Distracted Driving Shatters Lives

I recently attended an event held at Consumer Reports Headquarters that was truly a wake up call for anyone who has been guilty of texting or talking on a handheld cell phone while driving. In a study released by Consumers Union and the Department of Transportation, it was revealed that over 30 percent of young people admit to texting and driving. Additionally, in 2009, over 5500 people lost their lives due to distracted driving and over 450,000 individuals were injured.
But even more eye opening than the statistics, are the real people whose lives were irrevocably shattered as a result of distracted driving. Department of Transportation secretary Ray LaHood introduced the DOT’s latest Public Service Announcement campaign that shares the stories behind those statistics. I happen to have been sitting next to one of the victims’ family members who was featured in a PSA. Miss 2010 South Dakota lost her 21 year old brother Kelson Vaillancort when the driver of the car he was in was texting, crossed over into the wrong lane and had a horrific collision with a truck.
Take a look…

The event also featured Jacy Good, who lost her parents and was seriously injured when their car was thrown into the pathway of an 18 wheeler due to a teen who was talking on his cell phone while racing through a red light. Jacy told her tragic story at the event and shared her life’s mission to now speak out against the dangers of distracted driving. Take a look at Jacy’s recent appearance on Oprah…

It was also interesting to learn that when the Department of Transportation provided a grant to the police departments two US cities – Syracuse and Hartford that cracked down on the use of mobile phones while driving, the incidents involving texting and driving decreased by 90 percent. Officer Shannon Price with the Syracuse police department shared this information with attendees and expressed the need for this effort to be taking place nationwide. Incidentally, currently 30 states across the country have laws in place banning texting and driving. One of the states which recently turned down this initiative was Florida. That piece of news truly scares me to death considering my family and I were recently vacationing in Florida and saw dozens of drivers texting and talking on their cell phones while they were on the highway or navigating through busy intersections.
Consumer Reports features a comprehensive article about distracted driving and teens in their April issue and also offers information on apps you can download on your phone to protect your family. Additionally, the Department of Transportation provides a downloadable brochure created in partnership with Consumer Reports that offers a 6 step action plan for parents and educators on how to prevent distracted driving. Transportation secretary Ray LaHood had the best advice – put your phone in the glove compartment. No phone call or text message is that important to cost you or someone else their life!
For more information, go to Distraction.Gov or www.ConsumerReports.org/distracted.
Coming up on May 11 (7-9 pm), please join us at the White Plains Library, located at 100 Martine Avenue, where we will feature the second in our X the TXT Allstate Foundation series dedicated to protecting teens and adults behind the wheel. Jacy Good and her fiance will be our featured speakers along with Sgt. Luis Muniz from the White Plains Police Department. To RSVP, please email us at beth@rolemommy.com.

How to Draw a Comic Strip

“Oh Brother!” Comic strip illustrator and writer Bob Weber, Jr. offers kids and parents step by step instructions on cartooning
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Bob Weber, Jr. draws pictures for a living. He draws the children’s comic, “Slylock Fox and Comics For Kids,” and he also writes the jokes for the daily strip, “Oh, Brother!”
Role Mommy asked Bob Weber, Jr. to share his advice and best practices with any budding cartoonists out there, and this is what he had to say:
“If you like to draw and aspire to be a professional cartoonist, all you need to get started is a pencil, paper, and the determined desire to draw every single day. The more you practice drawing, the better your cartoons will be. Many aspiring cartoonists spend a lot of time drawing faces. That’s fun, but you’ll need the ability to draw a wide range of things in order to effectively illustrate your jokes or stories in an interesting and convincing manner. Go to the library or bookstore to find cartooning lesson books. These books can be valuable resources for learning to draw faces, hands, motion, backgrounds and perspective. You might also want to consider taking a cartoon class in your area. 

Another terrific way to greatly improve your drawing skills is by studying the work of cartoonists that you admire. Allow yourself to be influenced by the styles and techniques of successful cartoonists. In most cases, the cartoonists you admire were themselves influenced by cartoonists that came before them. Don’t worry about your art looking too much like those you admire. Over time, as you continue to practice, your own unique drawing style will develop.

Finally, a cartoonist needs an idea before he or she draws. Being a good artist isn’t enough. You need to be somewhat smart, clever and witty. The more you know about the world around you, the more brain food you have to feed your imagination, and the more interesting your cartoons will be. Read as much as you can. Pay attention to the people and world around you. By observing the everyday activities that take place around you, you will soon find that you have plenty of ideas to draw from.
Now go find a pencil and draw, draw, draw!”
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For more great advice on cartooning, visit the “How to Draw” section on the “Oh Brother!” website. And don’t forget to enter your child into the “Oh Brother!” Is Your Kid a Character contest where one lucky child will get the chance to be featured in a nationally syndicated comic strip! All you need to do is fill out the form provided on this post, tell us a brief funny story about your child and he or she will be entered to win. A panel of humor and lifestyle bloggers will select the winners. Results will be revealed the week of March 21.
*This post is sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.

Ask Single Mom Walking

Dear Single Mom Walking:
My girlfriend wants me to tell her I love her all the time. I do love her. but I’m the type of guy who prefers to express my love through my actions. What should I do?
I’m a show her, not a tell her
Dear I’m a show her, not a tell her:
Well, that depends. What kind of “actions’ are you referring to exactly?
Does she wake up in the morning to a clean kitchen, a walked dog and say, a brand new wardrobe?
Or are we talking more along the lines of the joy of her opening her eyes to find you naked with a woody and a “willingness” to have sex with her?
I ask because there are men out there who say that making love to their girlfriend is their way of showing they love her which is fine, but there is a big difference between doing something that is a benefit to just her and doing something that would be a benefit to both of you or let’s face it, at times, only you.
I once had a boyfriend who had a very hard time telling me he loved me. Unfortunately for me, it turned out it was because he actually didn’t and was just in it for the benefits and I’m not talking along the lines of a pension plan.
Problem is, I’m not alone here on this one. Many women have encountered at least one guy in their life who felt that sex was the best way to express his love for her …as well as all the other women he was simultaneously dating, so you can understand why your girlfriend would prefer that you actually say the words and not just “show” them.
Not only that, but actions can often go a lot farther than words ever do. I once got into an argument with a boyfriend over something that he found trivial and yet I felt said a lot about how he felt about me. I can’t remember exactly what had happened, but suffice it to say, I was right and he was wrong, as usual.
Now that might sound a bit arrogant but trust me, it’s the truth and you’re more than free to find the man and ask him yourself. Unfortunately, last I heard, John is no longer with us. Apparently, he ended up becoming a Warlock and I’m not sure exactly what went down, but I do know it happened on Halloween and involved several bags of Hershey’s Kisses and a hit on the head from a very,very heavy plastic pumpkin.
But I digress.
The point is, John and I get into this argument and instead of just saying he was sorry and that he really did love me, he took me out to dinner that night and allowed me to spend the entire meal picking off his plate, which in my world was a greater indication of his love for me than if he’d actually told me so.
As always, the best idea is to compromise, meet somewhere in the middle. You make a point of actually saying the words “I love you” ideally before you’ve done something that makes her believe there is no way you could possibly mean it and she makes a point of understanding that when you do the things you do, you’re doing them out of love, not fear of what she will do to you if you don’t.
Single Mom Walking
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for jessica bern 724 (1)-thumb-200x300-2685 (1).jpgJessica Bern is a single mother to a 7yr old girl, a money sucking dog named Teddy and the ex wife of a man who left her for his mother. She writes at bernthis.com, where you she blogs all about it and where you can watch the Bernthis web series she created about a neurotic woman’s journey through her weekly visits to her therapist’s office. She also spends some of her time giving out sex/dating advice over at rolemommy.com and has worked her vlogging magic with aiminglow.com, Kodak and Seventh Generation.
For more from Jessica Bern, visit her blog, Bern This.