My friend Karen and I recently headed to the new cat cafe and lounge in Portland called Purringtons Cat Lounge.
The Purringtons website describes the cat cafe as a business where cats and humans can hang out for a certain period of time. Additionally, food or drink or both maybe purchased by visitors.
All cats are up for adoption through the Cat Adoption Team. They hang out at Purringtons until they find their forever home.
There are two sides to the place. You walk into the cafe where you check in, pay the cover, order light bites and/or drinks, do a little shopping and can sit at a bar and watch the cats through large windows.
The lounge area is where the cat living room is located. Once inside you get to hang out and play with the cats and enjoy your bites and drinks.
We hung out with the cats, petted them, played with them and just enjoyed watching them.
There were just a few rules we had to abide by. And one of the “rules” is that kids under 10 can’t enter the lounge, but they can view the cats from the big windows in the cafe.
While hanging out in the lounge with cats named Dominique (pictured), Polly, Robert Meowy Jr., Mildred, Reginald, Corey, Rebel, etc. we sipped on Meowmosas.
There is an $8 cover to spend an hour with the cats. Purchasing light bites or drinks is optional.
More information from the Purringtons site about the cover fee: This helps us with cat related upkeep, food, litter, etc. Additionally, to ensure the cats have a safe and clean temporary home, we have paid employees who clean and monitor the lounge. Any cat adoption fees go straight to Cat Adoption Team.
They allow up to 15 people to visit with the cats at a time for an hour. We made a reservation to ensure a spot. Walk-ins are possible if all 15 slots aren’t booked.
I love the idea of Purringtons and their unique set up. For those of us who don’t have pets right now or have a partner/roommate who is allergic it gives us a chance to get some fur baby love without the commitment. By visiting the cats at Purringtons and paying the cover fee we are helping with cat life expenses. If anyone is really interested in adopting, it is a great way to spend time with the cat(s) in more of a living room environment.
It’s a fun experience and I recommend you visit. I plan to go back again.
On Tuesday I had my very first mammogram.
Last year my doctor told me once I was 40 I should have a mammogram within a year after. Once I turned 40 I started getting reminders in the mail about scheduling the appointment.
I recently had a new patient/new doctor visit after we moved. We talked about me having a mammogram. Because of my history and family history it was my decision whether or not to start the baseline process now.
So many women I know have had breast cancer. Women a little older than me, my age and much younger than me.
So I decided I should start the baseline now at age 40.
I was a little nervous to have the mammogram done. I mean, you hear things and see movies …
The experience was as pleasant as having your breast handled, pulled and smashed between two plates in a machine while you hold still and don’t breathe can be.
My technician, Sharon, was kind and explained everything that would happen.
And really, the experience was a lot better than I thought. It was better than having a pap smear … But not better than having your favorite flavor of ice cream.
According to the National Cancer Institute, a mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Screening mammograms are used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. Diagnostic mammograms are used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of the disease has been found.
Mammograms can often show a breast lump before it can be felt, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. They also can show tiny clusters of calcium called microcalcifications. Lumps or specks can be caused by cancer, fatty cells, or other conditions like cysts. Further tests are needed to find out if abnormal cells are present.
The National Cancer Institute also said, screening mammography can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74.
I know medical appointments can be scary, especially if they are new and you don’t know what to expect. But preventative appointments are the best way to go. And it’s always best to find cancer (or disease) early.
And good news, I received results from my mammogram just two days after I had the X-rays and all is normal.
So if it is time for you to book your first or your annual mammogram, do me a favor and book it.
This is a tribute to all the strong women and mothers (in whatever form of mom you are) I know. You have the hardest job in the world and definitely deserve more than just one day of celebrations.
For those of you who have lost their mothers, I’m so sorry. I hope you can reflect on all of the good memories you hold dear.
Happy Mother’s Day!
I keep a notebook in my work bag where I scribble down post ideas or many times an actual post. A lot of times it is easier for me to find my voice if I jot it down on paper first and type later.
I also keep a notepad in my purse in case an idea comes and I don’t want to forget it.
I have a lot of ideas and little time to make them into something. But I have them at least documented for a post down the road. And if you have asked me about something, it is written down in the notebook or on a stickie and I will eventually get to it.
The whole job thing really gets in the way of the blog.
Anyway, today’s post actually morphed from another feverish jotting down of a different post, which made the blog last month.
Today’s post is a tribute to all the strong women in my life.
But the actual post is about three particular women.
I have strong women in my life.
I was lucky enough to grow up with very different, very unique and very strong women to look up to and strive to take on some of their characteristics.
My mom at some point in her marriage decided it was best for her and her children to get divorced. Now this was the early to mid-80s when few people got divorced.
My mother became this amazingly strong and independent person who raised two children on her own while struggling financially. We were lucky to have such a supportive family.
My mom is my mom but also my friend. If she weren’t my mom I would want her to be in my life as a friend.
It’s hard for me to explain how I feel about her. I am grateful for all the sacrifices she made for my brother and me. I can never repay her for all that she has done. (Though I have tried–a trip to Paris is pretty good, right?)
My nana (who is no longer with us) was a wife and a mother who took care of her family as most women did in those days. She and my grandpa divorced before my parents were married, before I was born.
After the divorce she had to get a job to take care of her family. She worked hard. She truly loved her family with all of her heart. She loved her kids and eventually her first grandchild, me, and all of her grandkids, six of us total.
That was my nana’s greatest asset, her unconditional love.
My grandma was the only daughter in a house full of boys and grew up with a mother who believed men were superior to women. Being a young woman at that time she had few options. The only way to get out of her house was to get married.
Because my grandma didn’t have options she wanted to make sure her girls did. My mom and aunt were pushed and encouraged to work hard and do well in school and go to college.
Earlier in 2012 when I was home for a visit I had lunch with just my grandma. We had a nice chat and it, of course, somehow made it to the baby conversation, which is the norm. But this time it was different. I got the sense that she was grateful that I have the option and the choice to not have children if I so choose.
I had a very humbling childhood. I didn’t have a typical childhood or typical grandmas. But I feel so lucky and grateful to have these three women mold, shape and all help raise me and make me the person I am today.
At the end of my yoga teacher training we did an exercise in class where we pretended like we were all getting together a year later for a reunion.
As I type this I realize our reunion would be about now …
We talked about what we did. The idea was if we said it as if it did actually happened it would make it more real. We were advised to write a letter to ourselves to read in a year, which I did.
I wrote to myself on May 9, 2014 with instructions on the envelope that I could open the letter today or later. I opened that letter today.
I addressed the letter to: Dear Ann–now a yoga teacher. Check! DONE
I stated intentions in class and in the letter (with some edits) to the following:
- I quit my job. DONE
- I taught my first yoga class at Mindful Yoga Studio in Tucson (my hometown) on Sunday, June 29, 2014 as a donation class. DONE
- I started subbing yoga classes at the gym. DONE (And extra DONE with taking over three classes a week for three months while the regular yoga teacher was on maternity leave.)
- I started teaching my own classes a few times a week. DONE (I’m teaching four regular yoga classes a week with lots of subbing. And two new regular classes starting next month. I am also teaching five regular cycling classes.)
- I work the front desk at a yoga studio once a week to learn the business (and make a little money). Will be DONE starting June or July. I’ve already been hired (date to start to be determined) at a yoga studio once a week working the front desk along with two regular yoga classes.
- I teach numerous 1:1s (private sessions). Working on this.
- I started working with an organization (name withheld) on a yoga program for their clients. We moved and I wasn’t able to start the program I wanted. But I’m looking into where my Karma Yoga will take me here in Portland.
- I taught a weekend yoga workshop in Albany, Mo. (Curt’s hometown) to a community who has very little access to yoga. Hasn’t happened yet. But I would love to do this sometime.
