It’s almost here: November 3rd, the final day for voting in this election. For our next President. And I am understandably nervous, not sure what to anticipate: Is there some dastardly trick lurking in the Trump playbook? (Remember the last-minute Comey publicizing of some of Hillary’s e-mails? Too late to check and find out, there was, after all, nothing there to see!)
So, let us decide that any last-minute political tricks must be ignored and taken for what they are: Dirty tricks to derail the election results.
It is too late to mail in your ballot, as the USPS has been so badly hobbled that it takes eight days or more to get a ballot to its destination. Now it will take patience and courage to make sure your ballot counts. I voted early, in person, at one of the city’s designated sites and watched my envelope with my ballot go into the box, supervised by a policeman.
Early voting is still going on until October 30, and we also have the drop-in boxes. I wanted to be TOTALLY sure, so I went I person.
Meanwhile, the Trump lies go on, and people are being misled. The latest I hear is that this novel coronavirus is like the flu virus or the regular cold virus and that some imagined cheaters are reporting flu and cold deaths as COVID deaths! Absurd as that is, some people are falling for it, and acting on it.
Yes, COVID 19 is a virus, and yes, like the flu, it is contagious. And Yes, the symptoms can be similar. But the flu virus is seasonal, mildly contagious (we have never had to shut everything down when the flu hits, and we have had vaccines for its various manifestations every year). The crucial difference is that the corona virus is far more easily transmitted, as yet has no vaccine against it, and seems not to be limited to a season. Also, we seem to be in a strong resurgence, this time in ALL parts of the country. Now we see that it also hits the younger crowd, although the fatalities seem not to be as high as for those in my age group (I just turned 90).
There is a lot of talk about immunity – “if you’ve had it you are immune” – but we do not yet know if that immunity lasts, or for how long.
So, I for one, plan to wear my facial mask and wash my hands and keep my distance until next summer. By then I hope we will have universal testing, with almost immediate results available and a reliable vaccine, available to us all.
So, let’s get through the next week with hope and planning. And as we approach Thanksgiving, let us believe that we will have much to be thankful for!
Burncoat High School – Rose’s alma mater. She was deep into the Beatles at Burncoat!
Kind of a day off for me. Listening to a few of my lps – and LOVING IT. LOVING THE PHYSICALITY OF “playing my records,” just like in the ol’ days, just like when I was a 15-year-old kid growing up in Green Island, a sophomore at Burncoat High, and had just bought my first Beatles album – ABBY ROAD – at the teeny record section in Jordan Marsh, in the now razed Worcester Galleria. Brought the lp home to our Lafayette Street tenement and “played it on my record player,” a cheapie Emerson stereo my beloved, late mom, Cecelia, bought for me. I played that record 10 times straight – all the way thru, side one, then side two. Loving the goofy Paul McCartney throw-aways, but 10 years later hearing how brilliant side 2 is. Holding the album cover up, away from me, so I could better appreciate the album art, the photos of the band – front and back. When I was a kid, sometimes there would be a poster inside of your album – of your fave rock n roller. Or even glossy colored photo prints!, as was the case with early pressings of the Beatles’ WHITE ALBUM (lost ’em years ago!).
Sigh. The decades, and the lps, keep spinnin’ … away from me. But the young Rose reawakens today as I flip thru the lps, just like when I used to as an undergrad at UMass/Amherst and had amassed an impressive amount of lps (used) and audio-cassettes, mostly homemade, made for me by various plutonic guy pals on my dorm floor. The flipping of the lps, the stopping at one and pulling it out to see the cover and the playlist. Ahh, love that tune. Ahhh, love that B side …
Rose, left, with dear friend – both restless seniors in the library of Burncoat High – 1979.
Then choosing the record I wanted, pulling it out ever so gingerly … taking the big lp out of its sleeve, holding it by the edges – finger tips on the lp can leave behind dirt, oil from your finger tips that get into the record’s grooves – and can give it its popping, crackling sound (beautiful, to me)- maybe even skipping, if too dirty or dusty. At Radio Shack they used to sell vinyl record cleaning kits: a small bottle of solution, a velour type of cloth, tacked onto a smooth, pretty block of wood and, finally, a piece of soft cotton. Playing your records was science, as well as sacred ritual! All for: the BEATLES, ELTON JOHN, FLEETWOOD MAC, ERIC CLAPTON, THE MOODY BLUES, STEVIE WONDER … Such perfect music for such imperfect times – your teen years, when you’re gangly, acne-prone, longing for that first kiss, that first caress … but stuck at home with your conservative Catholic mother, kid sisters, Polish immigrant grandmother, Bapy … and your Bapy keeps feeding your pet hamster Joy chunks of her hardboiled egg sandwich. “Bapy!” you say to her, “Joy has her own special hamster food!” Your plea falls on deaf ears. Joy is overweight from being fed double – by you and by Bapy!
Sometimes there would be no album art on an album cover – just the band’s name. Written in fancy font or just embossed … almost invisible. This usually happened with the brilliant million-record-selling SUPER STARS, like the Beatles (their “white” album was just that: WHITE, with the Beatles name embossed on it, like a wedding invitation) or as with the Carpenters, even as Karen struggled silently with her anorexia we LOVED her!
… Then propping up the album cover – propping it us against a small stack of books – so I could stare at the album art – and we all considered the illustrations, photos, printing on our album covers to be TRUE ART – gaze longingly at Eric Clapton or the Beatles – as I listened to their songs. Their music. Their world view. Their experiences, hopes and dreams. They were mine, too!
I’d lie on my big bed, in my Lafayette Street bedroom, and close my eyes and just listen … and soon my abusive father, the drunk guy staggering out of Ben’s Cafe, the train ch-ch-ch-chugging down the railroad tracks, the ghetto all around me, would fall away, AND IT WOULD JUST BE ME AND MY MUSIC. Rose playing records.
FRUSTRATIONS BY ALL EXPRESSED AT SCHOOL-WIDE PARENT MEETING!
By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee
A closed Vernon Hill School
Due to the Coronavirus, the Worcester Public Schools, during this first semester, have been operating on a remote learning plan.
Now, based on data from the medical professionals, the educational needs of our students and where we are as a community, a decision was made by the School Committee: bring back students gradually starting November 6. The first group of students coming back will be students with disabilities who receive 75% or more of their services and they will return in person 4 days a week. Also, most of the Chapter 74 students, such as those in vocational schools, will go to shop instruction one day a week.
The new plan at the end of January will be a hybrid model of going to school one day a week with remote the other days and giving the parents the option to stay with the present remote learning model.
Thus far, for many students the remote model has been successful for the district has been able to keep track of the students with twice a week check-ins and have updated the parent portal, giving parents more information about how their children are doing in school. Instruction has been beneficial for many students.
Now, in rolling out the new model, the school superintendent and the Worcester School Committee held a special meeting just for parents this week to inform them of the new model for the second semester, explain why all students could not return to school, and to give parents the opportunity to voice their concerns.
In a five-hour meeting parents expressed their frustrations, gave ideas and some spoke of their child’s success at home. More than 50 parents called in and hundreds listened in.
Many parents want the schools to get their child back to school faster than what was in the plan – and not for only one day a week. Superintendent Maureen Binienda echoed that she too would like that to happen but again explained the difficulties surrounding a quick return by citing the state’s pandemic safety guidelines and the work being done in all the school buildings to upgrade the HVAC (air quality system). She explained that the school is increasing the outside air, improving ventilation and using supplemental filtration where possible.
High schoolers tend to do well with remote learning.
The district will use a Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization system in all schools, and that work will not be completed until the end of December.
This is a $15 million dollar project paid for by the City. In addition, she explained the social distancing guidelines for riding the bus and the social distancing needed in the classroom are major barriers to returning all students to school.
Due to these factors, most of the students returning in November to the schools that are ready would be what the State refers to as High Needs Students.
At the end of January 2021, the first groups of students returning will be our Pre-k and first graders – but only for one day a week. Then in the coming weeks, the other grade levels will return but for only one day a week, too. Many parents calling were appalled. Parents of early learners explained the difficulties that their child was having with remote learning and spoke about their child’s frustrations, the child crying at home and the lack of education they are getting from remote learning. Many kindergarten parents felt that their child was failing at remote learning.
As one parent stated, “equality is not equity … the format is not developmentally appropriate for a not yet five-year-old. He hates remote learning.”
Other kindergarten parents expressed dissatisfaction with the model and felt that the necessary readiness skills could not be taught remotely, one day a week come January is not going to work and they need a teacher in front of them at least 4 days a week.
Working parents were exasperated with the remote learning and spoke about losing their home if one of them had to give up work.
Thus, wanting their child to return to school more than the model of one day a week.
Others were confused as to who will teach their child if the school goes in person and who teaches the remote students.
One parent stated changing teachers would be detrimental to the child, for their present teacher has established a relationship with the children. Also, the issue of lacking childcare availability was brought up several times.
Parents of teens also had their issues because they felt it was a waste of time to have the schools open only for one day a week.
On the positive side, a few parents felt that the remote learning concept was working for them and that they would stick with that model. Many thanked the teachers for going above and beyond to reach their child and to include them in the learning process.
Parents did implore the school district to try to do all that they could to bring the children back to school for more than one day a week.
As one parent stated: Physical safety is important but so is the mental and emotional health of the students. If the children do not return, we will have bigger problems on our hands.
Superintendent Binienda listened patiently and responded to the parents’ questions and stated that she will try her best, barring changes in guidelines and the spread of the virus, to bring the children back to school as soon as possible. But she could not comment on doing that at this time.
As a Worcester School Committee member, I share the frustrations of our superintendent and the disappointments of our parents. We do need to bring our students back once the school buildings are up to code. And have students in school more than once a week.
Let’s continue to work on a plan with the Mass Department of Education that will bring our students back to school more than one day a week – and hope that a vaccine is in place before the end of this year. And pray that the rising number of Corona cases subsides. We are in a no-win situation, but let us all hope for a speedy return to school!
So, who won this debate? That seems to be the question. But how do we decide? Was it a win that the microphones were muted when the other candidate was talking? Was it a win that Joe Biden could speak uninterrupted when it was his turn? Was it a win that Donald Trump stayed throughout the 90 minutes? Was it a win that moderator Kristen Welker maintained control most of the time, and was able to move the entire debate along so all subjects could at least be mentioned, even if they were often not answered.
It would have been a great win for the American people if there had been a lot of new and truthful information in the answers. And if we had the technology in place for immediate fact checks to be run alongside the screen, probably fewer viewers would be misled by the fantastic figures pulled out of thin air by Donald Trump. But that will take time to unravel and, unfortunately, our attention spans are too short to wait and check.
The debate was held at Belmont University auditorium, in Nashville, Tennessee. The format was basically the same as for the first debate: 90 minutes, divided into six sections, with a two-minute answer by one o the two, and response, then some discussion back and forth. Subjects covered were the corona virus, with differing views on the cost, in lives, the economy, and whom to blame; national security, healthcare, race in America and climate change. I was surprised that Trump still claims that windmills kill birds and solar is very expensive. And while he seemed very concerned about the birds, he was not bothered by the disease and respiratory problems and the cancers afflicting people, mostly minorities and poor people, living in the shadow of fracking operations or air pollution from coal and oil production. They were getting bigger pay checks there, he said.
🇺🇸file pic: Bill Coleman
Throughout the debate it was clear that the main concerns of the two presidential candidates were diametrically opposed: Trump’s main concern was opening up the economy, our schools, our businesses, while Biden wanted to lick the virus first, save lives and increase the minimum wage so that every working person could earn a living wage. For Trump, the stock market is vital, while not so much for Biden – as most middle- and lower-class Americans really have not much invested there.
On the question of the vaccine, Trump named the American companies working on the accelerated program, and claimed we would have 100 million vaccines available!!! But he was vague on the exact time, promising, as usual, that it would be soon. On further questioning, he still could not, or would not, give any details as to what his health plan would be.
I am surprised Trump is still getting away with this – after all, there have been 70 attempts to kill the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and, surely, it would not take 10 years to come up with a new and better plan!! Where’s the plan, Donald?
Kudos to moderator Kristen Welker for keeping things moving and civilized. My condolences once again to the American people, who were denied truth, facts and in-depth understanding of the problems we as a country are facing.
And don’t forget – REFRAIN FROM BUYING WOOL SWEATERS, SCARVES ETC THIS WINTER! Man-made fibers/material are just as cozy and warm!
