31 August 2010

0 this day in history

[trans.: 31 August 1997, Sunday, 11:23
Braves are leading (5-2). It has been the longest day. Everything on TV was about Princess Diana. It is terribly sad. Anyone who has a Mother must have sympathy for her sons. Everybody at church laughed. I thought that was gross. Does my generation have no compassion? A historical figure was tragically killed and people laughed. I talked to XXXXXXX. She was quite depressed. She's been in a spiritual rut and this inexplicable sense of loss at the death of Diana is not helpful. It seems unreal that this icon who I practically grew up hearing about has done something as mundane as dying.

30 August 2010

0 o, the times!

going where no women
(well, at least not women equally enthusiastic about
the holiday inn express schaumberg's swimming pool, medieval times,
and breakfast at richard walker's pancake house)
have gone before...

28 August 2010

2 #7

orange zest & vanilla-crème filling.
signature seven squiggles.
best selling snack cake in history.

27 August 2010

3 friends forever

dear caroline kennedy, hey, let's be friends. because you're kind of my namesake. and we both clearly love burgers. and i'm guessing, based on the plate in front of you, that you like fries and, really, there is no greater advocate for potatoes than me. i, like, love potatoes. no, really, for reals. i love potatoes so much that i love them slightly more than i love james franco, which should give you an idea of how much i love potatoes because, like, everybody knows i really love james franco. so, hey, we should be friends, you and i. because we already have so much in common, what with the name and the potatoes and all. and because, hey, i'm writing this incredibly hip, totally awesome book about your mother and i think you'd really like it. because you seem incredibly hip and totally awesome and i hear you like collecting other incredibly hip and totally awesome people and, caroline kennedy, i am not only incredibly hip and totally awesome but also highly collectible. so, here i am, caroline kennedy. collect me. and while you're at it, while we're becoming BFFs and what not, could you maybe whisper a word to all the people who would be totally useful in the writing of this incredibly hip, totally awesome book? could you maybe, pretty please, ask them not to die? because- and i don't want to complain, caroline kennedy- but it's hard to write an incredibly hip, totally awesome book when the sources are kicking the bucket the day after you approach them. death is so not hip. really, let's be honest, it's the anti-awesome. so if you could ask them to hang on for a little while longer, that would totally rock. oh, and it would be totally helpful if you could tell them you and i are all tight now. because when they ask if The Family has approved of me, really, caroline kennedy, we all know they're asking about you. because you are The Family. so it would be really cool if you could, like, y'know, approve of me and shit.
luv + kisses!


26 August 2010

5 you say you want a revolution

my mother has decided that we must skype my father while we're in denmark. which is hilarious on many levels but primarily because my father couldn't care less. this is the man who went to mexico for an entire month in 1995, during which time he called home exactly once. and only then when he was back on U.S. soil, to tell us he had landed in miami. nevertheless, my mum is determined.

since my dear stalwart lappy has been anointed for this journey, i am set to reap the benefits of this technological revolution. and though i find it somewhat misguided, i'm impressed with my mother's commitment to the communicative cause. she took four months to settle upon a hotel in copenhagen at which we will be spending a grand total of two nights. and yet, less than three hours after confiding her desire for danish skyping, she had not only located but ordered a webcam.

dear 21st century, prepare yourself. the eatons, we are coming.

24 August 2010

7 roll 5, #10, #6, 1 pic + 1 gun

four tidbits that are related only in that they happened in the same weekend and all involve pictures of me engaged in chicanery of which my mother would vehemently disapprove...

the diana camera, roll 5; cigar #10.

[more new dianas HERE.]

6. cinnamon & cream cheese.
bristol, wisconsin rennaissance faire.

um... this:

and, in general observations, there are friends who will go with you to the vintage bazaar. then there are friends who will go with you to the vintage bazaar and spot you 5 bucks because you really really really need to buy a musket. thank you, thank you, thank you, miss miller, dear friend.

23 August 2010

2 "so many miseries of the world would be solved if you didn't have to associated with other people."

context, please...

in the winter of 1996, i was briefly- for exactly one day- recruited to play the bells in the centennial high school marching band. this came about as a result of a very great misunderstanding in which a friend of mine tried to coerce me into being in band, i declined, said friend wrote my mother a note telling her i wanted to be in band, my mother misinterpreted this as an actual desire on my part to be in band and accordingly signed me up for band. unfortunately, as i had originally stated, i did not want to be in band. a truth that, once revealed, led to all manner of emotional fallout, as things like leaving the band usually do, and further reinforced my conviction at the time that people, by and large, totally suck.

28 february 1996
[trans.: "I am now going to be be in the band next year. The weird thing is that I never even wanted to be in it. I'm a little disturbed that I was pushed into doing this. I never had a say. Everyone had decided my fate before I could even protest. I[t] rather upsets me.

1 March 1996
[trans.: "It was a VERY bad day. I have to say that the reaction to my news of not joining the band was much more extreme than I had imagined. Mrs. Lincoln definitely did not enjoy the theater! XXXXXXXX said that I disappointed her. Frankly, I just don't care. It was MY decision. I could care less if they agree with it or not. I don't want my life to change. XXXXXXX directly attacked me and asked why I need 'solitary time. if I am an only child I'm always alone.' I think that unfair. I'm not always alone. But I do relish my moments when I am. I wish I could be like Greta Garbo and just escape it all. So many miseries of the world would be solved if you didn't have to associate with other people. I honestly felt for one brief moment on Thursday night that my life had been determined entirely by other people. That scared me. I never want to have that feeling again. I really wish that the events of this day could be forgotten and that I could get on with my life.

22 August 2010

6 boning

there is nothing i hate so much as the sight of someone eating meat off a bone. so you can imagine how this grieves me:

21 August 2010

12 what partner wants, partner gets

(plus a bonus sex & the city horror)

8 why, world, why?

thanks to a freshman year roommate who LOVED the golden girls, i HATE the golden girls. (a circumstance that has led every friend i've ever had to, at one point or another, thank me for being a friend.) therefore, i do not approve of this:

20 August 2010

3 how much is that oline in the window?

my mother has opened a shop on etsy (HERE) from which she is hawking the relics of my youth.

you may have noticed the link.

it's over there(ish)

so if you ever thought, wow, a mid-century modern rosenthal fortuna coffee service would totally make my day (exhibit a) or what i need right now is a vintage brown velvet hat with three black buttons (exhibit b) or damn, i wish had some of the blue silk shantung mother cupcake bought at the same time she bought the red silk shantung that was used to make oline's twelfth grade homecoming dress that had an inexplicable hunch in the back so that after being worn to homecoming 1998 it was never worn again (exhibit c), then honey, consider your day made.

also for sale are the smocking patterns for the dresses of my childhood. because, somehow in the midst of working a full-time job, my mother also managed (up until the clownpants anyway) to stitch The Cutest Collection of Handmade Dresses Ever Known To Man. she's now selling these patterns, a circumstance which- thanks to the fact that there is a photograph from every day of my life up to the age of 11- has the curious side-effect of making it appear that i am worth a mere $3.

19 August 2010

0 la douleur faim exquise


the thing about being from memphis is that there are days you really really need to be in memphis. not so much for the family as for the food.

yes, there's the barbecue and the banana pudding and the beauty shop and huey burgers and beale. but there's also fino's, makers of The Best Sandwiches In All The World.

much as i think about the dog of my childhood at least once a day, so i also reflect near daily on the glory that is the fino's turkey sandwich. meat dipped in oil and vinegar and on bread so tough it once chipped my central incisor. people, there are no words.

18 August 2010

2 tupelo, honey

in 15 days, my mother and i are going to denmark. you may have heard about this. it is fast becoming the comedy of the year.

my mother and me, for 10 days, in a country where she has a three-year-old's mastery of the language and a reputation for having once participated in the icecapades 40 years ago.

in good news, we have a hotel(ish). we have train passes. we know my aunt is not coming. and, glory be to God, we are no longer renting a car.

in bad news, my grandparents are procuring t-shirts from reed's department store ("the best in southern merchant quality shopping in the southeast") so we can wear them abroad and have a photograph of us wearing them abroad published in the tupelo daily journal.

