Friday, May 02, 2008


After having flown from Switzerland, we arrived in Los Angeles where our son, Ian was waiting for us. We were anxious to see his new apartment, so we drove directly to it. It is very centrally located on Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach on an 8th floor with a fabulous view. The apartment was remodeled before Ian rented it, so it is modern and spacious. We visited with him for a while and then he took us to Signal Hill, the top of Long Beach, where our friends Bob and Alicia's house is. They were about to leave for Panama on vacation, so we were to house sit and take care of Chip and Dale, their lovely dogs. Before they went, their son, Michael had his birthday, so we celebrated with the family. It was so nice to be there! We had their beautiful house to ourselves, Ian's place was minutes away and thethe weather was so great that we took the dogs for walks every day. We spent a lot of time with Ian, celebrated my birthday and even decorated the house for Christmas. We had a quiet time together, just the three of us and Chip and Dale, of course, but it was a fabulous one. For New Year's Ian had a date, so Bill and I bought some champagne, made a few starters and soon after midnight went to bed. Around 3:00 am, we both were sick. We must have gotten food poisoning, although by morning I was better. Bill was still sick a few days later, even after having been to the doctor. The Los Angeles area has a lot to offer, so we went to museums, walked along the beach, ate some fabulous food, and had a super time. In mid January we left Long Beach to go to San Luis Obispo where we stayed with our friends Debbie and Richard Pinson. Being there was wonderful as well. We feel totally at home in their house and they are a lot of fun. We cooked together, went wine tasting, and had a great time. While there, we saw all of our other friends in Shell Beach, where we used to live. We went by our old house to find that it was for sale again. We spent about two weeks sorting out our storage which we reduced to half its volume by throwing out, giving to Goodwill, selling the big items and sending 30 boxes to Miami. At the end, we were able to leave my car in there, as well. The whole experience was very emotional, going through our entire life, but it could have been worse. While there, we also spent a few days in Avila Beach with our friends David and Jennifer Sansone, and their son, Lucas. Their house has a fabulous view and it is located in a very lovely setting. We had a great time with them as well, had some lovely meals together and were able to spend time with Lucas, who is a very charming little boy.

We left the Central Coast to go back to Los Angeles, see Ian again and spend a few days with Bob and Alicia upon their return from Panama. On February 12 we flew to Miami, the 14, I went to Daytona to spend time with my nephew's children for the race weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed Sebastian and Paulina. They are not only adorable, but very polite and well behaved. I had not seen them for almost a year and the chances of seeing them before coming back to France were slim due to their parent's busy schedule. We flew back from Daytona after the race, Bill met me at my nephew's place, we spent the night there and the next morning I flew to Bogota to be with my family for 3 weeks. Bill stayed in Miami waiting for our storage boxes and doing some work on the guest house where we were staying. It is part of our friend's Justo and Stella's property and it is situated in their lush and gorgeous garden, surrounded by beautiful vegetation and colorful cages full of exotic birds. It is a great place to be. Once our boxes arrived, Bill arranged everything from linens to kitchen and tableware and had the place looking great by the time I arrived.

My time in Bogota was fantastic. My purpose for the trip was mainly to spend time with my mom. I did see some of my friends, and spent a lot of time with my sisters as well. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 3 years ago, and although her case is not very advanced, it is very shocking for me to see how changed she is. Aside for the fact that she still loves to play cards--bridge and canasta-- and does twice or three times a week, she no longer walks or wants to do anything physical at all. She goes to therapy, occupational, physical and musical three times a week, and although she enjoys it once she is there, it is a fight to get her to go. While in Bogota, I was able to see Paulina and Sebastian for a whole day and also visit Simon, my nephew Santiago's baby who was a month old. My mother has 7 great grandchildren now.

After three weeks in Bogota I flew back to Miami to find our little garden house so beautifully done. Bill had even bought flowers! It felt so good to have our own things. We felt totally at home. Our friend Justo had had his foot operated on in January, so he was still spending time in the house. Stella retired the day before Justo's operation and was taking care of him. It was great having them around this time. Stella and I had an opportunity to spend time together and to take care of Julian, my goddaughter's son who was six months old. We also saw all of our friends, spent a fabulous weekend on Isla Morada, one of the Florida Keys at Charlie and Sarita's house. There were eight of us being loud and having fun. Stella and I even went on a kayak run--my first ever--, and loved it. Justo made some fantastic dinners, we had a lot of wine and all and all, Our time in the States was unforgettable. I was also able to visit with Katalina, my niece, her husband and beautiful little 2 year old daughter, Valentina. I had not seen her for almost a year as well, and now she talks and acts like a grown up. On april 8 we flew back to Zurich, rented a car and drove to Carcassonne to find our Biesbosch looking great and in super shape.

My mom with her four daughters and grandson, Fernando

With my brother Diego's grandson, Simon

My mom with Sebastian and Paulina in Bogota

Alex and Sandy with baby Julian. Easter 2008

On top of Signal Hill, (Long Beach)

Justo and Stella's backyard, Miami

Our garden house, Miami

Juana, la cubana. She whistles.

Paulina and Sebastian in Daytona

Walking with Chip and Dale

With Stella at Isa Morada

The Sansone's house

With friends at Isla Morada

Shell Beach

A boat outing in The Florida Keys

Fabulous day at Isla Morada

Drinks on the beach

A sunset on the Gulf side

A raclette at Charlie and Sarita's house

Mountain view from house

Our old house in Shell Beach

Dinner at Ian's apartment with my friend Luz and Ian's friends

Miachael, Alicia and Bob Grubic

Bill and Ian at South Coast Plaza

Dormant vineyards in San Luis Obispo

Wolf Winery, San Luis Obispo

Dinner with Debbie and Richard Pinson

View from The Sansone's house

Jen and David's house at night

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