After years of massive pressure from PETA and other activists — including hearing from more than 90,000 of our members and supporters worldwide — the Canadian department store chain Winners, which is owned by TJX Companies, is now fur-free!
Since 2001, PETA has been turning up the heat on TJX Companies — the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Winners, and others — with a fiery campaign.
Over the last two decades, we and other animal rights activists haven’t let up — using everything from passionate demonstrations to behind-the-scenes talks with company leadership to our many efforts on social media to call TJX out.
Thanks to Canadian activists, including Len Goldberg, Ashley Ollie, and Mary Chris-Staples for their instrumental help in achieving this victory with an on the ground campaign — consisting of daring disruptions, protests, in-store discussions with managers, phone blitzes that bombarded TJX with hundreds of calls, an e-mail campaign that saturated TJX with almost 10,000 emails, and social media memes shared thousands of times — this latest ban marks TJX Companies’ transition to being 100% fur-free.
PETA has also released a number of investigative videos exposing fur-farm cruelty all around the globe, such as in China, where animals are often hung up by their legs or tail and sometimes even skinned alive, and recently in Russia, where screaming chinchillas are electrocuted and rabbits are bludgeoned and decapitated for their fur.
Now that TJX Companies has arrived into the 21st century by banning fur products from all its 4,500 global locations, we can finally celebrate!!
NEVER BUY/WEAR REAL FUR! THERE ARE PLENTY OF COOL FAKE-FUR OPTIONS AVAILABLE! – Rose
Rose, left, and her kid sister on Rose’s graduation day from the University of Massachusetts.
United States Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett will be sitting in Notorious RBG justice’s seat on the Supreme Court sooner than you can say: NO MORE ROE V WADE! Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat on the highest court in our land is still warm!, her final note, written just a few weeks ago, just before her untimely death, its ink still wet! No matter to the Repubs and their mad dash for re-election.
Ginsberg was respectful but adamant in her note to Congressional leaders: PLEASE DO NOT FILL MY SEAT UNTIL AFTER THE NOVEMBER 3 ELECTION. Please let the new President – whoever that may be – CHOOSE his/her own nominee to the Supreme Court.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg – an American icon who fought for – and won – equal rights for us women (and our moms, sisters, daughters, best gal pals, cousins …) – is now a DEAD American icon. Her final note, her dedication to THE FREEDOM of all women, is a joke to Republicans in Congress, unread, un-respected, disrespected … by Mitch McConnell and Trump minion Lindsey Graham – they are ramming Coney Barrett’s confirmation down American women’s throats – with politeness, fake erudition. With brutality wrapped in politician-speak. Trump, so desperate for re-election believes Coney Barrett is THE #2 GIFT to his campaign. After his COVID 19 super-spreader Rally Reality TV Shows!
Let’s be honest: Amy Coney Barrett is a good woman, a wonderful mom who has, with her loyal husband, adopted two Black children and loves them as dearly as the gaggle of kids she’s given birth to. But Coney Barrett is passionately pro-life … really, truly, deeply. No way around it. So she is blind to so many women’s realities. So… this is the end of Roe V Wade. The end of every American woman’s right to control her OWN body – her right to a safe, medically/socially sanctioned MEDICAL PROCEDURE performed by doctors trained in MEDICAL SCHOOL. To safely remove a fetus – If she’s been raped and does not want her rapist’s baby. If she’s 17 and not ready to be a mom. If she is poor and her boyfriend – the one with the job – got scared and dumped her. If she is the older woman who had the one-night stand, but there was a birth control mishap, and now she is pregnant. She does not want a baby. She already has a life, her own life patterns.
Or: She’s a young, beautiful free spirit at UMass/Amherst … in Massachusetts – an older undergrad with wild, curly black hair – a magical sprite with a bit of a limp, who reads all the Beat poets and who bikes everywhere on our big sprawling UMass campus … her curly, black hair blowing in the wind, that Western wind that loves to sweep across her high forehead.
