Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thursday 30th November 2017......A long post you will need refreshments!!!!!

Most of my readers know of my involvement and support of Ashley since she was 12 years old and a rising star in tennis in the USA.....

Ashley is now only just turned 18 years of age but already in her second year at Pepperdine University.....

This was taken at Ashley's birthday party last year!!!


Below is a long post taken from a tennis web site about her being selected to represent the USA in France starting tomorrow.....

I hope you enjoy the article and agree with me that she is an amazing athlete and more important a fantastic young woman!!




Master’U Collegiate Team Championship


Master'U
Each year, for the past 8 years, Boise State Men’s Tennis Head Coach Greg Patton has taken a team of top-ranked college men and women to France to compete in the BNP Paribas Master’U. In those 8 years, Patton has coached the US team to 7 victories. Patton and his co-coach, Melissa Schaub of Ohio State, are hoping to bring home the Big Trophy again in 2017. Read below for Patton’s account, posted on his Facebook page, of Days 1 and 2 in Lille. You can click on the thumbnail photos to see the larger image.
Day 1: Tuesday, November 28, 2017
The USA National Collegiate team should be a case study for the impact on Sleep Deprivation on Collegiate Players and especially on road weary tennis coaches.
Most importantly, the entire team for the USA of Ena Shibahara (UCLA), Ashley Lahey (Pepperdine), Allie Sanford Master'U(North Carolina), Martin Redlicki (UCLA), Brandon Holt (USC), and Alfredo Perez (Florida) along with Coaches Greg Patton (Boise State) Melissa Schaub (Ohio State) & Garrett Patton (Cal Poly SLO) all miraculously arrived to Lille this afternoon.
I say miraculously, for Thanksgiving Holiday flight delays had us worried if we would ever show up, much less then connect with a team flying from all over this massive nation of ours.
Wouldn’t you know it, that even with flight delays, the team all showed up at Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris at the very same time to connect to a later train to Lille, France the site of the Master’U BNP Paribas Intercollegiate Championships.
Most of us west coasters were meeting at Los Angeles (what seems an eternity ago) on Monday, 5am. Roll em In, Pack it Up, Yea Rawhide!!
Tons of reading, watching movies, and worrying if the East Coast Contingent of Coach Schaub and Allie Sanford would meet up with us in New York. Smooth as silk sheet, they were there at JFK with their Ohio State and North Carolina) uniforms serving as a beacon for us to find them. 90 minutes of limbering up at JFK, and then off to Paris for our Red Eye. More movies, reading, and now only worrying that Alfredo Perez (flying to Paris from Atlanta) and Garrett Patton (flying from a connection in Miami) would arrive in time to meet us at the train station in Paris to make the train to Lille. The travel gods shone on us, for Alfredo was waiting for us at Paris (although we landed earlier, we went through two hours of security and customs which caused us to miss our train). We were frantically trying to text both the men, to only have them walk up to us at Charles DeGaulle with big smiles on their faces. Good omen to know that all the delays created was a smoother trip for the entire team to make the same train to Lille.
As soon as we reached Lille, we were whisked off to the Tennis Club for practice and lunch (get our legs under us, and the weary jet lagged heebie jeebies out of our bones).
Great enthusiastic hit and finished off with a riveting one point tournament tournament play.
Second we got to hotel at 4pm, we were all off to sleep. Woke up for dinner at 7pm and an interview with local media about the tournament. (Hard to know if my jokes passed okay through the interpreter and if the laughs were only polite groans. Tons of team building going on right now. Which basically means reasserting our goals to 1. play great tennis 2. Win the World Championships for the 9th time in the past 10 years 3. Become closer friends 4. Develop their games to reach new heights by competing in the World Team Championships.
**Lille is still resonating in the glow of the French National Davis Cup Team winning the 2017 Davis Cup competition with a 3-2 victory over Belgium. So, nothing could be better for the enthusiasm and joy after the French victory in Lille is buzzing like a bunch of Honey Bees!
Getting late here now, team is off to sleep, and coaches need to catch up on their shut eyes as soon as possible. Tournament play starts on Friday, so only two days off training, some site seeing, and tons of team building activities left.
Go USA!
By The Way……Nations that qualified for this International Team Championships are: France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, China, Germany, Russia and defending World Champs….USA!
Day 2: Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Coach Melissa Schaub (Ohio State) and I had a day in Coaching Heaven. Two great workouts with our American National Team here in Lille, France getting ready for the fireworks to begin on Friday.
I love these Wednesdays, for it is a day when the players truly start to blend into a team. Although the players were still shaking off the effects of a brutal day of over 24 hours of travel to get to Lille on Monday, they jumped onto the courts as though it was a dance floor and they started boogying to the music. Our dancing with the stars Wonder Master'UWomen team consists of Ashley Lahey (Pepperdine), Alle Sanford (North Carolina), and Ena Shibahara (UCLA) for the women. Our male gladiators are Brandon Holt (USC), Alfredo Perez (Florida), Martin Redlicki (UCLA) and assistant Garrett Patton (Cal Poly SLO).
Practice was intense, focused, fun, and exhilarating. We get two courts in the chilly confines of the French Indoor courts and before you knew it, the courts were sizzling to the beat and rhythm of balls ripping off the rackets. Coach Schaub and I were tapping our feet to the beat of the balls off the court. Can’t beat that feeling of seeing players preparing for the upcoming battles. We threw some games in there, and the competitive juices were flowing for our players. Nothing like ending practice with some dingles (Teams consisting of two players on each side starting the point with two balls in play, once there is a miss with one of the balls, the game turns into a doubles point). Throw in some soccer tennis and we capped off the practice session with a “One Point Tournament” battle of the Sexes, in which each tournament match is only one point and was won by our Wonder Woman Alle Sanford. (now we are talking about the Pressure of One Point!).
Meal times of lunch and dinner are just not a grab some food and down the hatch it goes. Every time we eat, we are focused on team building interaction, which goes into the details of what playing for your country means, the tradition and history of the Master’s U BNP Paribas tournament. The fact that we have won 7 International Championships the past eight years and the legacy that they are playing for.
Great People make Great Teams and Great Teams produce Great Players! Amazing what two days of travel, three practices and tons of hours talking about favorite movies, dream concerts, and the journey of their lives to this certain point of playing for your country. I am elated as I am witnessing these players from around the country who spend the majority of their collegiate lives competing for championships against each other, molding into a team. To see them enjoy each other’s company and become close tight friends is magic to behold. There is some delightful ribbing about each other’s university teams, but also invigorating to see how each player has wonderful things to say about their programs and schools. As the hours go by you can feel how they are truly present in this moment that their Team right now is Team USA.
Making Friends is an essential component of playing tennis if one is going to flourish in this game. The USA team is truly a part of the Master’s U experience. Yesterday, ,was one for me to greet my dear friends from the other countries and teams from the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, China, and Russia. The best part is seeing the coaches whom I have coached against for the past 8 years and the returning players from each country. The past two days, also is the vital moments of checking the teams from each country and what new players are at the table of the tournament and who are the returning players for each National team. All I know, is that this tournament is loaded with some mighty fine talent with many of the players experiencing success on the ATP and WTA tours.
Last night (Wednesday evening) was extra special! Our American Team went to the Beautiful Center of Lille, to explore and celebrate in the Christmas Village. We trekked for two hours taking in the delights of Chocolate Crepes, Master'UWaffles, Christmas shopping, and to top it off a chilly ride on a Gigantic Ferris wheel in the middle of the Historic Center of the City. All I can say, it was Awesome! The Ferris Wheel capped it off, for none of us truly realized how high it got until we were gasping for breath at the top of the ride. We could see for miles the lights of the Lille region.
Presenty (11am) we are getting ready to drive over to the tournament site for lunch and one more practice at two pm, and then the draw ceremony is at 5:30 tonight in which we discover what our draw will be. Due of our Championship fromlast year, we know we will be seeded one, which only means that we are aware that we have a big target on back. I already know that our players love the fact that everyone is shooting for us, it only means that the more intense and ferocious the competition, the more incredibly fun the battles are.
By the way, the format reminds me of the old time classic movie “They Shoot Horses Don’t They” which depicts the Dance Marathons of the Great Depression (Jane Fonda and Red Buttons starred). Our marathon each day is seven matches on one court with each match counting for one point. The matches start with the four singles matches (women #2, men #2, women #1 and men’st #1). They are followed by women’s doubles, men’s doubles, and finally the mixed doubles finishing up the day. It is like a day of watching the football bowl series during the Holidays from sunrise to way past sunset.

This was taken last year!!!



Tonight I was invited to Blanca's birthday party at Baja Fish...Blanco is one of my lovely students from three years ago and it warmed my heart to see and talk to so many of them and the good times we had in class and how their lives are progressing!!!!!

The students with Rhonnie, who taught them level 6 after they graduated from my class...

 Blanca the birthday girl..now is that some candle or what?????


A really special treat!!!

Yashi Kochi!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wednesday 29th November 2017..a special birthday!!!

This is taken from my blog 5 years ago!!!!


When you only have one Auntie and it is her Birthday it has to be a special day….Hope you have a wonderful day Auntie Rita…
DSCF4876
I love this photo take in August at Bridlington a sea side resort in England where we went as kids…Auntie Rita and my Dad’s Brother Uncle Bram….what a lovely couple blessings on this special day!!!

I love that photo you may or may not ask why I have my handkerchief on my head...well that is the way my Grand Dad Pearson used to wear his!!!!

The winning ways continued at poker...I won 100 pesos and immediately spent it on having Little beauty completely cleaned inside and out!!!



Although only 2 students showed up for class tonight we had a good session just talking and asking each other questions.....

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tuesday 28th November 2017...Christmas comes early to Casita Doris!!!!

I am not a real huge fan of Christmas for various and personal reasons but this year  I did want to get into the "spirit" a little more......

I received a package in the States last week from Heather and included was a lovely Santa's hat, thank you!!!!

Then today Gracie gifted me with two gorgeous Poinsettias..thank you!!

So I hope you like the arrangement on my shelves and I think Ellie looks quite stunning!!!




Yashi Kochi!!!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday 26th November 2017...Home again!!!

I was up before the alarm, packed some food and lots of cold drinks and I was at the International bridge by 6 am....there was no one around and no one to report to so I just drove slowly through the check point and was on my way home!!!
I am much more a sunset kind of guy but this sun rise was quite lovely!!!

The mountains outside of Monterrey!!
One reason you have to be careful even on the toll roads...
because if not this could happen!!!
I am amazed every trip I see at least big trucks overturned and it is always on a straight road it is either drinking and driving but what I think is the driver falls asleep..the driving regulations are not as harsh here, if any!!!

Back into my home State..
and the home sign...
and finally down town San Miguel!!!
and my great little casita!!
I had a really great road trip seeing new places, gorgeous hikes and some kind and friendly people along the way and always is good to be home!!!!

I walked into the casita at 3 pm exactly 9 hours..this trip home seemed really easy I do not know why...anyway good to be back!!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Saturday 25th November 2017...Last day in USA for a few months!!!!

A photo les (get it?) blog!!!


Nothing like a good scare to get the Adrenalin pumping...this is my story today!!!


SO I PARKED DOWNTOWN AND READY TO CROSS THE BORDER I HAVE ALL MY DOCUMENTATION AND THE REQUIRED COPIES...  I CROSS THE BORDER AND WENT TO THE IMMIGRATION OFFICE JUST AS I DID WHEN I CAME THROUGH IN JUNE...HAD ALL MY COPIES AND MY PASSPORT READY AND THE 500 PESOS IN HAND AND THE AGENT PUNCHED MY PASSPORT INTO THE COMPUTER AND THAT IS WHEN THE FUN BEGAN.......I KNOW THE MAN SPOKE ENGLISH BECAUSE I HAD HEARD HIM BUT HE ONLY SPOKE TO ME IN SPANISH WHICH I AGREE WITH AND UNDERSTAND BUT I COULD NOT GET THE GIST OF WHAT HE WAS TELLING ME EXCEPT HE WAS NOT GOING TO LET ME IN TO THE COUNTRY..HE TOLD ME TO TO SIT AND WAIT AND I DID.....EVENTUALLY A WOMAN CAME OUT OF THE OFFICE WHO SPOKE ENGLISH  AND SHE EXPLAINED TO ME THAT IN THEIR RECORDS I HAD A TEMPORARY VISA WHICH HAD EXPIRED AND NOT BEEN CANCELLED...I TOLD HER I DID INDEED APPLY AND WAS GRANTED A TEMP VISA IN 2014 WHICH EXPIRED IN APRIL OF THIS YEAR AND I DID NOT WISH TO RE NEW OR APPLY FOR A PERMANENT VISA AND WANTED TO COME IN ON A TOURIST VISA.... BUT THAT WAS THE PROBLEM  SHE TOLD ME I HAD NOT KNOWN I HAD TO CANCEL THAT PERMIT. AND I DID NOT....I WAITED ANOTHER 20 OR SO MINUTES WHEN SHE AGAIN CAME OUT AND TOLD ME THAT IF I GO TO THE IMMIGRATION OFFICE IN SAN MIGUEL ON MONDAY AND CANCEL MY VISA I WOULD BE ALLOWED INTO THE COUNTRY ON A TOURIST VISA.....OF COURSE I AGREED TO THIS RIGHT AWAY AND THEN THE PROCESS BEGAN AND I WAS ISSUED THE 180 DAY VISA AND WAS ON MY WAY..THE ONLY THING I DID NOT LIKE WAS THE ORIGINAL OFFICER BEFORE I COULD STOP HIM WROTE SOMETHING IN MY PASSPORT UNDER THE STAMP..I DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT SAYS BUT I WILL SORT IT OUT ON MONDAY AT THE LOCAL IMMIGRATION OFFICE WHERE ONE OF MY EX STUDENTS IS IN CHARGE(GOOD TO KNOW)....SO IT WAS A BIT OF A SCARE THINKING I WOULD NOT ALLOWED BACK INTO THE COUNTRY...BUT I WAS NEVER RUDE JUST PATIENT AND POLITE AND IT WORKED OUT.....FROM HERE I WALKED ABOUT 5 BLOCKS TO GET MY CAR PERMIT AND THAT WENT THROUGH LIKE CLOCK WORK......SO IT WAS A GOOD JOB I TOOK THE EXTRA DAY TO WALK OVER AND GET THESE PERMITS!!!!

I DID NOT CROSS BACK A CROSS THE BORDER TO LATE AFTERNOON DID A FINAL SHOP AND NOW TAKING IT EASY IN MY ROOM......

My cold has returned a little so just going to drink some tea and watch a movie as I hope to be on the road by 5.30 am.


Had a great visit in Texas!!

Yashi Kochi!!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday 24th November 2017...Road Trip..Day 7!!!!!

I had a good sleep and was out of the house by 9 am and navigated to down town area.....I am a little bit frugal in some things and one of them is paying for parking...I researched and to park for down town was expensive between 15 and 25 dollars ...so will Google help I found free parking all day at a market and from there I could pick up the River walk..it put an extra 1.5 miles each way but totally worth it!!!!

So you my lucky readers get another one of those free but wonderful Pearson escorted tour..so lace up the boots bring some water and let's go!!!!!

