Mask it or casket

Again, I have a difficult time recalling workouts.

Friday, May 15

5 strict ring dips + leg raise to L-sit
5 parallel (feet on box) strict ring rows
5 per leg step ups + opposite leg high knee

Surprisingly challenging, and definitely an ab workout. I completed all rounds in unbroken reps, and believe me when I say that the ring rows got challenging the final rounds.

I had completed 10 rounds at the halfway mark, and was convinced that I wouldn’t complete a total of 20. But I did, and even had enough time to complete a round of 5 dips and raises and 2 ring rows. I’m just that fucking awesome.

I used to hate, hate, hate, watching people cheat at ring rows. How did they do so? By not keeping a tight core, i.e., bending at the waist and even bouncing their asses off of the floor like kipping. But, you know, it’s much more important to post the most rounds on the whiteboard. Who cares about proper form, avoiding injury, or a level playing field? Oh, this happened at boxes I attended and not at CFS when I still owned it.

Going on.

Saturday, May 16

It’s Jeff’s birthday, so we began our day by taking Luke for a walk around Carrier Park. This was Jeff’s desire, as he thought it unlikely that there would be many people about and about at 7:30. There were, and of the 30 people we encountered only 3 were wearing masks. Idiots. Let me say that again: fucking idiots.

Mask it or casket. It’s that simple.

I made a dozen cinnamon and raisin rolls, and they were delicious. Jeff asked me not to share, so I won’t be doing so.

21 rounds
1 cluster (95#) + 50m sprint
2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 thrusters (starting with cluster) + 50m sprint

That’s a total of 75 thrusters, and I hate thrusters.

I then finished making French baguettes (delicious!) and Jeff and I went for a 10-mile bike ride. The last few miles were on the greenway, and once again people were fucking idiots. We were the only people wearing masks, and there were far too many people not practicing social distancing. Hey, idiots, how about if you set up your picnic blanket at least 6 feet away from the trail?!

I’ve been working out solo for more than 3 years now, and I couldn’t be happier doing so.


I had been CrossFitting for just a couple of months but had mastered the handstand pushup. I was, however, struggling with deadlifting, as my legs back then weren’t nearly as strong as they are now.

“Diane” (21-15-9 HSPUs and 225# deadlifts) was programmed. I put 185 on the barbell, knowING that even that would be a struggle. Just before the workout began the coach (whose first name began with “D”) approached me and asked why I only had 185 on the barbell. “Uhm, because 225 is my 1 rep max and this is 45 reps.” “Put 225 on the bar,” he insisted. “I’m not comfortable with that weight,” I replied. “Then I won’t let you do handstand pushups. If you’re strong enough to do handstand pushups then your strong enough to deadlift 225 pounds,” he said rather snidely.

So I put 225 on the barbell. And I completed each and every rep and each and every rep felt like a 1 rep max attempt. D watched me like a hawk, I suppose to ensure that I didn’t cheat. I. Don’t. Cheat.

At the end of the workout D once again approached me and said, “See what’s it like to not have your name at the top of the leader board?” The fucker thought he was teaching me a lesson. His only accomplishment was demonstrating what a shitty coach he was. I could’ve easily hurt myself. I suppose, though, that D thought that was also a lesson I needed to learn.

Oh, I did everything I could to not attend any sessions that he coached.

Believe me when I tell you, folks, D was just one of many shitty CrossFit coaches that I had the displeasure of being subjected to. I’ll go on the record and say that I had more shitty than good coaches during my time as a CrossFitter. (Jack, if you’re reading this you were not a shitty coach, and were truly one of the best coaches I had. And thanks!)

Biking Karen

I haven’t blogged in quite a few days, so this may be a hot mess.

Jeff and I spent a few days at Carolina Beach, where folks are idiots. It was if there was no pandemic, i.e., very few people wearing face masks in public, complete disregard for social distancing, etc. The one exception was early-morning walks on the beach, as few people were out and about and there was more than enough room for the three of us to make a wide berth around people.

I was both shell-shocked and not the least bit surprised by the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery. Yes, lynching. I included a workout whilst at CB that included running, and I thought about many things, including racism, oppression, white privilege, and that fucking idiot it chief. It is beyond my level of comprehension how someone can think that any race is superior. Or gender, or sexual orientation, or ability.

35-30-25-20-15-10-5 Russian KBS, 44#
Run “around the block” after each round

Is there hope? The townhouse directly across from ours used to fly a flag, and you know the one I’m talking about. I got to exercise my middle fingers each time I glanced at said flat. The residents are now flying an American flag. However, another townhouse just three doors down from ours flies a Confederate flag. Uhm, and I witnessed the owner (driving a Hummer, of course) LOUDLY playing rap music. Rap music performed by an African American artist. WTF? It gets better. I then witnessed a young man, probably in his late teens or early twenties, who resides in the townhouse entertaining a couple of what I assume were his African American friends. They were playing basketball in the driveway. With the Confederate flag flying for all to see. WTAF?

10 rounds
1 45# plate pushup (rep = tricep + r decline + l decline pushups)
3 plate presses
3 BS with plate
3 box jumps on plate (27″)
5 rounds
2 45# plate pushups
6 plate presses
6 BS with plate
6 box jumps on plate (27″)

Uhm, I can’t recall the specifics of another workout that I did, but I know that the end of each of the 55 rounds included a strict HSPU ending with freestanding handstand. I even completed quite a few HSPUs without my heels touching the wall during the ascent. I’ve significantly improved, and this is likely because of the practicing wall-facing HSPU. I’ve found my center of gravity!

I’ve also significantly improved my piano playing. Yup, there’s something to be said for having the time and commitment to practice. Much like exercising, I always play better when I warm up first.

Things I’ve baked since last posting: strawberry-rhubarb pie, lemon-ohs, and thin mints. Thin mints!

Monday, May 11
Every 45 seconds for 35 rounds
3 kipping pull-ups
9 heel raise air squats

Tuesday, May 12
15 RFT
Bike 400m
10 unbroken WBS, 20# & 10′

To disassociate from the awfulness that is WBS, I inhaled at bottom of squat and loudly exhaled when WB hit target.


I am musical, but I don’t have a pleasant singing voice. I can sing on key, but that’s about it. There, I said it. No one in my family sings well. My mother likes to sing but is often in a key of her own. I can’t recall ever hearing my father sing, although he liked to whistle.

I was in 1st grade and vividly recall preparing for an assembly to be performed at St. Joseph’s. Sister Roberta Ann had us all singing and said, “Something doesn’t sound right. Paul, don’t sing this time.” I was mortified, but did as I was told. As soon as everyone finished the song she said, “Yes, that was the problem. Paul, just move your lips and pretend to sing.”

I was never physically accosted by a nun, but was occasionally the recipient of emotional abuse.



Yup, I renewed WordPress for yet another year. Whew.

Wednesday, May 6

I had a call with a client at 10, so took Luke for a walk and then packed for trip to CB. I almost rested, but the weather was too nice to not work out outside.

10 RFT
5 DL, 185#
15 Abmat situps
25 double unders

Unbroken reps, yo.

Thursday, May 7

Every 45 seconds for 50 rounds
Strict C2B regular grip pull-up + strict T2B + strict K2E
Strict burpee plate press, 45#
Strict HSPU ending with 2+-second freestanding handstand

This was, for lack of a better word, fun! The focus was on accuracy.

Practicing wall-facing HSPUs has truly helped me find my center of gravity, and there were quite a few HSPUs where, after my head touched the mat, my heels didn’t even graze the wall and I was still able to old handstand. I smiled at the end of many rounds. Most rounds took between 30 and 35 seconds, depending upon how long I held handstand.

10 RFT
Sprint 5m
Forward roll
5 air squats
Sprint 10m (5m up and back)
5-second headstand
Forward roll
Sprint 5m

No rest during the workout!


As a child, I was very fearful of falling through the cracks between the boards of foot bridges. You read that correctly. Granted, I was scrawny, so in my mind I saw this as a possibility. I would cross bridges laterally, i.e., I would turn and face the railing, place one foot completely on a board and then gently place the other foot on the same board, either in front of or behind (obviously, folks) the foot already solidly balanced on board. Lather, rinse, repeat. It took me a very long time to cross a foot bridge.


Five Miles

Monday, May 4

10 Rounds Not For Time
1-min weighted plank hold, 55#
Up to 10 floor presses, beginning at 75# and increasing weight 10# each round

That’s a shit-ton of floor presses, and I was only able to complete 8 and 6 the rounds of 155 & 165, respectively. Uhm, likely because the plank holds are tough on the shoulders.

I then took the workout outside, and was immediately joined by my 4-year old non-stop-talking neighbor and his mother.

10 RFT
5 parallette pass thoughs
10m strict burpee broad jumps
Spint to start

As my arms were tired from pressing, pushing was a challenge. It took my about 5 reps per burpee to, you know, jump 10m. I’m short, so there’s that.

Tuesday, May 5

My mother requested Italian “S” anise cookies with powdered sugar, so I spent the morning make about 5 dozen of those. Jeff and I then parked in lot and refinanced house. Yup, interest rates are low so it was the time to do so.

10 rounds
Bike sprint 400m
5 kipping pull-ups; 5th rep butterfly
10 rounds
Bike sprint 400m
10 kipping pull-ups; 9th rep butterfly

All pull-ups were overhand, i.e., no mixed grip.

I had initially planned on 20 rounds of 5 reps of pull-ups for total of 100 reps, but after 10th round I challenged myself. I was pleased that I completed all rounds in unbroken reps, as I don’t often kip.

I had also set a goal of 50 minutes, and even though I completed 50 more pull-ups than planned I finished in just under 50 minutes. I was spent. Uhm, five miles of biking and 150 pull-ups. Boom.

As it’s Cinco de Mayo, I made chicken quesadillas for dinner. Yup, the tortillas shells were also homemade. Deliciousness.


In my 20s I had considered becoming a professional speaker and even had an agent. I asked my dear friend Tracy to provide feedback on my public speaking style. “Paul,” she said, “you play with the change in your pockets, and it’s very distracting.” “What can I do to overcome this?” I asked. “I have a perfect solution,” said Tracy, “a worry stone.”

A worry stone is a cylindrical piece of rock that you place between your index and middle fingers and rub with your thumb. This is supposed to relieve stress, you know, and worry.

Tracy was an audience member at my next speech, so she got to see firsthand the negative repercussions, as I spent the entire presentation rubbing the stone. As the audience didn’t know that I had a worry stone in my pocket it appeared to them as if, well, I was rubbing something that might have been hard.

On a positive note, I never place my hand in my pocket when presenting.

Hammock Time

It’s Sunday evening and I’m composing this blog whilst lying in the hammock. Life could be far worse. And if people don’t continue to practice social distancing and/or stay home, things will likely get much, much worse.

Yesterday’s workout was fun, as any workout that includes running is, by definition, fun. Don’t argue with me.

Run approximately 400m
50 unbroken air squats
15 L-sit pull-ups

Yup, based on a workout. My goal was 25 minutes, and I completed in less time than that. So boom. I followed it up with this…

10 RFT
Bike approximately 400m
30-second headstand hold

I set up the gym mat on the driveway, and was watched by the child of the corn who lives next door almost the entire time. It’s quite annoying to be stared at for that length of time, but whatever.

I also completed the first part of today’s workout on the driveway.

10 RFT
10 unbroken V-ups
5 unbroken HPC @ 95#
Sprint 10m
3 unbroken & strict HSPUs
Sprint 10m

HSPUs were completed on the fence. Use what’s available, folks. I then moved into the garage/gym.

Strict and unbroken ring dips
Unbroken lateral box jumps (1 rep = r + l)

Whilst more challenging, I enjoy lateral box jumps. I find I stay much more focused when completing.

Jeff and I went for a 9.5-mile bike ride, and that was much fun. Uhm, I’m not very good about letting him lead. Uhm, I’m not very good about letting anyone lead.


My BBF (Best Brian Friend) visited Saturday, and I had a wonderful catching up. We spent most of our time on the deck and, yes, we practiced social distancing. We also ate ribs and drank beer. Read the below excerpt from my memoir to learn how I met Brian.

