Sunday, May 31, 2009

Message from the Universe. And Pixar.

Warning! This blog post contains some minor spoilers for the Pixar movie UP. If you do not want to be spoiled, please leave now and come back after your 11th birthday. Hopefully by that point I'm going to be able to stop rolling my eyes.

I am not a very spiritual person. I believe in live and let live, believe what you believe, make it count because it'll all be over too soon. But sometimes even I have to sit up and listen to the message that the universe is trying to send me. And the message this weekend was loud and clear: You are an asshole. Stop talking.

I decided to devote the weekend to being a super involved mom. You know, the kind that does shit with her kids nonstop. I remember someone saying "the kids aren't going to remember your cleaning, but they will remember the fun things that you do with them" and it made sense for about a minute, before I realized that whoever said that probably had a cleaning lady. Because I'm thinking that if the kids are tripping over dust balls and people in Hazmat suits are coming to remove them from the premises, they'll remember.

But whatever. Husbandrinka was away for the weekend, so it was me and the kids. And because apparently two kids aren't enough, I invited a few more and took them to see "UP" on Sunday afternoon. In 3D.

Here's something I forgot to mention: I don't like kid movies. I don't enjoy them. They are emotionally manipulative. I must be some kind of a psychic because I know what's going to happen in each one. And I don't understand why the movies have to be at such earsplitting volume. I'm guessing that it is to resuscitate me after I went to get a bottle of water and found out that it cost $4.25. They really should sell some Astroglide at the concession stand for smoother and more satisfying sodomy results.

So, I'm watching this movie and give me a fucking break, Pixar. We have to deal with a miscarriage in the first ten minutes? I mean, they're children. Why not have a few rape/torture scenes too, while you're at it, you know, to build momentum? But ok, whatever, I'm watching and then we meet our boy hero, Russell. And I see that Russell has Down Syndrome which I think is pretty groundbreaking of Pixar and I love that idea. And as I'm sitting there, I tell one of the kids with me, "see that boy, he is very special. He was born with some challenges, but look at how brave he is!" and my mini-charge fully appreciates my wisdom and says "what challenges?" "Well," I launch into differently able and everyone is special speech and then I tell him that he has Down Syndrome, which he has had since birth and then I stop talking because some weirdo in front of me turns around and while looking at me through her 3-D glasses says something that sounds like "shush". Seriously? It's a kid movie, not a seance. If you expect silence, you are an moron. Besides, I was dispensing wisdom and shaping young minds.

So, then the movie mercifully comes to an end, and I realize that the review in the New York Times that I read did not have a reference to the boy having Down Syndrome and I'm all like 'the fucking Times. How politically correct do we have to be? If we don't mention difference, how can we celebrate it?" I rush home and start googling "Pixar's Up" & Down's Syndrome and I'm not getting any hits, but maybe Google was tired or something, so I go on Twitter and I ask casually if the boy had Down Syndrome, and Maria laughs her ass off and tells me that no, he is Asian. Which I really don't think he was. And I'm sure there's a "UP" and "Down (Syndrome)" symbolism that is in the movie and Pixar will probably turn the company over to the first person who realizes that. Which would be me.

And now I have tell this kid not to tell anyone what I said about the special boy, because he is nothing special.

None of this would have happened if I stayed home and cleaned, like women are supposed to, in the first place.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Things I Would Say if I Were a Porn Star

1. Yum! Who brought the whipped cream and the bananas?

2. Deep WHAT?

3. Excuse me, but this penis seems to be made out of black rubber.

4. No, thanks. I'm a little chilly, I think I'll keep these on.

5. Ok, this part here says that he comes to fix my sink and then suddenly, I'm on my knees? Are there some pages missing in between? Am I impressed that he fixed the sink really well?

6. Oh, this music is so beautiful! Beethoven?

7. That is so not what "Magna Cum Laude" means.

8. OMG, I've played this game on message boards before and my porn name is "Barbie Broadway!"

9. What? No, I'm not here for the MIH(ave)N(o)D(esire)T(o)F casting.

10. Hey, after work, let's all get together and read "Ulysses"!

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's So Hard to Find a Good Cult These Days

Last night, John and I were on the phone, telling each other how bored we are. Husbandrinka is away until Sunday. Everything on TV sucks. John's DVD player is not working, despite his having had it repaired twice. We have nothing to look forward to.

I suggested that we try to become religious. You know, to give our life meaning and happiness and shit like that.

"That's so weird that you suggested that," John said. "I just watched a program on cults last night."

Clearly, that is a sign. John saw a program, much in the way that Moses saw a Burning Bush, so we are well on our way to religious fanaticism!

"Well," I asked him. "Is it for us?"

Unfortunately, according to John, it isn't for us, because it involves many group activities and manual labor. And although John didn't mention this explicitly, the chances that the cult leader will work our last nerve is really high. God, if we get one of those cult leaders who says "axe" or "youse", that's going to be really, really hard for me. I mean, can you ask for a transfer to a different cult leader, or how does it work?

"Hey, maybe we can become cult leaders!" I suggested. John liked the idea because that would mean less work for us. The only problem with our plan was that we couldn't decide which one of us would be the leader--he's gay and I have freckles, neither quality historically screams "follow me to salvation". Also we don't have charismatic personalities and are generally very annoying. And the followers seem kind of needy. Besides, papa would totally kill me if I became less Jewish.

So for now, at least, John and I are cultless. Maybe some day.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Internet Safety

I've been teaching my daughter about internet safety. So far, it's not going well. Mostly because I want to impart that everyone online is an insane pervert (except you, of course, although you should probably get your hand out of your pants) but I don't want to scare her. So you can see what I'm dealing with here.

