From the monthly archives:

March 2013


by Marinka on March 30, 2013

The other night I was nestled in bed like a snug bug in the rug, or some other insect facing imminent extermination, about to drift off to sleep, when suddenly I had a thought. This in and of itself was not remarkable, as I often have thoughts, and the ones before visiting slumberland tend to range from “I wonder if I have an undiagnosed and incurable disease” to “I hope that North Korea putting Austin on the To Attack List isn’t giving Austin NYC-type delusions of grandeur.”

But that particular evening, I had a different thought.

See, after spending time working on my masterpiece I wondered why I never bothered to look up Lenny from Leningrad on Facebook. In case you hadn’t yet hacked into my computer to read a draft of From Russia With Baggage (working title), from the age of zero to 9, when my parents and I left the Soviet Union, Lenny was my boyfriend. That was in 1975. Or 1976, I’m not great with dates.

I liked Lenny because he did everything I asked him and also because he looked like a prepubescent Omar Sharif. And we were best friends. But then my parents became obsessed with immigrating, and freedom and having enough food to eat, and there was no stopping them. We immigrated to America and my friendship with Lenny ended.

I never heard from him again.

Well, he may have written to me a few (dozen) times, but at that point I was busy living in Italy and then in New York City and learning English and finding out that I was Jewish and a lifelong sinner, what with not eating Kosher food and all that. So I had things going on and writing Letters to Lenny in Leningrad didn’t fit into my life plan. The point is that I didn’t write back and just because I didn’t write back, Lenny stopped writing to me. If that’s his attitude, then it’s just as well that I left the Soviet Union and him.

Later, I learned that Lenny married someone else and had children with her. Maybe even a puppy.


Apparently our nine years together meant nothing to him.

So I was in bed, snug as a bug, and suddenly I thought “how come I never tried to find Lenny from Leningrad on Facebook?” and because all ideas that come late at night are good ones, I reached for my phone and proceeding to the Facebook app, typed in his name.

It popped up immediately, albeit in Russian.

I was intrigued.

And sleepy. And then I pressed on his name, expecting to see photos of a post-pubescent Omar Sharif and some laments about “Marinka who got away!” but instead I got a notification from Facebook that “Friendship request has been sent.”


I was not sure that this is what I wanted. After all, it’s been more than three decades of being out of contact, so I imagined a reunion, even a virtual one at that, to be more ceremonial.

I started clicking every fucking button on the page in the hope of turning back time and undoing my friendship request, but it didn’t seem to work. I may have, however, marked my friendship request “Urgent” and also sent a friendship request to his wife.

I panicked. I sat up in bed, no longer snug as a bug in a rug.

“What the fuck?!” I asked my iPhone. But it remained silent, mocking me.

I looked at the screen again and saw a button to cancel the friendship request. Apparently that’s a thing now.

But I didn’t know if I pressed it whether Lenny would see that I both requested to be friends and then canceled it or what the situation would be. It was too much for me, so I just lay down and hoped to die in my sleep.

Hours later, I woke up, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, like a rabid squirrel.

And I checked my phone.

Lenny had accepted my friendship request.

Although he has yet to write anything on my wall.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to forgive him for not sending me a Friend request first.


Sleepless in Florida

by Marinka on March 27, 2013

I am on spring break in Florida!

It is very palm-treey and baseball-y and warm and nice.

I haven’t slept more than a few hours at a stretch and am completely exhausted.

There are two reasons for this.

First, I’ve spent 99% of my life living in apartment buildings, so sleeping in a house, where anyone can just come in and murder is unbelievably stressful. And because I don’t want to be surprise-murdered, I keep waking up every few hours to take my vital signs to make sure I’m still among the living. Last night I was trying to relax with a novel before bed but unfortunately one of the characters decided to recount the Sharon Tate murder, for NO APPARENT REASON. Seriously, it had no real point in the book, he just mentioned it in passing, perhaps as a foreshadowing for my own story.

I’m also under tremendous stress because the house we rented is home to an unfortunate spoon situation.

The soup spoons are super huge and the teaspoons are super tiny.  Here, I took a picture:


Apparently I’d also like you to admire my coin collection. I’m worried that the soup spoon doesn’t look freakishly huge and the teaspoon doesn’t appear unnaturally tiny, but let me reassure you, they are. Just remember that the camera adds at least 15 lbs. and probably subtracts a few ounces from the tiny teaspoon.

Here’s the back view.


It’s really hard to relax on vacation with that kind of flatware crisis. A sub-crisis is that I don’t understand why “teaspoon” is one word and “soup spoon” is two words. A secondary sub-crisis is that “soup spoon” is actually one word and a tertiary sub-crisis is that I’ve never seen the word “soupspoon” or “soup spoon” written or spoken and it’s really beyond me why this hasn’t been addressed on a national level.

I’m worried I’ll never sleep again.

Wish you were here!


STFU Parents Book Giveaway!

March 25, 2013

I’m on vacation, in beautifulsunnyFloridadearlordhelpmeplease, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a beautiful book giveaway whilst I’m away.  And by beautiful book I mean the new and hilarious STFU Parents by Blair Koenig.  If you’ve heard of the Internet, you probably know of the STFU Parents site, but still, when my copy of […]

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March 21, 2013

Today is Thursday and my son and husband are in sunny Florida and my daughter and I are in snowy New York City. I am  starting to suspect that I am doing marriage wrong. But the good news is that we will all be going to Florida this weekend, so it’s not like we’re going […]

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I’m Right, You’re Wrong: Execution

March 20, 2013

Last week, Husbandrinka and I had a romantic dinner out, just the two of us (and the other people in the restaurant, it wasn’t one of those romantic gestures where he bought out the entire restaurant and led me into it, mostly because I suspect  that’s less romantic and more creepfest). But we were having […]

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The Pope is no Longer Polish

March 16, 2013

There are expressions that have never made sense to me. For example, when someone says “it’s all downhill from here!” is that supposed to be good news or bad? Because as a reluctant skier, I happen to think that going downhill is pretty good, especially if you snow plow the whole way down and there’s […]

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March 13, 2013

First of all, thank you all for your support and wisdom on my last post. Your words really helped me, and the gifts (that I assume are on their way) won’t hurt either. I am very thankful for everyone who reads what I write and is able to relate, respond and encourage me. My favorite […]

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March 11, 2013

I knew that it was inevitable, but I didn’t think it would happen in a room full of people. Yesterday afternoon I attended my first rehearsal for Listen to Your Mother and to start we had to go around the room and introduce ourselves. Whenever I hear anything along the lines of “let’s go around […]

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