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?


I’m still taking time out from everything that can be postponed, including this blog, because   I’m finally approaching the end of the first draft of “My Father’s House.” But I wanted to quickly share my discovery of a new, brief, and lovely, “right on,” review of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.”

I don’t recognize the name of the reviewer, so I’ll take the opportunity to say thank you here to Beverly Clyde.

Try this link and go to “reviews.”




Posted February 21, 2018 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized


First of all I want to challenge the date I mentioned in the previous post. According to our guide, Muslims invaded India regularly to rape and pillage until 1142 when they decided to stay, destroyed churches and turned some to mosques. And that leads me to point out something about our first sightseeing day in Old Delhi. Right from the beginning there’s the evidence of a mix of religions — not just side by side, but seemingly more intimately connected than that in some cases.

I’m not sure it shows well in the photo, but monks were a common site wherever we went, including at the Gandhi memorial (below). look at the far end.

As the label of the photo indicates, Ghandi was assassinated  on January 3, 1948, shortly after he had accomplished his goal of independence for India.

Assasinated January 3, 1948

There is no doubt Ghandi is revered in India. Each person who did a presentation for us started out with the story of his accomplishments and assassination. In a later blog I’ll take you with me to the site where he was murdered.

Add to this memorial the statue in the same location.

Now on to our next experience. One advantage to being a real grownup is that I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do — well, mostly. Like I don’t have to do that scary thing of climbing long flights of stairs with no railing — unless I really want to reach the goal (In which case there were wonderful people ready to hold my hand.) In the following case, the goal was the Jama Masjid mosque. Karanveer, our guide, was good to me. He helped thread me through the crazy Indian traffic so I could get a photo of the mosque from the bottom of the steps. I left it up to the others to climb to the inside.

But I think I may have had the more memorable experience as someone else threaded me back to the bus so I got a photo of the mosque with a good view of the traffic.

As for the traffic, it’s no news to anyone else who has been there, but the fact is the roads are shared by cars, busses, bicycles, rickshaws, people, cows, motorized rickshaws, and dogs — many of who were sleeping in the middle of the road — all of whom seem to be going wherever and whenever they want to go. But they all survive. Even the cars seem dent free.

We figured out it’s a dance, the rules for which we are not familiar. But on another day, as I was trailing along with the group, following the leader across the street, there was suddenly at my right hand a car. I stopped and threw up my hands (like any good American would do, I guess) and I think the driver did the same. It dawned on me as I made it safely across the street that I had interrupted the dance. If I had just kept going at my pace there would have been plenty of room behind me for the car.

That wasn’t the end of our days adventure. There’s a rickshaw ride to come. But I’m ready for bed now, so that story will have to wait for my next entry.

NAMASTE   11 comments

Namaste: the divine presence in me acknowledges the divine presence in you — hands pressed together with a bow.

Such a beautiful greeting, and such beautiful people to greet. I wish everyone could travel and discover there really is no “other.”

One of our earliest stops was the Qumwat-ul-Islam Mosque in Delhi.

I won’t risk reporting too much history — definitely not one of my strengths — but according to our guide, the Muslims decided somewhere around the eighth century to go beyond plundering forays into India and just move in. One of the fascinating things to observe is the apparent intertwining of Hinduism and Buddhism. In the beginning, rather than a military effort to replace Hinduism, Muslim invaders appealed to what seems to be partial conversion, or  a comfortable blending, with individual differences, of dedication to Hinduism and Buddhism. So it was that we spent time appreciating the sites representing both religions — sometimes, it seemed, at the same time.

Notice the “namaste” greeting in this photo as we first entered the Mosque. And that’s where it started — selfies with Mona. Apparently the Indians like little old American ladies. It started with a group of young people, but soon there were groups wanting selfies with me. Thanks to David Osmundson, one of the members of our delightful Smithsonian group, I have this photo of folks taking photos. Oh my goodness, aren’t they beautiful?

Off to the right of this photo, another woman in our company was entertaining her own group asking to be photographed with her.

But it didn’t  end there. Joyce and I found a quiet place to sit while the photographers among us were exploring possibilities. Again, it began with the young folks, but grew to a regular stream. I did get one man to take a photo on my camera so I could have a record of the love and joy I felt.

And besides. It proves I was there.

There’s more. Doug just sent me a few from his camera. Raw and unedited, so a real gift from him who is so professional.

Now I’ve started. I hope it won’t be too long before I’m back with more for our fabulous days in India and Nepal



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