Holiday recap...

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Monday, December 29, 2008



Today is my angel's birthday and we will
not even be together as she travels.


Hoping your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus Holidays were spectacular and you did not have to utter one HECK-A-DOODLE the entire time...

We had a most wonderful time. Christmas Eve, I went down and met Nancy to do some shopping for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day Antipasto and New Year's Eve dinner. Then on back home to start prepping dinner.

Now, in our home Christmas Eve is the dinner of the 'Seven Fishes'. This comes from Mom Joan's side of the family really. Many southern Italians around the world celebrate Christmas Eve with a Feast of the Seven Fishes (festa dei sette pesci), it is also known as La Vigilia (The Vigil).

It is a meal that typically consists of seven different seafood dishes. Some Italian families have been known to celebrate with 9, 11 or 13 different seafood dishes. This celebration is a commemoration of the wait, Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus.

I really never understood the meaning of the reason for the 'Seven Fishes' until a few years ago. The tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the medieval Catholic tradition of abstinence. As a Catholic, you were never to eat meat on Friday's or Holy Days. Now, we did not always follow that on all Holy Days. I mean, what is Christmas without a big Roast beef?

From wikipedia:
There are many hypotheses for what the number "7" relates to, one being the number of Sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church. Another theory is that seven is a number representing perfection: the traditional Biblical number for divinity is three, and for Earth is four, and the combination of these numbers, seven, represents God on Earth, or Jesus Christ.

Out of the 'typical fare', we always teased the menu slightly. Most years, while growing up, we would drive to New City, NY to my cousins Donnie and Linda's, where there would be 20+ people gathered. A large table was set up in the family room and the food flowed throughout the evening.

A typical menu was:
* Stuffed calamari
* Stuffed-baked clam
* Deep fried calamari
* Deep fried fish and shrimp
* Linguine with clam sauce
* BaccalĂ 
* Octopus salad
* Mussels Fra Diavolo

This year I bought some fresh clams and some Talapia. I made a white clam sauce with half the clams and steamed the rest to eat alone. The Talapia, I soaked in milk with dill and some Texas Pete's Hot Sauce and then floured it before sauteing in some olive oil and butter.

The boys came by for a while to read "A Night Before Christmas", a tradition they have with their mom, and open one present before going back to their dad's for the evening.

Some neighbors stopped by and we talked for a while and by the time everyone had left and Nancy and I finished cooking dinner, we finally sat down to eat about 10:15 or so. By the time we finished getting ready for the morning and opening a gift from each other it was almost 2:30 in the morning.

We woke around 8:30 and immediately began prepping breakfast. The boys had been promised one of our special breakfasts. Nancy and I kick a** on this...French Toast (using Italian Bread), BACON, pork sausage patties, home fries, and scrambled eggs.

The boys arrived and we left everything ready to finish up in the kitchen and moved into the family room. The boys opened their presents with abandon and then they headed to the neighbors to compare bounty.

Nancy and I got breakfast ready when the boys and the neighbor kids showed up. Asked if they wanted to join us, both kids, Katy (14) and Jacob (9) accepted readily, so we set two more plates and sat down to dig in.

It was great!

Unfortunately, then I had to run home, as a package had been delivered after I had left the day before and it could not sit outside until I returned home that evening.

Once that was done, we all headed to Nancy's sister's home for their Christmas celebration. As mentioned above, I was bringing my antipasto platter. The meal was all finger foods.

It is different from what my family has done, but the meal you eat is not as important as the people you spend the time celebrating. After the meal, presents were exchanged and then Nancy's mom (Momma Dot), put the kids to work, breaking them into two groups - boys & girls - and sending them off to come up with a Christmas song to sing, the winners to get more bounty!

The boys did a much better job than the girls did and collected their gain. I have been warmly welcomed into this family and it is very special. Nancy's sister told me "Well, you are now being treated as a family member, you and Nancy are getting a gift together." It made me smile.

AND it turned out there was a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Fesitvus/Gift Of The Magi Miracle on top of it all!

Y'all know the story of The Gift Of The Magi, by O' Henry (not the candy bar, the poet), wherein Jim Dillingham Young and his wife Della are a young couple who are very much in love with each other, but can barely afford their one-room apartment due to their very bad economic situation.

For Christmas, Della decides to buy Jim a chain which costs twenty dollars for his prized pocket watch given to him by his father. To raise the funds, she has her long hair cut off and sold to make a wig. Meanwhile, Jim decides to sell his watch to buy Della a beautiful set of combs made out of tortoise shell for her lovely, knee-length brown hair.

Although each is disappointed to find the gift they chose rendered useless, each is pleased with the gift they received, because it represents their love for one another.

Well, here is how it worked in our world this year...

Our good friend MATT-MAN from "Bagwine Ruminations" owned a leather jacket....

Matt-Man told everyone he looked hot in the jacket, and his friends all told him it was so, instead of telling him the truth that he looked like an un-cast extra on a remake of West Side Story set in Des Moines, Iowa...

Well, Matt-Man decided to honor his son Ryno with the gift of Matt's favorite leather jacket, a jacket that Ryno has coveted for years...and now the leather jacket has a home with Ryno...

And the full-circle of this Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Gift Of The Magi Miracle is that by being unselfish and giving the jacket a much better home where it will look much hotter, the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Gift Of The Magi Miracle Gods decided that I should have a leather jacket also - and Nancy fulfilled this Miracle...and now, let me tell you, this is the way to rock a leather jacket Matt-Man!

On Friday, I began digitizing some cassette tapes. Mom Joan and Dad Vince left their cassette deck behind. About 15 years ago a friend worked in the Warner Family of companies. They released a CD set that was The Warner/Chappell Collection. W/C is the music publishing arm of Warner brothers.

It was started back to 1929, when Jack Warner, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Inc., founded Music Publishers Holding Company (MPHC) to acquire music copyrights as a means of providing inexpensive music for films. Among the historic compositions of which the publishing rights are controlled by WMG are the works of Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

I had duped it onto cassette and now I am adding it to my iTunes. It is a remarkable collection of music. On one cassette there is Talking Heads, Frank Sinatra, Barry White, Bing Crosby, Willie Nelson, The Coasters, Madonna and Wham!

It was a 40 disc set, that took up 26 90-minute cassette tapes. So much Ella and Lena Horne and the like. I am having a blast transferring this stuff.

In the evening I met Nancy and the Boys to see a Mississippi River Kings hockey game. A Church group form where they lived prior to their home now, comes up to see a game every year and it was really nice to meet some of the people I have heard about over the last year.

Saturday was the last of the shopping for New Year's (except the fish, which I ordered yesterday and will pick up on Wednesday morning), Prep some of the dishes and spend the day alone with Nancy.

She has to go back down to Jackson Sunday afternoon to finalize two more baby is rockin' this job!

As we said the other day, we will have a post tomorrow, and then Wednesday morning you will find a New Year's Eve Mix to enjoy.

Our next post after that will be Monday, the 5th, here pictures and stories (those that can be shared), of New Year's Eve will be shared.

The following Monday, we will begin anew with New Music Monday...bringing you 2 new artists and giving you the chance to own their music.

Spread the word if you will...let people know there is music out there to be had!

See y'all tomorrow.

From the newest digitization...two I really love having at my fingertips once again...

Mr. Wilson Pickett, "634-5789"...and Ms. Ella Fitzgerald, "Blue Room"...


30 Of Your Sparks

  1. Dana Says:
  2. Hmmmm ... you definitely look better than Matt-Man, but I think Ryno has you beat *wink*

    Glad you had a wonderful Christmas!

  3. DANA: As long as I look better than Matt!

  4. Unknown Says:
  5. Happy Birthday to your sweetheart, Bond!! It sounds as if you had a wonderful Christmas...full of love and celebration!! You deserve nothing less...

    Cheers to a happy new year as well, as I read through your blog to catch up on things! :D

  6. ...sounds like one fine Christmas!...uh...the tune players aren't working...or is it just me?...

  7. MARGARET: Wonderful Christmas...hope yours was special also

    PHFRANKIE: It seems the site is down at the moment...hopefully it will come back up.

  8. Liz Hill Says:
  9. Happy Birthday Nancy!

    And so glad you had a lovely time for the holidays.

    We are very much looking forward to Wednesday and ringing in the New Year with y'all.


  10. Jay Says:
  11. Happy Birthday to your sweetie!

    Lots of cool Christmas traditions there! And a cool leather jacket.

  12. First off, Happy Birthday to Nancy! I'm sorry you're traveling, but way to go with the job!

    You had the most important things on Christmas, Vin - family time. It may not have been the family you expected, but it was a family nonetheless, and that is the true gift.

  13. Mimi Lenox Says:
  14. Happy happy birthday to Nancy. Standing. Wind blowing in the skirt. Singing.....Did ya hear it?

    Loved the magical magi leather jacket transfer. Christmas is a magical time!

    Good to see you so alive and joyous with new family traditions mixed with old. Here's to making special ones in the New Year with the birthday girl.

  15. Anonymous Says:
  16. Sorry you had to go home for the package but I hope it was worth the trip. Enjoy with Nancy!

    Happy Birthday Nancy! Hope you are having a great day. Looking forward to meeting you soon. P.S. We all love the fudge.

  17. TURN: Gonna be a blast

    JAY: Thanks dude

    SONGBIRD: I totally agree...most important is family and maybe next year we can get them both together!

    MIMI: I heard it!
    LOL..glad you enjoyed...we love making new traditions!

  18. LYNN: Well worth the trip...we ate two fillets, and two potatoes on Saturday evening and yummo

  19. Hey Fonz-
    Eh! Great lookin' leather, dude. Enough on the food we are not invited for. :p Tell darlin' that the Budman sends his best for her birthday. I'd sing, but Mimi did such a great job...

  20. Anonymous Says:
  21. Cool, one of those cow killing jackets looks good on you Vinny.
    I bet the cow feels good that it gave it's hide to make you feel good. j/k

    NICE JACKET !!!!!!!

  22. Julie Says:
  23. Yup yup yup! You, my friend are truly unequivocally in LOVE!

    It's beautiful watching it unfold with each passing day.

    Happy Birthday Ms. Nancy! Twenty-nine, eh?

  24. Fred Says:
  25. Great recap. Sounds like you all had a great time.

    I think you need to open a restaurant. I'd be one of your first take-out customers.

    And, Happy Birthday to Nancy!

  26. katherine. Says:
  27. happy birthday Nancy...wonderful people are born on this day!

    your Christmas time sounds wonderful!!!!

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.  
  29. BUD: Thanks..I really love it...rut ro..more food talk tomorrow!

    MICKEY-T: Wait? They had to kill a cow for this jacket? It did not come from the leather bush????

    JULIE: YUP YUP YUP...Wishing you will be even closer to it in 2009.

    FRED: Thank you Sir...Want to bankroll that restaurant?

    KATHERINE: Yes, some great was!

  30. Jeff B Says:
  31. Nice jacket ya big stud muffin.

    Happy Birthday Nancy!

    and very cool that you're being considered family now. Sounds like a pretty well rounded Christmas.

  32. RW Says:
  33. Happy Birthday to you gal Vin and BTW nice jacket!

  34. Travis Cody Says:
  35. Happy Birthday Nancy!!

    Congrats on the acceptance.

    The leather jacket rocks! I got mine out this week for warmth and fashion.

    That music sounds great. I have to get back into my music project too.

  36. Yeah Bond you look great in the jacket but that Ryno kid really knows how to work it =)

    Ella and Wilson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. JEFF: Thanks sweetie! It is very cool and it was a wonderful Christmas

    ROGER: Thanks

    TRAVIS: The acceptance was nice...the music is in me now..I am moving full steam ahead

    STARR: yeah but as long as I rock it better than Matt I am cool..

  38. OBLadyBug Says:
  39. OK this is my 3rd attempt to post ...

    Thank you everyone for your sweet Birthday Wishes. You made a tough day so much easier to deal with.

    Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year!

  40. Schmoop Says:
  41. Happy B-Day Nancy. Vin? You look gay in that jacket. Or is it that the jacket looks gay on you? Not that it matters. Cheers Vin!!

  42. TopChamp Says:
  43. Happy belated birthday Nancy!

    Your Christmas sounds great. I love the fishes tradition (no matter where it came from).

    Hope you have a wonderful 2009.

  44. Patti Says:
  45. Happy "2 days Belated" Birthday to Nancy! I must say that Dec. 29 rocks for a birthday. Truly!

    (Mr. Bond could explain)

  46. Patti Says:
  47. P.S. How nice that you are being treated as a member of Nancy's family, Vinny..I totally agree the meal is not as important as those you are celebrating the holiday with!

  48. Anonymous Says:
  49. First off, Happy Birthday to Nancy! I'm sorry you're traveling, but way to go with the job!


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