Monday, February 25, 2008

ABC news is following my lead . . .

Okay, if any of you caught the 5:30 news tonight -- you know the one time slot where all the pharmaceutical companies advertise? Don't understand? See my previous post on Why? Why? Why? -- then you heard about the frightening epidemic of adult illiteracy.

According to ABC sources, 7 million Americans are considered functionally illiterate and 30 million Americans CANNOT read a simple sentence.

Here in America, we're supposed to be 'not-one-of-the-third-world countries, and yet 30 million of our fellow country men and women can't read well enough to fill out a job application, a medical consent form, can't research any subject on the Internet or at their public library, can't vote . . . some can't even read health warnings on any labels.

How scary!
How heart-rending!

I so glad that Romance Writers of America supports adult literacy and that each year at the national convention a massive book-signing (often with over 400 authors in attendence) is held with all the proceeds benefiting literacy.

Is there something more that can be done?

Go to ABC News for a list of national options regarding illiteracy. Also, if you're a parent, click on Reading Is Fundamental for great tips in motivating children to read.

There are lots of reason why people can't or don't read. Sometimes, they require the assistance of a specialist to overcome learning challenges. Sometimes, it takes motivated volunteers. If you want to assist on a local level, try your nearest library for any programs they might have in place.

What else can you do?

READ!

Join my reading challenge. One book per week for 2008. Busy isn't an excuse -- it's a cop-out.

Read on!


Until next time
~Sandra

Friday, February 22, 2008

Why? Why? Why?

Okay, I'd love to take credit for these, but I am an honest writer. This is one of those multiple emails forwarded to me that I actually found 'funny'. Why? Because these bits of wisdom are what make us so human.


Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting dead?

Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough money?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word "lisp"?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, "It's all right?" Well, it isn't all right, so why don't we say, "That really hurt, why don't you watch where you're going?"

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter, why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

The statistics on sanity is that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.


Okay, here are a couple from me . . .
Is everyone who watches the national news (5:30 CST time frame) sick with something? Watch the commercials -- Pharmaceutical companies love this slot.

How can every car dealership promise to beat any and all deals? Who's making money if they're all beating each other's deals? Or how ridiculously far where they delving into consumer's pockets before they started beating each other's deal?

Why is the first thing we say when someone stumps their toe, skins their knees, or trips and falls, "Are you all right?" Duh! If they were all right, they wouldn't be on the floor with carved up knees and bum toes.

Why do the boxes say 'some assembly required'? If the newly purchased item is in pieces, it's 'full assembly required'.

Why are flashlight batteries ALWAYS dead when the lights go out?

Why do smoke alarm batteries ALWAYS go out during the middle of the night?

Why do two-year-olds get sick (run fever, throw up) in the middle of the night?

Why is it even called 'customer service'?


Feel free to add your own.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Keeping up with the reading challenge

Here's what I'm reading this week.


One of my critique partners *Shannon Canard* is published in this collection of short stories. So, it's definitely been on my 'TBR' (to be read) list.

BTW Shannon, I read your story first. My only problem . . . I want more than the little tidbit from the short story. Can I have a full length, please?

In addition to this book being a great read, the proceeds go to benefit Women's Shelters. Great romance reading and for a great cause -- how cool is that?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Reading Challenge


I didn’t set out to be cutting-edge, but it’s nice to know The Reader’s Digest and I agree on something basic.

People aren’t reading anymore. Not nearly enough according to RD’s information. According to a short snippet in The Reader’s Digest, February 2008, A National Endowment for the Arts study found that Americans are reading less and less for pleasure.

Why?

Are we working more? More than our forefathers (and especially foremothers) who toiled from sunup to sundown in order to work farms, dairies, ranches?

Less educated? Not likely. During the 1910s only 15% of those between the ages of 14 and 17 even attended high school. Today, every state has a mandatory stipulation that students under the age of 17 must attend school. According to The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems – who publicizes graduation rates for the past 14 or so years – US high schools graduate somewhere between 67% to 71% (National average) of their students.

So what are we doing if not reading?

My guess is that we fill our time with other things. Stuff and such, as my kids always called it. During a recent writer’s meeting, I overheard two writers discussing how little they’d actually read since the beginning of the year. I happen to belong to the romance genre, so generally we love our happy endings and are more than willing to delve into another great novel. However as writers, we must schedule time for writing, self-promotion, blogging, publicity, research, book-keeping, and then there’s the whole family scene. So, overall, even though we are writers who want to read, who need to read in order to keep sharpening our writing skills . . . we aren’t.

Here’s my challenge (I didn’t really intend it to be a New Year’s Resolution – normally I’m a dismal failure at those – but everything over the past several weeks has catapulted me in this direction.)

Read one new book per week. Okay, they don’t need to be an epic read, novellas are fine.

Why?

In 52 weeks (sorry, no vacation from this challenge since the best time to read is on vacation) you will have exposed yourself to 52 new brilliant or not-so-brilliant works of literature. You will have expanded your mind – taken 52 new adventures/journeys/or quests. You’ll have read multiple new authors, enjoyed happy endings and sad ones, loved characters and hated them, agreed with plot lines and chances are you’ll have totally wanted to rewrite a book or two from the mix.
To kick off the challenge, here’s my group since the first of the year. Keep up with me and feel free to share yours. Psst! My complete list will be on the bottom of the left-hand column. Check back and see what I've recently read.


I’d never want to live in a world where I’ve learned everything, read it all, or cease to experience the world of literature.
I challenge you to pick up a book, then another, then another. Simply read!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Blog Toplist

I've joined a new blog community.

It's a great place for bloggers (of like minds and not so like) to find each other.

You can get there through this BlogTopList:


Entertainment



Or you can vote for my blog if you think it has useful or just fun stuff through this button.

Top Blogs



BTW: There's no tracking device set on this . . . at least not to you computer, only mine. You won't end up with SPAMs or extraneous emails (I READ all the fine print before signing up).
Blog Top List really is simply a spot to find other bloggers who enjoy the things that you do, or to look for new blogging buddies.

HOWEVER, if you don't feel comfortable clicking over, then don't. But do come back and visit me and leave comments. It's always nice to know that I've had visitors.

Happy Writing,
Sandra

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sparkling This!

Looking for me?

Try over at Sparkle This!

I've started a time-travel story. Lots of fun.

Happy reading.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

More mom musings




After parenting for almost two decades, I’ve washed/dried/folded more loads of laundry than I care to remember; survived a tantrum or two; mended broken arms, bumped heads, and battered hearts; enjoyed a passel of got-to-squeeze-you-so-tight hugs, sloppy good-night kisses, and ‘Mom, you’re the best’ declarations. After culling through mounds of brought-into-the-house dirt, banging against the rock-hard determination of my kids, and traversing the shifting sands of children’s needs, I’ve managed to mine a few tidbits of gold.

Enjoy, and may they add a little extra wisdom to your parenting arsenal.

Don’t skimp. Buy the ‘64’ pack of crayons for school. Oh, and get one for home, too. There is no such thing as too-many crayons.

Don’t believe marketing labels – pencils boxes (or pouches), backpacks, and lunchboxes have a limited lifespan. Rule of thumb – the younger the child, the shorter that span.

Do expect your daughters to raid your closet, especially for school ‘old-fashion’ or ‘dress-up’ day.

Do buy cool lunch snacks.

Do buy good fluffy pillows – they really do sleep better.

Do supply your child with a reading ‘book’ light. Even a spare flashlight will encourage reading in a child.

Do let kids build an indoor tent no matter how many sheets and blankets you need to refold.

Back to don’t believe marketing labels. Washable markers – aren’t.

Do buy stain stick in the JUMBO size.

One more time for marketing labels: Don’t believe those expensive athletics shoes will survive ‘inexpensive’ mud puddles.

Care to share? Add yours in the comments section.

Texas sayings

~Watch your step! Cacti, tumbleweeds, and an occasional armadillo might be ahead.

~Welcome to the land of tar-bubbling summers, gas-guzzling pickup trucks, standard Stetson headgear, and mile-high hair.

~Welcome to the Lone Star State, and Romance With A Texas Twist!

Quote of the Day