Sunday Lowdown #139


In the past week I’ve felt quite proud with how much I studied for ASL and the fruit it bore. I ended up helping my group (we’re assigned a new small group each unit) learn more about everyday rules and fact sharing. However, for reasons unknown my anxiety was super high this week. I could not pinpoint a reason, but that happens sometimes when you have chronic anxiety. I had to work with the shakes, and on Wednesday I even teared up a tiny bit before class before I reeled it in. One thing to remember about deaf people is they are so visually oriented that they miss little, so I ended up needing to explain to my teacher that I am happy, but my brain thinks something wants to kill me because she was concerned I was upset.

Thursday I did a presentation in Deaf Culture class on George M. Teegarden, a Deaf teacher, writer, editor, and printer who was born in 1852. He taught deaf children in Pennsylvania for 48 years. Many students presented that night, and due to the number of students, social-distancing restrictions, and the fairly small size of classrooms at my college, we meet on Zoom. Just before it was my turn, a fat, lazy fly was bopping around the room. 😐 What the heck? And then, a bee started making dive bombs at my head. 😐😐 I can assure you I don’t typically live in a buggy residence! And then my cat started jumping at the fly. 😐😐😐 Meanwhile, my professor has noticed all this and asked if I was okay. I muted my mic and video and had Nick try to chase down at least the bee. For our presentations, we were supposed to share our screen and use a PowerPoint, but thanks to my new/used laptop, the settings were all wrong and wanted to restart completely to update before I could screen share. 😐😐😐😐 The entire time I was presenting for 30% of my total grade, Nick was standing just off to my left, off camera, with a flip flop in hand, waiting for the bee to land so he could destroy it. 😐😐😐😐😐 You guys. OMG.


Everyone seemed rather intrigued by She Killed Him First by S.M. Reine, though understandably some folks wouldn’t be comfortable reading a story that is so deeply representative of much that is terrible about the U.S., especially as it relates to children. If you are interested and able, please grab a copy. Reine is a compelling author.

I’m quite gleeful about how fresh yet familiar The Hills Have Spies by Mercedes Lackey was. A few commenters stated that they are getting more convinced that they might want to check out the Valdemar series! If you have any questions about where to start — I know it’s a big series, but it is broken down into trilogies for the most part — let me know! Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku is still reading along with me, but the first year of motherhood, a endless house renovation, and working from home for eighteen months has been a lot, so you may not see reviews from her as regularly. Please know she is very much the other half of #ReadingValdemar.


On Tuesday I have a gentle “horror” novel to share with you. The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon is a classic sort of haunted but not haunting novel perfect for those of you who want to get into Halloween spookies but avoid all the knife-wielding maniacs or solider werewolves or German vampires on airplanes.

Thursday is totally different. Biscuit and I read a historical fiction novel about an era of change in American religion: The Great Awakening. Hooboy! Spider in a Tree by Susan Stinson was certainly contained new information for us!


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 242
Owned Books on TBR Today: 207

Thanks to Shell @ Books by the Cup, Anne @ I’ve Read That, and Tessa @ Tessa Talks Books for their recommendations, and to Beth Gilstrap for sending me a reviewer copy of her new collection.


  1. With questions regarding screen sharing answered and the presentation begun, I stood to the side with nothing better than my sandal to work with. I watched, and I waited. Once or twice I did see my foe lazily buzz about the room, swerving away before it came near me, almost teasing me. It knew I was hunting it and it knew that only through luck or its own negligence would I have a chance to strike. I watched, and I waited. I lost track of the bug, found it again, lost it again. Then two things happened. First, I noticed the sharp eyes of the cat following the bug without fail. Next, I began to channel my inner abuela. The cat’s eyes saw the bug land nearby and I let my chancla fly. Whap! Buzzing menace was no more, it’s last thought surely that it should not have underestimated the eyes of the cat, my patience, and la chancla.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh goodness, your presentation, what a nightmare! Well done for coping at all! My husband was in a mid-level important meeting the other day when one of our cats backed up towards his lovely high-definition webcam, tail up, showing everyone his arse. Hooray!

    I’ve been super-anxious as my husband has slipped into diabetes from pre-diabetes, and he was going stressed about it until he manage to talk to the doctor (and he has a nurse appointment tomorrow, even better). He’s fine and of course really no different, but it’s worried me and how I can keep an eye on him etc.

