30 April 2011

6 done.

there are two things my parents have strictly forbidden me to do: ride a motorcycle and get a tattoo. i'm 95% certain i'm going to one day defy them on the latter, but riding a motorcycle? scarred as i was by sweet valley high #7: dear sister, that is the one thing i would never do.

today, i flew a plane. the picture below- taken when, due to turbulence, we were at 90 degree tilt over lake michigan and, for the first time in my life, death seemed a legitimate concern- pretty accurately captures my attitude towards flying planes. 

i wouldn't give up the experience for anything in the world. and it was, hands down, the scariest thing i've ever done.  

even so, say YES, people. yes, yes, yes. YES. always. while this is a policy that will likely one day land me in a ditch, incontinent and riddled with mouth cancer, i think it's worth the risk. because the story you might be missing is filled with extravagantly, ridiculously, frightfully overwhelming tiny adventures to which you would not otherwise have been privy. 

this was scariest thing i've ever done, but i can't fathom how much scarier it would've been had i not, fifteen minutes before, gone flying down 63rd on the back of the instructor's motorcycle. 

3 april: a revue

"she's blokey, but with fabulous bosoms."

"sometimes, just because its spring, a girl wants a guy to wear cute sundresses for."

"i do not know how they will know tomorrow's weather today, but there you go."
"prophecy. they are close to God in their planes, you know."

"twilight: the musical! can you imagine the angst?"

"how very isrealites leaving egypt of you."

"corn on the cob! right by those trashbags!"

"i love seeing homeless couples."

"no wonder you had to become a redhead. you can't even wink."

"johanna's the wild one. i'm just the slut."

"my sexy evening plans include catching up on 'modern family' episodes, and returning a giant blue tarp to my dad."

"it looks like i have a sparkly clown bib"

"tonight is writing group. i haven't washed my hair in a solid week. those ideas are unconnected."

"what you need to know about my friday night is this: we watched monday’s episode of  dancing with the stars and made fun of their guest rock-violinist the entire time."

"it’s like this is your long-lost horrible dancer daughter."

"you have been hawt the other 364 days out of the year. do not worry."

"HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG OMG OMG."

"thank goodness for your red hair."

"i will apologize for the millionth time for friending your mom on FB and then INTERACTING with her. i know that is weird. but i will not stop."

"now i, like, NEED to go to texas."

"i do think it's kind of impressive that we made it to near-30 before growing up really started to suck."

"it’s because you use bad words, isn’t it?"

"i scared the crap out of myself by reading a 'the protagonist will die of cancer' novel last week."

"i mean, what with labor and all. that's stressful."

"OH NO. don't go to texas then. they are big into the cake slice."

"it seems like that type of thing should be documented and shown to your spouse."

"what the hell. let's cancel bible study and go meet a kennedy."

"will your nails be painted? this almost begs a polka-dot manicure."

"it takes mega balls to attend a baseball game in the cold!"

"what if it is actualy caroline kenendy, NOT caroline kennedy? a cruel cruel joke played on us by borders out of spite for buying books on amazon?!?!"

"who cares if they’re all in pastels? you’re CITY. you are expected to look a bit more funereal than most."

"that was a confusing metaphor."
"yeah, you were a boy and your grandmother was a biography conference."

"that's just annoying. and i try not to do anything that's annoying."

"i've been smoking a cigar. this is not my breath."

"i can just picture your look drawn in colored pencil."

"i don't really know you so i'm not going to try to enter into your trauma."

"i love how they just put oceans 11 and the fast and the furious together to make the worst movie ever."

"bear in mind i have on way more eyebrow makeup than anyone should ever have..."

"how many caffeines are we talking here?"

"i'm starting to be concerned by the prominent role the songs of vanessa williams have been playing in my life."

"you have to warn me. i did that weird ‘try not to laugh at a really really funny thing while you are at work’ thing where you swallow air and almost choke on your gum."

"i am fairly certain it was new, but am also equally certain it was designed for a farm animal."

"and so it happened that my skinny, aging, awkward dutch father, slowly, awkwardly, and carefully did his first dunk-baptism in a water trough."

"woo hoo! …um… now it gets worse."

"yes. you totally need a big-ass brooch."

"tell me about these mustaches."
"mine was gray. which was unfortunate."

"life gets so much better when you don’t have to worry about when you’re ovulating."

"will cross my fingers for a 0 tonight."

"i don’t really have a reason for asking, other than you totally piqued my curiosity when you freaked out about your incontinence risk."

"fame is hard. especially if you're a canadian."

"i'm jetlagged and i didn't even go anywhere."

"we are on royal wedding time."

"the daily idiosyncrasies of my life were smite-worthy."

"well, you do talk to jesus..."
"yes, but i don't think he's a vending machine."

"alex is a craigslist find."

"i would never want to live there, but i will go and drink their 44 oz drinks."

"balls, my dear. balls."


29 April 2011

7 glamorous

the general thrust of my life lately has been identifying the things i've meant to do for forever and then actually doing them.

this has been an extravagantly glamorous process that has led to such outlandish adventures as riding horses and sitting in boats. and it is due to this extravagantly glamorous process that i am finally, FINALLY throwing myself into the only social issue to have ever truly engaged my heart: funeral reform.

glamour, people. glamour.

over the years, i've tried to become active in a number of totally hip, seemingly so much more important, sexier issues. human trafficking. hunger. recycling. literacy. women's reproductive freedom.

none of them stuck.

despite my best efforts, i have only ever been interested in funeral reform. and funeral reform is so not sexy. even though it encompasses sexy areas like ecology, politics, poverty and corruption, in the end it's just plain ghoulish.

so yeah. that's me in a nutshell.

funeral reform and dead first ladies.

truly, it is a wonder i have any friends.

0 #27

orange & vanilla cream.

"what would be more appropriate than a hostess cupcake to celebrate 
the coming of a new princess?"

0 chain of events

so, this:

led to this:

which led to the greatest explanation of all time:

28 April 2011

0 friday, 4 a.m.

here's the thing: i really fucking do not want to wake up on friday at 4 a.m. 

i mean, it's gonna happen. not because of history or because i have any particular interest in royal weddings or william or kate. i mean, i'm mildly curious to see what my beloved victoria beckham will wear, but beyond that my interest, it is nil. 

nonetheless, i have to watch. because biography is a genre where the most important things a woman can do is get married and die. seen in that light, the royal wedding is kind of a big biographical deal. 

and since biography's supposed to be my business and whatnot and there's always the chance that i'll one day write a book about the royals (a fate to which every single jackie biographer of the past 20 years has succumbed), i need to watch so that, on the off-chance some interviewer of the future asks future oline, now tell us about your memories of watching the royal wedding..., future oline won't have to say, well, i was asleep. 

0 it's raining

0 whoa.

today, in things that really really needed to happen:

27 April 2011

8 help. please.

sooooooooooo, dear peoples... we're going to do something wildly random and exceedingly strange.

i've been working on this horrible bitch of a blasted exorcism/writing thing that the naked lady bar has savaged time and again. it's due to them for the fourth pass on friday and i've decided this has got to be the last go-round before we all go mad and it trots off into the ever after of whatever it's going to be.

a most inconvenient resolution given that the little shit appears to have belligerently set up camp in the parking lot adjacent to the arena of sensei's approval.

it's close. it's not there. i need help.

sensei demands imagery. so, think concrete details like water temperature and toenail polish, concussions and chlorine.

removed from all context and the 12 pages that surround it, here's what i've got (your assignment is at the end):

I was twelve. I was awkward and afraid of public speaking. Standing in front of 200 people and walking alone down an aisle was a nightmare for which juice and crackers and the vague connotations of cannibalism therein seemed a terribly small reward.

But this wasn't even the scariest part. Coupled with this was an intense terror of baptism.

Each new believer, after braving the aisle, was to be symbolically reborn through baptism. It was an odd production that, from my vantage point in the crowd below, seemed to have been pilfered from one of Busby Berkley's lesser water ballets.

The timid new believer would be led into the waters, which no one ever had the forethought to warm, so that the public profession of faith whispered into the microphone pinned on the minister's lapel would be punctuated with a near-deafening chattering of teeth that would ricochet about the sanctuary like gunfire bouncing off the walls. The preacher would then hold a cloth over the believer’s nose and dip him or her backwards into the water in what, more than anything, appeared to be a poorly executed drowning.

As this process was being conducted by ministers rather than life-guards and it was performed on victims in billowing robes and bare feet, there was always drama.

Dizzied by the lack of air, the believer frequently lost his or her footing, the feet kicked up and a wave of water went cascading over the baptistry’s edge, splashing the congregants in the front row as though this were Sea World rather than a sacrament. If that weren’t humiliation enough, water inevitably went up the victim’s nose and the remainder of the service would be interrupted by the hacking coughs of the recently reborn.

Baptism was in dire need of a better promotional campaign. Every week, smiling children walked up the aisle, beaming ecstatically, to commit their lives to Christ, only to be submerged the subsequent Sunday afternoon and emerge sobbing as though fresh from a face-to-face with the devil, their extremities gone blue from the water's cold.

It didn't exactly make one want to follow in their footsteps.

And so, when I finally did take those first steps down that aisle on my own way to a commitment to belief, I did so in spite of a host of fears, including a dread of being singled out in public and a near-certainty that I was going to drown. 

so there. now. tear it apart. tell me what else you want to know, what i've missed, what i've got all wrong and if you've got any good baptism stories i can exploit, spill...

3 wednesday

4 the vacation

last weekend, my family took a vacation. our first since march 2003.

please appreciate the massive passage of time there. so much time that i had managed to forget one of the defining elements of every family vacation we have ever had: we wake up early.

really effing early.

as though we had livestock to tend.

therefore, the massive collection of my father's photo albums is punctuated with "vacation" pictures where we look inexcusably haggard:

(ft. lauderdale, florida, 1985)

and grumpy:
(vicksburg, mississippi, 1984)

and hostile: 
(memphis, tennessee, 1990)

it's been awhile since we've vacationed. i had forgotten this.

foolishly, i looked upon this vacation as a five-day stretch in which i could recoup a fraction of the thousands of hours of sleep i'm owed from this past year of hedonistic living and the last two months of traveling entirely too much and taking on entirely too many things.

alas- as i was reminded every single morning in unfailingly singsong tones- WE EATONS ARE EARLY RISERS! there is no sleeping in.

and so, during our five day family vacation, every single day, we awoke with the sun. the only exception was easter, when we skipped church and slept in until 7:15. my parents acted all day as though this were a monumental splurge. really, it wasn't. our flights the following morning necessitated waking at the ungodly hour of 3 a.m.

0 it's raining

0 book 'em

i'm sitting in riverside center room 12 listening to this guy wax on about how the male youths of the 60s were pivotally influenced by the depictions of manhood in john wayne's the sands of iwo jima when i realize that i am maybe writing two books. three if you count that other book that i've not really written but about the writing of which i'm writing in that additional book.

so, four.

four books.

i am writing four books.

but what i'm really doing is not writing any of them.

one of the four is done. except that it isn't because i'm pretty sure now that it may need to become two. if not, it sure as hell needs to become a better one because it's maybe a half at present. and a shitty half at that.

so what we have is this:

jackie: the definitive biography
jackie: the tabloid years
jackie in paris: the biography
jackie in paris: the novel of the failed attempt to write the biography

none of them written. none of them being written.

there's this phase of writing we don't talk about much. the phase where you're writing nothing.

this tends to look like laziness. i would argue it isn't. but then, maybe i'd think that precisely because it's the stage i'm in. it's easier to justify the notion that i'm mentally arranging pieces and plotting course than to admit i'm stewing in a pit of ideas from which i cannot crawl out.

in high school, due to my great fear of tardiness and inability to fully master a combination lock, i never used my locker but, instead, lugged 30 pounds of textbooks around every day.

that is how writing sometimes feels. all those books and projects and pieces crammed into your skull. you carry them around with you, because it's a frightening process to get them out and because you do not yet have the key.

26 April 2011

2 welcome home

4 rain, rain

dear chicago, we've hit a rough patch.

because it has been foggy and rainy and gray for as long as i can remember and it has rained every day for the last four years. at least.

and that's not even hyperbole. it's total truth.

this is coming on the heels of the worst winter of all time where we were alternately unseasonably cold, unseasonably warm, unreasonably snowy and then the sky threw up on us.

chicago, i love you, but you're being a bastard.

it's been raining FOREVER. that soupy rain where you can't see the tops of the skyscrapers, and that simply will not do. us girls in the city, we need our skyline.

