We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Friday, July 15, 2011

Back to School !?!?!

             We are on 'year round' school here in the Vail School District.  A lot of none Vail parents do not like that idea.  I do.  I mean, shouldn't our kids be in school year round?  Just kidding.  I love the 'year round' thing, because the kids get multiple breaks throughout the year, instead of one long, drawn out summer.  And who wants to be off during August in Arizona anyway when it is hotter than hades and 100 degrees from 9 a.m. through 9 p.m.?  Better to be in the air condition splendor of a class room and then have three weeks off for fall break, the last week of September and first two weeks of October, when it is cooler out and an excellent time to hit the California theme parks with no crowds!

              But the summer did go flying by...I never once thought 'can't wait until the kids go back to school.'  It was so nice to be with them and help them continue to heal and create good summer memories with them.

              In fact, it was something akin to shock that I remember tonight was 'Meet the Teacher' night.  A formality, as I've known the bambini's teachers for many years...and Autumn had Mrs. Rudzena last year, who gave one of the finest presentations to us parents that I have ever seen.  Autumn is so excited to have her again this year (no, she wasn't held back - we were blessed that Mrs. Rudzena moved up to teach 6th grade!).  She is such an excellent teacher and, having lost her father to cancer 4 years ago, has been a great comfort for Autumn. But, I wanted to go to see everyone, and let Autumn and Tonio see all of their friends and classmates.  And to support our new principal, Mrs. Mayeux - who did a great job keeping things moving along tonight! 
             Tonio was also feeling a little nervous about moving on to 3rd grade.  He wanted to know who was going to be in his class.  And, although he has known Mrs. Rienstra for years (Autumn's 3rd grade teacher!), I think he just needed to talk to her one on one in her classroom to see that she truly is a nice person.  Mrs. Rienstra did a great job, too.  She was very upbeat and set the kids at ease.  She is due to have a baby boy, Nathan, on September 9th, looks great and seems to have more energy and enthusiasm than ever!  We are excited to have her this year.

           Time flies...as I said, the summer went by so fast - and so has a year.  It seems like so short a time ago, Kim and I were attending 'Meet the Teacher Night' for Tonio going to 2nd grade and Autumn to 5th.  We got there early, to be able to talk to parents about impending budget cuts that would affect our children and their education.  Kim was so passionate about that.  After Mrs. Bryson opened the evening, to a crowd of parents in the MPR room, she asked for nominees for the Site Based Council, a group of teachers/parents/administrators that guide policies for the school and help advise the principal on issues, Kim raised her hand and nominated Mimi Thomas, a hard working, dedicated parent, who went on to get elected to the council that night.  Kim, the 'I'm a behind the scenes person', had just shaped leadership for the year, and got behind the movement to appeal for more dollars for our schools to be able to keep art/music/p.e. and smaller class rooms...unfortunately, she was unable to see this movement through, before getting sick (and we've lost art and classroom sizes are increasing rapidly - Autumn's up to 29 students in her 6th grade class.  When Cody was in 6th grade, three years ago, he had 18 in his class.).  She also stepped up to be co-vp of the PTSA (pulling me along as the other co!).  Passionate about our school wouldn't begin to do Kim justice...she believed strong education was not an option and worked diligently as a district employee, a volunteer and a parent to help deliver that.  She walked the walk.
           There were constant reminders of all she contributed to Cottonwood and our children tonight...and as we left Mrs. Rienstra's class, Lupe (who's daughter Monsi will be in Tonio's class again - they were thrilled!) and I looked towards the setting sun...where there was a handful of incredibly shaped clouds, touched by the setting sun, turning them brilliant shades of pinks and peaches...I stopped walking and shut my mouth, staring.  I noticed that Lupe had done the same.  And she said 'Kim'.  I nodded and said that sometimes I think I force it, to find Kim in every little thing...Lupe said, "No Dave, she's here".  I knew she was, I could feel her the entire time we were there...the brilliance of the clouds and the sunset just woke me up to it.

             We've got a weekend left together.  This 55 days has gone so much faster for us all than the 55 days that we had Kimmy before she passed.  We've tried to make the most of every day and every moment...
             This morning, we started our day at San Xavier Mission...it is the feast day of St. Bonaventure, an Italian Franciscan, same order of the Mission, who is considered one of the greatest theologians and philosophers of Christianity.  He was declared a Doctor of the Church and remains, to this day, as one of the most important authorities on the interpretation of Christian thought among Catholics.  Google him.  He was pretty deep.
          We chose to light a candle by St. Bonaventure's statue at the Mission.  It was Tonio's turn to light his inside the church and he placed it just below this statue.  Autumn and I took ours to Mary's chapel, where I cleaned Kimmy's photo and we lit our candles close to her picture.
          After Mass, we headed over to the zoo to meet Janene, her mother-in-law, Jane and her kids.  It was warming up, but our zoo has a lot of shade spots, plus a small splash park for the kids to stay cool and we had our zoo cups - free refills (thanks Kim!).  Janene had brought a ton of bread, and after the zoo, we walked to Reid Park, next door, to have the kids ride the little train and feed the ducks.

                                          Tonio, Tanner and Taylor (whoa, that's a lot of T's), feed the ducks.
                                                       Autmn throws bread to the birds.

                  The kids had so much fun seeing the animals...the elephant habitat that Kim worked to make a reality is coming along nicely.  It was a good morning, Janene had it all dialed in for us, and a great way to kick off our final weekend of summer vacation.

                  Oh, I almost forgot...I have a high schooler!  It's nearly an ungraspable idea.  We went and picked up his books, got his i.d. and had his 'health screening' yesterday, feeling every bit the cattle that we were for those couple hours that morning.  So proud of this guy...I know Kim is too.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


        When I was Tonio's age, I truly thought that my home town, Bethlehem, Pa, was the birth place of Jesus.  Yes I did.  How special, eh?  I thought so.  And up there, on top of South Mountain (more of a hill, really) was the Star of Bethlehem - PROOF! 
          I don't remember when, exactly, it was that I realized that there was a Bethlehem in some country called Isreal, where Jesus was really born.  I do remember realizing that our forefathers, who were desparate to get our of the old country, had absolutely no creativity when it came to naming places in the new country!
        I have some great pictures to share with you.  Of Bethlehem.  Pa.  Where Kim and I started.  Thanks to her niece, OUR niece, Niki.  She took time out of her busy life to capture these timeless, treasured places where so many memories of Kim and I and our youth are still alive...
        Niki is the loving mother of two, with her husband Matt.  She is the carbon copy of Kimmy - in looks, in heart and in spirit.  A wonderful woman.  I am blessed to have her in my life.  And here are the memories that Niki so lovingly captured for me to share with you:

        Here's where it all began.  715 5th Ave.  3 blocks or so from my house.  Downhill, so that it was conducive for skateboard transport (quick getting there, which was important...slow going back uphill so I could reflect on Kim).  In the early days, we rarely left the front porch...preferring to sit there talking.  Kim's bedroom, like mine, was on the 3rd floor.  Back in those days, we had no A/C up there.  It got pretty hot in the summer and pretty cold in the winter.  So what?  My buddy, Jimmy Kromer, lived in the house to the right of Kim's.  His bedroom window faced the side window in Kim's closet.  Back in 1984, when I was trying to convince Kimmy to get back with me for good, I remember talking to her from Jimmy's window...her sweet, smiling face beckoning...I could have lept from Jimmy's window through Kim's...and died trying...
              This is the back alley, where the garage was.  On these cement pads, if we only had a short time together, we'd set out little lawn chairs and get some sun together...It was also the back alley that I'd choose to drop Kim off at night...a little more private...and darker, than the front entrance.  We'd walk between the garages to say our goodnights...
              And here is Nitschmann Junior High (now Middle School), where Kimmy and I went and were in classes together.  We'd walk there and enter into in the right hand doorway.  There used to be a Boys entrance and a Girls entrance, before our time, thankfully.  The entrances had the gender engraved in the stone above the doorway.
           This is a civil war statue in the Rose Garden, across the street from Nitschmann.  Kim and I would walk through the roses and bring picnics here.  We'd often come at night to see band concerts and chase lightning bugs...
          And then there was Liberty High School.  Here's our football stadium.  We saw many games there together.  And they used to set off the fireworks from here.  We'd lay together on the soccer field and they would explode right over our heads.
                    Here's the main entrance. I'd wait for Kim after school near the black fencing.  Or across the street, from where Niki is taking this photo.  There was a drug store, called Kostas.  They had old fashioned fountain sodas and I'd buy Kimmy a vanilla or cherry coke for our walk home...two miles of bliss....
                This is the Language Arts building...the 'catwalk' that connects this building to the main building was not covered when Kim and I went there and you had to brave the rains and snows...we'd go to the ground level, where the library was, and cut across the bottom.  There was also a science building and the the gym, band room, weight room, etc. building.

