Dispatch #2 from the Gentlemen Farmer

Dispatch #2 from the Gentlemen Farmer

So how is the first month of this New Year going? I would have to say (pardon my French) pretty darn well! No one (knock on wood) that I know has died yet, which for some reason is always a worry for me this time of year. That is also kind of the point of health and fitness month also. I also hope this extends Ms. Coco and my life expectancy so we can enjoy each other for as long as possible.

As far as the healthy eating and fitness part of the challenge, well I’m slacking a little bit. My diet has been ok, I’ve been cooking at home a least 5 days a week when I eat out I try to eat plenty of vegetables and lean meats. I’ve been making lots of stews in my new handy dandy pressure cooker. I even managed to save the day with my Pressure cooker but I’ll let Ms. Coco tell you about that.

 My fitness has been slacking. I’m working a lot and trying to squeeze at least 3-4 workouts in a week and have been able to manage most of the time. However last month I did better with 4-5 workouts a week. Most of them are running 2-3 miles, lifting weights, and Hot Yoga for an hour in a 106-degree room. Ms. Coco and I plan to cap the month off with a 5K.

For my mind I have been reading a lot, writing, meditating, and returned to my writing classes at The Carnegie Center (these are great for inspiration and helping me refocus on my goals). The meditation is something new for me and I downloaded an app to remind me to meditate daily along with the meditation I do while at yoga or while running.

 For my spirit I have been focusing like I said on my meditation. Ms. Coco came up with the idea of me going to church with her. This is something she had been inviting me to do for a while. I usually go to hot yoga (my own religious experience) on Sunday and prepare for my week ahead. Since she has joined me at hot yoga a few times it is only fair I join her at church. I have to admit I’ve never much enjoyed church. Growing up I spent a few years in Catholic school; this scared me away from formal religion in several ways. I still wince when I see nuns.

This church was not at all what I expected. Well it was a little bit when it came to the collection plate. It was very laid back and I was not scared of anyone hitting me with a ruler. The service was very nice it started with several songs; the singers, especially the lead singer really got into it. Then the preacher spoke for about 30 minutes and that was about it. We were in and out in about an hour. I would have to say I wouldn’t mind going back again as long as we don’t have to sit in the front behind the lady recording the service on her cell phone or underneath the large speaker system. Maybe next time I’ll remember to bring cash to put in the collection plate.


“Hidden Figures”“The Gentleman Farmer with his foot in his mouth”

“Hidden Figures”“The Gentleman Farmer with his foot in his mouth”

So last night I messed up. Ms. Coco and I went to see a movie. That’s not how I messed up. We went to see the movie “Hidden Figures”, about the role women of color, played in the early days of the NASA as mathematicians or “computers” as they called them in the film.

I’m into space movies and Ms. Coco is a strong black woman (as she reminds me regularly, since I tend to forget sometimes) so this movie already peaked my interest. I have been known to read the NASA’s website and get updates about NASA missions and discoveries on my phone. As for my interest in women of color and their issues, history, and struggle I will say this. I care deeply for Ms. Coco and what she cares about, so these are important issues for me too. I’m always trying hard to understand her and what she cares about. I’m always trying to find new and inventive was to show my proud HBCU graduate (Ms. Coco) that I love and adore her for all the magic she brings into my life (in her case black girl magic as she likes to remind me). What is black girl magic? Well we will have to get into that at a later date. 

So you may be asking yourself, what I am talking about. I ask myself that all the time! I’m getting there in my own clumsy roundabout way.

As Ms. Coco and I were walking out of the theater to the car, she turned to me and asked. “Honey, what did you like about the movie?” Wait for it… I’m about to put my foot in my mouth. I said in my slightly dazed post movie mumble, “ Well… I liked the movie; it was about math, science, and space travel all things I like. Kevin Costner’s character was an interesting role in the film, and I was surprised to see Jim Parson’s form Bing Bang Theory” then lastly I did say “it was such an interesting story about how these women found a way to make history against all the odds they faced during that era”. This was in hindsight, was definitely what I should have lead with!

These women, like the space program, were able to do something truly inspiring and amazing, at a time when people did not have much respect for women, especially women of color.

So what was my mistake, some of you may ask? Well I did not mention first and foremost the accomplishments of these women and how they struggled (this was the whole point of the film). This is clearly still a problem today, especially for women of color. Men tend to miss how women, especially women of color, are ignored, overlooked, and discriminated against. Clearly I’m no exception in this regard since I missed the whole point of this film.

Like the early days of the space program, men are still in the early days of learning how amazing, vast, deep, and truly beautiful women (especially women of color) truly are.