I've told her to never, ever give her real name, address, phone number or gender online, so if you're seeing an 80 year old man online who voted for American Idol Kris 36 times because he is supercute and really wants an Apple laptop, that's probably my daughter. I told her to never ever make plans to meet anyone she met online. And then I went out to have drinks with someone I met online. Of course, I was reluctant to tell her that.

"Where are you going?"
"To have drinks."
"With who?"
"A friend."
"What's her name?"
"Mommy's Martini."
"Your what?"
"Oh no, I'm meeting Mommy's Martini."
"That's her name?"
"Yes. Well, that's her blog name."
"Have you ever met her before?"
"Only online! Bye! Hopefully I'll come back non-dismembered! Love you!"

So, the other day, my daughter was registering an online account with a popular website. I hovered.
"You're not using your real name, right?" I asked.
"Nope!" she reassured me. "I'm Tiffani."
"That's...pretti," I told her, "and not your real age, either, right?"
"Of course not!" she told me, "I registered as 18!"

Yes, I am available to consult on online safety for your family. I'm pretty sure that I can make a living doing it.

By the way, Mommy's Martini is lovely and totally didn't try to dismember me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mad Kid Negotiating Skillz

My step son is staying with us for two weeks and then he is moving in at the end of the summer to start school in NYC. I adore that kid. I was super anxious before he arrived because I was worried that he'd look at me and say, "I HATE YOU!" and then become all allergic to Nicki and we'd have to get rid of her, and possibly of me, and it would just be upsetting.

But he seems not to be allergic, he and Nicki are getting along and he hasn't told me that he hates me yet, although admittedly, it's still early.

We went to the dacha over the weekend, and it was so beautiful, except at some point I became convinced that my daughter had The Lyme Disease/Swine Flu combination. Because on Friday she had a fever and then she was lethargic for the rest of the weekend. I should explain that her lethargic and my lethargic are very different, because when I am lethargic, I try not to lift a finger, whereas while she was lethargic, she still managed to go on a hike, play baseball and teach me some karate moves, but would rest after.

So I told her that I was going to take her to the doctor on Monday morning first things and she pleaded with me not to, because they were having a special workshop presentation and I relented and said that I'd pick her up an hour early from school and take her to the doctor then and she said no again, because that is shop time and she didn't want to miss that, but she did volunteer that she has math at 1 and that she doesn't mind missing that one bit.

So we went to the doctor after school and turns out that she has strep. Needless to say, my throat immediately starts to hurt and as I tell everyone at dinner that she has strep, Husbandrinka and Young Ladrinka announce that their throats also hurt. I ask my step son if he is similarly afflicted and he says, "no". I give him three months of living with us before we turn him into a hypochondriac.

And then at dinner, Young Ladrinka tells me that he and three of his classmates have a huge secret, so I say "TELL ME!" and he says "no" and I ask "is it juicy?" and he says, "it has nothing to do with juice, but we'll get in trouble if I tell", which isn't something to say if you don't want your mother on your case, just an FYI.

So, I say, "I'll give you $1 if you tell me." And he says, "Make it $20," and I'm all "forget it," and he says, "$5" and I'm holding firm and he says "Ok, $1" and I say, "nope, no longer interested" and he says, "fine, I'll just tell you." And I say "nope, now you have to give me $5 to listen to it" and he says "please, can I tell you?" and I say "ok" and he tells me.

And it was pretty damn good. But I'm not telling you. Unless you give me $1.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Family Secrets

When I was a kid and my parents had heated words, my mother would sometimes tell my father "you know, she's listening to everything and one day, she's going to write a book about it, is that what you want?" and I'd wipe the drool off my chin and think, "yeah, a book of boredom, maybe" and then resume drooling. I don't know why I couldn't think that without wiping the drool off, so maybe I'm making that part up, but still.

I never did write that book, mostly because all of my parents' fights were stupid and unmemorable and centered around things like whether Roseanne was a "lowlife", as my father believed, or "quality entertainment" as my mother would have it.

But today, I do have two family secrets to disclose. Fortunately, neither has to do with my parents:

1. On Friday, my daughter and I did laundry and despite our careful laundry segregation, Husbandrinka now has pink underwear. I told my son about it, swearing him to secrecy, and he immediately told everyone. If you haven't received your personal email from him yet, please be patient. He's been busy buying various mailing lists and will get to you shortly.

2. When my son was three, I'd say "ok, time to get out of the bath!" and he'd say "one hundred more minutes" and I'd say "no, five" and he'd say "one hundred!" and splash his fist in anger and I'd relent and then five minutes later would say "ok, a hundred minutes are up!" and he'd say "ok!" and get out of the tub. I told my son this story this weekend and he laughed and said "why didn't I know what 100 minutes was?" and I said "because you were stupid". And he said "no, really, why?" And I was like "a total moron". Of course I didn't say it out loud because, you know, the whole kids and self esteem stuff.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Quality Time

My father told me once that if he could have one person killed, it would be whoever invented the term "the golden years". Apparently, he feels that it is a gross misrepresentation of what growing old actually is and he'd like to blood avenge it.

Since making hit lists appears to be our family pastime, I decided that the person that I would go after is the one who coined "quality time". You know, the whole it's not the amount of time that you spend with your kids, it's the quality load of shit? It's totally backfiring. Because now not only do we have to be there with them, but we have to be THERE WITH THEM, writ large. Every moment is a potential teaching moment, we have to listen to the cues our children give us, react and nurture, teach and embolden. Who the fuck are we kidding?