    Anyway, good acquisitions, good reads, and good work explaining things to your classmates and tutor. I hope things ease this week for you.


    • Awww, kitty just wanted everyone to appreciate his asterisk! LOL, cats are so naughty most of the time.

      I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s new diagnosis. Did he recently have a blood test, or is he not feeling well, or both? I know the A1C test is examined on a range.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you – he had his regular blood tests (we both missed one so have gone 18 months – mine were fine but they didn’t do much of a range of them) and he has gone over their arbitrary level for what is diabetes and what is not. Nurse appointment had been done wrong but it’s rebooked for next week …


        • That IS a frazzling situation. I hope you are able to copy okay. Today I was having terrible anxiety, and I read that one of the ways to deal with pervasive brain-fog sort of anxiety is to admit it exists, note that it sucks, and stop trying to work around it. So I watched a horror documentary instead and waited for the spouse to get home. I never thought “stop trying” could be a solution, but there you have it.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG. I laughed so hard. Not at you but in commiseration with all that was challenging you to deliver a good or even great presentation. You gotta hate when so many obstacles pop up that you could have never have anticipated. And how sweet of both of your professors to be concerned that you are okay. Hope your anxiety has calmed and that this week is a good one!


    • The Deaf Culture professor is really laid back, but I did remember her saying she wasn’t pleased when a student last year did his presentation kind of leaned back in his chair with his leg over his knee in that really casual dude pose. So I was thinking, “Okay, gonna look professional.” Hooboy!

      That was really nice of my professors to check up on me. So far, this week is going smoothly! Monday is usually a good indicator for the coming days.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You made it through the presentation! And it made for a good blog story. πŸ˜‰ Good job!!

    I’m sorry about the anxiety. I suffer from it as well, and I know how scary flare-ups can be.

    I’m glad that you and Jackie still have this project going on. I miss reading her posts but I TOTALLY understand how motherhood changes everything.


    • Regarding Jackie, I keep wondering if things would be different if she could go into work. She is an extrovert and really hates Zoom, so doing Zoom in her house that is being renovated with the baby right there, well….it’s a lot. If she went into work, her daughter might go to daycare, and Jackie would definitely get a break from the construction.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done on your presentation! That sounds stressful but good on Nick for being prepared off-screen to defend you. Such a funny thing to imagine, the way you described it!


        • A lot of it has to do with not telling the Deaf person “never mind” when they don’t understand right away, to only repeat yourself maybe 2-3 times then switch to paper, to not try and talk to a Deaf person with residual hearing from far away or around the corner or before getting their attention.

          Liked by 1 person

          • That makes good sense. Would you say it’s ever ok to switch to paper or is it better to let the person who is Deaf make that switch? I have a regular customer at the bookstore who is deaf and generally we can communicate as needed but sometimes she will write things down. I’m never sure if I should be the one to make that switch or if it’s better for her to decide when it is needed.


            • Oh, absolutely write things down, especially if she is already writing to you. If you have a computer with a monitor that turns, you could also type and turn the screen toward her. If the font seems small, just make it bigger. Yeah, that’s cool that she wants to reach out and connect with you! Lots of deaf people have paper and a pen on them at all times. More now you see folks type on a phone and show it to the other person. You can do that, too.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad you survived your ordeal by flying insect. Well done Nick! I’m sure your grades will be fine.
    You sent me down a rabbit hole checking out Spider in a Tree and The Great Awakening – not something I knew anything about though I think my mother has moved over to the evangelical side of the Anglican church. Going by the review I read I can’t believe you and Biscuit stuck with Spider in a Tree to the end.


    • Biscuit and I have yet to DNF a book. We just struggle through. There have been a couple of books we complained our way through, but never DNF. Some we’ve had to ponder through, like Beloved, which neither of us would recommend despite its classic status. I think we liked the characters and setting in Spider in a Tree, we just do not know our American religious history.


  7. Oh I’m sorry your anxiety was so high this week, I can’t even imagine how difficult that must be. But, I’m so proud/in awe of you for pushing through it, now that’s strength!!!!

    So I just finished reading The Last House on Needless Street (review coming soon) and OH BOY it’s crazy


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