The Best Motto

Gd, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannon change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

You woke up this morning - Congratulations! You got another chance!

Friday, February 27, 2009


Publisher’s notice: Due to the circumstances beyond my control, this entry is appearing today as opposed to Monday, when it was supposed to appear in the first place.

This past Sunday I had the supreme honour of the august presence of Mini Not Me in my humble abode for most of the day.

The highlights of the visit included:

Royal meals: personally prepared by yours truly macaroni and cheese (not from the box), minced fillet of the finest fish, battered and baked (aka fish sticks), aged Kosher cheese, and the best of seasonal fruit (apple), also prepared to perfection by yours truly (washed, peeled, and cut into the bite-size pieces).

His highness was greatly (and repeatedly) amused by the plentiful, diverse, and colorful array of my fridge magnets.

We watched Elmo, Barney, and Ella Enchanted, washing it down with healthy amounts of "kek" and "dink".

Mini Not Me was also fascinated by my "bankey" with pictures strongly resembling (at least in his eyes) Mommy. In reality it was Ariel the Little Mermaid, but in any case he refused to be covered by it for his nap.

Another interesting object of play was found on my desk in the form of one of the Eucerin samples from my dermatologist. It is a little rectangular box containing body wash, lotion, and cream. So, I explained to him the designations of each strange object, and he had fun for the good part of an hour by taking them out of the box one by one, naming them one by one, and then trying to put them back in the box one by one. Which, by the way, proves again that most of the toys adults buy are for adult entertainment mostly; kids, especially little ones, can amuse themselves with just about anything.

Mommy and Efty were inquired about only at about fifteen minute’s intervals. Abba and his "ca" were mentioned at around every hour. Most of the time, I was able to deflect his highnesses attention by something unrelated to Mommy, Efty, Abba, or his car.

I was treated to lots of delicious hugs.

At the early dinner time, happy reunion of Mini Not Me with Mini Me after a very long absence of about seven hours was punctuated with Indian Chief Style yells, running around, horseplay, and many, many happy, innocent and delicious smiles. At the conclusion of the said reunion the fruits of the shopping expedition of Mommy, Efty, and Abba were displayed and discussed as well, especially Efty's New Dresses and New Accessories.

Basically, it was an event-filled Sunday; which brings my story to Monday.

After the usual subway ride in the car filled with different representatives of the "inner city", and the usual jostling in the coffee shop by the members of the stronger sex and their briefcases, I arrived at my place of gainful employment. In the kitchen, the big boss run into me; by his tone of greeting I figured out that something was amiss. Sure enough, half a minute later he informed me that after I was done in the kitchen, he needed to "have a conversation with me". After being informed that I am available at his leisure, he told that he will call.

I went back to my desk, frantically trying to figure out what the heck I have done now to warrant "a conversation"; the said exercise preventing me from fully enjoying my Bridget Jones style breakfast. After about two hours he finally showed up at my desk, and the glimmer of understanding appeared when I saw what he was holding in his hand. It was a copy of my company Amex statement that all of us lucky enough to have a company Amex got the previous Friday. Still, since I was sure that no charges from Abigail’s stake house, e-bay, Border's books, CafePress, WND store, Regnery Publishing, or Lane Bryant were on that statement, I just plastered a polite expression on my face and mentally steered myself.

The rant was long and boring, but the gist of it was that there were charges from a different department (the fact that technically I assist the whole office, and I am not his personal EA somehow escaped him), that we have to cut costs as much as possible, that the times are tough, and what about all the reimbursable expanses from the other cards? Who is notifying the main office? Who is processing what? Blah, blah, blah, grrrr! (The fact that there is a perfectly logical system in place at the moment was also forgotten). Then he demanded to see my receipts, and then he made rounds with all the other card holders, which was pretty amusing because if yours truly is just a humble laborer, all the other holders are senior associates.

Then I got the e-mail from the NYPL that the last available PIG to US Constitution became unavailable. In a fit of generosity they bought two copies that were constantly in demand; then one copy became unavailable ("missing"), and now another, or "the last available copy". Grrr!

Then the big boss started giving me instructions on opening a separate accounts receivable file, employing a different filing system. When he was informed that that was also in place, he got a bit taken aback; the little demonstration and explanation he gave me in my first week here apparently also evaporated from his memory.

Basically, the entire office was very tense for the whole day. Then I went home (again on "multicultural" train), dropped by the bakery for some fresh bread, came home, put on my "shmate" attire, and dedicated the next three hours to the thankless task of cleaning my kitchen. Please do not ask me at what time I had dinner, because my MD is going to have conniptions when she hears about it.

So, on both days I went to sleep exhausted. But on Sunday, my world was lit with the innocent love of two little kids who think that I am "Papi - The Height of Cool". On Monday, the mundane idiocy sapped my strength. And that is one of the many reasons of why I hate Mondays!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Swan Lake - Act 2, Pas de Quatre

Here is to my strange childhood! This number is forever more stuck in my brain as a song about bananas and their unavailability in Moscow:)

Thursday, February 19, 2009


One evening Mini Me granted me the supreme honor of reading her a story before bed (a privilege usually reserved exclusively for Mommy). We were reading her favorite "Olivia", and that evening her comments went along the lines of whatever Olivia did in the book, our American Gnome does with her Mommy. So when we came to the part where Olivia goes to the museum in the rainy weather, Golden Delicious immediately piped up that she is always going to the museum with Mommy during rain. I love conversing with her as a whole, so I asked her if she remembered our lone trip to the Met. "No, I go to the museum all the time, with Mommy". "No, cookie, you went only once, and it was with me". "No, every day, with Mommy." After that we returned to Olivia's adventures. Later on, while I was reporting to my sister on the accomplished mission (sleeping child), I told her about this conversation, jokingly adding that I am a purist, ergo I wanted to clarify the matter. "And my daughter is a loyalist!" - was my sibling's proud response.

Here are two suggestions from my beloved siblings as it pertains to my career goals: the first one was a PhD in Harry Potter Studies; the second one was a PhD in Modern American Romance Novel Studies.

During one memorable Youtube session with Mini Me and Mini Not Me, we were listening to one lively piece accompanied by a collage of different pictures. One of them was a Botticelli. "Un dat" was my nephew's immediate request. Great taste, my little one! Our school!

My sis and I both started at the same college. She had the good sense not to finish there, but that is a different story. Anyway, since the learning institution at that time was relatively small, we ended up with a few of the same professors. One of them (my favorite, despite being a complete crackpot) made a very interesting connection between us. Now, bear in mind that my sis and I look very much alike (Mini Me is a delicious prove of that). So, during one particular discussion, the prof turned towards my sibling and asked her if she had a sister whom he taught before. She replied in the affirmative, to which he added that he was sure about it, because we both have a very finely developed appreciation of sarcasm. I do not know how she feels about that one now, but I still consider it a compliment.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Both of these happened at my place of employment, which, in the best traditions of educated people on both coasts, is almost totally staffed with serious lefties.

One: being a serious Harry Potter devotee, I was impatiently waiting for J.K.'s 800 word composition which she had penned for charity and which was supposed to be from "the prequel she is not working on". Long story short, I missed buying it from the publisher and ended up haunting the e-bay actions. Finally, the coveted transaction was completed, and now I was impatiently waiting for my package to arrive. After a while I was ready to e-mail the seller and politely inquire about the actual shipping date; lo and behold, I get the office mail to sort, and here it is: a hated orange post card with "we attempted to deliver your package". I ran after our rude mailman with the effing card, pointing out that a) the date indicated was a business day, and b) I was right here. No dice; he point blank lied about somebody else sorting the mail that day, and then rudely suggested that I should just go "around the corner" to the post office and claim my package. Since I do not get lunch break during the winter time, for yours truly it meant not only going to deal with another rude and disgusting federal employee, but also staying late after work to make up the time.

Overjoyed about the whole scenario, I called into question the competence, mental capacity, and legitimacy of the above mentioned post people. One of my co-workers happened to pass by my desk at the time and jokingly suggested to me to express my emotions and not battle them up. What he did not know was that my name calling and frustration were not just directed at the federal employees, but at him and his colleagues as well. Because the day it happened was the election day, and I knew that almost all of them made special efforts to vote for the new stinking messiah, who's official campaign promises were to put a whole new army of these incompetent nincompoops, who cannot even read properly and carry a 1.6 pound package to its destination, but somehow would be the only people capable and equipped to fix the economy and healthcare, usher the world peace, and control the climate, just to name a few.

Two: you are all familiar with the old leftie songs about raising taxes "for the rich”, "spreading the wealth around", et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum. The words may change, but the tunes are always the same. Anyway, back to the story. One of our offices had been floundering financially for a while, mainly due to the almost total lack of business acumen of the person in charge. At the periodic staff meetings, we were informed for about three times in a row that that office was performing at a loss. Finally, the powers that be announced that almost everyone at that office was let go (aside, of course, from the head who messed it up in the first place). Guess what happened next? One of my leftie, earth-sustaining, taxes-are-patriotic co-workers told me that he was glad it finally happened because (are you ready for this) this office was dragging the whole company down and it affected our bonuses and 401(K) s! Do not get me wrong, I understand the cold, sometimes brutal laws that govern capitalists-based economy. But for this bleeding heart leftie!!! Of course, he had to make a caveat that he sort of feels bad, he wants to be a team player, blah, blah, blah. All the compassionate, feel good rhetoric went down the drain when he felt the direct results of such wealth-spreading; and the fate of around thirty people who are now unemployed did not really bother him that much.


