31 July 2010

0 july: a revue

"i don't want to brag about my referencing prowess but the words 'wow' and 'goodness gracious' were repeated more than once."

"it came close to derailing celibate summer when one of my dance partners started eskimo kissing me but then i turned it into a group activity and had about 10 people all rubbing noses."

"wow. everyone down here is black... and in the street."

"he seemed to be wiping off a bloody knife before he came to run my card."

"this is indeed highly bucolic."

"i get that i hold grudges. i'm german. we started WWII because we were still pissed about WWI. she's polish so she should be used to being conquered by my people."

"she is like herpes. the gift that keeps on giving that nobody wants. you aren't like herpes. you are like M&Ms."

"my life would be comparable to urban outfitters or high-quality vintage thrift- as it too is filled to the brim with a majority of undesirables that only certain people find fascinating."

"my kid is a car trip rock star."

"the question 'is this a farm date?' was uttered with the disdain one might use to inquire 'do you eat babies?'"

"i am intrigued by your ghetto."

"good luck with the borscht. mind you, i have never made it. i only read mennonite in a little black dress."

"somewhere floating around on a camera are pictures of me in giant fuzzy mouse ears. was there even a mouse in alice's wonderland?"

"that car has the texture of a really bad 80s garment."

"it is a whole parlor of desserts."
"wow. is it wrong that phrase leaves me a little turned on?"

"do you remember jerry, the big man I dated briefly?"

"i'm sorry but there is nothing 'christian' about being a conservative. Jesus was all about the welfare program. you don't get more liberal than Jesus."

"i'm sorry i don't have steak knives."
"no, it's cool. i frequently feed you off plastic plates produced by the niece of someone i don't even like any more."

"do you think you will weep?"

"y'know, i've got toothpaste on my zit and i had to be public the next day so i was in no mood to meet people."

"i was like, 'dude, did you know you had 5 different girls at our house over the weekend?' and they used ALL of the toilet paper. i mean, there wasn't even a square left."

"i sometimes wonder if i should eat less guacamole but then when i am reminded of how often you eat falafel i feel better about myself."

"i think the declaration of independence is nice, but to be honest, i wouldn't have written it like that."

"nation birthing hurts."

"boiled down, we were all just scared little boys looking to be loved, yet never saw a need to finally man up and do something with our lives. how does it feel to be the elite woman all of us kids have pined for all these years?"

"i agree, however, i was distracted by the little boy nipples on the grown man body."

"how have you been my mother my whole life and i didn't know crab was one of your favorite foods?"

"i kind of feel like i'm one of the fairies (insert snort laugh here) in sleeping beauty blessing aurora with all sorts of gifts."

"you often fall into the category of 'those people'- and i say that with love."

"there is much to be said for the sturm und drang of a life fearlessly and fiercely lived."

30 July 2010

2 automatic baby

the other night, i learned to drive stick shift. mind you, i'm using the words "learned" and "drive" very loosely, especially given that my learning to drive predominantly consisted of moving between two opposite parking spaces at a speed barely quantifiable as first gear.

however, for someone who has not driven a single motorized vehicle in the last eight months and has been behind the wheel a grand total of 20 minutes in 2010, i acquitted myself quite well.

and, thanks to the philosopher's ingenious idea that we do driver's training on the dominick's roof, i now know that great views of my city at sunset aren't limited to the signature lounge. there's just as much beauty in ukrainian village above a grocery store.

29 July 2010

0 yesterday would have been jackie's 81st birthday.

it is a sign of how deeply entrenched she is in the psychological makeup of my family that this milestone prompted my father to send me an email with "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" as the subject.

it is a sign of how close jackie and i are that i had completely forgot.

28 July 2010

0 re·cit·al: (n.) a public exhibition of skill

i came from a family with artistic aspirations. my grandmother made quilts. my father drew and wrote. my mother and her father sang. grandma ruth crocheted. my grandfather was a carpenter and restored musical instruments that no one in our family knew how to play.

they all fancied themselves photographers.

in light of this, my mum fervently adhered to a belief that children should be "dipped" (a phrase that always made me feel like a banana sliding into dark chocolate) into as many cultural pursuits as possible. because, though presumably most of them would be torture, one was bound to stick.

only the piano ever did.

and so, every year during the 14 years i took lessons, i had to endure three recitals. though i hated these events with the fire of a million suns, i only ever missed one- albeit through faked disease- and, therefore, participated in a grand total of 41 piano recitals in my life, a figure that does not include performances given in various nursing homes throughout the mid-south from 1991-93.

over the years i developed somewhat of a cult following on mrs. theresa's piano circuit. despite my obviously lax technical standards, i had a reputation for sticking complex classical pieces in performance. on more than one occasion the crowd had ooooohed and ahhhhhed.

and so in the eleventh grade, emboldened by my own acclaim, i chose to play franz liszt's "liebestraum" for mrs. theresa's annual spring recital, an event for which we were to have two pieces memorized. in hindsight, when mrs. theresa gave me an unprecedented dispensation from my second song, perhaps it should have been an indicator that i was aiming a wee bit too high.

but these were the days before i was a hardened hedonist. when i was the girl who would accomplish monumental feats not only on time but ahead of schedule. and so i persevered. i memorized that melodically simplistic, physically hellish song until i knew it backwards and forwards and, in just under two weeks, was doing the nightmarish fingerwork in my dreams. i practiced for so many hours that my father developed lyrics so he could sing along. (and thus the eaton family classic "i smell that smell" was born.)

i had never in my life known anything better than i knew that piece. i had never been more prepared for anything than i was for that recital. and come the recital, i played that song as i had never played it before.

until the g# in the second measure on the top of the third page.

because the g# in the second measure on the top of the third page is where everything went to shit.

where i forgot what i was doing.

where i stopped playing.

and i looked up, stared blindly into the audience and asked, where am i?

a simple question i've asked many times since, though never with quite the same terror nor the very great need to flee that i felt then. because it was then that i realized something my father had always warned i would not know until well into my 30s- i looked up and asked where i was and realized i did not know anything at all.

27 July 2010

0 today in sideprojects

do you hate all the drivel i write about my family and only read oline in the city because you are alone in the city and have a shameful biographical affinity for dead celebrities of the long long ago that manifests itself in an unceasing desire to read everything i've ever written about biography and celebrity collected insequentially in one localized place? if so, voilà:

26 July 2010

5 young oline aims high

I have decided when I grow up I am going to buy myself a pair of white shoes with 3" heels. That seems like such a luxury.

25 July 2010

1 short cuts

a year ago, in what i thought was a particularly ballsy, provocative move, i had my hair cut off.

and the family foward cheered!

because my father thinks long hair makes beautiful women look horsey like princess anne and my mother always finds my features are at their best in the wake of brutalizing dramatic change.

so here we are a year later. please note: an entire year has passed.

and only now does my mother point out that, at the ripe old age of 29, i have arrived at the exact same hair i had at the age of 2.

22 July 2010

6 strangers with stickers

in first grade they told us this story:

the world is full of benign, pleasant looking people who want nothing more than to approach you- simple-minded seven-year-old that you are- on the playground and give you a beautiful shiny sticker. you will be ever so grateful! you will thank these strangers profusely! you will take the beautiful shiny sticker, lick it so it will affix to your skin, and then you will discover that the glue on the backing is laced with pcp and, thanks to the resulting paranoia, loss of ego boundaries and depersonalization, you will become detatched from your body and commit violence to yourself from which you will, we were told, inevitably die.

(please note: i am being entirely truthy here. i was told this story. the philosopher was told this story. in 1987/8, this story made the rounds.)

there are two lessons we can learn from this tale.

(1) do not lick the things given to you by strangers.

(2) and run for your life from drugs.

these precepts and this story stuck with me forever. to the extent that when we reached the drugs section in middle school health class and they went through the list drug by drug, upon reaching pcp, twelve-year-old oline broke a years long vow of classroom silence to raise her hand and caution everyone to beware strangers with stickers.

i made this announcement with the self-important solemnity of saint-simon screeding the bastards. the subsequent snap of the thirty thirteen-year-old heads turning towards me was almost as hellish as the idea of strangers plying phenylcyclohexylpiperidine to kids at play.

almost, but not quite.

drugs were HUGE in the 1980s. drugs were so huge that the first lady of the land had to ask us to just say no. in a total misinterpretation of what mrs. reagan meant, i believed the importance lay not in not doing the drugs, but rather in the number of times one turned them down. consequently, the just say no campaign created a lingering expectation as i grew up that life would be a series of scenarios in which people would repeatedly offer me drugs that i would then have to muster the strength to decline.

the philosopher and i were discussing this the other night. this sense that we had in some way been cheated of our birthright because we were so prepared to be a shining light in a dark, dark time. so ready to say no and yet, in our experience, we so seldom had to. our lack of actual drug declinations seemed especially lackluster given that we grew up in a world where drugs were so plentiful that strangers were sharing them by slapping supergrass on unsuspecting students.

i never questioned whether there were actually strangers with stickers. i never once in the 23 years since i heard this story entertained the idea that it might not be true. i like to think the idea that it worked its way down to the philosopher in florida is incontrovertible proof of its veracity, because the more i think about it, the more i want there to have been strangers with stickers.

because if there were in fact strangers with stickers, this story raises the question of what crazy drug addict would ever be so wicked- and yet strangely generous with their stash- as to administer hallucinogenics to elementary schoolers via stickers.

if it is not true, this story leaves us to wonder why an adult would ever be so cruel as to dispense such a simple lesson to such young children through such a heinous tale.

21 July 2010

1 mère et fille et merde

in my family, my mother is known for many things.

eating the warm middles out of loaves of bread as a child and returning from the bakery bearing nothing but crust husks.

having the messiest closet of all our blood relatives.


losing irreplaceable family jewels in improbably inelegant places like the culman, alabama cracker barrel.

the christmas she forgot all my father's presents.

and that one time when upon getting in the car after playing in the park, she imperiously announced, "SOMEONE has stepped in poop," only to look down and realize there was dog shit all over her own shoe.

my father and i are the same. my mother and i are very different.

she hates this. she told me in paris last year. she sat on one twin bed and i sat on the other and, as wheel of fortune france (la roue à la fortune français!) played in the background, she told me she feels left out. and that it makes her sad. and that made me sad.

but i can't help it. my father and i are the same. my mother and i are very different.

i think.

that is the conventional wisdom, but i don't really know anymore because there are times when i open my mouth and my mother comes out and i don't know what that means. i've a sneaking suspicion it means i maybe don't really know my mother.

because sometimes, even after all these years, she blows me away. my father and i have discussed this. in one of the many discussions where we analyze our similarities and how she is so weird, we have discussed this very thing. the rare and yet oh so delightful times when she has gone out of character and it's like the world stops while you try to reconcile everything you know about her with what she just said.

these moments are delicious. we savor accordingly.

last saturday- as i was talking to her on the phone while walking a mile and a half in 90 degree heat and impractical footwear- my mother strongly encouraged me to move to france.

my mother, who thinks i live too close to The Edge. who shudders to think there's less than ten grand in my savings account. (oh, how she would tremor to know it presently stands at $142.) my mother, who did not want me to move so far as boston, that same woman told me to move to france.

like, she said, you should do it. NOW.

as she said this, a bead of sweat dripped down my cheek and i briefly mistook it for a tear.

in my family, my mother is known for many things. she is practical and logical and faithful and fiercely loyal but (and, yes, that is the but of a bad daughter) sometimes i can't help but feel her love holds me back. it's many cautions and concern for details being in direct conflict with the capricious fancy for adventure that is the genetic imprint of my dad.

and yet, there are times. when we're both wrist-deep in her jewelry boxes oooooooooohing and ahhhhhhing the same baubles we've ooooooooooohed and ahhhhhhhhed over a hundred thousand times before. there are small moments. atop tall buildings. before baked goods. when she slips her hand in mine. when she lets go and says do it. preciously tiny little moments where, in the presence of her love of small beauties, the whole world opens up. and i know and she knows that all that has come before has served only to bring us to where we are and we see everything that lies ahead glitter with possibility.

19 July 2010

4 young oline on the very great power of sheer will

i'm not precisely sure what happened during the summer of 1995, what i read or saw, that temporarily left my journaling riddled with archaic phrasing and an overwrought sense of gravitas. but for approximately a three week period in july/august 1995, everything was life or death. even, apparently, sunday school.

Around mid-afternoon Amy invited me to Rocketown (Michael W. Smith's club for teenagers). I attended and had a considerable amount of fun. For a few awful moments my composure was lost. Church was good. I got voted one of the most humble people in our class (Monica was one also so I'm not elated by my status). Blake kept using my Bible, which was odd. Daddy finally agreed to teach the Sunday School class. The AC was out at the "NEOS house" so we relied on sheer will to make it through the lesson without perishing. We made it.

17 July 2010

2 f.c. lovecraft

so there's this website (HERE) cleverly entitled "i write like..." (and i warn you in advance, this post is probably going to involve more quotations that you have ever seen in one place outside of a freshman comp paper on ulysses), where a presumably highly scientific "statistical analysis tool" analyzes an excerpt of your writing and determines what famous writer you write like.

so, you may ask, oline, who do you write like?

the answer: h.p. lovecraft.

and who, you may ask, is h.p. lovecraft?

per wikipedia: h.p. lovecraft was "an american author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction." his particular forte was the the subgenre known as "weird fiction."

h.p. lovecraft's "guiding literary principle" was the concept of "cosmic horror," a belief that life cannot be comprehended by human minds and "the universe is fundamentally alien." his works were "deeply pessimistic and cynical" tales in which the protagonists are "subject to a compulsive influence from powerful malevolent or indifferent beings" and glimpse "the horror of ultimate reality and the abyss." eventually, "even running away, or death itself, provides no safety."

h.p. lovecraft's prose was described as "antiquarian" and he was given to "heavy use of esoteric lexicon." his efforts to capture dialect speech were criticized as "clumsy, imprecise, and condescending."

so there you have it. i write like a fatalistic weird man who used archaic words and peopled his stories with characters for whom even death offered no comfort.

this may lead you to wonder, oline, what the hell was your writing sample?

the answer?

a story about eaton family fourth of july fireworks.

16 July 2010

0 say it ain't sO, dOugO

after much hullabaloo and some nightmarish mover dramas, my crofts are off to vermont. for forevers.

in the face of this very great loss and the fact that for the first time ever in my life i will be living in chicago without them less than one mile down the road, i did what any reasonable, thoughtful person would do...

i put on fake fingernails.

because, as a coping mechanism, that makes absolute total sense.

after an emotional farewell, what better place to seek comfort than the idyllic artificiality of the cvs beauty aisle? what better way to vent one's grief than the medium of broadway's best fast french? and, really, what psychological state could be more conducive to manipulating small pieces of plastic and maneuvering a tiny vial of semi-permanent glue?

(warning: "bonds skin and eyes in seconds")

in the end, the lesson we learn here is that this is not a good idea.

fake fingernails are not the answer.

falafel, however, totally is.

15 July 2010

12 daned

[forgotten paris?

in 51 days, my mother and i are going to denmark. for a week and a half.

we have plane tickets and passports and, beyond a vague idea of what my wardrobe will be, we have very little else.

no hotels.

no rental car.

no plan.

yesterday, my mum actually went so far as to forget that we are indeed going to denmark in 51 days. she said, cupcake, we were talking to frankie and gary about planning something fun for labor day weekend. and i said, but mother dear, i should think denmark would be labor day fun enough.

unlike the trip to paris, which operated with the smoothness of a travel channel special on abbeys of the arrondissements, denmark is coming together to be a more slipshod affair.

not one danish podcast has been downloaded.

not one book on copenhagen has been read.

my aunt may or may not be coming.

i have 51 days to learn to drive stick.

this should all probably be rather scary. the idea of being two (three???) women winging it alone in a country with a wealth of baked good we will not have the linguistic wherewithal to buy. in reality, it's rather exhilarating.

and thanks to the inexplicable inclusion of danish subtitles on the digitally remastered alfred hitcock masterpiece collection netflix copy of the man who knew too much, we aren't entirely ignorant.

que sera sera!

uanset vil blive vil blive!

13 July 2010

0 oh, young oline, worry not.

The grandparents are arriving on Thursday. I am to get my braces removed next month. It doesn't really matter to me if I have to wear them a little while longer. I'm simply terrified that my teeth will be coated in a layer of yellow residue. It's one of my great fears, besides high school and death of a family member.

12 July 2010

2 #1-4

i had five goals for 29. #3 was to eat 29 cupcakes. at the time, this seemed an appropriately noble challenge.

given that i had 4 cupcakes in the first 31 days of 29, which is an average of 1 per week and sets me up to consume 48 cupcakes during my 29th year, i'm realizing this goal was perhaps somewhat egregious.

1. banana banana.
sugar bliss.
2. raspberry lemon.
bleeding heart bakery.

3. pumpkin patch.
sugar bliss.

4. chocolate butter cream.
sweet mandy b's.

11 July 2010


dear mister 20th century fox,

we've been together now for seven years. seven loooooooooooooooooong years. as previously noted, this is significantly longer than any of my relationships with actual living men. and, as also previously noted, you are a dirty, rotten douche.

and yet i have stuck by you, mister 20th century fox. though you never live up to your promises. though you always let me down. though everyone in my social circle is Sick To Death of my “20th century fox is a fucking bastard because he will not release the mary tyler moore show (the Greatest Show Ever Made And From Which All Subsequent Sitcoms With Strong Female Leads Descend) on dvd” sermon.

through all of this, i have stuck with you. because i like bad boys. and i believe everyone is capable of good.

which brings us to today, mister 20th century fox. the day you announced the october 5th release of the mary tyler moore show, season 7 on dvd. the LAST season.

surely, mister 20th century fox, you can understand why i would approach this revelation with some distrust. in february of 2009, you promised the complete series. a promise that, like all the others, did not come true. so you see, mister 20th century fox, my heart has hardened in these mary tyler mooreless times. i know you are not a teller of truths. i know you are a bad, bad man.

and yet, a lady likes to hope.

and so i plead, i beg, i get down on my knees and i ask you one last time in the name of lars lindstrom and all that is holy, please dear God, dear mister 20th century fox, don't let a girl down.


08 July 2010

0 falafoline

i've been having this torrid romance with falafel.

to the extent that, with alarming frequency, i have consumed falafel for multiple consecutive meals. and when my friends go out with their friends and their friends order falafel, my friends now think of me.

this past weekend i ventured to the wild hinterlands of the suburbs and went to what may go down in history as The Lebanese Restaurant Of Our Lives. and yeah, the woman at the register may have had a black eye and the man who ran our cards was cleaning a knife covered in blood, but we feasted like vicroys and reines before a table filled with more slaughtered lamb than i've ever seen. and had better falafel than we could ever in our wildest dreams endeavor to deserve.

06 July 2010

0 dear jordan catalano

you are standing next to john galliano.

john galliano has just returned from hunting elephants on a bee farm. he is wearing erol flynn's facial hair and kristen chenoweth's dress. his hat appears to be a ménage à trois between an offering plate, a honey comb and a handkerchief.

jordan catalano, you are standing next to john galliano and yet you look like a douche.

food for thought...

0 watch & learn

Friday, August the 13th 1993
I'm going home tomorrow. This has come to be a symbol that summer is drawing to a close. That once again we will embark into the adventure of learning. I have always liked school and have the utmost respect for my teachers. I hope this coming year will be filled with exciting adventures, travels, and conquests. To watch and learn from experiences on the news such as the Waco Cult & World Trade Center bombing & hope to be a role model to others.

05 July 2010

3 the very next day... "i have a dream"

August 12, 1993
I've decided to write a novel. About the civil war. It will be about a family on the Mississippi farmlands. They will have 5 children (3 sons, 2 girls. 1 son will die. I started a quilt! It's a yo-yo quilt. One more day till I go home. The bookcase Paw-Paw made looks wonderful! Can't wait to get it home! After I finish my civil war novel I hope to [...]

[...] do one on the revolutionary war and another on life after the civil war the[n] possibly a book on life before WW1. I will research these well and hope to learn a lot in the process of the writings. I've never been able to understand why I write. Possibly it is because it is something I can devote myself to wholye. I have always been able to guide myself into the mysterious depths of my stories and can [...]

[...] usually write when handed a pen. Reading also comes in handy. I read day & night. When I think of all the illitarate people in the United States I am swelled up with emotion and gratitude that my parents wanted me to read & write. Writing is the spice of life and reading the sugar. If one does not posess these skilles their life is incomplete. To never experience the joy of creating and [...]
[...] inventing stories and reading them would be horrid & heartbreaking. I hope that in the future more pressure will be put on illitarat people to make them read & write. I have always whished to truley say I wrote a book. I can't imagine the amazing things the experience would provied. To have your name on the cover and your text inside. Ohh it gives me the chilles! I hope someday I will be able to tell my grandchildren I wrote a book.}

04 July 2010


and a young girl's discovery of the 3-point list...

August 11, 1993
My day has exactly half an hour left. Guess there's no hope. Went to Libby's. Stayed up until 2:28 watching "the blue and the Gray." I that movie. It captures the spirit of the Civil War & is so accurate. You can imagine your there. You can smell death and imagine the vivid, horrid sounds of young men boys and old men alike doing nothing short of suffering. They gave their lives for "The Cause." What was the cause. The South believed it was [...]

[...] the way of life. The north said it was rights. They gave their lives and saw such dreadful things you sympasize with the men who survived and had to tell others of what they saw, heard, and learned as they marched over 50,000 miles leaving paths of desolation, destruction and a flood of wounded. The wemon had an even harder task. To maintain a home, usually a load of children & having a husband at war. They had to cope with the [...]

[...] losses of loved ones and had to take on the teidious taskes of being nurses in one of the many hospitals that sprung up across the nation. And Abraham Lincoln. To be president at such a terrible time. To be disliked by the south. But even more Mary Todd to have to be shoned by Southerners & called a traitor. I saw how the branded, hung, shot, stoned, stabbed & killed in every other maner. To me they [...]

[...] were not much more than canables. They killed a person if they were not perfect. But then I saw how many innocent people got killed. People who were not in the war. Wemon small children all brutally beaten, stabbed and killed by an assortment of people. The world falling out from under the peoples feet. People expecting it to last a month and it lasts 5 years. 5 years of hate, murders, [...]

and waste. I think the northern cause was good & just but 5 years were taken out of those peoples lives. 5 years of misery, agony, and pain. 5 years of trying to prove your courage & how brave you were. When often you were killed on the threshold of your home. To actually kill someone. The war split families in two, killed innocent people and destroyed lives. But it achieved one goal. FREEDOM.}

03 July 2010

3 it's hard out there for a democrate

(semi-important context: when my family lived in atlanta, i spent either two sets of 2 weeks or one 4-week stretch with my mother's parents each summer. this involved a lot of sleep overs with the various granddaughters of my grandparents' friends, with whom i did not always philosophically agree...)

June 29, 1993

Spent the night at Bethany's! Had fun. Got allergy shot. Saw the Sound of Music. One of the bad points of today was that Beathany got talking about Clinton and being pro-abortion. That really ticked me off. I wish republicans would stay off my tail. Just because I'm not a die-hard republican doesn't mean I'm a democrate. I have decided I like Tom Cruise and am now dying to see "The Firm" but I need to be 5 years older. But at least I can "secretly" borrow Mummy's copy of the book to find out what the movies about! Got to Go.

02 July 2010

6 it's summer. it's hot. it's a holiday. i don't wanna write.

so yes.
it's here.
the week you would've all been waiting for
had you known you were waiting for it:
YoungOline in the City...

June 17, 1993
We road the metro down to the Natural History Mauseam and the Jefferson Memorial! My feet hurt so bad! James and David met each other today + we went out to diner. Bought an new journal.

Tomorrow we will go to Mt. Vernon on a boat and then to an art gallery. We are finally starting to adjust to the upbeat, on the go life these people lead. It's so amazing. They have an uncountable # of taxis, trains, and buses.

Everywhere you look people are in a hurry. It's like all they live for is work. People need to slow down and take life one step at a time. It seems that life is not enjoyed as much as it should be. people shouldn't live as if every day were their last day. They should enjoy life. All of it's wonder, grandour, + awesomeness. I think people forget about what life is truly like. As I look around you can see people hurrying through each day and not enjoying it. You should enjoy your life. not be terrified of it. I really enjoy observing the way people act and if they life fast-paced lives they can be very interesting.