Saturday, October 25, 2014

Olivia off to Valencia, summer is back, Gone Girl, ex Nokia girl lunch, Spanish nurse Teresa Romero declared free of Ebola, Suzy working as a dietitian in London, a kitchen for our house in Montrondo, the clocks go back this weekend and other stories.

Saturday 25th October 2014

The ex Nokia girl lunch was the highlight of my week
Good morning my friends

It is Saturday today and I’m writing this post ahead of time as we will be having visitors tomorrow.  As I sit down to write I have come back from my morning walk and just missed Olivia and Miguel leaving for Valencia.  He will be returning to work on Monday after a two week break.  He has the cushiest job in the world as he works 7 days as a cameraman and rests 7 days.  This time he added a week’s holiday and he has been with Olivia here at home with us for the past fortnight. No doubt they will be enjoying the beach today and tomorrow morning until Olivia returns on Sunday evening by the AVE  - superb Spanish high speed train.

They will not be the only ones sunning themselves.  Really we have had a wonderful fortnight of warm weather and it feels as though summer is back with temperatures in the mid and high 20cs. Not so long ago I told you we had covered the pool for the winter.  Now when I sit in the evening by the pool reading it is so warm I wear a t-shirt and shorts and just long for a dip.

But let me regress to last Sunday where I left off. That afternoon I read in the sun by the pool as I have done most evenings this week.  What was I reading?  “Gone Girl”.  I found it a bit hard going but when I got to about half way I was absolutely hooked.  I finished it yesterday by the way. The American author Gillian Flynn plays with the reader in such a way that when the amazing twist comes a little late in my opinion, she has you caught in her web just as the protagonist Amazing Amy has her husband Nick caught in hers.  If you haven’t read it or seen the film my only spoiler for you is that, as in everything, there are two sides to every story. Tonight we are going to see the film and I am just wondering what sort of script Flynn will have written to maintain the same suspense and twist.  I will tell you next week.
I finished Gone Girl on my kindle this week

Monday was a good day in many ways, a sort of Red Letter day. I fasted of course but hardly felt the hunger pangs I was so busy. That day I continued to receive congratulations from many people and on all the media we have today, about my award as the Best Communications Director 2014 by ADSL Zone.  I was very chuffed, to use that lovely Yorkshire expression, when my Finnish boss Tatu announced it at the Monday morning communications team conference call attended by all communications people who work for TeliaSonera.  Later I even got an email from the group head of communications who tweeted this photo collage I had sent him. You see last week when I wrote about the prize I didn’t really have any photos to show but now I do. 
A collage of photos of the  prize for best Communications Director I got last week
That day I also got a phone call from my very nice and kind urologist, Dr. Litton.  He had been discussing what he called my “very interesting case” with other renowned specialists at a symposium in Barcelona that weekend and promised to call me.  I told him I was happy he found the case interesting but really hoped he would come up with a cure. He has referred me to the top specialist in the country who will be seeing me in the middle of November at a hospital in Toledo.  So keep your fingers crossed and watch this space.

Tuesday was another good day and possibly the highlight of the week.  That was the day of our ex Nokia and non ex Nokia girl lunch.  Periodically Juana, Jill, Susana, Fátima, Ana, Zenaida and I meet up for lunch.  The only person missing this time was Zenaida.  It was such a fun, relaxed lunch it almost felt like a scene out of Sex in the City without the sex if you know what I mean hahahaha.  We are all professional women working for blue chip companies, we all look good (I can only add for our age about me as I am the only one in my 50s, the rest being younger hahaha), drive lovely cars and seem to have blessed lives.  Nokia is not what it was, in fact I read later this week that Microsoft are phasing out the Nokia name (ouch!), but it continues to connect people as it always did and always will.  Thanks girls, I loved our lunch at La Vaca Argentina and look forward to our next appointment already scheduled, thanks to organized Juana, for January 2015.

It was on Tuesday we heard that the Spanish nurse, Teresa Romera, was free of Ebola after two negative blood test results.  She continues in hospital but her life is no longer in danger.  Ebola continues to dominate the news as also this week it hit New York when a doctor returning from Guinea Conakry was diagnosed with the virus.  Meanwhile people continue to die in awful conditions in Africa.  The WHO just announced the number of cases has crossed the 10.000 figure!  But the western world still hasn’t taken the right steps to deal with the virus at its source although there is news a vaccine may soon be available. I think if there had been no cases in the western world the vaccine would be much less of a priority than it is now. 
Great news ,the Spanish nurse, Teresa Romero, recovered from Ebola
Tuesday was full of interesting news.  It was the day Oscar Pistorious was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for killing his girlfriend.  But it was also the day we heard a paralyzed Polish man, Darek Fidyka, had walked again after breakthrough treatment  (British by the way!) where cells from his nose were transplanted into the damaged part of his spine.  Darek Fidyka, a fireman who lost all movement from the waist down after being stabbed 4 years, said that the he felt as if he had been reborn.  I can only imagine that this news gives lots of hope to paralyzed people all around the world. 
A miracle in medicine: a paralyzed man walks again.
It was on Tuesday the interview with my boss at Yoigo with Kelisto was published.  It was mainly about 4G but also about our current situation and the good results we released last week.  So Yoigo also had some news that dayJ

Tuesday ended nicely with dinner outside on the kitchen terrace with Olivia and Miguel.  I made Chinese rice the way my Mother used to make it and which Olivia loves.  It was a dish my Mother would make at home for lots of my friends after the parties I used to organize.
Wednesday saw me in Madrid with Gloria and Miguel from my events agency, QuintaEsencia, looking for locations to hold our annual staff Christmas party.  Later we had lunch at one of Madrid’s coolest places, or so I was told, called Marieta.  It was good food but a bit too loud and crowded for me. 

It was on Wednesday that Canada got its first taste of terrorism when a gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian citizen of Muslim origin who turned radical and possibly embraced Isis, shot a soldier at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa at its war memorial.  Shortly afterwards he was shot dead near the Parliament building before he could create more carnage.  Isis continues its crusade not just in Syria or Iraq but by radicalizing Muslims in the western world and encouraging them to carry out terrorist attacks like this one. 

Meanwhile in London Suzy has been busy all week working as a freelance dietitian.  I think I told you last week that she would be working at Apple in London assessing and advising employees on nutrition. There she was accompanied by dietitians like herself but from countries such as South Africa, Bulgaria or India.  That afternoon we had a long chat on the phone and I told her I knew a person who worked at Apple in London called Angel.  He had once been my friend Fátima’s trainee at Motorola. He used to translate the mobile phone manuals from English into Spanish but has gone a long way since hahaha.  Suzy said she had assessed someone called Angel. So I wrote to him and copied Suzy and it was amazing as he wrote back to say that indeed it had been him and what a small world we live in. Indeed we do.  Suzy will be going back to Apple next week and I think they will meet up to have a coffee in my honour.  That is one lovely story.  The funny thing was that when I wrote to Angel he was on his way to Yoigo to meet a colleague of mine.  Unfortunately I wouldn’t be there to greet him as I work from home and was not going to the office that day. Next time he comes I will certainly go and greet him and have a coffee too in Suzy’s honour this time!

On Thursday we had a visit from a girl called Raquel who is an interior decorator.  She has a company called Adoblealtura but also works for Ikea as their one and only exclusive interior decorator. She had been recommended to me by Beatriz from QuintaEsencia.  And it is Raquel who will be designing our kitchen for Montrondo.  We had visited Ikea recently and saw the model we wanted and this is it.
The kitchen we want from Ikea for our house in Montrondo.
For quite a small sum Raquel will design our kitchen come lounge which will be a 25m2 room and the most important room in the house.  She will not only do the design but will take us on a personal shopping tour of Ikea to see all the elements we need and then she will manage the purchase, the transport, the fitting and everything else needed to set up the kitchen lounge we want in our new house in Montrondo.  Doing this ourselves would be a nightmare as Montrondo is 400km from Madrid.  We could do the operation via Oviedo in the north of Spain but that would entail many trips there.  Also Raquel will make our life easier coming up with the whole list of everything we need including the utensils and interiors of all the cupboards, etc.  This will be the first time in many years we shall be embarking on a new kitchen as in our last two houses we have always inherited what was there. 

Friday was a quiet day.  I cooked again as I did most of the week. On Friday I made a chickpea stew (caldo Gallego). When I tried to tell my Father what we were having for lunch, he remarked that in Russian chickpeas were called “Turkish peas”.  He never ceases to surprise me.  On Friday when I went shopping with Fátima we coincided at the supermarket (Mercadona) with our new Russian neighbor Ekaterina.  I told her about some of the Russian food I made and she promised to invite us to borsch one day (lovely).  She also told me her parents from Moscow were coming that night so I invited all of them to drinks on Sunday at midday, to meet my Father and to see our house and of course get to know our new neighbours better.  Ekaterina is Russian, her husband, Julio, is Spanish and they have two little boys who must be bilingual. It will be  a great chance for my Father to speak Russian.  Meanwhile he is nearly always reading the Russian classics, mostly novels by Chekov.

Recently I haven’t told you much about Olivia’s reporting on TV.  That’s because I am ashamed to say I hardly ever watch her.  I would love to but she never warns us on time and also the programme is on from 7 – 8.30pm which is more or less our reading and walk time.  However I was interested to hear that yesterday she reported on a new treatment called “cryotherapy”, apparently made fashionable here by the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo.  According to Olivia it’s how he keeps his stomach flat.  It consists of spending 2 to 3 minutes completely undressed in a chamber at temperatures below -200c.  You can lose up to 800 calories in that short space of time.  The Real Madrid Portuguese striker has just bought his own chamber which costs apparently 36.000 euros.  The Daily Mail wrote an article where they referred to the footballer as “ice cool”.  Well they would wouldn’t they?
"Ice cool" Cristiano Ronaldo, an advocate for "cryotherapy"
That night Eladio and I went out to dinner as we always do on Friday evenings.  This time we returned to an old favourite we hadn’t been to for a very long time.  De Brasa y Puchero in Boadilla disappointed us though last night as it no longer serves “patatas revolconas” (a peppery potato dish) which was the main reason we chose to go there last night.  When we came home the kitchen in our house was full of people; Olivia and her friends from the “manada”.  Miguel was cooking a Mexican dish and they were all going to eat outside at past 10pm!  Imagine that at the end of October. 

And today is Saturday and it is another warm and sunny day.  Oli, as I told you, has gone off to Valencia.  Suzy meanwhile is working at her home in London doing an online course which would give her options to become an assistant teacher in nutrition.  She is trying out all her options whilst waiting for the registration number from the health and care professions council (HCPC).
Suzy doing an online course at home in London today
And tonight my friends, very sadly, the clocks go back.  We go from Daylight saving time to winter time which I hate because it means there will be less light in the evening for our walks.  I prefer it to be dark in the morning and light in the evenings but the farmers don’t so they always get their say.  I read somewhere this morning that most of us never know if the clocks go back or forward the two times it happens a year and that this is the mantra to remember: “spring forward, fall back”.  So, yeah it’s “fall” (hate that word as in English it is Autumn) and the clocks go back tonight and tomorrow we will have a 25 hour day.

So that’s it for this week my friends, one day early I wish you all the best until next time,

Cheers Masha

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