The year, 2010, started out promising, like the Goodyear blimp rising over the city, a whirring airship ascending slowly and elegantly, graceful in appearance, like a modern dancer.

“Happy New Year,” I screamed at midnight on December 31, drunk on champagne at the party at Joyce’s apartment on the Upper East Side.  It would be a good year!

It is now May.  Hmm… what happened?

I’ve always loved the Goodyear blimp.  “The Spirit of America” is stationed near my home in Redondo Beach, and on weekends, it flies over our home as it heads for the beach or some sports event in Pasadena.   If you are in the bedroom at the right moment, and glance out the bedroom window, you can see the shadow of the blimp covering the outside patio, like a huge umbrella giving shade.

What a joy it must be to pilot such a majestic blimp!   What an aerial view it must be from inside — not cold and distant like the view from a run-of-the-mill commercial airliner, miles above the ground — but close and intimate, only a few helium bursts away,  looking down at the houses below, like toys for the playing.

I started 2010 like a pilot in command of a Goodyear Blimp.   It was going to be a very good year.

But even a good year can be darkened by murky clouds, few pinpoints of light cutting through the gray mist.

It’s been five months since I returned to Los Angeles.  A broken hip of my father-in-law, Vartan, has morphed into one problem after another.  Despite the advice his doctors, his wife, Fanya, refused to put Vartan into an assisted living home.   And who can blame her?  She loves her husband.  But it hasn’t been easy.  Caring is a full time job.

Vartan is in the hospital again, with pneumonia and an infection.   Sophia and her mother are fighting with each other after Fanya fired the full-time aide.   Caring for my FIL has opened old wounds that can’t be fixed at a hospital.

And I’m… well, I’m still around.

Everyone is exhausted.

Today I took Sophia into bed.  Actually, I grabbed her and told her to GET INTO BED.   I told her we both needed to shut up — not talk about anything — and hug.  We hugged and slept for seven hours.

It was nice.  But I could hear the Goodyear blimp flying overhead, still hidden in the clouds.