Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Tag

GRATITUDE   10 comments

This morning I woke up in the same bed I’ve enjoyed for many years, under covers of just the right weight and temperature. I expect to return to the same comfortable bed tonight. I did the lying down exercises I had been taught back in 2015 after my accident — physical therapy lessons, like all other treatments after the crash, covered by insurance. I lolled in bed for a while playing some games on my cell phone and checking emails, knowing I didn’t have to worry about the battery running low, because I’d be plugging it in as soon as I rolled out of bed, into an outlet that I was sure would provide the juice to recharge.

Once I was up I did more of my exercises accompanied by the local TV station emanating from an old but perfectly fine set nestled in my bedroom cabinet where other shelves and drawers house my supply of clothes from which I would chose todays outfit. (comfortable but not fancy – still pretty much confined to my sunny senior apartment, protected not only from the weather, but – more important – from the virus.)

Eventually I turned on my shower, confident that nice warm water would emerge from the shower head, allowing me to enjoy soap that I have in sufficient supply, aided by a washcloth and later a drying towel which I can keep clean in the washing machine in the laundry room.

And then breakfast, an adequate supply of nuts and fruit and eggs kept fresh in the refrigerator next to the stove on which I was confident I could cook my egg because the burners would turn on as soon as I dialed the appropriate knob.

Finally to my computer which usually responds to my command, like the other appliances that have enjoyed the adequate supply of electrical power.

Pretty standard stuff, unless you do – as I do every morning – think of the people who don’t have these things. No guaranteed source of power, maybe because no guaranteed place to sleep and eat, or maybe because where they live power is sporadic. Maybe no assured fresh food or warm water – even clean, pure cold water – ready on call. No insurance available to keep healthy teeth and bodies. So many people who don’t have these things I take for granted every day. Yes, I am filled with gratitude – and also pain for all those who suffer.

The other side of gratitude is awareness. Without both, life would be pretty empty, I think.

Just my ruminations on living another normal day – normal for us fortunate ones.

Posted September 28, 2020 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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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.

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

LIFE’S VICISSITUDES   12 comments

At 3:00 a.m. today my sister-in-law Velia Fusco (my former husband’s sister) died at the age of 93, a victim of COVID-19. Blessedly she was not aware of the ventilator, or its removal.  Never through all the years would we have imagined such a lonely end. But then, do we ever really imagine the end?

Today my son and I applied the funds from our cancelled May 2020 cruise to a Viking Mississippi River trip in October, 2022. The last day on board will be a celebration of my 93d birthday.

This afternoon a staff member called with a telephone inquiry into the state of my health. It will be a daily event for every resident from now on.

Today I heard that the editor of “My Father’s House” will be communicating details to me on Monday, April 6. I’m so anxious to be involved again.

The editor helping me with Nick’s book will be studying potential titles in preparation for giving me his opinion. Once we have the manuscript in decent order I’ll be using this blog to solicit people who’ll be willing to read the 70 or so pages and maybe write reviews.

Today I received notice that my grandson is now following my blog. Welcome, Erik.

In our private happy hour, my across-the-corridor neighbors and I sat in our doorways eight feet apart and enjoyed champagne that was originally intended for an anniversary celebration.

We agreed that our bodies – zinging – reveal more stress than our brains acknowledge.

And there is such gratitude that the geography of our locations allow us this human interaction.

A day in the life …

Stay safe and well

 

 

SPEAKING OF GRATITUDE – AND HAPPINESS   2 comments

This link takes you to a long, detailed list of happiness helpers. Worth it if you can take the time. And I guess taking the time to read it would sort of be one of the happiness helpers.

 

Posted August 4, 2016 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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MY GRATITUDE DETOUR   7 comments

I have my personal gratitude list ready – well, in progress. I’m not sure it will ever come to an end. But listening to an interview with a woman at the Democratic convention yesterday, I was moved to celebrate the changes that I’ve seen in my lifetime relative to the position of women in the United States. So, here’s a list. (No doubt I’m off on time-line, and I’m open to other comments and corrections.)

First, not in my lifetime, but in my mother’s. She had already given birth to my big brother before she was allowed to vote.

  • When my daughter was 13 in the area of New Haven, Connecticut, she was ready to graduate from her Pediatrician to a “grown-up” doctor. She wanted a woman, but there were no women doctors available. Women were not allowed to do residencies at the hospitals there. In fact, I remember how excited some of my own women clients were when women physicians finally became available.
  • Mail carriers were called “Mailmen” because they were all men.
  • Firefighters were called “Firemen” because they were all men.
  • Police officers were called “Policemen” because they were all men.
  • Lawyers were men. The fear was that women entering the profession would reduce the incomes. I think maybe that was proved true. (Se 58% below)
  • Accountants were men. See above.
  • Nurses were women. Some longed for men to enter the profession to raise incomes. (see 58% below.) I believe that has happened. Some will tell you the profession has changed.
  • Bank tellers were all men, unless they were women training the men for higher positons.
  • One of our SCSU graduates (more than one, I’m sure) had to leave her job as a teacher when her pregnancy began to show.
  • Women newspaper reporters were pretty much confined to the “Women’s Pages.”
  • When I had just received my PhD, I was interviewed for the New Haven Register because I was president of our local Lutheran Church Women. They published a photo of me with something I had cooked. Though I was proud enough of my academic accomplishment to mention it more than once, that fact was not included in the description of my important activities.
  • I believe there were no women TV anchors. If there were, they were so rare that I didn’t see them. Why? Women’s voices were “too weak—wouldn’t represent authenticity and power.”
  • Women radio reporters were extremely rare, if any. Why? See above.
  • Women foreign correspondents were next to none, if any. Why? See above, and below.
  • Then there was Ella Grasso who served as the 83rd Governor of Connecticut from 1975 to 1980. She was the first woman to be elected governor of a U.S. state without having been married to a former governor. Letters to the editor during her campaign were filled with fears that she would be irrational during that “certain time of the month,” or permanently disabled if and when she was menopausal.
  • Women generally could not own property in their own names. When I became single after 20 years of marriage and went looking to buy a house, the gentleman agent took me to a few highly undesirable places, telling me I couldn’t expect much more as an unmarried woman. I changed real estate agents.
  • Most libraries at the time wouldn’t give a married woman a card in her own name, requiring her to have one in her husband’s name.
  • When my marriage ended in 1976, most businesses were willing to give me a credit card in my own name since I was now single, but J.C. Penney refused. I haven’t done much shopping there since.
  • Women’s income was 58% of men’s.
  • There were some interesting side effects as businesses and government acted to bring about some balance. When I was first employed at SCSU there was an imbalance in favor of women who could retire at age 50, while men had to wait until they were 55. Balance was finally achieved when the retirement age for women was raised to 55.
  • And there was the decision by the Southern New England Telephone Company to open all jobs to both men and women. Only a few women immediately applied for the higher-paying pole-climbing jobs, but many were the folks who were surprised to hear a man’s voice saying, “Operator.” (That’s the old days with old fashioned phone service in case you don’t remember.)
  • While office managers struggled to remember that middle-aged women were not “girls,” cigarette makers opined, “You’ve come a long way baby.”
  • I suspect and hope there will be additions in the comments on this posting – as well as corrections.
  • One almost final note: When I had completed everything toward my Ph.D. at Boston University and was working on my dissertation, I moved back to Connecticut with my new husband. One of my professors gave me a letter of introduction to a researcher at Yale. I was granted an interview. Not having heard back from him for a while, I called to inquire and was told the Secretary’s job had been filled.
  • One final note. I wasn’t aware that there was anything wrong with many of these factoids. The fish is the last one to notice she’s swimming in water.
  • The hook in the mouth once one gets to see the water may be painful, but certainly the changes that have been made for women over the span of a few decades are causes for gratitude.
  • p.s. I’m grateful for amazon.com who got a new charger to me by overnight delivery.

