Tuesday, September 21, 2021

TV Tuesday: Dickinson

I got a nasty stomach virus last week and spent several days on the couch. I did get some extra reading done, but sometimes, my brain felt like jelly, and I just needed to relax with some bingeable TV. Dickinson turned out to be just the thing! This smart, funny, slightly modernized version of Emily Dickinson's life is still keeping me entertained.

Acclaimed, Oscar-nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld stars as poet Emily Dickinson. As in real life, Emily and her family live in Amherst, MA, and are well-off and prominent in their local community. Her father, played by Toby Huss, is involved in local politics, and her mother, played by the brilliant Jane Krakowski, takes great pride in her role as homemaker, even though they are wealthy enough to afford servants. The family is completed by Emily's brother, Austin (played by Adrian Enscoe), and her younger sister, Lavinia (played by Anna Barishnikov). Austin is dating Emily's best friend, Sue, played by Ella Hunt, to whom Emily is very close (as in real life). Emily lived during the mid-1800's, so the show is set during that period, with appropriate clothing, styles, housing, etc. However, and this is hard to explain, the show adds small elements of modern time here and there in a very fun, effective way. For instance, sometimes a character, in the midst of a period-appropriate conversation will use some bit of modern slang, as when they are all engrossed in Charles Dickens' Bleak House (which was released as a serial) and one says to another, "Hey, no spoilers!" In the midst of a period dance scene, you might suddenly see some modern moves. The soundtrack is sometimes modern as well. The story uses Emily's brief poems as a framework for each episode, showing circumstances that may have led to her penning the lines. Emily struggles against current expectations for women (to marry, for instance), and though her father adores her and encourages her "hobby" of writing poetry, he forbids her to publish, saying it is not proper for a young woman.

I had heard rave reviews of this show, but as is sometimes the case, it took me a while to try it myself. As soon as I did, though, I loved it! When I heard about it, I thought the insertion of bits of modern culture sounded strange, but it works really well and is so much fun! Steinfeld is delightful as Emily, and it's great to root for her to beat back the contemporary ideals of her time and be true to herself. The plot is intriguing, including not only Emily and her family, but the other young people in town and even a potential romantic interest for Emily. Besides the drama, the show is very funny and highly entertaining. I love the creativity of the writers, in fitting the action of the episodes to Emily's brief poems; the episodes often end with her written words flowing across the screen and being recited. Somehow, the show's creators have taken all of these elements, including an outstanding cast, and woven them together into a wonderful, cohesive whole that I am thoroughly enjoying.

Dickinson is an Apple TV show, so it is exclusively available on that platform. I know--another streaming service? But our free year recently expired, and we chose to keep paying ($5 per month) for Apple TV because its shows that we've tried have all been enjoyable and of very high-quality. If you have Apple TV or are considering it, check out my reviews of Home Before Dark, a crime show featuring a 9-year-old girl detective, based on a real-life story, and For All Mankind, an alternate history of the space race where the Russians got to the moon first, changing the history of NASA (and everything else). It's one of the best TV shows we've ever watched. We are also loving Ted Lasso, have just started Truth Be Told, about a true crime podcaster, and just started season 2 of The Morning Show, but I haven't reviewed those yet.

Dickinson has two seasons currently available on Apple TV, with a third on the way!


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Weekly Inspiration: Chronically Jenni Vlogs


As regular readers of the blog know, I started a YouTube channel in February this year, featuring both videos about books and reading and videos about living with chronic illness.

Part of being on YouTube is visiting other people's channels, and I have discovered some other chronic illness YouTubers I enjoy. One of my favorites is Chronically Jenni. She posts a wide variety of videos about living with POTS and EDS, including some great informational videos and some just for fun! But my favorites of her videos are her Weekly Vlogs, where she does a recap of her week, with clips from days throughout the week. What makes her weekly vlogs so great is how open and honest she is; you see the highs and lows, the good days and resulting crashes, and through it all, she is very authentic and honest. I can always relate to her experiences!

Here is her latest Weekly Vlog:


And you can see her full channel on YouTube.

I hope you enjoy Jenni's videos as much as I do!

Friday, September 17, 2021

Free Parent & Caregiver Summit - Monday!


Hi, all! I just wanted to give you a heads up that there is a wonderful free virtual event coming up next week: Parent & Caregiver Summit.

A virtual friend from the Parents' support group I started runs these once or twice a year, and I am excited that she asked me to be a speaker this time! My presentation topic is Caring for Others When You Need Care Yourself, something that many of us can relate to.


And there are LOTS of other speakers, talking on topics relevant to us caregivers: organization, financial needs, cooking, helping disabled kids with school, taking care of your own needs, and more! You can learn more about the summit here (scroll to the bottom for the list of speakers and topics). 

Best of all, the organizer, Moira Cleary, is a busy mom/caregiver of sick kids herself, so she understands your issues and limitations. The virtual event runs for three days, next Monday through Wednesday, but she's set it up so that you can watch the presentations live OR later, whenever you can fit in the ones you're most interested in. It's very flexible. You'll also be able to chat with the speakers and the other participants, just like in a real conference!

I hope to "see you" at the Parent & Caregiver Summit next week! Sign up now--it begins on Monday morning (but again, it's flexible so you can join in whenever convenient).

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Throwback Thursday: School Accommodations for ME/CFS


The following posts about school accommodations are written for kids/teens/young adults with ME/CFS, but they are equally relevant to kids with fibromylagia, Lyme and other tick infections, EDS, POTS, and many other chronic illnesses, especially those that are poorly understood by or unfamiliar to most school staff. Also, these posts reference the U.S. system of 504 Plans and IEPs, but much of the information on types of accommodations and information to help educate school staff is relevant anywhere in the world. These posts mostly cover elementary, middle, and high school (primary and secondary schools), but there is some information on college included, too.

I first published several posts on school accommodations back in 2012, so an update was long overdue! A few people had mentioned that some of the links on those old posts were no longer working, and this is certainly information that parents of sick kids still need today. So, I've completely updated them! 

These are the posts that you might find helpful in getting appropriate school accommodations for your child, teen or young adult:

I hope you find this updated information helpful!

I'd love to hear from you and hear about your experiences. You can click on "Post a Comment" below or connect with me on Twitter or on my Facebook page for this blog. There are wonderful, supportive communities in both places!

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Weekly Inspiration: Our Chronic Illness Story


Things have been quiet here at the blog this week because we moved my 96-year-old father-in-law to Assisted Living this week, and it was kind of a rough transition for him. He needs the help but doesn't always realize it due to dementia. Moving day, Wednesday was a very long day for all of us, and then I spent three hours with him on Thursday, helping him get settled and trying to help the staff understand his needs. 

As for me, I was quite pleased that I managed all of that pretty well! Of course, I was wiped out and achy by Wednesday night (so was my husband!), but I bounced back quickly and felt good on Thursday, which felt pretty miraculous. This was the first week that I really felt back to my "normal" baseline, after an 18-month-long relapse. I finally remembered to take a break from my inosine, an immune modulator. I normally take a break every 2-3 months, and it had been 6 months - oops! Immune modulators only keep working effectively if you take a break once in a while because your immune system gets used to them. So, after two weeks off, I started back on inosine Monday, and like magic, my energy returned, my stamina bounced back, and I felt better than I had in months! Inosine has helped both my son and I tremendously, and you can read more about inosine (and the complex dosing) here.

So, things were going well, and then ... a really nasty stomach virus hit me on Friday! It's rare for me to catch any kind of a virus, and this one hit me really hard. Today, on Sunday, I am finally seeing some improvement. My stomach is settling down, I held down a little breakfast, and my fever broke overnight. But I am still very weak and wiped out today (typing this lying down!).

So, I thought I'd share a video I added to my YouTube channel this week, Our Chronic Illness Story. I thought it might be helpful for those who are newer to my blog or who only know me through YouTube to hear about our family's journey with chronic illnesses, including ME/CFS, Lyme, and other tick infections. Here, I tell our story from the beginning, The Before, to the present, including the ups and downs and our successes and victories. You can watch it here or click the link to watch on YouTube:


Please share your story in the comments or let me know if you have any questions. Time for me to put the laptop down and rest!