One day a week, my daughter and I spend an afternoon together, while my son is being all sporty. My daughter is 10, all eye rolling glory, but such a lovely person in spite of her age. She is funny and she is kind. Truly kind. I feel that the time is slipping from me, that although she still wants to spend time with me, I'm no longer the first choice. I feel lucky to have this time with her, and I am determined to make the most of it. Enter, Quality Time.

My daughter, of course, is totally onto this and she wants a laptop. A Mac laptop. Mac book Illumination. On Quality Time afternoon, she tells me about its many fine and expensive features.
"Look," I tell her. "We are on a budget. The entire country is in crisis. We can't afford a Mac Book, illuminated or not."

She looks at me as though I understand nothing and says, "I made a list of everyone in my class who has a laptop," she passes me a piece of paper that has eight names on it, with a heading "Happy and Lucky People". I assume she is giving me the list so that I know who to steal the laptop from.

"Well, there are twelve other kids in your class, that means that they don't have laptops," I put my Math Skillz to good use.
"Yes, and those kids are really unhappy," she tells me. And makes a pouty face.

That's quality time. And I love every dollar extracting second of it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Summer Reading

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, which means it's time to make your Summer Reading List. What? You don't have a summer reading list?! Then it's a really good thing that I am here to tell you what to do.

Here's my list, broken up in EZ to read categories.

1. The book that everyone will be talking about this summer and you will feel totally left out if you haven't read it, which in turn, will force you to drink many glasses of wine to make you feel less awkward and will lead to alcoholism or possibly a meth addiction, god forbid. It's probably easier just to read the book. Just saying.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Eyre and Seth Grahame-Smith. If you haven't heard about this book, it is the text of Pride and Prejudice, set in zombie-rich England. It's very well done and so far I'm enjoying it.

2. The book that I got because it has an awesome cover and then raced home to look it up on and was thrilled to see that it got a starred review because that means that I am really good at judging books by their covers!

The Ballad of West 10th Street by Marjorie Kernan

3. The beach read. If I need to explain this category, you really need to read more. I recommend working your way through my archives to build up your reading skillz. Basically, it's a book that doesn't strain too many brain cells and yet, it's not porn, so that you can hold it up proudly at the beach, but not care if sand or ice cream gets on the pages.

Four Wives by Wendy Walker.

Full disclosure: a lovely publicist sent me a copy of this book. But for fuller disclosure yet, I've been offered copies of several books that I've turned down because the blurb sounded boring. This one sounded good to me. Take a look at the cover and tell me if the first three lipsticks aren't exactly the same color. And then the fourth one is pink. Despite this obvious mystery, the novel is a peek beyond the perfectly manicured lawns of four wives. (No, not Big Love style, four wives of different men).

4. "Every year I like to read _______."

This is a life tip that I am imparting on you free of charge. If you have a favorite author, and mention at a party that "I like to read one Hawthorne novel every year", people will be super impressed. Sure, some of them will think that you're a snob, but a few well placed crude jokes will dispel that image. As an extra tip, it will help if the author that you choose is not Danielle Steele.

For me, it's Edith Wharton. Is there anyone who doesn't love Edith Wharton? Gossip? check. Snark? check. Romance, glamour and NYC? Check and checkmate. It's like the National Enquirer, but with attractive people and well written.

If you have a favorite Edith Wharton novel, please let me know.

Ok, it's your turn.

What's on your summer reading list? And did I miss any important categories?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Guess Who's Pregnant?

See, I thought that it would be a fun to ask my kids "guess who's pregnant?" five minutes before we left for school. And it was sort of fun to see their faces drop down to my midsection and look mortified.

"Ha ha, not me!" I said because I didn't think that I could pull off the grammatically correct, "Not I!"

Then they listed a few more geriatrics and adolescents and when I finally gave them the winning clue, "one of my friends that we visited this year and at whose house we stayed overnight and also her name is Kathryn!" and they were all like "Really?! Is she having a boy or a girl?" and I said, "guess!" and my son guessed "girl", with resignation, and I said "nope, one more chance!" and they both guessed "boy" because they are geniuses.

So when I told mama this story she asked me why didn't I mention to the children that in order to be pregnant, you have to be married and that many of the people they'd guessed were totally single and unmarried and that I totally missed a teaching moment.

Incidentally, this is why I drink.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Trying on Clothes

If anyone is feeling a little too full of themselves, I recommend that you take my daughter clothes shopping with you. Because she will give you her honest opinion, which will lead to lots of money saving as you put every single item of clothing back and run screaming from the store.
Here are the top ten things that Fashionistka said to me as I tried on clothes in a mall in North Carolina this spring.

1. I can't picture you in that. And after I put it on: Yeah, I thought so.
2. Green isn't really your color. You're so pretty, mommy. But not in blue, either.
3. Hmm. Maybe with your hair down. And your roots dyed.
4.OMG, what size is that? (By the way, if you don't have a child of snappy comeback age, OMG is spoken out loud as Oh Em Gee. To which I say, GMAFB. (Gee EM an Eff Bee) In my head, of course,
5. I'm so glad clothes look good on me! (said while staring in mirror).
6. Why do you have extra skin there?
7. Aww, dimples! On your legs!
8. I want to get an Itunes giftcard.
9. No, I like the red on you. You're not going to wear that around my friends, right?

I did buy a dress. A Marilyn Monroe number, but in red. In case I suddenly wake up with Michelle Obama arms. Or a lobotomy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Your Majesty

A few months ago I went to a doctor to be treated for insanity. A mild form, I'm sure, and it's certainly not contagious, although, of course, I appreciate your attempts to make everything about you.

Anyway, the upshot of this is that although I feel a lot better, I keep getting these mailings from my insurance company. They come in big envelopes with CONFIDENTIAL stamped on them and when I open it, there's an otherwise blank page that says: CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION FOR MARINKA ENCLOSED, so that if you're snooping and opening my mail, you clearly know that you have to stop.

The letters themselves are complete wristslashers.

The latest one that I received assured me that "You Can Move Your Mood", which really makes me suspect that people recently treated for constipation receive a "You Can Move Your Bowels" letter, because this type of recycling is how insurance companies save money in this economy.

So I read through the letter and saw that I should keep a daily Thought & Mood Log for a week or so, to focus on how I'm feeling. I am supposed to record the Time and Place, Thoughts and Feelings, Depression Scale and Positive Thought.

Ok, so the example that they give of thoughts and feelings is "I'll never complete this project on time; I'm too dumb. Feel: frustrated, sad, helpless" and positive thought: "If I outline each activity and set a reasonable deadline and work on one activity at at time, I can complete the project" makes me think that this exercise is best for our Special Friends, but whatever.

I gave it a shot, because what do I have to lose? Answer: Whatever remains of my dignity.

Here is an excerpt of my Thought and Mood Log:

Time and Place
6:50 am, bed

Thoughts and Feelings: I don't want to get up. Sleepy, yawny.

Depression scale: 5 million.

Positive Thought: If I were royalty, I could stay in bed all day. Wearing a tiara. And a nightgown, I'm not some kind of nudist royal pervert.

Time and Place

9:15, subway

Thoughts and Feelings: Too crowded. Feeling: crowded, sardiny.

Depression scale: 5.2 million.

Positive Thought: If I were royalty, and I'd buy my own island, I would not have to ride the subway. I feel so much better!

Time and Place

3:15, picking up kids at school

Thoughts and feelings: Sweet Jesus, I have to make small talk with the other parents. Feeling: not wanting to make small talk with other parents.

Depression scale: 3.4 million.

Positive Thought: Royal children are schooled royally and royal parents do not have to make small talk.

I am so grateful that I completed this exercise. It's made it pretty clear to me that all of my problems would be solved if I were a royal.

Time and Place: Now.
Thoughts and Feelings: WHY AM I NOT ROYALTY? I suppose it would have been to much for my ancestors to be the Romanoffs and later to thwart the Russian Revolution so that none of the royals got assassinated so that all of my problems could be solved. Seriously, is hast too much to ask?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Don't Litter

During the lengthy negotiation that we endured in getting Husbandrinka to agree to get a cat, one thing that was understood was that he would have no involvement whatsoever with the litter box.

This changed the second that Nicki decided that she could only move her feline bowels when Husbandrinka is in the bathroom. While locking eyes with him the whole time. Husbandrinka is traumatized. As he told me, he doesn't want to be Nicki's "crap buddy". Although I totally get that, I also think that this is what God wants. Because why else would Nicki be pooping at the exact moment that Husbandrinka is in the bathroom?

Besides, I have my own litter box problems, known as Marinka's Quest to Find the Perfect Litter. 
First, we started off with some crystals that looked really pretty (which is my main criteria for everything, including litter) but Nicki's medical advisor said that some cats eat the crystals and it's not good for them. Whatever. So we switched to Fresh Step, the super clumping litter. Despite the adorable cat on the box, the problem with Fresh Step was two-fold: it was so fine that I instantly developed Black Lung (as in the disease, not singing prowess) and it clumped so much that we needed an ice pick to get it off the box. In other words, Litter Fail.

So, then someone recommended Feline Pine which is kitty litter made out of pine and when cats pee on and then, the pine totally dissolves into saw dust (or maybe pine dust) type of material so it's like kitty litter and a science experiment all in one. I mean, I could practically home school the kids with this kitty litter. Or maybe open my own college or something.

But of course there are problems. Because the pellets, before they are dissolved, stick to the cat shit, so then when you throw them in the toilet, you are flushing chunks of pine and I am no Joe the Plumber, but I suspect that this leads to cloggage and stoppage and to me running around with a toilet plunger.  Which is not good.

But then, I started to think. By "then" I mean one morning as I was standing there with cat shit, surrounded by pine, on the scooper. Ok, so I can't tell you how long I spent on this part of the blog post. Because I was thinking of ways to explain that pine pellets stuck to the shit. And for some strange reason, "pine pellets stick to shit" didn't have that poetry that I was going for. So, I decided to photograph it.

Here we have the Feline Pine:

Here we have the litter box:

Here we have the litter box with cat turds.

Note: In this post, the role of cat turds are performed by Tootsie Rolls. Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Tootsie Rolls.

Problem: Although feline pine sticks to cat shit, it does not stick to Tootsie Rolls. You'd think that those Tootsie Roll sheisters would have that disclaimer right on the wrapper, so that people aren't duped into buying it for their scientific experiments.

So then I started to unravel a little and thinking that I should get a glue gun and do some arts and crafts to get the desired effect.
Because saying "pine sticks to shit" is apparently too sophisticated a concept for me to relate to blogworld.

And the point of this whole thing is that when I put the shit with the pine in the toilet, hoping that the water will dissolve the pine and Husbandrinka and I are staring into the toilet bowl and the pine was not dissolving. So is probably mentally reviewing our wedding vows and feeling pretty that he didn't promise to study cat shit in the toilet with me, and then he says "maybe there's something in the urine that makes the pine dissolve" and I get the great idea and ask him to pee on it. And he absolutely refuses, which I think is a little precious personally, but despite his suggestion, I'm not doing it myself, because I have a very shy bladder and what am I, some kind of circus freak, to pee on command on cat excrement?

So  I flushed and the pine went down, but I feel there's a finite number of flushes before the toilet backs up.  And I really hope that I'm not there when it happens.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Wrap Up

Items that don't merit their own post, but put together, totally do!

Nicki doesn't have cat AIDS! Husbandrinka said "it's a banner day." In other good news, I am almost finished with the kitty litter post that's been haunting me. Monday. I think.

The new advice blog, The Mouthy Housewives is off to a great start. Last week alone we've advised on topics such as what to do when you hate your child's friend, explained the art of foreplay and how to make sure that moms get a night out. We're this close to having this whole world peace thing worked out. If you have a question that you'd like The Mouthy Housewives to tackle, please email us at

Yesterday at a local spring fair, my son ate 4 ice creams. I'm so proud.

This morning my daughter said "wouldn't it save a lot of papers if there were no books?" I think she's planning a boycott.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, May 15, 2009


Because I was born in the Soviet Union and immigrated to the United States when I was 10, I've spent a good part of my childhood answering people's question about what the biggest difference between the two places was. Because I was a huge suck up as a kid, I'd say things like "religious freedom!" "freedom of speech!" and sort of rattle off the Bill of Rights, when secretly I was thinking, "duh! There's gum here and Brady Bunch reruns, what are you, retarded?"

But that's not all.

Russians will greet you once and that's it. Americans greet each other throughout the day. They'll say "hi" in the morning and if they see you again in the afternoon, they re-hi you. I don't understand. Did the original "hi" expire or something? Also, "hi" is taking the place of "excuse me" and "fuck you", apparently. Someone shows up in your office while you're on the phone and waves to you, "hello!!!" (translation: excuse me) "Hi," you mouth, while pointing to the receiving that's cradled to your ear (translation: fuck you).

Don't get me started on the hi vs. hello. It almost gave my father a nervous breakdown when we first got here.

"So you say the hello when formal, and hi when time is short?" he asked my having lived in America since age 4 cousin, who was the local linguistic expert.

"Yeah, like when you're in a rush," my cousin explained.

"Because the hello is the long they have to have something even shorter," my father shook his head. It's zdrastvuyte in Russian. Privet, if you're all colloquial. It's hard to be sympathetic.

The "you had me at hello" popular didn't help, either. Which time, I kept wondering.

Yes, there is a slight chance that I'm overreacting.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Don't Think That's Weird At All

I've been distracted recently because there's a post that I've been writing that is just not coming together and it's making me insane. So when I say that I've been distracted, I mean I've been insane.

It's about kitty litter, so I'm sure that you can understand the magnitude of what I'm dealing with. I mean it's not cat Nazis, but I'm doing the best that I can, people. Finally yesterday I realized that I needed to go multi-media with this and add pictures so that people would understand. Sorry to be mysterious, but I promise it'll be worth it.

But of course I don't want to have photographs of actual cat shit on my blog, so I decided that I was going to use Tootsie rolls as a stand in for Nicki's turds. I tell you, I nearly pulled a muscle patting myself on the back for coming up with that solution.

So, I casually walk towards the bathroom last night and my daughter, who usually ignores everything that I do, suddenly is all "What are you doing?" and I'm like "I'm going to the bathroom!" and she's all "Why are you taking a camera in there?" Good grief, whatever happened to privacy? So I give her The Look, and then remember that "develop and establish The Look" has been on my New Year's Resolutions list for like years, so she basically doesn't know why I'm channeling a drag queen and we stare at each other and finally I say, "fine! I'll let you in on it!" and I let her come into the bathroom with me and I take the Tootsie rolls out of my pocket and start unwrapping them and she says "hey, where did you get those?" which, of course, is a natural question to ask when you're locked in the bathroom with the litter box, your mother and a camera. So I tell her that it's left over from Halloween and she wants to know if it's left over from HER Halloween stash and I say no and thank god she doesn't ask for a sworn statement.

So, I finish staging the Tootsie rolls in the litter box and am taking pictures and Nicki, of course, because the door is closed, starts putting her paw under the door, and then Young Ladrinka is all "WHY IS EVERYONE IN THE BATHROOM?" and I let him and Nicki in and he's like "Whoa!" and Nicki's all, "I miss the animal shelter".

I take a few more pictures and then to make it fun for the kids, I say "let's rewrap the Tootsie rolls and give it to Daddy!" and both kids are all "YES! YAY!" which tells me that I forgot to give them sensitivity training about other people, so hooray that I get to school them on that this summer! Because wonderful things happen when we're all in the bathroom together.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

If You Can't Slap Your Own Wife, Who Can You Slap?

So apparently, a Saudi judge has tried to explain the rise in domestic violence in that birthplace of femisim bt saying that women shared some of the blame.

And the comment that got everyone to brush off their copies of Ms. Magazine and stop shaving their legs as that, according to a CNN report
Arab News, a Saudi English-language daily newspaper based in Riyadh, reported that Judge Hamad Al-Razine said that "if a person gives SR 1,200 [$320] to his wife and she spends 900 riyals [$240] to purchase an abaya [the black cover that women in Saudi Arabia must wear] from a brand shop and if her husband slaps her on the face as a reaction to her action, she deserves that punishment."

If you're like me, you're in shock that an abaya could cost so much money! I mean, $240? That's a lot of Victoria Secret thongs right there, bitches. For $240, I'd totally expect that abaya to be bedazzled to the nines. I want to be able to walk into a room and have everyone be all over that abaya.

The thing about the slap is the humiliation. It's the Alexis Carrington maneuver that says "I can do with you what I will, because I am fiery and I can get away with it". And as humiliation goes, how different is it from the I Love Lucy maneuver that so many wives (even in the USA!) go through of hiding their purchases from their husband? Sure, he may never lay a hand on them, and that's certainly a big plus, but isn't there an implicit humiliation in that power struggle?

To be clear--slapping women is bad. Very bad. But so is feeling like you have to keep your purchases away from your husband. And the lack of economic autonomy that it implies.

Or am I just in one of those moods?


This weekend I decided that Husbandrinka and I needed to expand our vocabulary. I asked him if he agreed and he said "whatever" which translates to "yes, and you are the most beautiful woman that I've ever seen and I've seen many women, but not in an inappropriate way" so I asked him if he knew the origin of the word "cuckold". Because I like making conversation.

So for those of you still grappling with the English, cuckold means a man whose wife is having an affair.

My first issue with it is that I always thought that it was Cockhold, like the man whose wife is cheating on him is literally left there holding his own dick.

Apparently, that's not the case.

Cuckold is derived from the Old French for the cuckoo, cocu, with the pejorative suffix -ald. The earliest written use of the Middle English derivation, cokewold, occurs in 1250. The females of certain varieties of cuckoo lay their eggs in other bird’s nests, freeing themselves from the need to nurture the eggs to hatching.

Ok, that's from Wikpedia and it makes absolutely no sense. Like since when is "-ald" a pejorative suffix? Unless Archie is a fun name and ArchibALD is an insult. Like if you're trying to be friendly to someone, you'd say, "hey, your head is really b!" But if they were an enemy or something, you'd say "Hey, fucker, your head is bALD!"

And then females laying eggs? WHAT? Ok, so they lay the eggs and run off to do some shopping or whatever and how does that translate to a man whose wife is having an affair?

But I'm not going to reinvent language, so let's just take it as a given that a cuckold is a man whose wife is having an affair. And apparently somehow there's a connection to horns. And there is word that there was a funloving tradition of men whose wives were cheating on them being dragged out into the square and made to put on antlers to show that they have horns.

Cuckolds have sometimes been written as "wearing the horns of a cuckold" or just "wearing the horns". This refers to the fact that the man being cuckolded is the last to know of his wife's infidelity. He is wearing horns that can be seen by everybody but him. This also refers to a tradition claiming that in villages of unknown European location, the community would gather to collectively humiliate a man whose wife gives birth to a child recognizably not his own. According to this legend, a parade was held in which the hapless husband is forced to wear antlers on his head as a symbol of his wife’s infidelity.

Is it me, or is that like the worst surprise party ever? And do people just have antlers laying around their houses?

"Hey, Jane! Can I borrow that set of antlers? I have a surprise for Tommy this weekend."
"Sorry.Fucking Lucy, borrowed it last month and still hasn't returned them. Probably sodomizing someone with them, for all I know. Skank bitchald."

What new words did you use learn this weekend?

Have you checked out The Mouthy Housewives yet?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Putting the Vice in Advice

We've streamlined Mother's Day at our house. I put an end on flowers and a ban on breakfast in bed, and I'm too practical to insist on good behavior. But one thing that I love are homemade "coupons"--in which kids promise to perform all sorts of chores. And because I didn't want to be disappointed on Mother's Day, I bought a book of pre-printed coupons a few years ago, presented it to Husbandrinka and he has the kids select the ones to present to me.  The things they do for me.

My daughter is practical. She gives me coupons that entitle me to ask her to sweep and do the laundry. My son is more philosophical (and possibly lazy). This is the one he chose for me:

But it's actually perfect, because I, together with four very funny bloggers, have launched a sparkling new advice blog, The Mouthy Housewives. Every weekday, we will dole out advice, with a dash of wit and a sprinkling of wisdom. Or is that a dish of wit and a side of wisdom?

So far we have tackled topics from rude neighbors who blow leaves onto your lawn, to a friend's husband who flirts with you. Today's topic, and I don't know how to bring it up gently, is foreplay. So dim the lights and head on over to The Mouthy Housewives. And don't forget to leave us a question there. Because this whole mind reading thing isn't working for me.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I had a sappy, heart wrenching tale of motherhood all ready for this weekend, but then I decided to blog about something else. But I'd already typed the "Happy Mother's Day" blog title, and I was too lazy to change it. Besides, it makes me seem super timely, so you might as well enjoy the day for all I care. I know what you're thinking. I should work for Hallmark.

So this morning, I took both kids to a class and then I realized that I had an hour and a half of free time, so I decided to go home. Now, I was going to be home about two hours earlier than Husbandrinka was expecting me, which made me a little nervous. Because when the kids and I are not home, I sort of assume that Husbandrinka is having sex with a neighbor or something. Please don't mention this to him because he'd be really offended since our neighbors' average age is dead. Maybe he got someone from the neighboring building, I'm not an expert in whores, so I don't know how these things work. So as I'm walking home, I'm thinking that catching Husbandrinka and whorinka is really going to fuck up my weekend and possibly my marriage, and by the time that I get to our apartment building I am totally enraged and don't think that I will ever forgive him. But I bravely say "hello" to the doorman and head upstairs.

I don't have my keys and the door is locked, so I ring the doorbell. And then, because I am who I am, I put my finger over the peephole to frighten Husbandrinka, so that when he looks to see who's interrupting his tryst by ringing the doorbell, he'll be scared, as well he should be.

Except he doesn't come to the door.

So I ring the doorbell again. Repeatedly.

Still nothing. No footseps. Nothing.

And now I really have to pee. Like a racehorse. On steroids.
So I start to call him on my cell phone, which re-enrages me because I can't hold my finger on the peephole at the same time as I'm dialing, so I am forced to release the peephole and at that moment Husbandrinka opens the door.

"What the fuck?" I say, suddenly not having to pee at all. "Why didn't you answer the door?"
"I thought it was Nicky jumping on the piano," he said. Hmm. She has done that before. And no one ever rings our doorbell because the doorman always announces visitors, so we just open the door, before anyone has a chance to ring the doorbell.

