The Consulate, Gilligan’s Island, and More Spanish Cooking

Our visa applications have been successfully submitted!  During our meetings Tuesday morning, we received commendations for our perfectly prepared paperwork (all credit goes to Jerry).

MY ACCORDION FILE TAKEN TO THE CONSULATE.  JERRY HAD ONE, TOO.

Everything was in perfect order.  Our health insurance was exactly what was required.  Our translations were certified as needed.  Our photos were the right size.  We had enough copies (and then some) of all the originals.  When we arrived at the consulate, we were greeted warmly.  The people we worked with were charming, knowledgeable, and exceptionally efficient.  It was a great experience.  We should have our visas in three months.  Maybe less.  So, now we just relax.  Well, really, now we can focus entirely on getting rid of our stuff.

MARINER’S VILLAGE, WHERE WE LIVED.  NO, THAT’S NOT JERRY IN THE BOAT.

On our way home from the consulate, we went by way of Marina del Rey — where we lived for seven months in ’82/’83 — and had lunch at The Warehouse.  We chose the place just because we happened to pass it as we drove around the Marina.  Once we walked in the door, however, I recognized it as a place we frequented when we lived there.  It was easy to recognize.  Nothing had changed.  All the decor — including the carpeting and upholstery I’m pretty certain — was exactly as it had been in 1983.  Sadly, the place had the smell of 30-year-old carpet and upholstery.  But, the mahi mahi sandwiches were excellent.  So it wasn’t a bad choice.  In case you never knew, the “tropic port” depicted in the opening credits of “Gilligan’s Island” was in reality Marina del Rey.

GILLIGAN. THE SKIPPER, TOO.  THE MILLIONAIRE AND HIS… ETC.

Wednesday night, Jerry cooked up another delicious dinner from the pages of his Spanish cookbook, “The New Spanish Table.”  This time we had Moorish Chicken and Nut Pie (olive oil, onion, chicken stock, chicken, paprika, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, tomatoes, raisins, sea salt, puff pastry, pine nuts, almonds, egg, milk, and finished off with confectioner’s sugar).  Unbelievably good.  And we managed to restrain ourselves, which meant we had enough for lunch on Thursday.

MOORISH CHICKEN AND NUT PIE.

Today, we met a dear and wonderful San Diego friend for a farewell-for-now lunch at The Public House in Temecula.  If you haven’t been there and you can get there, you should.  Unusual menu.  Fantastic food.  The best, by far, service.  Huge portions.  We finished off, well Jerry and I did, with their “S’mores” dessert, which was sinful and, if possible, even better than it sounded (graham cracker, marshmallow, chocolate ganache, chocolate brownie, fresh vanilla cream).

OUR S’MORES AT THE PUBLIC HOUSE…  BEFORE WE HAD AT IT.

Now Is The Right Time

— Lotus Sutra

We have all our paperwork done and we’re ready for our appointments Tuesday morning at the Spanish Consulate. The paperwork we have now includes items we didn’t realize we needed until last week when I initially scheduled our appointment (singular) and discovered we needed two separate appointments, some duplicate paperwork, and some more notarization.  We think we’re all set this time.  The process can be a bit daunting (and expensive), but the Spanish Consulate in L.A. has been amazingly quick to respond to our questions… and very clear in their responses.  So, as I said, we think we’re all set this time.

So far, the biggest challenges — or perhaps simply the most confusion — have revolved around what constitutes a certified translation and how to obtain regulation-size photos for our visas.  We found a certified translator.  They notarized their translations, so we think we’ve met and probably exceeded the requirements.  Standard passport photos are produced 2 x 2.  Visa photos need to be a minimum of 1-3/16 x 1 and a maximum of 1-6/8 x 1-3/8.  Those sizes make a little more sense in centimeters I’m sure, but the standard 2 x 2 won’t work.

PABLO ESCOBAR

We finally did obtain our visa photos (leaving enough white space so that we could trim them ourselves to within the required range).  And we were pleasantly surprised when Jerry’s official photo did not bear any resemblance to what we thought Pablo Escobar’s brother might look like, which is what Jerry insists all his government-issued photos have looked like for 20 years. 

I just looked up Roberto Escobar (Pablo’s brother) and I compared photos of Roberto to those of Pablo.  I then compared them both to those bad photos of Jerry (which, for Jerry’s sake, I will not post here).  After careful review, I have decided that Jerry’s mug shots have always made him, unfortunately, look more like Pablo than Roberto.  I say “unfortunately” because although Pablo appears to have been better looking, Roberto was the lesser of two evils.

HIS BROTHER, ROBERTO

Anyway, Jerry really doesn’t look much like either of the Escobars.  His various ID photos over the years have simply not been very flattering.  

DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN?

My visa photo is of a balding man with slicked-back black and white hair.  The man in the picture also has a salt and pepper beard.  He looks like he’s been around the block a few times.  I don’t know who he is, but apparently he’s been passing himself off as me.

WONDER IF I CAN USE THIS PHOTO FOR MY VISA.

Jerryism #1

Jerry has a brilliant mind… 

It just doesn’t always connect with his mouth.

Jerryisms.  Malapropisms.  Fractured American idioms.  I’ve thought of putting together a book of Jerry’s most entertaining verbal fumbles.

“IF YOU COME TO A FORK IN THE ROAD, TAKE IT.” — Yogi Berra

When commenting on my last post, which touched on American idioms, an old friend reminded me of a Jerryism that still gives her a chuckle nearly twenty years later.  So, I’ve decided to share it as the first in a series of random Jerryisms.

GET ALL YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW.

When Jerry was with Yale University, he was invited to give a talk at the Princeton Club in New York.  We drove down from New Haven and spent a few days in the city.  Jerry gave a talk on the future of research libraries, library automation, technology in the workplace, organizational management, change management, self-managing teams, or some other equally scintillating topic.

COVER ALL BASES.

JERRYISM #1
During Jerry’s talk, he said:

“Before you get in too deep, make sure you have all your ducks covered.”

A Fat Chance and a Slim Chance: Same Thing

AND SKATING ON THIN ICE CAN GET YOU IN HOT WATER

I’m spending a lot of time lately thinking about language.  Too much time thinking and not enough time practicing.  I can’t wait to understand Spanish well enough to be able to make fun of its inconsistencies.  For now, I’ll just continue to make fun of English.

The Los Angeles Spanish Consulate provides the visa application in both Spanish and English.  But, if we fill out the English version, it looks like we have to then have it professionally translated back into  Spanish.  Hmmm.  So, we’re just going to set the English and Spanish forms side by side and then fill out the Spanish one.

NOT THE KIND OF TRANSLATOR WE NEED.

We have all our required documents in hand and they are now being translated by a certified translator, as required by the L.A. Consulate.  That includes our FBI letters, marriage certificate, domestic partnership certificate, retirement income statements, SSI income statement, medical statements, and any apostiles.  We should have all translations in hand by Monday.  The only outstanding items, pre-interview, are our photographs.  I think we should get haircuts first.  And definitely shave; we’ve both become kind of lazy about shaving since retirement.  The plan is to drive up to Los Angeles next week for our interview at the Spanish Consulate.

WE BOTH NEED A SHAVE AND A HAIRCUT…

We’d love to be in Spain by the end of May, but it’s probably unrealistic to expect that we’ll have our visas and enough time to make plane reservations.  If we are, however, in Spain by the end of May, we get to head up to Bergen, Norway, for our cousin’s wedding.  That would be a joy.

BERGEN.  BEAUTIFUL… EVEN IN THE RAIN.

I almost forgot to mention our “stuff.”  We have been going through it, tossing it out, selling it, and giving it away.  It’s sometimes difficult to part with something, but once a decision is made, we’ve had no regrets.  It sure feels great to unburden ourselves of so many unnecessary possessions.

18″ PLATTER FORM BY GLASS ARTIST IRA SAPIR.

The art glass, however, continues to present a challenge.  We’d now like to donate it, but haven’t figured out how or where.  It is not the retirement nest egg it was cracked up to be.  (No pun intended.)

Our First Home-Cooked Authentic Spanish Meal … In Irvine, California

Espinaca con garbanzos.  We loved it in Spain and Jerry successfully reproduced it Wednesday night in Irvine.

ESPINACA CON GARBANZOS A LA JERRY.

While we were still in Spain, Jerry searched a few bookstores in Sevilla, Jerez de la Frontera, and Málaga but was unable to find an English-language cookbook filled with all the great Spanish dishes we had sampled, including espinaca con garbanzos.  So, when we got home he did some research and I then went on Amazon and ordered “The New Spanish Table” by Anya von Bremzen.  It arrived Tuesday and Jerry immediately went to work.

SALMON CON HABAS Y HINOJO, Y ESPINACAS CON GARBANZOS

The fragrances from our kitchen brought me back to Andalucía.  In addition to the spinach and garbanzos, Jerry broiled salmon that had to be the best salmon I’ve ever tasted.  The dish was called “salmon con habas y hinojo” (salmon with beans and fennel).  Jerry used soy beans (edamame) instead of fava beans — because he couldn’t find fava beans.  That was fine with me.  I don’t mind fava beans, but I love soy beans.

CAZUELAS.  MAYBE JUST FOUR FOR STARTERS.

He’s now looking for cazuelas, the terra cotta dishes and covered casseroles used in Spanish cooking.  Of course, Jerry will want several cazuelas and he’ll want a variety of sizes.  But he agreed that he would wait until we’re in Spain to purchase them.  No need to buy them here and ship them there… although I’m sure he’s already being driven crazy with the waiting.

NOT A VERY RESTFUL NIGHT.

We’re supposed to be at Disneyland for the day.  It’s only 15 minutes from home — so close we can hear the nightly fireworks.  But we ate a lot of garlic last night… And we ate really late… And we ate way too much.  Neither of us got much sleep.  (Garlic and overindulging.)  So instead of Disneyland, we went to Peet’s for coffee and the newspapers, and we then went back to bed.  Jerry didn’t even have a pastry at Peet’s.  So, you know it was a bad morning.