I wonder if the experience of watching someone die is similar to (not equal to) killing someone. Anyone with experience with both of these matters? I’m certain there’s a difference, but I imagine that having watched someone die, you are more capable to make decisions related to survival than someone who has never watched a person die. Likewise, I imagine someone who has taken a life is even more capable to make decisions that preserve their own life.


Basically, this stems from people making stupid decisions in horror flicks. Deep, I know. 

All will be revealed, my friend

In anticipation of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ forthcoming I’m With You album, being released 8.30.11, I am listening to their discography from beginning to end. While Don’t Forget Me was playing I got stuck on the lyric, “all will be revealed, my friend” at the end of the song. It got me thinking about what and why something will be revealed. This is a hard topic to express, but I’m really going to try. Hang with me and post any questions in the comments.


Into the 2nd half of the 1st half of the year

Wow. I do this every year. Maybe we all do. December comes and goes and I look at January and say, “Wow. Can you believe we’re already in a new year?” I go through that month where I don’t know how to say the “when” of when something happened last year. Do I say last year even though it’s only last week, or last month? What do I do? Then February rolls around and that takes care of that. No problem.

February and March roll through relatively uneventful and then the first warm days of April come up and give me a swift kick in the balls. Maybe that’s not a big deal where you are, but in Phoenix, AZ, “The Valley of the Sun”, when it can roll up into 115º until September, I try to enjoy every last moment of cool that’s there. And even though I’m used to it, and what was hot then isn’t so bad anymore, that first triple-digit day is only the wake up call for the summer that is near. Like someone reluctant to say goodbye to a lover, I linger outdoors in the early morning and late evening, not wanting to see the parts of the day go that make the middle tolerable.

And here I sit, outdoors, at a Starbucks, without a coffee mind you, because my coffee at home is better, listening to some snapperhead play his rap music for the whole parking lot… is that his kid crying? Geese? WTF is happening right now?!

Anyway, here I sit, outdoors, enjoying the cool and thinking about the Pesach cleaning that will begin soon, the book that is getting finished, and the shoulder that will soon be fixed. There’s a lot ahead of us this year. It’s going to be big. It’s going to be hot. It’s been a long two years for my family… really long. That said, we’ve been fortunate, Baruch HaShem, in a few ways big and small.

Pretty soon I’ll be kvetching at the kids about the door being open while the A/C is on, trying to stay cool while moving between indoor spaces, and waiting for autumn to come again. That’s sometime around October or November for all you non-Phoenicians. Things are probably going to be a lot different by then.

We’re into the year now. Bring it.

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!