Archive for the 'Family' Category

Total Attention

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

My cousins rarely sit still, and my brother’s dog even rarer still.  That only makes this picture more amazing and speaks to the powers my wife has over children and animals.  I’m not sure what she was telling the four of them, but they were totally engrossed.  She’s going to be a great teacher… or dog hypnotist… or both!

The Bri Blog

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011


My dad got some amazing tickets to a Bulls game for my brother Brian’s birthday.  I guess our company was part of his present, which works out well for me.

Brian’s always been pretty obsessed with sports.  My dad famously taught him math using Bears players.  A branch of mathematics my dad dubbed “Brithmatic.”  For example, Jay Hilgenberg + Jim McMah0n = The Fridge  (63 + 9 = 72).

Around his birthday, Brian decided to start The Bri Blog.  In his words:

Just for kicks I started a new blog: It’s mostly dedicated to comparing and contrasting the geothermal implications of potential trans-atlantic heat waves leading to…..just kidding. it’s about sports.

UPDATE: How embarrassing!  I had the math wrong. Not the football players, the actual math.  It’s fixed.

The Best Hands

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

My brothers used to play a game they called “Hands.”  It involved throwing a foam ball — the “Hands” ball — at each other as hard as possible and seeing who could catch it.  Whoever dropped it the least would declare that they have “The best hands in the family.”

I didn’t play the game much.  I often dropped the ball.

This weekend my family was at a swimming pool and we ended up playing yet another stupid game.  One person would jump in the pool while four others threw an assortment of balls at them.  The goal was to catch one mid-jump.  Mostly, I was just trying to protect the face.

On my turn, a basketball bounced off my pinkie leaving it freakishly dislocated.  While my parents’ friend popped it back into place I joked about how I should have caught the ball, mentioning that I certainly don’t have the best hands in the family.

Driving home that night, I got a call from my dad to see how my pinkie was healing and while we were talking I once again mentioned my lackluster coordination.

Dad: Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Evan: I’m not.  I’m just saying I don’t have the best hands in the family.
Dad: Well… you don’t.  I do.

The Great Escape

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

My dad has spent years working on a pond in his backyard.  It’s actually quite lovely.  There’s a garden train and waterfalls and all kinds of flowers.  He’s had some trouble with the fish, though.

Every year it seems like something else goes wrong.  Once the pond had a leak.  Once the heater he got to keep the water from freezing during the winter broke.  Last summer there was a big rain storm while my parents were out of town.  The pond overflowed and the fish “escaped” into the garden.

The kids who live next-door took a photo of the fish on their Sunday stroll before catching them.  If you look closely, you can see that the fish are swimming over model train tracks.


This winter, my dad decided to let the fish fend for themselves.

Dad: I’ve tried everything to keep them alive and they always die.

The pond was frozen solid for most of the winter, but somehow the fish (or perhaps their progeny?) survived.  Weird.

Why It’s Good To Sing In Foreign Languages

Monday, December 8th, 2008

My parents booked a show for Aric and I in the town of Marshall, North Carolina the day after Thanksgiving.  I was a bit nervous for two reasons: a) half of the audience would be made up of my family and b) the other half would be made up of people from the town.  It turns out I didn’t have anything to worry about in either regard.  Both my family and the Marshallians were as wonderful an audience as you could ask for.

After the first set, my cousins Marty, Ben and Josh all sang some songs as well.  Josh lived in Nepal for many years starting and running an education center.  While he was there, he recorded some songs and became something of a pop sensation.  In North Carolina, Josh sang a Nepali drinking song.  It went over great, but afterwards he confessed that he forgot some of the words at the end and just made stuff up.  No one noticed.

Want to see one of Josh’s Nepali videos?

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Bubbie and Zadie Kvelling Over A Spiel

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Months ago, when I got back from building a bridge in Guatemala, my grandmother asked me if I would come to her chavurah and talk about the trip. A chavurah is an extra-curricular activity group for Jews. Loosely translated from the Aramaic it means, “Is this mandel bread parve?” My grandparents have been getting together with their chavurah for years. I’ve known several of them since I was a kid.

I, of course, agreed to be a speaker — can’t say no to grandma — and we set a date. Then I got a phone call telling me I had been bumped for another speaker.They must have gotten Henry Kissinger or Bono or something. We set another date and I got bumped again. Finally, last night, they settled for me. Now I know how Abe Vigoda feels when he gets that last-minute call to fill in for canceled guests on Conan.

I arrived to a multi-tiered, 20-minute argument/discussion on how to buzz into my grandparents’ apartment. Did you push pound? — I pushed three — Wait, did you dial the number? — No, I scrolled through the names? — And then pushed seven? — Someone with a dog opened the door for me — I need to call you? — Someone called — Do I need a cell phone? — Yes, then you push nine.

Eventually everyone made it inside. I gave my spiel, showed some slides, and it went over very well. I had a really great time. They even made a donation to EWB and gave me some chocolate babka, so all in all a pretty nice day.

Happy Birthday, Grandma

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

My grandma turned 90 this weekend. I never know what to get her. She’s not so big on presents or flowers or even cards. So for her 90th birthday I got her this:

It was by far the most successful present I’ve ever given her. She loved it.

A few weeks ago she let me know just how she felt about my long hair: “You look like that horrible dancing fellow on tv.” She was talking about this guy:

Finally, Something We Can Do As A Family

Friday, March 21st, 2008

After 3 straight days of traveling, we finally got back to O’Hare and as we were leaving I saw this sign for the “Family Companion Toilet”

Anyone know what this is? Because I imagine something like this:

Photo Credits: Delgoff, foundphotoslj

Quelf In The Name of the Farm!

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Every Hanukkah someone usually gets someone else a board game.  Then, after lighting candles and stuffing our faces, we usually end up playing it. This year my dad got Kelly a game called “Quelf.” I can’t tell if it’s the best game ever or the worst.  I’m not even sure if it’s actually a game.

The rules are simple: roll dice, land on a colored square, draw a card with that color on it and do what the card says.

The problem is, there’s not really a point to the cards.  One card told me to build a snorkel out of household items before my next turn and wear it for the rest of the game.  Ummmmmm.  Okay.  Kelly had to sing “Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes” in a made-up language.  Whenever someone landed on a red square we were all required to shout, “Quelf in the name of the farm!”  Often after someone finished “playing” a card we’d all shrug and say, “Well, I guess you did it” as the dice were passed to the next person.

When game ended and we were all pretty glad… and a little sad.

And now, a picture of me, my homemade snorkel and a puppy:

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Cheer For Cherry Pie

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

My cousins from the Bay Area have been coming into town for the last couple thanksgivings. Like many families, we spend the weekend eating non stop, catching up, and playing games.  Last year I happened to have an XBox with Dance Dance Revolution on it so I brought it up to my parents’ house where we all could play. After my brothers and cousins and I sufficiently humiliated ourselves, we tried to get our grandma to give it a try. And wouldn’t you know it, she did.

I don’t think she really knew what was going on, but she had a big smile on her face as she poked the buttons randomly with her cane. I think she did better than my dad.

This thanksgiving, Guitar Hero was the game of choice.  All three of my living grandparents were there.  They weren’t big fans of the music, complaining that it was too noisy and they couldn’t understand the words.  They complained, that is, until Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” came on.  For some reason they all liked that song.

GRANDMA JANET: This one’s pretty.
GRANDMA BEVERLY: Cheer for cherry pie, Jerold!