Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ants in my ($100) Pants

Well, I finally got a job interview and spent several hours scouring all the local thrift stores for a good interview outfit. The big stumbling block was pants....I couldn't find any good pants! Truth be told, I am not a woman who wears office clothes. I am a jeans + hiking boots + sweater kind of lady. It was hard to bring myself to try on dress pants, much less hold out any hope that I'd find a pair I'd like.

And why thrift stores, do you ask? I'm sure I've described my inherent frugality before....haven't I? I always shop at thrift stores. ALWAYS. Reasoning: Good clothes, good fabrics, interesting styles, low prices. I've done this as long as I've been an adult. About 20 years. (But who's counting...) It's ingrained in my shopping-psyche to never pay more than $10 for any item of clothing. (The glaring exceptions to this rule are cycling gear and the aforementioned hiking boots.)

Enter the dilemna of dress pants. Nope---couldn't find a good pair at a thrift store. While I found a lot of pants in good condition, not one pair looked or felt good on me. Yes----finally went out to a department store. I spent about 15 minutes in Macy's looking at clothes and realized that a) the arrangement of clothes for display rather than shopping ease (as in a thrift store!) frustrated me and b) I wouldn't be able to bring myself to buy anything there.

Enter REI. I realized that I could buy dress pants if they weren't, you know, dress pants. I understood myself enough to realized that I wanted good looking pants that I'd wear that had other uses! Enter, Mistral Women's Pants, size 6. They fit! They moved well! I could sit in them! They didn't make my ass look like a rotting watermelon! Actually, they manage to make my ass look like a ripe peach. Yum!

Here's what the tag says:
"Soft-shell pants for mild to cool conditions: Water resistant nylon/spandex blend is windproof to 23 miles mph and stands up to rugged use."
"Sleek cut and mobile design: Articulated knees, 4-way stretch and center gusset make movement easy."
"Leg zips: Slide easily over footwear."

(And get this!)
"Perfect for touring castles in the morning and summiting foothills that afternoon."

So----if I get this office job, I can expect to put my shoes on first in the morning, then pants. I can splash cups of coffee in my lap and it'll just drain off. I can wrestle my co-workers on the office floor, because these pants are rugged and will take some carpet-burn. Also, if the windows are blown out by big winds, I can sit there placidly, warm and dry and snug in my expensive pants.

But seriously....
I got them for the job interview.

Did it yesterday.

Who knows if they helped my job-seeker mojo or not?

I'll keep you updated.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stretching Myself

Part of my new California life is improving my health and fitness. I'm doing big rides with the local cycling club (ass-kicking!) and I've joined the local Bikram Yoga Studio. I have always loved yoga, but have never made it a steady practice. Bikram is also known as hot yoga, or hot Hatha yoga. It's a very specific series of 26 postures performed over 90 minutes in a 105 degree room. This type of yoga was designed and perfected by Bikram Choudhury in the 70's. His requirements for it's performance, teaching, and environment are extremely specific.

This chart above is the series---all of which are surprisingly strenuous! This is a body and mind opening practice, but I wouldn't call it meditative, per se. More than anything, it requires great concentration and stamina.

Honestly? It's the one thing that is helping me keep my chin up during my frustrating, demoralizing job search...

I'm finding the classes at my studio that are the least populated----just easier for me to concentrate, introvert and agoraphobic that I am, haha! One brings a yoga mat, towel and water and wears as little as possible, because you sweat profusely during the 90 minute session and you need full stretching capability---no fabric constraints. Getting dizzy and/or nauseus is par for the course. When this happens, you sit on your mat for as long as it takes for you to regain your equilibrium, then you join in again. Some days it happens a lot, some days, not at all.
The poses are the same every session, but the body's ability to do them and reaction to them are different. It's fascinating to me that within these specific, set parameters, there can be so much variation. It also helps that the studio I go to has a big pool of teachers---so far, I've had a new teacher every session. Every one imparts some new jewel of information.

Regardless of my unusually high natural flexibility, there are poses I can't quite do yet, like this one, called Padangustasana. You wouldn't believe the balance this takes! Immense concentration. To see a great layout of all the poses, check out this page. Bikram yoga and job searching.

One of these feels positive, constructive, and enriching....and the other does not.