Great Again

You know what I hear when people say, “…make America great again”? 

  • I hear white people who want things to go back to the way they were when they could blithely ignore the racial injustices in the world because of white privilege. They want the ability to keep pretending racism doesn’t exist because they never see it (Or want to see it).
  • I hear white men who want women to go back to being home bound and barefoot. They don’t like the idea of a strong women or that women deserve equality in the workforce.
  • I hear white people who want gays to go back to pretending they don’t exist. They don’t want to be faced with the soul-chilling idea that a religion they were institutionalized into since birth might be flawed. They pretend gay-bashing or deaths of the LGBT community are their own fault for being so ‘different.’  They don’t want to be faced with the idea that Trans people are real and just want to feel safe in society.
  • I hear white people who suddenly notice the world, society, and media no longer features them as the primary representation of America. Deep down I think they are afraid they might end up going thru what minorities or gays have gone thru for decades. 

I hate to break it to ya white people but America wasn’t always great for everyone. Many of us faced untold hardships, harm, and even death at the hands of your indifference. Even a poor white person has a leg up on many minorities and gays. And guess what? We aren’t going to go back to hiding or pretending we don’t exist. Minorities are not going back to separate but equal.

America is great. It is also horribly flawed. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t even a role model in many areas anymore. Our greed and indifference mixed with rising anti-intellectualism is slowly leading to our undoing. It’s not the ‘blacks, gays, muslims, women, etc’ that have ruined this country, it is your willful selfishness and blind indifference to the injustices faced by others not like yourself.

And if being faced with the idea that you bear indirect (and direct) shame for said actions is too much to bear, try walking in a black man’s shoes for awhile. Try to have a normal life as a minority, a gay/lesbian/Trans person. Tyr being a Muslim women in an oppressive fundamentalist country. You have no idea what makes America great because you aren’t part of that equation. If you think America needs to be great again, here’s a news flash for ya, YOU are the problem.

 

Scared? Welcome to our world.

Routine

After my last post, I was asked what type of routine I do and do I recommend heavy weights vs long workouts. 

Actually, I am currently doing a combo of both. Since I work out solo most days, an all-heavy approach isn’t practical or safe. The golden rule is wear the muscle out, which causes micro tears. The micro tears lead to new muscle when the body repairs itself. Right now I’m doing 6 sets of 8. Depending on the day, I do one or two muscle groups. I try to hit at least 4 machines or benches per muscle. For two muscle days, I hit at least 3 for each muscle. And for larger muscles, I tend to focus on just one muscle with slightly longer breaks between different sets. If you are just starting out this isn’t for you. Six sets of 8 reps is a lot. If you insist, start slow. (Maybe do two exercises per muscle and build your way up.)

Basically, the goal is to do enough weight I can complete all the sets/reps. Once I can complete a full set more than once, I up the weight. Different muscles grow at different speeds so sometimes it’s just 5 or 10 lbs. I take 30 seconds between each set of reps and a full minute between different sets.1  Don’t be tempted to cheat by resting more. The longer you rest the lower your heart rate and the more time your muscles have to recover. You don’t want them to recover. They should be burning by the time you finish a full set. If I can’t complete a full rep-set, I go down on the next one. Don’t get so focused on the weight that you don’t get a good burn. The last two rep-sets of a given bench/machine should be harder than the first 4. You should really struggle to finish while trying to keep good form. 

Another good workout is doing doubles. Doubles is basically doing two full sets of two exercises either mixed together or back to back with no break. When I can, I like to mix them i.e. one set of first exercise then one set of second exercise.2  You still rest between reps but you do both exercises before you take the longer break. This is also not for beginners. You need to be familiar with body mechanics. The exercises either need to be physically close to each other (for machines) or be able to quickly alternate (barbells/dumbbells) between them.  Again, if you’re in a busy gym you should be mindful of not hogging benches or machines. 

So that is what I’m currently doing. I’ve found this approach is very effective for me. As long as you overload the muscles, you’re good to go! Hope it helps.  If you use the Jefit app, I share my routines so you should be able to see them. 




  1. Obviously, in a busy gym that is hard to do but it is the goal. []
  2. In a busy gym that isn’t always practical. Don’t be a bench hog! []

Bulk

Now that I’ve been back in the gym pretty consistently for months now, my dedication is slowly paying off. I’ve put on some more muscle. Nothing extraordinary as I’m doing it the natural route, but every little bit counts, right? I’m currently 215lbs, which is the heaviest I’ve ever been (I think. I’m having a total brain fart right now Lol)  Unfortunately, at least 15lbs of that is fat I wanna get rid of, but I’d still be at 200 so I’m happy. I’ve mentioned before my ultimate goal is to hit 230 with around 210 being muscle. 
I originally focused on trying to trim back down after my hiatus and shoulder/back injuries. I had the grand idea of developing some baby abs.  Needless to say, I quickly discarded that notion for bulk. I can see little changes but since I see myself every day, it is harder to notice the difference. At least others are noticing, which is a good sign. Vain much? Lol  And while my abs are still covered under a layer of fat, I’m happy with where I am. I’ve got a couple more months to this routine and then I’m hitting a trim-down plan. 

Cutting back on the extra sugar in my diet always seems to help a lot. I found out a few months ago I’m one of those people genetically predisposed to diabetes.1  Not the best news, but since I work out and take care of myself it isn’t a problem yet. However, it does mean I don’t have the luxury of poor eating habits, especially as I age. It is quite frustrating as I don’t eat awful at all. And, I’m also approaching the age where such things become more important. My blood pressure is only slightly higher than normal for a person my age.  Unfortunately, it means I have to work harder on my diet. My weakness isn’t eating fast food as much as just eating out. And my schedule is always the enemy. Hehe  If I don’t get meal preps done during the weekend, I end up screwed for the whole week. There just isn’t enough time after a 10-hour work day and then the gym to do meal prep. 

Anyway, I’m slowly working myself into better eating habits. It is of course a never ending struggle but hope springs eternal… 




  1. Since I was adopted, I know very little of my medical history []

T-shirts

I’m big into graphic t-shirts. I’ve always loved t-shirts and am fortunate enough to work in a job where I can still pretty much wear them daily.

Way back when my ex and I were together, he got into making t-shirts. It was super convenient having fresh made t-shirts on hand. If I wanted a shirt he’d just screen one up for me. Bam.  However, fast forward almost 5 years and those shirts are all worn out.1  I realized I was starting to look like a hobo so I’ve been slowly replacing my shirts 1 or 2 at a time. I’ve pretty much replaced them all at this point.

However, I’ve run into a new problem now. I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard and am growing out of large size t-shirts! To make it worse, I’m between sizes. Depending on the brand, a size large fits just right (after being washed) or it’s tight across the shoulders, arms, and chest, and a tiny bit too short. So basically, I look like I’m going out clubbing. lol  While I can still get away with wearing t-shirts at work, being in a slightly more professional environment with my new assignment means I now can’t really wear half of all my new shirts.2

Now I’m stuck either buying duplicates of the same shirts I already have or just buying new ones. It’s annoying as shit considering I tend to like tri-blend (super soft) shirts that aren’t cheap. I’ve also forgotten where I got some of them and I can’t seem to find them again online. I’ve even outgrown several of my tank tops for the gym.

For someone who couldn’t even fill out a small size shirt in my 20’s, I guess it’s a good thing but damn it’s expensive. First world problems I guess but I’m still frustrated over it. I don’t mind spending money on things I like or wear but I hate wasting money and I feel like I’ve wasted a shit-ton of it now. *grumble, grumble*

If you know vendors that sell good quality tri-blend shirts let me know. Right now, my go to list is Crawlspace Studios, Skull & Bones NY, Lamp Apparel, and We Are All Smith.




  1. And we don’t speak at all! []
  2. I have small nipples which tend to poke thru tight t-shirts. FML! []

Kaepernick

I’ve gotten a few requests for my thoughts on this whole faux scandal. I say faux because I love how people go out of their way to “out American” others. It is just another in a series of sad stories showing our growing ignorance as a nation. Anyway, since I work for a law-enforcement related agency, people often assume I’m always gonna side with the police. Wrong. While I certainly have insights that others might not have at times, I always strive to be on the side of fairness and truth. 
First, Kapernick has the right to not stand. He has that right because of the men/women who have fought for it. Being a free American means you can criticize your country’s failings, perceived or otherwise. Actually calling out your leader’s failings is as American as one can get if you read our constitution. As to Kaepernick, he certainly isn’t immune to fallout from said behavior, but stop trying to shame him for it.

