December 3, 2012 Christmas Photo A Day

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Pizza from Denino’s the last time we ate there.

An elf’s work is never done.  But an elf’s work is never free….

This year, consider a holiday gift to StatenStrong or Project Hospitality, or the Red Cross or simply send Denino’s Pizzeria and Tavern on Staten Island, New York a Thank You Christmas card this Christmas.

Remember all those who currently have so little, but so MUCH for which to be grateful.

Denino’s is a local pizza joint on Staten Island. (My hometown…my first 37 years of life.) A hole in the wall in the old ‘hood, in the same location since 1937.  Darkish, plainly decorated, and ALWAYS crowded. A place I used to be able to walk to, if I really put my mind to it. (And sometimes, I DID, because Ralph’s is across the street— a slice and an ice? Worth the walk.)

Since Sandy, they have been running Operation Pizza Pie (sometimes Operation Pasta Fagoili, for something different on a cold night) for the many, many folks left homeless and heatless. And if you go to their website, there is nary a mention of it.

Low key, neighborly —Wow, those are some busy elves. On Thanksgiving, they got together with StatenStrong and St. Charles Parish and served 1100 meals for the displaced.

If you like their Facebook page, they do talk about where and when and what they are serving, and about the organizations and other small businesses that are chipping in food and money to feed the displaced.

They are only one of many places and people that are helping Staten Islanders and those in New Jersey and other parts of New York deal with their new reality.

Christmas isn’t about THINGS, it’s about people; connections to each other, and love. Helping each other, and hugging each other. Feeling a part of a whole. Being wrapped in the warmth and love of those around you, things become secondary. One of my favorite Christmas songs illustrates that pretty well….Old City Bar, by Trans Siberian Orchestra.

Sadly, there are many who for the first time will have to discover this fact. And with the help of families like the Denino’s, it is possible that this may be a wonderful Christmas anyway, where untold measures of joy and appreciation for the little things take on monumental significance.

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What I did on my summer vacation, Part one…

(…Because, really, summer is barely started, and I don’t “GET” a summer vacation!)

I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I haven’t fallen off the edge of the world, just been kind of out and about and not feeling like much of anything is being accomplished. Must be the summer doldrums—you know, that Hazy, Hot, Humid drag on your energy?

We got back from our small vacation—( we spent most of our vacation money on a new driveway and shed—) IMG_8465

—about two weeks ago, and I dove right back into the chaos that is work lately. I only just the other day finished editing and uploading photos from our trip to the Jersey Shore, Staten Island and Manhattan.

We arrived at Seaside Heights Thursday night.20110623-1420110623-31

Monster sized pizza and drizzly boardwalks.

The center point of our trip was to be a small memorial for my dad, complete with cats.

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(These kitties were sewn from a few of my dad’s flannel shirts. Dad was a cat person, I think he had 7?)

We ended up not only at St. Peter’s Cemetery on Staten Island, 20110624-2

but we seemed to have found a theme of final resting places—(as well as yummy places to eat and lots of FUN!)

Moravian Cemetery on Staten Island, to me one of the most beautiful cemeteries I’ve seen, where many of my ancestors rest.20110624-29

Then on the way to dinner at Denino’s, IMG_0051

we detoured to Historic Richmondtown and St. Andrews Church Cemetery. This is the perfect old cemetery. Again, more ancestors.20110624-51

This is the gravestone of Catherine Hannah Guyon. She died when she was six. There is a letter at Richmondtown that she dictated to her father while he was away at Congress, where she described a party she was going to be attending. She tells of a white dress and blue beads and ribbons. I made Arlie a china doll one Christmas, depicting this story.)

Then, dessert at Ralph’s.

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YUM. (although I have to say I think they used to taste better when they were in those thin paper cups that got all wet and sticky!!)

We detoured to Blazing Star Burial Ground on Sunday; more ancestors20110626-48

and the only easy access to another and very fascinating graveyard, sometimes called the Elephant’s Graveyard.20110626-62

Our trip from Staten Island to Manhattan brought us first to the 9/11 memorial in St. George,

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and then a visit to Ground Zero and some memorials in the area, 20110625-246

as well as a wander through Trinity Church’s graveyard and St. Paul’s Chapel.

From there, we actually just wandered the day away in Manhattan, with no specific itinerary, and enjoyed our discovery of the Hudson River Park 20110625-77

and a second trip to the Highline Park (Which was WAY too crowded on this lovely summer weekend to really appreciate.) 20110625-113

Dinner was after a VERY long line at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park,20110625-168

where we had a lovely view of the Empire State Building (too early in the day to have seen it all lit up in Rainbow colors )

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Sunday found us in Coney Island,20110626-141

and then a late dinner with a good friend in Midtown.

Monday, back to the BEACH!!! Point Pleasant for the afternoon,

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and then home again, home again, jiggity jig!

(To see more photos of any area, simply click on the hyperlinks near the photo and it will take you to my photo website…   <—-THIS TAKES YOU THERE TOO… to the entire gallery called Places to go)