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Chicago International Film Festival

10 Oct

A movie about depressing Chicago winters? Yes, please!

Let me just start this story with the following disclaimer: My father cannot sit through a movie in the theater without complaining about how annoying everyone around him is and how THAT GUY is chewing way too loudly. I never thought I would become that person. A few days ago, I had an experience that made me realize that I am my father.

Pete and I were lucky enough to attend the opening night of the Chicago International Film Festival. We got free food (which I think we actually stole, and then encouraged others to do the same, but that’s besides the point), rubbed elbows with celebrities like Gary Cole and Dennis Farina and attended a star-studded after-party (we SWEAR Billy Zane was there).

It should’ve been, like, the best night ever, but it was kind of a flop. Let me explain.

The main feature of the night was the premiere of this new indie film, “The Last Rites of Joe May”. We were soooo excited to be sitting in a world premiere!

Then the movie started. It’s about this old man who has no friends or family. While in the hospital with pneumonia, his landlord thinks he’s dead and gives his apartment away to a woman with an abusive boyfriend. Because that’s not depressing.

Oh, and did I mention the film takes place in the middle of a Chicago winter? I have to live through that ish every year and really wasn’t in the mood to be reminded of the sad, sunless season that starts in just a few weeks.

So about 20 minutes into the movie, I realized this film was not my cup of tea and started spacing out. That’s when I first took notice of the woman sitting next to me. She was wearing a bright blue skirt and leopard print high heels which should’ve been a sign that she was going to be a handful. She had this little clutch with a snap that made this little “POP!” every time she opened it.  She’d “POP!” it open every five minutes, search around for her phone with it’s glaring white light, then “POP!” it back closed. And she kept “POP!”-ing her gum. I think there was something wrong with her jaw because normal bubblegum bubbles are not that loud.

And then there was this smell. Someone was wearing wayyyyyyyyy too much perfume. And someone (might have been the same person, not sure) took a dump in their pants. Not even kidding, it really smelled like someone had an accident in a perfume shop, it was so terrible.

And I sat through that for over two hours. I wanted to die and I kept rubbing my temples and rolling my eyes. By the end, I was in a really horrible mood.

The only good thing that came out of the evening was that Pete dropped his (stolen) beer bottle on the ground and it rolled all the way down to the front of the deathly quiet theater. The whole theater broke out into applause and Pete said he felt like a real celebrity!

Today is Pete’s birthday. And you know what the only thing worse than that stupid movie I had to watch? This commercial:

Pete’s been singing this song all day, and I can’t say anything because it’s his birthday and I’m not allowed to be mean today. This is just not my week.

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Home Alone

9 Oct

I am 27 years old. By this point in my life, I should be able to spend the night alone, but I can’t, and it’s really a problem.

I grew up with three sisters, two parents, and a dog. Since college, I’ve always had roommates, first friends, and now my life-roommate, Pete. (Half the time I don’t even want to talk to Pete, but just knowing that he’s there and that I COULD talk to him if I wanted to makes me feel less lonely.)

Well, the point of this story is that I have never spent more than a night or two in a home alone in my entire life. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s something I never had to get used to, or just because I’m a huge scaredy cat, but something terrible happens every single time I’m left home alone.

My parent’s house is particularly scary. It dates back to 1910, when there was this huge estate on our street. Our house was where the gardener lived. It fell into disrepair around the mid-century and a lot of work has been done to it since. (It’s amazing what my mom can dig up at the local historical society.) But it’s still really frickin’ scary and creaky.

A few years ago, I spent the night at my parents with my old dog, Mousse, to keep me company. He was 14 at the time, which would make him about a bijillion in dog years. In the middle of the night, we heard a huge “BANG!” coming from downstairs – it sounded like a broom fell over or something. Mousse and I both shot straight up and just stared at each other. “Can you go see what that was?!” I asked Mousse. He looked at me as if to say, “I’m 100 years old, you selfish, lazy piece of poo. YOU go see what that was.” And then he went back to sleep.

Well, the same thing happened this week, minus the trustworthy old dog (may he rest in peace). I was already bracing myself for a scary night when my parents asked me to sleepover while they were out of town. So that’s why I decided it would be a good idea to watch the new show, “American Horror Story” alone. It’s about an old haunted house. Fabulous!

