Wednesday, August 30, 2017

When I get there

This chief executive blogger of Pierini Fitness is recovering from a hangover of sorts after celebrating two milestones on Monday, the 9th anniversary of the “birth” of Pierini Fitness, and it’s 1,000th blogflection post.

God willing, Pierini Fitness will turn the big 10 next year around this time.

It was a pleasant reminder that with all milestones and ambitious goals we pursue, it’s only natural to have a “what’s next” mindset after the big day finally arrives.

I once read a book written by a man sharing his karate training journey while living in Japan and training at the Japan Karate Association (JKA) headquarters’ dojo in Tokyo.  I don’t remember his exact words when sharing a question, he asked himself, of what he was going to do once he received his shodan (first degree black belt.) 

Continue training was his answer.

Isn’t this also true with all that of value we pursue? 

There’s really no gold at the end of our rainbow because the end is never reached.  The closer we get to it, the closer we only get to it, this end of the fitness, fame, fortune and health rainbow we chase in our middle-aged man life journeys.

So, this chief executive blogger will continue doing what he enjoys here at Pierini Fitness, sharing his middle-aged man reflections about living and dying, gracefully-aging and trying my best to live a good and honest life.

This is what I’m going to do when I get there.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, August 28, 2017

We're Americans

Pierini Fitness celebrates its 9th anniversary and 1,000th
post today with this American middle-aged man reflection.

Much is being reported by the media and read by you and me about the growing racial divide taking place in America, including the recent protest gone bad with a fatality in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

It’s gotten out of hand how color and other incorrectly-ordered adjectives are being used in news headlines and articles to describe hate-group participants on both sides of the aisle, bystanders and innocent victims.

Cases in point are two recent examples, a Sacramento Bee article, “Why does Donald Trump Keep Babying White Supremacists?” and a Times Magazine article, “Thousands of Counter-Protestors March Against White Nationalism in Boston a Week After Charlottesville”. 

How often do we read, hear and perhaps use the terms African-American, Asian-American, White or [insert your own example]?  By golly, these folks are best described, simply, as Americans.  An old Army acquaintance once said it best when reminding me, “I’m an American of Mexican ancestry; I’m not Mexican-American, I wasn’t born in Mexico!”

It’s a nice reminder, depending on the circles I frequent, that I’m not an Italian-American, Mexican-American or Portuguese-American.  I’m simply an American!  

If a little more description is necessary, then I’m an American of Italian ancestry, American of Mexican ancestry and American of Portuguese ancestry.

A news story earlier this year reported that a young American college student won a Miss Black pageant at the University of Texas.  Without time to bask in her sunshine or savor in winning glory, social media critics quickly started posting how she wasn’t “black enough.”  A similar comment was made more than once about former President Obama.

This young woman is what demographers classify as biracial; using street talk and media adjective-using practices, her father is a “black dude” and her mother is a “white chick”.  Many in these “demographic buckets” would use even harsher descriptions, that contributes to a growing American racial divide.

We live in a world that thrives using identity adjectives.  We strive fitting into those aligning with how we see ourselves.  This is a normal and natural self-discovery we all experience in searching for who we are and who we want to be.

What isn’t normal, natural or healthy is when others do it to us.  Like the government, for example, with its laundry-list of adjectives used to tally us into socio-economic classifications of who we are and who we are not. 

The media also projects these classifications.  Using color and other incorrectly-ordered adjectives for eye-catching news article headlines, they contribute to this subliminal and growing American racial divide.  Rather than describing us as who we are, i.e. Americans, we’re described with adjectives for better eye-catching headlines, improving the likelihood we’ll read a news article and increase its internet click counts.  It’s all about the money, honey!

We, who should know better, read these articles innocently, sometimes unaware how these “fake” adjectives become embedded in our minds, thoughts and opinions.   Once again, we’re all in this together, the “great” and growing American racial divide coming to a location near you!

The result is a collective mindset like the cruel social media posters who didn’t have it in themselves to congratulate this young American woman beauty pageant winner, a symbol of America at its finest, a melting pot of so many interesting people under the sun, all one-of-a-kind blessings from an Almighty God.

