Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lucky Man, a Memoir

Lucky Man, a Memoir
by Michael J. Fox

Audio: 5 CDs, read by Michael J. Fox

"If you were to rush into this room right now and announce that you had struck a deal - with God, Allah, Buddha, Christ, Krishna, Bill Gates, whomever - in which the ten years since my diagnosis could magically be taken away, traded in for ten more years as the person I was before, I would, without a moment's hesitation, tell you to take a hike." ~ Michael J. Fox  

From his youth, through his celebrity, his Parkinson's disease and revealing his illness to the world, Michael J. Fox is candid and honest about himself and his feelings.  As a young man he is arrogant enough to think he can conquer the world, and does precisely that as an unknown in a new sitcom. He works hard and parties hard. 

We follow his career through his movies and marriage and into fatherhood.  Michael takes us on his journey as he begins to experience the first signs of Parkinson's and his denial and mis-handling of managing the disease.  He shares his life with us including his fears, marital problems, alcoholism.  

The disease, although horrible, is what forces him to mature, realize his priorities and really appreciate his family.
Perhaps part of why I liked this book so much is that I grew up close to where Michael spent his teen years and I couldn't help but wonder if our paths may have ever crossed.  But aside from that and the disease, I enjoyed a look into his private life and coming to realize that his celebrity is really just a job to him. If you are a fan of Michael J. Fox don't miss this read!
(from my former MySpace blog)

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Traveler's Gift

The Traveler's Gift

by Andy Andrews

Hard cover: 206 pages

Help! I've fallen in the self improvement genre and I can't get up!!

I keep stumbling across these quick read/deep message books while working. Is someone trying to send me a message? I feel unable to resist them, even though I don't want to resist.

The "Traveler's Gift" is a story of a man who loses his job and sees his life sliding quickly into the pits. Like George in "It's a Wonderful Life" he begins to think his family would be better off with his life insurance if he were dead. At which point his car hits black ice, spins out of control and into a tree.

Unlike George, David doesn't have an angel trying to earn his wings to assist him. Instead, he becomes a time traveler (think "Quantum Leap" here) and visits several notable people throughout time. Each person he visits is experiencing something horrific in his or her life at that time. Each one gives David a 'decision,' which all together become the "seven decisions that determine personal success." (I got that off the cover-).

This book is an entertaining read, though may bog down just a bit in a couple of places. I enjoyed the history lessons that accompanied each visit and especially the visit to the archangel which produces the last decision. This visit took place in the hall of missed opportunities. I liked the concept and the way it was presented.

The following, copied without permission, is a list of the seven decisions:

1. The buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future.

2. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.

3. I am a person of action. I seize this moment. I choose now.

4. I have a decided heart. My destiny is assured.

5. Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit.

6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.

7. I will persist without exception. I am a person of great faith.

Each of these is simplified from a longer description provided to David by each person he visited. I won't give any more away just in case you would like to read this one for yourself. I do plan on using the decisions the way David was instructed. You tell me if you see any change.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Book Lover in Me

The book lover in me.... HAS*GOT*TO*BE hereditary!!  
I took my 86 year old mom to Barnes and Noble yesterday for lunch and shopping. My brother sent her a $25 gift card for her birthday and she was anxious to spend it.
Lunch was a leisurely affair. We shared an artichoke/spinach stratta and a slice of caramel latte cheese cake. Yum!! We sat and sipped on our coffee drinks for a while and then, then started our shopping.
Now you should probably try to picture my mother.  She's about 5'3" and weighs not so much.  She uses a walker and moves very slow. She tires easily. I guess I would consider her 'fragile.' My shopping plan was to keep her toward the front of the store and have her choose her one or two books there. It would take no time at all to spend the $25 gift card, even with my discount.
I steered Mom toward the "Best Seller" bay and she immediately chose a book indicating she wanted me to put it on her walker. I then showed her another book by another author she enjoys and she nodded toward the walker, indicating I should put it there, too.  Then she moved to a "Favorite in Paperback" bay and pointed to two more books. A nearby table also held a book or two she decided she needed and then she wanted to go to the "Mystery" section. Although it's in the back of the store I decided to take her back there.
She detoured off my chosen path down a "Fiction and Literature" aisle before I could stop her. In the blink of an eye she found another author she likes and picked out some of his books and then decided another nearby author should be given a try, even though she'd never read him before.
It wasn't long before we headed to the check-out with a large pile of books on her walker, as well as a few in my arms. Being an employee and planning on using my discount meant waiting until the appropriate person could ring us up. Since the store was busy, that actually took longer than the shopping.
Soooo scan, ka-ching! scan, ka-ching! scan, ka-ching! Pam rang up Mom's books.  I then gave her my employee number for my discount and Ouala!  The grand total of Mom's shopping spree... $113.00+!!!!!!!
It's a dang good thing I thought to drop her debit card in my purse along with her gift card! 

(from my former MySpace blog)