In reality, that was a terrible idea. At 10:45 p.m., I prepared for bed like this:

At 11 p.m., I tried to wash my face with my eyes open in case someone tried to sneak up on me. At 11:30 p.m., I called Pete to say goodnight.

“I’M SLEEPING,” is how he answered the phone. “I CALLED YOU 50 MINUTES AGO.”

“Sorry I didn’t see that you called. I just wanted to say goodnight.”

“UGH….I’M SO TIRED!”

“I’m so scared. I was watching this show…”

“DON’T BE SCARED. LOVEYOUGOODNIGHT.”

At 12:45 a.m., I was laying in my sister’s bed with all the lights on trying to focus on my book until I fell asleep. Except my book was also about a haunted house (it’s called “The Thirteenth Tale” and I recommend it) so that wasn’t working out too well.

I don’t know how I eventually fell asleep , but I did and was THRILLED when I woke up and saw that the sun had some up. I was also exhausted at work that day.

Wisconsin State Fair

21 Aug

Being the awesome Midwesterners we are, all the women in my family traveled to the Wisconsin State Fair last week. It was a TON of fun, but I think one of my favorite moments from the fair happened before we even got there.

The night before our big day at the state fair, I was trying to find the address online when I started reading the state fair FAQs. That’s where I ran across gems like this:

– Will you have Cream Puffs this year?

– How do I pre-order Cream Puffs? When is the Cream Puff Drive Thru open?

– Do you deliver Cream Puffs?

– Will the Giant Slide be there?

– Will there be food on a stick?

– What time are the pig races?

– What are the days when the animals won’t be in the barns?

– Will the vendors who do the gadget demonstrations be there?

Did I have a Cream Puff? You betcha I did.

Did I eat food on a stick? Heck yeah. (Deep-fried snickers and deep-fried bacon with country gravy, in case you were wondering)

Did I watch the pig races and gadget demonstrations? Yes and yes (I liked the gadget demonstrations better).

I also saw several hundred fat people.

Overall, I’d have to say it was the best day ever.


Momzilla

27 Jun

Pete and I have been super busy over the past two months – traveling for work, moving in together, going to Ireland, getting engaged, having friends in town and going to our friends’ weddings – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So needless to say, we’ve barely had a spare moment to think about our own wedding.

Maybe it’s that I really haven’t had any time to start planning our wedding, or maybe it’s just that I’m overwhelmed by all the details I’ll have to plan over the next 12 months, but I haven’t turned into a Bridezilla quite yet.

But, I’m afraid to say, my mother has contracted a severe case of Momzilla syndrome. From my observation, symptoms of Momzilla syndrome include the following:

1) Obsessing over wedding details before, during and after daughter becomes engaged

I saw the first hint of trouble starting the day after Pete and I got engaged. I called my sister Didgie from Ireland and we were talking about the wedding.

“Do you guys think you’re going to get married at Westmoreland (my parent’s country club)?” Didgie asked.

“Yeah, I think so. We really haven’t talked about it that much, but Pete and I both think that would be a really pretty setting.”

“Good,” Didgie whispered into the phone. “Mom really wanted you to get married there. She’s already been looking through the Westmoreland book and picking out the gardens she thinks would be good for a wedding.”

2) Extreme panic over wedding vendors

Since I got engaged (four weeks ago), this is how a typical conversation with my mother goes:

“Hey mom, are you gonna be around on Sunday night? I was thinking about stopping by.”

“Eva, did you listen to that wedding band I told you about yet? We really need to book the band THIS WEEK.”

“Can we talk about it on Sunday?”

“That’s three days away. I really don’t think we can wait that long. The band I wanted is already booked.”

My sisters confirmed that my mom already had a wedding band in mind less than a week after the engagement.

3) Spontaneous displays of giddiness

My mother is normally not easily excited (as a woman who had four kids in six years and worked in a hospital for her entire career, there’s not a lot she hasn’t seen), but there have been at least three times in the past month where she’s said something along the lines of, “I told so-and-so you were getting married AND EVERYONE IS REALLY EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!!!!!” (Her voice just gets louder as the sentence goes on.)

Or, “Your ring is so beautiful and the CUT IS LOVELY AND IT’S SO SPARKLY!!!!!!”

4) Exhibits understanding, generosity, and overall great mom skills

As much as a Momzilla can pressure the bride into planning a wedding, my mom has also been great at keeping me on track, making sure I’m doing everything right, and listening to me vent about all the stress I’m under.

Also, a Momzilla would be great to take to one of those crazy wedding dress sales. She’d just throw some ‘bows and the dress of my dreams would be all mine – at a discount price, of course.

Things I learned over Easter weekend

26 Apr

Here are a few things that I learned about my family over Easter weekend:

– My mom is apparently the lead foot of the family. I learned this as she was driving the family to a restaurant on Saturday night and a neighbor yelled after her, “SLOW DOWN!” Except we couldn’t hear what he was saying because my mom was driving too fast. We just saw his mouth moving and his shaking fist as we sped past.

– I’m not sure what’s stranger – that my dad started singing, “Slippin’ on gin and juice” incessantly, or that my mom corrected him by yelling, “It’s not slippin’ it’s sippin’!!!”

– If rumor is correct, my two youngest sisters never visit me in the city because I “go to sleep to early”. Ok, well guess what, 10:30 on a Friday night is really late! Sheesh!

– My boyfriend says really flattering things about me when I’m not around. Like after I went to sleep on Saturday night (it was way past 10:30) one of my sisters passed gas in front of him and in response, he said, “It’s OK. Eva does that all the time.”

– My sister Didgie and my dad really like this show called “Swamp People” and it’s extremely disturbing to me. Not so much that these people trap gators, but that the “Swamp People” wear overalls with no shirt underneath. There’s something very wrong about that. I’m worried that if my dad and sister keep watching the show, they’ll start saying things like, “Dems guud eatin’ ” in unintelligible accents.

Chelsea Morning

29 Mar

Joni Mitchell: For cool kids only.

Thanks to Netflix, I’ve been able to watch all these obscure documentaries (which is totally my favorite genre), including one about Joni Mitchell called “Woman of Heart and Mind”. It was pretty good, mostly because I’m a huge Joni Mitchell fan.

Well, that got me thinking about my all time favorite Joni Mitchell story, starring my very own sister, Caroline.

One morning a few years back, Caroline woke up early and it was just one of those days when she was feeling good. Feeling good about life, and the world, and everything else. And what was the one song that exemplified all those groovy feelings she was feeling? Chelsea Morning by Joni Mitchell.

In case you’ve never heard Chelsea Morning, it’s a pretty cheesy song that features the following words and phrases: Christmas bells; pipes and drums; rainbow; crimson crystal beads; sun show; milk; toast; honey; butterscotch; and so on and so forth.

So Caroline gets out of bed and heads downstairs, singing Chelsea Morning at the top of her lungs. She’s really into it and by the time she reaches the bottom of the stairs, she’s well into the first verse of the song.

And that’s when she sees the construction worker that had been standing at the bottom of the steps, waiting for my mom. And he heard the whole thing.

 

Family in the news

6 Mar

I’d like everyone to take a look at the picture below from today’s edition of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

If you’re asking yourself, “Is that Eva’s sister Didgie celebrating Mardi Gras in St. Louis?” the answer is yes, yes it is.

She’s the one in the back sitting on some dude’s shoulders looking like a holy figure rising from the dead. And yes, those are her friends Sarah and Janie in the front lunging for beads like starving beggars on the street.

Interestingly enough, Didgie isn’t the only family member who’s been featured in the newspaper before. My dad uncovered this gem last year. Apparently, my mom took a little excursion to the Sugar Shack, a male strip club in Milwaukee in the summer of 1979 and landed herself in the Milwaukee Sentinel.

Ahhh, the beauty of Google.

Although I wish I had never read THIS statement:

The formula seems to work well. Gail, 24, a nurse from Chicago, purred, “They were very seductive.”

AHHHHHHHH!!!! TMI MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love when my family is in the news.