Sunday Lowdown #156


You ever see that cartoon image of a character attempting to windmill their arms to avoid falling over a cliff? This week felt like that because it was so full of tasks, but also a confusing schedule that required some cat-like reflexes. I traveled slowly to school in a snow storm on Monday (typical commute: 50 minutes, but this day’s: 80 minutes) only to learn that my one professor slid through a red light and decided to turn around and go home. Then, my other professor was ill and needed to get a COVID test. So, I ended up 50 minutes away from home in a snow storm, and no school.

Tuesday, we had a house inspection scheduled. I think due to the land being subdivided (this is currently happening), the address doesn’t pop up correctly on GPS. Instead, it takes people out by a trailer park on the south side of town. The poor inspector gent got lost, but once he arrived we went over everything. Nothing terribly surprising, though I did really notice how many holes (nails, screws, door knobs) there are in the walls. In a house that’s 72 years old, and I think only one family has lived in it, there’s been a lot of self-expressing via the walls.

Wednesday, I got an email that the professor who was ill was cleared to come back to campus, but several commuter students asked to join via Zoom because the temperatures were freezing. A few folks were sick, too, so she did Zoom class. Trying to avoid repeating mistakes, I emailed the interpreting professor if we were truly meeting in person, and she changed her mind and did Zoom class as well. I don’t know if it’s because I had two classes there weren’t in English or the Zoom aspect, but online school is exhausting and I feel even more for all the kids out there.

Friday involved a combo of in-person and online school (one professor there, the other called to daycare where her toddler had a fever). I started working on my new website, the one I’ll use when I graduate and get certified to interpret. I’ve decided to include a reflection blog on that site, meaning I want to get started now, looking back and analyzing lessons I’m learning. I also want to include learning reflections. Interpreters have to stay up-to-date on all sorts of topics because you never know what kind of scenario you’ll be asked to interpret. For example, I might write about a movie I watched, or a podcast, or even work through some dictionary words and how the new word applies to something that I’ve been thinking about. Interpreters must have mastery in two languages. Some of us are still struggling with the English part. If you’re interested in following that blog, it will be up in the coming weeks.


After reading through comments on my review of My Date with Satan by Stacey Richter, I realized just how many of my readers truly are 90s people. Several of us are about the same age, some Gen X, some elder Millennials. I guess I hadn’t thought about that because we’re leading such different lives, existing in different phases of life, and locations, too.

If you’re dipping your tootsie-toes into poetry, I highly recommend Button Poetry, a publisher whose work is accessible and interesting, but Rachel Wiley in particular. You get to see her growth and cutting humor (or anger) if you read all three collections. Or, you can start with the engaging Revenge Body collection.


I am truly stuck on writing reviews right now, and these two books are my last bumper crop. Ack! Anybody Can Do Anything by Betty MacDonald is her third memoir in which she relates how her sister Mary, a dreamer and schemer without a care in the world, kept Betty employed throughout The Depression. Review Tuesday.

Although I was concerned the essays edited by Virgie Tovar in Hot & Heavy would all be about clothes, I was wrong! Instead, I got a diverse, fascinating look at the lives of several fat women, pretty much none I’d heard of before, who come from so many backgrounds, with different hobbies, interests, hang-ups, sex drives, and yes, feelings about “fatshion.” Review Thursday.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 198
Owned Books on TBR Today: 197

Thanks to Nick, Christmas comes but twice a year when he forgets a package on his desk at work. I recall asking for Demystifying Disability, but I can’t remember where I first learned about it!


  1. Haha re Christmas twice a year. I’m glad you got the book eventually, and it sounds both interesting and relevant, of course, to you.

    That’s interesting about needing to be across a lot of topics because you never know what you’ll be interpreting for. I assume you don’t get paid for research time? How will you get work? I assume some interpreters have permanent employment? Anyhow, yes, I’d be interested in seeing your new blog because, you know, I have so much spare time!!

    I do feel sorry for you having had that wasted difficult trip.


    • My professor said that the more experience an interpreter has, the less time they spend on research. And, if an interpreter is nationally certified, they can get paid more. I believe her sample invoice said $45 per hour with a two hour minimum. So no, that doesn’t include research, but doing the legwork is part of the deal. Some folks are hired by an agency and are sent to jobs (this is considered full-time, by my understanding). Some folks are free agents, so they’re on a list of interpreters to call, but they may accept or reject a gig depending on their interests, schedule, etc.


      • Thanks Melanie. Everything you say here is pretty much as I was expecting (except I had no real idea of the going rates.) Another question. When we see signers (interpreters) here, doing press conferences they seem to change over quite frequently, presumably because it’s demanding? We haven’t timed it, but every 15 minutes or so? Is this common?


  2. I’ll be interested in your new blog, too! Sounds like a difficult week and hope you get some reviewing time so you can keep up – but if you can’t, we’ll be here when you’re here!


    • That’s so kind of you, Liz! I’m okay, I’m just flexing my flexible skills, if that makes any sense. I’ve gotten used to me doing me, but with school + winter weather + COVID, there are so many more players on the table (professors, their obligations outside of school, is it snowing, does someone have a fever, etc).


  3. What a stressful week. Yes I think Zoom type interactions are more challenging than being in person – you have to concentrate more to pick up the body language.
    I hadn’t really thought about this but it does make sense that you have to be up to speed on a variety of subjects (including current affairs) just in case the topic comes up.


    • I quit viewing most news recently because I have to remind myself that even outlets that report as faithfully as possible, they’re still making an argument of sorts through what they choose to report about and what to leave out. I’ll have to just get over that and maybe look at more varieties of news outlets.


      • It’s becoming tiresome now that the media keep on and on about one subject ad nauseum. The current one of course is about the parties in Downing Street and will the Prime Minister survive. They have wheeled out just about every “expert” available and there is still no clear answer.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Snow driving is stressful to this East Tennessean. But thankfully things tend to shut down here more with a couple inches of snow, until the roads can get clear. I am ready for Spring!!

    Go easy on yourself about upcoming reviews. You might try mini-reviews, like five or six sentences per book. Or just do the Sunday Lowdown for a little while. I promise you your blog friends will be happy to read anything you share!


    • I was thinking of doing bullet point reviews for the 3-4 books I have in queue. I always tell you folks to be nice to yourselves, but now I see how I was basically a happy idiot on the easier side of the situation. 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I looked in your local paper and there was truck that slid in the snow hanging off a bridge. Snow driving definitely not for me! Mind you, Western Australia is cut off from the east coast at the moment by floods and roads here too are closed variously for flooding and bushfires.
    We’ll forgive you if you skip a review or two, no good putting yourself under pressure.


    • I tried reading the newspaper in your area, but everything seems locked down to account holders and regular subscribers! Let the info go, Australia! Ding me through ads like in America! 😅

      Ooooh, I hadn’t heard about the FedEx truck, but I Googled it and see that was pretty bad. Yes, that was the same day that my professor canceled class because she slid through a red light herself. You get used to snow driving, but of course a semi-driver has all that weight behind him or her in a way that isn’t as easily controllable as regular car. We used to go spin our cars around in circles in empty parking lots when I was in high school. It’s called “donuts” or “whippin’ brodies.”


  6. Ack! What a drag you drove through the snow and ended up not having class. I hope the drive home was not as harrowing.

    “there’s been a lot of self-expressing via the walls” made me laugh. Soon you will get your turn at the walls 🙂


  7. That’s one heck of a week! I would be so mad about driving through a storm, just to have class canceled when you got there. Hella angry. I hope this next week calms down for you and buying the house keeps coming together! ❤


  8. How nice that you get a delayed Christmas gift! That makes the January and February blahs a bit more bearable 🙂
    How often are you going to post to your second blog? Two blogs sounds like a lot of work, but I can see how compelling it would be to have one about your work on interpretation. The idea of having mastery over two languages is quite daunting…


    • Too true about the Jan/Feb blahs! I mean, you get New Years and the next holiday isn’t until Valentine’s Day, which we don’t really do and isn’t a family holiday. Oooh, I’ve been sending my nieces and nephews the exact same Valentine’s Day cards for years. I gotta remember to send them. I think it makes me eccentric, lol.

      I think the other blog I’ll post maybe once per week during the school year. I like having a moment to reflect on what I’m learning. I’m finding that I’m doing this reflection more and more in the Sunday Lowdown, which isn’t really where it belongs.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Can relate to seeing all the spaces where self-expression existed in a well-loved home. Is the house lath and plaster? That’s my challenging part. I have to learn how to repair plaster at some point. I’m not looking forward to it…

    I’m so sorry you had to make that winter storm commute only to turn around have to go back! UGH. That’s so rude. There should be rules about how late you can transfer a class to virtual or cancel or whatever. I hope you found something warm and comforting to do with that time. When you have class in person and on Zoom, do you do the virtual class at the college somewhere? Do they have convenient space for it? I try to think about how I would have pulled that off at OSU and I can’t think of any places that would be accommodating.

    I would LOVE to see your website! I’m so curious about this whole ASL Interpreter career. I don’t know much about it – everything I know comes from you. I want to learn all the things.


    • We’re just going to have a guy plaster and paint everything before we move in because I’m not ready to go on a learn-how-to-repair-that-hole-from-a-door-knob adventure. We still haven’t closed yet thanks to COVID and needing to divide the land.

      I don’t think it’s rude that the professor canceled class, just a very “DOH!” moment. She got half way there, slid through a red light, and felt unsafe. Many private colleges really push professors to not cancel class due to weather, typically with the argument that most students live on campus (e.g. and Notre Dame you must live on campus for three years). However, that does not consider faculty and THEIR safety, so it’s a balance. Zoom school I just do here at home. I don’t know what the students do. Dorm rooms, perhaps? I often see other people wandering around behind the other screens.

      Website shall be revealed next Sunday, though you should not learn all you know about interpreting from me. This is a bad idea for many reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Smart people! and if you can afford to make that happen, it’s ideal. We’ll be continuing to manage these repairs for years. And I freak out about every new hole I make. Heh.

        Aw. That makes me so sad! As someone who spent a lot of time in acadamia (though, less than you & Nick…), I’m not surprised that professors get that kind of pressure to be in the classroom. I forget how… slow education moves when changes happen in the world.

        hahaha. I mean, I just haven’t spent much time exploring ASL interpretation yet. You’re my gateway drug. 😉


        • Okay, my dear, how in the world are you making holes — plural — in your house???

          It dawned on me Friday that my classmates have never been in college during non-COVID times. They know nothing of hackey sack and disc golf and BBQs and random movie dates, etc.


  10. Ugh, that really sucks that you had to drive all that way in a snow storm for nothing. I would have been so mad. D:
    I could definitely see the zoom aspect of the class adding to the exhaustion factor. I was in charge of leading virtual lessons for several months at work and it was so tiring and stressful and just plain awkward at times when there were connection issues. We did some really cool lessons and activities and my participants always seemed to be enjoying themselves so that made me happy, but oof, I was relieved when it was over. lol


    • I was happy my professor chose to be safe about her drive, but it is a bummer to go so far and then turn around and go home. But life happens, and what are you going to do.

      I wonder what it is about Zoom that is so tiring. I once read that it’s because you feel like people are always looking at you, so you’re “on,” and that this phenomenon affects women more than men. I’m not sure that’s how I feel.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s an interesting theory, and I could definitely see that having some truth to it for some people. For me, when I was teaching zoom classes I felt like I had to be (for lack of better words) like a children’s show host on crack. lol I wanted to make sure everyone was entertained enough so that I was keeping their attention, and I felt like I always had to be ready to fill the silence when/if I wasn’t getting a lot of verbal output from the participants, which isn’t easy for me since I’m pretty introverted myself. I always got a lot of great feedback on the classes, and told how much people were enjoying them, which made me happy but man, was it tiring. Every time a class ended I would shut my laptop, sigh, and be sooo thankful that it went well, everyone seemed to have fun, and that it was over. lol


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