Tag Archives: holidays

Happy Easter! … and then some!

Lilac donning her Easter bonnet!:

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Not-so-Happy District 4:

Charlton Street:
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Lower Endicott Street:

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Ward Street heading into the Canal District:

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This Earth Day these filth hot spots will be cleaned up by the best of the best. The next day they’ll be clogged with garbage. A chronic problem!

City Leaders may want to institute FREE GARBAGE PICK UP IN SOME OF OUR INNER-CITY ‘HOODS. The illegal dumping will never go away …

Some questions:

Is it financial hardship that keeps folks from plunking down 10 bucks for city trash bags?

Or: Is it a symptom of something deeper, a kind of depression/malaise that stops our folks from keeping their environs clean?

We can debate the causes all year long. Meanwhile, my neighborhood grows dirtier and dirtier.

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So wonderful when our readers show us the love:

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Like William here! To hear the enthusiasm in his voice a week ago as he picked up the latest issue of ICT! To be bombarded with his compliments! To experience his intelligence and thoughtfulness! Our readers make it all STILL GREAT. After almost 15 years!

THANK YOU!!

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My friend works in a flower shop. She “sent” me these beauties a few days ago for Easter!:

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Love the soft peach roses, gal pal!

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And love the hundreds of vintage toy trucks and cars – some of them actually antiques dating back to the 1920s – for sale at Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift store at 1329 Main St., Worcester. These guys really take you back! Who can remember the Texaco jingle?

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Lilac, my tenacious hunter, caught a rabbit (or squirrel?) a week ago:

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A brutal, but quick, ending for the little guy. You can’t break your dog of his/her high prey drive. … Lilac slept like a babe that night, true to her soul:

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Easter sans Lucinda? Never in a million Easters! Reposting one of my favorite Lu songs!

HAPPY, HAPPY EASTER!

– pics+text by Rosalie Tirella

A bit of work in the a.m./early afternoon …

… then it’s time to get ready for a Christmas Eve gathering! … 20 friends, folks I’ve known for years … a holiday buffet – a spread sprinkled with Italian goodies! … shiny Christmas tree ornaments … passionate political pontificating!!!! (GO, HILLARY!!) … presents (the least important part these days!) … music … silly jokes, smiles and hugs … old people, young people, babies with their skin that always smells so NEW …

Have yourself a wonderful Christmas Eve day!
-R.T.

Joy to us all!

By Edith Morgan

In the midst of the mad race to the end of 2015, I want to take a few minutes to wish everyone  a  joyous holiday season: it seems that from Halloween on, it is a mad rush to get to the end of the year. We barely get the spooks and goblins and  costumes put away for another year, when already Thanksgiving is upon us and then there is no real let-up until we sink exhausted into winter in January.
 
Thanksgiving is followed by the eight days of Hanukah, then Christmas, and then the New Year, with “First Night,“ and then the Chinese and Vietnamese New Year, and the Cambodian New Year in April. And somewhere in between Christmas and the New Year, Kwanzaa takes its seven (I think) days. And it is hard to remember what year each group is celebrating – the Jewish year is 5776, the Chinese around  4712, the Cambodian year is 2559. I have not yet researched the numbers for the Hindu, Moslem, or other years yet. 

Also, different groups celebrate according to a different calendar – some follow the lunar calendar, while others have their holidays determined by historical or other criteria while most Christians follow the calendar mostly in use in America and Europe … the Eastern Orthodox Churches have their Christmas about two weeks after December 24th.
 
But whenever the celebration is, we all seem to have some sort of celebration and end-of-year festival, and we have some time for getting together with family and friends.

It is a time when we exchange greetings and notes with people whom we may only remember at this time, but whom we may have known for years. In this very mobile society, and in this very large country, so many of us are so far apart. And travel is expensive and time-consuming, so we traverse the miles using media. Of course, since the advent of Facebook and cell phones, and Skype, we are able to communicate almost daily (sometimes several times a day, for kids), so it is almost like being there.
 
For me, real, face-to-face interaction is still the best. The phone and computer rely so heavily on words, that we miss all the subtle messages that emanate from a living person in our presence. And sometimes I fear we are losing the ability  to “read” the signals coming from others – that takes years of practice to achieve!
 
So, for this holiday season, let’s spend more, real time really together – talking, listening, exchanging ideas and stories instead of spending ourselves into debt buying a lot of things we do not really need. This might be a good time to get to know our neighbors better – maybe carry a dish of cookies or home-made fudge to them, and personally wish them a great new year. 
 
And of course this is the time to reflect on the past year, and to resolve to do some things better – to learn something new, to make new friends, and to come closer to being the person we should be.

Joy and, above all, PEACE to all this holiday season!

Cool toys at UNIQUE FINDS ANTIQUE AND VINTAGE gift shop …

… located at 1329 Main St., Worcester.

OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK

Until 7 p.m.

UNIQUE toys for kids of all ages at UNIQUE FINDS ANTIQUE AND VINTAGE GIFT STORE!!!

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Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree: Pine or Plastic?

By Derek Lirange, Worcester Tree Initiative

Do you feel that chill in the air? Tis the season to deck the halls, listen to holly jolly jingles, and sip cocoa. Ask 10 people what their favorite holiday of the year is and most of them will tell you it’s Christmas! Even though we stress out at malls trying to find the perfect gifts, completely derail our dietary goals, and have to adjust to the cooling temperatures there’s still something magical about this time of year that can’t be overwhelmed.

One of the favorite traditions this time of year is decorating a Christmas tree. It’s a tradition that has a long history with its roots in pagan tradition rather than Christian. Evergreens are a mark of life in a landscape of leafless trees and many religions would celebrate that life by bringing evergreen branches and trees into their homes. According to The History Channel’s History of Christmas Trees the practice became popularized for Christians when Queen Victoria of England encouraged her husband, a German who had been raised decorating a tree each winter with his family, to bring the tradition to into their home. The masses caught on and the rest is history!

Decorating trees remains a favorite tradition but now we have the choice, do you buy a real tree each year? Or should you invest in a plastic tree, which are becoming increasingly realistic looking, even up close? The issue can be polarizing with people taking strong stances for both sides. Those for real trees argue that there’s nothing that can replace the look and smell of the real deal, and there’s a certain sentimentality to going out and picking the perfect tree. Proponents of fake trees like the ease of setting the tree up, the fact that they don’t have to water the tree, or vacuum up needles, or find a way to dispose of the tree at the end of the season. Additionally, some might argue that cutting trees down is bad for the environment! We’re talking about millions of trees a year that get cut down.

As tree people you might thing that we here are Worcester Tree Initiative are proponents of fake trees however the issue isn’t so clear as it may seem. Consider that Christmas tree farms are a business, for every tree they cut down they have to plant another tree in order to have more to sell in the years to come. Furthermore, plastic trees do eventually need to be replaced, meaning more plastic in landfills that won’t degrade for thousands of years, and I personally take issue with that. Natural Christmas trees biodegrade. In Worcester they become part of the municipal compost which is free to Worcester residents and available at the yard waste facility on Millbury Street.

Personally, I like real trees, I grew up picking out a real tree with my family and I’d like to continue the tradition with a wife and kids of my own some day. But, admittedly, there are a lot of good reasons to go with a plastic tree. Whichever you choose I hope you love your tree and that it brings you joy each time you look at it.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Worcester Tree Initiative!

Holiday thanks by Edith Morgan … and more …

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Two cuties at last year’s Friendly House Christmas party. This year WORCESTER’S FRIENDLY HOUSE NEEDS VOLUNTEERS AND TOYS FOR THEIR KIDS CHRISTMAS PARTY on Sunday, December 20! Starting at 2 p.m. They’re located at 36 Wall St. Please donate new, unwrapped gifts for 10-12 year old kids; please volunteer on party day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – shifts available!

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TODAY!

Come to the 28th Annual Kelley Square Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony!

TODAY! Friday, December 11

5:30 pm

At the Kelley Square Gulf Station on the corner of Madison and Harding streets!

Free refreshments!

Caroling!

Horse wagon rides!

Pictures with Santa Claus!

Be merry! Be there!

THANK YOU, LORRAINE LAURIE, FOR MAKING THIS HAPPEN – EVERY YEAR!

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Holiday Thanks

By Edith Morgan

“Tis the season! We go breathlessly through these days, and many of us scarcely have the time to stop and think about the past year, and its gifts to us.

So, just maybe, this year, how about taking time out from feasts, ball games and marathon shopping trips, and giving a little thought to our blessings?

Most of us have so much that we take for granted: family, friends, a roof over our heads (“be it ever so humble, there is no place like home”), regular meals, warm clothing for the oncoming winter, and above all, the freedom to speak up, move about freely, make all sorts of choices that are not available in many places throughout our world. We have innumerable opportunities to learn, in our schools, our libraries, and from each other.
 
As we get older, and understand more about what enriches our lives, the things we give thanks for change. Reading the essays by grade school children, we gather that they are appreciative about those things with which they have experience: their families, their teachers, their pets, etc. As they get older, and their worlds expand, children begin to understand the intricate support networks that support their existence. And finally, as they go out in the world, they learn to appreciate the great web of interdependence available to them.
 
Here, we often take the blessings of liberty for granted. We forget how hard was the fight that ensured we could exercise them – and how piecemeal the achievement: our original founders recognized only white, male, property owners as having all the rights of citizenship. It took much longer to enfranchise former slaves, minorities, and lastly, women. So, let us give a shout of thanks for all the brave souls who fought tirelessly to take their rightful place at the holiday table.
 
On a personal note: I have been very fortunate in so many aspects of my life: being saved from the Nazi horror, coming to America at the last minute (we got here just 3 months before Pearl Harbor), parents who were there for me, and the opportunity to have a career doing what I loved: Teaching. I have good health, a lovely old home, and a husband who loves me. My best friends have been that for over 40 years, and I can pursue many goals.

The best way I know to show gratitude this holiday season is to “give back” – give  help in many ways, to as many as I can!

Happy holidays!
 

Top 12 Tips to Travel Better for the Holidays

Top 12 Tips to Travel Better for the Holidays for a happy, healthy and safe travel experience this holiday season:

1. Make a checklist and check it twice. Before any trip, it’s important to make a checklist of essential items like chargers for electronic devices or prescription medications. It’s easy to forget the items you use every day and you don’t want to spend your trip seeking replacements. Add to your list a portable battery charger with a USB connector as “back up” to your backup.
 
2. Bring digital and hard copies of identification cards and papers. It’s a good idea to have color photocopies and digital copies of all important identification documents, including your passport, boarding passes, front and back of credit cards and health insurance information. Also have extra ID photos cropped to passport size in case you have to order a replacement at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Be sure to pack all paper copies or flash drives in a separate location for extra safe-keeping.
 
3. Label prescription medication. In addition to packing enough prescriptions to last your entire trip, bring extra in case you come home later. Keep your medications in their original labeled containers, then place in a clear plastic bag. While you’re at it, pack a mini first-aid kit for minor medical emergencies.
 
4. Check-in online. Airlines generally allow passengers to check in online 24 hours in advance, with a cutoff a couple of hours before boarding time. So make sure you’ve checked in well before you’re set to head to the airport. Have your boarding pass, paper or digital version, within easy reach, along with your ID, to save time as you approach the security checkpoint.
 
5. Keep valid identification at hand. Children under 18 are not required to provide identification when traveling with a companion, but passengers age 18 and older must show valid ID at the airport security checkpoint. Since most ID, like a driver’s license, has an expiration date, double-check that your ID will not expire before your return trip home.
 
6. Double check your baggage. Overhead space will be at a premium during the holiday travel season, especially as people bring gifts for friends and family or return home with gifts they’ve received. So when preparing to pack your bags, it’s crucial to check in advance whether your luggage meets the airline’s size and weight restrictions for checked baggage and carry-ons.
 
7. Save gift wrapping for later. Speaking of gifts, wrapped packages are screened like any other item. So, to allow for an easy transition to the gate, carry your gifts unwrapped through security. Consider packing pre-cut paper and a small roll of tape so you can wrap them after you pass through security or when you reach your destination. Or, better yet, ship packages in advance.
 
8. Keep 3-1-1 in mind. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows each passenger one quart-size bag of liquids and gels, including toothpaste, gel deodorant, and lotions. Each item must be 3.4 ounces or less. Medication, infant formula and juices for infants or toddlers are exempt from the rule, but keep them separate from the items in your one-quart bag.
 
9. Be prepared to take laptops out and shoes off. Laptop computers must be removed from their carrying cases and submitted separately for screening. (Small and portable items, including smartphones, tablets and portable games, don’t need to be removed from their cases.) At many airports, you’ll have to place your shoes and belt in the plastic bin that goes through the X-ray screening. The only exceptions are for passengers who are 75 and older, children 12 and under, and travelers approved for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.
 
10. Leave early. From traffic that may be heavier than usual and hard-to-find parking spots, to longer lines for security screenings, you’ll ease your stress if you give yourself extra wiggle room in your schedule, whether traveling by train, plane or automobile.  Arrive at the airport 75 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights and three hours before international flights.
 
11. Know your emergency contacts. In addition to contact information for next of kin or a close friend when traveling internationally, bring the contact information for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate at your overseas destination.
 
12. Put your travel agent on speed dial. Bring the email and cell phone number of your travel agent with you, and provide your travel agent with your personal contact information, as well as pertinent health and travel insurance information. Your travel agent can rearrange your itinerary should you decide to extend your trip, or if there’s an emergency.

Is Teddy Bear bored? How about a jaunt to the Worcester Historical Museum for a fashionable high tea?!

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Rosalie’s Teddy baby bear!
pic: R.T.

This Saturday, December 5!

TEDDY BEAR TEA!

WORCESTER HISTORICAL MUSEUM

30 Elm Street, Worcester

11AM to 2 PM

•Face Painting • Balloon Animals • Arts & Crafts • Holiday Sing-a-long • Decorate your own dessert!

• Sandwiches, hot chocolate and juice!

WE ARE EXPECTING A VERY SPECIAL GUEST (BRING YOUR CAMERA!)

Tickets:

WHM Members: $10 adults, $8 children
Non-members: $12 adults, $10 children

Free Admission for Teddy Bears, monkeys, frogs or any other stuffed animal of your choosing!

Reservations required 508-753-8278

Space is limited so please call early.

Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets will be held at the door.

Due to the overwhelming popularity of this annual event we cannot hold seats without prepayment.
 

Preservation Worcester Holiday Stroll

December 6

noon – 5 PM

Massachusetts Avenue Local Historic District
 
Visit 8 grand homes decorated for the holidays.  Also, Antiquarian Hall will be open from 2-5 PM. 
 
Advance Reservations
          Member – $25
          Non-member – $30
 
Day of – $35
 
Brochures are tickets for the event and are available at Preservation Worcester starting at noon on the day of the event.
 
To purchase in advance, call 508-754-8760 or visit www.preservationworcester.org.
 
Preservation Worcester is a private, not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to the preservation of the buildings and sites that represent the culture, history and architecture of Worcester. 

The organization, comprised of concerned citizens, believes that promoting the cause of preservation and good urban design will encourage community pride in our cultural and architectural heritage as well as continued use of Worcester’s valuable resources.  Preservation Worcester works with neighborhood groups, developers, city departments, schools and state and local historical commissions to support revitalization of unique and irreplaceable buildings and their neighborhoods.