Friday, November 27, 2020

Football + Parades = Thanksgiving Activities

As I mentioned Wednesday, my dad and brothers spent much of Thanksgiving day watching either parades, football games, or both.  I think many other houses share the same tradition and it's gotten to the point, it isn't Thanksgiving without either.  Historically, football has gone hand in hand with Thanksgiving.

President Abraham Lincoln designated Thanksgiving as a National Holiday back in 1863 and in 1876 the very first Thanksgiving day football game took place when Yale went up against Princeton.  At this point, the game was moving from rugby to what we see now.

By 1900 as perfect for the Intercollegiate Football Association scheduled their playoff games for the Thanksgiving weekend.  This weekend has a history of famous clashes such as the University of Michigan versus the University of Chicago or Boston Latin versus the English High School of Boston which continue to today.  Furthermore, there were hundreds of games played over the Thanksgiving day weekend.

Around 1900, professional football started developing and they chose this weekend for their games, often scheduling games for championship titles or for big rivalry games.  When the National Football League got it's start in 1920, it chose this weekend to host up to 6 games for the population.  In 1934, the owner of the Detroit Lions began hosting games as a way to bring attention to his new franchise and this team plays one of the three games every Thanksgiving even today.  

In addition, the owner of the Detroit Lions also owned a radio station and he arranged for the first game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears to be broadcast to 94 other stations when his team lost but it began a new tradition.  The Dallas Cowboys followed this idea by arranging to have their holiday game broadcast in 1966 and they became the second team to play on Thanksgiving. 

As far as parades, Macy's held their parade back in 1924 to celebrate their flagship store and remind people that Christmas was coming.  In fact, the first parade took place first thing in the morning so spectators could head off later in the day to watch the huge Syracuse versus Columbia game.  The parade was a success and took place every year.  At first, in 1932, a local radio station began broadcasting commentary on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade but it wasn't until 1946, they switched to broadcasting it via a television.

Due to the coronavirus, Macy's will have their parade but it will only have the last part of the route just in front of Macy's store.  The parade will be broadcast as usual but place over a 3 day period so all participants are able to observe normal social distancing.  The store has cut back on the number or participants to make it easier to meet all recommendations for safety. 

As you enjoy watching you football games or the parade, remember how long these two have been broadcast and become entrenched and associated with Thanksgiving.  They are as much a part of the celebration as turkey and having relatives visit.  Enjoy your weekend.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  have a great day. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Memories of Thanksgiving.

We all know what you should have for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  It should include turkey, ham, goose, pumpkin pie, apple pie, stuffing, potatoes, candied yams, rolls, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and some sort of salad.  Every family has developed their own variations for each item or might have something non-traditional. 

For instance, my aunt would serve a stuffing filled with the usual onions, celery, spices, bread crumbs, along with added chopped apples and sweet potatoes. I really enjoyed the additions so I adopted it for me.   Other people prefer a rice stuffing with apples, pecans, or cranberries.  

As for cranberry sauce, I love picking wild cranberries and using those to make my own sauce.  The local ones are much smaller and a bit tarter and make a really awesome sauce.  Around here, they wait for the first frost before picking the cranberries because the frost makes them a bit softer and sweeter.  My parents on the other hand, always bought the cranberry sauce with and without cranberries.  

Then there is the traditional pumpkin pie which most people bake and then serve with whipped cream or cool whip but I prefer a haupia topping.  Haupia is a coconut pudding you can make from scratch or find a packaged mix.  Once the pie is out of the oven, top the pie with the haupia pudding and let everything cool together.  It adds a nice twist to the pie and if you have any folks with either dairy allergies or are vegan, the haupia meets their dietary needs. 

Dad always made the mashed potatoes.  He'd cook the potatoes with the skins till they were really soft before draining them and popping them into a bowl.  Dad then used a ton of butter as he mashed the potatoes.  Instead of milk, he used heavy cream because he felt we needed to make the mashed potatoes more festive.  At the end, he added salt and pepper to taste.  Mom always told us the skins added roughage and was healthier for us.

Mom took care of the turkey.  Since she wasn't the best cook, she always bought one of the one turkeys with the pop up sensor and she wrapped it in the bag to catch juices and steam the turkey at the same time.  She was also up quite early to get the turkey started so it'd be ready in time.  I took care of the gravy because mom could never make it without lumps, lumps, and more lumps.  I tended to melt butter in a pan, add a bit of flour before browning it, and then adding the juice to make a really awesome gravy.  The gravy always seemed to mesh perfectly with the potatoes.  

Of course they had to make the candied sweet potatoes made up of those canned yams that seem to have no taste mixed with brown sugar, spices and butter.  I think it was another aunt who used marshmallow cream in hers while one of my grandmothers tossed chopped pecans on hers.  I think this is one dish, every woman hand her own version of this recipe.  When I left home, I started with fresh sweet potatoes instead of canned because I preferred the flavor and taste.

My other grandmother always contributed a veggie dish made with celery jello and canned mixed vegetables cured in a bundt like pan.  It was what it was and everyone dutifully ate it. Dad's only contribution to the meal was the mashed potatoes since he and my brothers preferred watching football and various parades while all the women did the preparation.

If you think back to your childhood, I'm sure you have memories like this.  I'm lucky in that I never had the drunk relative who came to all the celebrations. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving day tomorrow whether you stay home and head off elsewhere.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Fitting Exercise Into A Busy Day


My days can get quite busy.  I still leave my apartment every morning, spend several hours teaching students, run a couple study halls, and spend extra time in my room so students can get caught up on things.  This means I often get home after 6 at night and I do not feel like working out but I've modified the Nike saying of "Just do it! and changed it to "Just get started!"

I purchased several DVD's with exercise routines that run between 10 and 20 minutes long.  I've discovered on the days I do not want to get started, it is so much easier to talk myself into something that is 10 minutes long than a 40 minute work out.

You might be thinking that 10 minutes is not long enough to get sweaty or get much or a workout but I ended up buying a Jillian Michaels DVD and those workouts make me wish they were shorter. You can find them using weights, resistance bands, yoga, Pilates, stretching, dancing, cardio, and so many more.

From personal experience, it is so much easier to talk myself into doing just one routine.  Just one routine and once it's done, I'm ready to put on a longer one.  Sometimes, I choose a short high impact followed by a 20 or 30 minute dance or yoga routine so I get a well rounded session.  Due to the spread of the virus, many gym facilities are closed or are at half the capacity.  Having the DVD's helps me continue exercising.

If you don't want to go that route, there are things you can do to slip exercise in here and there.  Since it is recommended you get around 30 minutes a day, it is often easier to fit it in using smaller chunks such as parking your car as far away from your place of work and walking to and from.  At lunch, walk around the building multiple times for a 10 minute stint.  I work in a building that is long and thin, so I often walk from one end to the other end a few times.

On the other hand, you might have to work from home but that won't preclude you from managing some exercise.  If you have a two story home, stairs are great for providing an all round workout by just going up and down at a quick pace. Pick up a jump rope and return to your childhood by jumping rope or buy a couple of weights for strength training. When you were a teenager, did you ever put music on and just dance to it? You can do that now.  It provides a good cardio workout but if the weather is nice, head out for long walks around the neighborhood or over to a park and use the gym equipment there.

Unfortunately due to the spread of the coronavirus, it is highly recommended that you do most of your exercising outside while observing social distancing of at least 6 feet or at home.  If you must go to a gym,  see if you can virtually check-in and try to maintain social distancing while wearing a mask if possible to provide that extra layer of protection.

Go modern and down load a workout app for your phone. They have apps for yoga, home gym workouts with no equipment, Tabata, seven minute, etc.  You have a wide choice of which one or ones you want to try.  If you don't like it, delete it and try a different one until you find the one that works for you.  

It is important to include exercise in your daily routine, even during these stressful times.  Do not put it off till tomorrow because it can turn into a habit and soon you don't exercise at all.  As I said earlier, it is sometimes easier to put a short workout on just to get you started and you can ease into longer sessions. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020