From the category archives:



by Marinka on March 23, 2014

The other day I was sure that I was having a heart attack. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, what with monitoring all the Breaking News from CNN about the missing plane and trying to piece my life together now that The Bachelor is over for the season, and then one day, I started getting chest tightness. This is before I got my new and improved bras, so we can’t blame them for this.

Immediately I called medical professional Papa.

“I think I’m having a heart attack,” I reported.

Papa was obviously alarmed. “Do you like herring?” he asked. “I know you did when you were a little girl, but now I’m not sure. I never see you eating herring anymore.”

“Well, I do,” I said. “I prefer it cut up in chunks and in sour cream sauce.” I got a little hungry just thinking about it.

“I don’t like sour cream sauce,” Papa told me. “I like the wine sauce.”

“I don’t know what to tell you,” I didn’t know what to tell him. “Sour cream is more delicious.” And now I’m wondering why deliciouser isn’t a word and Obamacare is. This is exactly why people join the Tea Party.

“Sour cream clogs arteries,” Papa said, which reminded me about the purpose of my call.

“Right,” I said. “So, I think I’m having a heart attack.”

“This is not a new thought for you,” Papa remarked. He was sort of right, but in my defense, I was still celebrating Heart Disease Awareness Month.

After a while Papa convinced me that I wasn’t having a heart attack, and I marked this good news with some Haagen Dazs. But I was still concerned. After all, I’m still young and unbelievably stunning and if I can do anything to address heart disease, don’t I owe it to everyone to do so? Wendi is the only person who has login information to this blog, and how many of her hysterical posts could you read if the Unthinkable happened before you felt unbelievable guilt and remorse at laughing despite my untimely demise? You’d tell yourself “Marinka would want us to laugh and be happy” but let me tell you right here and now, I wouldn’t. I really wouldn’t. I’d want you to mourn and berate yourself for all the times you didn’t “Like” one of my posts, didn’t leave a comment, didn’t retweet, didn’t click on an Amazon Affiliate link. And you can see how that’s not fair to you. No, I simply have to keep living. So you can laugh.

I made an appointment with my doctor, who, incidentally, seems to be the same age as my 15 year old daughter. I’d make a Doogie Howser joke if I had the energy, absolutely.

I explained the situation to her and she took notes.

“Can you describe the pain you felt?” she asked and I nodded eagerly.

“I can. Do you want me to start or shall we get some sort of a pain sketch artist in here?” I asked.

Apparently, she was going to fly solo and I used my words.

“Look,” she said, when I finished the Dramatic Retelling of the Pain I Felt, and I was all eyes. “It’s probably nothing but because you have family history of heart disease, why don’t we-”

(And this is where I fast forward through doing an EKG (normal) and then suggesting that we do a stress test, which I readily agreed to, because stress is something of which I have plenty. She also told me to avoid rigorous exercise until we have the test results, and I readily agreed. As a matter of fact, I was a bit ahead of her, since I had been avoiding rigorous and all other kinds of exercise for years, in preparation.)

The morning of the stress test I was prepared. I knew, from reading the instructions at the time I made the appointment, that I had to be alcohol and nicotine-free for 24 hours before the test, which obviously went against my Marlboro Woman image, but anything for science. As I was getting ready, finishing my breakfast and having that last sip of life-affirming coffee, I reviewed the prep sheet I was given. “Do not eat or drink anything at least three hours before the test,” it read. And also, “wear loose clothing.”

Huh, I thought. Huh. On the one hand, the news was good, because I had plenty of slutty clothes that I could wear. On the other hand, the instructions were decidedly ridiculous. Wasn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day, after all? Why were they encouraging me to skip it? I filed it under Bullshit That Doesn’t Make Sense and went to my appointment.

“Good morning,” I good morninged the receptionist. “I am here for a stress test.”

“Great,” she said and then asked for some personal information, such as name, both first and last. That’s when I broken the news of my Last Breakfast to her.

“Oh, it’s fine,” she said. “You’re young, but generally they want people to have an empty stomach in case you have a heart attack and they need to take you to the hospital.”

This was a fine bit of information that I could have done without.

“I’d like the non-heart attack stress test,” I clarified. I was happy to have gotten that out of the way, but she was shaking her head. What? Was I supposed to book the “non-heart attack” option ahead of time?

Eventually the stress testologist came and ushered me into the room.

The test itself was uneventful and perfectly normal, which was a huge relief. Except for the part when my doctor told me that I could resume rigorous exercise.

Obviously I’m taking that news hard.

Maybe I should get a second opinion.


I have some exciting news! Starting in April, I will be hosting the Alpha Mom‘s parenting book club! The first book is Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First-Century Parenthood by Drew Magary. Please check it out and join me over at Alpha Mom on April 10th for thoughtful discussion.



by Marinka on January 29, 2014

The other day I was thinking about how lucky I am.

I was thinking this because I was looking in the mirror and my hair was so blonde, so bouncy, so perfectly Breck girl, that I felt sorry for atheists. Because here was proof of the divine wonders and they were just too stubborn to see it. What is in their hearts, I wondered. When would they open their eyes and let the Lord in? In to their hearts, which I guess would also need to be open, much like the previously mentioned eyes.

Anyway, my hair looked great. Good Hair Day didn’t quite do it justice, it was more like a Perfect Hair Day in the First Degree. I marveled at my reflection in the mirror, tossed a strand or two back and laughed. Life was good. So very, very good.

A few hours later, I met one of my progeny at the salon for a hair check. For some reason, this progeny suspected lice. And the reason was visual.

“I am sure it is a false alarm,” I tossed my hair back and settled in to read my Kindle. I was reading Of Mice and Men and couldn’t wait to learn more about Lennie’s adventures! It seemed like he was destined for some excitement! I was glued to my Kindle. Glued, I tell you!

“We have a live one!” the hair check specialist checking my kid’s hair exclaimed. And then said something technical, like “Code Lice.”

“Oh?” I looked up from my Kindle. Lennie is so strong, a real Depression Era Marlboro Man! I saw a real future for us.

The lice checking lady nodded. “Do you want us to check you?”

I laughed. “Me? Why would you want to check me?”

I asked, but I sort of knew. My hair, being so bouncy and beautiful, drew admirers from far and wide. I was a little stunned that Lennie didn’t reach for it through the Kindle and barriers of fiction.

“To see if you have lice,” was the official story.

“That will not be necessary,” I reassured them. I mean, I get it. When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But come on. I am practically a hair model, I think I would know through hair intuition if I had lice.

Besides, when they do the lice check they put all this cream in your hair and ugh. It’s impossible for hair to be bouncy and lovely with it.

“We can do a dry check,” the lady said and I agreed. I’m a giver.

“Yeah, you have lice,” she said after looking for 3.9 seconds.

“I don’t know how you could possibly have made an identification so quickly,” I filed a complaint. “Shouldn’t there be some sort of a DNA analysis and lawyers involved?”

But she started to spread the cream all over my head. And I sat there for hours while she combed out the lice, the nits, and the memories of my perfect bouncy hair.

At least I still had Lennie. I can’t wait to see how that turns out!



November 26, 2013

If you have internet access and eyes, you’ve probably seen the amazing #TheoandBeau photographs.  What you may not know is that they were taken by my friend Jessica Shyba– under my guidance and supervision.  And exaggeration. I really encourage you to click over to look at the beautiful pictures of Jessica’s son, Beau, napping with […]

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Russian and Jewish and American, oh MY!

August 18, 2013

One of the greatest things about blogging, besides the whole fame and fortune thing, is the people I’ve met. Except for you, weirdo. Like Alina Adams, who is a Soviet immigrant (like me), lives in NYC (like me) and is a New York Times bestselling author (unlike me.) Even though I only met Alina in […]

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Tampa: Hate Read

July 29, 2013

This weekend I hate-read Tampa by Alissa Nutting It sounded interesting: From Amazon: In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student. Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled […]

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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 7, 2013

Over the summer, I joined Instagram. If you don’t know from Instagram, congratulations on letting life pass you by. Instagram is an app that lets you take pictures and then use a filter to make it look better or more annoying, depending on your taste. They didn’t have Instagram when we were kids and that’s […]

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SH! I’m Writing!

January 7, 2013

Last year I wrote that I planned to blog less because I wanted to write more (or something like that, I wasn’t really reading it.) Which seems like an oxymoron, except it isn’t. Because I gave myself until the end of last year to finish my book. In case you are one of the few […]

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