Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Like a Thin Girl's Rosa Parks

images from The Huffington Post.

This is Stephanie Naumoska, the Australian contender for Miss Universe. As I understand it, that means that she was vying to become Miss Australia to compete for Miss Universe, but I am, admittedly, not well versed in the world of beauty and glamour. But seriously, Miss Universe? Like, where's Miss Mars? By the way if I were competing, I'd totally be Miss Anthrope. Also if I transgendered and became a drag queen.

But back to Stephanie Naumoska. She's 5'11" and weighs 108 pounds. I'm guessing that at least 4 of those pounds consist of hair.

The media has been asking if she's too thin. (And what's her secret, tee hee!)
Ok, is this some kind of a joke? Is it a serious question? Yes, Stephanie Naumoska is too fucking thin.

Yesterday morning, I'm making the kids' school lunches and I have Good Morning America on in the background and suddenly the story that I was born to watch comes on. Did you hear about this? This contender for Australian Miss Universe is under fire because she donned a bathing suit during the competition and she is so bony that everyone is super shocked and starts going on about how this is unhealthy and is she anorexic or bulimic and what kind of a message is this sending to our daughters.

Oh, sweet Jesus. I wish that this political correctness bullshit would just fade away, and maybe like for a day, people would say just what they meant.

Like, she looks bad. As in not good. In a way that has absolutely nothing to do with health. Heck, Kate Moss is no one's idea of a health freak, but she looks fantastic.

But of course, everyone is focused on health, because we are all worried about this girl that we've never seen before and never want to see again. (As a matter of fact, the Good Morning America story is filed under "Health" on its website as opposed to, say, "Shit That Makes Old Hags Feel Better About Themselves") Really, where do I send my check? Because with everything that is going on in the world today, I think that I am going to devote myself to her health and welfare. I'd like to sponsor her. Send her a few dollars each month for food and water and in exchange she will write me letters. I'm pretty sure that Sally Struthers prophesied this.

So I'm hoping that Good Morning America will say, "Is she too thin? Fuck, yes! Next up, how not to die from the swine flu and survive the recession!" but instead we get Stephanie telling Diane Sawyer how hurt she was about what people were saying about her and how she's never cried so much in her life (hello, dehydration!) and that she is fit and healthy and that she eats six meals a day. The fuck? I don't eat six meals a day. But I'm starting to think that that's my downfall because I have seen Cindy Crawford twice when she lived in NYC and each time was at a pastry store. Two different ones. I had to conclude that that was her beauty secret. And yes, I was also there at the pastry shop, what's your point?

Anyway, back to Stephanie. So she's talking about her six meals a day, and this is when I start to suspect that GMA sets this shit up,because Diane Sawyer brings out a plate of food--I THINK it was fish and some vegetables, but it's a full plate and asks "is this like a meal that you would have?" and Stephanie says "yes" and that she doesn't deny herself anything. I can tell that she's lying because a normal person would have lept at that plate of food and licked it clean, but she just sat there looking at it. Like it meant nothing to her. I don't know. Maybe she just had five of her six meals before she went on the air that morning.

But my favorite part of the whole interview, and possibly of my entire life so far, comes when Stephanie says that she is speaking up for the rights of skinny girls everywhere. Because if ever there was a misunderstood demographic, it's gorgeous, ultra thin young women. And as a society, we must devote more of our resources to helping them. I was so happy to hear that. Because I was starting to suspect that she was just getting her five calories of fame.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Weather

The other day, my mama went to pick up the kids from school because I had an important appointment, which is also known as a massage.  Everything went well, except when I came home she told me that my daughter was at school N'AKED ALL DAY. This is obviously alarming, because I'm one of those parents who doesn't approve of nudity in the schools, but then after a half second, I realize that mama is exaggerating and that she doesn't mean that my daughter was literally n'aked (and I'm spelling it like that because I'm sick of perverts coming here by googling various grossness, and I'm sure they're really disappointed as well, so this is like a public service, except for people who like words written properly). 

Anyway, I realize that what mama means is that my daughter wasn't dressed appropriately for the weather, because she was wearing a t-shirt and capri-like pants and she may as well have been n'aked.

The weather conversation with mama is one of my least favorite ever because she suffers from  Unorthodox Weather Beliefs, such as:

1. 60 degrees in the spring is colder than 60 degrees in the summer. Because the sun is just warming up.
2. If a girl sits on a rock, she will be infertile because she will freeze her uterus? fallopian tube? (note to self: ask mama if this applies only to girls with protruding fallopian tubes).

This would explain why I spent summers as a child dressed like this:

Tights. Summer. Me. I'm pretty sure my expression says it all.

Monday, April 27, 2009

For the Love and Comfort of Nicki

Last week, the kids and I had to go to Petco to get some cat food for Nicki, although my son immediately corrected me and said "Not CAT food, KITTEN food!" Like who cares what it's called so long as it has arsenic in it.

So we pass the peasant kitten food and go straight for the caviar, aka Iams. Because we do not want to miss any opportunity to invest as much money as we can't afford into Nicky's health and happiness.  And of course we can't just get the kitten food and  make it like a tree and leaf, because the Petco Satanists positioned the cat climbing mechanisms right next to the Kitten Food and both of my kids are all "AWWW!!!" 

I look at the price tag and it's $79.99, which, incidentally is what I told Husbandrinka that Nicki would cost us for her entire life, including the taxidermization, so I try to act casual and I'm all "ok, lets go!"
And they're all "NICKI NEEDS THAT!"
And I'm all "No, she doesn't!"
And they're all "YES SHE DOES!!!!"
And then my son starts moving towards the one cat scratch/play post that looks like it was build by Donald Trump for Hugh Hefner and his whores, except slightly more ornate and I feel my body go cold and simultaneously become drenched with sweat and I'm all "NO" and he's all "Please! I'll never ask for anything again!" and I agree to the $79.99 monstrosity because it's the less expensive of two evils. So like Atlas with the world on his shoulders, we're dragging the fucking kitty entertainment center to the cashier and I tell the kids that we'll have to get it delivered (for a convenient $15 charge!) and they're all "NICKI NEEDS IT TODAY!" but I put my foot down because I've just been economically sodomized and I'm still a little sore as a result.
But when it's delivered the next day, Nicki immediately takes to it and looks so comfortable on it that I know that we made a very wise decision.

By way of comparison, you can see how uncomfortable and unhappy she was when she was forced to sit on a human chair. Like an animal.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pearls Before Swine, without the Pearls and Hopefully without the Swine

So I don't mean to alarm anyone, but I think that Husbandrinka is trying to outlive me. Like on purpose.  You'd think he'd be one of those "I don't want to live without you" husbands, but that would only be because you've never met him.  A few years ago he started this health and fitness plan and lost tons of weight and I have to remind him that if at any point his thighs are thinner than mine, it's over.  I'm pretty sure he's doing this so that he can marry someone younger and prettier, but I may be slightly paranoid.  Hey, did I tell you about the pet pig that he just bought me?  It seems to be under the weather, but Husbandrinka reassures me that I can nurse it back to health.

Anyway.  This morning I saw him weighing himself on the scale and I snuck behind him and put my big toe on the scale and he looked at the numbers and said "I seem to have gained sixty pounds last week," so of course I started laughing like an idiot and  confessed to toe-ing the scale.  And he said "oh", and just reweighed himself.

But this is what I don't understand.  If you got on the scale and you weighed sixty more pounds than you weighed last week, would you be so matter of fact about it?  And also, why does my toe weigh sixty pounds? What am I, an elephant?

Speaking of elephants, I hate to use my Jew card, but this swine flu is totally not for me.  Really, it's like the last thing that I need right now.  And I would really appreciate it if it didn't turn into a pandemic because that's not a good environment for me.  Or my giant toe.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wearing the Ulysses Dunce Cap

I can't read it anymore!
I don't understand it and I don't like it.
I thought that I could slog through it, but I can't.
So of course I thought that I'd just fake it and do these posts about how difficult it is, but I am suffering from a severe case of blog integrity. I'm sorry. If you're reading Ulysses and blogging about it, please let me know and I'll visit and eat crow there.

