We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Saturday, January 15, 2011

House of Leaves

                Lately, I feel like that character in Mark Danielewski's book, "House of Leaves".  He finds, that his house has somehow become sentient...and is growing, and he finds new rooms...and corridors, in his cold, cold house...
               This post may come as a bit of a ramble, but bear with me...it must be leading somewhere...
               Today, I took the bambini's to see 'Megamind'.  They are absolutely nuts about Will Farrell and have been dying to see it (thanks to Mrs. Lopez, Cody's algebra teacher, for funding this outing!)...It did not fail to deliver and they kids thoroughly enjoyed it.  But what got my emotions going during the movie, was the soundtrack...particularly when they played ELO's 'Mr. Bluesky'...instantly, I was transported back to 1977, when ELO had a few hits that Kim and I really enjoyed (Sweet Talking Woman, was my favorite....guess who it reminded me of?).  And I could remember those days, when, after football practice, that song was played often and Kim and I would be walking home together, listening to my 8-track boom box, that probably weighed at least as much as me.  We would also listen to ELO while walking to the Westgate Mall, where we met.  It was about a 2 mile walk and we had plenty of time to hear our music and talk as we winded our way, seemingly aimlessly, through neighborhoods, back alleys, etc, to the mall...It is funny how a song can just bring back an experience, in vivid detail, so bitter sweet...there are many songs that do that for me.
              The bambini's have banded together into a nefarious group (thanks Aunt Sherri for introducing this word into our vocab, we all use it, especially Autumn!).  The watch reruns of Will Farrell on SNL, constantly quoting, none as funny as Antonio, who has nearly every skit memorized - his favorite is the Lawrence Welk show where there is a lady with baby hands and Will Farrell sings.  They have been very good for each other, especially Autumn and Tonio, who hug each other as we drop Tonio off at his classroom and wish each other a great day.  They enjoy staying after school together and hanging out with the principal, Ms. Bryson, who keeps them entertained...and, of course, their teachers, Mrs. Schrantz, who brought in an air popper to make fresh popcorn for her and Tonio, with hot sauce on it, of course.  Mrs. Rudzena took Autumn out for ice cream again this week and has really helped her keep on top of her homework. 
              So, we had fun together today, beginning with breakfast at Jamba Juice.  This place was one of Kim's favorites.  It became a routine of mine to stop there on my way to the hospital each day, to get her a Mega Mango smoothie, her favorite!  Kim so looked forward to that each morning...I order that one now, even though I like the raspberry based drinks better.  The boys and I had oatmeal and berries with our smoothie and Autumn loves their yogurt parfaits.  When we left there, we went over and visited with Angie and Mark...they helped me sort some things out while the bambini's played Wii...their family has been so supportive...then we saw our movie, stopped by Target - we saw Ami Bunch, who has been so helpful in posting my blog while I waited for my new laptop to arrive - and it is working great!  Thanks again Ami!
              Ami also posted the photo of our neighbor, Amy's tattoo...Her and Betsey went down to my friend Dave's shop, Tattoo Artistry, to have them done yesterday.  Betsey's husband Brian, designed the tattoo.  Amy, Betsey and Kim had planned to get a tattoo of a sea turtle as soon as Kim was well enough...so, they kept the sea turtle and added the shooting stars, one for each of them...they stopped by last night to show us - Dave sure does a great job!
             Here's another entry from Kim's journal:
                                                                                                                Sept. 29th, 2003

            Another beautiful day in Tucson!
            Antonio's Batismal outfit arrived today from Italy.  It is a beautiful romper made entirely from Italian silk in ivory.  It is "sailor" styled for our little prince.  It has a little cap to match.  We look forward to his Baptism in early November.  I'll have to shop for special outfits for Cody and Autumn for Tonio's big day!

             So, we find Kimmy in our daily lives, in the sunrise, in the clouds, in the mountains and, of course, in the stars...we just keep moving, looking and watching, gathering strength from each other and those around us...always looking, never wanting to miss a sign...


             For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38, 39

   Ok, so my point was, we find Kim randomly throughout our day,  never know where or when...sometimes we just ramble...just like this post!

Friday, January 14, 2011


       When we moved to Arizona, back in March of 1994, almost 18 years ago now, we were so hungry to see every inch of this state...so, we made a committment to taking advantage of any days off that we had to explore...it seems that our early journeys focused on the southwest part of the state...
       Organ Pipe National Park - now closed, due to drug and people trafficing, this is a most amazing natural setting in our state...about as far west on Ajo as you can go without leaving the country, we drove and drove and drove until we got there.  Our 'first born', Cajun, rode along, as she always did.  We had a jeep wrangler, it was a beautiful day and we had the top off.  To get there, you travel through some pretty desolate, but gorgeous, areas.
        The park itself consists of winding roads and picnic areas.  We spent the day driving on each and every road, including a little off roading down some washes.  The park was so filled with organ pipe cacti - similiar to the amount of saguaros you encounter on the drive out to the Desert Museum.  Every where you looked were green, tall and proud organ pipe cacti, framed out by mountains.
         We had a nice picnic lunch together, Cajun used to like to stand right on top of the picnic table and eat her lunch with us.  As it got later, monsoon clouds began to come in, like a high tide gently arriving on a beach.  Tall storm clouds, filled with purples and blacks and brilliant strikes of lightning were coming our way...quickly, and, oh yeh, we had the top down on the jeep.  Working together, Kim and I could put that top on pretty quickly!  We put Cajun in the driver's seat and scrambled to beat the downpour, the wall of water, that we could literally see coming right at us....we made it, got inside and just sat there enjoying the pounding rain, the sweet smell of the wet creosote bushes and the instant cooling of the air...then, we headed back to Tucson...

           Today was the 100th day of school for the bambini's!  Where did this year go??  Mrs. Rudzena asked me to help out with some fun games in Autumn's class today, to help celebrate.  I offered to take care of the game planning and made some suggestions, like bobbing for poison apples, razor blade toss, knife throwing, etc, but Mrs. Rudzena said she had the game planning under control and just needed me to run one of them...well, it was still fun.  My game involved the kids putting a stocking on their head.  The stocking has a baseball in the foot and the kids had to pretend they were an elephant and use the weighted stocking to swing like a trunk, trying to knock over a couple rows of water bottles I had set up, within a minute.  The kids had a blast.  Tonio even got to try as his class passed by for lunch and Mrs. Schrantz sent him over to play.
          The teachers kept the kids after school, Autumn even got to go for ice cream!  While I cooked, and cooked and cooked some more.  I made albondigas (meatball soup) and salsa for dinner tonight and a fresh batch of marinara for the weekend!  The kids friends, Lexy and Breanna and Andrea joined us for dinner and the kids set up elaborate forts throughout the living room and had Nerf gun wars...good times...Cody got to play ping pong and do a little BMX jumping with his buddy Alex and then it was time for Guitar Hero...The kids are looking forward to having a three day weekend - we have a lot of stuff lined up!
          I think that is everything...we'll go outside soon, and search the night sky for signs of Mama, wishing her a good night and asking her to watch over us...and let her know how much we miss her.  Thanks for listening,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More on Roadtrips..

Well, today is the 13th, my new favorite #.  In speaking with Vito, over at Viro's Italian Bakery, he said that in Italy, the #13 is considered to be very lucky.  I finally brought back Kimmy's wheelchair to St. Joseph's today.  I parked it back in the lobby, out of the draft from the automatic doors, in the spot where I parked her the day Monsignor Tom prayed with her and lit up her day...

Of course, since we moved to Arizona back in 1994, we always looked forward to our road trips to California, the beach, Disney, Sea World, Little Italy, etc.  Five or six years ago, Kim told me that she'd like to visit with her Aunt Beverly, Uncle Russ and see her cousin, Kyle and his family on the way through to Disney.  They lived in Perris and San Bernandino.  When we go to California, we always seem to stop for breakfast in Gila Bend, Arizona - literally a wide spot in the road on I-8.  This time, we decided to hit the McDonald's.  When we pulled into the parking lot, there was a colorful old man leading a donkey through the desert.  Cody was fascinated and wanted to meet the donkey.  We waited for him to make it to the parking lot and went over.  The man looked like a gold prospector, coming out of the hills after many months of panning and he said that Cody could pet his donkey.  He saw how Cody brightened and said 'hey, would you like to ride my donkey young man?'....Cody beamed with joy.  The man hoisted Cody onto a well worn saddle, told him to hang on and proceeded to lead his donkey around the perimeter of the parking lot.  It sure made Cody's day!

We made it to Perris and met up with Beverly and her wonderful family.  It seemed as if we had known each other for years - the kids all hit it off right away...here's how Kyle's wife, Jodi, remembers our time together:

We were so thankful to meet you guys when Cody was a baby.  We had a very short, but joyful meeting.  Carl's Jr. in Perris, I believe.  Before we moved from CA to TX, we got to hang out at Disneyland.  What a fun treat!!!  The boys hit it off instantly and had a blast on the Buzz Lightyear ride and Megan will never forget that she got to drive Kim around Autopia.  Joke was on Kim.  If she had whiplash later that day, we know why!!!  What a GREAT time we had!

If we were to put our experience with Kim into one word, it would be Hospitality.  When we decided to stop and see you on the way through Tucson to our new home in TX, we asked where we should go to dinner.  "Oh no way!  Come over to our house and we will have dinner," Kim insisted.  I thought it would be a super easy meal like spaghetti or whatever.  NOPE!  If I remember correctly there was pasta and more than one sauce to choose from.  All homemade, of course.  There was a HUGE salad with every topping, bread, etc... TONS of food.  We completely pigged out.  THEN after dinner there was a homemade cheesecake and coffee.  Whoa, did I feel pampered!  I wanted so badly to park there and stay for good! 

We booked a hotel room, since we were hauling not just four kids, but also our menagerie of pets.  Though Kim insisted we all stay (and really meant it), she actually managed to keep three of the kids there, which really made the hotel stay quite smooth and easy.  We made it back in the morning hoping for some toast and a hug for the road.  We were greeted with what could rival a buffet in Las Vegas!!!!  Belgian waffles with all kinds of toppings, toast, eggs, sausage and bacon (Dave, how is your cholesterol!!!  lol), several types of juice and coffee.  It absolutely blew us away.  We wanted to stay forever. 

The last time we went through Tucson we didn't have the courtesy to give you any warning.  We literally called from the freeway saying we would be coming through.  We were still greeted with the same love and generosity.  We hung out at the park, enjoyed some time catching up and were back on our way. Kim was digging around looking for treats for the kids to make the car ride more tolerable.    What a Kim thing to do!!!

You, Kim and the kids are amazing and we have had so much fun with you on our brief visits!  In the past month or so I have imagined getting together again, dreamed of you guys coming to TX and how much fun we would have.  Maybe some day....   Give the kids big hugs from us.  

Oh, and Lauren and I saw the Big Dipper last night in our crystal clear, but FREEZING 30 degree night air last night and said a prayer for you guys! 

I thought these verses described Kim to a T. 

1 Timothy 5:10 ESV

And having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.

Romans 12:13 ESV

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Love from the McDonald family!!!!! 

Thanks Jodi

Our trip was very memorable for us, too!  I remember, after leaving Perris, we headed up a winding road out of town that led to San Juan Capistrano, where the swallows migrate each year.  The mission church there was so beautiful and the town very scenic...we sure enjoyed our time in California...

This morning's sunrise was so pretty in Tucson...the bambini's all commented on how beautiful it was, with the pinks and peach colors highlighted on the low clouds...Mama wishing them good morning...



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Desert Museum

   I need to mention that I've had some technological problems that have nearly prevented me from posting.  First, it seems that my Dell PC, does not care for blogspot.com, the site I use to do my postings.  It will not allow me to post and often will not allow me to connect.  So, I've been using my laptop for posting and have had no problems...until 3 nights ago, when it irrevocably crashed.  It was over 7 years old, which means it automatically qualifies for the Smithsonian as an antique relic.  I ordered a new one, which should arrive soon...meanwhile, thank you Ami Bunch, who has helped teach me a lot of the tricks, like putting a photo directly into my post.  I've been emailing her, so she can cut, paste and post (using her laptop, as her PC does not like the .com either - she also has a beautiful blog about her triplets and family) and she has made sure my Kimmy stories are getting posted until my new laptop arrives!
                      One of our favorite places to visit, over the years, has certainly been the Desert Museum.  Situated about 1,000 miles out in the middle of nowhere, roughly west of Tucson, it offers a lot of rare, desert beauty and is a historical landmark.  The drive out there, alone, is so spectacular...once Speedway ends and Gates Pass begins, twisting through the Tucson Mountains...and when you turn that final corner, BAM!  your breath is taken away by the stunning view - a sheer drop-off, framed in the background with another peak and saguaros galore!  The road lazily twists back down the mountain pass and then several more twisty miles until you get to the museum.
                      Kim and I first visited the Desert Museum on a trip here back in 1989 and fell in love with it.  The museum offers a huge variety of plants and animal life, making it zoo-like, but in a very natural setting, so as not to feel institutionalized.  When we first visited, they even had large cats, like jaguars.  When we moved here in 1994, one of the first things we did was become members, making frequent excursions to the museum.  Sometimes we'd pack a lunch, pull off somewhere in the desert, hike a little ways and eat together.
                      When we had the bambini's, it seemed natural to continue our membership and visit often.  You would think they would grow tired of visiting, but each time, they would get so excited and participate in a new activity or learn something new.  Kim especially loved to take the family out their on Saturdays during the summer, as they would stay open until 10 p.m. and have a lot of fun things for the kids to do, like look at constellations and planets through telescopes, find scorpions with black light flashlights (Kim made sure each kid had one and we found a lot!).  They used to have story time at night, hosted by a Native American, who told great legends, like how the heavens got their stars.
                      As members, we enjoyed free ice tea and coffee - Kim loved to get that at the lower snack bar, near the otters, so we could get the kids an ice cream, a ritual that got me in a little trouble on Cody's 3rd grade field trip there when I bought my whole group ice creams...sorry Mrs. Sutterly!  We would get our ice creams and eat together on a bench before going to check out the otters, Kim's favorite exhibit.  Then, we'd make sure the kids all got to play on their favorite exhibits.  They have one called 'life on the rocks' that has a little secret passageway for the kids to climb through.  Again, they've done these things over and over, but never got tired of it.  Cody did a fantastic report on the history of the museum in 5th grade.  We have known one of the ladies who works at the desk, Yolanda, for at least 15 years, and she was able to get Cody interviews with long time employees and hand outs for his whole class.  She always enjoyed seeing our family and Kim and her would talk about their children before and after our visit.  Yolanda once helped us jump start our car when our battery died one time years ago...during a raging monsoon, complete with wicked lightning strikes.
                    The museum also became a destination for special occasions...we visited on our anniversary, more than once, eating in one of the restaurants after walking the grounds.  Also, we all spent a birthday there at least one time.  And, we ate pancake breakfasts on Mother's Day and Father's Day there, as well.  The kids loved sitting on one of the outside terraces, so they could attract birds and feed them, something Kim always loved to do when we were at the beach, too.
                   We've watched the museum grow, over the years, too.  Adding new exhibits, like the desert trail that features javelinas and coyotes.  Kim really loved the new amphitheater, where they would hold animal shows and allow birds to fly out and over the audience.  17 years of great memories there...
                   Well, back in the 'hood, we sure had some excitement today, not the good kind, but it all worked out.  Around 4ish, our neighbor Brian, ended up in the ER at Tucson Medical Center, with what turned out to be a bad appendix.  It was about this time that Kimmy took a ride to the ER, but at St. Joe's.  His surgeon, was Dr. Atkinson (Ed Norton), the same Dr. who removed Kimmy's gall bladder.  When I told the kids what was going on, little Antonio piped up "Daddy, I sure hope they don’t find anything else bad inside of Brian"...and we prayed for Brian together.  Well, he made out just fine and is recovering nicely.
                    Cody and I worked together to replace our irrigation valves, which had been placed underground and became overwhelmed by roots from our lemon tree and fig tree.  It was nice working with him.  He is a hard worker and we were able to have some good conversation.  Then, we had some awesome chicken and rice (thanks Andrea!!) and settled in to watch a movie together - Night at the Museum 2 - worth a watch!  When it ended, around 9, we all went out to say goodnight to Mama.  Did anyone see that sky tonight?  I cannot describe the beauty of the swirling, celestial clouds and the shape they formed - it was absolutely incredible.  We looked for the Big Dipper, but did not see it tonight...and then we all wished Mama a good night, together.

"Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:7-10)

Monday, January 10, 2011


                      Over the years, Kim and I sure took a lot of road trips.  We loved to go on impromptu excursions, as well as, planned vacations.  Although it seemed we always returned to Long Beach Island, NJ when we lived on the east coast and Laguna Beach or San Diego since we've moved here, we really tried to see and do different things together...
                      One of my fondest memories, is of the juggernaut of a trip we took back in August of 1989, with Kim's sister Terri and her husband Todd.   I had always wanted to take Kim to see Niagra Falls, so we began planning to drive there to take in its beauty...then, we thought, since we would already be in Canada, we might as well check out Toronto...pretty soon, we had involved Terri and Todd and our list of 'must sees' began to grow.
                      I wish I had written down how many miles we covered, and I think we did this total round trip in 10 days (correct me where I'm wrong Terri and Todd!) - but we took off from Philly and made it up to Buffalo, where we stopped to see the Buffalo Sabres hockey facility - being a huge sport fan, it was important to me to be able to see stadiums and arenas along the way!  Then, we headed to the Canadian side of Niagra Falls...  If you've never seen the falls, you need to.  The sheer amount of water running over the top of those things is absolutely incredible!  I've been to the Grand Canyon twice and found it to be breathtaking, but, as I love water, I think the falls edge out the canyon.  At night, they light up the falls in multiple colors.  The rushing, roaring sound is so soothing...and the constant spray in the air is refreshing.  We spent a lot of time walking around the rim, going below to check out the sights and enjoying this gift from God.  Funny thing about this beautiful piece of nature..it, of course, attracts tourists.  And, although, I still can't figure out this combination, I remember the main street across from the falls, being a mish mosh of wax museums, Ripley's Believe it or Not museums, etc....we took a look at some of those, too, just for fun!
                      After the falls, we headed north to Toronto - I remember cruising on the highway, brushing my teeth to save time and spitting out the window doing 70ish (never a good idea!).  Oh, and all the while, Todd was recording our trip on their new camcorder!  Remember, this is 1989 - that camcorder was as big as a Hollywood set camera!  It was state of the art back then and Kim and I thought we'd love to own one, too, but damn, that thing was HUGE!  And Todd would be hanging out of his car window filming me brush my teeth, or we'd pull up next to them and make goofy faces - one time, I put one foot out the window and the other on the dash as I drove at top speeds through Canada.  We stayed in Toronto (yep, drove by Blue Jays stadium!) and I remember how good the Canadian beers tasted on tap - and finding out that the liquor content is much higher in Canada than the U.S.!!
                    The next day, we headed north east and up to Montreal.  We got to Montreal pretty late, it was dark...I don't remember too much about the city, but, somehow, I got turned around and lost Terri and Todd and did some crazy manuveur/u-turn/over the median type thing to get back on the same track as them.  The next morning, we went to McD's for breakfast - we were in french territory now and wanted to be safe.  Those silly frenchmen pretended they didn't understand english and we ordered egg mcmuffins and received big macs...we let them have their laughs and took off for Quebec!
                    That night, we thought it would be so cool and pretty to camp along the banks of the might Lawrence River on the outskirts of Quebec.  We had brought along tents and camping gear, planning to stay in hotels sometimes and camping others, depending on where we ended up.  We found a camp sight, paid and started to look for the perfect spot...only, it wasn't so scenic, in fact, it was pretty barren, trees were sparse and after being there a short time, we decided to take off and drive a little farther to see if the scenery improved.  We were sort of embarrassed to tell the lady at the entry gate that we thought the campsite was ugly, so we said were trying to find a store to buy some supplies...she gave us directions and we fled like criminals.  We finally ran out of steam and settled on staying at a tiny, little hotel in the middle of nowhere and I think the proprietor was a little Norman Bates like, so we slept with one eye open. 
                    Well, we had enough of Canada, so we turned south and made a beeline for Maine.   I thought it would be a good idea to bring some cases of that good Canadian beer, with the higher alcohol content with us, but the folks at the border disagreed and decided to keep my beer.  I've never been back to Canada.  We camped in a  little town across the border called Moosejaw.  It was so beautiful, right out of a Thoreau poem, with huge, dense trees, a lake, lots of grass and, we hoped, moose...although we kept our eyes peeled, we did not see any moose that night and in the morning, we made our way to the scenic coastal highway 1.  We made it to Arcadia National Park that day - it is still the most beautiful place I've ever been.  We explored its coast and ended up at Bar Harbour, where we could see seals playing in the surf and a classic light house, beckoning to passing ships.  The beaches were stunning, mostly large slabs of rock - I remember commenting I've never seen such large surface rocks.  We hiked through the trees and up the beaches, before the call of the surf got the best of me.  Despite there being no sand, just rock right into the pounding surf, I waded in...immediately turning purple (think George Constanza "shrinkage!").  Even thought it was August, that water was frigid, but it was worth it.