I’ve raced the Umstead Trail Marathon three times, placing 2nd, 2nd, and 1st. But eventually winning the race isn’t the most memorable moment: meeting one of my best friends is. 

It was very hot and humid day, and it was my first trail and first Umstead marathon. While I did start near the front, I didn’t go out nearly as fast as many other runners and quickly settled into my own pace. About 2 or 3 miles into the race, there was but one other runner that I could see, and we took turns passing each other. As we were running up one of the many hills he said to me as I approached, “You wanna run and work together?” This is the first and only time that this has happened. “Sure,” I replied, and that’s what we did. I introduced myself as did he. “I’m Brian,” he said. We didn’t talk much but we did run side-by-side and it certainly was nice to run with someone. We reached the halfway mark, i.e., 13 miles, and Brian started to slow down. I said, “Stay with me, let’s run together.” “I’m good,” he replied, “you go on without me.” And that’s what I did. I eventually caught up with and passed many other runners and made sure to be at the finish line when Brian eventually finished. I introduced him to Jeff and he introduced me to (his now wife) Danielle. Brian, like George, Tracy, Carol, and Caroline, was instantly one of my best friends. Uhm, he was born the year I graduated high school. I often tell him that he’s the younger brother I never had—or wanted. 

Mah Arms!

Thursday, April 30

Another day, another long walk with Luke! I modified the day’s CrossFit WOD, you know, to make a little more challenging.

Strict handstand push-up ladder
Rest 3 minutes
Strict ring dip ladder
Rest 3 minutes
Strict hand release push-up ladder
For the ladder pattern, perform 1 rep the first minute, 2 reps the second minute, 3 reps the third minute, etc., continuing as long as you are able.

I set a goal to complete 10, 15, & 20 rounds for HSPUs, ring dips and HRPUs, respectively. I exceeded that goal.

I was able to complete HSPUs in unbroken reps through the round of 7. By the end of round 8, my arms were getting tired and rest time, of course, was decreasing. Imagine that! I got in the 10th rep of the 10th round with just a second to spare. No point in attempting 11.

Ring dips are a strength, and I completed in unbroken reps through round 12. Again, my arms were getting tired and I completed 18th rep of the 18th round with just 3 seconds to spare.

I completed 15 rounds of HRPUs in unbroken reps. Whew. I completed the 21st rep of the 21st round with 2 seconds to spare. I. Was. Duhn.

That’s 55 HSPUs, 171 ring dips, and 231 HRPUs, and 457 total reps.

The Parks & Recreation Special was awesome!

White privilege is happening at the state capitol of Michigan, and it’s being support by the idiot in the WH.

Friday, May 1

Yup, the start of a new month! And my arms are sore.

Luke and I went for close to a 4-mile walk, and it was good.

25 RFT
5 hands over head + toe touches
5/leg box step ups, 20″
5 air squats

I programmed a workout that would allow consistent movement with little rest that wild last about 20 minutes, and this was perfect.

I had been CrossFitting for just a couple of months when muscle ups were programmed as part of a metcon. After the session I asked the coach, who shall remain nameless, if I could attempt. He said, “Sure, but no one gets a muscle up on their first attempt.” And I rather easily completed a kipping muscle up. “Can I put my name on the board?” I asked? “No. You can only put your name on the board if you complete a second rep.” So I did. And he was noticeably upset, perhaps a little jealous, and not the least bit encouraging. Some people shouldn’t be coaches.

My view whilst blogging.


Downpour, that is. ‘Twas so windy today that I took down the sunshade for fear that it would fly off of the deck.

Jeff surprised me with a gift of a fire pit and two Adirondack chairs for the East yard. Yay! We made a survival run to Ace Hardware to purchase a few items, including firewood. Uhm, but no fire tonight. Dammit.

10-9-8…4-3-2-1 calorie row + strict pushup + strict C2B pullup
1 step per step (8 steps) up front steps carrying sandbag
10-9-8..3-2-1 sandbag squats
10m sprint carrying sandbag
10-9-8..3-2-1 lateral hops over sandbag
10m sprint carrying sandbag

No barbell today, because every day doesn’t have to include a barbell.

And now I rant.