Next on my reading list: Pat the Bunny.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Good night

My son likes for me to sit with him when he goes to bed. He tells me that he loves me and when I kiss his cheek, he doesn't wipe it off the way he does on most mornings when I drop him off at school. I love that time, despite the obvious challenges involved in making sure that he falls asleep before RHONY starts.

On Wednesday night, as he was falling asleep, his face burrowed in the pillow, he said, "I wonder what it's like to be a kid in-" and his voice trailed off. My heart swelled with pride. Because I knew he was wondering what it was like for me to be a kid in Russia. Of course, that made perfect sense. My mother's sister is visiting from Russia and we all just had dinner together that very night! He's interested in my childhood. What a perfect cherry to my sundae of a day--kid about to fall asleep, I'm to be left the hell alone with the computer and as he falls asleep, he asks about my childhood. I've obviously achieved the Olympic gold of parenting and should give seminars and share my wisdom.

So, I got ready to tell him about growing up in Russia, the harsh winters, the friends that I had, he immigration process.

"You know," I broached the subject gently, "I am going to write a book about that." In case he knows people in the industry.

"About what?" he asked sleepily.

"About being a kid in Russia."

"What?" he sounded less sleepy.

"About being a kid in Russia. A book. I'm going to write it."


"You asked me what it was like to be a kid in Russia."

"No, I didn't." He is wide awake now, sitting up in bed.

"You did, honey," I try to smooth his hair, which is a scientific way to get people to remember things that they said just a few minutes ago.

"I said I wonder what's it's like to be a kitten," he says. "You know, like Nicki."

Oh. I'll have to flesh out that part of my book, I guess.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Things That Go Through My Mind As I'm Reading Ulysses

1. Holy Shit, I'm reading Ulysses.

2. By James Joyce.

3. A modernist. And a pervert.

4. I hope everyone on the subway notices that I'm reading Ulysses. I will hold up the book a little higher, so that they can see the title.

5. They should have a NEON title edition of Ulysses, I bet that would sell well.

6. Ulysses, a book that I am reading.

7. Ulysses is for sissies. I have no idea why I said that, but to be fair, very few things rhyme with Ulysses.

8. I'm done with a whole page! Of Ulysses by James Joyce!

9. What the fuck happened on that page? Snotrag? Dying mother? Ireland? Italy? Maybe it was just "setting the tone".

10. Now that the tone is set, I'm continuing to read Ulysses. Really, I have no idea why I didn't do it sooner because this kind of enjoyment you just can't buy!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Could You Hurt a Fly?

Because of my own recent trauma with Craigslist, I've been avoiding the coverage of the Craigslist murder case as much as possible, but now that the suspect's fiance has been speaking out and there are headlines that she is standing by her man and declaring that he "wouldn't hurt a fly", I am drawn to the story, and demand justice. Because I know people who wouldn't hurt a fly. They are out of their fucking minds.

People who wouldn't hurt a fly are generally a huge pain in the ass to be around because while the rest of us are sitting there with fly swatters and mini fly uzis, these people lecture us on reincarnation and how we are all god's creatures and how it's not the fly's fault that it's a fly. Which is one of those arguments that I personally like to avoid. Much like I like to avoid arguing with the unmedicated insane.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but let me run this by you.
A friend's husband, Shmandbandrinka, cannot kill a fly. When confronted with a fly situation, he stands with a rolled up magazine, seeking to make eye contact with the fly and then takes a swing at it. He's been on the receiving end of many useful hints over the years, including to actually make contact with the fly-victim. The constant missing causes a lot of cursing on his part and hysterical laughter on the part of whoever is observing this, but I can totally see how if he were wrongly accused of a crime, you'd want to get up there and say that "he wouldn't hurt a fly". Because letting the world know that your beloved is not only accused of murder, but also couldn't get it together enough to harm a fly is mortifying.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


So this weekend, Husbandrinka takes off for fucking PARIS with a parting, "I wish I could stay here with you" to me, and I'm like, "Look, not like I'm not tons of fun or anything, but I doubt that Lawrence Olivier could have pulled off that line," and once he leaves the kids and I realize that this is what our TO DO list looks like:

1. Clean the apartment because my mama's sister is visiting from Russia and she will be visiting us later in the week and the apartment better look all sparkly because otherwise there will be so much blog fodder that we will all have to wear diapers because we won't have time for potty breaks. So, clean the apartment.

The kids and I have an organizational meeting and decide that they will clean their rooms while I clean the rest of the apartment.  Because they belong to a much better union than I do.

So my 10 year old daughter goes and CSI's her room and it looks great and my seven year old son decides to conserve his energy for a cleaning burst that he's sure is imminent by sitting down with a Batman coloring book. As I'm cleaning the apartment and experiencing the accompanying euphoria, I occassionally peek into his room and see that no, so far he's been totally spared any OCD cleaning tendencies. And while he's colored the most amazing picture of Robin ever, I really need him to get the fucking blankets off the floor and just make the bed.

I am cleaning the bathroom when he comes in to tell me that coloring has completely exhausted him and he would prefer to play the Wii while I cleaned his room, because, as he eloquently puts it, "you're the adult and it's sort of your job." Although I appreciate his honesty, I point out to him that I'm very busy myself and he delivers the quintessential line, "you're not doing anything, mom" which would play a lot better if I hadn't actually been scrubbing the toilet at that very moment.

I explain patiently that he will not do any electronics until he at the very least makes his bed and he says "no electronics? You mean I can't even turn the light on?!" and I say, "you know what I mean, no Wii, no computer, no DS," and in a move that would shame Dustin Hoffman, he starts crying immediately, as though I told him that he will be sold into child slavery (I have no idea if the market for that actually exists, by the way, but Buyer Beware, if you get my drift. Biggest scam ever.) So the crying and the gnashing of teeth is going on and I'm so not falling for it, the bed is getting made.

Suddenly, my daughter appears at the bathroom door and now the three of us are in the tiny bathroom, with Nicki's litterbox to keep us company. And my daughter says, "Mommy, you're making him upset." So I say, "This is between him and me," and she says, "My brother is upset. I have a right to be here as his representative."

What representative? Are we at the Hague?
Well, apparently we are, because the next thing I hear is that while other children are enjoying a weekend of debauchery, they are faced with hardcore scullery.  Those may not be the exact words that they use, but the message is loud and clear.
Oh, but at least I'm in the bathroom with my children.  Not some place stupid, like Paris. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Sink and I

As you know, due to the downturn in the economy and my learning who my real friends are (HINT: NOT the people who got paid to come and clean my apartment), I've been doing my own house cleaning. Which apparently has to be done more than once. A month. I'm thoroughly exhausted and cranky and that fucking feeling of satisfaction that people claim that they get when they fully clean the house? Totally eludes me. I get a feeling of satisfaction when I do something, what's the word I'm searching for here? Satisfying.

But apparently my lot in life is to scrub toilets and wash floors.

Someone suggested that I join, a website that helps you clean. No, it's not a cleaning service. From what I can tell, it's a cult. First of all FLY stands for "Finally Loving Yourself" and let me reassure you that it's not a How to guide for masturbating morons. Apparently, they chose FLY because it was catchier than YAAFPLIAP (You Are A Fucking Pig Living In A Pigsty). But whatever, I need help with this cleaning crap, so I'm willing to go along with a few gags to get it done.

The first step, a baby step, as FLYlady reassuringly calls it, is "Cleaning Your Sink". And I'm like "huh?" Because "baby step" sounds totally advanced. If we're going the whole neo-natal route, don't I have some time to lie there in my own excrement screaming at the top of my lungs while others cleaned all around me? Because I could be the Martha Stewart of that. And besides, what do I want with a clean sink?
Fortunately the Flybitch has the answer.