This shouldn’t happen in our pursuits of making America great, now and forever in our future.

Let’s be mindful of who you, me and others really are.  No other adjectives are necessary to correctly describe we’re Americans.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, August 25, 2017

You're invited

Pierini Fitness 9th anniversary birthday and 1,000th post party!
Next Monday will be the ninth anniversary of the “birth” of Pierini Fitness, a popular go-to cyberspace for all middle-aged men around the world.

It’ll also be another milestone that only bloggers might be able to appreciate.   The 1,000th Pierini Fitness blogflection will appear.

What will be the reflective content of this 1,000th post?

Time will tell.

Until then, mark the date and time on your calendar and don’t miss the big party because you’re invited.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Financial fitness favorites

Big muscle financial fitness
This middle-aged man generally doesn’t mix work with pleasure with pleasure being his time here at Pierini Fitness and work being what he does to earn a living.  Every now and then, however a crossover sharing opportunity presents itself, like today as I struggle with what to post.

So, I’m sharing something I wrote for my clients, hoping you’ll enjoy the read.  I couldn’t effortlessly come up with anything else, something that happens every now and then.

The following is a brief discussion sharing some of my financial fitness favorites. It's not comprehensive or necessarily scholarly, but it draws on my 35 years plus doing what I do and observing my clients' financial success.

Seasoned financial fitness jocks constantly striving to take their financial fitness to the next higher level, and who have a healthy relationship with their financial resources, live by many of my financial fitness favorites. 

Live below your means
This is easier said than done for many but it always works.  I've never seen it fail both in good times and bad times.

Let's say you live 30 percent below your means and the economy goes south.  You experience a 20 percent decline in your income and your living expenses increase by 10 percent.  Despite this double-edged financial sword, you're still even and living at your means.

Contrast this with someone who lives at their means and now experiences the same financial fate.  Absent any crisis-invoked drastic changes, they're now living 30 percent beyond their means.

Living beyond your means must be paid by depleting your financial net worth by either spending down hard-earned accumulated assets or incurring additional debt.

Once again, live below your means.

Measure and monitor your net worth 
This doesn't have to be a major undertaking and you don't have to be a CPA "bean counter" to do it.  Nor must you prepare a glossy and bound report loaded with pie charts, graphs and pages of statistical information.  Heck, you can even pencil it out on a bar napkin because doing it that way is better than nothing.

Did you prepare a 2016 year-end report of your net worth?  If not, prepare one now.

Consider it a historical "selfie" of your financial net worth for a snapshot moment in time. It's also a moving-forward benchmark that'll help you measure and monitor your financial success efforts.

Prepare an annual budget to guide your future financial success efforts
You've heard me say this before and I'll say it again. A budget is your personal financial management tool.  It's not a punitive mandate that takes the fun out of living.  There's no excuse for not having one, and preparing it doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming.

A simple Excel worksheet or one prepared using inexpensive and popular computer software programs allows you to track and manage your income and expenses. Years ago, doing this was too darn much work so most people didn't.  Now it's easier and still most people don't.

Consider your personal budget as your "MapQuest driving directions" that'll help efficiently get you to your financial destination.

Become debt free 
Sooner rather than later is my suggestion.  For some, this may seem impossible but in the long-run, all things are possible.    

Unfortunately, sometimes an impossible mindset breeds inaction.  Know that a debt-free goal isn't an all-or-nothing proposition.  

Start by adding an extra $100 per month to your next home loan payment, build some confidence and go from there.  You'll be amazed how "addicting" debt reduction is and how, before you know it, you'll be ramping up your debt reduction efforts.  

Read my lips and strive to become debt-free.

Share your prosperity with others
The old saying of what goes around comes around is definitely true.  Some of my clients who enjoy peak financial fitness and have a healthy relationship with their financial resources are also the most charitable.  They know they've been blessed and are willing to share their financial blessings with others.

These "others" may be family members, a local charity devoted to helping veterans, or an international ministry working to reduce hunger in third-world countries.  

Several years ago, I had a profound charitable experience that left a lasting impression. My wife and I attended an annual fundraising event for a local charity near and dear to our hearts.  During dinner, she "announced" we were going to make a big contribution to this organization.  It would help them buy an ultrasound machine needed to expand and improve their charitable works.  The amount was, shall I say, financially and emotionally challenging for me.  I "cried like a baby" while reluctantly telling her "OK".   

About one week later, after the financial dust had settled and my numbness wore off, I experienced an amazing epiphany of what we had done and totally embraced our decision.    

Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone to realize the dormant greatness residing in each of us.  If we do so, it'll resonate brightly but only if we respond to the hidden opportunities regularly coming our way.

This chief executive blogger has shared many middle-aged man physical fitness favorites over the years.  Now, he’s shared some of his financial fitness favorites.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, August 21, 2017

Skipping our favorite man food, BBQ ribs

An article recently floating around the internet reported about a recent study finding that women preferred the body odor of men who ate a lot of fruits and vegetables.

Apparently, men who eat a lot of carbohydrates give off a smell less appealing.  

Another finding is that men who eat a lot of meat tend to have more intense man odor.

Researcher Ian Stephen of Macquarie University in Australia, author of this recent study, says this is something that’s been known for a while; odor is an important element of attractiveness.

Without going into details how this small study was conducted, the bottom line is women basically found men that ate more vegetables smelled nicer.

Might your middle-aged man response to these findings the next time you’re starving be a Bugs Bunney “What’s up Doc?” while asking for some applies and carrots to devour and tame your beastly appetite? 

Every now and then, it’s important to win the favor our our lady spouse, significant other, boss or friend.

When this is necessary, thanks to this research, we middle-aged men may strategically decide to eat a plate of apples and carrots while skipping our favorite man food, BBQ ribs.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Don't wanna live without it

Last Friday, I was part of a decent crowd of older middle-aged man turds and their spouses, significant others and/or friends attending a free Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk summer concert featuring an old-school band named Pablo Cruise.

I listened to a lot of Pablo Cruise music in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when they were in their prime.  Nowadays, after a long time-out, they’re back on the concert touring circuit appearing, probably, at county fairs and other small venues like this one. 

Many in attendance sported gray locks, bald heads, khaki-style cargo shorts and Tommy Bahama shirts.  Old was the predominant vintage at least in the minds of some younger folks also in attendance.  Some, but not me, probably had an AARP membership card locked in loaded in their wallets and a bottle of Geritol within gargling distance.

There’s something about old-school music that brings out the youngster in us; Pablo Cruise’s music did this to me.  More than once, I caught myself clapping my hands, swaying from left to right and enjoying the music while noticing others doing the same.

The music magically took us back 35 to 40 years ago to a time when we were all young men and women youngsters.  What a breath of fresh air it was for me from the who I am now. 

And, I learned something about Pablo Cruise that I didn’t previously know. 

At one point, I asked some old turd next to me, “Which one of the members on stage is Pablo Cruise?”  He uttered something that I couldn’t grasp due to the whispering tone of his answer muffled by the loud music, but I nodded my head in agreement nonetheless.  Later, a Google search answered my question.  Pablo Cruise is not a person but the name of a band.

I’m never too old of a dog to learn new tricks or clear up previously-stored confusion.  Funny, I thought, about never knowing this all the years listening to Pablo Cruise music while looking at the album cover.

As is typical with these old-school bands, they primarily perform oldie songs from their prime and this is what Pablo Cruise gave all of us.  

One song had a title that made me think about the life I’ve lived thus, the many blessings I have, cherish and want to last forever, and reflect how I don’t wanna live without it.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, August 14, 2017

Thinking about Dad today

Ninety-one years ago, today, on August 26, 1926, my Dad was born.  He passed away four years ago this past May and I often think about him and what he would be like if he were still alive.

This is a question I asked one of my sisters last week and her reply was, “grouchy.”  We both laughed, knowing some truth while reflecting more about what else he would be like, while cherishing so many pleasant memories of him and his other qualities.

The day is still young and I know there’ll be more pleasant yesteryear reflections thinking about Dad today.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, August 11, 2017

My future mobility scooter

Closer to home, this middle-aged man’s 89-year-old father-in-law is finally having his day of reckoning in that his driving days may soon be coming to an end. It’s something my wife has wanted for some time, for her father’s own safety, but he’s been of a different opinion.

