From the monthly archives:

February 2014


by Marinka on February 27, 2014

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I can’t put my finger on it, I have a lot of stuff going on, stress, life. But the other thing is that if I wake up early, in addition to thinking “I should really get back to sleep,” I also think “I CAN WATCH EXTRA TV!”

Because when I was growing up, I didn’t have a TV in my room, not even after we fled the evil Communists and settled in cozy Reaganesque America. Even then, Mama and Papa had a bit of the Big Brother outlook towards TV and restricted my access. It’s amazing I survived at all.

So now when I wake up early, I look through the saved shows on the DVR. Sometimes I’ll go with a Friends or the New Adventures of Old Christine episode, both perfect shows, IMO, but there are other mornings when I’ll select a Law & Order. SVU is by far my favorite, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them all at this point, twice, so I’ll often choose a plain Law & Order. And that’s what I did last Sunday when I woke up at an Ungodly Hour.

It was an episode that started off with great promise- two divorce attorneys married to each other were murdered in their bed– but then things quickly unraveled and we learned that they were murdered because they were investigating a child slave ring. The way this particular child slave ring worked (in case there are different options out there) is that NYC couples would “adopt” children from Haiti and then basically give them “chores” from morning to night.

I hate when the plot involves children and children getting hurt mostly because I have a huge heart that bleeds for human pain and suffering, even when it’s fictional, but also because I can’t stand child actors. Not everyone is Shirley Temple, you know. But whatever, I am really anti-slavery, so I watched. And then it happened.

There’s a scene where the cops burst in and go to the basement and see a small child ironing sheets. That’s right. Ironing sheets.

And it hit me.

Maybe the reason that I don’t sleep well is that I’m sleeping on wrinkled sheets. I mean, I just wash them, dry them, and quasi-fold them. I know there are videos and tutorials and PhD programs about how to fold a fitted sheet, but I’m someone who gives exactly zero fucks about that. So my sheets are always wrinkled, much like a wild animal’s. (Full disclosure: I also have leopard print sheets, so it’s that much closer to a wild animal.)

Anyway, I am sort of obsessed with having ironed sheets now. I am looking into non-slave options for that, but all my friends that I’ve spoken to live with wrinkled sheets too. Of course I met them all at the local chapter of Insomniacs Anonymous, so it’s not very surprising.


Good News and Also Bad

by Marinka on February 23, 2014

Look, you can have the greatest friends, the best support system in the world, but there will be times in your life that you will realize that you are completely and utterly alone.

I had that realization over the weekend, after Mama called me to tell me about her newly adopted cat.

“Does he even have a name yet?” I asked. She had considered Snorring, but now was toying with Alyosha, in honor of Alyosha Karamazov, the hero in The Brothers Karamazov. But then the cat killed a mouse and Mama decided that she should name him Raskolnikov after the murderer in Crime and Punishment. I assumed that it would just be a matter of time before the cat did something Mama didn’t approve of and would be named after the title character in The Idiot, since apparently this cat is destined to have a Dostoyevsky tie-in.

“Not yet,” Mama told me. “These things take time.”

“Well, my kids don’t understand what’s taking so long,” I said. It’s true that I didn’t understand either, but I attributed the questioning to the kids because they are more adorable than I am and Mama is much less likely to disinherit them and even if she does, that’s their problem.

“Tell them that we didn’t name you for months,” she instructed. “So a week is not a long time.”

Obviously Mama was immune to intergenerational naming-pressure, having other things on her mind.

“He is incredible cat,” she told me. “You should see him in the litter box.”

“I should?” I asked.

“Yes. If you ever need to dig a flowerbed or a grave, he can do it. He digs in that box for hours.”

“Maybe he has some kind of a scatological obsession,” I offered, thinking that Scat had a nice ring to it.

“No, he just likes to do good job,” Mama explained, “Also, he is affectionate. He is most affectionate cat I ever had. The other cats we had were almost like animals.”

I sat with that tidbit for a second, but just a second, because then Mama dropped a bomb.

“He may be a sex addict or a rapist,” she lowered her voice.

“Oh?” I asked, thinking desperately of ways to stop this runaway train.

“Last night he grabbed the blanket with his teeth and started humping it.”

“Is that…how sex works?” I asked. What do I know, maybe they changed things in the past few months.

“Haven’t you ever seen cats having sex?” she asked, as though cat sex had been part of the Core Curriculum.

“I haven’t,” I confessed. Cat porn is one of those things that I keep trying to get to, but there are just not enough hours in the day.

“Well,” Mama felt the thrill of having a live one on the line. “If you think that the boy cat lays the girl cat on her back and then gets on top of her in -what you call that?”

“Missionary position,” I said, teeth clenched.

“Yes, missionary. Cats don’t do it missionary position, they do it from the back, perversionary position. Is that how it is called in this country?”

“Mama, please-” my voice was weak and yet evocative of the scars I would bear.

“You know, sex from back– doggy style, right?”

“Mama, I beg you, stop talking about cats having sex doggy-style.”

“So sensitive,” Mama scoffed. “I thought you were a feminist.”

“Yes,” I mumbled, “very feminist.” Although I would have happily given up the right to vote just to have avoided this particular discussion.

Eventually Mama had to get off the phone. NoNameKa was doing something adorable or perverted and she had to tend to him.

And I was left all alone. With my thoughts that could not stop conjuring images of cat doggy-style sex.

I’m not sure those particular lambs will ever stop screaming.


A Name

February 20, 2014

I planned to spend Presidents Day figuring out once and for all if it’s President’s or Presidents’ or Presidents Day and also watching Scandal, because I’m a patriot. But shortly into my plan, Mama called. “We are going to adopt a cat,” she told me. Their Sly died over the summer. “Stay near the phone […]

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Helter Skelter

February 17, 2014

My son was unloading the dishwasher, under protest and duress, obviously. “Hey, can you sort the silverware more carefully,” I reminded him as he threw the forks and spoons around. “Not so Helter Skelter.” “What’s Helter Skelter?” he asked. “You know…Charles Manson..was listening to the Beatles Song? While he murdered people, I think.” “So I […]

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Better Red Than Not Talking About Heart Disease

February 13, 2014

Today is your lucky day, because today you get two posts for the price of one. First, I will tell you about a situation with my kids. And then, I will probably save your life. *** This week I received a gift. Actually it was a many gifts, and it arrived from Tieks, the people […]

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I’m Right, You’re Wrong: Coffee

February 11, 2014

You know how this works, right? Come on, we just had one this month. Can you at least pretend you’re paying attention? Ok, so I’m Right You’re Wrong is a semi-regular feature here where I try to settle a loving dispute I’m having with a loved one, OR THE WORLD AT LARGE, by presenting the […]

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Things I Learned

February 6, 2014

Last year I learned something so shocking that it has taken me up until now to discuss it with you. I learned that literally now also means figuratively. And not just according to people who don’t understand how language works and have been using it incorrectly for years. No. According to the dictionary. This makes […]

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Exciting Business Opportunity!

February 3, 2014

A few weeks ago I had a brilliant idea. It shone so bright that I had little choice but to accept the fact that it was inspired by nothing less than genius. I decided to share it with Mama and Papa and Russian Aunt, Mama’s sister, who is visiting from Russia for a few months. […]

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