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Six months without Sylvia…

4 Nov

Last April I read that you’re in shock for six months. That’s about right because the shock is wearing off about now and I’m getting the message that Sylvia won’t be back from one of her trips. So, I’m trying to accept this reality, but it’s very difficult. When you’ve lived with someone for your whole adult life and then overnight she’s gone forever — then what… I guess I’ll have to come up with a new lifestyle. But, I can’t imagine a lifestyle without Sylvia. So, I’m between a rock and another rock.

Then I have this nerve in my foot that woke me up at 4:00 AM — it’s now 6:00 and I’m waiting for the nerve pills to work so I can get another couple hours. I really can’t make it on three or four hours of sleep. So, if you combine lack of sleep with the emptiness of a life without Sylvia you’ll get a very poor situation. But, all is not lost.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  So, my comfort comes from Jesus speaking to me through His Word. Another of my favorites: “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11).

God’s plan for me is to “give you hope and a future”… so, I’m hoping I’ll have a good future and, in spite of great loss, I will see gain once again. How about this one? “Today is yesterday’s tomorrow” — What we think about will come to pass. What’s happening today is the end result of what you’ve been thinking about. If you think tomorrow will be better, then it will be. Thoughts are things — they are real. So, choose your thoughts carefully. They will form your future.

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New website

14 Aug

On vacation in Maryland

I arrived in Ellicott City, Maryland two weeks ago to spend some time with one of my daughters (Angela) and her family. I’ll spend another week here and then go to Brooklyn for a two-week visit with son John and his family. One of the things I like about this part of the world is the thunder, lightning and rain they get during the summer. In Escondido there is no such thing as rain during the summer — just heat. But, we don’t get humidity with our heat. So, there’s something to be said for dry heat — it’s much more comfortable than humid heat.

I’m just taking it easy and enjoying this good weather. So far, it hasn’t been very hot, but Angie said it’s very unusual. It’s usually much hotter at this time of year. I’ve been to a couple soccer matches to watch their son play. He’s eleven and is a good soccer player like his Mom was. She was outstanding in her youth and her son is beginning to play like she did. Of course, he has her instruction which is very helpful.

Next weekend the family will travel to London to spend ten days with my daughter Pauline and her family. They live about twenty minutes south of London in Chislehurst (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chislehurst). That should be a fun trip for them all. There is plenty to do in London and the surrounding areas. Then back from London and off to school. Their daughter Julia (14) starts high school and son Eli starts middle school.

 New website

After posting many photos on Facebook over the last two years I have finally published a website. Angela was a professional graphic designer for many years with a couple big print shops here in the area. She is still designing for people on a part-time basis. So, she applied her skills to my request for a website and came up with this one:  https://www.johnbresnik.com/ Here are some sample images from the site:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four months since the accident

This coming Wednesday, August 16th, will mark four months since Sylvia fell off her bike while descending the Lawrence Welk hill north of Escondido. According to the neurologist she died within two hours after the fall, but she was not declared brain dead until the next day. So, officially she died on the 17th. She wanted to donate her organs so I’m assuming they kept her body alive until the medical people could be notified and brought in (one from LA and another from Phoenix). Due to her excellent health at age 76 she was able to donate both kidneys and her liver.

We’re all gradually adjusting to this terrible turn of events. It’s going to take a long time get used to this strange state of affairs. I knew her since I was 23 years old — that was a long time ago. At age 77, I have to start over. I’m not sure exactly what to do yet. But, I am planning to take a long car trip starting next March the 17th. I expect to travel around the country visiting family and friends. But, that trip depends on a few things… mainly the state of my health.

Back to Escondido on September 3rd

I’ll be flying out of New Jersey in the afternoon and then back to Escondido by 10:00 pm. Steve and Marci are taking care of the house while I’m gone, but after five weeks away I’ll probably have a few bits and pieces to tidy up. I’ll need some income now since Sylvia’s income stopped. So, I’m planning to go back into the screen printing business. Also, I hope to get some sales of these photos. And, I might try driving for Lyft. I might be a little old to start that, but I love to drive and I have an excellent driving record. I could probably drive 10-12 hours a week without any problem. We shall see what we shall see.

 

Until next time…

 

brez

 

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Major Tragedy

24 Apr

Here is the obituary I wrote for Sylvia – my life-long friend, lover and companion. I met her in Germany in 1963 — she was 22 years old. She died last Sunday from fatal injuries suffered in a cycling accident. She was on her own and somehow fell off the bike.

SYLVIA BRESNIK

Obituary

BRESNIK – Sylvia Teresa (born Sylvia Bergin)  October 9, 1940 to April 17, 2017

Sylvia was born in Dublin, Ireland. At 21 she left Ireland to work in Germany. She met John Bresnik in August 1963 at the snack bar on the Army base where John was stationed in Augsburg, Germany. They began dating in January of 1964. In the Fall, he returned to his home town of Los Angeles. She followed in January and they were married on June 12, 1965 in Pacific Palisades.

They lived in West Los Angeles and Santa Monica from June of ’65 until March of ’77. Four of their five children were born in Santa Monica. They sold their house in Santa Monica and moved a hundred miles south to Escondido. In October, their fifth child was born.  There are now five grandchildren.

Pauline and her family live in London. John and his family live in Brooklyn, NY. Angela and family live in Ellicott City, Maryland. Robert lives in San Diego, and Steve (and his wife Marci) live in Escondido.

Sylvia had been a triathlete since the mid-eighties. She did dozens of triathlons, mostly in California. She ran marathons – Los Angeles, London, Dublin, San Diego.  She did several century bike rides – 100 miles and sometimes 5000 feet of climbing. She climbed Mt. Whitney twice and Half Dome in Yosemite twice. She went swimming at the Y every MWF at 5:30 in the morning. Then on TuThSat she went running for an hour at Lake Hodges. Sunday was bike day. She and her good buddies would ride between 40 and 50 miles every Sunday morning.

Her last bike ride was on Easter Sunday, 2017. She had just returned from London the night before and she was anxious to get back on her bike. She rode solo that morning and at approximately 9:00 AM she somehow fell off her bike while riding down a long grade just north of Escondido. There were no witnesses. Within two hours of her arrival at the Palomar ER she had no brain activity and a day later she was pronounced dead at 7:11 PM, April 17, 2017.

She worked as the receptionist at Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido for twenty years. She was very active in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) for many years and was a group leader for eight of those years.

She loved red wine and had a glass most evenings. She was an excellent cook and baker. Always cooked from “scratch” – nothing canned or boxed.

She is survived by her husband of 52 years, John Bresnik and her five children: Pauline, Robert, John, Angela and Stephen. She had five grandchildren: Skyler, Julia, Bella, Eli and Nicole.

Her favorite Bible verse: “… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

Service will be at Emmanuel Faith in Escondido on Saturday, April 29th at 1:00 PM.

She was a legend in her own time.

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Now comes something I thought would never happen. I was supposed to go first — I had triple bypass surgery in 2001 and I’ve had two heart attacks since that time…  life isn’t fair, is it.

If you want to write, my email address is jcbresnik@gmail.com.

 

Where did 2016 go?

25 Nov

Nothing posted since last January… can you believe it?  I can. Here’s a brief overview of 2016, so far.

I had heart attack #3 at the end of February. No pain, as usual. Just enough discomfort to let me know something was not right. I spent two days in the new Palomar Hospital. That is one up-to-date facility. Very quiet – remember how you could never get much sleep at night because of the constant noise and bright lights? That’s gone now — it’s quiet and actually quite comfortable.

One stent was placed in the vein graft and I now have three stents. It had been fifteen years since the bypass and veins are not designed to be arteries. So, that vein has a new stent. I guess I’m OK for now. I wonder how many more heart attacks I can have?

Pauline and Nicole arrived in August for a four-week stay. It’s always nice to have them here. Nicole’s eight now — smart as a whip. Then when they left Steve and Marci moved into the back room. The plan is for them to spend a year here at low-rent so they can save for a house.

Sylvia did all the traveling this year. I stayed put.  She’s currently in Maryland visiting with Angela and family. This is her third trip to Maryland this year (she was there in April and June). Then in March she went to Solvang for a long weekend to do a 100-mile bike ride. In July she went on a one-week camping trip in Yosemite with friends and relatives. And, there’s more traveling ahead. In January she’ll be going to Cancún for a wedding and then in March to London for three weeks to visit with Pauline and family.

I really don’t like to travel much anymore. As my Dad used to say in his later years, “I’m all traveled out.” But, I might go back to New York and Maryland in the spring… depends on a few things.

This coming April will mark our 35th year living at 650 Overlook Street. And, on the 20th I’ll be 77. Pushin’ 80 now… pretty dang old. As long as my arteries hold up I’ll be doin’ stuff. Currently, I’m in the process of assembling photographic art which I hope to sell… somehow.  But, with 40 years experience in business I’ll find a way. See photos below:

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32 Ford Roadster

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41 Chevy

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31 Packard

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Reflection on Plymouth

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These photos were all taken at the Escondido Cruisin’ Grand event during this past summer. Every Friday afternoon between April and September old cars show up on Grand Avenue along with a lot of people. I’ve been taking some photos and then I take them into Photoshop and make some changes. Then I print them out with our 30″ digital printer and then mount on 6mm black PVC plastic with offset pieces mounted on the back. Photo is ready to hang.

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Roland 30″ digital printer

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Heinzie has left the building. Originally adopted from son John in New York we have been taking care of him for about three years. He’s a toy fox terrier and that means non-stop activity, barking at the mailman, doing his business all over the back yard (and he expected me to clean up after him) and generally doing things to raise my blood pressure, which I don’t need, of course. He developed a significant skin problem that would have been too expensive to fix, so we took him to the humane society for a cure and then to the adoption process.  So, we’re down to one cat and peace and quiet. I’m not a dog person so I was happy for him that he was moving on to a new deal with a new family. 

Today is Thanksgiving Day. Marci’s Mom Sandy (from El Cajon) came up to put the meal together. Also, her husband Richard, her youngest daughter Natalie plus her sons Rocky and Jeff plus his family all showed up. So, we’ll have a nice meal and relax for a while. Sylvia is in Maryland this year. She’ll be back next week.

Nancy and I went to Starbucks at noon for a cuppa java and some conversation. After living in Hawaii for fifteen years she and Patrick sold there and bought here in Escondido. They arrived in October of 2013 and then three months later Patrick died of a heart attack.  He was 64.  Why is that?  They arrive in this paradise (of sorts) to spend the rest of their time together in this excellent area. And then three months later he dies. I don’t get it.

I’ve been doing some woodworking lately — my favorite hobby. I learned how to do basic woodworking in the middle 50s from my Dad’s carpenter at the sign shop. Since those days I’ve always had access to a table saw, either at his shop or at our house (I got my first table saw when we moved to Escondido in 1977). So, I build easy stuff – shelves, tables and anything that doesn’t require special tools. Here’s a Murphy bed I built for John and Mai:

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Murphy bed for John & Mai – daytime position

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bed ready for sack time

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Recent developments… a little over a month ago Johnny got his commercial flying license. He’s been flying for a few years and wanted to get a commercial license so he would have the option to become a teacher. About once a month he and his daughter fly into the Baltimore area and spend a weekend with Angela and family. They live in Ellicott City, a small town near Baltimore. In this photo below you’ll see that my Dad was also a pilot in the late 20s.

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Speaking of Johnny and flying – last year we were in Ellicott City for our 50th wedding anniversary (June the 12th) and Johnny flew in for the occasion. So, we posed in front of his plane for a 50th anniversary photo:

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June 12, 2015 – married 50 years today

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While we were visiting Angela’s last year Sylvia joined the Cina’s for their quick trip to Niagara Falls. Quite a site…

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So… there you go. Some of the Bresnik happenings over the last year or so.

all for now

brez

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Where did 2015 go?

15 Jan

Can’t believe it… nothing written down for 2015.

Yes, I’m still here — 75 now — I’ll be 76 in April. I saw my new cardiologist (actually he’s not “my” doctor — that term bugs me). Anyhow, the doctor I was seeing retired and Dr. Acheatel was my choice to replace him. I chose him because he’s old — almost 70. By the time doctors have decades of experience they usually enjoy their work and they know how to communicate effectively. Also, according to his bio he went to UCLA. I went to UCLA as well — to use their main library. I didn’t have the grades so I went to Santa Monica City College for two and a half years and then transferred to ASU.

Anyhow, it turns out that Dr. Acheatel and I have some things in common. We’re both in the older set, we’re both left-handed, we were both born and raised in LA. He lived in Beverly Hills and went to Beverly Hills High and I lived in the Palisades and went to Uni High (University High School in West LA). So, aside from the fact that he’s a doctor and I’m an ex-sign painter, we have quite a bit in common which is helpful for communication. There’s an instant emotional connection because of our similar upbringing.

He said my EKG was very good — there was no sign that I have had two heart attacks. Very interesting. My blood pressure is too high (160/80) but he didn’t insist that I take medication for it. All he said was that the meds would open up the arteries and veins so there would be less pressure on the walls.  He’s not a pill pusher — it’s up to me. I’m not a pill-taker, but in this case I think I’ll take some of those pills for a while — while I’m making an effort to lower it naturally.  So, I asked for the pills. The reason I’m going to do that is that a lady Sylvia knows died in her sleep at 75 and the culprit was high blood pressure. She refused to take the pills. Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea, so I’ll take them for now. I’d like to hang out here for a little while longer, if possible. My Dad made it to 81 and his Mom got to 88, so I hope to at least make to 81 so I can come up to Dad’s example.

The main reason I’m starting to post here once again is that I heard about “Throwback Thursday” from the marketing guy I’m working with and that sounds like a great idea. If you’re not familiar with the term here’s the definition from Wikipedia: Throwback Thursday is a trend among social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook wherein users post or repost older photographs (often from their childhood) with the hashtag#ThrowbackThursday or #TBT.

So, here’s my post. I know this week’s Thursday is no longer with us, but here’s my post anyway:

We moved to the Palisades when I was eight (1948). At that time this was the only large building in town and we called it “The Center.” That’s where we (kids in the neighborhood) would go to read comics at the drugstore. And, we could buy root beer floats, cherry phosphates, cherry cokes (my favorite was a chocolate coke – a coke with a squirt of chocolate syrup… yummy!)… all made to order by a real Soda Jerk. Also, the bank was there (left) and the grocery store and other stores. 

palisades - sunset and swarthmore

The plan is to write something every week… maybe an update of the current scene or my latest plans (!) and include the ThrowbackThursday image for the week.

All for now,

Brez


 

 

 

 

 

 

Off to London… again

29 Nov

Sylvia’s in London with Pauline and family. She’ll be back on Sunday, April 19th of 2015 in time to celebrate my 75th birthday on April 20th. April 19th?  Are you kidding?  What’s with the long stay in London?  It’s a long story, but the bottom line is that she’s there to help Pauline with something she asked her mom to do. We’re all good with it – to the untrained eye it may seem a bit strange, but we’re comfortable with the arrangement. It’s not ideal, but what is?  And, there is historical precedent. Six years ago we did the same thing. It takes some getting used to, but we all adjust to whatever needs to be done.

Sylvia’s helping Pauline with Nicole’s school arrangement and she’s getting a good rest at the same time. She tends to work very hard here – exercise daily for an hour and four hours on Sunday, part-time job (24 hrs a week) and a very busy social life. She goes all out seven days a week and then she’ll take a sabbatical every so often. This is one of them – the last one was in 2008-2009 for seven months. Sabbaticals are very important for emotional and physical health. The one before that was in 1980 when we moved to Dublin – all seven of us. We rented our house, spent a year in Dublin and then came back ready for the grind once again. Here’s some good info on the subject:

http://www.thesabbaticalcoach.com/html/sabbatical_intentions.html.  I’m about ready for one myself. I just have to wait until my website is bringing some decent money in the door.

Website?  What website?  It took me over two years to get everything done for the new site. I had to write a book – that took a few months. Then I needed videos – 40 videos. That took a while. A friend of mine shot the video and did all the editing for free. Can you believe that?  In my book she is an Angel from Heaven – who would do something like that other than an angel?  When I start making money she’s going to get a good chunk of it. Without her unselfishness I wouldn’t have this website in place.

Also I had to hire a copyist to write out all my exercises. I can barely read music and my writing skills are at the kindergarten level. So a guy I had worked with many years ago came to mind and he has written out thirty-one of my exercises and short “licks” as they call them. Then I had to assemble photos from the past. Finally, the website had to get done somehow. I’ve done some graphic design over the years, but putting a website together is a little more complicated.  It so happened that our daughter Pauline had been creating some websites for people as a part-time venture.  She uses wix.com which is a very friendly program.  But, it’s still pretty tricky. So we worked together on it and came up with what you see today at http://www.johnbresnik.com.

The book isn’t done yet, but it’ll be done by January 1, 2015.  Then the promotion starts. Even without promotion I have already sold some products. Most of the inquiries will no doubt come from my YouTube videos which now have over 118,000 views.  So, I’m expecting some success with this project. Here’s the book cover:

New book available as download or hard copy.

New book available as download or hard copy.

That’s about it for now.

Brez

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New neighbor…

6 Jun

After living in Hawaii for fifteen years, my younger and only sister Nancy has purchased a nice home here in Escondido.  She sold her house in Pacific Palisades fifteen years ago to move to Hawaii and has now decided to come back to California.

She arrived on October 9th of last year and began to settle in with her boyfriend of 17 years. His name was Patrick Davis (yes, I said was). He didn’t believe in doctors, even though his dad was a cardiologist in Santa Monica. He hadn’t seen a doctor for at least ten years and he didn’t know he had CAD (coronary artery disease). In Hawaii he worked in construction, so he was in fairly good shape. He also did a lot of landscape maintenance.

So this past January 25th he was working in our yard removing the roots of some Oleander bushes that had died from a disease of some kind. He didn’t complain and seemed to be able for the work. But, he wasn’t his normal jolly self. So, he left around 2:00.  When he arrived home he told Nancy that he wasn’t feeling very well and was going to lie down for a while.  She went in to check on him later in the afternoon and noticed that he wasn’t breathing. She called 911 and they tried everything, but nothing worked.  So, I got her call around 5:00… “Patrick’s dead.”  Boy, that was  shocker. The guy’s workin’ in your yard, then goes home and dies.  That was a real shocker. He was 64.

So, Nancy’s alone now. She was looking forward to many years with Patrick here in Escondido, but it’s not going to happen. She still can’t believe that he’s gone.

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I ran across a photo the other day that was taken in September of 2012 by Sylvia’s niece Sandra Smullen, who also lives in Escondido. This is a very unique photograph:

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Sylvia on the right and the John Adler Mt Whitney Team – September 2012

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That’s Sylvia on the right and Mt Whitney is directly above her head and slightly to the right. The day after this photo was taken they began their journey under the direction of team leader John Adler (third from the left). He has been to the summit fifteen times and is very qualified to take people to the top. This was Sylvia’s second time to summit Whitney. Her first time was in 2011 with John Adler leading the team

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The latest interesting development has been our son John becoming a licensed pilot with an instrument rating. He’s a programmer in NYC and lives with his family in Brooklyn. He and his family will be here later this month and we’re going to fly up to Santa Monica to visit with my cousin Randy. He was a helicopter pilot in Viet Nam and then worked for the LA County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team until his retirement about ten years ago. His son Randy is with NASA in Houston as an astronaut.  Here’s a shot of Johnny and his mom at a small airport near our daughter Angela’s home in Ellicott City, Maryland.

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Johnny and his Mom in front of his plane – near Ellicott City, Maryland – April 19, 2014

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I’ll be picking Sylvia up at the airport tomorrow night – she’s arriving from London after almost three weeks with our daughter Pauline, her husband Peter and their daughter Nicole. Then we’ll have about three weeks to get things ready for visitors. Johnny and family coming in on the 27th and then Angela and family arriving a few days later. Then in July, Pauline and Nicole will be coming for five weeks to soak up some sunshine.

So, all for now.

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brez

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