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There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way.-Christopher Morley
One-One-Eleven
By David
Posted January 1, 2011

It's a little before 7am, and I'm in the backyard taking Boca to her 'spot' so she can take care of her morning business. It's a sunny day and there is an intense chill in the morning air, so I'm wearing a winter coat that makes me look like the Michelin Tire Man. But I don't care. At my ripe old age, I'm more concerned with warmth than with fashion.

It's January 1, 2011, the first day of the new year and I'm already tired, the aftermath of my despicable neighbors' noisy New Years' party and the accompanying lack of sleep. So I decide to treat the offending neighbors to a particularly loud early morning dog training session, complete with shouting various words of encouragement to Boca for fetching the ball, and warnings to her not to eat the shrubs, grass, and rocks at the edge of our yard.

"Go get the ball, Boca, go get it!"

"Good Girl!!!"

"Uh uh... No eating rocks, uh uh!"

A look back at the year that was
A look back at the year that was

Before too long, the Good Boy joins me and we run around the yard and kick the ball, with Boca running in between us. We laugh and yell some more, until we hear the neighbors milling about in their house. I'm sure that the five minutes of sleep from the end of their obnoxious party till their early morning wakeup will do wonders for their inevitable hangover. Mission accomplished.

Inside the house, Beautiful Eema and the Sweet Sweetheart are watching the Rose Bowl parade in bed, and I bring them fresh hot coffee and breakfast bars. The two of them look so adorable sitting there together admiring the colorful floats made of flowers.

I ask the Sweet Sweetheart why anyone would bother having a Nose Ball parade, and she gives me a look of dismay.

"Noooo... It's the ROSE BOWL parade, not the Nose Ball parade. Rose -- R.O.S.E. with an 'R'. A Nose parade would be... gross!" she explains patiently.

"Then why are all the floats made of noses?" I ask sheepishly and shrug.

"Abba!" she exclaims impatiently, using the Hebrew word for Dad."That's just gross! I already told you it's ROSES, not NOSES."

But at the same time, I see a look of mischief in her eyes. She's amused but doesn't want to admit it, because she knows that ladies are supposed to feign indignation at such humor.

I smile and enjoy the fact that the children are still young enough for this type of silly conversation to take place.

I head downstairs to get a small bottle of iced coffee and try to gain at least a tiny bit of energy as I open my laptop to view various real estate listings. I'm really sick and tired of loud parties and a commercial rock band which lives and practices in another house down the block.

Meanwhile, Boca's preparing to nap in her doggie-bed and trying to find an optimal position, but she's got hiccups. I'm not sure why I find that amusing, but I do.

Armed with my own coffee, I'm now sitting In the family room, thinking about the year that just passed. In many ways, I'm glad that it did. 2010 was a miserable year for so many people because of the deep recession and high unemployment rate. Yet for others, it was a banner year with high income and other positive developments in their lives.

As for me, there were many high-points in 2010: We enjoyed having my mother visit us twice this year, the Good Boy turned nine, and his sister the Sweet Sweetheart turned eight. They've both made amazing progress in all areas and are no longer little kids. Now they're 'tweens.' The Sweet Sweetheart learned to ride a bike this year and spent time at dance camp this summer, while the Good Boy went to adventure camp.

For a few months, we focused on the possibility of Aunt Adela and my mom moving out from New York to California but, ultimately, Adela made the move to South Florida, while Grandma stayed in NYC. For our part, we visited Aunt Adela in her new home and enjoyed a great vacation in Boca Raton and Miami. While there, we were joined by Uncle Barry's family and by a few of my childhood friends. It was great to see everyone, and we had such a good time at the Boca Raton Resort Hotel, that we named our new dog after it! In a sense, it was our family's first real vacation ever.

2010 was also the year in which we seriously contemplated buying a 9,000sf mansion in the town of Calabasas we affectionately referred to as The Castle. It was an exciting and time-consuming process. In light of the recession and the decline in real-estate prices, we finally made an offer and the seller declined. And so did real-estate prices. But he wouldn't budge, and neither did we. Who knows... At least it was fun to realistically contemplate that level of lifestyle for a while.

Speaking of lifestyle, in the last few months of 2010, after about five years of development, we made some fantastic changes in our company that have allowed us to live a much better lifestyle.

And, last but not least, in 2010, I was able to get back to reading novels. When I think of all the measures of success, reading novels represents a victory of sorts, like being able to exercise regularly at the gym.

Looking forward to 2011, I feel optimistic. All the right ingredients are in place for another great year, rich with family and friends.

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