Friday, July 31, 2009

Lunch lady

There's a small deli where I get my lunch every day and the woman who runs it is Russian. Sometimes we have conversations in Russian in front of the other customers, which makes me mildly uncomfortable because I don't want them to think that I'm talking about them.

Recently, I became concerned that she is dying of cancer and I was thinking of the best way to let her know that I'm thinking of her without spelling everything out. I thought that she had a terminal diagnosis because every time I'd ask about her well being with a friendly "kak dela?" she'd say "don't ask" and look very morose.

So this week, after my "kak dela" and her "don't ask" I followed up with a "who knows what will happen" and she unburdened herself and told me that she doesn't like the bra that she bought for her daughter's wedding because it's doing nothing for her dress. So, it's a wedding and not cancer. Which is wonderful news.

This is why people dance at weddings.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Russians are Delicious!

Amy has a question and needles to say, she looks to me for wisdom and inspiration. As usual. Because apparently it's not enough that I dispense life-enhancing advice on The Mouthy Housewives, now people expect me to turn over my personal space into solving their problems.


My daughter is moving to New Orleans where her boyfriend and his parents live. (And yes, there's a shitload of angsty posts in there for me. Fun.) Here's where you come in - they are RUSSIAN. He lived in effing Siberia until he was in 1st grade then they came here. His mom is a ballerina - effing kid-you-not. His grandparents are still in Siberia and they own a vodka -- um - farm? distillery? factory? (I love vodka.)- and also a potato farm. It's like I'm being dragged into the fringes of a fucking Tolstoy novel.

What advice do you have for me?

My advice, like my coffee, is bold:

Do everything in your power to forbid this horror. Best of luck! love, Marinka
Ok, so I have never dated a Russian man, although many have tried.
Another lie. I blind dated a Russian guy for approximately twenty minutes before I remembered that I was married. To a possessive murderer. Recently released from prison, but still filled with rage. And also that I was a lesbian.

Here's what I know about Russian men, in gross stereotype form: They are nostalgic, a disproportionate number of them dabble in poetry and Yakov Smirnoff is one of them. There are many women who are married to Russian men and they claim to be happy.

Those are the women whose husbands live in a different time zone from their families. Oh, yes, Russian in-laws are lovely (just ask Husbandrinka! Right after he stops weeping and muttering "why didn't I read Russians: Avoid at All Costs before marrying into this nightmare?") but once you're in their grip, you have to say good bye to fresh fruit and vegetables and prepare yourself for Russian cuisine.

Disclaimer: if you are prone to fainting spells or have a strong gag reflex, hit the back button now.

I am scared of the food. Scared scared. It's the fear of the endless beet salads, the pickled foods. Because if you are in a Russian household, you and pickled food will be on a first name basis.

I present, the herring:

image from

Why you averting eyes? That hurts feelings. The herring is friend. Possibly your only friend, because you will smell like herring. No more milk breath and margaritas, Amy. Herring breath and vodka.

And sweet (or pickled) lord, do not tell a Russian that you don't like herring. Because they will convince you that you do and that the reason that you think that you do not like herring is because some Enemy of the People has fed you inferior herring and poisoned your mind against a perfectly beautiful meal. You will eat herring.

Then we have beets:

image from And your worst nightmare.

I think the stuff in the middle is carrots and the white dollops are sour cream. But I wish the color was less unhealthy looking.

and last but not least, there is the Salat Shuba (jovially translated on the website as "Fish in Fur Coat Salad" because I don't know about you, but I personally can't think of a more appetizing image!)

The salad consists of herring and beets and you'll be having that with your morning coffee in no time!

Oh, don't worry, there's vodka. But you know what you have vodka with, right? What? No, not nuts and little munchies. Lard. Yes, LARD.

Mouth-watering, isn't it?

All this and more, Amy, will be yours if your daughter plays her cards right. Congratulations.

And for a slightly different take, visit
Vicki who is married to a real Russian guy. And apparently she likes it. Go read her response to Amy's question. She wrote it over a morning bowl of Lard Krispies.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Remedial Blog School is on Break

I had a Remedial Blog School Post about comments all ready for you today, except that I didn't write it and I was afraid that you would notice. Because if there is one thing that I know about you is that you are super smart. And beautiful. Except for that one, over there. But we love her, too.

I have been busy basking in the BlogHer afterglow (although if it doesn't go away soon, I'm going to a dermatologist) and getting ready for house guests. Because Husbandrinka, despite his many documented personality flaws, has awesome friends and one of them is coming to NYC with his kids. Three kids. The problem is that we stayed with them in France last year and his kids are much better behaved than our kids and speak with a cute accent, so I've been busy trying to whip my kids into shape. Apparently, you're supposed to teach them manners prenataly or something and my screeching, "elbows off the table, motherfuckers" is too late.

And tomorrow night another friend is coming over with her four kids for dinner. Honestly, I'm afraid to count how many kids that makes altogether.

So, practice commenting on this post and we'll learn how to do it correctly next week. I'll be linking to the best and worst comments and handing out dunce caps, so be careful with those "First!" comments, ok?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Good Night Prayer

I'm back from the BlogHer conference in Chicago and I'm going to blog about someone behind her back. I am feeling very brave because she lives on the other coast and there's like a whole ocean between us and I'm pretty sure she's too tired to swim across it to kill me.

It's about my BlogHer roommate Stacey. You know, beautiful Stacey of the lyrical posts?

So,the first night we're going to sleep in our way-too-soft bed and of course I'm all "what if she falls asleep first and then I still awake and I'll be up all night," except I don't say that because I decided that I want my persona for this trip to be more "hip" and less "kookoo".

So I say, "Goodnight! I hope we don't die in our sleep!" which is a totally cool improvement of the "Now I lay me down to sleep" thing, because it shows that I am thinking of other people as well. If I were self-centered, I'd have just said "I hope I don't die in my sleep". I'm practically an atheist Mother Theresa. With freckles.

So I wish us life, and instead of saying "thank you," like a normal person would, Stacey says, "yeah, that would really suck because if you died in your sleep, your blood would pool to your ass and who wants to find that in the morning?"

And scene!

I am sharing a room with someone whose biggest concern in finding me dead in the morning is that my ass is filled with blood, because, she seems to believe that it is the center of gravity of my body or the lowest point or whatever and she doesn't want to get all skieved out on the way to getting her morning chai latte. You can certainly see how my death would be an inconvenient distraction.

So all sorts of questions go through my mind. Like. Why does the BlogHer '09 brochure have this fake Q&A that, honest to God, has questions like "what is the weather like in Chicago?" and "Should I bring my laptop? What if I don't have one?" but is totally silent on the whole, "Roommate is all CSI-y and I'm not feeling yawny."

And what kind of a person would upon finding me dead check on my ass instead of pounding on the bed and keening, "no, God, take me, not Marinka!"

Stacey claims that there is medical support for this, but no way in hell am I googling "ass" "blood" and "poop". Or ever sleeping again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm Getting on a Plane!

Mama babysits my kids sometimes and last Monday, as she was leaving, she said, "I feel like I'm forgetting something." We went through the cell phone-charger-wallet checklist and she seemed to have it all.

After she left, I walked into my room and saw a Calvin Klein sports bra that wasn't mine. Mama left her sports bra! This was huge news because if someone leaves their cell phone behind, that's normal, but if a 60something woman leaves her bra, sports or otherwise behind, it's time to seek medical assistance.

I didn't want to embarrass her, so I thought I'd wait for her to call me and reclaim it, but the poor thing never did.

By next morning, I couldn't wait any longer. So after tweeting this development to my closest 700 Twitterfriends,

I called mama on the cell phone that she did not leave behind.

Papa picked up.

"Hi, papa, everything's fine," I said. We always say this to put each other at ease . Even if it's a big fat lie. "But I think mama left her bra behind," I told him.

"What about her vibrator?" he asked.

Yes, really. This is how papa talks to me. And to people in general.

Then mama got on the phone. "I didn't leave the bra at your apartment. I don't take off bra near children." She sounded mildly defensive.

I was about to relaunch the attack, focusing on Husbandrinka and his execrizing whore, and as I picked up the suspect bra, I realized that it was a pair of my underwear.

I'm not sure why my underwear was on top of my dresser, except it was resting on top of a pile of clothes that I'd set aside to take to Chicago for the weekend. A more alarming question is why my underwear looks like a bra and why at the ripe age of 42 I can't tell undergarments apart, but this isn't one of those educational blogs where I spoon feed you all the answers.

Except now that mama had me on the phone, she wanted to talk business.

"You staying at hotel with strangers," she reminded me about this weekend when I attend a three day blogging conference in Chicago. "If you under influence, you can make bad decision."

Seriously, mama?

"I worry," she presses on. "You in strange city with strange men."
"It's mostly women at the conference," I tell her, so she can adjust her worries to marriage-destroying lesbianism.

Because for mothers, the worrying never stops.

And I'm traveling to Chicago to be surrounded by it. I hope that there is no bra-underwear test.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Friends in High Places

A few weeks ago, I got to go to Madison Square Garden, to see my first ever women's basketball game. (Yes, I got free tickets courtesy of the NBA. I'm pretty sure that they're trying to recruit me to be one of the Knicks Chicks or something) It was super awesome, especially since my daughter's best summer camp friend invited her to go with them to the same game (they had court side seats) and I got to say, really casually, "oh, we'll be at the same game," as if going to The Garden is a normal thing for us on a Thursday night. I didn't mention that our seats were going to be not-courtside, but more aerial, because I don't like to brag and didn't want to make them feel like they had inferior seats where they could get splashed with lady sweat or get rhinoplastied by basketball.

So I tell my son that we're going to see the game and he is super excited and then I tell him that it's women's basketball and his face sort of drops and for a second I think he's going to put on a wifebeater and get a beer and start talking about "those dam feminazis". But that doesn't happen and soon he's excited again.

The game itself is super fun. Especially because we got to buy a foam finger, which for some reason I thought only existed on The Simpsons. (Incidentally, the next day when mama and papa saw The Foam Finger, I overheard them say things like 'no wonder this country is in trouble'. I wag my foam finger at their judgmentalness.)

Because I am super economical, I fed my kids dinner before we arrived at the Garden (you know, Madison Square Garden, not the Garden of Eden, nor the Garden of Good and Evil), so we wouldn't have to spend money on snacks there, but unfortunately, I forgot to eat dinner myself. Husbandrinka went to get snacks and I asked him for a Pale Ale, because (i) this was before my alcohol break and (ii) apparently I mistook the Garden for a microbrewery or something. He came back with a Bud which made me feel all patriotic and shit.

The Liberty Ladies lost and as the writing was on the wall, or in their case, the scoreboard, Young Ladrinka asked if he could go on the court to help them out a bit. Nice. Of course I won't mention that when Husbandrinka was telling me who the dominant player was and Young Ladrinka said "yes, the one who looks sort of mannish."

I'm sorry that I'm not a basketball expert or anything, so I can't do scintillating play by plays (she shoots, she scores!) but it was totally enjoyable. By the way, how come the foam finger comes in pointer only? I'd totally buy a thumb.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Remedial Blog School: Your Questions Lovingly Answered

Welcome Back to Remedial Blog School.

If you've been following along with us from the beginning, you should by now feel Welcomed, decided on what to name your blog and URL and whether you are going to be anonymous or not, and know how to write an excellent post.

Our work is almost done!

Today, I am answering an excellent filled-with-questions email that I received from honor roll student Vicki. Vicki is a fellow Russian. And she married a Russian, apparently because she hasn't read my Do Not Marry Russians post. Although to be fair, I haven't written it yet. Anyway. Please check out Vicki's blog, I've been hesitant to leap into it because she's an economist and I was all intimidated, but then she blogged about the difference between Russian and American dating and I was hooked.

And now, let's learn along with Vicki (rhymes with Nicki!) in Remedial Blog School.

* How long after you started blogging did you start making enough money to hire a maid AND buy Nicki?

I've been blogging for approximately seven months beforeI was able to afford Nicki. It really helped that Nicki was a used cat and had lower "adoption processing fees" of about $70. The maid question is a cruel reminder that (a) I don't have a maid (b) I could never afford to hire one on my blogging income (c) Vicki is an economist.

* How did you decide what you wanted to blog about? How did you even know you wanted to blog?

I started to blog because I read Julie & Julia,which chronicles Julie Powell's journey in making all the Julia Child recipes and blogging about it, and which has since been made into a major motion picture. Sure, that's a coincidence.

I loved the idea of blogging and after rejecting the "Emeril & Marinka" rip-off blog, I settled into the "mommy blogger" by default.

* Do your parents/family (aside from Husbandrinka) know your blog exists? Do they talk shit about you at family gatherings?

Of course they talk shit about me, they have speech and they've met me.

Husbandrinka and my parents all know about the blog. Husbandrinka has no interest whatsoever in it, and has never read it. My father used to read it until the day that he told me that he didn't like it because it was superficial and I banned him from it. Every once in a while he will ask me how it's going and I'll say "great, by the way, I blogged about your circumcision, you're cool with that, right?" and he'll say, "absolutely. It was the best thing I've ever done."

I suspect my mother considers blogging one notch above heroin addiction, except less cerebral, so she's never read my blog.

* How do you decide how to describe Russian cultural/language stuff to your audience, which seems to be predominantly American (or at least non-Russian) so as to not alienate them, but also not bog down your narrative or whatevs?

I link to Wikipedia a lot and then I make stuff up. Until recently, I didn't have any Russian readers, so I could get away with it. Now I'll have to be more accurate. Thanks a lot. And I was born in Russia, so obviously I milk that as much as possible. OMG, are you saying that my narrative is bogged down with motherland crap?

* How did you find the right tone for your blog? Did being anonymous give you the right push you needed to be able to write using swear words and talk about things that you probably wouldn't have had you used your real name? Were you afraid at first that people would be turned off by your sarcasm? Or did you write mostly for yourself?

I write the way that I talk, god help me. I am sort of constantly surprised that I don't get comments whining about my tone, but I assume it's because most people are skimming the posts. Or don't understand English.

And yes, being anonymous totally gave me the boost to use "salty" language. As did the fact that I came to terms with the fact that Kraft or anything family friendly would never advertise on my blog.

* What advice would you have to a new blogger who hopes to use her writing to make a shitton of money and successfully bribe her mom to stop asking her when she would be having kids because YA STAREIU NE PO DNYAM A PO CHESAM I NEKOGDA NE UVIZHU VNUKOV? [translation provided by Marinka, for free: 'I am getting older by the hour, not by the day, and I will never see grandchildren' (expression, common to Russian mother in a futile effort to get her children to procreate. Not with each other.)]

Just give up now. You'll never make a lot of money doing this. Have some kids instead. Totally fun and tons of blog fodder. Plus the whole propagation of the species thing.

* Do you write at a designated time each day, or whenever the fuck you feel like it?

Look at you with the "fucks". Nice. I usually write in the evenings, before the kids go to bed (because who wants to waste precious time on blogging when the house is all quiet?). But also whenever the fuck I feel like it.

Ok! Thanks, Vicki for your thoughtful questions!

Next week, in Remedial Blog School: Blog Comments. The Good, the Bad and the Deleted.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Fear of Dying

We were in North Carolina this weekend, visiting my in-laws. My mother-in-law recently had surgery and she's recovering, but she's one of those stoics who refuses to complain and just forges on ahead. We are a lot alike like that.

We took an early morning flight there on Friday, and had to leave the house by 6 am to get to the airport. Because Husbandrinka said that early morning flights are cheaper. I asked what about the emotional costs of my having to wake so early and he said "whatever" which is so totally hostile. My son suggested that since we had to leave so early in the morning, perhaps it would make more sense to just stay up all night and then sleep on the way to the airport. He's available to assist you with your daily planning and ideas to make things in your life go smoothly. Really reasonable rates. Really.

So, we are at the airport and we are about to go through security and suddenly I realize that I am magazine-free and I never like to board the plane in that condition. I mean, what am I, an animal? If you don't have a magazine for the flight, you may as well go into the cargo compartment. So, I go and get my favorite magazines for flying--Oprah and Real Simple. Sometimes I like US, too, but I'm still trying to regrow braincells from looking through last week's issue at the pedicure place. And by "looking through", I mean "reading so avidly from cover to cover that my lips may have actually been moving."

Anyway. Real Simple may be the world's best magazine if you're feeling snarky . I've loved them ever since they had this chart a few years ago about common fears and what to do about them.
Seriously, this is what it looked like:

Fear of flying.
What you are afraid of: Plane crashing, fire breaking out, dying.
Coping device: Distract yourself with a challenging Soduku.

Yes. I can see how when you're facing imminent death, Soduku seems like a good choice. (By the way, my spell check is saying that I'm spelling "Soduku" incorrectly, and is suggesting "sodomy" in its stead. Excuse me, is there a way that I can get a Judeo-Christian spell check that doesn't rape my morals?)

Oh, and I know that this is a bigger topic for perhaps a multi-series blog post, but what the fuck is it with computer Solitaire? Like, why do people play it? We know there's no skill, right? We know it's mindless, right? (And please don't tell me that people like it because it IS mindless, because unless I've been living in a parallel universe, mental overexertion isn't the biggest problem facing our generation. Exhibit A: Real Housewives, pick your county.) But I was wondering, do you think that there are people on their death bed, surrounded by their liked ones, and as they draw their last breath, they mutter, "Solitaire. I will miss...Solitaire.")

Anyway, back to Real Simple. The August issue is all Recession is Fun, with an article on How to Save on Entertaining (apparently my idea of "get other people to invite you over to their house" was rejected). So, under "decor", they have "Use seashells from your beach vacation as place settings. 'Martha, you've got the conch. Tim, sit at the starfish.' " I swear that's a literal quote. Page 119.


