Spencer’s Picks: Overcoming Pandemic Fatigue; Art, Science & Suggested Solutions; The Happiness of a Dog

Dr. Spencer Thomas atop the Uffizi in Florence, Italy

Photo of Dr. Spencer Thomas atop the Uffizi in Florence, Italy. Photo by Katheryn Laible

 

As usual, when he’s not scrying into the mysteries of metals at the atomic level, or pondering puzzles of more efficient means of tapping energy, Dr. Thomas is bringing some light into our life. Here are a few of the things he’s brought to our attention:

Now that we’re about a month into the college semester with social distancing and remote learning, a lot of people I know are feeling a bit of a drag. You are not alone: Lonliness at Pandemic U: 14 tips for college students and their parents

Along similar themes, but more for everyone:: Your Surge Capacity is Depleted. This is Why You Feel Awful (and a couple good things you can do about it)

One thing that’s helpful is — to help! Here is a heartwarming and inspiring story from one of my very favorite professors from back in my undergrad time at Stony Brook. Bente Videbaek is an amazing person who has been working hard to make sure people have masks Facebook Page: “Humans of Mather Hospital”

When you feel a bit grounded and ready to stare some of the bigger challenges facing humanity in the face: Countdown is a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. One of the speakers, Dr. Rose Mutiso, is a friend of mine – we were graduate students together. She’s the incredible CEO of the Mawazo Institute, which supports women scientists and leaders throughout East Africa. She has also spoken at TED and written in Scientific American about the challenges that people in Africa face building digital and clean-energy infrastructure.

One for the Coltrane fans out there: The most feared song in jazz, explained. It’s not too hard for a layman to follow this breakdown of “Giant Steps,” even as it’s still among the most challenging things a musician may face

Finally, no big point here, but a bit of joy for you since we could all use it: The happiness of this dog after they put prostheses on

Spencer Thomas received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. After some time at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, we are DELIGHTED to welcome him back to Long Island as a researcher at Stony Brook University. He also happens to be Katie’s brother. For a time, Spencer studied metals at the atomic level; the way atoms are arranged in a material can change its properties; one can take ordinary metals make them stronger, more flexible, corrosion resistant, even radiation resistant. We’re still endeavoring to understand what he’s doing now well enough to explain it so simply.

Spencer believes that no matter who you are, good communication can put scientific concepts within reach. The modern world demands scientific literacy and it is the responsibility of scientists to make that possible.

Sending Our Love in a Letter…

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” ~Phyllis Theroux

Truthfully, ever since Sandy we have had a special fondness for the mailman. At that time, we weren’t sure how ANYTHING could EVER get down a road blocked on both sides with trees. STILL the US Mail came, exceeding expectations of the old credo, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Still, we must admit it: Holiday time is overwhelming. We struggle to send traditional cards. We just about gave up this year.

Then, an amazing local artist made us realize we were letting something really valuable go. We are committed to starting earlier next year.

Now, even more, we are remembering the deep joy of the U. S. Postal service — How special is it that we can send our handwritten love just by putting a stickered envelope in the box outside our door?

Ordering online, we remember the beauty and meaning of stamps. We’re thinking of adding to old collections!

as our children send cards of love and little treats

dear friends mail us beautiful, handmade masks

care packages come from a Mom

and beautiful, locally crafted cards fly home.

Feed Your Soul

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

While we STRONGLY RECOMMEND erring on the side of science in terms of understanding how disease spreads and what we have good evidence heals, we also know a great many who (while also following Dr’s orders) find healing and overcoming a deeply personal experience that is greatly strengthened by their faith.

We have also long agreed with Dale Carnegie that prayer is much more psychologically useful than worry and — when there’s nothing else we can do — remains better than doing nothing.

Many houses of worship are closing. While we haven’t yet found a comprehensive guide to what’s now available, we have seen many of our faithful friends posting information about services that are occurring online. We encourage you to contact your own community. We will share what we come across.

We see that Donna Martini has been offering her own “Mighy Mantras” on Facebook as her contribution to helping folks find some spiritual solace.

Additionally this local “Moonful Mama” has been offering some global healing meditations as well as a little of her own Momma’s spirit regarding how we might all find opportunity in times of crisis.

While she probably wouldn’t call herself a faith healer, we do find Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings deeply soothing to our souls. Here is her Meditation on Thich Nhat Hanh’s, “How To Love” a lesson on how to grow our hearts.

For our own part, we pray that – now and always – humanity endeavors toward truth and love, best we may humbly discern our way forward, fueled by faith, dexterity and strength, with gratitude for every blessing we may count, especially to those who keep hope alive.

Peace and well-wishes to all.

Support Local Business & Community Groups

Main St, Northport

Photo of Northport Village by Katheryn Laible

This is a really tough time to be a small business or a not-for-profit organization. While everyone is rightly encouraged to stay home and keep their hands off the world, bills are still coming due and people are wondering what’s going to happen to their income.

