30 November 2009

0 november: a revue



"this parenthood thing is not for sissies."

"i'm already not allowed to boink my husband for 6 weeks and right now i am barely able to see him. time to grow a pair and put the baby in a crib and risk him crying."

"i love that QVC plays such a role in your family togetherness."

"that was back when we were in our ignorance."

"i think i just really, really, really need to hug my parents, which is a mortifying thing to admit to as a 28-year-old."

"mostly i’ve just got to figure out how to still be a PERSON while being a mom, without putting my kid at risk for the effing H1N1."

"please go back and re-read that in the voice of julia child so it won’t be so annoying."

"the only fate worse than being defeated by a finger would be being defeated by your own snot."

"if he's diving into someone else's vagina, i'm sure he's totally seeing your face when he does."

"what is happening to us?!"
"we're old and single and we really fucking want to see u2!"

"this diet coke is going to be like heaven."

"dude, foreign is the best kind of sexy."

"you're a horrible salesperson. you'd never make a good hooker, y'know? you'd negotiate yourself down to a dollar. now me, i would do very well."

"some of us study dead people."

"i have ambitious plans to take lots of pictures of farmy things and eat nothing but pumpkin products."

"surely they wouldn't be massaging THERE."

"christmas is that time of year when you can decorate with tacky stuff and say, 'oh, how pretty!'"

"thank heavens i’d at least put some makeup on for the a.m. outings, or i would have looked like a homeless person... a lactating homeless person."

"i mean, babies go out in the wintertime in chicago, right?"

"it is a great gift though. seriously, i would sob with nostalgic joy if my daughter gave me a gift like this."

"her name was raoul and she was from west virginia. enough said."

27 November 2009

0 oline, get yer gun

i've previously alluded to the awesomeness of little girl oline's hi jinx. the era of the meta making of a legend: gone with the wind reenactments where i fashioned authentic antebellum couture from one of my mum's nighties and a hula hoop to stage select scenes from a documentary film about my favorite movie.

then there was the whole michael bolton "when a man loves a woman" mimed figure skating in socked feet phase that resulted in a broken arm, a bloody nose and two sprained ankles.

if ever there was a girl in need of a costume box, it was i. and yet somehow, despite the fact that i was an only child and the obvious solution to the "caroline, stop wearing my clothes" problem would've been a costume box, we never got around to that. instead i was left to pilfer the closet/jewelry box/sock drawer of every female relative i had and store my findings in a black hefty bag shoved into the farthest depths of my closet for fear they would be found out.

for fear that when my mother scoured my belongings in search of the elicit drugs that every ABC movie of the week had told her would be there, she would uncover a deep, dark secret far, far worse. that her daughter was someone who would not only make but wear Fashions comprised of nothing but discarded slips, red velvet tassels and safety pins.

my family has always had the best closets hands-down. i know this because i've pillaged them all.

my father's is probably the least exciting. its most provocative feature being a box of shoe polishes that have decomposed to such an extent the whole thing looks like that box of cal hockley's that brock lovett thought held the heart of the ocean. as we've moved from house to house my father's closet has never changed. it has always been dark and rectangular and hauntingly acidic.

my mother's closet was more dynamic. sometimes there was a window. sometimes a makeup table. always, always eighteen hundred million dry cleaning bags. the messiness was part of its allure.

along with the rack of power suits. the dressing table. the purses. the hats. the rows of high heels that were two sizes too small for my feet, though i crammed them on nonetheless. and then there was the gun.

my first memory of the gun is from when we lived in franklin. either this was the first time i ever ransacked my mother's closet or the gun had just moved in. it would be there for the next 7 years. snuggled in among the shoes.

in a testament to the effectiveness of early 90s anti-firearm propaganda (not to mention the 90210 where scott accidentally blows off his head at his own surprise birthday party after committing crimes against break-dancing that would've made me want to shoot my head off too), my fear of guns knew no bounds. never mind that this was a rifle that was plainly unloaded and situated in the clearly nonthreatening confines of my mother's footwear. still, it scared the hell out of me.

