2009 in retrospect

2009, to say the least, has been interesting. In a nutshell I would describe it with two words; cancer and survival. While a multitude of things have happened, cancer has overshadowed and defined this year for me and my family. I hope 2010 is better.

2009’s big events

My wife and I had our Jewish wedding on January 28. It was about 4 months after our conversion and if we had not done it then we may still not have had it done by now. Bithia was diagnosed with breast cancer February 4. Our third and final son, Ethan Chayim Philo, was born February 6. His face was like a blueberry and he has been our easiest child. February 17 I lost my job with Apple because of a bad decision accepting a gift from a customer. February 19 we moved into our first home. June 15 I started working again at Insight. The first week of November Bithia finished radiation and the bulk of her treatments. She’s cancer-free. Thanksgiving weekend we took a family trip to San Diego and had an amazing time. This was made possible by donations from friends and family through The Human Tribe Project. The vacation was perfect.

2009’s area of improvements

This year’s events have had an impact on a couple of things that I would like to improve. The hardest things have been watching a steady decline in my level of Jewish observance, and a general lack of interest in them. This is disturbing—but because of this personal distress over the matter I’m sure I’ll recover. I begin my bar mitzvah training January 2010.

I’m also frustrated by the presence of an inner unrest that has arisen due to stress. I’m less patient and quicker to bark and yell, much less express my disappointment with people I interact with. I’m a cranky bastard sometimes and it makes me very hard to live with. So, these things are the things I want to improve for 2010. I want to be the old me again.

2009’s good things

The great things, besides my son and my home, are watching Adam grow up. I’m amazed by this 6-year old. He loves school and reading, and says some very insightful things. He’s very emotional, for better and worse, and this makes him a dynamic individual. I look forward to watching him continue to grow.

My wife is well again. Her hair is growing back and it’s going to be thick and wavy; just absolutely beautiful. I see so much more in her now that I have nearly lost her and the idea of not growing old with her can scare the shit out of me. She’s more expressive now. This is something I both enjoy and dislike. She’s not the woman I married, but it’s not at all bad. We just have to relearn each other.

2009’s little details

My friend Scott Allen moved to Washington and I miss him quite frequently. I’ve made a great friend in Chris Brown. Scott Hisey, Julius Grant and I got together again for the first time in 2 years. Our Rabbi, Arthur Lavinsky and his wife Debbi, have treated us like family and made themselves more than available. Many people at our synagogue have gone out of their way to do things for us and help us through this difficult year—they have taught us a lot about doing mitzvot. Many other little good things have have happened for which I am grateful.


I do not know what this year brings. These are things already pondered as we entered the Jewish New Year of 5770, but it’s hard not to think of them again as the rest of the world ponders the same thing. It is my hope that this year will be as pleasant and rewarding as 2009 has been difficult and painful. It is my hope that my family will give back more out of appreciation for all we have been given. It is my hope that each of us will contribute to the shalom in our home and the improvement of the world.

Following this will be a post on my favorite pictures and on my favorite music. These will be my last posts for 2009. See you next year!


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