Sunday, June 18, 2017

On Parenthood

 By Fred Owens
On Parenthood

My daughter Eva and her wife Lara are having a baby, sometime in July, a boy or a girl. Eva said they had names picked out but it was a secret for now. I said fine, but if it's a boy why not call it Little Freddy. Just a thought, although Lara said Frederick isn't such a bad name. For a girl I thought to call her Bonnie or Evangeline. 
Laurie and I were actually invited to suggest baby names, so we have.
But with the baby coming in a few weeks, it's time for the honorable custom of unsolicited advice, when the parents-to-be are approached by relatives and total strangers with valuable input. It's so easy to share your wisdom when you don't have to do any of the work. Eva takes the bus to work every day so people at the bus stop tell her how to take care of small babies and what to expect in the delivery room.
I just keep giving her the same advice -- relax, let nature take its course, don't be stressful, you'll do just fine.

Eva and Lara live in Seattle in the Ballard neighborhood in a house they bought last year. Lara works for Amazon. Eva works for SEIU. They have a golden retriever named Odie.
Laurie and I will be going up there in September.

It's Hot
It's hot here in Santa Barbara and that saps my energy. I can barely move my fingers to type this newsletter.
"Hot" in Santa Barbara means over 80 degrees. We're terribly spoiled. You folks in Texas or Ohio or New England know about really hot weather and high humidity. And mosquitoes.
Once I spent a summer in South Texas  -- I survived that but I don't want to talk about it.
I think the worst place in the entire world for awful hot is St. Louis in August - air as thick as wool. But Chicago is pretty bad, and Boston too.
Some people would give the prize to Houston for the combination of heat and moisture.
And don't tell me about Phoenix and say it's okay because it's dry heat. It's still hot, 108 degrees as of right now at 3 p.m.
Agent Blume from Cambridge
I call him Agent Blume behind his back. To his face I call him Harvey. He plays chess at Harvard Square, or he used to, but they tore down the public chess tables, which was an urban atrocity. Let the old men play chess, I say.
Volume Two
I have started Volume Two of My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard. John Stark in Bellingham wants to know if this book is a slog, like Proust and the Remembrance of Things Past.
Fortunately I have never read Proust, should I?  But, no, My Struggle is not a slog. It is easy to read, but very long  -- five volumes, 3,500 pages. This will last me all summer and that makes me happy.
Plus it is current fiction. My daughter said I read too much 19th century literature, so I said okay, I will get current and read novels written in this century.
Trump is 71, the same age as me. Except I am not twenty pounds overweight. I get 8 hours of sleep every night. I get outdoor exercise almost every day. Trump would do us all a big favor by taking better care of himself... He may beat the odds with his careless habits, but would you make that bet?
Also, the older I get the less angry I am. This is true of a lot of people -- old people being calmer, except for the baseball shooter who was 66 years old when he went on his rampage at the ball field.
I tried to imagine myself being so mad that I would shoot a Congressman. Nope, not even close. My idea of really getting mad at someone in Congress is hoping a bird craps on his windshield -- but no madder than that. I wouldn't allow it. Besides that, it tires me out. I had an argument with my girlfriend three years ago. But it's no fun fighting with her, so we stopped. Why doesn't Trump be like me? Is he too old to change?
Maybe I am too old to change and maybe Trump is too old to change, but he sure gets angry a lot. Every day he gets angry and gets all worked up. It does him no good and it leads to bad decisions.
Local Folksinger Turns Conservative

Dave Morrison in Altadena is a folksinger I know who went right wing. Folksingers are all left wing and country singers are all right wing  -- supposedly. It's a strong pattern anyway. It started with Woody Guthrie going left and it stayed that way, but Dave Morrison changed that and went right and his old compatriots despise him for deserting the cause. That's too bad. I say if he wants to have a romance with Rush Limbaugh, let him.
Note: Altadena is an unincorporated village in Los Angeles, right next to Pasadena.
The Quotidian
It was Agent Blume who wanted me to read My Struggle. This five-volume novel is a wealth of details about daily life in Norway. I just read 30 pages about a child's birthday party. Knausgaard has a way of making things like that interesting and he keeps a good pace too.
Agent Blume suggested this novel especially for me as if I might learn something from it, as if Knausgaard was a writer who might show me a thing or two.
Yes, I am learning something. I often imitate authors I admire. I let their style rub off on me. I make no effort to be original.
Originality is no goal. You always end up being yourself anyway. How can you not be yourself? I never say that to other people -- "just be yourself" -- because it's like saying nothing. What I say to people is be kind, be helpful, be strong and be honest.  That's saying something. That's the push I want to give my friend if he turns to me for help.
Have a good Fathers Day,

Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

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