Christmas 2022

Photo by Lacy Darden on

Christmas 2022 Poem

The Day After Christmas

It was the day after Christmas the presents unwrapped. The plants nestled and covered. . . taking a nap.

We stayed in pajamas relieved only three gifts go back,

Then what to my wondering ears did I hear, “didsomeonejustshout?”

Confused, I responded, “what are you talking about?”

Bob repeated, “didsomeonejustshout?”

I hollered back.

To which he exclaimed, “WEDNESDAY…THE…GARBAGE…GOES OUT”

Merry Christmas to all!

 Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year

. . .Claudia just saying.

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Chilly In Florida


It’s cold in Florida. So cold I had to bring my Christmas cactus inside. The wind howled through the front window reminding me of our home in Newton New Jersey. Each window of the one hundred plus Victorian had it own melody, some more big brass than others.

We planned to drive north for the holiday, but my husband woke up with the stomach flu and I rushed him to the emergency room. The good news? It wasn’t the corona virus.


We changed plans. We’ve had to do so many times and I’ve gotten good at doing it.

Christmas Eve Lemon Chicken Soup

I thought, of all the past Christmas gatherings, which one would I choose to have again. Well the obvious one is when our children were little.

Christmas 1977

Our daughter, Janine, her personality shining through.

Tony reading with Santa.

However, the year there was a blizzard was special.

Both our kids were home for the holidays, and many family members were expected for Christmas dinner. It started snowing in the morning, lightly. Then became blinding throughout the day. Around midnight we watched the flakes morph into large snowflakes, the ones we cut out of paper and hung on a tree. It became quiet. The quiet that had a noise of its own. We made angels in the snow and ate dinner in our pajamas.

It’s the Christmas I picture, again and again.

Every person, young and old, will remember this Christmas, the pandemic Christmas. Probably for what they didn’t get to do, and that will make it special.

. . . . just saying

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Making A List


Making a list

     You remember the Christmas song about Santa making a list, checking it twice, and finding out who is naughty or nice. I am sure the melody dances through your mind now. It did for me as Gayle King interviewed  BJ Novak, well-known television writer of the show “The Office” and discussed his new app, “The List.” Novak believes since we think in lists, the app is a fun way to express and entertain each other. He is right.

      Gayle King wanted to play and came up with a list of “When Hell Freezes Over.” On the list was to start wearing flats, a cooking segment on CBS, and for Charlie, Norah and herself to test their survival skills on Celebrity Naked and Afraid. I am not familiar with the show. Novak commented,  the app has grown into a form of self-expression and lets us peek into someone’s mind.

My mind jumped in with a list of:

Questions to ask Donald Trump

• How long does it take to do your hairdo?
• What hair spray do you use and do you own the company?
• How would you describe nincompoop?
• What other adjectives can you add to the statement, “Hilary  Clinton was the worst, the worst Secretary of State ever,” to convince voters it is true?

     Then I became bored, started to feel nostalgic and instead opted to make a list of:

Things I miss about Christmas

• Decorating the tree on Christmas Eve
• Moving the tree so missing branches are in the back
• Stringing popcorn and cranberry into garland
• Hanging candy canes on the tree
• The threat of coal in the toe of my stocking
• Taping Christmas Cards around doorways
• Little Christmas
• A Glockenspiel or Angel Carousel
• Carolers singing outside your door
• Retail, and every other store being closed

      Our family decorated the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve singing Christmas Carols. My father secured the tree lights on the branches than all the children selected glass ornaments carefully laid out on the couch to hang on the tree. The final touch, tinsel arranged one strand at a time by Dad with the Glockenspiel spinning in the background. The heat from lit candles produced a single chime as the angles circulated it’s base. I was taken with the sparkle and filled with glee by the bell like sound.31LpBWCtecL

     We did not attend midnight mass because it was at midnight. We went to bed excited about Santa’s visit.

     In the morning, or rather the middle of the night, my brother, Victor, would wake us to report on what Santa had left. He was the one brave enough to risk sneaking downstairs hoping not to be caught by Santa or our parents.

     There were no million flashing lights or hundred dollar gifts under the tree.

