Sunday Lowdown #124


This last week definitely marked the start of spring, because guess who showed up!

When I told Biscuit I found Toadman, she about melted with relief. Turns out, she was so worried I wasn’t going to find him because he’d been eaten by a bird or frozen over the winter, and was happy my heart wasn’t broken. I can’t imagine that when I was born, she understood that when she was nearly retirement age, she would have to worry about her 38-year-old daughter’s amphibian friend.

Speaking of animals, I petted a lot of them this week. On Wednesday, Nick and I got in our car and headed from the tip-top of Indiana all the way to Kentucky near Mammoth Caves. I hadn’t planned to visit the caves; the real purpose of the trip is to get to the tip-top of Alabama, where my friend Morgan would be getting married. I searched along the route for cabins instead of hotels because you can get a cabin with a fridge, microwave, toilet, and shower for $60 a night — compared to a hotel, which is twice as much. Near the cabin is the Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo. As we entered, I asked Nick, “What will the Australian bloggers think of my shenanigans when I tell them? Is this the equivalent of them coming to the U.S. and feeding nasty ol’ deer??”

We also got little cups of something that birds love, because I was covered in birds in this one enclosure. They swarmed me so fast, which I did not know would happen, that I immediately dropped the cup. Fortunately, they still wanted to hang out with me.

Everything is all-inclusive once you’re in the park, so we went to an animal show and got to pet and hold different animals. The animal handler said that all the birds they have are surrendered by owners who thought having an exotic bird would be fun, but had no clue how much work it is. Or, there were great owners who died before their bird (many of the birds live to be 80), and the person’s family didn’t know what to do with the animal.

Also included is a cave tour. Fortunately, it wasn’t the kind for which you put on a helmet and crawl around. Unfortunately, we went with a class of first-graders, and caves sure do echo tiny voices.

After spending two nights in Kentucky, we headed for our final destination in Alabama. We arrived on Friday and checked into the hotel (no nearby cabins!). Then, since my friend Morgan is from the horror movie/book club group I meet with weekly, it was inevitable that several of us would get together to watch a horror film. We saw Evil Dead Rise in theater. It was great!

(front row) Amanda, Molly, Kitty, (back row) Nick, me, Meg. First time meeting internet friends!

Saturday morning, we did our horror book club in person. We met at a cafe and practically took over the whole place, but it was totally worth it.

Starting with Nick on the left and going around: Nick, me, Charlene, Eric, Amanda, Meg, Ryan, Caitlyn, Jess

After, Meg convinced us we had to go to a patisserie, so Nick, Charlene, and I went. It was excellent. Then, Nick and I headed to the local friends of the library book sale, and I got two books (see below). Then, we rested a bit before getting read for the wedding. I put flowers in my hair that I wore when Nick and I got married, as well as the earrings I wore. Just something small to be part of a marriage celebration.

We spent all night waiting to talk to Morgan, but eventually, when we were almost the last people left, we were able to talk to her at length. She gives the best hugs, much like Ashleigh @ Cupcakes and Machetes, and that’s how I know both of them are true friends.

Well, that gets me through Saturday night! The vacation is only half over, so you’ll hear more about it next Sunday Lowdown. I will add that in between all the fun, I am still doing school work, and I’m half convinced there is no internet south of Indiana. It’s been a hoot trying to figure it out, but I’m getting my work done.


After reading through all the comments, I realized that Anne @ I’ve Read This made a great point. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn may have been one of those books that was so popular, causing people to pressure their friends to read it, that it got people who didn’t read, or had stopped reading, to pick up a book again. And, the decade the followed had many copycat-style novels, meaning Flynn may be responsible for reigniting a love of reading for many people.

Question: have you read other novels by Flynn?


Sometimes, your brain just needs to slouch on the couch. When that happens, I pick up some vampire romance fiction. It may not be your jam, so I try to make my posts funny regardless. Next week, I have reviews of two novels from a series by Katie MacAlister, #6 Zen and the Art of Vampires and #7 Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang. I’m reviewing them together because the same heroine crosses over both books, whereas it’s typical to have new protagonists each time.


Books I paid for (that are not textbooks) since January 2023: 1

  • True-Biz by Sara Novic ($1)
  • Rants from the Hill by Michael P. Branch ($1)
  • The Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories, edited by Peter Haining ($1.50)

Running Cost: $3.50


Thanks to Karissa @ Karissa Reads Books for her recommendation!


  1. You’ve done so much! I especially love the animals and Toadman (glad he’s okay!) We saw a Wallaby yesterday in a theme park (that also has animals), which is decidedly less terrifying than a kangaroo 😭


    • My impression was that kangaroos are actually quite tall, but the one we saw were no taller than me. If anything, that lizard bird emu was scary. It really (really!) wanted treats and was chasing me around.


  2. I love all the photos ands seeing your smile! It looks like you are having a blast! I can totally see why Nick dubbed the one bird a Donald Trump bird! It’s head is orange and it kind of has the same hairdo! 😀

    Also, Toadman! I was planning to ask you whether you had seen him, and you very kindly answered before I even asked. So happy to see him and know that he is doing well! Enjoy the rest of your vacation!


    • Thank you, Stefanie! Nick also kept commenting on my smile the whole vacation. I think I smile a lot, but now I’m wondering if I have different smiles.

      I’m so excited Toadman is back. I have to keep an eye out for him in the garage now. I haven’t seen him in there yet, but last summer I was on the lookout because that would be so awful if I accidentally ran him over.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad you have a sighting of Toadman. It’s thrilling when seasonal wildlife reappears.

    No I don’t think Aussies would react the same re patting kangaroos as you do re deer. I don’t know an Aussie who doesn’t love our kangaroos (except some farmers out where they are multiplying too fast, perhaps.) But emus are a bit scary. We don’t pat them so much. In a nature reserve near us, they come and tap on your car windows, which can be entertaining.

    Good point re Gone girl. Many bestsellers can make that claim I think. Harry Potter turned many kids into reading I believe.

    Love the pics of your horror book club. Meeting internet friends is a thrill.


    • Yes, the emu was definitely chasing me around! It wanted ALL the snacks. Funnily enough, when the snack cup was empty, I showed it to the emu, and it walked away. Clever bird.

      Yes, meeting internet friends is absolutely thrilling, though I do like doing a video call before meeting. That way, I get a sense of the person’s tone of voice, speed, delivery, etc. For some reason, my brain finds all that important.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I wouldn’t say truck drivers love kangaroos. In the night they wait by the side of the road until you’re level with them before they decide whether they are going towards the truck or back into the safety of the bush. Sometimes they will jump at the truck, realize their mistake, and do a great sideways skid in the gravel.
    Emus, I am told, will rip your stomach open with a single kick. I don’t plan on ever finding out.


    • Okay, so what you’re saying is that kangaroo are TRULY just deer on two hoppy legs, because that’s exactly what deer do. Or, they just stand there staring at you, so at least kangaroo appear to have some preservation instincts.

      This emu was chasing me around until I showed it the empty snack cup.


  5. It sounds like you’re having a great holiday! The photos from the zoo are very cute. And great that you can travel while still keeping up with schoolwork these days – my students had their oral exams last week, which were done via Teams, and one of them was on holiday in Tenerife! That would not have been possible when I was a student.


    • Sometime I think about when I was an undergrad the first time, and I realize Twitter wasn’t even invented. That seems like forever ago. To get Facebook, you have to have a college email address, and only from approved colleges (though I wish I had never gotten Facebook in the first place back then). I am having a lovely time! We just arrived home last night, so the second half of the vacation will be on next Sunday Lowdown.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a fun trip! It looks like you had a great time and how wonderful that you got to meet so many friends in real life! I too am greatly relieved that Toadman is back – I had thought about him over the winter but was scared to ask!

    There is an emu farm in our neighbourhood and my kids love going by but I would not want to be up close to that bird.


    • This vacation has really hit home for me that I have a LOT of friends, which is a bizarre feeling, because that was never true in the past. The only odd thing is, as I told Nick, I don’t have any “fleshy friends” (i.e. friends in my city whom I can meet in person). Weirdly, I’ve grown okay with that as more folks will meet with me on video to have coffee together!

      I think Toadman is thinking about coming out. He was out and then buried himself again, which probably means it’s too cold at night still.

      Bill was saying that he’s heard an emu can gore your soft bits with one kick.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You have always seemed to me like someone with friends in many places. You seem like someone who is good at maintaining friendships, even from a distance.

        We keep a good distance from the emu! I believe they could do a lot of damage with one good kick! They do make a really neat sound though, like a drum beating.


    • Sunday Lowdown #124 was the midpoint of the vacation, so I have more coming tomorrow. I think you will enjoy my horse story.

      The cat is a Serval. Some people do adopt them as house cats, but they really, really aren’t. Some Servals are kept as pets and then bred, so the more they are bred, the less wild they are. But I sure wouldn’t have one in my house.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful, thank you for taking us on your trip. I well recall that “little cups of something that birds love” from when we went in a bird enclosure at the zoo in Tenerife: all over you in moments, shitting out honey water all over the place!


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