Happy New Year! As we awaken from the surreality known as 2020, I join the rest of the world and echo the optimism and hope for a healthier, safer, friendlier, and calmer New Year. Vigilance, patience and discipline will still be front and center in the war against Covid-19, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

As well-intentioned as New Year’s resolutions are, the implication is that something in peoples’ lives needs to be changed. When did this notion begin? Well according to my resources, the Babylonians are credited almost 4000 years ago with resolving to pay their debts at the beginning of their year. As the calendar changed, so did the resolutions: there were vows to the gods asking for forgiveness and giving gifts as penance; promises to show kindness; in Medieval Times, the knights reaffirmed their chivalry as a yearly tradition; and getting rid of past bad luck. Interestingly enough, the top two New Year’s resolutions of the modern world – eating healthier and exercising more – were not even a consideration.

As I was driving into work one day, I heard something that grabbed my attention on the radio. Bob Sirott from WGN radio referred to an article, “15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work” (MSN Lifestyle, 11/18/2020, Eat This, Not That! Editors) and I thought they were interesting enough to share my favorite ones with you as you begin your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier.

  1. “Keep it cool” at night could help you shed belly fat while you sleep.
  2. “Order a coffee black” – 2 cups a day could result in 4% less belly fat.
  3. “Choose red fruit”. Red fruit is best for weight loss. First and foremost on the list – Pink Lady apples, followed by watermelon, red grapes and raspberries which contain higher level of flavonoids – compounds that give fruit its red color. These calm the action of fat storage genes.
  4. “Take a whiff”. Smelling fresh green apples or bananas curb the appetite making sugary foods less appealing. The produce makes you subconsciously think about making healthier choices. Shea butter- based lotion could have the same effect.
  5. “Become a cereal killer”. Oatmeal is more satiating than a bowl of cold cereal and can help you slim down. The instant varieties are not as nutritious as the slow cooking one.
  6. “Take a candy daydream”. If you dream about eating candy, you will supposedly eat less of it. (Let me know if this works for you).
  7. “Schedule a workout date”. Invite your spouse or a friend to meet you at the gym to workout (check local mandates) or to take a walk in the park. You can socialize, as you get fit. Teaming up with someone keeps you on track.
  8. “Host a melon banquet”. Melons reign supreme in burning fat and debloating the belly (Side note: melons are also high in fiber, Vitamin C, potassium, and a few B vitamins like B6). Watermelon lowers fat accumulation; honeydew banishes water retention and bloating. (Cantaloupes help to avoid the symptoms associated with vitamin A deficiency, including loss of vision and a weak immune system).
  9. “Pregame your dinner”. Noshing on an apple or broth-based soup before going to dinner can lower calorie intake by 20% because you should eat less.
  10. “Get yourself some fish oil”. Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, eating tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines or by taking supplements, fish oil will help jump start weight loss. It boosts weight loss by making you feel full.
  11. “Make a breadless sandwich”.

December 2020 was a bit more tranquil than in years past, leaving more time to decorate and more energy to enjoy the Christmas holidays. Richard and I personally pulled out all the stops and brought out all of our Christmas decorations to be enjoyed by the family, especially by the children. It was also a great time to reminisce and make new memories. I do hope your holidays were special, joyous and memorable.

The month began with a virtual PRCUA Board of Directors Meeting (12/4). The students of the St. Raphael Kalinowski Polish School, Munster, IN were visited by Jolly Old St. Nicholas on December 6. On the same day, in Wyandotte, Michigan, PRCU Society 162 (Stan Pasko, President) organized a drive by Christmas party. See page 7 ( NP January issue)  for photos and details.

St. John Paul II Polish School, Lemont, IL held their Christmas contest on December 12th. Winners: Paulina Gal and Victoria Kramowski (1st place); Dominika Zyskowski and Sophia Schifano (2nd place); Julia Wozniak and Lena Zyskowski (3rd place). Congratulations! On December 19, the School’s Kindergarten students presented their Jasełka. PHOTOS #1,2

Anna Kraszewski-Winkler, Managing Director of Southwest Center of Polish Song & Dance, was ably assisted by Michael Dziadkowiec, Choreographer and Dance Instructor, in distributing Christmas gifts to the dancers of the group as well as those of Wesoly Lud in another drive-by gift giving on December 10 and 11. Thank you, Pani Ania! Meanwhile, National Director D-8, Myron Cislo, passed out PRCUA gifts to the Polanie Dancers of the St. John Paul II Polish School in Lemont, IL on December 12. PHOTO #3

The Sales and Marketing team celebrated Conrad Wiecek’s birthday on December 15. Conrad wears many hats at PRCUA – my Chief of Staff and Fraternal Department Coordinator. He and I go back a long way – he is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of Lechici Dancers of the Polish Scouting Organization. Lechici and Wesoly Lud worked together for many years as well. Conrad was also the Vice President of the PFDAA (Polish Folk Dance Association of the Americas) when I was President. Once again, all the best Conrad and Sto Lat! PHOTO #4

Srodek Campau Quality Sausage Company of Hamtramack has provided the Michigan PRCUA Dance Schools a great Holiday Fundraiser for the last three years. Each participating school selects from the menu the items they would like to offer their supporters, collect the orders and deliver the goods. Participating in this moneymaker were: Halka, Tatry, Gwiazda, Opole, Polski Maki, Malbork, and Zajaczek. Thursday (12/17) was Happy Pierogi Pick Up Day for the Zajaczek Dance Ensemble who sold 1443 pierogi and kielbasa items. I commend the elves of the PRCUA Michigan Dance Schools who took advantage of this terrific offer. Thanks Srodek for your support! (I applaud your marketing idea).

The PRCUA and PMA Employee Christmas Party was held in the Social Hall at Home Office on Friday, December 18. Kudos to Anna Grabowski, Executive Secretary to the President, and Julie Prado, Manager of Member Services who coordinated the event with social distancing in mind and doing an outstanding job. For details and photos please see page 14 of the January issue of Naród Polski.

On December 18, Maria Konopnicka Polish School, Oak Lawn, IL presented their art contest awards dedicated to St. Pope John Paul II and the school’s namesake. Winners were: Ella Kulikowski, Daniel Hajnos, Sara Duda, Michael Walus, Izabella Luszczek, Kacper Balos, Aleksandra Kroplewski and Jessica Wenc. Pictured with the winners is the Principal, Marek Adamczyk, and School Board Vice President Joanna Niedzielski. Congratulations to all the winners! PHOTO #5

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of a former Wesoły Lud member, Paul Hinch, age 54, in Frederick, Maryland. Paul got his start in offset printing at the PRCUA print shop in the 1980s after which he graduated from the Kodak School in Rochester, New York. From there, he went on to work for the U.S. Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C. Of late, he was a civilian employee at the Pentagon. Paul is survived by his wife, Mary Lopez, son P.J., daughter Roxanne, and older brothers Peter and John. Condolences to the family. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

On a lighter note: congratulations to PRCUA National Director D-7, Anna Krysinski and husband, Janusz, on the birth of their first grandchild, Lucas, on Saturday, December 19. Best wishes to the parents, Jaclyn Krysinski (Artistic Director and Choreographer of Polonia Ensemble) and Brian Montgomery. PHOTO #6

Wrapping up my PRCUA responsibilities for the month, I was asked to make a presentation on behalf of our organization and its Polish language and dance schools at the Forum of Polonia Representatives of Culture and Art. The virtual forum was sponsored by Stowarzyszenie Wspólnota Polska (President Dariusz Bonisławski), moderated by Professor Jan Sienkiewicz with Mariusz Grudzień (President of the Rzeszów Branch of Wspólnota Polska and lifelong Director of the Rzeszow and Iwonicz Zdrój Festivals).  Through its financial subsidy of its ensembles and choreographers in International Festivals of Polish Folk Ensembles in Rzeszow and of Children’s Ensembles in Iwonicz, together with the Choreographer Courses in both Lublin and Rzeszow, PRCUA had the opportunity to share its history, recognize its past and present schools, showcase its publications, as well as its overall contribution to the perpetuation of Polish culture, especially folk dancing at this Forum amidst many international speakers. I spoke on behalf of all the individuals – past and present – who continue to live and breath the culture of our forefathers here in the United States. We are the Polonia of today thanks to the Polonia of yesteryear and together we will leave a Polonia for generations in the future. Until next month, please stay safe and healthy.


Photo1: Winners of JPIIS coloring contest

Photo2: Jasełka at St. Joihn Paul II Polish School

Photo3: Director Myron Cislo with Polanie dancers

Photo4: Happy Birthday Conrad!

Photo5: Winners of the art contest at Maria Konopnicka Polish School

Photo6: Lucas Montgomery