Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Holidays!

This seems to have been about the perfect year for us for Christmas. Now that those darned 4 digit daycare bills are gone we were able to splurge a little for the holidays. Santa finally delivered the Big Barbie dollhouse that Abby had been asking for for the last couple of years. Abby for her part was really into GIVING for a change. We got gifts for former preschool classmates (Toby, Kaylee, and Rory) and we delivered cards to all the teachers at Hampshire Franklin. We did SMALL gifts for about 20 teachers and staff at her current school I think. All of those teachers aides and stuff really add up. There were probably 6 just with the after-school program. We also donated a bag of stuff to the Salvation Army. Actually did a couple of trips to them over the last few months. A really fun part was making a card for the staff at the Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurant in Keene, NH. We delivered that on Christmas Eve day and they were really happy with us. They gave us our lunch for free and put the card up on the tree, and took pictures and everything. That was fun!

We continued our Hanukkah celebrations this year by lighting the menorah every night. After we lit the candles Abby would do a dance and then she would fold her hands and bow toward it. It was very respectful and fun to watch.

We did not go to any religious services or set up a nativity scene this year. Abby was tired from all the shopping and wrapping and everything we did and didn't want to go to church. I am not sure where our nativity set went. I think it got mixed in with the regular toys and is in the mix somewhere. Oh well.

We still have one or two more celebrations before we put away the Christmas tree. We've all had a cold, and I'm sitting in bed as I write this because I was too sick to go to work today. So things could have been better, but the SPIRIT of the holidays was definitely with us this year. I am grateful for that.

Happy Holidays! I hope that 2012 is a good year for all.
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A quick Grateful list

I posted this on my blog on 

I am not one to post about gratitude every day. I have it, I just don't post it. This morning though I thought I would share with you, in the spirit of the holidays and all.

1. I am grateful that I can afford to send out xmas cards to my friends and family. I know that not everyone can do this. Stamps and cards are expensive and it is outside of many people's budgets to send them.

2. I am grateful that we can afford to have a SHELF full of cereal at our house, okay 1/2 a shelf now but a few weeks ago we bought stuff on sale and we had SEVERAL boxes of the stuff. We still do have quite a bit. 20 years ago I was lucky if I had a single box for myself. Now my daughter has 3 or 4 boxes to choose from in addition to frozen waffles, eggs, and pancakes. I know she will have a healthy breakfast.

3. I am grateful that I have health insurance and that I can afford the copays to see my doctor when I am sick. I have been going back and forth for a few months now trying to get my asthma/breathing situation under control. I know that not everyone could do that. Many people would just "live with it" as long as they could.

4. I am grateful that God, or a higher power, or whatever forces in the universe there are..whatever you want to believe there.... brought my husband together in 2002.

5. I am grateful that my husband was accepting of who I am, faults and all. I am also grateful for his family being accepting too. I am not a saint. I had a life before him and it wasn't all roses.

6. I am grateful to have a full-time job, with flexible working hours and paid time off.

7. I am grateful for the internet. ;-)

8. I am grateful to see my daycare bill this month and see that it is only 3 digits  instead of 4. It wasn't so long ago (July) that it was 4.

9. I am grateful that both of my parents are still alive.

10. I am grateful to have found my long-lost foster sister on Facebook this year. That is probably one of the best things to happen to me in a long time.

11. I am grateful for my daughter.

12. I am grateful to be the kind of mom that will sit down on a dirty kitchen floor and do an art project with my daughter until we run out of paint!

13. I am grateful that my ears work so that I can hear things like "Mommy, I know we have the prettiest Christmas tree in the whole world! No one could possibly have a tree as nice as ours."

14. I am grateful for my Spark friends.

15. I will add... I am grateful for my readers here, whoever you may be. I hope you all have happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Message from UMass Amherst Chancellor regarding child abuse

To Faculty and Staff:

In light of recent news events, it is important to remember that, under 
Massachusetts law, if you have “reasonable cause to believe” that a 
child has been abused physically or emotionally by a fellow employee, 
you should report that abuse immediately to the Commonwealth’s 
Department of Children and Families. You should also report suspected 
abuse to your supervisor. Furthermore, those who report suspected abuse 
cannot be held criminally or civilly liable if the suspected acts turn 
out to be unfounded, so long as the report was made in good faith.

The Department of Children and Families Hotline is (800) 792-5200.

UMass regularly hosts minors for various events including band 
concerts, athletic competitions, scouting programs and campus tours. 
While there is no evidence to suspect that what is alleged to have 
occurred at Penn State would happen here, it is important that we all 
understand our responsibilities under the law.


Robert C. Holub

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

and it's done

Yesterday was November 8th. Band Back Together published my post, and a few people responded. Not tons or anything but a few. Now that it's done I'm left sitting on the fence. I've been watching the site, lurking, and responding for a few months now. I'm not sure if I want to send them another piece and go through the process again or if I want to pursue other places, or if I just don't want to write more about my history etc.. so for today I am sitting on the fence. I think if the response had been stronger I would feel inclined to write more but as it is right now I'm not sure.

It's very easy to be silent. It's much harder to speak out.. hm... there is something, isn't there?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

update on my writing

I wrote that post here, there, and everywhere. Then I submitted it to a group blog called "Band Back Together" ( has a lot of mental health, recovery, and other survivor type stuff on it. They accept submissions but then they edit them and choose when to publish them. So I submitted, and then waited..and then I saw that it was being reviewed and edited... and now I have a date. It will be published on November 8th. The editor emailed me with the news and after some back and forth she said I was a "good writer" and that she didn't have to edit much. Really what she did is add some formatting for emphasis, like adding italics and things like that. She said she could have put it up for publication sooner but it was so good that she wanted to put it in a PRIME TIME. Oh.... :-)

She got me in the ego. Yup! Loved hearing that. So that was really nice.

The scales have been smiling for the last couple of weeks too. I dropped a couple of pounds, and a co-worker complimented me on my weight loss and my new jeans. Sweet!!

Feeling good about yourself is not a crime, just in case you ACOAs need a reminder. I am not a selfish person for feeling good about my accomplishments. I have worked for a long time, and I have worked hard to lose weight and to be a good writer. I did not do these things overnight. They have taken effort.

Now I am taking a couple of more steps.

