Saturday, December 20, 2008

I may be a big dork ...

...but I think this is hilarious.  Ben is the jolliest elf of them all!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Throw Me a Fricking (Holiday) Bone!

I have no children, and I refuse to send out cat-themed Christmas cards, so on Monday I shamed my brother and sister into participating in a Christmas picture.  The plan was to send out a Christmas card with a zany picture of the three of us cavorting merrily in Madison. ZANY AND CAVORTING, I SAY.  Ben gamely wedged a Santa hat on his head ... but he understandably drew the line at dangling a candy cane from his mouth.  

What follows are the disastrous  results of our photo shoot ...

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.

Take 5: We switch locations, but this picture's out because Ben looks like he's going to kill someone.  Katie is still being a good sport ... my smile has begun to seem a bit forced.

Take 11.  I decide a change of angle is necessary- we need more ZANY.  This one might have been usable, but SOMEONE (Katie) over-zoomed.  

Take 15.  Ben refuses to feign good cheer any longer.  Things start to go downhill quickly after this.

Take 16.  Ben is thinking of how he could make my death look like an accident.  Katie's eyes have begun to glaze over.  I continue to beam inanely.

Take 17.  Ben expresses his displeasure while Katie fakes her own death.  I smile grimly while trying to make my throttle hold on Katie seem playful.

Take 20: Last picture.  Katie tackles Ben and myself, and the photo shoot ends in disarray.

Needless to say, we ended up going in a different direction with the cards.  Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Black Friday

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.