And he didn't even look through the peephole to see who was there. So my whole plot to scare him was completely wasted. Some people just don't appreciate it when you majke an effort.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Cabbage Patch

Last weekend I decided that I was going to emulate one of my favorite bloggers, OHMommy of Classy Chaos. Not in a Single White Female way, but in the I am starving and I'm going to make the stuffed cabbage that she blogged about way. (By the way, I really hope that "emulate" means "copy" and not "vivisect" or something weird. Because I didn't mean anything weird by it. Hey, have you ever noticed that the more you explain how you didn't mean anything weird, the weirder it sounds?)

I quickly reviewed the recipe and emailed her a few million questions about it, hoping that she'd say "oh, it'll be easier for me to make it for you. And an honor, to boot," but she was completely insensitive about that and just answered my questions. Polish people, what are you going to do?

So I put on a leotard and got to work.

Fortunately, I had some rice in the house already, in a container whose size suggested that I was directly responsible for the rice shortage worldwide.

I just had to get some meat and tomato sauce and cabbage.

Trip to the store, part one revealed that when I told the meat hacking guy that I needed 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef, half a pound of ground swine and quarter pound of ground veal, and gave him my blessing to put it all together, he would put it all together and charge me the price for the ground beef for everything. Now, normally this is ok with me if the ground beef is the cheapest of the three, but what if it isn't? What if they were having a special on Mexican swine and I could have gotten the whole thing for like $1? There was just absolutely no way that I could get to the bottom of this international math conundrum, so I didn't even try, but rest assured that this will bother me for the rest of my life.

Then, came the tomato sauce dilemma. In the future, food bloggers, I would appreciate it if all recipes had instructions like:

Go to the store, to aisle 3, and on the third shelf from the bottom, about three inches to the right, there's a can of tomato sauce. Buy it and take it to your leader.

Because in my store, there are ten million cans of tomato sauce. How can a mere mortal decide? Fortunately, Young Ladrinka was with me and said "Just take ANY ONE. Who cares?!" so I grabbed three different ones and we left.

Sadly, we left without the cabbage, which, and I'm no Julia Child, but appears to be an Ingredient of Importance in the stuffed cabbage preparation.

So I had to go back to the store and I hope that I don't have to spend a lot of time explaining how draining that is. Also, and feel free to try this out, if you go to a supermarket and the only thing you're buying is a head of cabbage, people will comment. "Ooh, a cabbage patch!" Yes, I am making a cabbage patch in the NYC apartment. But I don't want anyone to know, so I buy only one cabbage at a time, going to different stores for more single cabbage heads. Because I will build that cabbage patch if it's the last thing I do!

With the shopping taken care of, the rest of the preparations went smoothly. Well, except for the part where I didn't read the part of the recipe that the cabbage that is stuffed had to be in the oven for two hours, so that dinner was ready at approximately 2 a.m. Apparently, I thought that cabbage leaves, when wrapped around raw meat, had magical powers to cook the meat instantaneously. Which is why people really like cabbage patches.

Thanks, OHMommy, for broadening my culinary horizons!

It was super yummy (as a midnight snack).


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Trust Me

You would have hated me until I had kids. I was one of those tall, thin girls who ate everything and didn't gain weight. After I had children, and aged, it became different. I no longer have the metabolism of a high schooler if "I no longer have the metabolism of a high schooler" means that "when I eat everything in sight, I gain weight." But there are tradeoffs. To get cliche-y, I am older but wiser. And one of the things that I know about myself is that I can't pull of a sentimental post without eyerolling.

Trust me.

Every mommy blogger has a secret and here is mine. The standard "I hope that I have the courage to publish this" disclaimers apply, of course.

When my kids were born, I lost my damn mind. Not in a "honey, get me a cocktail, this is a shitload of work" but in a completly unglamorous, batshit crazy, "dear God, I'll take breast cancer in ten years if you just let me be able to nurse this baby now and why the fuck won't the baby nurse?" insanity. It was hard with my daughter, because she refused to breastfeed and because the lactation fanatics descended on me with advice, judgment and requests for payment, and it was harder with my son, because I was convinced that he was not safe with anyone except me, that the nanny that we'd had since my first baby was born had been biding her time, for three years, to steal him all along; that my parents and inlaws were incompetent and that the whole world was conspiring to get to me through my kids.

I cried all the time. Shortly after my son was born, we all went on a summer vacation on a beautiful island in Maine. We stayed with close friends and I cried, pretty much, nonstop. Everyone was kind. I thought that my life was over.

What I could not believe is that I had done it to myself. I agreed to have children, without realizing that it meant that I would never be happy again. Not because I didn't love my kids, but because I did, hauntingly. I could not exhale until I knew that they were ok and the only way that I could know that is if they were in my physical presence. It was unbearable.

I would not let the children out of my sight.

It faded, of course.
Although I'd seen professionals about what I was feeling, I was never officially diagnosed with Postpartum depression.

But this is the secret that I don't readily share (except, you know, on the internet). I don't think that it passed. There are times when I hear sirens and my heart stops if one of my kids is not with me. I wonder about the people who hear sirens and go on with their day. (And incidentally, NYC is a really bad place for that kind of psychodrama. Especially if, like me, you live within screeching distance from a hospital). Are they not parents? Are they not insane?

My mother's sister is visiting us from Russia this month. Last night, at dinner, she asked me to let the kids come visit her in St. Petersburg. "They have to see where you were born," she said. "Let my people go," my father said.