First of all, now I have to go on a beach vacation to get shells for these assholes? Why can't I just say, "Martha, sit next to Husbandrinka" or even better, "sit wherever the fuck you want". Second of all, do people really spend a lot of money on place settings? Because I'm thinking that my sympathy for their recession woes is kind of low. Although, third of all "Martha, you've got the conch"? Sort of makes everything totally worth.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I'm not here today

In a great example of Blog Imitates Life, I am in North Carolina this weekend and I'm posting at Diary of an Unlikely Housewife. Please visit me there and leave comments. Because they may not let me back into NYC if you don't.

And don't forget to check out The Mouthy Housewives to see which post was awarded our exclusive Seal of Approval.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up

When I was a kid, my parents and their friends seemed to ask me this question nonstop. At first, because I didn't talk very much and they wanted to engage me and later because I would routinely provide answers like "a table or maybe a lamp", much to everyone's entertainment. I'm sure if I grew up in symptomatic America, those responses would have gotten me institutionalized.

But I didn't, so I continued with my furniture and furnishings aspirations.

I swore that I would never ask my kids. But I broke that swear.

I don't ask them a lot, but sometimes I do, to see which way the wind's blowing and to gage how badly Husbandrinka and I should panic over our diminishing 401k plans.

My son wants to be a professional baseball player, which is a huge relief because they make tons and tons of money. He also has an interest in being Darth Vader, on a part-time basis, but I'm hoping that he'll grow out of that and just focus on baseball.

My daughter doesn't understand my question.
"I don't know," she says. She's 11. When I was 11, I knew that I wanted to be a banquet table, so I don't appreciate her laid back attitude about her future.
"It's not written in stone," I lie, jotting down some bullet points for Young Ladrinka's major league contract, "what do you think you want to be?"
"What or who?" she asks, but I suspect that she's just buying time.
"Who. I mean, what. Like a job."
"A journalist."

Of course. At camp, they've been reading The New York Times and every day she greets me with news of an ethnic conflict in China. "That's nice, honey," I tell her because for the first three days, I thought that she was talking about Tienanmen Square and I was feeling all 80s and nostalgic about it. And speaking of the '80s, I'm also sort of nostalgic about Madonna, because honestly, I hardly recognize her now.

So a journalist and a baseball player. Not too shabby.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Quicky!

Yesterday I had dinner with one of my closest friends in New York and I remembered something.

Many of my friends will ask the waiter what his or her favorite dish is.

Do you do this?
And if so, is it because you sense that you and the waiter are sort of soul mates and have similar taste? Or are you planning on taking the waiter out for a fancy meal and want to make sure that his favorite meal is on the menu?

Or am I the only one who doesn't give a shit what the waiter likes because I am a sociopath?
(Oh, and if I were the waiter? I'd totally recommend tripe every single time. Even if we didn't serve it.)

Because this post is so quick and unsatisfying, I'm linking you to a One Year Ago Today post. From a year ago. Today.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Temporary Life Change

Last week at the doctor's office my blood pressure measured kind of highish, so I decided to give up my beloved nightly glass or twenty of wine to see if it improved. "It" being my blood pressure, not my mood, because even I'm not that big enough of a moron to think that were possible.

This wasn't one of those big "I WILL NEVER DRINK AGAIN" proclamations, because I most certainly will drink again. Nor is it the "My name is Marinka and I'm an alcoholic" pronouncement, because duh, I already told you that Marinka isn't my real name, and I'm pretty sure that I'm not an alcoholic. This is more of an experiment to see if I can control my blood pressure and lose a few pounds while I'm at it.

I decided to keep this plan to myself.

Within an hour, I've emailed a few friends announcing that I was giving up drinking and that I was not going to blog about it because I didn't need a public disclosure. That was three days ago.

My friends were supportive, gently pointing out, "hey, dumbass, a glass of wine lowers blood pressure, maybe if the alcohol hadn't killed your brain cells, you'd know that."

So now I'm officially not drinking for a week or so. So far it's going well (help me). Except I'm sort of surprised at how ugly everyone is and also I sort of thought that I'd be one of those fun non-drinking people who'd go around saying things like "would you look at that sunset? The colors are absolutely vivid and stunning!" but instead I'm one of those non-drinking people who tells her husband, as he pours his one glass of wine for the week at Sunday dinner, "how long are you going to drink your pain away instead of facing it head on?" and "some more devil's water for you, honey? Your liver is screaming, you know."

Nor did papa having a beer earlier in the week escape my notice. "So sad," I said, although perhaps not out loud, because, you know, I don't want to be institutionalized. "Now that I am enjoying my sobriety, I pity those who seek solace in the bottle."

So yes, it's going well. Although inexplicably, everyone around me are drinking more than ever.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Remedial Blog School: How to Write an Excellent Blog Post

Photo courtesy of my wonderful friend Suzmanella. That's me, writing a blog post. At the lake. I don't know if it'll make it to the blog. Many blog posts are called, but few are chosen.

Welcome to Part 3 of Remedial Blog School--How to Write an Excellent Blog Post. Make sure to review Part 1--Welcome to Remedial Blog School and Part 2--So, You Started a Blog before proceeding. I cannot guarantee your safety unless you do.

Top Ten Ways To Make Sure That Your Blog Post is Excellent

Disclaimer: Most of these rules can be and should be, on occassion, broken. Just not a lot.

1. The hell if I know.

2. Do not start a post with "this is going to be long and boring and annoying." Because people heed those warnings.

3.Write about something that you are passionate and excited about, keeping in mind that "passionate and excited" does not mean "insane".

4. Short paragraphs.

5. Shortish post. If the CIA contacts you to see if they can borrow your post since waterboarding is now frowned upon, it's time to edit.

5 (a) Read your post out loud. Cut out at least two sentences and five words. Do it. Proofread, spellcheck.

