Sunday, November 01, 2015

October 2015 In Review

The weather has been: It isn't unusual for summer to refuse to give in to autumn and wait until the beginning to middle of October to do so. Although, we have had a hotter fall so far than usual. We saw some rain, but not enough. The weather is quite beautiful right now. Temperatures in the 80's, the sun shining, sometimes with clouds in the sky. We are expecting a very wet winter--both with hope and dread--hope that the drought will end and dread that mudslides and floods will come. I am hoping the forecast for rain tomorrow will come true.

I am watching: I am enjoying this season's episode of The Walking Dead--I'm always an episode behind, which kind of stinks when others are talking about it everywhere. I am quite smitten with the new medical drama Code Black, and hooked on Quanitco--who is behind the terrorist attack? I saw the first episode of Supergirl the other night liked it better than I thought I would.  I am finally all caught on Blacklist.

I saw the movie Bridge of Spies this month with Tom Hanks and really liked it. I was not familiar with James Donovan, Francis Gary Powers, Rudolf Abel, or Frederic Pryor before the movie, I'm ashamed to say.

What I have been reading: October was a good reading month, not only in numbers, but in quality as well. It was hard to choose a favorite read for the month. I read books by three of my favorite authors (Karen E. Olson, Rebecca Chastain, and Elizabeth Haynes), all of whose books I enjoyed quite a bit--and each very different from one another. Then there was Art Taylor's On the Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories, which was as entertaining as it was beautifully written. The Uninvited by Cat Winters and Smoke by Catherine McKenzie were also good books, one a ghost story perfect for this time of year and the other a novel that stuck a personal chord with me that I had not been expecting.

I am between books at the moment. I finished two novellas this past weekend, one a paranormal romance about a dragon-shifter called Fury of a Highland Dragon by Coreene Callahan and then Stand Down by J.A. Jance, a mystery featuring one of my favorite fictional crime fiction characters.  I am leaning towards starting Jackie Copleton's A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding, which promises to be heart-wrenching.

My life: I am in charge of the holiday schedules at work and ensuring my office, which is open 24/7 is staffed appropriately. This time of year can be especially challenging because of everyone wanting to take time off for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I basically need to find volunteers to work in place of those requesting time off, guessing when and where it might be okay to have fewer staff than usual. There's always the risk that someone will be denied vacation because there just isn't enough coverage. Working in an emergency response type setting means coverage is vital. This on top of my regular duties has kept me busy the past few weeks. There have been long days, including some I have come home so mentally exhausted.

On the home front, my brother and sister-in-law had a nice visit with us. We spent a day at Disneyland for my brother's birthday, which was fun. The last time we saw them was about two years ago. One of my aunts visited later in the month, and we had a nice visit as well. Mouse has a way of charming just about everyone she meets--not to mention she loves the attention. Sometimes I wish we lived closer to family than we do--it's really just my husband and I and Mouse. Everyone else is so far away.

The child this past month: A couple months ago, I made a comment that I would rather answer questions about the birds and the bees than have to answer questions about faith and God. Well, the other day Mouse pointed to a spot above my belly button and asked me if that was where the doctor cut me open to get her out. After a long pregnant pause while I considered whether I wanted to tell her the truth or some safe make believe story, I told her that no, she didn't come from there, but out of my vagina. Although I have used the word with her numerous times, she still prefers the word "privates". She asked me where her vagina was, and I told her. The look on her face when she asked, "You pooped me out?" I should probably have left it at that, but I didn't want her to have that image in her head, so I began to explain basic female anatomy to my 4 1/2 year old. Fortunately, she'd lost interest and was off to something else by then.  I am sure I gave her way more information than she needs at that age, but my goodness! Relating the story to a coworker, I was told I should have made something up. My brother and sister-in-law who are both teachers thought I did the right thing, telling the truth. She will learn it from somewhere, might as well be her mother.  I'm still not ready for those questions about faith and God, but I won't underestimate the difficulty of explaining the birds and the bees again either.

Mouse & Her Friend

I was able to take a couple hours off from work to attend and help out at Mouse's school Halloween Party. Everyone had a good time. The children got to go trick-or-treating to a few pre-selected houses in the neighborhood as they do every year.  We went trick-or-treating again on Halloween. Mouse kept saying how nice everyone was and how she wishes she could go trick-or-treating every day.

Plans for November: It doesn't seem possible that it is November already. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I have not begun my Christmas shopping yet. Asking my daughter what she wants for Christmas is no help. She doesn't know.  What 4 1/2 year old doesn't know what she wants for her birthday?!  So, the Christmas shopping really needs to begin this month.

I extended invitations to all the grandparents for Christmas. Thanksgiving will be a small affair this year, just my husband, Mouse and I. I still can't believe the Winter Holidays are upon us already.

This month in reading I hope to sneak in some Christmas themed reading--admittedly my list so far only includes romances. Have no fear, that is not all I will be reading and talking about. I have never been one to stick to just one genre.

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

What was your favorite October read?

October In Reading Mews:

Number of Books Completed in October: 11

  • A Fistful of Fire by Rebecca Chastain
  • The Spy Trade by Matthew Dunn
  • Human Remains by Elizabeth Haynes
  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie 
  • Hexed: The Devil I Know by Michael Nelson & Emma Rios
  • Hidden by Karen E. Olson
  • Hunter, Healer by Lilith Saintcrow
  • On the Road with Del & Louise: A Novel in Stories by Art Taylor
  • The Unknown by Mark Waid & Minck Oosterver 
  • The Uninvited by Cat Winters
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Favorite Book of the Month: Hidden by Karen E. Olson

Reviews Posted:
Posts of Interest in October:

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  1. Vance asked me about where babies come from when he was 4 too. Like you, I told him the truth. He asked to see where he came from! Anyway, I think you did the right thing too.

    1. Kathy - Oh goodness! I'm glad Mouse didn't ask me to show her where. LOL

  2. Baffle them with too much information about bodily functions and sex. They will get just what they need and get bored. Evidently when my brothers and I were very small my father bought books to explain "stuff." I wish I still had mine (the "for girls" version) -- it embarrassed me no end when I was a kid, but made my dad feel as if he had both done his duty and let him off the hook. Mother, of course, had to deal with the real questions. :)

    1. Jenclair - Haha! She's since come back with other questions, but different ones that are a bit easier to answer. I think I'm getting the hang of it. At least until the next big question.

      My dad was always the type to point us in the direction of a book too. :-)

  3. I think you did the right thing, telling Mouse the truth. You won't have to remember everything you said last time as you didn't make it up and she'll respect you for it.

    Glad you had a nice time with your family. Here's hoping visits increase with time :) I'm looking at Christmas romances, too. They're the easiest Christmas-themed books to find. May November be filled with another load of quality books!

    Toss up between Anna Karenina and staying with my nephew. Only a toss up because I'd been reading AK for so long, otherwise nephew gets it, no contest.

    1. Charlie - Thank you. You make a good point about not having to remember a lie by telling her the truth.

      I like happy endings this time of year and romances are good for that. :-)

      I'd probably pick spending time with a nephew too, although Anna Karenina is pretty awesome.

  4. Whilst I did quite enjoy the first season of The Walking Dead I gave up a few episodes into season two as it became to scary for me.

    Oh the questions children asked. My sister managed to avoid most of the big ones by getting her two to ask Aunty Taitty (their name for me) and Uncle Neal.

    1. Tracy - My husband didn't even bother with season two. He was done with the show after the first season. The second season wasn't the strongest. I think the show has gotten much better since then. But I suppose it has gotten scarier . . .

      Your lucky sister having you to answer all the big questions for her kids. :-)

  5. I'll add my approval to the way you handled Miss Mouse's question. I can't remember when I talked about it to my daughter, but as I had had a C-section, the getting the baby out part was a little easier. She had seen the scar on my abdomen. I think telling the truth is always better and like some have said and like she proved, they pick up what they can understand and get bored with the rest.