What is in a Shiny Sink?
Dear Friends,

When you first come to you are shocked to hear what your initial habit is! "Go shine my sink??? How is that going to help me get my whole house in order?"

Right now you are probably feeling a bit overwhelmed and I promise this is going to help you get out of the CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) that you have been living in for such a long time. It all starts with that shining sink.

If I were the Flylady, the first step would be "How To Trick Other People into Cleaning Your Apartment" but whatever.

When I set out to get my act together in 1999, I didn't know where to start either. This is why I just picked my sink. I was tired of beating myself up over the way I kept our home looking. At this point I knew what I had been doing would not work for very long. It was because I would go gung ho for a week or two then I would crash and burn. There is no rhythm to my method. I was forcing myself to adhere to a new set of rules and I felt so confined by the sheer number of them. I knew the system I had always used was not going to work again. This is when I started to rethink how I treated myself and guilt trips I would force on me. These were not working and I was so beaten down.

Ok, this is my problem. I am not beating myself up for the way that I keep our home looking. I am, however, thinking unpleasant thoughts about some of our home's residents who insist on spitting the toothpaste out in the sink as opposed to the toilet, where it can be flushed away without any residue. And thank goodness that I'd skipped right over this whole "gung ho" crap. Sounds totally exhausting.

Right then and there I decided I would be nice to me by only requiring that I do one small thing each day. I needed to establish a habit. I had plenty of habits but they were not effective ones for taking care of me or our home. I picked keeping my sink clean and shiny for a whole month. It was just that simple!

So this is where she starts to really lose me. Because no matter how hard I try, I can't get excited about "keeping my sink clean and shiny for a whole month." I keep thinking that "sink" must be code for something else. But there's just nothing in this world whose cleanliness and shinyness inspires me.

What is in that shiny sink anyway? When you walk into you kitchen in morning and you are confronted with yesterday's dirty dishes; you just want to go crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head. Along with these dishes are hurtful feelings because no one is helping you. Not only do you have to get these out of way to start another meal but you are beating yourself up because you let them go. That nasty water is just a reflection of how you feel when you face a sink full of yesterday's dirty dishes.

And yet, somehow FLYlady FLEW (Fucking Lewd Ewes Walking) into my soul and took a verbal snapshot. Yes! When I see a sink full of dishes I do wonder why the MENSA members that I live with can't figure out to put the dishes in the fucking dishwasher instead of leaving them in the sink. How do they think it makes me feel when I have to start another meal (aka open the cereal box) while staring at last night's dinner plates? Except that one, of course, because that's mine and I specifically left it there to "soak". Because I didn't want my soaking lunch plate to feel "lonely". But all the others? No excuse.

Now on the other hand, when you are greeted with a shiny sink, all these bad feelings are gone and for the first time you can see a reflection of you. This is why I named my book Sink Reflections. That shiny sink brings a smile to your face. You deserve to smile. The guilt has vanished because you are standing in a kitchen with no roadblocks to begin your day. That is a great feeling and that is what a brand new day is all about!

That IS a great feeling. And I'm sure that the smile that's brought to my face while looking at a shiny sink is in no way related to the lobotomy that I had! I'm not even upset that Sink Reflections, my working title of a book about drowning that I've been tossing around in my head, is taken.

That shiny sink is contagious to the rest of the kitchen; just like your happiness and sadness is infectious to your family. The dishwasher has to be emptied because you need a place to put the dirty dishes. That dirty dish disposal unit helps to clear off your counter tops; when a sink is that shiny the counters just have to be cleaned too. Then comes the stove. Now the point of your habit was just to keep the sink clean and shiny but that shine is working its way around the heart of your home! The best part is that shiny sink is giving you confidence that you can do something and stick with it. Your shiny sink is a reflection of you! Enjoy the process and go shine your sink!

Time to call the CDC! Ok, what is this dance of co-dependency that I'm supposed to be doing with the sink? Does this seem a little bit off to anyone else? Like one minute we're shining the sink, the next we're invading Poland?

But I did it. I cleaned the sink. Not in the Physician's Desk Reference on OCD - manner that the Flylady describes, but still. And when I woke up the next morning, ready for my smiling embrace from the sink, I saw that Husbandrinka left his dishes in it the night before, totally distorting the smile into a grimace.

So, lesson learned. Baby steps. I'm crawling already.

If I want to enjoy a smile with the sink, I have to clean it, shine it, dry it, put barbed wire all around it to prevent Husbandrinka from touching it. Because then I can savor the few moments in the morning when it's nice and shiny. Maybe I should set my alarm half an hour early. For extra quality time with the sink. Smiling at it. Having it smile back at me.

I think I'm getting the hang of it.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ulysses: The Beginning.

We are a small but proud group. We are not afraid of intellectual stimulation. We are committed to reading James Joyce's Ulysses.

Our reasons for doing this are varied, and include, but are not limited to:

1. Intellectual stimulation. Of which we are not afraid.
2. Feelings of intellectual superiority that will follow intellectual stimulation.
3. Accomplishing a goal.
4. Bragging to everyone about accomplishing a goal.

The people who expressed an interest in reading Ulysses are:

Suzannah (please send me a link to your blog if you have one!)
Pseodonymous High School Teacher

Comedy Goddess
Amy--Milk Breath and Margaritas
Mommy Time

I have accomplished Step One: Bought the Book. For those of you who are not up for this dramatic step, you can download the book for free at Project Guttenberg. Thanks to Peajaye for sending me the link.

The book is divided into 18 episodes, although in my edition of the book the start and end of the episode are not clear. Through intense research, I did learn that Part I consists of three episodes, and is about 50 pages long so lets read that by next weekend. Next Saturday, I will put up a post about what we've read and link to any of you that want to do a post as well. My goal is to have a discussion about our experience of reading the book. As bloggers and readers, we all bring different and unique things to the table, and that is what I hope to elicit. So please don't worry about references or not being academic enough.

There's a story that I heard and I'm too nervous to Snopes it to find out if it's true or not about Joyce talking to Jung about Joyce's daughter's schitzophrenia diagnosis. Joyce was incredulous, saying, in effect, how could it be? She thinks the way that I write. And Jung supposedly replied, "You're in the same pond, but you're swimming and she's drowning." I've always been interested in the continuum that I am certain exists between genius and madness. And I have a feeling that it's on full display in Ulysses.

So, for those that signed on for this, good luck! Let's have fun with this.
And if you're now dying with envy that you're not part of this exclusive intellectualy stimulated group, great news! It's not too late to sign up. Just leave a comment and I'll add you. FOR FREE. It's like I'm some kind of a saint or something.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

It just keeps getting better

I read my friend Ryan's beautiful post, on his one year wedding anniversary. You should check it out because he's a great photographer and the photos are not just "we are so happy" but they have so much joy and life to them that it made me think back to my own wedding day.

I never thought that I'd get married, and the thing that appealed to me most about it was to get my parents to stop asking "why aren't you married?"

Here's my secret: being married to Husbandrinka is the easiest thing that I've ever done. I don't quite get it when people say "marriage is hard work". My internal response is always, "yeah, if you're married to an asshole." Because life can be hard work. In our nearly twelve years of marriage, we've had health challenges, financial challenges, family challenges, children's learning issues challenges. But I never felt that marriage was a challenge. I always felt that I had a partner in this whole mess, and, just as important, excellenty blog fodder.

I don't believe in soul mates and I don't believe in love at first sight. Of course I've experienced both. You know, when I was a teenager.

So it's amazing to me that I am married to exactly the right person for me. And it's also amazing that just two days ago, he and I had the biggest fight that I can remember. Seriously. It was about wireless internet. I wish that I were joking. I'll be posting about that next week.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Can I Do It?

It seems like we just got done with Easter, and already Bloomsday is around the corner. Less than two months, people. Of course the stores have their Bloomsday displays up already, which I think is way to early. I mean, wait until early June, at least. And seriously? I've had it with the commercialization of Bloomsday. Sick of it. My kids are all "can I get Guitar Hero for Bloomsday?" and "Do I have to wait until Bloomsday to get my itunes gift card?!" It's like the true meaning of Bloomsday is totally lost on them.

What are your feelings about Bloomsday?

To recap, Bloomsday is observed every June 16th and commemorates the day in which James Joyce's novel Ulysses takes place. Have you ever read it? Let's just say that I don't think that Oprah will be picking it for her next book group. It was assigned to me in college and it was my personal Moby Dick, except instead of pursuing it, I wanted to kill myself and everyone within eyesight to avoid reading it.

And it's always sort of bugged me. Especially since my father (you know, papa) is a huge Ulysses fanatic and every Bloomsday he says something like "so, did you observe the Bloomsday?" and I always for a second think he's talking about Judy Blume.

Fuck that, this year. This year I'm going to read Ulysses. And if you'd like to do it with me, I'll be posting about it every once in a while. We have just under two months to do it, but it's a hefty work, so don't leave it until the last minute. Come on, you know you want to. It'll make us all smart and shit. And kill all small talk forever. For example, "Hey, some weather, huh? What's up?" "I'm reading Ulysses." "What?" "I'm reading Ulysses for intellectual stimulation. But yes, it's very sunny."
That alone should convince you to join me.

Do they still have Cliff Notes?


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hi, There! We Are Here To Destroy You!

Sorry, but my son is a big Monsters v. Aliens fan and this is a very funny line from the movie because it comes with fun hand gestures which I can't show you because this is a blog and not a video screen.

But he's been repeating it a lot and we all laugh whenever he does it. Mostly because the sooner we laugh, the sooner he ends his impersonation.

I like the line because it's a real attention grabber and I don't understand why people don't use it in meetings all the time.

1. A friend of mine said something very funny. Her million year old cat is constipated and she has to give it enemas and she emailed me that "I'm about to put the cat out of my misery." Don't tell Nicki.

2. I recommend highly that you subscribe to my feed. That's the RSS button right there. I'm not sure what RSS is, I mean, I know it stands for "real simple something" but I'm assuming that they're using the word "simple" with a great sense of irony because no one knows what the fuck it is. Anyway, the reason that I ask you to subscribe are threefold-fold: (a) This week only, the subscriptions are free; (2) I'm a self-promoting whore and (iii) I am going to be posting a very unflattering photo of myself soon, but I'll have it up just long enough for it to show up in the reader, and then I'll be pulling it. This means that if you're not subscribing, you'll miss horrifying photos of me. I don't know how you'll be able to live with yourself.

3. I am undergoing blog reconstruction. See those tabs up above? No, not above your head, at the top of the blog! I'm trying to sort all my posts into those categories and adding more categories. If you have any category suggestions, please let me know. Thank you to Cyn, aka Nap Warden for doing all the work. Oh, and if I'm found murdered and dismembered, she should be considered a top suspect, because I'm sure that I've driven her insane by this point. But I'm repaying her by calling her an insane murderer!

4.Here is a picture of the back of St. Patrick's Cathedral on Wednesday afternoon. In case you haven't heard, New York got a new Cardinal, and a lot of men dressed in white to celebrate. I'm hoping that posting this picture qualified as a mitzvah and brings peace to earth. I've done my part.

5. And here is some art. This is outside one of the auction houses and it makes me smile. I mean, I don't actually stand in front of it, grinning like an idiot, it's more of an internal smile. At least I think it's an internal smile, maybe I need to google WebMD or something.

6. Now that we've covered religion and art, how about some pop culture?

ok, so it's not really pop culture, it's the back of the Today show studio. What? They left the door open and I took a picture.

7. Ok, I have an idea that is so mind-blowing and radical, that I'm even afraid to write it down. You know the whole Monsters vs. Aliens
movie? And children's movies in general? What's the thing with celebrity voices? They have to pay them kazillions, the big names take the job from some poor deformed voice actor and who gives a shit? Not the kids, they have no clue who these people are. And certainly not the parents. Because I guarantee that no parent went to hear Reese Witherspoon in that movie. We went because our kids dragged us and we would have gone if the characters had been voiced by Sarah Palin and John McCain. So this is a great way for the children's film industry to make money. They'll probably ask me to be president of Children's Movies once they hear this idea, so I may not be posting as often. Maybe I can get Reese to guest post, though!

8. If you're going to be in New York City next weekend, please consider walking with us in honor of Maddie. Click here to sign on to our exclusive team. And thank you very much to everyone who sponsored my walk. I assume you're ok with my taking a cab ride instead, right?

9. Some of my funny blog friends are putting together a room for BlogHer in Chicago this summer. I'll definitely be there (unless there's a RHONY reunion show or something at the same time) and it would be awesome if you'd vote for them to get this room, too. Oh, stop being coy and just do it already. You're getting sleepy. Your eyelids are getting heavy, you are in my power. Click here.

10. Did you skim this post? I sort of suspect that you did. You really should go back to re-read it because there may be a quiz soon.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Guess Who'd Be Coming to Dinner, if I Could Bear to Subject Him to It

When I was a senior in high school, with a promising college career ahead of me, I had to sit my parents down at the kitchen table, and like so many girls before me, break some harsh news to them. I was going to the senior prom with a black guy. I also suspected that he was gay, but I didn't want to overwhelm them all at once.

I was prepared for them going wall to wall ABC Afterschool Special on me, where they would become hysterical, ask themselves what they'd done wrong, forbid me, and maybe, in my wildest fantasies reveal that they were Klan members, and I, through patience and wisdom, would show them that love triumphs over skin color and invite them to join me and Jamal in a chorus of "We are the World" with a few chords from "Ebony and Ivory" thrown in for good measure. Because I anticipated that this would take a long time, I scheduled The Talk for Monday night, so that I wouldn't have to miss any important television, like Family Ties and Dallas. (Scientists hadn't invented the Tivo yet).

"Mama. Papa," I started with a dramatic sigh, "Tyrik and I are going to the prom together. As you know, he is my black friend. Please do not do anything to stop us. We already reserved the limo."
My parents surprised me. In that they didn't require immediate medical treatment.
"Are you in the love?" mama asked.
"What? No. We are going as friends. Bi-racial friends."
"You go with the Rashid why then?" papa asked.
"Because he was the only one who asked," I told my parents. I mean, others may have asked, but not while I was within their earshot.
"The only one, but you have face and personality that is pleasant at times!" my lioness of a mother leaped to my defense.
"She is too tall," papa said. "Boys scared of Amazon, Darnell basketball player, not scared."
And that was that. No hysteria, no threats, nothing. How was I supposed to get all Rosa Parks on them if they didn't cooperate?

One day I hope to forgive them for depriving me of this opportunity to educate them.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I love the airport

When we were on our way back from Easter in North Carolina, our flight was delayed for five hours. Normally this would cause me to become hysterical, but I was experiencing a natural high. Because at the airport, there was a mother traveling with two children and the boy was throwing a very respectable tantrum. The mother did everything right, she remained calm and firm, really she was a model of good parenting, but he was just too far gone. I was sitting there, trying not to look, because I've so been where she was at that time (minus the remaining calm and firm, a model of good parenting part) and I didn't want to stare but at the same time I certainly did not want to miss the part where his head was going to spin completely around and he was going to start spewing pea soup. Because I knew that we were minutes away from having to stage an exorcism on this fallen angel and I was sure that it would further delay our flight.

But my favorite part of the whole thing was that my son, MY SON, who is on standby at Central Casting for when they need "tantrum child", looked up from his book (Sponge Bob Square Pants, but it had, you know, pages) and said "can we move to a different seat? That misbehaving child is really distracting me."  

