Saturday, April 07, 2007

7-3. Dammit.

Sammy "Has Been" Sosa? Sheesh.

Now we need Curt to come up huge to avoid being swept.

Tobin Bridge Time.
Well, after a promising beginning, the Rangers are starting to rake Julian Tavarez. It's hard to imagine that he is somehow the best choice to go to the mound for Boston tonight.

Note to the Cape Cod Potato Chip Company: Cheddar Jack and Sour Cream Potato Chips? I have only one word to say: "ohmygoodnessgracious". Delicious.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Half in a fog, I think I heard Fernando Vina and Orel Hershiser on Baseball Tonight downplaying the kerfuffle over KRod's alleged cheating. The thrust of their argument was "it's just rosin or pine tar to get a better grip", and "people outside the game" shouldn't be involved. Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't it in the dang rule book that you can't put anything on the ball? Even if it's rosin? Clearly, there is something foreign visible on his cap, and he rubs it repeatedly. Then he pitches, and his stuff moves in an ungodly way. Now, it has done that since 2002, and IIRC, I brought it up then. But if any rosin shows up on the ball, it's cheating, n'est-ce pas?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Beckett escaped another mess, working around the errors. I hope this isn't a harbinger.
Two errors for Mike Lowell? Good heavens...
Red Sox 3, Royals 0, 2nd inning. Good start. Beckett seems uneven, but a nice, multihit first inning off of Perez certainly felt good. Hopefully, this can get us back on the beam.
I stole that from Wait Wait Dont Tell Me. It's funny, though.
You have to read about the robbery that was foiled by a duck.

Yes. A duck.
Back to real time now.

Red Sox (0-1) at Royals tonight, Beckett against the immortal Odalis Perez. They should be able to hit him, but they should have been able to hit Meche, too.

Ah well.
August 31, 2006
I’m really not living up to the every day thing. I want to get to 50 pages, pretty bad, by the time you’re born, but I’m not doing so hot.
I’ve been thinking of my past a lot lately. That makes me wonder about authenticity. Authenticity is a funny thing. You want to stay true to yourself, whatever inner voice tells you who you are-but you don’t want to disturb other people. “Keeping it real” is one phrase we have for it these days.
Tom Cruise(have you ever heard of him?), who is a fairly famous movie star, just got fired because he is a member of a creepy pseudo religious group, Scientology. I’m sure he firmly believes in it, but the problem comes in when he spends his time criticizes the choices and motivations and real, legitimate medical problems of other people.
I don’t feel very authentic. I think I let down the person I was 15 years ago. I didn’t take up writing the way I wanted to, and I didn’t pursue something that I loved. I just survived, and I’m doing something that pays very well, but I hate every minute of doing it.
“That was Danny’s style, one of many he’d had over the years. At the beginning he’d thought of his style as being his essence, the perfect expression of who he was inside, but lately the styles had started to feel like disguises, distractions Danny could move around behind without being seen.”
-Jennifer Egan, “The Keep”
That’s the book I just started. Someone posted an entry on the Huffington Post web site about how good it was, so I picked it up at the library tonight.
That’s the thing about the image we present to the world. There’s a quote from another book that goes something like “We become who we pretend to be, so we must be careful who we pretend to be.” Be honest, but be realistic as well. Too much honesty, and you can injure people.
I try not to injure anyone. As much as I possibly can.
Maybe that’s being fake, I don’t know.

September 10, 2006
Has it been a month since I started writing? I guess it has. It’s not looking good in terms of finishing. I would hate to write all this and put it away and never show it to anyone. At the same time, what good is it? What’s it for?
A long time ago, a friend of mine asked me how it was that literature scholars know what it was the author “meant” by phrase A or symbol B or story C. I could never answer his question.
Really, what he’s asking is, what are books for? What are stories for? Is it just some stuff that we are pretending happened to some people? Is it just for entertainment’s sake, in which case we should discard any book we’re not enjoying? Am I a snob for believing that some books or movies are better than other books and movies? Or is there such a thing as quality?
Robert Pirsig’s books, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and “Lila”, try to answer these questions. I’m not sure, obviously, how old you are now, but they are fantastic at almost any age.
I can’t answer those questions.
I think books are to help us cope with being human. Being human is hard, boring, lonely work, and it sometimes seems like Aunt Debbie and I are the only two people who understand that.
It is Rick’s first day of school tomorrow. We took him to a Middle School Orientation on Friday. It was hard for me, talking to people who are supposed to be my peers, and I feel completely inferior to them. I feel like they get it, they know how to be adults, and somehow I don’t.
And it is completely unacceptable for adults to speak about this insecurity, however.

April 4, 2007
“This is the story of how we begin to remember-
This is the powerful pulsing of love in the vein-“
Paul Simon, “Under African Skies”.
From 1987’s Graceland album. I thought everyone bought that album, but your Aunt Debbie reminded me that it was mostly just white people. Apparently.
Well, you’re here. After waiting and waiting and waiting..probably much too long, according to your Mom, you have now joined the rest of us here on planet Earth.
It’s not a bad planet. I guess. The only one I’ve ever been to. There are a lot of funny rules. You’ll learn them as you go along, I suppose.
This whole project was a good idea, I keep telling myself, but after a burst of writing shortly after you were conceived, it fell apart on me. My fault, partially, of course-I didn’t force myself to sit down every day and do it. I mean, there has to be something to note every day, right?
I’m sitting in a Starbucks, waiting for an appointment to get an oil change. I could have gone home after dropping cousin Rick at school, but I didn’t. I secretly like being alone like this-hiding out. Ironically, hiding in plain sight.
Aunt Debbie is going to go and see you again today. Not surprising. She says you’re cute, of course, but what else would you expect people to say? I’m sure it’s true.
I’m drinking coffee, which I don’t usually do. It’s not really coffee-its chocolatey and creamy-a White Chocolate Mocha. I don’t even like the taste of coffee, I just like the taste of chocolate and stuff.
Who doesn’t?
I think I’m going to post this on my blog. I am increasingly sure that I am not going to publish this. Other than that. Maybe you’ll never see it. Maybe nobody will.
You have a name now. Simon William. A deeply cool name. If I could get on the internet here without having to pay, I could tell you who else was born on your birthday. Other than your grandmother and your Aunt Debbie. But I’m too cheap to pay to get on the Internet. I suppose I could go over to the library, where access is free, and drink my coffee there instead.
“Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”
-U2, “Acrobat”
August 22, 2006
Your grandmother is making lunch for Rick and I. That is nice of her. She really didn’t have to do that, because I was perfectly capable of making lunch for Rick and I, but it is nice to not have to do it. Rick calls her Mom-Mom. I wonder if you will call her that, too? Mom-Mom feels that, if she is home, she has to cook for us. She doesn’t, but that is the way she was raised.
I am listening to a fantasy baseball show on my XM radio. I sent your Mom an invitation for your Dad to join a fantasy football league I started on Yahoo. I don’t know if he will or not. It’s okay either way. He probably has his own. Fantasy sports are silly, I guess, but men find them interesting diversions.
Fantasy sports are something that started almost 30 years ago, when a group of men got together in a restauraunt in New York City called La Rotisserie Francaise. They invented a game where the fantasy players draft major league players and when the players do something good, like a hit or a home run, the fantasy player gets points. After starting as a baseball thing, it has expanded to football, golf, basketball, hockey, NASCAR-anything you can possibly imagine. I don’t take it that seriously, but it is a fun diversion.
Every day, you’re growing a little bit bigger and stronger. It’s so wierd to imagine you are growing inside of another person-that is something that men will never, ever understand.
You will be my second nephew or niece, it turns out. (I keep thinking of you as a girl. That isn’t fair at all. Nobody knows if you are a boy or a girl, not even you.) My brother, Chris, has a daughter, who is named Savannah. She is four, I think. I don’t remember. I have trouble remembering ages, for some reason.
Some time last week she (Savannah) was having a real tantrum, and my Mom, who is Rick’s grandmother and your grandmother in law, I guess, was having a lot of trouble getting her to go to bed. Apparently, voices were raised, and they got so loud they called the police. That was very embarassing for my Mom, but Savannah eventually calmed down and went to bed. My Mom already raised 3 children, and its hard for her to have to raise Savannah, too. But my brother Chris has to work, and Savannah’s Mom lives in another state, so she is left with my Mom to take care of her. One of the hardest things to learn in life is that kids wind up paying the price for some of the dumb decisions that adults make.
I don’t think I will have any trouble remembering your age. I hope I will see a lot of you, on weekends and holidays and Christmas and all that stuff.
The Red Sox lost 5 games straight to the Yankees at Fenway Park. That’s pretty bad. They probably aren’t going to win the division or make the playoffs this year. That hurts a little bit, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter all that much. Sports is fun, but it’s only a game, only something to amuse people. The Red Sox are young, so I think they will be better next season or the season after.
Tom Glavine, who grew up in Massachusetts one town over from where I grew up, is a pitcher for the New York Mets and had a big scare over the weekend with blood clots in his shoulder. That is scary stuff, not just for baseball reasons but for life reasons. He seems to be okay, the news says today. That’s good. Tom Glavine is probably going to go into the Hall of Fame, and I’m glad it seems like he will be alright, and he’ll probably have a chance to win 300 games in his career.
Very few pitchers, in the 130 years of major league baseball, have won that many, so it is quite an accomplishment. I can tell you something about most of them, pretty much-I have a lot of baseball stories and anecdotes in my head. I hope, even if you are a girl, that you’ll like baseball and want to listen to them. But if you don’t, that’s okay too.
Pitchers with 300 career wins, or more, entering the 2006 season:
Cy Young-Won 511 games. “Cyclone” because a ball he threw destroyed a fence.
Walter Johnson-Pitched for very poor Washington teams. Also a good hitter.
Christy Mathewson-Named “Big Six” after a famous fire engine.
Grover Cleveland Alexander-named after president,was played by a president in a movie
Warren Spahn-greatest lefty who ever lived.
Kid Nichols-threw a changeup. Became an umpire after he retired.
Pud Galvin-like Radbourn
Tim Keefe-like Radbourn
Roger Clemens-great fastball and great control. 5 Cy Youngs.
Steve Carlton-great slider, pitched mostly for Philadelphia.
John Clarkson-like Radbourn, pitched a long time ago.
Eddie Plank-called “Gettysburg Eddie” because he went to Gettysburg College.
Nolan Ryan-threw very, very hard. Not very good control, though. 7 no hitters.
Don Sutton-had a reputation for defacing the ball, which wasnt legal, either.
Phil Neikro-threw knuckleballs
Greg Maddux-still pitching. Great control. Very smart pitcher.
Gaylord Perry-known for throwing a spitball, which was not legal at the time.
Tom Seaver-very good fastball, very smart pitcher
Old Hoss Radbourn-pitched a long, long time ago, when teams had only 1 or 2 pitchers
Mickey Welch-called “Smiling” Mickey Welch
Early Wynn-Once said he’d knock down his grandma if she came to bat against him.
Lefty Grove-from Lonacoming, Pennsylvania.
I’m starting to read another book, “The Brooklyn Follies” by Paul Auster. It’s really good. I hope you’re a reader. I hope, with your Mom’s influence, and mine, and Aunt Debbie’s, we can make you a reader. As with all good books, much of this story seems to apply to me directly.
It’s about an older man who has recovered from lung cancer, and he has decided to try and write a book called “The Book of Human Folly”, describing every mistake he made and dumb thing he said throughout his life. He loves reading, of course, and he has discovered a long lost cousin of his working at a used book store.
“ ‘You think I’m joking,’ I said, ‘but I’m giving it to you straight. The pearls of my wisdom. A few pointers after a lifetime of toiling in the trenches of experience. Con men and tricksters run the world. Rascals rule. And do you know why?’
‘Tell me, Master. I’m all ears.’
‘Because they’re hungrier than we are. Because they know what they want. Because they believe in life more than we do.’
‘Speak for yourself, Socrates. If I wasn’t so hungry all the time, I wouldn’t be carrying around this giant gut.’
‘You love life, Tom, but you don’t believe in it. And neither do I.’ “
That is so true it makes me want to cry. There are people who make life happen, and there are people who let life happen to them. I am the second kind of person, and so is your Aunt Debbie. Your Mom, I think, is the first kind. Although being a parent makes you feel like the second kind of person a lot.
It’s not just being a con man (or woman) -it’s about wanting something from life and going out and getting it. I don’t have the strength to do that.
August 27, 2006
Another Sunday afternoon.
I don’t know why I keep talking about myself. I guess that’s all that I know about-myself, and my life. I wish I knew more about life, what to avoid, what not to do, what not to miss. But, to a certain extent, I can’t prevent you making mistakes. Everyone has to relearn certain things, and experience heartache, and disappointment, and rudeness. It happens to everyone.
Life here, at your grandparents’ house, is kind of just falling into its usual rhythm. Most people are sleeping, Rick is going from room to room, turning on TVs, then going to the next room and turning on another one. He does that. I know that Rick tends to get bored sometimes, and I haven’t done very much to help the problem.
The thing that I can’t figure out is how to retain my own personal life, while also working hard to be Rick’s parent. He needs so much- all children do-and I don’t know how to give it while still being a person, and doing a couple of things that I enjoy.
Don’t have children until you’re ready-that’s one sure thing I can tell you.
Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it.
I have always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was in high school. I have written, off and on, ever since then. Now and then I can get someone to agree to publish it in various places, sometimes online, sometimes not. I never get paid for anything, but the dream lives on. I keep having ideas for stories, especially when I’m at work and should be concentrating on that, but I seldom actually work on anything. I read a lot-probably too much. I read more than I interact with people, really. Stories, and novels, and nonfiction. I don’t read much poetry, except for Henry Rollins.
Your Mom actually introduced me to Henry Rollins, something for which I will be eternally grateful. He’s a musician and a poet, along with being a spoken word artist and author. His books and CDs of his performances are brilliant-funny, and jagged, and true. I might never have discovered him if not for your Mom and her friend Paul.
Paul has been friends with your Mom and Aunt Debbie, off and on, for years. He has known Rick since he was a baby, and hopefully he will meet you, too. He doesn’t come around much any more. He’s a good man. He’s had some problems, but he’s a good man.
I was starting to get a headache, so I closed my eyes and slept for about 15 minutes. Now, I feel much better. That’s another good idea-sleep whenever you can. Don’t miss a chance to sleep. Life in America these days involves a lot of things that you have to do-we’re all very, very busy and we don’t sleep enough. I sure don’t.
Other than doing this, I don’t write very much. I write about sports sometimes, and I write in my blog, but I don’t tackle fiction topics very often any more.
I’m listening to the Red Sox again, and they are losing, again. They have lost two in a row to the Mariners, and the possibility of getting into the playoffs seems more and more remote these days. That’s okay. I am too tired to get all that upset about it. They’re young, and I think they are going to get better.
I have a tough week of work ahead. Next Monday is Labor Day, and whenever there is a holiday like that, we have a lot of people who seem to panic and think they need to rush in and get a bunch of medicine. It’s silly, really-no one can plan ahead. A failure to plan is suddenly my fault. I hate that about people.
That’s another rule- be nice to people. Especially people who are bringing you food, or filling your prescription, or taking care of you when you’re sick. Everyone is human, and they deserve some kind of respect. I try really hard to be nice to people, even when they are not so nice to me. But it is not easy.
“ ‘[D]on’t walk in front of cars take care and be good and don’t hurt or be hurt and don’t live in a way that makes you feel dead and don’t betray anybody or yourself and take care of what matters...’”
Zadie Smith, “On Beauty”
August 20, 2006
The Red Sox are playing the Yankees, their historic rivals, in the fourth game of a five game set tonight. They have lost the first three games, in fairly humiliating fashion. To have any hope of catching the Yankees, more or less they absolutely must have both tonight’s game and tomorrow’s. They’re leading in this one, but only by one run. I’m not too optimistic.
Your Aunt Debbie went to see your Mom yesterday, and apparently they talked about girl stuff. I think Aunt Debbie can help your Mom with some of the special girl to girl things about having a baby, and that’s important.
Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship today, which was his 12th major championship in his professional career. The only person who has more is Jack Nicklaus, who won 18. Tiger might be the best golfer of all time, and it is special to think that, before he retires, you will get to see him play. Your grandfather loves golf, and I think you will see a lot of it on TV at his house. You don’t have to watch it, though. Your grandfather is very tolerant of Rick, and pretty much lets him do what he wants, so I’m sure you will get to watch whatever program you want. As soon as you can talk, that is.
August 14, 2006
“The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility. And vice versa.”
“Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse.”
“You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once.”
“If you don’t like yourself, you can’t like other people.”
“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”
“Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.”
-Robert A. Heinlein
Greg Maddux, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitched a marvelous game last night-8 innings, only 68 pitches. Very few games are pitched like that any more- quick, with plenty of strikes and no baloney. The way baseball used to be played. Nice.
August 17, 2006
So much for the whole “write something every day” routine.
So much of life seems to slip by these days, for me. The saying is that life moves faster as you get older, and you want it to get slower. When you’re young, the thinking is, it moves slower, and you want it to get faster. Of course, it goes by at one second per second for everyone. But you have so much to do, as an adult, I can’t seem to keep up with it all.
August 13, 2006
Another day I don’t have to work. I’m listening to “This American Life”, a radio show which tells a series of stories based on a single theme. Today’s theme is Last Words, the last thing that someone says before they die, which is kind of a sad topic. Supposedly, Civil War general Stonewall Jackson’s last words were, “Let us cross the river and rest under the shade of the trees.” That’s one of the most famous ones I know. Another good one they mentioned was Oscar Wilde, who was supposed to say “Either those curtains go, or I do.”
Death is a funny thing to talk about with a baby. Once again, the time travel part of this is affecting us. You’re a baby now, but you won’t be a baby when you read this, if ever.
The book I just read, “Night of Power”, says that you are an adult when you realize you can die. I can’t disagree with that. It’s a horrible thing to realize, but its real. You cant disguise it.
I learned that when I went into 10th grade, when a classmate of ours died unexpectedly. He had a heart problem that no one knew about, and he collapsed while on vacation with his family. I have to say, as dramatic as it sounds, that my life was never the same. The disappearance of someone from my life like that really affected me deeply. I have been somewhat melancholic ever since then, really- knowing that life was fragile really affected me. I mean, it doesn’t take very much thinking to know that people and animals do die-you know that, after a little while. But there is a big difference between knowing it and really knowing it, and feeling the absence and knowing that someone you knew pretty well is never, ever coming back.
Now the Red Sox are playing again on the satellite radio.
Make smart choices. Remember that some choices are not reversible.
August 12, 2006
At home now, Saturday. A day off from work, at long last.
The Red Sox beat the Orioles last night, and they are playing them today. I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction, and I was just thinking that writing this is a form of time travel. By the time you read this, I figure it will be at least 10 years from now, and you will know the answers to so many questions I wonder about- who became president in 2008? 2012? Do you have a brother or sister? Rick almost certainly won’t. I guess we’ll have to wait for these answers, won’t we?
Sometimes I wonder why I am doing this at all. (I haven’t told your mother I’m doing this. Maybe she will wonder why I did it, too.) I guess I want you to try and avoid the mistakes I have made. I want you to know that we all got very, very excited when we learned you were coming. I want you to know that, no matter what happens, your family will be there for you, ready to love you without hesitation.
That doesn’t, of course, mean we will always approve of everything you decide to do. My brothers made that mistake sometimes-equating love with unquestioning support. I guess everybody does-we say that if you love me, you’ll agree with everything I say. Sometimes loving someone means telling them you think they are doing the wrong thing. That hurts, when you have to say that.
The game is tied 7-7, and I am listening on my satellite radio. The Boston announcers, Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano, remind me of home a little bit. They don’t really have accents at all, but Joe’s voice, especially, reminds me of listening to the radio back in Massachusetts. I don’t really miss Massachusetts that much, but when you’re from somewhere, I think you always miss it a little bit. Home will always be home. Although right now, whereever Aunt Debbie is is home to me. If she needed to live in Seattle or Phoenix, I’d move to Seattle or Phoenix-it doesn’t really matter.
Along with baseball, I have also become very interested in the history of the Civil War. Earlier, I was listening to a Civil War scholar, Dr. Gary Gallagher, answer questions about the Civil War on CSPAN radio. That was really interesting to me, but not so much to everyone. That’s part of the reason I haven’t been to Gettysburg, among other local places-because I don’t want to drag Aunt Debbie and Rick somewhere they don’t want to go.
One of the big debates we have these days is when a baby, like you, becomes a person. I don’t know the answer to that one, that’s for sure. There’s a lot of opinion on both sides. I wonder when your first thought will happen, what your first feeling will be. When you will be aware of anything at all. No one will ever know, of course, because by the time any communication can occur, a baby can’t remember anything. I know that everyone wants to make everything just perfect for you, though. That is for sure.
I am struggling with Rick, trying to get him to work on his summer homework. He’s not doing it, though. I am trying to stay calm, but not doing very well. I hope you will realize that putting things off only leads to more misery in the end. Rick hasn’t learned that yet.
Page 8 now. Only 92 to go, I guess.
August 11, 2006
Back in Panera Bread again. Listening to Mozart now. I have a satellite radio, and I desperately need people to stop talking to me right now. The stations I usually listen to (baseball and politics) are full of words, and I just have too many words in my head right now.
We’re going to have to teach you words someday, won’t we? Hundreds of them, thousands of them. Millions of them? Do humans know a million words? Maybe. It amazes me that anyone can learn English as well as we do. There’s so many rules, and exceptions to rules, and exceptions to exceptions. Yet we manage to make ourselves understood, somehow.
I just finished a wonderful book called “Night of Power”, by Spider Robinson. It was wonderful, but heartbreaking as well. It’s about race. Someday you will notice that your Mom and your Dad, and me and your Aunt Debbie, have slightly different skin colors. It’s really a very silly thing, but we adults make a very big deal about this, even though most people, to be polite, pretend not to. You’re going to have to learn about this too, but I don’t know how to teach it to you, because I don’t understand it either.
For me, falling in love with your Aunt Debbie was as natural as taking a drink of water when you’re thirsty, or eating a sandwich when you’re hungry. I couldn’t NOT do it. I bet your Dad felt the same way about your Mom. Letting skin color enter into it would have been as unthinkable, to me, as letting the day of the week, or the amount of dirt on the sidewalk, to enter into it. To paraphrase Lisa Simpson-I know what the word racism means, but it still doesn’t make any sense.
An awful thing happened yesterday. Well, I guess, to be perfectly accurate an awful thing DIDN’T happen yesterday. British police announced that they caught 21 people who had been planning to blow up airplanes as they flew towards America. The fact that it didn’t happen is good. The fact that it almost happened is bad.
I don’t know what kind of a world this is to grow up in. Heck, I’m almost 35 years old, and I’m still not grown up yet. But there probably isn’t a GOOD time to grow up. I guess maybe you just make a baby and hope for the best. Is that what people have always done?
Sigh. This is turning into a downer. I don’t mean it to be. But its hard not to talk about life like this and at least be a little bit sad about it. There’s so much misery and awfulness and unpleasantness and cold and bitterness and rage. I don’t want to expose you to it. I didn’t want to expose Rick to it. But I did, and your parents will too, and there’s nothing else to do. There’s no way to protect you. And as I said, there is nothing that scares a parent more than that right there.
I made it onto page 7. Somebody told me that once I got to page 100 or so, that will be enough for a good book. I’m trying to put out one page per day, that way I will have time to get it printed and ready to give to your parents before you are born, which is about 200 days or so from now. So I have time, but I have to make myself keep at it, or I’ll put it off. I have a bad habit of doing that.
Despite this world with so much meanness, I guess I keep believing in the goodness of people. I don’t know why sometimes.
Yes, I do. I know that to believe the opposite makes someone ugly, and hard, and cold. I don’t want to be someone like that. You have to believe in people, have faith in their good nature. Sometimes the only reason I do that is because I don’t like where the road of NOT believing takes me.
So far that’s been enough.
Maybe your arrival will help me keep believing. Hard to imagine, you helping me? Well, if I can keep telling myself that YOU are depending on me, maybe that will make me keep going. I know Rick depends on me, too, but he’s going to be a teenager soon, and they are hard to like. So I guess I will keep striving, keep believing, for you, and for Savannah (Rick’s other cousin, who is my brother’s daughter).
August 8, 2006
I had to sleep part of the night on Rick’s bed, and so I woke up this morning with a stiff neck. I’m sure you will cause your Mom and Dad many nights like that. I’m pretty sure they don’t understand that yet. I was a little younger than they are now when Rick was born, and I sure didn’t understand it. Being a parent means a lot of sleepless nights, and, frankly, sleepless days. But they’ll get through it. We’ll help, if they want us to. That’s one of the hardest things-not being able to sleep. I will come over as much as I can to help your Mom and Dad get some sleep. And so will Aunt Debbie.
Its hard to know what to tell you. There’s so much to say, but then again, you won’t listen to a lot of it. I didn’t. Some things you just have to discover by yourself.

I sure hope you don’t have to discover a lot of painful things. I think you probably will, though. We all do. One of the things your Mom and Dad will discover, and you may discover, too, on some distant day 25 or 30 years from today-is that there is nothing more painful to a person than their child hurting in some way. There’s a writer named Dave Barry who writes for the Miami Herald who usually writes all funny stuff, but one time he wrote a very serious column about his son being sick. He said that he remembered
carrying his son into the hospital, praying that God could take the fever out of his son’s body and put it into his own.
That’s exactly what its like. It makes a parent crazy when their child is sick or injured, and you don’t want anything else in the world except to make it stop. But you can’t.

Funny how some days just fly by. You probably won’t notice this until you get into school, but some days as a human just shoot right by. Others can take forever to get through.
I bought some new shoes today, and got a haircut. I took Rick to karate. He did well-his teacher said his forms were very much improved, even though he didn’t want to go. But I didn’t do anything fun, really. I’m listening to the Red Sox game on a satellite radio. Those may be common by the time you read this, but at this point they are still pretty new. I grew up in Boston, so I stayed a Red Sox fan when I moved down here.
I met Aunt Debbie when I answered an ad in the Letter Exchange, a magazine for people who liked to write letters. Aunt Debbie and I were simply mad about letter writing, so we started corresponding. The funny part about that is that your Aunt Debbie’s best friend, Jill Cyrus, who I am sure you will meet someday, shared a post office box with Aunt Debbie back then. They would take turns answering the letters that came to the box-Aunt Debbie would take one, and then Jill would take the next one. It turns out that, when my letter came, it was Jill’s turn to answer. Jill didn’t want to take the letter, so Aunt Debbie did instead. I still like to tease Jill that she could have married me instead of Debbie. But I’m glad she didn’t, because I might not have met Debbie, and I wouldn’t have had Rick.
That’s another thing that’s funny. Your Mom might tell you someday that she had other boyfriends before she met your Dad, and your Dad I’m sure had girlfriends before he met your Mom. But your Mom and Dad had to meet in order to make you-no other combination of people would work. Same with Rick-if I never met your Aunt Debbie, Rick would have never been born. Its a funny thing, life.
The Red Sox are losing, so far. You won’t be born until this whole baseball season has ended and the next one has begun. Football season hasn’t even begun yet, and you won’t be born until it is completely over, too. Maybe the Eagles will win the Super Bowl this year. I think that would make your Mom and Dad happy. They have gone to Eagles games before, but I don’t know if they still do that.
I don’t know a lot of things about your Mom and Dad. I love them, because they are in my family, and because they are good people. But I have never been very good at making friends or keeping friends-I tend to keep to myself a lot. That’s part of the reason why I don’t know them too well-sometimes when they come over I’m too busy to talk with them, or I’m at work while they are here. Stuff like that. I wish I knew how to get to know them better. I am hoping that when you are born, that will give us a reason to get together more so I can help take care of you.
I will write more tomorrow. I hope I will, anyway.
“I once believed in causes, too-
Had my pointless point of view-
But life went on no matter who was wrong or right.”
Billy Joel, “Angry Young Man”
August 9, 2006
Another day at Panera. I really can’t afford to keep eating here every morning, but the internet is free, and the food is good. And the quiet lets me write to you in peace.
I’m not sure why it is, but I suddenly see pregnant women everywhere. They say you just notice it more when someone you know is pregnant, but I don’t know about that. It sure seems like there are more lately. Of course, your Mom is one of them now. Although she’s not at the point where it is obvious to onlookers yet.
I’ve written five pages so far. My goal is to make this large enough so that I can have it printed in book form and give it to you when you’re born.
The Red Sox lost to the Royals last night, 6-4. I don’t know if you’re even going to like sports, but you might. It’s hard to really, really care about a sports team, because there is nothing you can do to change it. You just have to watch, and hope. That’s kind of like being a parent, in a small way. Watch, and hope.
I definitely plan to buy you some Red Sox stuff-baby clothes, and bottles, and all that stuff. You don’t have to like them, though, if you don’t want. I’ll even love you if you like the Yankees.
I just won’t understand you.
Your family is odd, make no mistake. I only really know about the Schuster side, and then again not even them very much-but we are an odd bunch. All families are, really. Your grandfather Adolph worked for a very long time at a very, very hard job, but he loves Rick very, very much. And I know he’ll love you just as much.
It’s so funny to be writing to you, when I don’t know if you’ll ever read it. Hopefully someday you will, and maybe it will make you feel good that, while you were busy growing fingers and toes and a liver and spleen, we adults were thinking about you and getting ready for your arrival.
I don’t want to forget about your Mom and Dad, though. One thing that people do when a baby is coming or has been born is they tend to focus so much on the baby they forget about the parents. Being a parent is really, really hard work, and I hope I can help your Mom and Dad remember that we care about them, too. Moms are more than just containers for babies. I think your Mom understands that.
It’s been a beautiful week, weather wise. A couple of weeks ago, (you were around, but I didn’t know about you yet. In fact, your Mom might not have known yet either.) it was really, really hot. It was 100 degrees for several days, and very, very humid. Not fun. But its much nicer now.
Weather is something you’re going to have to learn about, too. Weather, and avocados, and kangaroos, and taco shells, and curveballs, and bottled water, and sidewalks, and music and art and literature.
Your Aunt and your Grandmother make a big deal about the weather when it snows. It doesn’t bother me that much, possibly because I grew up in Massachusetts. It snows a lot more up there, and they do a better job plowing the roads. Down here, if we get 2 inches of snow, its a major crisis.
Someday, we’re going to teach you about snow, too.
This is going to be fun, I think.
Selections from a failed project, Letters to Young Mr. Simon William Cochoud, my new nephew, on this his second day on Earth.

August 7, 2006
Good morning.
I've been in a particularly foul mood lately, but there is a new Billy Joel live album I just bought, and I'm reading a Spider Robinson novel, so I may reach the ability to interact with other humans any minute now.
Album. Half the kids alive today never owned an album. You'll probably see albums, at your grandparents' house at least. But I'm pretty sure you'll never own one, or have occasion to play one. Is that how you spell it, occasion? The computer seems to think so.

I love Billy Joel's music, which will become apparent. The lyrics will pop up here from time to time, but the one that seems appropriate is,
"You can get what you want-
Or you can just get old."
-Billy Joel, "Vienna"
I'll write more. For the first time in a while, I have a lot to say.

I have to go to work soon. Again. You're going to work someday, too. Hopefully at something you don't hate. Don't make the mistake I did, of pursuing something that pays well just because it pays well. My advice would be to do something you love, then figure out who wants to pay you to do it.
Then again, my advice is not always the best. I wanted to draft Rick Mirer instead of Drew Bledsoe. I thought that Brian Rose couldn't miss. I thought that Chauncey Billups couldn't play. Stuff like that. I probably would have agreed that Pickett's Charge was a good idea.
Hard to imagine sometimes, that humans can just create life. We don't seem smart enough. Like we should have to take a test or something. Here's another good quote, from a series of books so good I get sad in the middle that they are going to end:
"Shared pain is lessened-
Shared joy is increased."
Spider Robinson, Callahan's Place series
That's a good place to stop as anywhere.

August 7, 2006
It’s time for bed. Right now I’m lying on the floor underneath your cousin Rick’s bed. Rick was the first baby your grandparents had, and he has always been the baby on this side of the family. Rick is probably going to be jealous of you for a while. Don’t worry about it. He’ll get over it. By the time you get to know Rick, he will be a teenager, so he’ll probably spend his time being mad at everyone anyway. But that will just make you all that much easier to love.
Rick is ten years old, but he still doesnt want to fall asleep by himself. I guess that’s because...well, I don’t know why it is. Really, it doesn’t matter why it is. He is what he is, and I am what I am. I am he as you are he as we are we and we are both together......
It’s also thundering outside, and I’m pretty sure Rick hates that, too. He whimpers every once in a while, but I can’t seem to convince him that the weather won’t hurt him. Someday, maybe I will have to teach you the same thing. Like I keep telling Rick, you, too, will be surrounded by adults that love you. That’s not a perfect system, but its as good as it is likely to get.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Simon William Cochoud, welcome to Earth. I hope you will find your stay here more enjoyable than I have so far.

Approximately 3 other babies were born at the same moment you were. That makes 240 babies in the same minute.

Just in case you thought you were special or something.