First of all I have slowly been building a following on Twitter. I am not in a hurry to build myself but I am determined to do it. Twitter is helping me to find my voice. It is helping me to figure out what is important to me and figure out what my opinions are. Like many ACOAs I have not really felt like I had a voice most of my life. Twitter is really helping me to define myself. There is a site called Klout,, which identifies how much influence you have, and what topics you seem to know about. I find this very helpful too.

Second, I am joining NaNoWriMo which is just insane. NaNoWriMo is the idea of National Novel Writing Month... somehow I am supposed to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Yeah, right. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 21, 2011

apologies to Amy Tan

Well I started reading Amy Tan's book "Twist of Fate" a week or two ago and then I set it down. All week I've dodged reading that book and to me that tells me something.. Even though it's probably a good book I guess I'm not into it. So I am going to set it down for a while. I realized that I had originally checked it out from the local library but I wasn't reading it fast enough. I returned it to and checked it out from the university library instead. The university library lets me keep things longer. So I am setting it aside for now, and I will do some other reading and come back to Ms. Tan's book in a few weeks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Route 66 Adventure Handbook" by Drew Knowles

A co-worker was reading a different book about Route 66 and that gave me the idea to check out a book about Route 66 from the local library. I ended up with "Route 66 Adventure Handbook" by Drew Knowles. I have to tell you I did not finish the book. The author talks so much about how hard it is to FIND The original Route 66 because of the way things have changed that it pretty much made me give up on the idea. He kind of killed the magic for me. Instead of feeling inspired, I feel defeated. I might pick up another book on the subject right now, but for the moment I think I'll read other road stories or plan my own fantasy vacations etc. This book was a waste of my time. Sorry folks. I don't recommend it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

reposting this everywhere

 I thought it would be a good time to post some of my ACOA history. It's Mental Health Awareness Week too, so there's another reason.

My mother is an alcoholic. I can say that now. When I was growing up it wasn't allowed. She's been married and divorced 3 times and has been "single" now for many, many years although she almost always has a boyfriend around somewhere. She can't stand to be "alone".

When I was growing up she was married to my step-father (now ex-step-father) for a few years. During that time they tried to have kids but my mom kept having miscarriages. So they decided to do foster care. We got a 4 year old girl and a 6 year old boy. My parents still wanted a baby though so when I was 9 years old (3 years later) they got a 3-month old baby boy who they eventually adopted.

The foster kids stayed with us for 4 years. During that time my mother abused the girl. When the social workers finally caught on to the abuse the kids were pulled out of our home immediately. I pretty much never saw them again.

Flash forward 30 years. Last week I found their names on Facebook. They were connected to a friend of a friend.. the girl has changed her name thanks to adoption and marriage. The boy has also changed his name because of adoption. However after figuring out what I could I solved the puzzle.

So after 30 years we are getting the chance to catch up. My mother is in Florida and I haven't told her. I might soon, but so far I haven't. My adopted brother is 31 years old now, and still in touch with my mother and my step-father. He doesn't remember the foster kids at all I think since he was only an infant when it all happened. He's 9 years younger than me so he had a different experience with this all.

Still I think what is amazing is that I think the girl thought she was the only one to be abused, and while I knew that my mother hit her once I did not know much of the other stuff. The words that come into my head are "You are not alone." I think we both thought we were alone on this, and turns out we weren't.

Many ACOAs feel they are alone. I know as a kid I wanted nothing to do with group therapy because I didn't honestly believe that anyone else had a crazy mother like I do. I know better now, and sadly I have heard stories far worse than ours as the years have gone by. Still.. it's a good thing. Very traumatic, but a good thing.

I've done a lot of writing in the past week, and this is more of it. I think writing it down helps make it real, and helps me process what can best be described as "grief".

Thanks for reading my story.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Cherry" by Mary Karr

I picked this book up at the library kind of at random. I was looking for an autobiography to read, and the book cover drew me in. So I picked up "Cherry" by Mary Karr. This seems to be the second of three memoirs by this author and deals with the author's teenaged years. I'm sorry to say but I'm putting this book down before getting to the end. I realize that Mary is not from my generation or whatever, but I'm 30 pages in to the book and I have other books waiting to be read now. This book is going back sooner rather than later.

If you check Amazon you get a mix of reviews on this one. Many say that her first book "Liars Club" was better, but it dealt more with her parents and with her younger years. I don't really care. I'm just going to say I'm moving on to something else. Sorry folks.

I found my foster sister and we are both survivors

I submitted this to "Band Back Together" which is a group blog. They have the right to edit it, etc.. so if/when they finally publish my piece it may be altered from the way I originally wrote it. I'm not thrilled with that idea, but I thought it was good to get my story out there, and their format seems like a good place to do it. More people read BBT than read this little thing I think.  When they do post it, I will put up a link etc..

In the meantime, here's the raw piece--

Something for Band Back Together

I am a married, mother-of-a-5 year old, full-time employed, forty year old woman. Life is good now but it hasn’t always been that way. At the risk of being labeled with “multiple personality disorder” I have 3 blogs all under different names. I’m also on several social networking sites. I guess you could say I like to write.

I am also an Adult Child Of an Alcoholic (ACOA). I went to my first Al-Anon meeting when I was 18 years old, a freshman in college, and my mother finally left a physical mark on me. I didn’t start going to meetings regularly until my mother was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and I thought she was going to die. She didn’t die, but I learned to detach. I learned to live. I have stopped going to meetings now but I still use the coping skills I learned. I have lived in the F.O.G. that is Fear, Obligation, and Guilt all my life. Although I feel like I have moved on I will never truly be free.

This was brought home to me last week.

Last week I was surfing Facebook.  A friend’s list had a name I knew. That list had another... and within a few clicks I had found not only the name of a former high school classmate but also the name of her biological sister. Her biological sister had been MY foster sister for four years. Her half-brother had been my half-brother too during those years. I couldn’t believe what I had stumbled upon, and I wasn’t really sure it was 100% true. Names change over time, and the world of Facebook is a pretty big place. Nonetheless I sent out the messages and friend requests.

My former foster sister responded very quickly. She was glad to hear from me. Then before I knew it we were talking about old memories. My mother beat this girl. My mother abused her repeatedly. For four years my mother beat this girl who was 4 years old when she came to live with us. When she was 8 years old my mother finally left a mark that someone at school could see. Then the social workers came, and then she was gone. I saw her once a year later but I couldn’t talk to her, and then I never saw her again. I was 10 when she left my home. I’m 40 now.