As to the man himself, I find his behavior a bit hypocritical. For someone who often uses racial slurs,1 it seems a bit disingenuous to suddenly find a moral compass now. And considering his influence and place in society as a famous football playing millionaire, I’m struggling to find the sincerity in his actions. Rumor has it his new girlfriend is big in the BLM movement and I can’t help but wonder if that has influenced his ideas, not that her influence is necessarily a bad thing. Being enlightened by others is perfectly fine; however, what else is he doing? Is he meeting w/local police agencies? Is he donating money to community groups? Is he doing anything besides his now infamous ‘sitting’ exercise? I don’t need to disparage the man to show the contrast of his actions. 

At the end of the day, there is a very real problem between minority communities and police agencies. But it isn’t always about racism. There are many social, cultural, & economic variables affecting the divide. Trying to conflate it all into one giant polarizing idea of black & white2 is simplistic and often the tool of the biased. As I’ve said before, acknowledging failures by law enforcement doesn’t make me support law enforcement any less. Nor does calling out the bad players within the BLM movement make me any less supportive of fair and equal treatment for minorities.  And  speaking of the bad players, am I only the only seeing the irony here? We proclaim loudly that BLM and others can protest peacefully w/o resorting to violence and the moment someone does, we attack him as anti-American. So what we really want is to completely avoid the inherent problems still festering in our society. 

The sensationalized style of our media and news consumption only lends itself to dividing all sides even further apart. The focus isn’t on truth or even honest reporting. It’s solely on generating outrage which turns into ad-clicks. 

So I accept his right to sit and protest. Just as I accept he probably isn’t doing it for the right reasons. Either way, those are my feelings on the subject. 




  1. He has been fined for them before []
  2. see what I did there? Hehehe []

Wait 

What is it with guys who try to squeeze into the locker right next to you? Is it just my gym where they do that? I’ll be getting dressed or undressed and have someone try to either cram his way into the locker below me w/o so much as an excuse me or act all exasperated at having to wait. Where the hell are said folks going in such a hurry? Is there a fire somewhere and you just can’t wait a few seconds?

If you’re gonna be rude, I’m gonna clown you for it. Last week, I’m all but dressed and sitting on the row bench putting my shoes on. A guy comes along and w/o a word tried to get into the locker directly behind my back. Our conversation goes something like this: 

Me:  *loud* If you wait just 2 damn more seconds I’ll be out of your way.

Him: I just need to get into my locker. 

Me: Ok, say “excuse me” like a normal person or just wait a few seconds. You can clearly see I’m all packed up and figuratively out the door in a moment. 

Him: *indignantly* Well, why can’t you just move? 

Me: Because you were too busy trying to shove me out of the way. Had you stopped and actually said excuse me, I would have moved. Now you can wait your turn. 

Him: *glaring look* 

Me: *glaring look back* as I finish tying me shoe very slowly

And after he storms away in a huff, the guy next to me very loudly says, “He is always a dick like that. He is so rude to everyone anytime he is here.” I’m quite sure the guy storming off could still hear him. *giggle*

I get that manners are all but dead, but damn slow down for two seconds. I know you might *gasp* have to actually interact with someone in a social environment. I’m polite and do my best to share common spaces. My mamma taught me to share and I’ll happy move over.  I’ll even ask if I see someone standing close by to make sure I’m not holding them up while I lolly-gag around. But no, I won’t let you barge thru me or try to “shove” me over by opening your locker door into my back. And frankly, such childish antics will only end up causing you to be delayed longer. 

Okra

In completely random events, I discovered a new recipe for cooking fried okra. With rare exceptions, I try to avoid fried foods on a regular basis. I go thru my phases where I crave fried chicken, but not on a regular basis. This leads me into my ingredient shortage and discovery.

I picked up some okra at the farmer’s market. I had originally planned on boiling it but I got the craving for fried okra. I grew up in the south and the only way to make fried okra is with cornmeal. Guess who didn’t have any cornmeal? You guessed it, me. It’s Sunday night and I’m at the end of my meal prep. It’s only 2 hours to bedtime and I know if I don’t cook this okra it will go to waste. I’m debating on whether to run down to Mollie Stone’s1 to pick up the cornmeal. It whining to myself about not going and hits me. What if I try the pretzel flavor shake & bake mix that’s been sitting in the cabinet? I bought it on a whim and had almost forgotten about it. The moment I think of it I’m sold on trying it. Worst case scenario, it’s awful and I throw it out.

