Sunday, February 22, 2015

21 Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded by Isis, Betty’s came to our house, Pippa’s arrival and settling in, Shrove Tuesday, walking again (with crutches), lunch with Marika and Claudia, my rehabilitation started, hacked sim cards, Oli and Miguel skiing in Navacerrada, a chance meeting at dinner on Friday and other stories.

Sunday 22nd February 2015.

Finally on my feet - my first day with crutches - notice "the blur of Pippa who I am very careful not to step on
Hi everyone,

Well this week has been great.  Five weeks after my operation I am now semi mobile which is so encouraging and motivating.  Also our adorable new puppy Pippa, a chocolate coloured mini dachshund, arrived on Tuesday adding to the mayhem in our household.  The kitchen is full of dog stuff, beds, water bowls, toys, old slippers and on my crutches it is rather difficult to manoeuvre myself around the kitchen. Also with crutches you cannot use your hands for anything so I have taken to walking on the crutches but using my pc chair to move around in the kitchen so that I can use my hands.

Going back to last Sunday, I spent the afternoon with Olivia making litres of vegetable soup for our dinners as well as a batch of perushki (Russian meat pies).  We must have been cooking for more than 2 hours and I was exhausted after the effort and my foot was swollen and aching.  However I had begun to feel useful again and I must say the food came in handy for dinners this week. Otherwise we always seem to have the same; salad with Gema’s brown bread and Spanish cured ham.  The latter was given to us by Miguel and it is delicious and fast disappearing

Monday was my dear friend Jackie’s birthday.  Being a Christian she would have been appalled at the big news that day that Isis had beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians as the whole world was.  They were killed in Libya and Isis published a beheading video which I do not want to see.  Just looking at the photo of these poor innocent men about to be beheaded on a beach in Libya is enough to make your hair stand on end.
This photo is now so famous it needs no caption
The Egyptian government immediately retaliated by attacking Isis fighting areas in Libya.  Equally worrying was the news that the Ukraine Russian ceasefire was not being fully respected.  In my mind the two most dangerous issues threatening peace in the world are these two and neither of them are easy to halt with peace talks or without.

Monday was day 36 after my fall and again I spent most of it in bed working in the morning and watching series such as Last Tango in Halifax in the afternoon. On Monday too I bought the kindle version of Jane Hawking’s book “Travelling to infinity, my life with Stephen” upon which the film “The theory of everything” was based.  I was interested to read the real story not the 2 hour summarized life of their 25 years together and it makes fascinating reading.
Jane Hawking's book
Tuesday was a great day.  In the morning my Betty’s order arrived.  You may remember me entering a competition where one of the prizes was a St. Valentine’s hamper. Well I didn’t win, nor did I expect to, so instead I ordered a hamper myself. In a nutshell if you can’t go to Betty’s if you don’t live in Yorkshire, then let Betty’s come to you; ordering their produce online.  Their online page is very enticing for Betty’s lovers, however that list is limited if you live abroad like I do as only a certain selection of items can be delivered abroad.  In any case both my 96 year old Father and I, who were great fans of this lovely Yorkshire tea shop when we lived there, were delighted with the hamper.  Here is a photo of my Father and I and the contents of the Betty’s order on our dining room table.
My Betty's order
But far more important than the Betty’s order was the arrival of Pippa, our delightful new chocolate coloured miniature dachshund.  When she arrived we immediately fell in love with her. This is one of the very first pictures of her. 
Pippa in her bed when she arrived which actually she has never used
She is in her bed which actually, after this picture she has practically ignored preferring to hog poor Elsa’s bed, leaving the latter to lie down on the tiled floor.
Pippa prefers Elsa's bed
Pippa took to our home immediately although it was obvious from the beginning that, like a baby, her preferred situation is sitting on my lap.  In a way it’s like having a new baby and Pippa is a little like a substitute for the grandchild we don’t yet have or foresee coming for quite a while.  But that’s ok because both Eladio and I actually prefer puppies to babies.  That’s a terrible admission but it’s true.  I don’t really like babies, far preferring them when they become toddlers; although if the baby is mine or my daughters’ then of course that would be an entirely different story and I would be besotted with it.  Meanwhile I am besotted with Pippa as we all are, including Gema our home-help whom our new puppy follows wherever she goes.  Olivia, who was dying to see little Pippa, had to wait until the evening when she came home from work with Miguel.  Here is the first photo of her with the puppy. Again it was love at first sight.
Olivia meets Pippa
The most delicate moment was introducing Pippa to our dogs, Elsa our 3 year old Labrador and Norah our 5 year old beagle.  Elsa was more worried and Norah totally ignored her.  However it didn’t take long for the three of them to be at peace with each other thank goodness.  At the beginning we didn’t leave them alone together in the kitchen until today.  I have a feeling that the boss will be little Pippa in the long run but only time will tell. 
The three dogs together
I think the photo below proves the harmony of the three dogs.  Here is little Pippa sleeping on top of Elsa in the kitchen with Norah on the left in her bed, the only bed that Pippa respects for the moment hahaha.
Pippa sleeping on top of Elsa
For the moment as Pippa is only 2 and a half month’s old, she can’t go outside until she has had her third vaccination on 10th March.  I can’t wait to see the three of them outside in the garden and to take Pippa with us on our walks, that is, when I am able to walk properly again.

As she can’t go outside, she can’t sleep outside either. She can’t sleep on her own in the kitchen either because of the alarm. So I am very embarrassed to admit that she sleeps with us; i.e. we are three in the bed at night.  On the first night we brought up her lovely new bed but when she saw us “climb” into our bed she kept jumping up on my side of the bed and crying until I picked her and put her between us.  That night and every night since, she has slept with us, snuggling up to me or Eladio.  I have been told I am giving her bad habits but actually having her sleeping with me in bed is a childhood dream.  Pippa’s favourite place is our bed and here is a video we took of her this week playing with my slipper on our bed. I have always been a dog lover and as a child was not allowed one.  As you can see I have made up for lost time in a big way ever since I got married and made my own home which is now full of dogs and our cat Phoebe.  As yet Phoebe and Pippa have not met. That will be the next milestone in Pippa’s arrival haha.
My side of the bed where Pippa loves to curl up and fall asleep
Tuesday was Shrove Tuesday and when I realized it was I decided to make pancakes for dinner.  Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras in French or Martes de Carnaval in Spanish, is the day before Ash Wednesday the beginning of Lent and a semi fasting period in the Christian churches.  In England, it is more known as Pancake Day a tradition I haven’t really implanted in our household but this year I did.  I made loads of pancakes with whole grain flour as there was no white flour but they turned out fine.  I had mine with fresh raspberries and yoghurt as well as sugar free maple syrup.  Eladio preferred his with honey.  Here is a photo of Eladio and I enjoying our pancakes.  Oli and Miguel tucked in happily too.  Meanwhile in London I was pleased to hear from Suzy that she had also made pancakes for dinner.
Having pancakes for dinner on Shrove Tuesday
Wednesday was my big day.  I had an appointment at the hospital to see the orthopedic surgeon who had operated on me.  He took one look and pronounced me ready to walk with crutches, bearing weight on my bad leg, just 5 weeks after the operation.  I was worried I would be clumsy but I actually took to it quite fast.  The good news was he said I would be able to make it to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress at the beginning of March and for my trip to Helsinki just afterwards; probably with the aid of just one crutch. He then sent me to the rehabilitation department to get an appointment.  I was disappointed to be given an appointment there for my first evaluation a whole week later, meaning I probably wouldn’t even be starting on rehabilitation for more than 2 weeks, in fact after my trips to Barcelona and Helsinki.  So there and then I rang an old professional friend called Amalio who used to be the Director of Marca (Spain’s number one sports newspaper) who I had been in contact with recently.  When I had told him about my accident he told me to ring him when it was time for rehabilitation as he wanted to recommend me one of the best doctors in the field; Dr. Torralba who specializes in sports’ rehabilitation and in whose hands many of Spain’s top sports’ legends have passed.  When I rang him he gave me an appointment for the next day. I was very relieved as I knew how important it is to start rehabilitation as soon as possible.

On Wednesday afternoon I caught a snippet of Olivia’s programme.  Just as I turned the TV on there she was reporting live.  It was about a 17 year old boy called Richard who disappeared 10 days ago after a fight in Alcalá de Henares in Madrid.  How awful for his family.
Oli reporting on the story of the 17 year old boy Richard who went missing 10 days ago
On Thursday morning Eladio drove me to Madrid for the appointment at the private rehabilitation centre owned by Dr. Torralba.  I would have far preferred to drive to Yoigo on my own to be at my boss’ side during an interview with the prestigious financial monthly magazine Actualidad Económica.  However, from a distance I had organized everything including a briefing and knew that my boss would be in good hands as he would be accompanied by Carlos from my PR agency.  The truth is I would have preferred to be there to hear every word of the interview but it could not be.

The rehabilitation centre is called Imersa and is near Atocha, so quite a drive from here.  It was at Imersa that I was taught how to walk properly on my new crutches and I have been walking that way ever since.  It wasn’t easy to learn as I my psychomotor abilities have always been rather lacking.  For example I can’t dance for toffee and am nearly incapable of learning dance steps.  But that day I did learn finally how to use my crutches.  First  you place them a large pace away from you, put your left leg forward at the same level as the crutches then place your right leg one step ahead of the crutches, so really, crutches, left leg, right leg, crutches, left leg, right leg until it becomes automatic.  You see it is not easy.  After learning how to use my crutches I was given a schedule of 15 sessions of rehabilitation which were to include something called magnetotherapy; a technique used a lot in sports’ injuries.

After the appointment at Imersa I was going to stay in Madrid as I had a lunch appointment with my ex Nokia communications colleague Marika and her daughter who were visiting Madrid this week.  However I had a sudden urgent request to write a brief for the Swedish Prime Minister on Yoigo as he was meeting a group of CEOs of Swedish owned companies including ours on Friday.  We rushed home and I wrote the 25 line summary of our company for the Prime Minister after which I got ready again to go to Madrid to have lunch with Marika and Claudia.  Dear Eladio drove me to Madrid again to the restaurant after which he drove to José Antonio and Dolores’ house nearby to have lunch with them.

It was great to meet Marika after so many years.  I think we must have bored her sweet and beautiful daughter Claudia who is a medical student in her 5th year in Helsinki with our talk of the Nokia days.  It was at this lunch that Marika and I agreed to host an ex Nokia comms mingle cocktail event with many of our ex colleagues when I go in March.  I posted the event on FB this weekend and hope lots of people come.  Being on the ground in Helsinki Marika will be in charge of finding and booking a suitable location.  I look forward to that. We had lunch at Iroco in Calle Velázquez and it was my first outing to Madrid for a lunch or dinner since my fall.  It was very enjoyable.  I was happy to hear that my Finnish friends had enjoyed sunshine every day in Madrid and were very impressed with the city. As we stepped outside to say goodbye, Julia, who works at my events agency, was passing by so I asked her to take a photo of the three of us together in Madrid and this is it.
Lunch with Marika and Claudia on Thursday was one of the highlights of this week
We parted ways and I took a taxi to José Antonio and Dolores’ house to see them for a little while before going home.  Once home I had quite a lot of work to catch up on but there was Pippa getting in the way trying to bite at all the cables and in the end I had to work with her on my lap using only one hand for my keyboard!

That night Pippa had visitors.  Friends of Olivia and Suzy, “la manada”; Copi, Carolina, Elena and Dave were coming to see her. Thus Oli and Miguel organized dinner which we had all together in the dining room with all three dogs under and around our chairs and legs.  As was to be expected they all fell in love with Pippa.
A selfie of some of the members of the Manada who came to dinner on Thursday to meet Pippa
Friday came and brought with it the breaking news that British and American secret services had hacked sim cards in 2010 and 2011 by stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of mobile phone communications. Hardest hit was Gemalto, the Dutch firm which is the world leader in the manufacture of sim cards; producing some 2 billion cards a year.  Most operators in the world, including us and our mother company TeliaSonera buy their cards from them. I first heard of the news when I received an early morning email from a Spanish journalist asking me our position on the news and how it would affect our customers.  He sent me the article where the news appeared and which said the information came from the famous whistleblower, in hiding in Russia, the now famous Edward Snowden.  It was my job then to liaise within the company to decide on a statement.  Basically what we ended up saying was that we were talking to Gemalto to see what had happened and that our customers’ privacy and security were paramount to us and that we were of the opinion that “all government surveillance of communications should, in all countries, be in accordance with the law and that the scope and method must be transparent”. Gemalto itself issued a press release which you can read here and where they say the hacking, if it had occurred, had happened without them knowing it.  The laws of most countries state that if authorities need to monitor a customer’s phone, they must do so via a legal path and with a judge’s authority.  If it is true that the NSA and the GCHQ have hacked the cards, this means they have broken the law and more worryingly they can now listen in to millions and millions of phone calls.
The story of hacked sim cards by British and American intelligence was big news on Friday
Friday was also my first morning of rehabilitation and when I realized there was no mobile coverage at the clinic I was a bit desperate.  The session ended up taking nearly 2.5 hours and I felt very sorry for Eladio waiting outside.  Next week we have decided he will drive me there and I will take a taxi back.  Once again I would have preferred to be at Yoigo that day as I had called a staff meeting; what we call “Yoigo Mornings” to present the 2014 financial results.  It was to be the first Yoigo Morning I had ever missed.  Again, as with the interview with Actualidad Económica, I organized it at a distance but felt frustrated not being able to be present.

Meanwhile Olivia had taken Friday off and was going to make a long weekend of it with Miguel by going to Navacerrada to ski on Friday and spend the weekend at the Cándido Hotel in Segovia. They had the perfect day for skiing.  Here is a photo of them up by the “Bola del Mundo” as this peak is called (top of the world).
Oli and Miguel went skiiing to Navacerrada outside Madrid on Friday
In London that day Suzy was spending the morning at London Fields with her Friends Chati and Mónica.  Here is a photo of the three of them. 
Suzy with her friends Chati (in the middle) and Mónica (right) in London Fields on Friday
It was on Friday that Suzy received her 3rd evaluation of the process of registering with the HCPC (health and care professions council) and once again the feedback is daunting.  She has to provide more evidence of adhering to their very strict SOPs (standards of procedure).  I have printed out the documents and we shall have a long talk this afternoon about how to go about it.  We will not give up until Suzy is a fully qualified registered nutritionist with the HCPC although many a person in a similar situation would have given up by now.

On Friday we went out to dinner again.  It was a huge relief to do so on crutches rather than in a wheel chair. We chose Zurito in Pozuelo.  Just as we had sat down at our table, we had a chance meeting with an ex Motorola colleague, Ignacio who saw us as he walked into the restaurant.  He then brought his wife Monica and their adopted Russian children Anders, now aged 18 and Ana, now aged 14 to our table to see us.   What a lovely family they make. I had seen Ignacio many times over the years at various sector events, including ex Motorola dinners, but I hadn’t seen his wife and children for at least 14 years.  Wow it was lovely to see them. We caused a huge disturbance at the restaurant and even the bottle of water and plate of olives fell over on our table in the rush and excitement of the moment.  Here is a photo of the 6 of us.  We have agreed to meet soon and when I am back from Helsinki I will organize a dinner.
The chance meeting with Ignacio and his family at the Zurito restaurant in Pozuelo on Friday night
Saturday was a quiet day and I didn’t do much.  Olivia occasionally sent us photos of her and Miguel having a good time in Segovia.  Of all the photos she sent, this one of them jumping up in the air against the Roman aqueduct is probably my favourite.
Oli and Miguel in Segovia yesterday by the Roman Aqueduct
And today is Sunday and they will be back for lunch.  I can’t cook anything complicated due to my limited mobility so it will be grilled steak and chips followed by fresh fruit. 

In the afternoon I will be talking to Suzy to go over the HCPC papers but I shall also be going out.  We just heard this morning that our friend Mari Carmen, the ex-wife of Eladio’s best friend Roberto, fell down some stairs and broke her femur and had to have a hip replacement.  Gosh I felt so sorry for her; what a spate of accidents between the two of us!  So, yes we shall be going out, to hospital, but this time to see a friend. I hope she recovers soon. 

Next week I shall be going to my rehabilitation sessions every morning and look forward to my ankle getting stronger day by day.  I shall also be working on the final details of all our activities at the Mobile World Congress which takes place the following week.  On Tuesday afternoon I shall be having a meeting with the teams from my PR and events Agencies and they will be coming here for it.  They will also be meeting Pippa which I think is an added bonus.  There will be tea and coffee on the table as well as some of the Betty’s cakes and biscuits, uum scrumptious.

Meanwhile my friends, I wish you all a great week ahead.

Till next Sunday

Masha

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Animals in the snow in León, how women could vanish into the dark, my new “office in bed”, my brother George would have been 60 this week, a manicure at home, a visit from Vanessa and Angeles, skyping with Suzy, the horrors of North Korea, out to dinner for St. Valentine’s in my Father’s wheelchair, jihadist attacks in Copenhagen of all places and other stories.

Sunday 15th February 2015
Oli and her Father at our St. Valentine's dinner last night
Hello again everyone.

It’s Sunday again and it’s a glorious day outside but I can still only appreciate it from indooors as I continue to recover from my ankle accident. It’s been just under a month since I fell.  Next wednesday I have another appointment with the doctor who operated on me and that is hopefully when I shall be able to begin to bear weight on my leg, albeit with crutches. I shall be letting you know how I get on with them, or don’t (I’m a clumsy person so who knows if I won’t fall over using them!) next Sunday.  Wish me luck.

Last Sunday it was the Baftas (UK film awards) and Boyhood, a film that does not attract me in the least, grabbed most of the awards.  The one that did, The Theory of Everything, about the life of Stephen Hawking, won best actor, Eddie Redmayne, who played the scientist in the film.  I had preordered the film on Amazon.  However now that I know how to download films and series (one of the things I have learned during my recovery period) I decided to see if I could download it and bingo I did.  I watched it this week and loved it and of course have now cancelled my order.  Another order I cancelled after downloading it too, was Season 2 of Broadchurch which I am enjoying immensely.
I loved this film about the story of Stephen Hawking.  It won best actor award at the Baftas
It was the night before that the Spanish film awards were held, The “Goyas” and which I forgot to mention last week.  Antonio Banderas was given the honorary award for his career which I think was a great choice as I am a huge fan of this superb charismatic and handsome Spanish actor.  The film that got most awards (10) was “Isla Minima” (Marshland – a detective film set in Andalusia in the 80’s) and that is one film I want to watch too.  It’s not yet available for download but I am hoping it will be soon.

But back to Sunday again.  That night we had a lovely birthday dinner with Olivia where we ate most of the exotic fruit from the birthday hamper she gave me. Unfortunately Gema, our home help, polished off the rest the next day without even asking.  That’s one of the downsides of home helps!

On Monday my fake Michael Kors bags arrived from China.  You may remember I fell for what I thought was a bonafide sales offer from their supposedly official Spanish website where they were being sold for 60 euros each versus the high street price of nearly 300.  When I had made the online purchase I began to suspect I was being taken for a ride and there and then cancelled my credit card with all the usual consequences of having to update my card details on many of my subscriptions, etc.  So when they arrived on Monday I was quite surprised.  Here is a picture of the false bags together with 2 of the real ones I already have.  Can you tell the difference?
The fake Michael Kors bags which arrived this week together with the 2 real ones I have
They don’t look too bad and many people probably wouldn’t tell – one of those people being my naïve husband Eladio.  However they smell funny and don’t stay rigid when you place them on a surface.  That was one good lesson in life.  I shall never fall for supposed discount offers of luxury brands on internet again.  Don’t you either.

On Monday afternoon and on every afternoon this week Eladio was invigilating UNED (equivalent to the Open University) exams, so he would leave the house after lunch at 3 and wouldn’t be back until 9 in the evening.  He is being paid a pittance but says that if he stayed at home he wouldn’t get paid anything.  Invigilating exams can be very tiring and boring, so when he came back on Friday evening, he had changed his tune and announced he would never do it again.  Well see if that’s true cos I don’t think it is hahaha.

Meanwhile the snowy weather continued in Spain and I followed conditions in Montrondo thanks to Javi and Vicente who posted lots of pictures. One piece of news that day was about a villager from the province of León who found a bear cub covered in snow on the doorsteps of his house.  Imagine?  He took the photo but afterwards was warned not to go near it, lest its mother was nearby.  So he didn’t. When he was about to take a video the little bear cub disappeared.  It was obviously in trouble and trying to find food.
The bear cub a man found on his doorstep in a village in León this week
In Montrondo that same day Javi and his friend Vicente went up into the snowy mountains to help trapped animals, such as deer which had no access to food either.  They left bread by a tree for them to eat.
Javi in the mountains outside Montrondo feeding the snow trapped animals such as deer
Slowly the deer began to appear and the boys caught them on camera in this lovely video which then went viral on internet.  The story, together with the one about the bear cub, even made it to national TV news.  This is certainly a first for Montrondo.

On Tuesday another piece of news was brought to my attention.  It was about how women could eventually “vanish into darkness and invisibility, step by step, under fundamentalist pressure and the full niqab”.  It came from this horrific photograph called “disparition” by the Yemeni photographer Bashra Alutawakel.  Isn’t it frightening and very true? I remember living in Bradford in Yorkshire where there is an extremely high proportion of Muslim immigrants.  In the 60’s and 70’s Muslim women there wore colourful saris.  When I have been back recently, I have noticed that they are now nearly all clad in black.  So, yes Muslim women in Yorkshire and other parts of England are now vanishing into darkness too, just as the Yemeni photographer predicts.
Muslim women disappearing  into black "disparition"
It was on Tuesday afternoon that my great friend Fátima finally came to visit me.  She is my neighbour, living 10 minutes away from us, but she has been busy looking after her daughter who had flu but most of all, nearly all of her time has been taken up with looking after her cantankerous elderly mother who was admitted to hospital with flu complications.  She is now at home and on oxygen.  I feel so sorry for my friend who is exhausted and can hardly find time to do anything.  I wish we had taken a photo of her visit but we were far too busy chatting.  In any case it was lovely to spend a few hours with her.

A bit of English language trivia caught my attention on Tuesday this week. I was surprised to learn that many expressions we use today are actually owed to the “bard” himself, the one and only William Shakespeare. It's amazing they have survived so long and that we are still using them today. You can see and read them all in this picture.  It looks like “too much of a good thing” doesn’t it?  But it isn’t as it has “gone full circle”!

There is really not much to report about Wednesday.  I think it was a particularly down day for me.  Being immobile gets me down sometimes despite my efforts to be positive.  I really wish Jesus Christ would come and see me and say stand up and walk and off I would go.  That, however, is not going to happen and I just have to be patient.  I worked in the morning as I do every morning and watched TV series which is what I do most afternoons.

This, by the way, is what my “new office in bed” looks like. As you can see I am surrounded by technology that keeps me connected to the world in every possible virtual way.  In the picture you have my pc, headphones, speakers, iPad, kindle, my mouse, external disk, a DVD boxset and of course a note pad and pen  Quite a good collection don’t you think?  Is there anything missing that might be of use in your mind?
My "new office" in bed
It was on Wednesday afternoon that I watched 5 episodes all in one go of Broadchurch season 2.  It was highly entertaining and helped pass the time which is the main point of watching series in the afternoon.
On Thursday 12th February my dearest brother George would have turned 60.  I can never forget him and this was the tribute I wrote that day on my Facebook wall accompanied by practically the only good photo there is of the two of us which was taken when we were in our early 20s: “Remembering George my brother the talented golden boy. He would have been 60 today but sadly died of melanoma in 2001. How can I ever forget my 6ft tall blue eyed good looking brother who played the piano and any other instrument by ear, who learned language after language more easily than a child who was sociable and lots of fun? I also sadly remember his dark moments which I could never understand. Forgive me George all that I know is that I always loved you and miss you every day. RIP”.  The photo hangs in a frame on the wall above my bed for me to remember him always.  It is fading now.  However, my love and memory of him never fade. 
The framed photo of George and I taken when we were in our early 20's and that hangs on the wall above my bed
Thursday was memorable too for an important event on the international political scene, the 15 hour marathon peace talks held in Minsk with the President of the Ukraine, Putin himself, the iron lady of Germany, Angela Merkel and France’s President François Holland. At one moment during the talks, there was so much tension, Vladimir Putin broke his pencil.  Here is the picture to prove it.
President Putin breaks his pencil in a moment of frustration during the 15 hour long peace talks in Minsk this week
They were debating a ceasefire after more than 5000 people have died since last April in the conflict between the Ukrainian forces and Russian backed separatists.  Finally they came to an agreement to remove artillery this weekend, on midnight last night.  I sincerely hope the agreement will hold. I am no great fan of President Putin and in a programme about property in Spain on TV this week I learned he owns a villa in Marbella valued at 60 million euros!  That is disgusting!  As with most super rich Russian or Arab house owners, these “villas” are dripping with gold and marble.  No more comments.

On a lighter note I had an appointment I was much looking forward to that day.  My “semi-permanent” nail varnish needed replacing as my nails had grown so much since I last did them on 12th January.  As I couldn’t go to the hairdressers to have them done, I got in touch with a self-employed manicurist, Rocío, recommended to me by my friend Juana.  Her services were quite expensive, 45 euros, compared to the 15 or so I pay at my local beauty parlour, but I think the effort was well worth it.  I enjoyed the pampering at home for an hour and this was the end result.
My beautiful but expensive new red nails
Friday was a Friday the 13th, a date most people don’t like.  In Spain, if you didn’t know it, their unlucky day is actually Tuesday 13th.  In any case I am not particularly suspicious and nothing negative happened that day.  In fact it turned out to be one of the best days of the week.  That morning I sent Eladio off to do the weekly shopping.  I had made an exhaustive and very neat shopping list ordered in such a way he would have to follow the usual routes around the two supermarkets we go to and just follow my lists picking up the items on his way.  Whilst he was out, finally my Amazon DVD box of the three seasons of Last Tango in Halifax arrived.  I had watched the first season by downloading it but the quality was appalling which is why I didn’t cancel this order.  I have spent at least half of my TV series time since then enjoying this super BBC series set in my beloved Yorkshire.  The script is superb and the plots get thicker and thicker; just as my friend Amanda had told me.
The DVD box I got from Amazon this week - great series Last Tango in Halifax
On Friday, I was lucky to receive another visit.  Vanessa from Yoigo was coming to see me that afternoon but she surprised me even more so when she arrived together with Angeles.  They are two of my favourite people at Yoigo.  They brought me two “naughty but nice” St. Valentines miniature cakes which Oli and I devoured that night, despite my high fibre diet (or should that be high “fibber” to quote my friend Andy?).  It was lovely to have visitors and I even went downstairs (on my backside of course hahahah) with them to offer them coffee and tea in the kitchen.  They certainly cheered me up that day. Thanks girls so much for coming.  When I showed Eladio the photo below, he commented just what a beautiful girl 31 year old Vanessa is.  She certainly is beautiful but not just on the outside as I know from experience.
Super to have a visit from Vanessa (left) and Angeles (middle) on Friday afternoon
Friday ended in a lovely way.  Suzy skyped Oli and I on my mobile phone.  It was lovely to “see” her and also to hear just how well she is faring these days.  Her new job has perked her up enormously.  Later she spoke to her Father too and I caught the moment on camera.  Nice pic eh?  I’m no fan usually of skype.  I don’t really know why; perhaps because the app is not particularly friendly and because skype conversations are difficult to finish.  In any case we shall be doing it again soon as it is the next best thing to having Suzy here.  In the call she told us she was looking at flights to come for Oli’s 30th birthday in May.  Wow, can’t wait. 
Eladio skyping with Suzy on Friday night.
So you see, despite Friday being Friday 13th, it turned out to be one of the best days of the week.

Yesterday Saturday was St. Valentine’s Day.  I didn’t get anything from my wonderful but unromantic husband, but then again I didn’t really expect anything, although I would have loved a bunch of roses.  However I fixed the celebration by making a reservation to go out to dinner that night.  Olivia joined us and we went to La Txitxarrería.  The photo illustrating this week’s post is of Olivia and her Father last night.  It’s a lovely photo isn’t it?  Just Suzy was missing but she did send us a lovely whatsapp message as we were arriving at the restaurant to wish us a happy St. Valentine’s dinner.  To get there we had to take my Father’s wheelchair.  I felt a bit self-conscious being wheeled into the restaurant, so I sincerely hope next time I go that I do so walking on my own two feet.  Oh how much longer is that going to be?

On Saturday, Eladio and I discussed North Korea after having watched a documentary on Spanish television this week when a crew of journalists went there to try and report on the most repressive country in the world.  It is a subject that interests us enormously after having read several first-hand accounts of life there and in the awful Nazi and Stalin like gulags where more than 100.000 people are still imprisoned for crimes such as watching forbidden films on DVDs imported from South Korea illegally.  Very few journalists have been to North Korea and those that do have to liaise with the official tourist official which amazingly, we have learned recently, is headed up by a Spaniard called Alejandro Cao de Benós of aristocratic origin – “a Spaniard who proudly promotes Pyongyang's interests across Europe and claims to be the only non-North Korean working for the pariah country” -   This man is totally mad and sings the praises of the system, denying all the atrocities despite the UN’s horrific report published in February of last year.  You can read the press release the UN issued to describe the terrible crimes to humanity that go on in this hermetic frightening and dark country where there is a total lack of freedom of expression. It was on Saturday that Eladio and I both watched a new first-hand account of the atrocities there by a young girl called Yeomni Park.  Do watch this speech she made at an international forum.  Her story is unbelievable but true. Alejandro Cao de Benós denies it saying the “escapees” are US and South Korean false puppets.  Don’t believe him I can assure you.
Yeomni Park telling her harrowing story of how she escaped from North Korea
In the same trip the Spanish journalists made to North Korea, they were accompanied by a team from Al Jazeera.  Later I watched their documentary which you too can watch here.  There is so much evidence of the atrocities it sorrows me that the world looks on but does nothing to stop them. Maybe that is because there is no oil there but I guess it has a lot more to do with nuclear weapons something the Kim dynasty has a lot of.

St. Valentine’s Day was a lovely day for most people apart from those in North Korea concentration camps I am sure.  But it was a very sad day too for Denmark of all countries. That peaceful haven of social democracy was hard hit yesterday when it too suffered jihadist attacks. It must have shocked this peace loving nation a lot.  I just can’t imagine the city of Hans Christian Anderson cordoned off with armed police all over the place. There were two attacks in the same day. The first one was aimed at the controversial Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who was attending a debate on freedom of expression in a café in the Danish capital.  The second, at about midnight, was another gun attack this time aimed at the central synagogue in Krystalgade.  In both shootings 5 police officers were wounded and three people were killed, including the supposed jihadist who it seems was the perpetrator of both attacks.  The attacks were very similar to those that happened in France recently.  Sadly this is the new form of terrorism; something very difficult to outwit and something none of us want to get used to.

And today is Sunday.  It will be extremely quiet for me.  Oli has gone off to see Gael, Juan, her cousin and Eladio’s godson’s new baby boy.  If it hadn’t been for my leg we would have gone too.  Going to see Gael, as you will have read last week, is one of the things on my “to-do” list when I can walk again.  I’m afraid there will be no pictures here of Olivia holding little Gael as the parents are against photos of their baby being published on internet.  I will respect that of course.

And that friends is the end of the story of this week. Next week will be very exciting for us as our new puppy Pippa will be arriving on Tuesday.  I don’t have any good photos of her to show you here but will be taking loads when she arrives. The most important moment will be when she meets Elsa and Norah.  Cross your fingers all goes well which it should do really.  We will have a real menagerie at our house when she arrives and the headcount, or should it be animal count, will be four if you count Phoebe our cat.  Phoebe of course will not be at all happy to have another dog in the house. Well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

No, I don’t have a good photo of Pippa but this week I came across a lovely photo of me taken with Nick the sausage dog that appeared in one of the Yoigo Christmas ads which I wanted to share with you.  The photo was taken by Oli’s boyfriend Miguel Angel at our press conference in December and I love it as it sums up my love of dogs.  It was Nick that inspired us to acquire the two miniature smooth haired dachshunds as our company mascots you may well remember.  And here is that lovely photo together with the photo of the photo-shopped and elongated Nick.
With Nick the sausage dog that appeared in one of the Yoigo Christmas ads and that inspired us to get 2 mini dachshunds as company mascots, one of which will be Pippa who is coming next week!
So my friends on that note of my love of dogs, I leave you until next week.

Cheers to you all

Masha

Sunday, February 08, 2015

A red letter day for Suzy, a surprise sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird”, more extreme brutality from the jihadists, recovering from the accident and operation, the list of things I want to do when I can walk again, a parcel from Jackie, the biggest snowfall in Montrondo in more than 50 years and Javi the local heroe, mittens from Finland, Oli trapped reporting on the snow, watching Last Tango in Halifax, Ana came to visit, Pippa is growing, out to dinner, red roses from Juana and Oscar, thank you for a wonderful birthday and other things.

Sunday 8th February

Happy with my birthday presents this morning
Hi everyone

It’s Sunday 8th February and it’s my birthday.  I am 58 today, just 2 years away from the dreaded 60 milestone.  Who would believe it?  Certainly not me!  So far it has been wonderful and it is only the beginning.  But let me tell you about it later and start off from where I left off last Sunday.

Last Sunday Oli went sales shopping and bought me a lovely grey cardigan from Oysho.  How I would have loved to go with her, but as you know I am still immobile due to the accident and operation on my ankle.  Suzy meanwhile was continuing her visit to Nottingham.  I was very pleased to hear that she visited the “Ye Olde trip to Jerusalem” which is supposedly the oldest pub in England and an old haunt of ours when I was at Nottingham University.
The oldest pub in England which Suzy visited last Sunday in Nottingham
That afternoon I binge watched the now semi new Forsyte Saga TV series.  When we watched the 1967 series at home in England we had to content ourselves with watching one episode a week for months and months. These days you can watch various seasons of nearly any series you want all in one go.  How things have changed. 

Monday was spent like nearly every day since my accident: breakfast in bed (the biggest advantage of being immobile), a very careful shower, working from my pc in my new bed come office and later watching TV series.  For my lovely daughter Suzy, however Monday turned out to be a red letter day.  She didn’t know the expression and I explained that it meant a day of “special significance”. What was significant for her that day was that she landed the interim job she had applied for whilst waiting for her registry number as a UK qualified dietitian to come through with the HCPC (health and care professions council).  She will be working for Decathlon, the French sports retailer – the biggest of its kind in the world – at the only store in London which is very near where she lives in Surrey Quays. That will keep her busy, earning money and get her out of the house.  I wish her lots of luck and hope she enjoys the job.
A selfie from Suzy working at Decathlon
On Tuesday I was feeling down about being immobile and trapped.  The prospects were not good either as I had been told I would be in a cast for 2 or 3 months and probably not walking properly until another 6.  That day I surfed the web a lot about the recovery length and got rather depressed in the process.  Then my friend Jackie told me to be more positive and to look up how to speed the process up.  I did just what she said and one of the things I found out was the importance of my diet. I knew I had to be on a high fiber diet but apparently the body needs a higher intake of calories than normal for the bones to mend.  That doesn’t mean eating more, but eating more carefully.  It’s amazing how my body has craved for fruit and veg ever since the accident as if it knew what I should be eating to recover.  Of course I need a lot of calcium too which I am having via milk and lots of veg but at the same time I am steering clear of carbohydrates and sugary stuff as I don’t want to put on weight whilst I cannot do my normal exercise. 

Life continued of course on Tuesday and from my small but connected world in my bedroom I was amazed to read that Harper Lee, the reclusive American octogenarian author of the literary gem “To Killl a Mockingbird” (Pulitzer Prize) of which 30 million books have been printed since it was published in 1960 – made even more famous by the film with Gregory Peck – was to publish its sequel
Scout with Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird

Since writing To Kill a Mockingbird (a novel of racism in Alabama in the 30’s as seen through the eyes of a 10 year old tomboy called Scout and of how her lawyer Father Atticus defends a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman) she never published another novel.  However it turns out that the manuscript for her first novel was found by a friend recently.  This first novel is about Scout as an adult and some of her memories as a child about her Father’s law case.  At the time her publisher wrote back to advise her to write another novel this time about Scout as a child and the law case.  And this is exactly what she did.  When her friend found the manuscript recently and showed it to her, Harper Lee was very surprised it had survived and sent it to close friends to get their opinion.  They advised her to publish it and the rest is history now or will be when 1 million copies will be printed in the US shortly.  I always loved her book, as did my Mother.  I think it was one of her favourites.  So, I for one am avidly forward to reading the sequel which, as I say, funnily enough was written before To Kill a Mockingbird.  The new novel is called Go Set a Watchman.  Isn’t that an extraordinary story?
Harper Lee the author of To Kill a Mockingbird
A much worse story hit the news that day too.  IS – those savage and brutal jihadists, issued a ghastly video showing how they burned alive the captive Jordanian pilot, Kasasbeh in a cage.  The release of the video came days after the beheading of a second Japanese hostage within a week. Isis had vowed to kill them unless the Jordanian government handed over Iraqui Jihadist and “would-be suicide bomber” Sajida al-Rishawi both on death row in Jordan.  The deal collapsed when IS did not show proof of the pilot being alive.  I have not seen the video and refuse to watch this barbaric act.  I am disgusted at this new form of terrorism as the whole world is too.  The two Iraqui prisoners were executed in Jordan in a wave of retaliation from this country which is a target of IS because of its involvement in fighting the IS in Syria. Later I read that the pilot’s mother died of sorrow.  I can wholeheartedly understand that.
The awful death of the Jordanian pilot at the hands of IS
On Wednesday Eladio took me to the hospital for my appointments for x-rays, a changing of the dressing on my leg and a visit to the orthopedic surgeon who had operated on me.  I was expecting a new cast to be put on.  But no, Wednesday turned out to be a red letter for me also.  I was amazed when the doctor told me my bones were healing super-fast and that the cast was to be taken off there and then.  His instructions were that I was to be immobile for another 2 weeks after which I was to visit him again.  I was also told to do ankle exercises to strengthen the muscles and I am doing them religiously. 
Doing my ankle exercises with a super elastic band which is perfect for the purpose
He said that in 2 weeks’ time I would be able to walk with crutches bearing weight on my leg.  I know I could not use crutches in a hopping style but I’m sure I will be able to manage them if I can put weight on both legs.  I was ecstatic at the news and any depression I had lifted there and then.  I came home in a much better mood delighted to have the heavy cast off my leg. It’s good to know that my recovery period will be much shorter than expected.  I can now begin to envisage myself at the beginning of March in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress and even better, in Finland for the bi-annual European Comms meeting I was so looking forward to.  I still don’t know if I will be able to go but the doctor said maybe I could if very little walking is entailed.  So please keep your fingers crossed. On the way home in the car I began to digest the good news about my recovery and in my mind I started making a list of all the things I want to do when I can walk again. This is the list which is not in any particular order apart from the first item:

Go for my walks, make it to Barcelona for the MWC, join the European team I belong to in their next meeting in Finland at the beginning of March and spend the weekend before with Anne in Salo, go to Montrondo, go to the snow in the mountains outside Madrid, have my nails done, go shopping with Oli, go see Suzy in London, a trip to Yorkshire and tea at Betty’s, go for a drive in my new car which will be ready for picking up in Feb, Visit Gael, Juan and Cristina’s newly born baby boy, go and see Oli’s newsroom and meet her lovely colleagues who sent me a present and fantastic get well card, shop at Naranjas de la China where Ketchum ordered the super fruit and flower hamper they sent to me, shop at España en la Mesa where JP Media ordered the lovely gastro hamper they sent me, have dinner and shop at Platea, the new Gastro centre in Colon where my events agency QuintaEsencia bought the super vegetable hamper they sent to me, go the office and see my colleagues, personally pick up little Pippa, the puppy miniature dachshund coming from Granada, lunch out with my friends Julio and Fátima for a belated birthday celebration, dinner at DStage with Juana and Oscar, Visit Nottingham University with my friends and co students Adele, Sandie and Sue,  where I studied and where I haven’t been back since a year after I graduated in 1980 and many etceteras.


Once I was back in my bed come office with a new positive mind set, up came Eladio bearing a parcel. I couldn’t believe it. What another parcel?  I have received so many presents, visits, good wishes I feel overwhelmed.  The parcel was from one of my dearest readers, a person I have known since I was a child in Yorkshire and person I am coming to love more as the years pass.  Dearest Jackie had sent me a box of Yorkshire goodies: sweets, biscuits and tea for my birthday.  This is me delighted with Jackie’s parcel.
Opening Jackie's birthday present
The big international news on Wednesday was of course the horrific story of the Taiwan Trans Air plane that crashed into a river in Taipei.  Of the 58 passengers only 15 survived.  The footage of the accident was very shocking.  I’m sure you have seen how the plane comes over a road with lots of cars and just manages to avoid them swerving into the Keelung River.  There have been quite a few awful crashes recently in this part of the world and I, for one, would be very hesitant to buy a ticket to fly with Trans Air or Malaysian airlines.  I’m sure you would too.
The Trans Air crash in Taipei on Wednesday
But the news that made most impact on me on Wednesday and the following days was of the snow in our beloved Montrondo.  There have been tremendous snow falls in most of the north of Spain; some of them quite historic, but in Montrondo it snowed this week more than it has for some 40 or 50 years.  If you don’t believe me, just look at this photo of one of the 15 or so villagers, José Antonio, as he shovels away the snow to make some sort of path.  Literally he is up to his neck in snow. That is a lot more snow than you would even find in Lapland or northern Sweden right now. 
Villager José Antonio from Montrondo up to his neck in snow this week
Here is another photo, this time of Manolita, perhaps Montrondo’s most loved neighbour.  She is smiling whilst shoveling away as much snow as she can so as to reach her hens to get their eggs. Snow usually leaves Manolita quite nonplussed as she is used to it, but even she admits this snowfall is one of the biggest she has ever seen. 
Manolita clearing the snow in Montrondo this week
The villagers are snow trapped in Montrondo.  Salo, who lives there, told me the snow plough managed to clear the road from nearby Murias but that there was so much on either side of the road it was difficult to pass.  That meant the bread vans from Senra or Murias couldn’t make the delivery.  So the local hero, Javier, the youngest villager, put on his snow shoes and made it down to Murias where every day this week he has bought bread and taken it back in his ruck sack to be delivered to each and every neighbour in Montrondo.  He really is the local hero.  I love seeing his photos on the Montrondo group page in Facebook. If it wasn’t for my foot we would have gone there in a shot this weekend.  I am just hoping the snow stays until my foot gets better and I can witness with my own eyes this historical snow fall in “our” village.
Javi the local hero delivering bread to all the neighbours in snow trapped Montrondo

I must say I woke up feeling a lot more comfortable without the cast on Thursday morning.  Olivia was off at the crack of dawn to do a report on the snow in a village called La Hiruela about 90 odd km from Madrid.  On the way they were trapped in the snow and had to be helped.  Even the snow plough itself was trapped.  I’m not quite sure how they got out but they had quite an adventure. This is a photo of their car being pushed in the snow.
Oli and her TV crew trapped in the snow outside Madrid this week
Many cars were trapped on that road and many more in Spain this week.  Thankfully Oli and her TV crew made it to La Hiruela where Olivia interviewed a shepherd who showed her a baby lamb that had been born that night.  Olivia was surprised it had lived in such freezing conditions.  The shepherd explained that it was thanks to the  ewe’s milk, without which it would certainly have died.  Here is a photo of Olivia trying to report on the snow in freezing cold and very windy conditions.
Oli reporting on being trapped in the snow this week
Believe it or not on Thursday afternoon I got yet another parcel. This time it came all the way from Finland and was from my dearest friend Anne.  She had sent me a lovely birthday card and a pair of white mittens she had made herself for me, which of course made them even more special.  Thanks my sweetie, really hope to be able to wear them with you in Finland if I make it in March.  Here is a photo of me delighted with yet another present; mittens from Finland.
Delighted with the homemade mittens Anne sent me from Finland for my birthday
Friday was a busy day.  My boss had a live interview with the Spanish Cope radio at 9 am about the company’s performance and the mobile phone market in general. That’s morning radio prime time and the programme, La Mañana, has nearly a 1 million listeners so the interview was important. I felt very frustrated not to be by his side but had organized everything remotely which is the only way to do things when you can’t move.  I listened to the interview and was very pleased with the questions and answers.  He was pretty word perfect and there were no gritty questions thank goodness.  You can listen to the interview here on this link (in Spanish of course).

On Friday I was happy to have an email from my oldest best friend, Amanda.  We went to school together and have been friends since we were 10 years old.  It was great to get her news. I replied immediately and told her lots of things I would never dare put here as you can possibly imagine.  Whilst looking out for good TV series to watch whilst I’m immobile, a few people had recommended a series called “Last Tango in Halifax”.  I wasn’t sure it was my cup of tea until Amanda recommended it in her emails.  She knows my taste, so I went for it and downloaded the first 2 episodes.  I have devoured them but unfortunately the quality of the other episodes is not too good so I decided to order the box set of the 3 series from Amazon and can’t wait for it to arrive next week.  Last Tango in Halifax is a great British TV series supposedly set in Yorkshire – Skipton, Harrogate and Halifax (although disappointingly the Harrogate scenes are shot in Lancashire) about two families.  The main plot is how the two septuagenarian grandmother and grandfather of the respective families meet up after 60 years when they had once been sweethearts.  It’s a mixture of drama and comedy in the best British way, so I’m devouring it and loving the Yorkshire settings and accents and the portrayal of modern day life in Yorkshire.
Loving Last Tago in Halifax
On Friday afternoon I was blessed with another visit.  My dear ex Nokia friend Ana came to see me.  I appreciate that as she has such a busy professional and personal life with two small children.  Thanks Ana for making the time and the effort.  I loved our 2 hour gossipy chat catching up on our lives.  It meant so much to me.  We forgot to take a picture so I asked Ana to send me one to illustrate this part of this week’s post. This is dear Ana. 
Great to have a visit from my friend Ana on Friday afternoon
On Friday too I got some photos of Pippa – the miniature smooth haired chocolate coloured dachshund who will soon be part of our family – end of Feb.  They are not very good photos but the best I have.  The breeder Antonio, to whom I spoke on Friday, obviously knows lots about these dogs but is not a good photographer.  I was happy to hear that Pippa has a lovely disposition.  We can’t wait to see her and hold her in our arms. Waiting for you little Pippa with all the love in the world. 
Little Pippa is growing
Believe it or not, on Friday, Eladio had insisted on taking me out for dinner, to get me out of my pyjamas and out of bed.  He was right I suppose but it was a big effort.  My leg no longer hurts so it sort of made sense but it did feel strange dressing up and putting makeup on.  We borrowed my Father’s wheel chair for the occasion and I felt very funny being wheeled down the street and into the restaurant.  Oli and Miguel were waiting for us when we arrived.  I felt a bit self-conscious in a wheel chair but soon forgot I was in one and enjoyed the dinner enormously.  We went to Zurito in Pozuelo which serves lovely food.  That night, I broke my diet but who cares? Miguel took a lovely photo of Eladio which Oli posted on FB adding that we were still in love “35 years later” which some people interpreted as our anniversary.  It wasn’t though. For the record we have been together since the summer of 1980 but got married in 1983.  What is true is that we are still in love and will always be.
Out to dinner with Eladio on Friday night, my first outing since the accident
I took one of Oli and Miguel too.  You can judge for yourselves if they are in love from the expression on their faces.  Expressions say it all I think when they are sincere.
Oli and Miguel at dinner on Friday night
Yesterday Saturday was a quiet day for me at least, no outings of course and no visits.  And once again I received a present.  This time it was a beautiful bouquet of red roses from my friends Juana and Oscar.  It was another early birthday present. I can’t thank them enough.  Red and yellow roses are my favourites so I was delighted with my present. 
Red roses from Juana and Oscar for my birthday 
And finally I have got to Sunday, the most important day of this week as it is my birthday.  I have to thank Eladio and my family and friends for making it so special.  I am overwhelmed with all the messages, posts, whatsapps, phone calls etc and can’t thank you all enough.  The day started with a lovely birthday breakfast as all our family birthdays do.  The photo illustrating this post is of me with the presents, a wonderful fruit and flower hamper from Olivia and Miguel (Naranjas de la China) and the black Michael Kors bag I wanted from Eladio and my Father.  Miguel was using his new camera and took some great photos of my birthday. Perhaps my favourite is this one of me with Eladio. 
At breakfast this morning with Eladio
Lunch was to be special too. We made it all together, a simple but delicious meal of fillet steak, chips and salad.  Here I am frying the chips whilst talking to Suzy on the phone. That was the most important birthday phone call of the day for me as you can imagine
Cooking and talking to Suzy on the phone - the best birthday phone call of the day
Lunch of course was followed by the birthday cake moment.  Eladio had ordered my favourite, millefeuille with fresh cream and raspberries on the top.  Here are the four of us by the cake enjoying that moment.
The birthday cake moment at lunch today
So you see it’s been and it’s being a wonderful birthday, despite my limited mobility. But I know now that the progress will be faster and that I have so much to look forward to when I can walk again.

Wishing you all a good week ahead, cheers all till next time,
Masha

PS for those of you who aren’t direct friends and want to follow my blog on Facebook here is the link.  I welcome you to like the page and join the conversation. I would love to hear from you there, know who you are where you come from, why you read my blog and welcome your comments.