For three days I cried after finding this woman on Facebook. It was not a reaction I expected. I thought I was relapsing into PTSD and I was pretty scared. I know now that I am pulling out of it. I will be okay. However in the past week we have messaged back and forth about the past and the present getting caught up. My mother is a monster. I had to let this woman know the guilt I carried with me. I had to tell her that she was not alone. My mother has abused many. My foster sister, and her brother were lucky to get out. The baby who my mother and step-father were in the process of adopting was not so lucky. In spite of the child abuse charges the adoption still went through. My adopted brother is 31 years old now. He was likely abused too and he has suffered his own demons that I can only guess at. I am 40 now. I have to keep telling myself that.  I am still in contact with that monster who gave birth to me. I am the only biological child and I was always treated as the oldest.  I am grateful that many miles separate us now, and that I have a supportive network, and the tools I learned from Al-Anon to support me.

Re-experiencing the past was a shocker though. Hearing my sister’s stories, learning about some of the abuse that I didn’t know about  was hard. Reliving my own memories is scary.

I went to the doctor’s office on Friday because my asthma is bothering me. They were “updating their forms” they said. There was a question on the forms “have you ever been abused?” Well for the past 8 years I have lied about that question because it was in my past. On Friday though I had to speak my truth, and in the examining room with my doctor, I broke down and cried.

My foster sister said she learned to never be quiet, never expect not to be believed. Always stand up for yourself, and always speak your truth. She is right. I will not defend my mother. I don’t think I ever have. Staying quiet is not the answer though. We need to speak our truth, and when we share it with each other we find out that we are not alone.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mixing state and religion.. gay rights and protecting kids

I read this today--

The copyright says I can't reprint what the article says so you will have to go to the link. What it comes down to is this: The state of Illinois has a Department of Social Services which has been contracting with Catholic Charities for about 40 years to find foster homes and adoptive homes for children. The state wants to end that contract, and Catholic Charities is trying to say that they can't end it. That somehow they are obligated to continue doing it because they have been doing it for so long.

The gay rights people don't like Catholic Charities because the Catholics don't support gay rights. So for the gay rights people this is a victory.

Lots of religious based charities do good work. Salvation Army is another big one. If I stopped to think about the religious beliefs of the Salvation Army I would probably never donate another used toy or pair of jeans to them. However I cannot argue with their success. They do a lot of community service, community outreach, a lot of good stuff. Catholic Charities does a lot too. I know that both organizations run homeless shelters and feed the poor.

Kids need good homes. We have a real shortage in this country, and around the world of homes for children. Homes where abuse does not take place. Homes where there is enough food to feed everyone who lives. Homes where there are heat, running water, and electricity. Homes where no one is passed out or doing illegal drugs. Home where kids have access to health care. Home where kids have access to an education. Homes where kids don't have to worry about being beaten or sexually abused. We have a huge shortage of homes for children. It is a sad but true fact in this country, and around the world. If you are a parent of schoolaged children then you probably even know some of these kids. Kids who are living without enough to eat, kids who go home to abuse, kids who live in homeless shelters with their families... these are the facts.

It is great that Catholic Charities wants to help these kids. However this work needs to be done by the state, or by a non-religious organization. It isn't fair to anyone to have religion play a part in who gets to take care of these children. This is not a job to be "outsourced" or contracted out to a particular religion. This needs to be done by secular society. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered parents are all capable of being good parents and providing loving homes. They should not be left out of the pool. Let them be parents, let them help. Let them be foster parents and adoptive parents if they want to.

Maybe an obvious post about Facebook and Google etc

I'm sure someone has said this better than I will, but here's my little rambling of the moment...

Back before the internet was invented, before 1990, we connected via bbses and modems. We connected from our computers to another computer pretty directly. When we connected to the site it was pretty obvious what we were connected to, who was in control, and what our limitations were.

Then in 1990 the World Wide Web was invented and we started to connect with things like AOL, CompuServe, the Spa (which was a bbs but then evolved), EarthLink, and others. When we connected this way it was still pretty obvious when we made our connections who was in control, where our email was stored, and where our "home zone" was most of the time. Even back around 2000 (give or take a year or two or so) AOL tried to be everything it could be. When I had an AOL account I sometimes did all of my searching and surfing through AOL. AOL could easily track my activities and that kind of seemed obvious.

Now... things have been changing a lot during the last 20 years... we have Yahoo and Gmail. These are not something that we connect to. We connect in other ways. I use Wildblue. A lot of other folks use Verizon or Comcast, or they use smartphones. (I haven't gotten as far as smartphones yet since we don't have cell phone service at our house). With Wildblue we don't even see the connection. It's invisible. We are immediately shot out into the internet universe. We can go where we want to go, see what we want to see, and who is in control? I don't know.

With this new invisibility comes... Facebook and Google and others... it's like a light switch went on and they realized "no one is in control anymore...." and they want to be in control. Facebook wants to be the "new internet". Google is trying to compete sort of, only Google is really trying to do it all. Google wants to be your search engine, your blog host, your email, offers you word processing and publishing, storage, and now social networking with Google +... etc, etc...  I just saw something this morning about "Google sites" which looks to me like "creating a page" on Facebook for a group or special event or something...  To be clear Google has gone way beyond Facebook on many fronts. Facebook has been a social network traditionally and now they seem to want to branch out. Google has been everything but a social network and is now trying to be that too. It's just crazy.

It seems like we're coming around full circle though. We're not quite there yet, but it seems to be moving in that direction. We used to know clearly where we were, who had access to what we were doing, and who was in control behind the scenes. We lost sight of that for a while, but now I think it's coming back into focus. Only now people are not sure they want it. It will be interesting to see where the future goes.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Something I never learned about in history class

In current media there are a lot of reports about the Catholic church and how priests and bishops and others have abused boys. The allegations of child abuse, rape, and other horrible things seems to be in the news somewhere weekly, if not daily. It's not on the front pages anymore but it's there.

Well here's something I hadn't heard about until today... the NUNS. I have known for a long time that unwed mothers used to be "sent away" to have their children and they would come back some months later or something. Never really too clear on how that really worked out, but I got it that maybe they went to another town and started their lives over or something. Today I ran across a dvd put out by "The Cinema Guild" that shows a piece of history that I'd never learned...

From the dvd "Sex in a Cold Climate":
"This historical documentary is a deeply disturbing portrait of Magdalene Asylums run by Catholic nuns in Ireland. For over a hundred years girls and young women were sent to live and work in the Magdalene Asylums’ Laundries after they’d had sexual or ‘sinful’ contact with men. Of the 30,000 women who were imprisoned in them, many never got out. The last one didn’t close until 1996. The video features interviews with several women detained in Magdalene Asylums between the 1940s and the 1960s. The purpose of the Asylums—named after the repentant biblical prostitute Mary Magdalene—was to correct the supposed sexual deviance of young women. Getting pregnant out of wedlock and having an illegitimate baby, like Christina Mulcahy, made you an obvious candidate. But the criteria of deviance was so vague and wide ranging that some Magdalenes didn’t know why they had been put away. Phyllis Valentine was sent there because she was considered “too pretty” and therefore a moral danger to herself and others. Martha Cooney was put away after she complained that a cousin had sexually molested her. The Asylums were often run by abusive and even sadistic nuns. All the women featured eventually escaped, but the emotional and physical strain these Magdalenes had to endure led to damaged lives.
Directed by Steve Humphries
1998, color and B&W, 50 mins.

* Silver Hugo
* Chicago International Film Festival

“What a pleasure,in the current surge of docu-soaps and their more stylish but similarly one-dimensional cousins,to see a study with some historical perspective.” — Time Out London
“...a breathtaking documentary.” — The Sunday Times
“...the most revealing work to date on Ireland ’s so-called fallen women.” — The Irish Examiner"

That is right off of Cinema Guild's website-

I had no idea... and this was happening until  1996!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

More on the transitions

"She laughs so she won't cry"... I have been going through the motions for the last couple of weeks getting my daughter started at kindergarten, changing my work schedule, and seeing my husband less and less. My daughter misses me. She won't eat during the day and when I come to pick her up after school she is a wreck. She yells at me, cries, and nothing I can do is right. Meanwhile I rarely see my husband anymore. I guess this is how MOST marriages are normally. This is what "NORMAL" is. I'm just not used to it. 

We used to carpool so I would see him in the mornings, then we would drop daughter off at preschool and I'd have him to myself for a few minutes while we rode to work. I'd see him again for the ride back to pick him up and the three of us would go home together. That's not happening anymore. There are days when I wake him up at 6am and then I don't see him again until 12 hours later. 

Yesterday I stopped by his office to bring him breakfast but he hadn't come in yet because he stopped to get his own somewhere. So I tried and failed. I'm tired. I'm supposed to be enjoying the new "me" time but I'm lonely. 

Instead of feeling sorry for myself I am trying to exercise more, eat better, focus on myself somehow. I want to do some writing but I'm scared to do it because I just feel like I have so much bottled up right now... ugh. I know we will get through this. I'm just tired of it all right now. 

I got some new clothes, I ordered an exercise dvd, I am talking to my husband as well as I can.... I am doing the "right things" I think  so save the advice. I just needed to vent a bit I guess, not that anyone reads this except me anyway.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I am here

I haven't posted in a few weeks and now Blogger has changed everything so this is feeling a little new to me. I read somewhere that if you go more than a "fortnight" without posting on your blog then you lose readers. Maybe that is why this blog has the fewest readers of my three blogs... I don't post enough. I think the real reason is because the other two blogs are much more specific in their audiences. Oh well.

I am struggling right now and I don't always like to put that out there where people can see it. My weight loss has slowed down quite a bit and I haven't met my goals. Meanwhile my kid is changing schools, starting kindergarten, and doing an after-school program. She has hated the first three days of the after-school program so far and is really letting me know it. I feel guilty as hell, but she needs to do it even if it's only for fifteen minutes a day. I can only change my work hours so far. As it is I am exhausted at the end of the day now that I am getting up at 5am. It's an adjustment for all of us and I think on some level we are all miserable. That's life though. School happens and hopefully eventually we will all settle in. My wonderful husband let me go out and do some retail therapy today. I took him up on it. I know money wise things will catch up to us soon, but right now we had this little lull where our daycare bills are low and our car expenses haven't really hit us yet so I took advantage. Property taxes are around the corner though. I'll have to reign in the spending very soon.

As we try to figure out this new schedule stuff I am hoping to get some "me time" out of this deal. Right now I'm getting a few minutes in the morning, a morning commute to myself, and maybe a few minutes in the afternoon. If the kid would settle into the after school routine I might be able to stretch those minutes in the afternoon a little longer to get a good walk in or something. That would be really nice. I am dreading cold weather because I know it will be harder for me to exercise then.

Oh well.. mostly just wanted to check in and say "HI". Still here, still breathing, still trying to find time to read and write... lots of ideas in my head right now just having trouble getting them down.
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Monday, August 15, 2011

David Cassidy, Allison Pearson, "I Think I love you", and teen idols

I finished the book finally, and I still think Susan's review is a pretty good one. As I said in my previous blog post I was too young to IDOLIZE David Cassidy. I knew who he was, I listened to his music, but I was definitely more of a fan of Shaun Cassidy and the "Da Doo Ron Ron", Donny and Marie Osmond, and even John Denver. I did actually own this album:

Shaun Cassidy (album)Image via Wikipedia

So anyway, Susan Coventry says on her blog "ReadingWorld":
"Part one revolves around David Cassidy to such a degree that, well, I almost gave up on the book. I understand that the obsessiveness of Petra’s tween love was important for the whole theme, but I found that I didn’t particularly enjoy obsessing over David Cassidy. Plus, the whole mean-girl genre for tweens is getting a lot of attention currently, and I don’t really need to be reading that much of it. Overall, I found the thirteen-year-old Petra to be relatively uninteresting.

However, Bill amused me, and I did want to know what was going to happen with him. That kept me reading on until we shifted gears to 1998. At that point, I became more interested in the story."


This was very much my experience as well. I actually skipped a few pages of part one because I was so bored with the description and build up of Petra and Sharon's life. Once I did get to the second part I felt disappointed. Susan goes on in her blog to be satisfied with the book, but I felt let down. I felt like Part two was rushed. I wanted to know more about Bill. I wanted to see more of Bill and Petra together. We don't get that though. Ms. Pearson is years late in getting this book done and I felt like she just rushed through the second part to finish it. I personally would have preferred less in Part One, and more in Part Two. So to me the book became rather a waste of time.

Except....... except it got me thinking about "teen idols". I was too young to idolize David Cassidy. He was my mother's age after all. Who were the idols of my friends? Did we even HAVE idols? MTV was born in 1982. "Video killed the radio star" as the song goes. Well.. 1982 was a busy year for me. My mother and step-father split up that year. I changed schools twice, moved a few times, and watched my mother start dating. Life was changing, and it was changing fast. I even met the boy who would be my first boyfriend. We went through puberty together. I didn't need to idolize. I missed that part of innocence. So I was curious about idols and I went digging.

Naturally I didn't need to dig far. Like the book review, teen idols have already been written about. Turns out the teen idols for me were supposed to be "The Brat Pack". Wikipedia says so, so it must be true.

Wikipedia says: "The teen idol is primarily a phenomenon of 20th century mass communication.".
In the 1970s:
"After Davy Jones came Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy. They held the title of Teen Idols from the late 1960s til the mid 1970s. Both Sherman and Cassidy were actors on television and musicians in the pop-rock category at the time. Musical series such as Cassidy's The Partridge Family, the animated series The Archie Show, and (to a lesser extent) The Brady Bunch integrated television and teen-pop music to significant success during this time frame.
One of the features of many teen idols is that their fans (and, in some cases, the musicians themselves) tend to develop a distaste for the music once they become adults, and it is not much listened to by adults, except for nostalgia: the legacy of bubblegum pop. Performers in this category would include Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, Donny Osmond, Tony DeFranco, and The Bay City Rollers. Even modern classic hits and oldies outlets, which cover this time period, rarely play cuts from the teen idols of the era, with the exception of Michael Jackson, who began his career as a teen idol but whose career eventually evolved far beyond the limitations of that description and into superstardom."

And then by the time I'm in my pre-teens and teens:
"In the mid 1980s there was a group of young actors called The Brat Pack, the whole group collectively and separately became teen idols. There was Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy. They starred in many coming of age films together in some fashion and became incredibly popular without being musicians.

Actors Corey Feldman and Corey Haim became teen idols during the later part of the 1980s with films The Goonies and together The Lost Boys and License to Drive among other films. They were dubbed "the two Coreys". Before Corey Haim's death in 2010, they did a reality TV show for two seasons (2007-08) on A&E named The Two Coreys after their 1980s moniker.

Australian/American singer/actor Rick Springfield was regarded as a teen idol in the 1980s with such hits as "Jessie's Girl" and "Don't Talk to Strangers". The Grammy Award winning musician Springfield was known for playing Dr. Noah Drake on the daytime drama General Hospital. He originated the character from 1981-1983. He left acting after his music career took off."

 ( )

Right! Who could forget "Jessie's Girl"? I had friends on the school bus who swooned over Rick Springfield, but I didn't really "get it" although I learned the words.  You can click on the link about the Brat Pack if you like.

So anyway, I didn't really have a teen idol.  I think most of the teen idols of my generation were actors/actresses, and maybe MTV stars. It is interesting that teen idols are an "invention of mass communication". I can see how that is true. Now with social networking fans have more access to celebrities than ever before. With Facebook and Twitter we can "connect" to those idols by simply putting an "@" at the beginning of a message. I know it's true. I've done it with writers before.

This segways into a conversation about marketing and advertising. .. of people. David Cassidy gained fame as "Keith Partridge" and shot up to super-stardom very quickly. Then he didn't want to be "Keith" anymore and has had a hard time getting out of it. I think even to this day that is the case.  I'd almost wonder what he thought of the book that Allison wrote except I read the notes at the end. Susan Coventry was right. It really is a fictionalized memoir.  Allison did finally get to meet Cassidy when she was older. She found out that brown never was his favorite color.

 While the book fell flat for me, it was fun spending a few days looking up all this stuff. I had kind of forgotten about most of it in the last 10-15 years (since I left that job where I got paid to watch "The Partridge Family" every weekend).

Anyway you can read more on David Cassidy if you want. There is plenty online. Enjoy!!

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

What I'm reading now- Allison Pearson, "I Think I love you"

I was browsing the music books in the stacks of the UMass Amherst Library and I came across the book "I Think I Love You" by Allison Pearson. "Wow!" I thought, "A book about idolizing a celebrity who is still alive!" Somehow you know most of these books about idols are usually about dead idols like "The Beatles" or Elvis. So I checked out the book and brought it home. It sat in the corner with it's pink cover (UMass doesn't keep the book jackets) for a long time. Now finally I am reading it. This is not the kind of book I "normally" read. Ha, I've said that before too, haven't I? The book is split into two parts. The first part is around 1974 when David Cassidy is a super-star worldwide. The second part is set in late 1990s.

I was three years old in 1974. When I was a little older, but not much, somewhere in the 7-10 year old range I did have David Cassidy albums, Shaun Cassidy albums, and Donny and Marie Osmond albums and I loved them but I was not a teen. By the time I was a teen these idols were a thing of the past. When I was a teen MTV had just been invented (I was 11 in 1982).

Skip forward a whole lot of years to the late 90s (when the 2nd half of the book takes place) and I end up with a job for five years working with a guy who is stuck in the 1970s mentally. He loves Elvis, Karen Carpenter, the Red Sox blowing the World Series, and The Partridge Family. Thanks to this guy I got a pretty good dose of David Cassidy and that whole decade that I missed because I was just a little too young.

I'm not quite done with the book so I'm not ready to review it, however I have been doing a little research. Thanks to the internet it feels like everything has already been said before.

Allison Pearson is on Twitter and Facebook. Her Facebook page has over 400 likes and those fans like her book and David Cassidy and are happy to tell all about it.

Since the book has been out for a while there are a lot of reviews. It's hard to find anything negative although I get the feeling that not everyone on earth likes the book or likes the author. She was in trouble with her contract when she wrote it. Due to clinical depression the book came out several years later than it was supposed to. There are a lot of positive reviews and other write-ups though. It might be hard for me to find something new to say. While I am still pondering my thoughts and reading the last of the book, here are some other words about it:

From GazetteNet and the Philadelphia Inquirer:

From NPR, more about the author than the book:

From the New York Times (one of my favorite places for reviews):

Here's some comments about the author from the UK:

I found a couple of good blog entries too. Both of these I can relate to.:

I like that second entry the best of all of these links. Susan has done a great job with it.

I'll try to think of more to say when I'm actually done reading and I don't have a five year old sleeping on my chest.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just stuff- anniversary and new car etc

On Monday we became a two-car family. For the first time in our relationship we have two cars. We ended up with a 2008 Honda CR-V. We're not using it on a daily basis yet, but we knew we would need it by the first of September. We've survived a lot in the last nine years, but surviving the public school system will be a new challenge.

On Tuesday we celebrated our wedding anniversary. "Celebrated" might be a stretch. The three of us went out to eat at Red Robin. I gave him a card and a ticket to the movies. A ticket, not two because I rarely go to the theater anyway, and because the ticket was free. Something I got for giving blood last week.

With all of the running around stuff with getting the car and everything I haven't gotten my usual exercise and I've been eating out too much. The scales verified that this morning so I am back up a little bit. Still hovering just under the 200 pound mark, and still a long way to go. I need to break out of this pattern but I haven't figured out how. I seem to be going between 196-199 for the most part, and I'm still trying to get down to 180 or lower.

Anyway, we are counting down the last few days or preschool too. August 19th will be the last day. Then she will have a week off before starting kindergarten.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

weekend didn't go as planned

I took Friday off to pack. Picked up my daughter at the designated time, picked up my hubby, ran to the store for the couple of "oops...forgot to pack that" things and then we were finally on our way. About a 2 hour drive to the campground. Somewhere along the way the two of them fell asleep. Somewhere along the way it started to rain, and rain, and rain. Eventually they woke up. We got gas and  we used the bathrooms. Hubby was sent to a portapotty outside. Seems the gas station discriminated against men a little bit and the one rest room was for women and children only. Sorry honey!

 Finally we arrived at Silver Lake State Park in the rain. Are you sold out? Have any lean-tos left? Sold out, sorry. Tomorrow will be nice. yeah, okay. Get to campsite and start unloading and setting up tent. It's pouring. Get enough of the gear cleared out so that daughter and I can get firewood. Pay $12 for firewood. Drive around state park for a little bit. Find the playground and the beach - looks nice! See most of the other campsites- it's pretty hilly and half the park is empty... and finally come back to unload the firewood. Daughter stays in the car. Smart kid!

 Hubby and I decide to move picnic table and firewood because tarp can only be set up in certain spot... use potty, start thinking about supper, and then.... hey honey... step into the tent for a minute... feel that? Yeah that's a LAKE under where we are supposed to sleep tonight. All the water is running down hill into our campsite and under where the tent is. Can we move the tent to another spot? Sure, but more rain is going to come. Meanwhile we are already soaked to the bones wringing out our clothes and wrecking our shoes. We have a family meeting and decide to call it quits. 

Drove down the road found a hotel. Sold out. Okay fine. Back in 2005 I remember lots of hotels in White River Junction. WRJ is about 30 minutes from where we are. Plug it into the GPS and go. And we did. 

First hotel was sold out, second hotel was nearly $200/night, and 3rd hotel wasn't much better but it had a pool at least so we're staying. Now 7:30pm. Check in and bring dry clothes up to room. Room is wrong kind of room. Hubby got a queen. He thought it was a King. I went back to front desk. They are checking in bus tour. Oh joy. I get new room. This one with 2 double beds. At least it's non-smoking. Okay move all our stuff to new room. Now get dry clothes. Now get supper. Chinese buffet. yeah... I don't want to track that thank you. Get kid back to hotel room long after bedtime and eventually get to sleep pretty late. 

Up saturday morning early because I'm sharing bed with kid who is using me as a pillow (hubby has his own bed). Breakfast and then swimming in the pool. Well at least there is some good in life. The rain has stopped. It's nice out. So we took our time and made a few stops and a detour over to Keene, NH and finally came home Saturday afternoon. Unloaded the car... ooh it smelled so bad with all that wet stuff!! Then took daughter swimming at our local lake for a couple of hours. So she's happy. 

Sunday/today mostly quiet. Slow morning, errands, and then more swim time. Cooked dinner on the grill, and had some quiet time in the evening too. Then at bedtime daughter says "Mommy.. we never got to play on that playground.. when are we going back??" LOL! I don't know kid, but I'll make a note of it. Maybe we can do a daytrip sometime. It's only 2 hours. Haha.. 2 hours for a playground?? I don't know about that but we'll see. At the very least there are a lot more campgrounds to explore so maybe next year I will book a lean-to at the same place or another one nearby and we can go back sometime then.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Writing stuff, thoughts after reading essay by Dani Shapiro

In the July 17, 2011 copy of the "New York Times Book Review" Dani Shapiro has an essay on page 27 titled "The Me My Child Mustn't Know". I read this yesterday and I think a lot of us can relate to it. I have written stuff that could be hurtful to people. I have written stuff that I don't want my daughter to see, at least not until I'm dead and she's old. I think being a parent does alter our thinking about our writing, at least if we want to be published. I can certainly understand Ms. Shapiro's point of view. The odds of me being published are pretty slim. The odds of my daughter reading my stuff when she is 15 or 16 years old... I don't know. I remember being a teen and digging through my mother's room and reading some of her stuff. I had questions. My mother got angry but she answered them. I still have questions but I know better than to ask them now. So yes having a child alters our art of writing, or at least what we do with it. I don't know if I'll ever get published. The fear of hurting my friends, family, former lovers, etc. is one thing that holds me back. I think if I do publish I will have to publish fiction so that I don't hurt anyone. Still, it's a tough thing to sort out.

You can read more here:

This is the book that Ms. Shapiro didn't want her son to know about. I admit I haven't read any of her works.:

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Being Green isn't easy, 9 years as a one car family

For the past nine years my husband and I have been a one car family. When people hear this they say "Oh well you two work together so it's easy" and then we move on to something else. Our situation minimizes in their eyes because we work similar schedules and work in the same building. As we gear up to become a two car family I'd like to say a few words.

We have never rented a vehicle for convenience.The only times we have rented a vehicle have been when we needed a truck for hauling stuff that wouldn't fit in our car, when we moved, or when we went somewhere that we didn't think the crappy car we owned could handle. Yes, we rented a vehicle for our two trips to Black Rock City, Nevada. We rented a pickup truck for one weekend when we redid our bathroom. We rented something when we moved.

During the nine years that we have been together I have had four different jobs. One of those was across the bridge. Also my husband is on-call 1/3 of the time. He and two co-workers rotate a beeper. This means that my daughter and I have been to work with him at some very odd times. Before our daughter was born I was there on even odder times, usually in the parking lot waiting. You never know when that beeper goes off whether it's going to be a ten minute problem or a ten hour problem. If we are out somewhere and he gets called in, we all go initially. Once he settles it out how long it's going to take we figure out what to do with our daughter and myself, whether we should wait somewhere or go home. Our schedules are similar right now but they do not match exactly, and there are a lot of times when we need to be in two different places.

