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

Monday, November 2, 2020

Watching paint dry on the wall

It’s one month later and I survived the first month of my retirement; it went well. 

Reflecting, it amazes me how busy I was in the “rat race” right until the very end.  Closing my business was busier than I would have thought.  You’d have to be self-employed to totally understand. 

My new retired status has come with some perks.  First, I’m sleeping more and that feels good.  The last month of working was stressful and this affected my sleep.  It seems like I was regularly waking up at 3:00 am and staying awake.  Thoughts of all I had to do made it hard for me to fall back asleep. It took a while to break this wake up at 3:00 am nasty habit, but I finally have done so. 

My e-mail and telephone ringing volume has slowed down big time.  No calls or e-mails from clients.  I’ve had a few and they were easy ones.  There may be a few more this new month but they, too, will be easy ones.  It feels nice to have a smaller e-mail inbox and to have my phone not ring so often. 

I find myself looking out the window often, becoming familiar with my new rural surroundings.  And, taking walks and runs in new territory is helping me adjust to my new landscape.  It’s a tad bit harder running at a higher elevation on unpaved rounds of changing grades.  I’m sure in time this more challenging running path will get me back in tip-top cardiovascular conditioning shape. 

But, overall, life is much simpler and not having much to do is an adjustment.  My grandsons do keep me busy but that’s a pleasant busy if you know what I mean.  Still, it sometimes seems as if I should have more to do. 

If it starts to bug me, I can add some challenging chores to my daily regimen.  Like, for example, waiting for the mailman to arrive so I can walk to the mailbox to see if I have mail or, sitting down and watching paint dry on the wall. 

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, October 26, 2020

I'm a professional grandpa

One hundred twenty years ago today, my paternal grandmother was born and today I remember her and the significant contribution she made in my self-esteem formation.  She passed 45 years ago yet pleasant memories of her are as fresh as yesterday. 

The best way to honor her today and each day for the rest of my life is being the best grandpa possible to my four little grandsons.  And, this is what I intend to do, today, tomorrow and each day remaining of my life. 

I’ve recently shared here that I’m newly retired.  Guess what?  I’m not retired, I’m a professional grandpa. 

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, October 19, 2020

Someone looking like that


My gracefully aging journey is a work in process that constantly leaves visual footprints that my aging is real and not imaginary like the mirror images I see in subdued lighting suggesting something other than my truth.  Mrs. Pierini Fitness said it best earlier this year when telling me that while all my fitness training may give me a lean and mean athletic body appearance than someone my chronological age, it comes at a price of giving me a face looking like a 70-year old man.

Ouch, that sort of hurt.  Not really, but it made for a great laugh.  Life isn’t worth living if you can’t have a good laugh about yourself, courtesy of someone else.  My reply was that I’d gladly take a lean and mean body any day even if it comes with a 70-year old looking face; Freddy Kreuger, here I come!

Further visual evidence of my aging was bountiful this year because I took a lot of photographs of myself during a lengthy period that I named as my Coronavirus 2020 no cut look.  You see, I went about eight months without a haircut in a “science experiment” of sorts.  While my hair doesn’t grow as fast as it used to, after eight months, I had some amazing hairlocks length and wildness that gave me an appearance I hadn’t had in a long time.

And, along the way in my Coronavirus 2020 no cut journey, these photos showcased some of the most unflattering imagery possible of Pierini Fitness.   I surprised many clients and acquaintances who hadn’t seen me in a while, and repeatedly annoyed Mrs. Pierini Fitness who constantly badgered me to get a haircut.

But I held out until I retired; then, on my first day being retired, October 1st, I finally visited my barber and got a haircut that would make an Army drill sergeant happy.  It felt good to be groomed; the science experiment has run its course.

There were, however, some surprising benefits to the grunge look I sported for over one-half a year.  First, the panhandlers who frequent the area where my office was located no longer hit me up asking for spare change.  Second, I had a homeless person come up to me once and look me in my eyes, telling me, “Hey man, you’re going to be OK.  Life will get better, trust me.”

Well, not really, but telling this to others made for a good laugh.

To sum up my Coronavirus 2020 no cut science experiment lasting a whopping eight months, it gave me a look that some would say, “Back in the day, you had to go to the circus to see someone looking like that.”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, October 12, 2020

Trying on cowboy hats

Today is the 12th day of my retirement and, thus far, life has been good.  You’ve got to do it to know what it’s really like because words can’t totally convey the experience.  I’m finally catching up on my sleep and that feels great.  I did a killer nap session yesterday and felt like a rich man.

It’s quite a change moving from my hometown city with a population over 500,000 (considerably more if you count the greater metropolitan area) to a town with a population of under 10,000.  At the top of my list of pleasant changes is no traffic.  That feels great. Who would have known?

It’s a much slower pace that is starting to include some daily regularities.  Rather than buying coffee on the go, I now make it at home.  I’m still trying to get into a workout groove and that’s taking longer than I thought.  The higher temperature makes time of day more important of a consideration.  

I finally assembled my bar dip unit and have taken my portable pull-up unit for a test drive.  Both are working well so they’re ready for workout use.  I’ve established my kettlebell workout location and they too are ready for action.  I plan on getting a good workout today.

But overall, life is simple.  Thus far, I don’t miss work, but I do think of my former clients, wondering how they’re doing.  Fine, I’m sure because they’re in good hands.

Spending time with my grandsons is sure fun.  It’s great being a up front and close grandpa in their lives.  It’s a joy watching them enjoy their youth.  Lessons for me and all watching younger people enjoying their youth.

Each day is a new adventure that’s free of any forced structure or a daily grind.  Last Saturday, for example, perhaps the highlight of my day was trying on cowboy hats.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Marching forward in my new life journey - Que será, será

Good morning Pierini Fitness sports fans; did you miss me?  It’s been a long time; three and one-half months to be exact.  There’s a reason for my unplanned sabbatical and I’m going to share it with you.  It feels good to be back.

You see, I was very busy planning and executing a relocation to another state.  I’m no longer a California resident effective today.  I’m now an Arizona resident.  Who would have thought?

I also retired from my business.  That happened yesterday around 5:15 pm when my IT consultant arrived to begin the process of shutting down my computer and preparing my business and personal digital files for transfer.  Today is day one being a retired middle-age man. So far, so good.

For those of you interested, today I’m sharing what I think life might be like marching forward during the first month of my retirement, starting with today.  Some of you might not be interested.  If this is you, check back in about two weeks for my next Pierini Fitness blog post. 

I'm wise enough to know that life can change in a heartbeat or my next breath of air.  I'm grateful for the life I've lived thus far.  Assuming I make it during the first month of my retirement, here's what I imagine I'll be doing.    

Today, October 1st, movers are arriving at 9:00 am. to take what's left in my office, primarily heavy office furniture, and haul it to the dump.  Yes, the dump!  

I'm not fussing around trying to sell what I have on Craigslist for spare pocket change.  I don't need the money and I don't need the headache of taking phone calls from strangers looking for a steal and having the propensity to waste my time, time I don't have.  At the end of day tomorrow, it must and will all be gone!

It's also the day that I declare myself an Arizona resident. I'll reside in Wickenburg, Arizona, a small town of under 10,000 people with no gang bangers or homeless people, a place where people kneel for God and stand and salute the flag.

I plan on waking up very early Friday morning, October 2nd, and leaving at 5:00 am for a non-stop drive home.  Figuring in brief toilet and stretching breaks at rest stops along Interstate 5 and later Interstate 10, I expect my solo journey will take around 11 to 12 hours.  

Once arriving but before going home, I need to stop and get a haircut. I've been sporting a Coronavirus no-cut look since my last haircut early this year.  My wife has warned me I better not arrive without a haircut and I think I better heed her warning.

The following Monday, October 5th, I must go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new Arizona driver’s license. I need this before I can register to vote, and Monday is the last day to do so if I want to vote in the November election.  I dare not miss voting; it's too important.

Eventually, I'll set up my computers at my new home office. Let's say that'll take a day.  I'm not rushing to get this done because my wife needs help with more important household chores.

And, of course, I'll immediately start daily activities with my grandsons, giving them grandfather instruction about living a good life.  We'll have lots of time playing together.  I'm going to show them how to give and get out of a headlock and a hammerlock, and also show them the true meaning of the word "Uncle" that every boy learned growing up thanks to an older brother, cousin or friend.  I'll also show them what a knuckle sandwich is.

I plan on buying a new pickup truck for my new rural community lifestyle.  I no longer want to rely on friends to borrow their truck, or rent one, when needing to haul something.  I've narrowed my search and am ready to buy and will need to go to Phoenix or Surprise to do so.  I plan on taking my two oldest grandsons with me so they can learn at an early age how to bargain for a good deal.  It should be a fun experience.

I'll also resume adding new content to my Pierini Fitness blog, something I’ve been doing for over a dozen years.   Give me a couple weeks to be back on that saddle full throttle. 

Then, I need to get my fitness workout schedule in place.  As many of my former clients and hometown homeboys know, for several years now my gym has been at various local parks.  I rotated my outdoor workouts between McKinley Park, William Land Park, Curtis Park and Leland Stanford Park depending on what I was doing.  

I'll miss all these parks with their lush green grass and wonderful trees. My new training venue will likely be at home somewhere on the 1.6 acres grounds upon which it sits, and the nearby Wickenburg High School for track running workouts.

Then, there'll be the normal stuff done each week like trips to Trader Joe's for groceries and maybe Costco every now and then.  Those stores are in Surprise, a nearby city about 40 minutes away.  We'll drive to Phoenix on Sunday to attend Mass at Mater Misercordiae Catholic Church. It offers the Traditional Latin Mass just like the church we attended in Sacramento, St. Stephen The First Martyr.

We recently purchased a pistol and rifle to add a new outdoor activity and enjoy Arizona's open carry state status.  I look forward to going to the shooting range to sharpen my shooting skills.  I've never been a gun person but did learn to appreciate and respect them when in the Army firing the M-16 rifle and M-60 machine gun.  That was almost 50 years ago.

Finally, I need about 40 hours of continuing education to keep my California CPA license current, something I intend to do.  And I'll likely apply for an Arizona CPA license, just for kicks.  

I’ll also spend time providing transition assistance to my chosen successor.  I want to make sure my former clients continue to be well served.

And anything else, we'll just have to see but it should be fun and I'm looking forward to it.

I liken it to how it was when a teenager and school was out for the entire summer except now, my summer will be endless.  

Some say that I'll eventually get bored.  Time will tell if this is true.  If I do, I can always work as a bagger at Trader Joe's.  I've never seen one of their employees who didn't seem like they totally enjoyed their job. That appeals to me.

And let's not forget a daily nap.  That's what older folks are supposed to do and by golly, I'm an older folk in training!

It should be fun marching forward in my new life journey - Que será, será

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, June 15, 2020

You got what it takes

About a week ago, I spent some time on YouTube taking a trip down memory lane, this time going very far back, listening to music from long ago.  I’m not sure how I arrived where I did but found myself listening to music of the Dave Clark Five, one of the British invasion bands of the 1960’s.  I had almost forgotten about them until my memory lane trip.

After listening to several of their songs, I eventually settled on one that was my favorite and still is this day, “You Got What It Takes”.   I have a distant memory of the first time I listened to this song and sort of think it may have been when watching a regular Sunday evening episode of The Ed Sullivan Show; I’m not sure.  

The lyrics of this song tells of a person lacking in many areas that you’d think would make them less than desirable for a relationship but, somehow and nonetheless, still has what it takes for the singer, and sets his soul on fire.

Yesterday, upon awakening and after one of several planned trips to the bathroom, I glanced at myself in the mirror when washing my hands.  I had probably been awake less than five minutes.  

Looking at my mirror image, I saw the “very best” my gracefully aging middle-age man face had to offer during these first five minutes of my new day, and it wasn’t pretty.  

My saving grace was that I knew once my face woke up, I had my morning cup of coffee, the fog in my mind slowly lifted and my aging middle-age man body revved up and became action-oiled for a new day of motion commotion, I’d be fine.  Honestly, however, my immediate mirror image was very hard on my eyes.

It was then that I thought about this song, again, and in a moment of middle-age man self-love and affirmation, sang to myself in my mind’s eye, “you got what it takes.”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Monday, June 8, 2020

Summer 2020 burpees x 100 countdown

On June 1st, I decided to get ready for Summer 2020 by chasing it every day doing a burpees x 100 workout.  This would be 20 days of 100 burpees a day or 2,000 burpees completed on the first day of Summer 2020 which in my part of the world is June 20, 2020.

Here’s my day 7 effort done Sunday evening in the park.  The weather was burpees-friendly at 73F degrees with low humidity and a pleasant breeze.

I can hardly wait for Summer 2020 to arrive and I’ll celebrate with my final day 20 effort during my Summer 2020 burpees countdown.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Friday, May 29, 2020

Because getting fat and weak isn't an option

Over the years, Pierini Fitness has “coined” and used several fitness slogans.  They’re chants for lack of a better term that cut to the chase with perspective that we all need in chasing our middle-age man upper-percentile fitness, health and wellness.

One of my earliest ones I recall was, “I am as good as my last workout and I am what I eat.”

Another one was, The fitness training program has got to match the personality.”

Recently, I thought it was time for a fitness slogan rebrand.  Businesses do the rebranding thing all the time.  While Pierini Fitness is not a business but, rather, a “ministry”, a rebranding, getting ready for Summer 2020, still seemed like a good idea. 

So, here’s the latest – drum roll please – that you’ll be seeing more of as I continue marching forward sharing my fitness, health and wellness journey and perspectives, “Because getting fat and weak isn’t an option.”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Pierini Fitness baker's dozen what has worked for me

I recently commented to a question posted on an internet fitness discussion forum.  The question was, “What has actually worked for you?”  Obviously, this was a question in the context of fitness.

The person asking the question shared that the Ketogenic diet, high repetition pushups, and Creatine supplementation is what worked for him.
Interesting was his following comment that he wondered why it is when we find something that seems to work that we ever abandon it.  I couldn’t quite tell if this suggested he had abandoned what had worked for him, lost his results and was now contemplating getting back on the plan.
Always willing to jump in on the action and contribute to a legitimate fitness question, I thought about it for a while and then shared what has worked for me.  The following is what I shared, edited somewhat and in a slightly different order from my posted comment:

Eat less as a lifestyle, yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life.  Don’t quit once I’ve achieved my weight loss or body appearance goal.

Jump on the scale each morning and weigh.  Keep detailed training journals.

Use a tape measure to measure my girth periodically.  Take pictures to keep my bathroom mirror and perception honest.

Take videos of me in fitness action to evaluate my form and detect my fitness lameness so I can work of eradicating it.

Change and manage my thoughts, feelings and behaviors so that food is fuel for my body and not my crank cocaine drug of choice.

Follow an intuitive fitness training approach rather than one that’s structured, depending on what my body is telling me.  Always obey my body.

Do not dodge intensity during my workouts.

Chase athleticism rather than bodybuilding.

Have seasonal fitness goals that are SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timetable to achieve.  Periodically test these goals to see how I’m doing.

Have desire, discipline, patience and perseverance when chasing, achieving and maintaining all my fitness, health and wellness goals.

Do let anyone sabotage my goals, especially ME!

Realize that if I achieve my goals, it won’t make me a better person. If I’m a jerk and turd before, I’ll be one after, even if sporting a bad ass body and having upper-percentile fitness for an amateur athlete.

Know my age.

This is my Pierini Fitness baker’s dozen what has worked for me.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.