Sunday Lowdown #167

THIS WEEK IN REFLECTION

As the semester winds down, I’m looking forward. The plan is to do a big move to the house June 3rd. I have a final exam next week and then one more the week after. I need to finish a final video for my ASL website. Oh, dang it, I also need to caption two more videos that I recorded this week! Captioning takes so long, which is a major complaint people use to avoid doing it, but closed captioning is an accessibility issue, yeah?

Thursday Nick and I headed to my parents’ house for the long Easter weekend. Nick and I are both currently affiliated with Christian colleges, so we had Good Friday off. So far, there has been a lot of lazing about, coloring eggs with the nieces and nephews, visiting my brother and sister-in-law, and we had to watch a scary movie in my brother’s garage after the kids went to sleep. Today will be breakfast and an Easter egg hunt and then home we go so I can catch my ASL Meet Up group I attend every Sunday via Zoom.

Since my birthday is in early May and I want yard things as presents, I received four shepherd’s hooks, a trowel, a claw-looking thingy that surely has a name, a saw, and some gardening gloves this weekend. I had been ripping and tearing in the plants earlier this week, but now I’ll have the tools for success. Thanks, Biscuit!

THIS WEEK’S BLOG POST

I shared my reviews of Little Women and Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott, and most of the discussion revolved around worker rights! Lots about vacation days and maternity leave. Again, this is one of my favorite reasons for giving my reactions to a book instead of writing a review that directs readers to pick a book up themselves (or not).

The same thing happens when Biscuit and I do book club: we discuss our own lives in relation to the book. What happens in the story, and how does that relate to us in any way? I’ve heard my dad wants to know if we ever actually talk about our book. Well, yes! But he doesn’t hear the whole conversation.

NEXT WEEK’S BLOG POST

On Wednesday I’m posting about Women Up On Blocks by Mary Akers. Another short story collection, this one surprised with the unusual turns in recognizable plots, and the way a description could stick with me. Plus, there is humor where you wouldn’t expect it. I think that’s dark humor, right?

BOOKS ADDED TO THE TBR PILE

Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 182
Owned Books on TBR Today: 181

Thanks to Lou @ Lou Lou Reads and Sue @ Whispering Gums for their recommendations!

57 comments

  1. You sound like my son who wanted garden tools for his birthday in February. For Easter I popped fruit pruning shears into their Easter gift bag as his partner and I were talking about the fruit trees in the garden.

    I think that claw tool is a hand cultivator? If it’s what I think it is I mainly use it for scraping out those runner type roots that some plants have. I don’t know what its main purpose is!

    In Australia Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays for everyone, Christian or otherwise.

    And thanks for the link. So glad you wanted to read that book.

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  2. I giggled over your choice of birthday presents. I got raised eyebrows this week when my birthday wishlist included a boot scraper and a heated seed germinator. But I’d rather these practical gifts than a shirt I won’t wear…

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  3. I believe your “claw” is a hand cultivator, a very useful tool for loosening soil. 🙂

    I see WG got your to read Vera!

    Do you not get use software that does captions? It’s not perfect so you have to go in and edit the captions, but it saves so much time. We have used Camtaisa in our library for instructional videos. Good luck on your exams!

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  4. Oh, I hope you enjoy Picnic at Hanging Rock as much as I did! I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts about it as a horror reader – I don’t know if it technically counts as horror, but it’s much closer to it than anything I normally read.

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    • I count anything “horrifying” as horror myself, though I know some folks want a killer or monster or something like that. The fact that the novella kept you up late and ruined your sleep for a week is an excellent sales pitch.

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  5. I’ve commented on Lou’s Little Women and I’ll get to yours soon. Driving backwards and forwards between Bendigo and Melbourne as I have been this past week, I’ve been conscious of Hanging Rock in the middle distance and I see on fb that my grandkids got to climb part of the way up on their way home (I think I still have the same number as last time I saw them).

    I have a von Arnim in my Audible TBR, not sure which one and not sure when I’ll get to it.

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    • I started reading the von Arnim to Nick, and we are enjoying the tone a good deal. Hanging Rock will come soon, as Lou’s unique praise of it — that it kept her up past her bedtime — is a great recommendation.

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  6. Is it not standard to have Good Friday off? I don’t think it’s strictly a holiday here but schools always have it off. Good luck with all your busy-ness in the coming week!

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    • Sue in Australia said everyone there gets off Good Friday and Easter as a national holiday. In the U.S. we have not determined it to be a national holiday. Many schools will call it “mid-semester break” which just happens to line up with Easter weekend.

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      • I double-checked and Good Friday is a stat holiday here! That surprises me that it isn’t in the US since I think of the US as being far more “Christian” as a nation. Glad you got to enjoy a long weekend regardless!

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        • People are tricky. They have “mid-semester break” on Easter weekend, or something like that to give people the day off. Most folks I know are not going to Good Friday mass, but we all love a holiday off because, as I mentioned recently in my Little Women post, we don’t really get vacation days. When Juneteenth passed as a national holiday lat year, I think we were all pretty unified in being excited regardless of what the holiday is or means.

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          • Most schools here have Reading Week but that’s usually in February. A quick google tells me we have a similar number of stat holidays in the US and Canada, just slightly different ones. I think we have around 12 in BC so roughly one per month which is nice.

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            • Once we got Juneteenth, I was pumped because we have the 4th of July and then wait and wait and wait for Labor Day in September to get here. I know that doesn’t make sense because June is earlier, but it’s the frequency beforehand that helps the drought feel shorter to me.

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              • I get it! There’s nothing in June so that always feels like a long stretch through the summer. We have “Civic Holiday” in August which is basically a day celebrating nothing so that people get a day off before Labour Day!

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  7. Yay for gardening tools! I’ve been investing in some new ones myself. I’ve realized over the last couple of years that few things make me happier than digging in the dirt and planting stuff.

    I also added Picnic Rock to my TBR last week after seeing a great review by FictionFan. Plus, it’s short – bonus!

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    • I was kind of sad when the old lady next door who used to own/rent our house said she couldn’t get the renters interested in doing anything with the landscaping, which on the one hand they’re not required to, but on the other hand I thought lots of folks took pride in cultivating something. Perhaps they didn’t feel a connection because they don’t own the plants.

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  8. So funny how our perspective of gifts changes over our lives. Who would have thought “yard things” or the like would be something we ask for birthdays, haha.

    I’m especially looking forward to your review coming up next week, or maybe in two weeks?

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    • I think my attention turned to the outside of the house because the inside was being painted, and the walls repaired. But now it’s snowing!

      I’ll have my review of True Biz up next week. I have to think carefully about what to say. I’ve noticed that some people in the Deaf community had a few concerns about the novel due to the interjection of BASL, but I don’t see it that way. But, as you know, I’m neither Deaf nor Black. One of the challenges of writing about books is thinking about culture and identity.

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      • I didn’t realize it included BASL. I’m waiting very patiently (read, impatiently) for my local library to have it or for it to be available via inter library loan.

        With the Deaf community being so diverse with multiple subgroups (just like the hearing community in America), there will never be one consensus view or anything that will satisfy every single member within the community. That being said, I’m definitely going to have to read up what the concern is about exactly.

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  9. Does Nick do an Easter egg hunt for you, or do you do it for each other? Aaron does a hunt for me, he has since we started living together, and it’s one of the things I love about him. Now he just tacks on some extra eggs for me in hard-to-find spots while he prepares the hunt for the kids 🙂

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  10. That’s fascinating about the captioning, and something that will never be able to be done by machines (I’ve edited some machine-transcriptions of speech recently and even those are still very ropey). Love the gifts, very nice and practical. We give each other money for birthday and Christmas and usually buy very practical things with it!

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  11. You know you’re an adult when you ask for practical things for your birthday. I did the same! lol. Dog luggage and Photoshop. Mostly in lieu of presents though, we had our vacation and I had oodles of fun on my actual birthday and the day before.
    Good luck with your finals!
    How excited are you to be in your house??

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    • Okay, 1) What is dog luggage? 2) We need to see more photos from you!! 3) It feels like you were in Cali for four seconds 4) I feel good about my finals. I’ve come a million miles in my ASL skills in just ONE FREAKIN’ YEAR. And I take lots of notes and engage thoroughly in my Interpreting class. My website, which is a final project, should be done this weekend. 5) We’re still living in the apartment and slowly moving stuff to the house. Our family is coming June 3rd for the furniture move. And installing a garage door opener (I think). And fixing something on Nick’s car (I think).

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      • It is luggage, like for humans, but designed for dogs! It has two containers for food transport inside and a portion in the front that lets down to become a feeding mat with two travel dishes for food and water inside. Its’s very cool and super useful.
        Now that I am home, it feels like I was in Cali for 4 seconds too lol. I will be doing a post soon with lots of pictures. 🙂
        I’m so proud of you for all of your hard work in ASL!
        It’s actually really nice that you get to do a slow move. We did the same thing. We painted what we wanted painted right away, bug bombed it, and then started moving stuff in slowly on the weekends. It was one of my least stressful moves. I hope it goes well for you guys! ❤

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        • Ugh, I just finished recording my last ASL video of the year today, and I do not love it, but at this point it is what it is. I didn’t feel like I could run through it again. Unfortunately, I am signing about a hobby I love — reading and blogging and you lot — and my face is soooo neutral. *sigh*

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          • Haha, that’s okay! It’s okay to be burnt out and over it at this point. We’ve had quite the semester! I have to do notes tomorrow and then the final Wednesday and then I’m free for the summer. I am so excited! I started school last summer and haven’t had more than 3 weeks off at a time since.
            Also, if you need some sweet pretend professional photos for the website, I might be able to help you out. I have the camera; I just need the editing program which I should be getting soon. They probably won’t be the best, but they would definitely be free lol.

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