During the nine years that we have been together we have lived in three different places. Well four to be exact because when we first got together he still had a separate place, but we have had three shared places.

During the nine years that we have been together we have been through three cars. He sold his truck in the beginning of our relationship since it wasn't running anyway. We had my old red Ford Escort Wagon. I forget what year it was but it was known for electrical problems. When we finally traded it in (if you could call it that) that car had no heat and no back window. It was a work of art. In the winter my husband rigged up a converter to the battery and set up a space heater to defrost the windshield. When someone hit our parked car and took out the back window they didn't bother to stop. He took one of those plastic floor mats that you put under office chairs and cut it to size and taped or glued it in place. It held. What was left of back lights were held in place with spray foam. I remember that.

During the last nine years that we have been together 6 1/2 years have not been on a bus route. So if you are thinking "yeah, they just used public transportation..." then think again. We live out in the sticks folks. There is no cell phone service here and until a year ago we didn't have high speed internet. As it is now we have satellite internet that goes out whenever we get a storm. We are about 7 miles from the nearest state road.

I have been known to strand him places, leaving him to find a ride home from a friend or a co-worker. I love him dearly but it has happened.

When our car died two years ago and I had pneumonia it was a rough week of car shopping and doctor's appointments because we had to combine things.

I spent most of the 14 weeks of maternity leave without a car, in the middle of the woods, with a newborn, and dial-up internet. I thought I was going to go crazy. I probably did.

I think in the nine years that we have lived as a one car family we have paid our dues to the environment. We traded in that junky Ford Escort for a fuel efficient Honda Accord and when the transmission went on that we bought an Element because it slides on the snow and ice a lot less. We have made compromises in our jobs, in our social lives, in our education, and in our family life because of the dedication we have had to being a one car family.

Now our daughter is entering Kindergarten. Now the era of being a one-car family is coming to an end. Of all the obstacles we have been able to overcome, the public school system is not one of them. With Kindergarten on the horizon, and the end of paying for full time daycare in sight, we will soon be buying a second car. Our lives will change a lot.

It's been a good ride for the last nine years but it hasn't been an easy one. Time will tell if we miss it or not.
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Identity Crisis and ACOA/Al-Anon, part two

Well I think I am pretty much stuck with my Icepacklady name on Twitter. I'm starting to pick up some followers, and a few folks are even retweeting what I write. Yahoo! I retweet quite a bit too of course so it's all fair. For better or for worse I have my real name on there too.

My next Identity Crisis to handle has to do with ACOA and Al-Anon. I think I have this solved but I'm going to put this out there anyway. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. I went to my first Al-Anon meeting when I was a college student and in a crisis. If my memory serves me right the meeting was on campus, at lunchtime, and the subject was balance. I probably cried. After that I went to some meetings there but not always. It wasn't a convenient time etc. Years passed by. Another crisis in my life. I actually shopped around for meetings this time. Showing up at a couple here, and a couple there, before adopting a "home group". I also went to meetings online. My boyfriend at the time was studying abroad and I was working two jobs. I managed to find time to go to a lot of meetings between the online ones and the face to face ones. When the boyfriend came back to town it got harder to go to meetings. Then the relationship ended and I rebuilt my life. That's another story. Time passes. Things change. Now my life is different and I cannot go to meetings, and I'm not sure I really need to but I picked up the books, actually went out and bought new ones since I'd donated my old ones long ago when I was cleaning things out. I also found a lot of blogs out there. So I started blogging about my life and what was going on, and I did it in Al-Anon terms. However there is something in most 12 step programs that talks about anonymity so I took that to be that I needed to be anonymous on my blog. I chose a different name and created a separate blog and I posted it all there. Sometimes I was pretty sure people would connect me to the blog, and once or twice I even told people point blank that I was the writer of that blog but for the most part I kept it separate.

You know what? That blog got more followers than this one has. People could connect to it. Maybe because it was specific. It wasn't scattered like this one is.

So now that blog is out there but I told my readers that I was dropping out. I started it when my mother came back to Massachusetts after my grandmother's stroke and I ended it pretty  much when she moved back to Florida. Now that she isn't in my life every day I don't feel like writing the blog.

What I would like to do is to add an Al-Anon/ACOA page here to this blog. I know that's not very anonymous of me, but at this point I don't really care. I'm more interested in unifying myself. In pulling all these different pieces of me together and putting them under one roof.

The family, the writing, the weight loss, the politics, good books, and ACOA/Al-Anon all under one blog. I'd like to do it all under different pages to make it easier to read. I'm still trying to figure out how to do that though. Although I've figured out how to create different pages I haven't figured out how to add posts to them. Still working that out.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Lost 30 pounds so far

I have lost about 30 pounds so far. I've gained a couple in the last week but I'm sure I'll lose them again. So 30 pounds since September 1st. I'm not following Sparkpeople's exercise or food plans. I'm just tracking what I eat and trying to make healthy choices. I'm also tracking my exercise as well.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Identity Crisis and Twitter, part one

Follow me on Twitter logoImage via Wikipedia
I'm having a small identity crisis. I've decided that I really want to do more with Twitter. I think that I could use Twitter to bring more readers to my blog. Unfortunately for me the names that I would like to use on Twitter have already been taken. There is already a person with my name there. There is already a "RebeccaMa" there. There are some others that I have tried as well. So right now I've got "Icepacklady" which is how I opened my Twitter account originally a few years ago. "Icepack" is the name I used at Burning Man in 2003 and 2004. "Icepacklady" makes it more feminine. The origin of  the "Icepack" name is simply that I was cold even when it was 80-90 degrees out. It's not a bad name, but I haven't been back to Black Rock City since 2004 and there is no plan to get back there anytime soon. As much as I love the place, it's just not happening. So... why continue with that name? I'd like to ditch it, but I don't know what to replace it with. I have thought about using my maiden name, but that doesn't seem right. On Twitter it does look like I can have a UserName and a RealName and both are easy to change. So I think my RealName is okay. It's my UserName that is the problem.

Any suggestions? I have thought about using Clessonville, but that doesn't seem "human". Hmm??? Help!!

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why the Casey Anthony case upsets me (and maybe others too)

Every day thousands of children are abused, neglected, and injured intentionally by others. Every day in this country THOUSANDS Of children are reported missing, and many others go unreported. We don't like to think about it because it scares us. It could be our kid next. When a case occurs where we have a clear victim and a seemingly clear criminal we want to see justice. This is how I see the Casey Anthony case. It wasn't some random person who killed some random child. We have names, we have faces, we want justice. I know the jury was there for 33 days, etc. but that's not how the court of public opinion works. For the sakes of all the thousands of cases where we don't have someone standing on trial, where we don't have a person's body, we want justice. It's not fair, but that's how it goes. We are human, we have feelings, and we feel pain.

