Happy New Year! 1999


Dear Family and Friends

Well, here we are again – three days short of the last year of the millenium – three nines that will carry us to the big 00. I know that Nostradamus had much to say about numerology and the meaning of the upcoming shift that I am incapable of sharing with you. Us unenlightened folk will have to just wait and see what new and exciting events these times will bring us.

It has certainly been an exciting year, with many changes for this household. It seems as though everyone is adjusting well and getting settled in their new roles. Most significantly, Daniel left home and started his University career at UC San Diego in September. Although I agonized all summer over the changes that this would mean, it seems that all is well in Paradise. After his first few weeks at school, he decided to pledge a fraternity, Sig Ep, and since then we have hardly heard from him (except for requesting the occasional laundry instructions or injection of funds). He returned home at Thanksgiving for a few days, and we managed to spend one lovely afternoon together. To end the year he is home for two weeks, although with this much time and all his friends back home as well, it is more like old times than ever. I have even had the treat of all the kids sprawled over all the couches a few times this trip. Made me nostalgic for the old times, so I had to fix them all pancakes when they finally managed to stir themselves. But other than those few backsliding moments, I am not moping over the changes. I feel good that he is capable of moving forward in such an easy way, as it should be.

Sara, on the other hand, has blossomed in the few months she has had star billing. The removal of her noisy, attention grabbing older brother has allowed her to find her voice and quite a bit of self sufficiency and composure as well. She managed, in a fashion not quite comprehensible to me, to pass the driver’s test in October, without much benefit of driving experience. It seems that there was a real push to get the license as the laws governing young drivers were about to change and that would enforce a highly undesirable curfew on her, which provided enough incentive to make her succeed. Impressively, her driving skills are quite refined, and she has even semi mastered the art of manual shifting, thanks to my good friend Courtenay. For some reason she has sacrificed the clutch of her brand new beautiful Subaru Forester to share that knowledge with the Little Miss. Lucky girl.

On the social front, she has really gotten both hands into this BBG/BBYO stuff and is now co-president of the East Bay co-ed new/reforming chapter. In this capacity she has attended two weekend retreats at Camp Swig (how does one take 6 pairs of shoes for a two day sleepover?) from which she has returned happy, tired, and eventually cranky till the following Saturday when she manages to catch up on her rest. The nightowl gene, which I was sure that she had not inherited has somehow managed to rear its ugly head. Although I cannot begin to imagine the source of such a gene, holidays when the kids are here it seems the house only begins to rock after 11:30 pm. Last night she and her girlfriend took my car and were out till after one, at which time I told them I had to go to sleep, thank you very much. Although they re-entered the house, sleep was postponed for many hours more. They did manage to get up and eat breakfast by 3 pm this afternoon, however. I cannot help but smile – I know these are pleasant memories.

All of this reminds me of one of Shlomo’s early admonitions to me – “man is not a camel”. By this he meant to say that it was not possible for a person to sleep twelve hours straight and save up the rest (the source of the hump, so to speak) to cover the next three or four days, or vice versa. Finally, I have come to see the light. He is not a camel. However, by his definition, others might possibly be. I just wonder how you tell in advance who is the dromedary and who is the bactrium… NO FAIR CHEATING on this test!!!

Shlomo spent the summer abroad and it did give him a new perspective on many things. Since his return in mid-October he spent a week in the Bahamas and two weeks in Israel, visiting his father, who was ill. Sadly, his father passed away on Christmas Eve. I took him to the airport and he made it there in time for the funeral, and he will stay for the majority of the Shiva. Sara was quite shaken up at the news, and wanted to know if everyone died on Christmas. Since Christmas Day brought the 6th anniversary of my father’s death (hard to believe how much time has passed already), the question did have its basis in reality. I did think, however, that it was a good example of the way she puts information together and comes to her own conclusions.

This year was a year of much personal growth and understanding for me. I spent much time and energy on writing, which brought with it a wealth of encouragement. It prompted a long and analytical look at much of what I choose to ignore, for the most part. I also gained much insight and new perspectives in the months apart. . I also managed to get in lots of exercise and lose some excess baggage I have been carting around, although there is still a ways to go. Many things are difficult, but in the end, with enough desire, they ARE possible. Which brings me to the great possibility just looming on the near horizon:

I DO finally have a date for my eye surgery, although I am sure that you all are tired of hearing about the phantom event. The doctors new eye clinic, which was the only place he wanted to perform the surgery, got its final approval and FDA certificate of kashrut, or whatever it was they needed, starting at the beginning of December. So my new eyes will be installed on January 12 and 19th – a fitting start to a New Year!!! I am still as excited as ever, and as I look at the calendar, I can see that there are hardly two weeks till E-Day!!! I will surely write to tell you about it, post-surgery.

I have been fortunate to benefit from the love and attention squandered on me by a seeming legion of friends this year, and want to make sure to acknowledge my gratitude to all those who mean so very much to me. The world is a kinder place for their presence, and full of wonderful blessings.

My wish for you is that the coming year brings heaps and mounds of wonderful surprises – so many that you will barely have the time to sift through them all before the New Year sits squarely before us again. With all my heart.