We had no housing to speak of, we had no cars to speak of, we all wore the same clothes
Anya Von Bremzen

It rained communism and income redistribution.

In dim light reluctantly released by the Government so the citizens wouldn’t bump into each other I was schlepping to kindergarten. It was 5 in the morning. I turned 5 just few months before and my sleeping in days were long gone. The System wouldn’t let me stay in bed past 7 for the next sixty years, when it will spit out my chewed up and worn out shell of a body patched up like Frankenstein monster by the torture they called free medicine.

I looked around. Zombie-like builders of communism were slowly moving past me. Same clothes, same faces, empty eyes. Years of being fed just bread and fat-free ideology drained the will to live out of people. At night, when the curtains were closed and my parents covered up the listening devices, they whispered about something they called meat.  Once a year they tried to recreate meat out of contraband mayo and turnips. It was horrible but we stunned our taste buds with vodka to make it palatable.

It was early spring but one couldn’t tell just by looking at the Communist-controlled weather. Behind the barbwire fences, system’s functionaries, the apparatchiks,  were frolicking in the sun and warmth. We got what was left.  Used air contained hardly any oxygen. I stopped to take a deep breath.

The International Women’s Day – a holiday celebrating heavy women in cotton-stuffed waist jackets, head scarves and year-round galoshes was approaching. Communist cell in the kindergarten was preparing a concert where like trained monkeys we would attempt to entertain these never-smiling representatives of the weaker gender. Weaker? I evil-laughed on the inside, grinding my teeth. My face remained stoic and expressionless.

I was assigned to perform a Russian folk dance. The System knew I was Jewish and it was their way of putting and extra-painful twist on the torture that was dancing. My head yearned to be covered. My feet were itching to break out in Freilach. I craved gefilte fish even though I didn’t know what gefilte was. Or fish. Instead I found myself standing next to a girl, dressed in a Russian shirt and shorts. It was so cold inside that even ever-present Lenin’s portrait on the wall was covered with frost. My legs were slowly turning blue to match the shorts.

Marxism Bremzenism
When the music started the headmistress’s eyes told me I had to smile and dance or I will be forced to read Das Kapital while marching around the room for the fifth time in a month. My smile felt like a grimace and my dance moves were awkward, but I couldn’t bring myself to read about the plight of the proletariat one more time.

Scary women in the audience did not smile anyway. They just didn’t know how. After the performance the teachers force-fed us disgusting chocolates filled with Marxism and Leninism. I willed myself not to gag. This came useful later when I lived on the streets of New York doing anything for a buck. Just like Marx predicted.

Standing there ashamed and smeared with chocolate, in a room where one could cut ideology with a knife, I had a dream that I, I someday will tearfully tell about my hardships to the American press and be quoted in every article about Russia.

Fucking Anya Von Bremzen.

Don’t Tempt Me, Bro

I’d be willing to txt twice if it kilz both Brown & Grouppen.
Dont Tempt Me, Bro


When I started this blog, I made a conscious decision to write in English. There is a billion Russian-language blogs on the Internet, some are very good, but for the past 6 years mine is the only somewhat Russian-themed blog in English in Kansas City. And, dare I say, the entire State of Kansas. And probably Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. I never promoted it to my Russian friends, never told my relatives, even my kid doesn’t really know what I do here. The reason was that I didn’t want people like me reading this and then trying to argue that it’s wrong, or never happened, or this ingredient doesn’t go into borscht, etc. Because, everything written here about my life in the USSR is the truth according to me, as it it’s known, remembered and cooked by me, for the years when I lived there, in the place where I lived. I knew Americans would buy anything be less inclined to argue with me.
Out Russianed
…but wait,there is more… Out-Russianed

Kansas Roadtrips: Wamego

It is true that anywhere in the world when people who may not even speak English find out that you are from Kansas, they smile and say something about the Wizard of Oz. And just like L. Frank Baum made Kansas known worldwide, some marketing genius made Wamego, KS a worthwhile side trip for anyone passing through the state.
Wamego is located near Manhattan, KS and close enough to I-70 to make a detour. It doesn’t have any discernible claim to the Oz fame, except for actually being in Kansas.

Kansas Roadtrips: Wamego

…but wait,there is more… Kansas Roadtrips: Wamego

Mind Set

I am sure there is a body of research about people’s likes and preferences, explaining why we keep coming back to the same things. A childhood memory, a taste tried long ago, a chance meeting, anything can burn into subconscious and manifest itself years later without an obvious reason.

I don’t have a brand loyalty, but I find myself having some visual and taste preferences that I’ve been drawn to for many years. Some of these I can explain, others are still a mystery, but I know they are strong. I’ve purchased the exact same sweater twice several years apart not realizing it until I brought it home and put it next to the one I already had. Somehow I always end up with the same shade of jeans. My next car will be the newer version of my current car. I love to try new foods but there are dishes I can eat every day without ever getting bored.

I’ve worn this exact design of a watch for over 20 years.

Mind Set

…but wait,there is more… Mind Set