Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Portland

So the first thing I wanted to do this morning was to pay a visit to Nia HQ in downtown Portland. I had actually intended to get up and make it to the 9:30 am Nia class, but at 8:00 am, I had a better idea; more sleep.

Plus I justified it by remembering how bad the parking situation is downtown, and how much of a shlep it would be carrying the cage and blankets to the building and up the stairs. I also thought maybe it wouldn’t be cool to just drop by with a dog, unannounced. So I rolled over and slept some more. 



I did eventually get out of bed (obviously) and did eventually work my way down to HQ. I peeked in the studio and saw the White Belt training going on. I was surprised at how few people there were. I guess I was expecting to see 50 or 60 people, but I only saw about four in there today. There could have been more, as I didn’t see the entire room.

Then I went downstairs into the offices and River met the two dogs that were there.  I said Hi to Debbie Rosas. We talked a little bit about my road trip and about why I wasn't teaching in the studio while I was here, and the upcoming First Degree Black Belt Intensive in February. And even covering all that, I didn’t stay long; she had work to do and River was excited by the other dogs and wanted to play and was starting to tear the office apart.

As we were leaving, the little dachshund was goading River all the way down four flights of stairs. I was afraid he was going to follow us all the way outside. But he ended up stopping at the top of the last flight of stairs. I guess he just wanted to be sure we found the door all right.

But still, before I allowed River his playtime, I needed to get some coffee and some food. I poked my head into the Elephant cafe, which is near the Pioneer Square Park and had outdoor seating. The girl that worked there, saw me come in. We made eye contact. And then, it seemed, she was intentionally hiding her face from my view behind the bottles of coffee syrup. I stopped at the door because I had River and it was a small and empty place except for some people sitting on the tables outside. So I called in, “Hi. Excuse me! Is it ok if I walk in with my dog to take an order?” No, she said. Only service dogs were allowed. “Can I give you my order from here and go sit down and have you bring it to me?” She hesitated at that. Mind you, I had JUST seen her taking a tray of food out to another table, so I know they do the table bringing thing. But her reply was “Can you tie the dog up to a post or something?”  “Never mind, I’ll think of something else. Thanks!”

Some places that were listed on my Bring Fido app as having a patio, didn’t have their outdoor furniture set up, I guess due to the cold weather. After almost giving up on the downtown area, I ended up at the famous Portland Food Trucks. Normally, I’m not into eating food from a ‘truck’ but I wasn’t having much luck finding dog-friendly restaurants downtown, so the idea started to appeal to me.

We walked around the trucks and checked them all out, which gave River an opportunity to practice walking at my side through crowds with dogs. I went back to the one that stuck in my head: A grilled cheese place that made a carne asada grilled cheese sandwich with green chili and spicy pepper cheese and this side of spicy dipping sauce.   I ordered that and as it was cooking, I walked over to Ole´ Cafe, at the recommendation of the cheese griller who told me it was the best coffee he’s ever tasted.

 The coffee was good, but the sandwich was amazing. I enjoyed it, but about half an hour later was having heart burn, so I probably wouldn’t get it again.

I took the food and coffee to a nearby park to sit on a bench and eat.

I find that Portland is very strict city. They like to enforce their rules. It is the only city in the world that I’ve ever been stopped by a police officer for jay walking in an empty intersection. That was many years ago, when I still lived in New York and had honestly forgotten that in most of the world, pedestrians wait at the corner for a green light.

And today, I was playing with River in the park on our 50 foot leash. Now I had a bag of treats in my hand and was working on River’s obedience commands. So, if you know River you can imagine that he was never more than four feet away from me. He was glued to me and right on top of everything I said. The only time he was more than a few feet from me was when I asked him to stay and backed away. But he was on high alert and as soon as I said COME, he bolted straight to me.

So two park rangers came over to me and very politely told me that I was breaking the law and that they were legally able to cite and fine me, but that they’d just give me a warning. I explained that I was from out of town, so they happily gave me a map of off-leash dog parks.

So I went to the one that was near the river front, because I know how much River loves to frolic in the water. As usual, I was leery of exposing him to the off-leash dogs, but I know that I can’t keep him sheltered forever, so I thought today was the day.

He actually did pretty good. He's very nice with smaller dogs. He tends to play dominant aggressive with dogs his own size or slightly larger, which will piss off many dogs. He doesn’t really do the give and take as much as he just dominates all the time.

The park was actually beautiful. I wish I did take pictures. It was a huge green lawn and then at the other end, some stairs down to a sandy beach. And with no waves, just like River prefers. There was also a little dock.

At one point, River was running along with some other dogs and reaching the end of his leash. I stupidly, gripped the leash, but was quickly reminded that when I do that it causes heinous finger burns.  So yes, I have one more tiny burn on my newly healed hand. The damage is MUCH less severe this time. 
It's hardly noticeable.

I also noticed that this nylon leash rubs against River’s legs and can really burn and chafe him up good. So, I’m maybe getting soured on the training leash? I’m not sure. I do like it, but maybe I'd like one of hemp so it doesn't burn so much. What to do, though. For now, we’ll continue to use it with caution.

I don't know why, but I didn't take any pictures or videos today. I know that makes for a dull Internet experience, so here are some pictures....
This was taken at a different Motel 6 in Portland, April 2013

At our friend Cheryl's house in Boise, July 2013

"Come on Eileen"
Houston

"Time"
Corpus Christi

Divas and Rockers
Dallas

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