    How did you like Smoke? I finished it the other day and liked it well enough. Will be interested if you're going to share a bit. Can't believe the holidays will soon be upon us either. Have planned nothing yet, nor have I done any shopping. Our family is all grown-up now though and it's not as much of an issue. My daughter has to do the schedules for her area of the hospital and she struggles with getting things covered. And yes, L&D at the hospital is open 24/7 and you just never know exactly when little ones will decide to show up. LOL

    1. Kay - Thank you. :-) I imagine your birthing story would have been a little less embarrassing, but still a difficult topic to address to little ones. I remember reading somewhere that children will process what they can and let the other stuff go, so I hold out hope that's what she's done.

      I liked Smoke. I need to find time to write my review before my thoughts on it float too far away. I had kind of hoped to love it, but that's okay. Not every book can be loved.

      Just the thought of shopping sends my brain into a panic. I think I know though what I am going to get my mother and mother-in-law. It's everyone else I'm fumbling about right now.

      I can just imagine how your daughter feels having to deal with the schedules. It really can be time consuming and stress inducing.

  6. I certainly agree with telling our children the truth. It's better to know from their mothers than knowing anywhere else. Books are good too, but mothers are always the best as not only they know their children but also more bonding IMO. :)

    Sounds like you've a great reading month in October, Wendy! I'm certainly very intrigued with Hidden. I'll have to add it to my wishlist.

    1. Melody - I just hope she doesn't run to her friends and tell her everything I said. I can imagine the calls her teacher at school will get. LOL I recently bought a couple books for us to read together and talk about--they mostly have to do with keeping your privates to yourself and that sort of thing though.

      I hope you do get a chance to read Hidden! I really enjoyed it.

  7. Wendy, I had to chuckle at your conversation with Mouse...LOL You had a nice reading month. Hope November is good as well.

    1. Diane - The conversations between preschoolers and parents . . . :-) I hope you have a wonderful November too.

  8. FWIW, I think you did the right thing in talking with Mouse. And what fun to get to see your brother and his family! I hope you don't get hit by too much rain this winter. Up here, it's always a toss-up whether it will be rain or snow (I'd rather have snow.)

    Congratulations on a good reading month, and I wish you much happy reading in November!

    1. Lark - Thank you. Hopefully I helped more than did damage. :-) It was good to see my brother. We aren't very close, but we get along well when we are together. I love his wife. We don't usually see snow other than on the distant mountain tops. I would like to take my daughter up to the mountains this winter though so she can see the snow in person.

      I hope you have a great reading month in November too!

  9. Talking of Christmas, I have to get ready for two grand children coming home for Christmas for the first time. I am totally unprepared as I havent celebrated the festival for over ten or twelve years. (ever since the children emigrated). It was just not right for me. Now I am racking my brains what to do for an active two and a half year old and a baby boy of five months!!!

    1. Mystica - How fun! I am glad your grandchildren are coming for a visit. They will have a great time, regardless of what you plan for them. Two year olds are ever so curious. And five month olds love to take everything in.

  10. Oh my that bees and birds session is so funny! But you did the right thing! I have been told made-up stuff a few times by my parents and later I would brandish that "fact" around and get embarrassed anyways, lol! I learned about the bees and the birds when I was 7, from an older friend and never asked my parents about it because it was horrifying!! So I'm glad you told the truth rather than make stuff up. She won't put much value to it now but someday she will learn about it all over again and appreciate that you told the real sstuff. :-)

    I hope you get enough rain and not too much! I'm loving Walking Dead too. Just cannot wait for the next episode.

    1. Athira - I really don't remember how I found out. I know we learned about it in school and I remember my dad always directing me to the family bookshelves to look it up in a book, but other than that . . .

      We've been lucky to get rain the last couple evenings, and are expecting more tonight.

      Walking Dead . . .I want to know about you know who?! I hate the waiting. Ugh.


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