We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fantasy Island

   No, there is no Tatoo, or Ricardo Matablan...just miles and miles of mountain bike trails through pristene desert....Fantasy Island is a mountain bike heaven, bordered on the south by Valencia, east by Houghton, north by Irvington and west by the air force base.  Cody has asked me what I thought our state looked like when the early pioneers came here and I tell him, when we are out in Fantasy Island, that is pretty much what it must have looked like.  When you are out there, you can't see any houses, cars, etc...with stunning views of the Catalina and the Rincon mountains.
    Typically, while riding the winding, up and down trails, we will come in contact with some wildlife.  A roadrunner, jackrabbits as big as dogs, and there are cattle. Sometimes chipmunks, too.
    Several months ago, I want to say it was June or May, I finally got Kimmy to agree to go through Fantasy Island with me.  I have been taking Cody out through the course since he was about 7 years old.  He is incredible.  He has one speed...fast, and we have a great time together out there.  So, on a beautiful day (do we have any other in Tucson?), we set out into the desert.  The folks who built Fantasy Island have done a great job.  This is state game land we are talking about, but there is a contingency of pride and some good people go out there into the desert to maintain landmarks for us novice riders, and keep the trails in good condition.
     When I took Kimmy through, we pretty much had the  course to ourselves.  This was good, as, Kimmy felt she was not prepared.  As we began our passage through this beautiful place and saw chipmunks and jack rabbits, Kim had trouble focusing on staying on the path - there was so much to see!   Kim, of course, viewed every thing she saw with awe and appreciation.  We only had to stop twice for her to catch her breath - pretty normal for this course, and during our stops, she would talk about everything we saw, the pretty little mesquite grove we went through, how isolated from civilization Fantasy Island makes you feel, and how good it was to be out on such a gorgeous day...
      We are riding through, at a good pace, and we pass a huge, black, bull standing beneath the shade of a Palo Verde tree...I'm thinking we are toast, picturing being impaled by the bull's massive black horns.  Instead, we glide right past him...when Kim needed a rest, up ahead, I asked how she kept so calm...she commented that she never saw the bull! And it was within 4' of her!
       Today, the bambini's had a good day!  Cody helped Brian and I lay another layer of block for the nitcho and the helped me sand down the old play set the kids have out back.  Brian's appendix surgery having went well - he is nearly back at 100%.  Tom and I took Alex and Cody through the 5 mile desert course this morning.  Cody is soooo fast!

       After the nitcho, I found out that Kim's banner is ready to fly.  We will rent a truck on Monday and get that put up! 
       Today, I cooked.  I started the bambinis with blueberry pancakes.  For lunch, I made turkey panini's.  Mitch and Hadley were here playing with the kids, and Brian, too.  And then,  seemingly early...so, I made chicken piccata (lemon caper chicken, one of Kim's specialties, and my favorite).   Finally, we went to Betsey and Brian's to unwind with them and Amy and Tom.  Cody is sleeping over at Alex's.  Brian had trimmed down the mat board on one of Kim's paintings for me and put it in frame.  It's of a ballerina dancing (posted a few days ago) and it came out beautiful.  I will hang it in Autumn's room for her to enjoy.
       So, I have the fond memory of riding through that piece of desert, Fantasy Island, with Kimmy that beautiful afternoon...I'm so glad we took that ride...
"...through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” – Romans 15:3-4 KJV

Friday, January 21, 2011

A roller coaster...

   Yes, today was a bit of a roller coaster...it started well, the bambini's and I having gotten a great night of sleep (with sweet dreams) and they were all happy to be going to school.  Antonio had show and tell today and brought his T-Rex model that Kimmy got him for Christmas from the Discovery Store.  They were happy it was Friday and ready to unwind!
   After we got married, Kim and I went to the Social Security office, that was near Broadway and Alvernon, to have her last name changed...today, I had an appointment to see about benefits for the bambini's.  I arrived at their 'new' office over on Campbell and Prince, at 8:50 and found about 25 people in line, somber faced and chilly.  I joined them. And, three or four people in front of me, I noticed a nice, elderly couple, holding hands...I remember, whenever I'd see such a couple, thinking 'that's going to be Kim and I'...I prayed for them.  And I saw a young couple, near the front of the line, also holding hands...I prayed for them to be cancer free... By 9:00, there were at least 50 of us, lined up like cattle, when a rolly polly securtiy guy emerged and sheepishly greeted us with a 'good morning'.  He explained the rules to us, as if we were inmates: 'no firearms, no boxcutters, no pocket knives allowed...'  Where was I?  Shawshank?  Then, he said anyone with an appointment could join him at the front of the line.  Feeling priviliged, I moved up from #26, to #3!
      As we came in the front entrance, the security guy asked me 'hey, you got a pocket knife?'...I had a flash of the movie 'The Untouchables', the scene where, when cornered by an Italian guy brandishing a knife, Sean Connery's character says 'just like a dago to bring a knife to a gun fight'...an instant later, an Italian across the alley way fills him full of lead from a machine gun...but, I simply answered, 'no'.  Inside, there was a well dressed man at a computer kiosk asking for s.s. #'s.  He entered it and the machine spit out a little confirmation ticket 'yep, you are good to go!', he exclaimed like I had hit the lottery.
      I sat and awaited for my name to be called as the rest of the cattle were herded in.  About 5 minutes later, my name was called.  A young man named Arnold ushered me through a security door...lock down?
     In the back, there were hundreds of cubicles, in varying shades of gray.  Think sterile.  No hint of any human factor in any cubicle as far as my eye could see.  Not a photograph.  Not a comic strip hung up.  Not a personalized mug, desk organizer, nothing.  Sterile.
    On a long enough time line, everyone's survival rate drops to zero.
    Arnold asked me for my marriage certificate, death certificate, photo i.d.  He looked them over and informed me that I needed to complete 7 applications...7.  Two for each kid and 1 for me... and then he began typing frantically.  Occaisonally, he would slow down to ask me a question.  "Ever been convicted of a felony?"  Me: "nope, never caught".   Arnold: "Ever been imprisoned for more than one year?". Me: "no, never that long".  Arnold: "Any outstanding warrants for your arrest?"  Me: "not that I know of".
   All the while, I have our marriage license sitting on the desk, staring at me...and I am remembering our trip to the social security office all of those years ago...and I'm looking at the other empty seat next to me, where Kim should be sitting...and I notice that the license had been witnessed, by Terri, Kim's sister and my Dad, too.  And their was Father Dallmeir's signature...who had helped get us through marriage classes and prepare for our wedding day, keeping us from freaking out and helping us to enjoy the moment.   And I felt gravity slipping...the sterile room changing shape, the tears coming...poor Arnold, desperately typing, trying to not notice how I was feeling...finally, reaching under his desk and coming out with some tissues...Finally, he had me review all copies of all 7 applications, having me sign them and gave me copies, to have.  How I felt was processed.
   Leaving their, a phone call from a friend buoyed my spirits and I was off to Unique Identity, Janene's shop across from the Park Mall.  It's right next door to the Linens 'N Things that I used to manage - they turned it into a humongous Peter Piper Pizza (that's progress!) complete with mini-roller coaster!  Janene did a great job of taming my hair!
   Next, I met with Amanda, over at St. Joseph's - after several weeks of research, I had decided going through St. Joes' would be the best way to help families going through what we did and we are getting closer to the Kimberly Memorial Foundation's launch!  I will post information, hopefully by next week.  The money in the fund will be used to help families, with children living at home, who don't enjoy the wide support that our family is blessed with, to help with groceries, utilities, etc.  Additionally, I will be available to meet with the families, as needed, to help them prepare and know what they are facing, so they are not quite as blindsided as we were - and to be there to talk to for those who are not interested in pyschologists/counseling, like our family.  Autumn even said she and her brothers could play with the kids if they needed someone to play with - she's so sweet, like her Mama.
    So, it turned out to be a pretty good day, overall - I went home, made homemade chicken enchiladas for the first time and then went to pick up the bambini's.  Cody had a good week and was ready for the weekend.  Autumn and her teacher, Mrs. Rudzena, had nearly completed Aut's science fair display board and Antonio, well, Mrs. Schrantz took him to Baskin Robbins, his dream shop, and he tried a new flavor of ice cream - daquiri!  These teachers take such good care of our bambini's!!!
    At home, the kids scarfed the enchiladas - even Cody's friend, Alex ate some.  A success!  I'm getting my cooking groove back!!  This weekend, I told Cody, we need to try brownies.  I realized I don't bake much, as I'm not a big dessert person.  I've only made pizzelles and cannolis over the years...time to branch out.  Maybe cake.  Seems too mundane...maybe tiramasu!  Hadley and Mitch came over and played with Aut and Tonio - they all had fun.  Brian thinks we can get back to the nitcho tomorrow now that his appendix removal has healed sufficiently...
     Anyway, I feel I made some progress for Kimmy today...and the bambini's are good.  Day by day.  I know things can't be the way I want them to be, right now,  but I can be patient, things will work out.
    We are set to have a family movie night now...making more good memories...
     Thanks for listening...

"Even on a cloudy day....I keep my eyes fixed on the sun" 
                                            - Cage the Elephant

Thursday, January 20, 2011


      As I've said before, Kim and I enjoyed taking off for places we had not been to before.  We always enjoyed seeing new places and having fun along the way.  For a while, we had talked about going to Disney World together and started to look at whether we wanted to drive all the way down 95, or fly and have a few extra days in sunny Florida...as it turned out, we did both!
      My mom and dad were supposed to fly to Florida to visit my grandparents, who lived in Stuart, Fla, on the Atlantic coast side of the state.  They had their plane tickets and everything ready, when they were involved in an accident that totaled their car at 8th and Union Blvd.  The crash left my dad in the hospital for a few days and they were both pretty sore...and, they were out of a car.
      My grandfather generously offered to give them his '72 Mustang - and my parents, very generously, gave us their plane tickets so we could fly down and drive the car back!  So we did.  My grandfather picked us up at the Orlando airport and we went to his house in Stuart to stay for a couple of days.  He lived on the golf course in a beautiful little bungalow and regaled us with stories about crocodiles living in the water traps and eating the neighbors poodle.  We swam in the neighbor's pool, but saw no signs of crocodiles.  Plenty of anoles, cute little lizards, running around though and lots of large, exotic bugs.  We also watched our share of the Lawrence Welk Show!  We were able to get to the beach each day we were there and saw some enormous sea turtles that had come up on the beach to lay their eggs - that was incredible.
       Then, we headed to Disney.  My grandfather tipped us off that residents got a great deal on park tickets, so we used the Mustang's registration to get past the ticket police.  We had a blast going through that park!  It is so much larger than Disneyland and we were exhausted at the end of the day...I love the Pirates of the Carribean and Kim's favorite has always been It's a Small World, which I can manage a quick nap in any time I need one!  We went to River Country the next day and spent the day going down the waterslides, working on our tans and swimming.  The final day, we went to Epcot Center and had a lot of fun checking out the exhibits and visiting the different 'countries' that they have set up there.  Unfortunately, this was well before the expansion that saw new parks like the Wild Animal Kingdom, etc., but we still thoroughly enjoyed our time there.  My parents set us up at a hotel in Kissimmee, just a couple of miles away from the park.  We had fun visiting the various restaraunt and night spots in the area.
       We headed back to the coast side and visited Daytona beach, which was really nice and had huge beaches - as we made our way back up the coast, we would occaissonally stop to enjoy some beach time and did this all up Florida, Georgia and the Carolina's before 95 cuts a little too west to make it convenient.  During this trip, we discovered the Waffle House and were instantly hooked!  Back then, there were no Waffle Houses north of the Mason-Dixon line, so we had no idea.  We stopped at as many of them as possible, finding that we loved grits, liked our hash browns covered and smothered and really enjoyed their scrambled eggs with cheese and raison toast (something that Kim ate frequently during her finally days and begged me to make her that final night at 3:30 a.m. in our home).  We thought is was so funny to walk into one and hear all of the help, with their southern accents, yell 'welcome to Waffle House!'.  Once we moved here, we would make it to a waffle house every now and again and always enjoyed it.

          Well, the bambini's had another good day...stayed a little late at school, after I forgot to pick them up.  I thought it seemed too quiet around the house...just kidding, ran a little late, for good reasons and scooped them up.  I finally met a man named Pete Inks, too.  Kim used to tell me a lot about a man named Pete that did so much for our school district and was so nice.  She worked with him on projects like Vail Pride Day and school fund raisers.  I never had the chance to meet him and today, while talking to Patti at Cottonwood, a man walked in and said he was here for a 2:30 meeting - I quickly quipped that he had probably missed it, since it was 2:35 (and, as I said, I had never met him!) - he said it was with the principal, Ms. Bryson and Patti told him she would be back around 3.  He said he probably had his time wrong and if she came back to tell her Pete Inks had stopped by.  I introduced myself and Pete could not say enough great things about Kim's exuberance, dedication, attention to detail and compassion - yep, he sure knew Kimmy!  It was good to finally meet him.
         When I got the kids home, Lexy came over and her and Aut did their homework, followed by getting pulled around the park by Bella - I'm not sure who wore who out.  Cody went to our neighbor, Alex's house and I made the kids chicken tacos and salsa.  They sure enjoy their time together.  Gotta love the matching fedoras too!  Autumn just came to check out what I was doing and said 'well, that's not my best picture that you posted!'...she's a piece of work!
         Anyway, Kim and I were able to see the coast of Florida from Miami to Jacksonville - some beautiful beaches and some great times along that state's coast!!

Mark 9:23
"If you can" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bella's view

            I miss my Mama.  I remember the day at B.A.R.K., when this wonderful person picked me up and held me close to her chest, saying nice, soft things into my ear.  And she smelled so good, too! I had this feeling, like I was home. 
           She made such a big deal about me, making me feel so special.  She gave me a spot in her own bed, with a warm blanket and a soft pillow for my little head.  No puppy gets treated like this.  I knew right away that she was a dog person and so full of compassion!
           Mama tried to teach me right from wrong.  I admit that I am a bit nefarious...but sometimes, I get bored and need to get my wiggles out.  I didn't mean to eat through the dining room table's leg.  How did I know it was a family antique?  My little teeth hurt and it felt so good to chew on.  Mama didn't get too mad, she put some stuff on it to make it look better, but I ate that, too.
           The thing that I miss most, is when Mama would get home from work around 11:30 a.m.  She would feed me lunch and tell me about her day.  We'd go out back in the yard and she would throw a ball to me.  Sometimes, she would take me across the street to the park!  I love the park!  The soft, green, grass feels so good on my piggies and the smells, oh, the smells.  I would throw myself down into its lush, green wonderfulness and just roll and roll!  And Mama would let me, actually encouraging me "go crazy, little Bella, go crazy!" she would say.
          She was so tender.  When I was not feeling well, Mama would take care of me.  She would check on me often, to be sure that I was ok.  She would explain to me that if I had thumbs, I could help her with cooking.  Or, if I had thumbs, I could open the door for her when her hands were full.  Or answer the telephone for her.  You get the picture.  She was never mean, nor taunting me about my lack of thumbs, always caring and respectful. Sometimes the kids make fun of me for not having thumbs, telling me things like 'you'll never drive, cuz you don't have thumbs' or, 'you can't even flush the toilet, cuz you don't have thumbs'...not Mama, she would never let me feel bad about having no thumbs...
          Oh, another favorite memory...each morning, Mama would wake up before anyone else in the house.  She would make herself some chai tea and always let me taste it.  Then, she would take her cup of tea onto our back porch and sit to watch the birds....I would try to sit and enjoy what she was enjoying...but, birds make me excited and, although I would try, I couldn't help but leap up and try to make friends with them.  It never worked, they would always fly away.
           And she would always give me treats when I was a good girl.  My friend and neighbor, Amy, made me the best tasting treats with real peanut butter (no nut allergy here!), that I just love - she is so nice to me, too.
                    Now that she is gone, I do my best to keep the little ones in line.  They are a full time job!  I always greet them after their long day in school and love to wrestle the bambini's in the living room.  I yell at them when they get too crazy, too.  They are fun and I love them very much.  I feel it is a big responsiblity for a puppy, but I'm up to it.
          Sometimes, I think I can still feel Mama, here in our home...and it gives me comfort...Credere...


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Bambini's Stories...

      Today, I asked the bambini's to think of their 'greatest times' with mama...

      Tonio immediately said 'our times at the beach.  There was the day that I was finding tons of sand crabs and bringing them to Mama to show them to her.  She helped me build a home for them.  I wanted to keep them, but she told me they needed their ocean to live.  So I let them stay.  We took a lot of walks on the beach and found a starfish that was bright red.  I loved to race the waves with Mama...we would get as close as we could and wait for the wave to come, then we would turn around and run so we would not get wet!'.

       Autumn remembered going shopping with Mama.  She loved to go to Pier One and World Market, looking for 'treasures', they would always find something special and would spend hours looking at all of the merchandise and finding great deals.  Autumn loved this one on one time with Kimmy.  She said that they would always stop at Target on the way home and get mango smoothies...

       Cody said that his fondest memory, was when mama came home from the hospital the first time, back on November 4th, having been in the hospital since October 19th, and was feeling pretty good.  They played each other in Guitar Hero for hours.  Cody remembers that Kimmy's favorite song to play, was, Anberlin's 'Feel Good Drag'...He knows she is rocking out in Heaven...

Autumn captured 'Mama in the sunset'...

        Well, today I had a will made...yep, I was told I needed one, despite having no real assets (other than the bambini's!)...and, it felt as though I had become an adult, in that one short hour, that one small transaction seemingly taking me from childhood to adulthood in one swooping moment...I don't know, it's just one of those 'adult' type of things I guess. I still feel like a kid, though, in fact, to this day, whenever somebody calls 'Mr. Conca', I always quick look around for my Dad! Kim kept us feeling young, as do the bambini's, keeping things light, reminding me not to sweat the small stuff - I thought I got it then, but I do now...we're doing our best to have fun and we certainly are enjoying each other.  Little Autumn got her hair trimmed today, and, oh yeah, we had a return of Zohan (but a clean version!), as I performed my first haircut for Antonio!  Cody said it came out nice, and Tonio quickly ran for a mirror to inspect it, came back yelling 'I love it Daddy!  You're the best!', well, that's very nice of them, but you be the judge - let me know the truth when you see him...I know it sure felt good to trim the little guys hair, as a bonding type of moment.  Oh, and I patched my first hole today!  One of the towel hooks in the kid's bathroom, miracously gained flying abilities and tried to leave it's nest...unsuccessfully...so, I bought some joint compound and filled the hole - Kim was so good at filling holes that occured and making them look perfect...we'll see how this one turns out. After Aut's haircut, we ate at Panda Express - these guys love that place!  They all ate ravenously and I just sat quietly, listening to the funny jokes they told (these guys really are hilarious) and watching their body language, expressions and loving them...and, of course, seeing a little Kimmy in each of them...


"He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us."  2 Corinthians 1:3

Monday, January 17, 2011

Agua Caliente

     Agua Caliente park...Kimmy's favorite...nestled towards the base of the Catalina mountains in NE Tucson, we found ourselves in this desert oasis several times a year.  There used to be a series of three ponds, linked by a small stream of pristine water, abundant with all types of wildlife - including a kaliedoscope of birds, fish, turtles, bobcats and deer.  We would often stroll the paths between the ponds and found it so relaxing, especially after work.  We once startled a trio of deer eating just off of the path and they stood frozen, for us to enjoy, before taking flight into the mesquite woods.
    This is the spot, we would often come to, to celebrate holidays and special occaisons.  Mother's Day - Kim would like to grab some Subway sandwiches (we'd split a turkey, w/ everything, including jalapenos), take a frisbee and a soccer ball, bring the dog and spend the day.  We'd eat, hike the grounds, let the kids feed the ducks and then play in the large grassy area near the main pond. 
      Just off of this grassy area, is the place that the water originates.  In a cluster of huge palm trees, there is a small pool of bubbling water.  A natural hot spring - the water is typically 76 degrees.  It has small fish in it and there is a stream that runs parallel to the grassy area, followed by palm trees, until it reaches the main pond, some 100 yards away.  That main pond is so incredible, with cat tails clusters and wildlife - and let me tell you, you know that our sunsets are spectacular, catch one while looking out over this pond - it is beyond my abilities to describe, especially when a Great Blue Heron comes in for a landing with the burning red sky in the background...
       This natural bonanza has been her for centuries.  In the late 1800's, it was a mental health rehab.  In the early 1900's, it became a getaway for the stars.  There are a series of buildings that have been erected over the years.  The main building is so eccentric, having been added onto so many times over the years, that it is hard to imagine what it originally looked like.  They have turned it into something of a museum and have old photos of its history.  One of the other buildings is used for class field trips to teach the kids about the animals and fauna that they will enjoy around the park.  We went on a field trip with Cody's class years ago, Kim pushing bambina, Autumn, in her stroller.
       There are grills there, and we used to bring burgers and dogs to cook while the kids kicked a ball around.  And, we've been caught in several downpours there, always looking for a rainbow over that beautiful park.  Lightning storms are surreal to observe from this sanctuary.
         Today, the bambini's had another fun day.  We celebrated MLK day by having a dress as your favorite African American day!  I won, showing up as Frank Robinson, one of my favorite Orioles from back in the day, who helped pave the way for African Americans on the field and in the front office.  The kids claimed they didn't have anything to wear - Tonio wanted to be MLK and Autumn, Harriet Tubman,  but I let them off the hook and made them a big breakfast with potatoes, bacon, eggs and vanilla iced coffees.  Mario dropped Lexy off in time to feast with us.  Later, we went down to Angie and Mark's and picked up Breanna, headed to Walgreen's for drinks and snacks (I made sure to do a head count after that excursion!) and then to the Park Mall to meet Janene and her son's, Brandon, Bryson and Caison and their friend, Jackson, to see Yogi Bear, well, the older boys went to see the Green Lantern instead.  Yogi was pretty good, staying true to the old cartoon.  Afterwards, the girls talked me into walking up the mall to the store Justice...Tonio was pretty silent walking into this girls paradise, but soon discovered a section of Webkins and was happy again.  I took the girls and Tonio with me, while Janene stayed to take Cody and her boys with her.
             We all took Bella for a walk, or did she take Autumn and Lexy for a walk?  Tonio and Breanna so enjoy each other's company!  Then, I made the bambini's some pasta (what a surprise) before Andrea stopped in to take her girls home.  I loaded up Tonio and Autumn and headed down to Skate Country, where Janene had taken the boys.  The boys skated for 4 hours!  Tonio headed out for the last two of the session and had fun.  So, it was a good day!  Reaffirming credere, to believe...and thankfully, I believe I will sleep well tonight...
              Oh, back to Agua Caliente park...budget cuts over the last year or so, have seen the park shrink...there is only one, main pond left. So if you have not made it out there yet, get there sooner, rather than later and hopefully, the main portion of the park will be protected for many years to come. The others are just dried up holes that the kids actually enjoy running down into and finding old snail shells.  The gurgling, connecting stream has since dried up.  But the main portion of the park is still beautiful and we hole dear to the memories that we have of our times there as a family...and we'll go there again, soon to see its beauty....
             Love, Dave
"Darkeness cannot drive out darkness...only light can do that"  Martin Luther King

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Viva Artista!

       Many of you have seen Kim's artistic abilities, whether she was making flyers for a pancake breakfast, decorations for a classroom, putting together something for Vail Pride Day or drawing a large scale picture of the school for an award...she's always been so very talented...I always loved when she would make something cool for the kids, like a Where the Wild Things Are monster mask for Tonio on 'dress as your favorite storybook character' day.
       In her bedroom, on the third floor in the home she grew up in, Kim painted a whimsical mural on the slanted ceiling.  It featured flying rhinos, with angelic wings, a large, stork like bird, a bean stalk that ended with a large nose (she loved noses, feeling that no two people had the same exact nose) and fluffy clouds, throughout.
     She did a lot of artwork through high school and attend Vocational Technical school studying graphic design.  After high school, she worked for a couple of years and then attended Kutztown University, a beautiful college with brick buildings from the early 1900's.  Her dorm room, located in the Art House, was a large room with ceiling that had to be 20' high!  Her Dad built her a loft that stood about 10' off the ground, large enough for her and her room mate with plenty of room in the middle.  It even had a staircase.  He was an incredible builder, having the foresight to number and label each piece, so when Kim and I transported it up to Kutztown and hoisted the larger pieces up through her window with a rope, we could easily put it together.

     While straightening up today, I decided to see what was under the bed....you would not believe how much stuff Kim had squirrled away under there!  The treasure that I found, were, two of Kim's art portfolios!  The bambini's and I had a nice time looking at each piece and I was able to tell them the story behind them.  My favorite, is of a dancer and Kim had captured her movements in such a way, that her kicking leg, trailing her body, almost has the appearance of a flock of flying birds...very Escher-esque.  I just attempted to insert a couple, but being technologically challenged, I will have to forward them to my blog expert, Ami Bunch, to see if she can put them up so you can see a couple - they are brilliant! 

She could work in any medium, too - oils, pastels, charcoal, clay, wood (she made me an incredible keepsake box and inlaid a tree on the lid using crushed sea shells to make it shine).  My favorite, was a piece she had done for me back in 1987 or so.  It is of a neglected nursery, with a forgotten jack-in-the-box.  The jack-in-the-box has a jester's head and is the saddest jack-in-the-box you have ever seen.  Kim did the piece in washed colors to make it look sad and dismal - a child's favorite toy, no longer loved, left behind when the child grew up and forgot it.  She used red candle wax for the jester's tears...

 Today, we all had a better day...going to Mass together at St. Pius, unfortunately, Father Harry was not there today.  Then, we went to eat the incredible breakfast buffett at Viro's Italian Bakery and visited with Rosa and Vito (Vito had me bouncing off the walls making me two cappuccino's, one with a sprinkling of cocoa on it!). You know, we all just feel better after a visit with Rosa, Vito and his wonderful team! When we got home, Mario dropped Lexy off to play with Autumn and, it was such a beautiful Sunday, that we went out front so the kids could play.  Tom, Amy and Brian joined me and we soaked up the beautiful sunny day, so reminiscent of Kim's final Sunday with us...We did a little grilling, hot dogs and burgers.  At one point, I took some recyclables into the garage and caught a glimpse of the sunset...I raced inside, told Tonio, Aut and Lexy to hurry out front and we stared in awe at the display of pinks and reds and purples...I told them to enjoy every moment of it, as we have the most beautiful sunsets of anywhere I've ever been...  the girls played until Andrea came by to take Lexy home.
        Kim's artwork certainly inspired us today...and, I also uncovered some artwork she had done for a children's book. 

Our idea was, that I would write a children's story and Kim would illustrate it...I don't remember what ever happened to the text of the story, but I found two completed, color characters that Kim had done for our story, set here in Arizona, featuring a prospector and his little sidekick, a bird like figure.  She had also done some sketches for other characters, as well.  We never got to finish our story, deciding to populate our home with the bambini's, instead, making a real-life children's story...one we are still writing....

Philippians 1: 3   I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.