I saw the rumored dumpster-diving bear tonight. It’s hard to tell from this iPhone photo taken in the dark, in the rain, from across the parking lot, but that organic-looking shape on the upper right-hand corner of the big rollaway dumpster is a rather large bear!

In addition to that late-night excitement, We have had a heck of a lot of really awesome training. Five classes today, beginning with Chuck Hauk Sensei, and then the four main instructors for the retreat. I think it was something like five hours on the mat. Each session is an hour, and there are ample breaks and open mat time.

Each day starts at 7 AM, and tomorrow the guest instructor is Linda Holiday Sensei, who I have not trained with yet. Looking forward to that. I had best get some sleep before then!

Had a great pre-breakfast training session With Chuck Hauk sensei. He taught yokomen-uchi shiho-nage, starting from blending spinning around your partner, like an amusement park ride. :-) Very much like how we do it at our dojo, plus a few additional comments and cautions. Nice way to start the day, and it’s great to be training with so many friends. Now off to breakfast, and some real coffee.

This is what the walk from the student housing to the dojo looks like.

This afternoon we had registration, and then dinner. Because it’s a small campus, the dining hall is about the size of the snack bar at San Diego State!

We had our first training session tonight. Two hours – 30 minutes with each Of the four primary instructors: Craig Fife Sensei, Greg O’Connor Sensei, Kimberly Richardson Sensei, and Michael Friedl Sensei.

Off to write some notes in my training journal for the evening, and then to bed as quickly as possible. We are back on the mat at seven in the morning, before breakfast!

The campus is beautiful, and they have an extensive Equestrian and outdoor recreation program. Those fields you see in the photo are horse pastures, and a few cows too.

The town of Quincy is very small, but it’s really cute. Wi-Fi here on campus is iffy — it’s just took almost 15 minutes to upload the previous photo. But it’s a lovely place to have a retreat!

My in-laws, Charles and Joni Eskin, very generously invited me to fly in and stay with them on Saturday, and then this morning drove me from Roseville up to Quincy.

We arrived early enough to poke around town a little, and to have a very good lunch at Patti’s Morning Thunder restaurant.

Waiting at the gate to head to Sacramento, and from there on to Quincy for the Aiki Summer Retreat. Packing for a trip reveals one’s priorities. My carry-on bag contains 4 gis, my belt, enough daily-wear contact lenses for the week, my buckwheat filled pillow, (without which I would be a physical wreck), several small notebooks, and a handful of new pens. I have my wallet, my iPhone, and my iPad in my purse. :-) Everything else is in my checked bags, and can be replaced if need be.

I got to the airport almost 2 hours early. Check in went smoothly, and I’ve spent about half an hour talking to a woman on her way to Vegas, about travel, business stuff, and managing workgroups. Now sitting in the floor. There are chairs available, but I’m going to have to sit in a chair for an hour and a half once I get on the plane, so I’m avoiding them.

I think they are calling for our boarding. I’m almost last. Should be interesting.

So Exciting! Off to Camp Soon!

This is quick, because I have a lot to do today. I’m going to the Aiki Summer Retreat 2013 – the one formerly held at Menlo College – at Feather River College in Quincy, California. This will be my second time going. Some people have been going for decades!

I had a great time talking with Frank Bloksberg Sensei, one of the organizers, a few weeks ago. We chatted about what it’s like to go to the Retreat, especially as a first-timer and lower-ranked student. It was a lot of fun. You can watch our 40-minute webinar here, if you like:


I’ll be blogging throughout the week. Here’s the big picture:

Today I’m packing and setting my bags by the door, and then tonight I’m going with some friends to train in Mexico. My teacher, Dave Goldberg Sensei will be leading a workshop at Aikido Tijuana, as he does every few months. 

Saturday morning I’ll hop on a plane to Sacramento (only after taking Sudafed, drinking plenty of water, and chewing gum, all to ward off vertigo – I hope) . There I’ll get to visit with Michael’s parents, who are lovely people. I’m planning to show them how to make my favorite kind of gluten-free bread. On Sunday morning they will drive me the 2-½ hours to Quincy and drop me off at the campus.

Sunday afternoon through the following Saturday morning will be Aikido, Aikido, Aikido, plus some food, a little sleep, lots of friends, and the infamous Aiki Retreat. I have a song half written. Must get that finished!

After the Retreat I’m hitching a ride back to Sacramento with a dear friend, one of my Aiki mentors, and flying home. Back to the dojo on Monday.

I’d best get busy packing!

Training a LOT, and Getting Ready for Camp

So much to say, and so little time! I have been training tons, and loving every minute of it. I’ve been writing a lot, but mostly in my training journal and content for a book or two. A hundred insights and aha moments to share, and a few frustrations. I went to one camp already, and am signed up for 4 seminars/camps already, with a few more on the horizon.

On Friday I’m going to Tijuana with some friend for a class with Sensei, and then on Saturday I’ll be leaving for the Aiki Summer Retreat. I plan to be blogging from camp, and a little before I leave, too, if I can find the time. 

As I was in the middle of writing this short post I remembered that I had to wash the gi I need for today’s kids’ class, and I need to leave in an hour! Ran to the washer and got that started. Typical of how my week has been going. LOL