Well folks, we are on the cusp of a new Gregorian year and looking back, there's been quite a bit that's occupied my thoughts.
The problem is that I can't quite remember it all. Is it me, or do events that took place in the first half of the year (I mean, January 2008...when was that?) just seem to be lost in the haze?
Of course the main features of the year will no doubt be the Credit Crunch, the Olympics and the recent news concerning Israel beating the crap out of Hamas. Then again, maybe it's the more subtle points that I'll want to remember in the future.
For me, this hasn't been a particularly easy year. I suppose the high point was the fabulous result our school got after the Ofsted inspection in March, a fact that made me feel extremely proud. That said, I've struggled with my classes, experienced frustration with the amount of progress they've made, blamed myself for this and continued trying to achieve more. I don't recall ever working as hard as I have done over the last twelve months and I know that this year will be even more demanding than the last.
At home, the kids have continued to give me no end of pride and satisfaction. I am watching my girls grow up to be very fine young ladies. Hadassah is no longer the child she was in January. She is maturing into a wonderful young lady whose development is augmented by her remarkable confidence and poise. I couldn't wish for a more definitive example of an eldest daughter and I am extraordinarily proud of her, although I may not always show this to others., which is a fault that I have to rectify in the next few months.
Talia is no doubt one of the funniest people I've had the pleasure to know. She is also changing, carving out her own little niche in the micro-universe that we inhabit. As she grows, she continues to surprise me with her charmingly lopsided view of the world. Her quirkiness is only matched by her dedication to hard work and very strong position in the hierarchy of children. When she's on form, Tali is coruscating in her wit, sharp as a razor blade and well....simply Tali.
Michal is the person who has really benefited from growing up over the last year. She is really coming into her own, stepping out of the gigantic shadows sternly cast by her eldest sisters and evolving into a strong force to be reckoned with. She is the kooky one, whom I thought of as being the Annie Hall of the family. I can see her there with a waistcoat and bowler hat saying "la dee dah" till kingdom come. She is also the only one of the girls who will gladly sit on my lap or next to it, smiling contentedly, curled up as though she were never meant to be anywhere else.
And then there is Shira who defines any sort of description! The last year has seen her take on reading as though she were in the IDF fighting a war. Her language is extraordinary, not least because of the comments she comes out with (none of which I can sadly remember offhand) and she's definitely developing in a very humerous young lady (albeit with a different style than Tali). Shira can be likened to the whirlwind that hits the water. She's nothing short of a force of nature and I'm delighted I'm her father and not her husband! That said, she is adorable with a 10 foot "A".
For me, the last twelve months have consisted of my re-evaluating my life. I got a huge shock in the first half of the year when I went to the doctor and discovered for the first time that I had both high blood pressure and cholesterol. This resulted in an immediate call to action and drastic measures curbed to sort the problem out. Of course it couldn't last and I face the position of having to start the new year with a different dietary outlook. I'm determined to lose weight and in the process, do something about the problem.
Home life, as rewarding as it is, has never been easy and this year is no exception to the rule. Both Dana and I work our guts out and this has really shaped the year we're just concluding. The credit crunch can't have helped but thank G-d, we're not in as bad a position as many of our contemporaries. All in all, things could be far worse than they are.
Like everyone, I've had my share of fortunate and not so fortunate news. People around me have had babies and also lost loved ones. I've attended a funeral, which is never a good thing, but I've also attended more than one brit-milah (circumcision), which although painful for the baby has not been too emotionally heartbreaking on anyone else (particularly when the breakfasts we receive are so tasty....and then you wonder why I've got a problem with cholesterol!). Life is brought anew as it parts and this is the cyle we all have to live with.
On the material front, our house has been given a face lift and I have a new car which I am slowly starting to like. I entered the world of the iPod and haven't looked back and we finally have a microwave. Things are looking up!
2008 is nearly spent but I think that there's still life in the old dog. I don't know what the future holds over the next twelve months, but if I find myself writing a review of 2009 on the 31st December, I know that I'll have made it through. Let's hope that it's a slimmer version that enters 2010.
Happy new year to all of you, my faithful friends and thank you for visiting me here on my modest corner of the web. Since 2004, I've been scribbling away as much as for you, as for myself and even if only one other person reads these ramblings, I've achieved my aim of bringing a slightly different shade to the world. May the next twelve months bring you everything you wish for and make all the negative stuff worthwhile.
Signing off for 2008,