- Really got to focus more energy, time and commitment to GFG! DONE
- We got a dog. We’re talking about getting a dog now that we have moved and my schedule is fairly flexible. I am just not sure I am ready for the commitment to walking a dog regularly just quite yet.
When I wrote the post about my BIG decision to quit my corporate job in September I mentioned that part of my “fantasy” was to quit my job, which is on the top of the list with a nice big DONE.
I also wrote: Wow, a year later and my life has changed so much.
That made me chuckle. Because now looking back at a year ago when my fellow yoga teachers in training and I had our “reunion” we were almost finished with our teacher training and had learned so much in the 10 months.
And I look at my life now and yes, wow, a year later and my life has changed so much.
My letter to myself said … I truly plan to take my teacher training on to a new step in my life. I think we can all agree that that definitely happened and continues.
I miss my friends in the Bay Area terribly. But it was a good decision for Curt and me to move to Portland for a variety of reasons.
We both quit our jobs at the end of last year. We moved to Portland at the beginning of this year–now about four months in. We are both working to reinvent ourselves. Me with my teaching. Curt with taking classes at Portland Code School where he is learning a new skill. We have basically started over. And so far we are both happy with the direction things are going.
I really do enjoy teaching both indoor cycling and yoga classes. I love being near dear Oregon friends. I like meeting new people and making new friends and colleagues.
The stress in my life is minimal right now and that feels so good.
Life’s too short to not be happy. We all deserve to be happy.
As I was putting the finishing touches on this post I decided to write myself another letter today and open it in a year and see how much has changed.
Since moving to Portland I have noticed a lot of dentists, Goodwill stores and pet hospitals.
There are also a lot of tanning salons.
According to Sperling’s Best Places, on average Portland has 144 days of sun a year. (The U.S. in general has 205 average sunny days.) Current Results estimates Portland to have 142 days of sun a year. (Current Results says Tucson [my hometown] has 284 days of sun a year.)
Some sun exposure is good for our health. From my post on calcium and vitamin D last week I mentioned that according to Medical News Today, it is estimated that sensible sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes two to three times per week allows the body the ability to produce sufficient vitamin D.
Living in the Northwest can sometimes make it difficult to get exposure to the sun.
As I mentioned earlier and in posts previously I was born, bred and educated in Tucson, Ariz. As a young teenager my goal during the summer break was to get the best tan possible. I really didn’t wear sunscreen and hardly ever burned. I also used to slather my body in baby oil to toast myself more quickly.
Eeeekkk! I still can’t believe I did that.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a tan, whether you get it on the beach, in a (tanning) bed, or through incidental exposure, is bad news, any way you acquire it. Tans are caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning lamps, and if you have one, you’ve sustained skin cell damage. … The cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), as well as skin caner. In fact, indoor ultraviolet tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.
Indoor tanning is not a safe way to get your vitamin D. The CDC says the safest way to get your vitamin D is through what you eat.
The deadliest skin cancer is melanoma. The other skin cancers you can get from any tanning are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (indoor tanning or sun lamps) also can cause cataracts and cancers of the eye (ocular melanoma), according to the CDC.
According to an article on Women’s Health, oncologists now believe tanning beds are to blame for the alarming spike among women in lethal melanoma cases–the second most common cancer in adults under 30.
I do love the sun and I love being tan.
But I am mindful of my sun exposure. The first time I ever got really burned was in my early 30s. I was no longer living in Arizona and went to the beach in San Diego. I was surprised that I burned. But it reminded me that I need to wear sunscreen. And I now do.
Sun worshippers, be aware and be mindful of what you are exposing yourself to. I believe we can still enjoy the sun to some extent and remain healthy.
The other day I had a doctor’s appointment to establish the new doctor/new patient relationship.
As we discussed my health history my doctor (who I think is great) asked me what supplements I take. I told her I take melatonin to help with sleep. I also take Tums for the calcium.
(I started taking calcium recently hoping it will help with my thin, peeling, splitting nails, which I am still trying to resurrect. I wrote about the nail experiment more than a year ago and I am still trying to get these nails healthy.)
