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Showing posts from June, 2014

Upstate New York

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The drive from Connecticut through western Massachusetts and to Albany, NY was really nice. I had enough time to take the back roads and avoid the big highways, so I got to see a lot of small towns and lots and lots of green trees. It was a lush drive in nice weather. It was overcast, but not raining much, just how I like it. Off and on, there were some light sprinkles.

I had a reservation at the local Motel 6 and also had an invitation to stay at the home of my local producer for Albany, Richele Corbo. I knew that she had a dog and didn't know what sort of living situation we'd have and how River would be with the whole thing, so I kept the motel reservation handy just in case.

I was hungry when I arrived, since I had unwittingly left all of my food in the previous town, and was looking forward to relaxing and hopefully eating something soon. I saw a beautiful house set way back on a gorgeous, lush property with a creek running behind it. I parked by a gorgeous barn and  bro…

Connecticut

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River was still hacking today.

We drove from Framingham, MA to Branford, CT in pouring rain. The rain was so hard at times that the windshield wipers couldn't keep up, even at the fastest speed. Traffic had to slow to about 55 (ten mph below the posted limit) so that we weren't pummeled with water quite so rapidly.

We took a lovely, winding, scenic forest-y road, and River and I stopped at a riverside scenic viewpoint for some running, exploring and relieving. Everything was going well, River grabbed the toy the first time I presented it to him, and we ran together with it. Then we explored around the riverbank, so River could get his paws wet.

There was a fisherman down there, which startled us at first, but then we all minded our own business and all was OK.

Up the river a bit, we found another good spot with shore access, and no fishermen. We waded a bit in the running water, and spotted a freshly killed large fish lying on the ground at the edge of the river. I let River s…

Massachusetts

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It was a short drive from Portland, ME to Cambridge, MASS, so I decide to avoid the Turnpike and take the back roads. Unfortunately, I ran into some construction on a two lane highway as I was leaving rural Maine in a town called Ogunquit.

I was sitting in stopped traffic for quite a while. Long enough to shut my engine off and get out my phone to film the tragic traffic. Looking back, I think it's amusing how 'upset' I was getting. I'm not really even upset by the traffic, but it was the not knowing what was going on that was disturbing. I'm used to seeing a sign warning "Flagman Ahead" or "Construction- Be Prepared to Stop" or "One Lane Highway Ahead" something like that. But in this case, all I saw was stopped traffic for quite a while.

Once I got past the construction zone it was free sailing all the way into Cambridge. But I arrived there just in time to meet rush hour traffic and some of the rudest, most impatient drivers I'v…

Maine

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Maine seems like another laid-back, scenic state. It is certainly the land of the cute slogans.
"Maine. Worth to visit. Worth a Lifetime" "Maine: The Way Life Should Be." "Vacationland"
"Where America's Day Begins" (because it's where the sun first shines on the USA every day.) And my favorite one: "Maine. It's not the edge of the universe, but you can see it from the edge of the universe."

Everything about my trip to Maine was lovely except for the Motel 6. Which was one of the worst I've stayed in. The male desk staff were all barely existent and certainly not friendly or helpful. There was an abundance of handicapped parking any where near the only entrance door for the whole building, so there were no parking spaces that didnt' require a long, shlepping walk just to get to the lobby. My room had a musty funk to it and there were no screens on the window, so I had to choose between the mosquitoes or the funk. The…

New Hampshire

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"Drive Courteously. It's the New Hampshire Way." according to a sign I saw shortly after entering the state. And I'd agree. I really felt like driving in New Hampshire was a pleasure because people were courteous in general.

Lately, I've been seeing an ad for New Hampshire tourism. It shows a couple hiking to the top of a mountain. There is no voiceover and no music. All you can hear a few distant the birds chirping and the rustling of their shoes on the path as they make it to the summit in the few seconds we know them. They stop and stand and look out at the wilderness below them. No one says a word. Finally the script shows up, saying  something like 'come to New Hampshire; it's natural.'

And that's pretty much my impression of the place. It's natural. It's relaxed and friendly. It's beautiful and doesn't make a big deal about itself. 

I had nothing to do there, and had just dropped a bunch of cash for the dog training weekend,…

Natural Dog "Training"

Today was my second day at Maple Farm in Newfane Vermont training with Kevin Behan. It was a beautiful weekend at a picturesque farm with incredible, important events happening every hour, but I was so enthralled I didn't take a single picture.

Kevin has been working with dogs all his life, and his father was also a dog guy. Kevin, at an early age, started to see chinks in the armor of the standard dog-obedience paradigm that experts (even his dad) were using, and began to study and research and experiment and has come up with a philosophy that he calls Natural Dog Training.  I told him that I thought it was mislabeled. It's not dog training at all. It's untraining in some cases. It's a lot of observation and responding to the dog. And it's finding creative ways to meet their needs while at the same time yielding behavioral results that are acceptable.

River and I spent the weekend with him, so that I could learn this technique and apply it to River's fear to …

Vermont

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I took a lovely, scenic route from New York to Vermont; the Saw Mill River Parkway.

And even with all the natural green beauty of the Saw Mill River Parkway, I was still blown away when I got into Vermont. Besides Washington, I think Vermont is probably the greenest state. In fact, Vermont reminded me a lot of the Puget Sound area, with the weather (almost always about to rain) and the lush green covering everything. The one difference is the large number of bugs found in Vermont. Western Washington is fairly bug-free.

I arrived on Friday night and got a quick tour of the farm and then I got to watch Kevin take River for a walk and do some exercises with him. He confirmed my belief that we are dealing with a lot of fear, which is manifesting as aggression toward other dogs and (on rare occasions) certain people. He told me that if I were to totally allow him to release his aggression on dogs, it would solve the issue of people. But since I’m not allowing either, he’s frustrate…

Pennsylvania / New Jersey / New York

We arrived in New York City on Monday. I have a friend who lives in Manhattan and lets me crash at his apartment, so I chose to stay there as a home base for my gigs in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

I was scheduled to be in PA on Tuesday, I didn’t have a class set up (I couldn’t connect with anyone in the entire state) but I do have a client who used to see me when I lived in New York and has since relocated to Philadelphia. So he booked me for two sessions, which made it worth the overnight trip.

I wasn’t counting on the steep tolls on the turnpikes. Between them and the Lincoln Tunnel, I think I paid about $40 round trip, just on tolls. But still, a training session at night and a massage the next morning paid for the tolls, the gas and the cost of the room with enough profit left over to make the time and effort worth it.

I stayed the next night in Manhattan and ventured off the island again on Friday for a class in Colts Neck, NJ. Again the trip was heavy on tolls. I was starting …

New York City

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As soon as I left Richmond, I hit some traffic and was crawling along the superhighway at less than ten miles per hour.

That eventually cleared up and we made it to Washington DC. The traffic was heavy but flowing. I was impressed by seeing the Washington Monument and Capitol Building. The rest of what I could see as I sped by on the highway looked like mostly large concrete buildings. It was humid and hot.

Just as we left DC, we got on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, which was a pretty drive with lots of greenery, and the traffic flowed at the speed limit. Actually, this was one of those highways were if I did the posted speed limit, people were passing me left and right and shooting me looks on the way past. So I inched up to a respectable ten miles an hour over. That way I wasn't in the way, but wasn't going faster than anyone else, either.

We stopped at a Rest Area in Delware. Only they don't call them Rest Areas, so I missed the first one I saw after wanting to stop…

Virginia

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I was kind of running out of food at this point, so for breakfast I had a cucumber.

River and I got up and out early this morning to head to ACAC Fitness in Midlothian, VA, just outside Richmond.

I always get a bit nervous about teaching Nia in a gym. Stereotypically, the mindset of gym-goers is different than that of someone who attends classes at a private dance movement studio or rec center. And especially when I saw the tennis courts, I had to stop myself from telling stories about the clientele. I want to go in and present my work without prejudice. So I rose above and shook it off and went in fresh and clean. (Running around the parking lot with River was very helpful for that.)

We got nothing but warm reception in the gym, by the staff and clientele.... except for the exercise studio itself, which was air conditioned uncomfortably cold. My producer, MaryBeth Grinnan took care of the temperature and I set up River crate in the giant, cold room. (I was staying warm in…