Archive for the ‘“My Father’s House”’ Tag

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

A DROP OF MIDNIGHT BY JASON DIAKITE   Leave a comment

I just finished reading this amazing memoir – moved to the point where I’m shaking. I’ll post this review on Amazon later, but I want to write it here on my blog before being influenced by what others have to say.

I chose this memoir when I was asked by Calumet Editions to list books similar to My Father’s House which will be published under my maiden name because it is so Swedish. Of course I headed to Diakrite’s book – in large measure a Swedish memoir – Swedish as in Sweden and of mixed racial heritage. “That will be an interesting contrast to mine,” I thought. “I so deeply cocooned in the nurturance of blonde, blue-eyed Swedish/American heritage compared to his clearly more complex life source.” Little did I know that his beautiful writing and powerful personal and historical story would break through the Scandinavian throat-level gasket that stops emotions somewhere around the throat level. I cried, not necessarily out of sadness.

Sure, I knew about slavery and poverty and brutality. Sure, I’ve said I can’t imagine how it would be to raise a black son – certainly not by allowing the kind of unabashed freedom available to my own child. Yes, I wrote high school essays in Connecticut about the cruelty and unfairness of racism. I remember being horrified by Senator Bilbo’s horrible attitudes. Sure, it aroused my anger and dismay. But no, I didn’t know. I couldn’t know. Diakrite’s book on the other hand won’t let me escape knowing. The facts, the effects, and the survival methods – including a reason for choosing Donald Trump. All wrapped in the beautifully honest family story.

I can’t say anything more about the book. I don’t have the words. Except to say I wish everyone – American, anyway — would read it, and break through the throat level barrier.

Of course I will give it five stars on amazon.

 

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

 

 

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE   6 comments

When I was eleven years old or so my best friend Hallie and I must have driven my mother crazy at Bay View Beach in Milford Connecticut repeatedly harmonizing to “You are my Sunshine.”

What goes around comes around. Here we are, Rhoda Blake and I keeping six feet of distance on a borrowed balcony at the Waters of Excelsior — harmonizing to “You are my Sunshine.” (Mona on the right)

Definitely not stir crazy — yet.

I’m loving this sequestered opportunity to do what I want to do when I want to do it without external demands. I have to be patient with some things, though. I’m waiting, for example, to hear some word from the editor working on “My Father’s House,” and I need a little more input before I can escort the Nick Spooner book out the door.

But there’s the opportunity to join my across-the-hall neighbors for cocktail (wine) hour from our doorways eight feet apart. And fun surprises like the visit today from a tall and walking pink balloon rabbit delivering a cup of creamy ice cream.

Then, too, I’ve been mastering the art of hosting Zoom meetings so my writers group can get back together.

My life is good. I wish that were true for everyone.

WHY?   2 comments

I have the feeling I haven’t emphasized enough the importance of asking yourself, “WHY?” before writing that e-mail, or snail-mail, or making that phone call, or taking that action. Why are you doing it? What do you hope to accomplish? What are you asking of the other person?

It’s a little like the editing I’m doing with “My Father’s House.” With each sentence in each paragraph I ask myself that question. Why? Why that word? What am I hoping to convey? Why am I saying it that way? I try to make each paragraph one line shorter.

I’m doing it with each paragraph or section too. What purpose does it serve? Sometimes I’m not sure, so I tighten it up and leave it for when I’ve finished this editing go-round and other people will be willing to go through it. I’ll want them to mark the stuff they find boring, uninteresting, misleading, or superfluous. I will need the help of people who are willing to be honest with me.

But I can’t send out my plea for those consultants until I’ve done my darnedest to clarify it for myself.

My goal is to get 800 pages down to 500 or less. To get down to basics, I guess.

And that’s what I mean by “Why?” Why do it? What purpose does it serve? What do you hope for from the other person?

THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR   Leave a comment

I’m happy to say I have finally carved out time to dig into editing “My Father’s House.” Lots of pieces landing on the cutting room floor as I try to reduce 800 pages to more acceptable size. But it means I’m neglecting other things, like my blog Seminar. I know I left you with instructions on how not to reconcile, and I won’t really relax until I focus on the “¨How to…”

In the meantime, I want to share this piece from the Sojourner’s message of a few days ago.

“… Let us be quick to welcome and slow to judge. May our faith be accessible to all and our relationships a testament to [the] beloved community.”

 

 

Posted February 24, 2019 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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ANOTHER LEG ON THE JOURNEY TO MY NEW HOME   7 comments

Since I closed on the sale of my townhome on August 30th, I’ve had a wonderful time living first with my friend and neighbor Jean in the unit across the way, and then Dianne, two units down. Now it’s time to leave here and move in on my son for a few days before we take off for the South American cruise we arranged to help me kill time – and find food and shelter – for another segment of the journey to the Waters of Excelsior. I’ve seen my unit twice, now, the second time to request some modifications. I love my apartment — can hardly wait to move in. But I have to wait for my scheduled move-in day — December 3.

In the process, my life has become a rather disorganized – albeit pleasurable – mess. But I have managed to stay on top of “My Father’s House.” At the suggestion of MaryCarroll Moore in the course I took at Madeline Island, the 900 some pages are being divided into separate books. The first one, with the working title “My Father’s House: Book One – from Tursås, Sweden to Forestville/Bristol Connecticut,” is about 300 pages long. Now I’m looking for people – preferably who don’t know me – to review it before it gets another editing — and then, probably, another. If you have any suggestions, I’d appreciate hearing them, and I’m happy to attach a “Word” copy to someone who’d like to commit to the task/pleasure. This is the time when I need people to be honest in their comments.

A good thing about e-mail is that it follows pretty easily wherever I go. I can even get it sporadically when I’m at sea (literally as well as figuratively.)

My regret is that I haven’t eked out the time to fulfil my middle-of-the night intentions to blog about my hopes and fears for my country and my part in it. In a nutshell, I long for decisions based on hope, compassion, and love. I dread choices based on fear, isolation, and hate. In the sleepless hours I’ve read Olivia Hawker’s “The Ragged Edge of Night.” (I do recommend it.) It’s the story of ordinary German’s working to live, love, survive and thrive in the shattering results of Hitler’s fascism. As bombs drop in the nearby city, and personal destruction threatens, they frequently ask the question, “When could we have acted to stop it?’ I ask the same question now – “How can we stop it?”

Like the characters in the novel, I know I have to work at staying alive, happy, and productive to avoid the potential for inaction and despair as I can’t avoid exposure to political smear tactics. My father and his house saw many terrible periods in our history, but I am sure there wasn’t the desire to destroy those in the opposition even after victory has been won.

So, I wish healthy, productive, and satisfying survival and growth mechanisms for all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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