We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Saturday, September 24, 2011


               This has been the year of the baby! It seems as if a lot of Kim's favorite people had a baby, or will soon.  As you've seen, Mary Montes and Brinley.  Jenny Rienstra and Nathan.

              Today, it was Kim and Rashon!  Congratulations to them on the birth of their beautiful daughter, Maleah Roshell.  Born at 12:38 today, weighing in at 6lbs 8oz and 19" long!!
                                                            What a precious little blessing!

                        These two are a great couple, already parents to two wonderful children, Mariah and Micah - we were all very excited to greet Maleah into their family!

                        Kim had Maleah at St. Joseph's hospital, right where all three of the bambini were born.  She actually worked last night (remember, she is an RN there on the 5th floor).  I had been texting her last night around 11:30p.m., asking her advice on a shoulder problem I'm having (and she was right on with her answers!).  Around 1:45 a.m., she began having contractions...she actually, stoically, made it through most of her shift, completing rounds and preparations before a technician helped her walk downstairs to maternity to have her baby around 4:30 a.m.!!! 
                       Angie called us bright and early to give us the news, that Kim was in labor.  Ahh, St. Joe's.  Great stairs!  My Pumas are the best running wear I've ever owned!!  We've been so looking forward to meeting little Maleah.  Angie and her family are amazing in these types of situations.  Angie, Andrea and Janene rotated between Kim's room and the waiting room.  Well supplied with Starbucks etc.  Incredible support, while keeping the communication flowing to everyone.
                       It was a long labor, and, being up all night, Kim was understandably exhausted, but healthy, thankful and in good spirits, as always.  Prayers answered!

                       Kim was always very fond of Kim and Rashon.  They always treated us as though we were their aunt and uncle. Including us in their children's birthdays, etc.  Allowing me to help them find their home for them, despite having another uncle in the real estate business.  So, it was comforting, that when Kim was placed on the 5th floor for much of her treatment at St. Joseph's, there was Kim to help her through the night.  Kimmy so appreciated that.  So did I.

                       When we went out back tonight, to say goodnight to Mama, all the bambini blew their kisses skyward.  We began to walk back in and Tonio said "I still can't believe Kim had her baby today!  She is so beautiful."...


PS Ok Casey, you're next!

Friday, September 23, 2011


                           The first day of autumn...always our favorite season.  Growing up, we loved the cool, crispness in the air and the smell of the coke plants, belching out sulphur from the Bethlehem Steel the unmistakable smell of the change of season was always nice.
                           Kim and I liked to walk up South Mountain and see the leaves change.  The colors so brilliant - reds, yellows, oranges.  We'd collect the prettiest leaves to take home so Kim could press them and save them, to remember our walk together.
                           The Delaware Water Gap was another favorite spot of ours to drive to to see the leaves change, do some hiking, watch the mighty Delaware river (remember when that guy, Washington, crossed its waters?). 
                           Kim loved to be able to break out her long sleeved shirts and sweaters.  I always thought she looked so pretty in her sweaters.  But, she just plain always looked pretty.
                          One day, as we walked, she said to me 'If we ever have a little girl, let's name her Autumn.'  I was so blown away by the moment, I could only stare into her eyes, smile and nod. 
                           And so it was, many years later, in the delivery room, as I tried to help the nurse flip Kimmy to her other side, that I noticed the baby coming on her own and was able to assist in the delivery - so excited (panicked?) that I never did see the gender.  Finally, Kim said "Well?  Is it a girl or a boy?"  That's right, she wanted it to be a surprise.  She never found out what we were having for any of the three kids. "Because there are so few true surprises in life..." she told me.
                          "It's a girl!" The nurse told us.
                           Kim looked at me, fixing her eyes, no locking them on mine - like magnets, I could never look away - smiling, the first tears brimming around her eyes..."Autumn" she said.

