Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sunday 31st March 2019.... a special Day!!!

I do not know why but the Mother’s Day celebrations is always different in England from North America yet Father’s Day is the same date!!

Today is Mother’s Day and I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my adorable Mum....

She left us way too early but she was the most amazing woman I have ever met and I owe her so much for my upbringing !!!

This shot is also of two amazing Sister in  law Janet and her daughter Sam..I think this was taken yesterday!!

So to all you  Mums out there God bless you and have a wonderful special day!!!

Yashi Kochi!!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Saturday 30th March 2019..another month done...

The weekend sure come around quickly and also a new month around the corner..

Time to tell you about the next road trip....

Tentative plans are for Gracie and I to drive in her car which has air conditioning to visit her family in New Jersey....we plan to leave on Saturday 20 th April and take eight days to get to NJ..the route is still being planned!

We will stay with Emily and Ryan and the two children Jonah and new baby Isabel for the month of May..we will be able to assist with babysitting during the week and go off on small road trips at the weekends and I am hoping to find a tennis club where I can get a temporary membership...

At the end of May Gracie will fly to Florida to visit friends and I will drive there to have a couple of days and then bring her home.....

It sounds like a fun time....Gracie has arranged for a young Dutch couple to house and dog sit for the duration of the trip....

Further details next week...

have a great weekend!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Friday 29th March 2019....a long read!!!

I have been doing pay it forward with my English students now for the last five years!!!

A good read!!!

Generous people are happier and healthier, yet acts of kindness are often met with suspicion.  Why?

By David Robson

26 November 2015

You’d have thought Sandi Mann was offering people a slap in the face – not a steaming cup of coffee. She’d been visiting her local cafe with her children, where they often enjoyed a cheap and cheerful breakfast as a treat before school. The youngest didn’t want the coffee that came with his toast, so she thought she might as well take it round and see if the other customers would like a free treat instead.

What could possibly go wrong? “I thought they’d be delighted – that everything would be warm and cuddly,” she says today. “Instead, I just got stares of bewilderment. There was this suspicion: Had I spat on it? Is it poisoned?” She ended up feeling that she had somehow acted wrongly – when all she wanted to do was offer a free gift.

It wasn’t meant to be like this. Mann, a psychologist at the University of Central Lancashire, had just embarked on a new project to explore the phenomenon of “paying it forward” – a popular philosophy of being generous to a stranger, in the hope they will pass on the kindness to someone else. “The idea is to create a chain – a domino effect,” Mann explains.

As part of the "paying it forward" movement, some coffee shops have seen chains of hundreds of customers buying each other's drinks .

Could a single act of kindness have a “butterfly effect”, sending ripples of goodwill through the world?

Mann’s idea was to try it herself for a couple of weeks and observe the way people react. After all, most people might have the intention of being a little bit kinder, yet we feel that we are unable to muster up the willpower. So why is it so difficult to both give, and accept, kindness? And would it really pay off in the real world – or are we just too cynical in today’s society?

Like many people, Mann’s interest in everyday kindness started with a heart-warming post on her Facebook feed. Her American friend Debbie had been visiting a drive-through coffee shop only to find that the person ahead had already settled her bill. “She was so chuffed – it made her day,” says Mann. Straight away, she was intrigued by the philosophy’s potential – the idea that a single act of kindness could “have a knock-on effect, like the butterfly effect”, sending ripples of goodwill through the world.

As Mann started reading up on the subject, she found that the principle has a deep history. In Italy, wealthier Neapolitans have long embraced the tradition of buying a “caffe sospeso” in addition to their own, for someone who is less able to pay for the luxury. Benjamin Franklin is one of the most famous proponents of the idea. While lending some money to a friend, he explained: “I do not pretend to give such a deed; I only lend it to you; when you meet with another honest man in similar distress, you must pay me by lending this sum to him,” he wrote. “This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.”

Brown left a note with the returned phone – ‘Don’t worry about the money, just do something nice for someone else’

Today, “paying it forward” has become a popular and far-reaching movement – it has even spawned a novel and film. Google the term, and you will read heart-warming stories of grandiose acts of goodwill – like the generous philanthropists anonymously calling hospitals to pay for expensive operations, without expecting so much as a simple thank you.

But often it is the smaller deeds that are most touching. Mann points to the case of Josh Brown, a 12-year-old who found a stranger’s lost phone on a train. The owner was so pleased, she offered him a small reward for the trouble. Instead, he sent a note attached to the returned phone: “Don’t worry about the money, just do something nice for someone else.”

Proponents of "random acts of kindness" believe that even the smallest acts can send ripples of goodwill around the world.

Across all countries – rich or poor – on every continent, people who give tend to be happier people – Michael Norton

These everyday people may not get an immediate payback (besides the “giver’s glow”), but people like Brown tend to reap their rewards in terms of general life satisfaction. Michael Norton at Harvard Business School has offered some of the most convincing evidence, repeatedly finding that people who spend a bigger proportion of their income on others tend to be far happier, in the long run, than those spending it on themselves.

Crucially, this is not just the result of the comfortable Western lifestyle: Norton has tested the concept with data from more than 130 countries, from the US to Uganda. “Across all countries – rich or poor, and in every continent – people who gave more tended to be happier people,” he says. For this reason, he thinks the joy of giving appears to be a “psychological universal” – a trait that lies at the core of human nature, independent of your culture.

Taking time to help others may even protect you from disease, Mann says. Over a 30-year study, women who volunteered for a charity were 16% less likely to suffer a major illness during that period – perhaps because it lowers stress levels, which may also, in turn, boost the immune system.

Despite our hunger for social connections, we often reject genuine acts of generosity, such as an offer to share an umbrella on a rainy day.

In the same way that we hunger for fat or sugar – we may nurture a natural desire to help other people

There are many possible reasons why acting selflessly may soothe the body and mind in these ways. Giving to others can increase your social connection (who isn’t grateful after they’ve received a nice present) and your sense of purpose in life; you feel like you’ve made a difference, and there is a point in getting out of bed in the morning. Given that humans are social animals, this may be part of our evolved nature, says Norton. In the same way that we hunger for fat or sugar – we may all nurture a deep desire to help other people, he says.

Helper’s high

At least, that’s the theory – yet Mann found that the “helper’s high” was often difficult to earn. Having read the research, she had decided to spend two weeks trying simple, generous acts. “I was very determined that it shouldn’t cost lots of money,” she explains. “So I set myself the challenge that it had to cost less than a pound.”

Her first task should have been simple enough. The setting was familiar – her local coffee shop – and she was accompanied by her (“cringing”) children. All she wanted to do was to give away her seven-year-old’s unwanted cup of coffee. Yet as she walked among the tables, she was just met with suspicion rather than gratitude. “I felt like saying ‘I’m only trying to do something nice.’”

It was only once she framed the act differently, so that it seemed more logical, and less altruistic, that their attitudes changed. “Suddenly it was a different story altogether – it made perfect sense that my kid won’t drink coffee.” They still refused, but “the suspicion vanished, and there were smiles, and thanks”. Eventually it was accepted by a lady named Rochel, who subsequently found an opportunity later in the week to treat someone else.

Suspicion was the strongest reaction throughout

That initial mistrust was a common theme for each of the following 13 days – in which she tried to offer strangers an umbrella on a rainy day, pay for someone’s parking ticket, and let fellow shoppers jump ahead of her in checkout queues. “Suspicion was the strongest reaction throughout,” she says. Each time, it was only when she offered a rational explanation – such as the fact she was waiting for someone at the checkout – that people would accept her offers. Looking back, Mann now explains it as “stranger danger”. “We’re brought up to expect strangers to put one over us,” she says.

Yet there were also moments when she genuinely touched people’s lives. “One man accepted the chocolates, and told me that it’s a great thing spreading love instead of hate,” says Mann. “When you know you’ve given someone’s mood a lift and made a difference – there’s nothing like it.” She even earned a good friend from the experience – she’s still regularly in touch with Rochel, the woman who accepted her coffee on that first day.

If anything, the occasional hostility has only made Mann more determined to persevere. She points to research showing that people have become individualistic over the last few decades, and score about 40% lower on tests of empathy than those brought up in the 1970s. Perhaps we’re just less used to being kind, and receiving kindness in return.

“It’s a sad society if that’s what we’ve become,” she says. “There’s so much hate, negativity, and suspicion, and with everyone’s individualism, we feel like we’re all fighting just for ourselves, but we need to counteract this and start a kindness movement. It sounds cheesy, but I think we need it.”

Spite and meanness are more likely to ripple through a population than goodwill

Critics of the “paying it forward” movement may balk at its artificiality; they may even see it as somewhat coercive, guilt-tripping others into acts of charity they may resent. They may also point to evidence that goodwill does not spread quite as quickly as its proponents would like to believe. Norton’s own research, for instance, has found that spite and greed are far more likely to ripple through a population than generosity. “If someone is stingy, we are much more likely to pay forward that negative behaviour to next person,” he explains.

