Thursday, December 03, 2015

November 2015 In Review (And a Big Digression)

This is usually where I talk about the previous month. What the weather was like, what I was watching and what I have been up to.  November was a month of extremes. For the last few years, November seems to always be a bearer of some pretty bad news, and this November was no different. But there were also good times.

That is not what I want to talk about today, however. I want to talk about Wednesday. The BBC news opened with, "Just another day in the United States of America. Another day of gunfire, panic and fear," and then went into a story about the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. There have been 335 mass shootings in the United States so far this year. Savannah, Georgia also suffered a mass shooting that same morning, and I in no way mean to take away from the horror and grief of that incident. The San Bernardino shooting, however, struck a more personal note for me.

My mother spent a good part of her childhood in San Bernardino. It is where she went to middle and high school. It is where she went to college. I lived in San Bernardino for two years as I attended graduate school there. San Bernardino is also where my husband worked for 14 years. I hope to take my daughter to minor league baseball games there this next season.

When news first came in Wednesday about the shooting, I was at work. One of my coworkers immediately began streaming the news reports to find out what was happening. One of my staff got on the phone to call her cousin and friend who work in the building where the shooting occurred to see if they were okay. Another staff waited anxiously to hear from her daughter-in-law who also worked at the Inland Regional Center. I would later learn that several other people I know also had family who were trapped in the building and area while everything was going down. It was quite a tense day as we all waited for news, hoping for the best, not quite believing this was actually happening so close to home.

The Inland Regional Center (IRC) and the agency I work for are Community Partners. Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with and get to know some of the social workers working with IRC. They have been an invaluable resource to us in providing services to families and children. And so when we got word that the shooting occurred at their main office, it hit close to home for that reason too.

The actual target appears to have been county workers from the Health Department at a holiday banquet on the grounds. There was a time period Wednesday afternoon when the news reported the shooters were on the run, and fear that they meant to target another county agency were at the forefront of many people's minds, including in my office. We may be in a different county, but we are right next door. The shootings occurred less than 15 miles away.

A friend of mine is a teacher at a school in San Bernardino, and she was locked in a classroom with her students for several hours while they waited for the all clear. Her school wasn't the only one. She struggled to keep her students entertained and tried to explain to them why they couldn't go to the restroom without giving too many details that might scare them.

Several government offices within my own county closed early Wednesday and staff were encouraged to get home before dark. My office is open 24/7, and, because of the emergency service nature of our job, remained open, of course. Still, we all felt the heaviness of the day's events. We grieve with San Bernardino.

There are a lot of theories out there about why, from terrorism to a disgruntled employee to a personal vendetta. I imagine we will eventually find out what the motive was or at least the best guess. Regardless, what happened is horrific and tragic. The details that are coming out make me feel sick to my stomach. So many lives lost. So many people injured. And the potential that it could have been a lot worse . . . There is nothing that makes this okay. Nothing. With every mass shooting or similar crime, my heart breaks. Something has to be done to put a stop to the violence. I think we can all agree to that, at least I hope so, even those with the power to make necessary changes. I wish people would set aside their differences, stop the blame game, and work together on this. It is the only way we will be able to fight back.

The cats this past month (because we need something to lighten the moment): 

 Parker (he is doing so much better since his surgery)

Gracie (it is impossible to get a good photo of her)

Plans for December: December always seems to slip by too fast. It is a busy month for us with the Winter Festival, the last couple classes of Tumble and Dance, the opening of the new Star Wars movie, and, of course, Christmas, which will be at my house this year. Add to that work (I am only taking Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve off this year), Mouse's school Christmas party, and anything else that might come up. Most of my gift shopping is done (yes!), which is a relief.

I have a book tour coming up in a couple weeks. I will be reviewing my current read, Alex Palmer's The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York

How did November turn out for you?  Does anything in particular stand out?  

What was your favorite November read?


March In Reading Mews:

Number of Books Completed in November: 8
  • Fury of a Highland Dragon by Coreene Callahan
  • Stand Down by J.A. Jance
  • A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton
  • The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan
  • A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne Thayne
  • Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • One Christmas Wish by Sara Richardson
  • Twelve Nights by Sharon Struth

Favorite Book of the Month: A Cold Creek Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne

Currently Reading: The Santa Claus Man by Alex Palmer


Posts of Interest In November:

© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

25 comments:

  1. I'm so thankful that you were safe! There's far too much violence going on nowadays. I wish so often that I could just grab my family and run to someplace safe. Of course, then I turn the news on and no place really seems to fit the bill so much anymore.

    Thank God (literally) for cats. My Cheerio always seems to know when an extra little snuggle might be needed! (Can't post a picture on comments, but here's a shot of him testing our new bed set: https://www.instagram.com/p/9ykpesKzsV/)

    Any my favorite November read? Definitely Charles Finch's The September Society. I've absolutely fallen in love with the series!!!

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    1. Karen - I wish that too, that we could just pack up and move somewhere safe. I don't know that there is anywhere exactly like that though--maybe a far away self-contained island?

      My cats know how to make me feel better too. :-) Cheerio sounds like a wonderful cat. What a sweetie!

      I want to give Finch's books a try. I am glad to hear you love the series. :-)

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  2. Thank heavens you are all fine!

    I try not to watch the news reports on events like this, especially as they're unfolding because there is so much misinformation out there. Our son was at Virginia Tech when the shooting happened there and all of these shootings affect him deeply. He was close to tears as he heard the news from California.

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    1. Kathy - Yes, with stories like this there is so much speculation until the facts can be pieced together. It's one of the disadvantages to us being tuned in to social media--not that the news stations aren't all on top of every little tidbit they can get . . . I can only imagine how horrible it was for your son. Something like that is impossible to get over, I imagine.

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  3. "Just another day in America." A couple of years ago, I had an intern who was from Europe. A colleague of mine asked her what advice her friends gave her before moving to the United States, and she said: "Not to get shot." I wish that stereotype of our country weren't so accurate. How many shootings--let alone MASS shootings--is it going to take before we take genuine steps towards solving this problem?

    My thoughts have been with the victims of San Bernardino since it happened. Have you talked to Mouse about any of this? She's the same age as my youngest, who hears a lot of news inadvertently. She hasn't heard about this yet, though. We did, however, have to deal with a school lockout because of a potential gunman in the area (a young man who ultimately committed suicide without harming anyone else). My kids took the lockout in stride, as though it were "business as usual." I'm not sure how I feel about that.

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    1. A.M.B. - Mouse seems pretty unaware of what's happened. We've shielded her from much of the news on our end, and in conversations with her, she really does seem oblvious. I'm glad for that, in this case as I'm not sure what to say. There's a part of me that wonders if I should say something--but I think unless something comes up, I will just let it pass. Let her maintain her innocence a little longer.

      A couple months ago, a man on the run from the police jumped the fence at my daughter's school just before all the children were about to be led outside for play time. It was more scary for the teacher I think than the kids--they didn't really understand what was going on and just went about their business. No one was hurt. The man ended up being caught down the street. I tried talking to Mouse about it, but she clearly wasn't concerned about it. I read something that suggested focusing on the first responders when talking about these types of topics with young kids.

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    2. I agree that it's probably best to let the subject pass unless it comes up. It makes sense to focus on the first responders as a way of preparing our children for emergency situations, to the extent we can, without terrifying them. It's tough.

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  4. Tragic, my heart goes out to these people, though living in England I cannot truly comprehend things like this happening and especially not when it comes down to it happening on what seems like a weekly if not daily basis.

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    1. Tracy - My heart goes out to them too. It's so horrible what's happened. And the fact that things like this aren't all that rare anymore--it is despicable. And nothing is being done . . .

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  5. Thank you for sharing your experience. I feel so impotent these days. Something has to be done, but what? Amanda from Fig and Thistle helped me express on Twitter when she said that she can make her vote count and parent the hell out of her kids. Hugs to you.

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    1. Andi - I feel so helpless too. Amanda's advice makes sense, and maybe that is what I should focus on too. Thank you. :-)

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  6. Another tragedy. I was just getting over the depression about Paris and the other horrific violence of November when this hit the news. What a terrible experience for a community.

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    1. Jenclair - Seeing the community come together and the outpouring of love and support brings some solace, but obviously it does nothing to take away the grief of the families and friends who lost someone or those who were injuried.

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  7. I thought of you Wendy when we first heard about San B, knowing you were from CA and worked u=in Human Services. SO happy to see u post and that u r safe. Yet another senseless tragedy, that we read about far too often.

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    1. Diane - Thank you, Diane. It really was senseless. I'm so tired of these kinds of tragedies happening.

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  8. Oh my goodness! We seem to always forget that the pain & fear of a mass shooting stretches far beyond the actual shooting site.

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    1. Lisa - It is easy to forget. Obviously the worst is at the epicenter, but there is definitely an impact on a community--on a society.

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  9. The world seems to be a very scary place nowadays. It is terrifying to think that this happened so close to where you are. I have to remind myself every time that I watch the news of something positive because otherwise it is too much. Hopefully change will happen soon!

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    1. Samantha - I so rarely watch the news on television. So many negative images. It's bad enough hearing it on the radio and reading about it online. Like you, I need that balance of hearing positive stories too. It's too easy to get dragged down by all the bad news.

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  10. How sad and just terrifying that in this day and age this happens more and more. Very scary that it was so close to home for you, glad you are all safe. When I see these things on the news it just breaks my heart but also angers me. It has got to stop already.

    On a reading note, you did good for November. I didn't read too much, but my fav was Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. I am in the mood for something Christmasy for this month though.

    The cats are cute and have a great week :)

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    1. Naida - Thank you. I am with you--my heart breaks and I feel angry. I hate that this happens at all--and then so frequently? Something must be done. I don't know what the answer is, but it feels like no one is bothering to try to work out a solution.

      I am off to a slow start this December, but hopefully can get a few more in. I definitely am in the mood for being lost in happy Christmas stories!

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  11. Wendy I cannot imagine how tense and scared everyone around the San Bernadino area must have been as the events unfolded. By now we know more but like you said, whatever the reason it is just so sad to see lives destroyed. I hope everyone affected finds peace and comfort. And, hope that despite all the busy-ness of the month you'll still find moments to enjoy the Season!

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    1. Iliana - It was quite scary. I can't even imagine what it must have been like for those directly involved. My heart just aches for them.

      Hopefully December will take a turn for the better for everyone.

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  12. I am late coming here but am only just catching up. I am with you - I wish that the powers that be can put aside their differences and something about the gun problem in this country. It is disappointing that the US is the first to call a war on a country when there is an attack by external forces but that gun violence is everyday news that doesn't bat anyone's eyelids.

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    1. Athira - Our priorities in this country are mixed up, that's for sure. I don't get it either.

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