Sunday Lowdown #199


Monday I had school and then I was off for Thanksgiving break (this semester I never had classes Tue/Thur). Nick and I wandered up into central Michigan on Wednesday and stayed with Biscuit and Dad through Saturday night. My brother has four children, and I’m never sure what they will eat, so it’s a surprise. Typically, green bean casserole runs out fast, but this year only a couple little scoops were gone. Instead, my asparagus recipe was the winner. The baked carrots with thyme were a no, and the cauliflower recipe was so-so. Next year I’ll try new stuff again, which is part of the fun.

I watched ThanksKilling, a horror-comedy about a murderous magical turkey. At 75 minutes and a budget of $3,500, it was terrible, but slowly grew on me. I noticed ThanksKilling 3 was available to watch and Googled where to find ThanksKilling 2. Turns out, ThanksKilling is the first film ever to skip 2 and go straight to 3, and I don’t know why that’s so funny, but it does tell me something about the creators. There is a movie poster for a second film that doesn’t exist with the tagline, “In space, no one can hear you baste.” This is poking fun at all the horror franchises that said, “Screw it, let’s put the villain in space.” You know, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, Leprechaun, Critters, Dracula.

On Saturday we headed to a craft show where I bought a suspicious chicken made out of a gourd so it could be friends with the ceramic toad.

Oddly, I’m finding this first part of the Sunday Lowdown harder and harder to write. I suppose as the semester moves forward there is an odd shyness, a turning into myself, that makes it challenging to feel engaged with writing about my week. I watch horror movies, I do homework and record videos, I learn new signs and debate ethical scenarios I may encounter in the interpreting field, I meet with a study buddy and we try to interpret an introductory project management class. I guess if there are aspects of what I’m up to that you want to hear more about, that would be good feedback.


I found the comments for Big Girls Don’t Cry by Connie Briscoe interesting. Some folks read her books when they first came out, others grew up in the same time period as the main character. The way we approach books, often with an open mind and absolutely with our own experiences, changes the way we feel about what we’re reading.

Recently, I’ve been listening to audiobooks from the library in order to get through some books I own that are sitting in my closet unread. Basically, I’m trying to reduce the pile of TBR books I own, and I have a few reviews stored up, so I’m taking some time to address books written by men. My experience of moving to Indiana and feeling like an outsider was addressed in the novella Opioid, Indiana by Brian Allen Carr. The main character grew up in Texas and has to move to Indiana, so his observations and surprise resonated with me. I also finished Uncle Tom’s Children by Richard Wright and am starting Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey.


Biscuit and I read a few heavy books in our book club, so we picked a trilogy of lighthearted audiobooks. Truthfully, I hate these covers, but whatever, the novels weren’t deep. Instead, you get a regular cast of oddball characters that are fun to listen to. Are the holidays stressing you out? Karin Gillespie’s Bottom Dollar trilogy may help you with that, especially if you’re someone who has to commute a long way for work or the holidays, or the crowded stores bother you and you have headphones.


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 188
Owned Books on TBR Today: 186

Three new novels added to the TBR for the horror book club I run.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving! I love the gourd chicken! She looks a bit confused, maybe because her frog friend looks a bit grumpy? Also, that there is a movie poster for a movie that never existed is pretty fantastic. So Thankskilling 3 is actually 2, kind of like there being no 13th floor buttons in elevators for tall buildings 😀


    • I’m not sure I’ve been super clear about why horror, but I’ve been watching and reading it my whole life. I started with horror books like Goosebumps and never stopped, and some of my first horror movies I rented a 5 for $5 on VHS with one of my best friends. We saw movies like Sleep Away Camp and Pet Semetary, Needful Things and Dead Alive. Oddly, I tend to feel bad when I watch other genres of movies, like romance and comedy. Those are genres in which we are supposed to think what’s happening to them is normal, whether that’s sleeping around or getting mad at someone you’re in love with and running away, or manipulating people in some kind of scheme that’s supposed to be funny or lovable. Despite being married and madly in love with my husband, romance movies often leave me feeling bad. What he and I have will never be like what the movie characters have.

      On the other hand, a horror movie plot is something I am so unlikely to experience that I can basically say, “That will never happen to me.” Instead, I’m wondering how a movie might make me feel tense in a fun, safe environment (i.e., my couch). I do not like movies in which torture is the main point, and I’m actually quite scared of sci-fi horror because I’m worried that stuff (like an alien or virus coming back from space) could really happen. So, there are boundaries to what I watch, though I have met horror fans who will watch anything and everything, and even seek out the “worst” thing other people have seen. (Here’s a “horror iceberg” that tells you how deep a disturbed horror fan will go; I’m in the top tier, the one above water:

      I tend to laugh at the horror I watch, especially if I’ve had a bad day and seeing someone like Chucky get away with shenanigans makes me feel better.


  2. Happy thanksgiving too. I love the gourd chicken too! Anything more I can copy from Stefanie?

    I was interested in those dishes. Were they all ones you made? What was wrong with the baked carrots with thyme, and the cauliflower recipe. Both sound delicious to me. I love roasted carrots (which I’m presuming are the same as baked carrots). I love all sorts of cauliflower, but I don’t know what your “cauliflower dish” is in particular. If it’s one of those cheesy sauce ones, then no, for me – only because I can’t have the cheese.

    As for your question. I’m sorry you are finding the first part harder and harder to write. It’s hard for me to say what I’d like to hear because I like it all – the trips, the ethical debates, how your house and neighbourhood are going, how YOU are going, what you cook, what the weather is like. You write it, I’m interested, because your life is different to mine and because you write so well.


    • Yes, baked and roasted are the same, really. The cauliflower had red pepper and onion strips and was baked as well. I don’t really add cheese to things, especially if my goal is a lighter, flavorful dish. Basically, my brother’s kids are 13, 12, 6, and 5, so I never know who’s grown into or out of a food! One minute they are vegetarians because they hate meat and next they’re picking the turkey out of the soup because they don’t want vegetables. I just aim to catch them all with something they will enjoy, but their mom also brings dishes, like mac and cheese, that they are sure to enjoy. I remember Biscuit doing the same thing with lasagna when the holiday host only had shrimp or sausage and sauerkraut.

      Hmmm…..maybe I shouldn’t assume you guys are bored with me! Sometimes I feel like a broken record, or sometimes I write a long, elaborate post and everyone comments on the same one, small thing. I suppose that means that’s what they wanted to comment on, not what they were interested in. I’ll think about it more.


      • Yes, I thought so. Well, baked cauliflower with capsicum (oops, red pepper) and onion sounds delicious to me. 5-13 is a wide range.

        You should not. I understand that feeling, because we tend to get locked into our blog style and persona, don’t we, and we can start to bore ourselves, but rest assured you are not a broken record.

        Yes, probably, re the commenting berg focused. People can’t comment on it all, so pick the thing that stands out which is usually the thing that perhaps has more human interest or maybe it has more complexity to tease out or even, sometimes, it is just more universal so more relatable.


  3. MP-Thanksgiving in the middle of the mitten was lovely as usual due to your cooking MP! Everything you made was delicious! There were barely any leftovers to make our traditional shepherds pie! Apparently the entertainment was my department! You saw me prep, wrestle and cuss at that darn turkey hoping I wouldn’t cause murder by bird! It just wouldn’t cook. You saw me stare at it , pace around it and shake my fist at it. That turkey gave me the bird!! We usually eat at noon. The turkey made its entrance at 2:45 pm. Ha! That rotten bird did not steal our joy! We persevered. We went on with our meal without Tom turkey making great memories. Thanksgiving is about being grateful. ☺️ I’m grateful for my family and our crazy little piece of heaven when we’re all together! Love~B ♥️


    • I did not realize that second turkey was done at 2:45! I think next year just one small turkey will do fine, especially since the little guys don’t eat much bird. Also, I am happy to cook the turkey. Slowly, I am taking over because it is not practical to have everyone come to my house. I still can’t figure out what happened because one 14LB turkey should not take, what 9 hours??, to cook. I do know if two turkeys are touching, wherever they are touching cook much slower due to science reasons.


        • TRUE, except now I got my eyes on Christmas. I would love to make a traditional lasagna with side salads, but then maybe something fun another night, like hot dog pizza. I could also make chocolate chip oatmeal pancakes for breakfast! Those stick in your tummy nicely. Oh, I also have a new recipe for baked oatmeal that I should try before I experiment on you guys.


  4. The first part of your Sunday Lowdowns – that’s my favorite part! I love hearing what you’re up to, even if you think it doesn’t amount to much. Helps me “keep up” with you in my mind! Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving. I like cauliflower so I’d probably enjoy your dish!


  5. You encouraged me to write about my life, and I you, and we seem to have grown that aspect of our blogging together. Like you, I am never sure about what to write, but also like you, I get lots of encouragement, so it seems lit.bloggers like stuff other than Lit.

    I’ve been out working for a few hours this morning and was thinking I really owe you a letter, but I couldn’t begin writing till I read Sunday Lowdown and discovered what was already in the public domain. Hopefully, by the time you’ve had breakfast – that’s the advantage of being 12 hours ahead of you – I’ll have worked out what to write. More weird stuff probably.

    I checked up when we first discussed Karin Gillespie and it was just a few lines in my first post in the very first days of Covid. Everyone was feeling down and I was certain we were on the verge of the next Great Depression. Now Covid rages unabated and almost unnoticed – the US has a million dead, I heard today. I wasn’t the only person wearing a mask in the shopping centre today but I was in a tiny minority. But how was Karin Gillespie? I wouldn’t be surprised if Love Literary Style turned out to be her one great success, from a literary POV anyway.


    • That’s terribly funny, to consider parts of myself in the public domain, but I know what you mean. Sometimes Cupcakes & Machetes texts me, and I redirect her to my Sunday post.

      12 hours ahead of me. Here I sit, thinking like a squirrel about eating a snack, and wonder if you’ve got some tasty breakfast in tomorrowland. What do Aussies like to eat for breakfast? Are you also those strange beans/eggs/a tomato people? I just eat Cheerios every day, though if I had to pick a cereal that makes me cheery, it wouldn’t be those.

      I forgot my first Gillespie book was Love Literary Style, which I truly enjoyed. There are two more in that series, though why it’s called a series, I do not know. The characters and setting are not the same. I read one of them, Girl Meets Class, which I liked but not as much, and have yet to read Divinely Yours. The Bottom Dollar books are much more lighthearted and would probably make you jerk the wheel on your truck, unless you were feeling terribly lonely for some utter goofiness. Your recommendations of Gillespie and MacDonald really did help me get through lock down times.


      • I really enjoy baked beans, eggs and tomatoes on toast, with maybe a couple of hash browns. Some roadhouse chefs add spinach or fried capsicum and onion (to make up for the missing bacon & sausages). Not that I buy breakfast that often, or cook it myself – when I will usually add vegie sausages. Otherwise, day after day, it’s plain old porridge (instant if I’m in the truck and soaked overnight if I’m home). My one treat is having pancakes with Milly and the grandkids. Is that enough about breakfast?


        • Of course, now I just want breakfast. I like making oatmeal pancakes, usually with some chocolate chips thrown in. Tonight I did make my first-ever oatmeal. I’m not big on it because in the U.S. kids are typically exposed to that instant stuff that’s full of sugar and comes out with a consistency of a sinus infection. Mine was baked, and had apples. Didn’t come out nearly as firm as I would have hoped (I wanted squares, not piles), but it tasted good, actually.


  6. I enjoy reading about your week! I think my favourite is hearing about your classes, because I feel like I’m learning about a profession adjacent to health that I know very little about, but you’re a very entertaining writer so I always enjoy whatever you write. (And Happy Thanksgiving!)


    • I can’t wait until next fall when I take medical interpreting and have loads to share with you. I know that interpreters locate a place on the body, “remove” part of the body, and then start signing about it in front of them, which sounds like some fascinating language surgery to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I sometimes find it hard to recap what I’ve done over a month’s period, let alone doing it every week so I commend you for that.
    Dani and I almost watched Thankskilling! Lol. We were looking for something different and that almost happened. 😛
    Sorry this is a short comment but my brain seems to be short circuiting this morning. I guess it needs more time for the coffee to sink in.


    • If I take some notes in a draft on WP, then the Sunday Lowdown is much easier. I need to keep doing that.

      Aw, you and Dani should have watched it!! I also watched The Last Thanksgiving on Tubi, and that was cool, too.

      Thank you for sharing your coffee time with me, even if it has not yet kicked in! 👊

      Liked by 1 person

      • As soon as I get the house decorated for Christmas, it’s time to watch Krampus. I bought it on DVD finally because last year Rob decided it needed to be a yearly tradition and screw trying to find what streaming service it’s currently on every year.


        • I have this weird thing where a lot of horror movies people love in general, I do not like after I see them in theater. If I give them another chance at home, I really enjoy them. This happened with Krampus, Hereditary, and I know a few others. The Witch, no. I watched it again at home and still no. I think I get so anxious about all the people around me talking, the kids on the cell phones, the lack of close captions–even if I hear everything fine, just knowing they are not there–people coming in late, etc.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I much prefer the company of my dogs and spouse on the couch than a bunch of annoying humans while I watch a movie. Plus, I can fart as I please. 😛
            My kitchen is loaded with snacks that I haven’t paid triple the normal price for, and the bathroom is a very short distance away. Plus, I can pause it!
            It’s going to take a lot of convincing for me to go back to a theatre. Although Rob was just saying that he wants to see the new Avatar movie in theater.


    • Today at school I was telling someone about how one reader on my blog said that you can never get rid of all the thistles (which I was frantically attacking this summer) and another reader who said I could cook and eat them, etc. It made me realize how woven into my real life you guys are!


      • Oh did I tell you how I got rid of mine? Cut off at the soil, sprinkle a pile of table salt on the cut stem. You might need to do it twice, won’t need to do it again. Careful not to get it all over the soil, just on the stem. So cool, though. I often mention my blog friends in the “real world” too!


  8. I’m glad you had a nice Thanksgiving! Our friends host a now annual American Thanksgiving dinner and the green beans are always a hit. She puts some sort of crispy fried onions on top? I’ve never had them like that except at this dinner but it’s yummy.

    Personally, I always enjoy hearing about your adventures big and small, like garage sale finds and the things you are learning in school. I feel like I learn a lot!


    • French fried onions! Yes! Okay, those are not widely available in Canada? The things I’ve learned tonight! The recipe is typically canned green beans (and some people will stomp their feet in protest if you buy non-canned), cream of mushroom soup, French fried onions, some milk, salt, and pepper.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I only see them once a year at this dinner so I have no idea how easy they are to find them in Canada. She may bring them across the border. This year’s green beans were fresh which we were told is not traditional! It was yummy, it’s just not a dish I’ve encountered anywhere else.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m curious about these Bottom Dollar trilogies – what are they about? Female friendships, etc?

    I like hearing about the stuff you already write about – stuff you cooked, something funny that happened, the toad on your driveway. I guess that’s my feedback, keep it up? LOL


    • It is interesting how much everyone enjoys all the random stuff I do and sort of cling to different aspects. Some people want to know about my campaign against the evil thistle plant, others are obsessed with Toadman, etc. It’s lovely that you all are my friends!

      The book trilogy: the first one is a woman trying to find love and grow up, the second is a woman with a bunch of kids whose husband has run off with a Hollywood actress drawn to “real” men, and the third is everyone feeling ho-hum now that they have or don’t have love and realizing settling isn’t good enough.

      Liked by 1 person

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