Monday, February 27, 2006

Dinner at Bice

Hiya again

Last night we went out for a family dinner to Bice in Madrid (as commented in my post about the snow). Lovely dinner and nice to do something different on a Sunday. The building is beautiful and the restaurant surrounds a lovely old fashioned Spanish patio. Funniest part of the night was finding the right entrance to the car park after dinner. It was 0ºC, but thanks to the lovely Rueda white wine we hardly felt the cold. When we finally found the car park it took some time to find the car and the girls and I practiced our silly walks, including the Basil walk from Fawlty Towers and our laughs were echoed all around the car park. All in all a fun evening.

Above are some pics of the night for the record.

Calle Génova, 19. Madrid.
Teléfono 91 319 40 29/ 10 78

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Snow on a Sunday in Madrid

Hello again
There has been snow all over Spain, quite bad weather and many new warnings of snow, even here in Madrid. However, snow is so unusual here and it hardly every settles, that I didn't take much notice of the weather forecasts. Eladio with his sixth sense for weather in general (he comes from a northern mountainous region in Spain) said last night, just as we were getting into bed: "there's going to be a heavy snowfall tonight".
And, lo and behold, this morning at about 5 a.m, when we were worrying that Susana still wasn't home, he looked outside and announced to me that there was a heavy snowfall. Poor Susi finally arrived home a bit later. She had no chains in the car and had driven home in 2nd gear.
When we finally got up this morning, the snow was still there, so Eladio went outside with his boots and took these photos.
Luckily today is Sunday so there will be no chaos on the road for people going to work or school.
I must admit it looks beautiful, specially with the contrast of the sun. It will melt pretty soon though, but while it lasts it's lovely and reminds us all of our childhoods. In this house, however, only the cat Henry has been out playing in the snow and that's a sight in itself to see.
Today will be a nice quiet day at home with the newspapers and my wonderful book Memoirs of a Geisha. The day however, beholds something nice to look forward to. We are all going out to dinner tonight, yes the 5 of us. The reason? Nothing special, just to enjoy life and do things together. My father is tickled pink about it, so good for him. We are going to Bice a lovely Italian joint operated under the Vips Group. The trick? I have an invitation because I am a platinum member which is a perk from my PR profession.

Monday, February 20, 2006

What's up this week?

After my birthday celebrations and St. Valentine's day, life has been quite quiet. My 3 projects are ticking along but not one is yet completely fulfilled; so, they keep me occupied.
Went to the cinema on Saturday with Eladio and Oli to see Memoirs of a Geisha which I absolutely adored and would thoroughly recommend. Eladio hated it but then I think it's more a woman's film. I want to buy the book now.
This week will be quiet. Wednesday I have an interview (first round), Thursday I will be seeing Mamen and Friday I will be going to the doctors (just routine ladies' stuff). In between time I will be cooking, washing, ironing, reading the newspapers with the men in my house and going for our brisk walk every afternoon.
Hope yours is more fun.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

St. Valentines day is on the 14th Feb isn't it?

Valentines day was different this year. Truth to tell, neither Eladio nor I have ever paid much attention to it but now that the girls are old enough and seem to celebrate it quite a lot I gave it a bit more thought this year. We only ever been out to dinner once and we have never exchanged cards. But this year, what with having more time on my hands, I thought I'd change that.
In order for Eladio to be on the same wave length I told Susana to discreetly let him know that I was preparing somthing big. Apparently that got him worried. My "something big" was just going to be reserving a table somewhere as a surprise, not much more.
Time went by and then on Saturday morning (11th Feb!!!) I went up to our room after breakfast and found an envelope on my pillow. I sort of hoped it would be tickets to some exotic location but no, it was the first St. Valentine's card EVER from Eladio and it was dated 11th Feb. The word to describe my reaction was "flabbergasted". I couldn't quite understand. I didn't know whether to be touched or cross so I ended up laughing. Eladio felt humiliated and asked me not to tell too many people!! So what am I doing? Telling you all of course. It's far too funny to keep to myself. When I told my friend Anne-Marjut, she said "but Masha, everyone knows St.Valentine's is on the 14th February". Well, apparently that is not true.
So the night before came and I realised I hadn't got him a card. What was I to do? So I started being creative and getting out old birthday cards to me from my Father and covering the writing with a picture of me. Olivia told me my efforts were pathetic and very opportunely came out with a lovely flowery every occasion type card she had stored in one of her drawers.
Then the big day came and when I told Eladio I was taking him somewhere as a surprise he either didn't listen or didn't hear me. So it was a real surprise when I told him to start getting dressed to go out at 8.30. But he took it very well. The annoying thing was that he wasn't one bit interested where I was taking him. It's quite pointless being creative or trying to surprise him; you get little reaction. However we really enjoyed the dinner, as you can see from the pictures. Where did we go? To a lovely rice joint called La Albufera and we had something we adore called "arroz abanda" (actually brought more than half of it home in a doggy bag!!).
Susi was the lucky lady in our house last night. Her boyfriend arrived with a huge bunch of red roses. He had also rung me to ask me to prepare here a small overnight bag. So, he had arranged to take her to a plush hotel (which inclued champagne upon arrival) Would you believe it?
Oli was the less lucky one: no card, no flowers, no reserved table. However her boyfriend did send a text message to say he loved her everyday and not just on St. Valentines. They headed out to a favourite restaurant nearby only to find it was full, so they had to find somewhere else which turned out not to be that good. She was the first one home.
I have told Eladio to take note of Susi's boyfriend, Gaby and that I WANT FLOWERS NEXT YEAR!!!.
Hope you all had a good one my dear girlfriends.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A family gathering and the last of the birthday celebrations

Hiya again
Today, Sunday 10th February, Eladio's brother, José Antonio, and family came to lunch. The gathering was quite important for us all. We were not just going to celebrate Juan's birthday and mine but we were welcoming Sarita (guapa) who we had not seen since July as she is on a scholarship in China. She has come home for a month's holiday (the Chinese New Year) and will be going back to Peking next Sunday and we won't see her again until July. Dear Miguel was the only member of the family missing as he is living and working in London.
We had a copious lunch: a real British roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, finished with a home made birthday cake covered in m&ms. We spent the afternoon chatting, drinking tea and getting up to date on all our activities. The day finished off with a long walk all 9 of us - the same route we take every afternoon, Eladio, my Father and I. It's a brisk walk off the road and across fields near our house where you sometimes see rabbits and other fauna. The sun was just coming down and the full moon coming out and the temperature was just good enough to walk without a coat and that's something at 7 p.m. in February.
Here's a picture of us all today around the table. In order from me to the right: Olivia, Sarita (guapa), Susi, Juan, my Father, José Antonio and Dolores. Eladio took the picutre, as usual.
That's all for the moment folks!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The birthday party (The Nokia Connection)

Hiya again
Yesterday we celebrated my now annual birthday dinner party. There were some new faces: Jill, Paco and Paola, Manuel's new girlfriend and Gaby, Susi's new boyfriend. Despite their GPS Jill and Paco got quite lost getting to our house but that's not unusual as we do live a bit out in the sticks. Another new face, of course, was my Father - this was the first time he has been with me on my birthday since 1981, so quite something to have him here. He's also a great help in the kitchen, I must say.
Missing this year were my beloved nephew Miguel, my dear friend Anne, our Turkish delight(ful) friend Burk, my beautiful and exotic Mexican friend Fernanda and Julio, of course. With us again and faithful as always were Ana and Tomy (recently married), Carmencita and Muppy, Fátima and Manuel. Only one guest couldn't make it and that was darling Rafa, my photographer friend.

Apart from my family, most of the guests have one thing in common and that's the Nokia connection as I got to know them all one way or another through working at Nokia. So that's something I can be grateful to Nokia for. The slogan "Connecting People" is just so true - there are other internal ones such as "Disconnecting Families" but that, thankfully, never happened to me, and "Reuniting Colleagues". That's the one I like.

Thank you all for coming, we so enjoyed having you. I certainly drank a bit too much and had a rotten head most of the night but it was well worth it.

As pictures say so much more than words; here are some snapshots of the evening taken by Susana with her new camera (problems with the red eyes, I'm afraid). I had to include one of the food because this year I went all out and was cooking most of the week and thought you might want to see my creations, labels and all.
And another celebration tomorrow. Eladio says my birthdays are like Indian weddings that last for days. He's right but then again I love partying, celebrations and having guests so my own birthday is a great excuse for going all out and indulging my pleasure.
Photos from top to bottom: 1) The food. 2)The group (in pink and anti clockwise: Jill, Paco, Eladio, Tomy, Manuel, Paola, a bit of my Father and Ana). 3) Jill and Paco 4). The girls, left to right: Muppy, me, Carmen, Olivia and Fátima).

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

My latest bits of news and activities and, by the way, today is my Birthday.

Hello again.
I just realised that my last post disappeared from my blog. It was about all my bits and pieces of news since after Christmas and going to Rome. Difficult to repeat but here it is with some updates.
Mostly I wanted you to see that things were going well on the social scene and that I was doing lots of going out and inviting people home. Today is my birthday so that's the beginning of 3 days of party activities. Tomorrow Julio and Fátima are inviting me out to lunch and on Friday 10th February I am organising a dinner party at home for 17 people!!! I will be cooking.
On Sunday our beloved family from Francisco Silvela will be coming for lunch- that's Eladio's brother's family, José Antonio, his wife Dolores, his son Juan and his daughter Sara (back from China). Miguel, the other son and my beloved nephew lives in London so can't make it. It's also Juan's birthday today so we shall have lots to celebrate on Sunday. What are we having for lunch? Good old English roast beef, yorkshire pudding and the works!.
Then on the 13th a dear friend Anne Marjut (actually Anne's friend too) who works for Ago, the people who make Nokia's promotional stuff, will be inviting me to lunch. The socialising should come to a stop on Tuesday 14th when I have a surprise invitation for Eladio for St. Valentine's day.
All this eating you will say and what about your diet? Well, yes, I have some small good news: I have now lost 10kg!!! The trick: not eating dinner.
On the job scene, there are 2 doors open at the moment. One is with a Spanish software company where I would be in charge of the PR in 51 countries - too much travelling I imagine - and the other is with a private Spanish University 5 mins from this house. They probably don't pay very well but the low stress factor could be a huge plus. I won't say much more for the moment cos both might well fall through.
On the house scene, many many visits in January and now in February and even a couple of offers (below the asking price unfortunately) but the house is still for sale. However the market seems to be moving.
Oh, yes, I forgot to mention. We have a new member of the family: Susana has a rabbit called Ruby. Her boyfriend Gaby brought it. Susi has bought it a huge cage, nearly the size of her bedroom for Ruby to be happy and there it is chomping hay and lettuce.
My father is very well settled now and is even planning his new trip at the end of March. He wanted to go to Copenhagen but we might have to wait and see what happens with the cartoon issue. He even spoke about 3 trips this year and he is contemplating Rome, Lucerne and Vienna. So where did I get my itchy feet from? But will I be planning such trips when I am 87?? I wonder.
Well today should be fun. I've been told not to cook any lunch and in my birthday card it said: for a very very special birthday. Does that mean there is a surprise? I wonder what it is? Well, you will find out in my next post.
Cheers and love to you all/Masha
PS if you are wondering how old I am, the only clue you will get is that I am still in my 40s!!!