Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last Sunday of February 2010

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Today is Sunday and, as usual, Pierini Fitness is closed so the chief executive blogger can rest his body, mind and spirit.

Rest is much cherished today. It was a bittersweet week. Actually, it was a bittersweet day on Thursday as my wife and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary and learning later that afternoon that a good friend passed away and was called home to his Creator.

The joys of life can oftentimes best be appreciated in the shadow of death which also reminds us that even in the best of good times we all carry a cross of some kind.

Have a great last Sunday of February 2010.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rest in peace Amen

It was a sad day Thursday afternoon when I learned that my dear friend and dojo brother from a different mother, Sensei Ken Kuch, passed away that morning and was called home to his Creator. He's the second person on the left in this New Years Day 2006 post-workout photo. Click the photo for a better view.

I’ll have more to share as I collect my feelings and thoughts. Right now, my wife and I are praying for the repose of his soul – what we believe as Catholics - and that God comforts his family as his wife mourns the loss of her husband and his two sons mourn the loss of their dad.

Today the Saturday morning karate workout has been cancelled and the dojo is closed much like a flag flying at half mast as a symbol of respect and mourning.

Dear God, we ask that eternal rest be granted to our departed friend and dojo brother Sensei Ken Kuch, and let perpetual Light shine upon him; may his soul and the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 26, 2010

I'll always be a dime a dozen

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Returning to my office yesterday after two days away working at a client’s location, awaiting me was my desktop computer that was not working. Yikes! Stuff isn’t suppose to happen when it doesn’t fit on the calendar like right now.

This busy work season hiccup wrecked havoc in my day and eliminated the time available for another creative and original Pierini Fitness blogflection.

What does that mean?

Glad you asked. It means another rerun – a blast from the past – for you to enjoy today. Here it is:
A dime a dozen.

While this rerun blogflection was in the context of good fitness and health, the message equally applies to who we think we are in all aspects of our life. Are we someone special, like a big shot in the circles in which we frequent on a regular basis? Do we have special job skills or contacts that we believe are empowering? Where do we sit in the pecking order of society?

I’m not sure about you but let me answer these questions from my vantage point. Despite continuing ego inflation, I find it extremely humbling to remind myself that I’ll always be a dime a dozen.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, February 25, 2010

With my eternal bride

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This morning I awakened a married man for 32-years to the day as today is my wedding anniversary.

Never shy in cyberspace public, and as a witness for the sanctity of marriage, today’s blogflection are my renewed marriage vows I've shared with my dear wife:

“Today we renew our wedding vows that we took as husband and wife 32 years ago. I renew my promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I renew my love of you and promise to honor you all the days of my life. I take you for my lawful wife, to continue to have and to hold as I have for the past 32 years, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”

A wonderful light at the end of today’s busy season work tunnel awaits me this evening - a private and simple celebration with my eternal bride.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When I'm a little busier with life

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With a growing collection of blogflections from almost one and one-half years of daily work, I'm well prepared for days like this. The Pierini Fitness archives are like the family basement bomb shelter stored with a prudent supply of bottled water, canned goods, flashlight batteries and ammunition for “just in case emergency situations”.

I’m pulling a classic – one of my favorites – out of the archives for today that hopefully you’ll enjoy again as much as I did the first time and again today. Here it is: Go away or here to stay

It’s great having prudent reserves on days like today when I’m a little busier with life.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How much is that doggie in the window?

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President Obama’s health care reform agenda is back on the front pages of the news this week. The President used his weekly radio address last Saturday to call on Democrat and Republican leaders to use good faith to find reforms that work for American families and small businesses.

One of the ideas suggested is to grant the federal health and human services secretary new authority to review and block premium increases by private insurers by creating a new Health Insurance Rate Authority made up of health industry experts.

What happened to the good old days when market forces of competition and consumerism were used to control prices?

This blogster has said more than once that the health care reform ideas of unsuccessful Presidential candidate John McCain were better solutions for competition and consumerism. The problem was that John McCain couldn’t articulate his ideas in a convincing manner and those who were fat and happy with the status quo weren’t interested; like those who already had great health care benefits provided by their employers.

What are needed in true health care reform are changes that allow the powerful economic forces of health care provider competition and patient consumerism to thrive. Creating a new layer of government bureaucracy to control prices doesn’t do that in my opinion.

Last week my wife went to a new medical doctor and, at the end of her visit, wanted to pay the bill. We have a high deductible health insurance plan where we pay the first $4,000 per year before the insurance pays any of her medical costs. The medical receptionist was unable to tell my wife the cost of her visit until the insurance company was billed.

That just doesn’t seem right to me. We wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes and take them home without paying for them first and knowing the cost as we walked out the store. It should be the same for health care.

Let’s restore health care provider competition and patient consumerism. We should be able to get an answer about how much a trip to the doctor costs just like the little boy who wants a dog and asks “how much is that doggie in the window?”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hunger is a great chef

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Around five weeks ago I shared about my mental weakness hiccup that was delaying my plan to resume intermittent fasting (IF). No sooner did I reveal this on a Friday, the following Monday I jumped back on the saddle with a Monday through Friday IF schedule. Saturday and Sunday are non-IF days.

On Monday through Friday, my target eating window is about five hours beginning in the late afternoon. That doesn’t mean I’m constantly eating during this window but it is when the kitchen is open for business to eat and fuel my daily nutritional requirements. For example, on my birthday last Friday, my window was from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

When did I eat during this window? At 4:30 p.m., I ate a good home-cooked meal that took about one half hour to eat and thoroughly enjoy. It was very delicious and left me very satisfied. Later at around 8:40 p.m., I ate dessert my wife bought me for my birthday. It was a chocolate and nut covered vanilla ice cream bar from Costco and I ate the whole darn thing! It sure was good but I wouldn’t want to do one of those every day.

As I’ve shared before, I really like the IF lifestyle and plan on continuing with it until further notice. It works well with my busy work season. The time not spent eating during working hours allows me to get more work done in less time which means I’m able to get home sooner. I come home with a real good appetite and my evening meals are great.

As a good friend of mine once told me, hunger is a great chef.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A wonderful Sunday

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It is Sunday you know so taking the day off I go.

I’ll be back tomorrow so have no sorrow.

Visit Pierini Fitness on Monday is always said on Sunday.

Today I’m resting my body, mind and spirit to stay healthy and fit.

Another creative and original blogflection is in work for all those who like to lurk.

You too rest and by the way, have a wonderful Sunday.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Better to remain silent

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Sometimes, but not often, the reservoir of my feelings and thoughts momentarily run dry.

During these rare instances, it’s better to remain silent.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 19, 2010

Long after I'm gone

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As a businessman for almost 30 years, I’ve had many clients come and go as is normal in any business. In the earlier years when I wasn’t as polished in the client relations department, some of those clients who decided to go did so because they believed that someone else would be a better personality match. That still happens once and a while but not like the old days. Now, when someone goes it’s more likely that they’ve been called home to their Creator.

The other day I received a message from an assistant of a 90-year young client. She shared that my client is not doing well, sleeps more and more and just plain doesn’t want to be here anymore. That message left me in a momentary daze without thoughts or words as images of my client danced in my head. He’s been a client for over 20 years and, at his 90th birthday celebration last summer, introduced me to a large gathering present as one of his most trusted advisors and friends. It was an honor that I'll always cherish.

This is a client who has given me many great words of wisdom over the years including that nobody wants to live to be 100 except the 99 year old man.

In reading his assistant’s message, I wondered if he now has a change of heart, and if his words of wisdom were meant to be understood figuratively rather than literally. He’s lived a long and wonderful life with many blessings so I believe him when he says that he’s ready to go at anytime.

Coming out of my momentary daze, I realized what a wonderful relationship I’ve had with him. It made me appreciate how great life has been, how great life is and, hopefully, how great life will be for me in the years ahead.

While I believe that life begins at conception, we live in a world that conveniently celebrates our lives on birthdays and funeral days. Like my dear client who won't live forever, the memories of my life will live long after I'm gone.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Give me a big head

So here I continue to journey down the superfitness highway in the fast lane as a middle-age man fitness dude. The fitness methods and dietary practices I’ve followed in this journey have changed several times over the years in response to my changing interests and subtle aging that’s a work of art in progress.

There are at least three things I’ve learned in my journey - and continue to learn – and they are:

 my fitness training methods and dietary practices have got to match my personality for a lifetime commitment to health and wellness;

 I’m a middle-aged man and only as good as my last workout, and

 I am what I eat.

While not a slam-dunk guarantee of authentic health and wellness, a lean and muscular body may be pleasing to one’s eyes but, in and of itself, the only thing it has really ever done for me is to give me a big head.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A weekly date with HeavyHands

Several years ago, I regularly included HeavyHands as a component of my cardiovascular fitness training. Eventually, my fitness training interests changed and this great training method fell out of my fitness tool box.

HeavyHands is a whole-body system of aerobic exercise using light dumbbells that was created by Dr. Leonard Schwartz, M.D. Dr. Schwartz developed HeavyHands as a 57-year young physician interested in aerobic conditioning to improve heart heath. He was working on his heart health goal through traditional means such as running, swimming, biking, etc. After suffering a pulled hamstring, he began exploring alternative ways to keep his heart rate in a target training zone with less emphasis on the legs.

Dr. Schwartz discovered that swinging a baseball bat for twenty minutes while squatting and other whole body tactics seemed to do the trick so over the next few months, he thought up HeavyHands as a new approach to fitness, using variable-sized weights, different levels of intensity, range of motion and tempos. The end result was HeavyHands as it is known today – cardio training and a special form of strength training simultaneously – and the title of a book he wrote that was published in 1984.

On Monday afternoon, I wrapped up my fitness training by resurrecting HeavyHands. I used a pair of 5-lb. dumbbells in each hand and performed a 7-minute medley walking on a treadmill set at a one-percent incline at a pace of four miles per hour (that’s a 15-minute mile). 

I changed movements every minute so that one round of this 7-movement medley took 7 minutes to complete. In the “old days”, I would do this 7-movement medley for 30 minutes and once went as long as 50 minutes. But sporting some HeavyHands rust, I decided that 15 minutes was enough.

Here’s a description of my 7-movement medley (I’ll eventually make a video demonstration of this when I’m not so busy with my work):

Minute #1 - Hands pumping like you would walk or run, sort of like a half-curl with one arm while the other arm swings back, alternating back and forth.

Minute #2 - Side lateral raises

Minute #3 - Front butterflies – a movement mimicking the range of motion if you were using a Pec Dec exercise machine

Minute #4 - Alternating forward punches (be careful with this one)

Minute #5 - A slightly forward bend while doing ski poles as if you were doing cross country skiing.

Minute #6 - Alternating upper cuts slightly crossing your body, and finally the butt-kicker

Minute #7 - Double overhead presses (pressing simultaneously).

The higher your hands are above your heart, the tougher the cardio demand so that's why my medley starts low and gradually rises.

Fifteen minutes of this workout produced a nice cardiovascular training result. My heart rate monitor reported that my average heart rate was 158 beats per minutes (85 percent of my maximum HR) and that my highest HR was 173 beats per minute (94% of my maximum HR).

I had forgotten how good this workout feels so my plans are for a weekly date with HeavyHands.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Update - Here's a new Pierini Fitness blogflection on Heavyhands that includes a video demonstrating this 7-movement medley - enjoy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Would have never know this

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Every now and then I stumble across a news article reporting the results of “new and startling research” in which I share a tongue-in-cheek blogflection about it, and that’s what I’m doing today.

The latest “new research” is that seeing someone else do a good deed appears to inspire you to do the same by making you feel uplifted. What an amazing discovery! Findings of this research will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science.

Researchers from the Association for Psychological Science report that “the positive, uplifting emotion that makes people feel good and may inspire them to help others is known as elevation.”

Here’s their million dollar conclusion: “by eliciting elevation, even brief exposure to other individuals’ prosocial behavior motivates altruism, thus potentially providing an avenue for increasing the general level of prosociality in society.”

Well my dumbfounded response to this new research is to thank these research fellows because I would have never known this.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, February 15, 2010

Birthday of President George Washington

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Today is Presidents Day, a day not known as such in the “good old days” when I was a kid in school looking forward to an extra day off due to a holiday. We kids liked February because there were two extra days off – the holiday to observe the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln on February 12th, and the holiday to observe the birthday of President George Washington on February 22nd.

It didn’t matter the day that their birthdays fell on because these dates were sacred and etched in observance stone. Some years later, someone got the bright idea to observe these days on a Monday. My guess is what a government bureaucrat wanting a guaranteed three-day weekend as in Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

So what’s this Presidents Day?

Well my friends at Wikipedia describe it as “a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February”. Further investigation reveals that, officially, for the federal government, it’s Washington’s Birthday not Presidents Day but the name varies state by state. Besides being a holiday and day off for many, I believe most people identify Presidents Day as the holiday of the birth days of President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln.

I’m an old school guy because last Friday I celebrated the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and next Monday I’ll celebrate the birthday of President George Washington.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Today is Sunday and, as usual, Pierini Fitness is closed so the chief executive blogger can rest his body, mind and spirit. Visit tomorrow for another blogflection about a topic yet to be determined but guaranteed to be original.

Today is also Valentine’s Day so enjoy this blogflection rerun from last year’s Valentine Day: But not as sweet as you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Don't need to know it all

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Yesterday I attended an eight-hour continuing education seminar on financial statement analysis. As you utter a yawn in response to me sharing this, let me assure you that I yawned with you. I’m required to complete 80 hours of continuing education every two years to renew my professional license. Yesterday’s seminar makes me “whole” for 2010 and in good shape for my next license renewal in February 2011.

There’s no doubt that learning is a lifetime journey and I’m OK with that. It’s true for growing in faith, fitness, fortune and health so a broad lifetime learning curriculum is needed. There’s no doubt that I’m better read in some topics than others and that’s the way it is for most people. We tend to gravitate towards learning what interests us and avoid the stuff that doesn’t or is too difficult. You won’t catch me with a pile of advanced mathematics books in my personal library as that body of knowledge is not my forte.

As a young professional buck who did well in college, I remember wanting to know it all and for many years tried to do so. It eventually beat me up and wore me out. That’s true, I’m sure for most professionals. I once asked a medical doctor client of mine - who practiced internal medicine - how he kept up with the broad body of knowledge in his domain. He replied that he limited the articles he read in his professional medical journals and publications, such as excluding articles about cancer and AIDS. My initial reaction was one of being startled at his revelation but that immediately subsided with an appreciation for his honesty.

It’s no different for me too in all candidness. There’s so much to know and not know that it can be overwhelming. In another sign that I’ve matured, like my medical doctor client, I have peace in that I don’t need to know it all.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 12, 2010

From St. Thomas Aquinas

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The number of people in America suffering from mental disorders will grow by leaps and bounds thanks to one of the proposed changes in a new draft book of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) publishes this book – its bible of psychiatry – that classifies people into various buckets of mental illness disorder categories. The APA is adding “binge eating” as a new mental disorder category.

Gasp! Where will we fit all these new people suffering from the mental disorder of binge eating? There aren’t enough psychiatrists and psychologists in the country to treat them. Should binge eating psychiatrists and psychologists be barred from treating binge eating patients? The questions that arise in thinking this through are never-ending.

Experts from the APA state there’s now enough evidence to call binge eating a mental disorder. Binge eating is defined as eating large amounts of food when you’re not hungry and then feeling disgusted and depressed afterwards. Sounds like the binge eating behavior of many of the people who got together to watch the Super Bowl on television last Sunday.

According to one psychiatrist, there’s no consensus as to what is the best treatment for someone afflicted with a binge eating mental disorder. He added, however, that several types of medications appear helpful. I’m sure that comment is pleasant music to the ears of the pharmaceutical industry.

Well I’ve got some news for these psychiatrists responsible for updating their psychiatry bible. They are a day late and a dollar short with this one. It’s not called binge eating but rather gluttony. Gluttony is gulping down or swallowing – as in over-indulgence and over-consumption – of food, drink or intoxicants to the point of waste. In some Christian denominations, it is considered one of the seven deadly sins.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the immensely influential philosopher and Catholic theologian, classified the six ways in which gluttony is committed:

Praepropere – eating too soon

Laute – eating too expensively

Nimis – eating too much

Ardenter – eating too eagerly

Studiose – eating too daintily

Forente – eating wildly

I’m not anxiously waiting for this new psychiatric bible to hit the bookstands to help me determine if I suffer from this mental disorder because better answers are available from St. Thomas Aquinas.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yours and mine or ours?

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It’s always interesting to observe the relationship married clients have with each other when finances are involved. Basically, I put my married clients into two categories depending on their financial behavior with each other.

The first behavior is what I call “yours and mine”. These married clients consider separate the assets owned and income earned by each spouse. Often, but not always, these are clients who got married later in life or have been married more than once. They may have adult children from previous marriages.