Joannie loves to discuss philosophy/LIFE, she is into women’s rights and is double majoring: English and the still new WOMEN’S STUDIES. Joannie has joined the super cool food coop run out of the UMass student union building. She calls me up the day they are serving their big vegetarian lunches… Me! Rose! One of her closest college gal pals: COME ON OVER FOR LUNCH – ON ME! she yells into my phone receiver. I can picture her smile. I laugh OK! and I, the young, uncool, untried, tentative 19-year-old freshman-hick, Rose, I run straight outa my dorm room, across the big quad, to my friend in the student union to the huge room and adjunct kitchen in the round student union building. Run to my best grrrl HERO, the coolest chick I know, the bravest woman I know. Not a lesbian. Just INDEPENDENT AND FREE like I have never seen. Three boyfriends – but not easy. Loves the smart men. The hikers and mountain bikers (she rides a sleek racing bike). Joannie Loves Sex. She describes her orgasms, talks about masturbation … asks me about my boyfriend’s sexual proclivities … “Rose, have you ever?” she queries AS WE STROLL BY MY ENGLISH PROFESSOR! Joannie! I scream at her, red-faced, … then I tell her everything.
Once, as we walked by the grocery store in the middle of Amherst, Joannie, as poor as I was, steered me into the grocery story … to the dairy section. She grabbed a Land o Lakes box of butter and shoved it into my jacket and zipped it up. LET’S GO, ROSE! she hissed into my ear and we booked it outa the automatic front doors. Once outside, I said, still not knowing what hit me (the Joannie hurricane!): JOAN! WE JUST SHOP-LIFTED!
Joan, especially pale that day, gave me an exasperated look, opened up the butter box and gave me one of the four sticks of wrapped butter.
Joan. I would have done anything for her. For her approval. She was exciting!!
Joannie, the most knowledgeable female friend I had ever had! The great girl with all the great ideas: socialism, cubism, veganism … The gal pal who gave me my first copies of OUR BODIES OURSELVES, DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET…THE NEW WOMENS GUIDE TO OUR BODIES … If she was late with a term paper, she asked me for one of my old term papers. I gave her one to copy verbatim. And she got the better grade, too!
JOANNIE! I CAN STILL PICTURE HER RIDING HER BIKE THRU CAMPUS, IN THE RAIN, HER PLAID RAIN PONCHO covering that strong but skinny body – those knock knees that never slowed her down one bit! Ever!
So when Joannie told me she missed her period and feared she was pregnant and that I was to perform her abortion, with our mutual pal, Laura, I, stupidly said: Sure! Ok!
Joannie had read a book. It gave directions. There was this new method – a mini-vaccum hose you run up to the uterus … and easy peasy you just vaccum the snot out. Joannie had sent out for and got this special do it at home abortion kit. It was so early in her pregnancy, the fetus she kept reassuring me “was the size a snot.” Plus we could do it in her pretty bohemian room she rented in town, with her fave folk music playing on tbe stereo, the lights low, Laura could be downstairs baking brownies and the extra hands if needed.
This, when told to me by Joannie, all seemed to make holistic sense. Peace, quiet, Joan Baez music, young women empowered …
When I explained it all to Laura, who liked Joan, she said: ARE YOU CRAZY?! THIS IS WHY WE HAVE ABORTION CLINICS!
I said: BUT YOU’RE MAJORING IN PUBLIC HEALTH, LAURA!
EXACTLY! THAT’S WHY IT’S NO!!!! Laura, long haired, and just as smart as Joannie but without all the beauty and pizzazz, stalked off fuming.
This gave me pause. As Joan gave me the abortion instruction pamphlet to read one afternoon, I timidly asked: Hey, Joannie, did you get your period? My friend said no. I grew afraid…began to hope the day would never come – even though I knew my wild child friend WOULD NEVER WANT A BABY.
The days rolled on… I begged Laura to help, be by my side: HEY! YOU CAN DO THE ABORTION! I’LL BE THE ONE WHO BAKES THE BROWNIES! Laura, in her long hippie skirt, twirled around and looked me straight in the eyes: NO. CANCEL THE ABORTION ROSE. Take her to the student health center…
I looked at Laura. I thought: It is not a baby, just a two week old piece of snot. How hard can it be? Joan has the little plastic kit… I was raised a Catholic by my strict conservative Catholic mom, Cecelia but we stopped talking a year ago. The Generation Gap writ large. These were my waters to navigate. And I loved my friend.
One day, as I was in the local park, reading a book of poems – by feminist Adrienne Rich for strength – it hit me: I CAN’T EVEN KEEP MY LOOSE LEAF BINDERS ORGANIZED FOR MY AMERICAN REALISM CLASS …HOW CAN I PERFORM A MEDICAL OPERATION PRACTICALLY? I would have to break the news to Joannie …I closed my book and headed for home.
And just as I was rounding the hill to walk back onto campus, Joannie was running to me, ecstatic, flailing her arms, skipping with those knock knees, beautiful …I GOT MY PERIOD!! she screamed. I GOT MY PERIOD! I was weak with PURE JOY! … YOU GOT YOUR PERIOD! I SCREAMED TO THE HEAVENS. YOU GOT YOUR PERIOD!!! Then we rushed into each other’s arms and danced in the sunlight.
THIS IS WHY ROE V WADE MUST NOT BE STRUCK DOWN BY soon to be Supreme Court Justice AMY CONEY BARRET.
These days I get up late because I have turned my day around: I stay up very late, so naturally I get up very late, too. This past Tuesday, before I was really awake, I heard a very loud thump outside my window (I sleep on the third floor of my Victorian). Within minutes my doorbell began ringing furiously. I ran down in my pajamas, and found my neighbor with his umbrella, telling me there had been an accident.
And sure enough, at the intersection, two cars, and lots of people were there. Within minutes the Worcester fire truck came, WPD police and ambulance soon thereafter. I got a good look at the damage: one car “totaled,” one with its driver’s side caved in – and my car, parked on the street where I always park, perilously close to the totaled car.
After I got dressed and got my umbrella, I found that seemingly the only damage to my car was minor: a broken headlight cover and some “bruises” on the front bumper. Tow trucks came … All the usual events that accompany accidents took place, and soon things returned to some semblance of quiet and order.
I go into all this detail, as this is a frequent happening on this corner in our neighborhood, and we (my neighbors and I) had already petitioned the City of Worcester/City Council to make this intersection a four-way stop. We detailed the reasons which we thought were convincing, and today our petition was taken up by the City Council subcommittee chaired by City Councilor Donna Colorio. I had seen her driving down my street, looking over the site, in preparation for today’s hearing about our petition.
It is a revelation to listen to all the other petitions from abutters who have many of the same problems we were having – and it was a great insight into how our complaints are heard, in this age of COVID19.
I am “technologically challenged” so my grandson came by to help me phone in my testimony – and I was able to hear and see the other petitioners. I am still somewhat frustrated at the way we are heard, but little by little, I am getting used to this way of communicating without being physically in the room.
Four of us from my area testified. Now we wait, for the next stop. But we got heard and not seen … It may be that we will have to follow this up, but we took the first step And I got a chance to see what kinds of street and parking problems others in Worcester were facing. It was enlightening!
I am giving you a recipe today that is simple to make, it is referred to as a “rustic” tart, this allows it to be misshaped and non the less delicious. It does not have to be apples – you can bake the crust add some pudding and top with fresh
berries, kiwi, pineapple, or any other fruiit as well. That’s the fun of these beautiful snacks – and the fresh fruit is also glazed with watered down apricot jam for shine and keeping the fruit looking fresh.
🍎For the crust you will need:
1 ½ cups all purpose
½ tsp salt
12 ounces of unsalted butter – stick and ½ (you can use salted just don’t add more)
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup or less water
🍎Toss everything in a food processor with out the water and pulse until grainy add water little by little until it gets stuck together take it out, flatten it and chill it. If you do not have a food processor let the butter get a little soft and in a bowl again without the water – use your hands and mix it all together to get a sand like feel – add water until you achieve the pie crust consistency. Roll it out and chill.
🍏Now take this chilled crust put it on parchment paper and roll it out to about 9 or 10 inches – or make it square like the pictures – round is easier …..
🍏Take 3 or 4 apples, peel them, cut them in ½ and use a spoon in the middle and remove the seeds making a ½ circle hole. Place cut side down and slice super thin – take the slices and arrange them on your crust leaving ½ to a 1 inch border and basically fan them out in a large circle then an inner circle and finally fill the middle gap. Overlap them with a small space – bigger space makes a stingy pie. Flod the edge over the sides.
🍎Take a jar of cheap apricot jam, take out half and add the same amount of water to it. Heat it up in a pan and when it’s all blended – does not have to boil, cover and bake.
