From the monthly archives:

July 2009

Lunch lady

by Marinka on July 31, 2009

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.


Russians are Delicious!

by Marinka on July 29, 2009

Amy has a question and needless 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.


Remedial Blog School is on Break

July 28, 2009

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 […]

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A Good Night Prayer

July 26, 2009

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 […]

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I’m Getting on a Plane!

July 22, 2009

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 […]

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Friends in High Places

July 21, 2009

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 […]

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Remedial Blog School: Your Questions Lovingly Answered

July 20, 2009

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, […]

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Fear of Dying

July 19, 2009

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 […]

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