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Happy New Year 2023

La Quinta, California: Another whirl-wind of a week! Such fun with the family here - fresh from Hawaii - but the weather was just awful. I realize complaining about 60-70 degree days in January will not amuse anyone living in Minnesota, but it is rare to have such weather here and rarer to have rain. If you have been listening to any news, you probably have heard California is covered with "atmospheric rivers" at this time, and the northern parts of the state are flooding. The mountains are covered in snow and the reservoirs are filling fast - so that is always good news in this drought-stricken state. The weather really didn't stop us from doing anything, but we did need to heat the pool.

We even had fog - very rare here

On the 30th, we were also joined for dinner by my cousin's daughter, Kristin, and her family from the Portland area. They were down here for a little break from the Portland weather... so didn't fare so well. They also went hiking in Joshua Tree:


Kristin and Neil's kids are 6 and 7, and our grandchildren took to them (and vice versa) and they had quite the time enjoying a night-time swim and ice cream sundae bar.

Happy New Year - same banner from last year

And then it was New Year's Eve! Not completely sure, but wasn't 2022 a very long year? We did go on a nearly 3-month RV trip and did take a 2 week cruise, but other than that... it seemed like a lot of cooking... and there was also a lot of cooking on the RV trip.

There was a lot of swimming and a lot of football watching over the weekend, and for New Year's Eve we prepared the exact same meal we splurge-on annually. The most fattening thing one could probably eat: Fettuccini Alfredo. Appetizers. Caesar Salad.

Fettuccini Alfredo. Thank you, Alfredo!

My friend, Diane, once again gave us a jar of her famous apricot preserves. We used the entire jar as a filling for a one-layer buttermilk vanilla cake. Again, Leo did the honors:

So delicious
He even slivered dried apricots for garnish

We kicked the parents out on Sunday (they had to work Monday), but kept the kids as they still had school holiday. Lots of activities:

Lisa and Lucile made a Gingerbread House
A new puzzle
Practicing a new trick

Leo - wearing his Joe Burrows jersey - was so upset after Damar Hamlin was taken to the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest during the Buffalo v Bengal game Monday night. Leo is such a devoted football fan and I am pretty sure this is the first time he had witnessed the ugly side of his beloved game. Thankfully, we were able to give him positive news nearly daily about Hamlin's condition, but Leo was still glued to ESPN Tuesday morning. I'm not a big fan of the sport, but have seen a several players carted-off to the hospital in an ambulance. Never had I seen a game cancelled mid-contest. Scary stuff.

We had quite a fun time with Lucile one evening. She was trying to decide what she would be when she grew up. She wanted to do something with books. Librarian? Own a book shop? No, she just wanted to read (she is always reading - just like her mom and her Bubbe). Several ideas were tossed around about her future, until she came up with the best job of all. She decided to be retired when she grew up! For hours we had to listen to this scenario:

Lucy, can you set the table? No, I can't. I'm RETIRED.

Actually it was hilarious... for about 30 minutes. Then she made a retirement certificate and had Dave and I sign it! I hope she isn't waiting at the mailbox for her social security check.

We watched two old Steve Martin Pink Panther movies, and they made us watch Glass Onion (which they had already seen). I guess they are into mystery movies now? Leo spent the rest of the week talking in a fake French accent, ala Inspector Clouseau. Too funny.

Finally, we had to drive our two favorite people in the world back to their parents. They needed to get organized for returning to the real world... aka SCHOOL... (piano, dance, pom squad, sports, etc.). Not to worry, they are coming back to us in a few weeks! Rinse and Repeat.

Until my next update, I remain, your sheet-and-towel-washing correspondent.

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