Day Hands

It’s a dreary, overcast day in Asheville. And that’s okay. I took Luke and Cinna for a walk this morning and somehow avoided being rained upon. I then baked a lemon-buttermilk cake and Russian tea cakes for my mother-in-law and mother, respectively. Yup, I did this whilst participating in conference call. As of tomorrow, I am officially furloughed. I shall apply for unemployment benefits mañana.

Yesterday’s workout had me like, wow, you need a rest day Paul. I settled for a relatively easy day and labeled it “recovery.” Again, exercise keeps me somewhat sane. Somewhat.

“Revelation” by Troye Sivan and Jonsi is one of my all-time favorite songs.

I worked out during the lunchtime hour.

10 RFT
10 unbroken windshield wipers
Wall crawl + strict wall-facing HSPU + pushup + jump and clap

~Rest~
10 RFT
10-count strict C2B pull-up
30-second weighted plank, 45#

Nothing overly challenging today. Uhm, except windshield wipers, which are a true core workout. I was pleased that I completed all 10 rounds in unbroken reps.

Whilst in plank I noticed how dry my hands have become.

I then completed a 20-count strict C2B pull-up, just because.

~~~~~

Prior to our relationship, Jeff had an an orange tabby named Bud. Most orange tabbies are male, so Jeff was surprised when Bud (named after a character from the Bill Cosby show) had kittens. But that’s another story. Bud lived to be 19 years old. Jeff and Bud were very close and Bud’s death deeply impacted Jeff. It had been more than a year since his death when I began suggesting that we get another cat. “It’s too soon,” Jeff would reply. I persisted. “Imagine all of the cats in need of a home. Let’s adopt an abandoned cat in need of a home.” We began to look at cats at local pet stores, but only those who were in need of rescuing. 

We visited quite a few places. One day we visited a pet store just a half a mile from our home in Gaypex (the “g” is silent, unlike most gays). A volunteer assisted us, and we let her know we were looking for a solid orange tabby, preferably male. She informed us that while she had some orange cats, none of them were solid orange. She then pointed to a kitten in a cage along with many other kittens. “He’s orange and white, but no one will want to adopt him. He only has 4 toes on one foot,” she informed us. “We’ll take him!” I immediately exclaimed. Both she and Jeff were taken aback. We spent time with him and his sibling, a white and black female kitten. Jeff and I fell in love with the orange kitten and asked when we could bring him home. The volunteer informed us that we would need to wait two months, as they would only allow a kitten to be adopted when it was six months old to ensure that the kitten had been effectively socialized. “Unless more than one kitten is adopted,” she said. “Then we’ll take the black and white kitten as well,” I said. Jeff looked at me with a stunned expression. “What? We never talked about adopting two kittens.” “You like orange cats and I like black and white cats. One for you and one for me.” And that’s how we came about adopting Zac and Meg, the two best kitties in the whole world. Jeff named Zac after Zac Efron and I named Meg after Meg from “Family Guy.” Like Peter Griffin, I know that Meg is short not for Meghan but for Megatron. 

I have never known two cats to be so much like dogs. Both Meg and Zac come when you call them, they insist upon being nearby at all times, and, like every dog that’s been part of the family, they sleep as close to me as possible. Meg in particular, and she likes to sleep on my chest. Yes, on my chest. When I eventually position myself to sleep on my side, she gets as close as she can, often draping herself over my hip. While Zac is Jeff’s and Meg is my cat, I’m nonetheless exceedingly close with both of them, and they are truly the first cats I’ve been attached to. Luke, Meg, and Zac get along exceedingly well, mostly because Luke is such a patient dog. Meg and Zac often rub against him and he allows them to do so. Meg and Zac also often try to eat Luke’s food. And often eat Luke’s food. As I often post on social media, “Bad kitties!”

~~~~~

If you’re going a good job you’ll be congratulated. If you’re doing a shitty job and your a narcissistic asshole you’ll be self-congratulatory.

Unprecedented

I’m so freaking sick and tired of everyone using the word to describe the pandemic. Uhm, I would prefer “science predicted because this shit has happened before and will happen time and time again (if humans still even exist).”

My mother complimented me on the lemon-buttermilk pound cake I made and sent to her. She then casually mentioned that she’d like me to bake her “raisin field” cookies. I thought, “what the hell is a raisin field cookie?” I did a Google search. Oh, raisin “filled” cookie. She still has a southern accent. Yup, she was born a coal miner’s daughter. Anywho, I made a trial batch of the cookies, and OMFG they’re delicious! How do I know I’ve baked something good? When I tell Jeff that I’ll offer to neighbors and he says not to do so. Ha! I didn’t want me to share raisin filled cookies.

