Yup an update!

So much has been happening in my life, good stuff mind you, but a lot of it. Amidst all of the goodness keeping me busy as a beaver, I am finding time to update this site off and on, I mean look around it, there’s a ton of new content. Three days is also the Yahrzeit, the 1-year anniversary of the passing of my father, so I’ve been preparing myself for that as well. Couple all of that with taking the Intro to Judaism course after a year plus in the conversion process and getting ready for full conversion… it’s been crazy here.

Anyway, be sure to check around this site, there’s so much new content all over it!

Did you see the new section here?

 

The new “Perpetual pupil,” section of this website has all of the best articles I’d written from my old martial arts blog and then some!

I have added a ton of new content to this site in a very short period of time, so be sure to look around and check out all of the new additions. So much more is coming, so be sure to check back often…

New section and more

This site is slowly growing and a whole new section has been added since the last update called, “Perpetual Pupil,” after my old martial arts blog. The new section is going to house a lot of information on my martial arts, my martial philosophy, and other assorted information. There will be more on Newfredland coming down the pipe as well, I just have to type it out from notes and minutes from our meetings.

Keep checking back, a ton more is on the way!

Oh, it’s been updated alright!

So… I mentioned I’d be updating this website annnnnnnd, oh, it’s been updated alright!

Take a look around, everything is… more. The new design is once again clean and simple as intended, yet still aesthetically pleasing. There’s new content everywhere herein, and new pages as well. New images, images have been cleaned up and specially prepared to represent the glorious nation of Newfredland. The overhaul of this website is 100% approved by the Newfredland government and 97.3% approved by its citizenry. 

So much more is coming very soon… including a YouTube channel…… 🙂

Busy times a plenty

So much has been happening lately that I’ve been busier than I have in years, but it’s all been great stuff honestly. I am now the Associate Director and Interventionist for Beyond Barriers, a 501(c)3 non-profit working to combat extremism, domestic terrorism, and hatred. I’ve been so busy working with them, going through birthday parties for my wife and youngest daughter, and studying Judaism, that I haven’t been posting much. Aside from that, I’m writing a new horror/fantasy/science fiction novel that I’m very excited about… and aside from that still, I am working on another website to chronicle my journey into Judaism.

Life has truly been joyous and jam-packed!

I promise I’ll be making updates here more frequently and adding more content to this site to help it grow. 

Covid-19 in da house

So, my daughter got sent home from the school for the deaf here in Philadelphia, then we got an email from the school, she has been in direct contact with someone who had covid-19 in her classroom. A few days passed and presto… I am sick with most of the primary symptoms and we’re quarantined for fourteen days. I feel like a walking corpse, but, today is my eldest son’s birthday and the show must go on!

Covid-19 is no joke, but neither is my son’s 13th birthday and so we’re gonna party like I’m not a dead man walking lol This day is a day that we will not soon forget and I’ll make it memorable for him no matter what it takes. 

A new dawn

 Happy St. Patrick’s day!!!

Yesterday was the first day since my father passed, that I could wear a smile for a bit, and while it didn’t last too long, it was a sign. Yesterday showed me that life will eventually hold some semblance of normalcy for me, that I’ll be able to smile and laugh again. Today, I can already feel small shifts in my emotions, tiny glimmers of hope that each day will get the tinniest bit easier without my dad around.

This is something I’ve dealt with since February 13th and it’s now March 17th, over a month of sadness, and while it still continues, it lessens a bit finally. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same after this honestly, but I will push onward and upward, for and in my father’s memory. That being said, there is more news…

We may have found a synagogue here in Philadelphia, in the form of Rodeph Shalom, a beautiful reform synagogue, that’s only 11 minutes away from us via bus. We had an interview with their membership director yesterday and we feel it went well. We plan on attending every service and engaging in being as active as possible once we’re members!

I also received my first Tanach and Siddur as seen in the picture above and both volumes are utterly gorgeous editions. Once I am finished reading Living Judaism by Rabbi Dosick I’m going to begin a steady diet of Torah reading and getting my prayer aspects aligned (3 times a day). 

So much has been going on lately that it’s hard to remember it all honestly! 

Today was my ten-mile marathon supporting St. Jude’s children’s research hospital and it was a lot of fun. I had one donor on it, but that’s okay, between my donation and the donation from my benefactor, it was successful none-the-less. 

We’ve been spring cleaning around the castle as of late; we’re three days in, with several more days left till we’re finished. We’ve been cleaning and rearranging every room and in the process, our vacuum broke and we had to order another. Our old shark vac got a dust bucket emptied salute after 2 years, and we got a new Hoover vac in its place. 

We’ve also been getting necessities for our Jewish household, havdalah and seder plates and such, truly immersing ourselves in all things Jewish. It’s absolutely beautiful and we’ve all fallen in love with the Jewish people, culture, and shared history, religion, and music. 

My fallen hero

Yesterday I received the most difficult news of my life, at 1:30 am EST my father passed away. A few days ago I made a post about him and his struggle to survive over the last several months in the hospital, but he has lost the battle. He raised me to be kind, caring, to sacrifice myself for others in need, but over the last few months, he also taught me bravery, strength and that love transcends distance.

I thought about whether or not I wanted to write this, but writing is helping me to contain my grief and remain composed for the sake of my mother, my wife, and my four kids, each of whom needs me at this point. My dad was someone who if you knew him, he instantly touched your life with his kindness and gentleness and that’s something I aspire to in myself. He loved just about everyone and was everyone’s friend almost immediately.

He would give someone the shirt off of his own back if they needed it and was the kind of person who if you talked about music, history, politics, or the mafia, he could talk for hours on end. He changed my life, helped make me the man I am today by his example, and talked to me often about how no matter what someone was in the past, it’s never too late to change. He struggled physically, yet was the strongest man I’ve ever known, he faced a lot of challenges and adversity but was still the kindest man I’ve ever known.

My dad was maybe 5’7″ tall, but was the biggest man I’ve ever known, his heart unmatched, his knowledge of music vast, and his love for people unwavering. He was quick to forgive others, he had a fuse a hundred feet long and a sense of humor that I hope to match in my own life. We had hundreds of stories, he loved telling about our exploits, like when people in the neighborhood messed with him and he’d tell them, “You know who my son is, I don’t think you wanna do that,” and they’d apologize (I’m smiling as I write this).

He told that story to my wife about six times… 

My dad was my hero, a giant among men I’d known and all of my friends loved him and thought he was just too damn cool. When friends would have problems at home or were in a bad situation, he’d let them sleepover for the weekend and we’d stay up late watching horror movies and listening to music after he ordered us pizza or something. When I was a teen I remember I snuck downstairs late one night and drank one of his beers and he said, “Don’t tell your mother, but don’t drink either you’re too young,” rather than scold me or get me in trouble with mom. 

We would sit in the basement of his house and he’d play the drums, any genre of music, he’d hear a song once and boom, he’d play along to it. It’s because of his inspiration that I took up music myself, even today as I continue to learn percussion, it was from his playing drums for me as a kid. We’d sit and listen to records on his stereo component unit, which I honestly believe inspired my love of vinyl today.

He did so much for me in my life that I could never repay him for, but he told me many times over how proud of me he was. That’s why I had to write this, as difficult as it is for me to articulate everything right now, I have to get it out in some constructive way and share it to some degree. Though he’s my fallen hero, he will never be forgotten, he will on through me, through my kids, and the stories they tell to their kids in the future. 

That’s how powerful the love my dad was over the lives of everyone who knew him, that’s why I had to write this…

I love you dadu… 

Death and dying

The situation

I grew up without a father, but my mom married a man who was a family friend when I was 11 years old and he immediately set about to teach me and help raise me. This man was a father to me, regardless of blood ties and he showed me how to be a man and the meaning of sacrifice and love. In November he was hospitalized with a host of maladies and a few days ago, the hospital said they did everything they could for him and it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable.

His liver is failing, his white and red blood cells are plummeting and his platelets are dropping. He has fluid on his heart and lungs and he cannot get kidney dialysis in full, as his blood pressure keeps dropping to dangerous levels. He is dying…

They are releasing him to my mom to take care of him in his final days and my uncle and aunt are going to be helping her through it all. I have four kids, a wife, and live all the way across the city, literally over an hour away, or I’d be there myself to help. He is not yet dead, so we’re planning on copious visits to have him see his grandkids and son a bunch.

So I’ve been dealing with a lot… I haven’t been on social media much, I haven’t updated my websites much, and I’ve been spending a ton of time with my family. I’ve submerged myself in working out, health, and fitness, music, and meditation to help take my mind off of everything. Honestly, my mind is a mess at the moment, but I’m trying to keep it together for everyone else… my own version of “smile now, cry later.” 

My dad’s mind is also going south a bit, he doesn’t always recognize where he is, on the phone, he calls his wife (my mom) mother when his mother and father died over 30 years ago. The doctors said it’s due to an excess of calcium that’s holding sway over his mind and keeping him in a dazed and confused state. It’s tough on everyone, but we see glimmers of him through all of that, we know the real man behind the mental fog.

Memories

I have thousands of memories of him and I’d like to share some of them here with you.

That’s him to the far left at my wedding reception, which I am so glad to have memories of him being there. At the wedding ceremony, he was so happy and proud, at the reception he was in awe at how nice it was (thanks to some truly special friends of ours). We had a ton of food and the hall was behind a church from the 1700s attached to a cemetery that was even older and grand. 

In the 90’s he won a contest with Blockbuster video to fly to North Carolina and see Paul McCartney live in concert, all-expense-paid… he took me. He knew I love music and he chose to take me and have some bonding time and it was something I will never in my life forget. It was also my first time on an airplane and that was so much fun, especially that we flew on a jet, a crop duster (not kidding), and a couple of large 747’s. 

Once when he worked security, I showed up to visit him and drop something off and all of the guards were terrified (I’m a rather large bloke). They told him that I looked like a wrestler or Mafia enforcer there to hurt someone and he said, “That’s my son!” They apologized to me and let me in to see him, but it’s a story he and I are both fond of telling. 

There are so many memories we’ve had, but now it’s time to make some more last and special memories.

Racing for a cause

It’s official, I’ve paid my entry to the “English channel conqueror,” event and America’s Shamrock Run, both for great causes and fitness. I began racing for a cause yesterday and completed my first (of many to come) charity runs. 21 miles, planting five trees… my finisher certificate is below and my medal for finishing is being sent to me.

In March, I’m doing  America’s Shamrock Run for St. Jude’s children’s research hospital, they are accepting supporting donations on my behalf as well and I was given a link to share with friends and family… click here to support their research and work. Even $5 helps…

I am planning on doing more charity events, hopefully at minimum one every month, and preferably one’s I can bike and not run in (my knees can’t handle the impact of running). 

I absolutely love the idea of running/biking for a good cause and to keep fitness levels high. It’s like combining body and spirit into one exercise and the fact that you have to push yourself to complete the event adds mind into the mix.