Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Unapologetic Thanksgiving Eating

Traditionally around this time of year people see so much information about cookbooks for various holidays, sales going on for Black Friday (there is an ENTIRE website dedicated to this day), Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, that even before people have time to relax and enjoy (hopefully) what you did for the holidays, it’s time to start planning your New Year’s resolution. Can you guess what the number one resolution is (before you click the link)? Losing weight, RIGHT after two months of eating delicious food and indulging in favorites.

For this post I want to write about something different. I want to talk about a book that I found really inspiring and helpful, and that I hope will work for someone else too. The book is titled Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living.  things no one will tell fat girls

I bet some of you reading this are thinking, “What in the world does this book have to do with the holidays?” For starters, this book talks about being you and loving who you are (and I mean “you” as in “everyone”). I believe that is an important concept to have, especially around the holidays. There are so many other things going on, and many people feel guilty after so much indulgence (I know I do).  So then they feel the need to correct that, hence the number one New Year’s resolution (see, I had a point). This book helped me realize that enjoying holiday food, or any food, is acceptable and we shouldn’t have to apologize for it.

Aside from the food bit, this book covers a lot of information, and I found all of it valuable and important. Take a chance, pick it up, and let me know if you found it as helpful as I did.

And while you’re at it, enjoy the holidays with no regrets … except for that fruitcake. That’s not a good idea.


P.S. Check out Jes Baker’s blog if you liked her book.


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Turkey Bowls Cement Link Between Football & Thanksgiving

Nobody plays baseball on Thanksgiving morning.  Seriously, I really believe that one of the ways American football usurped baseball as America’s pastime sport ties directly into the thousands of “Turkey Bowls” held on Thanksgiving morning around the country.  The phenomenon has taken root in the American consciousness, even creeping into children’s poetry, as seen in Jack Prelutsky’s excellent collection, It’s Thanksgiving.  In this book of twelve poems for my favorite holiday Mr. Prelutsky includes one entitled “Daddy’s Football Game.” Phil Bidner’s Turkey Bowl provides another excellent look at Thanksgiving day football from a nine year old boy’s perspective.

As a teenager, and even in my early 20’s, I played in my share of Turkey Bowl games.  Ours occurred at Transverse Park in the Mt. Oliver section of Pittsburgh. Jay Price conjures these sort of nostalgic images with his book, Thanksgiving 1959 : When One Corner Of New York City Was Still Part Of Small-Town America, And High School Football Was The Last Thing Guys Did For Love.  While the title is really long, Mr. Price’s nifty little book manages to get at the heart of what Turkey Bowl football games really mean.  Sometimes they involve neighborhood friends getting together, but often whole families play in these games, which by the end of November can be cold and muddy affairs, making older Pittsburgh homes and their basement “mill showers” ideal for dealing with a dirty crew of Turkey Bowl veterans.

No one can deny the power of television to change minds and shape public opinion.  That’s why the National Football League’s decision to hold and later broadcast two Thanksgiving day games every year turned into marketing genius.  You can find the history of all of the NFL’s “Turkey Bowl” tilts here.  The Detroit Lions became regular Thanksgiving hosts starting in 1950, and the Dallas Cowboys joined them as regular hosts starting in 1966.  Of course, now the NFL has added a third regular Turkey Day game, this time with a rotating host team.  You can find further insights into NFL history in The NFL Century : The Complete Story Of The National Football League, 1920-2000.

Like soccer, one of the magical things about American football is that you really only need a ball, an expanse of grass, and a few willing participants to hold a game.  No fancy equipment needed.  In my halcyon days we played murderous games of tackle football with no protective equipment.  People are smarter now, and many Turkey Bowls have become strictly touch football affairs–no tackling.  After all, who wants to eat Thanksgiving dinner with a broken drumstick?


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Thankful Reading

Tis the season to be thankful! Maybe you already have a list going of things to be thankful for. Maybe you’ve been posting your 30 Days of Thanks on your social networking site of choice. But rest assured, there’s something else to be thankful for that you just haven’t remembered yet.

Here’s a selection of items from the library to stimulate your thankful muscle.

Prayers of ThanksHelp, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

Ways to Give ThanksA Grateful Heart: 365 Ways to Give Thanks at Mealtime by edited by M.J. Ryan

Thanks for Our PastGiving Thanks: And More Stories to Celebrate American Heritage (DVD)

Fictional ThanksThanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern

Thanks for WritersThanks, but This Isn’t for Us: A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing Is Being Rejected by Jessica Page Morrell

Kids Can Be Thankful Too (Or Not!) – Thanks a Lot, Emily Post! by Jennifer LaRue Huget

How to Be ThankfulThe Gift of Thanks: The Roots and Rituals of Gratitude by Margaret Visser

Thanks to a PresidentThanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids’ Letters to President Obama edited by Jory John

Thanks for HealthThanks to My Wife … I Just Had a Rectal Exam: Answers to Questions All Men Should Be Asking Their Doctor by Robert Corish

Thanks for Relationships Gone Wrong & Right – Thanks for Nothing, Nick Maxwell by Debbie Carbin

Thanks for What History Has Taught UsThanks for the Memories: Love, Sex, and World War II by Jane Mersky Leder

Thanks to Our MilitaryA Million Thanks: My Campaign to Send One Million Letters to Our Troops by Shauna Fleming

Thanks for FoodGiving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie by Kathleen Curtin, Sandra L. Oliver, and the Plimoth Plantation

Thanks for MusicNo Thanks!: The ’70s Punk Rebellion (CD)

I hope everyone has a happy, safe, and fun Thanksgiving holiday.

Thankfully Yours,
Melissa M.

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By Any Other Name

My sister and her husband are expecting their third child sometime next spring, which made it doubly wonderful to spend time with the growing family over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Hanging out with a tween and a pre-schooler definitely honed the aunt skills, but suggesting potential names for the new sprout proved trickier. Although I’m very good at naming pets, none of my baby name suggestions, male or female, struck a chord with the parents-to-be.

To be fair, naming is a difficult thing, and a very personal one. Whenever you name a person, pet or thing, you want something that sounds good, carries meaning, and can’t be twisted into a cruel or otherwise unfortunate nickname. On top of that, there may be religious or cultural factors to take into consideration, as well as the desire to avoid–or accommodate– the trendy or unusual.

The world wide web is awash with baby name websites, to be sure, but if you have a name to choose, and you’re tired of staring at your computer screen, why not try a different tack?  Make yourself a cup of tea, then settle into a comfy chair in a quiet place with one of the library’s many books about names and naming.  Not sure where to start?  Consider these:

Penguin ClassicThe Penguin Classic Baby Name Book, ed. Grace Hamlin. Looking for a literary namesake? Take a flip through nearly 500 pages of options from the world’s greatest works of fiction.

Mother of all Baby Name Books

The Mother of All Baby Name Books, Bruce Lansky. Because puns are fun! Also, with 94,000 names to choose from, this is a great option if you don’t have room in your bag for multiple books.

Celtic Baby NamesCeltic Baby Names, Judy Sierra. If Western mythology and folklore tend to inspire you, grab this guide to pronunciations and meanings from the British Isles and figure out if Declan, Dylan, or Dana might be a good option for you and your baby (I’d avoid Tristan and Isolde, though, just on general principle).

World NamesA World of Baby Names, Teresa Norman. Diversity abounds in this collection of names that dedicates a chapter to just about every country and culture under the sun, including Czech/Slovak, Hawaiian, Native American, and Southeast Asian names. Perfect for families seeking to honor an ancestor, celebrate an adoption, or otherwise open up their naming options.

Auntie LAV can’t wait to see what they pick, but until then, she’ll just have to wait patiently.  Did you have difficulty naming your children?  Your kittens?  Your computer?  If you were going to take a new name to reflect the person you’ve grown up to be, what would you pick?

Dana Elizabeth Veronica Leigh Anne


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Words. Books.

Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.

These words streamed from the voice of Patti Smith when she accepted the National Book Award for nonfiction last week, for Just Kids, a memoir of her life with Robert Mapplethorpe in New York City’s 1970s art scene.

We may think of a book as low-tech. The combined technologies of the printing press and paper mill created an utterly simple and useful object we often take for granted. As Amazon.com’s CEO Jeff Bezos said, “The book just turns out to be an incredible device.”

Open one of those incredible devices over this holiday weekend. Give thanks for books.



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My Vacation Day Reading

thanksgivingThanksgiving is upon us, and while I am looking forward to the usual holiday highlights of a day off from work, inappropriate amounts of eating, hanging out with family, and passing out somewhere, I’m also looking forward to catching up on some of the reading I’ve been neglecting.  So, for your pleasure, here are some of the books I’ll be spending time with this upcoming Thanksgiving day:

The Great Weaver From Kashmir by Halldor Laxness – Laxness, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955, is generally considered Iceland’s greatest novelist and a contemporary master of epic storytelling.  I became enamored withweaver his work after reading his fantastic novel World Light several years ago (you can read my staff pick review of World Light here).  Very recently, his first novel, The Great Weaver From Kashmir, was published for the first time in English, and of course I got a copy right away.  Great Weaver is a semiautobiographical story about an idealistic young man who sets off on a journey to achieve perfection, and in doing so encounters various new ideas that alter his worldview, including socialism and Catholicism.   Please note that our library has two copies of this book on order, but you can place a hold so you can be sure to get a copy once they’re in.  In the meantime, along with World Light, I highly recommend Laxness’s other great novel, Independent People, and his slightly shorter works, The Fish Can Sing and Under the Glacier.    

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge – This book is BIG science fiction, in the sense that it deals with very complex speculative, yet scientifically grounded, ideas.  For instance, the book introduces one to an alien species of doglike firedeep2creatures who live in packs that share a group mind, and individuals only exist as the whole of a pack of creatures.  And in another great leap of imagination, Vinge describes our galaxy as one with various “zones of thought” that influence the level of intellectual and civilizational advancement obtainable by anything living within a zone.  Earth and its inhabitants, for instance, reside in the “slow zone,” while godlike, uber-technologically advanced beings exist within the “transcend.”  Sound mindblowing?  It is, and so much so that it won the Hugo Award, science fiction’s greatest prize, in 1993.  Incidentally, its follow-up prequel, A Deepness In the Sky, won the Hugo in 2000.

So, when the Thanksgiving cleanup is done, the family has gone home, and the tryptophan is taking over, I’ll be found relaxing somewhere with these great books.  What books will you be reading?



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