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Monday, April 13, 2009

The Good Old Days

Don't get all insanely jealous on me, but I spent Easter weekend with my in laws. Now I'm one of those people who actually loves her inlaws and my secret is this: I do not talk to my inlaws about politics or social issues. This isn't difficult for me because I also avoid those conversations with my own parents. It's safer that way.

So, anyway, the inlaws and I have a blissful relationship, but the one thing that drives me absolutely out of my fucking mind is when people reminisce about the "good ole days". Yes, they were fabulous. I really feel like I was robbed of the opportunity to die in childbirth. And this whole living past the age of 30 is really overrated.

So I mentioned to my mother in law that mama is going on vacation to San Francisco soon and mother in law told me, in a confidential manner that the gays have taken over the city. And I'm like, hello? They took it over like decades ago, duh. I mean, if you're going to warn me about the gay invasion, try to be timely and shit.

But all these are minor things and we really did have a great time.

oh, by the way, if you're visiting your inlaws and you get invited to a local child's birthday party, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, say, while watching the birthday kid stuff a huge piece of cake into his mouth, totally intact, "wow, he's going to make some man really happy one day!" Because it really does not play well.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tips for the Recession

UPDATE: Nightly Nicki has been updated!

It has come to my attention that many people are worried about the Recession. Because nothing is more important to me than helping others, I am proud to present

Tips for the Recession: Cutting Costs and Making Money!

1. Why not cut your grocery expenses by sending your kids to eat dinner at their friends'? Be sure to tell them to compliment the cook excessively, kissing tips of their fingertips and all that shit, so that the cook (ok, who are we kidding with this PC-crap, so that the MOM) will offer to send a doggy bag home, too!

2. When it's time to retaliate, I mean, reciprocate, serve brussel sprouts souffle and fish lasagna to the visiting child. Offer leftovers.

3. Instead of taking the whole family to the museum or the zoo, have a monthly designee. One person goes, takes everything in and then spends the rest of the day describing it to the rest of the family. So, if you're a family of four, it saves the price of three admissions, plus less bickering! Plus, it leaves the rest of the family free for wholesome television watching! I swear, this is one of those tips that we;ll be using even in the bull market.

4. Adopt a no-gift policy for the rest of the year (especially useful for some of us, who already celebrated their birthdays and cleaned up on the gifts).

4a. If someone insists on gifts for their birthday, schedule a fight shortly before the event to ensure thay you are not on speaking terms by that time. You can always send a belated "Sorry and Happy Birthday" ecard.

4b. If for some reason you can't weasel out of this gift giving stuff, tell the recipient that you made a donation in their name to some worthy organization. Like the Feed Marinka and Keep Her Liquored Up foundation. IRC 501(c)(3) status approval pending.

5. You know how in church they pass out that basket "for the poor"? That's you now, help yourself!

6. Kids drawing crap every day in school and dragging it home? Why not sell that art to the grandparents? Sign them up for a monthly special, with automatic deductions from their checking account. You may as well do it, before someone scams them out of their money and steals your inheritance.

7. As soon as someone you know sneezes, casually ask if they have a Last Will and Testament and that if they honored you by leaving their estate to you, you'd consider naming a room in your house after them. If they act at all offended, tell them that you can't believe that they didn't know that you were kidding, they NEVER got your sense of humor and don't appreciate you at all. While they're busy apologizing to you, confirm that they have the proper spelling of your name.

8. Start charging a "dream appearance fee". My friend John says that if someone dreams about him, they owe him $25. No one will argue with you when you suggest it beacuse they will think that you're crazy and deranged and $25 seems like a fair price to be spared being massacred.

9. Guests for dinner brought a bottle of wine? Hope they brought some cash, too, because there's a corkage fee!

10. Figure out how to achieve world peace. People will pay big money for that.

Good luck!


Friday, April 10, 2009

How I Learned to Be Non-Violent

I know that I am an old hag because this morning as I was leaving for North Carolina to visit my inlaws for the annual crucifixion-resurrection special, a street in my neighborhood was closed off because some New School students had barricaded themselves inside a building as a sign of protest and my first reaction was "how fucking lame". The details of what they were proesting were sketchy, I know that they wanted the school president to resign (the superhandsome Bob Kerrey. Seriously, I hope they're protesting for him to resign so that he can court me. What? I told you already that Husbandrinka doesn't read my blog) and they were also upset that tuition was going up while scholarship money was dwindling. And also they wanted more study space. I'm sure that previous protests resulted in Starbucks being served in their caferia, so no further energy had to be expended on that cause.

It made me wistful for college, for a time when I thought that if I didn't like something, all I had to do was protest. Of course this magical thinking was really helped along by the fact that apartheid in South Africa was abolished in the early 1990s and the Berlin wall came down in 1989, both while I was (a) in a college mode, and (b) really annoyed by both racial and German East-West segregation.

College flash back sponsored by Gordon's Gin

When I was in college, I was a superduper feminist. I didn't shave and was totally hardcore about the ways that my sisters were persecuted by The Man. I went to a single-sex college, so a lot of time was spent in pursuit of this elusive Man, a co-ed from our brother school or a visiting student whose oppression I would rebel against.

It exhausted my friends.
"Can you bring tonic and limes if I get the gin?" Daisy would ask. And I'd sigh heavily because the time that I'd allotted in the afternoon to feeling opressed would now have to be spend drinking gin and tonics and eating Doritos.

I joined with my sisters of color and sexual minorities in solidarity for justice and the donuts served at the many organizational meetings. We referred to ourselvces as wommynnm, to rid the "man/men" from the word "woman". For a short period I even went braless. "Is this a political statement or are you just too lazy to do laundry?" mama insulted me.
I attended a March on Washington to demand abortion rights, which was memorable because my "all this back and forth sounds very tiring" mother reminded me not to forget to bring a hanger, as she'd seen them in local protests and because I broke a four year vegetarian streak by eating a hot dog or three at the March..

But what really stands out from that time period is when I saw a flyer for a nonvilence seminar that was going to be held over the weekend and peer pressured my friends to go. "It'll be fun!" I told them. "And non-violent." I'm not sure why Daisy and Kristin agreed to go with me, if I had to guess, it would be to shut me up, but there we were, at some ungodly hour on Saturday morning, hair still wet from showering and a desire to finally learn the way to resolve our differences nonviolently.

The best thing about the program and what the three of us remember to this day is that we had to pick an adjective that started with the same letter as our first name to call ourselves as a sign of empowerenment. I was Mighty Marinka. Daisy transformed into Delightful Daisy (which sounded like she was trained in the art of pleasure) and Kristin called herself Krispy Kristin, foreshadowing the Krispy Kreme donut invasion of the east coast a decade later.

Our cult names firmly in place, things rapidly went to shit.
"The way it works," our hippie-hairy group leader told us and then turned to face Krispy Kristin, "is that you look at your boyfriend and say, "You are my lover and I respect you, just as I expect that you will respect me. But you are also an opporessive motherfucker." Kristin was nodding with a smile frozen on her face, the same way that she'd smile if our hippie hairy leader were holding a machete and talking about a recent alien abduction. I was starting to have second thoughts about this workshop and thinking of ways to extricate myself from it while still saving face with my friends. Delightfully Drowsy Daisy was asleep in her chair.

"Now we will go around in a circle," our leader told us, releasing Krispy Kristin momentarily from her focus, "and introduce ourselves with our empowerement and tell the group about a situation that we resolved without resorting to violence."
This was not good news for me, I hated speaking in a group of people that I didn't know and with my milquetoast personality, I didn't have many chances for conflict. I couldn't focus on what the people preceeding me in a circle were saying because I was too focused on "remembering" a story of my own. I "remembered" a few Indiana-Jones type scenarios, but discarded them because they seemed sort of outlandish.
"I'm Mightly Marinka," I announced once my non-violent Charlie Manson gave me the go-ahead nod,"I had a problem with my boyfriend once in high school. He wanted to date other girls. No, wait, it was the other way around, I wanted to date other gi--, guys, I wanted to date other guys and he didn't want me to because he was madly in love with me," I avoid the astouded gazes of inKredulous Kristin and Doubting Daisy and continued. "I was afraid that the situation would escalate into violence, but I was able to resolve it, nonviolently."
"How?" Kwestioning Kristin asked. If there's one thing I can't stand are friends who question my methods with imaginary boyfriends.
"Mostly by explaining that violence is not the answer," I elaborated. It's like I had to draw diagrams for these people.

It ended well in the sense that we didn't all engage in mercy killings and survive. It is one of the more ridiculous things that I've done in college. But I'm infinitely grateful for the luxury of being able to do it. So as I was stuck in traffic this morning because of the sit-in and I rolled my eyes at the kids staging it, I also felt a little proud. Proud that they'd take it on, proud that they stood up for whatever injustice it is that they understood to be inflicted on them, proud that they wanted to make a difference. Now if I could harness their energy to scrub my bathrooms.

Blog Business: It's spring cleaning! Recently, Nap Warden redesigned my blog and made it more friendly and happy and peace-loving. She is very talented and `incredibly easy to work with and really knows what she's doing. So, for a well-priced face lift, please visit her and get a makeover already. Everyone's been talking about how drab your blog has been looking. Thanks, NW.

Also, I'm walking in the March for Babies walk in NYC in honor of Maddie Spohr who passed away on April 7th. Some blogging superstars are joining me, so please join our team or just throw some money at us. Click here to do either.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Here's the Thing

I never intended for this to be a "humor" blog, but since many of the people who are kind enough to read this blog laugh at it, here I am.

But this is a bad week to be funny for me. Because my friend's father passed away on Tuesday, after a difficult illness and Maddie Spohr, Heather and Mike's daughter, passed away on Tuesday, unexpectedly.  

I will not try to be profound, because I don't like to fail miserably in front of an audience. 

I am asking you to click on that link on the left to sponsor me in the March of Dimes Walk in NYC on April 26th.  Or, if you're semi-local, please join me and walk with me.  We'll get coffee  afterwards.  Or something stronger, because I'm certain that we'll be parched.

I know this economy sucks.  Please, I've been scrubbing my own fucking toilet.  But if you're able, please make a donation.

And to encourage you--two people who sponsor me will get to assign a topic for me to blog about.  How is THAT not rewarding? (Disclaimer: it can't be "write a post incorporating your mother's maiden name, your social security number and explaining why you're such a Jew-whore.")  One person I will pick randomly and the other will be the biggest donor.  I may also want to marry those people, so keep some money aside for the wedding. And the divorce settlement.

Thank you.  

Conclusion: How to Have a Nervous Breakdown

Part One, the Prelude, is here.

After I listed the trains, inviting the good people of Craigslist to make me their best offer, I went on my merry way, if "my merry way" means dragged myself to the linen closet for purposes of reorganization and deep depression.

I had to take frequent breaks to check my email to see if Craigslist had responded to my Thomas siren song.

The good news was that I had about ten emails.

The bad news was that none of them said "I am coming over with a suitcase of cash right now. I'd like to pick up a cupcake for you on my way. What is your favorite flavor? Personaly, I love buttercream icing."

Every email had some variation of "Is Thomas still available?" and I wrote back, "yes, are you interested?" which makes me think that I could probably lead a prostitution ring. Except it wouldn't be successful because I never heard back from most of those people again. Apparently, they'd hoped that the trains were playing hard to get because they lost interest upon hearing that they were available. Those brief exchanges made me confident that internet dating was not for me.

But oh sweet Lord, the people who did write back.

One woman asked if I could inventory the trains. Seriously, if people think that I have nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon than sit there and make lists of Thomas trains, they've obviously been reading my blog and those are not the people that I want anywhere near my home. So I wrote back that perhaps she could tell me which trains she was interested in and I could check for her, but that was too personal a question and I never heard from her again.

Another woman asked for a photograph of all the trains. So I took a candid shot. I find it really tacky when people pose their trains just to make a sale. There's got to be some integrity in these things. I emailed this photo and for some strange reason never heard from her again:

By the way, that upside down train on the bottom right that says "Murdoch's Tender"? It means the Tender of Murdoch, lest you think that it's graffitti about Murdoch and how tender it is.

Another woman wanted The Flying Scottsman. The Flying Scottsman? Which one is he? So I googled The Flying Scotsman and it was a retired train that sold on Amazon for over $500. Fucking hell. I always knew that buying Young Ladrinka those educational nuggets would pay off some day! Woohoo!

The only stumbling block seemed to be that I didn't have it. Fuck.

By the time Husbandrinka came back home with the kids, the trains were strewn all over the living room floor and I was sitting on the sofa, surrounded by just-about-to-be-organized linen. It was the perfect storm-- a day of haphazard housework, Craiglist people who refused to bend to my will and give me large amounts of cash for anonymous trains and the goose that laid the golden egg, The Flying Scottsman, nowhere to be found.

I was in pure pre-nervous breakdown by this point, and that's when Husbandrinka looked lovingly at the trains and said, "how can you think of selling them? He's played with them for years." He may have also mentioned that our grandchildren will play with them one day. Which means that I will be living with these trains for the next twenty years.

And please visit Smart Ass Mom's blog today for my guest post.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How to Have a Nervous Breakdown: Part One

Prelude to a Nervous Breakdown

1. On Sunday morning, Husbandrinka says that he will take the kids to the lake house so that you can have the day to relax.

2. Relax mentally, that is, while you clean the apartment.

3. Bid everyone farewell, while sort of thinking that wouldn't it be something if Husbandrinka was really going to take the kids to meet his new girlfriend.

4. Look at the apartment to assess the cleaning that has to be done.

5. Consider applying for federal disaster relief aid.

6. Read a few blogs to prepare self for cleaning.

7. Read every single blog ever written.

8. Write a blog post about how the recession is forcing you to clean.

9. Wait for faithful readers to volunteer their cleaning services.

10. Realize that "faithful readers" are really "self-centered parasites".

11. Seethe and fume. Resign self to cleaning.

12. Go to Young Ladrinka's room and look under his bed.

13. Feel blood rushing to head.

14. Pull out coffin-sized box of Thomas the tank engine wooden trains, part of the Thomas the Tank Engine Railroad system.

15. Experience flashbacks of 3 year old Young Ladrinka screaming for a "new twain!!!!" at the toy store.

16. Experience flashback of 4 year old Young Ladrinka begging for "just one more train, to complete my collection" at the toy store.

17. Decide it's time to get rid of the trains.

18. Decide to list trains on ebay.

18. Open coffin. Start counting the trains. Stop at 60. Be unable to continue.

19. Decide to list the entire fucking thing on Craigslist.

20. Write loving Craigslist ad, asking people to make best offer for the whole thing. State that there are over 100 trains. Come close to begging.

21. Sit back and fantasize about spending the new-found money.

22. Like maybe on sensitivity training for "faithful readers".

23. Or a cleaning person.

24. A new wardrobe, perhaps?

24. Become concerned of need to add hand job to the Craigslist Thomas trains ad to finance this.

25. Clean the toilet and feel confident that soon the sale of the Thomas trains will happen and that nothing could possibly go wrong...

Tomorrow on Motherhood in NYC: Something Goes Wrong.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In the News

I was recently interviewed for The Daily News article about how parents use texting to communicate with their kids. My favorite texting with my daughter story is when she texts me from her room telling me that she's thirsty. And I text back from my room to tell her to go get a glass of water. And she texts back that I am closer to the kitchen than she is and please get it for me!! I'm thirsty and can't move!!!!

It reminds me of a time in the early 1990s when I was living in a fourth floor walk-up in NYC. It was the type of place that once you climbed the stairs after work, you never wanted to go back down again. Sort of like the Mt. Kilomanjaro don't dash back down for a sandwich once they're close to the top. Anyway, there was a deli on the ground floor and one afternoon my friend Liz and I phoned in a nutritious order of cigarettes and beer, for delivery. And when I gave the address, the man on the phone said "do you want to pick it up? You're in the same building" and I said "no, we don't have legs" because apparently that was less mortifying than admitting that we were just that lazy. But don't worry, I learned my lesson well. Now I'd order online and spare myself the phone humiliation.


Whoever Said That Celebrities Are Just Like You and Me is a Liar. And an Asshole

This morning, I saw Kathy Lee Gifford sitting at one of the Starbucks tables at the Rockefeller Center plaza. Or whatever that thing is called that's in Rockefeller Center just slightly under the ice skating ring. The one where I was in line for coffee one day and the Big Voice came on and said "We are asking people to leave the area" over and over again and not one person got out of line, because we need coffee, dammit, we can't evacuate before we're fully awake. I love New York.

Anyway, Kathy Lee Gifford was sitting there in a yellow dress, talking on the phone and looking fantastic. Yes, Kathy Lee, is absolutely beautiful, glowing, youthful, just get your own thesaurus out and find all those nice words. Seriously, I hope that I look that good when I'm 400. And it's not fair. Because she's like a V-list celebrity and even she looks great. Fuck.

Speaking of celebrities, I'm guest posting on The Sweet Life today about my recent celebrity sighting. And just to make your clicking over there worthwhile, I'm also sharing my super-secret number one diet tip! See you at The Sweet Life!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Why I Curse

Some people think that mommy bloggers curse to appear tough. Bullshit.

I curse on my blog because I hardly ever curse in real life. Except when I'm talking, that is. But like when I'm asleep or something, I don't curse at all. Really, a priest and a rabbi could sleep with me and they wouldn't be offended at all. I mean, they could sleep in the same room as me, not SLEEP WITH ME, obviously.

But in all seriousness, I've never cursed in front of my children and that's quite a feat, considering that they are 7 and 10 years old, with strong personalities. I had to clean up my potty mouth because I didn't want them being all "hey, Grandma, where's my motherfucking Christmas present?" Because that's the kind of mom I am: Uptight.

My kids have remained so curse-word-free that at age 7, my son thinks that the "s" word is "shut up" and the "f" word is "fart". I may have pulled a few muscles patting myself on the back for that one.

So, really, I'm not tough. I'm just worried that if I don't curse on this blog, I will implode. And start cursing in my sleep.


Saturday, April 4, 2009


Because of the economy, lately people do not show up at my doorstep to clean my apartment, which makes me think that they'd been in it for the money all along. But whatever, I can clean my own apartment. I mean, people have been doing it for years and as my low-on sympathy friend Sue told me, "you've had a free ride for a long time, not having to clean". Then she modified it that it was a free ride that I had to pay for, but still, a free ride.

Well, that ride is over now and I have been tackling the dust, the laundry, the floors, everything. It's so hard to choose a favorite task. But if I absolutely had to, I'd say that it's wrangling my kids to help me. They're seven and ten, so I figure it's a good time to go all Little House on the Prairie on them and force them to do chores. Up until now their chores have consisted of setting the table for meals, clearing the table and making their beds. So this housework stuff came as a rude awakening.

Young ladrinka, my 7 year old son asked if they could be paid for helping with the laundry. I asked him what he had in mind and he said "$100, cash." I threw a whole bunch of Stimulus Plan and Obama mumbo jumbo at him and he agreed to $3. So they help me with laundry now.

Then I thought that I could move them to floor washing.
I gave them each a rag and told them that whoever brings back the dirtiest rag, wins. Because I figured that whoever brings back the dirtiest rag will have washed the most floors, right? What I didn't count on was that young ladrinka would scrub his skateboard and the bottoms of his sneakers super clean.

But we've been muddling along.

And of course Husbandrinka has been helping! How could you doubt it for a moment? Just the other day he said to me, "you did such a great job doing the bathroom, you should do it all the time!" It's like we're falling in love all over again!


Friday, April 3, 2009

We All Have Problems

Last night I was sitting at my desk in full "the genious is working" mode, preparing to work on my book. I don't know how Shakespeare did it, but I find that a few good games of Freecell on the computer really get the creative juices flowing. So, I'm totally excelling at Freecell, like really, don't even think of challenging me to a playoff at BlogHer, when suddenly, I notice that I have some new email. Through the power of positive thinking, I know that obviously it's from an agent who wants to get my yet to be written book published. I check my email, thinking that maybe I can get this agent to do some of the writing, because as the reigning Freecell champion I can't devote too much time to other pursuits, and it turns out that my power of positive thinking is so strong that the email isn't from an agent after all. It's better.

It's my daily email from Real Simple magazine, which, hand on my heart, is the best thing that I've ever subscribed to in my life. I mean, every day, completely free of charge, I get a different quote from them from people like Kirkegaard that's all philosiphical and shit and says "Most people rush after pleasure so fast that they rush right past it", which I really think is just a really pretentious way of saying "don't forget to smell the roses". And really, if your name is Real Simple don't send people quotes by fucking Kirkegaard.

But that's not enough. Because yesterday I get this gem as quesion of the day: I thought that it was an April Fool's joke. Someone wrote in asking where is the best place to put the cat litter-box. I'm glad that she specified cat, because I had a few ideas for the bovine litter box.

Here is the answer:

Where should I put the kitty litter box?
A. When it comes to finding the right location for the litter box, any room will do, as long as the box is set up correctly. Follow these steps when setting up:
Comfort is key. Pick a room in which you spend a lot of time. If your pet feels at ease there, he will be more likely to use the box (and not the carpet). The box should not be in a highly trafficked area.

Let me get this straight. It has to be a room where you spend a lot of time, and yet it can't be a high traffic area (therefore eliminating the interstate). Hmm., a bedroom? But only if I'm on bedrest? Why do I have to be in the room a lot? Don't cats need privacy? What kind of a sick fuck cat is it that needs to be around someone when using the litter box?

Check the lighting. Make sure the room is well lit and away from the pet’s food.

Is candlelight ok? I want to make sure that it's flattering to my cat's complexion and I find that light bulbs can be so harsh.  Oh, and away from the pet's food? Really? Ok. But it's ok to put the litter box in the oven, I assume? After all, it's well lit and away from the cat food!

Provide an escape route. Cats are in a vulnerable position when using a litter box, says Mieshelle Nagelschneider of the Cat Behavior Clinic, in Seattle. Because cats don’t have the privacy of a bathroom, they need to know they can get away from threats in a hurry, so be sure there is a clear escape route.

This is a joke, right? I'm going to publish this post and then everyone will laugh at me, because what kind of a moron believes that there is a Cat Behavior Clinic and that someone actually suggested an escape route. From the litter box. Here's an escape route that we have in NYC in case of, you know, an attack; Follow the light. Since this cat already has candle light, it shouldn't be a problem.

Put the bin in plain sight. This might mean you’ll have to walk around the box for a couple of weeks, until your cat is used to using it. Once your cat is comfortable visiting the box in that room, slowly move it one inch a day to a position that is more convenient for you but where your cat will still use it, says Nagelschneider. If you need to move the box to another location, repeat the process.

So I'm no interior designer, but the way that I'm imagining this bathroom is that the litter box is on top of the dining room table, with huge red EXIT signs all over the place, soft lighting, music playing and just the right number of people walking by.
This is not Real Simple. This is Simply Insane. One of the things that cats do well is use the litter box. I recommend that you put it in the bathroom and get on with your life.

Friendly reminder: Don't forget to visit Nightly Nicki. Now using the litter box without an escape plan.