                          Today, we celebrated the first day of Autumn.  Taking a walk in the desert early this morning, Tonio observed how many new flowers had bloomed.  I told him that this was our autumn.  You hear so many people, who have transplanted themselves, sigh and say 'wish the leaves changed' or "I miss that or I miss this about fall', but what they are really missing, is the incredible beauty right here - even Tonio gets that.  The desert is so green right now, thanks to the rains we have had and the wild flowers were stunning as we took our walk.  As was the wildlife.  We saw chipmunks, a jack rabbit, a coyote and two road runners.  These guys appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.
                         The mornings are cool and the evenings so enjoyable.  Autumn is here...and we plan to enjoy every moment of it...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A couple of things:

    One more month until Kimmy's dinner! We still have so much to do, but it is coming together.  Tickets will be available at Desert Sky, Rincon Vista, Cottonwood, Desert Willow, Empire and Viro's.  Vito worked it out that check writers can make checks for the dinner payable to Viro's, and then he will cut a check to Carondelet and he set it  up so you can pay with credit card at his restaurant and at Desert Sky!
     We've decided to use the proceeds from Kim's dinner to go towards helping build the chapel at St. Joseph's.  I feel that it is important for families, patients, nurses, doctors, technicians, etc to have a place to go find peace and to pray if they want to.  Many years ago, Kim and I talked about what we would do if we hit the lottery.  I told her I'd like to build a church in our neighborhood that our community could walk to on Sundays.  Like we did when we were young.  She said 'If we hit the lottery for enough, we could build a park and a school next to it.'  I haven't attracted any sponsors yet for the dinner...so if you have a good contact for one...let me know!!

        Next thing.  'Kimmy's Kitchen', a cookbook, is finished!  It will be about 100 pages and production began on Monday.  It will, of course, feature all of the wonderful Italian recipes that Kim made for us (and a lot of you) over the years, along with one for her tortilla soup, which was so good.  And, it will have stories, quotes and photos.  Coming soon!!

         Speaking of Viro's, we got home from there, after a late dinner, around 9:00 P.M.  Sharing some food with the Perrini family and the LaPlant family (and a wonderful cappuccino made by Brianna!!)

We had been over at the school until around 7, talking to parents about the upcoming election and Prop 405. We're hoping this one passes. Kim had worked so hard to get Prop 404 passed, before she got sick last fall and it missed by 99 votes. We are left with the consequences of it not passing. Autumn's class now has 30 students.  Cottonwood no longer offers Art.  This was one of Kim's passions.  She was such a talented artist and would get so excited when Mrs. Peck would teach the kids 'perspective' or some other art technique.  These were things that most elementary school children never learn and she felt we were blessed to have such a talented art teacher teaching our children.  Cody's classes have 40 students.  These teachers are so talented, making the least amount in our county and delivering the best test scores and education.  The tax increase would be about $5.00/month and go to help our children.  And I'm not a hysterical parent, it's certainly not the end of the world if it does not pass.  However, I would hope that voters value their children and their education.  And I hope that people prioritize better.  If you have to cut a tax, do away with your cable - look at the amount of tax you pay per month to have 250 channels! Anyway, I don't want to turn this into a political forum, but, you know what I'll be working hard on over the next month and a half until election day! 

Finally, the highlight of our day...We got to meet Nathan Rienstra!!


Jenny stopped by today and we were amazed that Nathan is already 10 lbs!!  He's such a sweet baby, making little cooing sounds all the while that Tonio held him!  And Jenny was very nice (and brave) to allow Tonio this honor!   It was great to see her, the kids all miss her - she is going to be a great mom!

Lupe and Monsi joined us to meet Nathan, too!

It's been good meeting our favorite teacher's new blessings - Mary and Emilio Montes' Brinley and now Nathan...can't wait to meet Casey and Jack Rudzena's (Aut's teacher) Jackson!!

And that's what they are, blessings...it goes too quick!  Enjoy every moment of it...before you know it, they will be in high school - just ask Cody!

Thanks for listening, Dave

PS:  I added a new song, #13, to the song list.  It's one of the greatest love songs I've ever heard.  It's by Cake.

"It's been a long time
Since I've seen your smiling face.
It's been a long time
Since I've seen a sunny day."