When you see one of your most go-getting survivors of a friend seeking donations for her employer, you have to stop and think — What are we going to do for our people here?

Vision Long Island is one of our region’s strongest advocates for Main Street. They have just released their first Main Street News offering a great guide to what people can do in terms of personal initiative, resources and advocacy.

Another strong advocate for local business that has been posting good stuff on their facebook page is the Long Island Business Council.

In general, some ideas that have seemed good to us include:

  1. Buy Gift Certificates. Consider simply sending a donation to your favorite local business
  2. Realize small businesses are often better for social distancing because they tend to be less crowded. They may even have that hard to find supply!
  3. Restaurants are closing, but can still do takeout/delivery. Even for alcohol!
  4. Realize many of these places care about their own health, your health and the community more than most ever realized. Know that many local shops are going out of their way to safely keep on keeping on — Book Revue in Huntington, for example is offering curbside service and even delivery. We’ve heard report of local hair stylists all but wrapping their stylists in bubble wrap. Look up their website/social media. Even if they aren’t advertising it, call them to inquire!
  5. Special events are hugely important for organizations. Had an event cancelled? Send a donation! You can check our newsletter archives to find 100s of great local organizations
  6. Strongly consider supporting policy proposals that directly support individuals and small businesses. While they are going out of their way to come up with creative means of keeping going, there is only so much they can do,
  7. Just be kind — Especially to the cashiers, service providers and others working through this. Just. Be. Kind.
 
 

Networking Can and Should Continue!

Photo provided by Robbie Samuels

We thought this article from our friend Robbie Samuels was really helpful:

9 Ways to Network During a Pandemic

“Due to an abundance of caution, we’re canceling our event.”

All over the world, event organizers have had to make the difficult decision to send this message.

According to the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, 76% of people surveyed said that networking was a top driver for why they chose to attend a live event.

How do we keep networking if live events are being canceled, postponed, or becoming virtual events?”

Read Robbie’s Suggestions here

Online Virtual Meeting Tools

We’ve also been thinking about how to meet remotely, and what services might be helpful. Our friend, Deb Ingino brought Zoom to our attention, which was also recently recommended by a dear friend Kathy Kuthy.

Thanks to Pilar Moya, we learned that Google is making their premium version of Hangouts Meet free until July 1st. She also led us to be reminded about Skype Meanwhile, our kids have having a lot of their own meetings on Facebook Messenger.

Of course, the phone still works, too. 🙂

PARTING WAYS doesn’t mean you can’t keep it together

Photo by Nathan McBride on Unsplash

Divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences of a person’s life, impacting every member of the family. We are thankful for this guest submission that talks about the author’s professional passion for helping people find a better way to part company. 

This is the happiest time of the year and ironically one of the times that people are most likely to get divorced. Troubled couples often hope that the holidays will make everything better, and then ultimately when it doesn’t, it’s time to make a change.

Life is full of changes.  Some of them voluntary, some- not so much. So, here you find yourself…the decision to divorce has been made either by you, for you or together which is the best-case scenario. We have all heard horrendous war stories, we all know people who have experienced this nightmare or about to… breathe! You have options. And it’s called Collaborative Divorce. The fact that most people have never heard of this method of divorce is one reason we have generations of families who witness the unhealthy, adversarial litigation and very often continue this cycle in their own lives.

Most people have heard of mediation, however, with a mediator, there can be no legal advice and the lawyer who is mediating cannot advocate for either party. Collaborative divorce is a voluntary process that couples enter into with a signed participation agreement that they are agreeing not to litigate. Couples enter into the Collaborative process thereby eliminating the threat of Court and committing to align their interests to work out the structure of their family, finances, property and any other assets they have created during their marriage.

The Collaborative divorce process provides support for the couple so they take the lead in decision making, through respectful communication, with the assistance of the appropriate professionals, in a private, pressure free setting.  The team of professionals include an attorney for each spouse, a mental health professional and a financial advisor.

In the context of Collaborative divorce, the couple commit to finding a mutually beneficial solution as their highest priorities. The concepts of “winning or revenge” and “retribution” have no place in the collaborative process.  The hope of having a positive future co-parenting (if relevant) is often a primary motivation for entering this process.  This results in the creation of a new bi-nuclear family built upon a foundation of respect, incorporating a creative and realistic distribution of assets and a new way to live apart and divorced in harmony.

When couples who are getting divorced, find solutions that serve both parties, healing begins, successful co-parenting takes place and children can grow up to be emotionally secure and healthy adults.  Families benefit from the collaborative process, and engaging in a communicative and understanding process sometimes results in healthy reconciliation. Society as a whole reaps the benefits of this process, because people can divorce with dignity and respect, children learn how to have difficult conversations with positive outcomes and the process makes us whole, individually and as a family.

Collaborative Divorce needs to be the new norm and most people have never heard of it. Please help us and tell everyone you know who may be getting divorced, about this option. The only option that will help to sustain the nuclear families of the future. For more information, please visit us at adrlawny.com.
Kim Ciesinski