FORGOT MY CHARGER   Leave a comment

Away for the weekend, I forgot the charger for my computer, so I’m behind, and squeezing in what I can while I’m still on battery. I’ll be back soon with my gratitude list, and thanks for the ones that have been posted. In the meantime, check out this related link.

Posted July 26, 2016 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN GOODNESS   12 comments

Many years ago now, my friend and colleague Barbara McEwen, a physiological psychologist,  made me aware that I didn’t fully understand the meaning of “The Survival of the Fittest.” Like so many people, I thought it meant that the winners were the ones who managed to beat the competition and pass on their genetic material. Barb pointed out that cooperation is every bit as important as competition, evoking my reaction of “Of course, why didn’t I know that,”

Sadly, Barb is no longer with us to see the influence of people like her. But, fortunately, scientists are now exploring the implications of humanity’s cooperative side, with an emphasis on human goodness. Right now I’m reading a collection of articles by scientists who are exploring this side of humanity. They don’t deny what we can’t avoid seeing — the competitive side of our heritage. But it’s not the only side. (In fact, right now it seems to me that’s the major battle going on politically and throughout the world: selfish competition vs. compassionate cooperation.}

The book to which I am referring is edited by Dacher Keltner and Jason Marsh,”The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness.”It’s a selection of articles from the magazine “The Greater Good.” It’s one of three magazine I need in my life to offer the positives over the noise and stress of today’s communications.

I’m not going to review the book here, or try to summarize the kinds of things that have been studied. I just want to mention two of them: gratitude and forgiveness.

As for gratitude, I’d like, ironically, to start a competition. Who can provide the longest list of things for which one is grateful.

As for forgiveness, I’m going to break down and summarize, bit by bit, the content of my own “Forgiving One Page at a Time.”

So be prepared, I’m about to start compiling my own gratitude list and share the numbers, not necessarily the content.

Forgiveness will be next.

Tell me, does that sound like a good plan?

 

IF YOU’RE LOCAL, PLEASE JOIN ME ON APRIL 14   8 comments

I’m delighted to kick off a series at Auburn Homes and Services here in Chaska at 6:00 p.m on Thursday, April 14. It will be a challenge to do something useful with such a complex topic as forgiveness in such a small amount of time, but I think I’ll provide something worthwhile. And providers can collect CEUs by attending these offerings.

I’d love to see you there.

caregiver_flyer

AND THE TRUTH SETS ONE FREE   9 comments

Yesterday was Xray and talk-to-the-Doctor’s-rep-day. I didn’t hear what I wanted to hear, but I also feel much better because I know precisely where I stand, making it possible to work at solutions.

First off, I had already discovered that health insurance covers treatment requiring care by a licensed professional, including Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. It doesn’t cover things provided by talented aides –all the things that help with the practical aspects of living with this brace, for example.

As for the Xray, things “are looking the way they are supposed to look.”

I also learned that the brace definitely must stay on for a total of three months – two more to go. And it must always be on whenever I am upright. So there’s no license to get up without it in the middle of the night for a pit stop, for example.

Then I was taught how to put it on and remove it myself, with the hope that I can get to the point of doing it quickly when I need to get up. Besides that, it’s clear that I am not the only person experiencing this brace thing and people have learned various ways of living with it. For example, some people choose to sleep in it.

All that information left me feeling good, because problems can be solved when the facts are clear. Since I’m planning to leave rehab on June first, I have this week to practice proficiency in putting it on and off. I’ll have the opportunity to try sleeping in it. And I’ll be able to set up the bed situation to make it all work at home. Plus I’ll call on friends to help me set up my house to deal with these temporary requirements.

As has been the case all along here, I have learned so much more practical understanding of the situation for others, especially for those with long-range problems, so much more serious than mine.

All of which adds to the powerful sense of gratitude I’ve experienced ever since finding myself still alive after the “event” of April 15.

 

 

Posted May 23, 2015 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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