Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday 16th December 2014……Christmas came early for me!!!!!

Beautiful sunny morning and I went down to the courts for my usual Tuesday tennis but when I got there I found a mix up with the players and there was 5 of us so I told Nano who was the one that was not scheduled to play to take my spot for this morning…I had no problem giving it up as he was the one that was so obliging at the tennis slam when last minute I asked him to take part then two hours later had to cancel him…so it was good he got to play and I came home and sent a lot of time on the computer.

One issue for me is medical coverage because I have been out of my home province in Canada for an extended period of time my health coverage is cancelled and would require me to go back to re apply so I have been looking around for good medical coverage and I think I have found a good company with a adequate coverage for me…so I have lots of forms to fill in and having trouble with the format I think I may need help with the forms.

Anyway it took a lot of time and I really did not achieve very much…..at 12.30pm I had chores to do in town and also went to my old neighborhood to see Sylvester my friend and odd job man as I remembered when my camera was not working properly last year he got someone to fix it…..there is no camera repair shop in town…so I left the camera with him and he will check it out me.  I noticed that the town has a crew paving the road upto my old Colonia so that will be nice for the residents.

I then went for my regular visit with Rita and I also met her lovely daughter Ali, who is down for a whirlwind visit to see her Mum and she was also the one who took charge of my tennis racquet saga…..but wait it gets better…..this is a brief history of the racquet which I now refer to as my bat……I found the bat on the web site of Sports Authority in the States it was 229 dollars on sale for 99 dollars….I tried to order it on line and have it shipped to Ali’s address but because my credit card is a Canadian one they would not accept it so I asked Rita to order it for me and use her card and I gave her the money…that was done and the company told her 7 days for delivery which was enough time for Ali to get it and give it to her Brother Josh who you remember came down three weeks ago…well long story short the bat did not arrive in the 7 days it was over 15 days…anyway I did eventually receive it this weekend.

So when I get to Rita’s she has a big smile on her face and gives me back my money for the bat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  She said Sports authority sent her an e mail survey of the service and Rita filled it in expressing her displeasure of the service…well she received an e mail a few days later telling her how sorry they were and refunded the whole amount…. that is what I call customer satisfaction..…so Leslie gets a free bat!!!!!!!!Merry Christmas!!!!

We had a great game of cards and then I drove Ali around town to do a few chores…….

Tonight I went to a friend of a friends house for dinner it was a small birthday party with wonderful food and great company sorry no photos you know why now!!!!

My friend Carol sent me the below interesting story!!!

 

The slow death of purposeless walking

By Finlo Rohrer BBC News Magazine

Detail from Caspar David Friedrich's "Wanderer above a sea of fog"

 

A number of recent books have lauded the connection between walking - just for its own sake - and thinking. But are people losing their love of the purposeless walk?

Walking is a luxury in the West. Very few people, particularly in cities, are obliged to do much of it at all. Cars, bicycles, buses, trams, and trains all beckon.

Instead, walking for any distance is usually a planned leisure activity. Or a health aid. Something to help people lose weight. Or keep their fitness. But there's something else people get from choosing to walk. A place to think.

Wordsworth was a walker. His work is inextricably bound up with tramping in the Lake District. Drinking in the stark beauty. Getting lost in his thoughts.

 

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Walden Woods

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."

Charles Dickens was a walker. He could easily rack up 20 miles, often at night. You can almost smell London's atmosphere in his prose. Virginia Woolf walked for inspiration. She walked out from her home at Rodmell in the South Downs. She wandered through London's parks.

Henry David Thoreau, who was both author and naturalist, walked and walked and walked. But even he couldn't match the feat of someone like Constantin Brancusi, the sculptor who walked much of the way between his home village in Romania and Paris. Or indeed Patrick Leigh Fermor, whose walk from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul at the age of 18 inspired several volumes of travel writing. George Orwell, Thomas De Quincey, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bruce Chatwin, WG Sebald and Vladimir Nabokov are just some of the others who have written about it.

From recent decades, the environmentalist and writer John Francis has been one of the truly epic walkers. Francis was inspired by witnessing an oil tanker accident in San Francisco Bay to eschew motor vehicles for 22 years. Instead he walked. And thought. He was aided by a parallel pledge not to speak which lasted 17 years.

Walking and texting in London

But you don't have to be an author to see the value of walking. A particular kind of walking. Not the distance between porch and corner shop. But a more aimless pursuit.

In the UK, May is National Walking Month. And a new book, A Philosophy of Walking by Prof Frederic Gros, is currently the object of much discussion. Only last week, a study from Stanford University showed that even walking on a treadmill improved creative thinking.

 

Famous walkers 2

man walking on cobblestones

"Some years ago, a temporary inability to sleep, referable to a distressing impression, caused me to walk about the streets all night, for a series of several nights. The disorder might have taken a long time to conquer, if it had been faintly experimented on in bed; but, it was soon defeated by the brisk treatment of getting up directly after lying down, and going out, and coming home tired at sunrise."

Across the West, people are still choosing to walk. Nearly every journey in the UK involves a little walking, and nearly a quarter of all journeys are made entirely on foot, according to one survey. But the same study found that a mere 17% of trips were "just to walk". And that included dog-walking.

It is that "just to walk" category that is so beloved of creative thinkers.

"There is something about the pace of walking and the pace of thinking that goes together. Walking requires a certain amount of attention but it leaves great parts of the time open to thinking. I do believe once you get the blood flowing through the brain it does start working more creatively," says Geoff Nicholson, author of The Lost Art of Walking.

"Your senses are sharpened. As a writer, I also use it as a form of problem solving. I'm far more likely to find a solution by going for a walk than sitting at my desk and 'thinking'."

Nicholson lives in Los Angeles, a city that is notoriously car-focused. There are other cities around the world that can be positively baffling to the evening stroller. Take Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital. Anyone planning to walk even between two close points should prepare to be patient. Pavements mysteriously end. Busy roads need to be traversed without the aid of crossings. The act of choosing to walk can provoke bafflement from the residents.

 

The flaneur

  • Oxford English Dictionary defines as: "A lounger or saunterer, an idle 'man about town'"
  • Term originated in 19th Century France
  • Poet Charles Baudelaire regarded as archetype

"A lot of places, if you walk you feel you are doing something self-consciously. Walking becomes a radical act," says Merlin Coverley, author of The Art of Wandering: The Writer as Walker.

But even in car-focused cities there are fruits for those who choose to ramble. "I do most of my walking in the city - in LA where things are spread out," says Nicholson. "There is a lot to look at. It's urban exploration. I'm always looking at strange alleyways and little corners."

Nicholson, a novelist, calls this "observational" walking. But his other category of walking is left completely blank. It is waiting to be filled with random inspiration.

Walking in LA

Not everybody is prepared to wait. There are many people who regard walking from place to place as "dead time" that they resent losing, in a busy schedule where work and commuting takes them away from home, family and other pleasures. It is viewed as "an empty space that needs to be filled up", says Rebecca Solnit, author of Wanderlust: A History of Walking.

 

Famous walkers 3

woman walking in park at night

"... When the desire comes upon us to go street rambling... getting up we say: "Really I must buy a pencil," as if under cover of this excuse we could indulge safely in the greatest pleasure of town life in winter -rambling the streets of London."

Many now walk and text at the same time. There's been an increase in injuries to pedestrians in the US attributed to this. One study suggested texting even changed the manner in which people walked.

It's not just texting. This is the era of the "smartphone map zombie" - people who only take occasional glances away from an electronic routefinder to avoid stepping in anything or being hit by a car.

"You see people who don't get from point A to point B without looking at their phones," says Solnit. "People used to get to know the lay of the land."

People should go out and walk free of distractions, says Nicholson. "I do think there is something about walking mindfully. To actually be there and be in the moment and concentrate on what you are doing."

 

Physicists who liked walking

  • Werner Heisenberg liked to walk
  • The full significance of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle only struck British physicist Paul Dirac when the latter was out for a long walk
  • Otto Frisch and Lise Meitner realised the key principle behind atomic weapons on a walk in the snow. Technically, Frisch was not walking but on skis at the time

And this means no music, no podcasts, no audiobooks. It might also mean going out alone.

CS Lewis thought that even talking could spoil the walk. "The only friend to walk with is one who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared."

The way people in the West have started to look down on walking is detectable in the language. "When people say something is pedestrian they mean flat, limited in scope," says Solnit.

Boil down the books on walking and you're left with some key tips:

  • Walk further and with no fixed route
  • Stop texting and mapping
  • Don't soundtrack your walks
  • Go alone
  • Find walkable places
  • Walk mindfully

Then you may get the rewards. "Being out on your own, being free and anonymous, you discover the people around you," says Solnit.

 

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday 15th December 2014…seems strange no class!!!!!!

Wow the weeks go by so fast here we are another Monday morning….I guess I did more running than I thought yesterday at the tennis slam as my legs were a little weary this morning but my yoga class fixed that.

Also promised photos of my new well travelled tennis racquet!!!!!

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When I was doing my Spanish homework over the weekend I got very down on myself and despondent it seemed I can retain not much and I was confused and overwhelmed…some strong words there…..anyway when I saw Marysol this morning for my lesson she grounded me and had me just reading for 45 minutes and reassured me that all students go through this and not to be hard on myself…I must say I felt better when I left and determined to do the best I can.

My next stop was to have tea with my former land lady and good friend Sharon..we got caught up on all our stuff it was a lovely visit thanks.

I then had some banking and chores to do in town before I came home for the day….it seems really strange not to be preparing for my English class I miss those students the next class is not till January 12th…….

This evening was a quiet one catching my breath from a hectic weekend  ……I think I did not mention it on Friday but I did go and see Martin who is Paola's Mum’s boyfriend and the house where they have moved into…I saw him at his work and I just quietly asked him if I could take Paola swimming and he simply told me no…I asked him if I could arrange to take her to the dentist and he told me no…….I will not write here what I told him but I was not rude but quite emphatic…..it seems I have lost the contact with her which makes me sad!!!

Another BBC sorts story…

Serving for Success: The Long Game

Behind every great tennis player is a great reason, a grand goal. They put themselves through a physical and mental mangle for a multitude of motivations.

But each journey starts with a purpose - so what is driving the elite tennis players of the current generation?

"Every player is motivated by the grand slams," Japan's Kei Nishikori, who reached his first major final at the US Open in 2014, tells the BBC.

"When I was a kid I didn't think anything, I was just playing tennis. But now my goal is to get to world No.1 and win grand slams of course."

Australia's former US Open and Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt agrees: "For me, the grand slams are so important.

"Playing at places like Wimbledon is what you dream of as a kid. It will be one of the biggest things that I miss when I eventually do retire."

Kei Nishikori

Nishikori became the first Asian-born male player to reach a Grand Slam singles final at the 2014 US Open

Success at the four majors - the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open - brings other motivating factors: fame and fortune.

An injury-hit 2013 season did not stop Roger Federer, a winner of 17 grand slams, finishing the year as the game's highest earner.

The Swiss banked $172m, with the top female earner, Russian Maria Sharapova, collecting $29m.

The bulk of their income came from sponsorship deals, a product of their fame rather than their infallibility on court.

"For some players, the financial rewards come into it but probably not as many as people think," says Rachel Newnham, who works with British players as the performance lifestyle advisor for the Lawn Tennis Association.

"In the lower professional ranks, the prize money is terrible, so winning more money will eventually motivate those players. But it's definitely the driven, competitive side of players that motivates them most."

For others, there are more personal, esoteric reasons behind why they pick up a racquet.

"All I think of is my grandparents on my father's side," explains French grand slam semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Numbers game

*all records in the Open Era from 1968

$8.014m: 2014 prize money earned by top male earner Novak Djokovic as of 22 September 2014

$6.697m: 2014 prize money earned by top female earner Serena Williams as of 22 September 2014

1.1m: estimated number of people playing tennis globally

344: record number of total career titles won by Czech Martina Navratilova

49: age of the oldest grand slam champion, Navratilova, when she won US Open mixed doubles crown

22: the record number of singles grand slams won in female game by German Steffi Graf

17: the record number of singles grand slams won in male game by Swiss Roger Federer

16: age of Swiss Martina Hingis when she became the youngest singles grand slam winner with victory in the Australian Open

"The way they lived was tough for them and today I am here, hitting well, pretty healthy. I have everything to be the happiest guy in the world."

Dutchman Robin Haase adds: "Tennis is such a competitive sport, it's almost impossible to win. Even Federer and Rafael Nadal lose.

"And I didn't start tennis because of the money. I made my job out of my hobby, for me that's enough motivation."

Carlos Rodriguez, coach to China's two-time grand slam champion Li Na and Belgian seven-time major winner Justin Henin, believes channelling this inner spark is crucial to long-term success.

The Argentine now runs the Potters Wheel International Academy in Beijing, where he is also teaching his philosophy to the next generation.

"I ask players many times 'give me the reason you play tennis?' Rodriguez tells the BBC.

"Many players don't discover the real reason they play, why they sacrifice, travelling all over the world, running behind a grand slam title. I have to show them they can be motivated by themselves.

"It's a state of mind. Tennis helps them to discover their maximum potential as a human being. You are good because you have something inside you."

If sticking with the game requires an internal starter motor, then the decision to retire is even more of a personal choice.

Bjorn Borg

Borg retired at the age of 26 in 1983 with $3.6m in career prize money, a record at the time

Bjorn Borg famously made a shock decision to hang up his wooden racquet at the age of just 26. The Swedish legend was in his prime, on a roll with 11 grand slam titles, but had become tired of the game.

"When you retire, you retire, not because of other people," says 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, who had considered quitting before his triumph on the grass.

"Sometimes you don't want to admit it yourself. 'Maybe one more year, one more year…' In your head you have to be ready and happy."

For others, injuries force them to return permanently to the locker room.

Belgian battler Henin retired in 2008 after becoming burned out. She made a comeback, only to retire three years later at the age of 28 because of an elbow injury.

"I had hoped for another kind of comeback and dreamed of another end," she said at the time.

Modern racquet technology may have changed the game for good but there is evidence that the light, deft racquets are responsible for a rising number of injuries.

The likes of Juan Martin Del Potro and Novak Djokovic have had their 2014 seasons interrupted by injuries to their wrists, which feel the force of today's big hitters.

"The new racquets are lighter and streamlined so they can be twisted and turned at multiple angles," explains Robert Hill, a physiotherapist working with British tennis players at the National Tennis Centre.

"The speed of the hand is now a lot quicker and that puts more stress on the body.

"We did an analysis of our injuries over the last three years. In the upper limbs, we had mainly wrist injuries to do with the technique of hitting the ball and hitting it with more spin.

"The most common injuries overall were to the thighs which take pressure on serving, landing and change of direction."

There is a danger that the physical demands of the modern game can pluck a tennis player off court and into early retirement.

Identifying and preventing injuries is crucial for the physiotherapists and expert fitness teams working with the elite players.

"Players are looking after themselves much better and access to sports science facilities can help them prolong their careers," adds Hill.

"In the professional game, the average age of players is increasing. In the men's top-100, it's 27-28 and in the female game the average age is 24-25."

Andy Murray

Throughout most of tennis' history, racquets were made of laminated wood. But modern day racquets are made from a high modulus graphite and/or carbon fibre, which is used to keep the frame lightweight

Honing racquet technology to take some of the effort out of the power shots also aims to ease some of the game's physical demands.

"In the 1980s and 1990s, players hit the ball in the middle of the racquet," explains Ralph Schwenger, director of research and development for racquet manufacturer Head. "Now, through analysis, we see the player hits the ball further up.

"By optimising the mass distribution of the racquet, we can move the sweet spot up by taking weight away from the middle and moving it to the handle and tip of the racquet."

Taking the weight out of the emotional demands of the game is also important to career longevity.

"Tennis players spend a lot of time on their own, and often have a lot of down time because of the nature of the tournaments," adds Newnham.

"It's for players to know they have people around them, like coaches, loved ones and sports psychologists.

"Being able to talk through fears or worries gives them peace of mind. But to be able to be in your own company in far-flung places is important."

When it comes to winning the long game, tennis is an individual sport and it all comes down to one body and one mind.

"That's why tennis players are mostly very big egoists," explains flamboyant Latvian Ernests Gulbis. "We are mostly alone. We do not have team spirit.

"What does success mean to me? I've been understanding that for the last few years.

"I'm depending on success to just be in comfort with myself. I stopped running behind the illusion of some other enjoyment and started to find it on court - that means a lot to me."

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday 14th December 2014…the second grand slam!!!

We had a huge rain storm about 4am in the morning but when I woke up the skies were clear and today was the big tennis event that I spent some time organizing….so this morning no Sunday hike instead I had lovely poached eggs whilst watching a very entertaining soccer game from England.

Then I made sure that everything was in place for the tennis slam but my plans were thwarted when at noon, 2 hours before we were to start,  I received a call from the owners of the tennis courts informing me that the heavy rain during the night put the courts under water and they would not be dry by time we needed to play.

This was such a shock as I had spent a lot of time in preparation for the event 12 players were all set to attend…two of the participants Carolyn and Mary pat are members of a private golf and tennis club just outside of town so I called Carolyn and asked if it might be possible for her and Mary pat to get us into the club and use their wonderful facilities…..5 minutes later Carolyn called back and it was all arranged.

So I went down to the original courts and waited for everyone to arrive and then directed them to the new location  so glad this all worked out thanks girls!!!!

So there we were 12 ardent tennis players 5 women and 7 men and as I was the organizer MY RULES!!!!…..the first rule was only green or red attire could be worn in the sprit of Christmas

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Do I look cute or not!!!!!

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Mary pat!!!!

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Fred being warned what might happen if he throws his racquet!!!!

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Diane and Rob!!

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The boys waiting to get on the courts!!

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I had bottles to take drug tests….swear jar, thank you Martha for contributing and everyone abided by the green red rule….so we drew for partners and I was stuck with Carolyn(kidding) and then we played to 4 games and we all played each other…it was so much fun almost three hours and I forgot to mention I used my new racquet it was awesome photos tomorrow…the facilities are top notch and everyone had so much fun and Martha and Bruce were the eventual winners!!!!!!

We then all drove to the restaurant La Frontera where I had booked and the two owners put on a fantastic spread…the room looked so nice and the food which consisted of salad and rolls and a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and to end the night pumpkin pie….it was wonderful thanks so much Noren and Jerry!!!!

Sorry I did not take many photos

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The winners Martha in the blue and Bruce with the goatee!!!!

All the poinsettias that you see I had bought and brought them to the restaurant earlier and Noren had them around they looked so lovely and after dinner I presented the owners and all the ladies with a poinsettia to take home.

This was a lot of work but I so enjoy doing things like this and we had such a wonderful time I have some very special friends I am so lucky.

To cap the night off I asked each of the players to bring with them a wrapped Christmas gift for either a boy or girl…and they all did and these gifts I shall put with the other hundreds of gifts that we distribute to the less fortunate kids in the campo  on Three Kings day but more on that in a few weeks… thank you every one for being so cooperative… it was we all said the perfect way to start the Christmas season and we all felt so blessed!!!

Had an incredible and wonderful long soak in the tub with Epsom salts…………..and now tea and a cookie…..it was a great day!!!

 

Man issues in the States at this time!!!

Michael Brown: The workings of the grand jury explained

Darren Wilson, left, Michael Brown, right

The grand jury has decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police office who shot and killed the black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri on 9 August.

The shooting led to days of clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson, and there was further unrest following the decision.

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What is a grand jury?

In many countries, the decision to indict someone for a crime comes down to the opinion of a single judge who reviews the evidence and decides whether or not it is sufficient.

But in the United States, a grand jury of ordinary citizens who represent the community is often used to decide whether there is enough evidence to pursue a prosecution.

Police face off with demonstrators as protests continue in the wake of 18-year-old Michael Brown"s death on October 22, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

While all states have provisions to allow for grand juries, only around half use them, with other states preferring to rely on a preliminary hearing to determine whether or not to indict a defendant.

Grand jury members may be called for duty for months at a time, but need only appear in court for a few days out of every month.

Usually the only lawyer present in grand jury hearings is the prosecutor, who will present evidence. The jury has the power to request to see and hear any evidence it wants.

Grand jury proceedings are conducted behind closed doors to encourage witnesses to speak freely and to protect the defendant's reputation in case the jury does not indict.

Even though a grand jury may decide not to indict, a prosecutor could still bring the defendant to trial if they think they have a strong enough case.

 

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Who is the grand jury in this case?

There are 12 randomly picked citizens in this Missouri grand jury - six white men, three white women, one black man and two black women.

The grand jury was based in the justice centre in Clayton, Missouri.

This jury had been hearing evidence in this case since 20 August.

Demonstrators holds a sign on October, 11 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri, as they protest the shooting death of Michael Brown.

It was given until 7 January to complete proceedings.

Normally a grand jury would meet just once a week, but in this case the jury had been meeting more frequently.

This was because instead of considering an overview of the case as presented by the prosecutor, jurors were asked to act as co-investigators and consider all evidence available.

Analysts say this approach is allowed under law and it is often used in high-profile indictments.

 

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What charges did the grand jury consider?

The grand jury was deciding whether Officer Wilson should be charged with any one of four possible crimes: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

It also had the option of charging the policeman with armed criminal action, if it could prove he was carrying a loaded firearm with the intent to commit a felony.

Nine out of the 12 members of this jury would have had to vote yes to indict Officer Wilson.

A woman walks by a memorial set up for Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, October 10, 2014. Brown was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Analysts said if Officer Wilson could establish he had a "reasonable" fear for his own safety or the safety of others when he shot Brown, then he would be able to argue successfully that he was acting in self-defence under Missouri law.

 

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Why is this grand jury controversial?

Brown's family and his supporters complained about the secrecy surrounding the grand jury's proceedings.

However, grand juries typically meet behind closed doors to assess evidence.

Protesters in Ferguson with signs calling for the removal of the prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, from the case.

The prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, was criticised for being biased because his own father, a policeman, was shot and killed by a black man in 1964.

Many protestors were concerned that Mr McCulloch was not impartial and called for the appointment of a new special prosecutor to replace him.

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday 13th December 2014…..you guessed it sports day!!!!

The usual breakfast whilst watching a live soccer game from England and then off to the courts for two great hours of tennis and the sun was out the whole time a wonderful way to start the weekend…..from tennis I went to get Little Bluey a full spa treatment she looks like new now.  I then went into town to do some chores before coming home and relaxing for the afternoon I started to sit out in the back yard but the clouds soon formed and it seemed a thunderstorm was imminent.

The storm never really came and I decided it was time for a long hot soak in the tub and had dinner and then first another soccer game and then the finale of the night a hockey game from Canada…….I am such a sports bum……

In over 8 years of doing this blog I tend to stay away from any topics of a sexual nature unless of course you deem those photos of me I sometimes to post to excite my older female readers………I also never comment on religion or politics as this is not  the right forum for that but now I challenge every one of you to search You tube music and put in Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill Grand old Opry standing ovation and listen to the song without a tear coming to your eye…go on try I challenge you!!!!!!

 

Another interesting local article…

Mexico minister defends luxury home purchase

Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray Luis Videgaray says the home purchase was carried out with "honesty and legality"

 

Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray has gone on national TV and radio to defend how he bought his luxury home.

His appearance follows Wall Street Journal reports that he bought the home from a construction firm whose parent company had won large public contracts.

Mr Videgaray is not accused of anything illegal and he says he will neither sell his home nor step down.

The affair comes in the wake of a similar case involving President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Last month, Mr Pena Nieto's wife was forced to sell a $7m (£4.4m) house she had bought from the same company and also made a televised address explaining the source of her income.

The Wall Street Journal says it has seen property records that show Mr Videgaray bought a luxurious home in Malinalco in the central State of Mexico from Bienes Raices H&G.

The firm's owner, Juan Armando Hinojosa, has other companies which have won public works projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars during President Pena Nieto's time in office, the newspaper says.

In a radio interview, Mr Videgaray said the home purchase was carried out with "honesty and legality".

President Enrique Pena Nieto and First Lady Angelica Rivera. 3 Dec 2014 President Pena Nieto and First Lady Angelica Rivera have also been embroiled in a row over a luxury home

The transaction took place before Mr Videgaray was finance minister.

"There was no conflict of interest," he said in a written response to the Journal.

"I did the deal when I was not holding public office and the deal was within market parameters."

However, BBC Mexico correspondent Will Grant says there are uncomfortable questions for the government and Mr Videgaray personally.

Among them are why he chose to finance the property through a minor mortgage lender belonging to Juan Armando Hinojosa, rather than a major Mexican financial institution.

Mr Videgaray has suggested that the government's reform agenda has disturbed vested interests in Mexico and that is why details of his personal finances are coming to light.

