Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Promises to Keep, and Miles to Go...

I think I've chosen Robert Frost quotes for at least three post titles.  Did I tell you that I attended Robert Frost Elementary School?  I'm not even kidding.  It was a great little place to be a 2nd grader, unless you were hoping to do fancy things like learn to read and stuff.  The school didn't even have walls.  When I took my new plastic saxophone to school and played "Taps" for my 4th grade class, flags were lowered to half-staff as far away as the cafeteria.  Our principal, who tended to drink his lunches, briefly thought he was dead and refused to come out of his office until someone pinned a lily to his lapel.

But I digress.

The "Promises" I intend to keep include getting back to the regularly scheduled inanity you've come to love and, on occasion, fear from my blog.  Heaven knows there isn't a soul on earth more dedicated to thoroughly wasting 10 minutes of your life every couple of days than I, but against all odds I've temporarily become a grownup who - don't panic - has begun considering the suffering of others, and has decided that it's just a bummer when your Avon lady and dear friend, also known as DeNae's Crazy Catholic Neighbor, is in a near-constant state of morosity and downcastedness.  (Take that, dictionary-dot-com.)

The Matthew Blanchard Foundation is a foundation I have founded along with my new-found friend Gina, who first found me as a blogger and then found that we have a lot in common, including the desire to found a Foundation for this cute little boy whose immune system found it prefers attacking his heart to attacking the infection that founded itself in his heart.

So, to encourage you, my darling blog and real life friends, to visit our web site and learn more about this family, I'm doing something I vowed I would never, ever, ever, never do:  I'm having a giveaway.  Right here on my blog.  I know!  Who am I anyway??

The first thing I'm offering is this beautiful book illustrated by my even more beautiful friend, Jana Winters Parkin.

You know how sometimes people will say, "Oh, you should see so-and-so's art work, it's totally awesome and completely professional", and then you go over to their web site and everything looks like a chimpanzee got into the fingerpaints?

Well, whatever the opposite of that is, that's Jana Winters Parkin.  I talked a bit more about this on another post, and I'll say it again:  Jana is the real deal.  A true artist.  Her studio is astonishing, particularly to someone like me, who wouldn't even be allowed in the chimpanzee class.  You want this book.  And you can win one from me!

I am also giving away FIVE copies of the first book I ever wrote (if you don't count "The Adventures of Sea-Wee Sailor," which Stephanie Jones and I co-authored as 3rd graders at Robert Frost Elementary in honor of our teacher whose name - and again, I am one-hundred-percent not kidding - was Miss Seaman), namely "The Accidental Gringo: A Guide to Puerto Rico for the Hopelessly Culture Shocked Newcomer." 

I wrote this in 2001 after speaking at several orientations for FBI agents and their families who had just landed in Puerto Rico and were baffled by the fact that although PR was a part of the United States, folks still insisted on speaking Spanish no matter how loudly the newly-arrived gringos hollered at them in English.  Even if you don't intend to move to Puerto Rico, I have it on good authority that this early attempt at humor writing makes great bathroom reading.

Finally, I'm offering to do something new, and despite my Las Vegas address, it has almost nothing to do with poles.

I will write your family Christmas letter.  Whoa, hey, steady out there.  We don't want a stampede for heaven's sake.

I've had, over the years, a number of people ask me if they could join my family, because we're profoundly cool, or, in lieu of outright adoption, they've requested that I write their family Christmas letter for them.  I've always said IX-NAY to both requests, for the obvious reason that I really didn't feel like it, but I was nonetheless flattered that they would entrust the half-truths, quarter-truths, and outright blasphemies that make up your standard family Christmas letter to my humble talents.

Here's one I did for my own family in 2005.  It's abusively based on Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven."  One year I used the plot for "Independence Day" as the family update, because we'd had an exceptionally dull year, even by our standards, and I really needed to spice things up for the relatives.

So two winners will just have to send whatever misinformation they'd like for their letter, and some idea of what setting they'd like (plagiarized poetry, plagiarized movie plots, plagiarized Christmas songs, etc.) and I'll write it for them.

NOW, here's how to enter.  It's crazy easy:
  • Pop over to the Matthew Blanchard Foundation web site and leave a comment.  Even a word of encouragement for Matthew and his family will be very much appreciated.  They need all the good mojo they can get.
  • Let me know here at my place that you were there, and which giveaway prize you'd like to win.
Of course, I certainly won't say "no" to your mentioning our Foundation on your own blogs, or your making a donation to the Blanchard family, or your signing up to run in our 5K Turkey Trot or scarf a few dozen pancakes at our Gobblers' Breakfast on Saturday, November 27.  But mostly, I just want to know that good people like you are aware of families like this one, and are willing to send a good thought their way.

I'll do the drawing on Wednesday, November 24, and you'll have until Tuesday, November 30 to claim your prize. 

A big, virtual hug and even bigger thanks to all you kooks who hang with me over here at my Backordered Life!  We may have miles to go before we sleep - starting with the three-point-something that make up a 5K - but with you in the game, it'll be great every step of the way!


charrette said...

Such an awesome giveaway! And thanks again for the shout-out again!

I just wanted to let you know that I logged onto the Matthew Blanchard site and left the following comment, which the site promptly ate:

"Ah, my heartstrings are officially tugged! I have in my very own house a happy, healthy, hilarious, football-playing 11 year-old-boy whom I adore! I can't imagine him suddenly laid up with a mysterious illness. Please allow me to be the first to wish you well, Matthew. I hope someday you and Jeremiah can be friends."

So if you don't get very many comments over there, it might just be some sort of glitch.

