Friday, October 30, 2015

Than a baby shower

In my journey of reflecting as a middle-aged man about living and dying, gracefully aging and trying my best to live a good and honest life, it seems like the dying part is getting more and more center-stage in my reflections.

Marking two upcoming funerals to attend in November on my calendar yesterday was another stark reminder of this truth of mine.

It also seems that others have taken note of my death and dying reflections.  Some might describe me as having a preoccupation about it.  Hopefully nobody will see it as a compulsive obsession.

Take my banker, for example, who read my book while relaxing and tanning on a Santa Cruz beach on vacation several months ago.  I had a chance to chat with him one day when he returned from vacation.  He shared how he liked my book but thought the dying reflections contents were a little too much to swallow. 

I’ve pondered about the same and have confessed that my thinking about dying is something crossing my mind perhaps more than the average middle-aged man.

My reply to his observation is that our truth of the matter is ‘tis the season as some might say.  This death and dying stuff is the current chapter in our book of life we’re more likely to experience. 

Yes, we’re more likely at this chapter of our middle-aged man lives to find ourselves attending a funeral than a baby shower.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The bridge on which I stand

Life can be rough at times in this dog eat dog world in which we live.  

Going about life trying to be a nice middle-aged man is how I try to do things but sometimes being Mr. Nice is viewed as being weak by others who don’t subscribe to my preferred mode of operation.

And so while trying to use some of the communication techniques recently learned at a workshop I attended, sometimes a more familiar, calloused and rough-around-the-edges style must be used when communicating to those who are difficult, disrespectful, and offensive to me.

While it’s true that the best defense is a great offense, I see no need to change my style to Donald Trump-like offensive behavior.  Privately, I know this is something I’m capable of but it’s not how I prefer to be.  I prefer a self-defense style.

I’m very capable of using strong words strung together to make a very stern message when necessary as a form of self-defense against someone who is coming at me very strong with their own words making allegations or statements that disregard my comfort zone and disrespect my common decency to which every middle-aged man is entitled.

And while in these instances I may defend myself with a flurry of words expressed in a way meaning serious business and capable of delivering great emotional harm, with no at-the-moment regard to the “damage” their delivery may cause, I hope and pray for enough clarity to realize in the heat of my moment how I must never blow up the bridge on which I stand.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Because

My wife and I recently completed a three-Saturday workshop to help us improve our communication skills.  You’d think after 37-years of marriage we should be teaching the course but the truth of the matter is there’s still much more for both of us to know and apply in our daily lives.

Pay attention to the apply word because it’s the important of the two words “know” and “apply”.

So of the many things I learned is what’s key for us middle-aged men is to show understanding about what our dear wives are sharing with us.  They don’t want us to solve their problems or to fix something.  Maybe later they’ll accept our problem solve or fix, but only after we’ve shown understanding.

This is hard for me to understand at times but it’s true.

And what do our wives want besides us showing understanding of their feelings and concerns?

They want to know ours?

Yikes!!

Why won’t just telling you what I think be good enough?  How about some events and facts to round out my sharing?

But share my feelings and concerns?   OK maybe I’ll privately do it but don’t tell anyone, especially my fellow middle-aged macho men.  They might think I’m a sissy.

I’m a work-in-progress and haven’t yet reached the noon hour in a lifetime journey of developing my emotional intelligence.  I hope to arrive there before my lifetime journey clock strikes midnight.

One woman in attendance shared her frustration with her husband’s frequent answer to questions she asks him when she wants to have an emotionally-intimate conversation.

What she shared his answer was made me chuckle, and I had to agree with her how his short and simple answer would leave her emotionally unfulfilled.  His answer reminded me of me when my wife asks me how I’m feeling and I reply with a deeply-expressive “Fine.”

And what was my fellow middle-aged man’s short and simple answer to his wife’s emotionally-loaded question?

His answer was “Because.”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Eating my bacon on Sunday

In my growing interest of reading health-related news articles and the doings of the World Health Organization (WHO), I’ve shared much of both here and sometimes made wise-guy comments.  In doing so, I’ve learned I’m not a big fan of WHO.

So today I’m sharing one of WHO’s latest and that’s perhaps something you’ve also read.  WHO’s experts tell us that eating processed meats like hot dogs, sausages or bacon can lead to bowel cancer in humans and red meat is a likely cause of the disease.

This is of great interest to this 60-year young middle-aged man who has never had a screening colonoscopy to check for the existence of colorectal cancer.  According to my research, it’s the 9th leading cause of death of middle-aged men in my age decade (55-64 years). 

I’ll have more to say about screening colonoscopies in the near future.  I’ve done lots of research about them and have thoughts and opinions needing to be shared.

But now let’s go back to WHO’s latest.

Apparently, each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent.  The key word here is “daily”.

I suppose there are middle-aged men who eat processed meat daily.  Perhaps there may have been windows in my nutrition past when I did.  I don’t know for sure.

So assuming I will be alarmed about this 18 percent higher risk, what’s my solution to guard against it?

Eating my salami sandwich on Wednesday and eating my bacon on Sunday.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, October 26, 2015

My KB clean and overhead complex

Training exclusively with kettlebells these days, I'm constantly on the look for a new and challenging workout.  

I get great ones viewing YouTube but I've also created my own, designed with me in mind and today I'm sharing one of them.

It's a single-arm kettlebell complex consisting of the following:

(1)  dead clean/overhead strict press

(2)  swing/clean/overhead push press

(3)  swing/clean/front squat/overhead push jerk

Complete one of each of the above with your right side switch and then do the same on your left side for one round.  

Here's a video demonstration of it by the chief executive blogger of Pierini Fitness:



I suggest you pick a heavy enough weight so that you're ready to call it quits after 20 rounds.  Rest as required between rounds.  

The last time I did this 20 round workout, for example, I started a new round every 1:50.  It took me about 1:10 of work to complete thereby giving me about 0:40 of recovery.

It may seem like this isn't a lot of work but trust me, you really start to fatigue in the latter rounds.  And your heart rate will escalate.

Maintain good form, work hard and don't get too comfortable. 

Give this a try and let me know what you think; my KB clean and overhead complex.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, October 23, 2015

Quietly joined the 800 Club

Blogging is fun and has provided me with much self-discovery over the past seven years about who is this middle-aged man known to me as me. 

My reflective thinking about living and dying, gracefully aging and trying to live a good and honest life teaches me much and gives me an abundant archive I can draw from in time of need to share with others.  I hope there’s much more I’ll produce in the next nine years and 33 cents of remaining life being a middle-aged man.

In my world, I’ll become an “old man” when my biological clock strikes 70 years.

When I reflect back on the past seven years, there were times when I was quite manic in my blogging.  One year I didn’t miss a day and cyber-published 365 blogflections.  

Then there was a time when I retired but eventually came back much like an old prize-fighting boxer who calls it quits, misses the glory and returns for another round in the spotlight.

What makes me want to do this is a question I sometimes ask myself. 

The short answer is that I’m a blogger.  A real blogger has thoughts and feelings dancing in their minds they're not willing to keep to themselves.  So they choose a cyberspace medium to barf them out for the world to know.  They generally excelled at Show and Tell Time during their elementary school years. 

And a true blogger doesn’t care one bit if the only person reading their compositions is him or her.

That’s me; a true blogger.

Sort of like that lost soul standing on a street corner in a large city preaching to the masses about their salvation, or ranting in rage about a corrupt politician and a democracy that favors the wealthy at the expense of all others.

So I’ll continue blogging knowing that some days my delivery will be bland and not interesting to those deciding to take a peek at my current reflection.  Every now and then, and hopefully more now than then, I’ll deliver a classic and stew in my juices while basking in my sunshine that I’ve delivered a middle-aged man reflection bordering on greatness, as defined by me.

And the content here will continue to grow just like it did earlier this week with its 800th blogflection when Pierini Fitness quietly joined the 800 Club.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Worthy of your review

It's been a good while since middle-aged man fitness stuff or a decent training idea has been shared here  and my apologies.  

Lately, the stuff on my mind has more closely followed my favorite theme of living and dying, gracefully aging and trying to live a good and honest life.

It also seems that I've had much to say about recent health research as reported on various internet websites, sometime poking holes in reported findings.  

I try my best to avoid political talk but did manage to slip in a couple ramblings not that long ago.

But rest assured, good fitness stuff lies ahead.  It's just a matter of time before I get focused and deliver something worthy of your review.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Calling in sick

Over thirty years ago, I was once an employee; a very young one with values still in the formative stages.  Back in those olden days, sometimes I didn’t feel like working and would call in sick. 

On those “sick days”, I rarely was sick in fact but rather in fiction.  I just didn’t feel like working for whatever reason. 

I happened to work for an employer who paid me even if I was sick so I chose to be dishonest once in a while by calling in sick.    

I’m embarrassed and ashamed that I did this and sharing it is a good for cultivating my middle-aged man now honesty. 

But just like a drug addict or someone suffering from dysfunctional behavior, relapse is always a force with which to be reckoned.  

This middle-aged man is not spared from the perils of relapse so today, with no creative middle-aged man reflection to share, he’s calling in sick.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Rigidly flexible

From many years of a life well lived have been many fruits of my labor from both work and play with fitness, health and wellness being among the mix.  

Like other middle-aged men, I’ve harvested my bounty with labor applied to the tasks needing to be done and doing so has required discipline, organization, structure and passion applied in different proportions on different days commensurate with the tasks at hand.

While it’s possible to accomplish many things with a haphazard approach and even with chaos in the background, it seems that more can get done when these elements are not present.  

Yet life doesn’t always get lived with a predictable cadence coexisting with these forces that must be reckoned with as obstacles to getting things done.

There’s something to be said for being flexible and operating in a catch-as-catch-can mode when circumstances require it.

So while I know that discipline, organization, structure and passion will continue to fuel the best in me, I’ll always nonetheless have a private appreciation for operating in a mode that can best be described as rigidly flexible.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, October 19, 2015

No pork on his fork?

Without a windy discussion with who, where, when, how and why elements, my executive briefing of an article I read last week is how a recent study indicates we may be one step closer to using animals as organ donors for humans in need. 

One article’s headline was that gene editing could make pig-to-human organ transplants a reality.

An ailing middle-aged man with health problems could clearly be a human in need so the gracefully-aging prospects of this gene editing exploration leave much to my imagination and inquisitiveness.

Questions abound the more thought I give to this future reality.

If a middle-aged man one day receives a pig-donor gut transplant, is it possible he may no longer desire to devour a king-sized rack of baby back barbeque ribs to take the edge off his middle-aged man hunger?

Might it make him shout how there’ll be no pork on his fork?

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, October 16, 2015

Loud and never-ending shouts

For a physically-healthy middle-aged man, life can be great and a decoy to what’s really going on in his gracefully-aging journey.  

And that is a slow erosion of many types – cognitive and physiological for example – that at the moment may be so subtle that it escapes our attention-deficit awareness.

But sooner or later this aging-onset decline will manifest itself for even the blindest of the blind to see and I will not be spared this “misery.” 

“Why didn’t someone tell me this was happening?” may one day be my utter to those witnessing me in my lament.

And this witness may be me talking to myself while looking in a mirror wondering what happened to that 16-year-old kid who for so long was my trusted daily imaginary companion during early-morning grooming sessions in preparation for another day of conquering my world.

Sometimes this reality awareness comes to us in what we witness in a sick spouse, parent or close friend suffering from more obviously-recognizable cognitive decline, chronic pain, and physical illness in an assortment of aging-onset maladies that forever change the quality of their lives; placing them closer, day-by-day and moment-by-moment, to their eventual encounter with the end of their lives. 

Some handle it better than others preferring to reflect on their yesteryear life so blessed with good health and vigor while others, perhaps feeling betrayed, might be inclined to take a short walk off a high cliff.

It’s not always a fun thing to watch because it reminds us that our day will come.

Yes my day will come.  Honestly, it comes each day but now only in whispers that cumulatively in time will be loud and never-ending shouts.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Got to do this tough work

This middle-aged man sits for a living and has been doing so for over 30 years.  It’s an occupational hazard but someone has got to do this tough work serving so many needy people requiring the talents I provide. 

Sitting, for the most part, is how I do my work that delivers these talents.

Not that long ago was this news chatter about how dangerous sitting is and how those who sit a lot, like me, were at higher risk for various health-related maladies and maybe an earlier death.  After reading one article, the thought entered my mind that I should get up from my office desk chair and either run in pace for a minute or so or bang out 100 rapid-fire reps of jumping jacks.  

I did neither.

So now the latest news is how sitting, in and of itself, for long periods of time may not be the bad-health culprit previously thought.  Recent research done by researchers at University College London and the University of Exeter found no association between sitting and mortality risk.

This makes me want jump for joy from the sitting position I’ve been in and will be for at least the next six hours other than a few standing or walk to the toilet breaks.  But I’ll pass because there’s no life-prolonging reason to do so.

So I’ll continue sitting for a living doing what I do to make the world a better place for all who look to me to help them make their contribution of making the world a better place.

Yes, someone has got to do this tough work.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A broken sound bite

I’m sick and tired about the constant news of whether the Federal Reserve Board will or will not raise interest rates. 

Quite frankly most people, and I’ll stick my neck out and say most businesses, are really not that interested in the latest headline about how “A lack of interest-rate action – and no firm sign of when to expect it – is playing on nerves at home and abroad.”  This is according to a recent U.S. News and World Report article with an intended nerve-wrecking title “As an Anxious World Turns, the Fed Stands Pat”.

We’ve been fed this broken record news headline for way too long by the media.  Has anyone ever asked us if we want to continue being bombarded with this rerun news? 

Nobody has asked me and I haven’t met one person who’s nervous about this.

Business and financial news has become one big yawn in my opinion. 

People are more interested in who’s going to win the World Series this time of the year. 

One day the stock market drops due to fears about the Federal Reserve Board raising interest rates and then the next day it rebounds because some member of the Federal Reserve Board thinks rates should not be adjusted upward until next year. 

I’ll tell you what I think.

But for the most part, people don’t care; this I really believe. 

Yet the media continues to report this old news. 

Perhaps because it’s an easy script to write and it easily fills space they have available to report the news.  They have a dozen templates out there of this news story so all they have to do is just update it with a few current figures and statements some big shot has made.

Every news-reporting agency is drinking the same Kool-Aid and reporting the same old news about interest rates and I’m tired of it!

This interest rate stuff and whether the Federal Reserve Board will or will not raise interest rates has become one big bore and a broken sound bite.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Somewhat of a nuisance

There comes a time for many middle-aged men when the hair on the top of their head isn’t thick and lush like it used to be.  Some suffer from no hair at all on their north pole.  It’s all part of a gracefully-aging packaged deal. 

Well my crown is still covered with hair but some of it now sports a Centrum Silver shade of gray color as if I was a “Peter Graves cadet” in training.

But all is not growing slowly in my hair department.  I’ve noticed new and increasingly ever-present ear hair and nostril hair being my now thick and lush claim to fame.  

I consider these middle-aged man onset fur outcroppings my badge of honor of having made it this far.

However with their glory comes a commensurate labor of keeping them groomed and presentable.

Quite frankly, I must confess they’re somewhat of a nuisance.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, October 12, 2015

Tame the beast

Let this middle-age man cut to the chase and tell anyone who may wonder why he exercises the way he does.  Why does he do some of the workouts he does?  Why does he favor intensity?

Certainly at his middle-aged man chapter of life, he's not training for some athletic competition although some middle-aged men are still in that game.

All the evidence suggests that something simple like a daily brisk walk may be all that is necessary for general health and wellness.

So why does he prefer to strap a heart rate monitor around his chest and subject himself to short-duration and grueling workouts of the high-intensity flavor?

His answer is very simple.  Within him is this character that needs to be kept in check. 

This character is known by different names to different people but this middle-aged man knows his inner-character as the beast.

And this middle-aged man wants to tame the beast.  

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, October 9, 2015

As fast as they did

Recently I viewed a discussion forum topic titled “20 years ago I never would have thought” to which many people shared their reflective replies.

Some were very sad while others were fun to read because people were living a life better than they imagined 20 years ago.

This topic made me thing about what my reflection might be and after much thought I came to the conclusion that twenty years ago I would have never thought that the next twenty years would go by as fast as they did.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Taking my exercise pills

The physical and psychological benefits of regular exercise can’t be disputed and those who regularly do so are the best witnesses of how it contributes in a positive way to their health and wellness.  

Let’s toss yours truly into the witness brigade.

Recent research by a group of Australian university researchers has revealed new discoveries about a thousand molecular changes that occur in our muscles when we exercise.  This research provides the world’s first comprehensive exercise blueprint according to an article appearing on the University of Sidney’s website.

The co-author of this research shared his enthusiasm about this research finding by commenting how it’s a major breakthrough because it allows scientists to use this information to design a drug that mimics the true beneficial changes caused by exercise.

In other words, perhaps down the road will be a new pill that one can take providing many of the same benefits of exercise without having to do so.

And when that day comes, asking your regular workout partner that it’s time to head to the gym may generate this reply:  “You go by yourself.  I’m staying home and taking my exercise pills.”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Important information to know

In a continuing mission of taking responsibility for and managing his middle-aged man health and wellness, this middle-aged man has been reading a lot including leading causes of death in his age group.  

It’s not that I’m necessarily planning ahead, but it’s nice to know the cause of death for middle-age men in my decade of life - age 55 to 64 - based on statistical information available.

What I've learned is the top ten leading causes of death in my age-decade are as follows:


Ranking
Cause of death

 1
Coronary heart disease

 2
Lung cancers

 3
Liver disease

 4
Lung disease

 5
Diabetes Mellitus

 6
Hypertension

 7
Stroke

 8
Liver cancer

 9
Colon-rectum cancers

10
Suicide

Yikes!  Did you notice number 10?  Is the burden of being a middle-age man driving us to an edge of a cliff with some choosing to jump?

Seriously though, the above list gives this middle-aged man some perspective as he plans and lives his remaining life being aware of the causes that may lead him to his eventual meeting with the Grim Reaper.  

It's nice to know these leading causes of death and perhaps they might influence lifestyle choices I make that may affect the rest of my life.      

Here’s a website link if you’re interested in other age groups:


In managing his health and wellness, this middle-age man believes this is important information to know.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum