Day #8 Wrap Up

It’s midnight, and things are just getting going at the bar across the street from my house. For some reason even though the bar is really nice inside, with good acoustics, romantic lighting, great cocktails and plenty of places to sit, on the weekend, patrons stand around outside the bar, screaming at the top of their lungs. The weekend crowd is also really into cars and motorcycles, and love to circle the block with radios blasting at top level, revving way-too-loud engines in some sort of weird gearhead competition that I don’t really get.

As I’ve mentioned in other entries, my apartment is pretty small, and since the screaming and revving goes on until around 2am at the earliest, I’ve had to get used to it invading my life. For instance, right now I’m sitting on my bed, clearly hearing every word of a shouted conversation between two women discussing the infidelity of a boyfriend (husband?), in great detail. This isn’t angry shouting – it’s just a conversation. And it’s out on a quiet, mostly residential street, so there’s no need for screaming. But scream they will for at least another couple of hours. It’s just one of the things you get used to in New Orleans. The bar can’t contain its customers, and the cops don’t have time for silly noise complaints like mine. Instead, I’m counting it as early training for sleeping through the noisy hell of a home filled with children. When you look at it that way, it’s a priceless service!

But no more bitching. We’re here to recap my day. I ate pretty well all day and even fit in a run and some crunches. The run was awesome, and I thought I was making good time until I realized that what I thought was a 2 mile run was only 1.6 miles (not so great). My time was still OK, at 10 minutes a mile, basically, but I was disappointed after thinking that my run time was super fast and awesome today. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. Setting my alarm to try to wake up for 8am yoga class, and hoping to make it to an afternoon class, as well.

Here’s my day’s eats, from LoseIt.com…

The End of Day #4

Wow, today has been one hurried post after the next – sorry about that. I guess that’s just Monday for you!

I made it to Bikram class in the late afternoon, and at some point between poses I got this grand idea in my head that I was going to go home and make a good dinner. As you can probably tell from looking at my daily meals so far, I don’t really cook that often, and when I do, it’s typically something I can whip up in under 5 minutes, like eggs or a sandwich. Tonight I came home and made baked flounder filets, with a side of baby bok choy, onion and tomato stir fry and a side of sautéed mushrooms in Alfredo sauce. It was an amazing meal, and to my surprise after tallying everything up, it was under 400 calories! That means that even after a big lunch, a grand dinner, AND snacks, I was still under my daily calorie allotment before I even worked out. Yay me!

Y’all will have to excuse me, ’cause I’m gettin’ ready to hit the hay. Here’s my day according to LoseIt – let’s hope tomorrow morning puts me at somewhere in the 158 realm…

Wrapping Up Day #1

It’s 9pm CT, and I’m feeling like it might be time to hit the hay soon. I got home about an hour ago to find the lights all off and The Man taking a nap. I thought it might be a good opportunity to initiate a little friskiness, but instead when I woke him up he was in a shitty mood, so that’s a no go. Instead I weighed in out of curiosity (161.8 lbs – wtf?) took a shower to wash off the Bikram sweat, and now I’m curled up on the couch in my favorite pjs, jotting down notes here in on C&Q.

Obviously, I made it to my Bikram class. It was awesome, probably the best class I’ve been to yet. It was our instructor Joshua’s last night at the studio for at least a year. He’s leaving to study with a yogini in San Antonio, and we’re all really going to miss him. He’s one of my favorite instructors, always cracking a joke, quick with words of encouragement, offering awesome suggestions for improvement, just a great presence. He’s one of the teachers that makes you want to work extra hard to get your postures just right – my Balancing Stick is always best in his class.

Today was not only his last class, but also his going away party, so during class he played music at strategic parts (like “Lose Yourself” during Balancing Stick and “Danger Zone” during Full Locus, lol!) I love music, and feel that basically everything is enhanced with the right soundtrack. The same held true for yoga class tonight. It was a lovely time, and I hope that one of the teachers might start doing that every once in awhile, especially in Friday night classes. After class I stayed and chatted with a couple of the ladies I see around from time to time at the studio, and then I was offered a huge (HUGE!) piece of this beautiful triple layer cake from Whole Foods. It even had this gorgeous glazed fruit on top. I said no, but the instructor really wanted to get rid of it, so I took it…and walked straight down the street back to my office, where I gave it to one of the graphic designers to eat! Yay for self control!

