Hannah's Bat Mitzvah
Jessica's Bat Mitzvah
January 2, 2006
Happy New Year!
2005, like the year before it, included some amazing highs and a few challenging lows for the Singer family. Fortunately, we continue to cherish the wonderful memories and seem to have successfully gotten past most of the obstacles, poising us for what we hope will be a wonderful 2006.
Jessica is a high school sophomore. She is looking forward to turning (Sweet) 16 in early January and getting her learner's permit that very day. She's thriving academically and is taking honors math (her favorite), English, Global History and Spanish. She recently prepared a fabulous three-course dinner for our family, completing a Food & Nutrition class project. All of her homework assignments should be so pleasurable for the rest of us!
Jessica spends four hours a night, four nights a week, working out with her gymnastics team. As a result, she is an accomplished level 8 gymnast who qualified to compete on the Connecticut All Stars Team at the North East Regional Meet. She took first place in the balance beam competition for her age group with a score of 9.3. She came in third all-around with a total score of 35.775. The other result of this passion is that she is often still completing her homework way into the night and early morning.
Hannah celebrated several important transitions in 2005. First she made the move from Jewish day school to public middle school where she is a flourishing 8th grader. She loves math and has started to learn Spanish (they don't teach Hebrew at New Canaan). She continues to excel at gymnastics where she trains for four hours, three nights a week. She is a Level 7 gymnast and competed at the State Championship where she medaled in all four events as well as in the all-around competition. She placed second in the state on balance beam and third all-around in her age group.
One of the year's true highlights was the celebration of Hannah's Bat Mitzvah in October. It was a fabulous weekend, accented by the beautiful changing fall leaves and blessed by the presence of many of our most cherished friends and family members. Hannah led the majority of the Saturday morning service where she wowed the crowd with her ability, confidence and poise. Hannah's infectious enthusiasm set the tone for the entire weekend.
We took three family vacations this year. We spent a week on the West Coast in June, starting in San Francisco and making our way down to Los Angeles via majestic (and harrowing) Highway One. We visited with friends over Dim Sum in San Francisco, visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Simeon, and Santa Barbara. The kids warmed up to the trip as we progressed toward the South; they loved L.A. where they took a surfing lesson in Santa Monica, toured the Warner Brothers Studio back-lot and “took in” the shopping, the stars and the scene. More recently, we spent a week in New York City where we saw two Broadway shows (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Jersey Boys), took in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, went to the Big Apple Circus, ice skated at Rockefeller Center, ate out, and just enjoyed post-transit strike NYC at the holidays. In between, we took our annual trip to the Berkshires where we once again exposed our children to a little bit more culture (music, dance, theatre, art) than they could tolerate. We continue to hope that eventually they'll transition from being annoyed to truly enjoying the arts.
Susan is busier than ever. Planning the Bat Mitzvah was all-consuming (as anyone who has had the pleasure knows). Her careful attention to every detail was evident in the perfect weekend. In between, she organizes her days around driving our children to and from their various activities; two different schools, 8 round-trips to the gym each week (not to mention week-end meets). You get the idea. The net impact is that Susan can't wait for Jessica to start driving (while Gary, with less self-interest, is terrified). Beyond her responsibilities as chauffeur, Susan continues (two days a week) to be one of the most effective sales people at Banana Republic in Greenwich. She has become increasingly involved with our synagogue where she is a board member, co-leads the membership committee and helped successfully complete the search for our first Executive Director. Between all that, she still works out at least four times a week - sometimes at home but usually at the local Equinox Gym.
Gary continues to enjoy his role as Chief Strategy Officer at Interbrand where he has had the good fortune to work with some amazing clients and some extremely talented colleagues on some pretty exciting (and renowned) projects. This year's business travel included such exciting places as Topeka, Kansas City, Omaha, and Winston-Salem. It doesn't get much more glamorous than that.
All of our challenges involved health issues. First Jessica gave us a scare when she was diagnosed with extreme anemia caused by internal bleeding. A blood transfusion, avoiding ibuprofen and improved diet seems to have done the trick and she's been fine ever since. Then Gary had a routine annual physical which uncovered a higher than normal PSA. This ultimately lead to his being diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer. After several months of exploring alternative treatments and finding and interviewing physicians, we opted to have what turned out to be very successful surgery performed at New York University in July. Gary is pretty much fully recovered and completely cancer free.
All three members of the older generation suffered more than their fair share of health issues. Gary's mom was treated for breast cancer, Susan's dad had to endure yet another surgery for colon cancer and Rena suffered a terribly painful and debilitating diverticulitis. All three prevailed with very positive attitudes and are well on their way to recovery. We are grateful that everyone was able to attend Hannah's Bat Mitzvah and that we were able to enjoy their company at Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah.
We look forward to creating new happy memories in the new year and are hopeful that good health and good fortune await all those who are reading these words.
Susan, Gary, Jessica and Hannah Singer