Category Archives: Green Island Grrrl

Edith parked in Rose’s space!

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Read Edith’s cover story in this issue of CECELIA💜! pic: R.T.

President Donald Trump’s “shit-hole countries” remark – more of the same

By Edith Morgan

So now President Donald Trump has let loose of some more gutter language, this time describing again something he clearly knows nothing about and, worse yet, CARES nothing about. We have been treated to his “locker room language,” we have heard peoples of color labeled rapists, murderers; portrayed as lazy, criminal, unintelligent and still “the white man’s burden.”

We have seen emanating from Trump’s campaign and later from his White House, the same vicious rhetoric, ultimately emanating from the same source: Donald J. Trump. So I have trouble being shocked or surprised that more of this gutter language – his describing Africa, Haiti as “shit-hole countries” during a meeting about immigration – is issuing forth from what ought to be the highest places in our government.

We all know the words – we would not be shocked or upset at hearing them if we did not understand their meaning and their use: to excoriate people of color. What IS shocking and upsetting is that the racist comments are coming out of what is supposed to be the highest office in the land – the position from which is supposed to emanate at least a little wisdom and decorum, and to which so many other nations’ people look for leadership.

During the last presidential campaign, I DID hope the American people would see through candidate Trump’s bluster, his swearing, his crude insensitivity and his total disregard for law, morality … and any trace of human decency.

Actually, much of the voting public DID reject this choice but were denied their real choice (Bernie Sanders) by a rigged system that allowed the election to be thrown to the less-favored candidate, Hillary Clinton. It has happened before and we did not fix it then. And we are still not fixing the problem!

Most Americans have had the uneasy feeling that we were going in the wrong direction, that change was needed, and that it should start at the top. And so many were lulled into believing that Donald Trump would “drain the swamp.” What many did not see is that Trump and his entourage are the “swamp-creatures par excellence”! And that rather than draining the swamp, they are there to overfill the swamp and line their own pockets …

Did anyone who took the time to study the various biographies of this group have any doubt at all that there would be brought into the White House the same person who had all his life demonstrated a total lack of morality in any area, personal or business?

This spoiled child who inherited so much, bragged that he would get rich off the presidency, that rules did not apply to him, and that as a (reality TV!) “star” he could get away with anything – including murder?

Why did people not take Trump at his word – the only times when he actually told the truth?

And so we have added to the Presidential vocabulary the terms “pussy,” “shit-hole” and others, thanks to Trump. And we are daily treated to further outpourings from our duly elected fount of gutter talk. I will not be surprised when, as the pressure builds from decent Americans of all kinds, that the vocabulary will get cruder and more abusive!

And meanwhile, as our attention is focused on the increasing crudity, our environment is being decimated, the 1% pay less of their fair share, health insurance for the working poor and middle class becomes more precarious, protections are dismantled, our respect – and influence – around the world eroded. Globally, we are a laughing stock, as we follow a racist, sexual predator … a foul-mouthed ignoramus down into … what?

When will the Trump debacle be enough – even for the cowards who inhabit the Congress?

Ghosts and the City of Worcester

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

If you read some of the literature, they’re called “ghosts”: immigrants who never acclimated to life here, the US of A. “Ghosts” never learned a smidgen of English; they didn’t go out and get factory/low level service jobs or join their little local ethnic churches (so often the spiritual and emotional nexuses for first-generation Americans). They didn’t connect to their neighborhood schools or market places, biz enclaves like our 1930s Water, Green and Millbury streets, streets bustling with Poles and Lithuanians from the “Old Country” and Jews, newcomers too, who often owned the delis or shops but lived in better digs at the top of Vernon Hill.

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Water Street deli in the 1970s

No, the ghosts were emotionally incapacitated – often they had had very quiet or very loud nervous breakdowns in their tenements or flats, their brothers, wives or sons clutching them to their breasts, wrangling with their demons, too. Or just staring at their loved one in shock and terror. Like late Leader Sign owner Tony Hmura’s dad, a Polish immigrant who just crumpled in Worcester and became bedridden unable to work and compelling son Tony, just a little kid at the time, to be the new head of the Hmura family. The new breadwinner. At age 7.

With the ghosts it was often up to their kids, sons like Tony, to take over the family, or at least be the
family bill payers.

Tony, my dear, departed pal, now “resting” in Notre Dame cemetery,

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had to get out his toy red wagon when his dad became a ghost. No longer a toy but a tool, Tony filled it with dirt and earthworms and started selling the worms as bait to the local factory guys who went fishing on their day off. Tony had his own small biz at 7! It was very robust, he told me. His red wagon was perpetually filled with rich dark soil into which hundreds of thick juicy earthworms twisted and twirled as deeply as they could, away from sunlight and little Tony’s pulling, grasping fingers. He walked all over the city, pulling his little red wagon filled with worms.

A few days ago I visited Tony at Notre Dame and saw his grave unadorned, unloved during Christmas. This would have upset him! So, remembering our friendship, his love for his parents and his hardscrabble beginnings, I cleared the ice off his huge! headstone…

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… and decorated it as best I could.

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On his headstone, I placed a Christmas card, a Black Lives Matter postcard (unenlightened to the end!), a penny for good luck, a purple flower and a duck wearing a baseball cap. Tony loved flowers, and he wore baseball caps when he dressed to go to his Canterbury Street sign shop or to some family gathering.

The cemetery was so lonely, desolate! Everyone had forgotten their dead!
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Easy enough to do. No judgements. My late mother, as resilient as they came, used to say, “My Rosalie, life is sweet!” or “Rosalie, life is for the living!”

So I hung out with Tony for a few minutes, scraping the ice off my car, something he would have wanted me to do in this weather, and drove off. Here’s Tony’s song, from me:

But I digress! Like I was saying, the neighborhood’s “ghosts” had had some kind of break with reality and/or now suffered from major depression, mental illness. Sometimes they killed themselves. I remember as a little girl growing up in Green Island there was a Polish family that had such beautiful daughters: long wavy blond hair, pretty smiles, comely figures… But I never saw their dad. Not once. For years. He was always in the house. Finally, my mom said he had hanged himself one day. She said it so matter of fact that I didn’t feel shock. It was in the cards. … One young neighborhood woman, not an immigrant, but the lesbian daughter of our neighbor across the way, killed herself, too. Being gay in Green Island back then could be as hard as being an immigrant! In my childhood, homosexuality was considered a mental disease! Gay people suffered terribly. So alone in places like Worcester.

The U.S. had no social safety net back in Tony’s childhood, and homosexuality was not accepted or ever discussed when I was a kid. So mostly our neighborhood “ghosts” stayed away – hidden from us. In back bedrooms, where their families dealt with their craziness, depression or bed-ridden ways. There they ate their suppers or stared at the four walls. Or denied their gayness – or castigated themselves for it. Families fed them, bathed them, comforted, supported them, prayed over them, played them their favorite records on their Victrola’s …

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Rose’s Victrola – it was her Polish Bapy’s!

… and sometimes beat them – the “cripple” who dragged down an already poor, bereft family.

So if the ghosts didn’t commit suicide, they were pretty much “entombed” in neighborhood tenements or three decker flats. For life.

There are ghosts in Green Island today! In lower Vernon Hill! Main South! Piedmont! Canterbury Street! Any place where poor immigrants and refugees live, freaked out by Worcester and American culture! Struggling to/unable to take it all in! They’re newbies from Vietnam, the Mid East, Central America, the Congo – so many places from all over our wonderful planet! It is up to Worcester – all of us here – to embrace them and weave them into our wonderful Worcester tapestry.

This is why CECELIA and the InCity Times website SUPPORTS the City of Worcester Human Rights Commission’s push to allow our REFUGEES AND NON CITIZEN Worcester residents to sit on, be voting members of, ALL City of Worcester Boards and Commissions.

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Screw City Councilor Konnie Lukes’ backwards – and dangerous – view of the issue! THANK GOD cynical, race-baiter, loathsome MIKE GAFFNEY is OFF CITY COUNCIL! These folks do not understand how diverse Worcester is, that every day we grow browner. So often our newcomers sit on the periphery of Worcester life, sidelined by all the immigrant baggage: poverty, lack of skills, lack of education, unable to speak English, unfamiliar with our laws, city hall. Even our city libraries feel foreign to them…

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West Boyslston Street – the Frances Perkins branch library

… The police force scares them, too.

Refugees and most likely undocumented workers are here in Worcester to stay, folks, and must be recognized. They are working hard to survive. They must be allowed on our city boards and commissions to speak on behalf of their communities. We cannot, as a city on the move, turn folks who may be here illegally, from all over the world, INTO GHOSTS. THE LIVING DEAD. We must accept reality with open minds and hearts.

How will this city flourish with ghosts dying behind closed doors? Why permit all that human suffering? Why not work to eradicate it?? Why not unlock human potential and happiness?!

But newcomers from Vietnam, the Mid East, Central America, Africa, Albania etc are not the only folks who struggle in Worcester. There are our regular old Worcester residents, people who have something to add to our urban stew, but are overwhelmed, also. Turned into or turning into ghosts by poverty, domestic violence, violence on their streets, drug addiction, drug selling, hunger, dead-end low-paying jobs. They are our ghosts, too! Some heartlessly call it the “underclass.” As if it’s a permanent thing. Bull shit! These folks must be helped, be loved, too!

Our city is a beautiful, diverse, complex place!!! Let’s embrace, celebrate, this wild ride!!! This Christmas Day: No more ghosts!

Chef Joey parked in Rose’s space! 🎄🎄🎄 Make Creme Brulee for Christmas🎄!

Reposting this Chef Joey yum yum. ❄❄❄Make it special for the holidays!🎁🎁🌃 – R.T.

Crème Brulée!

Text and recipe by Chef Joey

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💜Rich, Chef Joey, Gigi and Santa!

What is a magical dessert that sounds too good to be true?

It is none other than Crème Brulée!

This delicious concoction, traditionally made with vanilla flavoring, first started appearing in cookbooks around 1690. It was translated into English mid-1700’s but kept the name. By 1800 it was called “Burnt Cream” in England.

Other names are Crème Anglaise. In Spain it is called Crema Catalana and is the dessert served once a year on Saint Joseph’s day (March 19). But instead of vanilla, it is flavored with the zest of lemons or oranges. You can do Nutella, chocolate, raspberry, etc – that’s what is so great about this dessert!

I recently reintroduced myself to this dessert, thanks to my new friends Stephanie and Penny who were constantly being served custard, which is cooked on top of the stove vs baking. It is an easy technique, and you don’t have to put the sugar on top and burn it.

It’s a delicious concoction that takes minutes to prepare and can be made ahead of time and keeps for a couple of days!

You will need ramekins for individual servings – or a glass pie plate will do for family style.

For the basic recipe you need:

1 quart of cream

6 eggs, separated

1 cup of sugar

and a vanilla bean!

I’ll list them below again. The fun is you can substitute the vanilla and add lemon, orange, almond, chocolate, pistachio, coconut etc – endless combinations!

