Upstate New York

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  brought River to the front door and couldn't find a bell so I knocked. Mike greeted me and as their  golden lab began to approach us, said "This will be interesting."

That was not what I wanted to hear. The dog didn't come to us but stood a few feet away, barking at us. River was pretty good about it. He went toward the dog but I didn't let go of the leash, so he came back and hung out by me.

The next few minutes were sort of surreal as we stood in the foyer having a casual conversation while the dog loudly and repeatedly obscured every fourth or fifth word we spoke. At the same time, the oldest son and his girlfriend come into the foyer and introduce themselves (although I couldn't hear their names) and introducing themselves to River.

River was doing remarkably well under the circumstances. But I was a bit nervous. Mike kept saying, "she'll stop soon" but even he seemed surprised at how much she was continuing. As the kids were leaving, I asked where Richele was. And he explained to me about how she had gone to BARK BARK but when she BARK to leave, there was another car in tBARK. So they're trying to locate the guy to move his BARK BARK."

To me, living for so long in New York City, that sounded like a situation that was going to eat up at least half an hour, easily, or more. I kept waiting for a suggestion to the solution of the barking dog, which seemed to me to be to separate them. I was about to suggest that I go either go outside or be shown to where I was staying, I could settle in a bit and maybe she would calm down. I was starting to hope that maybe they were planning on having us sleep in the barn.

It was only a matter of minutes, it turns out, before Richele came in. We were both excited to see each other, and she wanted to meet River, but it was also clear that she was reacting, so Richele suggested She and I take the dogs for a walk.

Once we started walking, the dog was immediately quiet and all seemed to be going well. The dogs would sniff at each other and then enjoy the walk together. Richele and I chatted and in my attempt to express to her that I was concerned about this situation we may have, I insulted her family; using the word 'chaotic' to describe the energy vibe I was feeling. I was seeking her reassurance or suggestions for solutions, but it came out as saying 'your family isn't really working out for us, so we'll be staying somewhere else'.

Fortunately, she and I have a history of overcoming misunderstandings in our relationship because we're both willing to face our differences of perspective, see the others and come to a loving understanding of each other. We took a long walk around the expansive tree-filled yard, which sent River into leaps of joy.

Finally we had dinner outdoors near the pond as the bullfrogs burped. I canceled the reservation at motel 6 and we ended up having a marvelous time.

River did wonderfully with the other animals. I was amazed as I watched him behave like a real dog. He pushed his boundaries with her quite a bit, but not in a vicious or a fearful way, just an immature way. Each time he overstepped his bounds, Nicci or I would tell him to stop, and he would. They shared a water bowl and got along fine, otherwise.

And I haven't mentioned the cats. There are two cats. The first, River met by entering a room the cat was in and then running back out having been hissed at. Much later, the cat and he met at the top of the stairs. River was inside the room we were staying in, while Richele and I were out in the hallway discussing my new pants. At this time, a cat came up the stairs, facing the open door to see River sitting, watching him, but staying within the safety of our room. The cat, eyes locked on River, skulked up the stairs and escaped into the master bedroom.

Much later, the family had gone to bed but I stayed up to do laundry. River slept at my feet and I watched TV. The next thing I know, two cats are slowly walking in. They've obviously been watching us the whole time, and now that River's snoring, they're making their move.

Eventually, they're inches from River and he's snoring obliviously. The closer cat sniffs at him close enough to make contact and wake him up. He raises his head, as if to say "huh? what's going--" and the cats dart away, leaving him blinking and yawning. A few moments later his hackles went up. But he didn't pursue it. He checked in with me, and then laid back down to sleep again.

The next morning, as I was getting ready to leave for class, River went into the bedroom where he last saw the cat go. He looked under the bed and then walked around the back of the bed, to find the cat sitting on a chair on the other side. The cat stared as River walked close in enough to get a good sniff, and then walked back a few steps, turned around and exited the room.

Goldfinger class took place in a gritty cool funky tough neighborhood of Albany and we had a fantastic turn-out of glittering genius artists. We all had glitter on the souls of our feet by the end of class.
Posturing, before class

Pre-class contemplative

Richele and Jason with pants!


still dancing...

more dancing...

It was another opportunity for me to stretch the 55 minute format as this studio customarily has 75 minute classes, so I included my Party anthem song and the journey through the Vital Factors once again.

After class, we went to the farmer's market and picked up a lot of great local fruits, veggies, cheese, honey, eggs and some bison jerky for me and a bone for River. I took it back to the house and cooked it a little bit and put it in the few pieces of tupperware that weren't in the long lost box. Then, with my cooler full, hit the road to our next destination.

On the way out of town, I stopped at the local food co-op to stock up the stuff that I left in the last state. After class, Richele handed me a wad of money that I put into my pocket. I drew from that wad repeatedly at the farmers markets and loaded my arms with good. I had still never counted the money, but in preparation for going shopping at the co-op, I finally counted it and was surprised to have over $200.

So my pantry is now well-stocked again. Thanks Albany! Love!

It was late afternoon before we shuffled off to Buffalo. It shaved two hours off the four hour drive to take the main highway, so I took a straight shot. The sun was setting in my eyes during the last hour of the drive, and we arrived at the motel after dark. I quickly ate and went to bed after midnight.

In the early morning hours, River crawled up and got into bed with me. I noticed that it was cold. I don't usually get cold in the night, but I could feel the chill. I decided to let this one slide, and he slept the next few hours on the bed with me.

Our next stop is in Michigan, but I didn't want to drive all the way there in one day so I opted for a stop in Macedonia, Ohio, which is in between Cleveland and Akron.


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