Sunday, December 25, 2005

Same Old Lang Syne

This Christmas feels more like Thanksgiving as I have much to be thankful for. I closed on a house this week and am very excited. This year has been very tumultuous. I have lost loved ones, have witnessed births, deaths, weddings, and many other of lives wondrous milestones. I moved on to a new position at a new firm. There are many reasons I am so thankful for the wonderful people in my life and the wonderful things that have happened.

I hustled and bustled Christmas shopping, but I never forgot all the loved ones before me that would not be here to spend this Christmas holiday. They taught me so much. They gave me so many precious gifts. Understanding, wisdom, patience, values, forgiveness. Gifts you can't put a bow around. It made me a little sad, but happy at the same time to remember them and all the Christmases of past that we spent together.

Life is so precious and wonderful. I complain about petty things like crowded trains and cold weather, but I never forget to embrace the precious moments shared with friends and family. And sometimes I forget why I am buying presents for Cousin Millie and sending cards to Aunt Dorothy. We do all theses things to connect with our past, pass on our traditions, and thank all our loved ones for the support, and laughs from the year and years prior.  I hope I make them proud through the decisions I will make everyday and the lives I will touch along the way.  This Christmas more than anything I am thankful for so many things.

Song of the Week:

Same Old Lang Syne

(Dan Fogelberg)

Met my old lover in the grocery store,
The snow was falling Christmas Eve.
I stole behind her in the  frozen foods,
And I touched her on the sleeve.

She didn't recognize the  face at first,
But then her eyes flew open wide.
She went to hug me and she   spilled her purse,
And we laughed until we cried.

We took her groceries to the   checkout stand,
The food was totalled up and   bagged.
We stood there lost in our   embarrassment,
As the conversation dragged.

We went to have ourselves   a drink or two,
But couldn't find an open bar.
We bought a six-pack at   the liquor store,
And we drank it in her car.

We drank a toast to   innocence,
We drank a toast to now.
And tried to reach beyond   the emptiness,
But neither one knew how.

She said she'd married her   an architect,
Who kept her warm and safe   and dry,
She would have liked to say she   loved the man,
But she didn't like to lie.

I said the years had been a   friend to her,
And that her eyes were still   as blue.
But in those eyes I wasn't   sure if I saw,
Doubt or gratitude.

She said she saw me in the   record stores,
And that I must be doing well.
I said the audience was   heavenly,
But the traveling was hell.

We drank a toast to   innocence,
We drank a toast to now.
And tried to reach beyond   the emptiness,
But neither one knew how.
We drank a toast to innocence,
We drank a toast to time.
Reliving in our eloquence,
Another 'auld lang syne'......

The beer was empty and our   tongues were tired,
And running out of things to say.
She gave a kiss to me as I got out,
And I watched her drive away.
Just for a moment I was   back at school,
And felt that old familiar pain .........
And as I turned to make   my way back home,
The snow turned into rain ..............

December 25, 2005 in Family | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Grandparents Wedding Album

This is for the family. Here it is online finally.

Grandparents Wedding Album

December 11, 2005 in Family | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Nothing can take the place of the feeling of a loved one wrapping their arms around you.

December 11, 2005 in Family | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Generations: Gone Home or Gone to Heaven

I don't know if blogging will make me feel better, probably not, but I will try it anyway.

On Saturday evening, December 3, 2005, 2 years after my Grandmother passed away, my Grandfather gracefully left this earth to make his journey home to see her and the rest of his family and friends that have passed before him.  Its been very hard for my family as expected, but at least he suffers no more. I distinctly remember being at New York Presbyterian Neurological unit with Ronda two Sunday's prior, and my Grandfather trying to pull his IV out of his arm.


Steve D'amato
May 1, 1926 - December 3, 2005

(Download family_project_1.MSWMM : Generations: This is a slide show I put together of some old and new family photos to pay homage to my grandmother. I had just finished it, when I got the news of my grandfather passing. Special thanks to Elliot for coming up with the prefect title. You can view it in media player, quicktime, or real player)
I held his hand tight, and he couldn't speak a word. He lost over 50 pounds easily in the last two months of his life, but as weak as he was he was trying to still get out of bed. That is just the type of man he was. He was a hard working man of the baby boomer generation that believed in serving his country, providing for his family, and living an honest and just life. I looked into my Grandfather's troubled eyes, and patted his thin gray hair. What was he thinking? I told him not to pull out the IV, that soon he would be coming home and he would not have the IV any more.

The next Monday he was due to go to his sisters house in LIC where she would take care of him and he would receive hospice. He understood, but still he was fidgety and wanted to get out of the hospital. He had been there for over two months. I wondered if he recognized me at all, and then he coughed. Life filled his eyes, and he looked at me and squeezed my hand. That was it, a squeeze, and he mouthed and whispered I love you. I kissed his forehead and continued to hold his hand, remembering all the times we shared. I told him I loved him too and soon he would be home. A few years ago, he was moving me into my college dorm at Fordham. He was laughing with my grandmother, and playing with his grandchildren. The whole family just last Christmas would share a last Holiday meal together and not even know it.

