Sunday Lowdown #169

THIS WEEK IN REFLECTION

There has low-key been some drama around the lawn mower stuff I told you about a few weeks ago. Mainly, the entire agreement has been altered from how it started, and while I’m still trying to work on being flexible (I need that to be a good interpreter!), I also have anxiety when the future is shifty. Though I started quite angry and felt used, everything pivoted when I spoke to the neighbor herself, who is 88, instead of her children. You guys, she’s so fricken’ sweet. She can have my house back if she wants, she’s so sweet. Within 24 hours, there was calm in the Page household once again…even with the new lawn equipment contract.

Wednesday, I took my Intro to Interpreting final exam. The professor acknowledged that the exam period is two hours, but that we wouldn’t need it. Y’all, I only finished with 12 minutes to spare. I got particularly stuck on a matching section because the test is online, and there were about 20 terms to match, so I couldn’t see my options all at once. Just lots of scrolling. Plus, some of the terms were things like, “An interpreting assignment is…” I wanted to say, “A job for which I get paid??” but that was not a choice in the drop-down menu. I do appreciate essay answers more, because I always have something to say — yet I recognize that using an online tool that can grade for you is helpful when you’re so busy! There was one essay question that was about what you can do as an interpreter when your client is a fantastic dancer, but there is some person who is half wildebeest in the class who keeps crashing into you while you interpret.

Wednesday evening I convinced Nick to go to the house with me so I could attack the landscaping. I almost landscaped myself right into a hospital. Apparently, an hour of doing squats, cutting tree limbs, and replanting flowers will nearly kill a person, even if she does her Motown Dance video almost every day, thankyouverymuch. There were so many beautiful moments, though, like a random fluffy cat that followed us around. And discovering what I thought was 1-2 daffodil bulbs that cropped up in an old burn pile being 7.

And cutting back a ton on a lilac bush to let it grow its fabulous self without the dead weight. I tried to replant some violets from the yard in a confined landscaped area to encourage them to flourish there instead of the lawn, where they get mowed. But then I discovered this:

We have violets all over the place, and they will not be mowed. These are OURS. My heart, be still!

I’ve also waged a fierce battle worthy of medals and honor and lots of Diet Dr. Pepper when I attacked these fricken plants — at least fifty of them:

What is this vile piece-of-trash plant?? And it’s a spreader, too! It got into the landscaped area and is spreading into the lawn… or vice versa. I’m going at digging them out so aggressively because if they spread all over my yard, we’re gonna have a problem. I have gardening gloves, and the sharp edges of the leaves even stab through. Ugh!

Lastly, I’m encouraging the spready plants I do like to spread: there are purple violets, white/purple violets, and I moved some of the chick-and-hens to a different part of the house. The chick-and-hens are spilling out of the landscaped area and trying to take over the decorative stones, and I so excited about how they’ve flourished! I have it on good authority* this should work.

*It’s Biscuit. Biscuit is the authority.

THIS WEEK’S BLOG POST

True Biz by Sara Nović is on all the must-read new releases in 2022 lists. Folks didn’t have a ton to say about this one in the comments, and I wondered if that was due to the desire to read it without an opinion in their head? I know that’s something I do. Maybe I read your recommendation and get excited to add a book, but if I read the book and then see your review, I have to wait until I’m done reading to engage with what you say. Otherwise, another reader’s thoughts will color my own.

What I do like best about True Biz is the way it engages with many aspects around language and the importance placed (or not) on hearing. You can enter a conversation about Nović’s novel from many entry points, and I know this would make a fantastic book club discussion pick.

next WEEK’S BLOG POST

It’s an interview! Sara Rauch’s book sounds intriguing, so it’s quite possible I’ll read it one of these days. I read through the press release on Rauch’s forthcoming memoir, and was pulled right in: “Sara Rauch is in a long term, committed relationship with another woman when she begins a low-residency MFA in fiction. Though it goes against the promises she’s made, she
finds herself pulled into an intense affair with a married man, a well-known writer in the program.” Ooooh, gossip in the MFA program! Interview on Wednesday.

BOOKS ADDED TO THE TBR PILE

Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 179
Owned Books on TBR Today: 181 It went up, lol

Thanks to the Captain @ Captain’s Quarters for her suggestion!

56 comments

  1. Ahoy there! I loved reading about yer battle with the trash plants. The First Mate and I bought a hide-out and it has been invaded with horrible things I have never seen before. The number of hours spent attacking them has been nuts. But then I discover a treasure hidden amongst the wreckage and rejoice. Listening to audio books while I fight is super fun. I really have no idea what I am doing in terms of gardening but it is super enjoyable to me. And I am so very glad ye are going to read the Kingfisher book. It seems so far from yer normal fare that I am so very intrigued to see what ye think of it. And it’s a novella so I hope ye can make time for it soon.
    x The Captain

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    • Your hide-out! LOL!

      I do read a lot of fantasy, but other than Mercedes Lackey, I’m not a fan of much YA fantasy. AND a lot of YA fantasy comes in series, and I don’t want to get involved in a series. The Kingfisher is one book for adults, so I’m pretty stoked.

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  2. It’s always a pleasure to read your weekly account of your life and particularly of your journey into ASL and Deaf culture. This week’s Lowdown has also served its other purpose of directing me back to read/comment on a review I had missed.
    Love your carpet of self sown violets.

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    • Oh! Those violets are just lovely. They’re actually a different type from what’s growing in the yard, too. So, I’ve seen three different types (I assume, because they look different) violets.

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  3. “Google it”, sweet daughter, was my advice about your landscaping plants and flowers. I’m in no way an expert. I’m usually the first person surprised when my plants make it through these savage winters.😳😂 I’m thoroughly delighted you are enjoying your lovely home! ~B😘

    Liked by 1 person

  4. YES on True Biz, I’m almost done with it and waiting to read your review until after I’ve at least written mine (it’ll be posted on Friday, I think). I’m finding it fascinating, and I had a great chat with a friend who’s a retired speech and language therapist this afternoon, checking the info in it on cochlear implants / trying to suppress sign language / trying to gene-therapy deafness away as it relates to the UK (similar, apart from cochlear implants AND the necessary speech and language therapy are available on the NHS). I’d like to find a book on D/deaf culture in the UK to read as a follow-up.

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      • Oh, sorry if I didn’t make that clear – she said it was all similar here, apart from if you get cochlear implants on the NHS, you get free speech and language therapy, too. I am struggling to find books to read on the UK experience that are up to date, novels or non-fiction, but hope I’ll get some recs when I’ve posted my review.

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  5. I missed last week’s lowdown so will go back. I actually looked for it and it wasn’t in my inbox so either you published it later that usual or some conniption resulted in its not appearing. I thought I’d come to your actual blog and look and there it was.

    Loved this one however. Early gardening adventures (I mean, early in a new home) are such fun and full of adventure. I’m glad you are finding it so. I won’t tell you, though, except I now am, though that when we moved into our current home (24 years ago) I attacked the violets (not violas) with a vengeance. They were taking over garden beds. It took me weeks of Sunday morning sessions but I did it though they still pop up. Still I’m talking garden beds not large fields like you are where I can see the value of such ground covers.

    You do a Motown video? Is that free online (or paid online)? I’d love that.

    And now I’m going to be possibly insulting about American education, re “Plus, some of the terms were things like, “An interpreting assignment is…” I wanted to say, “A job for which I get paid??”” Our daughter did an exchange year at UVA for her second year of university and was unimpressed by the use of multiple choice testing in humanities subjects. It’s one thing, perhaps, for science, but for others – really? Here, it tends to be all essays. I love your preferred answer to that question. How can it have one right answer? Or, have I got it wrong, and it wasn’t multiple choice but you had to complete the sentence. That’s not quite so bad.

    Anyhow, I hope you had your best testing strategy on, and came out the other side with flying colours.

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    • Hi Sue, yes, last week’s Sunday Lowdown didn’t happen until Monday! It was a stressful weekend, I think Nick and I bickered over something and we were moving, and to be honest, I have to be in the right frame of mind to write the Sunday Lowdown, or I’m just going to dump a bunch of sad nonsense on folks, and I refuse unless I really need to/need all of your support.

      I love the violets and hope they take over. I’m discovering they are in the yard, too, which makes me sad because I hate to see them mowed. They’re so low maintenance and pretty, and that is my kind of gardening.

      I totally get where my professor is coming from! She’s tricksy with her test. So we got something like 20 terms on the left and each one had a drop down box, which had 20 answers. It seemed like one answer could go to a few terms, which made it much harder. So, it was definitely a process of elimination, likely designed to make us think harder. The challenging part was with 20 terms it’s very hard to see them on the computer screen all at once, so I had to scroll up and down, which was confusing. Also, I definitely sympathize with the fact that this is a SMALL college, meaning my professor is sort of everybody’s everything all the time, in addition to her own personal life. Having matching questions online means the system will grade that section for her and cut down on time. I totally get it.

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      • Moving is so stressful, I’d be surprised if couples didn’t bicker, but it just adds to the stress I know. I’m glad though that you would dump if you REALLY needed help.

        Thanks for sharing about the testing. I certainly get the ease of marking. I’m still not totally convinced about multiple choice, but I can see that that style you describe could be more valid. I can also see the difficulty it creates re scrolling if you are working on laptops or devices!

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        • I like how she gets you to do one body part for a while and then the next song you give it a rest and do something else. I feel myself working out, but I don’t feel myself getting mad and wanting to quit. If you’re a religious person, or maybe even just spiritual, she has a gospel one that I haven’t done but seems popular.

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  6. OOooooo I’ve added Unmasked to my TBR list too! 😀
    I love that you’ve gone crazy gardener because Moth and I did the same thing when we bought our houses too lol. We were both lazy about it this past year. Now, I’ve got to make up for it and get my gardens back into shape. I’ve got transplanting to do and I want to pick a third lily to add to my lily batch in front of our bay window.
    I’m SO ready for summer. I’ve probably said this one thousand times now.

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    • My goal is to have a garden that largely maintains itself, hence replanting the violence that spread and cutting the lilac bush. All the raking I did Sunday when I was complaining to you is stuff left over from the fall, I believe. On the other hand, raking for an hour feels more natural to me than a workout video, so there we are.

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  7. Garden fun! Your prickly plant appears to be what we call sow thistle in Minnesota. It can get gigantically tall and it’s blossoms look like big dandelions and then they go to fluff and look like cotton balls. My chickens LOVE them, and I eat them from time to time too. if you sautee them they are quite tasty and they lose their prickles. Very high in all the good for you vitamins 🙂

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  8. This post made me laugh out loud for so many reasons – especially the essay question about someone crashing into you while trying to interpret!!! I mean, it’s a practical question, so what was your answer? Shout at that person who crashed into you?

    Yes working in the garden/landscaping is no joke, you can really hurt yourself, I’m assuming b/c of all the bending over and lifting? We have a pretty small yard and garden, and I take lots of stretching breaks when I’m weeding, etc. Chicken and hens are beautiful! We have a bit on our yard, but we won’t see it until Juneish, our season is very short up here in Calgary….

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    • I think my answer was about asking the instructor to move the bad dancer to another part of the room or finding an elevated space so I could stand up there out of the way and the Deaf person could see me. I guess my perspective was that even though I would be there to do a job, the bad dancer also paid to be in this class, some he has some rights too. It was a tough one.

      As soon as the snow melted back in April I saw the chickens, and I was under the impression they don’t die and grow back, but are always there? So where do yours go?

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  9. I love your violets! How fun to get into your own garden and learn about it. It took me about 4 years of living in our house before I actually started paying attention to the yard. There’s so much I don’t know! We had those horrible prickly weeds at our last place – they grew close to the beach and got huge. I have no idea what they are except that I wanted to burn them up!

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      • Yes, Pearl was still pretty tiny and then when she might have been at the age where I would let her run around the yard while I gardened, I had Rose. I basically didn’t touch our yard until the first Covid lockdown!

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  10. I totally thought you meant the chicken animals 🤪 I did not realize there were succulents called hens and chicks.

    Sounds like a crazy week last week. What WAS the answer to the “an interpreting assignment is…” if not “a job for which I get paid.” 😅

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    • Ohh and thank you for your lovely suggestion to the prof! I got the Tru Biz book and cannot wait to finish reading it! I’m on like chapter 4 or 5 now, it’s interesting how they aren’t numbered, but have the handshape indicating which character that chapter is about, which I could not figure out the significance of until the 3rd or 4th chapter 🙈

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      • Heh, I was a little sneaky when folks started talking about presents. 😀

        I think it took me a moment to realize the handshape meant the character’s first letter of his/her name too because when you first start reading a book, you have no clue who the narrator is, or how many there are.

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    • My mom always called those plants chickens, but now I’m seeing some bloggers calling them “chick and hens,” which if you say that fast enough actually sounds like “chickens.” Stefanie (another blogger/commenter) also thought I meant the animal, too!

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  11. Those violets are really pretty! I’ve got forget-me-nots and deadnettles all over one corner of my allotment and I am just merrily letting them take over. They’re too pretty too mow! And I’ve planted poached egg plants and nasturtiums as well, which I’m hoping will spread out as ground cover to the areas that aren’t vegetable beds. We’ll see!

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  12. I KNEW Stefanie would know what the trash plant was! I have those too. They suck.

    I have lower back problems – this is what I do when gardening. Take breaks to stretch, even if you’re just out there one hour. Afterwards, stretch again. Do that thing where you lie on your back and bring both knees up to your chest. Then do that bridge pose where your feet are on the floor and you lift your butt in the air – even a few inches – but your shoulders are on the ground. Cat/Cows are also good. Also, ibuprofen and a heating pad work wonders! I have to baby myself when gardening. I can’t wait to have time this weekend to get out in the yard!

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  13. Ouch! That does seem like quite the battle with those prickly little monsters invading your property. But yay for all those violets and lilacs! ❤
    We had quite the battle as well when we first moved into our house so I know how exhausting that all can be. It was basically a situation where long, long ago there had been homeowners there who must have enjoyed landscaping but then they had a long line of renters who didn't care and everything became an overgrown nightmare. I'm so happy for you guys to reach the point though where you can just sit back and enjoy it all! ❤
    C&M was just telling me about that Unmasked book last weekend and I want to check it out too. 🙂 Also, Nettle & Bone seems like a good read too!

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    • Really, your house was like that? That’s literally the exact same thing with our house. Built in 1950, owners loved landscaping, had four kids, house was too small, so they built a house next door in 1970 and rented the house we bought. Renters didn’t want to do landscape stuff.

      As for the Unmasked book, I learned about it on the news, and the author was talking about all the PTSD he has from doing research into cold cases. My interest is in how certain jobs can leech into you and affect your mental health. This is something we talk about in interpreting classes.

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      • Yeah, I can see how that Unmasked book would be a perfect tool for looking into that. I just watched Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes on Netflix this weekend and there was one part in particular that I was like “Oof. That has to be the kind of moment you never forget” when they were recovering one of the bodies. 😦

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