Christmas 1998

Family & Friends,

Hope this finds you all well!  It has been a very happy year for the family: Domenic, my Mom, and I (not to mention the dog - Taro, four gerbils - cinammon, blacky, whity, and baby-whity, and 4 crayfish - one called “the king”, and 4 goldfish - anonymous).

The year began with me moving into the upper half on an old house in Baldwinsville.  It’s right near a railroad branch line which goes through a large wooded refuge – it has turned into a favorite place for Dom and I to go.  We wander down the tracks, through the woods and go exploring – the dog loves it. Taro has adjusted well to apartment life, nine years old now and starting to ‘slow-down’ – he gives real meaning to the phrase, “a man’s best friend”.

Sometimes a small freight train goes by as Dom and I stand by the tracks. Only a few yards from the tracks, it is impressive!  While at my mother’s house we also got in the habit of going to the local creek, take our shoes off and go wading in the stream – where we came upon the crayfish hiding under the rocks. 

It was Dom’s idea to bring some home. I didn’t think they would survive, we threw an earthworm in and they “attacked” it, eating it just like spaghetti!  Dom wanted to keep them and that is how we ended up with the aquarium tank. We also got a few goldfish. For those of you who have some “bored” goldfish lounging in a tank, throw in a few crayfish that can prowl the bottom and snap at the goldfish if they get careless – keeps things a lot more interesting!

The gerbil population hit a high of about 12 this year! Gave as many as we could away, let others go in the wild (please, if there are reports of mutant gerbils terrorizing wildlife – forget you read this!). It has always been random guessing if we had boy or girl gerbils until babies popped out (I never really could figure out their ‘private parts’).  No new offspring for the last 5 months, so I assume we have either 4 males/ or 4 females at last.

Took a very nice vacation to Niagara Falls with Domenic and my Mom.  Dom really enjoyed it (5 ½).  He took care of Grandma as we were walking around.   We had dinner, as sunset approached, in the revolving restaurant at the top of the Skylon tower – it was a tremendous view. Dom was fascinated, he could sit in his chair, lean over to the window – and watch his hands move away. We also went to the Cave of the Winds, where they give you raincoats, and you walk on this wooden platform to almost right under the falls – it was a real rush for Dom and Grandma, who at 82, is still in pretty good shape (thank God for that!)

Later in the summer we went to Watkins Glenn, and we walked up the entire length, climbed all the stairs. Dom thought it was pretty amazing and he was just happy and excited by the whole thing.  I had not done it in quite a few years, and really got a little worried about my mom toward the end. She was a “trooper”, but I kept thinking, “John, if she has a heart attack – in hindsight, don’t you think it was pretty stupid to walk an 82 year old up the Glenn!”. But I asked her if she would do it again next year, and she would love to , after all…. She is not that old!

We celebrated my birthday by treating ourselves to a nice dinner at the Belhurst Castle in Geneva (New York – not Switzerland!).  Dom enjoyed the “castle” atmosphere, and asked all kinds of questions -- it was a memorable time!

You all know I have seen Dom on a limited “court” schedule, 4 days out of two weeks … and I have learned to really cherish and guard that time.  It is the joy of companionship only family can bring – I have talked about a lot of special moments, but there is a lot of joy in just the routine – watching “bugs bunny” together, going to the store for fresh donuts in the morning (“donut day!”), sitting in Church together, playing “spiders”, just walking through the woods for an entire afternoon.

The business is growing … I now have two full time people working with me, and one part time.  We are in “REAL” office space in Baldwinsville – please drop by if you are in the area. Money is still very tight – I work for $7.50/hr, but it gives me the time and flexible schedule I need right now 

Lastly – I just want to let you know there will be some big changes coming up for me and Domenic.  Adrienne wanted to move to California permanently to go to Grad School.  I did have “assigned” counsel at the trial, but it didn’t seem to matter.  Just found out a week ago the move was approved. I will see Dom here for Christmas one last time before he goes.  In the future I get to see him one weekend a month – if I can afford to make it to Denver, and then spring break and 6 weeks in the summer.  It is a very hard thing to understand and a real test of my faith, and it is hard to know what to do. For details -- I have a website for this, ,

My special thanks to my cousins, Cheryl & Bill Kwiek and Amy & John Murtari, we had a lot of fun together with Dom, and they have given me someone to talk to!  Thanks to you all for “being there”, and best wishes for a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Please keep us in your prayers!

With Love,

Dom & John Murtari

© John and Domenic Murtari 2011