Most middle-aged men and their spouses sooner or later will have an episode like this.  Trying to persuade an elderly parent to call it quits behind the wheel and turn in the keys is no easy task.

Sooner or later, though, it’ll happen, either voluntarily or involuntarily.  In my father-in-law’s case, it’s best described as involuntarily voluntarily thanks to an “anonymous” tip given to our state Department of Motor Vehicles.

It’s easy to sit back in our middle-aged man kingdoms watching this unfold before our eyes and believing this is what happens to other people who just happen to be stubborn.  Who are we to believe we’ll be any different?

This is something I think about all the time while taking notes about how my father-in-law is reacting to all this unfolding as I write this reflection.

How many more years will this middle-aged man have the keys to his vehicle and be able to freely go here and there as he pleases?  If by God’s blessing I happen to make it to my father-in-law’s age, my math tells me about 27 more years.

But if he should have surrendered his keys a couple years ago, then maybe I only have 25 more years.

I pray for the wisdom that I’ll call it quits with dignity when my safety and the concern for my safety by others doesn’t escalate as it sometimes does for stubborn oldsters not willing to do the right thing at the right time.

And when that day comes, I hope to still have an active live going here and there using my future mobility scooter.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The 1,000-post milestone

Bloggers are an interesting group of people.  They can’t help themselves and must compose, whatever their subject matter interests happen to be.  This middle-aged man blogger is no exception and he’s been doing it now for almost nine years.

Pierini Fitness was founded nine years ago this month, August 28, 2008 to be exact and since then well over 900 middle-aged man reflections have been posted; 993 to be exact counting this one.

My current theme is middle-aged man reflections about living and dying, gracefully aging and trying my best to live a good and honest life.  But in my blogging journey, I’ve written diet, fitness and health stuff and, every now and then, a political rant or two.

May I one day run out of things to say and post?  I doubt it because a true blogger, and that’s what I am, always has something to say and post regardless of whether anyone stops by for a visit to read.

Nowadays, Pierini Fitness is a private blog and only a handful of invited individuals have access to read my latest.  This decision was made for various reasons, one of which was to test my true blogger nature.  

Would I be willing to continue blogging if nobody read my stuff?  It was something I had to find out for myself and I have.

I’ll continue blogging and saying what I need to say regardless of whether anyone reads it.  I’m a true blogger.

What’s the sound of one hand clapping?

Sometimes it’s a new Pierini Fitness blogflection read only by little old me, a middle-aged man gracefully aging towards old-aged manhood.

And, so, I will continue, for how long who knows.  God willing, a lot longer.

For the short-term, sometime soon, maybe with a little timing on the 9th anniversary of Pierini Fitness later this month, I’ll complete a noteworthy accomplishment here, the 1,000-post milestone.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, August 7, 2017

To ease back in to it

Last week I shared how I had taken another fitness training sabbatical but it was time for me to get back to work.

Checking my training logs, I had taken a 6-week rest.   More than necessary but that’s what it was.

I knew that I needed to ease back into my training and that’s what I did.  The following is what I did:

Pierini Fitness Ease Back in To It Workout

A combination of these bodyweight and kettlebell exercises, using a 20kg kettlebell (KB):

#1 – shoulder dislocates using a wooden pole – 10 reps

#2 = standard pushups – 5 reps

#3 = bodyweight full squat – 10 reps

#4 = KB one-arm cleans – right 5 reps, switch left 5 reps

#5 = KB one-arm snatch – right 5 reps, switch, left 5 reps

#6 = lunge back and then lunge forward – right 5 reps, switch, left 5 reps

#7 = ab plank – hold for one minute

Completing the above was one round.  I completed two rounds in 18 minutes.

This may not seem like much but it’s what I decided to do to ease back in to it.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, August 4, 2017

And so it goes

A cyberspace fitness brother from a different mother recently sent me a fun video that I recently viewed. 

It brought back pleasant yesteryear memories for me and I’m sure it’ll do the same for you.

That’s what life is for us middle-aged men as we march forward, here today, gone tomorrow and so it goes.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum