We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I texted this pic to my sisters, Laur and Cher, the day of the blizzard, whatever day that might have been.
"Help!  I'm in hell!"  I believe I might have inserted some f-bombs in that sentence, as well, but, since this is a 'family blog', I left them out.
My wipers worked double time to erase the large, fast falling flakes, building up beneath them.  I thought that the beauty of such a driving snow storm in Tucson, is, that it does not accumulate on the road surface...but, by the time I was about a mile from home, I noticed that, indeed, it was getting a bit deep on the surface streets!
At Drexel and Houghton, just over a mile from our house, I saw the first accident.  Three cars, having slid right into the other.  The next, was just a half mile up, where a pick up truck sat in the middle of the road, and two other cars were pretzeled together.  A few blocks up, two cars had careened into the drainage ditch on the east side of the street.  They were smallish cars, and the amusement came from watching them spin their wheels, in a futile attempt to free themselves from the abyss.  Obviously their very first time stuck in the snow!  Spinning tires, shooting snow and gravel harmlessly into the air, gaining zero traction and making up no ground.  They'd have to wait for a push.
I made it home, with minor rear-end slippage.  I had forgotten how loose the rear end of a pick up truck is in the snow, having very little weight over those rear tires.  However, I regained my snow driving abilities honed in Pennsylvania and Colorado and even hit the accelerator as I head east on Valencia to encourage a bit of a tail spin.
Looking west down our street...
And across the street at the park...an invariable winter wonderland!

                 Tonio was sick.  He began the week with a 99 degree temp, going to 100 Tuesday.  I brought him to work.  He sat, stoic, invisible, in a comfy chair, watching 'Natcho Libre' (arguably the greatest movie ever made), "The Crocodile Hunter" and "Aladdin" - I'd love to be able to leap across roof tops like that dude.  But, like the loving father I am, I allowed him a brief respite into the snowy abyss.  He promptly made a large snow ball, encased it in a gallon sized Ziploc baggie, dated it and stashed it away in our freezer for a sunny day...

Cody was my favorite.  He got out there, as soon as school let out, with Bella.

He tossed snowball after snowball, tirelessly.  Bella fielded each and every throw, enjoying it as much as Cody.  Maybe more.  She is a snow dog!

Bella (left), waits anxiously for Aut and Tonio to throw snow balls to her!
Whoa!  White stuff!  What is it?  I suddenly forgot how to drive!! LOOK OUT!!!

Aut built a small snowman...Bella stalked it's carrot nose...

Bella loved the snow.  She was in.  Then out.  Then in, looking for bambini support - "Hey!  Come outside!  There is slippery white stuff!"  And, sure enough, she'd come running toward the porch, hit the bricks and slide like Pete Rose into second base!!!

The olive tree was truly burdened and the nitcho looked Heavenly in the snowfall.

Bella waits at the bottom of the snow covered sliding board for Tonio to come down...
At Aut's school, Desert Sky Middle School.

The wind.  The wind was blowing hard to the east...these Saguaro's were plastered.  Road signs were rendered invisible...and the February blizzard held sway over all...

Sunday, February 24, 2013


                        I didn't know where to start today, but I wanted  needed to write.

                       So, I thought I'd start with this:  Most days are gray.  And I think, or like to think, that Kim sent me this to remind me - that even through the gray, their may still be sunshine left out there for me somewhere...

                       It's been awhile since she's sent someone to talk to me.  It happened so often after she passed - meeting people at San Xavier that had a similar story or connection with my family, or the random person at Barnes & Noble that touched my otherwise gray day.  She certainly made sure that the kids and I had the right support structure around us, as well.
                       Recently, I decided to up my insurance - for the bambini, just in case.  I have the best insurance guy in the business, Emilio Montes (let me know if you need his number!!) - he found me a great price and sent a nurse to my home to do a blood draw.  I love the questions they ask, especially in front of the bambini. 
                     "Have you ever used tobacco products?"
                      Glancing out of the corner of my eye, I spied Aut watching closely...
                     I snuck a sideways look at her and she mouthed 'LIAR!'  at me.  I winked.
                     "Have you ever used illicit drugs?"
                     "You mean like if I 'borrowed' someone else's prescriptions?"
                     "No, like illegal drugs."
                     "Oh.  Not today."  I told her.
                     "You're heart rate is high."
                      "Does it hurt that I just completed a 1 hr cardio work out?"

