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At the risk of Black coming up with another potato analogy, for me, Chanukah's all about potato latkes. The childhood memories of our dad grating pounds and pounds of potatoes to the point where I'm not sure I could see our kitchen table to many decades later my eldest daughter taste-tasting latkes from an assortment of places. (I love to cook, but latkes are a lot of work.)

Of course, the lighting of the menorah is also such a special part of the holiday celebration, whether the electric menorah that my parents had where you would "twist" each light bulb as the nights progressed or the more traditional menorah with candles that my daughters and I light each year (and never leave unattended).


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I never cease to be amazed by the miracle of Chanukah (regardless of whether you spell it Chanukah or Hanukkah, or some other variation) and how the oil that was only supposed to last one day instead lasted for eight days. It is as if your cellphone indicated it is at 12% but lasts eight days. Or, if the gas gauge in your car indicates you have 25 miles left, but you are able to drive 200 miles. Sometimes things happen that defy logic, and that is where faith takes over. And a belief in something bigger than all of us.

Tomorrow is the start of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, which celebrates hope and miracles – and who could not use hope and miracles?

Happy Chanukah!

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It’s #GivingTuesday, and although it’s always a good time to think of others, remember all the people who are continuing to deal with the aftermath of natural disasters long after the headlines have been forgotten.

And even though Black believes charitable giving can be “secretive”, she also knows there’s science proving helping others is good for you. (Warning: she likes to recommend the book “Wonder Drug: 7 Scientifically Proven Ways That Serving Others Is the Best Medicine for Yourself.“)

P.S. – Wherever you may choose to donate, beware of potential scammers. So, if in doubt – check them out! (Black likes GuideStar and Charity Navigator.)



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I know today’s Giving Tuesday, but what I always find so amazing is how you treat every day as “Giving Tuesday."


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What makes you say that? I do not donate to an organization or charity every day.


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You’re always so literal. I meant that the spirit of “giving to others”, whether donating or providing support in some way, seems to be part of your daily life.


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I think you are exaggerating.
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Photo courtesy of Red’s eldest daughter, Natasha


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At the risk of asking you a warm and fuzzy question, have you thought about what you’re most thankful for this Thanksgiving?


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Yes.


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I should’ve guessed that you’d take the question literally. Could you expand on that a little, or at least give me a hint?
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When Red was a child, toilets represented more than a place to go when, well, you had to go. Much to Black’s amusement, Red saw cleaning them as a reward. (Really! Check out Red's post below.) But neither of us realized that billions of people don’t have access to toilets. And if it weren’t for today being World Toilet Day, we never would have known the magnitude of the associated health and safety issues – or the connection between sanitation and groundwater.

RED: What can I tell you? When I was a kid, one of my all-time favorite things to do was … clean the toilet. Yes, you read that correctly. And it wasn’t because I was a germophobe or a clean freak. I just loved being able to sit on the floor, using as much Bon Ami (I’ve no idea why I remember the brand) cleaning powder as I wanted. And the best part? All those bubbles!

It kept me entertained for hours. Not to mention, my mom was thrilled because it kept me “contained” and out of her hair. So much so that if I was very good and behaved myself, she might even give me “special permission” to clean the toilet in my parent’s bathroom. Of course, Black, being five years older and understanding the situation, found it all extremely amusing. Even now, decades later, she still gives me grief about it,

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