We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rocco Deluca??

             Who is Rocco Deluca???  I didn't know. Kim loved to teach me. And,  Kimmy was a genius at discovering 'new' talent.  I don't know how she did it.  Kim's music passion had a Motown and blues foundation (she loved the Blues Brother's soundtrack!) - I decided to put some Rocco on her blog, as background music and chose 'Mystic', as much for the lyrics, as the tune itself.
              When Kim became hooked on Rocco Deluca's music, I couldn't find the CD anywhere.  I hunted and hunted.  Meanwhile, Kim began to fill my head with facts:  Deluca was discovered by actor Keiffer Sutherland.  Sutherland was so impressed, he bank rolled Deluca's first CD and tour.  They also made a documentary, which I was able to find and we watched, about the band's tour.  It was crazy.
             It is no surprise that Kimmy like this soulful, talented artist - his music just eminates Kim...I'll try to feature more of her 'finds' as I go...

             I played a little for Autumn, early this morning, as we drove to church at San Xavier Mission...She was surprised to see me up early, in time to get ready. Having been there, at the fair last night, until after 9, she heard Janene and I discussing whether to allow Brendon and Cody to stay until midnight - I told her I would come back at midnight, pick them up and drop Brendon off at her house...she began to say that was too late, and then, stopped herself, saying 'oh, that's right, you don't sleep anyway...'.  And Autumn, remembering that this morning, said 'Dad, Janene's right, you don't sleep, do you?'...Ahhhh, not enough time to sleep - and, anyway, I accumulated nearly 5 hours last night - and was looking forward to going to the Mission with Autumn.
              Oh, wait, let me back up just a little...as I told you, Janene and I left the fair around 9ish...knowing I was going to go back and get Brendon and Cody...and, I've had an enormous amount of 'stress' trying to live up to the holiday traditions that Kimmy had instilled - so, I thought I'd try to make her coconut eggs (she used to make peanut butter, too, but I always found that the coconut eggs were gone the same day and the peanut butter eggs would last two weeks, sooooo we only made coconut ones!).
                          Tonio rolls the coconut egg mixutre and puts them on trays to be frozen.
 Dipping the eggs in chocolate!

           Wow.  That was like a flashback or something...anyway, Aut and I made it to San Xavier...
             Today, Good Friday, we all carry our own crosses...we lit candles for Kimmy in church and proceeded to Mary's Chapel, where I dusted Kimmy's picture - today it was not dusty...at all, and lit candles.  Then, we made our way up the little mountain - when I make this walk alone, I am typically openly sobbing - today, I bit my lip...glancing sideways at Autumn to see if she noticed the tears, behind the Oakley's Kimmy had bought me, several birthdays ago...she did not.  But, at Mary's grotto, I couldn't take it anymore - 'Autumn.  How do you do it?  How do you stay so up?  So positive?'...'Mama told me something.', she calmly replied.  'What?  Autumn, I still cry.  I so miss your Mama.', I implored.  'She told me, that I will always be her daughter'...!    For Kimmy, to have that foresight...that compassion, to be able to - just like that, erase the doubts and fears, the sorrows and heartaches - with that promise.  And it is enough.  For Autumn.  She is so her Mama!
              And, at that moment, I was so glad she was with me - for, just as my legs promised to fail me, all of my grief was gone.  This little girl, smiling up at me, filled me with such love...and hope.  Now I have two high bars to live up to...
            And so, as if answer, we drove to Lowe's, up the street from the Mission, and bought more flowers, which we planted upon arriving home...

            Speaking of flowers...these two cacti were in full bloom, just outside the doors to the church...

           After our planting, Mario dropped Lexy and Breanna to us and we headed out for some lunch and a movie...'Rio'...in 3-D...the kids loved it!!  I told them for the zillionth time, how, when Kim and I were little, they did not show commercials before a movie...just a nice cartoon and then, the movie!  They all nodded in the right places, except Autumn, who sagely informed me that I tell them that story every time we go to see a movie.
         I need to upgrade my phone, as, this photo of Breanna and Tonio came out a bit dark...they are so cute together...afterwards, I took them to Justice, so the girls could shop and Cody snuck off to the Vans shop!  Andrea met up with us at the mall and we headed home...

           Oh, I almost forgot Kimmy's recipe for those coconut eggs...
  2 1/2 cups of confectioner's sugar
  3 Tbls of softened margarine
  3 oz. of cream cheese
  12 oz of flaked coconut
  - mix all of this up with your mixer.  Roll egg shaped balls.  Place on a cookie tray and freeze 'em!

  -1 1/2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips (use dark chocolate ones!  That's our favorite!!)
  -2 1/2 tsps shortening.

     Melt these two ingredients and dip frozen eggs in the chocolate.  Place on a wax paper covered cookie tray and freeze again.  Enjoy!!

       Lot of ups today, thanks to our friends...and Autumn marveled over the pretty clouds obscuring the stars tonight as we said our good nights...


"I could never be a carnie!"

          We kept busy today, from the moment Aut dragged us, unwillingly, out of bed at the crack of 6 a.m. "It's time Dad..." having replaced "Rise and shine!", which, she claims she doesn't say (must have been a momentary lapse into Kim!)...until right now, 1ish, when I dropped Brendon off at Janene's...
          Janene cut my hair, working me into her busy Easter week schedule and we worked out some more details for the Kimmy's Kut-a-Thon event...
          Got to help with Mrs. Schrantz' Easter egg hunt - which was a rush - watching 23 7 and 8 year olds, adrenaline pumping, as they made a mad scramble into what looked like a field in Ethiopia, to find over 100 eggs (thanks for filling them Lupe!)!
       You can get a sense of the hardscrabble field that, somehow, Ms Belin and Sean managed to 'hide' over 100 Easter eggs on...this is unforgiving land - if you fall on this 'soil', you are going to bleed. 
      But, of course, the kids see none of this - they just knew, that there were a gagjillion Easter eggs out there, somewhere, and spread out in a flurry to gather them up!  They had an absolute blast!!

                                           Tonio is intent on filling his bag with Easter eggs!
                                Tonio helps Mrs. Schrantz retrieve an errant Easter egg that was somehow 'hidden' just outside of the fence...
                  As soon as we picked up Cody, we headed out to the Pima County Fair, to meet up with Janene, Brendon and Bryson...
                Ever since I can remember, Kim and I loved to go to fairs, carnivals, amusement parks - for the food, the games (I always had to win her something!), the rides and the people watching.  We would go to the Allentown Fair, at least once during it's run time.  They had an ice cream place in there that made some great waffle sandwhiches.  And Kim always liked to look at the animal exhibits, especially when they had a petting zoo!  We'd spend hours there.
              When we moved here, we made sure to attend the fair each year.  Sometimes to see concerts, like Santana, and others just to walk around, enjoy the exhibits, and each other's company.  Since Cody's birthday falls during fair time each year, he typically will take a couple of his buddies to the fair and go on all of the big, crazy, pacemaker killing rides.  And we'd always eat roasted corn...
             Janene told us to meet her in front of the Moscow Circus, and we arrived just in time to see her and Bryson come hurtling down a long, winding slide!
            We all went on the ferris wheel, after having to cajole Autumn, by telling her I would hold her...
                                           Across the desert, the Santa Rita mountains...
                               And, a birdseye view of the main ride section of the fair...
                   Bryson and Tonio were having a great time, but with the sun at their backs, it was hard to get a good picture (and hold Autumn).
                  As I said, Kim and I enjoyed the people watching at the fairs we went to...and today, we were not dissappointed - I told Janene, I'd like to take more pictures, but did not want to get my a...er, my butt kicked!

               Janene made me take this photo of a lady 'wearing' two water bottles, one in each back pocket!  We also saw a lady wearing the highest heeled boots that I've ever seen - she could not have been comfortable and I doubt she was allowed on most of the rides wearing them...
             I think the log ride was everybody's favorite, although we had to wait a long time in line, as the ticket scanning devices were not cooperating - and our cell phones had some pretty poor reception, too, which made it a challenge to keep in contact with Brendon and Cody, who we set loose to go on the really big rides, while we took the little ones on the tamer, safer, rides, agreeing it was better for us, too!

           The kids really enjoyed the several 'fun house' style rides that they had scattered throughout the fair - Autumn and Tonio survive the spinning wheel on this particular one...

               And Bryson deftly slides through on this one, while Autumn awaits her turn...

                       Bryson, Autumn and Tonio are all smiles at the Pima County Fair!

            Oops, thought I rotated this one...anyways, its Autumn getting ready to wreak havoc on the bumper cars...               We finally got the kids to slow down long enough to eat something around 8 - Tonio, his signature corn dog...Bryson, two of the longest churros I've ever seen!  And Autumn, Janene and I got the roasted corn, with all sorts of fixins,  which was awesome.
            By this time, the fair was unbelievably packed - and, as we waded through, trying to fight our way to the exit...Janene said, 'I could never be a carnie!' - best laugh I had all day!!
           We also had a great, philosophical discussion regarding what people do with items this big that they win?  Put it in corner, until it collects enough dust and then give it away?
            When we went out back to say goodnight to Kimmy, Tonio told his Mama that I had taken them to the fair, and that he missed her being there...I told him that his Mama was there with him tonight, that's why he had such a great time!!  He smiled at this thought, blew his kisses towards the sky and went inside to sleep...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

May's Events

       Kim's philosophy on life was to give everyone a chance, and a second chance..to help those who needed help...and when she said she would do something, she did it.  Pretty simple, and so beautiful.
       During the Lenten season, she liked to make sack lunches for the homeless (I've kept this tradtion up), she had trouble saying no to anyone who asked for her help - even when we were overextended, she found a way to contribute at a high level.  If she knew she couldn't give 100%, she'd reluctantly say no, but, when she said she'd help, no matter how big - like hand drawing art work for a school function, helping with blood drives at church, taking care of or teaching your kids, planning and managing craft fairs, carnivals, pancake breakfasts...or how small, like saying she'd help you decorate your living room - she'd always follow through - and you'd be amazed!!

          This is the philosophy for Kimmy's Foundation - set up through Carondelet, so that 100% of every dollar, can go to help families, like ours.  The foundation is currently looking into purchasing some much needed equipment for the 5th floor of St. Joseph's hospital, where our good friend, Kim is an RN.  Extra money we bring in, will be used in an 'emergency fund' to assist families with sick loved ones that are struggling to make mortgage payments...or buy groceries...like our family was when Kimmy was sick - and we had soooo many of you reach out to help us - this fund is for those that are not blessed to have had the support we did when Kim was so sick.

         This month, there are three major events to fund Kimmy's Foundation:
     1) The Relay for Life -5/13 4 P.M to 5/14 7 A.M. at Empire High School, although contributions through the link on Kimmy's blog go to the American Cancer Society, t-shirt and wrist band sales will go to Kimmy's Foundation!  And check out the t-shirt design that Rincon Vista came up with (link on right of blog) - Kimpossible!  I know Cottonwood is walking in Kim's name, too, but have not seen t-shirt designs yet.

    2) Kimmy's-Cut-a-Thon - 5/15 at Unique Identity Salon on Broadway, next to the new Peter Piper Pizza across from the Park Mall - 12-4 p.m.  Janene, who often indentified herself as my sister while Kim was sick to arrange for Father Harry or Monsignor Tom to visit, or to get into ICU to deliver us food and drinks, etc., came up with this fabulous idea.  She is generously opening up her salon on a Sunday - along with all her stylists, to cut hair - and will donate EVERY dollar taken in to Kimmy's Foundation.  I still can't get my head around this - she is so unselfish and caring and hard working to have thought of this and is paying for the advertising and fliers.  And she partnered with her neighbors, Arizona Pizza and the Shishkabob house to have them donate and to offer meal specials during the event (I've eaten at both, many times, while the store manager of Linens "N Things, which used to be where Peter Piper is, and they are excellent!).  Then, she got Alisha Peru involved to perform her music, during the event.  Alisha has gone through the Vail School District schools and is a wonderful musician! 
        My neighbor, Brian Deevers, is a graphic designer.  He is extremely talented and extremely busy - yet, he found time to create the advertising for this event (flier above, thanks Ami for getting that posted for me!)...free of charge, out of the kindness of his heart and a love for Kimmy. 
        I can't thank these two enough.

   3) Knights of Columbus raffle, May 21st (our wedding anniversary!).  The Knights generously have decided to donate 50% of raffle proceeds to Kimmy's Foundation!  The info is on the right, top side of Kimmy's blog - there is still time to buy tickets!!  Only tickets sold through St. Pius Church will help Kimmy's Foundation (I still have a lot on me, if you still need to buy some!).  Rincon Vista, Desert Sky and Cottonwood have all helped me sell tickets!  Thank you Knights of Columbus!!

        Throught these three events, Kim's Foundation will be able to make a difference for our families here in Tucson.  Thank you everyone who is helping out with these events!!

        I talk to so many of you, about how, we have an angel, in Kim, watching over us...here are some things that happened today, that proves it:

      Our friend Kim (Angie's youngest daughter, RN on 5th floor of St. Joe's) underwent successful surgery today, while 4 months pregnant!!  I was relieved when Angie and Andrea called me, to let me know it went well and later texted Kim a picture of the peach colored clouds, as the sunset and she told me she was able to go home, to be with her family and felt good.  Kim's having a girl!
      Autumn's teacher, Casey Rudzena, formally announced she is pregnant and had a dr appt confirming that baby and mom are healthy!!  I've lost count, but think that makes 6 pregnant teachers at Cottonwood...I know Kimmy always said that for every death, there is a new life, but this is getting crazy!  We are so happy for Casey and her husband, Jack!!
       My District Manager, Tom, visited my Barnes & Noble today.  He expressed concern with the blog, which his wife reads regularly (thanks Kathy!) - and feels he is owed 'royalties'...we are working on an agreement.  Tom is a great guy, who has bent over backwards (hey Tom, that's why your back was so sore today!) to make sure I can take care of the bambini and continue as store manager with Barnes & Noble.  We are the same age, and Tom has two girls, one Cody's age and one Autumn's age - making him the only district manager, in my 23 year retail career, that is happily married AND loves his family - a blessing for my family, as he has been so flexible with our needs.  We had a fun visit, Tom buying me the new pizza we just got in at our Barnes & Noble Cafe (so moms:  here's a great lunch item for your bambini to enjoy while perusing books!).  I drank two Cafe Americanos and two venti iced teas, to Tom's one coffee (no Rock Stars for us today!) - Tom showed amazing caffeine restraint today!  He is a shining role model...I guess I fall more into the mold ofl Charles Barkley....and Tom got to chat with our Patron Saint of the Book Store, Lola, who had stopped by with treats for the bambini's Easter baskets, knowing that I was not on top of that...she had glowing things to say about our team...
           Autumn and Tonio finished this round of swim lessons!  They will graduate to the 'Dolphin' level and start round 2 on Monday...How much pool water can one bambino swallow before it is toxic?  I'm telling you, Tonio took on a lot today!
          And we still had time to read when we got home.  Autumn and I are on book 3 of the Percy Jackson series and I read some stories from 'The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories' by Tim Burton.  Yes, that Tim Burton!  The bambini love his movies, like Alice in Wonderland, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Nightmare Before Christmas, among others (and they are big Johnny Depp fans, too, who always seems to be a part of Tim Burton's movies).  Our favorite short story we read tonight, was, 'The Boy with Nails in his Eyes'.  Wholesome stuff.

           Here's the picture of the angel in the evening sky that I texted to Kim:
                      Oops, no, not this one...this is a little left over John Belushi, portraying the God Father, on SNL, from Lupe and Manny's home last night, that I was texting to Jaimelyn...
Ahhh, here's the shot of the sun, shading the clouds to a fine peach...an angel in there?  I feel that Kim is winking at us through this beauty...and we're working hard to keep her memory and her spirit alive...


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

For this, I am thankful....

       Today, I thought I had a rough day...because I missed my wife, Kimmy...and I had lost my best friend,  thereabouts...

       ...then I thought - 'how many people died in the middle east today?, and how horribly?'.
       ...then I thought, 'I saw an accident, yesterday, where a school bus hit a motorcycle.'

       ...then I thought, 'how about those people in the tornado belt, who got whacked?'.

       ...who am I to feel down? 

      And, Kimmy's face came to my mind, smiling - the memories flooding back...

       And after I picked up Cody from track, I drove to pick up Tonio and Autumn at Lupe and Manny's home, where their daughter Monsi played with them, making them feel loved...and they invited us into their home and fed us dinner (a wonderful, home made enchilada dinner!)...and made us feel like we mattered...and we watched old SNL's, starring John Belushi...whom I had idolized...and Kimmy saved me from being...

          What a talent he was...
          Now, especially now, I am more thankful than ever for the family Kimmy built, and for the bambini, that she made me feel we needed to have and who lift me up daily, and who I make sure stay up, because when the hope is gone, the weight falls on me.  And for the home that Kimmy made for us...and for the friendships that keep us going...and I can pick my head back up and smile back at Kim, thanking her - and knowing, that, although things cannot be the way that I want them to be, I am very blessed to be where I am and have what I have and feel humbled by it all...




PS  Many congratulations to Jenny and Nick Rienstra, who found out yesterday that they are having a little boy!!  I know, Jenny, you had your heart set on a little girl, but, once you set eyes on that little man and hold him, he will be 'mama's boy'!  And now, the Rienstra name will continue (remember, my cousins Chris and Vince had all girls, leaving me the Conca name savior and lone gunslinger!).  And you guys are young, plenty of time to have a little princess down the road and she will have a big brother to watch out for her and protect her!  We're happy for you guys!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Garanimals...for Adults

        Does anyone know what Garanimals are?  I remember, Kim and I making fun of this line of clothing, as kids hanging out at the mall.  There was store there, Clymer's Carousel, that carried this line of clothing.  In retrospect, Garanimals are genious, made with people like me in mind - for those of us who are, well, clothing coordinate challenged.
        The way Garanimals work, is that all of the clothing is tagged with an animal.  And you simply match the animals to create a matching set of clothes.  So, if that shirt you just have to have has a zebra tag attached to it, you just have to chose a pair of shorts or pants that also bear a zebra tag.  Easy, eh?  But Kimmy and I thought it was hilarious that people needed this system to be able to match their clothes. 
        Garanimals, believe it or not, still exist!  When I googled it, a garanimals.com came up!!
        I'm not sure when or where I became clothing dysfunctional, but, I believe it must have been during my stay at Shippensburg University, where I would wear whatever clothes I had fallen asleep in a few hours before I had to be at class. 
       Whatever the case might be, Kimmy quickly, and gently took charge once we moved in together.  She made sure I did not leave the house looking like an escaped carnie (for more on carnies, please see my sister, Lauren's blog, convenient link on right hand side of Kimmy's blog, near bottom).  I have never been interested in shopping or buying clothes for myself, unless they were cool t-shirts. 
        Like my Robert Baggio t-shirt...the greatest player to put on the Azurri (blue) for Italia!