and yet there was something strangely comforting about it. knowing it was there, i always felt very well defended. i was highly skeptical the family dog would ever protect us, but the possibility always remained that my mother would get her gun.

which is funny, because it wasn't her gun. it was my dad's. and there were actually two others stashed in his closet that i somehow, in all of my foraging, never unearthed. i can only imagine how well-defended i would've felt knowing there were guns for everyone.

i hadn't thought about the gun in ages but in recent weeks, i have really really really wanted it. just as the humans and the hobbits longed for The Ring, i have suddenly coveted this gun with an undying conviction that it must one day be mine. and that all will be right in the world when it is.

because it is the gun my father brought back from vietnam. it is my heritage and in a very strange way, a piece of the story of who i am.

because i am a girl who makes Fashions from velvet and tassels and safety pins. a girl who expects women, real women, to guard their shoes with guns.

25 November 2009

2 the mandate

the best dates i've ever been on have been with croftie.

in a meta-moment, we had a conversation about this the other night, during yet another crepe date. invigorated by a highly satisfying discourse on the perils of fictional dialogue, the insecurities of our mothers and the small pleasures of teenage female friendship, we turned our attention to the great tragedy that men so seldom have man dates save for sports and beer.

it was then that croftie leaned forward in the candlelight (we were the only ones left in the restaurant by then), her eyes a'sparkle from the glass of la paradou, and said her latest greatest pithy thing: it's lucky we're girls because i don't think a guy can say, "hey dude, let's get some crepes."

22 November 2009

5 the family

i started keeping a blog when i moved to the city. i began because ostensibly my big city life would be filled with such a multitude of exotic goings-on and there was simply no other way to chronicle all i was doing so my droves of admirers could keep up.

that's what i honestly thought at the time.

in truth, the cocktail of my motivations was probably, however unconsciously, decidedly more mixed. yes, i'd just been dumped and, in 2005, a blog seemed an appropriately avant garde means of flaunting my newfound glamor. but also there was a certain compulsion. an almost embarrassingly great need. for what? even after four years, i'm still not quite sure.

i grew up in a house where art was always present. my mum played the piano and cross-stitched and did calligraphy and sewed. the woman sent me to prom in badgley mischka couture. that is a debt no daughter can repay.

my father collected. and, done the way he did it, believe me, it was artful. his spaces were always chock full of wonderfully ancient things. old books, old cameras, old pots, old pictures, old pens.

from an early age, my birthdays were celebrated with prints signed by the artist, with commemorative messages from my parents scrawled on the frame's backing. for the longest time, i thought everyone did this. it was only as i grew older that i realized no one does this but us.

because we're a kind of special crowd. we do things a little different. dean burrito and belle grande. a new yorker, a southern miss and their yankee brat. we wear funny hats at christmas. we hold hands when we pray.

in my family, handmade gifts always received the most enthusiastic reception. being one for both frugality and enthusiastic receptions, this was the route i often went. but it rarely panned out as i dreamed and more often than not i wound up writing something at the last minute. because writing was the easy way out.

i wrote a lot as a kid. there was a play or two thrown in for good measure, but mostly there were stories. goshawful, horridly implausible stories. some of them torrid romances, most of them mysteries, all of them inexplicably influenced by the albertville winter olympics of 1992. (seriously. even my confederate soldiers won figure skating gold.)

well into high school, i would while away the nights sitting before my dad's word processor, typing up masterworks in a primitive version of a program that would ten years later become microsoft word. awful and immature as they were, my parents lavished them with such praise that i kept writing.

these pieces seem to crawl out of the woodwork now. every time i go home, my mum has found another and tenderly laid it on my bed.

i no longer write fiction. i never had the patience for plot.

gilbert blythe told anne shirley to write about what she knew. i never really planned on writing. because words always seemed so dangerous, so final. and i am a girl who all too frequently says things she doesn't mean.

as i grew older, when asked if i wanted to be a writer, i would defiantly say i didn't. i wanted to be a vet or a biologist or an editor. i didn't want to write. never. ever. and i certainly didn't intend to write about my family. because what could possibly be more dangerous than that?

but sometimes things just kind of happen, somewhere along the way. and amid the multitude of goings-on in my city life, i find myself always returning to them. to my family and their stories. again. and again. and again.

i have no brothers or sisters. no one else grew up in my home. no one else remembers my mother cooking their pancakes in the shape of bunnies or my father waking them on their birthday playing assorted musical instruments from a mayan mariachi band. these memories are mine and mine alone. inaccurate and exaggerated and romanticized as they may be, they are mine.

gilbert blythe told anne shirley to write about what she knew and this is what i keep coming home to. my family is all i truly know. my family and those moments, almost too fluttering sweet to be substantial, when, in the stillness of the adventure, we were all utterly ourselves. silly. giggling. free. and loved.

20 November 2009

0 it is friday

and i have already spent 3 days (3 DAYS!!!) anticipating the pumpkin pancakes i will be having on sunday afternoon.

18 November 2009

5 here, kitty kitty


this weekend, sitting around with the libdears (who need a better nickname since it's a blatant knockoff of lindears but all i'm coming up with is libbom, which simply will not do), the conversation wound its way around to the pets of our past.

i don't know if this is a topic that my presence prompts or if i just hang out with people who like to ponder such things, but it is undoubtedly a subject that arises with alarming frequency when i am around. make of that what you will.

my family are fervent believers of pet replacement theory. we totally rock the rebound. so totally, in fact, that my grandmother has on several occasions expressed a disapproval so violent that it can only mean she assumes we apply pet replacement theory to people as well. we don't. but we are fervent nonetheless.

when i was a kid, a pet would die in the night and i'd awake to a new one the next morning. for a surprisingly long time, i harbored a firm belief that the spirits of our pets simply assumed new corporeal manifestations on a rotating basis. like benson was just big kitty but in a different coat.

i was twelve before i realized fish were not immortal. that we hadn't had the same crop my whole life, but that my parents had spent a decade surreptitiously restocking the tank. given the ease with which my family has murdered fish in the years since, in hindsight their diligence is impressive.

it is astonishing, the effort expended to protect me from the reality of animal death. in fact, i avoided it almost entirely until the day before my 23rd birthday. that traumatic morning when cookie was killed by her haircut, at which point i sat on my bed, gave up on life and greived for every cat i had ever known.

seriously. the cats of my childhood. the cats of friends. cats in classic films. cats i had met in various bookstores. all cats i could only assume were dead by then. a whole heaping world of dead cats. for them, i grieved.

i like to think i'm way beyond this, but then just the very thought of living in a world with no vieve makes my throat constrict and i know i am not. hopefully this is a reality i'll be spared awhile.

my parents, however, have suddenly found themselves the king and queen of the kingdom of elderly animals. darcy is hobbled and arthritic. mimi is on a restricted diet and has worried a gash on her ear with such vigor for the last two years that it's hard not to wonder if her soul is clawing its way out.

the other day, my father said to me, as mimi's death yowls echoed in the background, i think we're done with animals. we're too old for this. and for just a second, the thought dashed through my mind and almost escaped my mouth that no, no, one day you'll wake up and they'll be all new again.

17 November 2009

2 the wonderful weekend of tom & libby

obviously just the tip of the iceberg,
but i think it most succinctly captures the awesome.

13 November 2009

4 crash


i've had recurring dreams off and on for years, starting when i was in the 9th grade and spent the whole holiday season in fear that every time i closed my eyes a giant flaming tree was going to fall over and obliterate the entire cast of a charlie brown christmas. i can't stress enough how hard it is to fall asleep with the foreknowledge that you're going to kill snoopy in your dreams.

since becoming an "adult" (a word i use very loosely), these dreams have tended to revolve around air travel. which is funny given i have never, ever been afraid to fly.

nonetheless, for the last four summers i've suffered through "the minute the sun pops up, my eyelids react as that it were a plane exploding into a ball of fire" syndrome. and for the past two winters there has been the "i'm awake on the plane to see we are going to crash while everyone around me sleeps" dream.

now, just in time for the season of holly jolly endless air travels, there's a new plot twist: "i'm awake on the plane to see we are going to crash while everyone around me sleeps, but if i have faith we won't crash in spite of the fact that we clearly are crashing, then we indeed will not crash."

i'm commenting on this publicly not because it's particularly interesting but because it's one of those things. like that time i ate an entire pint of blueberries in under a half hour and had to confess to lindear so she could finger the culpable patch were i to later turn blue and implode.

this way everyone will know. because i've left a written record, should a plane i'm in ever crash, you can all sit back and appreciate how deeply ironic it was. and perhaps find solace in the fact that it wasn't some inexplicable tragedy. that there was a reason. that i just didn't believe.

12 November 2009

3 blurgh

last night, i fell asleep in the bath.

and while i would like to attribute that to something substantial, say old age perhaps, since i've never heard my grandparents express a proclivity for bath-induced narcolepsy, i'm going to instead interpret this as further evidence of my freakishness.

the only defense i'll attempt to mount is that it was an appropriately late hour after midnight and an aromatic candle had been lit.

but this isn't the story of how i fell asleep in the bath. oh no, this is the story of how i awoke. the story of how the vieve- in her indomitable bravery- attempted a water rescue that resulted in me, mired in a foot and a half of bubbles and with a gash in my thigh, clutching the scardest, wettest, most unhappy cat alive as we both screamed bloody murder.

10 November 2009

09 November 2009

5 the hermes 3000

my family loves questing. just wake up on a saturday morning with a Brilliant Vision and say one word to my dad- "typewriter," for instance- and instantly he's off, conducting so thorough a research of vintage typewriters that within ten minutes he is qualified to pillage the inventory of ebay, emerging victorious with the absolute perfect minty green one. meet hermes:



i've never before come home to a boy sitting on my stoop but, i have to say, a girl could get used to this...


ps. no, i did not name him. and, should you ever have cause to refer to him aloud, please, for the love of all that is holy, say it the french way and not as though it rhymes with herpes.

06 November 2009

0 strange days

i'm going to go ahead and say what everyone else is thinking and officially declare the later half of 2009 to be pretty effed up. in a good way, but nonetheless it has given one reason to pause with surprising frequency to think, with furrowed brow, what huh?

for example: if you'd told me last november 5th that i would spend the night of this november 5th breaking into the stairwell of the architectural foundation to film a friend of a friend performing a two minute musical excerpt in a renegade staging of another friend's play, there is no way in hell i would have believed you.

you would have been right, but i would not have believed.

04 November 2009

6 quickie


i do not cook. baking? yes. cooking? big no.

that's not entirely true. for select persons (read: boys) i'll trot out tidbits from my culinary repertoire, but i aspire to neither feasty greatness nor complete, nutritional meals. the way to my heart is cheerios and wine.

so it is with some bemusement that i have taken on a social obligation that entails a weekly potluck.

up to this point my contributions have, admittedly, been sub par. not to impugn the wonder of store-bought tater tots, but they have been the apex of my efforts. however, this week, temporarily intoxicated by foolish dreams of epicurean glory, i decided to make Real Food. thus, i put on an apron and the bob dylan and danced about the kitchen and produced my masterpiece... a quiche lorraine.

you wouldn't know that though. looking at it, your first thought would be: oh lovely, oline's harvested bleached brain matter and served it gelatinized over a scorched fossil.

tater tots sounding pretty good about now, no?