Time is so fleeting. Life is so fleeting. We worry about bills, and parking spaces, and career moves, new cars, homes, jobs. Yes life brings many things and many wonderful memories, milestones, and people. But most importantly for me, life is about the people in it. And the people that were once in it, if  only even for a brief moment. I don't know what I will do without my grandparents. Death is a part of the natural order of things, but it is still so painful to lose a loved one. I can only hope that as my grandparents, I can spend over 50 wonderful years with the one I love and live until the ripe old age of 79. My grandparents left behind three children, three grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Eight new lives they brought into the world. Eight new possibilities. Eight beams of hope. Eight smiling faces and buckets and buckets of love and laughs and wisdom and guidance from two modest hardworking Italian immigrants.

My grandfather fought in WWII, and as such, he had a traditional bugle ceremony at the burial and two soldiers marched forward folding a flag and placed it in my uncles hand. His expression stoic. He had spent the last two months of long weekends for the most part in the hospital with him. What would he do without his father, after just losing his mother two years prior? What would any of us do?
My grandfather was the youngest of four brothers of a family of 14 children. Some of his older sister's watched and wept as they realized they were saying good bye to their younger brother. We each placed a rose on the casket and said our final departing words and payers. Closure, maybe. They say funerals are more for the living than the dead. A way to pay homage, to show respect for the person that has passed on.  I put together a slide show of old family photos for the funeral and read at the Funeral Mass. These were subtle ways to connect with Grandpa one last time, to show him the thanks for all he has done for his family, for the 79 years of his life. It helped me in a small way to cope. Time heals all wounds as they say, so in due time, I will think about grandpa and smile remembering the stories of how he would put on his zoot suit and go up to Harlem to go dancing. instead of crying and missing him as I do now.

When my grandmother died, she had misplaced her wedding ring a few weeks before and was devastated about it. At her funeral, I stared as my grandfather walked over to her casket and put his ring on her finger, so that she could be at peace in her final rest. He didn't need the ring to remind him of the love they shared. He held that love with him in his heart. The love he shared with so many of us. He only lived for two years after her death, without her.   Two years too long for anyone that has been in love or  lost a loved one. They gave him three months. He almost made it.

Steve D'amato
May 1, 1926 - December 3, 2005

gen·er·a·tion    Audio pronunciation of "generations"  ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (jn-rshn)

  1. All of the offspring that are at the same stage of descent from a common ancestor: Mother and daughters represent two generations.
  2. Biology. A form or stage in the life cycle of an organism: asexual generation of a fern.
  3. The average interval of time between the birth of parents and the birth of their offspring.
    1. A group of individuals born and living about the same time.
    2. A group of generally contemporaneous individuals regarded as having common cultural or social characteristics and attitudes: “They're the television generation” (Roger Enrico).
    1. A stage or period of sequential technological development and innovation.
    2. A class of objects derived from a preceding class: a new generation of computers.
  4. The formation of a line or geometric figure by the movement of a point or line.
  5. The act or process of generating; origination, production, or procreation.

December 6, 2005 in Family | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Monday, November 28, 2005

Ohh Its Cute - What is it?

If you are wondering what this is, no its not a rabid rabbit, its a bunny from the Queens County Farm Museum. Its not blogging the dog, but it sure is blogging the rabbit. I took my niece and nephew there for their first pony ride on Halloween and they look so dapper in their costumes. Ok with Christmas a few weeks away, this post is a little late, but they are so cute, I had to upload some photos. Check them out Here. You have to see my niece in her little Gothic Princess Custome on the pony, sooo cute.


November 28, 2005 in Family | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, November 27, 2005

3 Months

That's how long they are giving my grandpa. Life suddenly takes on new meaning when you hear things like this. It was sudden and then it was a stroke, and then it was this. I normally don't write about things this personal, but its clouding my blogging mood.

Tell me you'll never forget me, because if I thought you would, I would never leave.-
winnie         the pooh

November 27, 2005 in Family | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Web Books, Story Blogs, and Memory Maps

Here are two interesting ideas for web design and photo design that I had never considered.

  1. Web Books

    Most sites are designed to present information like billboards top 100 singles charts or they can provide a service like Google's search engine. The exception to that would be the photo blog, like quarlo or chromasia, which uses the web as a makeshift gallery for the masses and other web blogs on line communities. Yet, I just ran into another great site design for displaying creative literary based mixed media works on line. These sites offer a simple design in a story board format with link structures that turn web sites into books. I will call these web books. Disposable Lives is a web book by Alex Mossie where the writer reflects on how different people have called her different names at different points in her life. Its a clean simple web design. It is almost an anti web page. The only links on the site are to a page which continue the story. It allows individuals to map out their site guiding surfers through links in a specific order without distractions from other links .  If the story is poignant enough readers will continue on, but its hard to say if they won't be bored with the content to just navigate away from the site anyway. There are even story blogs where you can submit little excerpts instead of just posting commentary in response to a blog entry.

    1. Memory Maps
  2. Its simple to do but an ingenious idea. Go to Google maps grab a photo fom any  location save the image to flicker and right click on the add notes icon on the top right with commentary highlighting some of your favorite or memorable locales. Save these files with a "memorymap" tag and check out what other people have come up with


    Google Link -
    Flicker link with "Interactive Image" - Drag your cursor over the photo to read the comments.

    My childhood on one Google map.

April 23, 2005 in Family, Road Trip, Travel, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack