Happy Birthday Mom!

I love my mother! She always helped me to feel my worth. I credit her with instilling in me a sense of wonder about the world around me, and she helped me learn how to play the cello. Me and my kids made this video to help her celebrate her birthday.

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I haven’t seen my mom since 2016 when my family and I went on an epic road trip for a visit. I missed her warm embrace, and her comforting words in face to face conversation. I’m very glad that my mother helped develop within me a love of The Lord. There are some many times where I was a difficult, stubborn, willful child, yet she never gave up on me.  It was never easy with me, but I appreciate her, and recognize the great sacrifices she made to raise my brother and myself.

We all love you very much, Mom, if you are reading this.

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Observations On a “News” Story

So I was at work, at the beginning of the day. I logged into my computer, and set up the vital systems necessary for me to perform my duties.  And then I went to close down all unnecessary browser tabs that were open.

By default the Microsoft Network homepage is MY work default homepage, which takes special permission from IT admin to change.  But since I was on there, I saw a link to this article entitled: “How Long Will I Live? Simple Sitting Test Predicts Longevity”

I was able to perform the test without having to touch the ground with anything.  I went from standing, to sitting Indian style on the floor, to standing again without using anything for support.

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Screen Shot Showing “Citation”

 

 

What bugs me about the article though is that they mention in the article that the study was published in The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.  That sounds interesting to me, and having full access to most academic journals through my employer, I checked.  I did not see this study mentioned in any of said journals publications occurring in the year mentioned.

Perhaps this is just a misattribution, and maybe it was published by this journal at some other time.  I am curious to read the study, but I spent a good deal of time looking for it, and it could not be found.

That is majorly annoying.

If anybody reading this can point me directly to the study, I’d be happy if you could send me the link.

“Ciao!” ~Francesco Rinaldi

Brent In Memoriam: Part 4 In a Series

I was finished reading Somewhere In Time, by Richard Matheson a few days ago. I’m still feeling a bit emotional about Brent’s death.  Something struck me in the epilogue of the book.

Not to spoil the book, but it has a tragic ending. The protagonist dies. From what or how Richard Collier dies will not be divulged here.  I will quote this passage which touched me deeply summoning memories and feelings for my friend Brent.

The epilogue is written from the point of view of the protagonist’s brother, Robert Collier.

He was only thirty-six years old, and had to feel betrayed. Never in his life had he achieved emotional fulfillment, and now that life was being terminated prematurely. He had to seek escape from this betrayal — and what more natural haven could there be than the past?

What I am going to focus in on here is betrayal and cruelty. When Brent first came into my life, he was orbiting way out on the periphery of my consciousness as a new student at Nathaniel H. Wixon Middle School. I think it must have been eighth grade.

The cruelty shown to the boy Brent is awful. Brent was treated cruelly by many boys, who were constantly razzing him. Almost all the kids in Wixon had been together since kindergarten. Not all the kids were mean to Brent, but I witnessed several instances personally that make me cringe in shame. I never intervened to stop the cruelty that he was experiencing.

Even though I had grown up with a bunch of these kids, I didn’t escape their relentless teasing and bullying either. Instead of allying myself with Brent, or even just telling the other kids to leave him alone, I acted with cowardice, withdrawing further into myself. I think that the intolerable cruelty he experienced may have been mitigated somewhat when he was befriended by our mutual friend Jamie.

I’m not psychologically trained, but I am an astute observer. Having had a taste of merciless taunting, teasing, and bullying, I can tell you that it takes some time to deal with and expel all the negative energy that is absorbed when one encounters that level of negativity.

All humans being are thrust into this world, having been entrusted by our Father in Heaven to our mortal parents, who do their level best to raise us to be strong, independent, caring adults. Brent surely would have benefited from a kind and loving companion. I hope that now he has passed through the veil to be in the presence of our maker, he will find an eternal companion who is kind and full of tender mercies.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 35-44. If cruelty experienced as a child is a contributing factor in these deaths, we owe it to ourselves to be kinder to each other, especially our young ones. Also, we must be the change we want to see in the world. If you see young people being cruel to each other, kindly intervene.

If you are interested, the major motion picture Somewhere In Time is a great film, and is available for streaming via amazon.com. It stars Christopher Reeve and Jayne Seymour.

 

Brent In Memoriam: Part 3 In a Series

Listen to this as you read. The videos are immaterial to the text, but the music is pivotal.

Last night as I’m seeing the new Star Wars film at the cinema with my beloved the timeless themes of good versus evil really get me to feeling, and my thoughts drift away from the film to my friend Brent. The depth of the emotions I experience has me weeping as my attention to the film wanes. Waves of grief wash over me. I mourn the loss of my friend. I’m not sure why what was supposed to be an evening of diversion with my spouse aroused such strong feelings of grief, but I trust there is a reason for these feelings and thoughts.

The Force and Dark Side are not necessarily things that Brent and I discussed unless we were talking about the Red Sox/Yankee rivalry. When I was living with him there hadn’t been a new Star Wars film in the theater for 12 or 13 years. Brent and I both had been tempted by the powers of the dark side. I lived pretty close to the edge in those days. It seems that it was when Brent and I were roommates that I started a course correction, a heading that I am struggling to maintain (still).