San Antonio River Walk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A couple strolls along the River Walk
The San Antonio River Walk (also known as Paseo del Río or simply as the River Walk) is a city park and network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of San AntonioTexas, USA. Lined by bars, shops, restaurants, nature, public artwork, and the five historic missions, the River Walk is an important part of the city's urban fabric and a tourist attraction in its own right.
The River Walk is a successful special-case pedestrian street, one level down from the automobile street. The River Walk winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks lined with restaurants and shops, connecting the major tourist draws from the Shops at Rivercenter, to the Arneson River Theatre, to Marriage Island, to La Villita, to HemisFair Park, to the Tower Life Building, to the San Antonio Museum of Art, to the Pearl and the city's five Spanish colonial missions, which have been named a World Heritage Site, including the Alamo. During the annual springtime Fiesta San Antonio, the River Parade features flowery floats that float down the river.

It was very quiet this time in the morning and the sun was shining a perfect day for walking...










The locks....

My timing was off tonight is the River walk sail parade   ...missed it by one day!!!
The Alamo I took a tour here and was very interested in the history but you could not take photos inside the buildings....




I do not know what this building was originally but so impressive!!!


More parade preparations....

Love lock

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Love padlocks by night on Butchers' Bridge in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Love without locks campaign, Passerelle Debilly, Paris
love lock or love padlock is a padlock which sweethearts lock to a bridgefencegatemonument or similar public fixture to symbolize their love.[1] Typically the sweethearts' names or initials are inscribed on the padlock, and its key is thrown away to symbolize unbreakable love.
Since the 2000s, love locks have proliferated at an increasing number of locations worldwide. They are now mostly treated by municipal authorities as litter or vandalism, and there is some cost to their removal. However, there are authorities who embrace them, and who use them as fundraising projects or tourism attractions.

Of course if you do not wish to participate in the free Pearson tour you can pay and go this way!!!!

Waiting for the water level to rise...
So how did you enjoy that??

I then took the 2.5 hour drive to Laredo unfortunately on the fast and busy Interstate!!!

I am staying for two nights at the same lovely home I stayed last Saturday night and Francisca had a turkey dinner all prepared for me from yesterday, how nice of her........afterwards it was a long hot soak in the BATH TUB!!!!!

Tomorrow I shall walk across the border and get my permit and visa.......

Yashi Kochi!!!!


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thursday 23 rd November 217..Road trip Day 6!!!

To all my wonderful and special American friends and readers let me wish you all or as they say here in Texas ya all a wonderful happy safe and healthy Thanksgiving celebration!!!!

Well a cold snap moved in overnight and boy was it cold in the RV this morning till the furnace kicked in.....poor Little Bluey he needs a pullover, if  you are a Limey you know what a pullover is!!!

Yes a message in ice crystals!!!!
Said fond farewells to my host and was on the road by 10 am and my first stop was here....
two short hikes to upper and lower falls...so very lovely!!!





Yes that is my foot in the lower right corner getting a bird's eye view!!

By taking the back roads I was able to see some of small town America!!!




Another reflection shot!!!
The church in the valley, as the old country song goes!!!!!
I arrived at my airbnb around 4 pm and it is small but very clean and nice with my own entrance and fridge and microwave.......







I got settled in and then went to meet Kirsten who I know as she is the daughter of my tennis partner Carolyn.....at her home about a mile away...Alys her daughter was there and they had cooked a full blown wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and we had a fabulous meal and great conversations.....thank you so very much!!!

Back at the air bnb time to read and then hit the hay...tomorrow I leave and will go visit some of downtown San Antonio before driving back to Laredo and the same bnb as I stayed on Saturday......

Yashi Kochi!!!



Sunday 2 nd October 2022…town busy, me not so!!!

 Today is perhaps the busiest, noisiest, and loudest day of the year in town with the celebrations going on for the patron saint of the town...