Parenting Guru

I’m loving my FB parenting group. Today, a woman shared that she and her husband are using this great parenting system on their 3 and 5-year-olds. They learned it from a friend who works at a correctional facility and is implementing it with the inmates.

Borscht Bucket

I finally bought a borscht bucket.

10.5 quarts.

I normally use this tiny 5-quart thing, and it’s pathetic. You’d think that 2 adults and 1 toddler only one of whom is Ukrainian could make a 5-quart pan of borscht last for at least 3 days, but it evaporates in this house. I have started resenting my family for devouring my borscht before I have had time to enjoy it.

So now I’ll just make it in this bucket, and I’ll hope it will last me enough. There is the concept of the 3-day borscht, which is that borscht tastes best on the third day after cooking. Now I will finally find out if this is true. Of course, the rule is mostly for meat-based borscht while mine is very vegan. But still.


Klara is a very good eater, which makes me fortunate in this way, too. She is the kid who yells “Mommy, I want broccoli!” at a restaurant, making me feel real proud as the patrons stare at me in shock. The only problem is that she won’t eat the same thing two days in a row, even if it’s something she really loves. She is like her Dad. The concept of leftovers is alien to her. So I get to cook a new meal every day whether I want to or not. It’s very unfair because I’m totally into leftovers. Everything tastes so much better three days later. But I’m alone in this in my house.

Yesterday, she was telling me about the upcoming trip to Florida. “I go to the beach (pronounced as ze bitz) with my Mommy, my Papa and my prunes (she loves prunes.) I take off shoes, I take off socks, I play hide toes in sand. I go restaurant, I eat manjuicy (mango lassi) and fish pakora. I no scream on ze bitz. I scream in the zeem (gym.)” It’s really cool that she can tell these long, complex stories.

Find 10 Similarities

In politics, there’s rhetoric, and there’s reality. Let’s leave aside the former for the moment and concentrate on the latter. Forget what Putin says and look at what he actually does.

1. An enormous point of contention between him and the nationalists has always been his concerted and relentless effort to erode the border between Russia and its Eastern neighbors. He brought in an enormous number of easily exploitable workers from places like Tajikistan*. He’s refusing to institute visa requirements for them, which drives the nationalists up a wall in rage. He instituted jail sentences for “hate speech” that questions this arrangement.

2. Putin’s only real, actual, effectively protesting opposition aside from the nationalists has been organized labor. Putin is very actively repressing organized labor to serve the interests of the fluid financial elites.

3. In foreign policy, he’s extremely hawkish, believing that it’s Russia’s role to control – by military means if necessary – the state-building initiatives of other countries.

4. His best friends are members of the supranational financial elites who often are not even citizens of Russia and don’t reside in Russia.

5. Another thing that nationalists detest him for is his constant effort to eradicate the word “Russian” (русский) in favor of “citizen of the Russian Federation” (россиянин).

6. Yet another complaint of the nationalists is that because of his immigration policies half of the children coming to the first grade of public schools in Moscow don’t speak Russian. There is no attempt to address the ethnic enclaves that are growing in Moscow and that are linguistically and culturally walled off from everybody else.

I’ll let you figure out on your own what or who all this reminds you of.

* Hence the reference to Tajikistan in the previous post that describes a game invented by Russian-speakers.

Train Your Replacement

There is this game that people play to remain sober about the fluid economy. They answer the question of how long it would take them to train their replacement. Imagine you are given a person who is a blank slate in whatever it is you do. How long do you need to get them to do what you do at work every day? But you can’t cheat. Imagine you put everything you’ve got into training them. The candidate is an 18-year-old high-school graduate who arrived from his native Tajikistan yesterday.

For what I do now, realistically it would take 20 years. You simply can’t do all the reading and the processing of the reading in less.

N is overqualified for his current job, so he says 6.

If the war we are currently waging on research, literature, and anything beyond language courses is successful, then if the candidate speaks Spanish, it would take me two months. If he does not, then 2 years.

I don’t know what else to say to persuade people that we are nuts for doing this (of our own free will, no less.)