2 relaxification

in college, wednesday was my night. i stayed in and watched felicity. i didn't do homework. i didn't see my boyfriend. i didn't shave my legs.

among the group of guys i ran with, this was an understood. if it was wednesday, oline was off the grid.

i don't know when this stopped but the other night, i had this grand plan to try to recapture it. admittedly, it was a tuesday and the plan didn't go into effect until 11:30 p.m., but i was undeterred.

i turned off the phone and the computer and lit a candle and sat in a fiercely hot bath, sipping chardonnay from a cubs mug. this lasted for five solid minutes.

whereupon the neighbor's boyfriend started singing, vieve puked on the bathroom carpet and a stray strand of hair floated through the air into the candle flame, where it went off like a sparkler.

lesson learned. adulthood is not college. nor should it try to be.

25 April 2011

2 texas

best. cat. ever.

plus cake slices, big drinks and davy crockett.

2 well said

public speaking, much like tennis and figure skating, is something at which i excel in my head. in real life, not so much. 

there is nothing i deplore in all the world so much as addressing groups larger than three, because i do not like to confront my inadequacies. i do not like to be reminded that there are a host of things at which i am not simply thoroughly bad, but downright deficient. and there are few things at which i am more deficient than articulate public speech.

in recounting our experience in an ill-fated speech class, in which we merely had to state our names and why we were there, the dane told sensei: as it became increasingly clear that we were going to have to introduce ourselves, i looked over at oline. her head was bowed and at first i thought she was praying, but then i realized she was just trying to disappear.

it's funny then that i've stumbled into this whole sex tobaggon speaking tour, an ordeal for which disappearance is not an option. 

my mechanism for psychologically coping with the looming horror of this inevitability was to completely ignore the paper i was going to deliver this past weekend, to forgo all practice of any sort and simply scare the shit out of myself by all other available means. hence the flight lesson, the blood donation, the driver's test, the beef tongue. as though systematically hurtling through the catalog of my fears would render the nightmare of public speaking utterly powerless in the end.

if nothing else, i would be so shell-shocked as to be insentient and the horror of opening my mouth would be somewhat dulled.

i did all of this (except the flight lesson, which is forthcoming), only to find out that what i require to be psychologically capable of public speaking is really quite simple: fuchsia clip-on bangs and thirty minutes reading eichmann in jerusalem while listening to lady gaga's "bad romance."

2 done

6 o young oline, DREAMS

it's 1995. rose kennedy has just died. and, because even at the age of 14, young oline was pretty sure the whole world would one day be dying to know her views on important issues, she wrote a series of essays detailing them. these entries comprise the entirety of the section entitled "DREAMS".

[trans.: I guess my biggest dream of all is to become a veteranerian. I've wanted to do it all my life. I've always planned to go into practice with Elizabeth Smith, my best friend. I don't know why I want to do this, but maybe it's because I love animals and can't stand to see them in pain. I know what it's like to be misunderstood (i'm a kid after all.) I think some people just assume that because animals aren't people that they don't need the basic nessecities of life such as food, water, shelter and most of all LOVE. Well, they do. And they need someone to pay attention to them and pamper them. Pets are just like little children. I've never intentionally hurt an animal and don't see how someone could. I want to help animals. That's why I want to be a vet.]

[trans.: I want my future to be just right. I want to be the best I can be but be myself at the same time. I want people to be able to trust me and come to me with their problems. I want to go to collage. Be a veterinarian. Be a writer. Meet new people. Be a woman of the world. I want to be elegant, graceful, pretty, polite, religuous, trustworthy, friendly, outgoing, caring, kind. I want to be looked up to. I want to be married to a wonderful man who is tender and says "bless you" when I sneeze. I want to have a family and instill them with the same values that have been planted in me.] 

[trans.: I want to make a difference. I don't want to just live. I want to LIVE. I want to help people and somehow make a difference, I want to be remembered by those whom I know. And I want to be remembered in a good way. I can't think of anything worse than being recalled as a traitor. I've always had sympathy for Benedict Arnold in that respect.]

23 April 2011

0 :)

“With the truth so dull and depressing, 
the only working alternative is 
wild bursts of madness and filigree.”
- Hunter S. Thompson


22 April 2011

0 done

2 rebecca

there's this woman at church. we met in december 2009 and we're going to be friends. it hasn't happened officially, but i know it's coming. i've known for eight or nine months. she is important.

she's from memphis. she's my dad's age. she met my dad when he was in town. she's important, though i do not yet know why.

she is. that is all i know. in that way that there are some people you meet and you just instantly know they're going to be in your life for the rest of theirs. together, you are going to do something. that relationship, it's going to be definitive.

someday, rebecca and i are going to go to dinner. we've been saying this for months. i'm determined to make it happen in may.

she sits on the right side of the church. i sit on the left. since november, i've gone to the right every week to say hello. last week, she came over to me and, in the midst of our small talk, she said this: we don't know each other very well but i get the sense that, while you never do things the easiest way, you're on an amazing adventure. 

she said that and i didn't hug her because she's, like, three feet shorter than me and makes me feel like a giant. but i should've. because, in what turned out to be a rough week, that stuck with me.

that this woman who is important for reasons i do not yet know, barely knowing me at all, thinks i am on an amazing adventure.

sometimes we need other people to remind us of that.

21 April 2011

20 April 2011

3 yes, this is still happening

7 if we were other people, last night totally would've been the night we were in a room with caroline kennedy

but, yeah. we're us.
and so, while last night was a night that we were in a room with caroline kennedy
more importantly,
it was the night we went to chick-fil-a.

3 peon

so there was THIS article, which- to paraphrase loosely- says that women who drink more than three cups of caffeine a day are doomed to be incontinent.

since reading this article (and, yes, it's from the daily mail so we should take it with a whole heap of salt), i've arrived at a general acceptance of my inevitable plight.

i drink entirely way more than three cups a caffeine a day. it's indecent. a figure so unacceptable i'm unwilling to even confess it to lindear.

i've done this for 20+ years. so, if three cups a day does damage, well then, that damage has pretty much been done.

mind you, i'm not far enough removed from the experience of having to buy adult diapers for a relative having digestive difficulty in a foreign land (which is an awesome story for another year) to not be totally horrified by this news. but, i am, after all, the fastest pee-er in the world. maybe that's a skill that's double-edged: both an athletic gift and an indicator that my incontinent doom has already begun.

19 April 2011

3 we hard core

inning 1

last night, in our continuing indulgence in spring activites for which is not yet warm enough, k.clen (dressed for the cubs) and i (dressed for a figure skating sequence in a doris day film) went to wrigley, where we endured nine innings of the most boring baseball in history in the midst of a meteorological event best characterized as "a wintry mix."

inning 9

0 the night

every year in chicago, there's that one night that you spend the whole rest of the year remembering as the coldest night of the year. maybe it wasn't really the coldest temperaturally, but for whatever reason, it is memorable and on the hottest day of july, as the sweat drips from your brow, you'll look back and think, but oh God, at least it isn't cold like it was That Night.

for reasons that will be explained later today, last night was that night.

in the meantime, let's go back in time to a collection of quotes that will give you a fair idea of how cold it was...

(3 december 2006)

"on that one hot day in may, this will be the moment i remember."

"why did i ever think canvas shoes in snow was a good idea?"

"i was looking at your shoes earlier and i thought: what tenacity!"

"i'm almost freezing to death, right here, right now, on this damn bus."

"i think it's not an exaggeration to say that it is currently colder than it has ever been anywhere else in the world ever."

"i just want a bear to come stand on my feet and hug me."

"winter hurts."

"i hate to break your heart, but there appears to be line around the block business."

"don't worry. my heart froze long ago."

"we are indoors and i can see my breath. that's obscene."

"truly, i mourn the lack of tubas in mainstream american music."

"of all the things i was expecting here, a polish ho-down wasn't one of them."

"my God, we're going to die."

"as a rational person, i know we're not in an igloo right now, but that's a really difficult truth to grasp."

"it's been quite some time since i last felt my feet. i hope everything's ok down there."

"i know we didn't know it would be like this, but now that we know, by God, i don't know what we'll do now."

"i will so be making love to the radiator tonight."

"i don't want to worry you, but i feel the end is nigh."

"have we died yet?"

7 complementary

i cannot accept compliments. it's a physical condition. i make heinous faces and literally duck, as though the compliment were something sharp flung through the air which one must, at all costs, avoid.

it's bad.

i know this and i have been working on it, because we're supposed to be all grown up by now and an inability to accept a compliment as a grown-up isn't so much impressively humble as indecently ungracious.

slowly, progress is being made. there is now one compliment i can accept unabashedly and without ducking.

you are the fastest peer!

why, yes. thank you, yes, i am.