Monday, April 29, 2013

Going There

I have found a safe place from which I operate. It's not a place I'd ever thought I'd inhabit; I fought it hard for a very, very long time. I used to think of it as a prison, but now I see that there are freedoms and limitations. There's always give and take.

I went out late on Saturday night for one last birthday hurrah with my friend, Nalini, to see Ken Loach's new film, The Angels' Share. It's dark and funny: a Loach social commentary, as expected. Some parts are absolutely hilarious; others completely heartbreaking. I was annoyed by the subtitles, however. I do understand that many Americans don't have an ear for Glaswegian accents, but Tim Rice's character spoke the Queen's English. Were the subtitles truly necessary? Would people have demanded refunds without subtitles? Has English become a foreign language? Why didn't they subtitle The Help? Are dialects too difficult? I was distracted and annoyed by the text. *sigh* That aside, one of the messages of the film is about making questionable life choices and paying the price for them; it's also about redemption, and giving people second (or third, or fourth) chances. What does it take to see and nurture a light in a lost person's soul?

I thought also about therapy last week (yes, I am still hanging in there for my husband's sake--don't ask). My husband wanted to talk about something going on in my life, but I declined. The therapist cannot keep up with me. EVER. She pisses me off. Hugely. It ends badly when I go there with her, always. She doesn't listen to me, I feel angry that I am paying $175/hour for someone not following what I am saying, and what I am saying gives access to part of myself that I have walled off. So. Not. Worth. It. Mark insisted, and I tried. I was giving a detail, slowly, articulately, and then she asked, immediately after I had said it, for exactly the information I had just given. I could not make this up. Mark then said, "She just told you that." Thank goodness, because I had smoke coming out of my ears and fire blazing out of my eyes. SERIOUSLY? She asked me THAT? Then she said that I am uncommonly perceptive and smart, and able to hang onto details better than most people. I hold people to my standard when they are not up to it. Maybe.

I asked my friend Katie about that today, and she agreed with the therapist that I am, when I am focused on something, an extremely sharp listener and very perceptive. I remember details for years if they are meaningful. She said that I am an excellent friend and expect my friends to be superlative; failure is betrayal. Well, yes and no. Katie and I have had fights. I know what her strengths are. I don't ask for things she cannot give. That's true for most of my friendships. I still think that a therapist, being paid $175/hour should have excellent listening skills. EXCELLENT ones. If they cannot remember what you said two seconds previously, where were they? Shopping in the grocery store in their head? Yes, people make mistakes, but this has been more than once. More than twice. It's a pattern, habitual. It's egregious. And annoying. So I won't go there, anymore.

Then today Nalini and Boreth suggested that I see the new Terence Malick film, To the Wonder. But I couldn't bring myself to go alone, after reading several reviews and thinking about how it's about failed love and aloneness. I have quite enough of that in my own life, thanks; even if there are exquisite scenes of Paris and Mont St.-Michel, and Ben Affleck is handsome, no. I knew that if I went alone, I would go to a place in myself that I don't want to visit. I cannot go there. It's walled off. Must. Leave. It. Alone. My dragon, my emotions, are sleeping. I should not, must not, cannot wake them.

Never, never, never growing up did I think I would become Queen of a castle with many keeps and labyrinths. I love to stay out in the gardens, or in the library. Love the library. I enjoy having people in for tea and discussions, but nothing more.

I remember starting graduate school in my early 20's and thinking that the older graduate students were strangely hard and jaded. I see now that cynicism is the result of a life lived with disappointment, and finding one's way through the ruins, regardless. Not being unhappy, necessarily, but seeing the greys and blacks as well as the bright colors in the world, accepting them all, and finding peace with one's lot.  It's more difficult some days than others. It's not as simple as being either an optimist or a pessimist. Most days I am both at once, before breakfast. I would be at home in Wonderland.