Jeff and I made a supply run to Aldi, ensuring that we wore rubber gloves. Folks did not practice social distancing, particularly children. Stay the fuck away. I was pleased that they had flour, butter, and sugar in stock.

Today’s workout was a doozy. And I loved every minute of it.

Max rep unbroken (or max rep desired based on FP) strict C2B pull-up UP TO 100 reps min; no resting at full extension; continue past 100 if able to complete FP
Complete same # of UNBROKEN FP, beginning at 95# and increasing weight 5# each round
Sprint 50m
35 double unders
Sprint 50m

Imagine trying to program and then explain to anyone else. Gah! I also know that lots of folks don’t like endurance workouts, particularly not on two consecutive days.

I completed 10 pull-ups the first round, thus I completed 10 FP @ 95#

6 @ 100
7 @ 105
6 @ 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135
5 @ 140, 145, 150
6 @ 155
5 @ 160, 165
4 @ 170
3 @ 175
2 @ 180
1 @ 185 (100 total reps of pull-ups and FP)
1 @ 190
1 @ 195
Failed attempt @ 200

Given that I achieved a FP @ 95% of 1RM and it was the 102nd FP of the day, I’m pleased.

I changed grip for each round of pull-ups. The 5 FP @ 160 & 165 began to become challenging, so I intentionally decreased the number of reps of pull-ups the remaining rounds. Yup I could’ve continued at least 5 unbroken for all remaining rounds. It’s called strategy, folks.

I used an older rope and set up a workstation, well 50m from garage and in front of neighbor’s house. The road was uneven, the rope felt foreign, and it was windy; thus, I didn’t complete many rounds in unbroken reps. Uhm, and a total of 770 double unders. That is a workout in and of itself.

I find in interesting to look at heart rate during workout, as you can clearly see a spike whilst I was jumping rope.

Stay at home and social distancing for another month. I can handle that. As long as I get to take Luke for long walks, exercise, bake, and play the piano I’m good to go.

~~~~~

Here’s another recurring dream…

I am teaching a communication class attended by about 20 or so students. I am wearing a leather jacket. And that is all I’m wearing. No shoes, socks, underwear, or pants. The jacket just covers my anatomy. A student will inevitably ask, “Will you write that on the board?” I have to turn my back to the students to do so, but I do begin to write on the board at their insistence. When I do so I expose my buttocks and the students giggle. Funny, though, that no students object. 

~~~~~

Jeff asked me to assemble his elliptical/bike contraption, and it took me a couple of hours to do so. I’m just that nice.

Roundaboot

That’s how a pronounce “roundabout.” I’m sooooo cosmopolitan.

I think/feel/believe I’m dealing with self-quarantine better than most folks for the following reasons:
1. I don’t like most people. There, I said it. I certainly don’t like hugging, encroachment of my personal space, and high 5s (or fist bumps, etc.).
2. I find solace in solitude. It’s why I enjoyed distance running and why I currently would much rather workout alone (more in a moment).
3. My passions and hobbies are well-suited for solitude, including walking Luke, baking, playing the piano, binge watching TV series, and writing.
4. Living in Asheville affords us the opportunity to be outdoors whilst still maintaining social distance. I could spend all day, beside times spent walking Luke and working out, on the deck. The bad kitties certainly prefer to do so.
5. We don’t have children to entertain. Let me say that again: WE DON’T HAVE CHILDREN TO ENTERTAIN.

~~~~~

I often dream lucidly. This occurs when one becomes aware that they are dreaming and can then alter or modify the story flow. I always dream in vivid colors. I’m often the major character in my dreams, although I’ve had many dreams that don’t include me at all. I see my dreams as a film, i.e., I’m not the lens of the camera but am an actor on the stage. There are many nights when I wake up from a dream (to pee, remove a cat from my chest, etc.) and when I return to sleeping continue the dream I was having. I also have recurring dreams, the most often being that I discover that I didn’t attend a required class, often a math class, and my degree is revoked. Other recurring dreams include not being prepared to teach a class, forgetting what I’m teaching, and being late for an event and knowing that I won’t be able to make it in time.

I often fly in my dreams, and when I do so I fly vertically, i.e., NOT like Superman. I merely rise from the ground and move forward, backward, and side to side. The feeling is exhilarating!

I have died in my dreams numerous times.

~~~~~

Jeff and I took Luke for a 1.5-mile walk and then I worked out.

NFT
Run 200m
Clean @ 95# and increasing weight 5# each round until failure; 3 attempts at any one weight allowed

I fucking needed this.

My goal was 165, as that’s the heaviest I’ve lifted well over 2 years. Folks, as you get older you naturally get weaker. It’s science. Don’t argue with me.

I easily cleaned 165, so I kept running and lifting, completing lifts @ 170 & 175 on first attempt and 180 on second attempt. I failed three times @ 185, and I’m fine with that. Nine rounds of running (one breath every third step) for a total of 3,800m or just shy of 2.5 miles.