              The Boyd theatre...where Kim and I saw such classics as "Herbie Rides Again"  and "Come Home Snoopy"...we'd pay $.75 or so to see first run shows, walking the 6 blocks or so to downtown Bethlehem.  It was a big, one screen theatre with a balcony.

            Here's Main St, viewed from Niki's car...Kim and I would come here often...I bought her engagement ring (that now hangs around my neck) at Musselman's on Main.  We'd go to a little mom and pop bagel shop here for breakfast.  My cousin, Josh, worked at a pastry shop, baking, on Main and he'd give us incredible pastries that he'd made.

           Sim's was a little market, on the corner of 5th and Broad, that our parent used to send us to for small amounts of groceries.  I'd love it when I'd run into Kim there...It used to be called Steve's.  I think Steve became the manager or the butcher or something when bought out by Sim's.  I could make it to Sim's via alleyways, virtually unseen.  Not sure why that was important...but, at the time, it sure seemed to be...

                   The Bethlehem Steel...once, the second largest steel producer in the WORLD.  Golden Gate Bridge?  Bethlehem Steel.  Our Dad's both worked here making the steel!

                The Star of Bethlehem...that drew the three wise man to baby Jesus...nestled atop South Mountain...Niki took a great night shot of this!  I was always fascinated by it as a kid.
It's hard to see during the daylight, but, atop the mountain, nearly dead center, you can see a nitch cut in the trees.  Kim and I once hiked up there to get a close up look at the star.  It was an Autumn day (yes, that is what inspired us to name Autumn, Autumn!) and the leaves were so bright - reds, yellows, oranges...in the crisp air...

That's it.  We sure enjoyed growing up there...but loved the move we made to Tucson so much, that we never looked back....

Today, 7/13, marks the 7 month anniversary of Kimmy's passing...time flies.  I received an invoice today, from the City of Tucson, from Kimmy's final ambulance ride to St. Joseph's.  I noticed that the date of service was 12/13...and the miles travled?  13. 

I woke Autumn, Lexy and Hadley today, at 11:00.  They told me they finally fell asleep at 5:00.  I had gone out at 4 and reminded them that I needed to get Lexy to Angie's house in the a.m. and Autumn to her teacher's classroom, Casey, to help set up for school.  I made them pancakes, bacon and hashbrowns.  We got to see Angie - she is doing so good, keep the prayers coming!  Her knee replacement is healing well.  The afternoon helping Casey and Julie Shivonanda set up their classrooms was nice.  Dedicated teachers.  And it was good to be back on campus with such positive people...
At the end of the day, following 7 months without Kimmy, I reflected on all I have to be thankful for...
Showers.  My Southwest family, who continues to buoy our spirits.  Teachers.  Healthy bambini!  The time I did share with Kimmy.

There you go.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On Funerals

           It was one of those odd, surreal type of days, where I found myself beginning my day at a funeral for the son of a friend, off on an insatiable search for a donkey and ending the day at 10P.M. at Sonic with a car load of kids...

            What do you say to the bereaved at a funeral?  Must you say anything at all, or is a firm hug and your presence enough?  I've had this conversation often, and feel that we all feel we need to come up with something to say, wanting to provide comfort in a time of need.  I've always felt awkward in this role, as no words can take away the pain of the moment, so feel so small coming out of my mouth...I thought of how Kim always knew what to say - so genuine and from the heart. 