This being a roundabout way of saying I made a choice to avoid the aesthetic melancholy of Malick in favor of Pablo Larrain's film No, about the campaign to unseat Pinochet in a plebiscite. It was a thoughtful film, with its own difficult components of brutality and longing and beauty. I was a callow teen-ager when the events it described took place; I appreciated learning more about what happened then (albeit in this form, perhaps not the most reliable source).

I feel energized by the film to to go my union meeting on Wednesday; there is always a worthy fight. The film also reminded me of a Argentinian photograph I'd seen at the War/Photography exhibition, Marcelo Brodsky's Class Photo, 1960, that he'd annotated: some were disappeared; some had moved abroad; some refused to speak to him; some were married with kids; some were merely "VIVE" or alive. I stood in front of that photograph, reproduced in large format (117 x 174.6cm) and cried for almost half an hour. The damage wrought by war on a generation was like scars, inscribed in words. Terrifying, horrifying visual violence.

It seemed that the main character in No, Rene, dealt with his own trauma in many ways by not going there; by working in advertising; by refusing to look at the truth and atrocities of the dictatorship. Or maybe by looking, but by holding part of himself back? How can you begin to process so much pain? It reminds me of the feelings my friend Daniel describes upon reviewing card after card of deceased children, archived in his orphanage, in Beirut.

Sometimes, if you go there, you get lost. And don't come back.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


A day like any other. Almost.

It's my birthday today. I made it through another year, one full of hope, disappointment, change and hope again.

I was thinking of notable birthdays past: surrounded by friends in England 23 years ago as I turned 21; in Paris 21 years ago; driving to LA with a fever 18 years ago; being gloriously drunk 17 years ago with my closest friends at a huge party in my honor; eating pizza in London 16 years ago (rather a more sedate affair). Since then, it's usually been marked much less dramatically.

I was thinking about reading in an article in The New Yorker last night about Noah Baumbach, in which he said he wrote a screenplay "about realizing that you're not the young people anymore." Aging happens to everyone, but it's rather difficult to swallow, nonetheless.

I am excited to be seeing Richard Linklater's Before Midnight in a few weeks at the San Francisco International Film Festival, and watching Jesse and Celine's characters and relationship mature, just as my generation has grown up. What is left of our passions from our 20's? What kind of people have we made ourselves into? I am curious to see what tale the film tells about us now.

But before I mourn my youth entirely, I wouldn't call myself quite dead, at least not yet. I may have wished myself so, more than once, but forces have thus far conspired to prevent that eventuality. I am pleased now to have reached a place of peace where I value myself and see that I still have much to offer the world.

Who else, as on a day like today, would take my kids to sketch wildflowers at Land's End in San Francisco? Who would talk about the camera obscura and da Vinci, when Tobey asked? Who would debate the relative merits of Odilon Redon and Henri Fantin-Latour in the 19th-century gallery with Mark, who is biased against Symbolism? Most important, who would love my family as I do?

There are things that make me me; some of them are frustrating, I grant. Some of them I don't like, and I try to change. But some of them are worth celebrating, and I love the people who see and celebrate them with me. The restlessness and itchiness of youth (read: lack of faith in myself) seem to have faded. That is a huge, welcome surprise.

Thus on with the day-to-day task of living: may it bring more unexpected joys, woven in amongst the dark threads I know so well.

Today, in honor of my dear Symbolistes: Redon's Vase of Flowers, 1901, that I admired this afternoon


Woman Asleep

Within my young friend's heart what mysteries keep
aglow, soul from this sweet mask breathing a flower?
From what vain aliments does her candid ardor
kindle this radiance in a woman asleep?

Breath, silence, dreams, insuperable lull,
you triumph, O peace stronger than a tear,
when the heavy wave and vastness of this full
sleep in such an enemy's breast conspire.

Sleeper, golden heap of shade and surrender,
your formidable rest is laden with such boons,
doe among the grape-clusters stretched in languor,

that, though the soul be off in hell's communes,
your body with the pure belly a limp arm hides,
watches; your body watches, and my eyes are wide.

Paul Valéry/trans. C.F. Macintyre

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Onward, Soldier!


I had my EPIC meltdown. Two and a half weeks in. I was told it was inevitable. I had watched others crumble. I had been irritable, but I'd avoided the complete show. Until yesterday.

We Plus You Sutter implemented new online charting, which is great, in theory. What's not great is that they bought a new system without asking for RN imput, didn't train us properly, changed protocols without telling us, have not provided enough support, and expect us to do nursing and about 85% more charting. It's onerous, and frankly unsafe.

On my first day with EPIC, I had two patients and triaged someone. It was very stressful. I did okay, and ploughed through a delivery. The system went down at midnight. On day FOUR of Go Live. What kind of planning is that? Whew.

But yesterday, bad communication, disappearing orders for magnesium sulfate, not having what I needed to able to take care of a patient after an hour in the PACU? I understand that as a team, we are all learning, but I felt that the MDs were treating my patient like we were still in what we call the "playground," where it's about practice--but my patient was real! Very real. In pain, and on critical meds. Medications would come and go from the administration record. It was frankly unbelievable. Two RNs by my side were equally astounded. I threw up my hands and apologized to my patient. "I am so sorry. I cannot take care of you properly like this."

I went to the hallway, took a breath, and began to cry. Shit. That was the second time I've ever cried publicly at work; the first was when I heard that my uncle died. I felt so unprofessional, but I was so profoundly ANGRY. I work in a tightly knit unit where there is a great deal of support, but I hate the atmosphere right now. HATE IT. It's poisonous. Everything that's awful is magnified.

I hate that we have the cheapest model of EPIC, and that it doesn't mesh with our fetal heart-rate monitoring software. I hate that you cannot look at the chalkboard and get a quick overview of what's happening with each patient. I hate that our unit is being punished for being activist. I hate that I feel I cannot be the best RN I can be with all the new constraints. This is not why I changed careers to serve others.

After I collected myself and gained counsel from the wise, I decided to focus purely on my patient and chart what I could, and to say the hell with the rest, filing a Technology Despite Opposition form from the union. My charge RN said she would run interference with the MDs, one of whom said she is so fed up she is in "bitch mode." Okay. And that makes communication

I get it. We're all fried. But the patients are being sacrificed. We Plus You? LOL

One more day, one more day, one more day. And thus into battle go I.

Before the Charge

The night is still and the air is keen,
   Tense with menace the time crawls by,
In front is the town and its homes are seen,
   Blurred in outline against the sky.

The dead leaves float in the sighing air,
   The darkness moves like a curtain drawn,
A veil which the morning sun will tear
   From the face of death. -- We charge at dawn.

Patrick MacGill

Monday, April 22, 2013


That we would do, 
We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes,
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh, 
That hurts by easing.

Shakespeare, Hamlet IV, vii, 132-137

I have been mulling over small events that lead to bigger events, and how sometimes we fight these things, and how sometimes we must accept what we don't necessarily like.

At dinner with Mr. Nearly Perfect the other night, Nalini was telling him and his wife about my period of depression and suicidal ideation, which wasn't my crowning moment of glory. I cannot remember now what it felt like to be so hopeless, to feel so unmoored to humanity, but I do remember it was awful and painful in the abyss. I have been depressed before, and Mr. Nearly Perfect had helped to buoy me up through some of it. I was embarrassed to have him hear of this one particular episode. I didn't want him to know, to think I was weak.

But his response was, "I am glad that you fought so hard. I am glad we didn't lose you." It's hard for me to allow myself to be vulnerable on that level to people in my real life, to people I am afraid of losing.

I was talking to my friend Katie the week before, about emotions bleeding over and crippling people in work and everyday functioning. I tend not to think of myself as strong, and she called bullshit on me. She said, "You were the top of your class always, even when you were bullied and hated yourself because you know how to compartmentalize your emotions. You don't think you do, but you do. That's why you can work and have relationships and live, even when you're fucked up beyond belief. You only let certain of us see it. Less functional people self-sabotage. You don't."

Maybe Thomenon was right when he said I was stronger than I believed. He is a survivor of genocide. I don't know how he does it. He says it's because there's no choice. He says that it's the same for me.

I know that I am not the product of a love match. I am the accidental baby of a one-night stand. Given other circumstances, I would have been aborted. I am okay with that, but I am here. I did always hate myself, and tried to prove to myself and others that I was worthy of their love, that I was good enough. Somehow, I guess, I only did self-sabotage in relationships; it was about my heart. Not work or education. And maybe now, I see that what I was looking for, I always had.

This accident of my conception and birth was beyond my control, but I am connected by it to people nonetheless. Through the accidents of gene combination, I am clearly the progeny of this man, if you compare our faces:

My grandfather had the benefit of youth when that particular photograph was taken. LOL

And, as Mr. Nearly Perfect said, when looking at this photograph of my younger son, "Now there's a resemblance."

Again, the roll of the die of DNA. My elder son looks nothing like me, except for his eyes. It's all his father.

So many accidents. As an anxious person, accidents bother me, set me off balance. How do I deal with the resulting mess, the chaos? I become a deer in the headlights in the face of mess. Not so much actual mess, sadly, as my husband would say, but intellectual mess. Life is messy; children have helped me accept that. Things do not go as planned. That's all right. I deal with that at work, as well. We hope for a vaginal delivery, but we don't always get it. When that fetal heart rate dips, we run to the OR. Such is life, and protecting it.

What I do love is that the accident that resulted in me perhaps might not have been the catastrophe so many people painted it to be, or the catastrophe I took it to be. I still have quite a few things to say. What a relief! Getting older certainly does have its advantages.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


I am back from two days in Los Angeles.

I went with my dear friend Nalini to visit the War/Photography exhibition at the Annenberg Center for Photography. I was fascinated, but I felt that some necessary voices were absent. I cried. I fell in love with some soldiers; I questioned myself and my beliefs. I was horrified. I felt that I lacked the courage that people in my family have had, fighting in these wars. I mourned again not knowing my grandfather William. I thought of what my brother told me of his experiences in Afghanistan. I felt very small.

It's also very safe to look at these images in a building in Los Angeles. Aestheticized violence. I don't know for a minute what it's like to be under fire, to worry about being under fire, or about starving, or about much related to poverty or being truly dispossessed. I am overprivileged.

I felt guilty ogling one particular photograph of a man, taken by Harold Bristol, protege of Edward Steichen, showing a male nude, wet and sweaty, just after he had saved a downed pilot in the Pacific, and as he manned guns in a plane. Clearly, the photo [PBY Blister Gunner, Rescue at Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, 1944] is about the male body and sex, but the context is unexpected. It's disturbing and arousing and strange.

So much of war photography is about masculinity, hyper-masculinity, white masculinity, and defining it as unstoppable strength. It was moving, beyond moving, then, to see photographs like Al Chang's A grief stricken American infantryman whose buddy has been killed in action is comforted by another soldier. In the background a corpsman methodically fills out casualty tags, Haktong-ni area, Korea, August 28, 1950.

The holding of a comrade who is broken, grieving. A man allowing another man freely to express his emotions (of sadness, not rage). How often does that happen?

And I think again of my father-in-law and my grandfather, in WWII, fighting on opposite sides: my grandfather in his tank division, moving eastward, and my father-in-law on the Russian front until wounded, then fleeing west and hoping to avoid slaughter by the Russians.

My husband recently returned from visiting his dad, and asked him more about his experience in the war, and how it felt to kill someone, and how many men he killed, etc. In one battle on the Russian front, apparently his division ended up with more Russian POWs than they could keep and they killed them all. It sounded horrific. I was glad I didn't hear the story. I recently tried to watch Band of Brothers and couldn't make it past episode three. It's not that it isn't great acting. It's just that it's too real. I can watch the zombie apocalpyse and pretend that it's okay. But WWII really happened.

I have heard that my grandfather came back from WWII with PTSD that landed him in the hospital (I do come by my mental health issues quite honestly). According to a book I read, his tank division was involved in liberating a concentration camp. That task would be enough to fuck me up for a lifetime.

