Saturday, May 7, 2016

California Part 3 - The Bay Area

I arrived in Santa Rosa Tuesday night and Wednesday was a non working day. It was the first non driving day, too, so I took the opportunity to stay put. I did, leave on two occasions to fetch some burgers, but mostly stayed around the motel, working on my music for class and hanging out with River on the grass.

As I was leaving to get my lunch, one of Santa Rosas finest, a cop, walked up and motioned for me to roll the window down. I was sitting in my car, setting the address into my navigation. He asked, "Are you in room 153 or 152?"  River didn't like his attitude, and let him know from the back seat that he was intruding on our fun day. As River barked away, I had to look back to check what my actual room number was. Since I'm in so many different rooms all the time, the numbers don't stick in my head as much as the location of the door does. I checked and answered, "153." He thanked me and sauntered away toward room 152 just as another police car pulled up and another officer was getting out. Earlier in the morning, there was a lot of screaming in a terrible fight. I heard the phrase, "I'm gonna call the cops." more than once. But that seemed like it was coming from the second level, not the room next door.

River seems generally nervous at this property. Which is strange because we've seem fewer dogs here than we often do. I think it's more about the people. There's a large element of shirtless, beer-drinking, working on cars in the parking lot, and yelling. During one of our walks, there was an alarm going off. He's not freaked out or anything, but I notice that his body language is tense and he looks around a lot as if he's hearing something that I can't hear.  But there is a certain spot on the lawn that is his power spot. He could probably lie there all day and watch the traffic go by. Until someone rides by on a bicycle, then all bets are off.

Thursday morning, I was up before the sun in Santa Rosa in order to teach Nia in Walnut Creek. I have learned from experience on these trips that the discomfort of getting up early is much less than the discomfort of running late. It doesn't even compare! So it's very easy for me to wake up at 5am for a 10am class. I like to give myself two full hours to shower, make and drink my coffee, walk River and load the car. Realistically I can do all that in 30-40 minutes if I rush. But I prefer not to rush and remain calm. I looked online and saw that the drive takes 1:45 in traffic, so I allowed myself three hours. I like to aim for being at the space an hour early, so that I have plenty of cushioning for hitting traffic, making unexpected stops, or getting lost.  As it turns out, none of that happened, and I got there in about and hour and a half. So River and I hung out in the car and walked around the parking lot.

As I was loading up my bag, I didn't notice my water bottle lid wasn't properly fastened, so it leaked into my bag and soaked my 8BCs. I left them to dry on the windshield.

River spotted a black cat hanging out in the bushes and locked his eyes on her. His hackles went up and I could only momentarily distract him. Then I told him to bark, which he did; first at me and then at the cat. And that seemed to instantly calm him. Almost as if he'd been dying to do that, but couldn't bring it up without my nudging.

When a student walked up to greet me in the parking lot, River might have been holding a bit of feline frustration. I had him on the leash as she approached for a hug. Her emotional squeals and physical approach to me was very attractive to River, who attempted to join in. But he wanted to hug with his teeth, so I pulled him away and held his collar tight until he calmed again. Once I got him in the cage in the studio, he was cool.
"Amazing" at ACE Dance Academy
Class was so much fun. This was the first time I taught Amazing on this trip. I intentionally left my first few days free so I could drive leisurely down the coast and get into the rhythm of living on the road before adding classes into the mix. I did appreciate having that adjustment period. Living on the road is like moving every day. It takes a certain mindset to be able to do it without getting stressed out. Each time I take one of these trips, there's a brief adjustment period where I regain my 'road legs'. I need some time to find the groove. And in past years, my first few classes had me so frazzled. I was learning the road and settling into the rigmarole of loading into and out of a new studio each day. It was so much to juggle in my mind that I could hardly remember my classes afterwards. I'm not sure if I enjoyed them or not. I probably did.

But this one I'm sure I enjoyed and I will remember. I was very relaxed thanks to being at the beach all week. I was able to focus on and enjoy all the minutia of loading into a foreign studio with a dog and his cage. And I had a great time presenting the routine to the group.

It is still a very young routine. I have made a commitment to honor the choreography that the communities decided on for the songs, but I also need to adjust things here and there based on how the students are receiving the work, in general. Fortunately, and amazingly, not a lot of tweaking needs to be done. The playshops produced a beautiful cohesive routine.

I'm going to be learning my cues and pearls over the next few classes. So the routine is in the Standing phase of development, and learning to Walk.

After class I stopped to get some filtered water at a Glacier dispenser outside a CVS. Fully hydrated, we hit the road back to Santa Rosa.
No sooner did we get in the car, then it started to rain. It's been raining ever since. Babe is happy. She was starting to look a bit road worn, but now she looks refreshed.

Taking a break from the burgers, for lunch today I spread some coconut oil on sprouted grain bread and topped it with sauerkraut, fermented beets and fermented red bell and jalapeno peppers. I also broke up pieces of spicy beef jerky and had a surprisingly good sandwich. For dinner, I was going to be back to Brody's and get the pulled pork sandwich I saw on the menu yesterday. But they were out of pulled pork, so I got the baconado again. It was just as good the second time.

Friday morning, I woke up pre-dawn again to get ready for class in Calistoga. As I gathered the things I needed, I realized that I wasn't as together as I thought I was yesterday.  Somehow I managed to misplace my black velvet satchel that contained my crystal and my business cards. Not a huge deal, of course, but I do like to have my crystal when I teach, and it's always nice to have business cards for people to keep in touch with me. The last place I remember seeing it was near River's cage, on my back pack as I was getting ready to leave the studio. Logic says I would have put it in my back pack, but reality seems to be saying otherwise.

I allowed myself plenty of driving time again and hit no traffic again, so I arrived at the space 90 minutes early again.  Calistoga is a cute town. It reminds me of a resort. And is there any wine there, you ask?  UM Yeah!! it's the heart of wine country.  We had class in a recreational center. It was my first time teaching Amazing with no mirrors. There was a big, enthusiastic group who loved the routine. One student, who owns a B&B in town, always invites her guests to come and take Nia with her, so we had an out-of-towner trying Nia for the first time. She lives in Reno and she's hooked now. She's going to be looking for Nia classes in Reno when she gets home.

This group is super dog-friendly. And in fact, there was another dog in the space during class. Normally River would freak out at that prospect, but he was safe in his cage and the other dog was quiet, on his leash and around the corner, out of sight. No drama ensued.

There were no pictures taken at this event, but I think we all left enriched for the experience. You'll just have to trust me.

Next we drove down south to Campbell, near San Jose. It took me a long time to get down there, so I"m glad I declined the offers to stop for a lunch with some of the students after class. I'll have time to eat after this second class.  This was my third time returning to Range of Motion in Campbell, and it was great to see some new folks and some familiar faces.  I believe some pictures were taken of this class, but I haven't seen them yet. I'll post them if I get a hold of any.

After class, I got on the freeway and headed south. I was driving very slowly, due to the 4pm - 7pm Friday traffic. The traffic cleared almost just in time for the sun to go down. So the reminded of my drive to Santa Barbara was dark and uneventful. I was tired from a long day, but not impaired.


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