La Quinta, California: Hello and I hope you are all well and preparing to spend time with loved ones over the next few months. We are! I've been on (another) organizing kick. Finally cleared my desk of all the mail piled-up from our six-plus-week absence. (Most of it went through the shredder.) Now our post box is filled daily with holiday catalogs, and I do feel a bit smug knowing I will not be needing a down parka nor snow boots again this winter. Next up? Organizing all my needlepoint fiber.
Just when it started to be possible to not think about Jimmy Buffett twenty times per hour, his last album was released the first week of November. Equal Strain on All Parts is a little different than Jimmy's 50+ other albums. So many songs have insights (or is that insides?) to his other songs. Some make me laugh, but most just make me cry. He sings about his grandfather, mentions his parents, and kinda gives Parrotheads a goodbye with the tune Bubbles Up. He knew he was sick, but maybe he didn't think he was going to die as quickly as he did? Anyway, if you get a chance, have a listen to his latest... and his last... album. I'm listening. A lot.
Jimmy's friends paid a fine tribute to him on the CMA award show last night on ABC. Alan Jackson and Zac Brown started with a short song for Jimmy, then sang Margaritaville. Mac McAnally (a Coral Reefer for 40 years) and Kenny Chesney sang A Pirate Looks at Forty. More tears.
Since quaint European sidewalk cafes are only a memory, I'm back to the drudge of weekly menu planning. Meatless Monday. Taco Tuesday. Italian Wednesday. Soup Thursday. Shabbat. Saturday I am trying to cook something fun/new from a cookbook, and Sunday is usually pizza or something small, because we typically will have brunch at the clubhouse Sundays, and really don't need much else. These menu day "ideas" are only a guideline, because everything goes out the window when friends are in town, or we want to try a new restaurant... or we go to LA... or a dozen other reasons for a switch-up.
Two new foods were tried last week. First was a new breed of rice from Lundberg Farms in California, Organic Red Jasmine. Though rice, it cooked-up more like a grain to me. Quite substantial and very aromatic. I used the BROWN RICE setting on the rice cooker, and it was perfect. The rice was served in a "grain bowl" situation with the other new food tried - a Honeynut Squash. This new-ish variety is the baby of a Butternut squash and Buttercup squash. It looks like someone "squashed" down a Butternut (oh, how I do amuse myself). Best thing? Honeynut do not need to be peeled - the skin is edible! I used half of the flesh (peeled, cubed, roasted) in the veggie bowl one night, and roasted the other half with butter, rosemary, and maple syrup for side dish another night. Delish - and the skin IS edible.
Placed on top a bed of arugula, the rice and roasted squash were topped with red onion, chopped dates, walnuts, feta and sprinkled with Aleppo pepper. Tossed with vinaigrette. A fine meal.
We bought a new car! Our 10-year-old Jeep was having so many issues and the repair costs were adding up. The transmission has always jerked and countless expensive trips to the dealer have yet to fix the problem. The final straw was a recall notice stating to not park the car in a garage because it could CATCH FIRE due to a malfunction in the automatic hatch door opening mechanism! What? Oh, and sorry folks, there is no fix for this currently. This is no way to run a business. We wanted to keep the Jeep as it is set up for towing behind a RV, but really do not want our house to catch fire!
My favorite car of all time was the Chevy Suburban I drove for 11 years. Dave's favorite car was a Chevy Tahoe he drove for 22 years. If a Suburban and a Tahoe had a baby, it would be the new Chevy Traverse, and a white one is now parked inside our garage. (We kept the Jeep, because 1) we plan to buy a new RV soon, and 2) certainly Jeep will find a fix for the issue? The Jeep is parked outside.)
Since late September, the golf course has been closed due to the annual "scalping" process. It is the messiest of procedures, with dust and grass clipping flying through the air (most of it landing in swimming pools, clogging filters), and then the reseeding begins, and everyone waits until the course is ready for the busy winter season. ("Winter" is not really a thing in the Coachella Valley.)
The course re-opened two days ago, and once again a steady stream of golf carts parade behind our house. So excited to get back on the links.
One last thing - does anyone play WORDLE? I play every day, and my brother Steve and I banter on about our games and send screen shots to each other. My Monday game was a very interesting:
That was fun! That will never happen again! Random fact: WORDLE colors are green and yellow because the game creator is a University of Oregon alum. Now you know.
That's the latest from here, hope all the news is good on your island.
Until my next update, from somewhere other than here, I remain, your newsy correspondent.