Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Season Thoughts

On Barnes & Noble

Back in the day, my favorite bookstores had a comfy couch or chair where I could kick back and browse through a collection of books I was thinking about buying. When the big chains like Borders and Barnes & Noble took over, they brought in a larger collection of books and sold them at discount. To close the deal, they furnished their stores with cushy sofas and chairs and offered poetry readings and "Staff Recommendations" sections. They acted as if they cared about books.

Have you noticed the "Staff Recommendations" sections are gone? I have. Have you noticed that as a store gets older, the furniture sections get taken away? I have.

I'm starting to rethink my fierce loyalty to Barnes & Noble.

On Leavenworth

A few decades ago, leaders from a struggling mountain town got together and decided they wanted to reinvent the town. So they created a little Bavarian village, even though no one from the town was from Germany, or even Europe. The towne centre is full of curio shops, pretzel stores, and biergartens. It's the kind of tourist trap that's easy to make fun of, but I dig it.

For one thing, it's nestled in the mountains. That's a good thing. I miss mountains. For another thing, there's a great hotel with cozy rooms with fireplaces, indoor and outdoor pools and hot spots, and a daily honking of one of those 15-foot-long horns played by an old American guy clad in lederhosen. Oh, and there are great hiking trails along the river that runs right through town.

Here's a clip of Luke and Max sledding near the downtown area:



I haven't been skiing or snowboarding in years, so I couldn't resist the temptation to hop on Luke's sled and test my downhilling skills. I still got it.



On Christmas

Luke and Max believe that Santa has a special license -- I call it the Santa clause -- that allows him to slide through the vents in our gas fireplace and deliver the boys a whole bunch of presents using the same gift wrap their parents used. Max had mixed feelings upon seeing that most of the cookies the boys had decorated and left near the fireplace had been eaten. On the one hand, Santa came! On the other hand, why didn't he eat the whole cookie?

It goes against my instincts to lie to the boys about Santa Claus. I don't like it. I'm setting the boys up for disillusionment. With their belief in Santa Claus and bucolic Christmas in Leavenworth, aren't I just leading the boys into a crushing Rosebud moment later in life? They even have the snow globes to let slip from their fingers.