Family Message from January 2004

By Dana ...

Hello ... Hello to all our dear Friends and Family,         Here it is, a snapshot of Helman's Heaven! I always say better late than never, I hope you'll understand why when you read on. It has been an incredible year of chance and intense growth for everyone in our family and hopefully for yours also. G-d's power and grace has worked miracles in all of our lives, literally forcing us to work together while allowing us to play together. One of Dale's first cards to me said, Work Hard! Play Hard!. That's been our motto since we met.

Dana I vividly remember last New Year's Eve 2002, when the children and I were at First Night in Monterey, California. From a crowd of ten thousand, I turned around to see the good Dr. Bennetts, and his son, who accompanied us to ring-in the New Year. He incidentally became one of my closest confidants in the medical world, along with Dr. Shaber in the same arena. "Go into the office and take over. Hire a neurologist and let the manager go...!" What??? I'm a school teacher. I know nothing about medicine or business. Sparing the details, while Dale was on a medical leave of absence, I managed the medical practice - interviewing and hiring three neurologists (such a strange breed), releasing a "difficult" manager, and auditing our accounts for the past three years.

Dr. Dale has always single-handedly managed the practice, working long hours - and I rarely stepped foot into the office. I soon became well acquainted with our excellent staff and began the recommended face lift ... replacing the old 60's orange carpet, framing my favorite international art prints, and creating a hospitable environment out of chaos.

My brother Spencer new helps us manage both businesses. As a "side job", I continue to be the "CFO" of DMA Properties (remember the pet boys Danny, Mo and Aaron?) with several "new construction" homes in escrow, mortgages, insurance, utility bills ... and taxes ... does it ever end? So when people ask me, "Are you still working or just staying at home", I simply respond, "No, I don't have a teaching job right now." That said, I miss and even dream about my past life so much that I am the volunteer science teacher in Moshe's class.

Elisabeth and Terrell The newlyweds, Elisabeth and Terrel, shared their joyful news with us at the holidays last year, giving us gifts that spoke of "grandmother" and "grandfather". How disheartened they were at the onset of the war in Iraq. Terrel left last March and has only returned recently for two weeks in November to see his wife and baby - Maximum Xavier was born July 29 at 6:04 and weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces. Yes, that makes Dale and I grandparents, while Moshe, Aaron and Daniel are young uncles. I visited them for the birth, later taking the boys to meet their nephew "baby Max". Elisabeth continues to be our bookkeeper for RentRight, working at home so she can be mommy too!!

Rachel Rachel has been attending Junior College studying General Education and Criminal Justice. She is one of our lead receptionists at Central California Neurology. An avid animal lover, she enjoys our goldens Safi Imani & Nala, her Persian cat Carino, her turtle and bunnies, and is creating a salt water aquarium. She found new love this autumn season in Adam, who comes to visit daily and often carpools to night school with her. Originally from the south, Adam has elegant manners and is the son of a Baptist Minister. Rachel enjoys the home cooking and family gatherings with Adam's family, and Adam, well he's learning to "sink or ski" down the slopes of Heavenly Valley to keep up with Rachel.

Rebekah Rebekah graduated from Independent Studies High School with honors this past June. She promptly producted resumes extolling her work ethics and moral character. Not surprisingly, she received job offers in every store to which she had applied at the mall. Originally she had tried to juggle The Body Shop, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret, while finally settling on the latter. She has tried to quit since then, but her boss says that she could talk anyone into buying anything. She has aspirations in history/legal fields, and is also working on her General Education. She is still with Matt, her high school sweetheart. Matt is now a waiter at Fresh Cream, a local four star (****) restaurant on the wharf.

Juliana Juliana finished her ninth grade year in Independent Studies while taking gymnastics, dance, and drum lessons in Monterey. Over the summer, she went to visit Elisabeth in Tennessee, excelling in some English riding lessons and gymnastics. She then attended Sorenson's Ranch School in Utah for the first semester of tenth grade. There she learned about the discipline of ranch life, animal husbandry, and some therapy for teens. She celebrated the New Year with us at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah, tearing up the slopes on her board. It was gratifying to have her back with us. This year she plans upon further independent studies, continuing her sports and music activities, and maybe working part-time at the office.

Moshe experimenting Moshe, six, finished kindergarten and began first grade this year. He detested the long hour and rigid schedule at first, but is acclimating rapidly. He's been "ready" to read for a few years, so the magic of peer pressure and competition worked its spell and he's on level 1! He'd rather be building legos and fixing things on the ranch with Troy, but that's the breaks of being a kid! He was also quite the skiier in Utah, snowplowing down some pretty hairy black diamond runs ... Whoops! We took a wrong turn, sorry Moshe, you'll have to slide down on your tush! Thanks Mr. Ski Patrol for the lift!

Aaron and playmate Aaron, four, is hastily advancing in "preschool", and will start kindergarten in the fall. He is still fascinated with Thomas and all his railroad friends. He only wears Thomas clothes and shoes, sleeps in a Thomas bed, colors and reads Thomas books and incessantly reinacts all the Thomas movies with this nearly complete collection of Thomas trains and accessories. He insists his grandma, Blossom, must find a Thomas menorah. He often asks, "Who's your favorite character?", he often asks, replying "Mine is Thomas".

Daniel with Dana Daniel, my two year old baby, is almost as big as Aaron! He had long curls reaching down his back and wasn't due for a haircut until brother Aaron chopped it off one day. When interrogated Aaron replied, "Daddy said Daniel looked like a girl and needed a haircut." Well, can't cry over cut hair! Our talented day nanny Susanna, who was never afforded an education in Mexico, has taught Daniel and Aaron all their letters, numbers, and corresponding objects in English and Spanish. Daddy dreams of our growing boy as a football player, yet he looks so much like me that he may as well be a naturalist and explorer - our "Daniel Boone". Daniel has his first ski lessons last week at both Lake Tahoe and in Utah.

Dale Dale is back in the saddle working miracles alongside G-d, attending to the infirmities of all his devoted patients. One of the greatest lessons I learned being in his office this year is how much his patients love and respect him. I listened to and consoled many who would not see any other doctor until their "Dr. Helman" returned. Their wishes and prayers came true last June when he resumed work. He is stronger than ever, running five miles by day and devouring philosophy books by night. He is a little quiter and more recluse, but we are still intent on making him "hit the slopes" this year. It's never too late to start.

Our family enjoyed several vacation outings this year. We drove to Oregon last winter during that snow storm...flew to Maui in the spring for some first-time Hawaiian fun-in-the-sun...spent hot summer days in Tennessee sippin' sweet tea and awaiting Max ... returned to Detroit for Bubbie's 95th birthday during the dog days of August...and rented an SUV there with Grandma Mills, driving cross country via Tennessee - just missing the East Coast blackout on our way back to California with several sightseeing stops along the way, including a flat tire in the rain on Nevada state Highway 50 - the "loneliest highway in America".

Disneyworld in the fall at the Animal Kingdom Hotel was the little boy's favorite fantasy - yet mine was getting snowed-in the Cliff Lodge of the Wasatch Mountains near Salf Lake City during the year's final week. We kissed the old year goodbye with dynamite blastings and snowstorms. The signs at the doors read, "Interlodge Travel Closed. Avalanche Danger. It is illegal to leave this building." Oh well! We feasted with our fellow holiday travelers.

After the storm, the powder was a sweet six feet deep and the trees were dusted in crystals of ice! It is well to be back home on the ranch with orchards, gardens and animals to tend but, my all-time favorite place to be is still Marshall Trail in the national forest lands of South Lake Tahoe.

Please feel free to visit our website and home free to friends and family when available:

Dale & Dana,
Elisabeth & Terrell & Max,
Rachel, Rebekah, Juliana,
Moshe, Aaron, and Daniel

Family Hawaiian vacation

The Helman family on Hawaii during spring 2003.

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