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As a child, my favorite season was summer. As an adult, my favorite season is without a doubt fall. With fall we see an increase of warm beverages and comforting soups. The weather develops a slight chill and invites a hoodie into the wardrobe. There are football games and sunsets with curfews. We have pumpkins and mums.  Campfires and s'mores.

...and Fall TV.

Throughout the year there are shows that sporadically occupy space on our TiVo, but never as many that come along with the fall season. Every fall we see an influx of new programming, many of which we’ll give a fighting chance for a spot in our viewing lineup before weeding out those that aren’t as entertaining or we don’t necessarily have time for.
With those new shows, I’m always hoping for a few spin-offs of past favorites to make an appearance. I know, I know… spin-offs aren’t exactly the most highly regarded of programming, but there are a few I think would be interesting if they had been given a chance.  Especially a few from the 90s.

Full House was a show where everyone fell in love with Michelle Tanner and her one-liners while rolling their eyes every time Danny Tanner cued the moral-of-the-story music and kneeled on one knee to deliver life lessons. However, I think D.J. was the star of this particular show and it would have been nice to follow her to college since the series ended with her graduating high school. A spin-off documenting her transition from the oldest sister of three and the elder daughter of a well-intentioned yet somewhat controlling father to a wide eyed college freshman would have been interesting. With Kimmy Gibbler as her roommate in the dorms, the situations and stunts they would find themselves in would have been nothing short of hilarious.

When Friends ended it felt like the end of an era. I grew up with that show season after season and found myself genuinely pulling for the relationship that evolved between my favorite characters, Monica and Chandler. The series finale provided a perfect opportunity for a spin-off with those two (not the failed attempt that was Joey). Monica and Chandler had twins (a boy and a girl by way of a surrogate) and moved into a new house outside the city to raise their family. Enter the spin-off! Who wouldn’t want to watch neurotic Monica and sarcastic Chandler figuring out their new roles of mother and father in the suburbs? Think Up All Night, but better.

Much like Monica and Chandler, another couple I found myself rooting for was none other than Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski. Ah, Kelly Kapowski. After Saved by the Bell ended, there were The College Years and then the Wedding in Las Vegas so… why stop there?  Logically, a spin-off would be the next step (only with Zack and Kelly, not the New Class nonsense). I also don’t think it’s too late! Should Mark Paul Gosselaar’s current gig starring in Franklin & Bash dissipate and Tiffani [Amber] Thiessen has an opening in her schedule, a show centering around their lives as adults could be entertaining. Set in the time frame of today, they could have a child (maybe a mischievous yet charming teenage boy and/or a pretty but boy crazy girl) entering high school as they attempt to steer him/her in the right direction and keep the romance alive in their own relationship.  If this can't happen I would settle for a Jessie Spano/AC Slater spin-off or a Hot Sundae reunion.  Side note: can you believe they were the class of 1993? That’s 20 years ago… it seems like only yesterday we started.

I'm not sure if these would have survived the curse of a spin-off stigma in the long run, but they would have been added to my TiVo lineup (or rather my VHS taping schedule).  I'm sure there are plenty of possibilities for others, too, like Fresh Prince or Hey Dude... maybe even Salute Your ShortsFamily MattersGrowing Pains.

Maybe.  Maybe not.  Perhaps the most challenging part of developing a spin-off is linking it to the original, but making it strong enough to stand on it's own.  The quickest most efficient way to do this is the name.  What would these spin-offs have been called?  We'll never know.

I miss the 90s.

Original image sources:  1, 2, 3.


September 22, 2013

The last few days Madison has had a rattling cough and a slight fever that was clearly contagious.

I know this because I have it now. Stuffy nose, heavy head, scratchy throat… the works. 

Madison is already recovering as evidenced by the piles of toys everywhere although we decided to keep her home from preschool today, just in case.  We didn’t want any other kids to catch what she had (or upset parents in the event they did).

So we’re three weeks in and she’s already missed a day. Is that some kind of record?

Yesterday I had vegetable + beef soup for lunch from a local deli and it was delicious. I’ve had it before and I knew it would hit the spot. The first spoonful immediately provided warmth for my throat running all the way through to my fingertips, an internal hug my immune system had been begging for.

Today I went against my better judgment and decided to try something different:  French Onion soup.

I quickly discovered that I hate French Onion soup.  You learn something new every day.

I'm not extremely picky when it comes to food and I'll try pretty much anything once.  However, I won't be eating this again.  Lesson learned.  I’ll take veggie + beef any day of the week or chicken noodle or even Ramen noodles.  Tonight Allison is making a huge pot of her chili, a family recipe that she won't let me post.  Maybe some day.  I'll work on it.

Original photo source unknown until someone tells me otherwise.


September 17, 2013

Two weeks ago Allison laid out a pair of pink shorts and a white tank top with a striped bow for Madison to wear the next day.  After her bath, Madison got dressed in her pajamas and crawled into bed where she clasped her hands together to say her prayers then adjusted herself among her army of stuffed animals and we tucked her in for the night.  A night just like any other, except it wasn't. 

I felt like I was watching my little girl get ready for bed fully expecting her to be grown by sunrise.

The next morning we woke her up, fed her breakfast, brushed her teeth and helped her one limb at a time into the preselected outfit for the day.  Several hugs, kisses and pictures later we dropped her off for her first day of preschool.  A task that seemed much more difficult as a parent than it did for a two year old.

Back in March, Allison and I realized it was important for Madison to have some structured socialization with children her age.  While she gets time to play with kids in and around her age group, rarely does she get to do so in a learning environment.  During the week, my mother-in-law watches her while Allison and I are both at work so preschool would provide a break for her and a change of scenery for Madison.  We researched preschools in our area and decided to take a tour of a local church that offered a preschool program for toddlers.  We spoke with the Director and toured the building leaving with a sense of security and answers to our numerous questions; ultimately we decided this would be a good fit for all of us.

A few days before school actually started, we attended orientation (or open house) to introduce Madison to her teachers allowing her the chance to familiarize herself with her surroundings before the first day.  During that meeting, the parents were addressed separately while the children acclimated to each other, their teachers and their classrooms; one particular comment stuck with me that evening and spoke to every doubt I had.

The first day came and went.  We walked her to her classroom and I stepped aside to hang her backpack on the designated hook with her name above it while Allison knelt down for a hug and a kiss.  I stepped back in the doorway and squatted for mine, but Madison had already ran inside with my goodbye lost somewhere in the tiny footsteps leading away from me.  Just as quickly as my heart broke, the pieces found their way back together again... I was happy for her. 

This was a good decision. 

As a parent, the constant struggle of making the best choices can be overwhelming at times.

Preschool is only two days a week for a few hours each day and she loves it.  I love that she loves it.  However, I can't help feeling that school is a countdown where we've started the stopwatch completely overlooking the absence of a pause/stop button.  Today I walked her down the hall to a classroom and before I know it I'll be walking her down the aisle. 

A day just like any other, except it won't be.  Not at all.  Not even close.


September 15, 2013

A year ago, I made myself comfortable in a large chair in the corner of my living room on a Friday night and opened my laptop.  I began typing in random words to use as a blog name until one displayed an available message. I clicked next and began – I stared at the blinking cursor for several minutes struggling to find a topic with my fingers resting on the home keys of the keyboard seemingly paralyzed with fear, the irony of selecting the name Mr. Write Away and essentially having nothing to write about wasn't lost on me.  Then, for lack of a better topic, I wrote about what everyone seemed to be talking about that specific day.
My first post was drafted and published.  There’s nothing to brag about in regards to that post. There’s not inspiration to be found or a pin-worthy picture. There isn’t anything worth mentioning at all in that particular post yet it was my first and served as the proverbial shove I needed to get the ball rolling. 

I had a blog.  Even if no one was out there reading it, I had a blog.

In hindsight, I would have spent more time in the planning stages, designing and drafting up a few meaningful posts to start out with once I decided to go live; instead I jumped in head first. I jumped in without a real plan, without any real knowledge of what is needed and required in the world of blogging. All I knew is that I loved to write and desperately wanted a platform in which to do so.

Throughout the last year, I lost and found my voice here. I’ve redesigned and refocused here. For a while, Mr. Write Away felt like a friend I knew only by name. One I had trouble placing their face and the sound of their voice or the familiarity of their phrasing, but with certainty knew that I knew them somehow.

After several changes, I’m here now as I’m honest. I make mistakes and I learn from them. Above all else, one thing has always remained true: I love to write.  Although Mr. Write Away is no more, I’m still writing my way through life moments worth sharing.
If you stumbled across this blog recently… welcome.

If you’ve been here from the beginning… thank you.

This is where I write. This is where the words inside my head come to live. This is where I talk myself in and out of things and, ultimately, through them all. This is where I document my life one event, one post at a time. It’s a work-in-progress. I’m a work-in-progress. Aren’t we all?

I’m Bradley Cowan, formerly Mr. Write Away.
What a difference a year makes. 


September 12, 2013

I read an article the other day (here) about a couple of high school sweethearts that were married 75 years and then died a day apart from each other.  Les and Helen defied the odds of their unlikely romance and proved people wrong by holding onto a love they knew to be true.  Ultimately, he struggled with Parkinson's and she was battling stomach cancer when suddenly he slipped into a coma and she became weak and passed away.  He died the next day.  Maybe it was the disease... or maybe it was a broken heart.  Their children and grandchildren testify to the fact "they were never apart" and always enjoyed each other's company.  Stories like these cut through the clutter of violence and misfortune we tend to see daily and remind us that relationships are what we have to really hold onto in this life. 

Allison and I met in high school and have been inseparable ourselves ever since.  We even work together.  I'm sure some see us as co-dependant and they may even be right to an extent, but we enjoy the time we have together and it's our choice to experience everything hand-in-hand.  As partners.  As equal halves of a whole.  Hopefully, we'll continue having the opportunity of sharing every peak and valley life has to offer side-by-side.  If we're as lucky as Les and Helen, we'll grow old and gray together laughing and crying and reveling in the love we nurtured throughout our lives.  Some may look at this couple and see a tragic demise of a love story, but when I look at them I see the happiest of endings. 

A vow unbroken until death parted them.

To Les and Helen.  May their once upon a time live on happily ever after as a testament that real love exists.


September 10, 2013

...had me a blast doesn't even cover it.  We all know time flies when you're having fun, but I find it hard to believe September is here already (where did August go?) and fall is around the corner threatening us with cascading leaves and mugs of hot chocolate.  Once Labor Day comes and goes, summer is pretty much over.  Just ask Starbucks.  Clearly they support this theory since they've already rolled out the Pumpkin Spice Latte.  However, before I officially embrace the joy of hoodie weather and warm beverages, it is only fair that I bid summer a proper farewell.

As I mentioned before, Madison loves the beach so there is no surprise in the fact we found ourselves making the trip more than once this summer to allow her the opportunity of wetting her feet at the Atlantic's edge.  She has developed quite the fascination with mermaids this year and thoroughly enjoyed pretending to be one.  At one point she even expressed to Allison and me that she often dreams of becoming a mermaid and watching her legs turn into a glittering fin.  Completely normal.  Right?  I think she may have watched too many mermaid movies.  Nonetheless, I'll pick her up belly down and hold her legs together while moving them up and down in a fin-like motion swimming her in the living room, down the hall and back again to shrieks of laughter and eager requests of "again Daddy, again".  And again.  And again.  And I do until my back hurts because one day I'm afraid I'll find myself wishing I had swam this little girl one more time mermaid-style around the house.

This summer marked the first time Madison swam in a pool (inflatable baby pools excluded).  Last year, she was too small and we weren't brave enough so this year we made sure pool time was a priority.  With floaties hugging her upper arms, I watched her jump in without fear and kick her legs when prompted.  I'm not sure if it was the comfort of my arm under her or the security of the tiny, inflatable life rafts around her arms or maybe in her mind she was a mermaid... in any case, she loved it.  Below is a picture of a night swimming session.  We're glowing because of an underwater light in front of us, not because I'm extremely pale.  I promise.  Okay, maybe I am a little pale.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know our floors were finally installed after the Great Hot Water Heater Explosion of 2013 (more on that here).  Good times.  There were birthday parties to attend, a transition from the crib to the toddler bed, and a trip to the aquarium where Madison threw her first tantrum (in public, of all places) and we saw a glimpse of those "terrible twos" everyone warned us about.  The lesson we learned?  Do not take a toddler into a gift shop.  Crisis averted!  You're welcome.  We grilled a lot and laughed a lot as our little girl started picking up more words and forming more sentences throughout the last couple of months.  Also, Madison started preschool last week.  I still can't believe that sentence is true (more on that experience soon). 


It seems just as quickly as it came, summer is on its way out again.  Summer loving, it happens so fast.


September 8, 2013

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