Sunday Lowdown #160


Another mostly housebound week. I did make it out with Nick for some errands on Friday, including to Torrid, a clothing store, for some new professional black blouses for ASL. I’m going to start recording polished, “professional” videos for my ASL website. One video will be explaining how to play the board game Sweet Valley High. The second video will be me explaining the names, locations, and functions of the muscles in your face that allow you to make expressions. These are for my Technology for Interpreters class.

I’ve been working with a classmate to go over ASL video assignments, and it’s nice. For one assignment we were going to describe how digestion works, and I explained that when you are nervous, your large intestine fills up with water, which makes you have diarrhea. We talked about how to sign the breakdown that happens in stages in digestion, for example. How do you explain what an intestine looks like? In what way do you describe nutrients leaving through the small intestine? I’ve had more confidence lately when recorded assignments. I told my study buddy thank you for helping me not flood my large intestine every time we have a video assignment.

Did I ever tell you guys I couldn’t graduate when planned because I was short one credit hour? In what? Literally in anything. Unfortunately, there are not many one-credit class options that happen over the summer semesters, so I pounced on Medical Terminology. I do enjoy learning about the body, and so as I work on assignments in ASL that have to do with health, I’m sensing a calling.

It’s been pretty cold here, and Kitty takes action to let me know setting the thermostat at 65 does not agree with her. She tucked herself in. We also got her expensive food hoping maybe she will stop throwing up if she is not eating any grain or corn. What do I mean? The cat’s eating quail now, ya’ll. Quail and pumpkin and berries.


Betty MacDonald’s last memoir, Onions in the Stew, is going to hit a lot of folks the wrong way because times were different. I do wonder what would have happened if she commented more on global political issues, like WWII, instead of keeping her reflections on home (literally her house and the people in it). In her third memoir we’re told it’s The Great Depression, but her life doesn’t reflect what I’ve stereotyped in my mind of that time period. Altogether, I’m wondering if MacDonald lived a fairly privileged life compared to many Americans. Although you may think “yeesh” in some places of all four of her memoirs, she does capture aspects of middle class white-American culture in each book, whether it’s living in a TB sanitarium or what teens were like in the 1940s.

My review of Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston conjured up (get it?) great discussion about her anthropological work in Haiti and Jamaica as she sought to capture a culture that practices Voodoo. After I read all the comments, I sought out books about best practices and norms in anthropology and found one that looks at the impact Franz Boas (Hurston’s professor) and his protegees had on the field of cultural anthropology.


For comparison, I read another memoir about a Black Deaf person living in the south. The first book was On the Beat of Truth, written by the hearing daughter of two Deaf, Black parents. The second memoir, Sounds Like Home was written by a Black Deaf woman named Mary Herring Wright about her youth in the south, how she became deaf, and going to a residential school for the D/deaf. My review goes up on Tuesday.

After I attended an online author event with Shayda Kafai, I bought her book Crip Kinship, which looks at the way certain identities — queer, brown, disabled — bring together a community of artists and performers in the San Francisco area. What does kinship between people of color who are queer and disabled look like? Review Thursday.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 193
Owned Books on TBR Today: 193


  1. Now you’ve asked all those questions about ZNH and anthropology, are you going to tell us the answers, can you sneak into your blog somewhere what you discover in Charles King?


    • I ended up writing a brief post on my ASL blog about culture. Perhaps I’ll follow up with King there? The question of culture, being an insider or outsider, is fascinating simply because I exist and interact with different cultures, but also because Deaf culture has changed over time after big changes like the establishment of interpreting as a profession and video chatting.


  2. I want to know what you found out about Zora and anthropology too!

    I hope the new food helps Kitty. I had a cat who got expensive wet food too (and never dry food) after he started having issues with bladder crystals and after the switch he never had problems again. But since it it impossible to make sure cats only eat from their own dish, his brother also got the expensive food. I think sometimes they are better than we did!


    • I’ll have to read the Charles King book and report back to everyone what I learn about Franz Boas, Zora, and the other protegees.

      Oddly, she doesn’t care about wet food at all, though I’m not sure why. So far, no throwing up. *fingers crossed*

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awww, Kitty looks so cozy! ❤
    My cat had been ditching her cat bed to sleep in front of one of the heat vents so I went ahead and moved her bed there and she is loving it.
    Hopefully the new food does the trick for Kitty. I know what you mean, when I read some of the food that our cat eats I'm like, "she's eating fancier than we are!" lol
    I really enjoyed the Medical Terminology class I took a while back. I hope you enjoy yours too. ^_^


    • So far so good with the new food. We’re doing half of the old stuff and half of the new stuff so she doesn’t think we’re poisoning her.

      Medical terminology was so interesting because there’s a system to the naming, and I always appreciate a method to the madness!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Some fascinating books here, Melanie. Your comment about Betty McDonald and not writing about political events reminded me of the criticism often levelled at Jane Austen BUT at least Jane Austen was writing novels, not memoirs! I guess the fact that she didn’t write about the Depression tells us something such as, that you’ve surmised, she was fairly well-to-do.

    I love that you feel a signing calling coming on, but I would love to see you sign some of that intestine stuff! I’m rather interested in medical terminology too.


    • Absolutely. I’m reading more about how interpreters work in medical settings, too, and it’s quite interesting. There was an example of a Deaf woman trying to pass an EMT exam, and it was in a tiny space with the Deaf woman, the interpreter, the teacher, and the TA, and I felt claustrophobic just reading about it largely because the scenario stated what the attitudes were, and none were good: the student was nervous, the teacher was biased, the TA was nonchalant, and the interpreter was pressed to the limits due to the speed needed.


  5. Love that cover of Crip Kinship!!! And that’s so fascinating about diarrhea (lol). I get nervous poops all the time and my dr told me to take immodium if I feel it coming on haha


  6. “The cat’s eating quail now, ya’ll. Quail and pumpkin and berries.” I giggled so hard at this. We do grain-free food for our pets as well. The cat has a fish-based food and Samus just changed to a Chicken/cheese grain-free food because I cannot handle looking at the other food we bought specially for Ozzy, which was Alaskan pollock and pumpkin. 😛


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