28 February 2022
25 February 2022
At the end of January, one of the blogs I read (apologies, I don't remember the specific one!) had a post called, "What I Learned in January" and I thought it was an interesting idea. So even though February has three days left, I was in the mood to write a post today and decided on this topic. Rest assured that if between now and the end of Monday, I learn anything astonishing, I will share it with you, OK?
1. I learned about the Foundling Hospital in London, founded by Thomas Coram.
22 February 2022
16 February 2022
08 February 2022
A few years ago, I chose "kindness" for my word of the year - actually I chose it two years in a row. Because I found that telling myself to consciously be more kind was good practice, and I hoped that by using that for my word two years in a row, it would become more of a habit than something I needed to remember to do or to be. And to some extent, I've succeeded, though admittedly, I could probably keep it as my word for the year and never reach the place I would hope. We are all human though, so we can only try our best.
I cannot tell you how much all of your kind comments, notes, snail mail cards and letters, and small gifts have meant to me after posting about losing our sweet Hamlet. Loss makes you feel so terribly alone, and when your friends surround you with kindness and love, it doesn't make the hurt less, but it does provide comfort. And when many of those who are the kindest are people you actually either barely know or don't know in real life, it makes you realize that friendship is it's own kind of love. So thank you so very much for *your* kindnesses to me, and by extension to The Tim and the kitties. We are still in shock, but we are also grateful for so much, in particular that for Hamlet, the end was quick and not a lingering, painful time. True, it makes it a bit harder for us. because we were not even thinking it would happen anytime soon, but I would rather we had to deal with that, than him having to be sick or worse for any length of time.
Please know that if I have not responded to you, it's either because I don't have your e-mail address, or because I have not gotten myself together enough to be able to write snail mail notes yet. But I'll get there - know in the meantime that your thoughts were received with gratitude.
I would have written all of the above at some point anyway, but was prompted to do it now by a couple of things I saw on social media. A young man (we'll call him Dr. S.) who worked in the Entomology Department while he was a master's and Ph.D. student managed to successfully defend his thesis last year, and very fortunately obtained a teaching position at a nearby college. This guy is truly one of the nicest people I have ever met - I guess you could say his mother raised him well (his father apparently died when he was about 6 years old). He is friendly and personable, but also really caring. Whenever I was on medical leave due to surgery, or illness, I always received a note or an e-mail from him, saying that he hoped I was doing better, or that he missed talking to me, etc. And he is the kind of person who you know means it, and is not simply saying it because it's the right thing to say.
So the other day, when he posted this on Facebook, I was not surprised at all:
And there you have it - the difference a small bit of kindness can make.
Now I know that there are always people in school, at work, in life, who try to take advantage and always ask for special consideration. I don't think they deserve to have exceptions made for them, though it often happens anyway. And I'm sure a lot of professors would have told the girl whose family had a new baby that it was wonderful news, but you still need to meet the deadline. I think the fact that Dr. S. not only gave her the grace she requested, but then posted about it happily on social media shows the kind of person he is and wants to continue to be.
Then there is the other professor, mentioned by a current colleague in the comment. I'm sure this professor has heard several excuses leading to a request for an exception, and are probably pretty savvy at fishing out the fakes (or maybe I am giving them a benefit of the doubt that they don't deserve). But I think the larger problem here is that for people who have never dealt with true, often crippling, anxiety, it's not a legitimate excuse. Most people see it as a temporary feeling and something that you can easily "just get over." Sometimes, it is. Mostly - at least in my case - it's not. Oh I am still able to function for the most part, but not really in an optimal way. I wish more people understood how seriously true anxiety can affect a person. And I hope down the road, my colleague's son will not only have help with his anxiety, but find a more considerate professor.
In short, as she says at the end of her comment, "Always be kind." It means more than you'll ever be able to understand.
Again, thanks to all of you for your kindness, especially in the last couple of weeks.
02 February 2022
Besides it being 2-2-22 (which is a BIG thing itself!), today is also: