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7 August: Friday

La Quinta, California: We have been living/sleeping in our new house for a week now. Still so much to organize, and we are waiting for a few pieces of furniture, but we are getting accustom to our new surroundings and will make this house our home before long.

I prepared a Niçoise-inspired salad for lunch today, but instead of a big blob of tuna in the center, I attempted an avocado rose (from a video posted a few days ago by one of My Readers.) Thank you, Judy - this was fun!

For a first attempt, I was quite pleased, but learned I need to use my thinnest knife and make the slices even smaller next try. Won't the grandkids get a kick out of this? Lisa will have to master this trick as well, as they have a huge avocado tree on their property.

Though we swore to live with washer/dryer unit that came with the house because we are bleeding money, I ordered a new set before we even moved-in. A few issues: the very old top-loader used about 3500 gallons per load, it sounded like a jet was landing in our laundry room, and - most fun - I am so short, I could barely reach all the way down into the vat to fetch items from the bottom of the tub without fear of falling-in. It cleaned clothes okay, but only three cycle options. Caveman days! As difficult as it was to locate washer/dryers in a pandemic (or any major appliance, I understand), I was able to find a matching Samsung set. They are black. Who knew?

Out with the old
In with the new

Also, it seems in SoCal, dryers are gas-powered (we learned this from Lisa's previous home in Los Angeles). These units are quieter (but not quiet... we think this could be due to the postage-stamp size of the laundry room and the tile floors?), use only a little water, and I can control them from my phone. Not sure why anyone would need to control their washer/dryer from a phone... except to maybe to get a chime when the cycle has finished? It will be another learning curve for this old gal.

Taken from our driveway, looking west.

The Apple Fire is still raging east of the Coachella Valley. This is only 60 miles or so from us, and though it is heading east, so we are no longer getting smoke/ash in La Quinta, and we are no longer under air-quality warning. Though the fire is in a sparsely populated area, there are still ranches and farms out there. Pioneer Town and much of the Morongo Valley (populated areas) are under evacuation warning. So scary. This fire is human-caused. Be careful.

Since we have been going all-out for a week, I declared a date night, and we stopped working at 5:30p. Smoked salmon canapes (again), grilled rib eye and asparagus, and a tomato salad, enjoyed on the veranda... followed by a movie, or actually a play. We watched Hamilton on Disney+. Disney+ is $70 for one year. It allows subscribers to watch basically every Disney movie/TV show on demand, plus everything produced by Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, or National Geographic. We really enjoyed Hamilton, and will need to watch it again - so many little asides and funny lines to catch!

Until my next update, I remain, your "don't be in a duel" correspondent.

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