Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Exploring Oregon

Woke up in Eugene and had a home made breakfast of bacon and eggs and freshly made biscuits.

Decided to see eastern Oregon, so headed to Bend. It’s a beautiful tree-lined drive with a river running next to it and a big mountain in the distance. Turns out it was more than one mountain, but the third, fourth and fifth highest peaks in the state, all right next to each other and collectively called Three Sisters.

On the way to Bend I saw the aftermath of a horrific accident. The ground was wet with patches of snow and ice and it was a winding mountain road. By the time I saw it, it was just two unrecognizable piles of twisted metal. I was surprised, considering the condition of the vehicles, that there was no evidence of fluids on the ground. It was a sobering sight, nonetheless.

A bit down the road I saw the evidence of another terrible mishap. This was a semi truck and trailer, sideways, off the edge of the road. There was no sign of life around it. It had obviously happened long ago, but was no sitting as a reminder not to take those turns too quickly.
River watching the road on US 97 South to Klamath Falls
We made it all the way to Klamath Falls where we stopped for the night. There was a horse in the field behind the motel, which River gave very little attention to.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


On Wednesday night, River and I went to visit a friend of mine in Portland. He has four cats, and River has been a bit rambunctious in the past, but, like true friends, we don’t let our animals’ differences come between us.

We spent about three hours together. I used his kitchen to cook up some of my food and the rest of the time we hung out in the living room. By the end of the evening, two of the cats were lounging on the top of the couch. No one got riled up and there was no charging. The only kerfuffle we had was when the alpha male cat, a big, black one, sauntered into the room and froze in a locked gaze with River upon seeing him. River could take it for a while, but finally broke. Fortunately, I was holding his leash and we were all watching the event play out, so it was easy to circumvent before any damage was done.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with his manners.

Carrots, Beets, Spicy Cheese, Sunflower sprouts, pumpkin seeds, shiitake mushrooms and egg*
*added after the photo

Birthmark (top) and A Crazy Clown Is Chasing You (bottom)

The next morning, as we were coming back to the motel room from our walk, there were two off-leash bulldogs wrestling in the grass in front of our door. We stopped and although I’m sure it was VERY tempting, River made no movement to defy my directive to STOP. Fortunately the owner saw us and grabbed their leashes.  River and I took a short detour around some cars in the parking lot and by the time we got back to the grassy area, the coast was clear.

I had a client who wanted me to come to his house for his session, so I took River to a park beforehand. My hope was to tire him out so he’d be willing to rest while I worked with my client. As I parked the car at a location midway between his apartment and a park, we could hear the sound of chickens coming from someone’s yard. River didn’t know what to make of that, but he kept remarkably calm.

We had a great time and used up a lot of energy at the park. But, just as we were leaving, two young boys ran by and called out to us “I LIKE YOUR DOG” as they passed. River seemed to become very excited by this. He has been taught to give me his excitement, and that he did. He went at me, snarling and gnashing and clawing for a full two minutes probably. I was a bit muddy by then, but he was clearly drained and slept all through our session.

We drove to Eugene via I-5. Usually when in Oregon, I take the coast, but the mid afternoon client in Portland would have gotten me in Eugene after dark by way the coast, so I opted for the highway.

My plan was to do laundry, but after checking in and walking River around the grounds, I learned that there was no guest laundry facility. Fortunately, I was going to meet with a friend, and he was kind enough to take my laundry home, do it, and bring it back to me in the morning. Do I have the best friends, or what?

I had most of the next day free, so I wanted to take River to explore downtown Eugene. I knew there was a big Saturday market with arts and crafts and food and music and I thought it would be fun to check it out.

I drove downtown and was immediately charmed and enthralled by the cute city and how busy and bustling it was. I drove around, wondering which way to go, until I finally happened to see a free parking spot, so I grabbed it.

As we got out of the car, I got seduced by some of the public art and wanted to take some pictures of River. A nice local saw me struggling to get River to sit still near some iron otters and offered to click one of ‘all four of us’.

Me, some otters and my human

Greetings from Eugene

Then I thought it would be a good exercise to have River lie down on the sidewalk outside a pizza restaurant. I stood near him and we just people-watched. He was doing great, but then a woman with a dog came by and sat in one of the outdoor seats. River and the dog were looking at each other, and before it could escalate, I said, “let’s go!” and we took off walking away.

We walked all around downtown, but weren’t allowed to go into the market. But I took the opportunity to practice being calm amongst a lot of activity. Maybe it was the fact that it was a rare sunny day, but for a small town, I was impressed at how alive downtown was.

This was as close as I could get him to that statue

He didn't actually care for the bear much, either.

Eugene is cool

It was at this time that I realized, I made no mental notes of where I parked. And I drove around so much before parking that it was impossible to figure it out based on logically retracing my route. All I could do was wander up and down the streets, hoping to stumble upon it. It was at least an hour of wandering before I finally was able to determine a path, based on the pictures we had taken, and worked our way backward to the car. Thumper was such a sight for sore eyes! I had already started imagining a future without a car and settling down to stay in Eugene. 

Laptime, before leaving for the FreeDance Playshop

We had a small and passionate turn out for the FreeDance Playshop. I had a great time and it was so rewarding to have the feeling that I made a big difference in someone’s life. She had been operating under the assumption that when we FreeDance, we had to ‘dance’. And she didn’t know any moves, so she felt lost and silly. When I explained to her that “anything goes’ and that what she’s doing IS dance, I could see her light up, and I could see her FreeDance vocabulary suddenly blossom.

That night, my laundry friend offered to pick up some Thai food and bring it to my room. It was nice to take a break from my sparse dining experiences. Thai food sounded so wonderfully rich and (imagine) hot! We ate and then stayed up chatting until I was yawning and had to send him home so I could sleep.

The next morning was Goldfinger! The routine grows every time I teach it and imbue it with the Vital Factors from First Degree Black Belt. I never know what it’s going to be, but I know it’s going to be awesome. Today I set the usual focus on the Three Body Weights: The Pelvis, Chest and Head, and I set our intent. This morning our intent was to Know that We are Artists and with Each Movement We Create Art.

Shimmering, Playing, Commitment Finger Crossover, Sqush-walking on the Moon, And doing katas in counts of 5, 3, 6, 9 and even 13!!

After class, I called another friend I knew in Eugene and invited myself over to use his shower. He also made me lunch and offered to put me up for the night. He has a dog, and River isn’t supposed to play with dogs until he’s fully healed in a couple more weeks, but Ahkil is super mellow and actually doesn’t seem to mind being locked in Bob’s bedroom. And River doesn’t seem to mind having run of the rest of the house.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

to Portland

Tuesday, April 23:
I just finished typing this whole blog and then lost battery power and my computer shut down without saving it. (Command S! how hard is that?) Anyway, so I’m starting over, forgive me if I sound curt.

Sitting in the parking lot in Olympia yesterday, waiting for Starbucks’ wi-fi to load, I finally called AT&T to set up my iPhone as a personal hotspot. Not only did they set me up immediately, but they switched my plan to save me $30 a month based on my usage history. WTG AT&T!

River also had a big day in the parking lot. I took him on a long walk. First I let him explore all the bushes around the shopping center and apartment complex next door. Then I took the lead and asked him to heel, come stay, sit, etc. He did great.

I also started working on how to approach doors. The people inside the Verizon store must’ve thought I was nuts for continually walking up to the tinted glass door and then turning back around again. They’re probably glad I didn’t come in. River’s instinct is to charge to the door, but we practiced staying at my side as we approach.

And then I gave him a bit more free time behind the stores. Just as he was about to go sniff a pile of boxes, an employee came out to break them down. All it took was for me to stop and say ‘wait’ and River stopped. I explained to the guy that I was training him to respect strangers, and he was a dog lover so he understood and went about his work. River watched him for a while and then I started walking away. Without a word, he followed me out of that situation and was back to exploring the rest of the alley.

After a good half an hour of stuff like this, I said to him, Find the Car. And he immediately turns toward the three nearest parked cars. I followed him as he walked by the first two cars. Thumper was the third car, which he also walked right by. And I did my best not to influence, but just to watch as he took a quick turn and walked down the drivers side, around the back and to the passenger side before he looked at the car. I opened the door and he hopped in.
River, wet and exhausted after a big day in the park (-ing lot)

It was a short drive to Centralia for the class, and Julia suggested I take the back roads. She was right. It was nice to be driving through trees rather than back on the highway.

Class was small and fun. Julia taught the first half and I came in to finish with the second half of Goldfinger. One woman who was friendly and smiled as we chatted before class, and despite my frequent and various references to the power of the smile, she never once broke. Not even to humor me. You gotta respect that. haha.

After class, she was all smiles again. My experience of her gave me a sense memory of when I was in ballet class. That, combined with the rigidity she admitted to be struggling with losing in her body inspired me to ask if she came from a ballet background. And she had. We had a discussion about how much unlearning one must do if they have a strong muscle memory of ballet. It is not a body-friendly art. If it were, I might have stuck with it longer.

It was raining pretty hard the whole drive to Portland after class.


Today is a day of rest. No driving. No teaching.
Sleeping in on our day off
Perfect timing because I ran out of human and dog food today and it was nice to have all day to run errands.

Thanks to Portland's cool, sunny weather this morning, I felt comfortable leaving River in the car while I went to the co-op and bought my food. He seemed remarkable calm when I returned. He was actually lying down, not staring frantically out the window. When I unlocked the car with my key, I saw his head pop up. I took him for a quick walk in the neighborhood before we drove off.

The next stop was the pet store and he was so excited that he got to come with me this time. I picked him up some rabbit and a raw bone with marrow.

It was sunshiny all morning, but pouring rain for our trip back to the room with our purchases. It’s nice to chill... to have food... to be able to take the time to sit and catch up with everything. An old client of mine was able to come over for a session, which was nice because so far all of the classes I’ve taught are paying me with a check in the mail, so this was the first income, perfectly times with needing to restock.

I also have a friend in Portland, so after he gets off work River and I will go bother him and his cats.
Today I ate Untitled and Aquamarine Boy

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Last night at the Ship Harbor Inn was very nice. 

River couldn't run on this beautiful lawn as he's still recovering from surgery.
I spent some time last night and this morning, organizing what I had brought so that I could leave some of the less crucial stuff in the car, but have access to it when I needed it.

The man who checked me in yesterday told me that at the coffee shop in the lobby they sold the “best coffee in North America”. The beans are roasted locally and served at the peak of their freshness.  Of course, I’d be a fool to pass up on the best coffee in North America, so I had some this morning. I’m a very picky coffee lover, and I will give the cup I had a nice thumbs up. But I’d have to give some serious thought to whether I thought it was the best in North America.

Today was a day of water.

We saw many bays, canals and rivers on our trip from Anacortes to the ferry terminal, and then saw some tide pools and lagoons. Finally, about a half an hour before we reached our destination (Olympia) the sky opened up and we saw a good amount of rain.

We’re dry now and taking the afternoon to rest and catch up on my emails. 


All of the above was written on Tuesday afternoon.  That night,  I had a cold dinner because I didn’t have access to a microwave. Usually, at Motel 6, you can count on there either being one in the room or one in the lobby for guests to use. The one in Tumwater seems to be an exception to rule. The guy at the front desk looked at me like I was from another planet when I asked about it. So, I ‘enjoyed’ some cold chicken thighs, sweet potatoes and egg (all previously cooked) with some added cashews and hazelnuts and a dab of unmelted butter. The only part that was kind of gross was that unmelted butter.

I went to bed early and was asleep by ten so that when I woke up at 6am the next morning, I’d be well rested.


So, the next morning, we woke up with the sun. I had a breakfast of cold quinoa, coconut milk and pecans. Then took a shower and went off to the studio to teach my class.

It was a fun class with seven people. One woman brought a bag of gold ‘bling’ for us all to wear, which was fun. The group really got into the spirit of the shimmering and the James Bond playtime. Julia Annis is the local teacher and she’s got a great, supportive group who seem willing to do anything. 

However, there was one woman who seemed to have a problem with shooting from her spearfinger. I can understand being sensitive to gun violence, but really.  This is just pretend! I don’t know what to say. Am I being insensitive? It’s not like I ever say “gun” and I”m not asking anyone to shoot children, just play with the movement of spear finger. Why would you come to a James Bond themed Nia class and then be offended by the concept of ‘shooting’? How can you have James Bond without a bit of violence?  There’s also a part in class where I pretend that we’ve been drugged, as that seems to have happened in every one of the Bond films at some point. Are people in rehab going to be offended by that? Ugh.

After class, I went out to see that I had a parking ticket. Boo. I forgot to feed the meter. So many details to look out for. Ugh. Well, the fine is just about covered by my income from the class, so at least I broke even.

River and I headed back to the room where I showered again and had a lunch of cold chicken, beets, coconut milk and pecans. I didn’t realize until I was writing it just now that I also had pecans for breakfast. Had I been more aware I would have gone for Brazil nuts. But I do love pecans.

We’re going to hang out in Olympia for a few hours because I’ve got another class this evening.
This class is in Centralia, which is about half an hour south of here. I’ll be co-teaching this class with Julia, who is taking over for the owner of the studio, Christina, while she is in the final weeks of her pregnancy. 

After class, we’ll head south again and sleep in Portland tonight.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Seattle to Anacortes

This morning I went to the ATM to get cash for the trip and a woman started playing with River. While I watched them play, the machine disbursed my money and then sucked it back in, but still showed a debit on my account. So I had to have the telling make me a special credit... to be honest, I don't know what they did, but I got a new ATM card and they told me the $400 was back in my account. So, that added about an hour to an already eventful morning.

To make a long morning, into a short story, we ended up hitting the road with a fully packed car by about 1:30pm.

We checked into the beautiful Ship Harbor Inn in Anacortes, WA
I unloaded the car into the room and realized I had brought way too much stuff. Staying one night in most locations for two and half months, it will get really old lugging all of the stuff I brought. I'm going to have to put some of the stuff I brought into "storage" in Thumper's boot and see if I can compress the rest of the stuff into fewer bags.

We drove into downtown Anacortes and walked around a bit.

I taught a small class in a cute studio. I'm glad my first gig was such a low key event. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing. I keep reminding myself to breathe and relax. And that every time I do one of these trips, the first two nights feel really awkward before we find our groove.

For lunch I had a bunch of raw spinach and lettuce, two hard boiled eggs, an avocado and a beet.
For dinner, I had some chicken thighs, pecans and cucumbers with peanut butter, apple cider vinegar and cayenne.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

more MS Paint

 These were all done in the summer and fall of 2007

The Elusive Encyclopedia Entry Wherein Yellow Plus Black Makes Grey

Pissy Whistling Boy

Jack O Pumpkin
Wonderful Like A Fox

An Embarrassment of Q's

The rest of these were done in early 2008.
Angry Period

Magic Finger

Still Life

Unfinished Zebra
Soon afterward, I would get my first iPhone and MacBook and never pick up the MS Paint brush again.

MS Paint

Many years ago, I discovered that I had a program on my lap top called MS Paint. I discovered it shortly before I made the switch to Apple and it is actually the only thing about the switchover that I miss.
This was my first one:

And this one was my second:

Freakin Roadside Man

I think those were the only times I attempted to do anything remotely realistic.  The rest are much more abstract, although they all mean something to me. I am tempted to explain each one, but I will refrain, and let the piece and its title tell you all you need to know. I will say that these next three all sort of have something to do with Environmentalism.
Father and Son
Thirsty Elephant Nightmare

Fire Sale
I'll group these next four together because they're inspired by places, real and fictional.
Stained Glass