Thursday, April 2, 2009


So, as a blogger, I have a few things going against me. First, my name isn't Jennifer. Then, I don't understand the whole "blogging exploits kids" concept and I'm not offended by the term "mommy blogger".
But one way that I am a blogger is that I've decided to throw caution to the wind, engage all cliches and write a book. I told Husbandrinka this news and he said "ok", which isn't the enthusiastic support for my artistic endeavors that I'd hoped for, but not everyone can be a Jon to to my Dooce. So we were driving to Niagara Falls for part of the kids' spring break, and it's about five and a half hours (the drive, not the kids' vacation) and I decide to tell him my book ideas. And because I'm a friendly and considerate person, I preface it with a "want to hear about my book idea?" and even though everyone knows that the only acceptable answer to that is "yes, please!" he says, "do I have a choice?" which really sets the tone for the rest of the drive. Because, and you'll recall that I'm not a licensed motorist, but I'm guessing that it's hard to drive while being strangled. "Yes, you have a choice," I tell him. "You can choose not to hear about my book plans, but let me just warn you right now, the "I'd like to thank my loving husband for his unwavering support" part of the Acknowledgment page isn't exactly writing itself."
"Go ahead," he is resigned. And possibly looking for cliffs to drive off of.
"Well, first, what do you think that a book needs?"
"A plot."
"Well, yes, but like how many words?"
"Is this a children's book?"
"What? No, it's not for children. It's autobiographical."
"Your biography?"
"No, of the auto industry. Of course my biography. I mean, it won't be too heavy on historical facts," I reassure him because I'm worried that he's still a bit incredulous about my asking him the night before if the KGB had been the secret police in the former Soviet Union. "I can't believe that I have to tell you what the KGB did," he sounded exasperated. "Well, obviously, I know what the KGB did," I backpedalled. "I was just wondering if there was another Secret Police in the USSR." "No, the KGB pretty much had that monopoly," Husbandrinka told me. I'm sorry, are normal people supposed to know that? I personally think his assuming that just because I'm Russian I should know this shit is a little bit racist. I mean, he's Italian-American, and I don't accuse him of being in the mafia, do I? (And only partly because I don't want to get dismembered and Meadowlanded).
"Wonderful idea. I'm sure that the world has been wondering about you."

So, the good news is that the bar is set incredibly low. The bad news is that I think we'll need subterranean exploration to reach the bar.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Motherhood in NYC: The Pilot

Recap: If you're too drained to read yesterday's post, which I totally relate to and respect, Husbandrinka and I discussed turning one of my posts into a sitcom. Based on his guidance, I prepared this script!

Motherhood in NYC: The Sitcom.
"She Ain't Misbehavin', She's Brain Damaged!"

Exterior shots of NYC to let viewers know that the show is set in NYC. In case "Motherhood in NYC" is too subtle.

Interior. Apartment in Manhattan. Like Different Strokes, but more recession-friendly.

A 10 year old girl comes skipping into the kitchen, where Husbandrinka, the patriarch, is reading The New York Times.

Girlchild: Daddy?

Patriarch: Yes, honey?

Girlchild: Daddy, I would really like to have a kitten. They are cute and cuddly!

Patriarch: We have discussed this before. You and your brother really want a kitten because they are cute and cuddly. However, I do not want a kitten. For they make a mess and have an erratic personality.

Girlchild: Please, daddy!

7 year old boychild runs in, carrying a baseball bat and maybe a football.

Boychild: I would like to have a kitten, too. They are very cuddly and cute!

Patriarch: (throws up hands) I give up. Children, you may get a kitten. Your Russian grandmother, babushka, will take you to adopt one. Against my better judgment.

Kids: Yay!

Opening credits.

Daniel Craig as Husbandrinka!
Adorable Unknown (female) as Girlchild
Adorable Unknown (male) as Boychild

and special guest star: Linda Hunt as Marinka

Interior Pet store.

Mama (dressed in Russian national clothes, or maybe a fur hat): Here we are, kids, ready to adopt a kitten! Although we are at a pet store, they do not sell kittens. They are for adoption. Let us wait in line. Like I used to wait in line for bread in Russia in the coldest of winters.

Boychild: waiting in line is boring! I think I'll jump around!

Mama: Well, this is a pet store, you little monkey! Go right ahead! Na zdorovye!

Boychild jumps up and lands on some woman's foot.

Cranky Hag: Ow! In my day, kids were seen and not heard!

Girlchild: In your day, kids were not heard because of the roar of the dinosaurs!

Adoption agent: Well, what a multigenerational and international family you are! Have you selected a kitten?

Kids, in unison: THAT ONE!

Adoption agent: Aww, that's little Sundance. She's adorable and completely sane! Congratulations.

Kids: Yay!

Mama: I'm sure that Sundance will be a perfect addition to your family! Nothing can possibly go wrong!


Angelina Jolie walks into a war-torn refugee camp.
Hi, I'm Angelina Jolie, an Oscar winning actress, a UN goodwill ambassador, and most of all, a mother. Whether I'm on location to shoot a film or on location to expand my family, I always have my HP Vivienne Tam mini computer with me. Because I never know when the inspiration to write a letter to the editor will strike, or when I'll need to leak some news about Jen still being single and childless to the tabloids. The Vivienne Tam mini is portable and fashionable. And it beautiful. Like me. And Shiloh. I love the Vivienne Tam HP mini so much, I named my youngest daughter Vivienne!

Interior: Family living room.
Marinka is on hands and knees washing the floor. The kitten, Sundance, keeps trying to grab at the rag that she is using.

Marinka: Sundance, you silly puss! Stop that.

Girlchild: She is just playing!

Boychild: Leave her alone, MOM! And you missed a spot.

Marinka: Oy, children, how you talk to me (writer's notes: explore possiblity of Marinka breaking into a Fiddle On the Roof-type song)

Children: Whatever. Oh my god! Sundance is now biting the bottoms of our Levi's stonewashed jeans!


Interior: Bedroom.

Patriarch: Marinka, have you seen my wallet?

Marinka: No, not since you gave me my weekly grocery allowance earlier in the week.

Patricarch: I left it on the dresser, and then Sundance was jumping around here--
Patriarch and Marinka in unison: SUNDANCE!

Interior: Living Room. Doorbell rings.

Patriarch: Who could that be?
Door opens, John comes in. He is wearing a bright pink scarf and a tophat

John: Hi ho, everyone! I was just in this turkeyneck of the woods and thought I'd pop tart in to check in on you!

Kids: YAY! John!

Patriarch: Marinka is not here today.

John: Where is she, shopping? Mani-pedi? Women! I don't know how you put up with her, Husbandrinka!

SUNDANCE runs in and jumps on top of John's head.

Everyone in unison: SUNDANCE!

John: WOMEN!

Interior: Dining room;

Patriarch: You know, call me crazy-

Kids: Hi, CRAZY!!

Patriarch: as I was saying, call me crazy, but I think there's something wrong with our Sundance.

Girlchild: What do you mean? She's cute!

Boychild: And cuddly!

Patriarch: Well, she hid my wallet. Girl child saw her drinking from the toilet, She bit everyone's jeans. This isn't normal kitten behavior. Now, your mother had to go on an emergency trip and won't be back for a few episodes, I mean, weeks, but I think we should go back to the place from whence Sundance came and have a conversation.

Intrerior pet store. Kids and Mama are back, with sad faces.

Mama: Sundance seems to be, excuse me, how to say, like Krushchev at UN assembly in early 1960s.

Adoption agent: I don't understand, Sundance has been banging on the table with her shoe?

Mama: Darn these cultural misunderstandings. I feel like I need vodka and caviar. No, I mean, Sundance seems like a crazy.

Adoption agent: This is a very serious allegation.

Boychild: She poops outside the box!

Mama: Hush, boychild!

Girlchild: Mommy says poop is natural.

Mama: Oh, you Americans!

Adoption agent: Oh dear! I've checked the adoption records and it looks like we forgot to tell you that Sundance has brain damage! So sorry!

Mama: Well, now at least we understand why she acts like that!

Kids: Brain damage! Yay!

Ending credits...

Next week on Husbandrinkahood in NYC: With Marinka away, Husbandrinka will play! Who will steal his heart? We can't tell you, but she is younger and thinner than Marinka! (But then, who isn't?)

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