6. Don't tell your best story. I'm holding my best stories in reserve for blog sweeps. And it helps me feel that I never get writer's block.

6 (a) For the love of everything that is holy, do not blog about your writer's block. Unless there's a celebrity cameo in there somewhere.

7. If you realize in the middle of a post that it's not working, do something to change direction.

7 (a) I have no idea how to change directions, but some people like to do memes.
7 (b) I don't like to do memes.
7 (c) Although I have nothing against people who do them.
7 (d) Except the boring ones.

8. Don't oversell a post. If a post starts with "The funniest, most hilarious thing ever happened!" chances are it will fall short. And yes, just about now I am sort of wishing that I took the "excellent" out of this blog post title now. But I won't. For teaching purposes.

9. Make sure people know who you're talking about. I had this problem recently when I assumed that everyone knew that John was beloved gay friend John and then someone in the comments assumed that he was my husband. Awkward.

10. Don't lie. Really. It's not worth it. It's like a sin or something. And also it's hard to keep your shit straight and not contradict yourself.

Next week in Remedial Blog School: I'll answer an email full of interesting and important questions. If you have any burning questions, see your gynecologist! (But if they're about blogging, let me know!)


Monday, July 13, 2009

Pick Your Poison

I woke up on Sunday morning and casually asked Husbandrinka how would he kill me if he were so inclined and he had a really unfortunate reaction that included saying things like "is this a trick question" and "there's no way that I'm answering THAT".

What's with all the secrecy?

Look--we get up every morning and go through our routine, go to work, come back, take care of the kids, do various household chores, attend to television watching responsibilities, and we're sort of living parallel lives and all that. I thought that the weekend would be the perfect time to reconnect.

He refused. Flat out refused.

Clearly it's not because he's never considered it. I'm not that big of a fool. Which led me to conclude that he didn't want to tell me because it would tip me off as to what to expect. Which is super unfriendly and not a nice way to treat the mother of most of your children.

And although I was going to let it go and just blog my pain, he had the nerve to bring it up as we drove out to the lake. (I know that you think that I'm using the foreshadowing device where he drowns me, but that didn't happen. I'm not literary-devicy like that. What's that clap of thunder?)

"Why would you ask such a thing?" he accused me, stabbing me optically.
"Because I was curious," I demurred.
"Who talks about murder first thing in the morning?" he poisoned my mood.
"It wasn't first thing. First thing, I had to get the cat out of our room because she was walking on my hair," I genuflected.
"Still, I think it's odd," he strangled my hopes of a peaceful drive.
"It's not a big deal. It's obviously hypothetical," I begged.
"It's not a normal thing to ask your husband," he shot.

I don't understand how I am supposed to live with that kind of hostility.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Are You There, Gynecologist? It's Me, Marinka!

Yesterday I had my annual gynecological check up and enjoyed a few profound thoughts, most of them in the crotch to the ceiling position, courtesy of the special examination chair that my doctor uses that flips me over so that my head is below my knees, much like it is in a beauty salon, except no one washes my hair while I'm at it.

Profound Thought Number One: My friend Wendi told me once that she thought the hardest job in the world was to be William Shatner's love interest, but I have to disagree. It's the woman who has to stay in the room while the doctor is doing the gynecological exam. You know the one I mean, the nurse. Who's there to make sure that the doctor doesn't fondle you and that you don't falsely accuse him of sexual improprieties.

I do not understand this at all.

First of all, why is this person not present every other time someone touches a part of my body? Because I'm pretty sure that my hair colorist is more turned on by my hair than my gynecologist is by my pap smear. And my hair guy is gay.

Second of all, are the doctors really protected by this? Because couldn't you say "of course she's going to back up the doctor, SHE WORKS FOR HIM!"

I mean, wouldn't it be better if instead of the woman witness there, they had something else, like a video recording of the exam? Because that way, it could be on You Tube and everyone could judge for themselves.

Profound Thought Number Two: I'm worried that my gynecologist isn't really a doctor. Ok, so he delivered my son 8 years ago. He's a solo practitioner, plus, he covered a huge midwife practice (until they closed), I've been to his office more than thirty times and he has never missed an appointment because he was delivering a baby. I mean, how is that possible? So I am super suspicious. Maybe I should report him.

Profound Thought Number Three: My blood pressure was slightly elevated because (1) I was sure that I was dying; (2) I was worried that my blood pressure would measure high; (3) living with Husbandrinka has really taken its toll on me. So, I've decided to lose weight. I'm thinking of using "The Secret" method of thinking thin thoughts and playing lots of Karen Carpenter music. But just in case that doesn't work, expect many cranky posts from me in the near future.

Because up until now, my posts have been life-affirming.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The One Where I Seek Your Advice And Offer Nothing In Return

Today I am breaking a longstanding tradition of giving and giving to you and ask for something in return. Advice.

Mama and papa are friends with a woman whose daughter is a modeling casting director which I guess is different from a modeling agent. The daughter is friends with papa and she told him that if he wanted my kids to model she'd have them placed in what I can only assume is a finger snap gesture.

I found out about this when mama was telling me how papa blamed all of Michael Jackson's problems on his parents forcing him into show business and then he relayed this modeling story and said "never in a million years".

So I started thinking about it and although before I always thought that people who pushed their kids into modeling and/or "acting" were sort of horrific, I wa$ $ort of recon$idering.

I mean, I haven't updated my wardrobe in months. No new purses, no new shoes, nothing.

I discussed it with Husbandrinka and he agrees with me, although he doesn't see the "no new purses, no new shoes" things in the same Greek Tragedy light that I do. Because he has no heart. Or soul. But that's another post.

So I broached the subject with papa and he was horrified. "It'll ruin their childhood," he said.

Apparently, ruining childhood is frowned upon.

"But they could do it part time," I cried. As in tears.

"You can also prostitute part time, still makes you a prostitute."

Yeah, but just a part-time prostitute. You could still do totally good works during the other times.

So, he's opposed.

