Archive for March 2012

JUST LIKE MY FATHER   5 comments

My niece, the nurse, gave me permission to quote this.
“I would like to vent. I do sound just like my father and am glad for him that he need not deal with some of the stuff that is going on now. I’m having some problems adjusting to life as it is being lived now. For example:
     –  I believe that when you are talking on the phone in your home or at work, you are occupied. People who would like to talk with you should either wait or, at least, ask to be excused.  And, if you choose to respond to the interruptor other than to say, “I’ll be with you in a minute”, you are equally disrespectful.
     –  I believe that if you are interested in communicating with another living person, that is what you should be doing for the time it requires. I cannot be convinced that if you are reading texts on your phone and responding to them, you are really paying attention to me.
     –  I believe that working mothers – or fathers for that matter – need to be available to the family in the event of emergency.  Most work places have a telephone where emergency contacts can be made in the interest of family health and safety. If it is necessary to be on a cell phone with family throughout the work day, then it may be necessary to stay home, or to teach manners.
     –  I believe that television is an amazing invention and that all that has come of that with the introduction of cable is almost beyond comprehension.  And, I believe it can be turned off, that it should not be a significant part of the work day in the absence of national crises and that if it is on, that does not excuse one from relationships with people you are being paid to take care of.
     –  I believe that people who make the choice to work in the field of human services should actually have as the primary focus of their work day, the service of humans.
     –  I believe that if people have been hired to do a job they should do it. They should not spend any bulk of paid time arguing about why they shouldn’t have been expected to do it.
     –  I believe that groups of unrelated people from diverse backgrounds will  have problems dealing with coworkers at times. I can’t understand why those conflicts should so defy the expectations of the workplace or the needs of people served and yet be viewed as more important.
     –  I believe that unions have done much to improve the working conditions of many workers in positions with little control over their job sites.  I do not believe that unions excuse people from working at their positions with appropriate efforts to do the job expected or to use that membership to rationalize their way out of accepting the responsibilties of service.
     –  I believe computers have opened vast new worlds to us that we are only beginning to understand. And I believe that if your job requires providing care for people, computers are solely for the purpose of legally required documentation of said care. Accessing personal sites should be reserved for one’s off duty time and evidence that is being abused should be addressed.
      –  And, sadly for me in these times, I believe that if you aren’t doing your job and there can be clear evidence of that, you should not continue to be employed  to do your job.  There are some of us suckers who keep plodding on with the original goals intact, self-advocating for fair compensation, perhaps, but providing the service dependent people require.
I don’t think I am really finished.  But I must go to work now to make it possible for staff to meet their job requirements and to listen to all the things management and medicine are doing wrong. From where do people get their sense of pride these days?     N



Posted March 29, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized


Yesterday I called my sister to wish her a happy birthday. In the conversation I said something like,” I’d like to talk about gerunds.” Her response was immediate and enthusiastic, loosely quoted, “It makes me furious.” There was no need to explain my intention. So when did it become correct to say “”I appreciate you coming with me,” instead of “I appreciate your coming with me?” Obviously it’s now acceptable, but when did it happen? My sister, the former teacher and MFA, can explain in detail the new relationship. As she pointed out, we learned the gerund rule way back in grammar school but we have to accept that language usage changes, even though it causes ear pain. I for one, though, expect to continue saying, “I appreciate your coming.”

But then, what does it really matter when the cover of the “Intelligence Report” from the Southern Poverty Law Center says “The Year in Hate and Extremism: The ‘Patriot’ Movement Explodes” and spells out in the interior contents the details of growing racism, hate, and consequent violence.

In the same reading session, however, I found an article in “Yes” magazine where Frances Moore Lappe says “A new way of seeing that is opening up to us can form a more life-saving mental map. I call it ‘eco-mind’ — looking at the world through the lens of ecology. This worldview recognizes that we, no less than any other organism, live in relation to everything else.” Gong on, she elaborates six inherent traits we can foster, once we learn to navigate the world with the map of eco-mind.

1)    Cooperation

2)    Empathy

3)    Fairness

4)    Efficacy

5)    Meaning

6)    Imagination, Creativity, and attraction to change.

Pages 12-15, Yes” Spring 2012.

I want to believe those traits will overcome hate. But then, I didn’t say I expect they will.


OK. I know … I meant to write the header that way. It seems, though, that some people who have signed up to follow are not receiving e-mails when I blog. I guess if you feel like letting me know you’ve received the notice it would help, because of course the title of this blog is ridiculous.

Yesterday my Norwegian e-mail friend thanked me for posting the link to her book which is on So today I’m posting it, hoping you will enjoy it. When she told me she was Norwegian, I assumed she lived in Minnesota where a pretty big deal is made about being Norwegian rather than Swedish. I was startled when I learned that she does indeed live in Norway. You wouldn’t know it from her writing.

I’m afraid you’ll have to cut and paste it, because I’m still not very smart. Yesterday I tried to post a link in the context of the text and it took over as the header.

Today I want to share you with my sense of awe about the number of people from several different countries who are writing in English — not their native tongue — so well that you’d never know it’s their second language. And I can only bumble through a few simple phrases in other languages. 

I am regularly impressed by people from other countries being interviewed in English with nothing but a slight accent to give away their non-English-speaking ethnicity. Okay, I’ll leave it up to you to consider whatever thoughts follow.


Posted March 27, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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I’m still learning. This was supposed to be the title of the blog I just entered. I got messed up trying to insert a link. I don’t have time to fix it all, but at least I can let you know my intended title. Maybe it will help make sense of things.

Posted March 26, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

“The Bouquet”   2 comments

“The Bouquet”

Continuing with the concern over language usage, I received permission from Wesley G. Vaughn to copy the following entry from LinkedIn’s  “Definitive Serious Writers Group” on my blog. I thank him for that.

 “’Learn how to use your tools.’ That’s good advice for any field. For writers and editors, the tool is language: vocabulary, grammar and syntax. Spoken language also includes pronunciation and vocal inflection (and facial-body expression when in the view of the listener). Written language adds spelling, punctuation, capitalization and paragraphing.”

Gordon Stewart used the language of Christianity and Hinduism to deliver a powerful message in his blog today-“The Bouquet” You don’t need to be religious to appreciate the message.


My son wondered what is lost in video conferencing. As a psychologist, I’m sure one thing is the possibility of activating those all-important mirror neurons. Take away the visual and one loses more. But then, what is gained as we make better use of the senses that are involved?


Many years ago our department chair at SCSU circulated a memo which I wish I’d kept. The point was to learn the rules well in order to break them. The message was about language, but the application was to psychology. Get the tough-to-learn grounding securely affixed under one’s belt, then one can easily and appropriately introduce modifications that fit the situation. Without the grounding, ease and appropriateness are called into question.


Any thoughts? I’m hoping for comments.



Posted March 26, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

WHO CARES ABOUT I? ME DO.   15 comments

There’s been an interesting discussion going on in the “Definitive Serious Writer’s Group,” Terrence Brejla’s creation on LinkedIn, about the use/misuse of the English language. Mostly it’s people who love the language, bemoaning the contamination so common now in everyday parlance, including – even especially – in the media. I share the pain. I also remember my big brother’s argument. Absolutely meticulous in the use of language, he argued, nevertheless, that the purpose of speech is communication. If one grants that, then it’s important to avoid using language as a cudgel to shame others. It follows that one sometimes modifies usage to join with the other speaker(s) in a community of understanding.

I think he was right about the community-of understanding argument. On the other hand, the usage rules we’ve learned along the way are designed to facilitate just such civil discourse. How do we avoid cudgeling – assuming we adopt that purpose – and still uphold the beauty and purpose of the language? Let’s face it. Language is always changing, and some of the things that upset us now will be in the textbooks somewhere down the road.

Take, for example, something like, “Me and him went to the movies.” Who would say, “Me went to the movies,” or “Him went to the movies?” Yet when they go as a couple they become objects. How did that happen? What about community? Back in the olden days, there was a courtesy. “He and I went to the movies.” We’d never have said, “I and he went to the movies.” Does that say something about a general tendency to put ourselves first, reflecting a changing attitude toward community?

Then there’s the phenomenon that reminds me of the feeling of being the nasty person who wouldn’t allow smoking in my house. That was “rude,” preventing one acquaintance from entering my house ever again. The look I get is similar when I say something like “Mary went with him and me.” The classy version, it seems, is “Mary went with he and I.” Would that same person tell me “Mary went with he,” or “Mary went with I?” How did the change happen?

I mean, Just sayin’, ya know

Posted March 20, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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TM Publisher for Mrs. Job   9 comments

I have so much I want to say, including the great experience I had on Thursday and Friday at the “Next Level Negotiation Conference,” but I’m under a blizzard of paper work today, and tomorrow I’ve got to get ready for my annual meeting with my accountant. I wanted, however, to share my excitement about the fact that TM Publishing will be publishing Mrs. Job. I’m excited to see what creative ideas they bring to it. As the saying goes, “It’s all good.”   Leave a comment


If you’re not local so you can attend, then watch the brief sample and maybe find a showing somewhere near you. If you are local, come again, even if you’ve seen it before.

Posted March 10, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

When I grow up   2 comments

Tomorrow I’m off to a two day conference — meant for lawyers — but right up my alley. “The Next Level Negotiation Conference.” Maybe this is where my career is morphing? Not to forget the writing, of course, especially with my fantastically talented granddaughter critiquing my short story .. and critiquing .. and critiquing … and critiquing. Just when I think I’m done,there’s more to learn and create. Fun, really.

Posted March 7, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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