I read a shit-ton of posts, and many of them include grammatical errors. Ninety-nine times out of 100 I don’t comment, as I don’t want to offend. I’m not perfect, and sometimes in my haste I don’t proof my work and I allow an error.

And then people who NEVER COMMENT ON ANY OTHER post are quick to point out the error. And I’m just as quick to call them a dick.

I’ve been painting the middle and ring fingers on my left hand. Because I want to.

We watch ZeroZeroZero on Amazon Prime. I don’t want to be involved in drug trafficking.

I have over 66K pics in the cloud. Imagine how many I’d have if I had a mobile phone since childhood.

I have been the musical director/pianist for the following musicals:
The Fantasticks
Man of La Mancha
Once Upon a Mattress
Something at Theatre in the Park that I can’t recall right now, try as I might
The Boyfriend
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Anything Goes (twice)

Uhm, and I might be forgetting one or two.

On a related note, this is the most consistently that I’ve both played and practiced the piano, and I’m truly enjoying myself.

Vampire Dreams

If even a day goes by I have difficulty remembering my workouts. And I’ve been mastering “Not a Day Goes By” by Sondheim.

Uhm, so yesterday I know that this was part of my workout.

11 RFT in unbroken sets
Kipping + kipping C2B + strict + strict C2B + strict L-sit C2B pullups
Sprint to end of driveway and back

I do remember today’s workout. Because I just finished it.

10-9-8…3-2-1-1-1-1-1-1 presses, beginning at 65# and increasing 5# a round
3 strict HSPUs until last 5 rounds and then 1 strict HSPU

Last single was 135#, for those of you doing the math at home, which is a little greater than 90% of 1RM. Presses felt strong today. And that was 60 presses and 35 HSPUs.

Bike 400m
Run 400m

That, gentlemen and ladies, was an aerobic workout.

Yesterday I listened to music by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt. And it was a good day.

I read an interesting AP article about “collective” dreaming,” and it appears that many people are having dreams, often anxiety-ridden, about Covid-19. I know I certainly have had many. There have been quite a few times where I’ve dreamt that I couldn’t catch my breath. Uhm, and then I awaken to discover Meg sleeping on my chest.

Why is it that some of dreams are much more memorable and vivid than reality? I can still vividly remember many of my dreams, even some that I had as a child. One of the most memorable took place whilst I was living in Morgantown, WV and attending college. Here it is…

I am standing over a pedestal bathroom sink looking at my reflection in the mirror as I shave. My reflection begins to dissolve and I begin to realize consider that I might be a vampire. And I don’t want to be a vampire. I try wiping the fog off of the mirror, frantically looking for my reflection but to no avail.

I’m still not convinced that I’m a vampire, so I break open my disposable razor, remove a razor blade and hold it in my right hand with my left wrist turned toward my me and my wrist exposed. I think “cut up, not across.” And I do just that, making three long cuts from my wrist to the inside of my elbow. The open wounds immediately heal in front of my eyes.

I then accept the fact that I’ve somehow become a vampire. I look into the mirror, hoping one last time to see my reflection, and say aloud, “I don’t want to be immortal. I don’t want to live forever.”


That’s how many words a minute I type, and this should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me well. First, I play the piano and therefore have the finger dexterity and the ability to NOT look at my fingers as I type. Second, I’m auditory, so I “hear” myself (or others) saying the words and those words then migrate to my fingers. Third, I’m fucking awesome. That should be #1.

I took a typing class in high school, and I remember it well for both bad and good reasons. The teacher was Mrs. Hammond, and on the first day of class she asked my why I was taking her class. I explained that, as I was planning on going to college, it would be a much needed and used skill. “That’s what secretaries are for, and only girls should be secretaries. I suggest that you drop my class.”

I informed my mother, she called the principal, and I remained in the class. Mrs. Hammond offered no apology, of course.

Uhm, and I was the fastest and most accurate typist in the class. Keep in mind that this was way back in the dark ages when we had electric typewriters and had to use whiteout to correct mistakes. It truly pained Mrs. Hammond that I was so proficient. Ha!

10 RFT whilst wearing 25# weight vest
Bike 400m
5 thrusters @ 75#
5 6-count burpees

This was quite challenging, as I felt, well, 25 pounds heavier.

25m uphill sled pulls without stopping, i.e., continuous movement

I completed rounds @ 100, 115, 125, 135, 145, 155, 16, 175, 185, & 200#. That last round was tough.

A few other workouts I’ve completed during the quarantine…

20-15-10-5 unbroken DLs @ 155#
80-60-40-20 unbroken LBHs

25 MCs
5 DLs @ 175#
15 MCs
3 DLs
5 MCs
1 DL
Run 400m

Set up 35, 53, & 70# KBs
Pushup with hand on KB + tricep pu + other hand on KB + hand on 2 KBs, +…

I don’t care to explain any further. I did go in both directions of KBs. Was 11 pus a round and I did 7 rounds.

5 rounds of 5 reps of DL, BOR, HPC, HS + spring 10 m + forward roll + sprint 5 m + 5 parallette pass throughs + 5m sprint + forward roll + 10m sprint @ 75#
Then 4 rounds of 4 @ 80, 3 rounds of 3 @ 85, 2 rounds of 2 @ 90, rounds @ 95, 100, 105, and 1 rounds of 5 reps @ 110

Try explaining that to a group of CrossFitters. Ha!

I saw a recipe for a black-licorice chocolate bundt cake. It may very well be the best cake I’ve ever made, and I make some mean cakes, yo.

Things I truly enjoy:

  1. Time spent with my husband. We truly get along splendidly, and enjoy each other’s company tremendously. No one makes me laugh as much or as hard as Jeff.
  2. Luke, Meg, and Zac, the world’s best dog and kitties.
  3. Exercising, including daily walks.
  4. Baking and cooking, but mostly baking delicious treats like cakes, pies, and cookies (in that order). I also enjoy sharing treats with some neighbors and friends.
  5. Playing the piano. It gives me great pleasure and enjoyment to do so. And I’m getting better every day.
  6. Writing. Boom.
  7. Solitude.

Given this, I’m quite enjoying quarantining.


Tuesday, April 22

Luke and I began our day with a 2.5-mile walk that included a stop at our friend Lynn’s, where I dropped off a banana-blueberry muffin and chicken & dumplings. She’s always very appreciative. I then made a quick trip to Ace Hardware and purchased 65 bags of 3/4 cubic feet dirt. Yup, the BAG (Big Ass Planter) is RTG.

11 RFT
Bike 400m
25 air squats @ 0, 15, 25, 35, 45, 55, 45, 35, 25, 15, & 0#

That’s 275 squats, folks. And all unbroken.

Wednesday, April 23

What a busy day! I took Luke for a walk and then we went to Lowe’s.

Uhm, and people are stupid. I wore face mask and gloves and ensured that I kept social distance. I intentionally waited until no one was in line before checking out. As the employee was scanning my items, and elderly woman walked right up to us. SHE WALKED RIGHT UP TO US! I immediately walked backwards and away from her, and she appeared offended. She asked, “Where’s the epsom salt?” the employee replied, “Not in gardening.” Ha! The woman walked away. She could’ve easily waited two minutes and allowed me to depart before encroaching upon my territory. Needless to say, I found this upsetting.

I purchased six azalea plants and planted five of them in the new BA planter. I then practiced the piano and presented a 30-minute session for emerging leaders. The topic, of course, was public speaking.

I estimate that 99.99% of the people I interact with have disfluencies. And it drives me insane.

10 TNG HPC – 15-minute time cap

I began at 65# and increased by 5# each round, completing 12 total rounds, i.e., 120 reps. And just within 15 minutes! Oh, coincidentally the finishing weight was 120#.

25 RFT
DB manmaker + sprint 10m, walk to start

I completed this workout on 5th Ave., as the weather was gorgeous.

A nap on the hammock with Meg, another hour of practicing the piano, dinner of baked chicken tenders, potato casserole, and steamed Brussels sprouts, and then Heath cookies.


I played the baritone saxophone in the high school jazz band. Why? Because I was the same height as the instrument and could thus play it without having to use a neck strap. Ha! I didn’t, however, enjoying playing the sax nearly as much as I enjoyed playing the clarinet or piano.