I could approach this woman myself, but that seems wrong. She's papa's friend! (Although papa doesn't follow the fashion and entertainment press. As was evidenced last weekend when he asked me if I'd been a fan of "Sarah Fawcett".)

I would never do it just blind, going to those cattle calls. Because I get drained easily and that chardonnay isn't going to drink itself, you know.

Disclosures: I haven't asked my kids if they're interested in that, because what kind of a person is "interested" in modeling?

"It's great! You'll...stand there."

"Yay! Stand there!"

Also, because I know that everyone's thinking it, papa's friend's daughter did not suggest that I model as well, but I think she's just taking a hard bargaining stance.

What would you do?

What would Kathy Ireland do?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Michael Jackson's Death Is Tearing Our Family Apart

Michael Jackson's death is tearing our family apart.

My daughter took the news hard. "You know, Michael Jackson died," she told me a few minutes after she saw a breaking news bulletin.
"I know," I said. "Do you know who he is?" Because ten year olds are funny. Like my daughter had no idea who Madonna was. And until she was eight, Jesus.
"No," she said, " but it doesn't put me into the best mood to hear about people dying."
"Oh, honey," I tried to cheer her up, "people die every day."

Meanwhile, although Husbandrinka is one of the few people who truly doesn't give a shit about celebrities, dead or alive, he has been approached by a disproportionate number of people who wanted to share their grief with him. "He was so young," our doorman told Husbandrinka as he was getting the mail.

"I'm really heartbroken," our dry cleaner told him.

"I wanted you to know that I am devastated," a colleague emailed.

I am outraged.

No one said anything to me. Which is surprising because I'm so much more celebrity-friendly and sympathetic. So of course I have celebrity condolence envy because everyone seeks Husbandrinka out for celebrity postmortem talk and no one talks to me about it.

I even made a list of benefits of discussing Michael Jackson's death with me versus Husbandrinka.

Reasons Why It's Good to Discuss Michael Jackson's Death With Me

1. I have been dutifully following the media and can intelligently discuss various aspects of Michael Jackson's life, career and indictments.

2. I am super nice and sympathetic.

3, It's entirely possible that I will blog about your celebrity grief and you will experience blog fame.

4. I have a few theories that I am happy to share at no extra cost at all.

Reasons Why It's Good to Discuss Michael Jackson's Death with Husbandrinka

1. He doesn't care, so he will not interrupt you with his own two cents.

Obviously, I'm the clear choice. Or clearly, I'm the obvious choice. Whatever.

But our marriage is not the only one suffering. Because the other day, mama showed us Time Magazine and said, "this is the only picture of him that I love."

so although this image is obviously from Time Magazine, I got it from And then I couldn't get rid of that crap on the bottom.

And papa said, "that is not a picture. It is a photo." Papa, god love him, does this sometimes. Like the time that he insisted that "kids" were "goats" and that his grandchildren were "children" and not farm animals.
"You can say 'picture'," I reassured him.
"Picture is painted. Photo is a photograph," he put his foot down.

Lest you think that papa is not colloquial, I have fond memories of his trying to teach me a few idiomatic phrases when we first came to America.

"If someone tells you some nonsense, tell them 'Go tell it to the Marines'," he instructed me.

I was ten. And confused.

"Why?" I asked.
"Because that's what Americans do," he explained. "You say go tell it to the Marines and you fit in and have friends."

I nodded, but never followed his advice. Although admittedly, I've been low on friends for years.

One day he called me, alarmed.
"You know, I've been saying 'whole bowl of wax' and now I think it's 'whole bowl of wax'," he told me.
"Those two phrases are exactly the same," I reassured him, leaving out that no one knows what it means.
"No, one is bowl, like Life is a bowl of cherries and the other is bowl like men have two bowls."
Oh. balls.

Who hasn't made that mistake?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Remedial Blog School: So, You Started a Blog!

Welcome to Our First Official Session!

(You may want to refresh yourself with the introductory post, which consists of my referring you to excellent bloggers that discuss the techniques of blogging and other useful tips.)

So, you started a blog--Congratulations.

You have lots of ideas of what you'll write about, a Swiss bank account where you will deposit all your earnings and the smug expression that you will reserve for those who said that you could never do it all practiced in front of the mirror! You're on your way!

What else could you possibly need, you wonder?


What is your blog URL?

You know that http:// at the top of your blog that directs people to your home page. If you're like I was a year ago (i.e. moron) it's something that has absolutely no relationship to the name of your blog.

For example, my blog name is Motherhood in NYC. My URL was The hell? What's the "more"? Why didn't I just go with to start with? All excellent questions. The answer? Because I was young and inexperienced and no one loved me enough to tell me.

Lesson 1: Avoid confusion and pick a URL that is as close as possible to the name of your blog.

Then comes the big question: Should you use your real name or be anonymous?

There are pros and cons for each. I asked my bloggy friends for wisdom and here's what they told me:

Anna Lefler uses her real name because her blog is a way to build a readership for future books and attract the attention of a literary agent.

Kate pointed out that with the exception of Gossip Girl, there are no well known bloggers who are anonymous. (Could this possibly be true?)

Britt wisely warned that the biggest problem with blogging anonymously is that you start believing that you are truly anonymous and the problem with not being anonymous is that is that your dad knows that you have a vagina.

(is it me or is my writing style in attributing the thoughts to the bloggers straight out of junior high school newspaper writer?)

So, it's your call. Just remember that even if you don't share your real name, if you provide enough details about your life, with photographs, people will be able to fill in the blanks. Unless those people are me, of course. We all leave huge gigantic internet footprints, so don't be lulled into thinking that you are truly anonymous.

If you do choose to remain anonymous, think of names that you will call the people that you blog about. Believe it or not, I am still grappling with this and I am not happy about it.

I mean, I am Marinka (duh), which is a nickname that my friend (John) gave me. My husband is Husbandrinka, for obvious reasons. My daughter is "my daughter" and my son is "Young Ladrinka". Some people have commented on the lack of an "inka" for my daughter, but it just doesn't seem right to me.

I know people who've used their children's real names, their middle names, others who used the first initial and who blog-named their children after fictional characters . All of these can work, just make sure to live with your choice for a while before committing to it. Of course you can change it later, but, you know.

Lesson 2: Decide whether you want to be anonymous or not. (Hint: Anonymity is a lot like virginity--it's easier to drop it later than reclaim in. This may be the only way in which anonymity is like virginity, by the way, so when I said that it was "a lot" like virginity, I was using a literary device called "exaggeration". That is part of our the advanced blogging course. You are not ready for it yet). If you decide to become anonymous, pick names for your cast of characters. Consider Marinka2 and Marinka III.

Unless you're writing your blog as a totally personal outlet and everything you put down is top secret, you will want people to read what you write. Anyone who says that they don't care if anyone reads what they write is a huge liar. Because people who don't want to be read, don't put their writing on the internet. They put it on their hard drive or floppy disc or in a notebook or on the walls of their cell.

Believe me, I know how tempting it is to tell everyone you know about your blog, because voila, instant readers! Which leads me to

Lesson 3: Do not tell anyone about your blog.

The big downside to telling people about your blog is that they will read it and then you can never blog about them. Well, you can never blog about them in THAT way.

The other big downside to telling people about your blog is that some of them will not read it and you'll spend a lot of time having thoughts like "what the fuck? Does she think she's too good for my blog? I'm pouring out my heart and she can't be bothered? Great!"
It's a relationship killer and a blog fodder killer. Otherwise, it's fantastic!

I encourage you not to tell people about your blog at first. Blog a bit, get to writing, discover the blogging community and then see if you want your parents, inlaws, co-workers and sex therapists reading your thoughts. Maybe you'll be totally fine with it, but if not, you can't unring that bell.

For me, Husbandrinka knows about the blog, but he's never read it. Just totally uninterested. John knows about the blog, but only reads it occasionally to see what material I've stolen from him and a few friends know about it. I am lucky because my friends have been very supportive of my blogging, but it does make me pause sometimes. There are things that I won't blog about because I know that they are reading. I don't think that my blog has suffered as a result, but who knows what masterpieces I've self-censored?

And it's so much easier to tell them later than to untell them:

Happy Hour Sue: It definitely stifles my language and content. It's so tempting to tell them when you start because you have no readers...but my advice to new bloggers is BE PATIENT - your audience will come.

If you've already told people about your blog and wish that you hadn't, you have two choices: start a different blog, or wait for their computers to crash. Because if they're like my friends, they won't remember your URL and when they ask you for a link again, just send them to me.

Lesson 4: Find blogs that you love. Read them, comment on them, follow the comments that you enjoy on those blogs back to their own blogs and read and comment on those.

There are tons of ways to increase your readership, but the only way that I know how to do it is to find a community of blogs that you enjoy and join it. Leave hypnotic comments and
lure people back to your blog. Be patient. And write fantastic posts.

Oh, the whole fantastic posts thing? That's next week's lesson.

Recommended reading: Before I started blogging, I bought two books, Blogging for Dummies and No one Cares What You Had For Lunch. I read the first book cover to cover and took copious notes (I really hope that "copious" means "few"). The second book, I immediately misplaced, but I believe that I got the gist from the title. So I really recommend the Dummies book for a general overview and how-to.


Monday, July 6, 2009


John got an iPhone last week and our relationship is in deep peril. As is the future of our country.

He keeps forwarding email crap to me and I'm sure that the only reason that he does it is so that the ridiculous legend at the bottom, "sent from my iPhone", can mock me. He knows that I am insanely jealous and yet he seems to be unable to stop himself. I told him to disable it or I'd disable him, but so far he hasn't. Not only that, when I call him, this is how he responds:

"Answered on my iPhone: Hello."
"Fuck you," I say.
"Insult received on my iPhone," he says.

He also told me that his iPhone gave him a handjob, but I totally doubt it.

I'm super intrigued by an application that he told me his boytoy has. It's called Grinder and it has a GPS system shpowing where you are and where other guys who are cruising for a hookup in your area. Like their exact location. So if you're in the Village in NYC, your screen looks like Tokyo at noon. (I'm assuming that Tokyo at noon is very crowded, but I'm not an expert in these things. Of course I could have said midtown Manhattan at noon or Times Square, half an hour before curtain time).

I explain all this to Husbandrinka and hypothesize that if gay marriage were legalized, people wouldn't have to resort to this kind of shit, and Husbandrinka says, "I wonder if they have this for straight people, too."

And I'm sure that he is just asking because if there is one thing that Husbandrinka loves it's equality and he wants to make sure that everything is fair, and it hurts me to have to tell him that they probably don't have it for heterosexuals because then they'd have to specify if they're a boy or a girl and Apple can't really handle such a sophisticated technology, especially now that Steve Jobs is recovering after surgery. I mean, I'd log in, looking for a hookup and find someone conveniently a block away and get all excited, rush to the site, only to see that it's another woman. So then I'd have to either be all sexist and say, "sorry, men only" which is totally rude or become a lesbian which could destroy my family, to say nothing of the moral fiber of our society. I''m sure you see the predicament.

Ok, so I just spoke to John and apparently, Grinder shows a small photo of the person who is hookuping, so potentially you could see if you're meeting a boy or a girl. I don't know how Apple comes up with this stuff, I really don't, but I'm sure that it will be a huge relief to Husbandrinka.

Wait! I am guest blogging at Scary Mommy's today. Please go and read and comment. Because otherwise she'll have me killed. She's scary, you know!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

My stepson's mother passed away this weekend. She has been ill for a while, terminally ill and although we knew that this day would be here, it still transformed me.

I lay awake last night, thinking about her. I remember the first time that I met her. I was so nervous to meet my husband's ex and worried about the little things (is she prettier than I am) and the big things (will there be pettiness between us).

She has always been kind and lovely. And generous and thoughtful and she made things easier not only between me and her son, but for my children as well. She embraced them and she loved them and they are mourning her too.

