Sunday Lowdown #78


I have felt low-key crotchety all week, so my gratitude isn’t on the surface. I’ve texted people and they didn’t text back. I’m worried about Bill @ Australian Legend being COVID tested so many times he forgets how to do math. Kitty bit me several times this week. A co-worker brought in some gourmet cookies from a local bakery, and they are amazing, but then I realized I’ve never shared a snack at work because I hate the idea of everyone eating from a shared food pile (I’m a germaphobe and when I do grab a snack someone brought in, which isn’t often, I make sure to get there first). I’m grateful that I saw a fantastic horror movie called Ready or Not on Friday for the all-by-myself movie date, but I had to watch it right after dinner because I had to go to bed early to work on Saturday. Does anyone else feel like the world is full of metaphorical “ugh mosquitoes,” just little things constantly biting you, they’re no big deal, and then you realize you’re covered in itchy bumps and kind of sad? I’m grateful I have a job where I can help people. I finished reading East Pittsburgh Downlow by Dave Newman and was delighted through and through — I plan to order the author some local specialty walnut coffee as a thanks for mailing me the book for free just because.


Rather than sharing a regular review of Dangerous Curves Ahead by Sugar Jamison on Tuesday, I realized it would be better to share the inner workings of my brain and how I got to my negative opinion. Thus, you ended up with another Time to Ponder Books post.

Do you like thrillers? Maybe true crime? Do you never read nonfiction and wish you read more but don’t find it entertaining? Janice Erlbaum’s memoir Have You Found Her reads like a thriller novel and will have you wringing your hands as she first breaks the rules at the homeless girls’ shelter where she volunteers and then gets deeply entangled with one of the residents.


Poetry is happening at Grab the Lapels in 2020, and on Tuesday you’ll get my review of Rachel Wiley’s recently re-released collection Fat Girl Finishing School. Doesn’t that cake cover make you want to head for a bakery? Or maybe watch the new season of Sugar Rush on Netflix?

On Thursday I’m sharing my review of the new Silvia Moreno-Garcia novel Mexican Gothic. Emily and I will video chat (!!!) about this Sunday afternoon, and I’m positive I can say in advance that she is a lovely peach and totally stellar. And Mexican Gothic? Hoo- boy! Maybe boy-howdy? Both work where I come from.




  1. Bill’s ok, thanks for worrying, though if I have to get tested every week as it seems I might, I might find, well if not a different line of work, at least a different direction to go in. I’m glad your job’s going ok, I’m not sure I’d enjoy working with the public at the moment (just as well, it’s weeks since I spoke to anyone, more than a few words). I have about one free day at home to catch up on all the posts I’ve seen zoom by on the screen of my phone, but I will get there. I get a migraine just looking at the colours in that cake!


    • Ugh, I read your post about how they did a mouth swab AND both nasal swabs. And it’s weird that they want to test truck drivers, whose job by nature is very solo with the exception of any stops, and I know many of you try to stop as little as possible.

      I enjoy helping people at the library, and they need a lot of help right now with things like unemployment insurance, food relief, rent, keeping utilities on, and keeping themselves from getting frighteningly bored. Then again, any time I’m in public, work or not, and I see anyone with their mask under their nose, I want to fall down and have a seizure in protest for how angry I feel.

      I think you may have problems should anyone offer up a unicorn cake, very popular in the U.S., at your birthday. In fact, your brain may explode.

      I’m VERY glad you are okay and will keep thinking about you and your well being. You can’t stop me, sir.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I used to be a big cake fan, though I’m not sure I ever had a coloured sponge. These days mum makes me a fruit cake six months in advance for my birthday and that’s just about it.

      You’re a very nice person, Melanie and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear I tested negative. The rules apply to all essential workers crossing into WA , and are probably directed at fly-in mine workers, so truck drivers might just be collateral damage.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wait….does your mom freeze this cake? Or is she just super excited about her baby boy’s birthday? Moms are funny.

        Glad to hear about the negative test! I did not know you have fly-in mine workers. The mind boggles.


        • Most Australian mines are out in the desert. It’s cheaper for the companies to fly workers in on a one or two week rotation than it is to establish new towns. Workers commute from all over, even Thailand and Bali.

          Freezing? Heaven forfend! A properly made fruit cake needs six months to mature.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Okay, I actually laughed out loud thinking about how….uh….ripe…..that fruit cake is! 😂

            I also hadn’t considered how the mines would be so far away that it wouldn’t make sense for people to commute there, leaving the creation of a new town or flying people in the only options. You teach me cool new facts every day, facts I will surely apply to a Jeopardy! episode in the future (not me actually playing on the show, just me hollering answers at the TV).

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard so many good things about Mexican Gothic, so I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts! My university is currently trialling saliva tests for COVID instead of the current swab ones, and I’m enrolled on the study – having now had both types of test, I think that saliva tests should make things more endurable for people who have to keep getting tested every week (which is likely to include me if I’m ever allowed back at work). So that’s good news at least!


    • If I had to do the one that almost reaches my brain every week, I would literally consider quitting my job. I’ve done it and found it so invasive as to be traumatizing. Granted, the person doing it was maybe too aggressive or something, but still…. I’ll share my saliva!

      Mexican Gothic was quite a ride! It’s not the kind of book I picture you reading, though. Are you interested in horror/science fiction/historical fiction?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like historical fiction and science fiction, and sometimes I can cope okay with something that edges close to horror, though that really varies depending on what the horror elements are. I can cope fine with gore and not at all with vampires or demons.


  3. I’m sorry you had a rough week. I definitely get the “ugh mosquitos” thing – my family calls it death by a thousand cuts but it’s essentially the same thing. It looks like I missed your “Time to Ponder Books Post” so going to check that out ^__^


    • Oh, yes! I HAVE heard the expression “death by a thousand tiny cuts” before, and it felt like that this week. I worked on Saturday, which I typically enjoy because it adds something different to my schedule and Saturday patrons are easygoing. But already feeling like a spotty banana made my brain feel squishy! I came home and told my husband I was “pleasant af” — and I was, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Liz. It was SO crazy-busy at work this morning, but the good thing is patrons are coming back. They have a lot to do in the library, especially those seeking social services.


  4. Somehow it being August now has put me in a funk and got me feeling anxious about the fall.

    I am decidedly not a germaphobe but these past 5 months are definitely changing that. Never thought I’d be the mom who always carries hand sanitizer but here we are.


    • Yelling things like “DON’T TOUCH THAT DOOR!” and “OMG, I TOUCHED THE DOOR!” has become common with the Page family….

      I think you’re right about August! It feels goofy. I felt the same way — goofy and apprehensive — at the start of May, too. It’s like this image from Reddit, which came out in mid-July, entitled “Might as well get August started”:

      Liked by 1 person

      • In our house it might even be “DON’T LICK THAT DOOR!”

        I just can’t believe we’re in August and then also am dreading the fall and feeling like the summer is slipping by too quickly and wanting to do all the things but being afraid to do a lot of things.

        (I think that’s a gremlin in the photo? And you’re not supposed to get them wet? I thought it was a furby at first but maybe gremlin makes more sense.)


        • LOL! Okay, so perhaps you are not a movie love of a certain age. 😂😂😂 Yes, it’s a Gremlin, and the three rules are 1) no bright light because it hurts them, 2) don’t feed them after midnight, and 3) don’t get them wet (because then they multiple like crazy).

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think I’ve mentioned before that my parents were super strict about movies/TV/music. I’ve caught up on a lot as an adult but there are definitely still some gaps in my media education!!


            • I’ve got a few friends like that, I so probably forget you specifically were on that list. Honestly, it’s so weird to me that while your parents were paying attention, it feels like they deprived you of a lot of cultural touchstones. I may be 100% wrong, but when I mention something iconic like Conan the Barbarian and Jackie @ Death By Tsundoku looks at me funny, I just can’t believe it.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I don’t know if I feel deprived but it does leave some weird culture gaps! Some things I’ve caught up on as an adult but I know my experience is different than if I’d watched Saved by the Bell as a kid, you know? I tried Conan once but never made it through. Some things need to be seen in a certain window! Now that I’m a parent I think I understand that desire to shelter a bit better but I do hope to find a better balance.


                • There are two reasons I love Conan the Destroyer so much: 1) GRACE JONES IS A BOSS. 2) Whenever I would wake up in the middle of the night with a tummy ache or something, Conan the Destroyer ALWAYS seemed to be on TBS, no matter the hour. I think maybe I associate that movie with fun comfort.

                  The interesting thing about missing a lot of 90s culture is much of it was shallow. Everything from Sweet Valley High to Saved by the Bell are incredibly appearance-based on focus on the male gaze. Who’s a babe, who isn’t, who’s dating whom, etc.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • That sense of nostalgia makes sense to me! Like always watching The Price is Right when I was sick home from school!

                    Some of it is simply that we didn’t have a TV for a long time. So I’ve never really watched Sesame Street, even though I don’t think my parents would have been against that. Then when we got a TV we only got 3 channels (4 if the weather was right!) because we didn’t have cable.

                    Liked by 1 person

  5. The ugh mosquitoes have indeed been particularly bothersome this year. I’m sorry to hear the week was such an all-around dud and I hope this next week will go better for you. Our chat yesterday definitely improved my mood, and left me more excited to finish up my Mexican Gothic review- I’m looking forward to seeing your final thoughts on Thursday! And thank you for the compliment- funny that you referred to me as a peach when I was busy baking peach desserts this weekend! 🙂


    • I KNOW!!! The second you sent me that peach picture, I was thinking “WAIT A MINUTE…” lol. Talking to you made my day much better, too, and it was a great kick off to a new week. So far, I’ve going into this week with a better attitude and tried to be incredibly pleasant with a dose of somewhat funny.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It sounds like you’ve had a trying week, but you did manage to get some humor out of it, I think! And I’m with you on the people not contacting you. I just don’t know that anyone’s so busy right now they can’t get back to me, since we’re all stuck at home. It kind of makes me feel like they don’t think I’m that important. But I am glad you got cookies at work. I feel like baked goods go a long way towards making me feel better, in general. If you’re not sure about sharing, maybe you could buy a treat where everything comes individually wrapped?


    • This week is getting better. Life definitely feels like a sound wave right now, so I’m glad I’m on the uptick. I’m also keeping track of small things that made me happy this week as they happen in a draft so I don’t have to try and think of everything on Saturday when I typically write the Sunday Lowdown.

      So you have friends who aren’t reaching out first, too?? Ugh, why is that a thing? My blog friends are great at reaching out, but people I know in real life….

      I think that’s a splendid idea. There is a local bakery I want to support, and I’m going to ask the guy if he will wrap some cookies individually. I think he would for the business.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Excited to see your review of Mexican Gothic, and yes, I totally get the little mosquito bite thing. Because I don’t leave the house much these days, it’s typically my kids nagging me, and repeating things over and over again that puts me close to the edge. And then my husband does something dumb when he gets home from work and WATCH OUT! I have a temper that I inherited from my Dad, but i’m working on trying to breathe through it. That’s my Covid homework LOL


  8. Holy buckets! It’s been MONTHS since you didn’t add books to your TBR! Well done. Do you have any idea how big your TBR is now? Mine is huge and I just don’t ever feel like culling it. But I probably should… Not that I reference it all that often. XD

    I miss fancy coffee. I don’t get to consume much caffeine nowadays, as I have to be careful for Baby Skull Face Mercenary. I’m permitted 100-120 mg a day, which is 8oz of black coffee. Or a cup of M&Ms. Which baby often wants more than she wants me awake. We must make sacrifices. But in January I’ll be back to fancy coffee. That walnut coffee sounds delicious!

    I like that you opened your post with Pandemic Gratitude. I’ve been struggling with gratitude lately. Life is getting hard again. I wish I knew why. Pandemic fatigue? Perhaps. Who knows…


    • I have 527 books I want to read, according to Goodread. I might go through and shorten that list today; it’s pretty slow at work.

      Ah hahahaha, I think I’m with Baby Skull Face Mercenary on the M&Ms. Plus, the idea is that a cup of M&Ms has the same amount of caffeine as coffee, so it’s a better deal and she knows it.

      I have to look REALLY, REALLY hard to be grateful for anything these days. I read on Twitter that the reason so many people are adapting badly to the pandemic is because they are used to the world functioning how they want it to (privilege) and now the world isn’t working how they want it to. This is very new to so many people. I’m coming to terms with the fact that “normal” or anything resembling normal (erm, not wearing a mask? Seeing my family?) may be a long way down the road….

      Liked by 1 person

      • I read this comment and then got lost in a huge internet rabbit hole seeking this article: Surge Capacity. I read it last week and it really resonated with me. It’s been so hard to be grateful. Or positive, honestly. I’m not one who typically has anxiety or depression, but I definitely have some symptoms of something like this now. It’s… not good.

        And then I ate a cup of Peanut M&Ms. XD


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