Thursday, August 25, 2016

Disruptive Late-night Visitor in Vermont and Downpour in Upstate New York

Last night, my colon started rumbling around bedtime. I guess I had eaten something bad and I was paying for it all night with frequent visits to spill my contents into the bowl. I was losing a lot of water and regretting whatever it was I had that was very spicy. My initial thought was something about the dominos order that I just finished. They took a long time to get to me and my BBQ chicken pizza was nearly cold by the time I ate it. But there was no heat in the dinner. The heat I was feeling seemed like it might have been from the salsa on the burger from lunch.  I also wondered if it was part of, or different than, the sickness I am currently recuperating from.

Whatever it was was ravaging my insides all night and into the morning. I got a fitful sleep, and I really missed having my fermented foods. I have a feeling if I had been keeping up with my high-bacteria diet, my digestive system would have plowed right through whatever took me down today.

In the morning, about 6am, I finally felt finished. I showered and had my coffee. lol You know I'm an addict when after a whole night of the runs, the first thing I do is have my morning coffee. It was delightful.

I took River for a walk, loaded the car and took off for New York. Today was going to be a short drive (only a couple of hours) to Albany, where I teach in the morning. Nothing really worth stopping for on the way, except the forest that I saw yesterday.

But as I was leaving Brattleboro, I realized that I recognized the road as I was on and knew there was a great burger place up head. So I decided to visit there for lunch.

It was a great burger with local vegetables, meat and cheese. Vermont is a very outdoorsy place and there are many places I saw that had outdoor dining areas. This was one of them, so River lied on the ground next to me as I ate my Vermont Cheddar CheeseBurger.

Was it any good?  Read here to find out.

It was a warm and sunny day, but not too hot. Very pleasant day for a scenic drive through more of the Green Mountain National Forest and through some of the cute small towns in Vermont. Like New Hampshire, the speed limits here feel very low to me. But it's OK because I'm in no hurry and there's plenty to look at.

Mark this day, as it is the first of the year that I saw some fall colors. Certain species of trees are beginning to show some yellow and red leaves. Otherwise, it was mostly still very green up here.

I headed back down through New York and in the city of Troy, the sky opened up and diluvial rains poured down.  Fortunately, it was only for brief periods that I was under sheets of pure water, but the rain stayed fairly steady for most of the day as I pulled into the Motel 6 in Albany.

Another thing that happened in Troy was that Babe joined me in middle-age. She, like me, just celebrated a milestone known as 'the big five oh'. I turned 50 in June and she passed 50,000 miles on her odometer. 22,300 of those miles were added in the last four months.

Once settled into the room in Albany I went out and fed River. The rain had stopped enough to make that a not unpleasant experience, though both of us were quite efficient about it and soon done and headed back inside.

My room has a refrigerator and a microwave and I'm going to be here for two nights, so I might go to the local healthy market and see if I can buy something I can store and cook here in the room.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Welcome to Vermont and the Green Mountain National Forest

After doing laundry at the Motel 6 in Nashua, I started my day with a burger. I noticed that there was another b.good location right around the corner from the motel, so I decided to try another option on the menu before today's road adventure began. I wrote it as an addendum to the entry from yesterday on my burger blog.

I set my navigation to avoid highways and we took more back roads through New Hampshire. Whereas yesterday I went east, working my way toward Maine, today I worked my way west toward Vermont. I noticed more and more Hilary on this end of the state. And as I got even further west and into Vermont, I saw several faded and weathered Bernie signs. 

The speed limits in New Hampshire feel very slow to me. Every road I'm on, my instinct is to be about 10 MPH faster, but I abide. I noticed that there is also a dearth of gas stations, especially ones that I've heard of. But I wondered if the slower speed limits and the fact that they don't seem to need gas as much around here have anything to do with each other.

I was surprised how long I was driving in New Hampshire. I had made a plan to stop and take a stretch as soon as we passed into Vermont, but my route was taking me up, to explore the forest, and then down, just this side of the Connecticut River, which separates the two states. 

I was yearning for Vermont and tired of New Hampshire. Also, I knew I couldn't visit the Green Mountain National Forest while I was still in the Granite State, and I was eager to see that. 

Finally, at long last, around the bend was a bridge over the river and into Vermont....but it was out, and I had to follow a detour. It was a short detour and soon I was passing over the water and into the welcoming arms of a cute town in Vermont that's about a half block long and I can't remember the name of. 

But it was at the intersection at the Vermont end of that bridge where I got my official welcome. There was a four-way stop and three cars, including mine were all ready to go. There was what I can best describe as a domino effect of confusion that had started before I even pulled up, regarding who's turn it was to go. So, the upshot of this confusion was that I, and the driver on my left, pulled into the intersection at the same time. I stopped to let her go and as she passed me, her passenger, a charming young woman, let's call her Meth-head Podunk Trash called out to me "Go back to Washington!"

Vermont is lovely; so green and rustic. It's beautiful when there are no people around, but at other times it feels like I'm in Duck Dynasty. 

I was headed toward the Green Mountain National Forest and it took me along the Saxtons River. I stopped at a place where the river ran near the road and River and I hopped out and gave ourselves our own "Welcome to Vermont" by climbing, splashing, chasing and having fun running around. 


I dried him off, especially really well inside his ears, and I also gave him his dinner before we got back in the car. It was mid afternoon by this time.

As we got closer to the forest, the trees enveloped the road so that we drove under a green canopy. At several points it was dark enough that my automatic headlights came on. At another point, it was so deliciously compelling out there that I rolled down all the windows and completely stopped the car and sat and listened to the forest song. I could see far down the road behind me and knew I was safe. It was a moment of zen. Then I drove on.

We got to the recreation site at Green Mountain National Forest and I wanted to access the lake. There were a few yipping dogs that blocked our access to the picnic area, where we could go right to the lake, so we went the other way. According to the sign, it was the "Pond Trail", but we didn't get that far.

River's nose was going overtime and he was smelling up a wild storm. I actually had to high collar him so he'd walk with his face forward and not glued to the ground. I could hear him sniffing frantically at the air as we walked.

A guy came walking rapidly toward us, taking the trail in the other direction and I said hello to him as I kept one eye on River for his reaction. He was pretty excited about something. But he didn't react to the guy. Of course, having him on the high collar had a lot to do with that.

Once the guy passed us, I stopped and released River to let him shake it off and do a little rummaging around where we had stopped. It was just then I saw that something ahead had captured River's attention. I look up to see a big black Lab running full speed toward us.

I commanded River to jump up on the nearest rock and he only got his front paws up by the time the dog was right next to us. She ran past us and up a side trail where she stopped cold as if to listen for something. Then she turned around and bolted in the direction the man we just passed was headed.

River and I were frozen the whole time. He with his front paws on the rock and me standing right next to him telling him how good we were being by not reacting.

It wasn't until she was out of sight down the trail that River showed signs of emotion. Then he kind of went into a frenzy of delayed reaction. He barked and jumped around and scratched at the dirt. It wasn't until I told him to sit on the rock again to shoot this video that he finally settled down.

A bit later, we were walking back toward the car and see the guy and his dog again coming toward us, off leash. She speeds up toward us and River begins to walk crouched down and slowly toward her. So I guide him to circle away from her. It had been a long time since I've seen River allow another dog so close, so I was willing to let him explore this safely. I was doing pretty good and maneuvering myself to be in a place to pull River out quickly if need be and watch him react calmly to this dog. She was good for him, so I wanted to let it happen.

But then, I saw the noses lock and I knew I had to get him out of there. Just as I was making the realization, the noises started. It didn't take much to get him calmed again, once they were apart. I put my fist in his crotch and near the base of his tail to simulate another dog's nose and complete his emotional need cycle whether he wanted it or not. Then I had him bark and we walked back to the car. 

Next stop was Motel 6 in Brattleboro, VT. This one gets the award for trying the hardest. Kathy was polite and efficient checking me in. She put her business card in the sleeve with my room key. On it it says "I am responsible for your stay. Are we providing you a GREAT stay? We want your 10 rating!" 
When I asked about if there was a guest laundry, she didn't just say 'no', she told me where the nearest coin laundry was in town. When I got to my room, she called me to see that everything was OK. When I took River out for a little tugging and pushing on the grass, I notice she's standing outside, smoking her cigarette and smiling, watching us play. I felt like she was going to have a pie cooling on the windowsill next. 

The Other Portland - Nia in Maine

I set my navigation to take the back roads from Nashua to Portland; it was exactly the same number of miles and it only added about five minutes of driving time.

Going through New Hampshire I was dismayed by the support for Donald as evidenced by many "make America great again" yard signs. It nearly put me in a bad mood to think of how much support he is getting. I see him as not only entirely unqualified to run the country, as he has zero political experience, but also extremely dangerous as he has shown he has no tact. I can imagine him pissing off political leaders from other countries and really damaging our international relations, as well as attempting to make changes that favor our countries few billionaire businessmen, further driving a wedge between the haves and have-nots. Not that I think Hillary is any great shakes, I do think she's far better and the only wise choice. I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see folks who live along the back roads of rural New Hampshire making unintelligent, fear based choices. I want to know when these people think America was greater than it is now. Especially in the past 50 years or so, we've made great strides in becoming the country of equality and opportunity we set out to be and wrote about in our U.S. Constitution. If there's any place we are needing improvement it's in the class disparity I just mentioned.

Anyway, didn't want to write a political post. Just sharing what my drive was like. Each time I saw another sign, I imagined myself having this conversation again.

At some point yesterday, I pulled a little muscle in my back. It was either while sneezing or coughing. It exacerbated the 2008 shoulder injury which is by now an old familiar yoke. It isn't excruciating, but is quite uncomfortable and made me squirm the whole drive out as I tried to 'work it out'.

Portland, Maine is the easternmost point on my trip this whole year. The difference, as soon as I crossed over the state line from NH to ME was immediately apparent. Maine feels like a place that has a sense of humor and appreciates quirkiness and kitch. I felt right at home there. I happened to be wearing my "Pot o Gold" shorts with the leprechauns and rainbows and I've never gotten so many compliments on them in one town.

My appetite came back in full force. Both River and I needed food. River would have to wait, but I needed some BEFORE I stepped in to teach a three hour workshop. The time was tight, though, so I had to choose my stop wisely. About a block from the church I was scheduled to be in, I found a little stand on the corner that sold coffee, soup salad and sandwiches. Soup, I thought, sounded perfect!

Alas, they were out of soup, so I got a chicken and beet salad. I arrived at the church to find Erin, my host, also eating a chicken salad. haha.  So we ate our salads as we set up the room and waited for the students.

The playshop was my Nuts and Bolts of FreeDancing Playshop. It was one of the smaller groups I have had for this work, but that doesn't bother me, as I've said before. I like the opportunities for deeper intimacy in the smaller groups. The first step of my playshop is to ask them to dance and see what I have to work with. They impressed me by displaying several minutes of very creative movement. I knew I had my work cut out for me with this group, so I took the reigns from where they were. By the end of the three hours, the group was helping me to develop new facets to my work. They tell me they got a lot out of the experience and so did I. That's the best!

After the three hours flew by, Erin took me to the pet store to get some food for River and then she took me to a local burger place called B Good and bought me dinner. I wasn't sure how well I'd do with such rich food so close to being sick, so I kept it modest. I go into more detail about it here.

We chatted about Nia and stuff as we ate and River seemed to be extra nervous. Maybe he was anxious after being in the crate for a three hour stretch as we danced. There was one moment, while we all played like children on the playground, one of the dancers mimed rolling a ball, as in bowling. She randomly rolled it in the direction of River's cage and apparently was convincing enough to freak him out. I'd never seen this before, but he jumped! Inside his cage! It looked almost as though he was trying to avoid the impending sphere. I had to reassure him he was OK and cover his cage before he'd calm down again. During our dinner, he kept lunging at people walking by us. By this time in our relationship, I know enough about River to never sit down in public without making sure his leash is well secured on my person and that he doesn't have enough slack to reach anyone, so everyone was safe and OK, but after the third time, I had had enough of it, so I put him in the car for the latter part of our meal.

I fed River in the parking lot of the burger place while Erin went to our second location to prepare it for the Nia class.

When River and I arrived at the space, I stood there in horror as I heard Erin explaining about River to the owner. This was a pristine yoga studio and when I realized that the presence of my dog hadn't been given prior approval, I suspected I was in for some drama. I explained how River coming into the room with me was a non-negotiable point. I explained how he doesn't leave his crate and that I could lay blankets down to protect the floor under the cage. (Although this cage has plastic feet on it and it doesn't scratch wood floors, it is easier to lay down the blanket than to convince a studio owner of this.) She reluctantly relented, but further requested that I don't let him walk on the floor, but instead carry him from the car to the cage and back again. That was no problem. So we went ahead with class.

The owner was concerned with humidity levels in the room, so she asked that we don't open the windows. There was no A/C, but there were ceiling fans and a dehumidifier. I had already pressed my luck so I didn't want to pursue it, but I knew that we were going to steam that room up and that if we kept the windows closed, our body heat would create more humidity than anything coming from outside. But I dutifully followed directions and we did the Orchestra routine in the tropical yoga room.

I'm usually into working out in the warmth. As a wrestler in high school, I got accustomed to the hardest exercise of my life in a poorly ventilated room so full of heat and humidity that it was hard to breathe without stepping outside. To this day, when I practice in my home studio, I prefer to keep the doors and windows shut, filling my studio with body heat and carbon dioxide. So I was used to the conditions, but the students obviously were not. One of them left midway through. She had recently been diagnosed with lupus and was on her second month of recovery from being flat on her back. So it was completely understandable that she didn't want to put herself through the whole hour. I was drenched in sweat and leaving puddles anywhere I stood still. I think it was good for my recovery, but even I, with my love of and experience with tropical, low-oxygen exercise environments, felt like it was extreme.

After class, it took a while for us to get out of the space. We were all a bit spent. After everyone left, I took River out on his long leash and let him run around the parking lot for a little bit before hitting the back roads again for our night time drive back to Nashua.

I wasn't sure if all of the activity was 'too soon' for me and I would wake up the next day relapsed. But it wasn't and I didn't. I felt fine the next day and actually ready for more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"My Recuperative Powers Are Legion"

A few days ago it started with a sore throat. Two days ago that became a stuffed up head and deep productive cough combined with a headache and lack of energy. I was sick.

I told a friend of mine and his response was "Your recuperative powers are legion."  Which is true. When I compare myself to other people, I tend to be the one who gets sick less frequently and who recovers more quickly. And I don't know if it's just my imagination or my bias, but when I do get sick, it seems that I get really sick. I don't just get the sniffles or feel kind of off kilter, but when I am sick, I'm thrashed.

Such was the case these past few days. But I was inspired by what my friend said and that became my mantra and my inspiration. One of the first things I do is to admit and accept that I am sick. I don't try to get on with my life. I don't go to work anyway. I don't trudge through like a hero, I curl up like a little baby and totally check out of life.

And this is just what I did.  Yesterday, I only got out of bed long enough to run to the store to get a fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juice, and then a bit later to get a burrito. And of course, I took River out for several walks, but other than that I was in bed, under the covers, with the lights off and the curtains shut.

Right after I drank my juice I took one aspirin because my headache was piercing. And I fell asleep with my mantra running through my head: "my recuperative powers are legion".

I toyed with the idea of contacting my host in Portland, ME, where I was due to teach a playshop and a class the next day. She had informed me about a week ago that the number of students signed up were low and wondered if that was OK with me. I told her what I always tell my hosts when they say that to me, "Whoever shows up will have a great time."

But I was having second thoughts. At this point, just the idea of the two hour drive to Portland was more than I could fathom. Not to mention teaching a three hour workshop and then presenting the Orchestra routine and driving two hours back to Nashua.

But this morning I woke up and my head felt clear and free of pain. My energy seemed to be back. And although the cough was still lingering, it wasn't as insistent as it had been.

The day of rest, lots of water and little food, as usual, did its magic. Compared to yesterday I feel like a million bucks and I'm looking forward to my gig in Portland. I'm not 100% myself yet, and who knows, after today, I might go into a bit of relapse. But that's fine because after this I have two more days off before I have to work again. If need be, I can spend one of those days in 'recuperative' mode.

Monday, August 22, 2016


I cannot deal with this right now.
I'm not feeling well. Congested, headache, body ache, low energy.
All I want to do is post my last blog entry on Facebook like I've been doing all year. In fact, for several years, I've been able to simply post my blog entries to facebook and it shows the first picture as a thumbnail with a link that anyone on Facebook can click on to visit and read my blog.
I'm only writing this right now because I intend to post it. Or at least attempt to.
Not sure if it will work because I have no idea what is going wrong on that Sick In Nashua post to make it unacceptable to Facebook.
I'm going to post a photo for no particular reason except to more closely emulate the post in question.
Maybe, for whatever reason, it is that particular picture that is causing the entry to be rejected.

Feeling Sick in Nashua

Well, I suppose I deserve this. I've been paying about zero attention to the healthfulness of my diet while on the road. I opted to forego healthy eating in favor of ease and convenience (like most Americans) and now I'm paying the price with my health (like most Americans).

I suppose I have to admit I thought I was a bit bulletproof. I've gotten used to enjoying glowing good healthy and a robust immune system, that I forgot that it's not just a free gift from heaven, but something that I earn through watching my nutrition and being sure to eat complete, well-rounded and wholesome meals made from fresh foods.

It started a couple of days ago with a sore throat, and then last night the mucus started flowing. Today I'm suffering with a full blown head cold and my energy is zapped. I also get super cranky when I'm sick, so don't start anything with me right now. My sinuses are full and inflamed and I'm producing phlegm faster than I can blow it out. My nose is raw from so much blowing and I'm about to run out of toilet paper.

Fortunately, I don't have any classes or traveling scheduled for today so I can stay in bed. I ran out of water, so I do need to go out and refill at the market so I can properly chase this bug away by drinking copious amount of water.

I also stopped at a store on the way back and picked up some freshly squeezed juice. I opted for the super green, which is Celery, cucumbers, ginger, lemon, kale, spinach and apple.

About now is when I really wish I had access to all of my homemade goodies like my beet kvass, turmeric sauerkraut, bone broth or kombucha. But, of course, if I had been using any of those things and eating more sensibly, I probably wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.

But alas, now I'm just going to be spending my whole day right here:
I have some things planned for tomorrow, so this is my last full day of recuperation.
I hope my next entry brings better news from the road.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Amazing in Massachusetts - Attempted Murder in New Hampshire

Today started out uneventful. I woke up, had my coffee. Michael made me a frozen toaster waffle with cinnamon sugar and I ate it as I gathered up my luggage for the shlepp back to the car. By this time, I had parked three blocks away, but I was thrilled by the parking space.

I found it about 11:10 on Thursday morning. And the space was free and available until Monday! I had struck parking gold by New York standards. The luxury of being able to leave my car on the street and not worry about paying a meter or moving it!! When this morning came and it was time to leave the spot, I felt a bit of internal struggle. I related to George from Seinfeld and how excited he'd get when he found a good parking spot. It was a shame to leave it, but it served me well.

Driving up the country, I didn't stop much as I was on a bit of a time line. Of course I allowed for plenty of extra time, but it was Friday afternoon, and I was driving out of a big city and didn't know what I was in for.

I basically made a bee-line through New York and Massachusetts. The class I was teaching that night was in Mass, but only about half an hour from the motel I was staying in, in Nashua, NH, just past the state line.

My goal was to make it to Nashua, check in and shower and then head back down to Concord to teach my Nia class. But I kept an eye on the time and the map and was prepared to change plans and head directly to Concord if need be. Ideally, though, I would make it to the motel first because I needed a shower and a shave to feel like a Nia teacher.

Fortunately there were no traffic jams or construction sites that put me too far behind schedule. I had plenty of time to check in in Nashua and get cleaned up for class.

I arrived at the studio twenty minutes before go time, which is just about when my host, Maria showed up, too. She let us in and we had a great time in class.

It's interesting how some groups of Nia people have a greater sense of playful adventure, while others seem to be more concerned with being serious and safe. My style is edgy and challenging, so the groups that aren't used to being asked to take risks sometimes give me a bit of resistance. Such was the case at Starfish studio. My impression is that the group as a whole is not asked to push any of their own boundaries. Some groups will laugh and enjoy the struggles they face in my classes, and others don't seem to take my bait at all. Today, I felt it was an uphill battle to get a lively response from the group. For a few select moments, I showed them the kata and then I stepped out and literally asked them to 'dress up the movements' their own way. At one point, I said, tongue in cheek, "Imagine that you're dancing!" It took them a while to cotton onto what I was asking, but they finally loosened up and showed off some personality.

And it's a good lesson for me not to put so much importance in the response of the students. My work in cases like this is to still have just as much fun as I have with a group that whoops and hollers and loves to express themselves in dance.

After class I made my way back to the Nashua motel. I ordered some food and then went to bed early. I felt a sore throat coming on, which sometimes is the first indication of a cold. So I thought it best to nip it in the bud and sleep. I was a bit deprived of sleep in NY, which is par for the course in a city that never sleeps.

So I slept long and hard. I woke up at 2am, thinking it was time to get up. I was wide awake and refreshed, but also delighted to learn I could get back in bed and sleep for another several hours. Which I did. It was closer to 9pm when I was awoken by a knock on the door.

I first thought it was housekeeping, so I peeked out the window, hiding my nakedness, to indicate for her to skip my room today. But I saw a Nashua Police Dept badge staring back and me, so I opened the door, hiding behind it and explaining my state of undress to the officer.

He understood and had a few questions for me. My mind was racing, but I was curious and eager to help. He asked about when I checked in, if I heard anything and what I was doing in Nashua. I eventually learned that at some point in the night, someone had gone over the balcony on the third floor. They lived but were in too bad of condition to say what happened.

I'm glad I wasn't on that side of the building. That would have been horrible to see and/or hear. Fortunately, I sleep like a rock and didn't hear a thing.