I’d been in the company of people that come as close to the embodiment of the Dark Side as you’d ever have chance to encounter. I’d even gone so far as the generic equivalent of studying with Darth Vader. But it was when I was with Brent that I decided to retreat from that dark place. The gravity that Brent exercises on the universe helped me change my trajectory.

We did not harm anyone or anything when we were investigating those avenues. When I think on those times, I always feel that I turned my back on The One True God, our Father in Heaven. It is only through his grace that I am writing this today.

I like to think of Brent as a humble person, trying his best to find his way in the world, but whose own cosmic trajectory was disturbed by a number of factors, which I won’t go into now.  Sufficeth it to say that his death has affected me deeply.

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2 Nephi Chapter 2 Verse 28

I’m older now, so I should be used to all the sorrow and pain. But all I can do is look to my Lord, ask for forgiveness, and repent. There’s nothing that I can do to change what has happened. I can only hope to control my actions and my attitude. I like to think that the world will eventually be a kinder, gentler place. A place where a person like Brent can abide.

I want to be a person that has that spark which will help shine a light into the darkness and invite someone that is suffering into the light.

It is only through expanding one’s awareness that one can see the pain that others are experiencing. If one cannot see the needs of one’s friends, then how can one help to fulfill those needs?

Maybe the reason why my thoughts turned towards Brent was what I experienced before entering the theater, which touched my heart.

When my wife and I were at the cinema, it was jam packed. I haven’t seen a theater packed with so many people since the Fourth of July Weekend 1994, when it was raining cats and dogs. The cinema at Patriot’s Square was totally mobbed then. It was like that last night in West Valley City, Utah, minus the rain. As my wife and I were entering the auditorium where the movie was about to start I noticed a small child, maybe 5 years old jogging around blindly. He appeared to me to be lost. If I hadn’t recognized him for the lost boy that he was, and if my much less imposing spouse hadn’t intervened, how much longer would it have been before he got the help that he needed. The poor boy was distraught having lost his parents.

I remember losing my parents when at the former A & P in Dennisport when I was about this kid’s age. When I saw the woman at the service desk with the long salt and pepper hair, I thought, “That’s Mom, for sure. I’m saved!” But it wasn’t, it was a woman that looked almost exactly like my mom.  I became terrified, screaming!

I seem to remember my mom coming up from behind me as I screamed in horror, and her consoling me, and I was hyperventilating, sobbing hysterically.

I’m so grateful for the people that have mothered me, and comforted me throughout my life. My own real mom Carol Furbish, and Cheryl Martin who took care of me for a few years when I was in my early 20’s.

I miss my friend. I hope he finds the comfort he was so earnestly seeking throughout his mortal life.

 

Brent In Memoriam: Part 2 In a Series

AlbertoOlivera

 

It’s been just about a month now since one of the best friends that I’ve ever had took his own life. The grief I feel is cascading away from me. Though the waves of sobs are not so frequent, the thoughts and memories still irrigate mind, if not my cheeks.

I traveled from my home in West Valley City, Utah to Dennis, Massachusetts to attend the celebration of Brent Schleicher’s life. I was lucky to receive the support of old friends, even getting a ride from Logan International Airport to Dennisport from my friend, Sarah Nugent.

I was also blessed to reconnect with another of my former roommates, Andrew Shapiro who currently resided in the home next to the one I originally shared with Brent.

I stayed up late into the night, looking through collections of photographs curated by our mutual friend James Sylvester Kelly Walker.  Jamie has bunches of photos that he captured that we shared at the celebration of Brent’s life.

When I was at the celebration, there was a box which I presume hold the mortal remains of my friend, and a leather bound notebook that survivors could write in, sharing stories of time spent with Brent.

Although I could fill volumes with memories of time that I spent with Brent, many of those memories are times of drunken revelry and riotous living. The volume of remembrances may not be the most appropriate place to share episodes. However, I think we as humans being are hard wired to remember those things that are out of the ordinary.

For now I’m content to share my experience of travelling back to Cape Cod for the first time in about a decade, and being surrounded by those people that love my friend Brent.

I really only lost my composure twice. The first time was when I saw Brent’s mother, Cheryl, at the celebration. I walked in with Jamie, saw Cheryl, and my eyes welled up with tears as we embraced. Many people shared their stories of Brent with me and I am glad to have met many people that had the opportunity to know him after I moved off-cape in 1996.

It wasn’t until I was walking away to get in the car with Jamie and his wife Margo that it really hit me hard, the finality of all of this. I wept bitterly at the idea of not ever being able to visit with Brent again. No more Sega Saturn, no more football or street hockey, no more discussions on theology, music, women, or current events. Nothing. Not in this life.

This is part of a hymn that sprung to my mind. The title and name of the tune are unknown to me. This song was frequently sung by the congregation when I attended services at the Dennis Union Church in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Use me O Lord,

Use me as you will

I can find a resting place

for your love to fill

All things are yours

nothing can I give

nothing but an empty space

for your love to fill

Brent in Memoriam: Part 1 in a Series

Brent Schleicher  is a dear, true friend of mine.  He was born 17 September 2015.  I don’t believe that friendship dies when someone’s corporeal body ceases to function. The spirit that gives a body animation is one that lives on from eternity to eternity. He died after attempting suicide somewhere around 23 October 2015. He died as a result of that process on 17 November 2015.