. . .  just saying Novak



Hillary and Christmas in September


Aging & Attitude

   On Saturday I went into a big box store looking for soil and house plants, however; the Garden department had been transformed into the Christmas store. Red and green glitter and sparkles reflected off the hot Florida floor; the potting soil, discounted pots, cushions, and pillows were displaced outside. It was September 28th.

   I closed my eyes and kept walking, thinking of Hillary Clinton.   

   Hillary is on the cover of the September issue of New York magazine. Inside appears the article, “Hillary In Midair,” a lengthy discussion about what the Clintons are up to and the possibility of Hillary running in 2016. The family has gained popularity and all three work together in the family business, The Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Global Initiative America, a conference event focused on domestic issues, held in Chicago was Hillary’s first major public appearance since leaving the State Department.

   The author, Joe Hagan tactfully describes how she looked, in stark contrast to Bill’s aging; “she appeared much more youthful-smiling, upright, beaming in a turquoise pantsuit.”

   Joe never let on that she probably had work done. A woman in her place has to, especially if running for president. Joe quotes Hillary laughing to the press, “I’ve been successful at avoiding you people for many months!”

   Joe interviewed many people in “Clinton World” for the article and carefully distinguishes between who is saying what.  Her aides and husband say, “it is too soon and stop speculating.” The Ready for Hillary group believe she’s running, she just doesn’t know she is.

   Then there is the Huma Abedin situation. Abedin, wife of Anthony Weiner (famous for sexting) left Hillary, and returned to New York to accept a consulting contract with Tenco Holdings. The owner, Doug Band, is a Bill Clinton business associate. Some speculate it indicates Hillary is running, others perceive it as friend helping friend.  

   Here is where the Christmas in September comes into play. Hillary explains to Joe; “I’m not in any hurry, I think it’s a serious decision, not to be made lightly, but it’s also not one that has to be made soon. This election is more than three years away, and I just don’t think it’s good for the country.”

   Hillary than makes an analogy about talking to a person at a party who uninterested, and looking over your shoulder to see who else is there. She arrived too early. The anticipation is for someone else.

   That is how I feel about Christmas in September, it is not good for the country.  I am not ready for green sparkle and red glitter; and need time to figure how Santa will fit down the chimney. I relish the  orange-red leaves of Autumn and sweet smell of pumpkin, apple and mincemeat pie, the carving of the turkey.  

   Of course Hillary is running. It is her opportunity to make history, but first she is going to enjoy Thanksgiving.  

. . . just saying

White House Tour Slideshow

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Aging & Attitude

   The events of the past few weeks are disturbing and sobering, and I have decided to enjoy the holidays and forget about falling off any cliff. Hopefully you will do the same. Please check out this u-tube video of my White House tour that I have but together. Come to find out you can take pictures in the White House during Christmas but none of us had a camara. We met Dan and Lynn who had a cell phone and became our new best friends when they offered to mail us copies. Thank you Dan, the pictures are beautiful.

You can read “What I Want for Christmas” here.

                            … just saying Merry Christmas

A White House Christmas

2012-12-04 09.05.29


 Aging & Attitude

My eyes swell with tears, and throat chokes with emotion as I read the letter confirming our Christmas tour date at the White House. Ten days later inside the White House, I am misty the entire visit, and once back home, can barely respond to inquiries of “How was your trip?”

It is not just about the decorations, or First Family’s dog, Bo, a life size replica, made from chicken wire and eighteen thousand one-inch black and white pom-poms .

It is an experience.

At the East Wing entrance, you walk past snowflake wreaths into a foyer of red, white and blue, and instantly feel more than a guest. The tree in this foyer is a tribute to military families. The gold star ornaments pay respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. You can write a note of thanks to service men and women. www.JOININGFORCES.GOV.

Visitors are welcome to wander through the nine magnificently decorated rooms and two hallways until you tire of being there, or preparations for a state function start. On this day, a luncheon and afternoon tea are scheduled, so guests will vacate by 11a.m.

We have plenty of time to soak up and absorb the glitter, glitz, and magic.

The theme for Holidays at the White House 2012 is Joy to All and HGTV’s special programhighlights the planning and process of decorating the People’s House. Please click on these links, you will see Bo Obama and the magical decorations. Eighty volunteers spent two to three-days creating joyous splendor throughout the White House. All rooms are decorated but only the State floor is viewed by the general public.

My favorite, a tree in the Book Sellers area, glass bubble ornaments in primary colors; orange, red, purple, blue and green, cascade around the branches. The circular simplicity leave an elegant effect and a lasting impression.

And it gets better.

The East Garden room is a children’s wonderland of gingerbread wreaths and “Boflakes” hung on trees. The Library pays tribute to past Presidents, and First Families. The China Room is set to enjoy a holiday dinner. The Vermeil Room celebrates past First Ladies. The East Room displays American folk art. The Green Room reflects on the joy of a winter garden, The Blue Room honors troops, veterans and military families, The Red Room remembers First Lady Dolly  Madison and her famous Wednesday-evening receptions with cranberry floral arrangements.  The State Dining Room filled with vibrant holiday tones displays the 300-pound gingerbread house.

But it is not just about the decorations.

It is about American pride.

It is about the Princeton Tigertones singing acappela in the North Entrance Hall. An excited 2012-12-04 09.22.48preschooler yelling “I found it” and pointing at a red Bo Obama glass ornament hung low on a tree.

It is about Abraham Lincoln poised above the State Dining room fireplace, his face lined with evidence, that all men are created equal.

2012-12-04 09.07.12You can hear JFK’s poignant request, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do, for your country.”

It is about meeting three Marines on the Metro, who are returning from Arlington Cemetery and a service for fallen unit members. We have a light discussion about their medals and uniforms. As the doors open, I struggle to say “Be Safe,” before leaving. The soldier’s eyes meet mine and revealed war’s reality but he replies gently, “We try, Maam.”

A White House Christmas tour is not just about the decorations.                                 

                                                                  …just saying

What Do You Want For Christmas?


What You Want For Christmas?

Aging & Attitude

“What do you want for Christmas?” Mr. Wonderful* inquires, walking into the kitchen wearing drawstring athletic shorts, his toes protruding through open toed sandals, and cheaters sliding off his nose.

“You mean besides World Peace” I quip.

“No, seriously what do you want for Christmas?”

“Jobs for the unemployed would be nice.”

“You’re the one who wants packages under the tree, think about it.”

And I do.

I want it to be 1958 and wake to a shiny blue two-wheeler and bride doll. The air crisp, sharp enough that your nose hair freeze, the sun strong and no wind on Long Island. Santa left the same Schwinn bike for my sister, Mariellen, an English Racer with handbrakes for Victor, my brother.  I ride in circles, periodically going in the house to coax my brother and sister into joining me. They will not, but I am determined to hold on to my joy.

I want it to be 1971. Mr. Wonderful dressed in full Santa costume, white beard and black belt, drives the New York State Thruway, waving at cars and greeting toll booth attendants with Ho, Ho, Ho.

I want it to be 1977. My son wears PJ’s, a blue robe, belted and slippers, his face aglow at the Fisher Price garage Santa left. His sister wears a hand me down Santa infant suit, her arms flapping, matching his excitement.

I want it to be 1985 and a white German Shepard dog does not bark once during the night to wake our kids. He kept his surprise til Christmas morning.

I want it to be 2003. It snows all day, continuing into the night, creating a spectacular White Christmas our daughter’s Southern guest marvels.  We troll the unplowed streets of Newton after midnight, make angles in the snow, sleep late and eat dinner in our pajamas.

I want those simple uncomplicated times.

But were they?

Christmas greeting cards scotched taped around a door frame were fancy decorations. I could decorate the entire house, wrap the presents, and bake cookies, all the same day.

Last week it took one day to unbox the artificial tree and determine if plug A really went into socket E. Only one small section of lights is not working. We turned it towards the wall. Days two and three were spent putting on the ornaments, up and down the ladder, watching not to fall.

I am not the only one getting older, facing the challenge of aging; everyone else is too.

So this year, we are all going to Disney.

                                                                                                  ….Just Saying

*Mr. Wonderful is my husband of forty years