I made some kind of "Definitely" noise which was a total lie. I can't let my children go. And I'm afraid that it will stifle them. I let them have a normal childhood. They go to school, to after school activities, on playdates. But I am always aware and I always feel better when they are with me.

See? I told you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm Enjoying the Budget Cuts Already!

This is how the people at my local subway stop express unhappiness about the trains running less frequently.

Because Your Mother Sucks Cocks in Hell is a totally appropriate response to "trains run less frequently".

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Funny, She Doesn't Look Like a Whore

So the other day I get a postcard from Nicki's vet. Not one of those "having a great time, wish you were here" postcards, but more of a "Nicki is due for her FIV test, call to make an appointment with the vet tech". So I look up FIV and learn that it's the feline HIV test. I am positively gobsmacked, which is no small feat for an American.

And excuse me, but aren't there all sorts of regulations about patient confidentiality that should prohibit doctors from sending sensitive health information on a postcard?! I mean, I know that the postman always rings twice and everything, but I'd just rather that he not know that my cat is possibly FIV positive. That's super private and possibly a violation of her constitutional rights as a feline American. (Hey, that's two paragraphs in a row that I ended with "American". I am super patriotic.)

Other questions that immediately pop into my mind:

Do normal people even know that cats can get AIDS?

Who wants to be the one to tell Husbandrinka that our fucking cat may have

Forget it, I told him already. Like this: "Nicki may have AIDS!!!!"
And he looks at me with suspicious rage and I can tell that he thinks that I'm making this shit up, just because when we first got Nicki, I told him that she needed to have some of her stripes surgically rearranged to be The Best Tabby That She Could Be and also last week I told him that I was looking into getting her hysterectomy reversed. So just because I playfully fabricated some things in the past, why does he assume that I'd make this up about feline AIDS? I mean, what kind of a sick fuck does something like that?

"Cats can't get AIDS," he says in a slightly condescending manner that sort of implies that he's been working closely with the CDC on this.
"Oh, but they can!" I am drunk with knowledge and pinot grigio. "They can and they do!"

Update: Nicki is getting tested this Thursday. I can only imagine that with their wanton disregard for Nicki's privacy, the vet will post the FIV results on the billboard in Times Square. Otherwise, I will keep you posted on the results, but if you'd like to help Nicki during this uncertain time, please go here and vote for my friend Nap Warden, who's a finalist in Momversation's Favorite Mom Memory. You will have to register, but it takes like thirty seconds, unless you're really bad at registering or something. Nicki and I really appreciate it. God Bless You. And God Bless America.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cleaning: It May Be Contagious

The great thing about doing your own cleaning, especially if you are me, is how much mileage you can get out it. It's sort of like household chemo.

Like the other day, Husbandrinka came home with our kids, plus my son's friend and the friend's mother. Well, the mother is also my friend, but that's like totally extraneous to the story and if there's one thing that I hate it's when people go off on some inane tangent and then can't figure out how to get back to their main point so you're sort of reading a lot of nonsense and can't even remember what the original post was about or why you're still reading or your own name, because the writer has deadened every brain cell that you have.

Anyway, they all come back and my friend says, "so what should we do with the boys this afternoon?" and I'm thinking, "anything the hell away from here would be just grand!" but of course I can't say that because Mother's Day is next weekend and what kind of a moron do you think I am, anyway? So, I say, "I don't know, I have to do some more cleaning around here," and sigh dramatically and she starts getting really uncomfortable because what if this fucking pre-poverty is contagious and so she says, "I'll take them to the pool" and I exhale dramatically and say, "are you sure you don't mind, I just have another bathroom to clean and then the kitchen and the laundry," and she's shaking her head, no, she'd love to take them, have a great day, door slam. Scene.

Which is great, because it really clears up the afternoon for blogging.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thank you.

Thank you to everyone who sponsored my March for Babies walk last Sunday, in honor of Madeline Spohr. I walked with some really great people and we raised nearly $4,000 for the March of Dimes. The winners of my "Will-blog-for-sponsorship contest" are blogless Peajaye and Blognut. Please email me at with a topic that you'd like me to blog about. But it's ok if you don't want to, I totally get that it's not everyone's cup of absinthe.

Thank you also to everyone for coming out on a super hot Sunday morning for a great cause!

P.S. Nightly Nicki has been updated!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mask. Cher-less.

I have the best friends. They really look out for me.

Like the other day, John told me that we have to go get masks to protect ourselves against the swine flu. He read up on it and people who wore masks during the SARS outbreak were thirteen times more likely to survive, so with that kind of math on our side, we got some masks. I wanted to try them out on the bus ride home, but he didn't. Something about looking stupid.

If there's one thing I know about looking stupid, is that it doesn't come naturally to everyone, so you have to practice. So I did. As a public service to you people, of course. Because I'm all about helping others.

Oh, and for the sake of full disclosure and transparency: I did not receive any compensation or products for this post.( Tamiflu, call me!) ok, please click on that Tamiflu link and check out that fluish woman's sink. I love it so much, because it's like all the dishes are totally cleaned, but they're just piled in the sink because her family is brain damaged or something. And I love the expression that the little girl has. It's like "MOM! You got that stupid flu on purpose!!! This is why I like dad's girlfriend better!!!!!"

And it's a good thing that I tried it out because the masks have defects. First of all, do not underestimate the looking stupid thing. Second, how are you supposed to enjoy snacks and beverages? I think they should have a hole in there for nutrients. Third of all, I am very worried about the lipstick industry. Will women still buy it? Will they be the next needing a government bailout?

Other than that--perfect! Well, breathing is a little tough, especially if you're claustrophobic and don't like something covering up your air holes. Maybe I can look into getting a chloroform scented one to help me relax?