So turn your oven on to 325, separate the eggs and save the whites for breakfast.

Add ½ cup sugar to the yolks and whisk until light in color and very fluffy.

In the meantime, add the seeds from the vanilla bean to the milk/cream in your sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Let it sit for 15 minutes to cool down, then slowly add it to the eggs whisking constantly.

Prepare your baking pan by placing the ramekins in the large rectangle pan.

Fill the ramekins with the filling, then pour HOT water into the holding pan – so it comes up just over halfway up the ramekins or pie plate.

Place in your hot oven and bake for 45 minutes.

The center should be a little jiggly and yet firm to the touch. Depending on your oven, adjust the cooking time.

Remove from the oven, take the ramekins out of the water, place on a cookie sheet and bring to room temp, then refrigerate.

They are ready to eat like this or dust with the rest of the sugar, just a light coating, and using a blow torch, fire it evenly on the sugar until it melts! You can do it under the broiler, but just keep a close eye on it!

Ingredients:

6 eggs separated

1 quart cream or milk

½ cup sugar

1 vanilla bean (just the interior seeds)

325 degree oven – rectangular pan – 8 ramekins

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💜Gigi!💜🎄🎅❄⛄

My two cousins

By Rosalie Tirella

Writing my David Cassidy post got me thinking about Baby Boomer teen life and my two favorite girl cousins, Jennifer and Kris. Jennifer was the trend setter of my junior and early senior high school years. The beauty I idolized but could never be.  She was the suburban willowy love-child of the ’70s who caught all the boys’ eyes (once I was walking with her when she literally stopped traffic!), and I was the Polish immigrant nerd living in the ghetto (Green Island) with my face deep in my school books and Bapy’s potato pierogi’s.

Jennifer was the Ali MacGraw to my Mr. Magoo (I was near-sighted as a kid, and my mom bought me thick-lensed eyeglasses at the optometrist on Millbury Street), the Cheryl Tiegs string bikini to my White’s Five and Ten polyester pants. And the whole family knew it. When her parents, my sweet Uncle Mark and Aunt Mary, spoke of her, their only daughter, the word “model” popped up in lots of their sentences. As in Jennifer was beautiful enough to be a model. She was tall enough to be a model – 5′ 7″.  She had an oval face – the perfect face all models had. Plus: Jennifer made her own groovy clothes that looked like they came right out of SEVENTEEN magazine. She sewed like a demon (linings? No problem! Zippers? a snap!) and could knit or crochet anything.

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Jennifer could knit sweaters like these pom-pom bedecked doozies!

Once she crocheted herself a beautiful blue hotpants jumpsuit with a red apple on the bib (which her parents never let her wear in public). It involved following a pattern, creating pieces, putting them together…so intimidating to me!

Jennifer loved going to the beach and sunbathed in the pretty two piece bathing suits she sewed for herself. She slathered on the Coppertone sun tan lotion (SPF 0) and smelled like a coconut. 

For me, the whole Jennifer package was amazing! No one ever stared at me – a gawky 13 year old with thin hair and a gap between my two front teeth, which my mother, too poor to outfit me in braces, kept promising me would come together as my wisdom teeth grew in. (never happened). No one ever told me I had model potential. No one ever cared what I was knitting. I was in Jennifer’s knitting class at the Winthrop House Girls Club on Providence Street. Everyone in class knew I was the worst knitter at the Girls Club; in a million years I could never crochet a blue hot pants outfit with a red apple on its bib! The club knitting teacher, was a tough old Irish broad who had plenty of ability but no heart. She fawned over Jennifer and her work but sneered at me as I sweated bullets over my paltry scarves or “slippers” for Bapy. Scraps to her. She never tried to teach me anything new –  never really even acknowledged my presence. She just kept me knitting those damn scarves and slippers – both the easiest beginner projects entailing knitting/crocheting row after row after row after row…I hated the teacher and class but my mother wanted me to learn “home economics” so I took all the classes at the Club: sewing class, knitting class, cooking class. I soldiered on in knitting for three years while  Jennifer soared –  graduated to sweaters with pom poms, halter tops! and hotpants jumpsuits. She bought and  followed patterns, three-page directives that told you when you knit, purled, dropped a stitch etc.

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Jaw dropping. I never  owned or even followed a pattern, which you could buy at Woolworths on Front Street. I couldn’t even “read” them. So I became the Madame Defarge of the Girls Club – knitting and knitting and knitting my  scarf in a corner of the room.

Jennifer wore platform sandals and shoes that we’re pretty and on trend – but never slutty. She drank NuForm 1% low fat milk because she was tall and willowy and watched her figure, like a real model. She wore just the lightest touch of makeup (pink lipstick, a bit of mascara) because she was a natural beauty, like a model.  And like all models in the 1970s she wore her long, chestnut hair parted straight in the middle, straight down the back, a la Ali MacGraw.

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pics: R.T.

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Jennifer even knit herself those knit hats Ali MacGraw wore in the movie “Love Story,” co-starring  ’70s heartthrob movie actor Ryan O’Neal.

My aunt would say, “That’s my Ali MacGraw!” My Uncle would say, “That’s my Polish Princess!”

And we’d all nod, grinning.

No one ever called me a Polish Princess! But I knew I was loved by mom. For different reasons. I was up to something a little different – Ma picked up on it, knew I was wicked book smart, an all-A student.  She knew I loved music and enrolled me in violin – and accordion! – lessons at Lamartine Street School. She pushed me to be in the WPS orchestra – at 7! She’d bypass Jennifer altogether and compare me to the boys in the family. Race my intellectual prowess against that of her sister’s two whiz kid sons’ – Walter and Jim.

My Aunt Mary would brag to my mom: “Jim is number two in his class.” My mom would hit back with: “My Rosalie is number 1.” My aunt would crow: “Jim’s teachers love him.” My mom would retort: “Rosalie’s English teacher took  her and five of the smartest kids in class to the art museum on Saturday. Then they  went to McDonald’s for lunch!” If Walter was reading a hard book for his book report at Burncoat Junior High, I was reading a brain-cracker for my book report at Providence Street Junior High. If Walter was going to college to be a doctor, I was going to college to be a veterinarian – a job my mom believed required more intelligence.  Animals did not talk and therefore couldn’t tell you where they hurt or what their health issues were!

The competition was intense, and soon I felt I was on a different path than Jennifer who wanted to go the more traditional route. She wanted to be a school teacher, get married in a beautiful wedding gown …

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… with the band playing BREAD songs for all to dance to at the wedding reception.

My cousin loved BREAD and bought the above album, The Best of Bread, and convinced me to do the same. I did. When we had our sleep overs at her house we’d get into our jammies, talk boys and true love and she’d put her BREAD album on her portable record player and together we’d softly sing all the songs on it (I knew all the words by heart, still do). We’d sing high and melodramatically in the gentle moonlight that suffused her little pink bedroom, with the swing set in the back yard, my aunt and uncle in the kitchen having a final cup of coffee of the day,  together …

A few years ago I heard “Everything I Own” on the radio and cried. Not for what the music critics would call its saccharine lyrics (the critics slagged BREAD, gagged over BREAD, their entire career) but for what the band once meant to two innocent girls in the little moonlight-imbued bedroom off Burncoat Street, the swing set in the backyard by the big tree I’d sometimes climb… . Two girls who believed in all that bad love poetry with all their hearts!

“I may be climbing on rainbows, but here goes…”

“… I really wanna make it with you!”

Jennifer’s husband would be handsome and straight-as-an-arrow loyal, and – a must – he’d have a great paying job.

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They would live in a big house in the nice part of town and have a family…Jen was losing this Green Island Grrrl.

Into the breach stepped Kris, the teenaged daughter of my mother’s older sister, Helen. Kris was another beauty but very different from Jennifer. Helen, like my mom, her little sis, had married stupidly – got hitched to a physically abusive carpenter who would hit her and drink whenever he wasn’t working. I remember him at our kiddie  birthday parties, walking around the room and popping the balloons with his cigar. A total asshole. Like with my father, I was afraid of the guy. After running away from him, kicking him out of the house, getting a divorce and their house in Webster Square, my auntie became the tough, single mama survivor raising her two teenagers during the 1960s, the Vietnam War … working three shit  jobs  to keep the house and send  her kids to private schools. She eventually became a professional, an accountant, while raising Kris and her brother, Peter. She was the auntie who had a lifelong love affair with Doberman pinschers, owning one after another, huge canines built like brick outhouses, all named delicate, pretty names like Sparkle, Serena and Tatiana. Any one of them could have killed a man.

Like I said, Kris was a beauty. Wavy long auburn hair, huge melt-you eyes, pretty figure, full sensuous lips – so fetching in her blue jeans, peasant blouse and loafers. But where Jennifer was confident and exuberant, Kris was tentative and sad. Where Jennifer sauntered down that beach, Kris walked stiffly past the wavelets, her shoulders up, square and rigid like a soldier’s. She could have looked amazing in a bikini, but she wore a no-nonsense, nylon navy blue one-piece.

Still, we connected. Through our mutual love for animals. When visiting us – and my Aunt and her two kids often did visit us to escape the flying fists of my uncle – Kris never chatted about boys or music or hinted she could be a model, though, years later, I see her in my mind’s eye and she is a kind of ravishing, exotic beauty that Jennifer never was. But she was emotionally squelched by a dad who was a drinker and hit her mother with her hair brush. No. Kris was not young the way Jennifer or even I was. She was serious – until she was given our cat Rajah to pet or our English Setter mix Belle to hug. Then she smiled her toothy white grin and talked about her cats at home or their latest Doberman pinscher. …

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Kris would have loved the playful and mischievous Cece!

… But mostly Kris was quiet, “reserved” my mom called it, just connecting with our pets. She would get right on the floor with them, lying down next to them and play fight or cuddle. It was primitive. Bewitching! I’d just sit by her and my pets, watching. They were having fun. My cousin was turning into a feline! A pup!

I wanted to reach out, have Kris be my best friend cousin, just like Jennifer had been, but there was a wall. Kris was only a few years older than Jen but everything about her seemed far away, distracted.  The only emotional connection to my clan? My late mom. Kris loved my mother, who in her 40s then, had a husky, sexy voice that no one else in the family has or ever had. It made her so unique! Everyone remembers her voice, so Las Vegas, Frank Sinatra, dry martini  – even though all she did was work 60 hours a week at the dry cleaners to support me and my two sisters and come home to cook and care for us. When she saw her, Ma would always give Kris a big hug and a kiss on the cheek and … unlike her mom, leave her be … the pressure was off. Kris could play with our pets to her heart’s content. My mother would offer her a cup of Delmonte’s fruit cocktail – something Ma loved to do when we had guests over. Kris accepted the cup of syrupy soft pale fruit and then Ma’d go back to the kitchen table and sit with my aunt. They’d have a cup of freshly brewed coffee Ma made special for my aunt and chat. Ma and Auntie would never talk about my uncle or the physical abuse in front of us kids – maybe they never did, even when we weren’t around. Maybe Ma just sensed it all, Auntie telling her a few things here and there, painting a picture of alcoholism and domestic violence without using the words or even knowing that alcoholism is a disease and domestic violence follows a cycle. It was the ’70s and all of the research was just coming out. Blue collar women like Ma just did not have the knowledge at the time. They relied on their instincts, tried to reason with folks.

There was one night when Uncle Joe did not want Helen and her kids at our place. He drove to our Lafayette Street three decker and got out of his car and started yelling for my aunt, his wife, to come home with his kids. Kris’s face got beet red and tears fell from her eyes. Auntie looked flustered… . Ma went to our third floor window, opened it wide and through the screen said, gently: “Go home, Joe. Go home.” Uncle Joe kept shouting. He sounded off balance, drunk. Ma, still in that gentle voice, said: “Go to bed, Joe. Helen will come home tomorrow.”

That seemed to satisfy Uncle Joe and he drove home. My aunt and cousins spent the night. They got our beds. We kids doubled up. The next day they left early in the morning – so early my sisters and I were still sleeping. I don’t even think they had breakfast. I was sad that I missed saying goodbye to my Aunt, cousin Peter and pretty cousin Kris, who I later learned was a bigger Beatles fanatic than me! She had all the Beatles’s records. She even had the original Beatles dolls!

Wherever you are this Thanksgiving Day, live in peace, eat no turkey meat …

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Rose the day before – 11/22/2017

… revel in the veggies!

Here are some T-Day quickie yum yums from Chef Joey …

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Chef Joey

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Pumpkin Soup Server

Rub pumpkin with sunflower oil and bake 30 mins at 375.

Scoop, it out and it’s a soup tureen!

****

Brown sugared acorn squash

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Kiss kiss!

Cut the acorn squash in half – use a spoon to scoop the seeds out.

Keep the halves or cut them in half again.

Add a little butter and sprinkle brown sugar on top.

Add water to the base of your pan and steam them. Cover with foil and bake 375 for 1 hour.

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*******

Or stuff the acorn squash!

From PETA.ORG:

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2 oz. vegan margarine, plus extra for brushing the squash

2 Tbsp. maple syrup, plus extra for brushing the squash

Pinch ground cinnamon

Pinch grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 1-lb. squash (acorn or winter squash work well), cut in half lengthwise and seeded

2 vegan sausages, sliced

1 green apple, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Melt the vegan margarine in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave and stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Spoon into the seeded squash halves and bake for about 40 minutes, or until you can pierce the skin with a fork.

Pour the margarine mixture from the center into a medium bowl.

Scoop out some of the cooked squash flesh with a spoon, making sure to leave enough at the bottom so that the squash hold their shape, and add to the bowl.

Add the vegan sausages, apples, and walnuts and mix until well combined.

Fill each squash half with the mixture, then brush with vegan margarine and maple syrup.

Cover with foil and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

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Tonight, I am decorating my shack for Christmas …

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pics: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

… but feeling less twinkly since I heard the news. R.I.P., David Cassidy! They say your liver shriveled up! Caused by your decades-long battle with alcoholism. Your early dementia made things harder.

Some say you were nothing but a sad has-been who never quite recovered from teen idol-hood. Well, tonight, as you sit high above this crazy spinning world on your fluffy purple cloud in TV heaven, take stock. Rest assured. Hear this gal’s prayer to you: David, you will always be the candy-coated, shag-sporting, bell-bottom-wearing, long-lashed heart throb to me and millions of Baby Boomer gals (and thousands of the guys). You were the boy that taught me and all the BB girls how great it was to have … periods! Cuz that meant we had the hormones to go crazy over you – all cute boys! Junior high school was more than just getting my “friend” for the first time. It was more than zits and blackheads, crying in my pillow, wanting to break the rules but school and Ma keeping me tethered to routine. It was more than Midol in its weird blue plastic bottle, Kotex pads that slid all over the place if you weren’t wearing the elastic “belt” right. Nope. The hormones brought lust, too. We didn’t know the word back then, so we called it “love”:

“Last night, I turned out the lights, lay down and thought about you … .”

And … you got this once 12-year-old girl (was I ever that young?!) moving, joyful – singing, jumping and dancing on her old metal bed in her run down Lafayette Street bedroom that the landlord had just painted a lurid lime green (ick!)… She was playing your record on her red portable record player! She was now interested in songs – interested in singing her song! She started to write little essays and began showing them to her mother and teachers at Providence Street Junior High School.

The tunes you sang, David – their melodies and lyrics were so easy to learn. Because of you, my brain was primed for bigger and better. In a few years it was a hop, skip and jump to the Beatles, me first falling for their cuteness, just like I had with you. But then, slowly, discovering they were … WOW. They were, and still are for me, a life-long trip.

I loved your “shag” haircut. I wore one all seventh grade! – in my “year book” picture I look like a mini-David Cassidy! (looking for the pic…) I even bought a paperback about you – a 50-page tell ALL bio – from the Scholastic Book Club. My reading teacher was ashamed of me …

Watching your TV show, The Patridge Family, was one of the highlights of my junior high week!

Like me, you didn’t have a dad. But, like me, you had a great mom! Yours, however, seemed freer than mine. And you didn’t live in the inner city. You lived in the suburbs where you had a big house and a garage, the place you, you mom, your sisters and brothers all played music together and solved each other’s problems.

Solve this problem, Dave: How can you stop all the people you’ve loved in your life from dying?

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Chef Joey parked in Rose’s space! Thanksgiving cookin’ heats up!

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Chef Joey = Too Cute!

Quinoa is the latest rage!

Text and recipes by Chef Joey

Daylight savings has officially “darkened the day,” but we have several holidays, and the festive time of year to help migrate us to the spring. Veterans Day is more of a sale kick off pre-Thanksgiving, with focus on furniture, cars and other items and the new “Black Friday” slogan being moved up by slick marketing maneuvers. The real holidays for me involve food, of course, and visits.

I just got a Facebook message post from my friend Terry now living in New Zealand. He was reminiscing about how on his first Thanksgiving in the states, we dressed up fancy, and I drove to 56 or 57 of my friends’ houses and we sampled their turkey and the fixings. As he blogged, he said it was great to see so many different households sharing the same holiday with different foods!

I personally try and mix things up each year. I remember when “Green Beans Linda” was all the rage or sweet potato and marshmallow bake came to destroy our waistlines. Now our focus is headed to more organic, hormone-free and GMO-less foods that remain affordable. These items have always existed. I have mentioned them before – they are beans and grains.

Quinoa is the latest rage; it is related to spinach and beetroot versus a grain like wheat. And, if you buy it plain, it is incredibly inexpensive and good for you! And loaded with important dietary fiber.

Quinoa is a complete source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids – and iron, zinc and magnesium that is key in digestion. The average portion of cooked quinoa is about 120 calories. You can make it like a risotto, as a side dish plain, with fresh parsley and cilantro. It is great cold mixed to mimic tabbouleh with chopped tomato, parsley, mint and onion with fresh lemon juice.

It is a great substitution for rice or potato because of the vitamins it packs. It also has several varieties, so it is not just a bland “white dish.” It can be lighter in color, or green, red and even purple-ish black!

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A quick Black Bean and Quinoa Salad:

Cook the quinoa, drain and let cool.

Add 2 cups quinoa and a can of black beans …

… one chopped red pepper

… a small red onion and fresh parsley.

I sometimes add corn, as well.

Next make a homemade vinaigrette and mix together and serve! It is great as a cold side in the summer or a room-temp side dish. This dish can also be served hot by adding a few items you can make a “Quinoa Enchilada” or Burrito!

A basic recipe with a little help from some supermarket products:

Take one cup cooked quinoa, ½ cup each of corn and black beans …

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Back at Rose’s shack: black beans

… a chopped chili pepper for spice (optional).

Mix in fresh cilantro (never too much in my opinion)

Add a little ½ teaspoon of chili powder, salt and pepper.

Here comes the fun part: ¾ cup each of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese – and a 10 oz portion of enchilada sauce, you can pick mild to hot.

Mix all the ingredients with 1 cup total combined cheese and place into a greased baking dish.

Top with the rest of the cheese and bake 375 degrees for 15 minutes, until the cheese melts and bubbles.

Garnish with chopped parsley and tomatoes! Easy fast and healthy and serves 4 – double the recipe as needed!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Michael parked in Rose’s space: IMPEACH TRUMP!!‬

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Did you know the Trump administration scrubbed all cruelty-to-farm-and-circus-animal reports from govt websites? pic: R.T.

By filmmaker Michael Moore

It is time to remove this dangerous man from office.‬

I have just signed the “Need To Impeach” petition initiated by Tom Steyer of California. Over two million other Americans have also signed it. And that number keeps growing every hour. We — all of us — must not wait a minute longer to act.‬

Trump has sent a fleet of our ships into the waters off North Korea in order to provoke the unhinged leader of that country to make the mistake of attacking us. This, plus Trump’s reckless taunts at Kim Jong-un, is being done for one reason: to begin some sort of conflict so that America will rally behind him and forget about the impending criminal indictments he, his family and his cohorts now face. He has put us all in danger, and he may get a lot of people killed.‬

‪The Founders of this country were worried that, from time to time, we would have a President who would behave in such a manner that would put our nation in jeopardy, or a President who would try to profit off being in office, or a Commander-in-Chief who might not be right in the head (King George III gave them a good example of that). They feared we could end up with a President who might be a traitor to our country. They even knew that we might get stuck with someone who committed not just “high crimes” but also “misdemeanors.” They wanted to make it easy for us to fix a mistake we’ve made.

‪My friends, we have the most colossal mistake in our history sitting right now in the Oval Office. And there is only one way to rectify it: TRUMP MUST BE IMPEACHED. We can NOT wait until November of 2020 for that to happen. We won’t make it til then. The country we know as the United States of America will not be the same after three more years of Trump. You know it and I know it. Turning the TV off and trying to avoid the daily insanity won’t make him go away.‬

‪Donald J. Trump has proven himself to be completely unfit for office, a threat to our country and an imminent danger to this world.‬

‪He is also not well. He is a malignant narcissist and an active sociopath. Because he holds the codes to, on his own, launch nuclear weapons, he is a singular threat to humanity.‬

‪He has no fidelity to this country, to the constitution or to his oath of office.‬

‪He tried to coerce the director of the FBI into ending the investigation of him — and when the director wouldn’t, Trump fired him. It’s only a matter of time before he fires the Special Prosecutor.‬

‪He has lied about his finances, his campaign’s dealings with Russia and just about everything else that has come out of his mouth. It is stunning to see how many untruths he speaks in a single day (this site keeps track of all of them on a daily basis).‬

‪But here’s something even more stunning than Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors:‬

‪NOT ONE Democrat in the U.S. Senate has stood on that floor and called for his impeachment! Not one! Rep. Maxine Waters and other members in the House have not been afraid to do so. This morning, Rep. Steve Cohen was joined by Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Marcia Fudge, Rep. John Yarmuth, and Rep. Adriano Espaillat in introducing five Articles of Impeachment against Trump. But no Democrat in the Senate has yet to say this man must be impeached!‬

‪This petition I’m asking you to sign isn’t just a challenge to the Republicans to clean house, it is a demand to the Democratic elected officials you and I voted for to DO THEIR JOB. Many of these Democrats have even said they are opposed to impeachment. They need to hear from us! Now! If recent history has proven anything, it’s that Democrats only act when we tell them to.‬

‪When you were opposed to George W. Bush getting ready to begin a massive war in Iraq (when Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11), the majority of Democratic Senators voted to send us to war.‬ Most didn’t change their votes until the citizenry went to the polls in the Democratic primaries in 2008 and rejected the Democratic candidate for President who had voted FOR the war. These Democratic candidates became anti-war because of YOU.

‪For decades, when you believed our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be able to get married, the establishment Democrats (including the Clintons and Obamas) said NO and used their religion as an excuse to say that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Only when the polls showed that a majority of Americans backed this basic civil right did Democratic leaders begin to “evolve.”‬

‪Although the majority of Americans have favored a single-payer universal medical system for some time ,  it took until last month for 16 Democratic Senators to finally back such a bill.‬

‪The cautious and often-frightened Democratic leaders will usually, eventually, finally come around and do the right thing. And they do so because they are good at (sooner or later) listening to the will of the people.‬

‪That’s why they need to hear from you and me right now. Give them the backbone and support they’re looking for. Sign the Need to Impeach petition and let them see that the majority of us can’t wait any longer to remove this dangerous man from office.‬

‪Let’s not wait until he turns another million acres of federal land over to the oil companies. Let’s not wait until he and Betsy DeVos dismantle what’s left of our once-admired-around-the-world public schools. Every day at his EPA, at his ICE headquarters, at his FDA and elsewhere, his cronies are literally taking apart our American way of life, piece by piece — and it will take years to rebuild after all the damage they are doing.‬

‪Can you really take one more day of this?‬

‪Please, I appeal to you, join with me and millions of your fellow Americans and sign this impeachment petition now: www.needtoimpeach.com‬

‪I did. You must.‬

‪Thank you for helping to save this country and this planet.‬

‪Michael Moore‬

Edith parked in Rose’s space!

But first …

Moore – just as sick and predatory as Trump. Learn the facts:

*******

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My, how things have changed!    pic: Rose T.

Go, Worcester Public Schools, go!

By Edith Morgan

Now that parents are breathing a sigh of relief, and children are firmly ensconced in their respective schools, getting ready for Thanksgiving vacation, we can all breathe out and get onto other things. How about a little reminiscing? We all know the jokes about grandparents telling their grandchildren that they walked miles uphill through wind and snow, and if you’re old enough, maybe there are tales about having to sweep out the one-room schoolhouse, bringing in the wood for the pot-bellied stove, and sharing slates, books and notebooks with younger children.

The whole idea is to share how MUCH schooling has changed in the last few decades, and still is changing constantly.

Not all the changes are for the best – the incessant drilling to learn useless stuff to answer inane questions on standardized tests so that schools, children and teachers can be rated and berated, for rather murky reasons, for the benefit of people who have ulterior motives – all that time and expense could be better spent on meaningful testing to improve or correct learnings. But that is a topic for another time … .

At this point, we need to look at how far we have come from the one-size fits all model of yore and how much closer we are to tailoring the school so that EVERY student can learn and achieve his/her highest potential.

We breathed a sigh of relief this year, as the teachers’ contract was ratified, and our busses also started out on time. Now we are concentrating on our students and meeting their needs.

It is no longer true (generally, anyway) that the child has to be ready for school – we have gradually little by little moved over to a philosophy that the school needs to be ready for the student, at whatever level he/she comes to us.

Worcester has made giant steps in that direction. This fall we opened a new, state-of-the-art elementary school at Nelson Place; we have gradually replaced or refurbished many older buildings, and we are planning constantly for newer, better buildings.

And while great new buildings with many facilities are a big help, there are many things that our schools are now offering to students that were strictly the responsibility of parents or neighborhoods.

Research has shown us that children need certain minimal support s to be able to take advantage of all that is offered to them so they can succeed.
We can no longer assume that there is a level playing field out there and that every child has access to a good breakfast, clean clothes and a quiet, stress-free place to study. Children who have all these things can profit from all that the curriculum the teachers offer. But over the years, teachers and principals have noticed children who come to school tired, bedraggled, worried and hungry. Of course there have been the critics who say that it is not the job of the school to remedy these deficiencies. But the cost of ignoring these problems is too great, and the waste of potential too costly, for us to wait for others to take up the slack.

So, in a number of instances, schools have stepped in to properly equip our children to be really ready to learn.
We have, in addition to free lunch for all our WPS students, we have some breakfast programs where needed; several of our Worcester high schools have food pantries where students can take home extra (donated) food – and some take bags to get through the weekend for their families. “Andy’s Attic” at South High School is one example of how schools see that students have appropriate clothing (we all can probably remember how painful it was to be improperly dressed and suffering the taunts of fellow students)

Not all our students come from homes that have washers and dryers, and sometimes they have to wear the same soiled outfits for days. So our schools are trying to help by installing washers and dryers in selected schools – like those at Worcester East Middle School.
I applaud these additions, as they enable students to be comfortable, clean and accepted by their peers.
Of course, a sick child also is really handicapped as far as learning: if you hurt, feel awful, or are otherwise not running on all cylinders, much of your time I class is wasted. So the Worcester Public Schhols have student health clinics where most needed in the city.

Recently, we have also begun to notice that we have students who fall asleep in class, or are unable to keep their eyes open. This seems to be true especially among pre-adolescents and adolescents.

And finally, now that we are doing many things to be sure that all our children are in school ready to learn what we believe they should know, we can fully concentrate on the main purpose of education! And there is much to be done yet in the area of curriculum, if we really mean to turn out mature, thinking individuals who can succeed in a rapidly changing society.

There has been much lamenting about the fact that we do not read books like we once did. And while our many gadgets require some ability to read and spell, they do not require the ability to really delve deeply or sustain attention page after page. But even there, with the competition from the electronic media, great efforts are being made to put books into the hands of our children. We are, after all, “The City that Reads” – and Worcester School Committee member and retired WPS principal John Monfredo and his wife Anne Marie, retired Nelson Place Elementary School teacher, have for years collected children’s books and put them into the hands of our students. They collect tens of thousands of children’s books and distribute them.

And finally, we are very fortunate that we have a superintendent who has been involved in these ventures, supports teachers and folks in the community who create new opportunities for our children, and always looks for ways to be sure that every child has the opportunity to realize his/her full potential.

Parlee in Rose’s space!

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Parlee Jones!

Our Story

By Parlee Jones

Peace Worcester People! As many of you know, I have two little side entities through which I share knowledge. One of them is Peaceful Pleasures, my incense and oils business. Along with other products for body, mind and spirit. The other is OurStory Edutainment. OurStory Edutainment is a multi-cultural learning institute which teaches Black History through Education and Entertainment. We use music, documentaries, spoken word and life experiences as the vehicles through which we do this.

The reason I came up with OurStoryEdutainment was because I wanted my children to have knowledge of who they were from the cradle. It is imperative that children know from the cradle that they are loved and valued. Knowing their history and ancestry is also important.

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Black History

There was not and still is not anyone else celebrating Black Culture on the regular. I chose this as my task. The symbol I use for OurStory is the Sankofa symbol.

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Sankofa

The Sankofa symbol is an adinkra symbol which means “go back and fetch it.” You must know your past in order to move towards the future. Adinkra are visual symbols, originally created by the Akan of Ghana and the Gyaman of Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa that represent concepts or original thoughts.

The mission of OurStory Edutainment is to develop self-awareness, social awareness and global awareness to the history, accomplishments, oppression and rebuilding of Black People. By providing this knowledge, we seek to wake the sleeping people to what is happening around them and how these destructive situations were created in our communities and how to heal them by bringing people of all cultures together to learn our shared human story. Knowledge of self to better yourself.

The goal of OurStory Edutainment is to provide a better understanding of Black Culture. To provide a greater sense of personal identity as people from the Diaspora by showing our history and how we continue to keep our traditions and ways of life alive throughout the years.

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Here is a listing of the activities I have scheduled for the rest of this year to celebrate and learn more about a history that has been buried or twisted or just plain left out of our history books.

Through our celebrations we will learn together what they never taught us in history class.

If you would like to help sponsor an event or make a donation towards the food and goodies we will be giving away, please feel free to contact me at 508-410-1209.

OurStory Edutainment / Peaceful Pleasures Event Schedule ~ Please mark your calendars accordingly!

Classic Reggae ~ Roots and Lovers Rock

Reggae Music in Conjunction with Satalite Music and LB Fitness.

Saturday, November 11, 2017 ~ Part 4

Saturday, December 9, 2017 – Part 5

WCUW Radio Station, 910 Main Street, Worcester, MA

8 pm to 1 am. $10. BYOB

Come and join us for a laid back evening of your favorites in Classic Reggae with Music by I~Lox (Lennox) and J Wonder!!! Nice, easy and laid back vibes. BYOB. Respect a must!

Black Culture Matinee ~ Join us as we explore Black Culture through the lens of movies, documentaries and other art forms.

Saturday, November 25, 2017 ~

Saturday, December 30, 2017~ Celebrating Kwanzaa

Saturday, January 27, 2018 ~

Saturday, February 24, 2018 ~ Black History Month Celebration

Worcester Public Library, Three Salem Square, Worcester, MA

2 pm to 4 pm Free

Worcester Kwanzaa Celebration 2018 ~ Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates, family community and culture. Celebrated from December 26 through January 1, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 ~ Umoja – Unity ~

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 ~ Kujichagulia – Self-Determination

Thursday, December 28, 2017 ~ Ujima – Collective Work & Responsibility

Friday, December 29, 2017 ~ Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics

Saturday, December 30, 2017 ~ Nia – Purpose

Sunday, December 31, 2017 ~ Kuumba – Creativity

Monday, January 1, 2018 ~ Imani – Faith

All events at WCUW Radio Station, 910 Main Street, Worcester, MA

6 pm to 9:00 pm

Bob Marley Birthday Bash Weekend

Our 11th Annual Celebration of the words, music and life of Robert Nesta Marley.

Friday, February 2, 2018 9 pm to 2 am $10.

Electric Haze, 26 Millbury St., Worcester

Live Reggae Bands celebrating Bob’s music.

11th Annual Bob Marley Bash – Family Friendly

Saturday, February 3, 2018 1 pm to 5 pm

Worcester Public Library, One Salem Square

Documentary ~ MARLEY

Sunday, February 4, 2018 2 pm

WCUW Radio Station, 910 Main St., Worcester

Lots of fun stuff!! Hope to see you around the town!!!