Archive for the ‘Nick Spooner’ Tag

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE COVID-19 WAR   6 comments

AND I DO MEAN RANDOM 

MORNNG:  I woke up at 6:30 a.m. in my nice, cozy, safe bedroom. Leaving the embracing covers in a tangled mess, I headed for the bathroom. There I plugged in my cell phone, my lifeline to the outside world, not wondering if the power would work. Of course it would; It always does.

In my shower I didn’t worry whether the water would stay warm – almost hot – the way I like it. It always does. As I massaged my head with my favorite and diminishing shampoo I pondered whether my hair dresser would be able to deliver or ship the kind I always use. If not, I’d order on line and have it delivered.

I wondered about my hair dresser. Will she and her husband be OK with their business closed for the duration? How about the people who work for them? How about the friends who will have to postpone coloring their hair? I’m glad I went gray way back when I realized my artificial blonde left me looking yellow all over. I remembered my friend in Connecticut years ago who colored her hair a delightful almost white ash blonde. When she finally decided to go natural she discovered – guess what! – it came in exactly the color she’d been paying for.

WHAT WOULD NICK SPOONER BE DOING IF HE WERE STILL ALIVE? How would he be supporting himself. No people leaving restaurants and bars late at night needing a ride home in his limo. No one like me seeking rides to appointments in the daytime. I’m quite sure he’d be happy to shelter in place, appreciating nature and enjoying his cats. He would probably be tuning up his limo, trading off parts from relics. But how would he eat? Pay his rent?

Can it be that all I’m asked to do as my part in this war is stay in my apartment and enjoy the amenities of life? Including food delivery? And TV? And my computer? And my phone? And my books – even Kindle?

Like all I had to do back when I was a pre-teen and Pearl Harbor was attacked? Keep the black shades drawn at night. Wear rayon stockings instead of silk. Crush used aluminum cans for use in the war effort. Save to buy War Bonds. Help count ration stamps. Walk instead of ride.

HEY FOLKS.C’MON. IF THAT’S ALL WE’RE ASKED TO DO, JUST STAY HOME AND, WHEN WE ABSOLUTELY MUST GO OUT, STAY SIX FEET APART. IS THAT ASKING TOO MUCH?

YEAH, RIGHT! EASY FOR ME TO SAY. And that’s just my point. Think of the people who can’t –the people who don’t have the home, the electricity, the heat, the warm shower, even maybe the clean water. Think of the folks on the front lines, not even sure from day to day if they’ve been shot with that invisible weapon, and, if they have, whether they’re taking the weapon home with them to attack their family. Think of the warriors with insufficient weaponry to fight the enemy – and insufficient armor with which to protect themselves.

AND ALL I’M ASKED TO DO IS STAY HOME AND KEEP MY DISTANCE?

NOT LIKE WWII. The fleet was destroyed at Pearl Harbor and overnight the “home front” converged to create the weaponry, people power, and protections that were needed. What’s holding us back now? I guess we’re slowly learning that war has changed. Now it’s invisible attackers sent from no particular enemy in no particular location with no particular ax to grind.

Maybe the old fight or flight response to the attacking tiger won’t work. Maybe the survival of the fittest doesn’t need a war stance against someone. Maybe it needs mobilizing our energies for cooperation to save us all. Maybe the energy should be geared to keeping HUMANITY, not just me and my loved ones, alive and functioning. Ironically, we’re all in this together, so we need to stay far apart. No wonder we’re confused.

WE WHO ARE NOT ON THE FRONT LINES ARE ASKED SO LITTLE. STAY IN AND, WHEN YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST GO OUT, STAY SIX FEET APART. IS THAT ASKING TOO MUCH?

 

 

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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.

MY FRIEND NICK SPOONER DIED   19 comments

Not the famous Nick Spooner you’ll find if you google the name, but the Nick Spooner who spent his life overcoming obstacles out of which came more wisdom each time.

Let me tell you more about Nick Spooner who made his living driving a private town car limo service. I met him in spring, 2015, after I had rolled and totaled my car. Finding myself being neurotic about driving, I crunched the numbers about car ownership and decided to stop driving. Then came the godsend recommendation from my friend Karen Noren who gave me Nick’s card. From the beginning he was “my driver,” as long as I made my plans mostly for after 11:00 a.m. and reserved him ahead of time. After all, he worked all night, so he needed sleep time. I wasn’t the only person who claimed him as “my driver.”

So let me tell you more about Nick Spooner. Like the time he drove me to the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. I was accustomed to popping into the front seat and enjoying one of our interesting discussions. There was so much to learn and share about his life, his wisdom, his personal philosophy. Many times we sat for a while to carry on the discussion. That night at the dinner theater, however, he would drop me off at 6:00 p.m. No time for chatting, I started to get out of the car when he stopped me with his delightful laugh and said, “Let me get out and open the door for you. We can let people think you’re an important person.”

Now let me tell you more. On February 6, 2019, he drove me to my dentist appointment at 12:15 p.m. On our return, we sat in the car for a while as he told me his concerns that people might choose to walk home in the freezing cold weather. He remembered in body and mind his own experience of nearly dying in his teens of hypothermia making his way home as a snowstorm blew in. So he had called his referral contacts telling them not to let anyone try walking home. “Call me.”, he had said, “I’ll come and get them. It doesn’t matter if they can pay me.” That was Nick, and that was our last conversation.

He worked as usual on the night of February 6-7, among other things helping a young woman customer whose lock was stuck. That was Nick. He would make sure she was home and safe inside. As he left there, he called in a report to the police that he had spotted a car pulled off to the side of the road and waited there until he was sure officers had been dispatched. A short time later that car spotted Nick’s limo in a snowbank on the side of the road and called it in.

Nick had suffered a seizure, grateful later that he didn’t have a customer in the car. At the hospital he was eventually diagnosed with a glioblastoma – maybe more than one. Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain died a year after their diagnosis, as did my former husband Lou Affinito. Nick didn’t have a year. He died at 1:18 a.m. on March 23, 2019. Quietly, it was reported, but until those moments, he hadn’t “Gone Gentle into that Good Night.”

I received the news as I was attending a “One Day University” class on resilience- why some people overcome adversity and others do not. Nick had overcome so much with such grace. Resilience.

He was a good writer, with so much to tell. During our years of friendship, I pleaded with him to write. I do have something in a folder marked “Nick’s writings.” In his last days, he had regular entries on Facebook. I want to put together what he wrote there. Someone should know the story of his last struggles. In his last entry on March 21 he complained of falling. Just the day before he had asked, “Who would like to go to Lowe’s or Home Depot with me? I need to find a polycarbonite tool case for a project that I’m working on.” Resilience.

Would someone be willing to check for me on the legality of copying his entries and pasting them into a Word document for potential sharing? I am leaving soon for a month at sea, and I’m struggling with computer/printer problems, so I don’t have the time to do it now.

 

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