Sunday, June 15, 2014

Connecticut

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 smell and explore it, but he showed no interest in gutting it or eating it.

As we were heading back to the car, I thought I'd encourage River to Bite and Carry one more time, so I slapped him on the side of his body with the toy, as Kevin would do, to get River riled up enough to bite the toy and run with it. But he didn't bite at it. Instead, he cowered and partially closed his eyelids.  I tried again and he skulked all the way to the ground and lifted his legs, squinting his eyes.

I was obviously doing something wrong, so I hid the toy and we just ran together toward the car.

We arrived at our motel in Branford. This was the third Motel 6 in a row that had interior corridors. But unlike the prior two, this one was nice and the staff was friendly. So it made a big difference in my overall impression of the place. It also helped that everything seemed to be working and nothing was missing.

We spent the night there and left for Milford the next morning, where I was scheduled to teach my class. 

I arrived early, as I usually do, and took River for a walk around the neighborhood. And when I tried to do that Bite and Carry game with him, he responded again with cowering and squinting. I gave up out of frustration and now I am ambivalent about what to do. I wrote an email to Kevin, the trainer, asking what I might be doing wrong.

It was nice to have the class experience to immerse myself into because I was letting myself get all knotted up about River. The magic of Nia prevailed, of course, and after teaching Goldfinger to a small and creative gathering of crystal artistic geniuses, I felt much more at ease with everything.

Today's class was the second to "see my knees" as Nancy put it. The first, were those lucky dogs in Cambridge. ;)

I didn't do it consciously, but I later realized that I officially retired my disconium tuxedo pants at the final turn-around point for the trip, in Portland, Maine. They made it all the way from coast to coast, but not a step back west. I had packed some aluminum running shorts that I found at American Apparel just in case my pants didn't survive.

This was the first opportunity I had to expand my 55 minute format into a longer class. I had 90 minutes slated, so I added a few extra songs and spent a little bit more time setting up a clear focus at the start.

I included a  really high energy song called Get The Party Started, that Mark Frossard gave me when we taught the Men of Nia Jam in Santa Fe. It is sung by Shirley Bassey, which is the common thread of the Goldfinger routine, so it fit in perfectly, and actually provided a new climax point, which I really enjoyed. 

Another thing I added was a journey through the 13 First Degree Black Belt Vital Factors.  I explained how I was going to share the name of each vital factor, and the idea was to interpretive dance based on the feelings and inspirations that come from hearing the words. In the context of the Goldfinger class, which is all about celebration of unique artistic expression, it was a perfect fit and yielded some quite lovely results as the students truly committed to exploring the Vital Factors of Nia.


The next morning I left the motel room without a big box of nuts, seeds, peanut butter, olive and coconut oil, my spices and herbs, my baking soda, much of my tupperware and some supplements that I take on the occasions when I don't get enough fresh vegetables in my diet. I was hours away from Connecticut, part-way to my next destination before I got hungry and saw that I didn't have my food.

I was able to contact Nancy Hammett, who has been my producer in Milford many times. I told her about the box of goodies and that they were keeping it at the front desk of Motel 6 with her name on it.

After hitting Connecticut, we have officially concluded our loop through New England. I actually do have another gig in New York tomorrow before we really leave New England, but since I've already done New York on this trip and already earned the right to color it in on the map. I'm calling Connecticut the last of the New England loop. So, here's what we've done so far.





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