                     It was a downhill conversation...until she asked if I was married.
                     "Uh.  No, widowed.  Lost her in a knife fight."
                     And then, the floodgates opened!!!  She asked me if I ever heard from Kim, if I believed.  I explained that I felt more in tune with the sunsets, the clouds and when a hummingbird lingers in our backyard, etc.  And about a few of the incredibly lucid dreams...and yes, I do believe.
                    "I had a daughter who died at the age of 20.  Her first time on a motorcycle, she was the passenger."  I could tell it was difficult for her, but she motored ahead.
                    "A week or so before she died, she told me 'Mom, when ever I die, you know I'll still be here with you'  "Uh-huh, me too"  'And I'll give you signs, to let you know I made it and that I'm allright' "Uh-huh, me too" 'And you can even donate my organs if you want.' "Uh-huh, me too".
                   She said it was a light conversation they were having.  Nothing deep.  So she didn't think much of it.
                   Her daughter got on the back of a motorcycle, got in a crash, was thrown and hit head first. 
                  She proceed to tell me story after story about how her daughter made sure she knew.
                  Turning off the A/C while she was at work - a battle they had constantly over the years.  She even had the system checked to be sure it wasn't somehow a mechanical problem.  And, during an appointment, like the one she was having with me, the patient suddenly leaned into her and said "I'm a psychic"  And she was like 'Uh...yeh, so?"  "Well, I need to tell you that there is a young lady behind you.  She's smiling and dancing around.  And she wants me to tell you something."  "Go on..."
 "Go to bed."
                  Well, it seems that my nurse habitually would watch t.v. on the couch and end up falling asleep there.  And each night, when her daughter got home from work, she would wake her up and say "Go to bed.".  It became quite the joke over the years.
                   There were other neat stories too and she said that sometimes, our loved ones won't materialize if they feel that they might startle us or cause and distress...And I thought...maybe?  She was filled with info on quantum physics, etc and by the end of our visit - I just felt that Kim had sent her my way to talk and for me to learn.
                  She even got me a lead on a guy to repair the pinball machine I got way back in 1978, saying that the guy who works on the arcade games at Golf 'N Stuff does housecalls.  Turns out, Janene's husband, Brad, a Tucson Police Officer works there Saturday nights and got me the name and number...I've tried, over the years, to convince Kim to let me sell the pinball machine and she would never relent.  I found it too coincidental that this was a part of my nurse's conversation - as I had just been thinking about selling it again because it hasn't worked in about 4 years...

                    Today, following the Blizzard of '13 (I'll post pics later), it was 65 and sunny.  We don't have  a lot of good sports opportunities in Tucson.  Spring Training, where we once had the Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Whitesox (their manager, Ozzie Guillen, hated Tucson and led the movement to Phoenix).  There was a game everyday during the month of March.  I'd often tell Kim that my dream was to take the month off and see a game everyday.  And, the running joke, was that for her birthday (March 1st), I had gotten us primo Spring Training tickets!  She was such a sport, going along with it every year for 17 years!!
                   Three years ago, Major League Soccer began doing some of their Spring Training here - just four teams, but it was great soccer.  This year their were six teams and a month of MLS that culminated tonight with a championship game, called the Desert Diamond Cup.

The bambini get comfortable in the grass watching a little pro soccer action.
We mainly went to watch the NY Red Bulls (who, ironically, play their games in NJ).  Their big start, Thiery Henry, was once captain of France's national squad, and the best player, next to Alessandro Nesta, in MLS right now.  He controlled the field today and was great to watch.

Henry is the size of an NFL tight end and has great speed and agility.  That's him buried in the corner preparing for a corner kick.

                                       Tonio, a little tuckered out from running the hill, catches a quick nap.

                   I told the kids that we'd go catch some Mexican food after the game.  Kino Field is not too far from the best restaurants in town.

                     Just south of Park and Fair, I  pulled into a familiar parking lot.

                    "Hey" Cody said quietly. "I remember.  You guys used to take us here after the Rodeo Parade."
                    The parking lot was empty.  The place looked deserted.  Tonio (just into front of the door waving in this photo) ran up to try the door...it opened!
                   "Cerrado."  Said a man, who was just inside the doorway, painting.
                   "Cerrado? No bueno!"  I told him and asked him what he suggested.
                   "Rigo's.  4th and 36th."
                     We were off!  On the way, I remembered the times at the El Doradito.  The carne asada.  The mom and pop feel, that Kim so loved.  Drinking iced teas with limes in them.  I looked forward to our time there, after the parade, more than the parade itself.  It was a rite.  A ritual.  Never taken for granted, always a wonderful time.
                    Rigo's lived up to it's name.  As we pulled up, a a deaf and dumb man, stopped us on the porch.  He gestured to a sign that read "I need $3.68 for each diabetes treatment" and then showed us a blood sugar reader.  He gestured wildly at the bambini, smiling.  I helped him out and he embraced me.  I told the kids, this is why we are here.
                    The food was fantastic.  Cody literally inhaled their machaca.  I failed to take any pictures, swept up in the moment.  These beautiful kids...I was so thankful for them.  And when I had asked Cody if he wanted to see a little MLS, I expected that he'd tell me 'not this time', but he didn't hesitate when he said 'Sure. I'll go.'

                      There was my bright spot on a gray day.  And I'm grateful.

                       I was going to get to the blizzard tonight, too.  But, maybe I'll save that for later.  I want to sit in the 'red chair', Kim's red chair for a little while. 

                       Just in case...