              Or, this Tom Morello t-shirt - the greatest bass player ever, having thrummed for Rage Against the Machine, Audio Slave, Street Sweeper Social Club, and solo...
           Cody and I used to battle over who would get to be Tom Morello when we play Guitar Hero...but guess what?  We figured out we could both be Tom Morello!!!  At the same time!  Score!!
           But, alas, I cannot go everywhere in my baggy shorts, cool t-shirts and flip flops...so Kim made sure that she kept our closet stocked with 'big boy' clothes - so I could go to work and look professional...and I could go to church and look, well, churchy...and she would always give me a quick once over to make sure I was ironed, none of her long, luxorious hair was on me, and, that I did not mess up her 'Adult Garanimal' system, and matched.
           Here's how Kim set up my piece of closet like we remembered Clymer's Carousel's selection of Garanimals:
            She lovingly placed all of the wonderful shirts and pants that she bought for me on hangars - shirt to match top.  For me, there was no thinking involved, you see - for whatever shirt I chose, Kimmy had already hung the matching pants...ON THE SAME HANGAR!  Brilliant!!  As long as I did not deviate from this Adult Garanimal system that Kimmy had painstakingly put into place, again, lovingly scoping out stores as she shopped for the perfect shirts and pants for me, as I HATED to shop for 'big boy' clothes.  Eliminating embarrassment and pitiful stares...I could hold my head up high and feel confident that I was a sharp dressed man...
           But now, nearly 6 months later, since Kimmy felt good enought to shop for me, I find that some of the shirts Kim chose for me have beyond worn out.  And, as painful as it is to replace them, I know that I must.  She would not want me to slide back to my Shippensburg wardrobe.  I know this.  But what to do?  I tried to 'browse' as I was at Target.  Or Fry's.  But could not feel the matching magic...where were the lion tags?  Or the polar bear tags?
           When I had reached the end of my rag tag rope, I found a clothing savior...Peggy.  Peggy is Jaimelyn's, one of the talented managers at Barnes & Noble, sister.  Peggy happens to work at Ross, in the Foothills Mall, where our Barnes & Noble is located.  Now Peggy is something of a 'personal shopper'.  Which works well for me.  Peggy knows I like the Charlie Sheen style shirts that Kimmy always liked to get me.  She has an eye for them.  I can wear this style, love that I don't have to tuck in my shirt, and I can stay out of jail dressed like Charlie Sheen!  And she gets me the best deals, too.  This has been a big win for me.  If you need help matching clothes, and want to get great deals - Ross has a kaliedescope of them, and Peggy is good!  Now I can feel confident that I still match and look professional or religious, depending on where I find myself that day.  Thanks Peggy!
              Ok, since it is baseball season, let's take a look at the baseball jerseys Kimmy presented me over the years:
             This Baltimore Orioles jersey was the very first jersey that Kimmy ever bought me!  I've always been a big O's fan, in the American League - and, as I've told you, we used to go see one or two games a year down in Baltimore at old Memorial Stadium and then at the Camden Yards.  I wore this jersey when I met pitching legend Jim Palmer, who told me 'hey, I like your jersey, they never gave me one when I retired'...like I believed that.  This year, the O's started off smokin' hot, like the champions they once were, from the mid-60's through the late 80's...I joked with Mario and Kirk Perrini, both Yankees fans, that I had to get loud on them now, because in a week or so, the O's would cool off and drop down to the familiar last place they've been mired in for the past decade or so....The O's were in first place the entire first week, running their record to a torrid 6-1.  I was delighted to see the Red Sox begin their season 1-6!  Then, the first week was over...and the O's are on a 7 game losing streak, the Yankees back in their familiar first place...oh well, it was fun while it lasted! 
             Then there are the Phillies, my favorite in the National League...Kimmy got me this sweet Mike Schmidt retro jersey 7 or 8 Christmas' ago...We loved going to opening day in Philly to take part in the parking lot festivities.  Sometimes, we'd even go into the stadium to catch a couple innings of baseball.  We'd always make it down to see her Dodgers play at Veterans Stadium.  Never been to Vet Stadium?  It was one of those big, ugly cement stadiums built in the 70's.  It featured it's own jail cell, for out of control fans and could seat up to 100 thousand for concert venues (we saw Pink Floyd there and the announced crowd was 104K!) - it was huge. 

