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Turning 60 this year and I want to set a state record.  I'm preparing 2015 for a heavy workout.  I've been lifting and competing for 32 years.  I start winning weightlifting events in my 40's.

Why weightlifting?  Weightlifting was also something I excel at.  I give credit for my grandfather, who was over 6 foot, 230 pound and was the strongest man around from the stories people who knew him tell me.  My father 6 foot was no weakling he could outwork anyone.  He loved going to work.  He had his own construction business and never took a day off.  In his 80's he help remodel our apartment building.  Worked several hours during the day and night went out dancing.  

Powerlifting the sport

I set a squat record in California in 1997.  In my age and weight class, I squatted with over 300 pounds.  I was in the 40 age group at 165 pounds. Over the years I have learned what works for my body type.  Never over trained or used drugs for competition.  Powerlifting has three events, the bench press, the squat and the deadlift.  I'm doing the deadlift this photo.

Being a member of USA Powerlifting organization I stay up on all the contest across the country. I have competed at Muscle Beach in California and Scranton, Pennsylvania.  USA Powerlifting keeps a trace of all the records and the events and state and national records.  A few years back I was in the top ten of all lifters country wide in my age group and weight.  If interested there is a link below.


Is it about winning contest and trophies

No, though it's a great experience to go to Muscle Beach in Venice, California and take home a medal for me it's about staying in shape.  Then going to a contest to push my own limits.  I'm not competing with anyone but myself.

There is no special diet

I've changed my diet over the years to reflect a change in my body.  Currently, I'm have a fruit blended smoothie in the morning followed by light lunch.  I've cut down on my meat consumption.  At the beginning of the year, I'm under 155 pounds the first time in about three decades.  

Why Powerlifting

Spending a lot of time in the gym mainly to reduce my stress while I was account manager.  Afterwards,  I was looking for a sport that I could compete in.  Powerlifting didn't require me to exercise with others like tennis, didn't require a special place, like golf and it's something I can participate in by myself.  Powerlifting builds muscle.  It's not bodybuilding it's muscle building.  Plus I enjoy it.

I've increase my appetite for working over years by incorporating other disciplines in my routine: yoga and aerobic exercises. My wife enjoys the dancing exercising classes, I stick to bicycling for aerobic exercise.

As we age or mature we need to keep active.  Being too stationary creates health issues.  Exercising improve the immune system, helps with muscle tissue to prevent falling, and increases our hormonal input to assist with mental stability.  Pick up a weight, ride your bike, sit through a yoga class and learn the secret of happy life but i.  Secret: keep it fun.

 
 
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Mending Fences program created by the Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation to help out our neighbors who are struggling with keeping up on repairs to their home and to beautify our community to make it a safe, clean and healthy environment to work, worship and play in.  

Where there was a need we wanted to fill it.  We started out with cleaning up one street in the one of the worst areas in our city.  Three churches stepped up to help with over forty volunteers from their youth ministries.  Instead of leaving the country and going overseas to help they decided to help us "Mend Fences".  They took the task of cleaning up vacant lots abandoned by owners, help neighbors plant flowers and paint fences and help a veteran on the block paint the inside of his house and put siding on the back of his house that had fallen off.

We reached out to other sponsors and community leaders like Rebuilt Together out of Pittsburgh area.  They wanted to help the vet a little more since he had lived in the neighborhood for over 65 years.  They reached out to sponsors like 84 Lumber and Pittsburgh Steelers Organization they were able to raise money to replace his roof which was leaking and paint every room in his house. When Washington Financial Bank a local bank realized we didn't have enough funds to fix his porch that was caving in they gave us a grant to replace the porch.

Other volunteers stepped up.  Through our "Keeping it Green" program we operate and manage the largest community garden in the city.  When South Western Trading Center and Washington Area Career and Technology Center (WACTC)  got word of our involvement in the community they wanted to assist us with our "Mending Fences" program.  During the summer South Western Training Center hired and paid for ten high school student to work with us for six weeks.  With the additional help we were able to clean up the garden, maintain our twenty flower boxes around the city streets, paint our garbage cans, help the downtown area with several projects, and clean up "The Mayor's Park".  Western Area Career and Technology Center supplied benches for the parks, bird baths and we participated in the "Art Park" working with the City of Washington and WASH Arts through a generous grant from The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.



We had the largest film festival in the county thanks to another partner The Pittsburgh Filmmakers.  

As President of The Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation (HRCDC) I'm so proud of what we were able to accomplish in one year. To learn more about HRCDC and the other organizations I have mentioned:


http://www.highlandridgecdc.org



 
 
Under Armour (UA) is up today $72.39


This stock was up 3% and has been upgraded to outperformed by Telsey Advisory Group.  Under Armour  did outstanding last year with pushing stock equity to 65%.  Now I don't expect to see those type of returns for this year, but I have seen everyone from The Republic of Panama to South Korea wearing Under Armour products.


Peter Ruppe former Nike executive has been tapped to become senior vice president of footwear.  Under Armour is giving Nike creative competition and has rebound nicely in the marketplace for it.  Ruppe is one of the most respective experts in the footwear business with over 20 years experience.


Incorporate in 1996 Under Armour is one of the leading businesses in designing, marketing and distributing sportswear, footwear, and sport accessories in US and internationally.  I have invested in this stock last year after researching its market impact.  It might be the most outstanding stock to watch this year since some high paid athletics have signed on for endorsements like basketball player Kevin Durant.



 
 
A recent article by Susan Johnson writing for US News caught my attention about real estates emerging trends.  She wrote that US housing market had reclaim its high from 2008.  Johnson also wrote that Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow.com expects a 3% increase this year making some real estate for investors not interesting.

How does this help rental property investors

More people are renting.  Baby boomers are downsizing moving into a condo or an apartment.  Last year we sold off several of our rental properties.  We were frustrated with the traveling the management and just wanted to downsize as we are getting older.   Though we made some money with this property we still sold it for less than what we were looking for.

Millennial buyers which are the largest group in the housing market even over Generation X'ers would rather rent than purchase property and this change might not reverse itself until 2020.  Millennials enjoy renting close to the city.

House sharing could this be the next trend

Some states like California have capacity limits built into their building codes.  However, house sharing between families and friend might be the new rental trend.  In our leases we are specific about who the residents are and how many are allowed in our space.

House sharing could be the best thing for landlords.  Rents can be held at a higher level due to maintenance cost.  

Maintenance cost the subject that most landlords under estimate.  Landlords might decide to do all the work themselves.  My wife and I handle over 80% of our maintenance. A landlord might decide just to forgo any repairs which lowers your property value and what you can get for rent.

Mistakes landlords continue to make

Do your background checks.  A few months back, an out of town contractor wanted to rent our duplex for his workers.  He pealed off several hundred dollar bills for his deposit.  I told him we would have to do a background check.  He told me he had to have one done for his job, I did one anyway.  

What I found he owned the federal government a few million and had a criminal record.  It's the reason he left from the south. We gave him back his deposit.
 
 
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I like to draw funny. I like to write funny.  Are you drawing on your sense of humor?

Listen, read, watch something funny

Watching funny movies is a healthy way to develop your own sense of humor.  In the beginning it was Bob Hope for me.  The way he would just talk and make you laugh.  It was his conversational tone, his wit and intellect that could twist a certain phrase around and it was humorous.

Reading Tom Robbins' books, Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues just made me laugh out loud and defined a sense of humor in prose.  Ishmael Reed's Japanese by Spring, Reckless Eyeballing (I did a lot of this when I was younger, well I still do), and Terrible Twos are some of funniest books I read to date.

Make Them Laugh

The ability to make someone laugh is genius.  Neil Simon the great playwright said that humor is tragedy with a twist.  The twist is a bent of wit.  Ben Franklin used his wit to keep minds of the American revolutionary leaders focused.  When he said about hanging together or they will hang separately.

"Make 'em Laugh" was movie I wrote the music score for and acted in as the second male lead.  I considered the movie a failure.  The problem with movie is that no one laughed.  It just wasn't funny on any level.

My friend's father Mr. Ford could make you laugh.  He had memorized thousands of jokes and had a great memory.  He once went on a road trip with his daughter and son-in-law and told jokes for four straight hours without repeating a single joke.  

Develop you own style

My style is to sometimes make a little fun of myself or my family.  Like telling people my mom couldn't cook.  I think she was trying to kill us.  My mom told my wife when we mentioned her bad cooking, that she wasn't a good cook in fact she hated it.  SCharles Addams extremely talented cartoonist share his characters from his life in The Addams Family which later became a popular TV series.  

Humor keeps your immune system healthy.  Keep thinking up crazy things and staying healthy.


 
 
I invested in Renren.  It was called "The Facebook of China".  Purchased the stock at around $14 sold out at little over $3.  The major problem with the stock is that everyone all the experts thought it was a great buy.  So did I.  I got my financial advisor to load up on it.  She wasn't crazy about the stock but purchased it anyway.  We lost thousand of dollars listening to experts.  You can loose money following experts blindly.  Get more information.

Question your experts.  

A builder decides he want to build a bridge over a long river.  HIs building manager came back to him and told him he consulted with local experts and they said it couldn't be done.  The builder told his building manager to fire all the experts.  Rehire some new ones.  He built his bridge within a few months.


I do not claim to be an expert, just a blogger who reads a lot and is willing to try.  I make mistakes and learn from the.  When the housing industry was fallen apart in 2008, a few experts wanted us to re-fiance our home.  We decided not to do it.  When we sold our property we were not upsize down meaning we didn't owe more than what the house was worth when the crash came. A few rental property on our street couldn't say that and they were stuck.

When should you listen to experts?  All the  time but choose to read and study on your own.  Remember experts sometimes get it wrong and it could cost you a lot of money.
 
 
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If you enjoy humor that's a bit wacky, a plot about a dysfunctional mother and son relationship and just want to laugh out loud then Mother's Day written by new novelist Ron Vincent is the funniest book I've read in years.  I laughed out loud and my wife though I lost it.  I couldn't put it down and that unusual for me because sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat.  What makes Mother Day so funny?  


It starts out when a son who really doesn't want to visit his mother that he hasn't talked to in years, his wife forces him to visit by purchasing a ticket  for him to go home.  His mother insist that the son pick her up at the church.  She never goes to church.  Never!  When he does, she jumps into his car without telling him that she just robbed the church.  That's how it starts and the craziness continues.


I've known Ron for years and have been impressed by his sense of humor in his writings.  When we met, we were trying to pitch our ideas to Hollywood producers in Los Angeles.  I had written some Science Fiction story while Ron wrote "The Day I Shot Down Santa Claus".  The producers were not interested in it.  I read it and Hollywood missed out on a great talent that day.


Ron never gave up on his writing and continues his humorous prose while working full time as a teacher.  Mother's Day is Ron's first novel but he has already started on another.  I can't wait to read the new one.


If you want a good laugh and before you're done, appreciate your family because they are not this insane check out Ron Vincent's Mother's Day.  It can be found on Amazon.com.  Link provided below.


http://www.amazon.com/Mothers-Day-Ron-Vincent/dp/1501081896





 
 
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Panama considered by most to be the top places to retire.  I should know I live there.


This would be my second article I've written for International Living about Panama.  International Living Magazine highlights adventurous places from all around the world for living.  As retiree or someone who wants to live outside their country in another environment International Living provides the most recent up-to-date information.

My article below list new information which happened in the last few years and things are always changing especially in Panama.

http://milled.com/international-living/YGlTnb7uHsbDn_BO

 
 
This is from a chapter in my book Spiritual Dancer 

Scientist are unable to explain in concrete terms how biofeedback works but the common belief is that people who use biofeedback appear to benefit from it.  When a body continues to face stress your inner immune system seems to break down allowing various body ailments.  When your body physiological responses are monitor by the biofeedback machines with a trained therapist the patient can learn to control mental anxiety that produce physical changes.

Several medical centers have used biofeedback therapy with health problems such as: high blood pressure, anxiety, back pain, depression, diabetes, learning disabilities, muscle spasms and the list goes on.

Are there any risks with biofeedback?

At the present time there is no research that indicates any negative side effects.  The idea is to find a qualified practitioner if you have a severe chronic ailment.  To find a qualified health professional you can contact Association for Applied Psychology and Biofeedback (www.aapb.org)

I took the practice of developing my own routine.  My research began by searching for the right equipment in the 1980's at an affordable price.

The biofeedback products were extremely expensive then.  The range of prices were in the thousands.  I found a product that was less than $100.  It was called GSR.  Luigi Galvani an Italian scientist was the first to invent an electric meter to detect stress registered on your skin.  He invented the Galvanometer.  By the 1950, the Galvanic Sensory Response or GSR machine would produce a high tone for high stress registered on your skin by relaxing you could lower tone thus lowering your stress.  You could monitor your stress levels and practice lowering them through the listening to the audible tone.

Several nights per week, I entered my quiet place in my single apartment, lowered the lights, put on the relaxation tapes that came with the unit and practiced.  I was able to lower my blood pressure for years, I have history of high blood pressure in my family, by practicing with the GSR2 I accomplished lowing my blood pressure for years.

At the time I purchased GSR2, it was $35.  Today GSR2 is around $66 on Amazon.com
Below is a link:

http://www.amazon.com/Basic-GSR2-Biofeedback-Relaxation-System/dp/B000E22DFE

I practice daily to ensure the best results.  GSR2 has a relaxation CD and several attachments you can purchase with the unit to monitor your various conditions including skin temperature.  I continue to use my GSR2.  It helps lower by blood pressure and monitor my stress levels.  The key is to practice daily.

Spiritual Dancer was a book I wrote three years ago to practice exploring my deeper mind, body and soul.  It is my reflections on philosophies that work for me.  Practices that I personally explored and spiritual paths that I embodied.  Not just a book of empty notions, but tried ideas that worked throughout my life.

If interested for $4.99 the book is available on Kindle from Amazon.com:

 
 
My wife and I moved to Panama in 2007.  We have not looked back nor have we been disappointed.  It's a great place to retire.  Over the years I've written several articles about Panama for Yahoo.com, interviewed with International Living and published several blogs.  Huffington Post published an article about after 15 years Panama still considered a top retirement spot.  Check it out.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathleen-peddicord/panama-retire-overseas_b_6464762.html