Saturday, December 20, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Take 1: We probably should have stopped here, but I wanted Ben's Santa hat to be more visible. Because I got Ben to wear a Santa hat.
Friday, December 5, 2008
The holiday spirit is upon us! I know this for a fact because I saw roughly 500 people seize the holiday spirit and stuff it into their shopping carts at Best Buy at 6:00 am last Friday morning. Nothing says “Happy Birthday Jesus” like season three of ALF on DVD (act surprised, Jon).
My family started participating in “Black Friday” five years ago. That was the year several of my basketball teammates came to my house for Thanksgiving. In an effort to make the girls feel more at home, Mom incorporated some of their family traditions into our holiday celebration. While most of the requests were for favorite family recipes (Duncan family macaroni and cheese, mmmmmmmmm), Katy mentioned that she and her mom always went shopping the day after Thanksgiving. At 5:00 am. Well! If the Bowens could rouse themselves out of bed at the butt crack of dawn, we certainly could. And so it began.
The first year we went out I didn’t buy anything except Fa-La-Lattes from Caribou Coffee. Katy shopped while Mom and I milled around Best Buy and Target and sleepily stared at people wheeling cartloads of merchandise out to their cars. I found a flyer at Best Buy that advertised inexpensive laptops, but when I asked a harried looking employee where I could find one he just stared at me. It turned out that the line of detritus we had passed on our way into the store had been left by people who had been waiting in line all night to get their hands on the laptops. I had a lot to learn.
Over the past few years I’ve learned the ins and outs of Black Friday. I’ve learned that if I want a 72” flat screen TV for $300 then I have to be willing to sit on my butt in the cold for 9 hours. I learned that other people are willing to sit on their butts in the cold for 9 hours. I learned that JC Penny gives out free snow globes to their first thousand shoppers and that Borders has free coffee and mini-muffins. I learned that I am unwilling to push elderly women out of the way in order to procure down comforters at 50% off, but I will shiv a child that gets between me and free coffee. We all have our secret shame.
One thing that has proven true over the course of my families’ Black Friday excursions is that we are never fully committed to the frenzy of the event. While other shoppers scour the stores with lists and coupons, we wander bemusedly from aisle to aisle, judging people and thumbing through stacks of picked over merchandise. Before this tradition dies (please, please let it die) I’m going to try to do Black Friday the way God intended. Next year I’m going to wear a t-shirt that says JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON while I’m standing in line outside of JC Penney at 3:00 am. I’d like my moral superiority to be blazingly apparent as I’m elbowing my way past other shoppers, hell bent on getting my hands on a commemorative snow globe. Happy Holidays, suckers.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Sunday night ended with me leaning against a bar, drinking a beer and discussing the intricacies of breast augmentation with a drag queen named Veronica Cummings.
The evening began much more innocently. My sister K just turned 20, so B, K, and I celebrated by getting tickets to Avenue Q. The show was so great!! If Rent and Sesame Street were to meet and make sweet sweet love, Avenue Q would be their slightly off kilter progeny. The musical stars puppets and live actors, and features such classic songs as "The Internet is for Porn," "It Sucks to Be Me," and, my personal favorite, "What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?"
The story follows Princeton, a recent college graduate, as he navigates his introduction to the “real world.” We witness the naïve young puppet deal with issues common to many in their mid-twenties; the pain of crushed hopes and dreams, the pros and cons of casual sex, and the bitter shame of having to borrow rent money from your parents because it turns out your English degree only comes in handy when you can no longer afford toilet paper. Tell it like it is, Princeton, tell it like it is.
Before the show started I ran into S and J, two people I recently met here in Madison. S is the cousin of a good friend of mine. A few weeks ago we got set up on a blind-friend-date, an event comparable to a blind-date in that it was complete with multiple wardrobe changes and palm sweat (at least on my end). S brought her roommate J along when we met for drinks, and the three of us had a great time. It turns out that J knew somebody that knew somebody that knew the cast of Avenue Q, so they invited me to go out for drinks with everyone after the show. The practical, Miss Marie side of me said you're exhausted already and you have to work tomorrow and you're not particularly socially adept even at the best of times so don't go and be all awkward. Party Marie told me to shut the hell up and say yes because it's not everyday that I get the chance to steal a fancy puppet. So I agreed to go.
Let us sidetrack for a moment here to ponder the wonderful things that can come from saying yes. I've made it a practice in my adult life to say yes as much as possible, especially to things that are outside of my comfort zone. Want to sing karaoke? Yes. Want to be a part of this anti-war dance? Yes. Want to move to Australia without a job and no money and nowhere to live? Yes yes yes. I've made it a practice to say yes when I can and then see where it gets me ... and while nobody ever again needs to hear me try to turn "Papa Loved Mama" into a ballad, "yes" has gotten me to some pretty great places.
On Sunday it got me to Club 5, Madison's premier gay dance club. While fog machines churned and disco balls spun, I learned the minutiae of puppetry from none other than Robert McClure, the actor behind Princeton's angst-filled journey. He told us about puppet-camp, where stage actors were trained in the art of puppet manipulation. "You'd figure the first step is opening their mouths so that it looks like they're talking," he said of the puppets. "It's not! The first step is drawing the puppet back, so that it looks like it's inhaling before it speaks ... there are millions of mannerisms to learn before you even get to talking."
I learned puppeteering tips from Robert McClure, I drank Pepto-Bismol colored drinks with new friends, I danced to techno-remixes of old Cher hits ... I even got a high five from Lexy Fridell for a well timed Mariah Carey joke. I had a weirdly wonderful time.
The night ended with me leaning against a bar, drinking a beer and discussing the intricacies of breast augmentation with a drag queen named Veronica Cummings. "I want mine to look exactly like yours," she said. "Can I feel them so that I know what consistency I'm going for?"
That, dear readers, is when I explored the benefits of saying "no."
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
I’d like to send out a little thank you to all of the visitors that I’ve had in the past few weeks. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful circle friends … your visits remind me of just how lucky I am. It’s easier for me to live in a city where I hardly know anyone when I have so much love coming my way. Thank you.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The conversation always goes a little something like this:
Friday, October 10, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
I love kids, and I love working with kids. That being said, the line between "Miss Marie" and "Party Marie" (OK, "Party Marie" is a stretch, but go with it) is sometimes blurred in odd ways. When I was a teacher in Iowa, for instance, I had a toddler car seat in my back seat. I often come home with used kleenex in my pocket and graham cracker crumbs in my hair. I know an embarrassing number of lyrics to Wiggles tunes, and I can sing the ABC's in 13 different voices. These are all skills that come in handy in the workplace, and, once I have children of my own, I'm looking forward to being the goofiest mommy ever. Sometimes, however, Miss Marie needs to take a rest and stop stepping on Party Marie's toes. I don't have kids! I'm a single young woman with 5 tattoos and a well developed tolerance for alcohol. A working knowledge of breast pump technology isn't appropriate bar talk for someone in my situation. Today I found myself making diaper rash cream recommendations to a parent, and a little piece of Party Marie died.* With all of that in mind, I bring you the Top Ten Things I'm Spending my Money on Instead of Diaper Rash Cream.
Top Ten Things I'm Spending my Money on Instead of Diaper Rash Cream
or Marie Asserts her Single, Childless Status in the Face of Her Job
10) Hookers and blow
9) Rated R movie tickets
8) Breakable, decorative objects that I plan to place at floor level around my apartment.
7) Porn. The dirty kind that you have to throw away once you have kids because they'd be scarred if they stumbled across it.
6) Toys for my cat.
5) Another cat.
4) Frames for pictures of my cat.
3) The rights to the domain name cr8zcatl8d.com
2) Non-Wiggles, Disney, Raffi, etc. music.
1) Sexy clothes that will help me land a baby maker. Ahemm, I mean loving life partner.
* Boudreaux's Butt Paste! It's the best!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Know what’s been keeping me up at night lately? My frickin’ cold, that’s what. Every time I lay down I start coughing and drooling indiscriminately; it’s not conducive to sleep. I admit that I’m a big baby when I’m sick (I can hear you all gasping with surprise). I’m not proud of it, but I tend to be one of those people that mope around, the odd groan punctuating my quiet suffering. I answer questions regarding my health in a voice that’s maybe a tad more hoarse than it needs to be … I’m pathetic.
Being sick always makes me wish I were a kid again. When I was little and I got sick a whole series of wonderful things would happen. I got to skip school and lay in my parent’s bed all day while I watched The Price is Right. I got to spend the day with my dad; watching him draw in our dining room and bang around the kitchen making dinner. I got to have my parents focus all of their attention on me, hopefully at the expense of my three younger siblings.
Being sick as an adult is completely unrewarding. It just means that I have to run errands and go to work in pissy mood. At least I’ve got a roommate for this bout of sickness. B is sick too, so he and I have spent the past few days feeling miserable together. Right now we’re both wrapped up in blankets in our living room watching episodes of That '70's Show and drinking tea. B says his favorite thing about being sick when he was little was definitely watching daytime TV: seeing Shining Time Station and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
When I got strep throat in second grade I managed to dig up a silver bell from somewhere. I spent two weeks convalescing on our living room couch, ring-a-linging whenever I needed more orange juice. That got old pretty quickly, and I’m not sure B would respond favorably if I started summoning him with a bell. More later kiddos. I’m headed to bed.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Since I knew what to expect, I was much less nervous for SC247 this week. I had been working on my 2-letter words and I figured that, if nothing else, nobody was going to challenge me on "xa" again and make me look like a fool. I psyched myself up for my second Scrabble Club experience by listening to angry country music on the drive over. I can tell you right now that nobody else was blasting Alcohol and Ass when they pulled into the church parking lot. That’s how I roll, Gloria. What now?!?!
My mental calisthenics paid off, my dear friends. I won 2 of my 4 games! It was glorious! Ok, “glorious” is a bit of an overstatement … but I was excited to an embarrassing degree. I won my first game 352 to 350. My opponent was a young man who is also new to the club; he was not happy that I beat him. Out of respect for his feelings I only did a small victory dance; more of a victory wiggle than anything else.
My other win was significant for several reasons. Scrabble-wise I got a high score of 407 and laid “ganglia,” a bingo that earned me kudos from the expert players. I also overcame some personal hang-ups when I challenged the word “flaten.” The elderly woman I was playing seemed flustered as she took her tiles off the board; no doubt Gloria had told her I was an easy mark.
I lost my other games in spectacular fashion, but I was satisfied with how the evening went. I’m thinking about memorizing random, obscure bingos just to confuse people. I won’t have a handle on the 3-letter words, but I’ll start dropping words like “quixotry” and “obiisms” and I’ll blow their minds.