Sunday Lowdown #134


You may notice this post is going out Sunday night rather than the usual morning hours. It’s been a long, long week. Because the bakery where I work now is short staffed, I was scheduled for 40 hours because school hasn’t yet started. That’s 40 hours standing on a cement floor. I don’t know how the other employees do it. Each night I would hobble into the house and conduct Nick like a one-man orchestra on what needed done and how. Friday after work I had orientation at my new school, Goshen College. I definitely ugly cried in my car right before I went inside because my feet killed, which was not great because I had to do a rapid covid test and get my ID photo. Both came out fine. No, it was not the brain-checker covid test; I sent an email to find out first.

Then I got home, hobbled upstairs and cried some more because I was so tired and didn’t have things done that needed to be done, like wrapping my nephew’s birthday present, before we left early Saturday morning for Mt. Pleasant. We have not been to my home town since mid-March of 2020, meaning I haven’t seen my brother or his wife since then. We swam at my parents’ house and had three-birthday cake and ice cream (Biscuit, my sister-in-law, and nephew were all born in August), and then four of us adults — my spouse, brother, sister-in-law, and I — watched Terrifier at night, in the dark, in their garage. My brother couldn’t seem to describe the movie as torture porn horror vs. really gory horror, so we all had to watch it together. Since the movie was not free on Amazon Prime, commercials for peanut butter and under-eye makeup kept coming on, which was rather funny. Meanwhile, my brother’s new dog kept trying to eat the shoes right off my feet.

I just got home and am now typing this because I didn’t have time yesterday! I’m behind on reading blog posts, reading comments, reading emails, reading for book club. Just behind in general. Tomorrow is the first day of classes, so I’m going to spend time checking out the campus and finding the important stuff, like the library, and will catch up on everything.


A number of you had questions about MEAN Little deaf Queer by Terry Galloway, and they were good questions, too, ones that pertained to the author’s personality. As a result of reviewing a memoir, one I don’t particularly agree with, I know I seemed wishy washy in my feelings about it. The challenge with memoirs is reviewers should evaluate the quality of the work, not the facts and feelings of the author’s life.

The last book in Mercedes Lackey’s Herald Spy trilogy took on a different angle and pacing compared to other books featuring the same cast of characters. To be honest, I haven’t read comments from my review yet, so I have no idea what you all have said, but I do hope a couple of folks answered the discussion question for Closer to the Chest.


A paranormal erotica author and a literary award-winning author meet up at a conference where attendees have no clue these two writers knew each other back when they were just old enough to change each other’s lives forever. Review of Seven Days in June by Tia Williams on Tuesday.

Who is Beth Gilstrap? Writer, editor, educator, weirdo? Come back on Thursday for my latest Meet the Writer feature.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 242
Owned Books on TBR Today: 210

No new books added to TBR this week.


  1. Sorry to hear you’ve had such a busy week – I hope that the start of classes comes along with a general let-up of your workload! That issue of reviewing the quality of a memoir vs the author’s personality is such a difficult one, because so much of memoir is about voice and perspective, and if you don’t enjoy that, you won’t enjoy the book.

    By the way, I’m not sure if there’s something up with the permissions on this post, but it’s not showing up in my reader – I only realised you’d posted because I got an email alert.


    • I wonder if the post came up funny because I shared it the second I was done instead of scheduling it like I normally do.

      I’m happy to review a memoir writer’s tone and perspective, especially if it seems like that person is leaving information out or attempting to make him/herself look more innocent, etc. But I try not to judge things they’ve done. I will comment that if the writer has repeatedly done questionable things, the book can become emotionally exhausting! I start to wonder why it wasn’t a more balanced book.


  2. I’m sorry to hear it’s been such a rough week. Glad to hear you got to have some good family time though. Lots of good wishes your way as you start classes and adjust to a new schedule.

    Like Lou, this post didn’t show up in my WordPress reader either. Not sure why. I came directly to your site when I realized there was no Sunday morning post from you (you’re usually like clockwork!) and I wanted to make sure you were still alive! Glad you are!


    • My posts always go out at 6AM on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday! I am like clockwork, and I appreciate that you checked on me ❤ ❤ ❤

      I hit "publish" right when I was done, so I'm wondering if that affects the reader?

      Liked by 1 person

        • I get ahead enough that I have blog posts scheduled. In the past, I’ve posted more randomly with the goal of one post per week, even if that meant Monday of one week and Friday of the following week (which is almost two weeks apart). That was back when I was an adjunct instructor. Since I stopped teaching, I’ve thought of Grab the Lapels as a job, and that it takes precedent over other things. Fortunately, we’re financially secure and can do that.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I used to have a very loose plan of Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, but I didn’t worry about keeping strictly to it, as all sorts of things would happen (an event to write up, a slow book, etc etc) but in the last 18 mths things went so astray with my parents – time and emotion wise – there is now no routine really, except Mondays. But, I am always thinking of it, ha ha! I like that you think of GTL as a job – an enjoyable one I hope.


              • Haha Melanie, I reckon hobbies are more important than jobs. They are OUR choice and what keeps us sane. But then I’m an Aussie and I think we have a more positive attitude to leisure!!!


                • YOU GUYS TOTALLY DO! Statistically, Americans don’t even use the vacation time we’re given through our employers. I think part of that is that when we go on vacation, in many jobs no one is helping us with our work, so when we come back there’s just a massive pile of stuff to catch up on, which can be MORE stressful than just not vacationing.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • That happens a bit here too… And Aussies are working more and more hours according to stats… But I suspect (though I’m out of touch a bit with the increasing gig economy) that we have stronger work regulations to enforce breaks.

                    Liked by 1 person

  3. That sounds very overloading! I had two weeks where I worked 45+ paid hours mainly transcribing per week and I got behind with everything. At the moment, I’ve still not prepared the office/guest room for my guest on Friday or written my cousin’s birthday card, if that helps?!


  4. My days are 12 hours ahead of yours but coming home from a trip on Monday I was wondering why I hadn’t seen Sunday Lowdown and trying to remember when it usually arrived (latish Sunday my time, I think) and was planning what I would write to you to see if you were ok, but by the time I got home it was there (and I was ready for bed, so here I am today). You should be a truck driver and do your work sitting down, though I have to stop and unstiffen every couple of hours or I’d be stuck in the cab.
    Glad you got to go home (and watch a horror movie ! Not my cup of tea). Hope Nick managed to cheer you up after your long day – maybe it was his turn to read to you.


    • I’m feeling warm and squishy that so many people immediately wondered where I was and came directly to my site to check on me. You guys are all amazing, kind people.

      I thought truck drivers also had to be careful about getting out to walk around so you don’t get blood clots. Maybe I’m thinking of pregnant ladies, not sure.

      I wasn’t dispirited after my long day; I was quite happy. However, I was drop-dead exhausted and just needed everything to stop! I can’t wait to write about the first day of school in my next Sunday Lowdown. It was a doozy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I had in my mind to look for the post too, as I try to, but life ended up being busy – writing my two F*ck Covid event posts and trying to finish my book for reading group last night – so I didn’t check until now. I’m glad now that I didn’t!


      • Thank you for looking, Sue! I still don’t know why my post didn’t appear in anyone’s WordPress Reader Feed. Or maybe it just didn’t appear when they thought it would? I’m not sure what happened there…


        • I don’t use Reader. Hate Reader. I just use email (with a n automatic filter into a blog post folder). I know some people hate emails, but I prefer to reduce the number of places I go to for communications. The trouble is that some days I don’t get to check that folder. I usually look for yours Sunday evening our time but last sunday I didn’t look in the folder at all! When I get behind I sort on “FROM” to look for specific people I’m expecting (like your Lowdown) or wondering if they’ve posted (like Bill).


  5. I can totally empathize with you. Having to be on your feet all day – I know everything that makes up my body would hurt. I’ve come home and cried out of pure aching exhaustion more than once. But it sounds like you had a wonderful weekend even with those annoying commercials 😊


  6. I’m not surprised there were no new books added to the TBR this week. You were way too busy.

    I loved that the test was “not the brain-checker covid test; I sent an email to find out first”. But, what would you you have done if it had been.

    And oh, I feel for your poor feet. As someone who suffered badly from sore feet for years doing just ordinary office/library/archive work – please Mr Gums, would you massage my feet – I too can’t understand how workers can spend all that time on concrete floors. I’d be crying too. I now have orthotics. They help but I still couldn’t do that!

    And, yes, agree about memoirs. Reviewers should not be “judging” the person but talking about how they’ve told their story, and perhaps the value of telling that story for the rest of us. Have they added to our body or knowledge, or ability to understand where others are coming from?


    • I don’t think I even read that much the past week. I’ve been hacking away at the same silly romance novel that’s only about 250 pages for ages.

      If it had been the “gold standard” test, I would have asked if I could do a different version of the test off campus and send in the results, or something like that. When the pandemic started, there was ONLY the gold standard test, so I keep forgetting that it’s harder to do and that the spit or shallow swab tests are now everywhere.

      This week I got on my regular schedule of working MWF from 8:00-3:30, with a break from 11:30-1:00 for class. So far, it’s made a huge difference. I think my feet will be okay, but there was definitely a lot of “rub my feet!” last week.

      I know it can be hard to review a memoir because sometimes it’s so easy to hate a writer whose past includes things we wouldn’t do or say, or perhaps the person seems “weak” (a concept that, the more I age, just seems like bullying rather than a standard of how to be).


      • Sounds like a workable schedule, Melanie. I don’t think the non-gold standard tests are common here yet but there’s a lot of talk about options for Covid-safe working.

        I guess I find it really hard to “hate” writers. I might think I wouldn’t like them sometimes but hate, invective, insult are things I try to avoid. There but for the grace of god, another man’s shoes, etc, plus just plain respecting their honesty in revealing themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I totally understood your ugly crying, I can feel that way too. Overwhelmed, and when your body is hurting, it makes everything seem so much worse, and unbearable. I don’t think I could stand on a concrete floor for 40 hours right now, I would cry too. I had to stand in jobs as a teenager and my feet would hurt before I got used to it, and that was 20 years ago, so I’d probably just collapse now LOL. From what I do recall though, your feet will get used to it, it just takes some adjustment. Hopefully you won’t have to work that many hours regularly though…


    • I was wondering if it’s something people get used to. Do your feet just need to “toughen up”? Is there some kind of muscles or tendons that we’re not typically using? I’ve also read that some people change their shoes half way through a shift because the padding inside the shoe compresses.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m just guessing, but it probably has to do with the muscles in your legs more as well. Changing your shoes is a great idea! And wearing sturdy, supportive ones like running shoes in the first place 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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