Happy Holidays!

Dude, I’m done. Yes, I am. I was done with all my chores by noon today. It’s only the 23rd and I’m done. Woot! I win! DSC_0029.jpg

I win mostly, because I’ve stopped doing a whole lotta stuff like cards and cookies and gifts to the old aunties.

I do regret quitting the card thing a bit. I have a binder with sixteen years of Christmas cards, holiday notes, notes to Santa, and my shopping lists.  I always imagined presenting it to the boys for some big milestone event in the future, and they would get all misty with fond memories of the past and treasure their mother a little more. Yeah, sure. All the same, I would have liked to keep it going for another year or two, but I enjoy sanity.

Tomorrow, we’ll have sixteen people over for the feast of the little fishes. I’m going to try Cioppino for the first time.


Ian was just awesome in his Christmas concert. So proud.

Alright, I’m signing off for a couple of days. I’m feeling really bloggy, so I’m going to breathe more life into Apt. 11D after Christmas.

Enjoy your food, family, and rest from work. Thanks, all, for reading and commenting.

25 thoughts on “Happy Holidays!

  1. I’ve taken a couple (2-4?) years off from Christmas cards, which is not really something that a non-Facebook person ought to do. We did turn out our yearly photobook very efficiently, though–1,000 photographs collected from all cameras and family devices, sorted through and sifted down to a couple dozen pages with dates and descriptive captions, printed, and then sent out to close relatives.

    I also managed an end of year playdate for both the 6th grader and the 9th grader. The 6th grader got to do Nerf guns and video games with a chum and the 9th grader got to build cookie houses with her siblings and her chum.

    As always, the kid gifts look skimpy and then OH MY GOODNESS WHAT HAVE WE DONE! One of the items in a pile is a 40+ foot zipline, courtesy of grandma. I got Baby T a really loud toy piano shaped liked a cat’s head with piano keys for teeth–I will probably be regretting this really soon, but she loved it in the store.

    I think Christmas is getting less stressful as the big kids are able to do more and more. Baby T has been prepping for Christmas for months (she has piles of items wrapped in pilfered aluminum foil), so I suspect she will be eager to join the Christmas crew as soon as possible.


  2. Oops, that was me, BJ. And, hope we’ll get pictures of the little fishes. And what happened to I? He looks like he grew up overnight.


  3. Merry Christmas Laura, and have a wonderful holiday break from everything! We’ve struggled over the past couple of Christmases to how to deal with all the changes our growing and (in one case) departing children mean for our holiday traditions; I think this is the first Christmas that we’ve mostly found the new balance, having gotten rid of many old practices, introducing a couple of new ones, and changing the rest. Which is weird, since this year has been lousy in so many other ways. Oh well. You take victories where you can find them, I guess.


  4. Every year I’m jealous that I wasn’t born into an Italian family that celebrates the Feast of Seven Fishes. That cioppino recipe looks great.

    I’m visiting my family and the guy I’ve been dating since spring is coming in just after Christmas to meet everyone and hang out for a few days. Weird! It’s been a very long time since I did the introduce-a-guy-to-family thing. It should be fine, but it’s a strange experience.

    Merry Christmas, everyone! And Happy Holidays, everyone! Let’s hope the new year doesn’t turn out to be as awful as I expect.


    1. af said:

      “Every year I’m jealous that I wasn’t born into an Italian family that celebrates the Feast of Seven Fishes. That cioppino recipe looks great.”

      I suspect that the ideal is to be a guy who marries into an Italian family. (My brother did this, or roughly–his wife is an Italian-Irish hybrid like Laura and MH.)


  5. There’s a seafood place near me that basically needs to hire a cop to work a detail to keep traffic moving smoothly on Dec 23-24 for the Xmas Eve celebrations around here.

    Have a great holiday, everyone. We travel on Xmas Day down to NY. One sister does Xmas Eve every year with the in-laws. The others usually switch off Tgiving and Xmas Day, so the in-laws get Xmas this year, and we’ll do our family GTG on the 26th.

    On the 27th, my husband and I are going to a diner on Long Island to meet his previously unknown to him second cousin. Ah, the wonders of DNA testing. His married great-uncle and this woman’s married grandmother did the nasty back in the good old days that Trump lovers say Made America Great.

