From the category archives:



by Marinka on April 16, 2014

I’m in Rome.

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but I thought if I did, you’d get all clingy and start dropping hints about how you love Rome/always wanted to go and/or have a Prada purse. So I took the easy way out and snuck out behind your back, without alerting you.

And there’s nothing that you can do about it. You don’t get a say.

I’m here with my daughter, who’s sort of the perfect traveling companion. We’re very gelato-compatible–it’s like I birthed her or something. I’m working on a post (tentative title: Meaning of Life/Key to Happiness (and Younger Looking Skin) but that will take a while and in this age of instant gratification, I wanted to share some of my off-the-cuff thoughts about Rome with you. I know you’re still mad at me for leaving you like I did. I’m mad at myself too.

1. I’ve been to Rome more than any other European city. Paris may be a moveable feast, but Rome insists that you visit. Or that I visit.

2. All Italians are attractive. I have no idea how they swing that, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of those miracles that the Vatican keeps harping on about. (Also, Italian men need to get themselves to NYC and other major American cities and give classes at the Learning Annex and maybe Harvard on how to look at women.  Because no one does it better.)

2a. You have no idea how hard it has been for me not to tweet “when in Rome, do a Roman.” But I’m a lady. Or something.

3. I know smoking is bad, but why do the Italians look so good doing it? Wait, is this related to 2, supra? Whatever. I’ll check with the Surgeon General if there’s any wiggle room on the denouncement.

4. You must have a native Italian friend when you visit Rome. We’re staying with ours. And when he embraced me and said in Italian-accented English, “Marinka, I hear you are getting  a divorce and also a new cat, yes?” he made it sound like not something I’d need to slash my wrists over. And not just because he held out a bottle of wine as a salve. (I didn’t tell you about the new cat. Sorry again.  I did mention that I’m going through gender reassignment, right?!)

5. This native Italian friend will make comments about you being American. Like when you want to take a very hysterical photo, he will say “oh, sure, go ahead. You’re not the first American to do this.”
This could have the potential to lead to an international incident, but fortunately I find Rome intoxicating. Besides, my cats need me to come home in one piece.

photo 27 e1397665219853 225x300 Rome!

6. There are a kazillion museums and churches, but Rome is basically an open air museum. Just walking down the street is a treat.

photo 25 e1397665463109 225x300 Rome!

photo 26 e1397665611146 225x300 Rome!

7. So is stopping by St. Peter’s Square on a late morning and seeing that the Pope is addressing the masses. I had no idea what he was saying, I’m guessing something the American Blogger movie. (Also, really disappointing that there was no Q&A at the end).

8. There is no Starbcucks in Rome. My friends told me this, and I said “that’s impossible, I have a Starbucks-locating app!” Because apparently I believe that the app comes with a brick and mortar extension so that a new Starbucks store could be built. But I checked and Rome is Starbuck-less. And when I insist on getting my cappuccino to go, they insist on pouring it into a urine-sample plastic cup. But it’s still delicious.

photo 28 e1397667263468 225x300 Rome!

9. There is a water fountain app that people in Rome use. And today we learned how to use an Italian water fountain correctly. With this knowledge, how far behind can relocation be, really?

Italian water fountain from Marinka NYC on Vimeo.

10. I can eat gelato every day. I can spend endless hours walking the city with my daughter. I never forget how fortunate I am.


I’m over at Alpha Mom Book Club with a review of Drew Magary’s Someone Could Get Hurt. You should read it immediately.


Helter Skelter

by Marinka on 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 shouldn’t murder people while unloading the dishwasher?”


“No problemo!”

Thee are a few spoons in the fork division, but no other casualties.



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 […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →

As I Lay Dying

January 10, 2014

Hey, does anyone know if that title is taken? I just looked it up on Wikipedia and learned this about As I Lay Dying (which I had been forced to read in high school, As I Sat in Class Dying): “Faulkner said that he wrote the novel from midnight to 4:00 AM over the course […]

Read the full article →

Of Teeth and Blogs and Life

January 6, 2014

Yesterday, my son pulled out a loose tooth and when he came out I momentarily thought that he had the lead role in the oral remake of Carrie. “What’s with all the blood?” I shrieked because unlike vampires, I’m not really into blood. “I pulled my tooth out,” he told me. And then he handed […]

Read the full article →

Phone Fun

December 19, 2013

I called my son yesterday. “Hello?” he said when he picked up. “Hi honey, how was your da-” “Let me interrupt you,” he interrupted me. “Because I am not here right now, so leave a message.” “Cut it out,” I said. And then I heard the beep. Because that was his outgoing voicemail message. “OMFG,” […]

Read the full article →