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Chrysalis Academy

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  1. Would novels with characters dealing with a chronic illness be helpful? My dd has taken both solace and hope from some of these. We'd both recommend Please Read This Leaflet Carefully, about a woman dealing with endometriosis and environmental allergies. So Lucky is another great one. The protagonist has MS. She's also a lesbian, FYI.
  2. Yes, she has. She has improved somewhat. But she's still exposed to the mold, so we're kind of Red-Queening it, running as fast as we can to stay in the same place, using binders and glutathione and such. Good news is, escrow closes on this house on 9/24. Once we find a new place and get moved, we can start the serious binding, detoxing, and (hopefully) recovery. Thanks for asking.
  3. Oh man, that book was amazing, but it's not one I've ever been able to recommend - I'm still traumatized after having read it years and years ago. I'm not sure I can wish that on somebody else! I know a lot of people love it, though. Maybe I'd have more fortitude if I read it now. I think I read it soon after it was published, in my mid-20s, and I seriously feel scarred by it. I haven't been able to bring myself to re-read it as a grown-up.
  4. Re: a kid unwilling to go off gluten - I totally get it. Older dd - the sick one - is compliant because she can see how much better her gut symptoms are when she is off gluten (going off gluten hasn't gotten rid of the other symptoms, though). Dd13 refuses to go off gluten, even though I'm sure she is intolerant too based on her symptoms. Because she doesn't have Lyme/Bart, the gut symptoms alone aren't bad enough to motivate her to quit. At some point you can't control their choices, just try to convince them to try it. Re: POTS - a POTS diagnosis isn't that helpful, IMHO. Dd got diagnosed with POTS before anything else, and the prescription was to drink lots of water, take salt pills, and exercise, none of which helped. POTS is a syndrome, not a disease, so even if a cardiologist says you have POTS you still have to search for the underlying cause. Which can be an infection, a biotoxin, autoimmunity, etc. It's just a label for a subset of the symptoms, really. Dds gut symptoms were improved by diet, and the POTS symptoms have mostly cleared up too. The fatigue, brain fog, and joint pain have been resistant to improvement.
  5. And the standard gluten panel is really limited - they only test a few of the many possible forms of the protein that can trigger gut reactions. I have an atypical presentation of celiac (I get DH skin rash more than gut symptoms) and it wasn't identified till I had a skin biopsy. The normal blood-tests were normal. So were my dds. But getting of gluten has changed both of our lives.
  6. LOL. But the fact someone might go there based on the leaf shape supports my theory - I think it is in the rosaceae family - maybe Crataegus (hawthorne)?
  7. So, as soon as I read about the stretch marks, I thought Bartonella. Have you had her tested for Lyme & Bartonella? Red/purple stretch marks not associated with growth spurt skin stretching really points to Bartonella. Has she had any toxic mold exposure? There are now some excellent urine mycotoxin tests that could rule this out as a cause, even if you think the answer is no. My dd's 3 years of health struggles sound a lot like your dds. She's had all these symptoms, too, and a clean bill of health from psych. She has chronically low ferritin despite supplementation, and celiac and dairy intolerance that makes it hard to absorb minerals despite a really good diet. Chronic inflammation, joint pain, brain fog and fatigue. School has been basically un-doable for the past two years. We have finally recognized that her symptoms and the difficulty in getting well is due to the combination of Lyme/Bartonella and mold mycotoxins. Good luck. I'm happy to talk more if any of this resonates with you.
  8. Hmm, I don't know that one off the top of my head - Does it have a square stem (Lamiaceae)? Or round?
  9. Yep, it's oceanspray - Holodiscus discolor. In my area it grows on dry, shady slopes, often under oaks or doug fir, not so often in full sun unless it's near a creek. It can get 6-8 feet, but it's a slow grower. Nice find!
  10. I listened to it, and I think I remember that the reader was especially good, I'm sure this added to my enjoyment. Dd read the print book and loved it too, so I think this one works either way! And for The Goblin Emperor - I actually listened to it first, the immediately turned around and read it. I read it a second time about a year later. I'm so glad I listened to it - there is unfamiliar vocabulary and having the "sound" of the language in my head made reading it on my own more pleasurable. I don't think I would have pronounced all the Elven place-names and honorifics "correctly" if I were just reading it - having heard it once was very helpful. I also liked the narrator very much and I think he got Maia's voice (internal and external) just right. But reading it is great too, because as Erin says the glossary is helpful. One funny effect of listening first then reading - I was surprised to learn that the protagonist's name was Maia, I had heard it as Meyer. LOL!
  11. Definitely The Goblin Emperor!! That book makes me so happy. But to offer something original - Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett It's not that these are the greatest books ever written or anything. But they are books that made me feel really good and that I think anyone could enjoy, and that I'd like to share the pleasure of. I suggested them both to my dd and she loved them.
  12. Best Fiction: Revolutionary Road, Cloud Atlas, Grapes of Wrath, Great Gatsby, Augustown, The Goblin Emperor, Circe, When the Emperor was Divine, Ghostwritten, The Bone Clocks, Sing Unburied Sing, and several Ursula Le Guin short story collections Best Nonfiction: On Tyranny, How Democracies Die, The Blood of Emmett Till, Conflict is Not Abuse, So You Want to Talk About Race, Notes on a Foreign Country, The Half that has Never Been Told, We Were Eight Years in Power.
  13. Here is a link to Shannon's piece (her pen name was Laika). ETA: Actually the link takes you to the judge's comments, but if you click on the title "Tomorrow" by Laika you will land on the piece. I will look for the Challenges group, that sounds like a good place to engage. Thanks!
  14. Hi guys! What a fun and bittersweet thing it is, to read these old threads. My first thought is what a difference a few years make: my second dd is now in 7th grade, and what a different kid she is, what a different teacher I am, and what a different life situation we're in now. The things that felt totally overwhelming to me a few years ago just aren't that important at this point: grappling with a kid's 2 years of chronic illness definitely puts their essay-writing challenges into perspective. Shannon is still struggling with Lyme disease, although she is in a better place than she was a year ago. We essentially had to take last year off from school, she was too sick to function. This year is a lighter, kinder, gentler re-do of 10th grade, and she's doing ok with it. But I've had to step away from the homeschooling boards, and especially the High School board where a lot of my peers are hanging out these days, because the stress of seeing what everybody else is doing and the temptation to compare and feel inadequate is just a stress that I don't need. Relevant to this thread, I'm happy to report that Shannon has become a writer, so my fears about that were unfounded! She has submitted several short stories to youth competitions and won, and won an honorable mention in an adult sci-fi writer's competition this fall. She's submitting stories to magazines and is working on a novel. And the skills transfer: she did the Bravewriter Lit Analysis class on Gatsby this fall and did the writing assignments pretty effortlessly. She's done most of the BW Expository Essay classes too, that turned out to be a really excellent thing for her. My younger dd is getting a more distracted, but more relaxed teacher. We've been all over the map with writing, but what I learned with her sister was to trust the process: keep reading, keep discussing, and the writing skills grow along with maturity. Last year I was worried, but this year she can sit down and whip out a short narrative or descriptive paper, grammatically correct and entertaining. We'll get to thesis-driven essays, but I'm not in a hurry, I've learned that when the maturity of thinking of there, the writing follows, and to trust that it will develop as she does. Anyway, I miss you guys, but the time I used to spend obsessing about homeschooling, I now spend obsessing about Lyme treatment. I just don't have the bandwidth to participate here the way I used to. I participate in a book group club, but that's about it. But I treasure the conversations, and the words of wisdom I've gathered from you all over the years! Nice to "see" some old friends again.
  15. I remember thinking dd wasn't ready for it at 13, but we read it this year (15) and it was just right - led to wonderful discussions about human nature. I think it's a fantastic book myself, but if 13 feels too young, I would respect that. It will keep for a year or two. We did dystopias "lite" in 6th grade - The Giver, The City of Ember, the Haddix series, The House of Scorpions, stuff like that. In 8th she read War of the Worlds, Time Machine, and Ender's Game. We saved the more grown-up dystopian books for 10th grade - Herland, Brave New World, 1984, The Chrysalids, Lord of the Flies, A Door Into Ocean, Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, The Handmaid's Tale, Ready Player One. It's been a great year. I'm a big fan of waiting till it feels like they are ready. Which can be different ages with different kids.
  16. I get the DH rash too, it's my primary presentation. I had it for 4 years, worsening, and was told it was "just a rash" before a dermatologist finally thought of DH. The rash presents primarily on my elbows, under my arms, and on the sides of my hips, but it can be more widespread. It itches like hell on earth. I have been gluten-free for about 4 years now, but our house isn't gluten free (two family members eat it) so I get glutened occasionally at home. And almost every time I try to eat out -so I don't any more. Usually when I'm hit the rash is fairly mild these days, but it can last a week or two. And it's an itchy mother. I find that topical benadryl helps a lot. I've had some concoctions from the doctor, but none is much more effective than that.
  17. I first read Pachinko, a novel about N Koreans living in Japan before, during and after WWII. Then I read The Orphan Master's Son, a novel set in N Korea. Some of the scenes depicted in that book were so over the top, it lead me to seek out some NF defector's stories as sort of a fact check on the novel. Turns out, it was all quite plausible. I read The Accusation, a book of short stories written by N Korean, and smuggled out, and then I read River of Darkness and The Girl With Seven Names. They were such different defector's stories, reflecting the different social status of the families within N Korea. It seems kind of ironic that a socialist worker's paradise has such a strong hereditary caste system (the songbun system) but it does explain how people inside the country can have such very different experiences (and attitudes toward their country's government) - no different from here or anywhere else, really. I thought it was quite interesting that the woman of The GIrl with Seven Names was critical of S Korea's social structure there that is based so strongly on educational attainment. In some sense it's a caste system as well, although clearly one that is more accessible and able to be moved through. Her experience living as a high-caste N Korean and an immigrant in both China and S Korea provided some very interesting contrasts. She was more of an accidental defector, not an ideological defector or someone who left because of persecution, starvation, etc. She was extremely privileged, and at first I have to say I found her a little annoying, but as her story unfolded, it won my respect. It's hard to imagine living through all that these people have.
  18. And I am mad at both of them! So mad at GRR for doing all his (lucrative, I'm sure) side projects and letting the tv writers essentially finish his series. While I find the HBO series entertaining, and much improved in later seasons vs. the former from a sexploitation POV, I was really wanting to get the "real" resolution to the story via GRR's brain. I'm not even sure that is possible now, even if he does finish the series. And Hilary Mantel! The Cromwell books are among my favorites, so I'm eager for the third, and she's another who got derailed by film making, but in that case the series was so wonderful I'm ok with it. How's that for inconsistency?
  19. Eliana, yes. It does look like we get notified when you quote us. I'm still struggling with the restricted diet and the Benadryl hangovers (I'm off the prescription stuff). But the really great thing is that I have lost 7 lbs! And I'm actually feeling more energetic and, when not itching horribly, better than I have in awhile. So maybe this is making me make some important life changes that will have good long-term benefits. Shannon is really struggling right now, we're having trouble figuring out which way to go with her treatment, her liver and gut are not in good shape and she's reacting to almost everything at the moment. So healing energy sent her way would be welcome.
  20. I haven't read any of the winners. The Gulf is now on my TR list.
  21. Yesterday I finished listening to Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit's essays on activism and, well, keeping hope alive when all seems dark. I bought the book in January 2016, but just couldn't face it at the time - wasn't really feeling ready to admit that hope was an option. The fact that I read it and really, really appreciated it now is a good sign - I hope? I finished reading The Salt Line, a dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel published in 2017. Yep, my year of dystopias is almost done! Just a few more left to read from my list, though of course I'll keep my eyes open for future offerings in the genre. This one was interesting, because the "apocalypse" was indirectly ecological: a tick-borne disease mutates into a deadly plague, not communicable between humans, but tick bites become deadly, so (most) humans retreat into urban enclaves and wilderness becomes wild again. I loved this premise, really loved it, and loved one of the later reveals that was related directly to it. I didn't love what she did with the plot. The characters were great, a bunch of flat ones for context but the main ones were robust and believable. But the plot was disappointing, kind of a waste of a great premise, IMO. Started listening to The House of Tomorrow, I can't remember why it's on my list, maybe a movie is coming out this summer? I'm liking it so far. And started reading The Orphan Master's Son - figured I'd stay in Korea for awhile after finishing Pachinko.
  22. Ooh, Stacia, that looks delicious. And I have all those ingredients, so guess what we're having for dinner?! I finished listening to Akata Witch yesterday. As is often the case with books set in Africa, the excellent reader who did all the different accents - American, Nigerian, Francophone African, etc. - so well really added to my enjoyment of the book. It's YA, the protagonists are 12-14, but it's a little violent and there are several deaths, so it's not for a sensitive reader, but Harry Potter fans would really enjoy this, I think. The violence/deaths are about on par with the later HP books, I'd say. it's about a group with magical powers living "behind the scenes" in the real world. But the magic is distinctly west African and the protagonist is an albino American/Nigerian girl, and it's set in Nigeria, so it has quite a different flavor. Of the four main characters two are boys and two are girls. It grapples with the role/perception of girls in the culture, and has powerful grown women as well as the girls. I quite liked it and will read the sequel. I think both of my girls would like it. I also listened to The Mother of All Questions, Rebecca Solnit's followup to her Men Explain Things To Me. It came out just before #metoo exploded onto the stage, and provides some really important reminders about the context in which that movement took off. I'm glad I listened to it. I'm now listening to Hope in the Dark. Currently I'm reading The Salt Line, Christian Nation, Black Flags, and Dirty Genes. Back down to four at once, that's about right for me, although I'm reading a bunch of other things with the girls, and the next Wheel of Time book at bedtime. (I like how easy it is to insert links!)
  23. I was thinking the same thing! I went straight from undergrad to grad school, but even so I was 26 when I finished . . .
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