Sunday Lowdown #94


I mean…. do I have to? Like my brother says, we’re not six feet under. Yet. Though they have moved in the refrigerator trucks at the local hospital. The United States isn’t really giving COVID-19 health guidelines the old college try, you know what I mean? Indiana went from free-for-all gatherings to “keep it to twenty-five people.” Twenty-five? The local health department guy says that if you’re in a group of ten people in my county, there’s a 40% chance someone has COVID-19 (I would cite this, but Dr. Mark Fox said it on the TV news, and I can’t find the video).

And yet everyone has COVID fatigue. We’re getting lax. People are ready to travel for Thanksgiving. Nick and I will be at home. Alone. Together. We’ll put up my lil Christmas tree and that will be that. Well, and some food. I’ll share food photos next Sunday, but you know I’m not cooking some big-ass bird for two people. Is it salty in here, or is it just me? If only COVID-19 wasn’t going on for so long….

Okay, this section is supposed to about gratitude, right? 1) Not dead. We covered that. 2) I rode a purple dinosaur until I felt a tiny bit happy. It’s not far from my house, but I didn’t know this dino existed. But I also had to try and not to think about how warm it was. In November. You know. Climate change. Maybe the weather was trying to make me really feel like I was in Australia for AusReading Month. (It’s summer there, American friends).

Gratitude. Okay. Check. ☑️ Moving on.


I shared two posts for Brona’s AusReading Month, and both have added to my understanding of the third book I’m reading, so bonus. I suppose knowledge is cumulative. I reviewed Hearing Maud by Jessica White, a hybrid-memoir by a deaf Australian woman. Thanks to Bill @ The Australian Legend, I emailed White and have set up a Meet the Writer feature, so I hope to post that before November is over.

I also reviewed Unconventional Means by Anne Richardson Williams, with stories by Lorraine Mafi-Williams. This book is a diary by a white American woman whose adult spiritual yearnings and tenuous literary connection with an Australian author she read as a teen takes her to the continent “down under” to interview and travel with an Aboriginal Elder, Mafi-Williams.


Too Much Lip by indigenous Australian author by Melissa Lucashenko is a multi-award-winning novel that I know Bill despised, but the other Aussie bloggers in his comments praised it. Kerry is an Aboriginal woman in her thirties with a record and a girlfriend who just got sentences to five years in prison. When Kerry gets word that her grandfather is dying, she heads home to the small town she left decades ago, only to get all tangled up in it again when a corrupt mayor tries to sell Kerry’s grandmother’s island in order to build a prison, family members pop up out of the wood work, and a white guy from high school keeps trying to take her out on a date. There’s also a “pig dog,” whatever that is. Review Tuesday.

Thursday has two options right now: I’ve scheduled Swamp Bones by Kathy Reichs, an audiobook novella not set in Australia nor by an Australian. However, if I get Jessica White’s Meet the Writer interview back before then, I’ll schedule her instead to stick with AusReading Month a little more closely. I don’t like to give author’s deadlines when I’m not paying them.



  1. Haha, Melanie … loved the pic of you riding the pink dinosaur. You go girl.

    I will try to look out for your review of Too much lip. Does its rather vernacular style translate? I wait with bated breath.

    As for COVID fatigue. Don’t we all? Except over here where I live, our restrictions are light, but it has seriously impinged on my ability to see my melbourne family, and in fact to go anywhere because with my father in aged care I have to be careful about visiting hot spots. If I do, I can’t see him for two weeks and that’s just not on. However, I can understand it’s worse for you because there’s been no coherent guidance and I think that is truly fatiguing. Some might have hated some of the restrictions here, but there’s been vision, information, and something to strive for. I think that helps the fatigue and reduces the frustration.

    Anyhow, happy thanksgiving whatever you do!


  2. What Sue (WG) said! I didn’t really despise Too Much Lip, I just thought it wasn’t worthy of being our best novel of the year. I think the judges feel they need to tick boxes and this year it was Indigenous.
    I don’t know my dog breeds but a pig dog is a dog for hunting pigs. They are big, untamed and have a bite like a crocodile. Two more things for you to worry about in Australia – huge feral pigs, and the dogs that bring them down.
    Enjoy your Thanksgiving. I have to wait till Dec 25 for my family feast.


    • I re-read your review a couple of times, and it seemed fairly heated! Perhaps that heat was coming from your disappointment that this wasn’t the best book. While I didn’t love the ending, I think it has a lot of great elements going for it. I just finished it last night around 11:30 and need to write my review today.

      Okay, definitely adding feral pigs and feral pig hunting dogs to my list *gulp* Also, there was a shark in the river in Too Much Lip, so I’ve also added river sharks. Of course, none of this prevents me from imagining Nick and I travelling to Australia to meet you and Milly someday.


  3. I’m grateful for Google meet Thanksgiving dinner with my two favorite Hoosiers. I’m looking forward to it. I cried yesterday bc the girls reminded me Nick always puts the Christmas tree topper ribbon on the tree for me and you guys won’t be here for it. They said it will be different but their mommy or daddy will stand in for him until next time. 😭😭😭😭


  4. It must be so bloody frustrating and disheartening to be doing all the COVID-safe things and have others around doing NOTHING. Our lockdown in Melbourne was brutal but it worked… seems that it’s the kind of thing that you can’t have half measures for. Hope you are able to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas – at least it will be memorable!


    • In my city people are putting up their Christmas decorations now and in a big way. I read a news article about a local landscaping company that is usually slow in the winter decided to start offering holiday lighting services. They take photos of your home, design lights, and then you can alter the design based on preference and budget. People are already doing this, claiming they want to cheer their neighbors up. I LOVE IT.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds interesting! I came across Eartheater when I was checking new library books for accuracy. It’s billed as a sort of detective novel, but the main character eats dirt to get insight into crimes, so I also threw it on my monthly fantasy newsletter list.


  5. That dinosaur looks so fun! Pearl would love it! The COVID fatigue is real. We are entering our third week of lockdown (no social gatherings outside your household) and it’s hard, though I’m glad at least something is being done to stop the spread in our province. I’m sorry you won’t get Thanksgiving with your family. I hope you and Nick are able to celebrate at least a bit.


  6. Covid going on this long is definitely exhausting. It’s so frustrating to think that if people would’ve just taken precautions to begin with we might have put it behind us a long time ago. But we can only do our own part, I guess. The purple dino looks like a good find, at least! I hope Thanksgiving will help bring some extra cheer to your week. Even without cooking a whole bird and seeing everyone in person, good food can be a serious mood boost! The big family gathering is off for me too, but I will definitely be eating well on Thursday, and I hope you and Nick will get to, too! 🙂


  7. Covid finally hit my family, and it’s awful. One of my close family members is in the hospital, and several others have symptoms. We had cancelled our Thanksgiving gathering with them before anyone had symptoms.

    Great picture on the dinosaur! The warmth at this time of year is disturbing, but I’m enjoying it. Being outside (I’m planting bulbs) is the distraction I need right now.


    • I’m sorry to hear that covid has hit so close to home for you. Every morning when I watch the news, they show the footage of the cramped airports. I was surprised by the woman with a mask yelling at the man with no mask, because all I could think was, “Lady, you’re at the airport. You’re both wrong.”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Please tell me you’re reading Oliver Twist aloud because we recently read Take a Thief. XD That would make my heart super happy.

    I’m also happy you wrapped up your pandemic gratitude section with some proper gratitude. It’s going to get harder as we move into Winter. Have you thought about how you’ll keep yourself uplifted throughout all this? I know that’s my biggest challenge right now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I AM! And because the theater at which I worked did Oliver Twist last summer, I have the song “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket” stuck in my head quite a bit.

      While at first I tried to be grateful by looking for things, lately, it’s pretty much whatever falls in my lap. I thought looking would be smart; you know, more of an active participant in my happiness. But some days, IT JUST AIN’T HAPPENIN’.

      Liked by 1 person

      • For what it’s worth, I keep a gratitude journal. I find that really helps me keep perspective. And, most days, it separates the days into distinct days rather than a smudge of time. I love it. There’s an app for that (duh), but if you don’t want to pay for it (it’s called the 5 Minute Journal), there are plenty of free ways to do this. Prompts and questions and the like. I’m going to do my best to keep that going this winter.

        I will admit, I’m a bit worried about winter. I hope I can keep my chin up throughout!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Our Thanksgiving was in early October before Toronto was back a lockdown state but we still “celebrated” Covid-style anyway. Just the pair of us with some good food and we did pull out the winter lights on November 1st but didn’t get them strung around (we have them indoors, more for cheer than anything, and take them down on the spring equinox–a family tradition that incites substantial mocking) until later in November. Hopefully you’ve been able to visit your new dino friend for some rocking fun.


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