It turned out to be an unholy concoction of deliciousness. OMG, it was so damn good. Just the right mix of salty flavor to go with the okra. I popped it out of the oven and I’d eaten almost half of it before it had time to cool off! I think I have a new way of making fried okra.2  I think next time I’ll throw in a few extra seasonings to give it more kick, but it was really good.

Ok, you’re just dying to know how I did it now, right? If you are familiar with okra, you know it gets slimy the moment you cut it. Cut it up and wash it off good. Don’t let it dry completely but definitely let it dry. The pretzel mix is thicker than the regular version and it will clump up if you get too much moisture into the bag. You also need to use both servings of the mix that come in the box. Trust me, you’ll need it. Mix the chopped okra into the bag with the mix and of course, shake it up. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and put it on an ungreased (or covered in foil) cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Slightly longer if you like it extra crispy. The only draw bike is the mixture will pop off and separate from the okra if you bounce it around too much. I might try a light egg batter next time, but I’m worried it might over do it. Either way, if you like okra you have to try it!

Oh and the okra never made it into my meal prep. I ate it all.




  1. Local neighborhood grocery store []
  2. Ok, it’s technically baked []

Sweat

​I tend to sweat in the oddest places. I rarely sweat under my arms. Up until just a few years ago, I never wore deodorant because I never had underarm odor. It just never smelled there. And I have no idea why it changed a few years ago. Even now, it’s still very sporadic. I’ve taken to keeping deodorant at work just for those odd days. However, I sweat profusely from my head and arms. Yes, my arms sweat. I will be drenched on my head and arms, but my chest, abdominal region, and underarms will be bone dry. I don’t have an answer as to why. 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise when I was big into watches I went thru a lot of them due to sweat. If the band was anything but plastic, it would get ruined. My watches would get so sweaty and develop their own smells. The watch would then need to be cleaned or discarded. When smartphones came along I embraced them as my time-keeper so I could get rid of my watches.  I don’t think I’ve actually worn one since. 

Why am I rambling about sweat you ask? Well, I apparently ruined my fitbit from sweating on it too much. I got an upgraded version, the Charge HR, on my birthday this year from Shawn. It didn’t even last a year before the band started bubbling and eventually peeled loose from the embedded electronics. Unlike the Flex, you cannot swap out the band on the HR. It is permanently embedded with what I assume is glue now that my first one has come apart. 

I called up the company fully expecting them to tell me to take a hike. The online forums looked pretty disappointing as well. Imagine my surprise when Fitbit (the company) agreed to replace my fitbit (the device).1  I went thru the Q&A with the woman and at the end she announced, “I’m happy to advise you your fitbit qualifies for a free replacement.”  I bet my face looked like a cracked egg. They don’t even want the old one back! They asked me to recycle it vs throwing it away. (They got bonus points for that.)

It was a gift, which means I didn’t have the receipt. It’s been easily 7 months, and it was “water damage.” I fully expected them to say no. In an age where companies find every excuse in the book NOT to deal w/faulty product, it was refreshing to actually have one do the right thing. Had they not, I’d already decided to get something different. Now, not only did they keep a customer but they earned some loyalty as well.  




  1. See what I did there? Haha []

Meat

​It shouldn’t come as a surprise I’m a 

Chicken artichoke pasta with spinach and cabbage

meat and potatoes sorta fella. I grew up on a farm and while we grew tons of vegetables, meat was always our primary meal item.  I’ve tried to cut back on my meats and increase the veggies but I always seem to backslide. The struggle is real y’all.

I do a lot of meal preps for my work week. If I don’t, I end up eating out a lot. I still try to eat healthy when I do, but it still ends up being very rich. My fat ass is never gonna have abs if I keep that up. Aaaaaaaaanyway, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the local farmer’s market. The one close to me is on Wednesdays and I do meal prep on Sundays. You see the conflict. I dug the food vacuum sealer out of storage and it’s helping a lot. I just vacuum the veggies and throw’em in the fridge till Sunday rolls around. It’s been helping a lot. 

The pic is one of my quick meals. I say quick because I didn’t make it all from scratch. The pasta is a spinach basil. The artichokes came in a jar.1  The spinach, tomatoes, and cabbage came from the Farmer’s market last week. What you don’t see is a small drizzle of olive oil over the entire dish along with the pesto sauce you do see. The chicken is a roasted chicken with all the skin peeled off. And here’s a little secret. If you don’t like your veggies overcooked, just throw them in raw and when you heat the dish for at least 2 minutes in a sealed container it steams the veggies for you. I love the natural taste of most foods and being a super taster2 this works exceedingly well for me. Veggies that need more cooking time like brussel sprouts are easy to cook in advance, just cook’em about half way instead. That way when you do heat up the dish, they don’t get over cooked. As for flavoring, I’m mostly just use salt & pepper. Depending on the dish, I also like the Flavor God line of spices that are specifically designed for adding to food after you cooked it.  I’m not a big fan of super heavy sauces and add on mixtures that often add up to a lot of extra fat so it isn’t hard to avoid the heavier items. 

This week’s menu is what you see above, the lovely chicken artichoke basil pasta with spinach and cabbage. I also made some turkey meatballs w/potatoes and more cabbage. Needless to say, I’ll be giving Cooper a run for his money this week. I also added some roast chicken and leftover bean chili I had in the freezer. Of course, it helped my ego just a smidge this morning when two of my coworkers commented my arms look bigger. Food is half the battle for weight gain so maybe it’s working! 

I’m not perfect by any means but I find if I provide myself opportunity to eat healthy, I will. I’ll never be ripped as I just don’t have the discipline for it. But, if I keep eating better I won’t need to do so much damn cardio, which I loathe! 




  1. It’s hard to find them just grilled in oil vs pickled []
  2. That’s just a fancy way of saying I have more taste buds per sq inch on my tongue than the average person []

Dump

​Dump

I usually avoid talking a lot about politics on da blog as a rule.  I do often encourage folks to get out and vote. However, this year is just insane. In previous years, ideologies might have been at work, but this year I honestly feel like our very democracy is at stake. If “He Who Shall Not Be Named” were to win, I fear we wouldn’t have another election. Our devolution into chaos would be complete. It still astounds me that such an absolutely insane man could even win the nomination much less have a chance at the presidency.1 

Facts mater and he seems to not care about facts or reason. That should concern everyone, regardless of party affiliation. He says whatever occurs to him and then just denies or recounts it later. He has even admitted in interviews he often just says whatever he thinks the crowd wants to hear. I’ve yet to hear a sound well-reasoned argument as to why this man would be a better choice than anyone, much less Hillary. 

I get there are some reasons many feel he will ‘shake things up’, but the overwhelming cognitive dissonance involved with such reasoning cannot be denied. You cannot make misogynistic, racist, homophobic, sexist, bigoted, and/or just plain ignorant comments on a regular basis and follow it up with “oh, you misunderstood me.” He has yet to put forward a single explanation on how he will get anything done. “Just trust me”, he says. Uh, no. I don’t trust you because you haven’t given a single reason, other than rhetoric, why you should be trusted. He has never held any sort of political office. He has run basically every company he owns in bankruptcy, and then brags about it. And that is the tip of the iceberg. The only claim to fame he has is his daddy’s trust fund and a reality TV show. That is not a qualification to be President. And frankly, I wouldn’t let him be president of my fan club.2  

You may not like Democrats as a rule. Or you may not like Hillary as a rule, but voting for this man would be a vote for chaos. And if you think that would be good for America, you clearly haven’t thought the real world ramifications through very well. The idea of having a child, prone to wild tantrums, in control of our nuclear codes scares the shit out of me! Don’t even get me started on the damage to the world economy or our own. 

As for Hillary, you don’t have to particularly like her, but you do have to respect her years of service. After roughly 30 years, she is still in public service and has not only survived as a woman but thrived.  She is by far the most qualified candidate for president I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. And while I do not agree with all her policies or decisions, she is the only choice to Trump.3  

The lining on the cloud here is that Trump’s insanity is turning away most centrist voters. Hell, he is even alienating a huge chunk of his own party. His campaign is becoming more and more chaotic and his rhetoric is off the rails. First the Japan comments and now the sad ‘Obama founded ISIS’ nonsense.  What a maroon! He might appeal to the crazies and fundamentalists in the base, but that won’t win him an election.  Right now the election is Hillary’s to lose. And that is a good place to be. Let us all hope it stays that way. 




  1. It is fun watching the extremist and hypocrites inside the Republican party eat themselves alive []
  2. If I had one mind you. Hehee []
  3. And throwing your vote away on the Anti-vaxxer, wifi-kills-you Stein or the bizarre Johnson is not a moral stance no matter how one might try to twist it that way. []