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[NOTE - I originally published this as a link to grabmywrist.com, where I also post this blog, but decided the whole list should be here, too. As I go along I'll only be updating the other one, but when all is said and done I'll post a revised/final version here, too. Enjoy!]
This summer, June 12-18, I'm going for the first time to the Aiki Summer Retreat at Menlo College, in Atherton, California (in the Bay Area). The sensei are Robert Nadeau, Frank Doran, Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan, and Mary Heiny Sensei, plus other instructors in the evenings. (If you're going to the Aiki Summer Retreat at Menlo College, drop me a note! I'd love to meet up there, and get to know some of the names here as real live people. :-) )
It's the kind of thing where you stay in the dorms, eat in the dining hall, swim in the pool, and eat, breathe, and sleep Aikido for a whole week. I'll be driving there and back (about 10 hours each way). Part seminar, part summer camp, part road trip. Woohoo!
I know a bunch of folks who have gone before, both fellow students from Aikido of San Diego, and people I've met at seminars (and am looking forward to seeing again!). Dave Goldberg Sensei has gone many times, and says he's never had a bad day there (besides, it's a cheap vacation). Cathé, a dojo mate, went last year and has given me a whole array of great tips for having a great time.
Being the planning, list-making sort, I've been planning and making lists. If you're going, too, you might find them helpful. Check back from time to time, as I will be adding to these, I'm sure. Here's what I've got so far:
Oil change & check fluids
Wash / vacuum
Shop for food & supplies
Do laundry. Write name in all my gi / belt.
Arrange horse & donkey care. Others may not need to do this. ;-)
If going alone, arrange to visit with friends on the way up and back.
Print a list of critical phone numbers, in case of phone failure.
Set up iPad and iPhone with tunes, playlists, photos, and videos.
Road Trip Stuff
Roadside emergency kit (triangles, tools…)
Food Note that I don't eat meat (except for fish), or gluten (wheat, barley, rye). I don't like onions or garlic, and am mildly allergic to cinnamon and walnuts. So I'm hard to get along with. When I go to events where food is included, I bring my own, too. If there's something there I can eat (salad, fruit, cheese), great. If not, I won't starve. I have been told there is a microwave in the dining hall, and a Trader Joe's across the street from the college, so picking simple things up and cooking them there should be easy, too.
Instant Thai soups w/ rice noodles
Big insulated mug
Spoon, fork, and knife (big enough for cutting up fruit)
Ice packs (for icing joints, etc.)
Toiletries kit - remember that this is a dorm, with bathrooms down the hall.
Shampoo & conditioner
Blow dryer & straightening iron
Brush & comb
Fingernail / Toenail clippers
Lotion, sunscreen, hand repair cream (Burt's Bees - highly recommended)
Vision stuff: Contacts, glasses (regular and reading) eye drops, soaking solution, contact case, spare set of lenses, sunglasses
Breathing stuff: Saline nose spray, Sudafed
Ladies, if you need girl stuff, add that to your list, too!
Training Things If you are a dan-ranked sort of person, remember your yudansha book and hakama, too. I don't have to worry about that yet!
Weapons Repair Kit (oil, sandpaper, rag)
Play Clothes I am told it can be pretty warm there, but the weather stats I've seen don't look all that bad. I'm figuring on summer weather, with maybe a cool evening or two thrown in.
Tank tops / undershirts
Guys, you might want to skip the dress. Heck, I might even skip the dress. I just want to plan one outfit that would be appropriate if there's a trip to an off-site sit-down restaurant or something.
Shoes that go with dress
Things for Aiki Follies? This is a mystery to me so far. Props? Guitar? Clown shoes? We shall see…
Dorm Living I am told the dorms are austere, with concrete floors. I think basic bed linens are provided. Some people bring area rugs. (Some even bring flowers in vases!) I'm figuring a rug and/or mat for stretching. A small fan can be really nice. Been there, done that: U of W dorms for the Oshkosh EAA Airshow. Damn… We thought we were going to melt. People who'd been there before packed big box fans on the plane! Others tried to buy locally, but all the stores ran out.
Pillows (two buckwheat hull-filled ones I can't live without)
Towel / Washcloth / Rag
Towel for pool
Several SD Cards
iThings Reportedly, the dorms have WiFi. It's slow, but it should do the trick. I'm on AT&T… No idea what coverage is like there.
Phone earbuds (with mic)
Physical Therapy / First Aid
Stick (or Tiger Tail)
White sports tape
That's is so far. Expect this to change (grow) between now and then. I'll probably post some amendments afterward, too - things I didn't need after all, or wish I'd brought. If you have any suggestions, especially if you've gone before, I'd love to hear them. See you there? I hope!