       I know these are not jerseys, but they are actual stadium seats from the Vet in Philly! Kimmy found out they were selling them when they tore it down and surprised me with a set!!
            And then there is the Curt Schilling jersey Kimmy astutely picked up for me following his trade from Philadelphia (one World Series appearance in 1993 versus the Toronto Blue Jays in which Joe Carter stole our dreams and broke Mitch 'Wild Thing' Williams, who gave up the historic home run to lose the game".  He made it to a World Series with the Diamondbacks in 2001, beating the Yankees.
           Well, it was a harried Monday, as we were all a little slow this Monday morning...getting to school, just after the bell, but slipping in the back gate to avoid Patti's 'tard' pass.  Then, it was off to sell books, scooping up the Americano to take the edge off, but...was one enough?  Customer Info Bianca, asked me if I was OK today (my smile was taken long ago)...did it show?  Some of you are so in tune with me...  Hey, maybe one more Americano!  That did the trick...later, I was able to show her and Mary this photo that Charlotte (who took the little ones to school last week!), took on the playground:
          What a great couple!  Bianca and Mary agreed that this is one cute couple...look how cool Tonio looks with one arm around Monsi and one hand in his pocket - Dean Martin cool...
          A few moments later, Autumn's teacher, Mrs. Rudzena texted me that she asked her kids to chose study partners to prepare for AIMS testing and this young man, Omar, excitedly ran over to Autumn to chose her as his partner.  I told Mary and Bianca that I was texting back 'Omar...hmmmm....he's nefarious...keep an eye on him!'.  Mary asked me why the 'double standard'?  What double standard?  Tonio's a boy.  Autumn's a girl.  Capisce?  Hey, I remember how we used to 'study'!
         After work, I rushed home, changed and went to Empire H.S. for Cody's track meet and got to see him run the 100M.  His ankle still hampers him and he placed fourth.

                  Cody is second from left, digging deep, but coming in 4th out of 8 runners.  His team placed 2nd in the 4 x 100m relays. I sat with Vito's cousin, Franca, who's daugher Kaitlyn, runs for Rincon Vista.  Franca stayed and watched Cody and gave him a ride home for me, because, I had to go get the little bambini.  They stayed after school and Patti took them home, cooked for them and then I scooped them up for swim lessons.                  They are doing much better!  And even Autumn seems to enjoy herself...Franca texted me that she had dropped my bambino off safely...the little ones did well and I was able to get them home, feed them again at around 7:45 and start the winding down process....
                I think that is all for today...I know, there were several times today, where I literally reached for my cell to give Kim a quick call to update her on where we were or ask how her day was going...Franca, having lost her dad, Angelo, to cancer, could empathize and we talked about dealing with it...Kimmy would be proud of Cody, who's got a set of serious wheels on him, and would have been screaming wildly for him today...she would be proud of the little bambini and their swimming progress...most of all, I know that she must be so happy, with all of the loving support, our bambini receive on a daily basis, as I struggle to keep up and be everywhere at once, during these 18 hour days...Grazia...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday, Sunday

      You know, Sunday's are pretty nice for us...church in the morning while the little ones are in their CCD class - Palm Sunday today, we got our palms - Kim used to always turn them into little woven crosses during Mass - Cody and I tried our best, but could not pull it off, as they kept springing open on us.  We took up most of a pew, again, with Manny, Lupe, Cody, me, Angie and Andrea, in that order...What else could have Pontius Pilate have done?  I wondered as the priest read the gospel...his wife tried to tell him to wash his hands of Jesus...and he did ask the crowd to let him go, and was smart enough to know that the Jews were just envious of Jesus...was he absolved?  I wonder...And it is the beginning of Holy Week.  I've tried, for Kim's sake, to make a difference this Lent...this is the week, where I need to dig deep and do more...I know I can...pray for me...
       Then, all of us went over to Viro's, where they had a nice big table for all of us reserved.  Between Breanna (3), Autumn (2), Lexy (1), Cody (2), Tonio (1), Monsi (1), they devoured 10 bowls of Italian Wedding soup, 8 omelets (Niki and Vito Jr continue to make great omelets!  V came up with a new one - he makes sunny side ups and pours omelet mix on the other side of the pan.  When he folds them over, the sunny side ups are inside the omelet!  Brilliant!!).  We all enjoyed some great cappuccino's (except Andrea, who gave up coffee for Lent!  One more week!!) and we lingered for about an hour and a half, visiting with Rosa, Vito, Vito's Mom and Dad, etc, etc. 

Vito presented me with the newest, Viro's t-shirt, designed by Vito Jr.!

         These breakfasts are incredible, but, what makes it really special is the company and Vito's team - it's like being at home for a big family feast!   And again, gets our day started so nicely.
         We took Lexy with us, swung by Target for snacks for the kids classes - they start the AIMS tests this week!  Then, these guys played Wii, Rock Band, which was pretty cool, Cody on drums, Lexy and Autumn on guitar and Tonio singing.  We did a little yard work and then the girls accompanied me to the NE side of town to pick up my Buyer's earnest money check.  Afterwards, we got the kids Eeegee's and then Andrea picked up Lexy and Autumn to go to a family function.
          Oh, and here's some of the Hearts and Flowers plants - these make some great ground cover, and when in pots, will grow down over the edges.
 Big pot on back porch.
 Andrea told me this is great ground cover, we added it to our garden.
 One of two big pots in front yard...
Mexican Heather in foreground (is that a word?), little purple flower in little blue pot and St. Francis overseeing the growth, beneath the olive tree...

Here's some of the jersey's that Kimmy has gotten me over the years...I thought I'd start with hockey, since it is playoff time.  She originally bought me an Eric Lindros jersey, the day the Flyers signed him after a trade with the Quebec Noriques, now the Colorado Avalanche.  They 'won' the rights to sign him away from the N.Y. Rangers, who thought they had the rights to sign him.  In the end, the Rangers 'won', as they at least won a Stanley Cup in 1994.  The Flyers won 0 cups with Lindros.

               Rod Brind'Amour might be one of my all time favorite Flyers.  Kimmy got me this jersey, back in the early '90's, when Brind'Amour was a line captain.  He later went on to become team captain, and then was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, where he won a Stanley Cup and just retired.
                                  Kimmy bought me this one, last time we were in Pa, nearly 11 years ago.  Gagne was a rookie phenom, first round draft pick.  The Flyers traded him to Tampa Bay this offseason, where he is kicking butt!
                  Kimmy bought me this one, when Jeremy Roenick was traded from our Phoenix Coyotes to the Flyers.  I'm not sure where she got it, some of my jerseys are mysteries...
And, she bought me this Phoenix Coyotes jersey years ago...I bought her a ladies fit, matching jersey...she looked so cute in it.  We'd wear them up to see Coyotes games, when they weren't playing the Flyers, of course.

My new favorite...
Kimmy felt hockey was the most important sport.  To the naysayers, she would ask 'have you ever ice skated?' There are a surprising amount of grown adults that have never ice skated!  Where did they grow up?  In the desert?  And, following what ever answer they might provide, she would add 'you try to ice skate and handle a small, round, bouncing piece of rubber (commonly known as a 'puck'), while everyone is trying to knock you off of your skates and steal the puck'...now that is an athlete!  Kimmy knew her stuff!

           A night cap:   Tom invested in some new fangled drink - Sourthern Comfort Lime...?  I dunno.  Anyways, we sat in the driveway, entertaining the neighborhood, and watching the kids.  Tonight, we had a guest appearance, Dave Hopkins, of the Department of Safety, who lives across the park from us. We took a moment to interview Dave.  Tom: "Hi Dave, how is the police business?"  Dave: "Well, there is no shortage of stupid people our there!"  Fantastic.  Dave kept us on the edge of our seats with tales from the road. I wish I could print some here, but, you would not believe them, and we have to protect the 'innocent'.  His son, Joshua and Tonio played with Legos in the driveway and pointed out each of our digressions into the profane.  Smart kids.
          The moon shone brilliantly onto the driveway, as I sent the lads home and Andrea dropped off Auutmn, sans carne asada.  They had a great time at the party and brought cake!

           Another successful weekend...
           By the end of this week, I will have a 14 year old living under my roof!
           Thanks to everyone for their loving, caring support - keeping us all afloat, entertained and smiling...