Sunday, May 22, 2016

Texas Part 9 - Nia in Houston

I-75, I-45, FR-1960, I-10

There are so many different highways weaving throughout Dallas, I couldn't seem to get on the right one. It took me a few tries to finally get on a trajectory out of town, but when I did, I let myself get a good distance from the urban hustle and bustle before I stopped for gas in Ennis. 


At about 4PM, River's usual feeding time, we stopped at a grassy picnic area in Leona. We spent about twenty minutes stretching, running and rolling in the grass after eating. I also applied some Frontline flea and tick repellent to River's coat. I thought I had brought some heartworm medication, too, which I need to give to River now that we're in mosquito country and considering River's love for high grass and marshy swamps. 

I'll pick some up the next time I get him a bag of food. Since I feed him frozen raw meat, I shop for him every three or four days. 

We settled into the motel room in Houston. 
Since it was after 8pm, all of the interesting restaurant choices were closed, so I ordered a Domino's Pizza for dinner and had it with the last of my fermented cucumbers. I left the empty jar on the bathroom counter, and the next morning found that it had captured a flying cockroach. 

I stayed up too late, chatting on Facebook and writing in my blog. In the morning, too early for comfort, I woke up and put on my tie dyed shorts and headed to NiaMoves to teach my Woodstock Experience routine. 

Ten people showed up and we had a great time recreating the Woodstock Experience in Houston. 






We had scheduled a playshop for the afternoon, but we miscalculated the level of interest that the Houston community would have in creating their own routines.  No one was signed up, so I figured no one was going to show up.  I had the afternoon free to take a nap and catch up on my sleep. 

When I first drove into Texas last week, I saw a sign proclaiming friendliness as a characteristic of Texas driving.  Um. Nope.  In Dallas and in Houston, I've encountered a lot of selfish, inconsiderate drivers.  I don't understand what the big deal is about letting someone change lanes?  It doesn't seem to be a problem in other places. That blinking light on my car means I want to be in the next lane, so don't close up the space I was aiming for by gunning it toward the car in front of you. We're all going to the same place, why don't Texans want to let me in?  It literally makes no difference if I'm driving in front of you or in the lane next to you, we'll all still get where we're going. In most places, when you turn on your blinker, the traffic in the next lane makes room for you to enter. But in Texas, they'll speed up to block you from making your move. 

Also, they don't seem to understand the concept of merging onto a highway.  Isn't it the responsibility of the person entering a highway to match the speed of the traffic? and not to pull into traffic going ten MPH slower or faster than the current flow. And shouldn't they find an open space to enter. rather than casually begin to sideswipe me unless I brake, gun it or change lanes.  What they tend to do in Dallas and Houston is to act as if they do not see any highway traffic and they force their way into the lane, regardless of what's occupying that lane. In my first ten minutes in Dallas, I had to veer out of my lane three separate times, or I would have had the front end of my car clipped by an inconsiderate driver. with Texas plates.  And I imagine it would have kept happening to me, but I quickly realized, "OK this is what they do here," and kept out of the right hand lane when approaching an onramp.  So, I'm sorry to say, friendliness does not define Texas drivers. 

Maybe they should install a couple of these signs in Dallas and Houston

On my third day of driving in and around Houston, it starts to become more clear why this was happening. Everyone must be frustrated at the driving situation here. It's a bit convoluted. The highways are undermining access in certain cases. For example, when I'm driving on I-10, I see the Motel 6 sign and I take the exit it indicates. I see the property on the other side of the highway, adjacent to me as I exit. But then I drive for literally a full mile down the frontage road before I find a place to get on the other side of the highway. There was a road sign that indicated for Motel 6 to make a U-turn. 

That actually kind of impressed me. In a way, it seemed like at that moment the universe was bending over backwards to take care of me. After driving all that time, I was starting to think something was amiss and that my navigation had recalibrated when I missed a turn. So to see that sign just reassured me that I was indeed taking the intended route. So I flipped a U-y and drove for another minute and a half to the motel. I guess it's something you get used to if you live in Houston, because these ridiculously long U-turns seem commonplace here. 

There is so much new construction going on that my navigation often tells me to take a road that doesn't exist anymore, or to take a long route, when a shorter one has been built since the last software update. And my position sometimes flips from place to place as it realizes that I'm not where it thought.
It's frustrating, and I find myself wanting to assert my place on the highway out of that frustration.  So now I totally get why drivers begin to act as they do as they drive here for any length of time.


I forgot to bring toothpaste on this journey. I've been on the road now for three weeks and haven't gotten any. I've been brushing with a dry brush, or sometimes using baking soda. I've been flossing at least twice a day and oil pulling about twice a day, too. And I've got to say that my teeth actually feel more clean than they have in a while. I've come to the conclusion that the minty flavoring in toothpaste, fills my mouth with 'freshness' and makes me feel like I've cleaned my mouth.  But without that mint flavor, I actually spend more time carefully brushing each tooth. So that the only thing that makes me feel like I've cleaned my teeth is when I actually clean my teeth. I am convinced that my teeth are getting cleaner because I'm not being fooled by the mint flavoring. And I'm consciously flossing more frequently than I ever have in my life. I'm curious if I'll ever want to go back to using toothpaste now. 


So I'm napping and I hear... click click, click click. I determine it's coming from the air conditioner. All I see is a dead bug lying on its back, when suddenly it clicks and jumps up into the air, slamming itself into the bottom of the air conditioner and clicking back down onto the laminate floor. That's what I'd been hearing. Another one just scurried across the wall. I double checked that all of my food supplies were well sealed. 

I met a dear friend, Georgia at a burger place called Shepherds Park Draught House. The burger was excellent and I'll go into more details on my burger blog page. And the conversation was also delicious. Georgia and I have great conversations, and I could have stayed there, chatting with her all day, but she had to go run some errands, as did I.

I found a filtered water dispenser and refilled my jugs and then I located a Petco, but as I was climbing out of the car, realized that I had brought enough cash to pay for my lunch, but no more than that. I didn't end up paying for my lunch, anyway; Georgia did. (Thanks!!) But I still didn't have enough cash to buy River's food, so instead I went back to my motel room to get ready for class.

I stopped at Petco on the way to the studio and found out that only vets can sell heartworm medication. So, River is still unprotected, but he will eat.

I got to the studio WAY early, which was nice. So I found a park just a few blocks away, put River on his 50 foot leash and we had a fun time walking around and I took that opportunity to feed him, so he stayed pretty close my me, even when other dogs came into the park.

There were about ten people in class and we did Amazing. It was delightful. And this is the second time I've taught the routine in a place that helped me choreograph it. Part of the "Texas" song came from Houston, and part from Dallas. Although, funny enough, no one who contributed was present in any of my classes in either place. What a wonderful world.

I will update with pictures and videos here when I can.

Angela Mestre was my host. She just recently bought the NiaMoves studio from Helen Terry and Kristie Bryant, who used to be my host. Angela did a great job and also took me out to dinner after class tonight, which I think is swell. We went to a place called Barnaby's Cafe, named after the owner's dog. River did pretty well lying at our feet, until certain parties walked by our table. He is very selective about who freaks him out, and now, he's not shy about loudly letting me know when he's upset by someone. I am oddly comforted by the sound of his panicked barking, because it took us so long to teach him to do that. I love that I know exactly how freaked out he is, and that I can employ the proper distraction or release the appropriate amount of energy from him.

Angela reminded me that I haven't been meditating enough. And she's right. Now that she mentions it, I can tell I've not been finding time to do that. So I'm grateful to her for the reminder and I will make a point of setting aside a designated hour, rather than how I have been doing it, capturing moments to do it, here and there, when I could, if I could.

After getting back to my motel room I washed and folded my laundry. So far, I've found four cockroaches lying on their backs in my room. None of them were dead. The one that clicked was the first one. There were two more on Sunday morning when I woke up and then again in the evening when I got home, a fourth.  The two this morning, both started to wiggle when I picked them up with a tissue to throw them away. So I flushed them down the toilet. The one in the evening I saw on the floor while I was using the toilet. River came wandering into the bathroom area since I hadn't yet brought his crate in from the car. I pointed at the cockroach and he went in to investigate. The next thing I know he's chomping on it. I wondered if it was still alive and kicking and when River's nose felt the moving feet, he couldn't resist biting into it. I hope it tasted good.

I guess they're being poisoned? I don't know why they're all lying face up... slowly dying?

So, with that thought, and NO plans for tomorrow, I will go to bed for my last night in Houston.

NO, as in New Orleans, hehe. After 12 days in Texas, it's been fun, but it'll be nice to get back to America.

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