Mr Pena Nieto is facing the lowest popularity ratings of any president for many years, recent polls show.

He has faced severe criticism over his handling of the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala who were allegedly abducted by local police and handed over to a gang who murdered them

 

Yachi Kochi!!!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday 12th December 2014……not a real Pearson day!!!!!

Not my usual Pearson day as I had to make some plans first of all Catalina the lady who comes to clean the house on Saturday mornings called and asked if she could come this morning and that was fine by me so she came whilst I was in town doing some chores…..the streets are abound with happy smiling faces…lots of loud music and just a  wonderful festive spirit in the air…even though this is not my favorite time of the year it is hard not to get caught up in the celebrations…

I came home and saw Catalina and gave her the Christmas bonus that all workers in Mexico by law are entitled to she was very thankful……..

Then in the afternoon I went for a hike down by the presa(lake) the water level is receding but it is still too high for me to take the normal path I go.

Sad to say I am having trouble with my camera it has been like it for a few weeks now it does not open properly and it is very frustrating as it sometimes takes me 5 minutes to get the lens opened…..I will check in town and see if anyone can look at it.

At 6.30pm I was invited back to Karen and Gregg’s house for dinner, I must have been a good boy when I was there last to get invited back.  Karen is a fantastic cook and the food and the company were wonderful…thanks……...

I have a busy but good weekend coming along…blessings to all!!

 

Celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe Day

Public celebrations, or fiestas, are held in honor of Mary, the Virgin of Guadalupe, on December 12. Catholics from across Mexico and other countries pay pilgrimage to see an image of Mary (Virgen Morena), believed to be authentic, in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Children are dressed in traditional costumes and are blessed in churches. Thousands of people come to church to pray.

What's Open or Closed?

Our Lady of Guadalupe Day is not a federal public holiday Mexico, but it is a religious festival, so many streets, roads, and transport providers are busy on December 12. It is an optional holiday for some workers and a holiday for banks and other financial sector organizations. People intending on travelling via public transport in Mexico should check with public transit authorities on any timetable or route changes.

 

Did you know?

According to the story of the Lady of Guadalupe, Mary spoke in the Nahuatl language when she appeared to Diego. It is said that millions of indigenous people in Mexico were converted to Catholicism as a result of her appearance and miracle.

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  The old and the new Basilica in Mexico City where Mary is said to have aeared!!!

Our Lady of Guadalupe

From Wikipedia

 

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe


 

Our Lady of Guadalupe (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe), also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe (Spanish: Virgen de Guadalupe), is a title of the Virgin Mary associated with a celebrated pictorial image housed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in México City. The basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic site in the world, and the third-most visited sacred site in the world.[1][2]

Official Catholic accounts state that on the morning of December 9, 1531, Juan Diego saw an apparition of a maiden at the Hill of Tepeyac, in what would become the town of Villa de Guadalupe in the suburbs of Mexico City. Speaking to him in the native Nahuatl language, the maiden asked that a church be built at that site in her honor; from her words, Juan Diego recognized the maiden as the Virgin Mary. Diego recounted the events to the Archbishop of Mexico City, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, who instructed him to return to Tepeyac Hill, and ask the "lady" for a miraculous sign to prove her identity. The first sign was the Virgin healing Juan's uncle. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill, where he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming in December on the normally barren hilltop. The Virgin arranged the flowers in his tilma or cloak, and when Juan Diego opened his cloak before Bishop Zumárraga on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.[3]

The tilma has become Mexico's most popular religious and cultural symbol, and has received widespread ecclesiastical and popular support. In the 19th century it became the rallying call of American-born Spaniards in New Spain, who saw the story of the apparition as legitimizing their own Mexican origin and infusing it with an almost messianic sense of mission and identity - thus also legitimizing their armed rebellion against Spain.[4][5]

Nevertheless, a number of elements, reviewed below, suggest that while the image may have inspired great devotion, the story connected to it is a pious invention. For this and other reasons, many Mexican clergymen have historically opposed the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Even recently some Catholic scholars, including the former curator of the basilica Monsignor Guillermo Schulemburg, have openly doubted the historical existence of Juan Diego. Schulemburg said in an interview that Juan Diego was "a symbol, not a reality", and that his canonization would be the “recognition of a cult. It is not recognition of the physical, real existence of a person.” Father Oscar Sanchez, in charge of Juan Diego's cause, [...] said that Father Schulenberg and two other priests who signed the letter have "zero credibility .... They have no authority."[6] Nonetheless, Juan Diego was canonized in 2002, under the name Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin

 

  Another article which I enjoyed!!

How elite sport can be a lonely, isolating and vulnerable place

By Tom Reynolds BBC Sport

Why does a top Premier League manager feel alone? How can you feel isolated, with no-one to turn to, in a bustling dressing room? Why can a jet-setting sporting lifestyle leave you feeling like a stranger in your own home?

Elite sport can appear a privileged profession, a chance to live out the childhood dreams of millions - and get paid for it.

But there is a darker side. For some the instability of life in the public spotlight can be as fraught as it is thrilling.

With the help of marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe, former Aston Villa and Germany footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger, ex-England cricketer Steve Harmison and world-renowned sports psychologist Dr Steve Peters, BBC Sport looks at the issue of loneliness in sport.

It's tough at the top

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers spends his day surrounded by players and coaching staff and making multi-million-pound decisions. Why, then, has he talked of the loneliness of command?

Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers succeeded Kenny Dalglish as Liverpool boss in June 2012

Peters works with Rodgers and also counts five-time world snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, the England football team and the ultra-successful British Cycling squad among his clients past and present.

"Being in charge or having responsibility can be isolating," says Peters, author of the best-selling book The Chimp Paradox.

"People at the top of organisations can find themselves in isolation and that is a lonely and vulnerable place, especially as there is a lot of criticism that potentially goes with it.

"Alongside this can be a feeling of being assessed publically, which can further add to a sense of isolation. It has parallels with other professions such as the police, doctors or teachers. Not having an acknowledgement of what you are going through can be very stressful and isolating."

The same feelings can afflict a sportsperson living a life where their every public move is forensically scrutinised.

"Some athletes get the feeling that the whole world is against them, especially when the media might be involved too," Peters notes. "They can feel that what is being written about them is unfair but is what people will believe. This may have a knock-on effect which can decrease self-esteem and create further feelings of being alone."

Desolate in the dressing room

The pressure of elite sport, as Peters points out, is not a problem for everyone - some people revel in it.

Former Aston Villa footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger

"Of course I am not talking to my team-mates - we talk about football, we don't talk about private matters"

For the majority of his career, that pursuit of success resonated with Hitzlsperger, who played for Aston Villa, West Ham, Everton, Stuttgart and Germany.

From making the Villa first team as a 19-year-old, to representing Germany at a World Cup and winning the Bundesliga with Stuttgart, football mostly brought happiness and a sense of inclusion.

But when personal issues started to take a more prominent role in his thoughts and motivations - earlier this year Hitzlsperger became the most prominent footballer to publicly reveal his homosexuality - the dressing room became a lonely place.

"Towards the end of my career when my private life became more and more important, I got that loneliness feeling," he said.

"There were times when I thought I would like to speak to someone but I can't. Of course I am not talking to my team-mates - we talk about football, we don't talk about private matters."

Isolation can lead to depression

Success is rarely a constant in sport. Failure, or the fear of it, is never far away.

Radcliffe experienced more highs and lows than most in her stellar career. After setting a marathon world record in 2003, which still stands, she arrived at the Athens Olympics the following year as favourite.

But the anticipated gold medal did not materialise, a combination of injury and stomach problems forcing her to drop out a few miles before the end. The negative media reaction left Radcliffe feeling isolated.

"After Athens was a difficult time for me because then it was really knowing who you could talk to," she said.

"That's when you learn who your best friends are and who you can open up to. You need to know they are not going to go to the media or abuse that trust of being able to share your inner thoughts, inner concerns and inner worries with them."

While Radcliffe wasn't affected to such lengths, psychologist Peters has experienced first-hand the link between the instability of a sportsperson's career and clinical depression.

Paula Radcliffe

Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe has experienced loneliness in her career

"I have had to treat a number of athletes for clinical depression resulting directly from the lifestyle that they are leading, their management of it and their own emotional responses," he says.

"There is little stable about the elite sports lifestyle and that, with potential isolation, can lead to depression."

A lonely life away - and back home

For former England fast bowler Harmison, the jet-setting lifestyle of a Test cricketer was part gift, part curse. Uncomfortable spending large periods away from home and his family responsibilities, the cricket field was a haven; his time off it something of a nightmare.

Steve Harmison

England fast bowler Steve Harmison struggled with loneliness due to cricket's demanding touring schedule

"Six and a half hours a day I was in a place I would not swap for the world - inside the boundary ropes in countries like India, Australia and the West Indies," he said. "For the other nine hours when I wasn't asleep, I was thinking 'I don't want to be here'."

Harmison is far from alone in struggling with the demands of travel. Two-time Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton - a disciple of Peters - detailed in her book Between the Lines how the loneliness of a Swiss training camp led to self-harm with a Swiss Army knife.

The feelings of isolation are not limited to life on the road. Peters has seen acute loneliness afflict elite athletes on their return home.

Steve Peters and Victoria Pendleton

Steve Peters has worked with two-time Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton

The place they spent months pining for is suddenly the most isolated of the lot.

"Not unusually after returning from a lengthy trip abroad, some athletes feel that they don't belong at home and that they don't have any roots," he said.

"Their partners or friends have moved on and have got on with their life without them. I have met a number of athletes who report feeling like a stranger in their own home."

Retirement - the loneliest time of all

Perhaps the most dangerous time for an elite sportsperson is when the moment comes to call it a day. The void of retirement can be acute.

Four-time World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty recently outlined the isolation. "You feel lonely when it's gone," he said. "I missed the banter and the social side.

"When I retired I felt I had no direction in life. For three years I wanted to forget who I was. I was depressed because I could no longer do the thing I was good at."

That disorientation is something Harmison remembers. "Retirement is like walking out of a supermarket with all your bags and not knowing where your car is," he says.

"I quickly got some media work and I am still part of the game but it can be a struggle for cricketers. The Professional Cricketers' Association do some great stuff for players because from a mental point of view when it ends it can be quite tough. I miss the dressing room."

Yashi Kochi!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday 11th December 2014….tennis and Costco!!!!

Guess what!!!!!!! I played two hours of tennis this morning!!!!!! Again the sun decided not to show her or his face again but still enjoyed the game and it is only three days to the big grand Christmas slam of tennis I am organizing for Sunday…stayed tuned!!!!!

Had to do some chores in town after tennis and then came home and decided a Costco run was needed and picked up a couple items for friends….an uneventful journey and home by 6 o clock…..this evening just a quiet one before a busy weekend.

Tomorrow is the start of the holidays and celebrations for Christmas it promises to be an exciting time with parades and festivals

Sorry not a more entertaining read I promise to do better tomorrow!!!!

 

 

Interesting vote!!!!

A fan uses a cell phone to record a performance during the 2014 CMT Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee 4 June 2014

 

Canadian police can search the contents of a mobile phone after arrest, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled.

In a 4-3 decision, the court said a warrant was not needed as long as the search is directly related to the suspected crime and records are kept.

The dissenting judges argued phones were an "intensely personal and uniquely pervasive sphere of privacy".

The outcome is opposite from a similar case decided in the US Supreme Court in June.

In a unanimous decision, the US high court said searches of mobile phones must require a warrant, with few exceptions.

Canada's lower courts were previously divided on the issue.

'Overly complicated'

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the case of Kevin Fearon, who was convicted of robbery with a firearm after police searched his phone.

The search was made after he was arrested but before police had a warrant to search his vehicle and other belongings.

They found a draft text message in his phone with a picture of a gun and the words "We did it".

The high court dismissed Fearon's appeal against his conviction, but outlined rules for how police should handle mobile phone searches.

People walk outside the Supreme Court of Canada 15 October 2014 in Ottawa, Ontario. The decision was split 4-3

"In my view, we can achieve that balance with a rule that permits searches of cell phones incident to arrest, provided that the search - both what is searched and how it is searched - is strictly incidental to the arrest and that the police keep detailed notes of what has been searched and why," Justice Thomas Cromwell wrote in the opinion.

The three judges in the minority said existing law "already provides flexibility where there are exigent circumstances" for a warrantless search, including safety of the public or to prevent destruction of evidence, and should be limited to these instances.

"The intensely personal and uniquely pervasive sphere of privacy in our personal computers requires protection that is clear, practical and effective," Judge Andromache Karakatsanis wrote for the minority

The majority had provided an "overly complicated template" for police to follow, she added.

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday 10th December 2014……the day flew by!!!!!

Well for the first time in weeks the sun did not make an appearance today…just cloudy and a bit cool but it did not stop me as my day was crazy busy……..first of all was my yoga class and from there to Marysol’s apartment for my Spanish class…this was a hard class for me and I did not think I did very well my memory is not great and I need so much work on my pronunciation…but going to stick with it.

From class I went straight to poker and three hours of fun with the guys and again I won…..admittedly only 30 pesos but as always a win is a win.

After poker I came home and showered and changed and back into town in Little Bluey as I stopped at the local chines restaurant where I had ordered food for the class party and after I picked it up went to the home of Maggie and Giff…..they are the teachers for the students on Thursday…….we all had a wonderful time with great food and conversation and games…it was so special to see them and again so proud of them all..the next class is not till January 12th…….

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It was a bus day but so nice to relax with the students tonight!!!!

Yashi Kochi!!

Story
The Washington Post won a Pulitzer Prize for their story about this experiment.

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32.00 When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth $3,500,000 dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing.

Tuesday 9th December 2014…….beautiful sunny and warm!!!!

I had trouble trying to post this last night I had included a long article about whales but eventually figured out for some reason the article was too long..strange this computer world!!!!

 

 

Just one of the more spectacular days weather wise at 8am it was warm and not a cloud in the sky and a perfect morning for two hours of tennis…you would think with all these games I play of tennis that I might be getting better….well…not sure but I do know that I enjoy every minute…….

After tennis had a few more chores in town to do to get ready for the class party tomorrow night and then came home for lunch and then back into town and to Rita’s casa for our usual chat and game of cards….Rita’s son Josh joined us I have enjoyed meeting him and he leaves early tomorrow morning but luckily for Rita her daughter Ali is arriving on Saturday for a few days….and just in case there is anyone out there interested Rita won the game again she is on a streak!!!!

This evening was another sports night with a hockey game followed by a soccer game from England I do get my fair share of spectator sports in during a week.

Today I was thinking about my friends…I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends in so many different countries and  e mail and skype is a great way to stay in touch with them all…you know who you are and I just wanted to let you know that you have been and continue to be a huge part of my life…thank you!!!!

 

 

 

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Wednesday 10th December 2014……test

test