The only thing I would do differently is run 200m between attempts. Instead, I rested about 30 seconds, just enough time to get all up inside my own head.

I grabbed my abacus, yoga mat, and 53# KB and headed to the end of the driveway. My neighbor, Brian, hinted that he’d like to join me, so I grabbed the 35# KB and showed him movement standards.

11-min AMRAP
Plank to KB + KB pushup + plyometric pushup L-side + plyometric pushups R-side + jump feet to KB + Russian KBS + American KBS + sprint 25m
Walk to workstation

I completed 15 or 16 rounds. Yup, I lost count, as I was coaching Brian and my mind was distracted.

We did indeed keep our distance, with Brian running on the E- whilst I ran on W-side of 5th Ave.

I then enjoyed a beermosa.

Jeff and I spent much time on the deck playing games and enjoying the other’s company. I’m a lucky man, as I sincerely enjoy spending time with my husband.

We then took Luke for 2-mile walk on a new greenway in the River Arts district. Again, we’re lucky to live is such a wonderful part of the state.

Oh, before I forget to mention: tRump is a narcissistic asshole. NO leader should be talking about their ratings. The man, for lack of a better term, lacks empathy, compassion, intelligences, a natural tan, etc.

Yahtzee!

Jeff and I have been playing games to pass the time. Battleship arrives today!!

I started the morning with a 3.5-mile walk with Luke, including a visit to Hole Donuts for curbside delivery of delicious donuts and coffee. I needed to clear my mind.

And now I vent. Both yesterday and today, whilst walking Luke, unannounced runners approached from behind — and ran beside us! If I had known that they weren’t going to ensure 6′ between us as they passed, I would’ve moved the freak out of the way. Runners can be such assholes. Jeff went grocery shopping and I waited in the car for him. I saw two women (who arrived in two separate cars) approach each other in the parking lot, talk briefly, AND THEN HUG. Idiots. Let me say it again: IDIOTS.

Trillions of dollars, and it likely won’t be enough. tRump is the pettiest person alive. “I won’t speak to Nancy Pelosi. I’ll help governors if they’re nice to me.” BTW, every governor sounds much more presidential than that AIC.

I baked a rather boozy rum cake yesterday (Friday) evening. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy baking? I also made merengues with the leftover egg whites.

I worked out during lunchtime yesterday, and it was already hot, hot, hot.

10 RFT
Plank + mountain climber/leg + pushup + strict C2B pull-up
Plank + mountain climber/leg + pushup + box jump (24″)
Plank + mountain climber/leg + pushup + strict HSPU
Plank + mountain climber/leg + pushup + WBS (20# & 10′)
Plank + mountain climber/leg + pushup + cluster (95#)

I then moved the workout outside.

10-9-8…3-2-1 medicine ball clean(s), 25#
Sprint uphill 25m
Walk to start

Today’s workout was fun! I set up workstations, beginning in garage, every 10m, i.e., box, HSPU (fence), and parallettes were 10m apart. It’s a good thing our driveway is 30m long.

12 RFT
Strict L-sit C2B pull-up + strict C2B pull-up + strict pull-up + strict K2E + strict T2B
Deadlift @ 200#
10m shuttle sprint carrying 25# medicine ball on right shoulder
5 box jumps, 24#
10m shuttle sprint carrying 45# sandbag on shoulders
3 strict HSPUs on fence
10m shuttle sprint carrying 53# KB in right hand
5 parallette pass throughs
10m shuttle sprint carrying KB in left hand
10m shuttle sprint carrying sandbag
10m shuttle sprint carrying medicine ball on left shoulder

As I’ve said repeatedly, any workout that includes shuttles sprints is a good workout.

~~~~~

My mother tells the following story. 

“You were 3 or 4 years old. One afternoon I was lying on the couch watching my stories when you fell asleep in my arms. When you awakened you yawned, stretched your arms, and said, ‘I love you, Mommy, because you’re soft in all of the right places.’” 

~~~~~

I endlessly worry about my mother, as she is in a high risk category for COVID-19. I’m pleased that she is heeding the SCIENTIFIC advice and self-quarantining, and I’m grateful that my sister-in-law is keeping a watchful eye on her.

Day by Day

I’ve been the musical director and pianist for Fantastiks (my first), The Boyfriend, Once Upon a Mattress, Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pageant, Man of La Mancha, Anything Goes (twice), and Godspell. Godspell is definitely my favorite, as the songs “fit” my fingers, and I enjoyed playing with just a drummer and guitarist. Whilst I love the song Day by Day, All Good Things is (you guessed it) my favorite songs from the musical.

It’s a beautiful day in Asheville, even as anxiety has begun to somewhat overwhelm me. I seldom have problems falling and/or staying asleep. The past three nights have been tumultuous. It doesn’t help that our federal government is failing us. Miserably.

I made banana + blackberry muffins. So freaking good. I’m making 15-bean soup. It’s unlikely Jeff will eat a single bit.

~~~~~

I was very artistic as a child, and at one time imagined myself becoming a cartoonist. St. Joseph’s held an art contest each year, and I won every year I entered. Unused billboards were often donated to the school, and we often used the oversized paper for art projects. One year I drew a life-sized dragon based on a song we often sang, The Reluctant Dragon. “I’m a reluctant dragon. What else. Quite so. Instead of work I’d rather play. Here we go gathering nuts and hay. Silly as the month of May.” I may not be recalling the lyrics correctly, but you get the drift. I can still easily recall and draw the Reluctant Dragon. 

~~~~~

Yesterday was pushing, today was pulling. And running. Running!

16 RFT
5 strict and unbroken C2B pull-ups
Run 200m

Sixteen rounds = 2 miles, yo. This took a little over 30 minutes, and I loved every minute of it. No failed reps and all rounds in unbroken and strict reps. Because that’s what I programmed.

Zoom!

Yes, it’s an app, but I have fond memories of the TV show Zoom. Come on and zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom…”

Buncombe county has reported two deaths from COVID-19. A lockdown is likely. tRump continues to be an unsympathetic, dispassionate asshole. And I’m not the least bit surprised. I belong to a private Facebook group and yesterday posted a picture of me flipping him off during his daily dose of misinformation. I got a shit-ton of likes.

NFT
Press, beginning @ 45# and increasing 5# each round
5/leg weighted box steps

I hate weighted box steps. And that’s why I program them. My glutes and hammies are still sore, so this we needed. I completed 19 rounds, i.e., last rep @ 135# (>90% of 1RM)

10 RFT
10 clapping pushups
SPRINT uphill 25m
Walk to start

One hundred pushups again today? Yes! Sometimes you need to work the same or similar muscles two (or more) days in a row. I’m not a proponent of “arm” or “leg” days, although I do love the show Letter Kenny.

I ensured that I was sprinting by breathing every other step. Remember, your breathing controls your pace and not vice versa.

You will be hard pressed to find anyone who enjoys parallel parking as much as I do. And I can always park my car on the very first try. Yes, this is a very right-brained thing. “Is that a space? Yup. Does it look big enough? Yup.” 

Mayor Cuomo

“There is no dollar figure on human life.” Tell it like it is, I-wish-you-were-president Cuomo. These are frightening times, and it would be nice if we had an actual leader.

Jeff wisely purchased Connect 4, Yahtzee, and Sorry! as well as a book of word games. And I’ve discovered that I actually like the puzzles. When the hell did that happen?

Uhm, the pistols left me somewhat pistol whipped. In the buttocks. Even though I abhor rowing, it’s a great way to get blood and oxygen to the muscles, yo.

10 RFT
10 hard strokes on rower for meters
10 unbroken ring pushups
~Rest~
25 unbroken ring pushups
~Rest~
NFT
5 DL @ 185#
Strict C2B chin-up
5 DL @ 195#
Strict C2B chin-up + strict K2E
5 DL @ 205#
Strict C2B chin-up + strict K2E + strict T2B
5 DL @ 215#
Strict C2B chin-up + strict K2E + strict T2B + air squat
5 DL @ 225#
Strict C2B chin-up + strict K2E + strict T2B + air squat + jumping air squat

DL @ 235, 245, 255, 265, 275, 285, 295, 305, 315, 325, 335, 340#
Strict C2B chin-up + strict K2E + strict T2B + air squat + jumping air squat

I rowed 1212m.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I like programming for myself. I would never program the above for anyone else, as it’d be too hard for some and too hard to explain to others. Aaaaand, folks don’t like workouts that aren’t for time.

Why the chin-ups and other activities after lifts? For truly active recovery, i.e., keep the muscles warm and allow a little rest between lifts.

~~~~~

I detest the generic pronoun and refuse to use the form when I speak or write. I also refuse to say “he and/or she, “him and/or her,” and “himself and/or herself.” What do I say instead? She and/or he, her and/or him, herself and/or himself. Sequential placement is important and I almost always place women before men. As it should be. 

~~~~~

I have always it will likely always enjoy animated shows, i.e., cartoons. As I child I enjoyed Wally Gator, Mighty Mouse, and Jetsons. I then became obsessed with Animaniacs. Mindy! I’m currently a huge fan of (in order): Archer, South Park, Bob’s Burgers, and Family Guy. Adult humor, you now, because I’m an adult and all.

There are certain activities that I truly enjoy, including working out, walking Luke, baking, playing the piano, binge watching quality TV, and writing. I’m not not enjoying self quarantine.