31 October 2009

2 october: a revue

"i mean, it's bangkok. surely they've seen bare arms before."

"more than ever, i am a morbidly obese person trapped inside a normal sized body."

"who knew the question of 'who the hell is that person?' could be so distracting."

"speaking of which, how is your uterus?"

"i am very hard up right now."
"yeah, um... you're married."
"OH. wait. i thought you said hyped up... you know, for diego luna."

"i am putting out buckets of nasal pudding."

"thinking that you are saying good bye to someone for the last time makes for some really messy and snotty hugs."

"so three little pigs moved to town... three little pigs bbq."

"there's a part of me that is disgusted that i'm applauding a mucus plug."

"in exchange for giving up our expectations, we get something even better."

"good heavens, girl! that is ART!"

"furniture that allows married people to partake of different entertainments while in the same room has my hearty approval."

"you've also earned the right to use the word 'stoked' though i'm only giving you that for a week and then that'll have to go."

"heh heh… supples."

"i had the 'night time logic' of 'oh no, i overheated the baby!!'."

"you ARE sasha fierce."

"heaven help me if i'm being interviewed by a fashionista who abides by the law that velvet is a fabric of the night."

"my only other thought to put in your head is that you won’t be able to give blood for a year, but I can’t remember if you are into that or not."
"um... no. i am actually not into that."

"how many round-faced people did we go to high school with? i mean, i'm looking back on this and it's like strawberry shortcake the reunion."

"i will now selfishly encourage your paper cutting endeavors in hopes of someday getting a funky elephant."

"I Am A Blazer."

"better news: my david bowie costume is AMAZING. if i do say so myself."

"what did laura ingles wilder do when she and almonzo fought? it's all so complex in this day and age."

"totally no spray paint in the city limits. i asked at home depot once and the clerk's facial reaction implied i'd asked for an abortion."

"i love the now!"

"it really does feel more like a wedding than halloween."

1 so maybe there should always be 8 dozen cupcakes in my fridge...

30 October 2009

9 dear brad pitt (circa 1995) guy from last night on the howard train,

so, yeah. i am the silly girl who stealthily took your picture while pretending to read lulu meets god. mostly because when lindear returns from her lying-in and reads this, i wanted cold, hard proof that i am not peddling in untruthiness for the sake of a story. that this really did happen. that there really are various incarnations of pre-angelina brad pitts haunting the red line at night. and that meet joe black brad was reading twilight with an unparalleled fervor.

29 October 2009

6 oh, baby

lindear (whom you all know digitally if not in person) finally had the kiddear!!!

and no, that's not him. and yes, i'm totally exploiting this as an opportunity to flaunt the cuteness of my beloved la petit partenaire, the world's most fabulous wonderful awesome totally freaking cute baby ever in the history of ever (girl division). but it seems somehow appropriate for us to hail her beauty on the day after her future husband's birth...

27 October 2009

1 a portrait of the artist as a silly girl

to bring everyone up to speed: i have discovered My Craft and ascended the throne of scherereundedidddentite.

(and yes, i do have a grave awareness of the perilous waters i am treading with all this schrueitueitditetetttde talk. i am well aware this could be the live-blogging of what will eventually go down in history as Yet Another Pretentious Era of Oline's Art- like, y'know, The Poems- and i apologize to you all in advance, but by god, lindear's kid is going to get an elephant, even if i have to serchruddneitete myself to death to do it.)

as a recent convert to this under-appreciated ancient art, i needed to equip myself with the tools of My Craft. thus, i trod boldly into blick's, the confident princess- nay! the confident queen!- of my schrencididdirtttrt kingdom, to amass the necessary knives and papers and whatnot.

read: i stood in open-mouthed stupification before the myriad varietals of vellum before running (for there is no better word for it) to the comfortable confines of the school supplies section, from which i emerged triumphant with a pack of construction paper.

this seems somehow exceedingly appropriate. i am terribly common after all.

art stores make me uncomfortable. like, awkward first date uncomfortable. craft stores, despite a lifetime spent in them, are even a stretch. all that reproachful fabric, each bolt jeering, reminding me i cannot sew.

the only thing worse than a craft store? an art store.

i've tried to figure out what it is about art stores that disturbs me so, aside from the obvious fact that i am a woman of few arts.

well, that's not entirely true. it might be more accurate to say i'm a woman of many arts done badly. you all, of course, remember The Poems. i've not yet spoken of my paint-by-numbers past. and i'm pretty sure art stores make be uncomfortable by virtue of my paint-by-numbers past.

i come from quite possibly the most encouraging family ever. you want to take piano lessons? done! you're twelve and you want to develop a morbid interest in a dead former first lady and write a book about her? do it! you want to buy a typewriter so you can do ornamental decoupage? let's find one! you want to take 18 million pictures of crypt doors at the cimetière du montparnasse? sure, we'll stand here for an hour talking to this crazy gypsy lady while you do! they have encouraged me in everything. even the really, really stupid things. and my paint-by-numbers past was a really, really stupid thing.

my paint-by-numbers past can, like The Poems, be filed under Yet Another Pretentious Era of Oline's Art. to make matters worse- in what seemed convenient at the time but which i now recognize as an excessively unfortunate twist of fate- my paint-by-numbers past coincided with that summer that comes once in every girl's life. you know which one i'm talking about. that summer when little girl you- if you were indeed a little girl- was suddenly, out of nowhere, seized by an ardor for all things equine.

in my life, this was the summer of 1991. the summer i began saving for a horse by contributing 65 cents to a ziplock bank on a monthly basis. it was also the summer that i began feverishly working my way through the crafthouse kentucky derby keepsakes paint by number kit.

(semi-unrelated aside: i'm pretty sure this was also the summer libby and i hatched a plan to make it to the '96 olympics by contributing 65 cents a month to a separate ziplock bank, which leads me to wonder if the epic summer of 1991 could be characterized as The Summer I Was Deeply Affected By The Sally Struthers Commercials For Save the Children And Saw 65 Cents As Being Entirely More Money Than It Actually Was.)

as summer turned to autumn and autumn turned into the holidays, my enthusiasm for horses and paint-by-numbering climaxed most magnificently in The Christmas of Horsey Paint-By-Numbers, wherein everyone i knew- from teachers to friends to family and, though it chagrins me, quite possibly the mailman of diana court- was gifted with an oline eaton paint-by-number equine original.

this is not a time upon which i look back with undiluted pride nor one of which i particularly like to be reminded.

were it not for the fact that, through various white elephants and what not, pretty much all of my kentucky derby keepsakes found their way back to my parents attic, i would fear their reemergence should i ever achieve true fame. but no, they are safely stabled in the attic, where i recently stumbled upon them. there i was, innocently digging around for the journals that would destroy my life and suddenly, voilà! the ponies of 1991.

yes, that's right. the whole freaking team. my keepsakes put to pasture. rejects all.

and among them was my masterpiece. the 14' x 20' grand dame of the derby. a painting that had me tethered to my grandparents dining room table for weeks on end during that infamous summer of 1991, so continually hunched that i would march into school that fall with a decidedly forward tilt.

i cannot convey how i adored this painting. with what love and embarrassingly concerted care, in the dead of many a night, squinting through the shadows cast by the salt and pepper and the sugar bowl, i coaxed my brushes through the numbered bubbles that comprised this horse's dappled mane.

and all these years later here it was.

and all these years later there it was.

taped into the corner between the canvas now covered in cobwebs and the frame he made, the promotional post-it sponsored by retin-a, on the back of which my grandfather had scribbled: well done, little artist.

if we're being honest, my paint-by-numbers sucked. and i'm probably not the princess- much less the queen- of schiroeioeoriiettte. i'm probably not an artist. or a musician. and i may never be much of a writer. still, though the Pretentious Eras of My Art often leave me feeling foolish in the end, i can never quite escape the allure.

the exhilaration found in poems. in blank pages. in the feel of a fabric. in the school supplies aisle. hell, even amongst the stupid judgmental paints and pens. and i guess that is why we silly, wanna-be artsy girls always go back. why i always return to words and canvas and rhinestones and ribbons. because there's a freedom there. and always the possibility, the tantalizingly delicious hope, that at the end, there will be a well done.

26 October 2009

5 hark!

i would just like to point out that it's october 26th and i have yet to put up my christmas tree.

yes, this is largely because it's been a ridiculously busy two months and also because i want to flock said christmas tree and have yet to have enough time to embark upon said flocking due to said busyness, but still.

october 26th. a mere 59 days before christmas. and i'm treeless.

this is progress, people. progress!

25 October 2009

12 i'm going to come right out and say it

my halloween costume is awesome.
because, well, my halloween costume is awesome,
but also because it features a component that warrants a warning such as this:

23 October 2009

2 paper cuts

this coming monday, should all go according to plan, your dear oline will be making her triumphant return to craft night.

don't hold me to that though. i am a notorious commitment-phobe when it comes to craftnight.

largely because i've not had a craft about which i can be truly gung-ho. the country biscuit quilt i've been sewing since 1991 for the twin bed i will have in the vermont cabin i will never own? yeah, that doesn't exactly stir my heart.

so i thought about it and i thought about it and i thought about it some more and about a month ago, in the dark of night, through the ether it came to me. and i went hot damn!

and i promptly forgot.

ever since, i've trolled etsy trying to remember what my craft was supposed to be. because i know- deep down in my gut i have felt it- that this is My Craft. it is what i have been meant to be doing all along.

finally, last week i remembered.

i, your dear oline, am a paper cutter.

and after a lifetime of waiting i am now ready, prepared to step forth and embrace my crafty paper-cutting superpower. i am ready, at long last, to be the princess of scherenschnitte.

the chief obstacle to my assumption of the throne of scherenschnitte (aside from, you know, the teeny tiny fact that i have never before performed it and am, therefore, entirely unqualified), is that i am not entirely certain how to pronounce it. or say it.

i'm 92.7% certain it's cher-in-shhhh-knit. but every time i tell this story, when i get to the end, the part where i have remembered my craft and it's time for the big reveal, out tumbles share-and-shit.

15 October 2009

5 first person singular

my grandparents used to have this preacher. he repeated every fucking thing three times. so it would go like this:

in today's sermon, i will be making three main points. three main points will be made in today's sermon. in conclusion, i have three main points and i will be making them today in this sermon.

and that was just the opener. you can imagine the length of the actual sermon.

that said, i have three main points.

and i'm going to start with a story that has nothing to do with any of them.

kara beautiful gold is the bravest girl i know. hands down. the woman got hitched at a pool party for christ's sake. that takes balls.

but it's more complicated than that. it is kara beautiful gold who, in perhaps the greatest flannerian slip of all time, uttered the profound truth that a hard man is good to find. she's one of the six people i've kissed. we've rolled down hillsides. i've appropriated her laugh. she's survived tough shit.

there's a moment in every relationship when you know you're in it for good. in june 2001, kara came to see me at summer school. that night, we drove around the darkened campus blasting u2's "discotheque" and what i remember is the bass, the stadium, the stars, and her bare feet dangling out the window of my mazda. and i remember feeling for the first time in a long time that i was truly home.

we went two years without talking, kara beautiful gold and i. then she showed up in my mailbox in hyde park then again on my doorstep in memphis. she has always, always shown up for me.

i'm the realist. she's the romantic. one lazy mississippi winter afternoon, we watched shakespeare in love three times in a row and scribbled The Quote on a poster board that's hung in every house i've had since.

in wigs, we look like twins.

i have three main points.

1: i don't listen to u2 when i'm happy.

in fact, it's when i'm happy that they annoy me most. with their intrusive earnestness, their political bombast, their cloying neediness. yes, bono. you're the biggest band in the world, so shut the fuck up.

i can barely bear them when i'm happy. i do not need them then.

no, u2 are for other times. for that september morning when the leaves first start to fall. for that day in may when it seems like summer should be upon us but the radiator's still on. they're for long farewells and rainy nights and new year's day.

much as i love and adore them, they are not the main event. they're the after-party. when it's 34 degrees out and i'm on a train in open-toed gold shoes. when everyone else has gone home and the room is dark save the remnants of half-empty bottles. then i turn to the boys.

this seems counterintuitive. that an all-consuming love affair should have such limits. and though when the young men of my youth bought the entire discography and faked fandom and blasted "ultraviolet" to woo me, i never had the heart to say, no, no, that's music for the dark nights of the soul, it truly is.

because u2 feels like home. not as in the full-colored, four collie dream or memphis bbq or arlington place, but in the sense of capturing something i seem to carry around with me always, tucked into the corners of my soul. it's not a place i can go every day. but when the time is right, when the night is long, when the ache is there, i'm ready to listen.

there is a general sense in my family that my grandfather is going to die soon. if not this year, then the next. my father is the only one to have explicitly said that, but it's there. if you go looking for it, it's everywhere. in my aunt's defiant declaration atop the tour montparnasse-- as we clung to each other, arms entwined-- that we would have a thanksgiving "last hurrah." it's in the glittering in my mum's eyes. in the tiny cracks in my grandmother's voice. everywhere, there is a palpable anticipation of a grief that has not yet come. we all of us know we are running on borrowed time. which is both a burden and a very great gift.

2: love (not fear).

it always seemed somehow important that my first name was "faith," that my parents chose to put that first though they never called me by it. like maybe that extra shot of "faith" might get me into heaven should i ever misplace mine. but i don't think it works that way.

i'm kind of pissed at God right now. i said this to my most die-hard atheist friend, which might seem disingenuous but i figured who better to confess a lack of faith to than someone who has none.

good girls probably don't get pissed at God and, if they do, they've got the decency to hide it. but because i am often indecent and not a good girl, i repeated this pronouncement to my parents a few days later. the gasp of horror echoed all the way down the phone line from memphis to put a chicago chill into my bones.

but there are stories we must tell. things that, no matter how difficult, we must say.

i tried to handle this on my own. a woman of action, i had gone and stood out on the beach with my bible to do battle with God. in my heart, i knew i looked like a total loon, a sacrifice of personal pride that netted me little more than a wicked case of windburn and an ever-increasing uneasy sense of betrayal.

we don't talk about faith much around here. because i abhor even the slightest sheen of proselytization, but also because if there's anything we hate it's bad writing and, to be decidedly unchristian, generally speaking, there is nothing worse than "christian" writing. (exempting, you know, the bible and whatnot.)

this started awhile ago. it's been unfolding for maybe a year, but it began in earnest when i reread my high school journals. because back then i was in the bizarre habit of writing prayers alongside my entries and upon unearthing these journals this past july i was confronted with my silly sad little 17-year-old self asking to see where i was going and to trust that i would get there. which would be pretty much the same question 28-year-old oline was asking every day.

which seemed to imply that maybe this was something i would struggle with the whole entire rest of my life. that i would someday be sitting around at 202 with kara beautiful gold one wheelchair over still thinking, dear God, where am i going and why can't i get there? all of which came together to make me really fucking mad and brought me to a point where i told my parents i was pissed at God.

i honestly don't know what was more scandalous-- that i was mad at Our Almighty Lord or that i said the word "pissed" to my parents.

my entire belief system is built around one thing. that same fundamental truth kara beautiful gold and i penned on poster board all those years ago. it is the idea that life is generally difficult and inconvenient and scary as hell, but that everything works out as it should. by which i do not mean you sit around and wait for it to work out, but that you act with the assurance that it will. in the end, as i've said before, that boils down to this: love (not fear).

because there are times when you have to risk everything. when you have to say fuck it and take a ginormous scary leap that may make you look like the biggest, unlovable, awful idiot the world has ever known.

i told my parents i was pissed at God. a month later, i wound up sitting in a parisian hotel room having the most honest and brutal and wonderful conversation i've ever had with my father. a conversation i've been waiting pretty much my whole adult life to have.

3: there's no place like home.

it's funny how quickly life can change, how fast a world you've been steadily packing away can suddenly spring open, like a jack-in-the-box or a murphy bed, into an unexpected adventure.

i do not have the words for my love of this city. it is my home, it is my heart. it is here, on chicago's streets, in its rhythms, on its riverbanks, that i always find myself.

and it was on one such riverbank that i was sitting when kara beautiful gold said her latest greatest most profound thing: there's a very great freedom to be found in the fact that we are always us. what she was saying was that no matter how circumstances change, you are always you. not just your weaknesses but also your strengths.

this brings to mind an eaton family favorite saying from our mary englebreit iron-on decal days: wherever you go, there you are. a truth so simple i wonder now what compelled us to emblazon it on half a dozen pastel sweatshirts. where you are, you are. simple, yes, but i'll be the first to admit, i am very very bad about forgetting where i am.

it's probably a wee bit melodramatic to say that seeing u2 in chicago on september 12th was like spending three hours looking upon the face of God, but in all honesty that is how it felt. for the first time in a long time, i was where i was.

the next morning, staring at a deep forehead wrinkle that had seemingly entrenched overnight, i briefly entertained the idea that i'd been marked for my fervency, much as after talking to God on the mountain top, charleton heston's moses returned with silvered hair. turns out it was a sheet print, but nonetheless. i went up the mountain. i got my answer.

fear not. love, love, love.

i had three main points. my conclusion is this:

winter's coming. i have no idea what it will hold and i don't much care. because life is difficult and inconvenient and scary as hell. the natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. and sometimes you have to take a risk, take your restless self out and shout at God so you can finally be still. so you can find a profound loveliness right where you are and sit on the riverbank, the gold shoes beside you in the grass, and watch the boats go by as the sun sets into the water.

09 October 2009

1 la fleur pot de la fortune

i've won one thing in my life. at the tender age of eight i blazed through ten nancy drew books in a week so my name would be thrown into a raffle, wherein- blessed by the whims of fate- i bagged a free private skate party. unfortunately, we'd been in atlanta for literally that one week and i knew no one- much less enough people to populate a roller rink- so i passed on my prize.

in truth, it seemed a small sacrifice when compared to the possibility of a party comprised entirely of me, my parents, an empty skating rink, a disco ball and assorted employees of the sparkles family fun center. however, looking back, i think i might have been a little less dismissive had i known i wouldn't win anything for the next 20 years.

in fact, i wouldn't win anything until today. yes, that's right. today i am a winner. and after cavalierly tossing a tattered business card into a flower pot, i have a pair of plane tickets. dubrovnik, please.

06 October 2009

0 no, september, october is the month of dreams come true.

dear mr. 20th century fox,

we've been together six years now. six loooooooooooooooooongass years. please note, that is twice as long as my longest long-term relationship with any real man. and let us please also note that in those six years, for the most part, you have always let me down because you are a wicked, dirty, rotten douche.

which brings us to october 2009. most particularly, it brings us to today, when i finally held the mary tyler moore show season 5 dvd set in my very hands, further proof that, in the immortal words of des'ree, dreams can come true.

you're probably expecting me to be thanking you, mr. 20th century fox. to be gushing and singing your praises because you finally manned up and did the honorable thing. but we've been here before, mr. 20th century fox.

remember way, way back in december 2003? and june 2006. not to mention the printed insert (IT’S ON PAPER! IT HAS TO BE REAL!) in the season 4 dvd announcing season 5. and can you possibly have forgotten the “going forward we will be releasing the seasons on a 6 month schedule” press release of December 2005? i assure you, mr. 20th century fox, i have not.

i'm not going to be petty, mr. 20th century fox. i swear. i won't point out the lack of special features or the packaging's increasingly crappy downward turn. no, no. i know you hate commitment. i know this was a big step for you and i'll take what i can get.

so here we are, mr. 20th century fox, after all these years, you and i, together again. but do remember, mr. 20th century fox, i’m no idiot. i'll give you a break because you've been good to me today, but listen up.

there's two seasons left. seriously, mr. 20th century fox. don't let a girl down.


05 October 2009

5 come down now, they'll say

fear is a tricky bitch. this we already knew.

i was in paris for a week and at some point i can't even really pin down that week became about discarding fears.

this led me to the top of every available tall building. up the arc de triomphe, up the 387 scaryass skinny stairs of the towers of notre dame (where mere chicken wire prevented a fateful plummet), to the second level of the eiffel tower and, most nightmarishly, the rooftop of the tour montparnasse.

and yet somehow none of that was as relevant as this moment:

when it was just me and a fucking shit ton of birds. and no fear.