I asked my doctor if she recommended a different calcium supplement source. She recommended calcium with vitamin D.
Being a woman I know calcium is important. I eat my cheese and have my Greek yogurt. (I don’t really like milk unless it is in my cereal or I’m having a PB&J.) But I am sure my calcium intake is not what it should be with diet alone.
Calcium is a mineral that is an essential part of bones and teeth. The heart, nerves, and blood-clotting systems also need calcium to work, according to WebMD. … The bones and teeth contain over 99% of the calcium in the human body. Calcium is also found in the blood, muscles, and other tissue. Calcium in the bones can be used as a reserve that can be released into the body as needed.
My doctor recommended calcium with vitamin D because living in Portland we need the extra vitamin help.
According to several bottles of calcium I looked at at the drugstore, vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. I confirmed this with the vitamin D council website, which says, vitamin D is very important for strong bones. Calcium and phosphorus are essential for developing the structure and strength of your bones, and you need vitamin D to absorb these minerals.
The council also states that getting the right amount of vitamin D doesn’t depend on the foods you eat. To get enough vitamin D you need to expose your skin to sunlight regularly and you may also need to take supplements. … Your body can make its own vitamin D when you expose your skin to sunlight. But your body can’t make other vitamins.
According to Medical News Today, it is estimated that sensible sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes two to three times per week allows the body the ability to produce sufficient vitamin D. Despite this, recent studies have suggested that up to 50% of adults and children worldwide are vitamin D deficient.
In spite of the name, vitamin D is not actually considered a vitamin. Because the body can produce its own vitamin D, it is not necessarily an essential part of the diet and is considered a pro-hormone, also according to Medical News Today.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation reiterates what is stated above by the vitamin D council and Medical News Today and also states that vitamin D plays an important role in protecting your bones and your body requires it to absorb calcium. Children need vitamin D to build strong bones, and adults need it to keep their bones strong and healthy. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you may lose bone, have lower bone density, and you’re more likely to break bones as you age.
As a yoga teacher I remind my students how important it is to maintain a strong core, grounded feet and thighs and good balance because as we age (and we are all aging) we struggle with maintaing our balance and we start falling more and possibly breaking bones. And no one wants to break a hip, shoulder or anything else.
Exercise, weight-bearing exercise (which can be yoga), maintaining balance, healthy and fulfilling diet and supplements are important for our bones and healthy living.
Most weeks I teach yoga I have a theme. It could be feet, twists, low back, balancing poses, groins, etc.
Whatever sequence I teach my classes for the week I am also practicing at home.
Many of the places I teach currently don’t have props. Which has been a good challenge for me as a teacher.
Last week I taught what I called props vs. no props.
I travel with a few blocks and straps and remind my students that they are welcome to use the blocks or straps during class. A couple of students have said to me over time that they don’t know how to use the props.
Huh, OK, that hadn’t occurred to me. This prompted a sequence for me to show my students how props can be used in various poses.
I don’t have enough props for everyone nor can I travel with 30 blocks and straps to every class I teach (sometimes I have more than 30 students and I have 22 blocks and 23 straps). But for last week I made it a priority to carry around 22 blocks and 23 straps, which aren’t heavy, just bulky. (I asked my students to bring any blocks and/or straps they may already own themselves.)
I feel that props are important in our yoga classes for a variety of reasons. Props support us, can be an extension of our bodies, help with proper alignment, can help to deepen a pose, can create a memory or experience in the body, can give us a different experience in our bodies, make certain poses accessible, can prevent injuries and help old injuries heal, keep us safe while protecting our bodies, among many other reasons we use props.
Because I feel that it is important to experience poses with props I was willing to carry props around for the week.
We practiced poses with a prop and without so the body could feel the difference. We used a block and a strap in our different poses.
We used a block and strap each. Normally I would love for all of my students to have two blocks and a strap (and a blanket and bolster). But we worked with what we had.
One of the poses I was excited to teach my students was Chatarunga Dhandasana with a strap. This pose is not accessible to many of us. When it is attempted most of the time it isn’t done correctly. We used the strap to helps us make the pose accessible and also to support us.
We ran out of time both times I taught the sequence and couldn’t try everything. I joked that we should have props vs. no props Part 2. Many students after class on Saturday told me they really liked the class and would love to try it again. So in a month or two I will teach a sequel.
I absolutely love practicing and teaching Restorative Yoga, which can’t be done without props. For Restorative Yoga we need props: blankets, bolsters, blocks, among others to support us so that we can fully relax (both the body and the mind).
Props aren’t cheating. You aren’t weak for using them. I use various props when I practice yoga. I fully relax in Savasana when I use a bolster and blankets. I can get into proper alignment in Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) when I use a block. I can fully straighten my leg in Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose). Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon) is possible and accessible to me.
I gave my students a little bit of information about purchasing props, if they were so inclined. And I will share it with you:
- Yoga Warehouse (where I buy my bulk props for teaching): Blocks (4-inch foam) starting at $7.95 and straps (plastic buckle 8 foot) starting at $9.95.
- REI (where I have purchased props for my personal use): Blocks (4-inch foam) starting at $14.95 and straps (plastic buckle 8 foot) starting at $10.95.
- Target (where I have purchased a few yoga accessories, but not blocks or straps): Blocks (4-inch foam) starting at $9.99 and straps (metal buckle 8 foot) starting at $8.99.
Normally when I write about water I talk about how we need to make sure we stay hydrated as part of being healthy.
Today’s post is about our responsibility as residents and citizens to protect this precious resource.
I grew up in the desert. So I’ve been mindful my whole life about water waste.
And I just left a state that is in now a drought (California).
Whether we live in the desert, a drought-dried state or in Oregon or Washington state we should be mindful of our water usage.
A friend on Facebook posted the other day that EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utility District) “says you need to use no more than 35 gallons of water per day per person in your house.”
Curt and I got our water/trash/sewer bill the other day and it made me start thinking about our water usage.
According to the EBMUD website, a Stage 4 critical drought has been declared and a community-wide goal has been set to reduce water use 20% compared to 2013.
The EBMUD website lists mandatory restrictions and other information on how to reduce water usage. And as my friend stated, it also asks that customers strive for 35 gallons per person per day indoors.
We all know how big one gallon is, right?
According to ConserveH2O, more than 45% of water use in the average American home occurs in the bathroom, with nearly 27% being used by toilets. … Toilet water use can vary significantly. Older toilets can use 3.5, 5, or even up to 7 gallons of water with every flush. Federal plumbing standards now specify that new toilets can only use up to 1.6 gallons per flush.
According to Home Water Works, in an average home, showers are typically the third largest water use after toilets and clothes washers. The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons and lasts for 8.2 minutes at average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute.
The average dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water per cycle; the average Energy Star-rated dishwasher uses 4 gallons per cycle, according to Tree Hugger. Home Water Works says an older model dishwasher will use approximately 10 to 15 gallons of water per load.
I looked at our water usage for the month of March. I took into account the time we were out of town. We roughly used 42 gallons a day per person.
When we were still in Oakland we were mindful of the impending drought and looked for ways to reduce water usage, such as putting a brick in our (older) toilet tank, cutting back on watering our garden and the front area of our home, not using our dishwasher (which was old and a pain to use, but the water waste in that thing was insane).
I am not sure how we would have reduced anymore.
Water is precious and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
What are you doing to preserve it?
Like a car we need to fuel our bodies.
I was talking to a friend recently telling her how I am teaching five cycle classes a week (among numerous yoga classes). Her next question was, are you in crazy great shape? (That’s not a quote. But she said something like that.)
I told her I am maintaining my weight and am content. (I like to eat and drink … in moderation, of course.)
But because I am not currently tracking my food I need to be careful and make sure that I am still eating the right things and enough even with my regular cardio workout.
