From the category archives:

Cooking and Cleaning


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.


Exciting Business Opportunity!

by Marinka on 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.

“I had a brilliant idea,” I warned them in case they were unaccustomed to flying too close to the sun.

“Tell us!” they said in unison, Greek-chorus like. “Tell us, for we want to know!”

“I will tell you,” I could afford to be magnanimous because I had decided early on that I wasn’t going to be one of those Evil Geniuses you hear so much about. It’s really an awful stereotype and I will devote myself to dispelling it.

And then I told them.

My idea is that we would invent something and it would make us super-rich. Well, mostly me, but if they played their cards right, they would be “comfortable”. Because I would buy them fuzzy socks and once you slip those on it’s impossible not to feel cozy!


I’ve been watching Shark Tank and it really inspired me. Shark Tank is a reality show where normal people who are aspiring entrepeneurs pitch potential business/inventions to a panel of bitchy millionaire and billionaire investors. The potential investors grill the normal person/potential entrepeneur about their business, asking such personal questions as “how much money have you made thus far?” and “how did you come up with the valuation?” And then they decide if they want to invest or not.

Seeing some of the crap people invent really inspired me. These two guys invented some kind of a grilled cheese and tomato store. I decided I wanted in.

“We will invent something and it will make us rich,” I shared.

Mama and Papa and Russian Aunt all wanted in.

“Da!” They said. “Yes, we will do this.”

Fantastique!” I said, because I decided that once I’m rich I will sprinkle French words throughout every conversation. Words like Dom Perignon and Merci (for the caviar) and this was a good opportunity to practice.

I settled back to plan for my financial success. First thing, I will have to join the Tea Party because I don’t need to pay any bullshit taxes on my hard earned fortune. If you think it’s so easy having brilliant ideas, why don’t you go ahead and have one of your own instead of wasting your day reading mommy blogs, genius.

“I almost invented something once,” Mama said.

“Oh?” We all perked up. Perhaps Mama was a natural and would lead our Development Team.

“Yes, but someone invented it first,” Mama looked sad. And then she told us how she had this great idea for a camera that attaches to a cat collar and records wherever the cat roams. Apparently some other couple came up with this idea and are now sitting on a pile of cash that’s surrounded by gold.

“I can’t imagine this would make a lot of money-” Papa started and I agreed with him. It is important to keep the crazy at bay. Who the hell wants to see where their cat is? It’s one thing if your cat travels intergallactically or is some sort of crime-solving cat but do I need to know if Nicki has been on the couch vs. the bed all day?

“Also there was a couple who invented kitty litter made out of newspaper,” Mama continued. “That was my idea too.”

I don’t know if it’s the same cat-market-cornering couple that created the hidden camera, but it quickly became obvious to the us that either Mama’s thoughts were being raided by some entrepreneurs or Mama was, as we would call in the industry, a weak link.

“Moving right along,” I said, hoping to move the meeting right along. “Does anyone have any other ideas? Something that hasn’t been invented yet, preferably” I added helpfully because I could see that this Dream Team was going to need a lot of guidance.

“A woman invented Rent a Husband,” Mama offered, apparently confusing this for a meeting where we review other items that have been invented.

“That sounds like nightmare,” Russian Aunt said.

“No,” Mama defended the invention. “Let’s say you need a man to do something, like fix refrigerator, you can call Rent the Husband and he comes to fix refrigerator and then maybe you go on date-”

“This is prostitution, pure and simple!” Papa interjected, completely overlooking the fixing the refrigerator part. Which didn’t even make sense to me, because what if it was under warranty and you only had to pay for parts?

I was starting to feel discouraged, fearing that I picked the wrong partners for my genius-money making venture.

“Do you have any ideas, precious Marinka? You are always so filled with wisdom and virtue!” Russian Aunt asked. (This was in Russian, so I am paraphrasing.)

“Well, Russian Aunt,” I addressed Russian Aunt. “As a matter of fact, I do. I was thinking something that would really fill a void in the market, something that many people would buy.”

“Like what?” The Russian-Greek chorus sang.

“Like, oh, I don’t know. Wine for diabetics, maybe?”

There was some mumbling about fermentation and wine for cats but then Papa took the floor.

“We make cat food that is good enough for owner to enjoy,” he proclaimed.

“?” the rest of us said.

“Yes, cat food. But also human food. Cat and owner dine together. Beautiful bonding experience.”

“I think that’s tuna,” I suggested softly. I didn’t want to make any sudden movements because clearly he was abut to snap.

“Not only tuna!” Papa was off and running. “We have chicken and beef entrées, and also vegetarian.”

“Maybe vegan for popular people,” Mama chimed in. “And glutton-free.”

“Glute-” I started, but before I got to the n I decided it wasn’t worth it.

“And ethnic cuisine,” Russian Aunt was suddenly onboard, probably envisioning a Cat/Person Borscht line with a Creamed Herring appetizer.

“I don’t…” I started. But then I stopped. Because what if they are right? What if Cat/Human food is the next frontier and I am too grossed out to see it? What if I am sitting at the front door of Tomato and Grilled Cheese shops for owner and cat?

There’s a lot to do, of course. There are recipes to develop, cat studies to perform. But who knows? This could be the next big thing.

Let me know if you would like to invest.



August 2, 2013

Even though I live in the heart (or some other important organ) of NYC, I always order food from the same three places. Because when you order from A New Place, it is fraught with danger and disappointment and apparently famine. But the other night my daughter wanted Indian food, so I called a new […]

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March 2, 2013

Last week I conducted an experiment because I am a woman of science. See, I noticed that every weekend I was doing the laundry, and because I don’t believe in the whole “suffering in silence” I was tweeting my pain. The historical highs: And the personal lows: And strategy: And let’s not forget tips: There […]

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I’m Right, You’re Wrong: Teacups

February 26, 2013

It’s I’m Right, You’re Wrong time again! And this time, we’re going to tackle an important subject: How to do you store your teacups and saucers? Because I thought the answer was pretty clear, i.e. like a normal person, but one of my friends has expressed a preference for teacup storing diversity. So, without too […]

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October 23, 2012

We have a laundry room in the basement of our apartment building and every time I go down there I wonder if I’m going to be dismembered. Well, that’s not true, but it certainly makes this post sound more dramatic and interesting. And I think we can all agree that dramatic and interesting is more […]

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Insert Week In Review Post Here

May 19, 2012

Husbandrinka has been away in Paris all week, so I’ve been spending more time than ever with my kids. Usually he gets up to oversee breakfast so I can devote myself to watching The Today Show, but this week it fell on me. And it’s a good thing that it did too, because I got […]

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Dear Fresh Diet

March 18, 2012

Dear Fresh Diet, It’s been five days since you stopped magically appearing at my door and I miss you. Five days that I have had to make my own breakfast, lunch and dinner. Five days when the kids asked “do we have any snacks?” I had to sigh and pretend to look for something nutritious […]

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