We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St Patrick's Day 2012

             Happy St. Patrick's Day!

             You know, for years I'd joke that this is another holiday tied into the Italians somehow.  People would say 'What??', and I'd say, surely you know that St. Patrick was not born in Ireland, he was not Irish.  Most people are aware that he was born in Scotland/Britain area, abducted at an early age, sold into slavery in Ireland.  He escaped and went on to teach people about God - using the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.  So, then, I'd joke that his parent were actually originally from Italy, making him Italian and therefore, the root of this holiday is Italian. 
             And here it is, right from my friends at Catholic.org, who are kind enough to send me a daily email with the 'Saint of the day'! 


             St. Patrick's parents WERE Italians!!!

           Anyway, aside from this hilarity, we took time to remember our good pup, Zona, who died this day in 2010 from spleen cancer, beginning the erosion of our family and our version of reality.  Now  it may be safe to read 'The Art of Racing in the Rain' by Garth Stein, if you have not already.  When Zona died, my Dad told me about this book.  But warned me to wait a period of time before trying to read it.  I tried to wait, but after a couple of months of staring at it each day I went to work at Barnes & Noble, I finally picked it up and cried like a baby...
            Zona was  a good girl, part Lab, part Aussie.  Kim loved that girl, once she got through the first 6 years of mayhem.  And, like Kim, Zona was never sick and showed no signs right up until the last three weeks of her life.  She literally allowed the bambini to use her as a pillow while they laid on the floor watching t.v.. She allowed Tonio to ride her like a pony.  She loved their extra strong hugs.  Her passing was quite a shock to us...and, looking back, Kim was starting to slow down, preferring to stay around the house rather than explore our beautiful city and state as we had become accustomed to over the years we lived here.
            Today, we lit candles for Zona and told our favorite 'Zona Stories'  Autumn loved the story that Mama used to tell her about how she was planting flowers, working with her head down and placing the flowers about 3' apart.  When she was finally done, she looked up to appreciate her hard work and admire the flowers...only to see that Zona had followed her down the line, pulling out the flowers and tearing them up!  She also remembered Mama telling her about how, at our old house, when Zona was a pup, we used to sequester her and Cajun in our hallway at night with a baby gate.  One night, we heard noises through our bedroom wall in our living room.  'Burglars!' we thought!  We carefully crept into the hallway, where Cajun greeted us with a 'I tried to contain her.', apologetic look...we entered the living room to find Zona on our couch happily shredding the throw pillows!  Cody said he loved playing tug-o-war with her.

              And this morning, I remembered our first St. Patrick's Day in Tucson, back in March of 1994.  Kim had discovered that there would be a parade downtown and off we went.  It wasn't on the scale to ones we had seen before, but we surely enjoyed ourselves.  We took her Mom and Jim to see this parade when they came out for Kim's 40th birthday - the kids fondly remember that! 
              So they were pretty excited when I woke them up to go see it (except for Cody and Brendon, who we took to see the University of Arizona NIT basketball game on Wednesday and ended up staying with us until Saturday!  We dropped those guys at the skate park!).

              Autumn took the pictures today....

She loved to see the Italian flag flying from Super Mario's hand!

And the camel...we paid $75 to fill up the Expedition on our way to the parade, speaking of camels.

My two little leprechauns (thank God for spell check!).

The British want to take St. Patrick back...

Autumn was scared of the clowns, relieved that they stayed on the other side of the street!

Tonio's little classmate, Bailey was on the other side of this float.

Autumn loved the Beagle rescue group

Tonio's favorite was the pirate ship...

And the intersection of Stone and Pennington had a great big shamrock painted on it!!  The little ones thought the parade was great and then wanted to celebrate St Patrick's Day by going to McDonald's for a shamrock shake!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kimmy's Birthday


                At the San Xavier Mission by 8 a.m., this place always takes my breath away as a flood of wonderful memories filter their way through my mind...Our time there was precious - for our wedding, Cody's baptism, Native American events, Mass or just to walk, hand in hand, to the top of Grotto Hill, always pausing to soak in the view of the little farms, so startling green against the desert background...
              (here, in this courtyard, Kim and I had our wedding pictures taken.  There is a large, beautiful Spanish fountain in the center with old olive trees surrounding it.  Hummingbird darted everywhere!)

              The hardworking caretakers of the Mission, Toni and Ivan, greeted me at the large, aged wooden doors leading into the church.  Over the last 15 months, we have come to know each other pretty well.  Feels like I've known them my entire life.  "Your heart looks sad this morning." Toni said after we exchanged 'good mornings'.  I explained to her that it was Kim's birthday and went inside to light her a candle.
              I soon felt a presence on either side of me and was surprised to see Toni and Ivan flanking me.  They proceeded to sing in their native tongue a birthday song for Kim.  They followed it with our birthday song, but in their language.  They then led me in prayer with a Lord's Prayer followed by three Hail Mary's.  It was moving and what an honor!  I could literally see Kim, smile beaming, tears streaming down her cheeks...