    I can hang out in my mom’s 2 bedroom apartment with 5 people and 2 dogs for only about 2 days max before my head explodes, so we will head back to MA forthwith so I can grade papers, do genealogy, and catch up on tv and movies.


  6. I’m so glad I read this blog, because my wife was puzzled as to why Citarella (the fancy seafood market on the UWS) was jammed today, but I knew. We had never heard of the Feast of Seven Fishes.


  7. I’m spending this Christmas in Northern Italy (foothills of the Dolomites), and they don’t do the Feast of the Seven Fishes here either. In fact, the only one who’s heard of it is my fiance’s cousin, whose wife is from Apulia, where they do have the fishes feast. I only know about it through my brother’s wife, whose grandparents are from Naples. We have done almost nothing for Christmas, although we’ve eaten some delicious meals, including steak, polenta, and sausage cooked on an open fire. I also dragged my fiance to midnight mass in the local town cathedral. The town is inhabited by about 400 people, all over age 70, but walking home after midnight mass the bars were jam packed with young people partying. He said Christmas Eve is one of the biggest party nights of the year, with young people traveling from around the area to party in the town square.


      1. Thank you! We were actually thinking of eloping in Italy this Christmas, but (surprise!) it turns out it’s much harder and more bureaucratically involved process than in the US.


      2. B.I. said:

        “We were actually thinking of eloping in Italy this Christmas, but (surprise!) it turns out it’s much harder and more bureaucratically involved process than in the US.”


        It will be easier to have US papers (although I suppose that depends where you’re going to be).


      3. I’m guessing you can elope easily in Italy, IF you grease the right palms. (Otherwise, marriage would be different from every other legal relationship.) However, it’s often hard for a foreigner to navigate these paths.


  8. Happy Holidays everyone! We just got back from Maui to the still snowy PNW.

    A wonderful trip with a large group of friends. Kids ranged in age form 7-14 – they loved being “free
    range”. Lots of boogie boarding and swimming and snorkeling and fresh fish and sun…

    Congrats to B.I. on the engagement! We were in Italy last August for 3 weeks – such a great place to visit. One of the things that I love about Italy is the mix in ages when you’re out and about. Old people to babies – not so segmented like North America. And so family friendly too.

    We don’t celebrate Christmas but will be loading up on latkes and sufganiyot (basically jam doughnuts). I may be persuaded to make some brisket too although I may have become helpless after being fed and watered while away.


    1. We were on the Big Island, where we encountered four other families from the kids’ schools (and that’s not including those who were there, on the islands, but that we didn’t encounter) or my sister and parents and friends who were on other islands. It sometimes feels like half the PNW flees to Hawaii over the holidays (though of course, that isn’t the case). I do think there’s a lot more travelling here than I remember from the east (and, the school break is longer, too).

      The break in the darkest days does really help me survive the weather here. We returned to snow on the ground (unusual) and partly cloudy skies (pleasant) and cold. Sunrise at 7:57 AM and sunset at 4:30 PM (that’s 8:30 minutes of daylight, not including the cloud cover), but, the days are getting longer, not shorter.

      The Dolomites are delightful, but it’s not surprising that they don’t have a Feast of the Fishes. Looks like it might be an American-Italian tradition, kind of like the American-Hanukkah, based on a religious tradition, but expanded and grown here in the US immigrant population.


  9. Thanks for all the good wishes everyone!

    We were thinking getting married in Italy would make it easier for me to get Italian residence/citizenship, but the paperwork I’d need to get married here is involved enough that it doesn’t seem to make a difference, and if we want to go elsewhere having English paperwork is probably easier. There are two separate processes for Italian citizens and non-citizens to get married, and since I’m a non-citizen marrying a citizen, we’d have to do both (e.g. posting banns in the public square for two weeks). My boyfriend’s uncle is the former mayor of the town, but he’s on the outs with the current government to the point I doubt that connection would work in our favor.


    1. Our family is still untangling a name change that happened over 30 years ago…

      I believe both my husband and the kids are going to have to make a visit to a Polish consulate in order to get appropriate passports for travel to Poland. (Apparently the current law is that Polish citizens need to have a Polish passport in order to visit Poland, and my husband’s old Polish passport is in a different name and he needs one in the current name. Husband has a Jason Bourne type pile of passports–all legal.)


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