The second behavior is what I call “ours”. These married clients consider the assets owned and income earned by either spouse as equally belonging to both of them. Since my wife and I fall into this category, I can share that, for us, the factor contributing to this behavior was getting married early in life when neither of us had many belongings or earned big money. Whatever we earned and owned got dumped into one family bucket and that’s the way it’s always been.

Certainly what people observed in their parents growing up is a factor that influences financial behavior. Another factor is the property laws of the state in which they live. California, along with a small handful of other states, is a community property law state in which the income earned and property owned by each spouse is considered “community property” of the married couple absent a prenuptial agreement. Most other states are separate property law states in which the income earned and property owned by each spouse is their “separately property”. I’m not an attorney so don’t quote my simple meathead explanation.

I use to privately chuckle at married couples and think it was odd when I observed them in difficult and uncomfortable situations due to their “yours and mine” behavior. Now that I’ve matured and am more experienced as a financial advisor, I clearly see the useful purpose of this behavior, particularly for clients who have adult children from previous marriages and may want to leave an inheritance to them from wealth accumulated prior to their current marriage.

So to each his and her own and whatever gets the job done – yours and mine or ours?

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

With my eyes blindfolded

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This is my fourth month of membership at my current gym, an upscale place compared to my former gym. I enjoy my gym and the friendly people I’ve met there.

There’s one thing I’ve noticed watching people train there, and that’s the popular use of balance balls, bosu balls, and other instability platforms in tandem with using dumbbells or performing lunges, pushups and squats. It’s trendy and a popular recommendation of the personal trainers.

I have no problem or training preference of using instability fitness gizmos and, like most others, periodically include balance and coordination challenge elements to my training. Along with my martial arts training, here are some examples of how I’ve challenged my balance and coordination:

In all three of these examples, I could have made the exercises so much more difficult by merely closing my eyes when performing them.

Personally, I believe it’s possible to get too cute with our training by bundling too many training objectives into a single compound movement. I prefer to train balance and coordination, endurance, and strength separately because, most of the time, I have no special needs to call upon all these attributes at once. After all, I’m not a circus clown whose job it is to juggle heavy kettlebells while riding a 12-foot high unicycle in a circle with my eyes blindfolded.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What will be my Lenten sacrifice this year?

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For Catholics, Lent is a season of soul-searching, repentance, reflection and taking stock. It originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus Christ’s withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days. In addition to penitential prayer and almsgiving, Catholics observe the abstinence and fasting obligation.

Last year, I chose intermittent fasting as one of my Lenten sacrifices. From Ash Wednesday on February 25th until Easter Sunday on April 12th, I practiced what I called "2/24 intermittent fasting" with a goal of only eating within a very narrow two-hour window each day from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Because no man is an island, I had to be flexible on some days but overall I maintained an average daily window of two hours. Some days my window started as early as 5:00 p.m. but one day it didn’t start until 9:00 p.m. My longest eating window was five hours.

Lent 2010 begins in eight days and today I’m asking myself “What will be my Lenten sacrifice this year?”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, February 8, 2010

Twice a week gets the job done

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Last week I only trained twice, once on Monday and again on Wednesday. Both workouts were in the late afternoon after work and each lasted slightly longer than one hour. I planned to do something on Friday but it just didn’t happen and, in hindsight, that was good because my body and mind needed the rest. I was a little short in the sleep department that day.

On Monday I did six sets of barbell squats supersetted with my favorite 6-grip pullup/chinup medley. On Wednesday I did six sets of barbell squat cleans supersetted with barbell overhead presses, and then wrapped it up with about nine minutes of running intervals on the treadmill.

Both workouts satisfied the spirit of my “something is better than nothing” training mindset that I follow when the rigors of my work get in the way of my fitness training.

Reflecting back on last week’s training effort, there’s no doubt about it that to maintain a reasonable level of middle-age man fitness, twice a week gets the job done.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday

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Today is Sunday and, as usual, Pierini Fitness is closed so the chief executive blogger can rest his body, mind and spirit.

So I guess today is Super Bowl Sunday because its talk I hear everywhere I go. I remember the old days when the NFL was part of my world with Sunday set aside for a deuce of games to watch that would adequately prepare and qualify me for the following Monday morning expert commentator small talk that would go on during work time.

I don’t do the NFL anymore, nor am I a fan of the NBA, MLB or any other professional sports teams (for the record, I was an Oakland Raiders fan in the old days). Every now and then I’ll get a glimpse of a game in progress on the big screen television at my gym; enough for all that I need to know that nothing has changed other than the names of the cast of professional athlete characters who play the game and the crew of pretty-boy television commentators whose job it is to tell us everything we’d ever want to know but don’t need to know about fans, owners, players and teams.

Visit Pierini Fitness tomorrow for another blogflection about a topic not yet determined but guaranteed to be creative and original. Until we meet again, enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hiccups meant to be enjoyed

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Today is the first Saturday of 2010 that I am working. I always try to start working half days on Saturday beginning in February so I’m off to a good start. What I’ve discovered over the years are the different seasons of my relationship with my work.

With a new year, I begin to slowly awaken for the upcoming busy work season that awaits me, much like a bear awakening from its winter hibernation. Work productivity erosion has settled in big time and, much like a stiff old rodeo cowboy who has fallen off the bucking bronco one time too many, I move ever so slow as I go from here to there with my work.

Once awakened, I begin conquering this work productivity erosion and getting the “sleep out of my work ethic”. Slowly but surely, I start working harder and longer much like a migrant farm laborer picking fruit when the crops are in season. There’s really no big deal about this hard work when I think about it in a yesteryear context of when my ancestors worked hard every day while chasing their dreams in their new country. March is normally my toughest work month when I clock about 250 to 270 hours at my office.

After my busy work season, I echo a long and loud mental and physical sigh of relief. At this point, it’s not uncommon for me to experience a serious adrenaline hangover or to feel like a victim of abuse from the constant demands to which my body, mind and spirit have been subjected.

Then the fun season begins with my very relaxed work schedule of Tuesday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It’s wonderful at this point of the year with only occasional departures from this leisure schedule to meet special client demands. Sure it’s possible for me to accept additional clients, work harder and make more money, but why is the question I ask myself when those thoughts enter my head. My answer is always the same because the wealth of leisure is golden.

It’s during this “Life of Riley” season that work productivity erosion slowly returns to the point that on some days it takes me all day long to get nothing done. It’s the flip side of Parkinson’s Law – the classic economic adage of “work expands for the time available to complete it” – in that my loafing at work expands for the time available to loaf.

With the economy being as bad as it is with rampant unemployment everywhere, I’m grateful to be busy and earning my keep. The lesson I’ve learned from the seasons of my work is that, just like winter, spring, summer and fall, work seasons come and go just like hiccups meant to be enjoyed.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, February 5, 2010

I'm sure they will card me

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Later this month I’ll blossom into a 55-year young middle-age man and am looking forward to it. Why? - Because several businesses offer senior discounts to those age 55 years or older. I’ve got some financial savings in my future. Here’s a sampling of what I discovered:

Arby's – the fast food place - offers a 10 percent discount at participating locations. I’ve hardly frequented this place in my entire life so why start now.

Banana Republic – the clothing store - offers a 10 percent discount everyday (for those age 50 years and older) but warns that discount and age may vary by location. Sounds like a fake senior discount offer to me. I think the last time I bought something from this place was when Bill Clinton was President. I’ll pass on this one.

Best Western – the motel chain – offers at least a 10 percent discount off regular room rates with late checkouts and other offers are also available. Yawn!

Chili's – the restaurant chain – offers at 10 percent discount at participating locations. I’ve eaten at Chili’s a time or two in my life and remember having a good plate of barbeque baby back ribs there. This one is a real possibility to cash in on my impending senior fortune.

Goodwill – the thrift store chain – offers a 10 percent discount one day a week but warns that specifics may vary by location. Since my wife is a manic thrift store shopper, this one offers me a real financial windfall and an opportunity to update my business attire. Count me in!

International House of Pancakes - the restaurant chain – offers a 10 percent discount at participating locations. I’m a pancake and waffle junkie like Homer Simpson is for doughnuts so it’s fair to say that my next pancake binge will be here. I’ll wear my faded baggy green sweat pants with the loose draw string for added comfort.

Kmart – the retail chain – has a Gold K prescription discount program offering a 20 percent discount on prescription medication (for those age 50 years and older). Thank God that I’m prescription drug free at this point of my life but maybe I can make some money buying a Viagra refill for my friends.

Ross – the clothing store – offers a 10 percent discount on Tuesday at participating locations. This financial bonanza is probably my wife’s favorite one. We’ll probably do this one as a date. I’ll update my boxer shorts underwear collection there and “cash in” the first Tuesday that I’m eligible.

Wendy’s – the fast food place - offers a 10 percent discount at participating locations. My wife likes the chili beans on their bargain menu so maybe we’ll do a chili bean date there for our anniversary and drive home with the windows open for safety.

For this middle-age man who sees a 16-year old kid when looking in the mirror, I’ll bring my ID because I’m sure they will card me.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The chicken or the egg?

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Here’s something that caught my attention during my morning surfing of news on the internet yesterday - internet addicts who devote much of their lives to browsing the internet are more likely to show signs of depression, at least that’s what British researchers have discovered.

These researchers reported that excessive internet use is associated with depression but they are not sure which comes first – the depression or the excessive internet use. Are people suffering from depression drawn to the internet or does the internet cause depression?

As is typical with most research findings, I’m sure these researchers also reported that additional research is needed to find answers to that question.

I have a better research project for these characters. How about a research project to find out which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Memories are made of this

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This is the time of year I meet with clients that I normally see only once a year. I look forward to these meetings to advise them about this and that and the social chit chat that oftentimes follows - the small talk about life in general, family in particular, fitness, God, economics, politics, places traveled and maybe even the weather. It’s a great reciprocal exchange of humor, knowledge and wisdom and one of the fringe benefits of my profession.

Last year meetings with clients were the inspiration for these five Pierini Fitness blogflections:

Find something else to worry about

Rebels in remission

One day it will be our turn

Busy about nothing

They can’t eat you

I look forward to seeing all my clients again this year. Memories are made of this.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

President Lyndon Baines Johnson

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Yesterday’s blogflection about the words of wisdom of President Thomas Jefferson and today’s should not be construed as the start of a presidential theme at Pierini Fitness, but merely a random act of coincidence.

Just about every morning, I stop at Starbuck’s on the way to work for a cup of coffee to go. Part of my morning ritual of waiting in line for my turn to order is to glance at the question of the day that is written on a chalk board next to the cash register counter. Answer the question correctly and you get a shot of espresso added to your drink. The questions are challenging and I seldom know the answer, but every now and then I strike gold with a correct answer. Like yesterday morning.

Driving to work with my free shot of espresso swirling around in my cup of coffee, I thought back to a childhood memory associated with this question of the day. It was the afternoon of September 17, 1964 on the playground of St. Francis Elementary School – the school I attended - a mere three blocks from where I currently live and eight blocks from the Starbuck’s where I had purchased my cup of coffee minutes earlier. Then President Lyndon B. Johnson was in Sacramento that day to give a speech at the State Capitol.

Rumor had it that he would be traveling east bound on L Street after leaving the State Capitol and pass our school playground. So the nuns had us all line up on the perimeter of the playground next to chain link fence that separated us from the street. Perhaps, they thought, we would be able to get a glimpse of President Johnson or, better yet, a wave and a smile as he drove past our school.

It turned out that we got that and more.

Something that no president would be allowed to do these days, President Johnson’s limousine stopped at the curb next to our school. He got out and approached the chain link fence to greet us. Some students got to shake his fingers that protruded the chain links of the fence, and one of the nuns actually got his autograph. It seemed like a big blur to me at the time, and had been buried deep in my memory until being resurrected by the Starbuck’s question of the day.

So what was the question and what was the answer?

The question was “What does the “B” stand for in President Lyndon B. Johnson?” With a smile on my face, I told the Starbuck’s employee to leave room in my cup of coffee for my free shot of espresso because I knew the answer to the question of the day.

In answering the question, I cherished my childhood memory of the day I saw President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, February 1, 2010

That man on the two-dollar bill

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Looking at my calendar on this first day of a new month, I’m reminded that February is an odd month because it has an extra day every four years.

Equally as odd - because they are not widely in circulation - is the two dollar bill, something I thought was “neat” as a kid growing up. They still exist but you have to ask for one. Maybe I’ll do that the next visit to my bank.

And if I do, I’ll glance at the face of the person on that two-dollar bill, Mr. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. Enjoy his words of wisdom below:

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

These are words of wisdom as true today as they were over two hundred years ago from that man on the two-dollar bill.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum