Tag Archives: Florida


7 Jun
Unloading us in our flood basement. Our hero.

Unloading us in our flood basement. Our hero.

This is Ray.  Ray is my angel.  Two hours ago, my dear friend, Dina, my sweet baby, Siona and I were in my 2001 Honda CRV on the way home from a celebratory lunch.  The school year was finally over.  Dina is just days away from running our school’s Summer Academy as it’s Director, a job she so deserves.  Sure, it was raining when I picked her up but I thought to myself, Judy Blue can handle this (Judy Blue is the name of my car—-she’s blue.  I’m clever).  We had a wonderful lunch together.  Siona tried tofu for the first time and loved it.  People were staring at her and waving at her and she smiled and waved and clapped back.  It was just what the doctor ordered after the year we’ve had.  And sure, we noticed that the weather had picked up but this is Miami and we’ve done this before so again, no sweat.  We got into the car, a little wet but no worse for the wear and started on our way back home—we’re just 7 short minutes from home. No big deal.

Then reality hit.  It’s raining.  Hard.  As we turned off of the highway onto our main drive home, Dina and I held hands as I squealed while holding my breath as we drove through puddles that looked like small rivers.  We saw smaller cars making it through and with my semi-SUV, we felt confident.  I’ve had Judy Blue for 12 years.  She’s taken me from Ann Arbor to Montreal and back . . . in the middle of January. . . in an ice storm.  She’s gotten me through blizzards in Chicago and tornado-like weather in Ohio.  There’s nothing she can’t do.

Well, turns out, I’m wrong.

As we made it through one light, I gripped Dina’s hand and plowed through yet another river-like puddle and that’s when it happened . . . Judy Blue stopped.  HOLY SH*T.  My baby.  Siona is in the back of the car.  It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, there’s a tropical storm outside all around us and we’re stranded 1 mile from my apartment and my poor sweet baby is in the back.  What the F*ck am I supposed to do.  Panic.  I called my husband immediately.  I don’t even remember what I said to him or what he said to me but I remember saying, “Oh my Gd.  Oh my Gd. Oh my Gd” over and over again.  I hung up from him and he called AAA while I called my big brother, who I firmly believe knows how to do EVERYTHING. He said that since my battery is still working, due to the fact that my wipers are going and my lights are on, that maybe my exhaust pipe is flooded and can’t release heat or something like that.  I don’t know.  I don’t speak car.  Where the HELL is Click and Clack when you need them!?!?  He advised that I get out and push.  So I did that.  With no raincoat, in sandals and linen pants, I got out of my car while it’s lightning out and started pushing my car.  And let me tell you, NO ONE stopped.  In fact, while I was pushing my car in a tropical storm with my baby and dear friend in the car taking care of said baby, the only person who seemed to acknowledge me was recording me push my car in the rain on her iPhone.  Way to go, Miami.

And then, out of the darkness came an angel in the form of a 6’2″, balding gentleman in his early 50s with a Boston accent so thick he could easily be cast in Ben Affleck’s next movie, which will inevitably be about Boston.  He pulled up in front of us, got out of the car and just sprung into action.  I don’t know how he knew what to do, but he knew what to do.  We called the cops.  We reported the car.  We called AAAA.  We transferred Siona, all our stuff and ourselves into Ray’s Ford.  He pushed my car to the side of the road while I steered it.  He drove us home.  He was calm.  He was awesome.

Siona is asleep now.  I’m in my jammies. My husband, who works about 45 minutes away in Key Biscayne, is waiting it out as there is still a flash flood warning going on.  In fact, I just got off the phone with him, had a mini melt-down and decided to write this because I can’t believe that just happened.  Thank Gd Dina was there, watching Siona and making her laugh and taking care of her while I’m pushing them in a car during a tropical storm.  And thank Gd for Ray, who, just when I was about to lose hope that NO ONE in Miami is willing to sacrifice for the sake of helping someone else, was sent from Gd to rescue a bunch couple of ladies who just wanted to go to lunch.  Kindness.  It goes a long way.  Thank you, Ray.

P.S.  If you see this guy during your life, go ahead and give him a hug.

P.S. (again) – I generally like when people share Jewhungry posts because it means more readership and exposure.  This time, I’m hoping it’s shared because dear Lord people, we need more Rays a maybe a story will help.  Also, I find it no small coincidence that this gentleman’s name is Ray . . . as in sunshine.


**Fore more stories on kindness, check out my girl, Katie’s blog, Kindness Matters.


Outside our window — a sweet Subaru flooded out,

DIY Hanukkah

9 Dec


This holiday season is a little different for me. And by a little, of course, I mean A LOT.  The last few years I’ve sorta avoided Christmas.  Britney’s song comes to mind, I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.  You get the idea.  I was Jewish in spirit and solidarity.  Now?  I’m a woman, y’all.  Well.  You know what I mean.


In April I had my religion reassignment surgery so to speak.  I am Jewish.  And you know what?  It all seems easy breezy when you’re ready to make a switch.  You justify the change you’re going to make because you want to make it.  Then?  The reality sets in. Those Christmas trees look real cute this year.  They didn’t before.  The holiday lights?  I want to be wrapped in them.  I am not disappointed in choosing to become (BE) Jewish.  I’m just maybe having more of a Christmas Mourning (ha!) period than I had expected.



Not to mention this time of year feels a little bit like living in a blender.  Holiday parties, shopping craziness, traveling to Florida with family.  It’s a crazy time.  Couple that with a busy work schedule (for me AND the husband) and you can only hope that a hot bath at the end of the day will bring you back to normal.

So what have I done other than purchase an enormous bag of lavender bath salts?  Well, Hanukkah started last night.  If I can’t really dig in to one holiday, how about another.  The trouble of course is that I’m a new Jew.  I don’t have a Bubbe’s recipe for latkes or a Zayde’s amazing recipe for applesauce that has been handed down for generations.  Sometimes you have to build it yourself.  So I did.

My favorite kitchen mentor at the moment is Ina Garten.  Ina who also happens to be a fabulous Jewess.  She’s not old enough to be my Bubbe, but let’s pretend for a moment.  It should come to no surprise to any of us that she made homemade applesauce AND latkes this week on her show.  One day when I’m old and gray, the recipes which follow will be the ones I pass to whatever little kids I can force to listen to me.  Let me just say this…you need to add homemade applesauce to your bag of Hanukkah tricks.  This stuff is worth fighting for.



2 large navel oranges, juice and zest of

1 lemon, juice and zest of

3 lbs granny smith apples (about 6-8 apples)

3lbs sweet red apples (about 6-8)…I used honey crisps

1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the zest and juice of the oranges and lemon in a large bowl.  Peel, quarter and core the apples (reserving the peel of 2 of the red apples) and toss them in the juice.  Pour the apples, reserved apple peel and juice into a nonreactive Dutch oven or enameled iron pot.  Add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and allspice and cover the pot.  Bake for 1 hour or until apples are soft.  Remove and discard the apple peel.  Mix with a whisk until it’s as smooth (or chunky) as you like.

Boom.  You’re life has changed.  ENJOY!


I know errrbody has their own latke recipe.  Here’s Ina’s.  Give it a whirl.


2 lbs baking potatoes

2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

6 tablespoons flour

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons clarified butter


Peel the potatoes and grate them lengthwise. Place them in a colander or kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. combine the potatoes in a bowl with the egg, flour, salt and pepper.  Mix well.

Melt 2 tables spoons of clarified  butter in a skillet.  Drop a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture into the sizzling butter. Flatten with a spatula and cook for 2 minutes. Turn, flatten again, and cook for another 2 minutes, until crisp on the outside and golden brown.

Now I didn’t do this fancy clarified butter business.  I went for olive oil, because I’m lazy. BUT…here’s a word on clarified butter from the Queen herself…

To make 6 tablespoons of clarified butter, slowly melt 8 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Set it aside until the milk solids settle. Spoon off any solids that rise to the top and then carefully pour off the golden liquid, leaving the milky part in the bottom of the pan. Clarified butter has a higher burning temperature than melted butter.

May your Hanukkah be everything you wish for and may those lights be full of blessings for you and yours.  Hanukkah Sameach!


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