Here is an image I shared to Brent’s facebook profile on 15 November 2015.

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I don’t know who painted this, but if I find out who created the image, I will surely credit them.

I’ve invited my friend James Sylvester Kelly Walker to collaborate with me, sharing our memories of Brent.  My hope is that by sharing our thoughts, emotions, and grief through the healing process of art (whether it be writing, visual art, music, what have you), that we can find meaning in our loss, and (at least for me) overcome the feeling that I’ve failed at the whole friend thing.

Brent was a wonderful friend to me through some very tough, uncertain, and crazy times. We shared good, crazy, fun, frustrating,  heartwarming, ugly, and beautiful moments together.

Let me emphasize that even though this is my personal blog, this series is about Brent.

I attempted to communicate with Brent through facebook on 15 November 2015, stating that if he needed a change in scenery, that I could help him find a job in Utah, and that Utah is a good place. It seems that that change of scene was not what he had in mind.

I feel confident that the end of Brent’s mortal existence is not the end of the story. What happens beyond the veil is somewhat of a mystery. I won’t get into what I believe, but I know there is something that I must learn from knowing Brent.  In writing this series, I hope that the missing knowledge reveals itself, and that the knowledge, then revealed, can have an impact for good on the consciousness of all who read the words of this series.

I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.

~ Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding (as performed by Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption)

Peace be upon you Brent. I love you. ~FURB

Furbapodamus chickenensis

Good and Bad

Got a little disappointing news today. I’d applied for a job that would be a significant increase in pay, and a job I feel like I’d be really good in, but I didn’t get it.  But I did get this sweet hoodie today. Awesome!

Rockin' the hoodie

Rockin’ the hoodie

Check out my profile in the diaspora

This hoodie supports an independent installation of diaspora, which is my favorite social networking site. I feel like I can really let my hair (what little of it is left) down there and mice elf. Anyways, thanks all for being part of my life.

7-11 Day

Greetings everybody:Irises

I’m having a bit of a bummer feeling today. I’m not sure why, but I just don’t feel right. For a long time I think that I’ve been functioning at a really high level, but today I could hardly muster the will to get up and go to work.

Things are going really well for me lately, but I’m experiencing a lot of irritability and lack of motivation today. I hope that tomorrow I will feel more energized, and with it.

My kids are in Lost Vegas with their mother and grandmother for the weekend, so I’m on my own, and I lost the key to the Zircon, so I don’t have wheels until I either find the key, or go pay for a replacement. But hey, I am a pretty lucky guy, with a great lady in my life, and a bunch of wonderful kids, and friends that love me. So, that’s all for now.

If I continue to feel really unmotivated I’ll seek professional help, but I hope to snap out of it before it gets to that point.  I had a pretty scary episode about a year ago February where all I did was watch Magnum P.I. on Netflix for about a week straight when I didn’t have to go to work. So I hope it doesn’t get to that point.

Okay. Thanks for caring.

FURBs out!

Mile Marker 1,000

1000 miles in, and still holding up well

1000 miles in, and still holding up well

I reached a milestone today at work: I have walked 1,000 miles in my Doc Martins, having performed 125 patrols of both buildings I am responsible for.

My shoes are still looking really good, thanks to the assistance of my lovely soon to be 12 year old daughter. If you live in my area, I’m sure she would love some extra shoe shining work.

This is the second pair of shoes that I have used since I have been a Security Officer at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Where I keep track of my mileage

Where I keep track of my mileage

It’s kind of a funny thing, really. The picture of the math equation on the wipe board started out as tally marks after I bought this pair of shoes. I had 98 tally marks on the board when it was requested that the tally marks be erased. But I’m still keeping track, obviously.

I’m going to keep wearing these shoes at work, but am going to get another pair of the exact same model to start breaking in and to wear to church and other functions where I need to look my very best.

Thanks for joining in my celebration of obsessive compulsiveness, and metrics, and shoes.

 

Support of the Father

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I‘m still trying to make better choices, which is why I started this blog in the first place.

A lot has happened since I last updated this journal. I moved out of my apartment and into my ex-wife’s sister ‘s townhouse. I changed jobs. My wages are now being garnished. My motor vehicle is having difficulties. But I can control very little off those things.

I can only control (if I am strong enough to control myself) my actions and my attitude.

I’m grateful for the love of my children. I’ve been providing walking escorts to
and from school for them every day even though I’m working the night shift about ten miles away, and I’ve got to ride my bike and take public transport 10 miles to get to where they are domiciled. Getting them home from school is even more difficult for me. I now live even further away from them than where I work. But let me tell you, these kids are worth all of the efforts I undertake.

I demonstrate through my actions how much I value them.
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But I really couldn’t get by without the tremendous support I receive from my friends, relatives, and colleagues who provide me with emotional and material support. Even if we are just laughing at the horribly funny things shown on Robot Chicken.