                    That night, we stopped along the shore to buy lobster from a fisherman who had just brought in his catch, paying about $8 a piece for huge, live lobsters.  We took them back to our campground, nestled beneath some of the biggest, greenest trees I've ever seen, and had lobster races!  Then we boiled them up over the fire we had built and they were delicious.  Reclining by the camp fire, with Kim, Terri and Todd, I felt at peace.  The sky had a large, bright moon and countless stars, much like our beautiful night skies here in Tucson.  I could have stayed in Maine for a lot longer, but we still had a lot of coast to cover...
                    We hugged the coast on US 1, going through New Hampshire/Vermont and into Massechuesets, where we stayed in Boston (excuse me if I get the order of towns/places incorrect, you see, I got a 'D' in Geography), right across the alley from Fenway Park.  Boston is a neat city, but it is a challenging one to drive in as every street is one way, and you'd better be prepared for which direction you need to be heading in, as we found out, turning onto what we thought was an eastbound one way road and staring into oncoming traffic and the unforgiving stares of hardened Bostonians with no stomachs for tourists.  We spent some time taking in the rich history of the city and its historical sites, which were neat, but I had one goal when I got to Boston - to make it to Cheers!  Cheers was at the pinnacle of its popularity back then, so when we got there and saw the line snaking out of the basement entrance, onto the sidewalk and well down the block, we were undeterred.   We only had to wait an hour or so to work our way down the basement steps, anticipation growing and then, finally, we squeezed into the packed bar...to find that it looked nothing like the bar on the t.v. show!  We did not let it spoil our time, though, and even bough souvenir shot glasses (yes, they went into our living room d├ęcor that I described a few posts ago).
                    Ok, here's where I get hazy, I know we went to Salem and to see Plymouth Rock, but not in which order.  Salem was pretty neat.  The town is made up of incredible Victorian style mansions and bed and breakfasts.  We chose one of the bed and breakfasts, based on the promise that it was haunted...we flipped a coin to see who would get the 'haunted' bedroom and who would sleep in the living room.  Kim and I 'won' the toss...but were not disturbed by any supernatural forces.  Neat place, though.  It was a pretty town to walk through and we saw a few of the museums and where the trials occurred and hanging tree, etc.  Plymouth Rock, on the other hand, was a let down.  It was much smaller than I imagined it, and back in the 1800's, in an effort to save the historic marker from the rising tides, the townsfolk decided to move it...cracking it in the process.  They patched the crack with cement - kind of looked like one of my 'home repair' jobs (Kim was always the handyman in our house!).
                    Other than that, we went to see the aquarium in Mystic Conneticut, which was fun and had a bizarre experience in Providence (is that where we were?).  We had spent the day on a beautiful beach on the cape and wanted to find some night life.  We stumbled upon a quaint town with plenty of bars and started walking down the main avenue to decide which one to go to.  It was a bit of cultural shock that day, as we soon came to realize that 90% of the revelers were same sex couples ('not that there is anything wrong with that' Jerry Seinfeld) ...which, being super mature, Todd and I could not resist in making as many jokes about as we could...to the point that Kim and Terri thought we might just get killed...we didn't, but go out of there pretty quickly!
                   Along our way, we were able to stop and enjoy many of the coast's beaches - all of them different and offering scenic beauty and features like lighthouses, jetties, tidal pools, varying sands and slopes and we tried to get into the ocean at each stop.  Again, I don't know how many stops we made and I used to know how many miles we covered, but it was unbelievable how much we packed into 10 days - we'd often marvel over that during reminising about that trip...
                  Tonight, one month ago, Kimmy took the ultimate roadtrip - our shooting star, at 7:59 p.m...although the actual date was the 13th, it was four weeks ago today...the bambini's and I celebrated Kimmy by making pork milanese, one of her specialties and about the only way to get us to eat pork.  Cody and Autumn helped me in the kitchen (Tonio has been sidelined with strep throat, so I'm a nurse once again!  When he was diagnosed, he became quiet and introspective...I asked him what was up and he asked 'Dad, can I die from strep throat?').  Andrea brought the poor boy some home made soup and he gobbled up a huge bowl! Oh, and the toothfairy made it the other night, barely, remembering around 4:30 in the morning that a tooth had been lost!  But, if you are outside tonight, something that has become a family ritual for us before bed each night, looking up at the night sky, please watch for the shooting star...it will be there, Kimmy, once again, gracing us with her prescence....
                    Good night,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Good Sunday...

One month ago today, we enjoyed an incredible day with Kimmy...starting out in the morning, I made everyone breakfast.  We looked at photos that we had collected over the years, and Kim wept with joy, saying 'what a wonderful life we've had'...I remember telling her we still had a lot of wonderful memories to make, and right now, we would work on getting her healthy again.  I helped Kim get cleaned up and dressed, and, as the day warmed up, we set up a lounge chair that Betsey had brought over, outside so Kim could enjoy the beautiful sunshine and blue sky.  She was not on oxygen and in good spirits.  As we sat outside, all of neighbors came by to enjoy Kim's company.  Amy, Tom, Betsey and Brian all sat around and basked in the glow of our sunshine, Kimmy.  She really enjoyed herself that day, but not as much as we enjoyed her. 
As the day began to get cooler, we moved inside.  Our friend, Andrea, came over to visit with her daughters, Lexy and Breanna.  Kim was so happy to see them and we set about making dinner for everyone.   Although Andrea told me later, that Kim had told her she could actually feel the tumor in her lung, Kim showed no signs of feeling poorly, but this was when the nagging cough had begun, signalling the tumor had further deteriorated the artery in Kim's lung and it was bleeding. 
Kim and I sat up in bed and watched Sunday Night Football.  The Eagles defeated the Cowboys.  Kim was cheering the Eagles on, and, in particular, DeSean Jackson, who she had on her fantasy football team.  When Jackson ripped off a 90 yard TD run, Kim was cheering loudly and clapping.  We had a lot of fun.

Today, to celebrate Kimmy, we got together for breakfast at Viro's Italian Bakery.  The Deever's, the Muszynski's, the Castillo's, Angie, Janene and her boys all joined us.  Their families have ensured that the bambini's and I are finding our way as we begin our own journey - they have been so loving and caring, as have Vito and Rosa and their family - both of their son's, Vito and Joe and his wife, Deanna were there and Vito's niece, Franca and her family and his nephew, Mauro, too.  We are truly blessed.  Without them there to listen and to lean on, we'd be lost.

After breakfast, Mario, David, Brenden, Cody, Tonio, Autumn, Lexy and I went to see the Univeristy of Arizona play Stanford in basketball.  It was Autumn and Antonio's first basketball game and they really enjoyed themselves (and the dipping dots!).  Even in a crowd that large, we saw a lot of people that we knew.  And the best part, Arizona won pretty easily, only giving us a scare in the final minutes as Stanford closed within 6 points.  A young man, Mike Christy, who has never met us, was generous enough to send our family the tickets for today.  He had heard about our losing Kimmy and had lost his father to cancer last year around the same time and wanted to brighten our day...he did this and touched our lives at the same time!

                 When we got home from the game, we let the kids play outside, with the Castillo's kids stayed here so Andrea and Mario could go catch a movie together for their wedding anniversary - happy 13th!  I made a stir fry dish from a recipe that Andrea had given Kimmy years ago and the kids loved it.
                 And there you have it...celebrating Kim - she would have loved to see that game with us today and it would have pleased her that the bambini's enjoyed it and we didn't even think about leaving early!  And although I felt a little anxiety coming on, I was able to be strong, battle it off and make a great, memorable day for all of the children, who never, ever, suspected a thing...again, drawing on Mother Teresa, who related this Bible verse "My heart hath expected reproach and misery.  And I looked for one that would grieve together with me, and there was none: and I sought one that would console me, and I found none, Psalms 68:21.  To this, Mother Teresa wrote, in her own time of darkness, 'I looked for the one that would comfort me and I found none....Be the one.'  And so I was, thank you Mother Teresa!