Ann on January 26th, 2015
GFG is back!

GFG! is back to blogging.

I’m baaaack!

Years ago Curt and I were in the Philly area visiting his brother and family along with Curt’s parents and grandma. Some of the family went on a canoe outing. Our nephew James was about 4 at the time. As we got closer to the canoe spot James started to recognize it as he had been there with his dad before. We walked into the place to rent our canoes and James slams the screen door open and says, I’m baaaack!

And so is GFG!

What a whirlwind the move has been. All went well. Movers packed the truck up in three hours and were gone sooner than I had planned. Curt and I took off soon after the truck left and got a few hours on the road.

The following day, which was a Friday, we made the rest of trek to Portland.

For a few days it was like we were on a mini vacation.

The movers arrived last Tuesday. They unloaded our stuff in about three hours. Right after they left the unpacking frenzy began.

Except for pictures hanging on the walls and the books on the bookshelf we are pretty much moved in.

I love our new place. It’s so roomy and new with lots of storage space.

Late last week I started looking at gyms/recreational centers in the area and applying for yoga and cycling gigs. The online applications are quite time consuming so I am trying to apply to one place each day.

I’ve decided to become a member of LA Fitness. They have lots of yoga and cycling classes and are close to our place and are reasonably priced.  I will head over there to sign up in the next day or two. And hopefully I can start subbing classes soon.

I have also been scoping about yoga studios in my area. There are a few I may see if I can get on the sub list. Though it’s harder to get on at a studio as a new teacher. Usually you gotta pay your dues and start teaching at a gym first. But no reason I can’t at least contact them and maybe take classes there as well.

I plan to head to one of the yoga studios this week and get in on their great new student intro membership.

I’m looking forward to developing a healthy routine again.

Tags: , , , , ,

Ann on January 15th, 2015
GFG! break

GFG! will be back soon.

And not a Ross/Rachel kind of break.

Earlier this week I wrote about how I needed to take a break from the blog to focus on packing and the impending move.

I posted a farewell post yesterday and am now back on break.

Have to get a few last minute things done before the movers arrive in a few hours.

I promise once we are set up in our new place in Portland I will be back with regular posts of my new adventures.

So don’t be a stranger. Feel free to peruse the blog and find many past posts for your reading enjoyment.

And if you want to read the top two posts on GFG! …

Almost every day multiple people read about removing toothpaste from clothing. (Thanks to Monica P. for asking that. It’s my top post. I regularly check my stats to see what people are reading and looking for.)

The second most read post asks, should you drink alcohol when you are sick? Because that one was so popular I reposted it the last time I was sick.

You can also find me on Facebook: personal page and GFG! page. And you can find GFG! on Twitter.

I will be back soon and posting from the Northwest.

And thanks again to all of my friends and readers on your support for this move. See you on the other side …

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ann on January 14th, 2015
oaklandish portlandia

I love Oakland AND Portland.

As the last boxes are being packed and the movers will be showing up in about 24 hours I am bidding farewell to Oakland, the East Bay and the Bay Area.

Curt and I came out here in 2005. He in February and me in March.

We first lived in Berkeley and for the past eight years have been in Oakland.

It’s been a great 10 years.

We have made so many good friends who we will miss terribly. Thanks to everyone who has made our time here great.

I have developed an amazing yoga community. I have some pretty awesome yoga teachers.

I know I can find all of that in Portland. It will take time.

This move is bittersweet for me. But isn’t that the best way to go … before you jump the shark?

For years Curt and I have been talking about moving back to Portland and settling there.

Curt has already lived in Portland twice. We met while working at a newspaper in Salem, which is about an hour from Portland.

I have never actually lived in Portland. But I spent enough time there to know I want to settle there.

We left Oregon in June 2001 … and are returning almost 14 years later. (But I will be back in the Bay for visits.)

I don’t like to say goodbye. My mom says, see you later. And I will steal this from my friend Monica … ta ta for now …

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ann on January 12th, 2015
GFG! break

GFG! will be back soon!

And not a Ross/Rachel kind of break.

As GFG! and The Husband get ready for the big move this week I need to focus on the last bit of packing and all that comes with it … including the stress and OMG! Am I going to run out of time before Thursday arrives? UGH!

There will be one farewell post (likely posted on Wednesday) before we jump into the Subaru and drive up I-5.

