Showing posts from August, 2009

Thanks for 26 Years, LeVar

Yesterday, I heard the sad news that the 26-year-old PBS show Reading Rainbow is reaching its end due to lack of funding. It's the 3rd-longest running PBS show of all-time, next to Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers.
In my opinion, it is also LeVar Burton's greatest legacy. Sure, he wowed the world with his performance in Roots, and many people know him best as Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
But me? I'll always love Burton for his passion for getting millions of children excited about books. Reading Rainbow had nothing to do with sounding out letters of the alphabet or using phonics. His show wasn't about teaching children to read. (However, the shows that do are the ones still getting their funding.)
Reading Rainbow was about teaching children that reading is worth doing. That there is a magical world out there, waiting to be discovered. That reading is fun and exciting and valuable. Have a question? Find the answer in an book. You can be transported to …

Writing Journey: Part XXV

This one will be brief, because, yeah, not much time today. But I've skipped two weeks in a row. I owe a post for those who have been patient with me.

So I knew that there was no way on this planet that the grammar book would be at the conference, even though I had slaved over it at an insane pace, my husband had worked on the techie side for me, my graphic designer had practically put her life on hold to get the cover perfect, and we'd otherwise tried to move the sun and the moon to make this happen.
Nada. It wouldn't be happening. At least not on the timetable we wanted.
But that was okay . . . I could advertise it at the conference, right?
Beforehand, we fixed the minor issues with the cover and interior files, uploaded them again and waited the 24-48 hours for approval. This time they were approved. Phew.
Next step: the hard proof had to be ordered and shipped. When it was approved by me (the quickest that could happen would be in about a week), I could then authorize th…

WNW: Messing with Your Head

Last week I threw a linguist mind bender out. Some of you already knew it (good for you!), and others had never heard of it.

Before I write it out again, let's set up what we're dealing with.
Have you ever tried learning a foreign language, thought you have a pretty good handle on it, and then actually hear a native speak to you and go . . . whoa! Suddenly, you can't understand a word.
One reason is often because the native is speaking fast. Another is that they're using colloquial terms that you didn't learn in language class.
This is a classic issue with learning Finnish. NO ONE speaks the "real" language; Finns are constantly hacking off and mixing up endings and throwing together stuff, so missionaries' heads are spinning.
I remember a hand-clapping game with my friends that we'd do in a specific pattern, and we'd count to see how far we could get. After about twenty, I'd let them do the counting aloud and forget trying to keep up, becaus…

Stupid Google Alerts

Admit it. You've Googled yourself, haven't you?
But you don't have to anymore. You may have heard of the nifty Google Alert tool, which searches for any phrase you tell it to once a day, and then Google e-mails you the results.
Kinda nifty.

For a writer, Google Alerts are really convenient. For example, you can set up an alert on your book title so you'll be notified of book reviews you might not have found otherwise on a blog or news site you didn't even know existed.
I have a friend with a relatively small blog who wrote about her experience with a particular book, and within a day, the author had commented on her post.
How do you think the author even found her blog? It had to be with a Google Alert.
Awesome and convenient, no?
Definitely. Especially if your book has a title like many of my friends' books. Say, When Hearts Conjoin, or The Mazerunner, or Farworld or All the Stars in Heavenor Abinadi.
For my friends and their books, if Google finds their titles some…


This is typically my Writing Journey day. I missed it last week, and I'm missing it again. Those posts take me a good chunk of time to write out, and I didn't have that time last week.
Technically, I do have that time today. But I won't be using it for that. In a few minutes, I'm leaving the house for something else.
Many, many years ago, during the baby era, I was visiting teaching a dear woman named Mindy who had exited her own baby years not long before. I was bemoaning how difficult it was for me to ever get to the temple. I lived about half an hour away at the time, and the temple I attended was so busy that it was not at all uncommon to wait in the chapel an hour and a half for a two-hour session.
When you have a nursing baby who refuses a bottle, being away for four or more hours is really not much of an option--or if you attempt it, the session is nerve-wracking and hardly the peaceful, spiritual experience it should be, because you know that back at home, your b…

WNW: Answers and Winners

First, the answers to the quiz, because I just KNOW you're dying to find out, right? Right?
**crickets chirping**
I'm telling you anyway. :)
1. Which of the following languages have I NOT studied? a) German b) French c) American Sign Language d) Finnish e) Russian
Answer: GERMAN
I took a year of French in 4th grade and another in 8th. ASL was my language in college, and I got pretty darn good at it, to the point that I almost entered the interpreting program (but got sidetracked by that marriage thing). I obviously studied Finnish while living in the country, and I took two years of Russian in high school.
2. In what grade did I take my first language class? a) 2nd b) 4th c) 6th d) 8th
Answer: 4th
Sort of answered that already, huh? :)
My elementary school started up a new language program then with 30-minute language classes before regular school hours. My sister and I signed up with French. She was in 2nd grade, and I was in 4th.
3) What was the first language I studied? a) German b) French c) A…

Reminder: Win a Book!

Today is the last day to make your guesses on my WNW quiz for a chance to win a book.
UPDATE: I've decided to have TWO winners instead of just one!
1) The person with the most correct answers
2) One randomly drawn name.
So it's worth taking a shot at the questions even if you have no clue what the answers are.
Rule reminders: Answers are accepted through today only, Tuesday, August 18. Either leave your answers in the comments or e-mail them to me: annette at annettelyon dot comBoth winners will be posted tomorrow, Wednesday, August 19th.
Up for me today: an early-morning soccer practice, final school shopping (yes, I still have some to finish up, if you can believe it--cutting it very close), a grocery store trip, an orthodontist appointment, two school open houses, a soccer game, and two possible youth activities, one hinging on whether we make it to the soccer game and find the field in some obscure park in another city.
If my family eats, has clean dishes to eat off of or clo…

Yeah, Their Mom Is a Writer

One of the best parts about being a mom and a writer is watching how it affects my kids--because it really, really does.
This isn't about how sometimes the young 'uns have to forage in the pantry for food because I'm at the computer or how at least once a year I'm gone for a couple of days at a conference, although both happen.
I'm not sure how it came about, whether from watching my critique group when we meet here, from sheer osmosis, genetics, or what, but each of them has learned about writing, and all four of them are great writers for their age.
It's not uncommon to hear my son roll his eyes at a television show and say, "This is so predictable. Let me tell you how it'll end." He does, and he's right. He's figured out how the writers (especially of kid shows) think. He can spot a setup a mile away.
Recently my next two oldest (both girls) had their faces buried in notebooks as they scribbled away on their own stories. They came up for …

WNW: A Quiz and a Giveaway

After last week's post and excitement over Grimm's Law, I promise to get back to it . . . just as soon as the kids are back in school .
(That means I'll need to consult my university notes and talk to Dad to refresh a few things in my mind and such, which means I'll need some time and likely several posts to do it justice. Time. I don't really have that right now.)
Anyhoo, in the meantime, I sort of blew past my third bloggy anniversary in July.
Um, yeah. Whoops.
I meant to do something really cool for my three-year mark. Something really neat and amazing, like a huge giveaway with a big sponsor or . . . I don't know, something. And then I posted something else on the actual anniversary and realized it a week later that it was over and . . . well, yeah..
So. . . let's all pretend that we're celebrating three years of The Lyon's Tale with a Word Nerd quiz . . . about me! (Because I'm going to be vain and pretend you all care.) Some questions you'…

Miserable Middle School

Alternate title: My Guest Post Over at Lara's.
Lara at Overstuffed in the process of moving from Cedar City to Michigan (talk about a climate change!), and asked for a few friends to guest post while she's internetless, specifically about moves or big changes in their own lives.
First off, I was seriously flattered to be asked. Wow. Me? Cool! I tried not to be scared, because she's got quite a following.
And then I got to thinking about the topic, and a particular experience stood out for me. One of the biggest and hardest changes of my life was coming back from Finland after the three years my family had lived there. You'd think that coming HOME would have been easy, no? Well, not quite. I was thirteen, for starters.
I can't remember how I found Lara's blog, but it was part of my search for awesome LDS women bloggers, and when I clicked over to her blog the first time, I loved it on first sight. She was immediately added to my Google Reader and has stayed there. T…

Dinner Discussion and Ratings

When the young 'uns were tiny, having dinner table conversation didn't really happen. I often felt like the mom in The Christmas Story who never got a warm bite to eat because she was constantly helping all the little people with their dinner.
And let's face it: infants and toddlers really don't have much to discuss.
Now that the kids are older, things are a-changin', and dinner table discussion is one of them. I'm enjoying it. One of the more interesting discussions to crop up of late: movie and video game ratings.
It started because one of my daughters had been planning her birthday party for about, oh, two months. (I had to hold her back from delivering the invitations two weeks early. She'd been that obsessed.) Part of the event included a video. Originally she wanted something "scary," which in her vocabulary meant Hitchcock (I'm so proud).
But then she realized that not all her 10-year-old friends would appreciate Hitchcock. (Wise girl.) S…