First stop, Portland

River woke me up the day we were scheduled to leave. In my sleep, I heard a smacking sound and opened my eyes to find him sitting very near the bed, right by my head. He smacks when he's nervous. I hadn't started packing, and obviously wasn't thinking or talking about the trip while I was asleep, but it seemed like he knew something was going to happen.

The whole morning, he didn't leave my side. I would swear he knew I was going to leave and wanted to make sure I didn't leave without him.

I put him in his crate so I could load up the car in peace. He whined much of the morning and didn't take his eyes off of me. Especially when I started loading my luggage into Babe, he was visibly upset and noisy. So imagine his delight when finally, I strapped him into his passenger seat. It was his first time meeting Babe the Blue Car, so it took a little bit of acclimation before I felt he was calm enough to start the engine and take off.

Bye, Babe ... be sure to come back now ya hear

Posted by Zeke Urmston on Saturday, March 21, 2015

The first bit of driving, through the city of Seattle, was a bit rough for River. He hadn't yet gotten his car legs, and was wobbling all over the place. I took a cue from Natural Dog Training which uses physical imbalance to create stability and drove very sporty. I would stop and accelerate quickly and take turns suddenly. Every once in a while I'd tell him "Down!" as we made a particularly jarring maneuver. Soon, he was so concerned with finding his stability that he bonded with the car seat and settled into the ride.

I had planned on stopping at a rest area about 45 minutes out. Typically, on the first day of our trips, River starts to make his urpy face; meaning, if we don't pull over soon, he's going to barf. But on this trip, once he settled in, he seemed ready to go all day, so we made it to Portland in one trip.

I paid for two nights in the room and immediately had a client come and see me. I've been to Portland many times and have actually developed a bit of a clientele here. This one client covered the cost of both nights in the room. So far, so good. ;)

The next morning, I was scheduled to teach the first class of my trip; an important one for me, since it was at Nia Headquarters. This studio holds a special place in my heart as, over the past 18 years, I have returned again and again to take my Nia belt intensives and other trainings. It is a home away from home.

Alas, it wasn't to be. I didn't have a local producer. In my hubris, I thought that simply announcing my return to Nia Mecca would be enough to draw a crowd. I got into the room, set up River's cage, changed my clothes, put on some New Wave pre-class music and waited.... and waited.... and then, five minutes after noon, the room was still empty.
I packed everything back up and ran home with my tail between my legs.

I took the opportunity to show River a bit of downtown Portland. We were just a few blocks from the food trucks and I was hungry so we took a tour around that block a few times. It was Sunday and it was raining, so at least half of the trucks were closed. But I found a truck making grilled cheese sandwiches and got one with brie and red peppers.

River was remarkable. Historically, he doesn't do well in crowds, but today he stayed right by my side, even as we walked past other dogs (usually a trigger for him). We also stopped three times when strangers asked if they could pet him. He received their affections with aplomb and never got even slightly riled up.

Later that afternoon, my second class was scheduled at Step In Studio. So we got back in the car and trekked about 45 minutes to Forest Grove. Last year, I was scheduled to teach in a jam at Step In Studio, but got caught in severe traffic and wasn't able to make it. So this time, I allowed plenty of time and arrived 90 minutes early. I took the opportunity to read a bit of the Mini Cooper owner's manual. So many bells and whistles; I was like a kid in a candy store, but I didn't know how to do simple things like turn on the high beams or unlock the passenger door.

At Step In Studio, we had a dozen happy dancers and I was finally able to christen my routine, Frankie Say Nia. Due to a message I had included on the flyer, people were aware of my work with River. In particular, that I didn't want people greeting him indoors so that he could remain relaxed. This seemed to pay off, because after class we were all in the lobby and River was receiving calm affection from some of the students. And he even rolled over and lifted up his leg so that I could rub his belly. It took me months of patient coaxing to get him comfortable enough to do it for me when it was just he and I in our house. But this was literally the first time he had done this in public, and I was delighted to see it.

Back in the room, I had another client come and see me before having dinner and watching a bit of TV before bed. I made the mistake of watching a marathon of a show called Forensic Files. I was appalled at the way people murder each other, over and over again, and amazed at how something as innocuous as a strand of hair could be enough evidence to send someone to the electric chair. Fortunately, I didn't have nightmares.


Anonymous said…
I didn't realize that Frankie Say Nia is new, as in this trip is your first time teaching it.

I, too, am watching Forensic Files. It is just 21 minutes so it is something quick to watch. Although for me it feels like so much longer at times because I want the murderer go get caught for the awful thing s/he did. Amazing how sometimes it takes YEARS.

I was fascinated to learn a tad about "photocopying DNA" (PCR)! And by "tad", I mean that it exsisted. :-)

I am glad it didn't give you nightmares!

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