From the monthly archives:

April 2012

Week in Reviewish

by Marinka on April 28, 2012

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I’ve had a really busy week and I am exhausted.

I went to the Erma Bombeck Writing Worskshop in Dayton (the Asheville of Ohio, which in turn is the Paris of North Carolina) and I’m still enjoying the dividends of that.

Maybe it’s the whole being surrounded by so  many humor writers, or being with dear friends, or listening to people like Alan Zweibel tell about getting a job as a writer for Saturday Night Live and  Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Connie Schultz tell about the moment that she found out that she won a Pulitzer  (her Senator husband cried) and was trash talked at her local Target, or attending sessions run by Kyran Pittman and Anna Lefler and Karen Walrond  and Tracy Beckerman and getting more takeaway from each of them than I think I have in any other one-hour period of my life, to the extent that I started applying the things that they taught me on Monday morning, 6:30 am and  have not stopped.

Granted, it’s only been a week.

But it’s been a great week despite the fact that I was so busy with my other, non-writing life and that Young Ladrinka is now sick and is camped out on the couch and Husbandrinka is saying things like “I really hope that I don’t catch whatever he has because I don’t like being sick.”  Please write that down. Husbandrinka does not like to be sick.  This is what makes him different from the rest of the world.

I’ve been reading a lot too.

I’ve been reading Crispin, because Young Ladrinka is reading it in school and the teachers and I have decided that it’s better if I read along so that I can encourage him to push his thinking beyond his comfort point on the text. Unfortunately for everyone, my thinking comfort point seems to be at a relatively low threshold as I’m mostly grateful that I’m no longer in school and don’t have to read stuff I don’t want to.

I read Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Can Be  Normal a memoir about growing up with a lunatic religious zealot mother. I disliked it immensely, even though I know and accept that Jeanette Winterson is a literary genius.

Then I read The Sometimes Daughter  by Sherri Wood Emmons and what a surprise that was.  I can’t remember how I came upon this book, but I liked the cover on Amazon, which makes a lot of sense since I read it on my Kindle.  I expected a light read about a mom who has a baby at Woodstock and it was lightish, but I cried while reading it twice, first because there were elements of high school like that resonated so much for me, and then because there was a part about being a stepmother that I loved.  It’s not the kind of book that I usually read, but I enjoyed it immensely and I loved that it reminded me that my literary tastes are not so fixed that I can’t find joy in the unexpected.

And  that sometimes it’s really important to  judge a book by its cover.

I also wrote for Babble.  I’m so grateful for an opportunity to do a different type of writing, to think out loud about parenting choices and struggles, humorless as that can be.

This week I wrote about what it feels like to come home to my family after being away, a round up of some of the best books that bloggers read over spring (break), manners I wish all parents would teach their kids before they came over for dinner at my house (and not just so that they could teach my kids.  Although, yes, that too), whether parents should be ok with letting their children fail, instead of doing everything we can to prevent it and inspired by Young Ladrinka’s reference to Carnegie Hall as Carnegie Hell, I wondered whether exposing children to the arts is Culture or Torture.

And finally, I have something to tell you.

I was going to write a whole post about it, but someone at Erma Bombeck said that the worst thing that can happen to a humor writer is to have something funny happen to them and I’m finding this to be the case.  Because a few weeks ago, I was on the subway with Young Ladrinka and a woman approached me handing out pamphlets for life insurance and as she handed me one she said “ma’am, for your grandson, oh, I mean, son?”

This woman, who was about my age or maybe a few months younger thought that my 10 year old son was my grandson. And I have to live with it.

Have a lovely weekend, if at all possible. Knowing that I look like I’m someone’s grandmother.


Nipple Confusion

by Marinka on April 26, 2012

When I was a freshman in college, one of the women on my floor (she was the same age as I was, but I went to an all women’s college and as budding feminists we referred to ourselves as women on good days, or wymyn on less good days) told me that she detested the sound of the word nipple.  I was half “right on!” and half “what the fuck?” because it’s not like we were discussing nipples or about to breastfeed or go pasties shopping or anything like that.

But she thought it was important that I knew that and I just thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t have any word aversions that I felt compelled to force on people.

Hold that story in a special place, if you will.

* * *

I bought a new dress this week.  It’s blue and has a white paisley design. Or maybe it’s white and has a blue paisley design– I avoided looking at it too closely because it gave me a mild case of vertigo.


Not Me.

I liked the dress but couldn’t shake the feeling that it was making me look a little..what’s the word? Upholstered.  So I modeled it for Mama, which is really an Extreme Sport.

Mama liked it. “It’s nice,” she said, but added lovingly,  “you need new bra. Your bra takes your sosok at level of your elbow and your sosok should be at the level of your bicep.”

Ok, two things.

I can’t believe that the Russian word for nipple is sosok which, both loosely and literally translated, means That Thing You Suck.


And second of all, my nipple is totally aligned with my bicep, or at least that area where a bicep should be.

This is why no one should wear any clothes, ever.


Image source



April 24, 2012

Since no one has ever asked me, I think it’s only fair to tell you about my writing process.  Ready? Sit at computer. Open Word. Panic because I can’t find “Open New Document” in Word. Realize that the reason that I can’t find “Open New Document” in Word is because it’s called “New Blank Document.” […]

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So You Think You Can Add

April 22, 2012

I have bad news. The list of things that I can do is getting smaller and shorter. Like the other day I was looking at my 13 year old daughter’s Facebook page and saw that she took some kind of an online math quiz and posted her answer: And I got really annoyed. Because math […]

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Contact Sports

April 17, 2012

You may know this, but I have  recently become a baseball superfan.  I am a superfan because my son is a superfan and I refuse to be a regular type of fan.  I even went to a game with him.  And I watch him play.  Because, as previously explained, I am superfan. And one of […]

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April 16, 2012

I was really surprised by the comments on this post urging me never to let my 10 year old son touch my laptop. And so was he. As a matter of fact, when I mentioned it to him, he took matters into his own hands and wrote a response. (And when I say matters, I […]

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I Don’t Have a Camera (And Other Updates from This Week)

April 13, 2012

And that’s ok. But my phone is a BlackBerry and it takes terrible photos, so more often than not I just don’t bother. But last  Saturday I had a day that I will never forget. It was a day that I knew I’d treasure forever as it was happening and I couldn’t believe that it […]

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Bible Studies

April 11, 2012

Young Ladrinka:  Mom, what do you think? Is God Jesus’ dad or is Joseph? Marinka: God, I guess. Young Ladrinka: So Joseph is like his step-father? Marinka: No, more like- Young Ladrinka: Is Jesus adopted? Marinka: Well, not really- Young Ladrinka: But if God is his father and Joseph raised him, doesn’t that mean he’s […]

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