But today, my heart is with my stepson because I cannot imagine what it is like to lose your mother in your teens. As though being a teenager doesn't suck enough.

If you do the prayer/good thoughts thing--please.
Otherwise, have a glass of pinot grigio and enjoy a beautiful day. Because it's way too fleeting.

xo M

Friday, July 3, 2009

What a Week

Normally I wouldn't post so soon after my last post, but I am leaving for the weekend to an internet-unfriendly place, and Blogger has been unfriendly about posting my scheduled posts. I assume it's because Blogger is in deep mourning about Michael Jackson and Farrah, but who knows, could be latent anti-semitism.

So here I am.

This week has been amazing. Two of my bloggy friends had babies and I actually teared up reading about it. Check out their beautiful babies here and here. Congratulations! And thank you for letting me part of the journey/a beloved aunt.

Three posts made me laugh and laugh and laugh. Sometimes a post just hits the spot and they did for me. Last but not least, see who The Mouthy Housewives awarded our Seal of Approval to this week. It's a must-read.

On the sentimental front, this reminded me of my own father and this was one of the sweetest things I'd read in a while.

So have a great weekend!

I'll be back next week with The Story of My Header, How Michael Jackson's Death is Tearing My Family Apart, Remedial Blog School and more! Vicki suggested that I blog about placenta eating, but I as I keep telling people, this isn't a food blog. Maybe Southern Fairy Tale can take this on?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

If My Twitter Updates Were Protected

So one of life's mysteries to me is when someone on Twitter follows you and you go to check them out and follow them back and it says that their updates are protected and that you have to seek the person's permission to follow them.


So, how does that work exactly?
"OMG, your Twitter ID is so awesome, I must follow you! Please, please let me!"

But of course I'm curious. What are these people Tweeting behind their locked accounts that they don't want the rest of us to see? Do they not get that Tweeting at its best is exhibitionism?

So I came up with a list of things that I would Tweet if I had a protected account:

1. In case I forget, my bank PIN is 83775

2. Just learned secret recipe for Coke. Will tweet later.

3. The following bloggers are huge whores:

4. A lot of lint in my belly button today.

5. I love "Wheel of Fortune".

6. I have a new wrinkle.

7. I bet everyone's wondering what secret things I'm tweeting about!

8. Maybe cover up while you breastfeed?

9. Thank goodness I can tweet about all the great sex I've been having!

10. God, I'm so jealous of Dooce! Why couldn't it have been me? WHY? I felt sad when my kid was born, too! Fuck. Must leave her more loving comments!

11. I'm sorry @mommywantsvodka that I called you a huge whore. I forgot you were one of my followers. I was kidding.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Anne Frank, A Supermodel and Me

A few weeks ago something odd happened. I blame Twitter.

Someone that I follow on Twitter retweeted Kathy Ireland. Quoting Anne Frank. For those of you still communicating via cave etchings, "retweeting" is basically copying and pasting something that the original person tweeted and attributing it to them. In this case, the original person is @KathyIreland, the Sports Illustrated supermodel. @KathyIreland was quoting Anne Frank.

If by now you're thinking that David Letterman was right in that if you have to explain a joke, it's not a good one, you're totally wrong because I am not telling a joke. I am relating something that happened. Like a documentary.

The Twitter message struck me as strange. I mean, it's weird enough to have '80s icons mingling on Twitter with the great unwashed, but throw Anne Frank into the mix and it takes it up a notch.

So I tweeted:

And Kathy Ireland responded:


I called John for back up.

"Is she the one that I like?" he asked.
"Which one do you like?" I asked, still dizzy that an actual MODEL responded to me on Twitter.
"You know, the pretty one."
"Oh, that one."
"Kim Alexis."
"Oh, I like her too!"
"She's my signature favorite model!" John protested. He thinks I co-opt his favorite concepts. Like Creed perfume. And half-caffs at Starbucks. Which I totally do because he has better taste than I do and I'm a follower.
"I'm taking about Kathy Ireland."
"Oh, she's the one with the distinct voice, right?" John asked (note: "distinct" may not be an exact quote).
"I don't think so." (another note: my own voice is so "distinct" that people bring their pets to hear me speak because it causes them to become sterilized.)
"Right," he says. "That was Andie McDowell." And he tells me the story about how Andie McDowell's voice is so annoying, Glenn Close had to dub in for her in Graystoke. Which sort of makes me think, how badly do you want to have Andie McDowell in your movie if you have to have someone else do the voiceover for her? I mean, wouldn't it be easier to get someone else to begin wth? Like Kathy Ireland?

So John's no help and I dig deep for a response:

and she writes back:

which is 14 years longer than I've worked as a model, for those keeping score.

My work? So I'm mentally composing a Pulitzer Prize winning tweet (140 characters or less!) and then I see this:

My profile? In courage?
Let's review my profile, shall we?

* Name MarinkaNYC
* Location NYC
* Web http://nycmomandm...
* Bio Mom in NYC. Emotionally drained. And exhausted. Sometimes tipsy.

Great, she thinks I'm a lush. Fuck. No! This is just part of the mommy blogger uniform, like stilettos, which I totally can't wear. If I didn't drink on top of that, they'd totally throw me out of the club and take my blog from me. And I can't lose my blog, it's all I have. Except for the bottle, of course.

I am mentally composing a response and before I type it out, I see:

Great. The dreaded three dots. I was slightly worried that she was so worried about me that she was going to Demi Moore me.

So I finally respond:

and then went on to explain how I am a mom and work for causes that are close to my heart, like the legalization of gay marriage, although my involvement in that cause has so far been limited to being a fag hag.

And Kathy Ireland was very nice. She actually thanked me for not judging her, which made me feel a little bad because I still, after all that, sort of think that quoting Anne Frank is odd. But Kathy Ireland took the time to talk to me on Twitter, to explain herself, when she did not have to, and it made me feel like she is genuine in her quest.

And in her farewell to me, she suggested that I follow a friend of hers:


Of course.

Don't miss a moment of Twitter fun! Follow me!