As for the giveaway, girlfriend, I seriously want one of your books, but how can I possibly turn down an awesome Christmas letter jazzed up with a little DeNae magic? No, I would be a fool not to opt for that.

Good thing I already have my own book, or I'd totally want that too!

Melanie Jacobson said...

I think you're so cool for doing this, DeNae. I went and left a comment at the other blog, and I'd LOVE to win DeNae doing my newsletter! Maybe I'll actually send one out this year!

Kristina P. said...

Wasting only 10 minutes, huh? More like 20. And China does seem like a really cool place.

I can't believe I haven't read your book! I will pop on over and leave a comment. I can't believe what a good person you are. No, I mean, I don't believe it.

Love you, my fellow crowd pleaser!

Karen Peterson said...

I think you are so amazing for doing this. That family is lucky to know you.

T said...

I think that's the best reason ever to renege on your promise to never do a giveaway!

with my own 11 year old this is a little too close to home as we begin our own "what the heck is wrong with this kid" this week... fully expecting to be told he's a hypochondriac (at least that's what I'm hoping for)

all the giveaway prizes are great - do I have to pick one?

a family newsletter? yeah - you could write it... but will you look up all those silly addresses - stuff the envelopes, address the envelopes, lick the stamps and actually drive to the post office for me?

yeah, didn't think so - maybe I'd better just stick to a book :)

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm pretty sure that there's a section in heaven reserved just for you, DeNae. It's a big section with a cold-storage filled with Diet Coke and chocolates, a home-theatre with every episode of Law & Order, Jana's paintings on nearly every wall, and a gladiator pit for anyone who even suggests P90X. ;)

I left a pretty meager comment at the foundation, I admit, but it's only because I'm teary and touched and hardly capable of words. We'll definitely be praying for this little guy.

Now, if you feel like cheering me up, you can totally put me down for one of your books. And I want it signed and personalized, baby. ;)

Hel said...

Too many good things to choose from DeNae. I should be so lucky to win any one of your prizes. I've just finished writing a pretty lame comment over at the Foundation website.

You are showing your softer side DeNae.... is this the beginning of The Backordered Life's new direction? ;D

AS Amber said...

I left my comment. Please to be signing me up for the newsletter. Or the Christmas book.

This is such an awesome thing you're doing sister. Every day, you make me so proud to be your sister. You're so great. I love you!

veronica said...

What an awesome thing you are doing for Matthew and his family.
I left a comment on the website.
I actually looked to see if my local library had your book. (They must not know how much they NEED it.)
I would love to win a copy of your "Gringo" book. And I can't wait for the release of your latest saga. Could ya hurry?

Melanie said...

I left a message, but it doesn't seem like enough. My nephews have been in similar situations since birth and it seems there is no end to the suffering of the entire family. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

Gosh, this makes me so sad that I think I need to go to the bathroom and READ! I'd love a new book to join me:)

jojomynx said...

You are super-woman in my book. I am amazed at your talents for planning events and writing. Not just 1 but 2 things I am severely lacking in the talent department. It's a lovely thing you've done to help a deserving family.

I've commented and would love to have you write a Christmas letter.

Cheeseboy said...

I think it is awesome that you started this new foundation for this kid and that you are so giving.

I really want a copy of the Accidental Gringo really, really badly. I am a little confused by the rules though.

DeNae said...

Cheeseboy, I never know when you're being silly, so I'll assume you really DIDN'T understand the rules, which have to be the easiest giveaway rules of ALL TIME!

Just link over to the Matthew Blanchard Foundation website and leave a comment of encouragement for Matthew and his family.

That's all! Since you've already thrown your hat in the ring for a Gringo book, once your comment shows up on the MBF site, you're done!

Sher said...

I think I ask to be your adopted sister everytime I see you. I would love if you would write my Christmas letter! I was going to no do one this year, since NOTHING significant has happened in my family in 2010.

It's too bad your fundraiser isn't this week. C will be in Vegas this weekend, and I would totally send him to run your 5k for you.

Maybe I can talk him into letting me skip the family chaos that is Thanksgiving, and I'll come down and run.
Either way, I'll definitely be checking out the website!

shari said...

Hey DeNae,
I absolutely love your blog. I am just one of the many strangers out here that reads your blog faithfully. You always bring an outburst of laughter her in my small cubical at work. You are one of a kind. I went over to Matthews blog and left a donation and some words of comfort to him and his sweet fam. Thanks for the opportunity.

Brooke said...

OK Denae. If ever anyone NEEDED to win a giveaway, it is me, now. I would soooooo love to have you - nay, PLEAD with you - to write my Christmas letter!

I left a comment for sweet Matthew. He's lucky to have such a great support system. I wish every kid like him had the same.

(For what it's worth, if I can't score the Christmas letter, I'd sure love a copy of your Gringo book.)

Kazzy said...

See? There's that big heart. I told G that I am soooo tempted to come eat and run down in Vegas.

I am hopping over to your other blog now.

You are da bomb.

Mikki said...

Such a sweet boy! Sending my prayers his way of course. I would love to be out there next Saturday, but I have other obligations. :(

Sweet that you're doing this.

Seriously, I would completely enjoy any of the three prizes being offered.

annie valentine said...

Christmas letter give-away. You evil genius.

Kimberly said...

You're amazing. For serious.

Jana's book? Also amazing. Have. Love. Want everyone else to have too.

Hel said...

You are right... Shari DID leave an amazing comment. I am happy she won the book.

p.s. I forgot to say in my last comment that I am enjoying the new (is it new?) blog look.