Sunday Lowdown #158


I keep thinking, “Wow, I should write about something not related to school,” but that’s about all I do these days. I could regale you with how I did not buy groceries this week, or how there is still house stuff moving forward (slowly) because we’re waiting for the county board to meet and confirm that the two houses on one parcel can, in fact, be divided. I don’t need two houses, ya’ll. And the other house even has a whole person in it. I’m not ready for adoption.

I could write about the horror movie I watched on Friday night, Annabelle Creation, but I still recall Bill asking in October when all the horror stuff was going to be over at Grab the Lapels. It’s never over, Bill. I just close the curtain, turn into a gremlin, and do scary stuff alone. By the way, Annabelle Creation was scary enough that I spent most of the movie paying attention to my cat, asking her if she was scared, so I could get through the jumpy demon parts out of the corner of my vision instead of directly.

Alright, alright, back to school stuff. ASL 4 is four credit hours, meaning three hours of classroom time (sort of — we’re now transitioned to online asynchronous with that class) plus forty hours socializing in the Deaf community. Another college with an interpreting program held a Valentine’s Day party on Saturday. I really wish I had thought ahead and bought a clear mask. They way your mouth and face moves means something in ASL. It can add tone (like sarcasm) and intensity (somewhat, a little bit, holy moly that was big, etc.). When I worked at the library they tried to give me a clear mask because I’m hard of hearing, and to borrow from the southerners, bless their hearts. But, I should have taken it now that I’m interacting with Deaf people. Way too much COVID for me to not wear a mask. Our Deaf professor said it’s okay to wear a mask for safety, though.

Aubri, Cassi, and Me.

Some big news related to ASL and interpreting: I launched a new website! In the future, my new site will become a way to meet/reach me for interpreting services, but for now it includes reflections on the learning process (a blog), who I am, and a greetings video in ASL. The project is for my Tech for Interpreters class. I hadn’t realized how big e-portfolios, which demonstrate the learning process, are in education right now; no one used them when I was in college. It’s a whole thing. Here’s the site. I update the blog once per week with really short posts.

Nick helping me download the video I recorded for my site. Our library has studio space!


As I was just telling Bill, I think I need to start reading and commenting on posts on my phone. I typically have my phone to begin the calm-down-and-sleep process at night. Usually, I only do blog stuff on a computer to avoid typos. But, when I went to read your comments before I wrote this post, I saw they dated back to Wednesday, and that’s no bueno!

*Me flipping through my notes* Ah, yes, I reviewed On the Beat of Truth by Maxine Childress Brown! Most of you zeroed in on the horrible ethical (and emotional) implications of a child interpreting for her father at his trial where he is accused of exposing himself. For me, the intersection of being Black and Deaf was the important story. Thus, when I saw on Twitter another memoir from a Black and Deaf family is being reprinted, I requested a copy from the library.

And Modern Lovers by Emma Strab. I can see that Straub’s books and I will not get on. Even though her cast was diverse, everyone was so gentrified, so well-to-do, so privileged. There were no surprises, unfortunately. I kinda felt like I was watching a Facebook commercial in which everyone has different skin colors and gender presentations, but they all have perfect braces smiles, thin bodies, and stylish clothes.


I need to think more about what I read. If I read a book by a guy with Biscuit and a book by a guy in my car on audio, I’m going to run out of books to review at Grab the Lapels. I have one post scheduled for Tuesday and plan to have one for Thursday.

On Tuesday I’ll share my review of The Invited by Jennifer McMahon, a ghostly story about history that has a cool premise. When a woman gets an inheritance after her father’s passing, she and her husband, both public school teachers, resign and begin building a home themselves in a bog. As the wife learns more about the area, she incorporates refurbished pieces connected to murders to literally build a haunted house.

Thursday *fingers crossed!* I’ll put up a review of If We Were Snowflakes by Barbara D’Souza, a young adult novel about a teen whose father is sent to prison for giving fat people chocolate in a world where being fat is against the law. As the years pass and her mother has less income, the family is unable to pay for the teen’s fat tax, so she’s sent to Fat School to remedy her body. I’m not done yet, but it’s interesting so far!

Spring break is coming up, and I’m hoping to get ahead then.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 197
Owned Books on TBR Today: 195


  1. I’m going to have to be more careful about what I say (How many times have I made that resolution!). Please don’t let me stop you writing about horror.
    Loved your new website. Well done both of you. I wrote you a message but it timed out before I could send it. (I owe you a letter so I’ll tell you what I said soon)
    I commented about commenting on phones because a number of us (in Australia) are having problems replying to comments from our email inboxes and it feels like WP is interfering so that you have to use the app.


    • I do have the app downloaded, so that won’t be an issue. I’ve never replied from the email before, but I can see how that would be convenient!

      I shall keep writing about horror, but you’re always in the back of my mind. This is a good thing.

      The one thing I’m hesitant about with my new website is the cover photo. It’s a free WordPress photo, but someone might think that is me on the laptop screen. Obviously, it is not.


  2. Melanie, every time I read your lowdown post I think, gosh, that lady does a lot. You’re doing great, in case no one has told you that lately. Going to school AND reading for fun AND setting up another website AND writing reviews!! I know I wouldn’t be able to do all of that. Kudos. 👏 Hope you have a great week!


    • Ha, thank you, Laila. Actually, having an outsider perspective like that is really helpful. Currently, I have 8 credits, which is only part-time, but as I told another commuter student, when you’re driving 50 minutes one way, and you go to school 3x per week, the drive starts to feel like a part-time job.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are doing brilliantly. I know the feeling of running out of blog posts – I’ve suddenly got a LOT of work while reading one book for Shiny New Books so no review on my blog till the Shiny review is out (that’s my rule), and I do wish I had spaced out the reviews I published earlier in the month now!


    • I’ve noticed suddenly some folks post a review every single day and then I go ages and don’t hear from them. Scheduling a post is a great option! If you have a goal of how many posts you want to share per week, that helps too. You don’t have to meet the goal, but it does help with spacing/timing issues.


  4. Watching Peter do his masters and yes, e-portfolios are a big thing now! I feel like the internet was barely acknowledged when I was in university. Sounds like you have lots going on – hope you can fit in some time for fun/relaxing too!


  5. Ha! I laughed at the cat getting lots of extra attention during the scary demon parts 😀 Nice website! I enjoyed watching your ASL greeting. I went to library school just before those online portfolios became a thing and i am so glad I missed out on that fun.


    • It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the e-portfolio because on the one hand, I’m used to being graded on final product, but on the other hand, if I knew that an instructor was grading based on progress, perhaps comparing the first assignment to the last, then I would feel more motivated to do better. Our ASL sites aren’t quite e-portfolios, but one option is to treat them like they are.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I will check the blog next, but so sorry I’ve taken so long to comment. this week has been full of visiting or thinking about visiting our neH granddaughter and our (relatively) old grandson. I’ve only started getting back to reading other blogs in the last 24 hours.

    What is it with horror? My daughter’s dear friend (who is also the daughter of my dear friend) and who is around the same age as you also loves horror films (with her partner). During lockdown they had horror viewing parties with friends- theyld all watch in their own homes but would message each other in some group chat while they were doing so. Anyhow, ignore Bill! I don’t like horror but I love hearing about your interest.


    • Horror makes me feel better. I have chronic anxiety that I can mitigate with tools, but basically I’m always terrified. When I watch horror, I am acutely aware that the scary things are not happening to me, nor would they happen to me. I do not like any horror that includes torture and excessive realistic gore, but I know some folks love that. Horror fans are wildly different, which I think non-horror fans aren’t aware of. I could write about this for ages, but I’ll stop here 🙂


  7. Oohhh the Invited sounds scary! I look forward to that review. I also look forward to your horror stuff, because I don’t watch alot of movies and tv I live vicariously through your posts. I like horror movies when I have time to watch them, but my husband is a big baby and can’t handle anything spooky at all. Like, even suspenseful movies scare him LOL


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