We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Happy Anniversary...

            This morning, 18 years ago, Kim and I were married at the San Xavier Mission...

            We woke up this morning, ready to drive out to the Mission to light some candles for Kim.  As we drove, I told the bambini about that special day, so many years ago, like yesterday...
            It was going to be a hot day.  I arrived at the Mission around 7:00 a.m. for our 9:00 a.m. wedding and it was already in the mid-80's...everything was ready.  Everything was perfect.  That deep blue sky, with aboslutely no clouds in sight...
            By 9:00, it was 90 degrees...we didn't care.  Kim looked like an angel, gliding down the aisle that morning to meet me at the altar.  The ceremony was beautiful, the little old lady, Irene, who played the organ from the balcony above the church did a beautiful job, especially on the Ave Maria...we were suspended in time...
           This morning, as we parked, I showed the kids where I had parked our pick up truck...and told them about the 'Just Hitched' sign that I had painted and the Tecate cans that I had tied to the bumper (do people still tie cans to their bumpers?  What's up with that?)...

           As fate would have it, there was a wedding going on this morning...we watched and prayed for the young couple to have a happy, healthy marriage...we lit candles in Mary's chapel, climbed the hill and prayed together...
                       This little wall overlooks crops grown on the reservation.  It's half way up the hill and near the altar below...Kim always would have us sit on this wall, it was something of a tradition...
                          This is the altar built into the side of the little mountain....
                         Back down the mountain...to the church, where the wedding party had just vacated and moved to the beautiful little courtyard where Kim and I got pictures taken after our wedding...
                        Autumn and Tonio immediately sat down in a pew, while Cody and I walked towards the altar.  I genuflected, and walked to the spot where I told Kim "I do!", all those years ago...
                       And that was all I could take...have I been strong?  Yes, for the bambini.  Have I made bad choices?  Absolutely - I'm not an saint, and barely a role model.  I thought I could slip the shades back on in time to hide the tears, and began to walk quickly down the aisle that Kim and I had traversed, hand in hand, as a married couple, centuries ago - in another lifetime, another world.  Autumn intercepted me and whisked me out the side door...she wanted to visit the little side courtyard, where, Kim and I used to listen to Mass while Autumn and Cody, little babies, chased each other and played...she wanted to hear the story again, which, I told her, adding what a joy it had been...
                     To the car, where, I took the shades off to carefully erase the tears and Cody caught me with a knowing glance...
                    Driving off, I told the kids, it was right about now, that a delivery man from Baggins pulled up at the church with sack lunches for all of us (remember, there were only about 15 of us at our wedding).  Kim had thought this day through and filled it with special touches...we'd be driving as a group out to Old Tucson...I told the kids, that, the most direct way from the Mission, was to follow Mission to Ajo and head west, taking Kinney to Old Tucson...but, Kim wanted to 'wow' our guests and that meant entering the desert through Gates Pass.  So we took Mission to Grande to Speedway and then headed west...just before you make that breathtaking left that gives you that drop off and spectacular view through Gates Pass, there is a rest stop with picnic benches - we stopped there and had our sack lunches from Baggins, before heading to Old Tucson.
                  It was 94 degrees when we entered the studios - but it was so much fun.  It was prior to the big fire that leveled most of Old Tucson and drove every shred of authenticity away, turning the studios into a 'theme park'.  We participated in stunt shows and gun fights, too, that day...
                And later, when the heat of the day began to die down, we made our way east, out Colossal Cave Rd, to Reddington Cattle Ranch, for a cowboy cook out under the stars...and the stars were so bright that night, especially in the reflection of Kim's shining eyes...yes, she was an angel...is an angel.

              I can't think of anything I'd change about that day - other than maybe to have all of you there to have been a part of the happiest day of my life...I've been blessed to have been to some of your weddings, and they've been beautiful, I'm sure you feel the same way that I do about your special day...
              Tonio and Aut went to see Thor today with Lupe, Manny and Monsi and really enjoyed it!  Poor little Tonio - I was checking his homework before he went to school yesterday...he had a page, where, when you solved a math problem, it gave you a letter to use in a puzzle.  Solve the math problems, get the answer to the hidden sentence.  The picture was a genie lamp, the message gave you three wishes and you were to write them on the back of your paper.  Tonio wrote one wish.  'I just want one BIG wish' he wrote.  "For Mama to be alive"...
              Cody and I were able to spend some quality time together...the mall and Viro's for cappuccino (me) and tiramisu (Cody)...he's a neat young man...
              Tonight, we went to see Janene's son, Brendon, play some playoff baseball, and I managed to catch a foul ball, from the neighboring field, with my kidney.  Yeh, that sucked.  I asked for an autographed jersey but the Park Boss, Stacy, offered me a popsicle, which I calmly declined.   -The little ones played, we brought Lupe and Manny's girl, Monsi and they played with Janene's son Bryson, while Cody hit the skate park with his buddy, Wyatt.  Brendon played well, but his team lost...what a beautiful night tonight here in Tucson...
              If you see me walking, with my head down, it doesn't necessarily mean I'm down or having a sad day...you see, I realize the world hasn't stopped spinning. If anything, it's spinning faster - and, sometimes, I feel the need to focus, concentrate on that spinning, so I don't fall off or trip - I cannot fall down right now - I've been trying all of my life to stand up everytime I fall...and Kim was always there to help me up...
            And we made the best of my anniversary today.  We did.  The bambini were a huge help, especially Cody during the daytime, and Autumn at night.  She'd come back from playing at the park tonight, to sit on my lap as I watched baseball...then, as we slipped out the back door to say goodnight to Mama, she grabbed my hand and said 'Happy anniversary, Mama!' as we looked up at the Big Dipper...

'For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.' Jeremiah 29:11


Pre-Rapture Party

                    There were billboards announcing the rapture on May 21st...and if you google 'end of the world May 21st', you'll find other 'factual' evidence supporting these claims...and billboards and the internet are always an excellent source of information.  Just in case, I thought I'd better have a pre-rapture party.  I'd hate to have woken up today, not here, and missed that opporunity.
                   We cooked up chicken and burgers, corn, potatoes on the grill, salad and Andrea brought over some incredible chocolate cake and a white cake with fresh fruit on top.  We definitely ate like it was end times!
                            Breanna, Hadley, Alyssa, Mitch and Tonio - 'peace be with you'
                                 Manny, Kirk, Tom and Brian - Tom recently got a monacle
                               Lupe, Andrea, Betsey, Amy and Annette - oops, no flash Autumn! (she was my little photographer - but never made it out to the garage, where David, Cameron, Alex and Cody played ping pong. 
                        Good food and friends!  I was relieved to still be here this morning, so we can get together again!

               Earlier today, at Cottonwood - the second grade teachers hosted 'Wienerfest 2011'!  Tonio's favorite!!  And it was a beautiful day for it, low 80's and sunny!!
                               Anne, Dan, Manny and I grilled over 200 hot dogs! And made fun of the turkey dogs.
                          Mrs. Schrantz, Ms. Bryson (the principal, having fun for the kids!), Tonio and I.
                                 Tonio and Monsi sport their nicely decorated wienerfest hats.
                                   Serving the hungry minions!  These kids ate a lot of dogs!
                                   Tonio is surrounded by good friends, Monsi, Sean and Mano.
              We had enough dogs to hand out to many passerbys and even fed Autumn's class, too!

              Overall, we had a fun day...we kept it light and enjoyed each other and our friend's company....


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My closet tells me lies...

      Each morning, when I walk into our closet, it speaks to me...shows me Kimmy's shoes, tucked into her shoe holder...and baskets beneath the clothes.  Her bathrobes stand ready, to dry and warm her.

Our closet's in denial
-"Tell me where am I supposed to go?
 Who am I supposed to believe?
If you only knew what I knew.
Then you could see just what I see."
  Each pair of pants, neatly on a pant hangar, and shirts/blouses/dress clothes, add a burst of color to the dim closet.
      Up on the top shelf, her wedding gown, neatly boxed up and waiting for the day Autumn walks down the aisle...Our album collection...her purses, each one holding treasures and trinkets of Kim's life...the cowgirl boots I bought her to match the ones I wore for our wedding...

And our closet is delusional...
- "So I grab my bags and go, as far away as I can go.
Because everything ain't what I used to know.
And I try to hide, but I just can't hide no more.
There's nothing worse than feeling like a ghost."
      The closet doesn't know Kim's gone...it keeps everything ready, expecting her to need a pretty blouse or some dress shoes for her busy day.  Waiting for her to choose the purse that fit her outfit and her mood that morning...
      She loved shoes.  I jokingly called her Imelda Marcos, wife of a former Filipino president, who had around 2,700 pairs of shoes.  Kim's collection was barely over 2,000, so I guess it was unfair of me to make such a comparison.  Each pair, a conquest of sorts, as Kimmy would hunt and search for the best values, never paying much for a nice pair of shoes. 
      Her Pumas...she cried when I gave them to her...she wore them everyday until the end, but never had a chance to walk much in them...I love the Carlos Santana flip flops she found at Ross, they are so pretty and made her feet look great.  She promised them to Autumn 'when I grow out of them'. 

                                      Sometimes, I think the closet is just plain obstinate.
-"you say I look fine, if you only knew what's on my mind.
You'd see a whole different sign, I couldn't show you even if I tried.
I must have gotten lost in time..."
           Kimmy actually bought two pair of the Carlos Santana flippies, she loved them so much and wanted to make sure she had an extra pair...just in case! The shoes are there...waiting patiently, gathering dust...but hopeful.  Above the shoes...a collection of belts...tasteful, stylish, Kimmy...Heaven around her waist.
         And this dress...my absolute favorite...Kim made my heart stop every time I saw her, but this put me into immediate cardiac arrest every time!!  This was a great beach dress, when Kimmy was so tan...
          Our closet, doorway to the past...
          - "Some say I'm out of sight, how I run and we're all so blind.
             If you could open up your eyes, you could see what I couldn't describe.
             Then you'd see the signs, then your soul would be set free, and then you would be released."
        The wooden hangars...over the years, Kim would buy some wooden hangars on sale here, pick some up at a yard sale there, until our closet was consumed by them.  She hated plastic ones.  Being short, she'd sometimes go to grab a shirt on the top bar too quickly, snapping the plastic hangar.  She hated when that happened.  If she hated plastic hangars, then she despised wire ones.  'They lose their shape almost immediately and give my clothes quasimodo shoulders!'.  Quasimodo.  Shoulders.  She killed me. And, if I slipped one back in the closet - she'd pull her best Joan Crawford on me 'NO MORE WIRE HANGARS!!' she'd screech, cracking me up every time.
         Kim's party box, nestled undereath the bottom rack of her blouses, mostly obscured from sight...trailing streamer, giving it away.  She had a different banner for everyone's birthday...gift bags (mostly recycled, but not for regifting!), balloons, tissue paper, assorted wrapping paper and sometimes, a stray card or two...always ready to celebrate.

Her whimsical AC DC tote bag hangs off the back of the closet door - waiting to be packed for a picnic or the beach or some other fabulous road trip...and her Singer sewing machine waits, and waits...Autumn pulled it out one day, excited to sew a patch on her jeans "Mama showed me how to use it!" she exclaimed.  I was excited too, but, alas, neither of us knew how to load the thread...
-"Tell me where am I supposed to go?
 Who am I supposed to believe?
If you only knew what I knew.
Then you could see."
        I try to tell the closet - but it's no use.  It fools me every day.  You might think I'd be mad at the closet for its lies.  Or shy away from it - maybe get my clothes from somewhere else, but no...it's nostalgic.  I imagine I can still catch Kimmy's scent and see her selecting her clothes for her day...always so thoughtful. 
        I knew a guy once, who told me he had created a prayer sanctuary in his closet.  Each morning and evening, he would go in his closet, kneel down and pray...I've thought about that over the years...I guess this is as close to that as it comes.  It is almost a comfort to see Kimmy's stuff (and at the end of the day, that is all it is- 'stuff')...like a stray ray of sunshine...
        -"There's nothing worse than feeling like a ghost..."
        How many times a day do you go into your closet?  I figure I got into ours at least three times a day, more if I'm lucky.  The closet tells me lies...but they are sweet lies...



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Acts of KIMness

        Thanks again, Dale Hoffner, who came up with this phrase...that not only fits, but is functional.  Kim was big on 'functional'. When she looked at bringing in a piece of furniture into our home, or if there was something I wanted, she would ask 'Dave, is it functional?'...it couldn't just look good, it had to be somehow useful beyond aesthetics.

         Wanted to share some more of Kim's journal and here's a couple of entries from November, 2003, when Tonio would have been all of 4 months old, we were sleeping in Cody's old room, in our old house, after Kim converted our master bedroom into the boys room, even though Tonio slept with us!

     November 18, 2003
                Cody met me at his gate at school with a little treasure box carrying his other front tooth!  He lost it during Megan Thelan's birthday party at school.  Tooth fairy visit tonite!

               -And you can bet Kim took plenty of photos of Cody without his tooth!

     November 27th 2003
           Happy Thanksgiving!  We spent the holiday with our friends and neighbors Courtney and Shawn Hoffman.  Shawn cooked the turkey and everyone brought the side dishes.  We made corn pudding casserole, pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, cranberry sauce and brought wine.  Tonio enjoyed his first Thanksgiving and all the attention from our friends.  Cody and Autumn played with Hope and Noah and enjoyed stealing whipped cream and pumpkin pie when no one was watching!

           -I can tell you, Shawn was a fabulous cook!  When ever they asked what we were doing for dinner, I would drop everything and get over there!  Kim made the best pumpkin roll and cranberry sauce!!

          You know, I have a good commute to Barnes & Noble at the Foothills Mall - it's about 36 miles each way...so I have plenty of time to think and reflect...some days, I can't remember anything...nothing...and it's not a good feeling - as if there is a void, a chasm that has opened up and swallowed the life I shared with Kim...I was having one of those mornings, flying down, or up, I-10 at 75 miles per hour - when, all of the sudden, I heard Kim say "I watched for you on the news today and waved at you!"...
         I would always call and talk with Kim on my way to work and on my way home - it sure made that drive very pleasant - and seem so quick!  During my first two years with Barnes & Noble, I-10 was under construction as they added lanes in both direction.  They had several camera spots that they would show on the news, so you could get a sense of traffic flow (reminded us of the live cameras they put at watering holes in Africa that you can watch on .com's to see wildlife!).  And Kimmy would watch the news religiously, hoping for a glimpse of my truck going by on my way to work...she was so sweet.
          In fact, sometimes she'd just want me to call out for the day so we could spend it together.  And when I'd explain that I really shouldn't do it (I sure wish I had!), she would say, 'OK, but don't tell me that you are going to work...just say you are going to run a couple of errands and will be right back.'  She told me it wouldn't seem that I was gone so long if I told her that...
         So my drives now are mostly quiet...I turn up the music to drown it out...

          A full moon as I tailed the bambini parade out back to say goodnight to Mama...always makes things interesting...Tonio ran to the side of the house to get a better look and jumped up and down with delight over the beauty of it and insisted we all come over to see - it sure was beautiful...


Sunday, May 15, 2011

More Relay for Life...

            Aimee Snyder, chair of the Relay For Life at Rincon Vista, Kimmy's school, took some great photos of the event that I just have to post (and reported that Rincon raised just under $700 for Kimmy's Foundation!)...
                                         The Kimpossible banner!! 
                                       Hadley and Autumn made their own, sweet, banners to carry as we took laps for Kim, letting everyone know why they were there and who they were walking for.
                     Here's the luminaria that I made for Kim, lit up, shining bright, like Kimmy....I love this photo, that I took of her last year, as she worked in the garden out back...
                         Tonio made this one of himself, Bella as a pup and Mama...
                               And here's Aut's bag, with her favorite picture of Mama at Laguna beach...this is a good photo and classic Kimmy!
                              Thanks to Aimee for sharing these!!! 
                             The bambini just stayed up to watch for Janene's event on the 10:00 news, but sadly, most of the piece got cut - we did see Andrea directing traffic and a glimpse of Autumn's back - it was nice that they mentioned Kimmy's Kut-a-Thon!

Kimmy's Kut-a-Thon!!

         As I walked from the parking lot to Janene's salon...her son Brendon, greeted me 'Hi Dave, are you ready for this?'..."Yep.  How about you?"...'I dunno', Brendon answered nervously...
       It was a perfect day...Janene has worked so hard towards making this a smooth and successful day - and she more than pulled it off, with incredible attention to every detail!  She had 9 stylists ready to handle the crowd (thank you stylists for working on your day off and donating every penny to Kimmy's Foundation!!), she had their stations numbered and tickets to hand out so customer knew where to go (thanks Sandy for helping run the organization of the customers!)...she lined up help to wash hair (thanks Andrea, Bianca and Lupe for washing hair!!)...she had ladies come in to do nails, in case it got busy and people would like to have their nails done while they waited to get a hair cut (thank you Head Over Nails who came over from 7605 e Speedway to help out!)...she had her son Brendon and my son Cody, sweeping up hair, her husband Brad set up, cleaned during the event, etc...she had her mom, Angie, washing and drying towels (and feeding me veggies), she partnered with Kenny at Arizona Pizza (who gave out free slices and a donation to the event, thanks Kenny - oh, and educated me on Fat Tire's new Somersault beer, which was delightful!)  and the Shishkebob house, who gave out gyro samples and gave a donation, too!!  She bought umbrellas to set outside for shade, and set up tables and chairs on her back porch for folks to hang out.  She set up Alisha Peru for live music...Her sister, Andrea, also brought out her lemonade stand, so the kids could contribute, and a lot of lemonade!! They made $63!!
                                    Breanna, Autumn and Antonio wait patiently to sell lemonade!!

Brad and Mario strap down the shade tent for the kids to sell lemonade.

And the first customers through the door...?....The Bunch family!!  Aunt Mary waits with Hunter for her 'do.

                                                     Ami and Ethan prepare for his cut...
                                          Brian explains the style Colton would like.
                                          Mary and Hunter are ready to go!
                                       Well, Hunter isn't too sure, so Andrea entertains her with a lady bug toy!
Amy gets her hair washed, while protesting this picture!
                                    Janene is getting interviewed by channel 4 news while cutting Amy's hair
                                           Anabelle and Jaxson Pearson get the treatment!
Alisha Peru performed live out front!  She is an amazing talent - check her out at alishaperu.com!! Alisha sold CD's and wristbands and contributed to Kimmy's Foundation.  She is a sophmore in high school and very community oriented, like Kim was.
                           The Bunchkins enjoy some refreshing lemonade out front after their cuts.  Tonio spent the entire day out front (about 6 hours!!!) helping sell lemonade.  They made $63.00 for Kimmy's Foundation!
                                Alex, Cody, Tonio, Lexy, and Autumn drink lemondade - Andrea brought this cute little lemonade stand (she bought it at Toys R Us about 10 years ago while I was still managing that store!).
Flashback inside!  And Janene is still working on Amy's hair and getting filmed...talk about multi-tasking!  Seriously, Janene had it dialed in all day long!!  The reported, Jeff Westlake, was the same reporter who interviewed Amy, Alex, Cody and myself during our snow storm a few months ago...he had Alex and Cody bean him with snowballs for the piece! 
Today, he got us on the 5:30 news on ch 4 and it will be shown again at 10:00.
                             Cody's teacher, Mrs. Archuletta, her husband, David and son Aaron came out to support the event!!  She has helped Cody maintain high grades AND a high morale!!
                    Tonio's little buddy, Monsi, is all smiles as she gets her hair done...
                      Meanwhile, David, Manny and I are sampling some of Kenny's finest products next door at Ken's Pub - he makes some of the best pizza in Tucson!!  And I am a tough pizza critic!!!  Here, Manny and I enjoy a new offering by Fat Tire called 'Somersault', while David enjoys a Dos XX.
The afternoon got really slow, so we all started to help the cause by getting hair cuts, too.  Janene perfects Angie's hair...I even got a cut (and Janene actually let me pay!!), Autumn got a cut and her nails done!
                         Oh, here's Autumn getting ready for her cut, Andrea shampoos her hair with Monsi's help!
                                           And Janene turns Autumn into a little princess....
                                             The nails came out beautiful!!

Incredible day!  Janene called later, very excited, to tell me the event had raised just over $2,000 for Kimmy's Foundation!!  She was over prepared for a crowd, handling the initial rush flawlessly, and even though only the first hour was busy, the  people who did come out to help us, dug deep and gave generously!! 
Thank you all who came out to help!!!
Thank you Kenny and everyone at Arizona Pizza/Ken's Pub and everyone at Shishkebob House!!
Thank's Alisha Peru and family for the wonderful music!
Thank you everyone who worked the event, Lupe, Bianca, Angie, Andrea, Sandy, Brendon, the Lemonade Stand Kids (Lexy, Autumn, Breanna, Tonio, Monsi, Cody), The Perrini's.
And thank you to Janene, who thought of, planned and executed this great event, her husband, Brad, who worked so hard and to all of the stylists who contributed their day!!

                On the way home, I had some stow-a-ways, Monsi and Alyssa Perrini...we were parched, so stopped by Circle K.  Field trip!  I let the lady at the counter know that we were on a field trip to discuss beverage economics: how any size drink is only .79 cents at Circle K!  I could tell she was debating wether or not to call the men in the white coats or just decide to go along with it...she decided to ask what the occaison was...so I pretty much told her, verbatim, what I just told you all...so she did not make the call to have me comitted...which was nice.  The Perrini's and Barrios' brough Subway over for the kids to enjoy and to celebrate the successful day!
    The bambini were tired when we just went out to say goodnight just now...but they want to make it to see the news at 10:00...they enjoyed being a part of Janene's wonderful event, for their Mama...and appreciated the work everyone did...and are excited for the people who will be helped by the money raised.  I know we will all be dreaming about our day tonight... : )
"God loves a cheerful giver" Corinthians 9:7     And we had them out at Janene's today!!!