From the monthly archives:

November 2011

This morning I was watching the Today Show, my morning guilty pleasure. Which is not to be confused with General Hospital, my afternoon guilty pleasure, and the Bravo network, my evening guilty pleasure.

I was happy to see that Dr. Oz was coming up. I love Dr. Oz. What I love most about him is that he’s not Dr. Phil. Because I can’t stand Dr. Phil. Don’t get me started.

Anyway, Dr. Oz was coming up because he is promoting apple juice with arsenic.

Or something like that.

I was eager for the segment because I’m always trying to find new ways to use arsenic. There’s only so much you can do with old lace, you know.

So it turns out that Dr. Oz came out with a study a few months ago saying that there were elevated levels of arsenic in apple juice and maybe we shouldn’t be pouring it down our children’s throat. And the Juice People responded with a claim that Dr. Oz’s study didn’t differentiate between organic and nonorganic arsenic because apparently only the finest and most organic arsenic is used for the apple juice.

And then Consumer Reports did a study that found that about 10 % of the juice samples had arsenic in levels that exceeded the federal standards of arsenic for water. Oh, and it was the inorganic kind, which is a known carcinogen.

Now there’s all sort of back and forth– like the federal standards for arsenic in water are low because people drink more water than juice. Except children are smaller than adults and I’m not convinced that all children drink more water than juice.

My take away from this was that Young Ladrinka, the only person in our household who drinks apple juice, should drink less and also that all the Mac products in our home should be replaced immediately.

Young Ladrinka is 10. I figured that I could talk to him honestly. This was a big mistake.

Marinka: I just heard a report that apple juice contains arsenic.

Young Larinka: What’s arsenic?

Marinka: It’s a poison.

Young Ladrinka: I’VE BEEN POISONED?

Marinka: Well not yet, but you should drink less apple juice.

Young Ladrinka: LESS apple juice? Why am I drinking apple juice at all?!

Marinka: You can still have some, just mix it with water.

Young Ladrinka: So I will mix poison with water?

And a few minutes later, he remembered something that happened yesterday. He got sick at school and my wonderful Papa came to rescue and picked him up. They stayed at home together and at some point Young Ladrinka picked up a ball. Well, he’ll tell you!

Young Ladrinka: So I pick up a ball just to move it somewhere and D-dude [ed. note: that’s what he calls my Papa] said, put the ball down and just relax. Have some apple juice. I think he was trying to kill me.

Marinka: I don’t think he was trying to kill you.

Young Ladrinka: Why would he want me to drink poison?

Marinka: It’s not exactly poison.

Young Ladrinka: Then you drink it.

Marinka: I don’t want to. I don’t like apple juice.

Young Ladrinka: Because you don’t like poison, mom.

Let me know if you’d like me to talk to your kids. I’m available at reasonable rates.

I’m at The Mouthy Housewives today giving advice about S-e-k-s. Come visit me there!


Of Mice and Me

by Marinka on November 29, 2011

On Thanksgiving day I had a delightful meal at my parents’ dacha and then retired to my bed to await rigor mortis. Before it had a chance to set in, however, I drifted off to sleep in order to dream of a better world.

Imagine my alarm when a few hours later I heard a lot of commotion in my room.

It’s pitch black at night at the dacha, there are no streetlights, so I could not see a thing. As so often happens when one loses a sense, the others became more intense. I had developed bionic ears. Every sound was amplified. I heard loud thrashing.

I listened for a moment, trying to decide whether to turn the light on or not. Apparently I am pro-light, because I clicked it on and I saw something that I will never forget.

Nicki was sitting on my bed. And next to her was a dead mouse. Not in the best of health. Rigor Mortisized.
Needless to say, I almost passed out.

Then I went to find Husbandrinka. He was reading in the living room, still occupying that happy space where he didn’t know that there was a dead mouse on our bed.

“There’s a dead mouse on our bed,” I told him.

“What are you talking about?” he asked in a not very friendly way. I never know how to respond to questions like that. Is I’m talking about the dead mouse on our bed a response that experts in marital bliss frown upon?

“Nicki killed a mouse,” I told him. Because I didn’t want him to think that I was on some kind of a post-holiday meal murderous rampage.

“And where is the mouse?”

“Our bed, your side,” I reported. I stuck to the facts, just as they taught us at the Police Academy. Before Charlie took me away from all that. And now I work for him.

“I really wish you hadn’t told me that,” Husbandrinka said and went back to his book. Probably a manual on How To Ignore Your Wife In Her Time Of Crisis. Which he had written.

So I went and did what I should have done right away.

“Mama,” I stood at the foot of my mother’s bed, “wake up!”

After a few pokes, she woke up and I told her the news.

“Cats kill mice,” she said. “This is normal.”

I readily agreed that this was indeed normal, and as luck had it I wasn’t there because I was worried about Nicki’s developmental issues, but because I wanted to sleep without a dead mouse on my bed if at all possible.

“So throw it out,” she said, apparently not sensing the emergency and also pretending like she has never met me before.

“I thought maybe you could throw it out,” I suggested. I read that older people like to feel needed and useful, so I was just doing my part, really.

Mama got up. She looked unhappy. I don’t understand why people always seem so put out when you wake them up. Shouldn’t they be celebrating that they’re able to wake up? I bet the mouse on my bed would be delighted to wake up. Which, incidentally, is exactly why I was hesitant to touch it. I’ve been watching soap operas for long enough to know that coming back from the dead is pretty common these days. And the last thing that I need is a rodent resurrection.

Mama went to get some tongs and threw the mouse into a plastic bag. “Good girl, Nicki,” she told Nicki. Nicki looked sad. Like her baby was just taken away from her by an evil Lifetime television for women movie nurse.

“Do..Do you think she killed the mouse?” I asked, gesturing towards Nicki with my eyes. I wasn’t going to make any sudden movements and become her next victim.

“What, you think mouse look at Nicki and has heart attack?” Mama laughed at me.

“I didn’t see any blood,” I defended my perfectly reasonable question.

“What blood? Nicki didn’t stab mouse. No blood.”

After Mama threw out the mouse and I turned off the light, I tried to get back to sleep.

“Do you think she is going to kill more mice and put them in our bed?” I asked Husbandrinka.

“You’re the one who wanted her to kill mice,” he pointed out. A little too accusatorily, if you ask me.
Which is true. Because two summers ago Nicki was what I lovingly refer to as mousing impaired. Like a mouse would run across the room holding a piece of cat nip and Nicki would fall asleep looking at it.
So yes, I did want Nicki to be a mouser. But I wanted her to kill the mice and pile them up in a corner somewhere. Preferably somewhere where I didn’t have to be or see or hear.

Her own private killing field.

Is that too much to ask for?!

(Read Nicki’s account here.)



November 27, 2011

Mama and I have been thinking. “We need to take care of ourselves,” we say. “We need to lessen the stress in our lives,” we agree with each other. “Yes, we need to take care of ourselves because Lord knows no one is going to do it for us. We are tired of putting everyone […]

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November 24, 2011

This is how it would work in the former Soviet Union, where I spent the first part of my childhood. You’d be walking along with your grownup, your mother or father or grandmother or grandfather, and suddenly there would be a line of people snaking up ahead. And this was good. Your mother or father […]

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I’ve been quieter than usual

November 22, 2011

I’ve been quieter than usual on this blog because I’ve been thinking. I’ve been thinking about how my daughter is going through the high school application process and how I’m worried that it will kill me because she is smart and sensitive and funny and lovely, but she is a thinker. And how bizarre it […]

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November 22, 2011

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably think you know something about my Husbandrinka and me. He’s the straight man, I’m the floozy. He’s the rational one, I’m impulsive. He’s the brains, I’m the looks. Well, you’ve been duped. Because of my incredible talent, I’ve portrayed us not as we really […]

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November 19, 2011

Make plans to meet friends in Sedona for a long weekend of fun, friendship and relaxation. Arrive in Sedona. Reunite with friends. Talk. Laugh. Cry. Laugh. Eat, Pray, Love. Go on a hike with friends. Look around in disbelief. The mountains are red. The mountains look fake, like a movie set. Decide that everyone should […]

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More Birthdays

November 16, 2011

About two years ago, after enjoying perfect vision my entire life, I needed glasses. Obviously I took it as an opportunity for a “WHY ME, GOD?!” moment, but my ophthalmologist stopped me short. “Getting glasses is a privilege of getting older,” she said. I think about from time to time. Last weekend, a bunch of […]

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