🍎You can egg brush the crusts if you want – or use a pastry brush and “paint” butter or sunflower
oil on it – bake at 350 degrees for about 45 to 55 minutes – when the apples are soft. Reglaze the pie as soon as you take it out with the apricot mix (make more if you need to – don’t be stingy but do not drown the pie either!
France – Education, the basis of our lives, the foundation, the learning from the start: the good manners, healthful eating habits, discipline such as making your bed, clean-up after games and chores. Basically, following the regimen that we build upon to further ourselves in the big old world.
Then comes the new “Education Center” School, where a whole new world of faces, noises, smells, accents comes to play, and then there is COVID 19 that eliminates that possibility so for the new kids on the block, home school via an I-Pad or lap top is the new norm. Frightening for some parents, easier for others, but the kids have this – technology is what the school motto was years ago – they know this walking in or “logging in” now.
Gigi at school, in France
The pre-designated lesson plans are geared to get the student through the day: a little reading, math, music, art and, of course, lunch breaks. Then there are parents like me that blow through the whole day in two hours and get it done and take on another project for my daughter Gigi, like cursive writing and memorization.
The trouble is in our Worcester home there is one parent working from home at the home office on the dining room table, and then there is the school department on the island in the kitchen (we all source the same wi-fi). And when there is a virtual classroom or a teacher meeting Gigi and I are definitely in a loud room, not unlike the stock market! Toss in a few dogs and the mailman ringing the doorbell, and BOOM!!
There was only one logical solution: someone had to leave – our bedrooms are at capacity with furniture and bedding … the next step was to escape back to France. So, we did.
I contacted our French school, got Gigi reenrolled for the 2020-21 school year and showed up on September 23 for our first day of classes. A tad different, as everyone was a little taller than last year, and the classrooms are mixed up with new students, students that did not attend Pre-K …plus other new residents.
In any case, it is all sanitized, infrared lighting at the doors, temperature checks all day long. The best part, besides the education, is the organic lunches that by the end of the year are going to be completely vegan/vegetarian so they can teach this new generation of children the importance of sustainable food, eating healthy, and getting back to basics … Insurance is a key part to keeping France healthy.
There are strong government restrictions on the amount of fat, calories portion size among other things that need to be in place, or the product is pulled from the market.
It is against the law to add artificial colorings and GMO’s to food, and pretty much everything is borderline organic with certified “BIO” for biological food available everywhere at normal prices.
I just bought certified organic veggies. The carrots were (in Euros) 1.99 for a kilo (2 pounds) potatoes 10 Kilos (20 pounds) were 3.49 and red peppers were 1.59 for 3! Cooked beets are a huge item here and a 3 pack of organic beets is about 2 Euros – right now a Euro is about $1.20 so 2 Euros is $2.40 – still a bargain compared to what I was paying in the states.
Seafood is aplenty, especially here in Cannes, especially because we are on the Mediterranean and there is a constant supply, not to mention the proximity to Italy and Spain. So we enjoy their treats as well!
France is socialized medicine and it works – it’s affordable without insurance and free with insurance. All prescriptions are the same price no matter where you get them, it’s the law. Lab results are within hours, I had an MRI and by the time I got dressed I had a copy of the disc and a written report of that was wrong signed by the doctor in my hands. All at an out of o=pocket cost of $100 for a $400 procedure on the newest quietest and smallest MRI machine I had ever seen.
I am not saying France is better than the USA. However, the medical system is governed, as well as the food by the Government. The European Union is the pretty much the same. Costs are important … every full-time working citizen has 5 weeks’ vacation a year, no matter what your profession. You pay heavy in payroll taxes; however, education and health insurance are free, a small price to pay. I know I pay thousands a year for a system that thankfully I do not use.
I am so lucky that my parents were from Europe and have the opportunity to live here with Gigi, so she can go to school, learn a second language and enjoy warm weather until at least December.
As far as food goes, my grandparents also taught me to shop frugally and healthy, I have written about it many times, dried beans and legumes go a long way, and buying marked down meats and other items as the expire is a smart way to shop -we have freezers to prolong the use. I personally make it a part of my routine to pop into the market at least once every other day to see what markdowns I can get – yoghurt is always available and one of the best kids, and adult snacks around … Joey bakes his family homemade muffins