Staying in Cedar Rapids for Orchestra in Coralville

I have a full day and part of two other days to chill out here at the Motel 6 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I arrived on Wednesday night and don't teach until Friday evening, so it was nice to stay in one place and not have to drive or even get dressed for a full 48 hours.

It was a nice break from driving and teaching. We were homebodies. There is plenty of grass on the property so that River got some nice long walks. Notice his tendency to respect the boundary of the edge of the lawn. He stops and doesn't venture out into the street. And I didn't teach him that, consciously, it's just something he picked up on his own.

At one point, I thought I was going to pursue finding someplace to eat, but soon realized I wasn't in the mood to go anywhere. I considered just going to some of the places that were nearby, but I couldn't bring myself to eat at McDonalds, Burger King or a place called Perkins that seemed like a Denny's. If I showed my motel room key at Perkins, they offered 10% off my meal, so that completely turned me off of even considering eating there. So I ate some of the beef jerky that I had in my bag for emergency days when I couldn't find any food.

River has been very calm and sociable with me lately. He doesn't seem nervous or anxious and he doesn't seem to want anything. He's got no injuries and isn't being itchy. The worst thing he's got right now is what looks like a pimple on his belly. Other than that, he's having a great time. He even wanted to sit with me twice, during the day. He's not usually the most demonstrative with physical affection, so it was unusual to get him to relax on my lap.

I never showered or got dressed in anything beyond a pair of shorts on Thursday.  I took advantage of the strong signal of the wi-fi (free for AARP members) and spent most of the day watching Penn & Teller: Fool Us on YouTube.

On one of our walks, we ventured across to the part of the property that was separated by yellow caution police tape. At first, I couldn't figure out why an entire building of the property had fallen into disuse. It didn't look too bad. Several of the rooms' curtains were open, and I peeked in and saw that they were being used to store chairs and mattresses and other 'motel 6' furniture, but I coudn't see any reason why this was going on.

But then, on the other side of the building, I saw a giant burnt out hole in the roof. There had obviously been a fire and there was some serious damage.

I looked up the story on the Internet.   The last update I could find still said they didn't know what caused the fire. A man came into the lobby at about 1am with a stab wound and said that someone had set his mattress on fire.

Just as the sun started going down, the dark clouds appeared and by the middle of the night, it was pouring rain. I got a few Flash Flood Warnings on my phone, which didn't surprise me considering the amount of rainfall. I was concerned that maybe the puddle forming outside the door to my room would work its way inside.
Both afternoons, while out walking with River, I come back to the room to find that my key has been deactivated. I don't understand why, when I pre-pay for three nights, they don't activate the room key card for three nights. Why do I have to come back to the office to have it reset every day?

On Friday, class was scheduled for the evening, so I got to sleep in late, go on a long luxurious walk with River and even make a second carafe of coffee. I enjoyed mindlessly watching Blooper Reels from The Office on YouTube.

Then it came time to get serious. I showered and shaved and packed up the car and took off. Good thing I didn't get out of the parking lot before realizing I had forgotten the cage. So I went back and got that.

Coralville had better food options than Cedar Rapids, so I drove in way early and stopped at the mall. It has been a long time since I've been inside a full on mall. This one had a movie theater, an ice skating rink and a carousel. And that was just in the 'food court', where they also had an ice cream place and a place called Yummy Burgers. Well.... that is just speaking my language, so I had to go get a yummy burger. 

As I was waiting for it, I noticed a big construction barrier around a site with signage painted on saying future home of... Zombie Burger!! Oh Coralville, you don't know how lucky you are. I thought it was going to be tough for both Yummy Burger and the ice cream parlor because ZombieBurger also specializes in fancy designer shakes.

I ate my burger in the hatchback of Babe, in the parking lot of the food court. It was in the mid 80s, incredibly humid and partly cloudy. I turned the car around so that I was under the shade of the hatchback and ate my yummy burger to a cicada serenade.

After eating, I went to the local food co-op and filled up three of my gallon jugs with filtered water.

The studio was just a block from the co-op. We pulled in almost an hour before class time. So I took the opportunity to feed River on the big, fresh lawn at the top of the parking lot. I also found a perfectly sized stick with no bark to fall off and no pointy parts, so we did some "Go Get" and some "Carry" after dinner.

As we were playing, my host, Beth showed up and opened the studio for us. We had a full room for class and it was really fun, sweaty and emotionally charged in good ways.

It was the first time teaching the routine by myself after experiencing Marcelle teaching her pieces in Kansas City. I was comforted by the experience of receiving it from her. It put me at ease. I didn't realize I was holding onto a bit of trepidation about presenting Bolero and Beethoven's Fifth. Those two were her creations and I had to clamp down on a version and make it tight in order to teach it.

I was comforted mostly by seeing how doing it differently wouldn't make it any worse. I felt not only that relaxation that comes with confidence and an playfulness and ease that come from being relaxed. I also threw in a few of Marcelle's movements that were lovely and I hadn't seen before.
They went over well today in Coralville.

Beth Pelton wrote a book called Active Living, which she gave me a copy of tonight. I haven't read it yet, but I glanced through it and skimmed parts and read the headings. It looks really good, basic, thorough and informative. Keeping it simple, free of ego and with an eye toward being nice to yourself. I'm sure I'll enjoy reading it.

And after class, one of the students, Nia Brown Belt, Bruce Thayer invited me to his photography studio to model for his Emotions in Motion series.

Bruce is responsible for some of my favorite photos of me. Like this one:

And he also had a project called Emotions in Motion. Which is a photography project, and he also had silhouettes made into decals, or something, and affixed them to walls in Nia studios in Santa Fe and Coralville. And he also had the silhouette images made into bracelets, like the one I wear whenever I teach class. 

So he gave me a black shirt to wear and said he could change my shorts to black digitally. He put me on the trampoline and I did a few mid air poses. I jumped up and posed a few emotions but the one we liked the most was a tight, balled up grumpy old man. Now that I look at his whole portfolio, I can see that it would be a perfect addition. I hope it all works out and I get to see myself added to his album.

And before I headed out of his studio, he handed me a big bag of his homemade granola. He painstakingly seeks out all natural and organic nuts and grains and dried fruit, (25 ingredients in all) and hand cuts the fruit and mixes it all up by hand in industrial-size buckets.

I am eating it straight out of the bag, it's so good. I haven't even added milk, and don't know if I'll get a chance to before it's gone.


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