they want to be. But if you didn’t want to go to Saint Mary’s, that was okay, too.

Then again, they went to college across the street from a co-ed university. So it wasn’t like you were isolated.

What did dad think about that?

“This is going to cost me a boatload of money.”

(And you all went to a co-ed Catholic high school. It’s not like you were in awe of males. Far from it. None of you were lacking in opinions about males or expressing those opinions.)

Did you want us to play sports growing up?

If you wanted to. I wanted the opportunity to be there, and if you wanted to participate, you could participate. I wanted you to develop that competitiveness, because you would need it in the working world. I think team sports are good for children.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen for women in your lifetime?

The career opportunities available to women because of their education. Which in turn has lead to marrying at a later age, and having children at a later age. 

Is that a good thing?

I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

I didn’t feel this way, but many women my age who got married at a young age felt like “This is it?” Some of them weren’t always happy staying home with their children.

You stayed home with your kids for 16 years, were you happy about that?

Yeah, I was. But one of the changes in our society is that it’s okay to pursue a career and have children.

Do you feel you were still able to pursue your career?


Women can have it all, you just can’t have it all at once.

What do you see as the worst-case-scenario for your daughters?

That they’d be unemployed and living at home.

I think she’s kidding on that last one.


High five, Mom. High. Five.

photo friday: traditions, part 1

10 Feb

Interwebers, I have to tell you something that might make you either love me (more than you already do) or dislike me greatly (more than you already do).

I’m a Notre Dame fan.

(In case you didn’t know.)

I come from one big Irish/Polish Notre Dame-loving family.

So I would very much be telling you the truth when I say I’ve been to my fair share of Notre Dame athletic events. Since when? Age 3? Age 4? In utero? Hard to say.

And we continue this tradition of starting the fandom early with the Chicken Nugget.

But due to his young age, Chicken Nugget isn’t allowed to tailgate as heartily as he would like.

That’s okay, Chicken Nugget. Grandpa wouldn’t let me tailgate as heartily as I would have liked until I was actually 21, either.

The Chicken Nugget has a very good attitude about all of this, though. Instead of pouting, he just decides that if he can’t tailgate, neither can Grandpa.

And so he will take Grandpa for a walk.

Chicken Nugget, if you play your cards right, I bet Grandpa will buy you a box of popcorn.


playing to your strengths

25 Apr

The past couple of weeks my sister and brother-in-law have been kind enough to let me stay with them during this, ahem, transitional time in my life.* In return, I have provided them with minutes of entertainment, several bottles of wine, and hours of free babysitting. One week I even babysat two evenings in a row, which prompted the following discussion between my sister and me:

Sister #1: “So, do you think you could watch That Baby on Thursday night?”

Me: “Sure, I’ll hang out with the Chicken Nugget.”

Sister #1: “Okay, but…I feel kind of bad, I mean, that’s two nights in a row.

Me: “Yeah, but in case you haven’t noticed, I don’t really have a life right now. I hope to get one soon, but for the moment, I don’t, and I’m fine to babysit two nights in a row.

Sister #1: “Okay, well, if you get a life between now and next week, let me know and I can get another sitter.”

Me: “Sure thing, I’ll keep you posted.”

And let’s be honest, Interwebers, babysitting the Chicken Nugget isn’t all that hard, considering I don’t get home until 6:30, and he goes to bed at 7 pm.

Note: I said goes to bed at 7 pm. One night after reading 16 books and singing half of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (he gave my singing a dirty look so I stopped), I put him in his crib just after 7 pm, and 45 minutes later heard him still conversing with his duck blanket and pillow pet. I can’t imagine what topics the three of them were discussing so intently—the war in Afghanistan? Obamacare? Cheerios? Whether or not the American people should be asking Donald Trump’s hair to authenticate its birth certificate? Discerning, what, exactly, the point of using a spoon was when your hands work just as well?—but I wasn’t about to interrupt, and the conversation must have petered out because eventually there was nothing but silence.

Because I’m a good aunt. And a good aunt knows that as long as he’s not screaming bloody murder, there is nothing wrong with leaving a baby to chatter away in his crib so you can watch HGTV and drink a glass of cabernet in peace.

But I’d better be careful, lest my sister and brother-in-law throw their cares to the wind and try to exploit me for my lack of life and mad babysitting skillz, and beg and plead for me to babysit for the Chicken Nugget twice or thrice a week.

I’m not all that worried though, as that life I plan on getting should be here any minute now. Annny minute.

I hope.

*Transitional sounds a lot better than “this new job is freelance and until it goes FTE I am too chicken shit to sign a lease lest I jinx myself, get canned, and wind up clinging to too-expensive rent in an empty apartment because I never even got the chance to move my shit out of The Swede’s basement before my income went up shit’s creek.”**

**What? No, I don’t have unrealistic delusions Bag Lady Syndrome, WHY DO YOU ASK?

oh give thanks

24 Nov

Tomorrow morning I, along with The Swede and one of my brothers-in-law, will be lining up with a bunch of other jive turkeys to run an 8K in Lincoln Park.

If I survive, my Thanksgiving blessing will be thanking the sweet Lord above for that fact alone.

If I do not survive, you’re welcome to my helping of the pork sausage stuffing.

Unless I decide to come back to haunt you and snatch that helping of stuffing away into the ether that is The Other Side.

I have no one to blame but myself for these Thanksgiving morning shenanigans, because it was my idea (being that I was like, “Oh, right. I said I’d run a 5, 8, and 10K this year. Huh, the year’s almost over. Better get on that shit.”) and I fully expect that at some point The Swede and my brother-in-law will both point fingers at me and say, “This was a stupid idea, do you know we’re missing the Macy’s Day Parade?” But then The Swede will remember that he hates those Macy’s bastards as much as I do, so he’ll eventually forgive me. I’m not so sure about my brother-in-law.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Interwebers. If you’re traveling, travel safe. If you’re visiting family, remember to play nice. And if you’re eating, eat slowly, and wear expandable pants.