Cancun (2008)

Dear Friends & Family,

After listening to light rain fall on the roof and balcony of our Casita all night, we woke up to torrential rain the next day. We made our way to the concierge to figure out how long it was expected to rain and if there were any activities we could enjoy while we waited out the storm. It was October 2008, and we were about to experience the rainy season in Cancun (Riviera Maya), Mexico. The concierge was pretty vague about how long the rain would last; looking back I realize he didn’t want to disappoint us. Apart from a timeshare seminar, all activities were unavailable during the rain. We returned to our room and aside from schlepping through the 3 inches of water which filled the walkways of the expansive resort to get to assorted restaurants for meals, the room was where we remained for most of the next 3 days.

We were in Cancun with our friends Ed & Julie. They were celebrating their 25th Anniversary and invited us along. We had just had our 20th Anniversary in June so it made a good excuse for us to splurge on our first tropical vacation. The El Dorado Resort was all we could dream of in an all-inclusive tropical resort. There were a few excursions we were interested in, but for the most part, we just wanted to hang by the pool and beach and enjoy fu fu drinks with umbrellas. Turns out the only umbrellas we would be seeing were the real ones you have to carry when it rains. Seriously, I have not seen so much rain in my life. It was 3 full days of torrential downpours. All tours were canceled. The ocean was murky. The sky was full of clouds. We had to walk the resort in shorts and bare feet because the water was up to our ankles so shoes were of no use.

After the second day, we gave up on ever seeing sun and made the best of the situation. The restaurants were gourmet and the food served in small portions, was amazing and full of flavor. We joined in on a tequila tasting one day. The next day, Ed & Julie shared a bottle of Opus One wine with us on their anniversary. We even attended the time share seminar for something to do. But like I said, the majority of our time was spent in our gorgeous room which overlooked the pool and the ocean. We laid in bed all afternoon watching movies, we enjoyed the spa tub with windows toward the ocean and we napped on the outdoor bed on our private balcony, Yes, most of the trip was just the two of us, with absolutely no distractions. Our focus was on each other and being together. We rested and renewed our energy, away from people, parties and places to go. We didn’t let the bad weather get us down, we changed our mind set from a tropical vacation with lots to do and see into a time to rest and be together. Our room was filled with the sound of relaxing spa music, it was a great music channel we discovered on the tv, and when we weren’t watching tv, the music played day and night and added to the relaxing and romantic atmosphere.

We woke up on our last full day to blue skies, sun and the most beautiful ocean I have ever seen. There it was, the picture that was on the brochure! We joined up with Ed and Julie and made plans to visit each of the ten pools at the resort, have a drink at each one and then end up at the last pool which was nearest their room for the rest of the day. As we stepped into the first pool the outdoor music system filled the air with Kenny (my favorite) Chesney’s song, Have Another Beer in Mexico. That was the start of another great day in Cancun. I say another great day because, although the first three and a half days were not what we had envisioned, they were great. Now more than ever, I reflect on those days in our room, listening to the ocean, the rain, the spa music and the heartbeat of the man I love, snuggled together in paradise.

I often think about that trip. Rain or shine, it would have been great. But the fact that it rained to point that we were pretty much confined to our room was a blessing. You see, Curt was diagnosed one year later. That trip created lasting memories between the two of us; time alone, just being together. Time when he was healthy and we had our whole future ahead of us. Time for us to plan a return trip with the kids. No black cloud over our future, no wondering how much longer, no worries about fatherless children. Just he and I together....the way it should still be today and for always.

Please pray. I am so sad, so extremely sad. I don’t want to lose him.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Curt took Corbin & I to The Great Park in Irvine to ride the Big Orange Balloon

A view from the balloon 400 feet up.

It was beautiful up there, a little windy, but I acted brave because Curt was so excited to show us!

Corbin visited his inner child and rode the Carousel!

Cayden has been working this summer. He is up and out the door at 6:50 am to get to work by 7:30.
 He is learning how to do the maintenance on the trucks, oil changes, check fluids, rotate tires, etc. He will also be helping Paul restore a few cars.

Corbin is leaving for Oregon tomorrow with my parents. 
He and Lauryn spent the day together at the office.

Clarissa has been in Maui since last Thursday. She is having a blast!
She comes home this Thursday!

Just "Be"

Dear Friends & Family,

It's kinda like when you have a little baby to take care of. You run around all day trying to keep up with laundry, errands, chores, taking care of the baby's needs, documenting life with photos, etc. By the time you crawl into bed you wonder if you spent enough time just "being" with the baby. So you go to the crib and watch the baby sleep, listen to the breathing pattern, smell the sweet baby smell, etc. Suddenly you have renewed energy and hope that tomorrow will be a calmer day so there is more time to "be" together.

That is kind of what I am going through with Curt. We are busy; we juggle errands, work, sports, school functions, parties, and numerous commitments. We are happy that we are busy and wouldn't want it any other way. But there are times I wonder if I am taking it all in enough. I spent a few days in Chicago this past week and although it was great to get away, I realize my time is limited with Curt. I came home with renewed energy and ready to jump into our crazy schedule and caring for Curt. The kids took great care of him while I was gone and they have each expanded their roles in how they can help him. I spent most of last night tossing and turning. I found myself listening to him breathe. I want to remember everything about him; his smell, his strength, his gentle voice and his gorgeous smile. I want to take it all in and never forget what a truly amazing man he is. We will continue to stay busy because that helps keep our minds off the future. We also cherish our time when we can just "be" together. Life is about balance and not having regrets.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Clarissa's Graduation Party.
A group of our friends gave Clarissa this balloon bouquet. The big one was filled with $1.00 bills.

She popped the balloon and money flew everywhere!


Clarissa and the guys!

Aunt Beverly feverishly collected t-shirts from Clarissa's elementary school, high school, college and volleyball club and incorporated them into a quilt. Aunt Bev is the most creative and craftiest person ever! This quilt is a gift Clarissa will cherish forever!

Happy Graduation Clarissa!

Girl's Trip to Chicago with Carolyn (right) and her sister Linda. 
This is the 110 floor of the Sears Tower.

We loved Chicago pizza!

I like the mix of the old buildings alongside the new modern buildings.

While I was in Chicago, the kids got Curt into the pool!

Curt took the kids to Speedzone for Father's Day. He enjoyed watching them race.
Happy Father's Day to the BEST Dad in the world!

Our Clarissa

Dear Friends & Family,

Her smile lights up the room. Her laughter is contagious. Her charm is incredible. Her love is genuine. Earlier this evening our daughter Clarissa graduated High School. She is now officially entering the “real world.” To Clarissa, this is not a big step. She has always been mature for her years. In Junior High she had a checking account, at 15 ½ she had a car waiting for her to get her license on her 16th birthday and from an early age she has had the freedom to plan her own activities. She has always been responsible, therefore, we have given her a fair amount of freedom. She has never taken advantage of her freedom, well, actually she did twice, but those were great learning experiences for her and us.

Although her room is not as organized as I would like it at times, it doesn’t faze her. She is organized where and when she needs to be. Unlike me, she doesn’t need lists and calendars to keep on track; she stores it all mentally and never seems to miss a beat. She has confidence beyond measure. She can talk to adults as well as her peers. She is comfortable around all types of people and in all types of settings. Whether it is a funeral, a job interview or a fancy dinner, she always knows what to say, how to dress and how to act.

She is creative. Whether it is art or clothes, she makes everything look beautiful. She has a great eye for design and can visualize how things should look. She takes amazing photos.

She cares deeply. She loves her brothers and praises them while investing her time to teach them life’s lessons. She wants them to be responsible and respectful, and has high standards and expectations of them. Her love for her grandparents is evident. Her love for Curt and I is shown constantly by the way she respects us. She hurts when her friends are hurting and laughs when they are laughing. Clarissa’s emotions are always evident.

Although she wanted to attend Texas Christian University next year she has decided to stay close to home and close to Curt while attending California State University Long Beach. We supported her decision to attend college in Texas and then also her decision to stay close. Honestly, we are glad she will attend college locally. We cannot imagine a day without her in it. She is the light of our lives, our pride and joy, and all we could ever dream in a daughter.

We love you Clarissa!

Mom & Dad
and Cayden & Corbin


Our Dear Friend - Lorraine Duvall

Washing Feet

Dear Friends & Family,

Happy 23rd Anniversary!
The Old Testament refers many times to the custom of washing one another’s feet. Back in the Bible times people would travel by foot wearing sandals. When they arrived at your home it was customary for the host to have water for them to wash their feet or to have their servants wash the visitor’s feet or sometimes the host would wash the visitor’s feet. Before the Lord’s Supper, Jesus washed the feet of his twelve disciples. I never really thought much about these stories (although it shows amazing hospitality and humility), until now.....

.....It has been hard to see Curt’s physical abilities decline. We were once a team in everything we did! He would keep my car full of gas, wash dishes, shop for groceries, run the kids around; whatever needed to be done, he did it, without hesitation. Back when I was off on Fridays and he was working, I would clean the garage and wash his personal truck, I knew how much he liked a clean truck for the weekends. I loved doing things for him, as much as he loved doing things for me. We never kept score or used these things for bargaining. The tasks we did for each other were out of pure love and nothing else. Since Curt’s decline, the amount of chores and tasks that need to be done sometimes overwhelms me. He does everything he can to make my life easier, but there is only so much he can do. It took time for me to adjust to the fact that from now on, I am in charge of taking the trash out, putting the toothpaste on the toothbrushes, changing the toilet paper roll, replacing light bulbs, cooking, etc. Taking care of Curt’s personal needs is a whole new ballgame and sometimes very time consuming. For a task oriented person like me, his needs were just more things added to my list and chores that needed to get done. Until the other day......

…..since Hospice took over his care a few weeks ago, they are providing all kinds of services. One of the services is the help of a bath nurse who comes to our house two times a week. Although Curt is the most modest and private person I know, he agreed to give it a try. Ilfida is a nice middle aged lady who spends her days bathing people. On her first visit she and Curt had to figure out the logistics of how to manage the routine so I stayed out of their way. After an hour Curt came out squeaky clean, dressed and ready to start his day. I looked forward to her next visit, it was a time consuming task she was taking off my plate. Once again, I left her and Curt alone and got busy with household tasks and some computer work. As I sat at my computer, I could hear Curt and Ilfida laughing and talking. Boy were they having a good time in there. The longer they were in there, the more I realized that my household tasks and chores were not what I wanted to be doing. I wanted to be the person in there talking and laughing with Curt. Curt’s mom arrived to take care of him for the day, Ilfida finished and left and then I said goodbye to Curt and left for work. I spent most of the day crying as I realized that all this time I was feeling like taking care of Curt was a chore instead of a privilege. Now I am honored to be able to show him how much I care by cleaning him and dressing him and getting him ready for the day. It is quality time we get to spend together. Just as Jesus washed his disciples feet out of love and respect, I will do for Curt, now with a new attitude and appreciation of the time we have left together.

We had a great time celebrating our 23rd Anniversary in Lone Pine, California. Our friends Steve-o and Janet joined us and we all had a blast. We laughed a lot as we enjoyed the tiny town and the surrounding areas. It is great that we can still get out and see the sights! Thank you for continuing to pray for Curt and his voice.

Cindy, Curt, Clarissa, Cayden & Corbin

Welcome to Lone Pine!
w/ Steve-o & Janet

Curt & Steve-o have been on many motorcycle rides around this area. They have sooooo many stories and memories. Janet & I had fun listening to them reminisce. This is the only bar in town and was our first stop on our weekend trip!

Steve-o found one of his cousins hanging out at the local cafe.

Looking from the Sierra Nevada Mountains toward Lone Pine

Mt. Whitney Portal, elevation 8365
Beautiful waterfalls everywhere!

The Cherry Bomb rides again!

Manzanar - War Relocation Center
We toured the Japanese internment camp and learned about how 10,000 Japanese people were sent there and had to stay there for 3 years during WWII.
(The snow covered mountains in the background is where we were earlier in the day)

Curt & Steve-o are still kids!

We drove 1 hour to Bishop to the nearest K-Mart. We needed pillows as the hotel pillows were awful. Curt & I picked out Anniversary cards for each other, read them, took a photo and put them back.
Saved $9.00!

We went to Pizza Factory (my all time favorite pizza) for our Anniversary Dinner!
Curt surprised me with another necklace! He snuck the diamond from our first engagment ring and had it placed in this setting. He is so thoughtful and sweet!
He is now banished (by me) from going to the Los Angeles Jewelry Mart.

Clarissa's new job! La Tavolata in Artesia (Cerritos).
Go by and check it out. It's a new super yummy italian restaurant!
And they have great service - go Clarissa!

Clarissa picked up her cap & gown.....she's so excited!

Clarissa & Emily at Baccalaureate

Clarissa's friends love Curt!