17 August 2010

0 roll #4

and so, after 27 exposures that were total shite (aside from The Greatest Photo Of The Philosopher Of All Time), it would seem that at long last i may have maybe mastered the secret of the parallax error and manual focusing and remembered to wind the film after each shot and appropriately used the settings for night versus day, thus yielding a roll of diana film with an unusually high number of not-entirely-shameful photographs.

behold my enthusiasm...

[need more? go HERE]

16 August 2010

4 deaf day

bad ears run in my family. on both sides. so it's not surprising that i was very close to my otolaryngologist as a kid.

thanks to the blood leaking from my eardrum, my right ear had to be perpetually plugged with a cotton ball which, despite repeated reminders from my parents, i always failed to remove during photo-taking so this time in our lives has gone down in family forward history as "caroline's cotton ball years."

1990 was especially rough in oline ear history. my mother and i went traipsing to norcross nearly every week so doctor franco could poke about in my head and ponder what he wanted to do.

i don't remember much about these visits, except that- with the advent of lasers and modern medicine and whatnot- the methods seem severely primitive now. the anesthesia unnecessarily brutal. the recovery surprisingly difficult. and o the tools! they were like something from a museum devoted to Medicine Of The Frontier.

whenever doctor franco put his instruments in my ear, i would look plaintively at my mother, who sat in the corner of the room calmly smiling in a power suit. presumably this was meant to be reassuring but, in my characteristically melodramatic way, i interpreted her smiles as a failure to fully appreciate my pain. in retrospect, the process was as torturous for her as for me and the sad cow eyes i cast in her direction every time the otoscope nicked my inflamed ear canal undoubtedly did not make it easier.

this was back when the nerves still worked. when i could feel things. (it is, at times, a small mercy to be numb.)

several months into all of this, after an aggressive surgery followed by my stunningly poor performance on a particular hearing test, doctor franco took my mother aside and quietly warned her that there might be nothing more he could do.

my mother nodded curtly, gathered our things and shoved the cotton ball back in my dud ear. she put us both in the car and drove us one parking lot over to target, where she marched to the music section and fished a cassette out of the bargain bin.

this was presented as my great reward. for what, exactly, i did not know since i was well aware that in a test involving tones i had heard none.

that this cassette was composed of visibly cheap gray plastic only further lessened its value in my eyes.

but my mother said we had had a hard day and we did not know what the future held. and she put that tape into the tape deck of the mini-van she'd made my dad buy her only to realize she did not want to drive a van, and turned up the volume higher than i'd ever known her to turn up the volume on anything before.

and that is how i met elvis. on a day when, faced with the prospect of her daughter going deaf, my mother bought burning love & hits from his movies, vol. 2.

15 August 2010

4 thank God lunch was good

29 February 1996

[trans.: It was announced that the Prince and Princess of Wales are going to get a divorce. XXXXXXXXX told me today that Adam and Eve was not a true story. For some reason that bothered me. XXXXXXXXX acted so superior saying that she had known for years. I felt as though I were right back to the point when Sarah Odom said there was no Santa Claus. Mother and Father explained that I had to develop my own opinion. I felt so upset because my life is SO confusing and now Adam and Eve may not have even existed. Of all things. I have ended my 24 hour fling with the band. I have not told anyone yet. I feel better though. It was upsetting that I almost was pushed into doing something I had not the slightest enthusiasm for. Lunch was good. XXX was funny.

14 August 2010

0 the only question slightly more complicated than my best friend's first name?

what to tell dear mayor daley, who has invited me to jury duty... in skokie... while i'm in denmark.

13 August 2010

6 all of my friends

there are questions that should be simple, and then there is this- a simple question outrageously complicated by the fact that i don't call any of my friends by their actual names.

12 August 2010

7 greek to me

the other evening, after 34 emails in a single work day, k.clen, wendywhy, and i hoofed it down to dinner in greek town.

chicago's greek town is apparently somewhat different from other greek towns because chicago's greek town- unlike, for instance, actual towns in greece- is known for its saganaki. ie. bringing large portions of cheese to the table and lighting them on fire.

a tidbit that would have been useful to know prior to sitting down.

but we did not know. and so the first time this happened, it seemed a thrilling oddity. around about the tenth time, it felt more like a death wish.

we watched as a waiter precariously balanced a trio of cheese plates on his forearm and blithely torched them. though the eyebrows of the woman on whose table this incinerated cheese would ultimately wind up were clearly compromised, she clapped her hands in glee.

wearing a dress more appropriate for walking long distances in hot weather than for dining alflamma, i felt the fires of everyone's appetizers licking at my back.

the trip to the bathroom was much like picking one's way through the fire swamp, with little dairy fires popping up at random all around. their outburst heralded by nothing, but followed by an opa! so loud i swear it made the water glasses jump.

we left greek town, our nerves a bit on edge. and with a new understanding of what it means to be braised.

11 August 2010

4 being present

my mother and i are going to denmark. there will be two of us and three cameras.

i have very mixed feelings about this, though two of the cameras will be mine.

in paris, my mother, aunt and i stood atop the tour de montparnasse, sipping champagne, waiting for the hour to strike and the eiffel to sparkle. when it finally began to shimmer, like a woman possessed by the soul of friedrich leica, my mother was suddenly compelled to preserve the moment with the perfect picture. and so what i remember about the last time i saw the eiffel tower is it's lights dancing like sequins in the night, the champagne sparkling in my hand, and my very great frustration with my mother, whom i love very much.

because, at the time, i was acutely aware that we would never be in paris again as we were then and suddenly i- a girl who had spent her whole life worrying about the future and ignoring her father's admonishment to Live In The Now- wanted nothing more than for everyone to put down the cameras and appreciate where we were.

we were in paris, after all.

my mother and aunt were seeing the city for the first time. they wanted to "bag churches" and check things off lists.

i had been before and was there then in an unprecedented state of emotional hemorrhage. i asked only that we bask.

with a degree of amusement blended with concern, they indulged my desire to spend indecent amounts of time sitting along the river listening to the accordion players. they let me tramp around cimetière du montparnasse, pausing before nearly every crypt at length to capture on film the unique slant of the sun shifting against the brightly colored doors. they knew that for me taking pictures wasn't so much a matter of commemorating a trip but a process of slowing myself down. when i wandered into alleys or lagged far behind, they would sit on a bench and patiently await my return. when, during brisk walks, i would stop them and say, but LOOK at the beauty! they would, obligingly, stop and look at the beauty and then briskly carry on.

they must have realized that i was, in some ways, there on a different trip. a sensation somewhat enhanced when, three days in, i came down with the plague, thus spending the remainder of our time there with a head full of snot and high on over-the-counter french drugs.

and so it was in this context that, at the top of the tour de montparnasse, i arrived at the realization that we would never again be as we were then, in that moment. a moment that i- thanks to a potent combination of alcohol and antibiotics- was fiercely adamant we must all enjoy. and upon which the cameras should not intrude.

which is ironic on many, many levels, but mostly just because it was coming from me.

there was this sunset in paris. a devastatingly beautiful sunset. and what i remember most about that sunset is (a) it's devastating beauty and (b) the devastating sadness when no one commented on the picture i had hastened to upload so everyone i knew might share in the devastating beauty rightthereandthen when they awoke in the u.s. the following day.

this is pathetic on many, many levels. that, i know.

and yet, this is an age-old dilemma. the love of travel and the longing, in the midst of that, to share it with the people who are not there.

i am going to denmark with two cameras. in part, so i will never forget. in other part, so you will know what it felt like being there.

10 August 2010

6 Ooooooooooh...Ooooooooooh...

it is perhaps somewhat overly generous to say that my neighbor and i do not get along. but most everyone here knows that story.

this is a different story.

this is the story of how she is currently dating someone who sings very loudly all the time from a catalog that might be subtitled "oline's soundtrack for the city."

it's uncanny to the point that i've ofttimes wondered if the mix tape i made for her back in 2006 is now being deployed as the basis for her boyfriend's set list.

or if she is dating the man-me.

perhaps the most unfortunate facet of this is that the music i listen to which this man is singing is music that, to an extraordinary degree, lends itself to intolerably bad covers.

like say, for instance, u2.

i love u2. if you know me, you know that. but even i realize u2 has it's limits. that there are u2 songs even bono cannot sing.

one would hope other musicians might be aware of this as well. that there are songs that are sacred. songs that should be left alone.

given last night's hour-long practice session devoted entirely to the perfection of the "oh, oh, oh, ooooooooooooooooh, oooooooooh, oooooooooooooooooooooooooooh" part of "with or without you"- a practice session in which the sound only ever once slightly wavered beyond primal keening- i'm thinking maybe i expect too much. because they certainly aren't aware.

09 August 2010

9 young oline, feminist (though she would never actually express it)

15 august 1995

[trans: When XXXXXXX and I spoke today she asked me if I believed in equal rights for women. I said that I did. She seemed quite shocked by my reply. She told me women should be submissive to their husbands. I didn't say anything else but I now wonder if I'm for equal rights. I'm certainly against sexism and the abuse women receive because of their sex. I don't think that is fair. But I do think women deserved the right to vote, hold property, be in Congress, and have opinions. And I do hope that I shall live to see the first female president. I guess I am a feminist, but I don't see anything wrong with that unless one takes a violent approach. I home my views weren't out of line. I would never actually express them.

05 August 2010

1 grand

after we moved to atlanta and nashville, my parents would pack me off to my grandparents in memphis every summer. for either two sets of two weeks or one big, fat four week stretch.

this was a pattern that, in retrospect, was both a huge blessing and a horrible curse. it allowed me weeks at a time of unadulterated grandparental attention- attention that bolstered my belief in my own ability to do anything in ways i will probably never fully know. it also put me in memphis during the most intolerably hot time of year in an era when neither central air nor telephonic technology were all that they should have been.

because long-distance phone calls were still prohibitively expensive (to the extent that i remember begging my parents to let me call libby and nearly dying of elation when, once every six months, they relented), there was an undercurrent of sadness to these trips. i talked to my parents maybe once a week. i vividly remember one trip when i had a photograph of my mother (circa 1993, wearing a power suit and inexplicable dutch wooden shoes) that, in the privacy of my room, i would gaze upon whenever i was overcome with loss.

we did not yet have the context of being in mississippi for comparison, so in those days, being in memphis was like traveling to the ends of the earth. i read books about pioneers and commiserated. i too had ventured to an untamed land.

my grandfather was working then and, for some reason, my memories of these trips are spotty at best. all involve my grandmother and most are just little sensory snapshots of fleeting moments here and there.

the vivid sweetness of her spaghetti sauce, which ran so red with watered down canned tomato paste that it would stain my teeth, such an exciting phenomenon to my young self that i would tuck into bowl after bowl only to spend shameful amounts of time before the mirror staring at what my gran referred to as my "tomato smile."

the sumptuous, cold thickness of the milk in her fridge. at the time i attributed this to my grandmother's magical powers. only later would i learn it was the difference between skim and 2%.

the feel of my grandmother reading in bed beside me as she waited for me to fall asleep each night, one hand holding her book, the other running over and over and over through my hair, each caress stirring up the gentle scent of her white rain shampoo that i used every morning because, more than anything in the world, i wanted to be like her.

there has been no other time in my life quite like those summers. i like to think that had someone told me they were going to end, i would have savored them more. as it was, i took so terribly much for granted.

my grandmother is 81 now. we hug awkwardly, both of us too aware of our bodies. her bones poke through papery skin like a newborn kitten's. she makes me feel too tall, too strong, too alive. i don't thank her nearly enough.

i've never told her that because, during those summers, she watched soap operas while doing laundry, as an adult i cannot iron without humming the theme from as the world turns.

04 August 2010

0 jackie in paris

let the record show
that a pink desk in a closet
with no electrical hookup or light
is as good a place to begin as any.

02 August 2010

2 no comment

21 october 1995

[trans: "touched by an angel" was particularly good tonight.
It displays such reality and is interesting.]

01 August 2010

0 #5.5-6

sweet mandy b's.
(looks are not everything)