And I promise once we are set up in our new place in Portland I will be back with regular posts of my new adventures.

So don’t be a stranger. Feel free to peruse the blog and find many past posts for your reading enjoyment.

And if you want to read the top two posts on GFG! …

Almost every day multiple people read about removing toothpaste from clothing. (Thanks to Monica P. for asking about that. It’s my top read post. I regularly check my stats to see what people are reading and looking for.)

The second most read post asks, should you drink alcohol when you are sick? Because that one was so popular (used to be No. 1) I reposted it the last time I was sick.

You can also find me on Facebook: personal page and GFG! page. And you can find GFG! on Twitter.

I will be back soon and posting from the Northwest.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ann on January 9th, 2015
SPINNER®

I am on a SPINNER®, which is a type of stationary bike.

Before leaving my job in September I was a patent and trademark paralegal.

A big part of my job was educating fellow employees on proper trademark usage of our word marks and logos.

Once something is trademarked it can last forever as long as the owner uses it and protects it. If you don’t protect your trademark you can lose your trademark and the word can become generic and available for anyone to use, such as aspirin.

I recently took the SPINNING® teacher training (and after taking and passing a test I became certified). To prepare for my day of teacher training I read the SPINNING® manual ahead of time, as advised.

While I was reading the manual I discovered that SPINNING® is a registered trademark. Before I read that manual I had no idea it was a trademark and assumed it was a generic term for indoor cycling. (Indoor cycling is the generic term.)

I also just recently found out that Mad Dogg Athletics, who owns SPINNING®, recently had their European SPINNING® trademark canceled.

According to this article from INTA (International Trademark Association), the Cancellation Division found that SPINNING® had become the common name in the trade in the Czech Republic market as a type of exercise training and the exercise equipment used in this training.

The article also said, the Cancellation Division found that evidence suggested that Mad Dogg Athletics failed to vigilantly protect the mark when it could easily have done so.

Because of these two issues their trademark was canceled in Europe.

Because I commonly talk about indoor cycling on my blog I will refer to it as that. If I am referring to SPNNING® I will refer to it as that.

If you are still confused about trademarks, here’s another example: KLEENEX® is a type of tissue. Tissue is the generic term. PUFFS® also is a type of tissue.

I believe we should respect trademarks and use them correctly.

Many companies will produce information and or terms on proper trademark usage. Mad Dogg Athletics has information on SPINNING® Trademark Usage for anyone to read.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ann on January 7th, 2015
spotify ipad mini

A peek into my first Spotify playlist for my first official indoor cycling class on my iPad mini.

A little more than a month ago I took the SPINNING® teacher training. Soon after that I took the test (and passed), which made me a certified SPINNING® teacher.

One of my indoor cycling teachers has been my mentor and personal cheerleader through me becoming a yoga teacher and now an indoor cycling teacher.

One of the things he recommended was Spotify for my music for classes.

I have a good and varied selection of music in my iTunes library. But as a teacher of any sort of exercise class you need to keep it new and fresh. Buying songs regularly can get quite pricey.

I had heard of Spotify but had never used it. (It is now on my iPhone, iPad mini and laptop.)

You can use Spotify for free. But there are ads and you can’t play your music offline (meaning, if you aren’t on wifi you can’t play the music). Neither of those work for teaching an exercise class.

If you want to play your music offline, you have to hit the available offline button on each device for each playlist, including your song library.

Spotify gives you a free week of premium (no ads and you can play playlists offline).

During my free week, Spotify sent me an e-mail telling me if I signed up for premium I could get the next three months for 99 cents each (instead of the regular price of $9.99 a month, which I will start paying in March).

On Spotify you can create your own playlists, which I have done. There are already many designed playlists. There are new releases, top lists, genres and moods, etc.

You can share playlists with friends. Though I haven’t figured that one out yet. A friend sent me a playlist through Facebook and and I can’t figure out how to access it in my Spotify account. (That’s likely operator error.)

I have to say, 10 bucks a month is a great deal.

Most songs these days cost more than a $1 each. For an hour class I have anywhere from 14-17 songs. That’s gonna add up pretty quick.

And there are times when I buy the wrong version of a song or just the wrong song. On Spotify it’s no big deal if I grab the wrong song. It doesn’t cost anything extra. If I really don’t want it, I just hit delete.

According to the Spotify website, Spotify gives you millions of songs at your fingertips. The artists you love, the latest hits, and new discoveries just for you. Hit play to stream anything you like.

Every song and or artist I have looked for has been on Spotify.

According to my teacher John the only artist that he knows of not on there is Taylor Swift. I think I will be OK without her on any of my playlists.

John told me sometimes his playlists will start to shuffle. I haven’t had that happen.

But I did make a playlist of songs to play before class starts. The first time I taught an official class the first song played and then it jumped into my song library. But that has only happened once and could possibly have been operator error.

I had trouble finding out just how long my playlists are, which is important when you have a class that is an hour.

Spotify on the computer it was clear as day when I actually looked for it. It took a little longer to find on my iPad and iPhone. I took another look and after about 10 seconds of searching I found the length of time of each playlist.

Even if you aren’t an exercise instructor I think Spotify is pretty awesome. Spotify to me is like a long term rental. As long as you have your account the music is “yours.” And the price is great, too.

4.5

Spotify gets 4 1/2 out of 5 dumbbells.

Tags: , , , , ,

Ann on January 4th, 2015
discarding medication

Various medicines, prescription and over the counter, are in the medicine cabinet.

Part of the moving and packing process is going through stuff and hopefully throwing a bunch of stuff out while donating lots of other stuff worthy of reuse by someone else.

We have lots of old medicines, prescription and over the counter in our medicine cabinet.

There’s a drop off place near us where we take paints, e-waste, batteries and other items.

I decided to check and see if they took old medications and if they didn’t how to go about properly discarding of them.

If you are in the East Bay, there are facilities through Stop Waste in Fremont, Hayward, Livermore and Oakland.

Go to the website for hours (which recently expanded) and items you can drop off. According to the site, you don’t even have to get out of your car. You can show up in your pajamas!

Most places likely take most medications. But likely can’t take controlled substances. They might be able to be dropped off elsewhere. Stop Waste lists one place in the East Bay, San Leandro, to drop off controlled substances.

If you can’t find a place to drop off controlled substances the FDA has recommendations on how to discard.

The FDA drug disposal instructions say, if no disposal instructions are given on the prescription drug labeling and no take-back program is available in your area, throw the drugs in the household trash following these steps:

  1. Remove them from their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter (this makes the drug less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through the trash seeking drugs).
  2. Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the drug from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.

Because my readers are all over, I will link up to a few places for you to read about disposing of hazardous waste:

If your city isn’t listed, go to Google and search for “household trash and recycling service name of city” or “hazardous waste name of city.” One of those two should get you to the information you need.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ann on January 1st, 2015
sukha

While on Bora Bora in October I experienced a lot of sukha. I had quit my job about a month before and was really able to relax and enjoy the ease and happiness of my vacation.(And it was 2-for-1 cocktails. What’s not to love?)

Happy New Year!

Wow, another year has gone by.

2014 was a big year of change for me: entering into a new environment at work with many changes; completing my yoga teacher training; becoming a yoga teacher; teaching yoga classes; quitting my job; continuing to teach yoga classes; making the decision with The Husband to pack everything up and move to Portland; get certified as a SPINNING® instructor; get on the subbing schedule at my gym (for a month) to teach indoor cycling classes (one down, four to go); packing up the house and also doing a cleanse of donating many items and throwing a bunch of stuff away …

(And let’s not forget our travels: Visiting family in Tucson and Missouri. Our annual March Madness trip to Vegas with good friends. A trip to Amsterdam with a good friend while visiting more good friends. And the ultimate–my 40th birthday trip to Bora Bora.)

Many of the changes in 2014 were good. But some weren’t. I try to remind myself that everything happens for a reason.

Change is inevitable. I used to think I wasn’t good with change. But what I have discovered is that I take on the emotion of change pretty personally. But I solider on and deal with it and am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for.

One of my yoga teachers regularly talks about sukha and dukkha in class.

According to Wikipedia, sukha means happiness, ease, pleasure or bliss. Dukkha means suffering, anxiety, stress or unsatisfactoriness.

When something is difficult in our lives (such as change) we don’t normally look for the ease in it. We usually run right for the suffering and stress. You know what I am talking about, right?

(I’m finding my sukha today amongst moving madness by enjoying some down time.)

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions. But every new month, new week and new year gives us a clean slate.

If 2014 was a tough year for you, start 2015 with sukha. Sukha sounds kinda like this, aaaahhhh.

Remember to exhale and celebrate ease and bliss as often as you can, especially during the hard times but also during the good times.

I will try to remember to celebrate sukha as I prepare for my move, which is JUST TWO WEEKS AWAY!

Ahhhhhhh.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ann on December 31st, 2014
savasana

Savasana.

For the month of December I took part in a 31-day Savasana challenge.

My teacher Vickie who was my first Restorative Yoga teacher (and one of my regular yoga teachers) challenged her students to do a 31-day Savasana challenge.

Savasana is a relaxed and restorative pose where you can be supported by blankets and bolsters (as you see in the picture to the left) and where your head and heart are on the same level. This is a time to quiet the body and the mind.

The month of December is stressful with the holidays, food, alcohol, family, parties, friends, end of year …

When we don’t think we have time for ourselves, whether that’s yoga, Savasana, time reading a good book, taking a bath, just sitting down for 10-15 minutes to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, etc. is when we need it most.

For the most part the challenge was fairly easy for me since I am not working full time.

But there were still times when I had to try to squeeze that 15 minutes in. Like the day I had an all-day training to become a SPINNING® teacher. And then almost immediately after that went to a holiday cocktail party. Or the day I was packing for a good part of the day and was sore and tired and just ready to veg when I was done for the day. But I can’t think of a better way to fully get into veg mode than Savasana.

There were also times while in the pose that I got anxious, agitated, uncomfortable, fidgety … I got advice from Vickie on how to deal with some stuff. Other times I just told myself, it’s just 15 minutes, which can feel like a blink or a lifetime.

And pretty much this whole month while doing my home yoga practice and, of course, Savasana I was surrounded by boxes and bags and stuff. I’ve made sure to carve out a spot a little bigger than a yoga mat to make sure I get my daily practice in.

I really had to be present to ignore my surroundings as chaos drives me nuts and makes it difficult for me to relax.

Not sure if I will fully take this challenge into the month of January. I know I will need my yoga and Restorative Yoga more than anything. But the next two weeks will be busy, stressful and chaotic as we count down for the move, which is just two weeks away.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ann on December 30th, 2014
toilet seat covers

Are toilet seat covers necessary?

In my travels I have noticed that places outside of the US and even some areas of the US don’t have toilet seat covers in public restrooms.

Though I do have to say that many years ago I was at a truck stop in Germany and they had this amazing self-cleaning toilet. It was the cleanest public toilet I have ever used.

I like to use toilet seat covers. But are they really necessary?

From a HuffPost article … Those liners may have more to do with providing comfort and reassurance to the user than actually doing anything to prevent disease, says infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner, M.D., a professor of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Someone recently told me if there is no toilet seat cover just hover over the toilet seat.

When you hover your muscles are tense and you can’t completely empty your bladder.

There is actually a WikiHow article teaching you how to urinate. Wow!

But back to the hovering, here’s what WikiHow says: Do not “hover” over the toilet seat since doing so tenses the pelvic muscles. When sitting on the toilet, you should sit completely and keep your feet supported so that the pelvic muscles can relax. Your legs and knees should ease apart comfortably and should not be pressed together.

From BJOG: An International Journal of Onstetric and Gynaecology, a study on British women found that while hovering there was a 21% reduction in average urine flow rate.

From Today Health, the bacteria often found on toilet seats are common skin microbes that most people already have, so they pose little risk according to experts.

Pretty much everything has more germs than a toilet seat. The Wire has a list of stuff that has more germs than a toilet seat. You may or may not want to read it.

But here are a few things The Wire lists that we use on a very regular basis:

  • Steering wheels have 9 times more germs than a toilet seat.
  • A computer keyboard has 5 times more germs than a toilet seat.
  • A desk has 400 times more germs than a toilet seat.
  • An iPhone has 18 times more germs than a toilet seat.

Putting my butt on a toilet that hundreds of others have still seems gross. Even with these facts I will probably still use the seat covers because it makes me feel better.

I try to regularly use Lysol/Clorox wipes to clean my iPhone and keyboard. I even have wipes in the car for the steering wheel.

Our best defense is to wash our hands regularly.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,