Casey Anthony has been booked into the Orange ...Image via Wikipedia

According to in 2002 (on their website now):
How many children are reported missing each year?
The U.S. Department of Justice reports
  • 797,500 children (younger than 18) were reported missing in a one-year period of time studied resulting in an average of 2,185 children being reported missing each day.
  • 203,900 children were the victims of family abductions.
  • 58,200 children were the victims of non-family abductions.
  • 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. (These crimes involve someone the child does not know or someone of slight acquaintance, who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.)
[Andrea J. Sedlak, David Finkelhor, Heather Hammer, and Dana J. Schultz. U.S. Department of Justice. "National Estimates of Missing Children: An Overview" in National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, October 2002, page 5.]

In 2010 the FBI listed 565,692 people under the age of 21 as being missing just from that year alone.


Children disappearing is so common in our country that the government even has a "survival guide" available online for families and how to cope called "When Your Child is Missing: A Family Survival Guide"--

This isn't a third world country, this isn't a place plagued in a civil war, this is the U.S.A. and this stuff happens EVERY SINGLE DAY.

So Casey Anthony feels the wrath of public opinion. I'm sorry if you don't think it's fair, but that's the way it is. Until these numbers go down then she stands on trial as a representative for all the criminals who get away with murder and abuse.

For further reading, check out this--

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Carmela Ciuraru

You probably haven't seen it yet, but in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review, June 26, 2011 edition there is an essay on the back page by Carmela Ciuraru about pen names. Carmela is the author of a book that just came out last week called "Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms". I don't plan to read the book, but the essay is a good one. The book gets good reviews. I'm interesting in pen names right now. I have three blogs and I write each of them under a different name. Why? I'm not sure. Just seemed to happen that way. With one blog I was trying to be anonymous because it's a 12-step thing. With this one I've been very torn on whether to be anonymous or not. My low self-esteem is worried that I won't be taken serious if you know who I am. Then again, this blog has the lowest readership anyway I think, so why would it matter? The weight-loss blog is under a different name simply because it is affiliated with a website and message boards etc, and everyone there has a Username. I'm fine with that. There is a picture of myself on that site though, and I've revealed enough personal information there that anyone there could find me if they wanted to.

Still, to use a pen name or not is still twirling in my mind. If I were to publish something erotic or something sexual maybe I would want the pen name. If I were publishing something very personal I might want a pen name and fake names for everyone in my story to protect myself from getting sued or from hurting anyone's feelings etc...  and yet there is another side of me that believes firmly in OWNING my story, OWNING my truth, and being HONEST about my life and my world. Why hide?

So check out Carmela's book if you want, and if you have something to say about pen names, leave me a note.
Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ann Birstein "Summer Situations"

Well I liked the other Birstein book that I read, but I did not care for this one. I didn't even get through the first 70 pages of it. In "Summer Situations" we are introduced to two couples and their three children who are spending a month in a rented house on the Cape. The woman telling the story is debating whether or not to have an affair with the husband of the other woman. Back and forth she goes, for pages... and I finally got bored and put it down. Today I still wasn't interested so back to the library it went. I guess straight on romances aren't really my thing or something. It gets decent reviews on Amazon though so I'm sure it's not a bad book. It's just not my kind of thing.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Meredith Baxter "Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering"

I loved this book! I did not know much about Meredith before I began reading this and I think she did a great job with it. The title of course referring to "Family Ties" I guess, and the timing of the book... well she came out on national television after being spotted on a lesbian cruise and then she followed up with the book. I guess she was building on the fact that her name was in the headlines again and she had a chance to capitalize on that. Plus she has come a long, long way from where she started. She's still getting some press these days, and her co-star from "Family Ties" Michael Gross is getting some press too because of it. Remember when "Family Ties" used to be about the parents and NOT about Michael J. Fox? No? Hm... look back at season one. It's interesting that in the publicity photo it is Meredith in the center of the shot. I digress though. I hadn't realized before reading the book that Meredith had also done a show called "Family" so I guess "Family Ties" was really supposed to be her show. Too bad she got robbed of that.

Headlines aside though this book goes much deeper than that. Back to her childhood with a mother who was an actress and didn't want to be called "Mom", a step-father that flirted with her, and other stories that you'll need to read the book to learn about. Tales of her relationships, her poverty (not having the $77 rent that she owed), and running off to Canada for a while... much of this was unexpected to me. I did not know her history through the 1960s. I had no idea that she part of that whole California hippie thing that was going on back then. "Wow! Really? This famous actress was part of all this? She lived this way before she became an actress? No way! No way!"

Moving on the abuse she suffered... she certainly has covered this material in a way that I think a lot of women will be able to relate to. She has definitely hit a nerve that many, many women will understand I think in reading this. She explains in enough detail what she lived with, how she coped, and why she stayed. A lot of people who have never been abused have trouble understanding why someone would stay. Folks who have been abused though know. Enough said on that.

Now she is not without fault herself. She gives us a pretty good clue in the beginning of the book that she has been through a 12-step program and a lot of therapy. Sure enough she is a friend of Bill W.. She tells us about that too. I'm guessing a lot of folks will relate to this piece of her story.

Once she's sober, her kids are growing up and she's ended yet another horrible marriage (proving there is more than one way a person can abuse you- the last guy swindled her out of money while she was in recovery) then... only then... can she be honest with herself and figure out that "Hey.. that blonde over there is cute..." or whatever it takes. She's raised five kids and been through a couple of rough marriages before she gets to this point. Now this may be something else that women can relate to. There are many women who come out as lesbians after they have had heterosexual marriages and raised children. Even after reading Meredith's book I can't say that I understand it. I accept it though. I bet those that do understand it will appreciate this part of the book too.

This book is definitely not "dish" like Rob Lowe's book seemed to be. This is a book that seems to be honestly written, probably meant for a female audience, and will hit nerves with a wide selection of readers. It should be quite popular. I got my book from my local library (thanks to Inter Library Loan) but Amazon has it for less than $15 and I think there might be a Kindle version too.

I think I am a bigger fan of Meredith Baxter now that I've read the book than I was before I picked it up.

For more information check out this--

and this--

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