Sunday Lowdown #121


What a jam-packed week. It was final exams! On Monday I had two exams. One was a fairly short performance in ASL 4 class. It had to be memorized, and that was not worrisome because it was a script from our textbook. The other was the linguistics final, which I was told would be worth 150 points. I spent the weekend before re-reading the entire textbook. For me, memorizing vocab (which is largely what linguistics class required) has very little use. I want to understand and apply the vocab, so by rereading the textbook instead of using flash cards, I stuck in my brain the author’s examples, the images, and even his rather dry humor that I found hilarious because it was so misplaced in a textbook. My scores were excellent on both exams.

Later, I started getting grades online for other ASL performance projects I had done, including a story I created. It had a lot of requirements, one of which was to be between 9 and 10 minutes, no more, no less. I thought I did well and created a clever story, but I earned a 75%. Upon asking the professor about it, part of the problem was my story was 7 minutes, 50 seconds. I could have sworn on my life it clocked in at 9 minutes, 50 seconds. So, he changed my grade on my word. Later, I remembered all classes are recorded, so I went back and timed myself and yes, it was 7 minutes, 50 seconds. So then I was terribly ashamed and immediately emailed my professor, telling him I am duty bound to be honest.

The problem is it looks like I’m arguing for points. In a class worth, I believe, 1,000 points, we’re talking about 8 points or so. But to me, it’s not the points. I need to learn, know when I’m doing things incorrectly, focus, practice, and improve. The grade is irrelevant to me except that it is a reflection of my skills. And for this performance, I had several signing errors and a story too short. In the end, I wish I would have just read the feedback and said thank you, so it was a lesson learned. I can begin again in ASL 5 next fall with a different air.

On Wednesday I had an appointment with an ENT, an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist. My left ear has been popping for years, though I get a break in May, June, and July. After the examination, we discussed some possibilities. I could do a procedure for which they numb the ear drum, cut it, and insert a tube. The tube may or may not work. The tube will come out after 18 months. The tube may instantly feel like a blockage and have to come out very shortly after insertion. This all sounded super . . . undesirable. On top of that, the popping sound can be your jaw clicking, or even your own heartbeat. It may have nothing to do with your eustachian tube at all.

The second option is this is all allergy related. I haven’t smelled properly since I moved to Indiana in 2008. We’re in a high-pollen area, downwind from Chicago pollution, and thanks to climate change, the breeding season for plants is much longer. So, I signed up to get myself acclimated to allergies, which first requires a test of all allergens on my forearm. Then, if nothing really stands out, the same test again on my upper arm. By test, I mean they use needles to put things that cause allergic reactions under my skin. Then, once they identify whatever I’m allergic to, I begin a series of shots over 3-5 years to become immune to whatever I’m allergic to. First, you get a shot every week for several weeks, and then it’s spread out. You’d think I’d be upset, but the idea of breathing normally, or not having my ears bother me, is exciting.

On Thursday I did my interpreting final exam, which was a whole bunch of short and long answer questions over a two-hour period. I studied a lot over the entire semester — no cramming! — and felt ready. But even though I knew all the definitions to explain and apply in short answer, I was still pressed for time. The final question was an ethical scenario that I just did not feel was solvable. And, I ran out of lines on the test paper. The professor said the number of lines she gives is indicative of about how long your answer should be. And then she pointed out how I always turn in a “book” whenever we have a writing assignment compared to everyone else. Even though she said it in jest and I got a lot out of every assignment, coming off of feeling a fool in front of my ASL professor by saying he wrote the time down wrong was just not meshing for me. I nearly cried a couple of times during the exam just from being overwhelmed with too many emotions.

I’m not sure I handled the end of the semester too well. I ate too much junk food, I got emotionally vulnerable when I should have been professional, and I started taking everything to heart. Where I landed, though, is that these are all moments to learn from. One of the lessons I learned will be a future post on my interpreting blog.


Thank you for reading my review of Aubrey Gordon’s nonfiction collection tackling twenty things thin people say to fat people: “You Just Need to Lose Weight” And 19 Other Myths About Fat People. Oddly, I’m not sure how many times the same people can see the data about eating less and exercising more and the result of weight not staying off, but coming back and even more — and messing up a body’s metabolism. Are these doubters people who don’t exist in reality? Do they know so little about biology that they assume all human organisms function the same way? Are they not surprised when the person who ate organic, exercised constantly, and never smoked a day in their life dies from cancer?


I’m pretty excited about this review because it’s a new book and was recommended to me by a fellow blogger. If you know The Great British Baking Show (or Great British Bake Off as it’s called in the U.K.), then you won’t want to miss my review of The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell.


Books Bought Since January 2023: 1

Running Cost: $1


Thank you Anne @ I’ve Read That for her recommendation!


  1. Oh where to start. I’m sorry about all the stress you’ve had. Stress is why I stopped doing a second undergraduate degree in my late 20s. It was not specifically vocational though had some general utility, so I decided not to continue after 2 years part-time. I really understand where you are coming from. (I too had / have a propensity to “hand in a book”) Sounds though, like you have done really well overall, and that you know what you want to achieve. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Or, as my son’s grade 6 teacher would say to my son, “stress less, E., you will live longer!” I loved her.

    I have done all that allergy stuff… but back in the 1960s when I was a little girl of 9 or 10 – for asthma and eczema. It probably helped for some time but I think allergies can change. Oh dear, does this sound negative? I hope not… 1960 s medicine is very different to now. My course of injections was over a year, not 3 to 5. My asthma faded away, but the eczema returned and is an ongoing battle. It’s still not well understood, and allergy is seen as only one part of the picture, so it’s not surprising that I still have to manage it.

    I have had a full on week so missed your review. I will try to catch it later. But your point about people not realising how bodies are different is coincidentally something I was thinking about today, for some reason. You know how the mind works! Three people in my family have had bowel cancer – all in their 80s and 90s. My aunt (Dad’s sister) was 96 and was pretty much teetotal. My mum was 90 and was a very light drinker. They both died of the disease. My dad was 86 (survived until he was 100) and was an everyday moderate drinker of whiskey and wine. What does all that say?


    • I suppose the most disheartening part about being so overwhelmed was it felt like I lost all grip on the tools I’ve spent the last 9 months learning in therapy. I have a session today, so I’ll talk to her about it.

      I must confess, I felt lots better when I read that you are also the kind of person to submit a “book.” I confirms I am in good company with curious, intelligent people.

      You don’t sound negative about the allergy shots because I know that what we are, or are not, allergic to, changes as we age. That may be part of what’s going on with me, though the environmental change from central Michigan to Indiana is suspicious. I’m just hoping I can breathe easily, and maybe smell!, again.

      Your family lives a really long time! I know my grandparents became truly confused as to why all their friends were getting cancer, and I tried to explain that all it takes is one cell division gone wrong, and the longer you live, the more opportunity there is for that to happen.


      • I’m sorry you felt that way … I reckon the therapist will reassure you that you haven’t but that we don’t get in top of all our tools all the time.

        I’m glad you understood my allergy comments the way I intended. With eczema the situation is complex and changing environments is a known factor for some. So I’m not really surprised by what you say. We are complex organisms … delicate little petals… but tough too! Somehow we survive a lot while also succumbing to all sorts of weird things. At least that’s my view of it all.

        Take care and keep well.


  2. I’m excited to see your review of The Golden Spoon! I hope you liked it. And although it sounded emotional, it also sounds like your end of year went quite well all things considered – good grades, plus it seems like you did really well in simply preparing yourself, not cramming at the last minute, etc.


    • Thank you, Anne! That’s a great point. The evidence shows that I did well; it’s just my emotions that are trying to sabotage me. I’m going to talk to my therapist about it today, because it was overwhelming to know one thing and think another.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, my son started allergy shot back in March and so far, so good! I have heard good things about shots from a lot of people, so fingers crossed for you!

    Who handles stress well? You made it through and you have a great attitude for next semester. Give yourself some credit! You’re doing something really challenging.


    • How long will your son do the shots? I remember you saying he’s allergic to something, possible Bruce. I hope he’s not afraid of needles. I am not afraid of needles, but later in the afternoon, after I agreed to start the 3-5 year process, I watched a horror movie with lots of needles and went and scared myself. 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope you’re able to take some time to rest and replenish this week. Well done on finishing your term and I’m sorry that some things didn’t go entirely smoothly. It sounds like you finished strong in many areas though! Good luck with the allergy shots! The spring I lived in the Fraser Valley, I had seasonal allergies like crazy and that gave me a new sympathy for how hard that must be to go through every year.


  5. I enjoy exams but I have never been very good at exam ‘technique’, partly to do I suppose with the fact that most of the subjects I did had calculation type answers rather than essays.
    I looked to see if you were posting a Doomsday Book review in the coming week. You’re not. I’ve made a start on writing mine but if I don’t finish it today it will have to wait until at least Sunday (tomorrow I’m off to Kalgoorlie).


    • I wasn’t able to finish the Doomsday Book. I could keep track of the characters. So many randomly popped up and were related only tangentially to existing characters — of which there were many. Once I get into my groove with my summer classes, I’m going to start Fledgling.

      You’re right about exam technique being challenging. I did a psychology quiz today, and while I was excited the test was multiple choice or true false (helps jog my memory), I was frustrated that one word off in the question makes the answer change.


  6. That sounds like a LOT and that you handled it well. And everyone turns to not-great eating and other things when tired and stressed, surely.

    I would do that allergy thing like a shot (ha ha). I get allergies that start so early I have to make sure I bought pills and sprays and drops at the end of the last season when they still had special offers on. I tried local honey one year – nope.

    I will see your review soon I’m sure. I’m quite behind though so am skipping a few things.


    • Yes, I’ve heard of the loca honey theory. I haven’t seen any results, either. It almost sounds like an urban (or rural? lol) legend.

      No worries on being behind. Everyone gets busy in the summer and has more projects, vacations, outdoors time to pay attention to, me included.


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