Yes, Kimmy enjoyed Cake - we always loved the trumpet parts.  Makes me wish I could play one!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


              Where have I been?  Phoenix.  Right next to the sun.  It is damned hot up there.  Unnaturally hot.  But, it's a dry heat!

               We had our regional meetings for Barnes & Noble.  I always dread them, because, they take me away from my family.  And my store (like family!).  And, I guess, I kind of approach them with something of a bad attitude, as in, 'I've been around for so long, I already know it all.'  Case in point.  Day 1 featured leadership training entitled 'Coaching in the Moment'.  A course I first went through with Toys R Us back in 1990 and have dozens of refresher courses. 

               This year was different.  When I got there, I plopped down my stuff and dropped into my chair.  I had just made it.  Barely.  I got there 10 minutes early and decided to check in quick.  Only to get lost in the maze of hotel that was between my room and the conference room.  I was only separated by one floor.  How hard could that be?  Just when I thought I'd never make it, I burst out of a double set of doors and into a large lobby.  My cell phone rang.  It was my District Manager.  As I answered it, I looked across the lobby..."Hi Russ, look up"  I said.  He laughed.  I had arrived.
             In more ways than one.  As I said, I plopped my stuff down - consisting of a pen, my large Phillies cup of water, and a notebook/planner thingy that I grabbed hastily as I tried to exit the house that morning.  I sat down and opened it up...I can't quite describe the warm feeling I got as I saw that I had grabbed Kim's Volunteer Coordinator notebook from Rincon Vista...it was a comforting feeling, "I am here with you" feeling.  And I thought, looking at Kim's neatly written notes from her Vail School District meetings, "Kim would make sure she got the most out of this meeting, no matter how much she knew".  And in my case, how much I thought I knew.  So, I did - I participated vigorously.  I never speak up at meetings unless I have something to contribute - there are a lot of people who like to hear themselves speak or feel like they better say something to impress the District Managers and Regional V.P.  I spent the day engaged and it felt good.  I could feel Kimmy's presence.
             I had planned to commute after the meeting, knowing I would get home very late and be back on the road very early.  But, Andrea told her Mom, Angie, what my plan was and she said she'd stay at our house with the bambini.  I told the bambini.  They were excited.  And so, after the meeting, my friend, Andy and I headed to Chase Field to see the Dbacks play the Pirates.  I missed the kids, but did not feel the anxiety that sometimes plagued me over the last few months.  I knew they were in great hands, with someone who cares for them. 
             Autumn was so sweet.  She drew me pictures and made me a card.  Kim would always send me along with something for good luck and a picture of her and the kids for me.  She called me around 8, apologizing "Daddy, I'm so sorry, I didn't think you would pick up, I wanted to leave you a message, I didn't want to disturb your meeting!"  I told her I was at the Diamondback's game.  "That is so cool!" she squealed.  Angie said they waited on her hand and foot.  Autumn showing her where a clean towel was.  Tonio asking if she needed anything.  Cody too.  And they invited her out back before bed to say good night to Mama.
             The Dbacks lost 5-3, but it was good to see some baseball.  Andy and I marveled over the cavernous stadium, with an announced crowd of 24,000 in a 60,000+ stadium.  And the Diamondbacks are in first place!

            I ran the steps at the hotel when we got back.  And again at 6 a.m.  The staircases not as interesting as St. Joseph's, but fine.
            My other problem with meetings, is sitting.  Like a shark, I need to keep moving or I will die fall asleep.  Special thanks to Angie, her daughter Kim (RN on Kimmy's floor at St. Joe's), Jaimelyn, Casey and Jenny for the text messages to keep me alert!  Good stuff, though, we had a big session on Barnes & Noble's seasonal strategy - should be an exciting holiday season!  Before the economy went south, these meetings used to be very dynamic.  They were giving out so much free stuff, you just had to pay attention.  I'd bring back boxes of new books, dvds, cds, t-shirts,etc for the family and for work family.  They'd also have big authors speak and then sign copies of their books for us. Jody Picoult, Joe Hill (Stephen King's son), Laura Numeroff (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie), Janet Evanovich, Peter Yarrow (Puff the Magic Dragon), Robert Sabuda, the pop up book genius, etc., etc.  It was riveting.
            Our RVP, Stephanie, gave me such a warm welcome, she has been very supportive.  I still remember, meeting her in Dallas, for my second interview with Barnes & Noble.  She asked why I wanted to leave Linens 'N Things.  I told her I was looking for a company, that would provide me with more time to be with my family.  She told me, that Barnes & Noble was the place!  Furthermore, she told me, if I wanted to, she would fly Kim to Dallas, so she could talk to her personally about how wonderful Barnes & Noble is!!  Amazing.  When I told Kim that story, she was sold!
Picacho Peak.  You can see it coming for many miles, so beautiful on the horizon.  When we moved here, Kim and I pledged to hike it.  However, after a couple years working as a vet tech at Ventana Animal Hospital, she had heard plenty of horror stories about hiker's dogs dying, being bit by rattle snakes and there were numerous reports of mountain lion sightings and several attacks.  On young couple, set out to hike Picacho...about half way up, she suffered a heart attack.  He was rushing back down the mountain to get help, slipped and fell to his death in a crevice...needless to say, we did not hike Picacho Peak!

            I missed Kimmy most during the meetings, at breaks and lunch.  That would be my opportunity to quick call her and to see how her day was going...
            Getting home tonight, the bambini all hugged me so tight (thanks Lupe, Manny, Monique and Joe for taking the kids to school and picking them up and feeding them, etc!!), it was so good to see them.
             So it all worked out fine...I was worried, until I found out Angie was staying with them, but, I could have avoided the worry.  Today, the Saint of the Day is St. Matthew and he tells us that God says "Do not worry about tomorrow.  Tomorrow will take care of itself."
           And it did.



Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sorry for the delays...

   I find myself with writer's block, more often, as, over the last few weeks, the weight...and distractions, have begun to take their toll...it was a challenging weekend, and this week will be too...So, here is another of Kimmy's Journal entries to keep you company until I come back:

         May 9th, 2004

                     "It's the day before Autumn turns 4!  We're up late decorating and wrapping our princess's gifts.  Where has 4 years gone? Tomorrow, for her birthday, she wishes to go to the Desert Museum. 
                     We have our walk through for the new house at 1:00 - then, her dance class is at 5:30!  We'll pick up cupcakes for her dance buddies and have a little mini party, with Lexy coming over to our home later.  I hope her birthday is as special to her as she is to all of us!
                    Today is Mother's Day.  Dave gave me a beautiful card and a gorgeous mother's ring with all of the kid's stones - together, they make up the Italian flag! (Autumn= emerald, Cody = diamond and Tonio = ruby).  We all went to Viro's for breakfast and had omelets and fruit and all the goodies on the buffet.  Even Tonio enjoyed sampling everything!
                    I am so blessed to have this wonderful family!"

                   Ahhhhh, we were so blessed to have a wonderful woman in our lives, Kimmy...

                  It being Sunday, we went to Mass at Our Mother of Sorrows, with Angie, her sister Ala and Henry, Andrea and Lupe, while the kids went to C.C.D.  Then,  we found ourselves at Viro's for that very buffet that Kim raved about seven short years ago.  Rose and Vito joined us, along with Andrea, Lexy and Breanna.  The omelets are still so delicious and the fruit was incredibly fresh.  How many bowls of Italian Wedding soup were consumed?  I lost count!  We are blessed with these families!!

                 Much later, Tonio curious about those little corns you get in Chinese food, I told them the story about how, around this time of year, the hard corn, the kind we used to toss at houses around Halloween 'Tick Tacking', was nearly ready for picking.  Kim and I would go up to Lehigh University's fields on South Mountain (a hill, really) and walk through countless acres of it...sometimes we run through the rows....and play hide and seek, Kim would make these whippoorwill bird calls to give me clues to find her.  We'd often peel back a few ears, to see if we'd find any of the red or orange colored ears to keep for decorating for autumn...the air would be getting cooler and the smell of the fields was refreshing...

PS Another curveball...Autumn just lost a tooth!
              Kim was always so prepared for these events...looks like I will be sneaking out in a couple of hours!