Lately, I’ve been going through a tough period and been documenting it here because it’s another journey and I like to document all my journeys. One thing I’m re-learning on this trek is that it’s important to find life jackets that keep you from drowning when the floods come. Put on the life jacket for a couple hours or a couple of days pockets to keep your head above water. Mood music: Last weekend while the…  [Read More]

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Some on social media are surprised Ireland voted so overwhelmingly to legalize gay marriage. One reason may be because Ireland is so predominantly Catholic, and Catholic doctrine says homosexuality is wrong. As an American Catholic, I think the vote went as it did because more and more Catholics are thinking as I do on this subject. Mood music: My conscience tells me that government has absolutely no business defining what marriage — and, more to the…  [Read More]

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Irish Alzheimer’s Disease

by Bill Brenner May 19, 2015 Communication skills for the crazy

Alzheimer’s Disease is a terrible thing. I’ve known some precious souls trapped within that mental prison over the years, and it’s one of the saddest things to behold. But there’s another mental prison we all find ourselves in from time to time. The late Fr. Dennis Nason, former pastor of my church, described it as Irish Alzheimer’s. Simply put, you forget everything but the grudges. I’d like to tell you I don’t suffer from it, but…  [Read More]

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Through The Storm

by Bill Brenner May 18, 2015 Coping tools

Work is crazy busy. I’m visiting my father in hospice a lot. Helping Dad tie up some loose ends on his real-estate interests has become a full-time job in itself. It would be easy, in this crazy time of life, to skip doctor appointments, binge-eat or climb into a bottle. Mood music: Admittedly, my eating has been less than stellar. It’s the opposite of binging at this point; my appetite cuts out a lot and…  [Read More]

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Of Fear and Duct Tape

by Bill Brenner May 14, 2015 Compulsive behaviors

I was anxious, jumpy, and panicky when I was younger, fear making me do the damnedest things. My sister loves to repeat the story of one of my more embarrassing freak-outs. It used to piss me off, but now I can sit back and laugh with everyone else. To that end, let’s review the morning a hurricane was coming and I completely lost it. Mood music: First, some history. Before I got my OCD under…  [Read More]

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A Basement in Revere

by Bill Brenner May 13, 2015 The stormy past

A photo from the old days in Revere is sparking some flashbacks. It’s November 1991, and Dan Waters, Sean Marley, and I are in the basement of the old house I grew up in. From left to right: Bill Brenner, Dan Waters, and Sean Marley We partied a lot in that basement. It was the scene of many impressive and entertaining mood swings. I could be mistaken, but I believe we were having a belated Halloween…  [Read More]

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Candlelight Vigil for Mike Nicoloro (UPDATED)

by Bill Brenner May 7, 2015 Life and Death

Update: The details below reflect a change in schedule and location for the candlelight vigil. The change is apparently due to another event happening at Haverhill Stadium at the time Mike’s vigil was originally scheduled. A quick update on the passing of Mike Nicoloro: A candlelight vigil will be held for him Monday, 6-9 p.m. at Plugs Pond in Haverhill. This event is free. Folks are asked to bring candles and happy faces to remember him. Anyone…  [Read More]

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The Good in Baltimore

by Bill Brenner May 6, 2015 News

The top news story last week was about the rioting and looting in Baltimore. The discussion has been full of anger over what many see as thuggery. The violence makes me angry, too. But there have been many rays of sunshine in Baltimore as well. The good news is there, if you know where to look. Here are some examples. Mood music: “10 Images of the Baltimore Riots You Won’t See on TV” (News.mic) Missing…  [Read More]

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RIP to Haverhill’s “Crazy Mike”

by Bill Brenner May 5, 2015 News

I’m sad to report that the man known around Haverhill as “Crazy Mike” has died. He was found in some bushes along the Main Street side of Pentucket Bank’s Merrimack Street branch Monday morning. Police aren’t confirming his identity pending an investigation, but yesterday I touched base with his brother, who confirmed it was him. Mood music: I connected with his brother on Facebook a couple years ago, after I wrote some posts criticizing some fellow Haverhill…  [Read More]

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“Cat’s in the Cradle”

by Bill Brenner May 4, 2015 Family

The Harry Chapin song “Cat’s in the Cradle” has been running through my head a lot. I’ve been taking my work to my father’s hospice room, which is a reversal of roles. It used to be that I hung out while my father worked. Mood music: My childhood doesn’t fit the song 100 percent. Truth is I was around my dad a lot. But we may as well been in separate places, because he was…  [Read More]

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