From the monthly archives:

February 2009

The Grandpa Chronicles

by Marinka on February 28, 2009

You know how every once in a while I decide to do a Weekly Feature? Past Weekly Features included Porn Sunday and Mortification Monday. Well, now I’m adding The Grandpa Chronicles, where I will regale of you with stories about my grandfather. He is the grandparent that I’d spent the most time with, both as a child in the Soviet Union and in NY, as an adult. Mostly because he was the only grandparent that lived in New York because my other grandparents were dead at the time and I am not Shirley McLaine. My grandfather died several years ago, and recently I’ve been thinking about him and wondering how to best exploit him for this blog. What? We all mourn in different ways.

When my grandfather came over from the Soviet Union in the mid-1990s, he settled into a community of Russian immigrants in New York. Visiting him was like visiting the former Soviet Union, if the former Soviet Union consisted of 70something bachelor and bachelorettes whose favorite pastime seemed to be finding some inequity in this so called land of freedom and opportunity and then commenting that “not even under Stalin were things this bad.” The abuses that these brave souls endured in this home of the free and land of the brave included the local A&P running out of advertised specials and the synogogue’s Senior lunch serving inadequate portions. No one was spared their wrath, I often thought that people working with refugees in labor camps could get their training among my grandfather’s group.
“I don’t understand,” my grandfather would lay out his notes in front of me. “I have all the documentation right here, and yet my lawyer is asking for something more.” He was in the midst of applying for his U.S. citizenship and although the “something more” required making a photocopy of some nonsense, he stood on principle that it wasn’t necessary because according to his wizened interpretation of the law, the file was complete. I was certain that his lawyer was in the process of making a noose for himself after dealing with my grandfather and I wondered who to contact to put him on suicide watch. Lest you think that my grandfather didn’t want to comply with the additional copying requirement out of laziness let me disabuse you of that notion. Because the way that my grandfather decided to get aropund this copying nonsense was to enlist Clinton’s assistance. You know, Bill Clinton.
“I need you to send a fax for me,” he told me one day when he came over. “I wrote it out in Russian, so you;ll need to translate, although some of the more meaningful parts I wrote in English myself,” he looked at me, implying that my grasp of English could be trusted with stock phrases but not eloquent appeals to the soul.
The gist of the letter was that my grandfather understood the unfortunate meddlings of the legal system into “man’s private business” all too well, so he and Bill had a lot in common in that regard. Because of this kinship, my grandfather implored the President to intercede on his behalf with his attorney and regretted to inform him that the INS would probably have to be involved as well, He thanked him in advance and reminded him that he was a proud member of the Soviet army in World War II and therefore a hero.
I have to remind you that at that time, normal people didn’t have fax machines, so I had to go to my local stationary store to fax this. the reason that I didn’t just toss it and pretend I sent it (i.e. lie) was because I knew that there would be follow up letters to the President with this letter as exhibit A of a million and I was worried about my mental capaity to keep so much shit straight. Clearly Madoff never sought me out as an assistant.

Clinton responded with a family photograph of himself, Hillary and Chelsea.
“What is this?” my grandfather asked. He held the photo away from him with disdain as though it were Monica’s sperm enriched dress.
His correspondence with the President proved to be unsatisfactory and became a stanza in the “not even in the former Soviet Union” tirade. Because apparently in the former Soviet Union he and Stalin were penpals.

Next week on The Grandpa Chronicles: Grandpa Gets Married.


I’ve Had Enough of You! Good bye!

by Marinka on February 27, 2009

There are some things that I don’t do well and one of them ending a phone conversation smoothly. I don’t transition well. When I get tired of speaking on the phone, I say “Ok, good bye” which I thought was perfectly appropriate, until a college friend pointed out that it was really sudden and I didn’t give adequate warning.
What does that mean? Should I be starting every phone conversation with a “I don’t want to alarm you, but I will be ending this conversation at some point, so please do not get too attached”?
Recently John and I were on the phone and when I tried to get rid of him with a “well, I better get going,” he became enraged.
“I am the man,” he told me. “I will decide when this conversation is over.” So we talked about that for a while, and about which one of us is the more masculine, all things considered and then he said something like, “ok, you’re draining me,” and hung up.
One of the magazines I read said that a good way to end a phone conversation is “I’m sorry that I have to let you go.”  I think that sounds like you’re struggling with mental illness, and not winning.
So, if you have any tips  on ending the phone conversation smoothly, please share.
Ok, I’m bored now. 

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Things You Should Probably Discuss

February 26, 2009

This is the problem, as I see it. When people are dating, they are so focused on the “getting to know each other” crap and the “falling in love” nonsense that they completely lose sight of what is important. And that is if the two of them decide to have children, theyhave to make sure […]

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If My Family Read My Blog

February 25, 2009

Sorry that I haven’t blogged for the past few weeks, but I’ve been up to my neck with kid responsibilities and housekeeping chores. I’m pooped! Pooped but proud. Whoever said that parenthood wasn’t easy work, sure said a mouthful right there! And motherhood is not for the weak of heart. AMEN! Thanks, mom for not […]

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Pork: A Cautionary Tale

February 24, 2009

So I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I’m considering becoming a born again televangelist, but Jewish. Because God spoke to me very clearly recently and reminded me that the laws of kashrut (you know, only eat cud chewing animals with split hooves) exist for a reason and the reason is that my life will […]

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Lazy like a fox, or whoever it is that’s really lazy

February 22, 2009

Mortification Monday will return next. When I am feeling less lazy. A few years ago my daughter was studying Native American history and decided to come up with Indian names for all of us. Mine was something like Runs Like The Wind. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I was going to […]

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25 Random Things (times 9)! About Our Cat Nicki

February 21, 2009

(with apologies to the always hysterical–as in funny, not that she has a Wondering Womb, Wendi.) 1. Her shelter name was “Kendra”.2. Is that the same as her birth name or what? I mean, how do they know that’s her name?3. You know how when we first got her I said that she was a […]

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Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

February 20, 2009

You know how sometimes you’ll get an email and it’ll have that “Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device” thing on the bottom. What is that for, exactly? I think it’s there to make everyone who does not have a Blackberry feel bad about their lives. Like me. Like should my email say “sent from a […]

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