the golden state 1.5.99

I'm basking languidly in the 78 sunshine these days, a far cry from the sub-zero temperatures of the Christmas holiday. Here you see a photograph of me trying to remove Amy from Idaho manually, and it's not working. She grew very fond of snow, and it was only with the promise of a plane ride that we got her out. She gazes longingly at images of snow now, says she misses it, and scours the Weather Channel in hopes of finding some.

But she's a California girl at heart. I have a feeling that if she found herself in snow for more than three weeks, had to go to school in it, play in it, and wake up to it, she'd eventually come to her senses and realize that beach weather offers more in the way of recreation, ambience, and enjoyability. After all, if it's extra-nice out you don't have to put on four layers of bikini..

I haven't yet described to her the Joy of the Tsunami, however. And she's too young to remember the Northridge earthquake. She has smelled the smoke of the brushfires we get, and seen the news coverage of giant flames eating neighborhoods whole. And I'm sure she can remember the subsequent mudslides and flooding. But alas, she wasn't even a year old during the L.A. riots, poor thing.

We might not get snow, but we do get an awful lot of adventure, and what kid can't enjoy that, huh?

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Over the last month or so I've been seeing a real change in her maturity. She responds more politely to requests, says thanks very sincerely without prodding, and is asking a lot more questions about the meaning of words. "What does 'absolute' mean?" she asked me yesterday. I told her it means "complete" or " all the way". I'll give her the vodka hangover definition later.

Last night, Amy got out her new radio and set it up in her room. Then she shut the door. It was another of those moments parents get when they least expect it. The March of Time announced itself as I stood outside her door and listened to my little girl singing along to the Beach Boys.

Note to self: reactivate search for nunneries.

In addition to the audible evidence of her maturation, there are the visible clues too. Her mirror time is increasing. She's acquiring Hair Awareness. Every once in a while she'll strike a pose, just for the hell of it. There is olfactory evidence as well. Barbie perfume. This doesn't frighten me because the stuff is basically a toy. I'll be fearful only when her fragrances no longer have glitter in them.

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It goes without saying that there are visual clues to my own aging. More grey whiskers. I crack in more places. And a glimpse at the calendar serves to remind me of how horrified I was all those years ago when I first figured out how old I'd be in the year 2000. A pipe and slippers seem like nifty accessories to me now.

On the olfactory front, I'm happy to say I've not yet acquired that Old Man Smell. No, the only clue to my age that will strike your sense of smell is the odor of rubber burning as I dig the heels of my running shoes into the pavement. The Golden Years are pulling as hard as they can.

today's music:

"High Heel Sneakers" -- Monty Alexander/Ray Brown/Herb Ellis -- TRIPLE TREAT III


today's wisdom:

"Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales... when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed."

- Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas In Wales