- winter smoke -

The past week hasn't been quite so busy and I took advantage of that condition by lounging about the house with no regard for diet or journal entries or vacuuming.  A gift to myself.  Viv had the week off, allowing even more lassitude.  Meals were cooked for me, dishes were done on my behalf, and great stretches of time went by without my having to attend to Amy.  With two parents around the house, the reduction of stress upon the weight-bearing joints, physical and otherwise, is liberating.

Because of this journal habit of almost three years, I carry around a sense of impending output, a sometimes nagging itch which reminds me that soon I'm going to have to get what's happening into this here electric space.  That sense is dulled in December though, by sugar and schedules and sloth.  The low sun is bright, forcing us to squint, and this is close to napping, which we can do at the beach.  We Californians have our seasons internally, thank you very much.  It gives us more closet space, and nothing has to be shoveled.  Well, no snow anyway.

And now, New Year's morning, I feel ready for the year.  After another week of vacation from school, Amy will be off and learning, Viv will be back at work, I'll be here doing whatever it is I do, and the month-long period that just got plowed through will be a memory instead of the wincing plunge into tolerance and duty that it, for the most part, as usual, was.  Not that it was without pleasure.  Making tamales with my wife is our own little tradition now.  And the acquisition of the Xmas tree, after years of causing spousal friction and serial amnesia about the stress of Noble Fir selection, has evolved into a sort of playful act of pretended animosity, a cross between yuletide Norman Rockwell and roller derby.

My holiday sentimentality has evolved as well, shifting toward an intent observation of my daughter as she grows up and into this culture.  To see generosity and kindness spill out of a child who believes in the magic of a myth, well, I can be as cynical as all get-out, and I can find reasons to be sad and even bitter, but a little girl who wears her heart on a dirty sleeve can stop the charging beast of adulthood in its tracks.


We spent our New Year's Eve across the street at Mike and Lizzie's, with most of the usual suspects around the fire pit out back or in the kitchen, eating, eating.  We have achieved a delightful predictability in our gatherings, and when I am an old man I'll get great pleasure out of remembering our oft-told stories of camping and marriage and teenagers and surfing and old dogs and phone bills and beer.  The warm orange glow under the stars, the smoke sticking to our clothes and hair and skin, indelible.  

Did you see the Rose Parade this morning?  Did you see the sunshine, the shirtsleeve weather?  Is it any wonder I'm ending this entry now?


  today's music:

"Emotional Weather Report" -- Tom Waits -- NIGHTHAWKS AT THE DINER


today's wisdom:

"To shorten the winter, borrow some money due in the spring."

- W.J. Vogel