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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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our lives go on... preschool graduation and a trip to Edgartown

Well our lives go on. On Friday my daughter "graduated" from preschool. There were six children graduating this year- 3 girls and 3 boys. It was a fun time! The kids answered questions, the teachers spoke of their favorite memories, and the children got diplomas and gift bags. Then there was a song, some food, and some cake. I tried not to cry but the teachers were crying too so it was tough.  :-)

When it was over we headed to Cape Cod and crossed the Bourne Bridge en route to Woods Hole. A ferry awaited us, and a sweet little inn in Edgartown was expecting us. We got there quite late. I am so glad that we purchased a GPS. It really helped us out on this little adventure. It is pretty hard to read a map or printed directions in the dark.

On Saturday we did our sightseeing in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven. We embraced the tourist spirit for just a few hours anyway. We didn't make it to South Beach or anywhere "up island" but when you travel with a 5 year old you have to make some compromises.

On Sunday we had breakfast and packed up and headed back to the mainland. We stopped in Wrentham for some outlet shopping before coming home for dinner. The weather cooperated nicely.

Monday found us to be pretty wiped out. We let our daughter stay home and rest, and after an energetic start she really did kind of settle down and snuggle and then sleep so I know she needed some down time.

Now we are getting back to normal again, at least until the next adventure comes our way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

my cousin died

(I posted this on another blog of mine but felt the need to share it here as well...)

I just lost a cousin to cancer. To be clear we weren't that close. I am a bit younger than he is and we live in different states. Still it is hitting me a bit. He's the first FIRST cousin of mine to go.

He is leaving behind a wife and four children. His youngest was just born in March on my 40th birthday. She is only 2 months old. Why they conceived a child during the time he was fighting his cancer is not my business. I am sure they were filled with hope at the time that he would win the battle.

His father (my uncle) is also battling cancer right now. The last time I saw them both was when my grandmother died in October. I was glad to see that Daryn was at peace, still fighting, but firmly believing that he was in God's hands. He didn't give up the fight. His body did. So today I am thinking of him and all who know him. I know from the emails that have been coming from Daryn and his wife that they had a large support network from family, friends, and members of their church. He will be missed.

Monday, May 16, 2011

quick note about Matt Dillion

I have to laugh. I looked up Matt Dillon and could not find a biography or autobiography. All I could find were some magazine articles, the usual Wikipedia stuff, etc.. However I did notice that he appeared in "Little Darlings" which came out in 1980. I actually remember this movie at least a little. My mother took me to see it at the drive-in, why I have no idea. I was 9 years old. I am sure I asked a lot of questions. Funny how that stuff sticks with you. My mom wouldn't take me to see anything violent but sex was okay and that was probably the first example I can think of where I saw sex in a movie.

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Rob Lowe "Stories I only tell my friends"

I got this book through Inter-Library Loan from one of the local libraries so I only had a short time to read it. The book did not disappoint. Once I finally had a chance to read I was able to get through it in a couple of nights.
I am not a huge fan of Rob Lowe. I don't think I've ever seen "The Outsiders" and I wasn't a big fan of "The West Wing" but the title of the book intrigued me and I thought it would be fun to learn a little about this Brat Pack member.
Rob does a good job of drawing the reader into the book in the first chapter talking about JFK Jr. and his friendship. Then once he has you he goes back to the beginning. The naming of celebrities carries on pretty heavily at times throughout. A little too heavily for me. Some people like "dish" but I wanted to hear his story not about every single celeb he ever met. He had one date with this one, another with that one.. etc. Some of the reviews on Amazon were upset how he glossed over his relationship with Melissa Gilbert and some of the other stuff. Well I didn't know he had dated her to begin with so it didn't bother me much. It's nice to see that today he seems to be doing well. He's settled, has money, and is raising his family etc.. he's not always in the spotlight but he's had enough recovery that he is going be okay. I suppose a "3 stars" would be about right. It's not the best book out there but it's entertaining and a quick read. I didn't pay for the book so the price was right.
I'm also curious now to see what I can dig up about some of the other celebs mentioned in the story like Matt Dillon and Melissa Gilbert (okay I only got interested in her after reading the reviews bashing Rob on Amazon). It's also interesting to see that Charlie Sheen was a nut even back in high school. Rob doesn't dwell on it much, but it's there.

Rob Lowe and wife Sheryl BerkoffImage via Wikipedia

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Ann Birstein and Elizabeth Bishop

I finished the Ann Birstein book and looked her up online a little more. I happen to have checked out another book by her too. This one is called "Summer Situations". I might start it tonight but I'm trying to hold off. I have two biographies waiting for me at one of the local libraries. I am hoping they will be easy reading. Checking books out of the local libraries means I only have about three weeks to read them, far less time than when I check them out of the university library.

While fishing through the bag of books that happened to have "Summer Situations" in it I came across two books of poetry by Elizabeth Bishop. I had checked these out a few weeks ago from the university library as well. I was trying to remember why and as close as I can figure out I checked them out because they mentioned Amherst, MA in them. Really, I think that's all it was sadly. A quick look at the copyright dates let me know that one of these books was originally copyrighted in the 1930s with the copyright renewed several times into the 1960s. The books have been well studied by students who have underlined important passages and written in the margins. Still I only skimmed through them. I guess my mind is in other places tonight.