Sunset Cliffs Aikido Dojo – Day Six and Seven

Day Six – Wednesday

Tim and I start the day by attending to the Shomen.

We have almost a full day before evening classes. So we go shopping. We head out to a local mall and find Sensei Bernice a sun hat.  You can tell how important Tim considers Sensei by how much deliberation was put into looking for the right hat.   Hat in hand we head back to OB.

At OB the street market is starting up. I think of Kay, knowing that she would have LOVED to experience the market.

We grab some lunch and start shopping for our families. T-shirts, shells, and other brick-a-brack in tow we grab a coffee and hang until time to head back to the dojo for my final classes of the trip.

The beginners class went over the basics. First seven jo suburi. Rolls, Falls, footwork (two-step, irimi, tenkan), Shomen Uchi Ikkyo through Nikkyo, Morote Dori Kokyu Ho.

Let me say that when it comes to morote dori kokyu ho I had never been thrown as hard as I had by Sensei Tim. That is until I pair up with Shunsuke.  Shunsuke has a POWERFUL throw. My first fall I am not prepared and take a good noggin smack on the mat.  Oh, what glorious wonderful mats they are.  After shaking the stars from my vision I approach for the second throw. This time I have the wherewithal to lead the throw. Still not good enough.  Much later after the advanced class is done I ask Eric how to handle such powerful throws.  He shows me a “cheater” step with a fall to the opposite side that I am going to investigate some more.

In advanced class Sensei Bernice introduces us to a number of morote dori kokyu ho henka. How to handled when someone winds your arm into your side, same but with a wrist grab, two people holding you above the floor with arms akimbo (like a scare crow), and one with only one arm being held out with elbow pointing high.  My favorite was the two person grab. You basically get a bit of a tilt going then fall back.

A highlight of the class for me was getting a chance to practice my first swariwaza (knee techniques).  I partnered up with a fellow named Dan. I am guessing he was a 2nd or 1st KYU.  Dan knew his swariwaza and I was able to perform Ikkyo through Sankyo off of yokoman uchi strikes.  As with any first time effort it was not graceful, but because I knew these moves from a standing position I was able to adapt in a reasonable amount of time.

Carl and I perform two rounds of jiyu waza. Free form sparing is exhausting. I am still working on my breathing techniques… But after just two 2-3 minute sessions I am out of breath and tired.

Instead if changing out of my wet gi I stay around and watch the full sho-dan practice test. It is amazing how much of this test I have had exposure to over the last year and a half.  Watching the aikidoka take the test is an eye opener, and it makes me want to get to that point so bad I can taste it.  As Sensei Tim says in his kids taekwondo classes: patience.

The next day is my drive to LA and flight back to Atlanta.  It is also the same day that many of the uchi deshi, including Tim, are going to be driving to Lake Tahoe. The queue for the washer/dryer is long.  The locals indicate that if I want to be sure to get to LAX in time for my flight I will want to leave at 5:30am.

Tim, Eric, Christina, Adrian, and I stay up. We drink Adrian’s beer and talk Aikido, look up each others names in the urban dictionary, and in general just have a good time hanging out.  While we were talking I pulled up my twitter app and see that Kay has posted a picture of Eli graduating.  I was training so hard earlier that evening that I totally forgot that my son was dressed up in his graduation gown.  I am very happy that Kay and my mom were there for his special day.  I finish my laundry and get to sleep at 2:30am.

Day Seven – Thursday

5:30 am (San Diego) – to 10:30pm Atlanta

The only major point of note is that when I was dropped off at my car in the Park-in-ride at ATL the driver put me on the wrong car. After hiking the full length of the row I find Zippy and start to load my bags. That was when I realized I had left the bag with all my Aikido equipment (gi, pads, shoes) on the bus.  I hop in the car and speed down the rows.  I was able to cut the bus off at the exit to get my bag. *whew*

I get home, hug my wife, and kiss a sleeping Eli.  All is right in the world.

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Sunset Cliffs Aikido Dojo – Day Four and Five

Day Four

Moday brings the Childrens, Beginners, and Advanced classes.

Children’s Class

I was allowed to assist in the training of the children’s class. I spent more time learning than I did training in the class.  Sensei Bernice made a number of corrections in my go no awase.  As Nage I need to take a much larger step back so that only the tips of our bokken meet at the end of the counter strike.

Children’s class was also the first time I have ever attempted a high fall.  We bring out these large mats. Sensei Tim tells me to step up and follow the kids. Sensei Bernice sees me come up, shakes her head and has Tim take over. My first high fall I forget “kokyu in the legs” and almost talk at a higher octave for the next while, but I get past it. After that I performed about 10 high falls with the children.

Beginner’s Class

Sempai Ben leads the beginners class. We go through more Bokken (first seven suburi) then work on taijutsu.  Sempai Ben corrects my back falls. I need to get better and bending my legs to get lower to the ground before falling. This is a difficult adjustment for me, but one I know I need to get so that my ukemi improves.

During this time Carl and I had a brain fart and was doing the omote waza version of Shomen Uchi Sankyo when we should have been doing the ura waza version. Sempai Ben again corrects, at which point and time I stumble through an explaination of what I was trying when it dawns on me that we had not been in line with what the class was doing.  Seriously, I “know” shomen uchi sankyo ura waza well.  I messed it up on my 4th KYU test and as a result spent a good bit of time making sure I had it right.  Then flub here.  *sigh*

Advanced Class

This class contained at least seven black belts (dan) and many white belts (kyu). It was exciting to know that I have the opportunity to train with such a large variety of aikidoka.

Many of the moves we were working on were Kokyu Nages and variations on Kokyu Nage and or escapes from inconvenient grabs.  The first black belt I worked with was a bartender named Jason.  We were supposed to be doing a behind the back elbow lock with a throw.  Since I have never taken ukemi for this technique, and I was not up to the high fall that Sensei Tim performed with Sensei Bernice I was at a loss as to what to do. Sensei Bernice saw a number of us strugling with the ukemi on this move and had Tim show us how to perform a back-fall from the technique.

I failed to perform a back-fall. Instead I ended up planting my right knee right into the top of Jason’s foot.  He hopped around and sucked air for a good 20 seconds, while I knelt there feeling very small. He made a joke about it, explaining that he still had one good foot.

Finally, I worked with Don.  Come to find out later, Don has been at Sunset Cliffs for over 30 years, was a work out partner with, and friend of Sensei Tim. Many times over the course of this week I was given corrections on the throw portion of morote dori kokyu ho (two handed grab on one arm, throw to the back). It was with Don’s direction I was able to put all that advice together and get what felt like a good throw.

Afterward I was in my room trying to get my breathing normal and peeling off my wet gi I hear very familiar kiai.  Walking out I see Sensei Tim taking ukemi for one of the dojo’s prospective first degree black belts.  Like all other aspects of this trip, watching the rest of the sho dan test was educational.

Before dinner Sensei Bernice indicates that there are two “already paid for” openings for the Lake Tahoe gasshuku.   I am honored when she asks me if I would like to go. It is hard to describe how hard it is to tell Sensei Bernice “no”. I flub around it as best I can, but the reality is that I have family waiting for me that I long to see, and non-refundable plane tickets.


That evening Sensei Bernice, Sempai Ben, Sensei Tim, and I go to Sapporo for dinner. The one time I try to add to the conversation I was trying to tell the story of how Sensei Tim was able to help Taylor take me down from “Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Ura Waza”.  The problem was that I said the words “Shomen Uchi Nikkyo Ura Waza” but put my arm in the right position for Ikkyo.  I never got to finish the story.  All three of them were on me like white on sushi rice.


Did not happen this evening.

Day Five – Tuesday

Only two more days of training then I am heading back to Atlanta. It is bittersweet. I cannot wait to get home to my family.  However this lifestyle and all the training sings to me. I am in a great place mentally as I know no matter what my Aikido is stronger for the experience and my love for my family is even stronger!

Tim and I grab breakfast early. While we are talking I question the start time of the class.  Glad I did. Othewise we would have walked into the class already started without the Shomen being cleaned.  We bolt down the rest of our breakfast and head over to the dojo.  I am dressed before Tim so he sends me to attend to the Shomen. Eric (one of the uchi deshi) watches to make sure I get it right. At one point he says “Good enough, Sensei is here. Bow out.” and I obliged.  Later Tim explained that the Shomen was fine since Sensei Bernice had nothing to say about it’s condition.

Weapons this morning consisted of an hour of the fifth Kumitach.  I am the only person in the room that does not know this move. Sensei Bernice asks Tim to work with me on it solo while she moves the class through a number of henka.

For taijutsu we did an hour of katate dori kokyu ho and kokyu nage techniques.  One of my favorite techniques of the day was new to me.  From katate dori, instead of stepping at an angle into the body of the attacker, you step at an angle away from the attacker (on the same side as the grab).  While stepping away grab the lapel of the gi (or their jacket/back of neck, pony tail, etc), drop to what is now your back knee and pull them “down”.  The person taking ukemi performs a forward roll with the grabbing hand.

Since there were no classes that evening that we were required to attend we headed out and caught a showing of Battleship.  While it was somewhat entertaining, after more consideration I am going to write it down as a “don’t bother”.

Afterward Tim and I headed back to OB and had a few drinks.  If not mentioned already, the beverages of choice was a beer followed by a few shots of quality tequila.

Evening I went over the 20 jo suburi for about 40 minutes. I need to get my nomenclature down solid and then I will have all the different moves understood better.  Tim wanted to practice some ken tae jo (jo vs bokken). Shunsuke showed up and they spent about 20 minutes going over the different techniques.  It is fascinating seeing Tim in his element.

I fell asleep around 1am.  I am now fully on West coast hours.  Getting used to Eastern time is going to suck.

Sunset Cliffs Aikido Dojo – Day Six and Seven

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Sunset Cliffs Aikido Dojo – Day Three

Day 3: In which “first time” comes up a lot!

Sunday.  I wake up a couple hours earlier than I wanted through a combination of forty-one year old sore being amplified by the previous days training and drinking.  I am NOT hung over. Kay taught me this a long time ago, and Tim reminded me that, if you drink lots of water with your alcohol you can stave off being very ill.  I am not very ill. But what I am is not quite right either.  I am glad to be up the couple of hours early as I need the time to group.  Tim and I have breakfast at Shades and then head back to the dojo.

I am informed that at 10am there will be a 30 minute meditation session followed by a 30 minute yoga class.  Up to this point and time I have never sat quietly still for this period of time.  I have also never attended a group yoga class. Yay me for my sheltered geek life.

I would like to tell you that my first meditation was a resounding success……..

First Meditation

Timothy told me that the key was to just focus on my breathing. What I was not warned about was the “foot sleep”.  About 10 minutes into the meditation my feet were pins and needles. I tried flexing them and moving my toes, but the joints would pop loudly. I did not want my popcorn noise making feet to mess up others meditation so I just settled for a slight “bounce”.  I am guessing 20 minutes into the meditation I was wondering why my feet were not moving.  I glance down (I know, not meditating) and see that my feet are vibrating!!

At some point I hear three bells. Their peels announcing my potential impending humiliation. I get one knee off the mat, the other foot planted to stand up.  Stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck.  Everyone is walking to the edge of the mat to put their blankets and  seating down in preparation for 30 minutes of yoga. I am not sure how but I heave my back leg up and am now standing. Like a newborn calf, I immediately start moving so as not to get stuck again and somehow make it to the edge of the mat.

The cushion that has so capably kept my posterior comfortable goes on the pile. Sensei Tim is standing there looking at me.  He motions me toward the mat. I cannot move.  I can see my feet.  Other than the vision of them I have no other sensation. Tim is now trying to contain his mirth.  He fails.  At the same time he is laughing he is telling me that I have to get back on that mat for yoga.  “Hurry Jay! The class is about to start!!” All I can do is whisper back to him over and over “I cannot move my feet, I cannot move my feet!” It is all I can do to keep my balance. I feel like if I move my feet I will just topple over.

A few moments later and my feet start to tingle. Then a swarm of angry hornets take up residence at the end of my ankles.  This is the cue for my muscles to indicate that if I liked I could move.   I use my hands to grab the fabric of my gi pants and lift my left leg.  I put it down and proceed to reproduce that motion with my right leg. After a few of these I can actually move them by themselves. As I walk it feels like the mat is electrified. Each time I put a foot down a cattle prod is applied with much mallace.

Then we did yoga.  Let’s just say that I do not have the energy and patience to cover that lesson. I can say that Sempai Ben was very compassionate to my plight by providing additional cushions during key positions.


First seven suburi.  I was provided a correction on my thrusts by Sensei Bernice on my thrust: lock bokken inline with my right arm, right arm on top, left elbow synched into my side, bokken straight out in front.

Learned Kumitach #2. Awesome.  (Clean this up!!)

– (Uke)Raise bokken slowly over head. (Nage) Follows.
– (Uke)Step in and strike to knee. (Nage)Step back and block. (Nage) Lift sword back to center, to allow.
– (Uke) Step in and thrust (second part of 7th suburi). (Nage) Step back and counter.
– (Uke) Attack (first part of 7th suburi). (Nage) Step back and block.  Then take center. (Uke) Takes bokken to side.
– (Uke) Final thrust. (Nage) Counter.

Sunset Cliffs Aikido Dojo – Day Four

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Sunset Cliffs Aikido Dojo – Day One and Two

My first two days in San Diego at the Sunset Cliffs Aikido Dojo ;tldr; rules apply.

I am tweeting as much as possible using the hashtag #SDAIKIDOTRIP.

Day 1: Travel

The plan for Friday was to get up early, pick up Sensei Tim and be on an airplane by 6:15 bound for San Diego (via Denver).

First time in my life I have missed a flight. For some reason neither Tim nor I had the proper mindset of “we could miss this flight” and as a result we allowed enough little things slow us down that we missed the first leg by 4 minutes. We are not the only folks to miss this flight. In addition to ourselves there was the:

– Middle Aged couple rolling with the punches.
– Emotionally challenged young lady that missed her best friends graduation.
– Baby momma, with baby and a load of stuff in tow.
– Quiet war veteran.

It was also the first time I had a bag that weighted too much. I had to shed 7 lbs (two pairs of shoes creatively crammed and the video camera put in my computer bag) to be able to check my mammoth of a suitcase.

Tim and I spent a good bit of time getting to know gates D and C at Atlanta international airport. We were “standby” on the next flight to Denver which was scheduled for 3:55pm.  For those math folks out there, a good eight plus hours later.  As it got closer to our departure time we were reminded several times by the helpful folks at Frontier Airlines that this flight was full. For most folks waiting this helped them plan how to deal with their oversized carry-ons.  For Tim and it just felt like they were rubbing it in.  Fifteen minutes before the scheduled departure time standby passengers were announced.  Several names including mine were called.  Sensei’s was not. I explained as nicely as I could that “Jones” could not fly without “Pritchard”. She asked me to wait a few moments, looked around and then called out, “Now boarding Jones, Pritchard!”  *whew*

Very quick layover in Denver. Tim and I grab some drinks at the bar while waiting. My iPod was low so I plugged it in for a quick sip of vitamin-Electricity.  Our flight calls for boarding, grab stuff and head to the play.  I get ready to sit down, feel for my iPod and realized it is not in pocket. I ask the stewardess if I may disembark to get my “phone”.  She asks the pilot and he responds in the negative.  However he then does something amazing.  He asks me how close it is and what it looks like. He then exists the plane.  Less than 3 minutes later he is back on board with iPod and charger in hand.  Honestly, BEST PILOT EVER!!!  Oh, and the flight from Denver to Los Angeles was nicely done.

By the time we arrived in LA our baggage was waiting for us. Seems our “fishing bag” made it through TSA without issue.  The guy in the baggage claim area asked “those aren’t billiards cue’s are they?”.  I responded that they were “walking sticks”.  He gave me one of those “uh huh”s and we laughed.

8:45 (timezone is up to the reader to figure out) and we are finally in our rental driving from LA to San Diego.  The next 45 minutes are filled trying to find a place to eat.  Tim and I start out picky, and end up almost eating at “Gammy’s”.  Instead we have dinner at Charlies Best Burgers.  Ends up Charlie also makes good mexican.

I could write several entire posts on HWY-5 traffic at 11:00pm between LA and San Diego.  Sufficient to say it was impressive.  I fear for the drive back next Thursday.

Checked into the Heritage Inn at 11:30 p.m. Asleep by midnight.  We have been up for 19 hours.  Yay sleep.

Day 2: First Day of Training

Tim and I wake up at 6am, get our gear, and head out to Sunset Cliffs. Grab breakfast at the Old Townhouse Restaurant (good food). Get to the dojo and a flurry of introductions prior to the 8am class.  Meet many of the Uchi Deshi including Carl, Eric, Nick, Shunsuke, and Christine.

Thats right folks, Aikido at 8am.  I LOVE IT!!  For those following that want to pass the quiz at the end of this post please refer to the Sunset Cliffs Aikido Class Schedule.

Class started with a Jo lesson. We covered the Jo Suburi and Kumijos 8 and 9.  I was given a few corrections by Sensei:
– When holding my Jo in Tsuki Kemea keep my back elbow bent at 90 degrees and the Jo straight and above my waist. (I should NOT have needed this reminder, but it was correct and timely.)

The Tijitsu class covered Morote Dori and all its variants.  Carl, one of the Uchi Deshi (live in studends), was a pleasure to work with on the standard Morote Dori Kokyu Ho.  I performed Jui Waza with Shunsuke to end the class.  I can say that without the last five months of condition and strength training I would not have made it through the first bout.  It felt great to be able to make it through both a weapons and taijutsu classes. My corrections for this class was instruction from Sensei on how I should better take Ukemi for Taino Henko, I have been going “balls on feet” to keep connection. Instead I should be lowering my center and turning my back into the hold.  I must keep my balance at all costs, and my previous method did not help that.  Another correction was that during the Morote Dori grab I was NOT to strike at Nage.

Right after class I see Sensei Bernice talking with Sensei Tim. A few moments later Tim asks me how I would feel about staying at the Dojo for the rest of our stay.  While he is asking me I can hear Sensei Bernice indicating that we need to call the hotel quickly as we do not want to be charged for another night.  It really is an honor and nice that I can spend a week in a place that is so special to Tim.  The vibe here is amazing and I am very much looking forward to the experience.  All the Uchi Deshi are nice and have been very gracious in accepting us into their home.

I had lunch with Sensei Bernice, Sempai Ben, and Sensei Tim at Ranchos.  The owner are long time friends of Sensei Bernice and Ben. The food was great and it was a pleasure to see Tim catch up with Sensei.

I got to see Kay and Eli on a Facetime call using my iPod and the Dojo WiFi. I love this future we live in where I can see my family half way across the country and still be able to do something that I love at the same time!

Later in the day Tim and I hit South Beach Bar and Grill (where Tim was a door man during his days as Uchi Deshi). We had shrimp stuffed jalapeno poppers and a mahi fish taco. Amazing. Seeing as how we are still only six hours of sleep off of the previous day, we decide to imbibe a bit. Check out the twitter link and look for “Before” and “After”.    I can say that Aikido practice while a bit tipsy does wonders for one’s ukemi.

A nights sleep and…..

Sunset Cliffs Aikido Dojo – Day Three


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I haven’t posted much lately due to our site being hacked. WTF?! Come on hackers, there are sites out there that get FAR more traffic than ours! Move on to them, and hack away!

Whew! I’m glad I got that off my chest.

So, changes. Yep, there’s a lot changing in our world right now. We’ve been working really hard to put our house on the market. We’ve decided that we need to live somewhere else. For our GA friends, that may mean somewhere closer to Johns Creek. Not that we don’t like Sugar Hill, but our lives are out in the Johns Creek area. It also may mean a move somewhere else. We just don’t know yet. We do know that the first thing to do is sell our house, and then whatever we decide, we can accomplish a lot easier. Hopefully our house will go on the market within the next few weeks.

We’ve had rooms painted, put stuff in storage, made more trips to Goodwill than ever, and in general, we’re getting ready. This has taken a toll on both of us. Eli too. He asked me the other day, “mom, will we also sell our toilet?” What a crazy thing to ask, but I suppose it is in his realm of thought, and therefor a concern.  He’s also been very concerned about us selling his toys. I’ve never though about this decision though his eyes, and I’m beginning to see that more things than I think impact him. That creature simply amazes me every day.

What else is changing, how about my employment status. Nothing has been confirmed for me, but I’m fairly certain my days are numbered where I work. I’ve been with this company long enough to know when layoffs are coming – there are things you see and notice, and these have certainly been happening. You take these hints and couple them with office gossip and rumors, and the writing on the wall is not only evident, but it’s neon green. While I wish I could go on and on about how I’m devastated by this news, I’m really glad it’s happening.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy to hear your name isn’t picked for the soccer team. You might ask as to why I’m glad, well,  I’ll write that post after the deed is done. So, if you know anyone looking for a business analyst/trainer/tech writer, give me a shout, ok? Networking is important.

And one more change… Eli is wrapping up his Pre-K year. He’ll do the summer camp at his school, but after that, it’s on to Kindergarden at the local Elementary school. I have a mix of emotions about this one, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow. My boy is growing up, and with that his mom had no idea the emotional impact this would have on her. I have often described my mom as being an emotional rock. I wonder if she had melt-downs too, but just did them where I couldn’t see. I’ll add that to the list of things to ask her.

So, changes are happening. Exciting and scary, all wrapped in to one! 🙂

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My turn to say 41!

OK, so it has actually been a full week+ since I turned 41.  Life is hectic now so I have been in a non-blog mode.  Here goes!

I had a BLAST with dinner with friends at Liu Fu which is an excellent Chinese restaurant in John’s Creek.   The food and beer was awesome and the friends even better!

BTW, Paul shared this at dinner.  You must check out the Veet Customer Reviews.

Afterward we all had a good time eating cake and listening to Paul and Store sing about Pirates.  Paul, Amy, Tim, Alice, Kay, and I finished the night with a game of Time’s Up!! Kay and Amy are formidable.

I have to say thank you to everyone that passed on birthday wishes.

I received some very nice gifts.  Mikey and Liva made sure I would be eating breakfast in style for a while ($$), Sully and Kay each got me different versions of the Penny Arcade card games.  I am awaiting sleeves before I give a play, but hope to have many a good game.

Transition.  Not sure how move from the above light-hearted to the below solemn, so this is it.

The Wednesday after my birthday I received a card from my step-mother Lisa. At first I was a bit taken back by it as it was filled with a tone and emotion that was not reflective of the relationship that she and I have had over the years.  When I got to the end of it the note she left helped make sense of the card.  The short of it is that she said that Dad had picked out the card for my Birthday before he passed.  What was even more poignant about the card was that it arrived three days after my birthday, which is about spot on for Dad and birthday’s.  I was at the table eating dinner when I got the card, and it was all I could do to keep my shit together.  It is the best birthday gift I think I will ever receive in that it is all the things I had hoped to hear from my father before his sudden passing.  All that is left now are the things I did not get to tell him.  I am comforted with the knowledge that if he felt the way he did about me based on the words in that card then he knew how I felt about him.

Thanks to everybody for a wonderful birthday!  (Now I am off to give this tube of Veet a try.)

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Today I celebrate my 41st year of existence! I’m so blessed in so many ways. There was a lot of highlights to my day:

  • Began the day with cards and gifts from my son and husband.
  • Did a great swim workout and visit to the hot tub. Every day should begin like this.
  • Had coffee with my husband and his friend Tim. Again, need to do this more often.
  • Read two Dr. Seuse books to my son’s class. Then was treated to the birthday bopper (a giant inflatable hammer) and a the singing of Happy Birthday from his class mates. Dang near made me cry.
  • Got treated to a balloon and card from a co worker. She rocks.
  • Got treated to lunch from a good friend. She rocks too!
  • Got flowers sent to my work from my extra special nephew. That kid has my heart! Almost cried again.  Twice in one day!
  • Had drinks after work with some special ladies. Everyone should have special ladies in their lives. I’m blessed to have these.
  • Had dinner with my husband and son as my son’s favorite restaurant.
  • Was wished happy birthday from some far away friends via the internet. Miles may separate us, but the love was felt.

I am so thankful for the events of this day. They renew my soul and remind me again just how blessed I am.

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Seems our WordPress installation was hacked with a php injection script. I spent several day’s removing the hack by hand to only have it come back.

What you see here is our WordPress installation at its bare minimum configuration. The good news is all the “information” is still available, but I am not sure about all the images and videos have translated over with. I still have all the media, but the media is not necessarily in the place that this new wordpress install expectes it.

So hats off to you script injection, redirection to mal-ware code monkeys.  You succeed at being the worst kind of technical person in existence. I would buy you a beer if I could find you. After which…..

If our site is compromised again I will consider a clean sweep and potentially roll my own.  Probably not nearly as functional/feature rich as WP has become. But damnit it would be mine.  Either that or I will just change this site into a Facebook/Google+/Twitter aggregator and just snapshot this blog for historical value.

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It’s the Simple Things

I try very hard to make sure my family has a home cooked meal for dinner. When I was growing up, if it didn’t come from a can, box or some other processed, pre-packaged method, then we rarely got it. Now, this is no reflection on my parents… they were hard working and they did the best they could with what they had. But now that I’m a parent, this is a choice I make to try to cook as fresh as veggies as I can, with lean meats, and I try to make it somewhat healthy.

Eli has done well trying new veggies and foods, and he’s often not at all excited by my supper time offerings. I’ve found things that he likes, and I do try to make those often, but I also try very hard to get him to continue to try things he says he doesn’t like.  This is mostly any fresh veggies that I cook. I know I’m not the only parent with this challenge, and I know his pallet will develop over time. Hey, I consider it a win that he likes black olives, especially since I do not.

My nephew visited a while back and I asked him what he’d like to eat for dinner, and he said, “hamburger Helper!” So, I got a box of it, and some how we never did get around to cooking it. It’s been holding a lovely corner of my pantry ever since. A conversation with some friends over the weekend brought us around to Hamburger Helper, and Jay asked me why I never fix it. Well, thinking back to my “home cooked” philosophy, I just figured it wasn’t as healthy as fresh meats/veggies. But, that being said, it’s ok to have such things once in a while, right? So, I decided to cook it.

I made the Beef Pasta variety of Hamburger Helper, and it was easy enough. When I served it to Eli, I put some on the plate with green peas and apple sauce (again processed and from a can, but hey, I added some color to this plate, so give me a break!) Again, Eli has never, ever had this (to my knowledge).

Eli takes the first bite and just smiles the happiest smile I’ve seen since he first played a video game. The sound from his mouth was, “MMMMMMMMM”. I watched as he chewed not knowing if I should cry or laugh. The second bite was followed by the exclamation, “Mom, this is wonderful!” With each bight his delight grew, along with my inner conflict. I want this to be something he enjoys, but I also want him to realize that this is something we can’t and will not eat every day.

Finally, I got some relief… Eli says, “Mom, is this a healthy food?” My boy has been listening to my lectures on eating healthy, and I explained that while it wasn’t the healthiest, that in moderation, we could add it to our menu. Again, delight.

After a second helping of Hamburger Helper, Eli cleared his plate, and cleared his dishes when he was done.  Our conversation had shifted to the next night’s dinner, and I explained it will be left over night. Eli shouted, “I want the left over Hamburger Helper!” No surprises there.

So, we have a new menu item in the Jones household. Hamburger Helper, thank you for bringing my son so much happiness.

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Epic Weekend is Epic!

Had a crazy weekend. Described in my favorite format.

  • Squash tournament Friday/Saturday
    • Learned how to referee a game (“Love”, not “zero”. “Hand out” not “choice”.)
    • Lost the first game of the night.  I was not at my best.
    • Won the consolation bracket. (I did not loose again.)
  • Aikido on Saturday (right after my last squash match)
    • Bennie and I getting much closer to our 4th KYU test!
    • I blanked on what Irimi Nagi is, but I performed it like a boss.
  • Kay and I shopped for and acquired a new TV and Refrigerator Saturday evening.
    • Kay hates our current fridge. (May do a post on this later.)
    • Our current TV has spider web syndrome.
    • Brandsmart may look like the New Orleans of electronics shops, but we got some great deals.
    • Buying a new TV meant we needed a new TV stand.
  • Quickest run to Ikea in the history of the world Sunday morning.
    • Picked up a TV stand and Bookcase.
    • From parking the car to driving away in less than 20 minutes.
  • Built the Ikea TV stand.
    • Looks great, but ugh.

I slept like the dead Sunday night.

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