Sunday Lowdown #155


Okay, school has for realzies started now, and I’ve been running around like a nut bar ever since. I appreciate how my Introduction to Interpreting class is preparing us in a real-world way, and we’ve talk a lot about physical presentation, including what you wear. Certain colors blend with your skin tone, making it hard for a Deaf person to read your signing. Hair, jewelry, tattoos, sunglasses, these are all things to consider. So, choose wisely.

ASL 4 is doing the flipped classroom method this semester, so we don’t really have homework. However, that 4th credit hour should largely be students immersing themselves in the Deaf community. I’ve joined several groups with varying success. One gent accused his dog of being a clothing thief, and I saw it with my own eyes. Other times we play games based on ASL handshapes, or answer questions like, “If you ruled the world, who would you choose as an advisor?” I do struggle with the way some folks sign faster than Zoom is able to keep up with (it’s like watching that afterglow that sparklers make that allow you to write your name in the air), but I have yet to find myself in a situation in which I’m thinking, “What’s happening?????

As a result of school, I’m behind on blogging, but that happens. I become fastidious about which posts I’ll read but try to write more meaningful, engaging comments on the posts I do read. It also took me too long to get back to some of you who left wonderful comments here, and for that I apologize.

The most surprising news for many of you will be that Nick and I have almost completed everything in the process of buying a house. Three bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 8 acres (approximately 6 of those rented to a farmer, so according to the IRS we’re technically we’re homesteading), a barn with a hayloft converted into a two-car garage, and zero plans for how to mow the law or remove snow. We are so exciting! We’ve never owned a house before, but I just know we will be thoughtful, responsible home owners.

So, as you can image I’ve been a bit overwhelmed and trying to keep it under control. I can get shouty or freeze up. Sometimes I develop rashes, usually on the backs of my knees. I think being tense makes my muscles and joints hurt. My skin will definitely break out. All of these are signs that I am on the struggle bus. So, I do an exercise video that I don’t hate 100% to try and calm down. It’s one aerobic mile to the beat of music, and I ignore the lady’s comments about losing weight or walking off her entire lunch in one mile (which I do believe would equal 2 carrots and a raisin for a meal).

Or I eat cookies. Whatever.


Your comments this week on my review of The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd garnered some conversation I don’t think we’ve had before at Grab the Lapels. Do folks enjoy books in which a historical person was fictionalized? Do folks enjoy books in which the story of Jesus Christ is reimagined? I’m interested because I don’t know how people feel about historical fiction beyond the sappy, romanticized novels about WWII that are flooding the market these days. I also wonder how people feel about different versions of the Bible, which inevitable present Christ’s life in different hues and shades.

Then, instead of a book by a D/deaf person, I shared The Hearing Eye by Catherine Coppes in which the author learns she is hard of hearing and must adapt to hearing aids. Many commenters focused on the transition the brain must make from being used to dull noises (or some noises even being absent) to hearing things the ears haven’t processed in years. Yet, I’d love for readers to think about the start of Coppes journey, when she first made fun of a hard-of-hearing woman and then spent years belittling her family for poor elocution.


Okay, I have two new-to-2022 genres coming at you this week! First, a short story collection. Stacey Richter’s My Date With Satan just screams 1990s riot grrrl, and each story within the book is its own living world. Get read for Richter on Tuesday.

Then, on Thursday a brand-new poetry collection by Rachel Wiley, whose collections I love, called Revenge Body. The author’s themes reach beyond her work in the past and got darker than I expected, so prepare yourself for some poems.

Can I just say I’m so glad I read and reviewed like a frantic muppet over the winter break in preparation for knowing the start of the semester would be so busy? This is me today saying, “Thank you, past me, for being a hero and preparing these book reviews.”


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 201
Owned Books on TBR Today: 198


  1. Historical fiction is hit and miss for me – as soon as I get a hint of ‘info-dumping’, I jump ship! I think my favourite in recent years has been Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites.


  2. Love that you’re going to be a home owner, and a homesteader as well! Does that mean that like the early settlers you are required to build a house and put up fences? My mate, whose paddock I park in has 10 acres, so I can see you have a lot of work ahead of you. Hope you plant lots of trees and keep bees and chickens, and maybe a goat to keep the weeds down.

    I hope you can fit into your schedule later today a review on my blog from Jess White whom I know you like. That will make 9 posts in 8 days, for which I apologize!


    • Ooh, I do like Jess White! At first, when I looked at the emails I get when someone publishes a post, I was thinking, “Wow, Bill must be REALLY bored!” and then I realized you had folks writing their AWW reviews and thoughts.

      Most of the acreage is rented to the farmer, so he can farm what he farms. The house is on about an acre or so, meaning Nick and I aren’t really the farmers. I have this image in my head of getting a pet cow like in that movie City Slickers, but I think I just need to get my books in the house before I even think about a lawn-mowing goat!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on the house! It is a stressful process, though, and a big change, so be gentle with yourself especially while school is so busy too. I had a tough time after we bought our house many years ago. But it gets better!


  4. Yay! Glad to hear that the house buying process is coming along! Hopefully, it can be over with soon and then you just have to focus on moving. Which sucks, but decorating your new place is fun.
    When we bought our house, we did it without realtors because the seller didn’t want to deal with them. That meant a lot of self-guidance in the process and your girl here, badgering the bank the entire way because they really were not all that helpful and didn’t move very fast. It was quite the experience and I’m not sure how anyone handles selling and buying at the same time. :3
    Kitty is going to be excited for all the new room for activities!


  5. Congratulations on buying house! What an exciting time! Honestly, having an acre or so of land around is our dream so I will look forward to following along and hearing what you and Nick do with your new place. Is it far from where you live now?


    • The new place is 2.8 miles from our current apartment, so no, not far. Most of the acreage is rented by a farmer, so there’s not much we would do with that. However, I don’t know what we will do with the yard just yet. We have to mindful of the well and septic systems, so I don’t want to jump into anything right away. I’ve read that some plants can mess up your septic while other plants can become unsafe to eat.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re buying not just a house, but a FARM! Oh my gosh! Now we’re farm buddies!!! What is farmed on the land you’re renting? Let me know if you want to talk shop about anything. I obviously know a guy! I know how anxiety-driving house buying can be. Keep doing what you’re doing. You got this. In the end, it’s just stuff. And money is some random construct we made so we don’t murder each other willy-nilly all the time. The fact that you can do this is AMAZING! I’m so proud of you both.

    The real question is: Will you have awesome internet out in the boonies? 😉

    Ach, I can relate to the whole “I’ve done a ton of prep so I can post on my blog during crazy times”. Do you remember how I had one post a week in Nov/Dec 2020? I stopped blogging the 1st week of November due to the Nugget and yet my blog kept going. Thank goodness for scheduling.

    As you can see, I’m trying to connect to my blog again. Here’s hoping!


    • I’m going to be straight with you: we’re not farming shit, lol. Okay, that’s a crass way of saying that there is a field of corn because a nice farmer person rents the acreage and does farmer things to it. We will not be farming in the foreseeable future, but if you ask Cupcakes and Machetes, she will tell you that in December I said we would not be buying a house in the foreseeable future, and here we are.

      Also, the house is super hard to describe in location. It’s a farm, but we’re not in the boonies. My brother also asked if we would have access to internet. I cannot seem to describe how this place exists, but it’s farm-y in a city.

      I do remember when the Ghost of Jackie Past kept blogging when baby got here (have you announced her name online yet?). It’s so wonderful that you’re reconnecting with Death by Tsundoku. I think it’s worth it, and as I’ve told other bloggers, it’s never too late to come back. No need to start over, just pick up where you left off. Think of a blog as a safe space, perhaps as a room of one’s own, that is always there, waiting for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha. I know you aren’t. But you still have a farm, even if you aren’t doing the farming. There are things like how to deal with the things in the barn or land management, etc you might wonder about. You don’t have to actually farm to have questions about it. You own a farm. That’s just how it is. 😉

        Aw. Thanks for your encouragement. I’ve missed this community a lot. I’m nervous to start blogging again, honestly! I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write anything.


  7. Oh, how exciting Melanie. And the exciting think is that just a couple of weeks ago my son and his partner called to say that they’re buying a house. My son bought a tiny 1BR apartment 5 or 6 years ago, but only lived in it for a year or so because he met the person who became his partner and that place was too small. Now they have a child, and a second one due in February, so they felt it was time to settle properly. Very exciting, but there’s is not 8 acres! I will really look forward to stories – and pics? – of your new home. A big congrats.

    It looks like I’d better check the Sue Monk Kidd post … and comment there.


    • How did I not know you have children? Just one son, or are there others? I’ll definitely take pictures and try to describe the neighborhood better. So far, everyone thinks I’m moving to homestead like the settlers in the 1860s.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha yes, I have two Melanie … a daughter close to your age, and a son a couuple of years older than you. Both live in Melbourne. I love the word homestead. And pics would be wonderful.


        • Oh, your children sound like they’re my brother and me. He’s 2.5 years older, and it’s just the two of us. Nick is an only child. We’re a small bunch!

          Looking at Melbourne on a map, I have to imagine it’s expensive to live there. Not only is it a big city, but it’s right on the water. Unless Australian real estate doesn’t have a happy freak out about living on the water like we do in the U.S.? If you can build your house next to a healthy mud puddle, in the U.S. we go nutty about it.


          • Very similar then. There’s 3 years 4 mths between my two. They get on very well as I think you do. We are small bunches in our family too. Of the 6 of us – my husband and me, my children and their partners – no one has more than two siblings, and only two of us have two siblings. Makes Christmases, weddings etc, very different, doesn’t it. I only have four cousins too.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Most cities in Australia are pretty expensive these days. Sydney has always been the worst in terms of housing costs but Melbourne is catching up. Affordable housing is a big issue here. People do like living near the water here. Possibly a human thing? Australia’s population largely hugs the coast – but of course that’s partly weather and survival related. The big inland (outback) can get very hot and is dry. You have more big rivers in your interior.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Huge congratulations on your new home! It’s a pretty exciting if daunting process – but it is so much fun once you’re in and you know the place is yours!

    Re exercise videos, if you ever want a fitness person who very rarely (if ever) talks about calories, “burning fat” etc, I recommend Bodyfit by Amy on Youtube (though ignore the comments section). She does chat during her videos, but her focus is pretty much on strength and functional fitness. She has a great bodyweight barre video with a chair that she did while she was pregnant. It’s my go to if I’m really stressed or my shoulders are super tight, which is normally the first sign that I’m not looking after myself very well.


    • OMG, I just checked out some Amy videos, and she’s totally adorable. It’s like working out with your friend instead of some Jillian Michaels-type. In my Intro to Interpreting class we talked a lot yesterday about self-care because the profession has a lot of burn out. This is a conversation I wanted and needed; I completely burned out on teaching and felt like a crashed and burned at the end there.


    • I saw a comic the other day in which the wife says, “The faucet is making a funny noise,” and her spouse goes into a panic and thinks, “I hope that doesn’t cost $6,000.” I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that is my fear in this whole process.


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