             And when the funeral is for a child...it is impossible to make sense out of it.  As Cody said, when I broke the news of the passing of James Thelen, at the tender age of 12, he blurted out 'that is jacked up'.  He was initially mad...then numb. We talked about how fast life is and how important it is to cherish every moment and to appreciate what we have...as Kimmy always told us.
            The Thelan's were neighbors of ours, when we lived across from Cottonwood Elementary.  Some of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet.  Cody and their daughter, Megan, were in classes together since kindergarten and James was just ahead of Autumn in school.  
            So it was a shock - and I think the thing I thought to say 'I may not be able to understand exactly what you are going through, but I do understand loss...and am here to help', worked in this situation...I hope.  And, the comfort of knowing that James was greeted by Kimmy in Heaven...I hope helped.
            James' Mass was a nice one.  It was held at St. Rita in the Desert, where Kim and I used to go from time to time at the old chapel.  I thought the priest did a nice job tying in the readings and applying it to the situation...only, right now, I can't remember which verses he used, I left them at the church today. And the church was filled to capacity with well wishers.  Today, I was able to better take in the people that made up the crowd today. See things with greater clarity and detail. At Kimmy's Celebration, I was overwhelmed with the support and it was so heartwarming to see so many people there - but I could only take in small groups at a time, unable to process, or get my arms around the make up of the crowd.
            What I noticed today, was a loving community in that church.  There were representatives from the police department, the armed forces, neighbors, co-workes, relatives.  Teachers.  You know, as a child, I used to think that teachers had the greatest job.  Working 8-3.  Weekends and evenings off.  Summers and holidays off.  Right?  Then, my bambini went to school and I quickly came to find, the hours these teachers put in are more like 6-5 or until 6.  And then there are after school and weekend events.  Meetings.  Training.  Ongoing education.  Conferences.  Carnivals.  Fund raisers...someone please stop me when I've touched on them all.
           Today, it was crystal clear, that a teacher's comittment continues to extend beyond the school and beyond their current classrooms.  They become extended family in many ways.  They play such an important role in our children's upbringing.  The children, too, become such a big part of the teacher's lives. I was so touched to see many teachers and staff there today who had taught Megan and James and were there to show their support.  And, for once, I am at a loss for words to adaquetly convey how important these teachers/staff are to our families.
           The final piece of today's crowd really tugged at my heart.  James' football teammates who showed up wearing their jerseys.  The were scattered throughout the congregation, there to pay their respects to their fallen teammate...James was a smart, athletic young man and will be missed by all.
           God bless the Thelen's.  We will keep them in our prayers and pray for them to find peace.
          Again, I do know loss, but today's start, once again, put things into perspective for me...I am blessed.  Good family.  Good friends.  Healthy bambini.

          Later, I took Autumn and Tonio across town to look for a donkey...

         Autumn has wanted one for our garden for a while.  I thought they might have one at the place we picked out the St. Francis statue for Kimmy's nitcho.  We drove across town, to the west side and stopped in.  We saw a similar planter that was a goose.  They had colorful iguanas and lizards, but no donkey.  I thought of a shop over on Ajo and Mission that Kim and I used to go to get our pots when we first moved here and we headed south...only to find it has gone out of business.  So, we drove over to 12th and then down 6th...nothing.
      All the while I'm thinking 'why am I taking Autumn all over to find her a donkey?'...and it hit me.  Kim.  She loved donkeys.  Always asked me, if, one day we could buy a piece of land so she could own one.  And, like Kim, Autumn wanted to buy the donkey, not for herself, but for our garden, so we all could enjoy it.  It all made sense...but our search will have to continue on another day...

       Things got hairy, as it neared time for me to show some houses.  I went to drop the bambini off at roller skating, and Autumn got sick.  And, it was thanks to my super parenting skills.  She had eaten a small bowl of cereal around 9:30 a.m.  I dragged her around in 107 degree temps and around 2, she wanted something to eat.  A Dairy Queen was nearby!  How about a sundae?  Carmel!!  Tonio was the voice of reason, saying he thought he'd better have some lunch first.  So I got Aut the carmel sundae and headed to healthy McD's for some nuggets for Tonio.  "Maybe I should have some, too, so I don't eat junk at skating" Autumn said.  Great idea!!  She had already downed half of her carmel sundae and began piling in the nuggets.  As soon as we pulled up to the rink - barf-o-rama ensued!  She's so concientious, even when sick.  She grabbed her empty Happy Meal box, pulled her hair back into a pony tail, got sick and quickly put the box in the parking lot!  Then, she apologized. Talk about breaking my heart!! 
          Around 9:00P.M., we ran over to the skate park to pick up Cody and Brendon, who, after roller skating for 5 hours this afternoon, still had not burned off enough energy (especially considering, David, Brendon and Cody had stayed up until 4:30 a.m.)!  I had to drop Brendon off at Janene's, and had Lexy and Hadley, who are sleeping over with Autumn, Cody and Tonio - so, we ended up at Sonic at 10:00 P.M. - another great choice!  Actually, this ended happily, as the kids ate their ice cream (Autumn and Lexy got the rootbeer floats, Hadley opted for a lemon slush - and I did make them a nice, home cooked, pasta meal for dinner!) with no incidents and had a lot of fun - they love Sonic!

             So it was a day of high emotion...and running...and, ending the day on a positive note.  As we said good night to Kimmy, we asked her to watch out for James...the clouds were, once again, so spectacular tonight...




               Eight.  I always like to equate how old you are, to famous athletes who wear that number.  Kim always got a kick out of that.  Not too many I can think of that wear # 46, but #8...that's a fine number!  And we are blessed to have Tonio turn 8 today!!
             Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitols (shout out to my niece, Natalie, a huge Caps fan!), Steve Young, 49er's, Yogi Berra, New York Yankees (tipping my cap to Mario, a Yanks fan), Dale Earnhart, Jr (and one for Brad), Gennaro Gatutso (Italian soccer player tragically head butted by Zidane silly frenchman), and my all time favorite baseball player...Cal Ripken Jr!  Should be a good year for Tonio!!
                                                       Yes!  A Juventus soccer ball!!

              It has been a blessed 8 years...I thank God everyday for little Antonio.  And how sweet he is, and caring and big hearted.  Even this morning, as I was in a full sweat, baking my 2nd cake (and first ever carrot cake) - he stopped playing with his toys to come in and ask me if I could use any help.  He's always looking to help others.  Just like his Mama...By around 11:00 a.m., I had things under control (cake done, couscous made, veggie tray and salad ready to go)...so we went up to Brueggers for breakfast.  Tonio enjoys the sausage and egg bagel there.

          We took all of Tonio's friends to Skate Country!  He's getting pretty good and had a fantastic time!
                                                 Mitchell negotiates the corner like a champ!
              While we were skating, I was reviewing what I had prepped at our house for dinner and activities...and realized, I'd forgotten Tonio's pinata!!  He's had one every year.  Usually, I'd go over to the south side on 12th or 6th avenue, where they have the largest pinatas and the best design selection, not to mention prices!  I couldn't believe I'd forgotten this piece of Tonio's birthday tradition...
              So, we went back to our house and Papa John's delivered pizzas, that I was able to pre-order online at 8 this morning - how convenient is that??  And I broke out the salad, veggies, sliced water melon, couscous, chips, pretzels, etc...and in walked Andrea, carrying a pinata full of candy!!
              Talk about saving the day!  I never had to let Antonio know that there was no pinata this year!! Whew.  Bullet dodged.  She swung by Party City on her way our to our house and found this awesome Buzz Lightyear pinata with retractable wings!

                         Tonio gets in some good swings as Bella shouts advice and encouragement!  Brian perches on the ladder to hold one side of the rope.
Breanna and Tonio give direction to Tanner, who burst the pinata!

                                                The resulting mayhem was wonderful to watch!  I cannot imagine Tonio's bday without a pinata...he had so much fun, as did all of the kids who got a swing at it!
                     Everyone was so thoughtful and generous to Tonio.  He got at least 10 Lego sets!!  And no duplicates!  Amy and Tom went to the Lego store and picked out a set you cannot find at Target or Toys R Us.  He set to work building as soon as he was done with his cake.  He loved the Sponge Bob Lego sets that Andrea gave him - the pineapple house and the Krusty Krab!  I didn't even know they made Sponge Bob Legos!  His favorite was the cobra given to him by his buddy, Monsi and Lupe and Manny. 

                                           Here's Tonio, making a wish!  Everyone was kind and said the cake tasted good (but it sure was ugly!!).  I told them it was a boxed mix.  For years, I'd tell Kim to use a boxed mix, that nobody would know..."I'd know."  she'd tell me.  End of discussion. 

                Janene had the honors of cutting the cake!  Here she is with Kim containing the kids after we pumped them full of sugar!

               Tonio did have a special day.  So many people joined in to help me make it a great one for him.  It was one of those last 'big holidays' that I was facing - and, as it seems happens with 'big ones', I am able to immerse myself in the preparation and details of the event and those who attend help me out and it goes smooth...I've found it's actually the smaller holidays/events that turn out to sneak up on you and kick the legs out from under you (like my birthday and Father's Day - by far the hardest days of the year for me so far) - the big holidays, you see them coming from so far away, that you have plenty of time to prepare and surround yourself with postive people.  That was my goal for Tonio today - and it worked out. You know, I worked hard on the detail for Tonio today, but, mostly did it for Kim - having watched her, over so many years, put special, personal touches on every birthday 'because it's your special day!'  she'd say, from the heart. 
         Cody made out good today, too, having Andrea's oldest, David and Janene's son, Brendon sleep over....the boys built a fort and are watching classic movies - first Scream 2 and now Crank 2...good times.
              I'm surprised he's actually tired and wanting to go to bed right now, asking me to stop writing to go out back to say goodnight to Mama.  He told me she sent him two happy birthday signs today - he found dove feathers in our back yard this morning and we had a light rain this afternoon, and he likes this time of year when the monsoon brings us some beautiful rain.  The weather left an incredible array of swirling clouds above our heads, illuminated by the moon...I strained to make sense of them, looking for meaning, but could not...the rain smells so beautiful, though and the bambini commented on it.

                   Happy 8th Birthday Antonio!  We love you!!


           PS Oh, yeh, I'm Andy Pettitte - #46.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

More Little Things...

       As we head out of the weekend, and into the bambini's final week of summer, I'd like to reflect on some rememberances that surfaced over the last few days...

       Autumn has discovered Alphaville.  The group from Berlin, Germany, who had the hit single 'Forever Young' back in 1984.  It was a song that Kim loved, and that we slow danced to.  It held a special place in our hearts.  I won't go as far as to say it was 'our song' - you know, when you know someone for 33 years - one song just does not cut it.  We had many 'our songs'.  Forever Young will forever capture who we were back in the 80's, back when we really did not have a care in the world, except when we'd both be off of work and free to be together again.
      How Autumn came across Alphalville, is, that Cody found a remix of Forever Young by Jay Z.  I commented that it was a decent cover and her curiosity was piqued.  I dusted off the original CD, downloaded it for her, and she was hooked.  She loved the passion with which the songs are sung.  She loved the harmonizing...and then, I began to point out the lyrics, and how a lot of the songs reminded me of her Mama...
       A Victory of Love, was one of our favorites:
Is this heaven calling
Hello, hello, is somebody there, she must be somewhere
And then she says hello, hello, hello
She's really an angel
She stands in the sunshine
She's closing her eyes, she starting to dream
      I always told Kim, that, she was really an angel...for so many reasons, that I think I have clearly explained over the last 100 blogs or so.
     And then there was Sounds Like a Melody;
She's so soft and warm in my arms
I tune it into the scene
My hands are resting on her shoulders
When we're dancing away for a while
Oh we're moving, we're falling,
We step into the fire
By the hour of the wolf in a midnight dream
There's no reason to hurry
Just start that brand new story
Set it alight, we're head over heels in love,
Head over heels...

The ringing of your laughter
It sounds like a melody
To once forbidden places
We'll go for a while

It's the definite show
Our shadows resting in the moonlight
It's so clear and bright in your eyes
It's the touch of your sighs

    The song Fallen Angel had a lot of meaning to us...as did, of course, Forever Young.
Lets dance in style, lets dance for a while.
Heaven can wait were only watching the skies.
Hoping for the best but expecting the worst.
Are you gonna drop the bomb or not?

Let us die young or let us live forever.
We dont have the power but we never say never.
Sitting in a sandpit, life is a short trip.
The music's for the sad men.

Can you imagine when this race is won.
Turn our golden faces into the sun.
Praising our leaders were getting in tune.
The musics played by the madmen.

Forever young, I want to be forever young.
Do you really want to live forever? forever and ever.

Forever young, I want to be forever young.
Do you really want to live forever? for ever young.

Some are like water, some are like the heat.
Some are a melody and some are the beat.
Sooner or later they all will be gone.
Why dont they stay young?

Its so hard to get old without a cause.
I dont want to perish like a fading horse.
Youth is like diamonds in the sun.
And diamonds are forever.

So many adventures couldnt happen today.
So many songs we forgot to play.
So many dreams are swinging out of the blue.
We let them come true.

Forever young, I want to be forever young.
Do you really want to live forever? forever and ever.

Forever young, I want to be forever young.
Do you really want to live forever? forever and ever.

Forever young, I want to be forever young.
Do you really want to live forever? forever.
        Back in the day, we did think we'd live forever. And we had so much to live for.  We always believed we would just be together, forever and that when it was our time to go, we'd go together.  Kim would get pretty intense whenever I had to fly somewhere for a meeting...I'd try to ask her questions, to see what was bothering her, and she once told me 'I'm afraid that something will happen to you.  That you'll leave without me.'.  She never wanted to fly separately, in case of plane crash.  She just wanted to be sure that we went together.  Kim would pack my suitcases full of talimans and good luck charms to bring me back safely.  She would even go so far as to give me one of her favorite earrings and tell me 'see, now you have to come back so that I can wear this pair of earrings again.'.  I don't know if it is exactly irony when I think of how things have actually turned out.  I just always thought it would go the way Kim said - she had such conviction and confidence that there could really be no other way.  Well, she did tell me, in such an apologetic way, that 'this isn't what we had planned', before she left...

      So, as I ran the bambini ragged over the weekend, it was to growing requests for different Alphaville songs...and each child had their questions as the songs wound down:  'Did you ever dance to this one?'...'Was this one of your favorites?'...'Do you remember the first time you and Mama heard this one?'...'What were you doing/where were you when you listened to this song?'...'What part of this song reminds you of Mama?'...it was a little more than I could bear...but what choice do I have?  So, I did my best to enjoy the music and remember...sweet Kimmy...

                  Another weekend happening...Mass at San Xavier...these two will not leave my side and seem to really enjoy going to the mission.  I introduced them to several regulars that I have seen at Mass each week that I go over the last 7 months...We bought candles..."It's my turn to light my candle in the church!", Antonio said.  "OK, I'll light mine next to Mama's picture in Mary's chapel", Autumn replied.  The young man who does such a nice job keeping the chapel clean was just finishing up...he gave us a hearty greeting and asked how we were today.  "Good", the little ones told him. "We're lighting candle for our Mama", Tonio explained.  And, while I thanked him for keeping Kimmy's photo dusted for me, Aut and Tonio set about selecting the perfect location for their candles, lit them, and said a prayer...

                 The kids were thankful for the man who helped keep the Mission clean, and took care of Mama's picture.  They wanted to walk up the mountain today, and we did so under some growing cloud cover, as our monsoon is in full swing.  Kim loved this time of year for the smells, the dramatic storms, and how everything grew with the quenching rains.  We passed closely by the still damp creosete bushes and they smelled incredible.

The large, white cross on the top of this mountain is obscured by clouds...

                   It was a good morning to be at Viro's, as we met Janene, Brad and their family, Autumn's teacher, Casey and her husband, Jack and Tammy, who works at Cottonwood, and her children.  We literally ate and talked for two hours...!  I was able to lament to Vito, Vito Jr and one of the employees, Nick, about Fabio Cannavaro retiring.  He was the captain of Italia's 2006 World Cup team and a long time star for Juventus in the Italian Serie A (USA equivalent of NFL), my favorite team. 
                   Kim and I had watched the championship match of the '06 World Cup at Viro's.  Vito brought in a large screen t.v., had Nike shirts emblazoned with the Italian soccer team's insignia on the front and Viro's logo on the back, which he handed out to all of us.  We got pretty loud and it was a great time!
                   This morning, I just remembered how much Kim looked forward to going to Viro's after church.  Visiting with Rosa and Vito and eating and relaxing.  Now, it is nice to go there to meet up with friends and family.  I've told you how good the food is, but, also, when you walk through their door...it just feels like you are home...
                   We ate well, and then I took the bambini over to visit Angie and to see how her bionic knee was healing.  She's getting around very well with her walker and was in great spirits (no surprised there!).  We brought her some cannolis to help along the healing process!
                  Tomorrow is Tonio's birthday...the big 8.  And it will be a particularly challenging one for him...he told me several times this weekend, that he just wants to see Mama in person.  Today, he said 'My birthday is on a Monday this year.  Isn't that the day Mama died?'  And: "It will be on a different day next year?  Good."  We let him open a gift tonight, as is our tradition. Cody gave him a big City Lego set!  He quickly got to work building that, despite it being 10:00 p.m. and having had a looonnnngggg day running...
                I keep telling him he's got to get to bed, so that his birthday can start...we went out to say goodnight and Tonio blew so many kissed skyward, I nearly had to go back inside...the bambini loved the cool temps tonight, but were sad they could not see the Big Dipper...and now, Cody and Autumn are helping me decorate for Antonio's big day...