Thursday, November 27, 2014
One of my earliest childhood memories is of going downtown for America's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I remember the adults setting up ladders and laying a plank of wood over them so the kids could see over people's heads. As an adult, I think that was an unnecessary amount of work but as a kid - with a grown-up to do the work for you - it was awesome. I haven't been to the parade in years. The last time we went with Mom I remember nothing about the parade or downtown, I only recall being really cold, drinking hot chocolate and waiting in traffic. Granny goes to the parade every year and I think that's awesome. Adam said our trip to the Parade Company inspired him to go with her this year and tell her the fun facts we learned. I hope they have a good time and next year I want to join them.
P.S. Am I the only person who always associates Thanksgiving with Friends?
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
A couple years ago my office went to The Parade Company for a staff meeting. I hadn't been to the parade in years and it was fascinating to see everything up close. The warehouse displays dozens of floats that are used each year and visitors can get a preview of the latest additions as they are being built. It's a fun activity and I thought Mom would enjoy it. We ended up making a day of Detroit activity and Adam came along for the fun.
The Parade Company is a non-profit that organizes America's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Woodward Avenue. The tradition started in 1924 and is as much a part of Detroiters' Thanksgiving plans as the Lions game. Rain, sleet, snow or sunshine the parade goes on every year.* Chris and Emily volunteer as balloon holders, others donate to walk in the parade as clowns or big heads (see below), and I didn't realize until recently that Granny goes downtown every year to watch. I'll admit that for the past decade I've enjoyed the parade from the comfort of my couch. This year I'll be busy in the kitchen but next year I'll bundle up for the adventure!
Our tour was especially enjoyable because we had a great tour guide. John did a fantastic job blending fun facts and interesting stories. He was friendly and engaging and I couldn't help but ask him a few questions.
What year did you first attend the parade?
My first year seeing the parade was when I was a freshman at Wayne State University in 1956. I've either watched the parade [on tv] or attended it every year. Since then I have had a family. I have four grandsons - my son and my daughter each have two - and they come to the parade every year.
How did you get involved with the Parade Company?
I have volunteered at Cranbrook, the Detroit Zoo, the DIA, the Riverfront Conservancy and a number of other things. I stumbled on the Parade Company as a volunteer after many years ushering at the Fisher, FOX and Opera House. This is where I've settled down as a volunteer.
What's your favorite parade memory?
A warm, sunny day in about 1960. We were all trying to figure out how to get rid of clothes rather than how to put on more.
What's your favorite float?
I'm partial to the bookworm or now the laptopworm* because I was an English major and I think people underestimate the power of literature. Mother Goose is cool, Dorothy and the land of Oz is cool but the Bookworm says a lot for things we need to do, rather than what we always want to.
These guys creep Danny out. They're original Big Heads. The Parade Company used to order them from Italy and return them after the parade. When they learned they were destroyed each year, they asked if they could keep them. The supplier agreed and sent over an artist to train the Parade Company to make their own (see below).
*Except for a couple years during World War II
**This year the book was replaced with a computer
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
It seems like everyone had a Friendsgiving this year and we were no exception. I wasn't trying to be trendy, I simply like the idea. Last year we had a brunch for our wedding party to celebrate our anniversary. Since our schedule was tight in October, I decided against doing it again; however, I still wanted to get our friends together and thought this would be a great alternative.
It's my opinion that Thanksgivings is for formality and Friendsgiving is to relax before the hectic holiday season. Consequently, the party was a casual affair. A potluck buffet during the Lions game with some cocktails and dessert. Everyone brought a dish and it was delicious.
Pigs in a blanket
Assortment of cookies (including, chai spice cookies)
I'm a sucker for decorations and adding a special touch to parties. Since Lindsey and Maddy couldn't make the lunch, we worked on decorations the night before. I think it's insane that stores prepare for Christmas before Halloween but it did allow me to get some great deals at Michaels. We made these cute turkey and owl cups and scattered them in random places around the house.
I also jazzed up some napkins with toothpicks. It's the little things that make me excited about company.
Last year Danny and I did a thankfulness tree and I loved it. It was similar to Facebook's thankfulness post, except every day for the two weeks leading up to the holiday we wrote something on a leaf. This time I decided to include our friends and family in the activity. Anyone who visited our house this month wrote something they're thankful for and hung it on the tree. Now it's a thankfulness tree crossed with a happiness jar and I like it better that way.
More pics under the cut
Monday, November 24, 2014
Friday night Danny and I went to Campus Martius for the tree lighting ceremony. I went a couple years ago with Granny and like everything else in this town, the changes were impressive. There was more activity and definitely more people. Seeing crowds in the city never gets old. As much as I love Detroit, New York City is truly the pinnacle of metropolitan greatness. Consequently, I relish these moments of big city crowds. I like to think of it as watching the ball drop in Times Square but with the convenience of easy bathroom accessibility and limited traffic on the way home.
A big change from a couple years ago was the food. There were food trucks outside, including my favorite Beignet truck, that tempted me. Cadillac Square was equipped with a large tent that had offerings from the best restaurants in town. Danny and I immediately regretted going out to dinner because there were so many delicious treats. Stuffed or not, I couldn't pass up a lobster dog from Coach Insignia! It was AMAZING and I want another one. The other fun part about the tent was the ample seating and fun dance music.
To be a bit hypocritical, as much as I love the busyness of New York, the crowded sidewalks are a hassle. I fully expect Detroit to have crowded streets on a regular basis one day; therefore, I can't help but enjoy the freedom of casually strolling Woodward Avenue on a Friday night.
Friday, November 21, 2014
The Little Seed Farm is a blog I started reading a few years ago. Now it's a business and the blog is only updated on occasion. James and Eileen (formerly known as Scrapple and Sweetbreads) are living the new American dream. A few years ago they were working in Manhattan with successful but unsatisfying careers. They took time to create a life plan that would be sustainable for their family and the planet. The result: A goat farm in Tennessee that produces cheese, soap and lip balm. I admire their socially conscious, entrepreneurial spirit and like to believe it is a signature trait of this generation.
I'm really excited for the weekend. I have a big interview today and welcome all positive vibes. To unwind we'll be hitting the town tonight at an undetermined dinner location and the tree lighting ceremony at Campus Martius. Tomorrow I'm meeting all four of my sister-in-laws for breakfast. It's my first time ever being alone with them and I'm excited to see them outside of a family gathering. I'll be booking it from there home because Tash is coming over for his first lesson in BSG the boardgame. It will be a mini office reunion since Gina and Garrett will be over too. Sunday, we'll watch the Lions lose to the charming Tom Brady at Mr. B's and Gina will come over to watch Once Upon A Time.