Friday, May 27, 2011

And the Winner Is...

The winner of my first giveaway is commenter #3 (determined by Timestamp: 2011-05-27 23:14:07 UTC). VERONICA, email me or message me on facebook your address and I'll send out your uber-cool Mr. Owl journal. Thanks for reading and commenting. I'll be giving away another journal very soon. Stay tuned, you never know what this Couch is going to say next!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Moms, Dads, Please Read

     My 6 year old had a little run-in with a classmate today. The other girl wasn't treating Ella very nicely. Her offense got her sent to the office where she had to write Ella an apology note. In it, she wrote "I am rilea sarea! (really sorry)." She said some other things to make amends, but then she went on to break my heart. She stated "Ella! Quoot  Allison! uglea" (Ella, cute, Allison, ugly). I was so sad for this very pretty little girl. She is not ugly at all, but for some reason, her bad choice in how she treated Ella made her call herself ugly. Where did this precious kindergartner get the idea that she was ugly? Who sent her that defective message?
     This incident reminded me of the words of Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison: "When a kid walks into the room... does your face light up? That's what they're looking for. When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers, or if their hair was combed... You think your deep love and affection is on display because you're caring for them. It's not. When the kids see you, they see the critical face: "What's wrong now?" Then, if you let your face speak what is in your heart when they walked in the room... (I'm glad to see you). It's just as small as that."
     Sometimes I forget to live life this way. Too many days my dialogue is all about "Clean your room, stop running in the house, sit down, keep your hands to yourself, if it's not yours don't touch it, why aren't you cleaning your room, be quiet, have you done your homework, go brush your teeth, let's go, I don't have time, why is your room still not clean!" It's not that I don't encourage my kids but I want to make sure the scale tips way on the side of  love and affection.    
     I think of Ms. Morrison's words often. And when I do I make the effort to show my kids through my eyes that I love them and I'm glad to see them.  They need to get that message from me.
     I don't know much about Allison's home life. All I know is that somehow faulty thinking got through to this poor little girl. I hope she can hear from someone how valuable and beautiful she is, because she is far from ugly, but I don't think she believes that.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My First Giveaway at If This Couch Could Speak

     My friend Sue has a great blog where she frequently gives cool things away (if you're a girl, but I always try to win something for my wife). I wanted to get in the spirit of giving as well, but there's a catch...
     It is no secret that I'm an avid journaler. And I shamelessly try to impose the practice of journaling on others. The gifts for my groomsmen were a Pez dispenser, a pen, and a journal. I've handed out many journals as birthday presents, tokens of appreciation, and just because I found one that reminded me of someone and thought they would like it.
     My most recent attempt at proselytizing was this past weekend. We went to a wedding and I included a journal in the gift specifically for the groom. I encouraged him to start writing out their love/life story from day one of their marriage so their kids could read about their great romance someday. Since both of my parents have passed, I've found that a lot of history and details about our family went with them. I want to leave my legacy behind for my kids, and I encouraged this young man to do the same.
     So, my first giveaway is a journal...
     This is a brand new hardcover lined journal with Mr. Owl on the right hand bottom corner of every page. It has approx. 150 pages and is a cool retro book. For your chance to win, just leave a comment about this post on my blog and you will be entered. Winner will be chosen by random selection. All comments must be posted by Friday Noon, May 27, 2011.
     Since you're here at my blog, why don't you go ahead and follow it? Just click the "follow" tab and help me fulfill my dream of becoming a writer. Publishers want to know who your audience is, so that would be a big help to me.
     Good luck!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Forget You, Mollie and Fred!

I love journals and I love retro comic book art. When the two are combined, I like very much. I'm constantly googling "Superman journal" or "Batman journal" to see what comes up. A couple months ago, I came across the following...

     I needed to calm down. I mean, I have superhero journals, but these were nearly perfect. The artwork couldn't get more vintage and there were TWO of them to drool over. There was only one problem: They were not available in the United States. The only website that had them for sale was in the U.K., Mollie and Fred dot something or such. I tried to order but their website got all snooty on me and said "We don't deliver to your kind of address." If an automated response was ever rude... 
     So I emailed Mollie and Fred. They invited me to with their "contact us" tab, so I thought it would be no time at all before I heard back. That no time turned into a long time, so I emailed them again explaining my plight. I would pay whatever postage required, so would they please let me know if they could accommodate me? Still nothing. What's up, Mollie and Fred? Your website seems legit. So I tried one last time: "Oh, Mollie and Fred, how you hurt me so. You have two journals that I've never seen anywhere else in the world that I long for so much it pains me! And yet, you do not reply to my emails. Do you hold it against a man for living in the United States and refuse to cater to his journaling needs? Will you not make an exception to ship to this sad California boy who wants to partake of the exclusive journals only you have to offer? You hold too much power over me to make me beg so shamelessly. I WANT THE BATMAN AND SUPERMAN JOURNALS!! Hear my plea. If you cannot grant my request, at least reply and say what I do not want to hear so closure can commence. Shane Couch" Still nothing. Rude. 
     A couple nights ago I was browsing on Ebay. I had a gift card and typed in the usual, and the journals Mollie and Fred were being so stingy with came up, and I hit that beautiful "buy now" button and got a confirmation that payment was received and my elusive European journals are on their way. 
     The story doesn't end there. Upon further searching, I came across this...

... incredible journal that was available for purchase from the same, NICE, European company that sold me the others. And so perfect since the Green Lantern movie comes out this summer. I conquered. I OWNED Mollie and Fred. Who needs them? So, forget you, Mollie and Fred, whoever you are. I got tiger blood in me. Winning!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

You Know What I Hate About Mother's Day?

     I first felt it in May of 2008. I went in to the Hallmark store to purchase the annual cards for Mother's Day that I always had. Marty's always has to be just right. It cannot rhyme. As Hades says in Disney's "Hercules," "Oy. Verse." It cannot have too many preprinted words. The more typing on the card, the less likely it's going to express what I'm actually feeling. It cannot be cheesy, it cannot be cliche', it cannot rhyme (I already said that but I feel strongly about this)! It has to be just... right. The mother of my children deserves a well thought out and researched greeting card. I'm losing focus...
     But three years ago, I was offended. I was angered in the Hallmark store because I instinctively reached to pick out a card for my mom and I wasn't allowed. Since she had passed away the previous Fall, I was prohibited from ever buying her a Mother's Day card again. I hated that feeling. I hate that I'm not allowed to buy my mom a card this time of year. For 34 years, whether it was made in class or bought with my own money, that woman was getting a card from me. And she deserved every one of them. She absolutely should have had each of those crayon-scribbled "I love you's" and the hand -written "thank you for all you've done's."

      On Mom's last Mother's Day, we all gathered at my sisters house. When my family walked in the door, Ella, who was 2 at the time was a little overwhelmed by all the people watching our entrance. She hesitated  before going in, scanned the room, recognized her Nanny and proceeded to climb into her lap as naturally as breathing. I'm sure we had cards for Mom, but Ella acknowledging her Nanny in such a way without saying a word was probably the best gift my mom got that day. That's one of my favorite memories of my mom and my kids' Nanny.
     So, Mom, if I were allowed to write in a Mother's Day card to you this year, I would tell you I kept my promise when I told you before you left us that I would make sure my kids knew how much you loved them (screen going blurry for some reason right now). When I ask them, "Who do you love?" you are always on that list. They constantly say they miss you. Max even talks about "my Nanny" like he knew you even though he was so young when we had to say goodbye. And I miss you, too, Mom. There's so much I want to tell you. Wish heaven had a phone line. Happy Mother's Day.