On another note, while in LA I had a lovely dinner with Nearly Perfect Man on Paper and his wife. It feels amazingly good to have great people in one's corner and to feel cared for; when I wrote recently that some people really understand me, I was speaking the truth. I also found that I remembered wrongly why he and I had not gone to museums when we were in Paris in December of 1995. I asked, "Were we museum-ed out or something? I can't remember why all we did was go to Pere Lachaise and do oddball things." He said, "I cannot think of a time ever when you'd be museum-ed out. It was because of the big strike. No museums were open. We tried the Centre Pompidou, the Musee Rodin, etc., and gave up. So we walked everywhere in the bitter cold and had fun anyway, looking at public sculpture, at the Opera Garnier, at the Arc de Triomphe, etc." Oh, yeah. The strike. We almost couldn't fly to Provence. I have a fairly remarkable memory, but not a perfect one. I was thankful to have him help me remember.

Mr. Nearly Perfect on Paper eagerly asked for a full recounting of my search and reunion, which Nalini helped me to provide. His evaluation and support were spot on. He has clearly never forgotten the needs of the little girl in my heart (and I am both fortunate and grateful for that). He even went so far as to bring me an unexpected present: a t-shirt from the Math Club at his institution, run by his undergraduates. There was a Math Day in honor of a woman mathematician who had taught both at Goettingen (where my husband got his Math degree) and at Bryn Mawr in the early 20th century. She was instrumental in the field of Math in which Mr. Nearly Perfect works. Always the thoughtful, creative one, is he.

And his wife is very, very cool (not to mention that she has figured out how to deal with his quirks, way better than I ever did). She, in fact, has a search mission of her own: she is looking for a surprise older sibling who was adopted out. I am hoping to help her with this search. It was fun to brag about Mr. Nearly Perfect a little, with her (all those languages he speaks! that Gainsborough portrait of his ancestor!). And to hear her complain, and to know what she was talking about, too--his shortcomings are not unlike my husband's (but my husband is definitely more of a pushover).

I am pleased with the way in which I spent my time away. I return refreshed, although the War/Photography exhibition was harrowing on multiple levels. I cherished the opportunity to be with one of my dearest friends (I didn't wail in Times Square this time!), and I reconnected with someone who also knows me very, very well (or at least once did, and still clearly does on some levels). It was lovely to hear that I am not a museum Nazi from at least two people I care about.

Perception is powerful. We all want to be seen and loved for who we are; that is one of the best gifts we can receive (or give to someone, if we are perceptive enough, in return). If that is my birthday gift this year, I will be very pleased.

Monday, April 15, 2013


My immediate family has or is doing DNA analysis through 23andMe. I sent off my test in February, and my results came back about a month ago. I had an almost out-of-body reaction to them. They were different-ish than the results I had received from the DNATribes test, for various reasons (analyzing mitochondrial DNA for the maternal line only instead of looking at autosomal data, etc.). My ancestry proved both more and less amorphous than before.

I am, according to 23andMe, 99.5% European: 6.1% French and German, 4.9% British and Irish, 0.8% Scandinavian, 0.7% Finnish, plus 53% "Nonspecific" Northern European; 10.8% Ashkenazi plus 0.2% "Nonspecific" Southern European; and 23% European mutt that is indecipherable as any particular group. Then there's 0.2% North African, and 0.4% "Unassigned." Curious.

I suppose that all my German jokes must cease; I cannot say that I am actually French and not German out of that 6.1%. Funny. I do feel vindicated by the 10.8% Ashkenazi, as I have written before. Although I never would have thought of myself as Jewish (being raised by Scandinavian and Irish people who told me that my background was German and Irish, which it is, at least in part), I was recognized as one by members of the tribe when I was 18. They knew, I didn't. That sixth sense of belonging?

I remember when I first contacted my brother, and I asked, "Are we Jewish?" He said, "No. Why?" And we aren't, technically, since my mother and grandmother aren't. No one had ever asked my brother if he were Jewish (maybe it's the difference in our looks, or the way I carry myself, or the different company we keep?), but we have Ashkenazi blood in our family tree somewhere. I wonder if I can figure out which ancestors.

I have spent so much of my life imagining links to unknown people, and thinking that I do what I do because of some gift bestowed upon me by an ancestor. I still believe in the power of genes, to some extent; I see genetic influence in my own biological children, all the time: quirks of grandparents or of their father and me, working themselves out in new ways in my sons (interests, intellectual strengths, expression of emotions, etc.). I am realizing, however, that there are too many variables to tease out any particular, meaningful influences. I owe biology; I owe nurture; I owe myself; I owe my friends; I owe the School of Hard Knocks.

My interest in and facility for languages, for example. My aparents are not language people, not one bit.  I have always loved languages, and began studying French when I was eight, and picked up German high school (I loved reading the Chalet School books as a girl in England, and thought that having different language days at boarding school would have been great--immersion, baby!). I added on Russian and Greek, Latin, Spanish, Irish, Welsh through the years. I mean, if you learn one Celtic language, why not attempt two, so that you can read the Mabinogi in the original? Yeah, big geek. I know.

I have mentioned before that my nmother, C, majored in French and Spanish and taught languages as her career. I only learned this when I was 28. It wasn't some "dream" that I wanted to be like her all my life. It was simply serendipitous, while it makes sense. But at the same time, I take that interest to a degree that is obsessive compared to my mother, who likes languages, but taught them as a job and doesn't choose to read books in foreign languages for personal enjoyment.

Age and friendships have also shaped whatever my genetic inheritance was. It doesn't hurt that Thomenon, one of my best friends, grew up speaking French and was immersed in French culture through the armature of colonialism. He introduced me to Trenet and Piaf, because his parents and aunts listened to them. He has helped me to think critically about Duras and Baudelaire in ways that I wouldn't on my own. He corrects my pronunciation with a raised eyebrow and loving shake of the head, having been put through his own wringer, with the nuns, chez his aunts, and at the Sorbonne. He thinks so poetically, I cannot but help to try to do the same. Now I can also add my own experiences to thinking about poetry and drama and literature, having been around the block more than a few times myself (as I've written before, some literature becomes more meaningful with age).

I began by saying that I had an out-of-body reaction to the results. This was, I believe, because I see myself as not belonging, in particular, to anyplace or anyone (except, perhaps, to my children). I may have successfully walled off my feelings and desires (or, I hope, reconciled with them), and for a moment, reaction to what I don't have flashed through the wall. I have spent too many years, though, thinking about the what ifs, or wanting to know things that might illuminate some secret part of me. I would undoubtedly have been a different person, had I not been placed for adoption, but the life I am living now is all I have.

All this to say that my DNA results mean something, something big perhaps, but are still only a drop in the bucket of understanding myself. How much of me is "nonspecified," meaning it's as amorphous as I want it to be? There is no magic key to understanding me. Only time and interest and patience.

I am all for taking some parts of DNA results as they are today with huge grains of salt: my report also said that I was likely shorter than average (nope, taller) and had a worse than average memory (nope, make me laugh!). Shoddy science, relying on only analysis of isolated gene expression and studies with a sample size of 20 or less. Humans are far too complicated to quantify in that manner. *sigh*

On the positive side, the DNA test did figure out my 35% increased risk for blood clots. LOL If only I (and my MDs) had known that five years ago. But then I wouldn't be as thin as I am today. Thank you, blood clot! /sarcasm

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Beauty of Metaphor

I recently finished a remarkable book of short stories by Joan Wickersham, The News from Spain, reviewed in the NYT here. I am not easily persuaded by contemporary authors to love them, and can count only on one hand the number whose books I wait for with eagerness, or whose stories will energize me when I see their names in Granta or The New Yorker. I am a hard customer, for sure.

