Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

3 More Days. . .

"I think I'm going to die." That's a direct quote from my 5 1/2 year old Bug when I told him he had to wait 3 more days to open his Christmas presents. Between the small living room, big tree and train that wraps around the tree, under the loveseat and half the living room floor, we've resorted to stacking the presents up behind the couch. It's all I could do to stop him from sorting out the mountain of gifts already. Did I mention the stack of presents is almost as big as the couch! God Bless Grandparents! And that's only gifts from one set of grandparents. The others will come actually on Christmas Day.

So I've convinced him that he's not going to die if he has to wait 3 more days. Then I stepped out of the room for maybe 5 minutes. Seriously - it wasn't that long, but Bug constructed a "house" for himself - so we know he's got his father's building genes. Here's a picture of his "house". I just pray that it doesn't topple over and break anything.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I understand that Christmas is the season of giving, but why and how does it turn into the season of just giving without thinking? It's almost becoming like a competition. I have to give so and so something and spend so much - why? Why can't people - if they want to even give a gift - find something meaningful and put some thought into the gift rather than just spend the money wastefully? Case in point, we received a food gift the other day. It's a food that neither my husband or I like. The people we received the gift know us and have never, ever seen either one of us eat this particular food or say that we like it. So why then buy it for us as a gift - just to say they sent us something and spent the money? To me and my husband, it's a waste of money. I know this may sound trite and ungrateful, but this is an ongoing battle with the people that sent us this gift - to not waste their money just to say that they bought us something or did something for us. We would rather they save their money and just spend quiet family time with us, or do something charitable with it. It's been a conversation we've had time and again with them and seems to always fall on deaf ears. So we will continue to be gracious, and tell them thank you for the gift but it's not something we really like, ask them to not waste their money on us, have it fall on deaf ears, and sit down at Christmas dinner, only to have the whole scenario repeat itself on the next gift giving occasion.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Out of the Mouthes of Babe

We were sitting around the dinner table the other night having a conversation about how nice it was that Hubby had the weekend off since he's been working so hard. Especially around this time of year, when he has work he has to take it. So he's been keeping really long hours and working most weekends lately. Bug chimed in and said "I think you should have a thousands days off because you work so hard and so we can play together." Leave it to a five year old to put things in perspective for a 36 year old.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Disrespecting a Legacy

This is a letter to the editor of the New Haven (CT) Register that I sent off last night. I wanted to share it here as well for anyone that reads my blog on a regular basis. There's a whole complicated family situation that's been playing out for years like a soap opera. When I heard about and then read last week's front page article, I couldn't help myself anymore and I felt that I had to do something.

Letter to the Editor,

The November 28th issue of the New Haven Register, featured a cover story involving a potential tenant to Dell’Oro Plaza in North Haven. When I think of the American Dream, I think of my grandfather, Dino Dell’Oro. He came from Italy as a young boy, and as an adult started his own business in 1947 with dump trucks and progressed to fuel oil in 1952. What started as a modest business, turned into a family run home heating oil business that stayed in business for almost 60 years. My grandparents worked in that business; so did my aunts and uncles. My parents worked in that business; I grew up in that business and eventually worked there through high school and college. It was sad to see the oil business end a few years ago.

Anyone that knew my grandfather and my grandmother will understand that what’s breaking my heart, and I’m sure, making my grandfather turn in his grave, is the condition of a piece of commercial property he had. He made Dell’Oro Plaza. I remember as a little girl holding onto his hand for dear life and walking gingerly across a plank to get from the parking lot to the original building for fear of falling into the foundation during construction of the “new” part of the building. The plaza consists of just about a block’s worth of property – a strip mall flanked by two houses for commercial business and 3 apartments. Driving by that property now, the majority of it is vacant. Only three tenants occupy a space built to hold eight to nine commercial businesses. One of the houses was devastated by fire years ago. It remains a burned out shell; it’s boarded up windows framed by charred wood. If that wasn’t enough, I then find out the people that own and manage the property are further disrespecting my grandfather by allowing an adult bookstore/movie house to try to move into the plaza. My grandmother quit claimed the property to three of her daughters a year or two ago. This is a matter of public record. I am sure that in her current situation my grandmother is unaware of what’s going on with the plaza. It makes me sick to my stomach that the current owners of the property would have such disrespect for their parents to allow and even want this type of business in the plaza. If it’s money they are seeking to generate – as any business person would want – then I would think they would be better served to clean up the plaza and work towards filling the spaces to their capacity. Dell’Oro Plaza today in 2007 is a ghost of what it was when it was first built, even of what it was 15 years ago.

To me Dell’Oro Plaza is more than a fixture of my childhood; it represents my grandfather’s life – his hard work and dedication – his legacy to not only his children, but his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I would rather see it torn down and remember it as it was than to see the name “Dell’Oro” associated with certain types of businesses. I hope that the people of North Haven remember my grandfather and what he stood for. I hope that they know that what is happening is not something he, or my grandmother, would condone. I hope that the Town of North Haven wins its lawsuit. I hope that my grandfather’s legacy remains something that he would be proud of.

Sincerely,Donna (Damm) Dognin, granddaughter of Dino and Velma Dell’Oro

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

I need to take some new pics.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Thought for the Day

One of my aunts sent me this e-mail this morning. I thought it was a beautiful, inspirational story. We've all been there, or known someone there, at one point in our lives or another.

1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds. He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries.

Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it. I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job. The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whomever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job. Still no luck.

The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big Wheel. An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night. I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal. That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel.

When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money--fully half of what I averaged every night. As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home. One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up residence in Indiana ? I wondered. I made a deal with the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids. I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. Then hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair. On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. These were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe. A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.

When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver's side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat. Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll. As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning. Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.... THE POWER OF PRAYER.

I believe that God only gives three answers to prayer: 1. "Yes!" 2. "Not yet." 3. "I have something better in mind." God still sits on the throne, the devil is a liar. You maybe going through a tough time right now but God is getting ready to bless you in a way that you cannot imagine. My instructions were to pick four people that I wanted God to bless, and I picked you. Please pass this to at least four people you want to be blessed and a copy back to me. This prayer is powerful, and prayer is one of the best gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards. Let's continue to pray for one another.

Here is the prayer:.... Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and email buddies reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of Your love and power. Amen.