Social hierarchy, norms, modes of dress, and the general structure overall are much more complex right here, in the midst of "diverse" Jewish community of Brooklyn, than it was amongst the British aristocracy. You just do not perceive it as such till you actually lived in the midst of this very strange tribe for a while; but today's discussion is not about the complexity and my personal opinion about it. This is just to recount a crazy chain of events that happened yesterday.

Partially due to the fact that it just happened to be a Sunday before the national holiday, partially due to the fact that we used to be quite sociable once a while (hence have quite a few friends), and partially due to the gorgeous spring like weather that we had yesterday, our family (almost in total, or just the most important representatives) ended up attending four different social events yesterday. Those were (in chronological order): a circumcision, a second birthday party for a little girl, a third birthday/special first haircut for a little boy, and a long overdue visit to an old friend whom we first met while he was a single student, and who is now blessed with a wife and few kids. Phew, that was exhausting.

Just to summarize a la MasterCard commercial:

Wake up calls to early for Sunday: 1 (your humble servant also had to go to a Medical professional in order to take care of her raging eczema)

Carefully prepared bag of food, snacks, and treats for munchkins: 1 (by Grandma, of course)

Total time spend looking for parking: 40 minutes

Total time spend in a car: 3.5hours

Pizza consumed: about 1 slice total per major player involved

Cake consumed: about 3 slices total per major player involved

Homemade sushi consumed: about 2 rolls per regular and 1/2 roll per vegan consumer

"Packalach": 2

Balloons involved: 3

Adult tempers frayed: 3

Vans borrowed: 1

Overtired toddlers: 2

Happy babies observed: 1

Mischiefs managed: about 50

Few extra pictures and memories of munchkins smiling and playing: priceless

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I had a little chance to complain before about my friend sort of standing me up for the Hashivenu weekend; here is an entry dedicated to the interesting young lady I ended up sharing a room with.

Thankfully, I did not really get a chance to socialize with her till Saturday night, because we both came there for different reasons, with different friends and relatives, and with different plans. Anyway, Saturday night, after enjoying the pool with my sis and the munchkins, I went back to my room and found my roommate watching financial news on MSNBC (which should have given me the first clue). Anyway, we engaged in some small talk, in the course of which she divulged to me that she used to work on Wall Street back in the day, but is now out of this racket, and happier for it. I just kept nodding and uhu-ing politely; and then the Madoff's name was mentioned on TV, and she shook her head and pronounced something to the extent that she cannot believe the gullibility of the people. "If it sounds too good to be true, how can you fall for it?" - was her wise exclamation.

"Why are you so surprised “ - was my answer -” just look at who was elected the President". Oh, Mama, who asked me to open my big yup? "What do you mean?" - was her immediate and aggressive response. I tried to explain my basic objections to the guy, to my detriment. I was treated to a whole lecture. She is a Republican (so what?); she disapproved of the war (what else is new?); Bush was a horrible President (again, what else); it is high time to elect a black President (thanks for repeating the lefty tripe); it is wonderful that so many Jews voted for him (so now HAMAS will withdraw their approval of his candidacy, Sharpton will yell "mea culpa" for the Crown Heights riots and will voluntarily report to the NYS DOC to serve a life sentence for the murder of poor Yankel Rosenbaum, and Jackson will publicly apologize for all his past anti-Semitic rants and completely retire from public life); just look at the wonderful cabinet Obama assembled (to her credit, back in December all we knew about those boys and girls wonders was that they were, to quote Burt, "retreads from Clinton's thrift shop"; now we know what a wonderful collection of honest people they are as well); she was very torn before the elections, and even consulted a Rav, asking him if she would harm our people by voting for Obama, and the Rav did not directly say that she would (to quote "Guys and Dolls", I plead the Fifth Commandment; or, in plain Yiddish, Oy, gevalt). There was more, of course, but my recollections are a bit hazy. Few times I tried, unsuccessfully, to offer to agree to disagree; to no avail; she plowed on.

To conclude: if you vote for a proven demagogue who refuses to even prove his basic eligibility for the office; who's friends, acquaintances, mentors, neighbors, and political allies are all domestic and international terrorists, Marxists, socialists, Mafiosi, crooks, cheats, and liars; who's own lady wife is open America-hater; and who's candidacy was celebrated by every single Jew-hating group here, and was endorsed by HAMAS; and, last but not least, who himself is full of arrogance and hot air that usually comes from the wrong body orifice - to vote this for the President of the United States is a result of hard brain work. But to fall for the clever manipulations of a big time financial schemer - that is, at best, a very naïve decision on your part.

I rest my case (at least for now).


Part 5: A Case of Disappearing Psychiatrist

To the newcomers to this blog: I work in an architectural firm that basically specializes in two areas: municipal and healthcare projects. The first involves building and renovation of jails (both adult and juvenile), police precincts, schools, homeless shelters, ect.; the second involves the building and renovation of hospitals and laboratories; pretty nifty, actually, till you have to deal with one of my favorite population segment: people described by the oxymoron "public servants". But this story is actually about the other part of the firm.

The "healthcare group" has a few projects with one of the local hospitals; one of them was simply coded "Dr. Q". OK, computer accepts, and I definitely do not care; that is, till somebody actually explained to me what the project implied. Apparently, Dr. Q was some kind of hot shot psychiatrist with celebrity clientele, and the whole project involved converting a place originally designated for seven employees into a place designated for two employees (completed with private shower room), so that those celebrated clients can have privacy.

The project already went into a construction phase, and yesterday the project manager went to the job site, accompanied by a couple of assistants. Upon arrival, however, they were informed by one of the hospital's project managers that an interoffice e-mail was circulated the evening prior, informing the select few amongst the hospital staff that Dr. Q was no longer with the hospital. Our firm, in turn, was advised that the project is officially "on hold", and that was basically all the information we would receive.

My co-workers, being creative people, decided to hold a contest by providing explanations of what actually occurred. The best came from the guy who explained to me the meaning of the project to begin with: Dr. Q was probably the one who supplied ARod (or whoever he is) with steroids!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Part 4

For some strange reason, I ended up knowing quite a few people in the construction/house renovation business. So, without further ado, here is a charming little story straight from one of my acquaintances.

This past Sunday morning, he was on his way to check on one of the job sites. All of a sudden, one of his workers calls him in a panic: "Inspector is here, and he told us to shut down!" So, the poor guy floors it, arrives at the site in record time, and finds the esteemed employee of the great city of New York issuing the following royal proclamation. Since there is no permit for working on Sunday, he is going to give tickets for every single building (that would have translated into a considerable hunk of lettuce), plus issue a stop order for two weeks (that would have basically left the owner of the project without his next to last under wears).

My acquaintance, being of the somewhat diplomatic bend, at first tried to explain that is was not his project, and he was only a subcontractor - the officer could not care less. Next, the sum of, if I am not mistaken, three hundred dollars was offered, which was met with open incredulity and comparisons to the sum total of tickets. The somewhat lively telephone exchange followed between the contractor and the subcontractor, during which the polite city inspector was making his own phone calls and yelling at his opponent about the "f-king Chinese" (I guess they were his previous or next stop). Finally, the following resolution was reached: the subcontractor paid the fully tax-subsidized city employee fifteen hundred dollars in cash, after which he (the subcontractor) was warned that if somebody else from the city comes and issues more tickets, it was not his (inspector's) problem. On that amiable note he departed.

Gee, I really wish I was able to work like this! Salary and gorgeous benefits for the whole family (willingly or unwillingly provided by the taxpayers); and then you would be able to put in a little overtime and earn some cash for vacation that you would need after such hard labors! I further wish somebody would offer me fifteen hundred dollars in cash and tax free; just imagine: my insurance company would save on my B12 shots, because I would just go to a spa, rest, and "pay up" some of my sleep debt. Everybody would win: my employers would gain better productivity, my insurance would save on payments, and the spa and spa employees would get extra revenue. I guess esteemed half-Kenyan; half-Muslim that managed to slither into the White House has it right, after all: government employees are the best people to stimulate the sluggish economy!

Monday, February 09, 2009


One fine (at least I think it was fine) evening yours truly was making her slow way from the place of employment to the place of residence.

On the way home I stopped at the local supermarket. Checked the prices of food and cursed my favorite green people for driving those effing prices through the roof with bio fuel production and other nonsense. While shopping, also marveled at the latest abundant “multiculturalism” of my neighborhood, their universal and extremely unappealing non-Americanism, and cursed everyone responsible for the catastrophic influx of so called "undocumented workers". Finally came to my building; encountered more Russian cannibals (legal or illegal, I really do not care); cursed all responsible for allowing those cannibals to come here. Finished my chores. Went to my room and re-discovered the reason for my not only cursing, but actively fighting as well. Here, on my dresser, in plain view, was a latest picture of my niece that I was planning to frame. Later in the evening, accidently rediscovered another reason by glancing into a mirror that was never hung properly. I am not just fighting for the next generation, which was blessed enough to be born here; I am also fighting for myself and my generation!

G-d bless this country!


Part 4: Some More Neurotic Tendencies

As mentioned many, many times before, our big boss is quiet neurotic. So, in accordance with this interesting character trade, last Friday afternoon he showed up by my desk, holding something wrapped in parchment paper. "You know, there is this half a sandwich, which was sitting in the fridge door for at least a week. I think something started growing there." And, without further ado, he proceeded to unwrap exhibit A and show it to me. I desperately tried to explain to him that I never held any particular interest in physics, chemistry, or microbiology; all to no avail. He when asked me to warn the populace that in the event of nobody claiming this particular gourmet offering, it will be disposed of. After which, he deposited this marvel on my desk and departed. Hell-o!!

Even when annoyed, I try not to pass an opportunity to enjoy myself at the company's expanse (especially when it is officially authorized). So, after dumping the stinking half a sandwich back in the fridge, I circulated the following e-mail (without any specified subject matter):

"According to my intelligence report, there is half a sandwich in the fridge door that had been seating where for at least a week. It also looks like something is beginning to live and grow in this sandwich. Please claim it, or it is going out.

Thank you,"

Nobody seemed to be a good humor, so I did not get any responses on Friday (and yes, I did dump the farshtukane thing before I left). This morning, while checking my inbox and enjoying my morning cup of java, here is what I got:

Subject: Food Delicious Food

"Your e-mail made me cracking up this morning…
I have to confess now – In the past, when I found something over 2 weeks with mold growing on it, I threw it away without warning. You are actually very kind to remind whoever who probably totally forgot about it.

Thanks for taking care of it!"


There is one thing my Mom never did and there is another one she almost always never did. She never swore and she almost never took interest in politics. Obama's bid for presidency changed both.

As mentioned many times before, my mother is a very soft spoken person. The biggest "curse" she would ever utter would be to call somebody an idiot or an animal; if she would want to "send" somebody somewhere, it would be to Turkish baths (do not ask me why). All of the sudden, last fall she inquired of me as to how to call somebody a "devil" in English or how to wish them to the warm basement. Upon witnessing my incongruity and quite admiration, she explained that apparently some Obama supporters were behaving with even more grace and class than usually exhibited, and she required some serious verbal ammunition.

I already described how hard she prayed for Obama's defeat. Alas, G-d answered "no". Now, my Mom started listening to Rush!!! As late as last Shabat lunch, she asked me to explain to her some choice phrases, and jokingly added that she is acquiring better proficiency in English expressions. You go, Mommy! May G-d say "yes" to your constant prayers for protection of your children and grandchildren against the socialist miasma that is trying to infiltrate this wonderful country!

Friday, February 06, 2009


After getting hooked on Youtube, I have decided that both misery and bliss love company, and hooked my favorite gnomes on it too. The funniest part is that some of my favorite pieces became theirs as well.

Mini Me loves Hava Nagilah in all kinds of different interpretations. So, one fine day we were watching one of those; this one contained a collage of different pictures from the Holy Land. Being of the firm believe that the more information you impart on the younger generation, the more they learn and grow, I was giving explanations to the flushing snap shots. Few of them contained Western Wall, and I briefly touched on the destruction of the Temple. "But why did they destroy it, Papi?" Trying again to explain that the destroyers were "bad" people, who hated G-d and us as his representatives (not in so many flowery words). "But why?" Tried again, after which Golden Delicious just finished watching the clip with very serious eyes and an intense expression on her sweet little face.

Apparently, they were having some cursory discussions about the destruction in her play group as well. Now, whenever we are watching this clip, she keeps re-iterating that "Bais Hamikdash is beautiful, was beautiful", that "bad people destroyed it", and that "Mashiach will help us, Hashem will help us, Hashem will send Mashiach to help us build it again!"

Another discussion, unrelated to Youtube, happened one fine evening in the kitchen of my sister's house, where Mini Me was consuming her crackers with cream cheese in her clever attempts to evade her bed as long as possible. While she was thusly occupied, we were also carrying a very intelligent conversation about our mutual everyday concerns. During this conversation, we discussed (among many other things) our booboos. She was extremely concerned about my big ones on my legs (eczema) and urged me to go to the doctor and get cream for it. Eventually, her Mommy finished the basement chores, and yummy gnome agreed to go "upstairs" with Mommy. On the way there, she expressed her concerns about Papi's booboo, the necessity of going to the doctor and getting the cream, and finally pronounced, with unshakable conviction, that Hashem will make Papi better.

I get very emotional every time I recall those episodes. Her innocent faith touches me more than I can express. And I remember our Mom, whispering to us repeatedly not to tell anyone that we are Jews, her trying to host a Pesach Seder, and getting upset when we boiled franks in a little bowl she designated for milk.

Hear this, murdering Communist atheistic butchers? You did not succeed with my family!!!

