Moving Forward

What a week! Between the looming storm, the undecided Presidential Election and the still-raging Pandemic, it was a real nail-biter (and wine-drinker).

So, the night before the election, after a dinner of sautéed bay scallops and pureed cauliflower, Zeke and I sat in the family room, drinking Macon Verze Chardonnay from Trader Joe’s (really good and only $10.99) and watching T.V. The conversation veered toward the upcoming election and I told Zeke if a certain candidate won, I didn’t want to live in the U.S. anymore. “Where would you go?”, Zeke asked.

Canada was the obvious choice but I know nothing about Canada except that Alex Trebeck’s from there and it’s cold, so that was out (although it would’ve given me a chance to work on my French). Mexico’s considerably warmer, but seems too dangerous, so I settled on moving to Italy. Tuscany to be precise, where my great grandmother Carmelinda Giannelli was from.

My Great Grandmother Carmelinda and her four daughters on the boat from New York to Miami in the 20’s.

“What about our house?” Zeke asked.

“We’ll sell it,” I answered.

“What about us?” Zeke asked.

“We’ll get divorced,” I answered.

I did say he could visit me, which was magnanimous of me and seems very European. Of course, there were some plot holes in this hair-brained scheme of mine.

#1 I don’t speak Italian.

#2 I would miss my family, including kids and grandkids not even born yet.

#3 I don’t think Italy’s letting anyone in from the good ole U S of A.

And, of course, I’m not divorcing Zeke. Yet, it seemed impossible for me to imagine our country continuing on the way it’s been the last four years. Election Day came and went and still, no winner had been pronounced. Since I voted early, I was able to track my vote by mail and it confirmed my vote had been received. This gave me some small form of reassurance.

The Sunday morning before, when we woke up in the Keys, there were rumblings of a tropical storm and Zeke and I looked at each other like WTF? We’d cheered to the end of Hurricane Season the Sunday before, mistakingly thinking it was over November 1st. Actually, it goes until November 31st and if there was ever a year we would get hit by a Hurricane, it would be this year of 2020. We’ve had so many hurricanes this year, in fact, they ran out of human names to name them and had to go to the Greek Alphabet. This is only the second time in the history of naming storms that this has happened (the other being 2005). And while I thought Eta was the Greek letter for E, it’s actually H. Yes, we’ve gotten to H in the Greek alphabet of Hurricanes this year.

As a bright spot to the week, Emma got a new puppy, a black and white cocker spaniel named Lucy, who she brought over to show us Tuesday at lunch. She’s a sweet, happy puppy and adorable. I love Lucy! Eloise (Emma’s cat) however, is not a fan. Emma brought Lucy over to introduce her to Eloise, as she’d heard a cat wouldn’t hurt a defenseless puppy. Eloise hissed at Lucy and when Emma tried to pet her, she swatted at her hand. This relationship is going to take time, apparently.

That night, the night of the election, Zeke went out but I wanted to stay at home. I’d been checking the news on T.V. and my phone all day for elections results. I’d also been praying like crazy. I needed comfort, so made myself some Crunchy Chicken Fingers, Trader Joe’s Hatch Green Chili Mac ‘N Cheese and Tomatoes Vinaigrette. This meal hit the comfort food spot.

Chicken Fingers with Mac N Cheese and Tomatoes Vinaigrette.

I woke up the next morning (Wed) and there was still no winner announced in the Presidential Election. I worked out and met Zeke for lunch at Riviera. I ordered the shrimp salad with avocado and snacked on Zeke’s onion rings, definitely a case of emotional eating, but those onion rings were really good! Luckily, I had a distraction that day. I picked Wyatt up from school, took him to the library to get a bunch of books, visited the butterfly garden and came home. He noted all the changes around the house.

Wow! A new pool, a new doorbell and a new puppy. You guys are getting a lot of new stuff around here.


I did feel a shift in the atmosphere earlier that day, which I partly attribute to Mercury Retrograde ending on November 3rd. Things felt lighter, more upbeat and full of possibility than they had before. As I went for a walk around my neighborhood, the skies opened up and it started pouring. I started running, trying to shelter my I-Phone under my shirt as I ran home. It felt like a cleansing, cathartic, an epiphany. I could almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Emma brought the puppy over Wednesday night for Wyatt to see; A.J. had come over to see the puppy as well. She is soft and fluffy, although those little gnawing teeth can be sharp and, of course, she’s not potty trained yet. I made a delicious Chicken and Grits Casserole for dinner, which I served with Collard greens and sliced watermelon. Wyatt loved the watermelon, but not the rest of it, so he got yogurt for dinner. When my kids were young, if they didn’t want to eat what I’d made for dinner, they got cereal. For Wyatt, it’s yogurt.

The other meals for the week were: a delicious New York Strip on Sunday night. It accidentally caught fire while Zeke grilled it but it actually made it taste good- charred on the outside, perfectly medium-rare on the inside. I served it with delicious baked potatoes, with sour cream and chives and grilled asparagus. Monday night we made the Bay scallops we’d defrosted from the Keys. I tossed them with a little flour, sautéed them in butter and added lemon juice; I served them with an easy Pureed Cauliflower and a Green Salad with tomatoes and cucumbers.

Check out my Salt Bae action!

Friday night was the U.M. football game game, so we tried some Hot Dogs I’d heard about called Feltman’s of Coney Island. Although everyone’s heard of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, Feltman’s claims to be the first modern American frank and was served at Coney Island before Nathan’s. Nathan’s was started by an employee at Feltman’s. Charles Feltman started his business on a pie cart on the sand dunes of Coney Island and invented the hot dog bun to save on plate and cutlery costs. He eventually built a restaurant and whole plaza in Coney Island called Feltman’s Ocean Pavilion; when it closed in 1954, the Feltman hot dog disappeared. It was revived in 2015 by two brothers who had heard stories about Feltman’s from their grandfather; they also did it in memory of their brother Jimmy who talked about bringing the original Coney Island hot dog back, but died in 9/11.

These hot dogs were really good! They attribute their unique taste to the Old World Spice Blend, the smoking process (smoked for 3 hours) and the fact that they’re All Natural, 100% Beef. I ate mine with sauerkraut, onions and mustard, which is very similar to the way they suggest serving it, although with a potato bun and their Deli mustard. I served the hot dogs with Baked Beans and Corn on the cob and we watched the U.M. Game against North Carolina.

About half-way through the game, I got sick of hearing Zeke scream at the TV, saying: “We suck!” and “We look awful!” so I went upstairs to watch my murder mystery on Dateline at 10 p.m. But, wouldn’t you know, it wasn’t my murder mystery but a whole Dateline on the Presidential Election Results, where they basically had nothing new to say for an hour. There was also now more hysteria on the local news about Tropical Storm Eta, which was headed our way but unknown exactly where it would hit or how bad it would be.

Everything culminated Saturday, with Joe Biden being declared the Presidential winner by the media; the bands of rain from Tropical Storm Eta starting to pelt our home in a steady downpour. We were worried about our condo and boat in Key Largo, since projections predicted the storm to be going right over the Keys but had plans Saturday night. Luckily, our boat was in a boatyard, but Zeke went down Sunday to put away patio furniture, our grill, his kegorater and to take home stuff from the freezer in case we lost power.

And then, Alex Trebeck died! I had just said to Zeke while we were watching Jeopardy last week “What are we going to do when Alex Trebeck dies?” Because he was such a soothing, reliable presence in these crazy, chaotic times and, he was the perfect host for this game show. I truly can’t imagine anyone else hosting it. But… maybe a woman?

Speaking of women, I was talking to my friend Martha about the election. She was whispering, because not everyone in her house is on the same political page (similar to my household) as she is. “What was that outfit Kamala was wearing?” Martha asked. “She needs to get better at dressing.” I agreed, saying the big, cream colored suit looked like she was wearing her mother’s clothes and I wasn’t digging the 80’s, silky bow blouse. But then I said; “Martha, what are we talking about? She’s going to be the first female Vice President of the United States. Who cares what she wears?”

A big glass ceiling has been crashed.

So, I’m not moving to Italy. And while I’m happy with the results of the Presidential Election, I have to acknowledge that half the country is not. As an article in the New York Times stated “71 million People Voted for Trump. They’re not going anywhere.” So half of us are celebrating, half of us are mourning or declaring fraud; where do we go from here? Where does our country go from here?

Sunday night I slept fitfully, listening to the wind and rain outside our bedroom window. We’d just gotten new railings installed at our condo in The Sanctuary to replace ones that were destroyed in Hurricane Irma- would they be destroyed again? Would we be hit with another big assessment? I didn’t sleep well, then at 5 a.m. my phone made a horrible screeching noise, which was a Hurricane Warning advising to not go out until 11 a.m. Zeke got up at 6, showered and got dressed.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“To work,” he said, buttoning up his shirt.

“In the middle of a storm?” I asked.

The storm was actually mostly over, however, and Zeke left for work. The weather cleared up and the sun came out later that day. Our house here and condo in the Keys are fine. He is moving forward, which I feel is the only thing left for us all to do. Even in the middle of a storm.

I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiny day.

Jimmy Cliff

Up Next: Creamy Chicken Casserole

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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