Family & Friends, Christmas 2001
It has been a wonderful year for the family this year! Domenic and I were very happy to greet our newest addition to the family -- weighing in at about 1 pound, 6 ounces -- with beautiful brown eyes! Taro the bunny! Not just any bunny, but a French mini-lope (the kind that have the floppy ears that hang down). While Domenic was here with us for 6 weeks this summer we used to take him outside on a leash and even on a "road trip" we made to visit some old Air Force friends. That was in the middle of the hot part of the summer, and we were traveling in my ‘88 Dodge Caravan with NO air conditioning -- it was hot -- and not a good time to be wearing a fur coat! He was breathing hard a few times and we had to stop at rest areas, bring him into the shade, and let him cool down a little -- but he made it! He’s doing great living in the basement and gives my Mom some company during the day – one of the few bunnies that gets fresh Italian cookies to eat! (NOTE - the pictures are all after Christmas. This one is my cousin's family and my Mom, an Italian Immigrant, now 85! Domenic is her only grandchild. Talk about being special -- Mama Mia!. We all had a great time together! Click for larger image.)
But, let me get back to the start of the year. My Mom and I flew out to Colorado for weekends with Domenic in January and February. (After missing last year's vacation and spending six months in jail for being a "dead beat", I didn't want to miss a minute with him -- after all, what are credit cards for?) I’m very thankful my Mom’s health has been wonderful and I was amazed by her stamina during all the traveling we have done (at times I was getting exhausted!). I was able to help Dom research a science fair project he was doing on how airplanes fly. He and I have spent to so much time in the air that I have had a chance to explain most of the flight controls and theory . (Dom and I worked hard during the summer to get my Mom's old pitcher pump working -- but it was either plugged or dry -- had a "wet" Christmas and the pump started to give!)
I flew out to pick up Domenic for Spring break and it was a great time -- we had a late snowfall and spent a whole day sledding and rolling in the snow. We spent other time building model airplanes, starting with F-15s, and then F-14s and F-16s. I have been amazed by his patience and putting them together -- a lot more than I had when I was a kid!
(Wow -- when the presents as big as you are -- its gotta be good!) Then this summer I flew out to pickup Dom again and we had six weeks together -- just a little bit of heaven for both of us! We went cherry picking in a nearby orchard and what a deal at only about 90 cents a pound (we must have eaten as much as we put in the bags!). We worked in Grandma's garden, there was a lot of watering to do -- it was actually nice to see him get bored and go off and ride his bike. Oh yes, that was another event. Dom learned how to ride a two wheeler and after graduating from a little bike, we went to Walmart to pick out his "beauty", a bike with hand breaks and 6 gears -- do you really need all that stuff?
We would go riding on some of the back roads and visit some of the local farmer’s fields and "borrow" a little of their wheat for Taro -- it was a real treat for him. Actually, even I began to pick up a taste for eating the raw kernels. On July 21st my Mom had her 85th birthday and we took her to a nice restaurant overlooking a local lake (The Belhurst Castle). Dom got a kick out of that -- it actually is a castle!
We spent a good many summer days just walking along the track bed through the woods (something I enjoyed when I was a kid). We would pick up interesting junk along the tracks, throw a few rocks, and mostly play "spiders". This is our game, even since Dom was just starting to talk. We use our hands like spiders, it’s our own entertainment center. (Let's not forget the entertainment value of an old pitcher pump -- the boys loved it and got wet!)
I took the entire 6 weeks off from work, just doing some work in the early morning and late night from home with my computer. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org -- I’m still involved in what has become a struggle for my rights and “family rights.” Please check out the web site, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/, and join the mailing list to keep up with the news. I’ll probably be back in jail next month!
Dom also made his First Communion this summer, in the same church where I made mine, and it was nice having the whole family over. Oh, we also did a masonry project this summer. Putting in a 10' x 14' concrete patio behind my mother house. We dug it down about 8" deep and spread a couple of inches of crushed stone (which is several hundred pounds). I had a big shovel and wheel barrow, Dom had a small shovel and wheelbarrow -- and we went at it! I though my back was going to explode! Dom enjoyed it and kept with it pretty well -- although he began to like just climbing on to the dirt pile and getting a wheelbarrow ride to where I would dump it in the garden -- he was filthy and loving it! He learned to do some hammering when we were putting the forms up. Then we had a real Cement Mixer deliver the concrete and Dad was wondering how all this was going to work out -- but we did great! No cracks so far!
There’s so much more to say and so little room. Went to a cousin’s birthday party, visited friends in the Washington area and got to see a minor-league baseball game, visit the Smithsonian and see dinosaurs, planes, and rockets! Spent a day at ‘Kings Dominion’ theme park – and just enjoyed doing ‘everyday’ stuff! Went to a Monastery for a few days and got to feed the sheep! I fly out to pick up Dom on 21st of this month and we’ll have 10 days together. This is our first Christmas in three years and we’re all looking forward to it! We have so much to be thankful for – it is hard to know where to begin!
HOPE YOU ARE ALL WELL AND BEST WISHES FOR A VERY