It has been 2 months and 19 days since I last wrote on the VOX. I am disappointed with myself. I have become really, really lazy. Quite a bit has happened since February 6th and I am going to try to remember it now.
- First and foremost Joan "Joanie" turned 66.
- I played my first tennis match in a USTA League. My partner was a very good friend and good player and we did not do well. As a matter of fact not doing well became a bit chronic. We took some lessons together and we promised our captain that we would do better (improvement everywhere but the scoreline). I think that it was good for us. We were both playing better at season end. Those on the other teams should watch out next year. Carol also played on a USTA team. I think that she really enjoyed the competition.
- Carol and some girls friends took a "time out" at Newport Beach for a few days. I have the photographs - nice scenes of jugs of margaritas with the Pacific ocean in the background. Hmmm -- very nice. I took a drive in the desert looking for the "lost mine shaft" -- nope, did not find a thing.
- Carol continued with her tennis lessons with Isabel -- like I couldn't help -- I would have said, "hit the ball, hit it harder!"
- The Pizza Party was a big event for Carol and I. A niece of good friends of ours was coming to visit. She was also entered in a "pizza" competition at a Las Vegas food conference -- a bonafide food star. Ashley's competition recipe was pizza with double-smoked bacon, smoked cheddar, and caramelized onion tomato sauce. Carol and I could not resist inviting her to build pizzas for a party at 99 VW. 14 people were invited to eat from-scratch, home-made pizza from a cheap old Frigidaire electric oven. Another good friend demonstrated pizza on the BBQ. Wonderful night in spite of having to scrap the tomato sauce footprints from the the living room floor in the morning. Wonderful, wonderful evening.
Ashley came 6th in the Pizza Conference
- Early March is the Indian Wells tennis tournament. We spent 5 nice day watching tennis - how about the return of Del Potro from the 4th row! It really does make you humble when you realize how much better the professionals are at the game. My best hit is their worst hit.
- A real treat - time out from tennis to visit the Getty art museum in Los Angles. We took a hotel room on Malibu beach -- a really nice experience. We should have rented surf boards. The next day we visited the Grammy Museum in downtown LA. -- a very nice treat again.
- Tennis -- tennis -- tennis -- mixed in with the end of season party -- party. These get togethers are where folk are trying to get rid of the wine, beer and liquor leftovers.
- Finally won a couple of matches in the USTA league. Turns out competitive play requires a different set of skills from everyday tennis -- winning.
All and all a great season. It is good to be home though. We are looking forward to the yard cleanup, Eryn's 1st birthday, our new dish washer, and visits with folk we have not seen since last year.
Silver Sands decided that we would enter a team into a USTA league this year (over 55, doubles, each court no more than 7.0 total on the Richter scale). Some people want to practice. So we are going to do drills this morning. 68 years old and some whipper-snapper is going to yell "move your feet". Some people will do anything to hit one ball in a hundred better. I am just adopting a new approach to the game - I call it "What would Willie do?" Does Willie practice for his concerts? Hardly.
Here is a photo that I just found from earlier this spring. It is of the tennis team that I played for in the BNP Paribas Indian Wells Seniors Tournament. We did not do well this year. Must have been over-confident from last year.
Apple announced recently that they were going to replace their photo enthusiast Aperture software with a more consumer oriented product targeted towards iPad and iPhone users. Yikes. This started me looking for new software to manage my 20,000 photographs. Although I am upset at Apple's decision, it has not turned out too bad. I have decided to move to Adobe Lightroom and it is better software. Apple has not been keeping pace with Adobe it turns out.
Another benefit is that I have been forced to look at the thousands of photograhs as I move them from Aperture to Lightroom. Now that has been fun. For example, here is a digital photograph taken in 1996 on a visit to North Caicos island to drink rum punch and play tennis. In the picture you will see our host Ron (left), a young Adonis (me), Dave and Bob. The unfortunate part of this picture is that it looks like there are four hands reaching for three rum punches. Perhaps that explains the anguish on Bob's face.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that Billie is visiting.
We are home. Had a great winter/summer. There was lots of opportunity to update the VOX but I am just a lazy pig - play tennis, drink beer and think about what I am going to have for dinner. The ride home was uneventful, the usual - Holbrook, Amarillo, Springfield, Fort Wayne, Collingwood.
Indian Wells PNB Paribas was good. We were treated to some of the better seats by our friends Ken and Carol. Carol and I had free tickets in the nose bleed section (I shot this photo from that section using a 300mm lenses.) Ken and Carol had tickets where you could order a glass of champagne and actually get it. It beats me but they wanted to arrange it so that Carol and Carol (yes) would watch the ladies final from the champagne section while Ken and Fred held Kleenex to our nostrils way up high. We would switch seats for the mens finals. See if you can spot Carol and Carol. The only clue allowed by the rules is that both were wearing sunglasses.
Home - what can you say. It is good to be here but quite a shock coming from the warm sunshine to the cold and cloudy. Canadians like to have their guilt rewarded and the last few days at home has felt just about right. There is still snow on the front lawn. The Japanese Maple has been clobbered by a snow plough and will not survive. There is ice on the pond behind the house. It is raining. I opened the garage today and a robin was shivering in the rafters. The house was standing though and we were glad to be here.
The BBQ will be used for certain in May.
Carol and I visited Bronwen in Guelph Monday and Tuesday and had a meal with our whole family. Kate, Jay and Billie joined us for an Easter ham dinner (recipe provided by Jim Johnson.) We are thrilled that Bronwen is in a new home. Unborn baby is doing fine and scheduled for very early May. Sentimental fool that I am - I am hoping for
I hung up my crutches a few days ago, and I have now taken off the air cast. I have made a couple of quick trips to Loblaw. Everything is still tender, and I do not stand around just for the heck of it. Both feet get tired and painful quickly. It reminds me a bit of Madeline Kahn's scene from Blazing Saddles where she sings "I'm Tired". Of course she is tired for a completely different reason, and her routine is funny. My feet do not feel so funny. None the less, I am up and about and looking forward to tennis this summer. I told Carol this morning that there have many days in the last 50 years of playing tennis when my feet have felt much worse. This does not mean that I am heading to the attic soon.
While on the subject of Eugenie Bouchard - she is having a wonderful French Open and has made the semi-finals at a grand slam for the second straight time - a Canadian eh?
Carol had her last tennis lesson today and I wanted to get a couple of photos that I could use on the new Silver Sands website. There is a photo hanging in the clubhouse that I have admired for some time, and wanted to get for the website, but every time I tried to shoot a copy, there was too much glare from the glass. I decided that I would take my own and render it in B&W. The photo itself is not old, but the people in the photo are getting there.
At the beginng of this week Estrella Cabeza Candela was ranked number 96 as a singles player. She lost in the qualifying round at Indian Wells and has dropped to number 101 in the world. She is still a hell of a tennis player. Estrella has been billeted (it is the tennis version of the "couch" tour) with one of our neighbours for the PNB tournament, and as a way of saying thanks she agreed to play a demonstration match at Silver Sands.
It has been a treat.
The social Fred (that only comes out when the moon is full) helped organize a mens only tennis and food event at the clubhouse last night. For those of you who do not know what a Brat is, it is a very large (biggie) sausage. Turnout of about 20. Good fun. Lots of known carcinogen.
In 1995 Patricia Hy-Boulais made it to the quarter finals of the US Open. Until yesterday no Canadian had reached a quarter final of a Grand Slam since that event. Yesterday 19 year old Eugenie Bouchard made it to the quarter finals of the Australian Open.
Here is a picture of Eugenie with two of the games greatest players. She tweeted this a few days ago with the caption "30 Grand Slams between the 3 of us". That would be 17 Grand Slams for Rodger Federer, and 13 for Rafael Nadal. Brad Gilbert has picked Eugenie as a dark horse to win the tournament "down under".