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Surviving the negativity   2 comments

While other things — mostly negative because of the nature of news –pull me down, I find every day is boosted by a shot of optimism. It’s a look at the unsung, unheadlined things that are happening to make our world a better place. I forward this every day to my friends. Why not share it with my blogging friends too. Try clicking

Posted September 18, 2018 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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My Downsizing Frenzy   18 comments

The following is a copy of the e-mail letter I have sent to family, friends, and colleagues. And now to you blogging friends.

Little did I know back when I made plans for Spring and Summer, 2018, that I would be involved in planning a move and preparing my home for sale. But it happened that the senior living complex I had been watching in its early approval stage would be coming to fruition. As it turned out, I have committed to a two-bedroom apartment (the Cosco) on the southeast corner as I requested. If you are interested in more detail, just click on

To say that it made for a very busy life is an understatement. From the time I knew I’d be moving, I began giving things away. First my Forgiveness library went to Luther Seminary, followed closely by my Psychology of Women library and then the “Job/Mrs Job” collection. But there was so much more to do.

To leap to the end of the story — Thinking it would take a while for my townhome to sell, I put it on the market just before I went off for a week of studying writing with MaryCarroll Moore at Madeline Island School of the Arts from July 30thto August 3d – fabulous course, by the way, with a super teacher. I expected that would make it easier for the agent to show my townhome without my presence. But things moved a little faster than anticipated when I received a full price cash offer on the first day it was listed. To say that hastened things is an understatement. I returned home from the class on August 3d and began the intricate, somewhat frantic process of emptying my home to prepare for an August 30th closing. I won’t keep you in suspense. I did make it to the closing on time, though I feared at many points that it wouldn’t be accomplished.

But I can’t move into my new place until November 26that the earliest. Ah! So where would I live in the meantime? Answer, two lovely neighbors, one taking me in for the month of September and another for the month of October. That left November. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to take my passport out of my file cabinet that would be stored with the moving company until my move into the Waters. My son Doug found us a bargain Holland America cruise to South America for November 3 to 19.  That gives us a day at home (his house) after our return before taking off for our annual Thanksgiving weekend at Cove Point on the shores of Lake Superior.

Breathless yet? There’s more. Not knowing I’d be making this move, we had earlier scheduled a Viking River Cruise to Russia on May 16 – 28, and a cruise of the United Kingdom on Holland America line from June 19 – July 15.

On August 23d the moving company came to get my “Waters” furniture for storage and other things to go to Lisa’s in Williamsburg the next time a truck made the trip there. On the 24th,whole sections of the house were cleared, helped by the energy of Doug and Lisa. Along the way, things went to the shelves Doug had built for me in his basement, to the garage across the way where I’m staying for September, and to the guest room that would be my home for the month. And thank goodness for the friends who helped move my clothes and other essentials to my temporary digs there.

On Saturday the 25ththe lady in charge of the estate sale made my living room look like a department store with anything that I was leaving behind. Sunday the 26thI was advised to stay away, so I had a lovely shopping day and dinner out with my hostess neighbor. On the 27th I panicked – very close to meltdown — at the sight of all that was left. But thank goodness people came to remove the unsold books for the fair to be held in September at the Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian church. I found someone who was happy to receive the gift of my piano and people who were willing to facilitate its move there. I invited friends in on the day after the sale to take what they wanted, and there were even a few more big pieces sold. Thank goodness, during this whole process, the sun shone bright and dry. On the 27thI had a potlach[i]for the neighbors. I provided space in the garage and paper plates, napkins, and things to be used in serving the potluck dishes they brought; Their job was to take away as many things as they would like to have from the remnants of the sale. Not surprisingly people were reluctant to take things for free, so I had to hound them to do their job and take stuff. Wouldn’t you know, that’s when it decided to pour, but the rain did stop and we had a nice time.

On the 28th, the “Moving Forward 2day” estate sale folks took much of what was left to include in later sales, and the manager of RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) took most of what was left. On the 29th, a fabulous cleaning-and-you-name-it person cleared everything else out to Good Will and other sources and cleaned the house from top to bottom.

We made it to the August 30th closing! I am now free of home ownership.

From the time I knew I’d be selling, I felt no sadness or nostalgia, only the sense that I was keeping the place beautiful for potential new owners. The hardest part was clearing out my study, leaf bags full of records to be shredded, piles of things recycled that I had once used for my classes, workshops and other presentations — most seeming rather quaint now after so many years have passed.. And, of course, holding out enough for daily life in my temporary homes.

I told my daughter I think I’m suffering mild PTSD. She says it can only be TSD. It hasn’t been long enough to call it “post.” But even those sleep destroying dreams of facing the pile of things to be sorted are dissipating. I’m liking being free of home ownership and mortgages.

I hope this will explain my absence from almost everything, but now I’m making my way back – and eager to resume work on “My Father’s House,” after all the excellent feedback and suggestions I got at Madeline Island.

I guess a good title for this would be “A downsizing frenzy.”

p.s., I now know that – if all goes as planned – I’ll be moving into the Waters on Monday, December 3. As one might expect, they can’t have everyone moving in at the same time, so we are scheduled two-a-day, based on who gets to make the arrangements first. I was a little too slow to make November 26. At any rate, I expect to be living at The Waters beginning December 3.

Then maybe I can get back to entering here the comments that have only been rattling around my head.




“among North American Indian peoples of the northwest coast, an opulent ceremonial feast at which possessions are given away or destroyed to display wealth or enhance prestige.” (Forget the wealth and prestige part.)

Posted September 16, 2018 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

DEMOCRACY AT WORK … ?   2 comments

Is this really what we want? Click on link below.

Freedom of information


I’m happy to see action on the terrible policy of separating immigrant families. Here’s what the Psychologists have to say. Please don’t let us get to the point where we just accept such horror as ordinary U.S. behavior.

Please click on this link. The matter is so urgent!



Not only is it cruel and unAmerican– the federal policy of separating children from their immigrant, asylum seeking parents — it’s a basic cause of future mental disorders that affect not only the victim. It’s the perfect situation to create attachment disorder.

As a reminder of what that really means in terms of human destruction and future major expense, here’s a definition of attachment disorder that I just copied from the web. Try googling it. You’ll get more detail.

“Attachment Disorder is defined as the condition in which individuals have difficulty forming lasting relationships. They often show nearly a complete lack of ability to be genuinely affectionate with others. They typically fail to develop a conscience and do not learn to trust.”

Would we be as accepting if the children were being injected with a communicable disease? And remember, attachment disorder is almost impossible to treat.

Posted June 9, 2018 by Mona Gustafson AffinitoEdit


I know, I’m basically useless as a blogger, and this is just a quick catch-up. I returned last weekend from a Viking River cruise in Russia. As usual, an amazing, eye-opening experience. As always, it wasn’t amazing at all — people are people everywhere you go. Preconceived notions and prejudices can’t help but melt away. If only we could all have the experience.

A few negatives to report

My trusty little old camera froze into deadly paralysis and ended in the wastebasket. My classy new camera was happy to oblige, but I must have done the settings all wrong, ’cause there wasn’t a good photo in the bunch.

My health held up until “the travel cold” hit on the flight home from Amsterdam and emerged full blown the next day to turn me into a hacking, somewhat aching, useless mess this past week.

Now I’m pulling out of it with enough energy to get back to the formatting problem that prevailed before I left for the journey and continues to prevail. I haven’t checked the dates, but I believe I’ve worked on “My Father’s House” for at least five years, reaching the end of the first draft and eagerly beginning the huge (but fun) editing job. That’s when I found problems with the formatting. If I inserted pages. there were crazy empty spaces in the content. Content held stable as long as I didn’t insert pages.  I will say, Microsoft did it’s best to help. I think I got bumped — helpfully — all the way to the top. One tech helper had me remove all formatting and start over. That turned out to make a mess — mostly of my own making, I suppose.

So anyway, here I am, working on a manuscript that can’t be submitted to a potential publisher even after I will have done massive editing, unless the problem gets solved.

Read on if you find formatting of interest. On the trip, I found that if I showed the formatting symbols, it revealed that section breaks had been introduced into strange places. Yay! All i had to do was remove them. Nope!. They wouldn’t go away. I could click “continuous” so the lines came fairly close together, but then other strange markings showed up in different places.

Tomorrow I’ll get back to Microsoft to seek more help. Truth be told, I’m hoping some formatting genius is reading this and can help me. But I fear technical support is right and my document has been corrupted.

So there you have it, my excuse for being a faithless blogger.



I know. I’ve been off my blog for a long time now. Too many other things take priority. But I’ve just got to get this off my chest.

Our current U.S. administration is knowingly establishing a policy that’s guaranteed to cause mental health problems of the basically untreatable kind. It’s a policy no less damaging than would be deliberately exposing folks to e-coli, or similar toxins.

The latest declared intention – even action – to separate children from their parents as they arrive at our borders fails to recognize how essential constant relationships are to healthy development. Deliberate separation is a policy designed to cause adjustment disorder, including, among other things, poor social conscience – might I say sociopathy? At least interference with intellectual ability.

Possibly one can provide healthy nutrition, warmth, and even kindness, though even that deserves questioning. But it’s no substitute for the constant parental/child connection. And it’s no alleviation for the grief being imposed on both parents and children.

And then there are the reports of “lost track of” children. Where are they? How are they being protected from predators?

This separation policy is not just mean and cruel. It’s not just tragic in the intentional destruction of a human soul. It’s going to be very expensive for someone down the road.

Where are the protests against using children to fight the war?

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