Sunday Lowdown #187


Greetings! It’s already Sunday morning as I wrote this post, which means some of you likely were wondering where it was. It’s been an extraordinary week with college starting and my parents visiting for Labor Day weekend. I believe I mentioned recently that I have three classes: Interpreting Ethics, Interpreting 1, and ASL 5. I also am partnered with a senior student, and we interpret a communication research class. I’ve been watching my partner, but on Friday I gave interpreting a try myself. The topic was the experiment that took place in the U.S. post-WWII when a doctor named Keys got folks to sign up for a starvation test to see how food rationing affected Europeans during the war. I accidentally kept signing NOT-HUNGRY instead of NO-FOOD. Oops. No one in the class is Deaf; professors are first contacted, and if they agree, let us sit in their classroom for practice.

Biscuit and Dad arrived Friday for a weekend visit. Early Saturday morning, Biscuit and I partook in a Donut & Dash charity race. I did the Fun Mile and she did the 5K.

Biscuit and Me right before the Fun Mile folks took off. She said something funny right as I took the picture!

Both Friday and Saturday night I was busy; two dinner events in the Deaf community took place. While we are required to spend fifteen hours with the Deaf community for ASL 5, it’s also important to learn more about the community, too. I’m always honored that I’m allowed to join! I try to think, “Yes, I want to get to know people,” but I’m also aware that I’m there to learn, and not everyone is so kind about allowing students to “watch” them, so to speak. I try to imagine myself in their shoes and be both friendly but unobtrusive. I’m still learning a lot and feel deep gratitude to everyone I meet.

Before the first dinner event, I realized I had never actually ordered dinner with the Deaf community. I sent a video message to my former ASL teacher, who is Deaf, to ask if it’s considered rude for me to order a meal with my voice, or if I should point or use text on my phone the same as everyone else. Amanda, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for your help! I was nervous, and you gave me courage.

Since I am writing this post Sunday morning, I’ll add that I’m super excited that my parents, spouse, and I are going to a special cinema on the campus of Notre Dame this afternoon where we will watch Fire of Love, a movie about two volcanologists who are married and what life is like studying volcanoes together. I’m pumped because I’ve always (somewhat quietly) loved Earth Sciences, and this theater has a THX sound system, the one developed my George Lucas that rivals them all and makes Dolby speakers sound wimpy. GIVE ME THE VOLCANOES AS LOUDLY AS POSSIBLE!


Another very quiet week at Grab the Lapels, but to be fair, I was also quiet on your blogs. When school starts up, I have to figure out my schedule. If I don’t plan a time to sit down and blog hop, it won’t happen. Currently, my scheduled slot is 9:00-9:30 at night, but that hasn’t panned out. I might start taking my laptop to school and reading blog posts during my lunch break. Anyway, the Ludmilla Petrushevskaya book sounds scary, and actually has “scary” on the cover, but I don’t find her work scary in particular. Sometimes a bit haunting, sometimes you say, “Oh, no!” but then things work out differently from what you think. I do believe most readers of this blog would enjoy There Once Was a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby.


Tara Lynn Masih has a new book coming out, and to get the word around, she’s partaking in a blog tour. On Wednesday, Masih will share an excerpt from one of her stories in How We Disappear and add notes to explain what she was thinking when she wrote that particular scene.


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

Nothing added to the TBR.


    • I was thinking I’ll just start reading posts on my phone. At first, I was thinking about taking my computer, but I would only be carrying it around for blogging, and other than my laptop, I don’t have any books to carry (we pay for development workshops etc. instead of paying for a textbook).

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nothing added – wow! That’s interesting about asking how to order when with Deaf folk (was there a definitive answer?). I was negotiating welcoming a woman living with multiple disabilities who is nonverbal to our parkrun the Saturday before last and had to ask her how I was supposed to communicate with her (she’d already said she put her speech acts on a tablet). I seemed to ask the right way (asking if it was OK to ask the question) as she said she welcomed my question and was pleased I’d asked if it was OK to ask (the answer was I could talk to her but she would reply on the tablet). Phew!


    • I think we should always ask if we can ask folks a question, and then including the person makes them feel, well, included! And heard/seen! And I’m referring to all people here. What happened is I noticed a lot of folks started voicing their order or turning to some interpreting students (possibly ones they’ve met before) to communicate with the waitstaff. At the second event, there were a number of CODAs who were obviously well-known/trusted who communicated with the waitstaff.


  2. I hear you one the busy week! I didn’t start classes but the law school students did and the library went from ghost town to OMG who are all these people asking me questions and needing things? By Wednesday I was exhausted and slogged through the remaining days of the week.

    I hope you like all your classes. Your practice interpretation with a senior on-hand sounds like a great opportunity to learn. And I am super curious what the answer was to ordering food at the dinner. Did you use your voice?

    Enjoy mom and Dad’s visit and the rest of the holiday weekend. And tell Toadman hello for me 🙂


    • I didn’t realize you work in a law library! For some reason I assumed you were retired.

      On Friday night I ended up voicing and signing my order at the same time. The waitstaff person looked seriously flustered and frustrated. On Saturday night I pointed like everyone else. There were three or so CODAs interpreting follow up questions (what kind of sauce, dressing, etc.) to parents and friends.

      I haven’t seen Toadman this week, but given the gloomy weather, I expect him to pop up any day now.


  3. It sounds like you’re getting a good variety of ways to practise and learn. I’m having to figure out what my fall schedule will look like too and I’ve kind of neglected blogs this past month but I hope to be more regular once school starts.


    • I know this past week I have been quieter than usual. I’ve been meeting with folks who have offered to mentor me to see which one I click with best. It was also Labor Day weekend, which ate my Monday, and it’s the first week of the horror book club I started. I am frantically reading our first book today!

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      • It’s nice that you have a choice of mentors! I hope you find the right fit. Labour Day has thrown me off too, I keep forgetting what day it is. And gradual kindergarten entry for Rose has me feeling like I’m spending most of my day at the girls’ school because I end up going back and forth multiple times every day!


        • Wait, does Canada celebrate Labor Day, too? On the same day?

          Also, what other kind of parent would be able to go back and forth to school so often? I don’t mean to say anything about you, but about the school and what they expect parents to be able to do. I can’t picture my brother or his wife randomly leaving work, but their kids also ride a bus. On the other hand, they’re now not allowed to exit the bus unless an adult is standing on the porch.

          Liked by 1 person

          • We do! (We call it Labour Day.) It’s the first Monday in September which I think is the same.

            Our particular school actually doesn’t offer a bus because technically everyone is supposed to live within 2km. So a lot of older kids ride bikes or walk. The after school program our kids will do is also available before school and some of the kindergarteners have already started, presumably the ones whose parents both work full time. Honestly, it’s a neighbourhood where a lot of families have a stay-at-home parent or at least one with a flexible schedule. It would be hard to swing with 2 full-time working parents.


            • Wow, it sounds like a made-up place, if I’m being honest! I’ll bet you’re pretty familiar with most of the children and their parents. Also, it just dawned on me that your family income is largely from Peter, a teacher, which would never happen in the U.S. Many public school teachers have two jobs because they can’t afford to live AND pay back student loans.

              Liked by 1 person

              • At this point I probably know the majority of the primary grade kids and families at least by sight. It’s not a huge school. Walking the kids to and from school has been a great way to meet other families too.

                So much of what I hear about teaching in the US makes me wonder why anyone would choose that job! Teachers here have quite a strong union and it’s a very regulated job. Though apparently teachers in BC are the lowest paid in Canada! I’m not sure we could swing it on his salary in a big city but we make it work here. Student loans do make a huge difference too and we’re super fortunate that only Peter had any and those we were able to pay off pretty quickly. We are excited that with me working more and Peter having finished his Masters we’ll both be earning more this year.


  4. I have taken a while to comment this week as I’ve been on the road – in Sydney for a big school reunion and now in a place called Mollymook on the south coast where Mr. Gums” sister and BIL live. It’s been full on. Anyhow, love the pic of you and Biscuit. I can see a real likeness in your smiles.

    What advice did Amanda give you about ordering at the Deaf dinner?

    Good luck with your new term. Hope you enjoy the new challenges it brings.


  5. Your first day of school picture is super cute and I love the one of you and Biscuit too! Your office is cute. I also have an L-shaped desk. What does this have to do with anything? Just that we think alike and we’re both extremely adorable of course.
    What a fun Labor Day event to attend!
    You know how I spent mine, deep in the woods with little cell service. Lol. We did some two-tracking on side-by-sides and saw a lot of deer. There is state land just down the road from my dad’s new place and I can’t wait to explore it. There is also a neat dog-friendly nature preserve nearby that we’ll have to explore too.
    I completely forgot that I’m supposed to start volunteering again with the Nature Conservancy but I really don’t think I’m going to have the time. We have something going on every weekend through September. How did we go from doing nothing for several years and suddenly doing EVERYTHING?


    • You do seem awfully busy lately! Whenever you’re out exploring those woods, I hope you are bathed in tick spray. They are fricken everywhere. Sometimes Biscuit does 5K races that have nature trails, and I always wonder if there are ticks out there, but it turns out the biggest problem at the last one was she tripped on a tree root and fell.

      I used to have an L-shaped desk in my office, but I always found myself kinda stuck in the corner of it! That’s why I have a long desk now and then a small cupboard next to me that serves as a computer charging station and stationary supply area.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow ok, Volcanologists is a word, never realized that. I bet that love is FIERY!!!!

    So what was the consensus on ordering the dinner? was it best to use your voice, or point to the text? I’m just curious…


  7. That does sound like a very busy week! I’m looking forward to hearing more about your interpreting classes this year. When do you start medical interpreting?

    That is a lovely photo of you and Biscuit!


    • Medical interpreting will be next fall, I do believe. I may even ask you if you’re willing to help me understand some concepts so I can sign them appropriately. I’m not sure what the class is like yet, but we’ll see in 2023!


  8. I also was busy Sunday and for the next few days, and my laptop, which travels with me, failed. You sound happy. After professor, producer (drama), librarian I’m not sure how you chose ASL interpreter but it seems to suit you. Glad you have a place now where the olds can visit. I’m on my way down to my daughter’s place in the morning, to see the grandkids and bring Milly back to Perth.
    Also, well done running a mile (and Biscuit running 5). I tried to be fitter than my kids but I’m past it now.


    • I’m doing okay so far. Trying to stay positive and organized and avoid worry traps. It helps that I see my new therapist every Tuesday because she puts things into perspective, and I always leave feeling very heard and, well, this sounds odd, but normal. I leave feeling normal.

      I think ASL interpreter is actually one of the closest jobs to my MFA in fiction that I’ve had, despite wanting to say theater or library. At the theater I was manager/organizer. At the library I was tech person. In ASL we learn about language and how it goes together and how to make meaning out of spoken words. Truly, it is the closest to fiction writing.

      I hope Milly is well and send my love along to her. Biscuit is going well despite some ridiculous work stuff happening. It’s like working at a circus, I swear. Also, I will not pretend I ran the mile; I definitely walked, though Biscuit ran the 5K. She does 5K races frequently. I typically walk every day, but have started riding my bicycle now that it’s not blazing hot. Unfortunately, because I have not ridden in, oh, 15 years, I now have a weird tendon issue in my foot that Nick has diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. Basically, I’m limping all over the place.


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