Posts filed under ‘Thanksgiving’

Thanksgiving and Pigging Out

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today Ryan and I will be spending the day with extended family in Silver Spring, Maryland. Last time we spend the holiday there, in 2008, there was a convenient scale in the living room. We weighed ourselves right before the meal… and then we weighed ourselves again after ingesting numerous helpings of delicious turkey, stuffing and that decadent sweet potato casserole I’d still trade my sanity for.

Thanksgiving 2008 - Ryan Weighs Himself
Ryan Weighs Himself – Thanksgiving 2008

The data collection made for some interesting banter, but that’s about all we used it for. We didn’t step back and reflect, “Hmmm… what are the evolutionary implications of gorging oneself?”

National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) is doing a blogging competition where the prize is a travel grant to Science Online 2011 conference (which Ryan and I are attending). One of the entries tackles a topic that I found very fitting for today’s festivities. Enjoy!

Eat ‘til you can’t eat no more: Evolution of the pig-out

November 25, 2010 at 5:00 am 1 comment

Craft Day with the Neighborhood Kids – Holiday Gobblers for Relay for Life

Last Saturday was “turkey day”. The neighborhood kids came over. Some of them used the computers and some learned how to make the Holiday Gobblers for our Relay for Life Team. I was pretty busy helping them through the process and rethreading yarn, but I did take a few shots:

Plastic Canvas - Jovon, Tyrek and Jacal at Work
Boys At Work (Well, two of them)

Plastic Canvas - Jacal Glues Eyes
Jacal Glues on Eyes for Greg Z’s Turkey (THANKS GREG!)

Plastic Canvas - Tyrek Works
Tyrek Finishes Up A Piece

Henry was on hand for moral support:
Plastic Canvas - Henry Lays Around
Henry and Supplies

And here are some of Saturday’s efforts:

Plastic Canvas - Tyrek's Turkey, Vicky's Turkey
Two Finished Turkeys

Holiday Gobbler - Grey and Pink
Grey and Pink Turkey

Do you covet a cute little turkey of your own? Simply make a November donation to our Hunter Street Hope Relay for Life Team.

Tyrek’s Donation Page
Khalif’s Donation Page
General Team Donation Page

November 16, 2010 at 5:00 am 5 comments

Relay for Life – Holiday Gobblers

The last two years, Ryan, ZJ and I weren’t alone at Relay for Life. Both years we had neighborhood kids accompany us. Since the kids are very enthusiastic about the event, this year we making our team a “Hunter Street Team“. Ryan and I are donating the registration fees for the kids who want to participant. (Ryan has already been convinced to give Tyrek an additional donation as well 🙂 ).

Recently I have been exposing some of the kids to plastic canvas.

Plastic Canvas - Jacal Works on Magic Card Holder
Jacal Stitches Himself a Deck Protector for his Magic Cards

Building on that skillset and inspired by Thanksgiving, this month as a thank you gift for donations, we’re going to make these Holiday Gobblers as Thank You Gifts.

Holiday Gobblers
Holiday Gobblers for Thanksgiving

We have four colors:

  • Burgundy (aka “The Hokie”)
  • Dark Brown
  • Tan
  • Black and White Spotted

When you squeeze them, they will give you a kiss, specifically a Hershey Kiss. Or…. you can use them to decorate your nose. Holiday Gobblers are multifunctional!

Plastic Canvas - Kissy Bird Bites Jacal
Jacal is Attacked by a Holiday Gobbler

Donation Pages
Khalif’s Donation Page
Tyrek’s Donation Page
General Team Donation Page

P.S. If you are craftsy and would prefer to make your own, we can send you all the supplies (except for glue and needle) and the instructions instead!

November 12, 2010 at 5:00 am 3 comments

Sell Out for Sweet Potatoes

Greetings from Ottawa, Illinois.  I’ll be here until Friday morning on business.  The coming weeks promise to be incredibly busy.  Next week is Thanksgiving week where I’m due to go back up to northern Virginia to be with family.  The week after that I’ll be in Wisconsin on business.  The week after that isn’t in stone yet, but it looks like I’ll be in Indiana for business.


That’s a lot of travel

When I was driving the four and a half hour trip to Stacy and Louise’s wedding I thought, “You know what?  Maybe this is the year where I just stay in Blacksburg for Thanksgiving.”  Who could argue with me wanting to stay put for a week? Plus I have gotten to see a lot of my parents this fall with the groomsman dress purchase, the dress fitting and the dress wearing.

I started to pitch the idea to my mother and then I found out we are going to Aunt Maria and Uncle Timmy’s house this year AND Aunt Maria’s sister is coming and bringing her fabulous sweet potatoes with that decadent brown sugar pecan crust.

Suddenly, I was definitely coming home again for Thanksgiving.

I sold out my sanity for sweet potatoes. 

It’s going to be worth it.

November 13, 2007 at 10:42 pm 8 comments

Video: Thanksgiving 2001

Yesterday while I was cleaning the computer room, I found an old video tape which included our Thanksgiving 2001 celebration.  That is the Thanksgiving where the oven broke– which threatened not only our Thanksgiving Day meal, but also our traditional cookie decorating for the Day After Thanksgiving.  At the last minute Dad called around and found an oven that fit our unique measurements.  He rushed out to pick it up.  Alas, by the time he got to the store, the oven with the measurements he needed was already taken.  (“How could it be gone?!? I thought you were holding it for me?”  “Well sir, we thought that was you!”)

So for Thanksgiving, our entire clan ended up eating at Market Street– which is a buffet.  It’s safe to say Sean was not impressed.  On the way in, Mom mentioned that Market Street used to be my favorite restaurant, which is true (When you have emetophobia and you are never sure what your nerves will let you eat, buffets are perfect– you don’t have to commit to a single dish).  Sean quickly snapped his head around, “Wait a second, let me get this straight– this was your favorite restaurant?!?”

The others weren’t quite as skeptical.  It turned out to have its benefits.  We had a giant TV where we could watch football.  My cousin, Frank, got to eat lasagna instead of turkey and no one had to clean up.  It was such a hit, my mother talked about doing that every year.  That following Easter, we made a return trip.  Luckily for Sean, since then we’ve opted for the more traditional home-cooked meals instead.

Anyway, Sean gave me a quick tutorial on digitizing the video and a lower quality copy is below.  I think it is probably of more interest to family members or friends who are familiar with the Occoquan house.  I’m missing a lot of key footage to fully relay the details above, but the stuff I do have summarizes the experience and hints to the four-dog chaos of a Sawyer Thanksgiving.  Plus it has my late Grandpa in it.  That was such a welcomed surprise to see him again.

One day, I’ll have to do a version my “directors commentary” or something along the lines of “Popup Video” to point out little details that are meaningful to me five years later.  For now though, you can read my timestamped notes.

Remaining Time In Comment
07:06 00:11 I love Dad’s theory about how the oven got broken– sabotage!
06:58 00:16 This shot shows my Dad’s beloved conference room table. He got it from some office and it used to be the kitchen table. When my parents moved to the new townhouse, my father insisted his table come along. It’s in the computer room now. I also like how an issue of The Enquirer is present in the foreground. To me that is part of the experience of visiting my parents— reading The Enquirer.
06:30 00:46 You can see my priorities. Mom is making a list of everything that she needs the oven for our feast and the first item I mention is the cookies on Friday. Nevermind the holiday and all the guests— what about the cookies?!? Oh the humanity!
06:19 00:56 An ashtray was caught in the shot. In the old house, my parents smoked inside.
06:03 01:12 You can hear Mom’s finches singing in the background.
05:42 01:31 I did not cut out any suburban footage. The sound of the diesel engine and the sight of a white suburban will always remind me of my father, particularly him picking me up at high school.
05:40 01:35 Mmm…. all that polluting goodness.
05:09 02:05 Dogs are locked up, a measure we still use today.  We now lock them in cars– less barking, but there is a downside.
05:05 02:10 This is the end of Mom telling the surprised guests we are going to a buffet.
04:46 02:28 Frank looks so young! Who knew in a few years, he’d be throwing Jordan around like he was a rag doll!
04:40 02:34 Aww…. my heart melted to hear my late grandfather say, “Aren’t you a good dog? Aren’t you a good dog?” I heard him saying that to Hans too.
04:39 02:36 I like that you can hear Henry sniff the camera.
04:07 03:07 Timmy reprimanding Sunny.
04:04 03:10 Grandpa is telling a story about a woman sharing liquor with him. Meanwhile, Grandpa is inadvertantly sharing liquor as he speaks.
03:41 03:34 They are looking at Mom’s wedding gift to my cousin. Mom sent the wedding invitations out to get custom framed, but by the time she got them back, the new bride had already left the marriage.
03:22 03:50 I love Maria’s cheering. “Do it yourself!”, “Aww, you blew it!”
03:11 04:03 This is how desperate we were to keep the cookie tradition going. We were cooking batches of six at a time— in toaster ovens!
02:52 04:21 2001’s gravy looks much better than 2000’s. Somewhere I have video footage. My parents proved the saying about “Too Many Cooks” by contradicting each other’s efforts.  Dad would add more flour and immediately afterwards Mom would add more water.  The end result was this nasty mess that no one ate.
02:35 04:40 I love Mr. Yuk!
02:31 04:42 Sunny’s wearing an electric collar for the invisible fence. At my parent’s new house, the dogs have a regular fence.
01:59 05:16 I stitched those spice labels (thus the attention)
01:23 05:53 My Dad was sporting bed head long before it was a fad.
00:32 06:43 My parents love to buy in bulk. That explains all the Chunky Soups.
00:27 06:46 My mother used to always buy Wedgewood for her mother. When grandma died, my Mom got all the Wedgewood back. So it was sort like she was buying gifts for herself all those years.
00:21 06:53 I love Sean instructing Henry in the background, “Go see what’s scary.” Henry did not obey.
00:12 07:03 I got that framed collection of pressed flowers for Mom for Mother’s Day.
00:03 07:11 Dad always eats the more disgusting bits of the turkey (somewhere I have video footage from another Thanksgiving where he takes the neck out of the trash, wipes off the cigarette ashes, cooks it and then eats it like corn on the cob).

January 28, 2007 at 12:09 am 4 comments


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