When the cardio increases and/or the exercise gets intense we need to make sure our bodies have enough “fuel,” such as protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, fat and even saturated fat, among many other nutrients.
I am a big believer in protein. I can tell when I haven’t had enough of it. And I know that I need a well-balanced diet.
Protein has a lot more functions than repairing and growing muscle tissue. … Protein increases satiety at meals, which can lead to overall decreased calorie consumption, according to an article in Muscle & Fitness.
According to Ben Greenfield Fitness, eating less does not create the need to burn body fat. Instead, it creates the need for the body to slow down. Contrary to popular opinion, the body hangs on to body fat. …
So in other words, we need to make sure we are feeding our body what it needs and not deny it fuel and nutrients.
I practice yoga regularly (and teach at least three times a week, usually more) and teach cycle, which means I do all the cardio with the class with a microphone and instructions, five times a week.
I believe before you exercise you need energy/fuel to do cardio, therefore you should eat before you exercise. Others may disagree. The other side is also explored in an article titled Five Cardio Myths Exposed. I try to eat at least an hour before so I have the fuel and energy I need, but that I don’t feel sick to my stomach. My normal breakfast is multi-grain toast with peanut butter and banana. Sometimes it’s oatmeal or cereal.
Most bodies need to have glucose to burn as fuel in order to exercise at a high-intensity levels, according to BodyBuilding.com.
There are many reasons why your body will continue to store fat, even if you have a regular cardio routine:
- When you get stressed out there are higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream, which can cause increased abdominal fat, according to About Health.
- Excessive amounts of cardio lead to an overproduction of cortisol, which leads to more abdominal fat and numerous health problems, according to Muscle & Fitness.
- A big myth about exercising is that more is better. This goes hand in hand with thinking that you are burning more fat with more exercise, which is not true. Not too mention the more people workout, the lower they drop their blood sugar and if they go too hard and go into a hypoglycemic state guess what will happen, they will rebound with sugar cravings and most likely end up drinking/eating more calories than they even burned in the first place. Not too mention the increase of cortisol you will get from extended workouts (over 45-60min) that will start to break down and use muscle as fuel, according to The Life.
- When you’re short on sleep your insulin sensitivity decreases, which means that your body is more likely to store fat, and your cortisol goes up, according to Muscle & Fitness.
There is a recurring word in those bullet points: cortisol. If you want to read more about it you can read a couple of posts I wrote: November 2013 titled Keeping Balanced with Restorative and another March 2014 titled Coffee and adrenaline.
Here’s a really great article/paper titled Cortisol Connection: Tips on Managing Stress and Weight. A few points from the paper say: Cortisol directly affects fat storage and weight gain in stressed individuals. … Animal and human studies have demonstrated that cortisol injections are associated with increased appetite, cravings for sugar, and weight gain. … High levels of cortisol cause fat stores and excess circulating fat to be relocated and deposited deep in the abdomen, which left unchecked can develop into or enhance obesity.
I’ve talked about protein, weight, cortisol, cardio and a few other things. So lastly, let’s address diet and the fat you consume.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep your intake of saturated fats as low as possible. We can’t eliminate saturated fat from our diets completely, because foods that are good sources of healthy fats—olive oil, walnuts, salmon—also contain a little bit of saturated fat. And it would be a mistake to cut back on nuts, oils, and fish to minimize saturated fat, according to The Nutrition Source on Harvard T.H. Chan.
Eating whole non-processed foods are the best way to burn fat and gain muscle. Eat whole food proteins, healthy fats, veggies, fruits, nuts….and skip the breads, cereals and other processed foods. You need amino acids, vitamins, minerals and many other nutrients available in plenty with whole foods for maximum fat burning and muscle building. Eat a diet of whole foods, forget the stuff that is destroying your body (esp sugar!), according to The Life.
This post blossomed and came into something different than I had originally planed. I could continue to do research and write more and more.
But let’s end with this: A balanced life of eating relatively healthy, drinking enough water and being active is a great way to stay healthy and live a long and happy life.