I’M SEEKING REVIEWS FOR “IT SUCKS: I WANT TO LIVE” WHERE NICK SPOONER CHRONICLED THE LAST TWO MONTHS OF HIS LIFE.   Leave a comment

This little 100 page book was Intended as a memorial to a good man who died too young two months after his diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme. But this collection of his Facebook entries during that period has become so much more as his struggles and the person he created reach out from the pages along with testimonies and revelations from family and friends about his own gender trials and acceptance.

Today I’m addressing folks like those who teach courses in death and dying, gender issues, personality, social, and developmental psychology, social work, or who work with the terminally ill in settings such as chaplains, Hospice, nursing homes, or hospitals.

The title, IT SUCKS, comes from the last words on Nick’s Facebook page.

At this point I would appreciate reviews, especially those I might quote on the back of the book or in its initial presentation. Given the COVID-19 restraints there will probably not be the book launch I had hoped for at one of his favorite places in Shakopee, Minnesota: Wampach’s restaurant, Turtles Bar and Grill, Pullman’s Club or Babe’s. I’ll just have to find more creative ways, beginning with responses from you or folks to whom you forward this request.

If you are interested in receiving a galley copy for review, please e-mail me a request along with a quick note about your occupation and how you might use the book. Please put “request a galley copy” in the subject line to forgivenessoptions@earthlink.net

And, of course, you are welcome to make a comment right here.

I CAN’T MAKE UP MY MIND   4 comments

AM I GLAD I’M ON MY WAY OUT AND ANXIOUS TO GO? OR AM I SO FASCINATED I WANT TO STAY FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

The day is dreary. I need to turn a light on just to read. And I fall asleep to make up for what I lost last night remembering how my family was hurt by a friend who turned on us – an old hurt long handled but insistent on returning with full force every once in a while.

And then I open my favorite magazine, YES, page 11 to be exact, and I find an article whose point is summarized as follows.

“ … The pandemic is a crucible burning away and altering the structures that comprise the old paradigm, remaking who and what we are. When we emerge, we will have crossed a permanent threshold, from which there is no return, because there is simply no more “normal” to which to return. The question before us is this: As we pass through the threshold, will we extinguish everything in our desperation to cling to a past that has run its course? Or will we recover the courage to embrace the strange uncertainty of a different paradigm? …

“Only the choice that considers all and not a few will get us across the threshold into the crucible, and through the portal to the other side. Many of us are already taking that leap. We are stronger when we take it together. I’ll meet you there.”

So here’s the question I ask myself. Do I want to live through the turmoil that’s sure to come? Or do I want to be around to see the world where polluted skies, homelessness, hunger, racism, prejudice, injustice, destruction, and an unfair health system go out of style as we move to a world where children – all children – can grow with joy, health, confidence in the future, and happy success?

I guess my best evidence is my reaction when my Acura was flying through the air on its way to a hard landing back in 2015. I was just plain fascinated with what was happening even though a part of me knew I could well end up dead.

I guess I’ll choose to hang in as long as the cosmos will let me

I CONFESS   11 comments

I try to be a follower of the teachings of Jesus. And I just don’t get it! How is gathering together in church buildings in ways that potentially endanger the lives of others a genuine act of following Jesus? I’m no bible expert. but it seems to me the only numerical thing he asked that applies here was something about three or more gathering in his name. And didn’t his followers meet in homes?

Where is the love? The compassion? The willingness to sacrifice for love of the other?

I don’t get it.

 

Posted May 22, 2020 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!   7 comments

I avoided writing here for a while for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve been happily busy and second, because I like to keep my entries simple, and life – mine anyway – has become complex. Yes, really, complex though simple.

First off, I haven’t been away from home here at the Waters since March 8 – sequestered with all the residents to protect against COVID-19, basically confined to my lovely first floor apartment. Meals delivered, Zoom activities provided, trash and recycling removed from outside my door, walks around the patio that surrounds my home on the southeast corner. Watching the plantings green up and blossom. I’ve missed out on the planned cruise with Doug to Kiev and area, lots of theater and concerts, and planned family activities. FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!. I am happy as a clam with the opportunity to finish the editing of My Father’s House in cooperation with Susan Thurston Hamerski working for Calumet publishers And too the almost finalizing of It sucks! I wanted to live (tentative title) by Nick Spooner. Basically the collection of his Facebook entries from the time of his glial blastoma (or two) diagnosis until his death. I never would have had the time if I’d been on my planned schedule.

On our recent cruise to Japan we noticed that just about everyone was comfortably wearing a face mask. Male or female, walking, driving, scootering, motorcycling, bicycling, dressed with black suits or attractive dresses, carrying briefcases, or more casual in doing daily chores. On a previous Asia Pacific cruise we had concluded the masks were to protect against the intense smog. More recently the smog had largely lifted but the masks remained. FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN! I talked constantly about the opportunity for someone to produce designer masks. Just take a look around now.

When I was teaching the psychology of women at Southern Connecticut State University back in the 1970’s we used to imagine a future where people could work from home making possible the combination of career with parenting. FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!.

These days I shed tears a lot. FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!. The tears don’t come when I’m sad. No, when I’m touched by folks caring for others in heroic ways or just plain cooperation and kindness, as in wearing a face mask and keeping distance, or singing and applauding from the balconies. I’m touched by the virtual celebration of high school and college 2020 grads. This morning I watched the distance celebration of the Connecticut College class of 2020. Yesterday with some time left over I worked at organizing my photographs, encountering Connecticut College friends from our early days to the many years of gatherings at Cape Cod. And family from birth to now. I am overwhelmed with the sense of love and friendship and being part of history. I know that what’s going on currently is as big as – maybe even bigger than – the industrial revolution. The tears reflect my hope, I think, that we will emerge with a commitment to cleaner skies, fairer education and living standards, Just plain more love.

FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!. I don’t cry when mean things make me sad. Maybe it’s hard to be mad and sad at the same time. The contrasts! Oh the contrasts between my comfort and the terrible misery of so many others. It’s been a long time since I gave up my childlike belief in Hell, but about a week ago it struck me that even if I feared hell I should fear no more, because we’re here now. If I believed in reincarnation, I’d be worried that I’d suffer in my next life to make up for all the happiness I have now.

And sometimes, like my father many years before me, I’m glad I’m living the end of my journey.

FUNNY HOW THINGS HAPPEN!. With all that, I can’t help waking each day with gratitude – and chest expanding love for my family and friends. And the opportunity to feel safe about being up front here with all of you.

See what I mean? This is too long.

THANK YOU ANDERSON COOPER   4 comments

A HUGE INFUSION OF OPTIMISM IS WHAT YOU OFFERED THIS WEEK. If you can choose to have a child — and be happy about it — with all you know about what’s going on in our world, then there’s hope for the future. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Posted May 6, 2020 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

ZOOM WAKE FOR VELIA FUSCO   4 comments

If anyone had told me a year ago that I’d be taking part in a Zoom wake I would have thought they were into science fiction. But that’s exactly what I did the day before yesterday. And it was beautiful. For a half hour the group gathered on Zoom before watching the Mass being said (in a lovely little empty church) for Velia. After that we spent an hour and a half doing what people do at wakes. Catching up with people we hadn’t seen for a long time, sharing stories, and looking at photos of Velia. The Zoom host even delivered what amounted to a lovely eulogy. After the Zoom meeting, my daughter and son and I agreed in separate phone calls that the event had provided a beautiful and meaningful closure. It was almost like the after-wake chats that usually take place in the parking lot before the group breaks up.

So you can share with us, I’ve included a couple of photos of Velia.

Posted May 1, 2020 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

NOT AT MY AGE AND STAGE   Leave a comment

I just completed a webinar to earn 1.5 Continuing Ed credits of the 40 required for license renewal. The topic: “jumpstarting a Telehealth Practice.” I learned two important things.

  1. Though I’m fairly comfortable with tele technology, there’s no way at my age and stage that I would go through the hoops (understandable) necessary to establish such a practice. Two major considerations influence that: a. the need to insure confidentiality, and b.The complexities of handling legal and insurance issues.
  2. Our health care system does really need major overhaul.

Maybe my next blog entry will be more interesting. In the meantime, I’ll focus on my third career manifested by My Father’s House and the Nick Spooner book.

 

 

 

 

 

OUTTAKES — THE PULLEY LINE   5 comments

Short and quick, but I need this breath of fresh air in the midst of the horror — not COVID-19, but those who want to pretend it doesn’t exist and, magically, return to the way things were, ignoring the real danger not only to themselves but even more important to others..

I need the sweet scent of fresh-air-dried sheets and shirts. So here it is.

THE PULLEY LINE

Carl put up a pulley line running from the edge of the back porch to a pole at the end of the yard. In good weather, Jennie ran the washing machine, put the clean clothes through the wringer, and hung them with wooden clothespins on the line in order from large to small. When they were dry enough she pulled down her ironing board and pressed everything except the towels and washcloths, breathing in the sweet fresh scent.

 

SPOONERISMS   4 comments

Still hoping to find Milt Turbiner, I’m waiting for Boston University to let me in on the alumni directory. I do want him to know his success story.

As for my success story, I am suddenly overwhelmed. I was in perfect balance working with the super editor of My Father’s House — she’s really good, and it’s fun. But the manuscript is in the cloud, so we can’t both be working on it at the same time, and she’s devoting the weekend to it. So I’ll be off.

That’s Okay, though, because now I’m into the next phase of Nick’s book. Wait ’til you hear the title we’ve chosen! — his last written words. Maybe I’ll tell you next time I’m on.

To add to it, I just got notice that my license renewal  — Psychology — is due the middle of May. Not only the challenge of coming up with the money, but I need a total of 40 continuing ed credits, and all I have so far is 18. Oh wow! That’ll be my task to begin tomorrow while I don’t have access to My Father’s House.

And now spoonerisms. My father was really into them, but sometimes he got into unanticipated trouble. like “Up the hill to the poorhouse,” became “Up the pill to the whorehouse.” OOPS! And then there was the name of my friend Martin Fox. Well, you can see for yourself why that was an unintended shocker.

The thing that got me thinking about spoonerisms was a really good one handed on to me today by a client. WILL YOU BE HUMBLY GRATEFUL? OR GRUMBLY HATEFUL? A good one to think about in these times.

Stay safe

ARE YOU THERE MILT TURBINER? I WANT YOU TO KNOW YOU SUCCEEDED   8 comments

In writing My Father’s House I’ve had several occasions to mention someone from my distant past. Given my age, the first thing I do is consult the obituaries. The success rate is astonishing – or maybe not so surprising. But I haven’t found Milt Turbiner.

If you are there, Milt, I want you to know that your efforts at Boston University back in the 50s were successful. This has to do with what I talked some about in my most recent blog – that Swedish barrier that prevents emotions from passing all the way through the body.

This story is not an outtake from My Father’s House  because it was never an input, but the guys at Calumet Publishing thought it was worth telling.

So what’s the story? Well, Milt, if you are there, you might not remember doing your best to teach this Swede how to allow emotions to flood above the neck barrier. In other words, to blush. I’m happy to say I finally accompiished it – way back then I was teaching an Intro Psych class at the University of Vermont. The topic was masturbation. Standing in front of the class in my Poodle skirt, I suddenly felt the heat rushing from my toes to the top of my head. My whole face turned pink!

I stopped in mid-sentence and declared to the class, “I did it!”

“Did what, Miss Gustafson?”

“I blushed!” I declared.

There you have it Milt. A success story for you from many years back.

%d bloggers like this: