Monday, March 1, 2021

A pancake I didn't like

Thanks to my grandmother, I grew up developing a joy of eating pancakes.  She would make them for me for breakfast whenever I visited her which was often.  I have fond memories of feeding myself full as a young boy and, later, as a teenager.  There was no better feeling than that of feeling full after eating a good stack of pancakes, topped with butter and maple syrup.

This joy carried over into my adulthood and still lasts today as a middle-age man.  I like pancakes and eat them often.

And the tradition of being a grandson eating pancakes also continues because now I regularly make them for my grandsons who live two houses away; they like them too.  I make breakfast pancakes for them often, as often as they like which is often.  I take great delight doing because of the joy on their faces eating my pancakes and the fond memories of my grandmother making them for me and the delight on her face from the joy of making them for me.  I hope one day down the road, when I obviously won’t be around, that this ritual will continue with my older adult grandsons making pancakes for their grandsons, or granddaughters.

Aside from keeping this familial ritual alive, I also take great delight in eating pancakes when going to a restaurant for breakfast.  Mrs. Pierini Fitness oftentimes can’t believe that I’m ordering pancakes again for breakfast, rather than scrambled eggs, hash browns and toast like she does.  Only a pancake-eating middle-age man would understand why my breakfast choice seldom changes.  I’ll do a waffle or French toast every now and then, but good old-fashioned buttermilk pancakes are my preference.

In the new town where I live, there’s a popular restaurant that always has a full house for early morning breakfast.  About one month ago, I went there for the first time with my wife and lo and behold, pancakes were on the breakfast menu.  The menu warned to only order one because they’re very big.  There was an option of ordering two which had me scratching my head because I think of a full-stack consisting of three good-size pancakes and about right for a starving middle-age man. 

When placing my order, the waitress confirmed that their pancakes were very large and that they generally talk most people out of ordering more than one.  My first reaction was that this waitress knew not of my pancake-eating legend.  I was inclined to order two pancakes but at the last minute, submitted to her recommendation ordering just one.

I’m glad I did because the pancake she brought me was huge, as in manhole size huge!

I only ate one pancake at the Horseshow Cafe

I managed to eat that one giant pancake, but it took some work which left me surprised because I was hungry.  I took a picture of this pancake before eating it and sent it to some friends in a text message with this comment: “My wife and I went out for breakfast. I wasn’t that hungry, so I only ordered one pancake.”

I’ve never met a pancake I didn’t like.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, February 22, 2021

My middle-age man fitness, health, and wellness journey

Jumping for joy, I made it to age 66!

First some ancient history.

When I was a kid, today, February 22nd was Washington’s Birthday, a national holiday, and a no-school day.  We kids loved it.  Ten days earlier, February 12th, was Lincoln’s Birthday, also a national holiday and a no-school day.  We kids loved it too.  Somewhere and sometime later, the powers to be came up with a change and created President’s Day, honoring both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Now, on with today’s reflection.

Pierini Fitness recently had a birthday and is now a 66-year young middle-age man.  The countdown advances for my entry into old manhood which I’ve defined as age 70 years.  I’m trying to make the best of my middle-age man years that I have left.  How time flies when you’re having fun.

Speaking of time flying, my 65th year did just that – flew by fast and was full of action and change.  One year ago, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would have done all that I did this past year.

I became a Medicare Man and started realizing big savings in my health insurance costs.

I retired and sold my business.

I relocated to another state and bought a new home.

I did other stuff too, but I won’t bore you with those details.

Age 65 was a good year and one of those birthdays right up there with age 16 (old enough to drive), age 21 (old enough to drink) and age 25 (old enough to start saving in auto insurance premiums.)

Were there other key birthdays along my journey?  I’d say so but it would take some reflection to come up with a list.  Maybe I’ll save that chore for another day and it’ll be another Pierini Fitness reflection.

Thus far, as I enjoy age 66, I continue being blessed with good fitness, health, and wellness.  To be honest, I’m currently not as fit as I was last year, but fitter than most men my age.  Good enough sums it up best.

Am I a better person by other benchmarks?  Who knows; that’ll take some honest reflection.  Maybe I’ll save that chore for another day and it’ll be another Pierini Fitness reflection.

I do know this, I’m thoroughly enjoying being a retired person and have no burning desire to practice my profession on a reduced-scale basis, or to work some part-time job to have something to do. Nor do I have a calling to run out and volunteer for this or that at my church or some local community organization.  I’ve got four little grandsons living two houses away who always are a source of action, entertainment, and responsibility if I need some of that.

So here I am because, wherever I go there I am.  Therefore, it only makes sense to continue marching forward in my middle-age man fitness, health, and wellness journey.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, January 25, 2021

Hanging around

I’m a middle-age man fitness character who seems to do best if there’s a measurable fitness challenge that I’m chasing.  Recently, I chased a goal I had of doing an Asian Squat for 10 minutes.  I diligently trained to improve the time in the squat, starting off with a modest 2-minute squat and advance to 10 minutes over the course of about six weeks.  I’m still doing Asian Squats because I’ve learned of their value and spillover benefit to other aspects of my life.

But there’s time for a new kid on the block in my fitness challenge world and it is a pull-up bar hang hold for time.

I have a history of doing pull-up bar hang holds for time over my middle-age man fitness training journey.  To the best of my knowledge, the longest I’ve hung before dropping was for 2:08 but that was done a long time ago, exact date unknown.  In 2019, I decided to resurrect this and managed to hang for 2:02 before dropping.  Then, the exact reason unknown, I got distracted or lost interest and made no further progress.

A couple weeks ago, I began hanging for time.  The first time I lasted for 1:30 before dropping.  On my second attempt, I lasted for 1:33.  Last week, I managed to hang for 1:48.  Here’s that effort:

Progress comes slow unless the training is structured which it now is.  I’m taking an interval training approach like what I did for the Asian Squats.  I’m also doing some forearm endurance training using a fitness gadget I recently purchased.  I’ll have more to say about that one in a later blog post.

Pierini Fitness will soon be a 66-year young middle-age man fitness dude and it sure would be nice if before his birthday he’s able to surpass his lifetime best of 2:08.  I’m training with that short-term goal in mind.

So, it’s fair to say that, until further notice, I’m going to be spending time hanging around.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, January 18, 2021

A good and honest life

It’s something sort of difficult to admit but I will; Pierini Fitness is having a hard time writing new middle-age man reflections about living and dying, gracefully-aging, and trying to live a good and honest life.  It has been my genre for a long time, so I see no need to change it.

At various times in my long blogging journey, I’ve encountered similar “dryness.”  I think it’s something all artists and writers experience from time to time.  Sometimes it’s the result of burnout and other times, it’s the result of lethargy.  I’m not sure which of the two, or something else, that’s fueling my current episode.

Maybe I’m not spending enough time reflecting about the life I’m living but this seems hard to believe.  After all, I’m retired now from the rat race and one could argue I have much more time for pondering that in my past. 

Maybe it’s the new surroundings I’m living; a new home in a new state with none of the familiar outcroppings that for so many years were my life.  I’m not sure that’s an excuse, however, because you’d think that the newness that’s part of my life would create boundless opportunities to think about this and that, to reflect about the life I’ve lived and the life I hope to live for the rest of my life.

Blah, blah, blah, I could ramble on forever and it would not lead me to a light at the end of my dryness tunnel, a passageway I must go through to emerge into a state of being and mindset where and when I start to bang out some homerun written reflections.

If you have anything to add to what I’ve shared that might illuminate the darkness of where I’m at as a blogger, please let me know.

If not, be patient because it’s a matter of time before I’m fully back on my middle-aged man reflective saddle giving you my two cents about living and drying, gracefully-aging, and trying to live a good and honest life.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, January 11, 2021

My Burpees 2021 Journey

Last week I told you about my Asian Squat Journey that’s currently in progress.  I’m pleased to report I had a good training week and was able to set a new personal best, a 9:00 Asian Squat.  Here’s video proof of my latest proud accomplishment:

As also previously shared, I have a goal of completing an Asian Squat for 10:00 by my 66th birthday.  I have about five weeks to accomplish this goal and at this point, I’m confident I will.  Check back often for updates. 

Moving on to another 2021 fitness training preoccupation I have; it’s with an old friend named burpees.  I’m calling this fitness training preoccupation my Burpees 2021 Journey. 

For 2021, I’m going to complete 100 burpees workouts of at least 100 burpees.  The burpees I do have a pushup and hands-extended overhead jump with each repetition.  The jump makes them harder; at least that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

Last year around this time, I was knee-deep with my burpees workouts and had a goal of completing 100 burpees in 10:00 or less.  I never achieved this goal but got, sort of, close with a time of 10:37 until distractions and/or burnout arrived. 

Reviewing past training journals, my current time to complete 100 burpees is about what it was last year.  I’ve completed three burpees workouts thus far in my 2021 Burpees Journey and have 97 more workouts to do.  Just hanging in there and showing up will result in progress which’ll be nothing more than reclaiming what I had last year and eventually lost.  Maybe, this year, I’ll finally achieve my goal of completing 100 burpees in 10:00 or less.

Here’s my latest effort, burpees workout number three.  You’ll notice I’m sucking air because I’m not in burpees conditioning shape.  I’ll be back.

I’m asking that you privately cheer for me as I travel down my middle-age man fitness training highway working my 2021 Burpees Journey.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, January 4, 2021

My Asian Squat Journey

I still have vivid memories from over 46 years ago when I was a young soldier stationed in the Republic of South Korea.  A bunch of us soldiers would regularly spend time in the village outside our military base.  We’d roam here and there, down the main streets and into the meandering alleys where homes were located on both sides. 

I’d notice Koreans in front of the homes engaging in conversations with their neighbors while, for some, smoking their cigarettes.  They weren’t sitting or standing but in a very low squat position known by some as the Asian Squat.  They’d stay in this position for what seemed like forever.

Another Asian Squat memory I have is one day when I witnessed a group of Korean mechanics who were taking a break in front of the garage where they worked.  There must have been a half dozen of them in a circle.  They were smoking cigarettes and talking and laughing while playing a board game.  They stayed in this position their entire break time and then when their break was over, they sprung up like frogs and went back to work. 

This is all an introduction to something I’ve been doing the past month that I’ve named my Asian Squat Journey. I’m spending time perfecting me being in the Asian Squat bottom position, trying to improve the duration of time I can spend before crumbling to my knees and quitting.

The first time I did this, about one month ago, I timed myself and stayed in the squat bottom position for a whopping two minutes.  That was, unbeknownst to be at the time, the beginning of my Asian Squat Journey.  How long will it last and where will it lead me?  Time will tell but thus far, I’m having fun in my journey.

Since progress comes from training and not just by being good looking, I’ve been training and have settled into two workouts.  The first one is a timed hold that I do at least once a week.  Thus far, I’ve been video recording my tests and uploading them on YouTube for my archival benefit so that when I’m an old man sitting in a rocking chair and crapping my pants, I’ll be able to take great delight in thinking about the things I used to do.

Thus far, my best is an 8-minute hold.  Unfortunately, I had video recording technical difficulties of that accomplishment so there’s no video evidence thus far.  But I did upload on YouTube an executive briefing video of my accomplishment.

Here’s a video of my 7-minute Asian Squat hold:

The other training workout I do is called my Asian Squat Interval Training Workout.

It consists of 15 rounds every minute on the minute where I sit in the Asian Squat bottom position for a fixed time interval and then stand and shake it out for recovery.  I believe I started out with 20-second squat holds with 40-seconds recovery and have advanced to 45-second squat holds with 15-seconds recovery. I did try a 50-second squat hold with 10-seconds recovery, but I had a bad day and threw in the towel after completing seven rounds.  I’ll try that workout again, probably this week.

I’ve done another interval training workout during which I superset shorter-duration Asian Squat holds in tandem with rounds of alternating pull-ups and chin-ups done every minute on the minute for 30 minutes.  The goal is to complete 100 repetitions of pull-ups and chin-ups and get some decent squat time in.  For these interval workouts, my squat times have been shorter thus far, ranging from 20-seconds to 25-seconds.  I’ll try 30-seconds my next workout and see how it goes.

In the process of achieving what I have thus far, I announced to myself a short-term goal of a 10-minute Asian Squat which I’d like to achieve by my upcoming birthday in about six weeks.  We’ll see if I do it.  If not, I’ll keep marching forward because I’m liking the benefits this training is giving me.  I’ll have more to say about these benefits in the future.

So, until further notice, I’m having a good time with my Asian Squat Journey.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year 2021

Good morning Pierini Fitness sports fans.  I’m finally checking in after being away longer than I thought.  I wasn’t ill or out of the country, just enjoying my new life as a retired middle-age man.

It seems that I just didn’t deliver in the blog department much the remaining part of 2020.  I’ve had my main computer down and it isn’t as easy trying to bang out and post award-winning middle-age man reflections using my iPhone.

My computer is still down but will be back up and running within the next week.  So, rest assured, I’ll be back.

I plan on being more regular in sharing what’s going on in my life, not only my thoughts and feelings but the workouts I’ve been doing.  I have been working out but not at the gangbusters pace that I did earlier in the year leading up to my retirement on October 1, 2020.  I have lots to share including my 2021 fitness goals.  Stay tuned for the details because the best is yet to come.

Until then Pierini Fitness sports fans, Happy New Year 2021.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The best hat to keep the sun out

It’s hotter and sunnier here where I now live, and I must wear a hat to keep my crown safe.  I’ve never been a hat person but now I must.

Shopping around for a hat is no easy task.  Most hats, at least the baseball version, have a logo of some business or professional sports team.  Who wants to be a walking billboard advertising peon for them?  Not me.

The cowboy hats are an exception, but they don’t seem to be good hats to wear when engaged in my middle-age man fitness pursuits.  So, I need a good baseball cap.

After shopping around, I decided it was necessary to take things into my own hands.  I came out with a good solution of the best hat to keep the sun out.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, November 16, 2020

It's no fun taking a spill

The next thing I knew, I was flat on my belly on the ground.  I didn’t see it coming; nor did I know what hit me.  I almost sprung up, though, and immediately knew there was damage.  My right cheek bone had a shiner, my ribs hurt, and I had scrapes and scratches on my hands, legs and knees.

My first reaction was to run but honestly walking seemed easier.  After thinking about it briefly, I decided to run because I would escape quicker from where I hit the ground.

What was this all about?  Did Pierini Fitness mouth off to the wrong person, only to get sucker punched in broad daylight?  If so, did he deserve it?

No is the answer to both questions.

This happened two weeks ago to this day. 

While out on a run one afternoon, I misstep and took a spill, something I hadn’t done in a long time.  I’m now running on uneven terrain with a little elevation and with a little running rust from time off I took due to my business retirement and relocation to another state.

Yup, I fell flat on my face and flat on my stomach.  I saw it coming but there was nothing I could do about it.

Bruised ribs aren’t run.  I used to get them every so often when I trained in karate.  Makes sleeping at night difficult, particularly the first couple nights.  Trying to get the sweet spot for laying in bed pain free takes some trial and error.  Plus, you got to use the elbow roll trick to get out of bed.  It was a rough first week. but I survived.

The following Monday, one week later and one week ago this day, I felt better to attempt to run again.  I ran three miles and, while my time was slower, I felt good that I was able to do it.  But it told me that I needed more time to heal so I spent the rest of the week taking brisk three-mile morning walks.

Today I’m feeling much better and will go for another run.  I’ll be extra cautious and concentrate on good leg lift with each forward running step I take because it’s no fun taking a spill.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Smothers Brothers Syndrome

Someone from an internet fitness discussion forum suggested that I might consider sharing my professional knowledge on my Pierini Fitness blog.  I honestly never considered it until now and have decided to share, here, something I wrote a couple years ago that appeared in my now retired monthly client e-newsletter.  I hope you enjoy what follows which I’ve slightly modified for here.

Smothers Brothers Syndrome - A serious ailment your adult children heirs may become afflicted with after your passing related to inheritance and unresolved emotional relationship issues with you and their siblings. Those suffering from this ailment are predisposed to unpredictably bellow to their siblings, "Mom always liked you best."

The stuff I write about oftentimes has its origin in my memories from long ago. One such memory is from 50 years ago when I was an entry-level teenager. Then, I would regularly watch a weekly television show called The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.  

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was a comedy and variety show television series hosted by brothers Tommy and Dick Smothers. The show's content appealed to a youthful and rebellious audience because of its audacious political satire and guest musical entertainers who played the modern music younger people enjoyed.

While our parents and grandparents preferred to watch Bonanza, an also-popular western television series on the other channel, we wanted to watch Tommy and Dick Smothers. This was circa late 1960's, a period of youthful unrest and social rebellion from the status quo with which our elders were comfortable. While its political satire content is tame by today's standards, in the late 1960's, it regularly stood on and crossed the line of what was considered permissible for television.

What I enjoyed most was when brothers Tommy and Dick would sing a song while strumming their musical instruments and engaging in sibling conversation. Tommy played the guitar and Dick played the bass. Predictably, they would eventually start arguing. Older brother Tommy had this "slow" persona to his character while younger brother Dick came across as having a superiority complex. This character dichotomy fueled their entertaining "conflict." Eventually, Tommy became flustered and resorted to delivering his audience-pleasing favorite line, "Mom always liked you best."

This “Mom always liked you best." bellow of Tommy Smothers is still alive and thriving in the family dynamics of clients I've served, particularly when parents are deceased, and their surviving children heirs are left waiting for their planned inheritances to be distributed.

Sometimes, their inheritances are clearly defined in wills and trust documents while other times there may be ambiguities best described as both intentional and unintentional. The result is sibling conflict fueled by deeply embedded emotions formed long ago, best-described by Tommy Smothers' famous-saying of "Mom always liked you best."

I call this behavior the "Smothers Brothers Syndrome" and it's a real force to reckon with among siblings in the post-mortem period of their parents' passing.

I've witnessed some of the most appalling behavior imaginable among siblings over perceived inequities of inheritances from their parents' estates and trusts. And, unconscionable behaviors such as fighting over property that should go to them rather than their sibling(s). I've witnessed one sibling filing a police report for alleged criminal acts committed by another sibling. Some of what I've witnessed is best described as "nasty."

Toss in another variable of a parent who remarries and provides for his or her surviving spouse different from what adult children believe is "right."  Then, what you might hear is "Dad liked my Mom better." or "Mom liked my Dad better."  Again, it often gets nasty as in real nasty.

Years ago, when my office was at a different location, there was an exercise room on the first floor. I would often go there to exercise during lunch or after work. One person I would regularly see there and engage in conversation with was Ernie, a trust litigation attorney. Ernie made his living, and a comfortable one at that, representing surviving spouses and adult children beneficiaries, and executors and trustees of wills and trusts, who were at odds with each other. Sometimes the conflict could easily be resolved while at other times, expensive and lengthy litigation in front of a judge was necessary.

Are these post-mortem conflicts destined to happen in all cases? 

No, but my experience has been they're more likely to occur in estate and trust administration of a deceased client's wealth transfers to heirs.  Like a nice and high-priced steak, sometimes these conflicts are rare or medium rare, while at other times they're well-done or extra well-done.

What's the lesson for you?

Be aware of an above-average risk for post-mortem conflict among your heirs and do your best to minimize the likelihood of such conflict by how you define, refine and modify your wealth-transferring intentions in your trust and will documents.

Finally, be aware that Tommy Smothers had it right when he uttered over 50 years ago that "Mom always liked you best." Do your very best today so your heirs and other loved ones will not encounter episodes of the Smothers Brothers Syndrome.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum