March 2010: In Brief

Highlights:
Eureka! (Or How My Life is Like An Episode of Castle) – Sometimes on the TV show Castle, Detective Beckett arrests a suspect.  They’re clearly a key to the killing but the murders keep happening anyway. That’s how my health has been.  I find I’m allergic to something, get shots for it or stay away from it… And then… I’m still unhealthy.

On the show, one of Castle’s family or friends makes an innocuous comment and Castle suddenly knows who the killer is. Apparently Martin is the Rick Castle in my life.  After describing my tainted Motrin reactions, Martin had a brainstorm and started reading about food allergies.

 And the "killer" is. …. [dun dun DUN]  Wheat.  Yep.  Wheat.  Since I’m super allergic to grass, Martin came up with the idea that maybe eating a type of grass might cause me problems too. 

It was hard giving up bread and pasta. I love their gluten-y goodness.  But when I did…Ta da!  I was healthy!! And I sure won’t miss the horrible sinus headaches. Thank goodness I’m not allergic to reading or TV.  Can you imagine?!

Harper’s Ferry Soon after I figured out my gluten-sensitivity issues, the kids’ spring break came. The bad thing about spring break?  The timing meant that after months of being sick, I had only a week or two of productivity before my schedule came to another stop (and the reason why this summary is so late). 

The good thing about break?  The daughterling and I took our third mother-daughter trip together.  This time we stayed in a historical townhouse in Harper’s Ferry.  We ate junk food, discussed our musical tastes, watched episodes of the Gilmore Girls, played games, and toured Harper’s Ferry– a quaint historical town that’s pretty much been stuck in time since the 1860’s. 

Sub Jobs:
1/2 day – 1st grade Reading/Language Arts Teacher at a different school than my usual

Fiction Books:
Gregor and the Marks of Secret, by Suzanne Collins( ***)  – The last book in the Underlander series didn’t disappoint.  It was a bit longer than the others but as intense and satisfying.  An excellent series on the realities of war, told in a way that elementary school children can relate to.  [Middle Grade Fiction, ages 9-14]

Non-Fiction Books:
Dance of Connection, by Harriet Lerner (***) – Last year I read the 70’s classic, Dance of Anger, by the same author and loved it. Lerner has a nice way of explaining the complex interactions of relationships (of any kind) and how one manages the dance between meeting the needs of both people in the relationship. [Adult Non-Fiction]

Music:
Vitamin String Quartet – I can’t believe I didn’t know about this group until now.  This string quartet has over 50 albums covering everyone from Kelly Clarkson to Godsmack.  I love rock and pop music played with real stringed instruments (though not Muzak).  AC/BC’s "Back in Black" sounds like the theme song to a Western.  The string version of Godsmack’s "Mistakes" becomes a cool post-modern dance piece and Queen’s "We Will Rock You" is like an Irish stepdancing  battle song.  My favorite covers so far are Fall Out Boy’s "Hum Hallelujah" and Mazzy Star’s "Fade Into You".  They’re both songs I like generally but are especially pretty played with strings.

Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster– I was playing this album in the car while driving the daughterling.  She asked if I could  play something else because she had heard quite enough Lady Gaga badly sung through the halls of middle school.  I’m lucky I don’t have fun albums ruined for me by going to Middle School. 😉  I changed the music right away.  Middleschoolers deserve a lot of sympathy.

Frightened Rabbit, The Winter of Mixed Drinks – While not as fabulous as Midnight Organ Fight, this album still has plenty of relationship angst, Scottish accents, and catchy tunes to make me happy. [Parent Note: Not especially good music for playing in the car while driving young kids.]

TV – Top 5 Favorites of the Month (In A,B,C Order)
(The) Big Bang Theory – There are only so many Sheldon-centered episodes they can do before it starts feeling recycled.  Still, I really enjoyed the Lord of the Rings episode.

Being Erica – A writing friend told me about this fun escapist chick-lit type show.  It was just the type of  show my TV schedule was missing.  32-year old Erica Strange has a lot of regrets about the decisions she’s made in her life.  She’s certain if she could go back and make better decisions she could have a real career– instead of a series of dead-end jobs– and a satisfying relationship–  instead of a series of loser boyfriends.  Enter Dr. Tom who offers her the chance to actually go back in time and redo those regrets.

Erica is a likable character and the way the writers move each season arc along is satisfying and clever.  The entire two season series is currently available on Hulu and each season is only 12-13 episodes long. 

Castle

Caprica – This prequel to Battlestar Galactic grew on me.  I didn’t much like the pilot and hated Eric Stolz’s character, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the show had potential.  The plot moves slowly. There’s no real blow-your-mind type of crisis like the start of Battlestar Galactica. The exploration of the father-daughter relationships in this show is interesting though.  The fathers are presented as the powerful present and their daughters are sort of symbols of the future.  The fact that the fathers can’t seem to understand their daughters and want to control them — despite clearly caring for them — seems to be the seed that starts the cylon-human problems.  It’s an interesting perspective and I look forward to seeing what they do with the second half of the season in September.

(The) Good Wife