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for allowing us to escape. Escape that horrible suffocating jail where we grew up, so that now we can freely teach Sh'ma to our little ones.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Part 3: Identity Crisis

As I mentioned previously, even though our office is in New York, we are actually a regional, and not the main office; for which big favor from Above I thanked Heavens many, many times. Because being regional office means you are insulated, not completely, bus sufficiently enough not to deal with different degrees of idiocy that usually emanate from the main administration. So, not being in close proximity to the exalted top, the first time I heard the phrase "new identity" was last spring, which apparently was about ten months after the mother ship first initiated this beacon.

Naive I was at first stupefied: who is going into a witness protection in order to have a new identity? Clarification proved much less romantic and significantly less dramatic; all we were talking about was a new corporate logo. What a disappointment! Anyway, as weeks passed by, the magic phrase was repeated more and more often, and the excitement finally reached my station too in the form of a reminder not to over-order supplies with the "old identity". OK, no biggie, I can count (I think). The breaking point for me arrived around mid-July when I found out that the person responsible for organizing everything in our neck of woods was none other than my all time fave coworker fondly nicknamed by me Komsomolka. Oh, Mama!

It started with a cake. Yes, you heard right: apparently, there would be a whole interoffice party for the "unveiling of the new identity", and we should have a very specific menu, topped by carrot cake. And not only carrot cake, but it had to be rectangular, and have very precise decorations, a chart of which, completed with precise measurements and color palette (specifying the colors with numbers familiar only to the graphic designers). And all this brouhaha because "the new identity" would be orange on white.

So, yours truly was calling a whole bunch of local bakeries with the hope of ordering the blessed cake only to be informed, again and again, that nobody bakes carrot cake. Meanwhile, my dear friend Komsomolka was throwing mild hissy fits, while wondering what's holding the whole process (her problem is that she looks and acts like the weight of the world rests on her shoulders, and her projects are the most important ones, and have to be attended to right away). Finally, I somehow persuaded her to order "regular" cake with the specified (but modified) decorations on top.

Then mysterious packages from the mother ship began arriving; those were supposed to be opened in secret by Her Highness (at her convenience); in the interim they were supposed to be stored at my area. At this I had finally put my flip flop down and politely demonstrated to her my need to have access to my filing cabinets at all times.

About a week before "the unveiling" she got into another fit of the vapors because the menu for the party had to be just right (because everyone is very picky when eating free food during the work hours). I foolishly let her choose the menu and the caterer; of course, when the big boss saw the final spread, his head shook only about a hundred times.

Then, the day before, her student intern was closeted somewhere in order to assemble everyone's goody bags, and Komsomolka herself was busily huffing and puffing to and fro. Poor Goth girl of an intern; I do not think anyone wanted to be in her shoes that day.

Finally, the big day arrived. Another intern was dispatched to pick up the cake, and got lost only twice: once on the way there, and once on the way back. The food arrived, raising the brows and promoting the above-mentioned head shakes. Unfortunate interns, directed by Komsomolka, hauled the boxed with the mysterious goody bags back to the main conference room, which then was declared off limits to everyone. And since we only have one room that can be called conference room by any stretch of the imagination, that last order produced some more raised brows, head shakes, stomach acid and hypertension.

OK, drum roll!!!! Everyone was told to assemble and help themselves to food. I decided to at least have some fun and started snapping pictures. Everyone got really excited that we will immortalize this blessed event till I informed them that that was my personal camera. Then everyone just continued to load their plates, aside from one part-timer who was working on her masters in film. She kept screaming not to take her picture; that she is being paid to be on camera; and that she gets overwhelmed from the flash. So, I got great shots of her curls and her hand holding a paper plate in front of her face. While everyone was busy stuffing their faces with very carefully selected free food and thrice-damned carrot cake, some dudes and dudesses were warbling from the TV and applauding each other.

At the end of this important ceremony we were finally given our goody bags. Hear another drum roll!!!! The bags contained: one logo T-shirt (which immediately produced a lively exchange for needed sizes), one logo luggage tag, two logo pens (actually usable), two different logo coffee mugs, our new business cards, and little baggies with carefully counted out ten logo paper clips. After which the cake was again complimented, the bakery inquired about, and the usual round of flat jokes uttered. Then I had to clean up the effing conference room, and, aharon aharon haviv, Komsomolka came up with a brilliant idea which she immediately circulated via e-mail. Since the mail drones at the mother ship did not package the mugs properly, about half of them came broken. So, in respect to the mother earth, whose sustainability is sooooo important, she offered people to take those mugs in lieu of pencil cups. And when yours truly actually dared to suggest that that idea is dangerous, since anyone could easily cut him/herself on those broken mugs, she, with the suffering face, collected all the broken crockery and took it out. But not before one of the sustainers took one for his desk.

The sad PS for this silly episode? During the last staff meeting we finally found out the total coast of this wonderful venture, which partially explained our delayed and halved bonuses. But, hey, we got a new orange-on-white, carrot cake hued logo!

Great song

Funnily enough, I only discovered this song here, about ten years after leaving step-mother country; either way, I just happen to love it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


As I mentioned at the beginning of my blogging career, when I kept a paper and pen journal, it was exclusively to record my opinion on the books I read and the movies I have seen. I intended to do this here, in my virtual journal, but, unfortunately, there are some many other things to express my opinion about, and so few hours of mental breaks at work, that I have been consistently lagging behind. I watched "WALL-E" at the beginning of the last Independence Day weekend (back when we still had half-decent President, and not an America-hating crooked bastard), and I have finally decided to pen down few remarks.

Even though I have watched the commercials prior to actually seeing the movie, I still suffered a mildly severe disappointment after being introduced to the actual "work of art". To put it mildly, it was a propaganda fest for the brown-shirt-wearing, red-flag-waiving members of the one of my all time favorite groups - envirowacos. Basically, mother earth became totally unfit for human habitation because it was covered by mountains of garbage produced by our over-crazed consumerism and total disrespect for Gaia. Humanity (somehow exclusively American) escaped Earth (being lied to by corporate goon) on super-luxury space ships that were programmed to cater to their every need, and where they remained for few generations, eventually de-evolving into stupid globs of fat with atrophied legs. Finally, with some help from love-struck WALL-E (a robot), they returned to Earth and started cleaning and re-planting it (in the process somehow resembling evolving cave people).

Animation was fantastic, and the love story between WALL-E and EVA (another robot) very, very touching. A lot of noise was made to the tune that there is practically no dialogue between those two; in my case, funnily enough, it was a fellow moviegoer who pointed that fact out. Whatever the case, the effect was truly, well, effective; the absence of dialogue makes the whole romance that much more touching. But, as a whole, after such funny and heart-warming productions like "Ratatouille", "Monsters, Inc.", and "Incredibles", and such touching, tear jerking masterpiece like "Finding Nemo", "WALL-E" rings hollow with this anti-sustainability, pro-capitalism, jaded and cynical consumer.


Part 3

Every time I go on vacation, I usually send a whole bunch of post cards to all the friends and relatives (preferably on the first day of my trip). Official disclaimer: if you are reading this, and you did not receive a post card from my last trip, all that means is that I know where your house is, but do not have an exact address, and you were not listed at the time of my packing and departure.

Anyway, my Aruba trip was no different, and on the second night there I was enjoying the balmy weather and the badly received American TV while addressing the post cards. My sister's house was supposed to receive three: one for Mini Me, one for Mini Not Me, and one for my sister and brother-in-law (they are not that enjoyable). Upon my return home I enquired as to whenever my correspondence arrived before us or not. My sibling told me that both cards for the gnomes arrived, albeit separately, but she and spouse did not receive anything. We put it down to the probable efficiency of the tropical laborers, and left it at that.

Then, few days after that, my sister informed me that I have to see something hilarious. Lo and behold, my post card addressed to her and spouse came to them in one of those half-clear postal envelopes with standard caveat that they tried their best, but the correspondence got damaged, and they apologize, blah, blah. They delivered precisely a third of the original post card, with top and bottom torn off, and only a part with the address preserved.

As of today, that fragment of the picture of a tropical paradise is proudly displayed on my sister's fridge.


Everyone who knows me is very familiar with my stance on illegals; but what I really want to put into law pronto is this: anyone who does not bathe, change clothes, and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, does not use deodorant, GETS DEPORTED IMMEDIATELY and mercilessly. I think people who ride the subway (especially during the summer) will sign my petition.

Another pet peeve: I love when people start sharing personal information after a fifteen-minute acquaintance. Case in point: a sales rep who visits our office from time to time once offered me a piece of gum. I politely refused, stating that I do not usually chew gum. "Really?" - was her surprised reply - "Well, I always carry it, with my breath!". Did I really need to know that?

A fellow blogger once dedicated a post, completed with pictures, to the not so bright truck drivers who periodically get stuck under the Q Train tracks, because they do not pay attention to the clearance signs. Well, yours truly once witnessed two trucks, coming from the opposite directions, both getting stuck under the blessed Q train, and subsequently blocking Avenue P on Friday afternoon. Let us just say that was one of the few times when I was duly grateful for the fact that I do not drive.

A triumph of my assertiveness on the subway: putting down my big butt on the bench that was designed for four people, and where three men were comfortably sitting before my arrival.

Ultimate irony: when I bought myself a new prayer book, cashier did not deactivate the anti-theft device properly, and I started beeping by the exit. But here is my question: how can you pray using a stolen prayer book?

Notice on the e-bay action: "After few recent troubles I had with the lost packages, I will no longer ship to Russia". Gratifying to know that very few things changed in step-mother country.

I do not precisely remember what Bridget Jones considered as a "unfortunate laundry crisis outfit", but to me it ended up being a full goth regalia: black top and black skirt (completed with standard for New York winter black shoes).

I do not care about the logic and reasonable explanations: seating on the subway opposite a guy who was studying a diagram of female reproductive organs was just plain yucky.

Another funny bit: I did not get any birthday cards on the actual birthday, but I did get two cards a day before: one was from my Mom, and one was from my dentist.

One fine morning there was a little commotion in our office due to the fact that an entire team was ready to depart to the job site, but the project manager was missing. Long story short, poor guy called his second in command with apologies and a following explanation: "two Polish guys came in this morning, took off my apartment door (for the fridge delivery), and disappeared. I can not leave the house till the door is re-attached."

Few days ago I took fluffies out to an ice cream shop. Mini Not Me just kept trying to sneak candies; ice cream did not really stir him. Mini Me, on the other hand, usually takes very serious approach to her selection. Till recently, it was only a choice between an ice cream you can eat (a cone or a cup) and an ice cream you can drink (a milk shake). This time, she requested to be picked up, so she can view the selection better. I obliged and started rattling off all the flavors; she perused the entire selection very, very carefully, and finally made her choice: "Pink".

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Two Sundays ago I planned to go to the local Target to get some stuff for my new apartment, into which I did not want to move in the first place (but that is a separate story). And since the weather was not particularly encouraging towards the outdoor activities, it took me till early afternoon to finally collect myself. At which point my sis had put semi-frantic calls on all my communicators because she forgot hers at my new digs. Anyway, to make the long story a bit shorter, I promised to drop by her first, and then we decided to maybe go to Target together and with kiddies.

Due to the strange characters that always roam our charming neighbourhood and ring the door bells at all hours of day and night, munchkins, especially the older one, did not get to nap properly, and by the time of my august arrival were not in the best of dispositions. So, for the reasons known only to the Creator and to these two adorable gnomes, Mini Me, who usually hints to me that it is time for our mutual outing "on choo choo train with a single agla", refused to leave the house and insisted on staying with Mommy. Mini Not Me, on the other hand, reiterated several times that he wanted to "go sto vi Papi". So, he was duly bundled up and placed in "single agla", and off to the Target we went.

On the way to the store he inquired about every half a block as to the whereabouts of Mommy, Efty, and Abba (in that order), but my explanations as to their absence from the immediate vicinity were sufficient. On our arrival to the store, he got a cookie, and a view from a very tall window, and a not so rare opportunity to observe the natives in their natural habitat. All went well till I proceeded to actual shopping; the inquires intensified to about once every minute, and, upon being informed that Mommy and Efty are at home, Mini Not Me expressed the desire to join them.

In between the questions as to the whereabouts of his immediate family, my nephew really enjoyed himself, and even found quite a few things he wanted to purchase for himself, the most prominent amongst them being "Cars" linen set. But very soon he started to demand his return to the bosom of the loving parents quite forcefully and pretty much nonstop. I still held a feeble hope of at least finding a new trash can, and to that end I decided to persuade my little charge. "Listen, sweetie, you are with me," was my reply to his slightly teary demands of Mommy, Efty, and home, "am I that boring?" "Wra" was his immediate reply (which in his present vocabulary means "yes"). Ah, from the mouths of babes...

Book of Calm

A few years ago my roommate wisely pronounced that I happen to have a lot of unexpressed anger, and one of the venues for expressing that anger happens to be the kitchen. All of this happens to be true: yours truly has a tendency of remembering bad things for prolonged periods of time, and a charming habit of banging the pots and pans, swearing at the oven door, kicking the trash can, and engaging the broom in a kick boxing jousts. So, about two months ago, my roomie gave me a copy of the "Book of Calm" with firm assurances that the methods described there were tried and true, and I should really read it. And since I do not read self-help books on principle (Dean Edell being the rare exception), the book just calmly (pun not intended) stayed next to my computer desk.

Fast forward to last night, when I ended up dedicating more than three hours to "straightening up" the kitchen. When I tried to wash the rice pot, the kitchen was greeted with a loud rhetorical question to the tune of would it have killed anybody to soak the pot after they finished consuming the rice. My roomie was interested in clarifying the matter, and explained to me that the pot was emptied only about half an hour before, therefor the soaking would not have been very useful. After informing him that five minutes would have made a difference, I continued grumbling under my nose. In response to which "The Book of Calm" was recommended again.