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Summer 2005 Newsletter

It's been a year since the last newsletter. I cannot believe how time passes by. I guess it just proves that I have a lot of fun in life, when I don't even write my regular newsletters. I've been getting so many questions what's up and when the new one will come out. A sincere apology to all of you waiting. But here it comes.

Suzy's Topspin forehand return... Also, I had a misfortune with my computer. My (quiet new) hard drive crashed. First I thought all was gone, but after many hours working on the data recovery, I rescued quiet a lot information. Among my lost stuff was also all my email address books and stuff... so all you - newsletter subscribers - are gone. So please, send me a note for your subscription again, at newsletter@sixftlion.com

As I am writing, I am sitting in a beautiful condo in St. George, UT. Spending here 3 days in the Vic Braden's tennis camp. It's hot out there, about 110 F, but we play mostly indoors so it's all good. The nature is just spectacular, high deserts, mesas, golden-brown colors everywhere.

It's been a lot of tennis in my life the last year as well. Training with coaches 5 times a week, plus playing with my hitting buddies another probably 5 times. So it's a lot of hours on the tennis courts and it's very good for me, because it keeps my lean. For you who are interested in my stats, I am around 165 lbs, lean and athletic looking. Running fast around the tennis court! If you have been following my stats over time, the heaviest I've been, out of shape, off season was 204 lbs. Regular, sort of semi-lean off season, I was around 185 lbs. During the dieting for bodybuilding competitions, I was getting down to 170's or so... Last year, playing tennis I got down to 173 lbs, sort of my pre-contest weight, and over the year, I dropped down another few. My diet has been more "carby" then before, but still very healthy. I burn off so many carbs on the tennis court. Sometimes, for breakfast I have two power bagels with cream cheese, and then I hit the tennis courts and it's all gone. I am not counting carbs at all... just trying to get enough protein, and calories.

My training has remained pretty much the same, I do the upper body workout (48 sets) twice a week. If I have time for one more gym workout, I do the legs, but lately it's been less and less, because I just get so much leg workouts on the tennis court. My schedule might look something like this:


11- 1 PM tennis (practice)    
Tuesday 11- 12:30 PM tennis (lesson)   4 - 6 PM tennis (practice)
Wednesday 9 - 10 AM tennis (lesson) 10:30 - 11:30 AM gym 6 - 7 PM tennis (practice)
Thursday 10 - 11:30 AM tennis (lesson)    
Friday 9 - 10 AM tennis (lesson)

11 - 12 PM tennis (lesson) followed by the 1 hour gym

4 - 6 PM tennis (practice)
Saturday 9 - 11 AM tennis (practice)   LEAGUE or TOURNAMENT MATCHES

Pretty busy schedule... and somewhere there I fit in some beach runs or walks with Peanut, and of course, working my clients...


What has happened since the last summer?

I've played many tournaments and won several of them and ranked no.3 in Southern California. And this spring, I've played on many  league teams, and won all my matches. That was a very good season.

Visited my family in Slovakia during Thanksgiving. My dad was in hospital and it was nice to spend some time there. It's been at least 15 years since I was in Slovakia last time. The impressions were interesting. Almost like nothing has changed. The buildings were gray, dirty and not taken care of. People were unhappy looking, and sort of giving up on life... but there were some differences. All of sudden, there is a huge, beautiful,  building. Built by French, or German or another West country. It's just like in America... it's standing there, on it's own, alone, among the old, dirty buildings. What a view... All the trams from the communist time were still driving around, transporting passengers... and then this bright blue, clean and full of advertisements tram. So there are some changes going on, but the overall impression is like you just returned 20 years back in time.

In spring this year, after spending 6 months in different hospitals, my (step)dad passed away. It happened fast, from being pretty healthy, eating well, riding bike several hours a day and working out, suddenly they discovered his disease and from then and on his body just went downhill until he just couldn't continue. Reminder for all of us, how much our lives are precious and unpredictable and we shouldn't take our health for granted. Take good care of yourself and enjoy every day like anything else... In May I brought my mom here to California for 3 weeks and she just loved Venice Beach. Sunshine, beach, ocean...

In the middle of July, I am going to fly to Split, Croatia, and from there take a boat to a little island, far west from Split,  in the middle of Adriatic Sea. For many years, no tourists were allowed to the island, so it is very untouched, with clean waters and beautiful nature. I am going to spend there 2 weeks, doing nothing. Dipping the tomatoes in the ocean for the salt, eating every morning freshly baked bread and drinking home made wine (every family makes own wine! They drink it, often slightly diluted, for breakfast, lunch and dinner).

And the time went on.... VIS, Croatia

View over the town VisAnd now I am actually physically on the island Vis and not doing too much here. Technical problems stopped me from publishing my newsletter before I left, so I just will continue here and have some nice ocean pictures in this one. The transportation to Vis was quiet long, 3 different planes from Los Angeles - to Denver, then Frankfurt, then Split and then I had to take a ferry to the island. It was maybe 20-21 hours all together. So now I am here and it is just gorgeous. I run every morning either by the ocean and a few hundreds feet higher up in the hills... trying to hit the roads early, before the sun does, which means around 6 AM. Then I take a shower in the garden, and have a breakfast under the lemon tree, where the kitchen is located. How cool! There's no Internet here in people's houses like we are used to, so I have to go to an Internet cafe to stay connected. It is smoky there, almost everybody smokes  cigarettes here. That I don't like at all. But what would I do for exchanging some emails, huh? I also found beautiful six tennis courts here. There's not much activity there, but luckily I found a young man who works there as a sparring partner to people so I hired his services and play with him every other day. We hit the ball nicely, and when I come back home to Cali, I won't be rusty at all. I hope. And after my tennis practice, at noon, it's time to hit the beaches or rocks. You can pretty much to go to any peninsula here and find yourself a good spot on the rock, rip of your bikini/clothes and tan and swim just how the mother nature made is. I LOVE IT. Hopefully I get rid of all those tennis-tanning lines, and also the freedom of movement without any clothes restrictions. I am a good swimmer as well, so I just swim far deep into the ocean and I just love the feeling being surrounded by nothing but beautiful dark blue water... only sounds are your bubbles from the air you breathe out and the waves breaking and possibly some sail boat or other boat passing by. And you just swim and swim and swim, and it's like the best meditation ever... Many thoughts go through one's head during an hour swimming, where there is no stopping or resting, or you sink on the bottom of the ocean. What a lovely activity. Then it's time to take a nap in the sun, like a big cat and just suck in this beautiful nature and negative ions... (Article about those little negative suckers will come a bit later down). Then home for a dinner, maybe catch a movie under the sky (sort of like drive-in, you just don't sit in the car, but on your booty in the seat), or walk in the streets on the sea with all the other relaxing people. Small cafes are on every corner, so there's many places to sit and chill out. The "cikader" (just learned it's called Leafhoppers in English) are making noise non-stop, more during the day, and just slightly less at night. They sound everywhere you walk, more or less. So this is life like on an little island Vis. I'll be back in California the first week in August, and this newsletter will be published. Just perfectly in time for my round big birthday, August 12.


Negative Ions

On Vis, in pink... Remember that feeling you've experienced near a waterfall or high in the mountains? Those are two places that thousands of negative ions occur. They create an effect on human biochemistry. Ions are molecules that have gained or lost an electrical charge. They are created in nature as air molecules break apart due to sunlight, radiation, and moving air and water. The normal Ion count in fresh country air is 2,000 to 4,000 negative Ions per cubic centimeter (about the size of a sugar cube). At Yosemite Falls, you'll experience over 100,000 negative Ions per cubic centimeter. On the other hand, the level is far below 100 per cubic centimeter on the Los Angeles freeways during rush hour. Negative ions were researched by the U.S. Air Force in the 1940's and 50's. Pilots passed out at high altitudes. Air in the plane was tested, and found to be high in positive ions due to the metallic, closed environment of the aircraft. When negative-ion generators were placed in the planes, pilots stayed awake and alert. Certain environments are naturally cleaner and healthier. They contain more oxygen, less pollution, and more negative ions. Negative ions help deliver oxygen to cells and tissue.

The seashore is awash in healthy ions. Woods are also high in oxygen-negative ions, because trees generate negative ions. Trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide and other toxic chemicals that create unhealthy positive ions. The more polluted an area, such as a large city with chemical pollution, a lack of trees, and stagnant air, the more positive ions are generated. These electropositive ions create an experience of tension and heaviness, sometimes even depression. Certain winds, the so-called “ill-winds,” actually carry positive ions. Hot, dry winds--"witches' winds," like the Foehn in Switzerland, the Chinook in the American Rockies, and the Mistral in France--rob us of our good senses because they spread positive ions. They can lead to disease and death.

The waves, ocean swells, and offshore breezes make sea air highly beneficial to your health. The actions of the water create negative ions—beneficial electric charges. These charges, brought into the body with the breath, tend to re-energize the whole system. Sea air also contains minerals. They are absorbed into the lungs, freshening and cleansing the tissues. Sea air, wet and pure, helps to relieve inflammation caused by gritty metropolitan pollution. No wonder we feel so good when we're at the beach!

Negative ions are abundant during and after a rainfall. This explains why one usually feels particularly robust at those times. The rainbow seen after a rainstorm is the visual component of the deep sense of relaxation and well-being we feel in large part because of negative ions. Waterfalls also generate rainbows. Water smashing against rocks creates the mist that refracts sunlight into a rainbow. In addition, the breaking up of the droplets generates a high concentration of negative ions. River rapids create negative-ion concentrations through the action of water dashing against rocks and exploding with crashing waves, reversals, and souse holes. The "ion high" experienced by whitewater boaters explains in part the addictive quality of the sport..

Negative Ions for the brain

The atmosphere we breathe normally is full of positive and negative ions. Air conditioning, lack of ventilation, and long dry spells remove negative ions, which usually serve to latch onto airborne dirt particles and wrestle them to the floor, rendering the air purer. Roughly one-third of the population seems to be particularly sensitive to negative-ion depletion. The proportion of negative ions is highest around moving water (storms, oceans, rivers, waterfalls)?It's no wonder that we feel so energized at the beach. The best ratios of negative to positive ions are associated with waterfalls and the time before, during, and after storms. The worst are found in windowless rooms and closed, moving vehicles. Air purifiers typically work by emitting negative ions, which purify room air by attaching to impurities and sinking them.

High concentrations of negative ions are essential for high energy and positive mood. In fact, Marian Diamond, a professor of neuroanatomy at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that levels of negative ions are inversely related to levels of serotonin in the brain. Negative ions suppress serotonin levels in much the same way that natural sunlight suppresses melatonin. Hence the invigorating effect of fresh air and sunshine and the correspondingly depressed feelings associated with being closed in and dark. If you deplete the air of negative ions, you experience an increase in serotonin and its attendant drowsiness and relaxation?not what you want when mental agility is demanded.

In an interesting twist, Josh Backon, a member of the Department of Cardiology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, writes in an Internet posting that in order to increase left-hemisphere activity (linear, language, logical), one can block the left nostril and engage in "forced unilateral nostril breathing." Likewise, to increase right-hemisphere activity (creative, holistic, emotional), the right nostril should be blocked. This practice increases the supply of negative ions to a specific hemisphere.


You may have experienced the power of negative ions when you last set your foot on the beach or walked beneath a waterfall... On the other side, sitting all day in the office or by the computer is making you tired, grouchy and possibly even depressed... don't forget to take frequent breaks and get out to the fresh air. If you have the possibility like I have, hit the ocean as much as you can!!! Suck in those negatives ions!


Crying over spilled semen

Originally published by Psychology Today:October 2, 2002

Happy girls!The finding that women who do not use condoms during sex are less depressed and less likely to attempt suicide than are women who have sex with condoms and women who are not sexually active, leads one researcher to conclude that semen contains powerful-and potentially addictive-mood-altering chemicals.

Study author Gordon G. Gallup, Ph.D., a psychologist at the State University of New York in Albany, also found that women who routinely had intercourse without condoms became increasingly depressed as more time elapsed since their last sexual encounter. There was no such correlation for women whose partners regularly used condoms.

Gallup's survey of 293 college women also found that those who did not use condoms were most likely to initiate sex and to seek out new partners as soon as a relationship ended. "These women are more vulnerable to the rebound effect, which suggests that there is a chemical dependency," says Gallup.

Semen contains hormones including testosterone, estrogen, prolactin, luteinizing hormone and prostaglandins, and some of these are absorbed through the walls of the vagina and are known to elevate mood.

Gallup controlled for variables including method of contraception, frequency of sexual intercourse, as well as the women's perception of their relationship. He concedes that women who regularly have sex without condoms might share personality traits that make them less susceptible to depression. But the behavior most often associated with non-condom users is sexual risk-taking, and studies have found no correlation between high-risk sexual behavior and lower rates of depression.

Gallup's study, which he deems "the first serious attempt to investigate the effect of semen chemistry on women," titillated the public and rankled some academics upon publication in Archives of Sexual Behavior. Gallup says he has since replicated the findings with a sample of 700 women and will examine whether "semen withdrawal" places women at an increased risk for depression when they are premenstrual, menopausal or have just given birth, as many women abstain from sex during these periods.


Phases of the Moon

Driving... Have you ever seen me without braids? You probably remember some superstitions about the Moon. Farmers planted crops during a New Moon. People became cautious during the Full Moon, a time when scary critters and crazy people were said to wander about. Even the word "lunatic" comes from the word "Luna," meaning Moon.

Astrologers hold to the belief that the Moon exerts a powerful influence on both the Earth and her inhabitants. And science seems to support this. The Moon's gravitational pull creates the oceans' tides. Astrologers point out that, since three fourths of the human body are composed of water, it stands to reason that we, like the oceans, should respond to the magnetism of the Moon.

The Moon passes through four significant phases over the course of a given month, and each phase creates certain spiritual and emotional affects. The Moon's phases represent the growth stages of every living thing. Early farmers learned to plant and harvest their crops according to the Moon's schedule. Adjusting their work to these natural cycles helped to ensure healthy crops. But there was a spiritual significance, too, to these periods.

The New Moon phase begins when the Sun and the Moon are merged together (or conjunct) in the sky. This phase represents beginnings of all kinds. Physically, it's a good time to plant actual seeds. Spiritually, it's the perfect time to initiate projects or give energy to new relationships. It's an exciting time to embrace fresh philosophies and to expand your horizons, both personally and professionally.

If you look back on the events of your life, you'll probably find that some of the most successful jobs or relationships that you had began during the period of a New Moon. If you keep a dream journal, you'll see that many of the dreams that you have during a New Moon contain the seeds of new beginnings. You might dream about a romance or creative goal that would be healthy to pursue. Pay attention to the visions that come to you during a New Moon, because they could contain guidance about your future!

The first quarter Moon comes next. This phase occurs when the Moon forms a 90-degree angle (or square aspect) to the Sun. At this point, the Moon is gradually increasing in light as it becomes more visible in the sky. (This is also called a waxing Moon.)

During the first quarter Moon, you might have to work a little harder to attain the goals you set forth at the time of the New Moon. The "square" or 90 degree angle between the Sun and the Moon stirs up some energies of resistance. In a practical sense, during a first quarter Moon you might find that you need to tear down some structures to make way for the new. You might have to re-organize or work on perfecting your strategy.

Sitting on the rock on Vis, Croatia...The Full Moon is the next major phase. This is when the Sun and the Moon are physically opposite each other in the sky or 180 degrees apart. This is when the Moon is reflecting all of the Sun's light. During this time, the issues you have been working on since the New Moon will usually come to a climax. This can be stressful or positive, depending on how well you have been resolving those issues.

Emotions are usually intensified during the Full Moon, and it can be helpful to purge yourself of any pent-up anger or sorrow. By paying attention to what your emotions are telling you in this heightened state, the things that you need to fix become clearer to you. Be careful not to act hastily upon these emotions, though! Many people quit their jobs or leave relationships when the Full Moon is in effect, running away from patterns that could have been healed with some extra effort.
It can take courage to face the "demons" or fears that are stirred up during the Full Moon. But spiritually speaking, when the "volume" gets turned up in your life, it motivates you to look more deeply at the path you are on. The Full Moon can be a time of powerful revelations, psychic impulses, and intuitive dreams.

After the Full Moon, the Moon heads into the last quarter phase. Now the Moon is becoming darker and less visible (waning) in the sky. During the last quarter, the Moon is again at a 90 degree or "square" angle to the Sun. This phase is different from the first quarter, though. At the first quarter, you were just beginning to apply insights that you gained during the New Moon. You found that a little extra effort was required to set these goals into motion. Hopefully, that effort paid off at the time of the Full Moon, when events culminated and "karma" was harvested.

With the last quarter Moon, you should be heading into a more peaceful period. Revelations that shone through during the Full Moon settle comfortably into your consciousness. You have integrated some fresh ways of looking at things after experiencing the intense emotions of the Full Moon. Your energy has shifted in direction, and your mind is more able to handle a new path. The last quarter Moon is a time for acceptance. Spiritually, it's a good time for forgiveness, for making peace, and for abandoning old battles.

As the New Moon approaches again, pay attention to old ideas, pursuits, or relationships that might no longer be a part of your life. This process of shedding is due to the cycle of spirit. In order to grow, it can be necessary to let go of some things. As trapped energy is released, light can penetrate. And life can look very different from this new vantage point!

So try looking at each month as an opportunity for growth and renewal, and you'll soon feel more in step with the energies of the four Moon phases.


Want to Lose Weight? Then Exercise 60-90 Minutes Everyday

USA Today, January 2005

On the rock in Vis, CroatiaMany Americans have thrown in the towel with exasperation after hearing the new dietary guidelines recommending 30 to 90 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day. However, time-use researchers and exercise experts aren't accepting any excuses, declaring almost everyone can find the time and motivation during the day to squeeze in a little physical activity. The only people who can get away with the argument of not having enough time during the day to exercise are: The most time-crunched people aged 30 to 45, parents of young children and people who work over 40 hours a week.

Part of the problem for the rest of the population is that out of the nearly 40 hours of estimated free time a week in the United States, 15 to 20 of those hours are spent watching television. A professor of exercise science, who was also part of the committee responsible for developing the new exercise guidelines, also explained that some people might feel intimidated by the recommendations, though not everyone is required to exercise at the highest level possible.

People simply need to determine which activity level personally applies to them and, hopefully, exercising won't seem so overwhelming.

The 30-Minute Minimum

Whether the activity is divided up into 10- and 15-minute segments, most people benefit from at least 30 minutes of exercise, minimum, a day to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. Some suggested ways to reach this amount include:

  • Dancing
  • Walking briskly
  • Shoveling snow
  • Pacing while talking on the phone
  • Biking
  • Golfing
  • Swimming
  • Shooting hoops

As the list above shows, the guidelines don't require meeting the time recommendations through structured exercise alone. Half the time can be spent on a structured activity, while the other half can be accumulating from using the stairs or walking around whenever possible (at work, the mall, home, etc.). But for people exercising 30 minutes and still experiencing weight gain, increasing the time to 60 minutes is required. Additionally, those who have lost a significant amount of weight and are striving to keep it off might need as much as 90 minutes of exercise a day.

Making Exercise a Priority

Most people can reach the recommended exercise goals by simply making it part of their daily routine. The key is to make exercise a habit and figure out what time of the day works best, such as:

  • Before going to work
  • During lunch hour
  • Right after work
  • In the evening with a friend

So the conclusion is that if you are overweight and want to lose weight, you indeed need to exercise up to 90 minutes per day. It has shown that less than that has not shown too many good results. Once you reach your weight you want, you can reduce your exercise to 45 minutes per day, 4 days a week. Also watch your intensity too, if you can easily talk while you are exercising, then the intensity is too low. Increase your intensity until you have difficulties to talk, stop there and just slightly decrease and you are on a good level. But remember that your body will adapt quickly so you need to increase your intensity as your level of fitness will be improving.


Be Thankful

All those yummies! What to chose? 6 carb cheesecake... Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don't know something for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge because it will build your strength and character.


Thirty lines to make you smile

1.. My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn't.

2.. I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.

3.. I Work Hard Because Millions On Welfare Depend on Me!

4.. Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.

5.. I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

6.. Don't take life too seriously; No one gets out alive.

7.. You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me

8.. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

9.. Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

10.. I'm not a complete idiot -- Some parts are missing.

11.. Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

12. NyQuil, the stuffy, sneezy, why-the-heck-is-the-room-spinning medicine.

13.. God must love stupid people; He made so many.

14.. The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

15.. Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

16.. Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

17.. Being "over the hill" is much better than being under it!

18.. Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew up.

19.. Procrastinate Now!

20.. I Have a Degree in Liberal Arts; Do You Want Fries With That?

21.. A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

22.. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance

23.. Stupidity is not a handicap. Park elsewhere!

24..They call it PMS because MadCow Disease was already taken.

25..He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead.

26..A picture is worth a thousand words, but it uses up three thousand times the memory.

27..Ham and eggs. A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.

28.. The trouble with life is there's no background music.

29.. The original point and click interface was a Smith and Wesson.

30.. I smile because I don't know what the hell is going on.

See you in the fall!!!


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