             In the afternoon, we had Father Harry come over to our house.  I knew I needed to have some snacks on hand and thought "What would Kimmy serve?".  I thought a cheese and cracker tray and some sort of veggie tray would do it.  After Mass, I stopped in Fry's thinking they would have pre-made trays.  Not so much, and certainly not Kimmy's way, anyway.  I didn't panic, instead choosing some veggies, a couple types of cheeses and some fruit.  I nearly forgot crackers, but made it to the overwhelming assortment available these days!  "OK Kimmy!  This is too much!!  What do I do?"  I pleaded to the Heavens.  As if on cue, I leveled my gaze, staring straight at some townhouse crackers flavored with olive oil and sea salt...perfect.  "Thank you Kimmy!" I sighed.
             Angie came over for the ceremony.  Father Harry was inspirational, leading us in prayer.  He then had each bambini take some holy water, say their own prayer and sprinkle Kim's ashes and the nitcho.  Angie and I followed.  During the prayer, the sun shone brilliantly and there were some beautiful clouds overhead...Kim's presence was unmissable, if that is a word.
             How appropriate that Kim's 47th birthday should fall on a Thursday?  Autumn talked about that all day!  It was on to Viro's with Father Harry packing extra holy water to bless Rose and Vito's bakery.

David and Cody shared calamari and mozz sticks.

Bri made Angie and I her famous cappuccino's and a white chocolate latte for Andrea.

                                   Little Maleah kept everyone entertained and Lexy, Mariah, Kim and Micha enjoyed some gelato.

                            Once everyone was in a food coma, Father Harry kicked it up a notch:

                            He began in Rose and Vito's office....

                            ...and doused the bewildered bread makers in the back with holy water...

Here's where Rose makes her magical pastries...duly blessed!

                          Our parade ended where it began, at our 'big table'...it was a nice day, one that Kim would surely have enjoyed...

                        And that was that.  It was a great feeling having Kimmy's ashes blessed...again?  I can't remember, back in the days of walking under water, if Father Harry ever blessed them for me.  Andrea believes he did...but, just in case!  So, it all made for a great birthday to remember.  And to celebrate...

                           Happy Birthday Kim!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cucumber Salad

        I didn't start out to write about cucumber salad tonight, but, once again, I am so jammed full of stories and it has been awhile...as I try to steer around the flotsam and jetsam, and carefully thread my words...so here's another great recipe for you to try...
    ...because we still find such comfort in the kitchen...Kimmy's Kitchen..

                                 Cucumber Salad
       1 large cucumber
       1/2 cup sour cream
       1 tblsp of vinegar
        salt and pepper

        Pare cucumber and slice very thin, place in a bowl and add salt and fresh, ground pepper to taste.  Add the 1/2 cup of sour cream, vinegar and paprika.  Stir until all slices are fully coated.  If desired, chopped chives or sliced onions may be added.

         Try this.  It is refreshing.  I like it with thinly sliced onions added - no chives please.

         This is a recipe from Kim's mom, Carole.  Her and Kim's stepdad, Jim, gave us so much support during those nightmare days when Kim was staying at St. Joseph's.  They were always cleaning, running the bambini places, or cooking.  "What can I cook you?" Kim's mom would ask me.  I never knew, but, one day, I had a flashback to one of her fabulous Thanksgiving day feasts...cucumber salad.  "Can you make me cucumber salad?" I asked.  She laughed, told me sure and it was as good as I remembered, so I asked for the recipe.

          Andrea continues to supply us with vegetables...this past week, there was an abundance of English cucumbers...Autumn loves cucumbers.  So do I.  And we ate them with salt.  Ate them in salads.  Put lime juice on them (Andrea taught us this trick, it is delicious!).  And finally, it came to me...Carole's cucumber salad!!! 

Here's the next thing, as seen on the FB:

Kim was the kind of person that when you met her, you felt as though you had known her forever...she set you at ease with her smile and the sparkle in her eye. She cared so deeply for people, our community, our schools and gave a lot of time and energy towards making our world a better place. Even when she received... the diagnosis of cancer, the smile never left her face - she inspired everyone and touched so many lives. She fought hard and continues to motivate people to this day. To do better and to give unselfishly. I was so blessed to have her in my life and work daily to keep her spirit alive, along with our three children, Cody, Autumn and Tonio. On May 18th, we walk for you Kimmy - with smiles on our faces, making it look easy...just as you always did.

Thanks for reading,