Sunday Lowdown #135

this week’s stand-out moments

The first day of school finally arrived. I am taking American Sign Language (ASL) 3 MWF. Goshen College has a mask mandate, but in ASL, we need to see faces. Thus, we were all given face shields. This was me waiting before class on the first day:

First person admitted to the Adult Transition to Interpreting program!

I was super nervous because I tested into ASL 3, skipping two semesters of instruction with this professor whom almost everyone else in the room had last year. I wasn’t sure what the structure of the course would be (some ASL teachers use a screen and type in English as needed, but others make gestures until you get it). I felt so lost. I mainly caught that she lives on a Christmas tree farm and has some goats. Then something something something videos? Not! Helpful!

Thankfully, the ASL 1 course met directly afterward, so I stayed for that. The professor had an interpreter, which was great, except he didn’t project as he spoke, and LOL, I’m hard of hearing. Afterward, feeling quite stupid, I ran off to the registrar’s office and dropped ASL 3 to sign up for ASL 1. There, I thought. I made a decision.

Did I mention a train runs right through campus? Me on one side, I hadn’t eaten or drank anything in eight hours, my car on the other. Also, my phone has no service in Goshen and I couldn’t get on the Wi-Fi because there is a special set up for it, which I couldn’t do because no service to Google the instructions. I kept sending poor Nick text messages while crying, holding my phone toward the sky hoping that’s still a thing that helps. I made my way to a Culver’s fast food restaurant where I sad-girl ate ice cream. While there, I got on the Wi-fi and saw an email from my ASL professor, saying she thinks I should stay in 3, and that no one knows all the vocab. I got the registrar back on the phone and changed classes. Again.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I stay home, so I whipped out my old vocab and got to studying. I looked up how to sign words I should know, like HOMEWORK and COLLEGE and COVID. I felt way more confident in class on Wednesday, and once we got into things, I realized I was often the only one laughing at the professor’s funny moments. Is it possible I know way more than the others? Or that I understand adult humor that these lovely teens cannot yet appreciate? Maybe I’ve been reading The Bonfires of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe with Biscuit for too long, but I kept silently calling myself a “Master of the Universe.”

However, my schedule at the bakery is designed to “hug” my classes. I head there at 8:00AM, leave for my class, then go directly back to the bakery. Remember that train? Yeah. On Wednesday it was stuck on the track for over 40 minutes. I wasn’t separated from my car, but I was separated from the bakery.

Me. Waiting. Forever.

At the bakery, I help with closing. We’re scheduled until 3:30PM, which isn’t bad. But it was taking us until 4:10 to finish. And then it crept to 4:30. And on Friday, we didn’t get out until almost 5:00. I am not happy about this. I have a sneaking suspicion that either the closing duties change based on whether the cake decorator has some big projects that day, so there’s more to clean . . . or that my coworkers might be stretching out their tasks so they get more hours. By the time I left and made the 45-minute drive home, which took an hour due to construction and Labor Day Weekend traffic, I was hopping mad. I’ll have to think more about this “job for fun” business.


Well, another thing that’s got me worried about working at the bakery is I’ve become slow to respond on my blog and read other’s posts. I spent three hours on Tuesday reading comments and your blogs. Chances are good I was drinking coffee, flossing, brushing my teeth, or hopping into my clothes while reading your reviews. Plus, there seems to have been an issue with my last Sunday Lowdown because I wrote it late Sunday and hit “publish” rather than scheduling it, which prevented my post from appearing in some people’s WordPress Reader. Thankfully, I’m scheduled out for several weeks and got out a review and interview like clockwork. I do see that my cushion is getting smaller, though . . .

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams sounds like a romance, and as Karissa pointed out, looks like nonfiction about Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd protests from June 2020! I would call it more an examination of fiction genres, treatment of writers, and how to navigate a relationship by creating boundaries. The audio was an especial treat.

Beth Gilstrap is a short story writer you may want to check out. She notes that writing has helped her survive and goes back to her elementary school days to discuss her creative life. Her answers were shorter than most authors’, but Gilstrap makes a memorable impression.


I’ve been watching so many slasher movies, so why not listen to a slasher novel? Security by Gina Wohlsdorf takes place in an elite hotel that’s about to open, but unbeknownst to the staff working hard to get things ship shape, a killer in a Michael Myers mask and jumpsuit (speed suit? mechanic’s onsie?) is on the loose. Review Tuesday.

I haven’t read a short story collection in ages, so I figured I’d pick up Mothers, Tell Your Daughters by Bonnie Jo Campbell. This is a book I bought at the author’s launch party . . . in 2015. I went in with high expectations thanks to my love of Campbell’s novel, Once Upon a River. Oh, and if you’re feeling quite pissed about Texas and abortion, please do pick up Once Upon a River as soon as possible. Review Thursday.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 242
Owned Books on TBR Today: 209

Thank you to Bill @ The Australian Legend and Tessa @ Tessa Talks Books for their recommendations.


  1. I’m sure An I-Novel will be a treat. You’re kinder about your teenage classmates than I was when I had my fifth go at getting a degree at 30 (accountancy which I both enjoyed and completed). They really were wet behind the ears.


    • I worked with that age group for 11 years, so I understand how that age group can change drastically over the years, especially as tech tools change. They have more empathy, I think, in many ways. But yes, they’re super new as adult humans, too.


  2. Ooh, I love the cover of Mothers, tell your daughters.

    You made me laugh so much – I hope that’s ok – regarding your Level 3 – 1- 3 changes. I can relate so much to that thinking.

    I can also relate to “Is it possible I know way more than the others? Or that I understand adult humor that these lovely teens cannot yet appreciate?” It could be the first, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were also at least partly the second. I can’t tell you how many times I laugh at the movies when no-one else does. Does no-one else see the absurd or the ridiculous (that I’m sure the director is wanting us to see, or, am I really weird?)

    Good luck with deciding about the bakery job.


    • That’s okay that you laughed, Sue. Many times it’s the challenging “WHY ME?!” situations that are funniest because we can relate to them so well.

      I definitely laugh at weird times in movies. Something will tickle me just right, even the sound of a word and how great that diction choice was for that very moment. Other times, like when I’m watching a horror movie, I laugh when right after something scares me, which I know lots of people do, but non-horror folks don’t quite get it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good morning! As I am out walking the dogs this beautiful Michigan morning I am pondering if my sweet over achieving daughter plans to chill today. I seriously doubt it. If I remember correctly some little Biscuit suggested you might just go to school this time. No worries. I know you are up for the challenge and you will successfully master this bc you are the master of the universe to me!! ♥️♥️

    Tonight we finish The Bonfire of the Vanities. I’m really ready to discover how all these scoundrels shake out. There are so many unlikable characters. Right now my most likable character is the suspect of a hit and run of an African American kid! Yikes! 😳😳 ~B


    • You know, you’re not wrong. It’s hard because when I think of all the extra time I’d have with no job, I get panicky. But when I think about how my MWF is eaten up by work-related stuff, including leaving the house at 7:00AM and then taking a shower that night at 8:00PM because I don’t have time to take showers in the morning, I know you’re totally right. The only question, then, is if I decide to not do the bakery anymore, how to tell them. I could give two weeks’ notice, but I only get a schedule one week at a time, so do they even need a two weeks’ notice? Plus, I’ve only been there a week-and-a-half, so I feel like a wimp. I was also telling Nick that if I want to go to the college library or anything while I’m in Goshen the city I can’t because I go back to work right after class. Of course, I could drive back the next day, but that’s 45 minutes one way — again — just to keep a job. Any advice is welcome. 😐


  4. Ah, the train thing sounds so frustrating! And it’s terrible and funny how seemingly simple things like wifi can really ruin your day. Glad you got your class sorted and that the prof encouraged you to stay put!


    • I guess Goshen has some sort of train hub, too, which means that trains are often stopped there. It’s just that I didn’t think they often stopped on the campus like that. I wonder if there was an accident or something in the way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Curious to know if you’d like to (on your own, privately) explore what about “free time” makes you nervous? Might be worth journaling about.

    That train sounds like a real pain in the butt! I’m proud of you for sining up for the level 3 class again!! Good job!


    • I watched the movie Sound of Metal in which a heavy metal drummer suddenly loses most of his hearing. He’s told that if he doesn’t stop exposing himself to loud noises, he’ll lose all of it. The drummer is an addict on the mend, so metal is all he has. He keeps drumming and goes completely deaf. He ends up in a Deaf retreat/addict community where he learns to sign, but all he wants is to save up enough money to buy a cochlear implant so he can get back to drumming. The man who runs the place has the drummer sitting in room that contains nothing but a beautiful view of the woods, a table, chair, paper, pens, and a cup of coffee. He tells the drummer to write, write whatever, write nonsense, it doesn’t matter, but when the drummer can get to the day when he doesn’t have to writer anymore, and when he’s not writing his mind is not running, that he’s just peaceful, well, that’s being in the kingdom of heaven. I keep thinking of that. Could I sit in a room and not do anything, just “be” without stress. The answer right now is “no,” so I wonder, now that you’ve mentioned it, if writing until I don’t have to write anymore would help me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope you enjoy The Family Plot. It’s a very creepy cool story, I think. I saw a trailer for a movie coming out soon – Malignant- and thought of our horror movie conversation. That’s a movie that would keep me up for many nights. 😱. I’m glad you ended up sticking with ASL 3. It sounds like the level you truly belong at. Hope this week you find a better balance!


    • I keep hearing about Malignant, but these days I’m so confused about where a movie is coming out! Is it Netflix? Shudder? Theaters? Sometimes I see that a movie is released via theater and streaming, but streaming where?? SO CONFUSED.

      I’m really exciting about The Family Plot. I just got a notification this morning that it’s ready, but I’m already an hour into the new Jenna McMahon, The Drowning Kind. I’ve never read her before, but I’m finding the audiobook easy to follow along with while driving.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad you are feeling more confident in class now (though sorry to hear that your first day was so stressful)! It seems likely that you just get more of the jokes than the teenagers do – I definitely notice that when I’m teaching, I make some jokes that only the mature students laugh at and not the teenagers.


    • I keep thinking about the conversation we had last time we video chatted, about how invaluable you find interpreters. I hold on to that, and it encourages me.

      I’m working really, really hard to not be the “back in my day” person, but it happens so easily. I don’t even mean to do it. For instance, I asked a classmate if students exchange phone numbers or if they have the school email linked to their smart phone and get messages instantly. She looked at me like I was a puzzle, so I had to explain smart phones didn’t exist when I was in college. We didn’t even have slide out keyboards yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m sorry that you had a rough start back to school. I’m glad things ended up turning out okay though. Sounds to me that you probably know more than the other students. It kind of seems like your job-for-fun might not be all that fun. D: Maybe focusing on school and structuring your time at home differently might help? I know you said you don’t do good with unstructured time but maybe you could make up something that works for you. I don’t know, I’m just spit ballin’ here. 🙂


  9. I’m afraid I’m always thrilled by images of trains going through towns, we just don’t have that here (well, the occasional level crossing but not really like this). But it sounds like a pain, too. Hope the classes and work settle down and you feel more comfortable soon. I am behind with my blogs because I went to a music festival on Friday and Saturday!


    • When I think “Train! Cool!” I’m usually picturing the sleek trains they have in South Korea, for example. If you’ve ever seen a 1980s American movie that shows trains in a city, and they have spray paint all over them and they’re a sad darker color, that’s what the trains still look like.

      I hope you had fun at the music fest and that it wasn’t blazing hot!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am feeling quite pissed about the abortion stuff in Texas – what a nightmare!!! Ugh it makes me so angry.

    Your story of your first day at school made me laugh, but I’m sorry you had to go through all that. How annoying, especially that effing train. Geez. That’s nice that they called you and convinced you to stay, I bet you do know more than most people in that class, and it will only get easier the longer you take it. We all get those first day willies 🙂


    • When I was teaching, I tried so hard to make the first day sound as low-stress as possible, that if they stumble, I’ve got their back, and if I can’t have their back, there are resources. I also talked about accountability and how to be organized and what to expect, etc. I forgot, however, that language classes often make you purposely feel lost right away so you feel like a native speaker who doesn’t know English — being in the other person’s shoes, essentially. I’m not sure how effective that approach is, to be honest. Maybe tell students that’s what you’re doing and then do it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s been awhile since I took a class, but I always felt lost those first few weeks, like I was trying to catch up to something I didn’t realize I had fallen behind in? I told myself that every person was probably feeling the same way…

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Sorry that things got off to a rough start with school and the bakery. I’m glad that things took a turn for the better with school at least. ❤ Hopefully things will improve with the bakery soon also. 🙂
    – Sugar


      • Thanks for asking. ❤ I actually did not end up starting the graphic design classes I was initially planning to do due to a bunch of drama with the process to get it going and decided to take a step back and reevaluate my priorities career-wise. The graphic design classes would be great, but the degree I'd have gotten was either not enough or not necessary for any of the avenues in that field I would want to pursue personally. Thank you for asking though! 🙂 I was actually just recommended to apply for a leadership academy that my work will pay for, and pay for travel, etc. so I've submitted an application for that and we'll see how it goes. 🙂


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