Sunny Skies to Flourishing Flurries…From Ms. Coco

Sunny Skies to Flourishing Flurries…From Ms. Coco

This past week the Gentleman Farmer and I went to Destin, Florida by way of Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama. This is the first time that I have been to either place and they were both sights to see. I have a cousin who lives in Nashville and we had dinner with him that night. When you go to Music City you must hit up the bars that showcase up-and-coming country artists, as well as a tour of the Grand Ole Opry. Maybe we saw the next big country star that night! We also visited the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham. I am a person who loves to learn about different things wherever I go. And I LOVED this museum. It was attention-grabbing, visually appealing, and informative. If you have the chance to visit this museum, or other Civil Rights Museums around the country, please do! Pay attention to the February 1, 1960 exhibit. The four men who started the sit-in movements in Greensboro, NC attended MY Alma Mater, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University! Aggie Pride!

As you can imagine, vacations are not the easiest times to maintain a healthy diet. I don’t know how the Gentleman Farmer thinks we did, but I think we did okay. There is always room for improvement but I focus on portion control. The food was delicious being in the gulf with access to fresh seafood! The Gentleman Farmer also cooks a lot so we had breakfast at the condo on most days. (I love him for his love of cooking!) We also had plenty of snacks to keep us fulfilled. However, if you want to know where to eat in Destin, The Craft Bar is DELICIOUS!

We also planned on running a 5K in Destin. We ran on the beach for part of the week and rested to do well for the race. I hoped to do well this race because the last one a 70+ year old beat my time! 70+ YEARS OLD! What am I doing wrong with my life?! So, I have been running/walking/working out for the past month to do better. And you know what happened? Shin splints! The Gentleman Farmer had awful shin splints and we walked the race; I told him it was from us running on the beach barefoot. I couldn’t leave my homie, lover, friend. (Plus, he gave me an excuse to walk when I could no longer run.) He was super disappointed, and I was disappointed for him. But it was a hit or a miss with me. My motivations are different than his. Ha!

Anyway, all in all this challenge was a 5 on a 10-point scale for me. We could have done much better. However, I am okay with my results. I increased my consumption of food at home, have worked out more in the last month than the last three combined, and am focusing on my spiritual well-being. February brings new challenges! I am going to attempt to teach the Gentleman Farmer how to sew (my favorite pastime that I don’t have time for) and he is going to teach me how to snowboard (pray for me, please.) Plus, Valentine’s Day, my birthday, and our anniversary is this month! Much fun will be had in the month of February!

South Bound and Down

Ms. Coco and I are on the road this week for a little vacation. We are road tripping our way down to warmer weather at the beach.

I’ve been reading a new book “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg.  It’s mainly a business book, (I read a lot of those and actually enjoy them most of the time) but it talks a lot about relationships. 

The idea of emotional security is mentioned a lot. The idea is if a group, or even couples,  are to be successful. Then there needs to be an environment of emotional security. An evriroment where everyone feels free to speak, be acknowledged, and feel like they are contributing to whatever you are trying to accomplish. This doesn’t mean you can’t challenge each other, it actually means the opposite, you should feel like you have the freedom to challenge each other’s ideas with out being criticized for it.

This is not easy, it sounds easy, but challenging ideas is an emotional business. I don’t think anyone likes their ideas to be challenged, however it is sometimes the only way we grow. 

In the same light. We visited the Civil Rights Museum today, in Birmingham Alabama. Those were some people who knew how to challenge ideas! It was interesting to see how far we have come, and at the same time, how little things have changed. In the last two years, here in the U.S., there have been prostest that could have been straight out of the Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s. 

If your idea is good, then it should rise to the top. If your idea is bad, then you should be thankful, someone was able to challenge it.  Before it could do you or someone else serious damage. 

A Wet Week…From Ms. Coco.

A Wet Week…From Ms. Coco.

Hey! It’s the beginning of another week…which leads to regular reflections on the week that just passed. I think the health and wellness month is going to be much harder in some ways and easier in others. For example, this week it has been raining ALL week long. So how do you think my walking went during lunch? I can confess to you that I do not like being wet; it irritates my soul. I tried walking before it rained. That worked for a couple of days, but others, not so much. I also can confess there is not a gym where I live so I am limited when it comes to indoor space to run/walk. I spent a lot of time in Walmart this week, haha. I am conscientious of when I am walking around sometimes; I do not want people to think I am stealing but why else would I go to Walmart two days in a row for HOURS and not by a thing? Anyway, I did walk three out of five days. That is progress, folks! My goal of 10,000 steps (an average) a day was realized. 🙂 At least for this week. I also went to the gym with The Gentleman Farmer this weekend. I complain often how I don’t want to die at 30 of a heart attack (I have less than a month before my 30th birthday). Therefore, I need to increase my physical activities. I used to love going to the gym and working out with my athletes before I moved to Kentucky and not having those opportunities have made me very lazy. However, if I lived in a town that had different facilities to use, I am sure I would work out more. I do miss it so I can try to have a better routine to lead a healthier life.

Now what I feel will be much harder for me is to continue to work out while having adverse weather conditions. Like I said previously, the wet weather is not my friend. Neither is the extreme cold, or even mildly cold weather. I am a child of HOT weather. A good day for me is 70+ weather. I should push myself to go outside and stay a while in weather that is not favorable to me. However, on the flipside of this is that I thought I would have huge issues with cooking more at home. That was like second nature to me (not breakfast though). I burnt my breakfast while getting ready for work two days this week. I figured I need to wake up earlier so I can pay attention to cooking instead of being upstairs while the turkey bacon is on the stove. And yes, I eat turkey bacon. No pork on my fork!

Also, I know The Gentleman Farmer and I are in this together. Where I am weak, he is supposed to be strong. It felt some days we were strong together and others…well…we will strive for better this week. He certainly is a gentleman. I asked him for coconut crème pie at 9 last night…and he went to Ramsey’s to get it for me. It was DELICIOUS! Haha. I know we influence each other, like eating pizza when we should enjoy a salad. However, my motto is good things in moderation. I am cool with my eating preferences but I will tighten up for him. We are only as strong as each other’s weakest points. And we will succeed, together!

New Year, New Challenges..from Ms. Coco

New Year, New Challenges..from Ms. Coco

Hi All. Ms. Coco here. I must admit, I have never thought to write a blog before. However, The Gentleman Farmer is such the encourager that he supports all my dreams and wishes. I love it, and him too! My interests of being an expert in the field of Family and Consumer Sciences (what was once called Home Economics), families, and relationships has led us to write about ourselves, our families, and our observations while incorporating the challenges that he has discussed previously. I am excited to start this challenge with him because of several reasons. We are competitive people and I feel this keeps our relationship playful while working towards a goal. These challenges allow us to spend more time together, and they test our resolve for completing a goal, especially over the next year. I cannot wait to see how things evolve within our relationship from where we are currently.

Now I confess these challenges are about us as individuals as much as they are about us as a couple. I cannot imagine having a better partner to complete goals with, especially with our first challenge. Health and wellness month is about our spiritual, mental, and physical wellness. I need all the help I can get with my physical wellness. I have set a goal for eating three times a day, walking every work day during my lunch hour, and tapping into my spiritual wellness. I normally eat only dinner and my physical activity is non-existent unless The GF wants to go hiking or patriciate in another form of physical activity. The only thing I can say is on point is my spiritual well-being, and that can always be improved. So, our first week of the challenge has been interesting. I have increased the meals I have consumed at home (yay!) and The Gentleman Farmer and I have meditated twice, attended church service, worked out at his gym, and attended a hot yoga session. To say the very least, I am TIRED! However, I hope this trend will continue and I will make some real-life sustaining changes in my world.

This week is the start of walking during my lunch hour. I did that last year and it helped my productivity after my lunch hour. Since I am a Family and Consumer Sciences educator, my focus is nutrition and active lifestyles. I need to preach what I teach and this will certainly help in this regard. I feel if I have a goal in mind for the week it is much easier to achieve my goals. The Gentleman Farmer and I have a great routine of communication and I cannot wait to see how this impacts our relationship over the next year.

Dispatches from the Gentleman Farmer

Dispatches from the Gentleman Farmer

I always feeling like… I don’t know what I’m doing.

Unfortunately the more I learn about any given subject, the less sure I am about what I know. I can definitely say this is true about life, love, and people, especially female people.  Who confound me to no end. 

But life is about the journey. At least I think it is, maybe that’s something I read, in a philosophy book somewhere. 

More to the point, my love and I , my amazing, magical, and unbelievable female love (let’s call her Ms. Coco). We are going on a journey together for the next 12 months.

I love Ms. Coco first and foremost. She is all about family, relationships, and the science behind what makes them stronger and happier. 

Secondly, I’m always up for and adventure or challenge. I once became a Vegetarian for a year and a vegan for a month all on a bet. I found out quickly vegan is not for me.  

In addition to the first two reasons. I think Ms. Coco is a local celebrity. I dream of someday being a half way decent writer. So I ’m hitching my wagon to her fame and hoping that some of her magic and genius rubs off on me. 

We are going to attempt 12 challenges over the next year. Right now I’m only going to focus on the first three months in this first post.

Month 1- Fitness month

It’s s January and I’m sure most people are making New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions to lose weight, go to the gym more, and eat better. This is kind of the idea, but we hope to take it a step further. The idea is to improve out physical, mental, and spiritual health over the next month. Since we both have different ideas on how to do that it should be quite interesting!

Month 2- Hobby month
I’m just going to say we both have to teach the other person how to do something that we each enjoy doing. I’m pretty sure she is going to end up spending a lot of time on her butt. I will probably get stabbed at least once.
Month 3- Saving/Lent/ Trip Planning

So far all I know is extreme couponing and Cuba!

In closing, I hope you enjoy this, and that at the very least you might learn what not to say to your girlfriend after the movies (I’ll tell you next time).