Sunday Lowdown #197


You know how some medical appointments happen every six months? I go to both the dentist and the dermatologist every six months, and I’ve weirdly got them on the same day. Something else happens the same day: voting. Twice now I’ve done all three in one day! When I vote, there is typically no line. With the old machines, I could see which number I was, meaning how many people voted before me. This number tends to be around 300, which is . . . not a lot. Tuesday, I waited in line for fifteen minutes despite there being many polling locations, and this is a strong indicator that folks are getting out to make their voices heard!

As I stood in line, teeth gummy with fluoride, I thought about the conversation I’d just had with the dentist twenty minutes earlier. I asked the dentist if he voted today. He said yes. I said that’s good; it’s good to know that your dentist participates in democracy. He said he’s always voted ever since 1978. I said, “Oh! Were you a hippie back then?” And he said, “I had hair if that’s what you’re asking.” I kind of was. 🤣

I really took my time voting. They have big tablet thingies now, and you touch the screen. We’re a long way away from the hanging chad days. The last three bits of the ticket asked if I wanted to keep three judges. I stood there and Googled them, considered their backgrounds and what legislation they’ve passed. In the past, I would not have gotten my phone out for fear of someone tackling me (can you have your phone out??), except I had watched a YouTube video asking Deaf people if they will vote, why they think it’s important, and if it’s easy to do. In the last part, a woman signed that she will not hurry her vote, and I took that to heart. As I was leaving, there was still quite a line. I quiet-shouted, “Yay, we’re voting!” and got a small “Woohoo!” back.

Then, that afternoon off to the dermatologist where I sat in the waiting room for over half an hour. Usually, that’s plenty of time for me to be nervous, but I kept thinking about the tools I’ve learned in therapy to help me stay calm. After I was called back and waiting for the dermatologist’s room, she came into the room to ask how I was. I said, “Nervous.” I reminded her that last time we met I had to have surgery. And she responded, “BUT! You didn’t diiiiie.” Okay, touche, skin lady. This visit was more comfortable because I knew how to dress better for the examination, and I really like this lady (I’m not sure what her title is. She’s got “DNP, RN, FNP-BC” after her name, and I don’t think any of those are doctor?) I did have another biopsy and thus commenced the waiting game where the phone rings to tell me if I have cancerous cells, abnormal cells, or I’m fine and dandy.

I wrote all of the above on Tuesday after it happened. Now it’s Saturday night, 30 minutes until midnight, and I feel like a body exhumed. I drove two hours to get to Indiana Deaf Fest and spent six hours interpreting, mingling, and trying to keep my head above water! Gotta be flexible in the interpreting field. I did eat the best ribs I have ever had, which were mad by a Deaf man, who was staffing a cooker in the snow, who has been bragging about his ribs to me for months. Then it was the two hours home, where I started thinking about how to sign some songs, including “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” for a drag show on campus tomorrow (three of us will be interpreting to practice, not for a consumer).


I am always pleased to share a Susan Stinson book with my followers, and I hope that you check out her work. Her vibrant details and boldly-written fat lesbians are sure to please and entertain you. If you enjoy a road novel, this is for you. If you enjoy one of those novels in which adults learn more about being an adult, this is for you. If you enjoy good writing, this is for you. If you missed my review of Venus of Chalk, go back and check it out.


It’s a two-fer! I re-read the chunky mass market paperback sagas from the Wakefield twins. One covers their maternal side, and the other their paternal. Bizarrely, you can tell which one I love more back when I was a young person just by looking at how worn the pages are — and which one I remember the best. Francine Pascal (well, one of her ghostwriters) took me down memory lane, which I’ll share about on Wednesday with reviews of The Wakefields of Sweet Valley and The Wakefield Legacy: The Untold Story.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 192
Owned Books on TBR Today: 191

After reading The Troop by Nick Cutter, a book that is basically Lord of the Flies if it had bio-horror, with my spooky book club, I asked if there are any gender-swapped Lord of the Flies novels out there. One club member pointed me to a list that included Beauty Queens.


  1. And thanks to you I’m sure, the Dems are hanging in there. Earlier today my time Nevada made it 50 and control in the Senate. Now for the House.

    Your dentist’s father was more likely a hippy than your dentist. The sixties were a very long time ago.


    • To be fair, I honestly was trying to ask if he had long hair. I was curious.

      Looks like things are shaking out for democrats, and I know my Michigan friends and family sighed in relief that they kept abortion access legal.


  2. I had to read the bit out about asking your dentist if he were a hippy to Mr Gums. He laughed. Every week I can see how come you are a creative writing teacher. You Americans have such complicated election days. My Californian friend wrote to me this week, and said this: “I stayed up late on Halloween night to finish my ballot … I was very invested in the election of the school board members [ME: because of an anti CRT etc faction], so I was very disappointed that the … school board candidates were not on my ballot”. She then wrote that a friend had “frantically texted” her the previous week because she had “turned in her ballot and later realized that she hadn’t voted for any school board members”. This friend thought she’d forgotten to complete that part of ballot, but then my friend found none on her ballot either. Apparently this election was for only a part of the district – and not their part. She’d never seen that before. The thing is that we just don’t have all this extra voting – plus the propositions too – that you have.

    It was great though to watch the election reports and hear that so many more people seem to have voted.

    Oh, and when you got to this week’s post, I thought, I think I read that, and had to check. The thing is that I had not remembered the title of the book at all, just the discussion. As soon as I read the first paragraph of the post I knew that I had read and commented.

    Anyhow, good luck with your signing … I love hearing about it.


    • The frantic friend sounds fairly normal to me. I was Googling stuff AT the polling location. Sometimes the wording is odd. When I first became a voter, I tried to read each person’s positions carefully. As I got older, I would always vote for women, because the future is female. Now, I have to, in good conscience, vote straight democrat. I had to decide whether three judges should be allowed to keep their positions in Indiana, though, and that’s what I was Googling. They are not listed with a specific party, though it’s pretty clear where they’re coming from if you look at who nominated them.

      I’ve heard that in some countries there is a limit to how long politicians are allowed to campaign, and in one (I can’t remember which), it’s two weeks. Ours is honestly closer to two years. People are talking about the next presidential election already, and apparently Trump has a “big announcement” tomorrow. But….he cost the Republicans a lot by backing extremist candidates who all lost except J.D. Vance, who was likely bolstered by the popularity of his book, Hillbilly Elegy.


      • Love hearing all this. And have enjoyed discussing it all with my friend. The American system is so fascinating.

        In Australia, technically campaigning doesn’t start until the election is called. That’s not to say that certain behaviours and actions at other times can’t be seen as campaigning but it’s not formal or the sort of stuff we see going on in the US.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So looking forward to your wakefield saga reviews! My favourite was definitely the OG Wakefields of Sweet Valley though I also adored the Fowler one which possibly has the worst take on the French Revolution ever 🙂


  4. I don’t think we’re allowed to take our phones out in the voting booth, you’re definitely not allowed to take photographs. We don’t have very complicated elections here, the most I think we’ve had is local elections, the mayor and the police and crime commissioner and I’d been able to look those up in advance. I’m very keen on voting and glad to see the turnout. In fact the first police and crime commissioner vote we had, I went out 2 days after an operation and gave myself a small haemorrhage! Yay, voting, indeed …


    • You got a whole hemorrhage in the name of voting?? Go, Liz! That reminds me of the woman who (and I’m making half of this up because I’ve forgotten) was something like 100 years old but voted for Obama because she had lived to see a Black man run for president with a chance of winning.


  5. Yeah, turnout was big here too. We walked to the polling place, which is the high school. It was a beautiful warm day that day. I am a blue voter in a very red state, but I keep doing it! And taking my son with me – so he knows how important it is to vote, even if you are in the minority.


    • I’m so glad you took your son! I keep telling everyone how when I was your son’s age and went with my parents and grandparents to vote, my grandma would scold me for asking who they all voted for. You did NOT share with anyone! Can you imagine that today?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I was scolded for looking at my phone in line in a hallway last year in TX. *eye roll* But I voted via mail in ballot this year (not TX).
    “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” for a drag show on campus tomorrow. I hope there’s dancing involved.


    • I read all sorts of stories on Reddit about people being scolded or asked to leave the line for all sorts of things. And, it varies by state. My hometown made the news because a poll worker had a MAGA hat on, but it was deemed legal because MAGA doesn’t technically endorse one candidate over another. Except it totally does.

      Believe it or not, “Save a Horse” was the one song that was cut! I interpreted other songs, though.


  7. Elections aren’t terribly high tech here (just a cross on a polling slip) and you definitely aren’t allowed to get your phone out in the booth. I’ve always been able to look the candidates up beforehand though so I go in knowing who I’m voting for. Glad to hear that turnout has been so much better this time around!


    • I think one of the confusing things is I get to texting and chatting with friends in other states, so I think I’m going to vote for one thing only to learn it’s a person or initiative on their ballot, not mine. I kept thinking I was going to vote for school boards and whatnot, but that wasn’t on the ticket at all. Then there were three state supreme court judges I had no clue would be on there, thus the Googling. I said “nay” to the judge chosen by Mike Pence.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your conversation with the dentist cracked me up! I like your dentist.

    Lots of people voted here too. Our ballots are still old school scantron like fill in the bubble next to your candidate. And just like when I was in school I am greatly paranoid about staying inside the bubble lines so the machine reads it correctly. Some things never change 😀

    I hope you got/get good results on your biopsy.


  9. Yay for voting! I always get drawn in to American elections because they seem so dramatic and complicated and you vote for things like judges and have school board trustees who are associated with political parties! I was delighted to see the large turnout, especially among young voters. I always take my kids with me when I vote because I want them to grow up knowing how important it is.


    • I may be wrong, but I don’t think the school board people are affiliated with a political party (their colors are grey when the results come in, instead of red or blue). However, if they say things like, “We’re gonna get back to the days of….” or “No more teaching children CRT!” then you know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I read something about a Republican school board trustee and was surprised but what you’re describing makes more sense. We don’t really have political parties at the municipal level and overall the school board seems fairly non-political. But of course you do have things like one person running and being a known anti-masker and that would obviously play out in their actions if they were elected. (Fortunately they were not.)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I get nervous for dr. appointments too. I’m not sure why, because I’m not nervous when i get in there, I’m just nervous…waiting? If that makes sense.

    I also love that you were a hype man for waiting-in-line voters. Go you!!!


    • I think I tend to forget that doctors are people. One thing I try to remind myself is there was a recent study about actual rocket scientists. You know how we always say, “Well, it isn’t rocket science?” It turns out that rocket scientists aren’t really smarter than the average person who attends college and grad school, if I remember correctly. They’re just really focused on something that most of us don’t want to focus on.

      Liked by 1 person

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