Giving doesn't have to cost a penny - it can be as simple as complimenting a stranger or offering a hug .

Yet you could also argue that this is only one more reason why we need a bit more kindness in the world – to neutralise those bad apples. What’s more, even though these random acts of kindness may seem artificial to start with, there is some evidence that they can permanently change you for the better – so that kindness becomes your norm. “You can cultivate habits of virtue,” says David Rand at Yale University, who has found that subjects encouraged to perform good deeds tend to be kinder in subsequent tasks, a kind of “psychological spillover”. Indeed, he thinks that even the most astonishing acts of altruism – such as the heroism during the recent Paris shootings – all grew from tiny seeds of deliberate goodwill that eventually grew into an automatic desire to help others.

Mann, for one, is convinced that we can all change for the better. As a clinical psychologist, she has even started advising people with depression to try and incorporate small acts of generosity or kindness into their therapy. “Depressed people say they have a lack of meaning in life, and that they don’t feel valuable,” says Mann. She emphasises that it isn’t a “cure” – their other therapy is still very important. “But it gives a way to contribute back to society – and that makes them feel good, like they are something useful.”

Start with something in your comfort zone, maybe just smiling at someone in the street, or talking nicely to shop assistants

If you are inspired to give it a go, she suggests you should develop a thick skin. “It takes some courage and guts,” she says. For this reason, she would advise setting the bar low at the beginning. “I wouldn’t recommend standing in the street giving [out] free chocolates – start with something in your comfort zone, maybe just smiling at someone in the street, or talking nicely to shop assistants.” Simply complimenting people she encountered turned out to be one of the easiest, and most warmly received, acts of kindness.

Ultimately, she hopes that her book will help remind us all that sometimes being kind can be a reward in and of itself. “That’s the view I’d like to change; that there doesn’t always have to be ulterior motive. You can be kind just for the sake of being nice.”

Yashi Kochi!!!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Thursday 28 th March 2019....tour director!!!

Thursday morning so it must mean I am on the tennis courts for two hours...perfect way to start a day!!

A quick change of clothes and off to the Rv park to see my friends.....Paula always cuts my hair and she does an amazing job...

Too good because it always attracts the girls!!!!

We then drove out to a new restaurant in the country called Mamma Mia’ was simply beautiful setting and the food really good.....we had a great time.....

Bill, Gail, Jerry and Paula!!!!

returned back through Atotonilco and the World Heritage site church .....

And then back to the camp site....they are leaving tomorrow so it was wonderful to get a great but short visit in with them journey home to Nova Scotia.

Life is good!!

Yashi Kochi!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Wednesday 27th March 2019......and then it was gone!!!!

A whirlwind of a day..starting first with meeting Gracie at her Spanish class and taking over her car with her dogs inside...

Then the dogs and I drove to meet Paula and Jerry..drop off some things for them and then I brought them into town...

We did a little detour into the Guadalupe Colonia which is really a funky mural filled neighbourhood...

I dropped P and J off in town and then took the dogs for a walk around Parque Juarez before dropping them off at home and then onwards to meet and give Gracie the car back!!

From there to poker for my regular fun afternoon and I know I sound like a broken record BUT...another winning afternoon to the tune of  130 pesos!!!

Straight from there to my gym session with Aaron as always a good hard session he really is the best trainer anywhere!!!

I quickly had time to go home and get changed and then to my English class at 6pm.....I had printed out a long document about tips to learn a second language and had one for each of my four students... and they took turns at reading the paragraphs..talking about them and explaining a few words they did not know....

It was a great class finishing off with charades and chocolates...

So finally home at 7.45pm....and time for a light meal, hot shower tea and a movie!!

Such a boring day!!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The 26th March 2019.....friends return!!

After tennis this morning under the usual lovely conditions I went out to the Rv park just outside of town to visit with my great friends Paula and Jerry....they were last here just before Christmas and have been exploring Mexico and now on their way home.....they are here for a couple of days so it was great to get another visit in and to chat and catch up and also enjoy a wonderful homemade BBQ burger..thanks!!

From there I went to my Doctor’s is nothing serious but I have slight muscle problems in my neck...does not bother me playing tennis or lifting weights at the gym..mainly it is when I turn my neck when driving.....anyway Dr.Marco checked me out and prescribed some muscle relaxers to take for the next ten visit to him was 700 pesos!!

This evening it was Mexican train night..always enjoy this time.....

Condolences to my long time friend Croft on the loss of his adorable wife, wishes to you!!

So another day passes!!

Yashi Kochi!!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Monday 25 th March 2019...Happy Birthday

To my only niece, Sam who is so many years old today....she is at home recovering from minor surgery so I hope everyone is taking care of you and that you had a great day...

Here she is with her partner, Ian!!

As I was parking my scooter tonight before going in to my English class I saw this very beautiful young lady coming towards me with a big smile on her face and as she got closer she said “Hello les”.....

I said hello back and that I was sorry but do I know you??

She said yes her name was Angelica and for 12 years she had been living in CASA Hogar and she remembers me from when I used to come there and take Paola and Daniela out and also when I used to organize the Christmas and Valentines parties......

She told me she was 17 now and living with a family and taking computer classes..her English was quite good....

I told her it was nice to see her and asked about Daniela and her younger sister and she told me that things were not good for Daniela..she had gotten into some problems at the home and she had been sent to a home in Leon..about 90 minutes away and her younger sister had been sent to a home in Queretaro..about one hour away.

It makes no sense to me to separate the sisters when their big issue for years had been abandonment .....

We had a nice talk and I told her about where I was going and she seemed very interested in the I told her the semester was almost finished but a new one would start in September and if she wanted to attend I would be happy to pay her tuition which is only 400 pesos a semester...

I gave her my e mail address and I hope to hear back from her!!

A good class tonight ..three students and we played new word games which they seemed to enjoy....

Yashi Kochi!!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday 24 th March 2019...this and that!!!

Sunday morning musings...

These photos are taken from the roof top terrace at Gracie’s CASA!!

And yes that is a duck!!!!!!

Sorry these photos below are from my walk..oooppps!!

I treated myself to this mini cacti..

This article is circulating and I do not know how this may affect me ..will have to keep a close watch on developments!!

Linda sent this to me and I think it is so lovely...of course the he could be changed to she!!!

You can shed tears that he is gone

Or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back

Or you can open your eyes and see all he's left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him

Or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone

Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,

Or you can do what he'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

This afternoon I did something I should do more often I just grabbed some water and my camera and walked around town...enjoy all these photos!!

I finished my show on Netflix and I thoroughly enjoyed it..well written and acted!!

Have to find another one now!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Saturday 23 re March 2019..a trip down memory lane

And my blog post from March I have been writing for a long time....this was a very interesting experience doing this volunteer work in an Escapee Care home in Livingston Texas..

Well I finally got some free time and this is the first time I have left the centre all week, was starting to get a little stir crazy. Anyway my shift today doesn't start till 6pm. It was a really busy week culminating in me being on call yesterday which meant I had to spend from 7.30am to 10pm in the centre, so going for a good long walk today. The weather is not great and storms are in the forcast for most of next week,I am loosing that tan I spent all those hours getting!!!! here are some photos of me "working". I am outside a medical building in a small town about 20 miles from Livingston, picking up the internet. I wish you all a great sunday, best wishes Les..

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2007

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday 22 Nd March 2019...weekend !!!

I want you all to know that my life is not just playing tennis, poker, relaxing, teaching and getting old.......I also can work if I want to!!!

This morning I decided to do some work, four hours, in Gracie’s beautiful yard!!!!

This was taken after I had pruned and cut everything...

And then after I swept and watered......looks so lovely!!!

Took the afternoon off and amazing what 25 pesos will buy for you...

The flags look nice  I think in my entrance way and living room!!

I saw that my gorgeous Sister in Law joined Face Book and here is the photo header....brilliant shot!!!

Gracie and I went out for pizza late this afternoon at a small restaurant in her neighbourhood...really good food and very reasonable price!!

Tonight I am going to finish the second season of Designated Survivor..I have really enjoyed this show and recommend it to everyone!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Thursday 21st March 2019.....Spring!!!

First day of Spring...

Today is the official first day of Spring!!

It may not feel like it, but today is the official first day of Spring.

Also known as the Vernal Equinox, today marks the time of year when day and night are most nearly equal (roughly 12 hours each). The spring equinox will officially occur at 5:58 p.m. ET (4:48 p.m. CT). It will signal the astronomical start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the Southern.

The Spring Equinox always falls on March 19, 20 or 21.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, today is the day the sun crosses south to north over the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator. If you were standing on the equator, the sun would pass directly overhead as it makes its way north.

After today, the Northern Hemisphere will tilt towards the sun, giving us longer, sunnier and – thankfully – warmer days.

Equinoxes are the only two times a year that sun only rises due east and sets due west.

Can you balance a raw egg on its end on the equinox?

Folklore tell us that you can balance a raw egg on its end on the equinox, something attributed to the Earth’s “balance” on that day.

While it sounds like a fun activity, there’s no basis in fact that egg balancing is any easier on the equinox, according to NASA. The U.S. space agency conducted an unscientific experiment that found it was no easier to balance an egg on the equinox than any other day. What did make it easier was finding an egg with small bumps on its shell, something that NASA said made the “seemingly impossible task achievable.”

 and a beautiful sunny and warm morning for tennis...played with a couple of new players this morning which is always fun.....

Had to go do some errands around town this morning and then went over to Gracie’s where we sat outside and played comment on that outcome!!

Then I BBQ two steaks and we had a lovely dinner....

Latest photo of Gracie’s Grandchildren....

Just a quiet day, I don’t get too many of those!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wednesday 20th March 2019.....slow start to a busy day!!!

 Really lazy morning for me today..slept in late...tea and computer work in bed and then some breakfast...put my laundry my casita clean ready for the cleaning lady to exciting life I lead!!!!!!

Then went and did some chores in town and took these shots...

Yes we have a Starbucks!!!

I often come to the Jardin and stare in amazement at what a young kid from Sheffield , England is doing here!!!

Have not mentioned Ashley in a while.....she is doing really well in her second year at Pepperdine..ranked No.1!!

She is also doing so well in her studies and is going to Africa this summer for a practicum.....

MALIBU, Calif. – Ashley Lahey and Daria Kuczer of the #7 Pepperdine women's tennis team swept the West Coast Conference weekly honors for helping the Waves to wins against three ranked opponents last week, including top-10 victories over #6 UCLA and #8 Texas.  The weekly honor was announced on Tuesday by the league office.


Ashley Lahey earned both singles and doubles honors, while Daria Kuczer was also in the doubles honors.  This is the fourth honor for both singles and doubles for the Waves.  It is the first honor for Kuczer in her career.  Lahey has received singles honors on six occasions and doubles three times throughout her career.


In the No. 1 singles position, #45 Lahey came to play last week, winning all of her matches and helping the Waves to the three outstanding victories.  First, she finished first in the 4-0 sweep over #6 UCLA, defeating #64 Jada Hart 6-3, 6-4 to put the Waves up 2-0 en route to the win.  It was the Waves first sweep over UCLA in program history.  Then, she downed Victoria Smirnova 7-6 (3), 6-2 in Pepperdine's 4-2 win over #41 Rice.  In the final match of the weekend, another upset win – this time over #8 Texas on the road – she put down #60 Bianca Turati with a 6-4, 6-1 final mark to put the Waves up 3-0 and give them an opportunity to clinch. 


In the No. 2 doubles position, Lahey and Kuczer were instrumental Waves success throughout the weekend.  First, the pair clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 bout against Gabby Andrews and Alaina Miller of #6 UCLA.  The point helped the Waves gain the advantage into singles and move towards the team's first sweep over UCLA in program history.  In the 4-2 win over #41 Rice, the duo bested Anna Bowtell and Victoria Smirnova 7-5 to even the doubles score and propel Pepperdine to the doubles point.  In the final Waves' win of the week – the upset over Texas – the duo finished first in doubles, collecting a commanding 6-1 win over #67 Fernanda Labrana and Bojana Markovic, pushing their team to the doubles point and a 5-2 Waves win. 

Soon it was time to go to poker...

What can I say the winnings just keep rolling in at poker again another 150 Pesos!!

Went straight to see Aaron and my gym session and then to pick up a birthday cake I had ordered and to English class.. 

I had invited Kristen to class again and she did a great presentation on today being International Happiness day...only  Diana showed , which was a shame.....but the three of us really enjoyed the class as Kristen brought seeds and soil..

Diana picked assorted seeds..

My box is just tomato seeds...

and then we celebrated Edgar’s Birthday with this great cake..

Sorry he was not there!!!

Just a real fun night!!

So there you was your day???

Yashi Kochi!!!

Thursday 5 th January 2023…it was a great run!!!

 This was my first ever blog post back in November of 2006!!! With just a couple of days off I have written a blog every day since and I hav...