We received some very exciting mail Friday. Our fingerprints were checked out by the FBI and we have letters confirming that we, of course, do not have criminal records. So, now we just need to drive up to LA to get the apostile from the State Department.
Jerry had his physical exam Wednesday and mine is coming up in a week. We’ll then have the required letters from our doctor stating that we don’t “… suffer from any illness that would pose a threat to public health according to the International Health Regulations of 2005.” We’ll get those letters apostiled and, once we have Jerry’s retirement financial data confirmed (he’s only got five days remaining of work), we will be able to submit our visa applications.
With my mother here for nine days (she flew back to New York Saturday), I played tour guide quite a bit and I realized that Southern California might be as interesting to some readers as Southern Spain was to others. So, I thought I’d share some stories and photos.
|THE GETTY CENTER. JUST A GLIMPSE OF THE ARCHITECTURE.|
Tuesday, we drove up to the Getty Center. I chose Tuesday because clouds and rain were predicted for later in the week. The sun was supposed to still be shining Tuesday. And, for me at least, the Getty Center’s art collections and exhibits — which are amazing — take a backseat to its setting, the architecture, vistas, and gardens. I spend more of my time outside at the Getty than I do inside.
|THE GETTY’S GLORIOUS GARDENS IN THE GLOOM.|
We headed up the 5 Freeway in clouds. After 45 minutes, it grew cloudier and rainier. By the time we reached the Getty after our 55-minute drive, it was completely overcast and we were in a fairly steady drizzle. Oh well, we got glimpses of the gardens and architecture as we hustled from one building to the next. Anyway, at the age of 83, my mother, Mimi, no longer has the energy for an entire day of walking slowly through art galleries. So, we enjoyed several galleries in just two of the Center’s pavilions (West & South). That was still much more than the average museum-goer can manage — Mimi can never get enough art.
|A NICE LITTLE CABINET FOR OUR NEW, MORE MINIMALIST LIFE.|
We managed to take in the Impressionist Masters, Rembrandt and his contemporaries, some of the decorative arts (we browsed furniture that would work well in our apartment in Malaga), and we caught a small special exhibit about polychrome sculpture. That was especially interesting for me and also a bit exciting since it included a painting by Murillo, the Sevillano painter you may remember from my Spain posts, and the sculpture itself was also from Sevilla.
|COURTYARD BETWEEN THE EAST AND WEST PAVILIONS.|
Monday, we headed over to the Department of Motor Vehicles for my second unsuccessful attempt to renew our car registration (it was apparently filed incorrectly in 2009; we therefore never received a renewal notice in 2010; and now we have to start all over with a copy of the title and vehicle verification in 2011). I arrived without an appointment to find a line 50-people deep (in and outside the building). After standing in that line for a half hour and only moving up about 5 people, I decided I didn’t want to spend two or more hours in line — with my mother — at the DMV. (That night, I went online and made an appointment for Thursday, February 24. Keep a good thought.) For all those expat web posters who comment on Spain’s bureaucracy, I hold up as a shining example of American know-how the US DMV. I do have a temporary registration sticker (obtained on my first visit to the DMV) so perhaps the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will stop pulling us over (twice now; once before and once after receiving the sticker) for expired registration. I have to admit, though, they have been extremely pleasant both times… yes, just like Ponch and Jon on “CHiPs” (the 1977–1983 TV series). I should also be a bit more forgiving of the DMV: Everyone there has been very pleasant and professional, and no one intentionally incorrectly filed our paperwork; accidents happen.
|LAGUNA BEACH. VIEW FROM THE BEACH.|
As long as we were in Laguna Hills at the DMV, I suggested we continue on to Laguna Beach for a stroll around the shops and galleries.
|LAGUNA LIFEGUARD STAND. GREEN FLAG MEANS CONDITIONS ARE CALM.|
It was a beautiful day. We had coffees and a chocolate-chocolate chunk cookie (total chocolate overload) at Scandia Bakery in Laguna Beach. We then browsed a couple of galleries and several fun stores, including Coast Hardware. I have this thing for hardware stores and could spend an entire day in one. Fortunately, this hardware store had enough gift and household items to hold Mimi’s interest for a good long time. We found novelty goldfish soap for my brother Chuck, the kind of gift that makes him smile.
|THE PERFECT GIFT.|
The weather was so beautiful that we went for a walk on Laguna’s little boardwalk and then sat for a long while on a bench listening to the surf and enjoying the view.
|THE DAY AFTER OUR VISIT TO LAGUNA: SUNSET OVER SAN CLEMENTE.|