So this is what my day looked like, according to LoseIt.com:

Yoga Extras

Today during Bikram I was having a hard time keeping my mind in the present. It was a tough class; the studio just added a second humidifier, and it was the last class of the day, so it was just a tad over 105 degrees the entire time. Plus, even though I normally love this teacher, today his strictness was really wearing on me. I got severely out of breath by Eagle, and from there it was pretty much downhill. I did my best to do most of the poses (except for Triangle, which I skipped out of not wanting to further aggravate my groin and glute, and also because I just wasn’t feeling up to it), and by the time I got to the last three poses, I was just completely worn out. Kind of a bust, as far as class goes, but I keep telling myself that we need the ‘bad’ classes to be able to feel extra good about the ‘good’ classes. Besides, I didn’t faint, injure myself, or – horror of horrors – leave the room, so I’m pretty much golden, right?

Anyway, while I was trying to live through class, my mind kept wandering. One of the things I was thinking over was how different each of my old studios has been. Overall, I love this studio the most. It’s brand new, and the owner/teacher did an amazing job at including all of the state-of-the-art bells and whistles, along with the regular Bikram must-haves. The hot room has full length mirrors on two walls, windows to the street on another, and then windows out into the hall on the fourth. The heating system is superb (although I was hating it today), and the humidity ensures that the heat is easier on your skin and you never feel like you’re getting roasted. Or at least you feel like you’re getting basted regularly, anyway! There’s also the required wood-grained antimicrobial carpeting, which smells weird, but whatever.

This is the first studio that I’ve studied in that has fans, though. I like them, but I still feel vaguely guilty when the teacher turns them on, even if it’s just for a second during the transition from standing series to the floor, or sometimes during camel (by which point a breeze feels glorious, I’ll admit it). It’s also the first studio that I’ve gone to that had showers and bathrooms in separate locations. This doesn’t bother me – I’m just happy there are showers – but it’s something that sets it apart. As is the crazy-cool Brita Hydration Station (it’s a water fountain, but it’s seriously spacey).

One thing that my studio is missing, however, is a mat-cleaning station. My first studio had a stainless steel table, very much like something you’d see in a professional kitchen, set up to wash your mat down as soon as you walked out of class. I loved it! I’ll admit – I forget to clean my mat all the time, which is really gross, I know, but I’m forgetful and lazy. It was great to walk out of class and be able to put your mat on a waist-high slab, and have a bottle of cleanser and a sponge ready to go to wipe it down. If I ever were to have my own studio, I’d definitely incorporate a mat-cleaning station.

Another thing that tends to bother me is when people set their mats up in weird places, or take up too much space and inconvenience other people in the hot room. Years ago, before I was introduced to Bikram, I did work study at yoga studio that used two mats for each person. It sounds weird, but it was a cool concept. The owner had figured out how many people could comfortably fit in the room, and where the mats would work best. He had us set out a certain number of mats, in a certain placement. When people would come into class, they’d either use a yoga towel or blanket, or more usually, their own yoga mat, and place it on top of the already placed mat. This meant that everyone was lined up perfectly, without crowding their neighbors, and no one had to think too hard about it. It made the beginning of class even more relaxed. I don’t think I’d go through the trouble of setting out mats, but I have wondered about marking suggestion spots on the floor to help people line their mats up correctly and ensure that everyone has enough space.

One last thing that’s very different about my current studio from my last is that we’re encouraged to drink water. My first studio had ‘party time’ after Eagle, so I was a little freaked out when I got to my second studio and the teacher informed everyone to drink water sparingly during class and try to avoid it if possible. I wondered if this was healthy, or if it was even doable. Over time, though, I realized that what they were saying was true. If I was properly hydrated going in, I never actually got thirsty. Before (and now), I took sips of water when I was bored, or tired, or to ease my stress level at being so very hot and achey. I’m very seldom actually thirsty in class, and if I am, I can always track it back to not drinking enough water before class. My fault – not the fault of the practice. The teachers at that studio all advised against drinking during class, pointing out that it was easier to feel dizzy, disrupt your carefully cultivated temperature balance, and that of course it would make you feel like puking during Kapalabhati breathing. All true. This doesn’t mean that my weak ass avoids drinking water, now that I’m at a different studio. However, I probably need to step back from knowingly allowing my weakness to get the better of me in class.

I’ve been reading other peoples’ blogs who say they get massages or eye masks or aromatherapy during class, but this has not been anything close to the norm in my small experience. What ‘extras’ have you seen in your Bikram studios? Anything you liked a lot? Anything you hated? I’m interested in knowing how very different something that is so regimented can be.

A Few Late Night Thoughts

I was all set to go to bed, but then a slight yoga induced pain started bothering me. Now I’m up, waiting for my Tylenol PM to kick in, and I thought I’d practice using my iPad to write a short post. First thoughts: the WordPress app for iPad kind of sucks. The format is really unattractive, and it’s not obvious where user options are hiding. I eventually gave up and used the browser to get here. Much better.

So my left glute and groin hurt a bit. I pulled something just enough to be an irritation, but not enough to be a genuine ‘injury’. And now the backs of my hands are starting to itch and break out in little bumps. That’s pretty normal for me when stress looms, so no biggie.

I think when I get back from vacation, I’m going to go veg again. Not sure if I’ll try to cut out dairy, but I’m feeling a lot stronger than ever before, and it feels like the right choice. I’ll eat better, do more yoga, maybe even an actual challenge, and work at finding a rewarding career. I think I can do this.

Just started reading The Fire Starter Sessions today, and am thinking I’ll continue it over vacation. I want to come back from Europe as a revised version of the old, cool me. Also, I think it’s time to start working at Bikram in earnest, and get on the long path toward becoming an instructor one day. I’ve wanted to teach since my very first class, and that fire hasn’t diminished. It’s time to start working on that goal.

Star Studded Hot Room

With all of the vacation planning going on, I haven’t really been keeping up with the blog as much as I’d like. Even so, I’ve still been pretty faithful with going to Bikram class most days. I’ve been making it to roughly five classes a week for the last three, and my stamina and state of mind have really been improving as a result. Of course, there are so many benefits to Bikram, as I’m sure everyone has heard their instructors say time and time again. One of the ones they don’t talk about is getting to occasionally enjoy something special in a class – a shared laugh here and there, a sip of ice cold water, getting a stubborn part of your back to crack – ahhhh. Two days ago, I experienced a fantastic side benefit of class. I got to be less than 10 feet away from Michael Fassbender for 90 gloriously sweaty minutes.

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Not sure if this is big news, but New Orleans is becoming quite the little movie town these days. There are at least 10 movies shooting in town over the summer. The newest Brad Pitt flick, Twelve Years A Slave, is shooting here in June, and it just so happens that Fassbender will be in it, as well. I didn’t know this until Wednesday afternoon, though.

On Wednesday, I went to my normal noon class. I was running a little late, and when I got to the studio, I immediately rushed to get changed and fill my water bottle. As I was going into the hot room, I realized I’d forgotten to sign in, so I rushed back to the desk. An attractively-built man, lovely shoulders and gorgeous hair, was signing in, so I waited until he’d finished, then pushed up beside him, took the pen, and signed in. As he entered the hot room, my eye hit his signature. Michael (OHMYEFFINGGODSERIOUSLY???) Fassbender. I nearly had a heart attack right then and there, but I pulled my shit together, both literally and figuratively, and went to the hot room to get set up for class.

He was on his mat, just feet from the door, so when I entered the room I couldn’t help but sheepishly make eye contact. I grinned, but it probably looked more like a grimace. I’ve always been so bad with guys, and here I was, face to face with the most handsome movie villain ever. It was a bit disconcerting to see a larger-than-life guy, just the right size for his yoga mat. Of course as fate would have it, there were no empty spaces on the other side of the room (and yes, being a weirdo, I did try to get as physically far away as possible) so I ended up a mat over from him.

As class went on, I couldn’t help but notice that though he has really great muscle definition, and definitely holds his own on the mat, he’s not overly spectacular. I guess I expected this highly-trained movie star to be one of those yoga naturals that annoys the hell out of you and does the deepest back bends and twisty-est eagle poses. He wasn’t that guy though. It was refreshing to see that he was imperfect. It was not refreshing, however, when he left class during the floor series for a minute. He probably went to get a tissue, since he wasn’t gone long, but it’s really annoying when people leave the room, no matter the reason.

From what other people were saying after class and later on, he was a stimulating conversationalist, and a generally great guy. I was just happy to get to practice yoga with a star, and to see that even the very best of us are still just normal folks who struggle their way through class now and then.

It might seem that I’ve abandoned you, but in reality I’ve spent the last week writing posts that I was then too chickenshit to actually publish. I’ve had some major complaints lately. Or at least they seemed major until I wrote them down and realized that sharing them with the world would just make me look like an oversensitive jerk (which, by the way, I do happen to be now and then).

So today’s just a little update.

To begin with, I still haven’t heard back from the state museum on whether they want me to interview or not. This isn’t unexpected, as the state government does tend to take months to work through decision processes. I’ll keep waiting and hoping, I guess.

I also haven’t heard back from the other museum I interviewed with almost two weeks ago. This has me a little irritated, since I was already working with the assumption that I bombed the interview and they were just waiting to tell me how much I sucked. However, at the interview, I was told that a decision would be made in the next week to week-and-a-half. Tomorrow makes two weeks. On Monday I wrote to say thanks for the interview, and that I looked forward to hearing their decision. Not only have I not heard a decision, I didn’t even get the courtesy of a response. I find that a bit odd, but I’ve been told that’s how things work. That’s not how I work, so it’s a bit tough to swallow, but again I’ll keep waiting and hoping.

In the mean time, I’ve been applying to other positions. Two days ago I saw a job pop up for a local antiques store that needs sales & marketing help, with an emphasis on online relationships. Bingo! I sent in my resume and got a pretty much instant response that they liked my info and would be getting in touch in a week or so. I love their responsiveness and courtesy. Hopefully I’ll also love their payrate.

When I’m not stressing about jobs that I’d desperately love to get, I’m stressing about the job I already have. However, this week my boss is on vacation, so things are a lot quieter than normal. I’ve been taking advantage of that to try and work my stress off with Bikram. That’s right, I said Bikram!!! The new studio has finally opened right down the street, and this weekend all classes were free. I took two, then signed up for six months of unlimited classes and a friends & family discount of only $100/month, which is so cheap for Bikram. So far the classes have been amazing, and the studio is beautiful and state of the art. I’m already feeling stronger and much more mellow, and my back has been hurting much less than normal. In fact, had it not been for The Man tossing and turning all night long last night, I might have slept through the entire evening for once. We can always hope for tonight!

In another bid to save my ailing bones, I finally made the leap and have purchased a new bicycle. My beautiful vintage Free Spirit is so heavy and awkward, and as it turns out it’s also too small for me. I rode it three miles down extremely bumpy New Orleans streets a week and a half ago, and had the most intense back pain for a couple of days after. It just seemed like there should be something I could do to stop the cycle, so I started checking out bikes and purchased one on Saturday. It’s not what I thought I wanted when I was looking online, but the moment the bike store clerk pulled it off of the rack and let me take a test drive, I know it was the bike for me. It’s a Raleigh Venture in the appropriately girly shade of raspberry, and the ride is so smooth that the difference between it and my current bike is literally mind blowing. Or back saving. One of those…

Click through to see all of the stats on the Raleigh USA website.

I’m going to get fenders and a chain guard put on, and I’ll have to get some kind of basket, but I’m stoked to get this baby. The bike shop still has to put it together, and once that happens I’m going to be a bike riding fool!