That said, a few weeks back, I was poking around our local bookstore, one of the few that Amazon hasn't killed yet. I read a few pages from The News from Spain and found myself transported. Wickersham's voice spoke to my cynical soul. There were no secret mothers in this book, no adoptees (Colm Toibin, one of my favorite writers, recently pissed me off by extolling family secrets in "The Summer of '38"). Alleluia for Joan.

In particular, I loved her discussion of unruly emotions in the last story of the book. She used the metaphor of servants, doing our bidding, or not doing our bidding, or beating us up. It's admittedly a white, upper middle-class metaphor, and maybe I like it because of my penchant for British history and Henry James. Who knows?

But still...her words are evocative, at least for me.

"it occurs to me to return to the servant metaphor--to invoke again those evil retainers, to add new members to the staff, who were by now holding me captive, doing whatever they wanted. Rage: a stable boy, unwashed, brutal, very strong, barely capable of speech. Shame: the housekeeper, a tight-lipped woman dressed in black with sparse greasy scraped-back hair, who hissed excited filth at me and watched--to guard against impropriety, she said--while the butler stripped me naked and beat me."

And again:

"You meet someone, you fall in love but you are able to keep your feelings mostly hidden; occasionally they cough, or break a dinner plate, or burn down the kitchen (accidentally? On purpose?), but mostly they stay out of sight when other people are around. At night they have run of the house. It's a creepy, even sinister menage. An outsider who happened to glimpse it might be horrified--might as you in a whisper if you needed to be rescued: Wouldn't you like to call in the authorities? But no, you're fine. It's your own lunatic household; you know how everything works. You've all been together for so long that the servants have acquired a battered credibility. They've endeared themselves without ever having become likable. You respect one another's endurance."

Oh, the kitchen burnings I could describe. Lovely, delicious metaphor.

I am having dinner next week with Nearly Perfect Man on Paper and his wife. I know he will appreciate this metaphor, having endured many of more than a few of my servants' roundly recalcitrant outbreaks. I am glad that we're attempting friendship, of the real and not metaphorical kind. Some people do simply understand you; finding them is difficult, keeping them can be hard, as well. But it's worth it, especially if you're an eccentric. I daresay he, being an eccentric math professor juggler, might have discovered that I am not so bad, either; we used to finish one another's sentences in multiple languages. I was joking with him about what it's like teaching math to today's youth, and he said that respect for math is what it's always been, and they'd better keep off his lawn. Sense of humor is intact.

Age has the great effect of sanding off one's sharper bits, as well. We will see.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Pure Horror

When are babies removed from parents at birth? When parents pose an imminent danger. I see this happen only very, very, very rarely, due to extreme drug use, and even then, the baby is in the NICU, not forcibly removed.

If you can, read 7rin's blog post (excerpted below) and watch this video and tell me that trafficking isn't happening. This makes me ill. Adoption as an institution is sick. Where is the real help for these parents? To keep them a family?

What about the trauma visited on them? Why? She is promised clean clothes. How comforting is that in the midst of loss? As the father said, this stealing. One woman says, "We'll talk again, when you're calmer." Reassuring her? Patronizing? WTF? As someone said, it's Stalinist.

This baby is being released for adoption, no doubt. A beautiful, white, boy baby, one day old.

Thank you, 7rin, for bringing this to the attention of the community.

I first started this post in reaction to 6th March’s Daily Wail Mail article, social workers arrived at hospital to take woman’s baby while she was in labour.
A mother is demanding an apology from social services after her baby was taken away from her as soon as she was born.
Kelly McWilliams, 36, claims that social workers arrived at her bedside while she was in labour and took her newborn daughter Victoria into foster care.
I’d already posted about this subject before (AMBER ALERT! Missing child snatched!) and wanted to look at it in more depth. However, due to my entire crapness at getting things done, the post has been sat here as one of my many unfinished drafts.
Friday just gone (5th April), there appeared yet another post about a Social Services (Staffordshire, again) snatching (literally) a newborn from its mom. This time, it’s an extremely harrowing video showing the newborn being snatched from its screaming mom’s arms.