Tag Archives: Santa Claus

pocketful of miracles (as provided by dickens, sinatra, and mom)

My mom’s Christmas tree in the room where I sit.
Photo taken by me. 

“Pee-rac-ti-cal-i-ty de-us-nt intrest me,

Love the life that I lead.

I’ve got a pocketful of miracles,

And with a pocketful of miracles,

One miracle a day is all I need!

Tree-rou-bles, more or less,

Bee-ah-ther me, I guess when the sun doesn’t shine.

But there’s a pocketful of miracles,

The world’s a bright and shiny apple that’s mine, all mine.

I hear sleigh bells ringing, smack in the month of May

I go around like there’s a snow around,

I feel so good, it’s Christmas every day!

Lee-ifes a carousel, fee-ar as I can tell

And I’m riding for free.

I’ve got a pocketful of miracles,

But if I had to pick a miracle,

My favorite miracle of all is you love me.”
“Pocketful of Miracles” ~ sung by Frank Sinatra

Christmas Day has drawn to a close and I am the only one stirring in the house. Santa has long left his big scene, scattering an American Girl doll, clothes and books in his midst. We’ve gone a-visiting, eaten more than we should have (cholesterol be damned), and been renewed by being back with family and friends.

In this midnight hour, I am awake in the sunroom and reading  A Christmas Carol on my Kindle. With every click, I identify more with Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim – and, as a fundraiser, with The Portly Gentlemen. And if I’m being honest, which I try to be, I may see a former boss or two in Scrooge.

We all have at least one Ebenezer as a Ghost of Horrible Job Past, don’t we?

Despite telling myself I wouldn’t, I sneak a peek at Elance.com, at indeed.com, at the fiscal cliff negotiations and Obama’s plans to return home early from his vacation.

I watch the storms on the horizon, back home in the western part of the state, and reluctantly rearrange schedules to cut this vacation short.

I think about cancer, the surviving and the not surviving thereof.

I look around the sunroom here at my mom’s house and spot a little book: Joan Borysenko’s chock-full Pocketful of Miracles: Prayers, Meditations, and Affirmations to Nurture Your Spirit Every Day of the Year. 

I turn to today, December 26.

Seed Thought:
Although the Light has been reborn in our hearts more brightly because of the past year’s cultivation of compassion, tolerance, humility, humor and kindness, more growth is yet to come. More difficulties are yet to arise and lead us through the next spiral of awakening. In this year to come, remember the Buddhist practice called “making difficulties into the path.” If we use all of our trials, all our fears, all our disappointments to spur ourselves on, just think of all the fuel we’ll have for the journey! 

We’ve seen a lot of things this year, but I often need to be reminded that we have also seen a lot of cultivating of compassion, tolerance, humility, humor, and kindness.

I am an Amazon.com Affiliate. Making a purchase via any of the Amazon.com links on The Betty and Boo Chronicles will result in my earning a small percentage in commission, which will be used to support the upkeep of this blog, as well as the real-life versions of Betty and Boo. Thank you! copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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when what to my cynical, sad eyes should appear

Philadelphia Flower Show
March 2009
“for i’ve grown a little leaner
grown a little colder
grown a little sadder
grown a little older
and i need a little angel
sitting on my shoulder
we need a little christmas now.” 
from “mame”
After I finished my volunteer stint in the kids’ classroom last Wednesday, I decided to take the kids home right from there. Since I was already at the school, it seemed ridiculous to send them to their after-school program. 
As we walked through the school parking lot, Boo started in about seeing Santa that weekend. 
At 11, my kids still Believe. Wholeheartedly and unabashedly and completely. And I’m not about to change that, especially after yesterday.
“I think I’d like a bulletproof vest,” Boo said, very seriously. 
I was startled. I admit, the setting – the elementary/middle school parking lot, at dismissal time – jolted me. I asked him why he wanted such a thing. 
“In case someone shoots me,” he said, matter of factly.
“My God, Boo,” I said. “What a horrible thought. Why would someone shoot you?” 
We talked about if anyone had threatened to shoot him. Nobody hadn’t. Still, my mind went there, as it tends to do. Because that’s what my mind DOES. I saw it all as we walked through the crosswalk – the news vans, the police cars, the ambulances, the vigils, the candles – and I talked as calmly as possible to my son.  
“You know, 11-year old boys don’t need to walk around wearing bulletproof vests,” 
This was nine days ago. I felt I was lying as I remembered Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora. 
“The likelihood that you’re going to get shot, sweetie, is pretty slim,” I said, choosing my words carefully. 
Nine days before all of America would learn where Newtown, Connecticut was. 
I admit that I am addicted to all things social media, but even I knew that I needed to put myself on a restricted social media diet for this one. 
I knew how this would play itself out. 
I knew that there would be reports that the shooter was on the autism spectrum. That the talking heads would go there and start their damning theories. 
Facebook and Twitter and the rest of the Internet would get along just fine without me for this particular news story. My autism mom friends worked the Interwebs with poignant blog posts and tweets and impassioned pleas to media types not to paint everyone with autism with this brush. 
(I may have sneaked a peek on my phone.) 
Meanwhile, I descended into the basement and surrounded myself by scrapbooking. A banal task: sorting paper by color. The sort of thing one does in kindergarten. 
My boy came downstairs where I was working. 
“I found something,” he said, holding up one of my blog cards and beginning to read the description of The Betty and Boo Chronicles to me. 
“What does this mean?” he said. “This. ‘Raising a child with autism.’ Do you hate me?” 
Oh, dear God. 
Do I hate you? 
Do I HATE you? 
Today, this. Today, on a day when 20 little children lost their lives. 
I told him to sit down with me on the sofa, that there were a few things I needed to say. I told him that I wrote about him having autism here because there were a lot of parents out there who were just finding out that their kids have autism. That by writing about the funny and awesome things that you do, that helps other people not be as scared and not see autism as a bad or scary thing. That when WE found out about Boo having autism, we didn’t know anyone else the same age who had it or what Boo’s life could possibly be like.
That’s why I write about it, I explained. To try and give people some hope. 
“Does that make any sense?” I asked. 
He said that it did, that he understood. 
“Do you want me to stop writing about it?” I asked. 
“No, it’s okay. It’s cool.” 
* * 
I don’t want to leave the house today. 
I don’t even want to get dressed. 
I’m still in my social media blackout (sorta). The Husband is giving me updates about Connecticut that I’ve read on Twitter, when I’ve (once again) snuck looks at it. He’s told me about the autism angle. I told him I saw that last night. 
I can’t do this. I’m too angry to do this. Not when the memory of my boy telling me that he wants a bulletproof vest is only (now) 10 days old. 
We need things at Costco. I get dressed, get myself into the car. Betty decides she wants to come with me for the samples and a possible Christmas gift for her teacher. 
A gift for her teacher. How can I say no? Today, I can’t. 
I drive up our street, see a flash of red and white knocking on the door of one of my neighbors’ houses. 
It’s Santa Claus. 
“Look, Betty!” I exclaim, before I drive out of sight. 
“Oh, wow ….” Betty breathes. 
I stare. Santa turns and waves at us. We wave back and smile. Thank you, Santa, I think. 
I realize I’ll lose the moment if I stop the car, reach into my purse for my phone, and take a photo for Facebook and the blog. I decide to just let it be, live it for what it is. 
I glance at Betty in the back seat. Her face is magic. 
She still Believes. 
And for just one single precious moment, so do I. 

I am an Amazon.com Affiliate. Making a purchase via any of the Amazon.com links on The Betty and Boo Chronicles will result in my earning a small percentage in commission, which will be used to support the upkeep of this blog, as well as the real-life versions of Betty and Boo. Thank you! copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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A Few Books Under the Tree

These are just some of the new books that were given and received for Christmas. (A few others have become scattered around the house, taken upstairs to read, etc. and I was too lazy to round them up for a photo op.)

Santa was very into book-giving this year. (Perhaps he reads this blog.) For Betty and Boo, he had these in his sack:

Several of the My Weird School books by Dan Gutman (they are very into this series, and they are among the ones upstairs right now)

Several of the books from Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry series, including
Horrid Henry’s Christmas
Horrid Henry’s Underpants
Horrid Henry and the Mega Mean Time Machine
Horrid Henry and the Mummy’s Curse
Horrid Henry and the Stinkbomb

Two Roald Dahl books – Fantastic Mr. Fox and The BFG (Betty’s class just finished reading The BFG, and she was thrilled to get her own copy.)

Santa also brought Taylor Swift: Love Story for Betty, and for Boo, a book about Duke Ellington with 21 different activities to do.

A few days ago, packages arrived from my aunt and uncle – Betty got a booklight and Meet Julie (one of the newest American Girls … from 1974! I remember 1974, so I have a little bit of hard time accepting this particular year as historical.) For Boo, If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong and a booklight.

From my in-laws, I got Stephanie O’Dea’s Make It Fast, Cook It Slow (based on her wonderful blog). I also gave this one to my mom (and made two recipes out of it before it was wrapped).

The Dean got Paul McCartney: A Life from his parents.

And rounding the pile out, more books from my mom. For the kids:
The Tallest of Smalls, by Max Lucado
Henry and the Paper Route, by Beverly Cleary
Socks, by Beverly Cleary
The Report Card
You Can’t Eat Your Chicken Pox, Amber Brown! by Paula Danzinger

And for me, a book of short stories (Ford County, by John Grisham) and two more cookbooks, The White House Cookbook (which is really neat … it’s a re-issue of the 1894 edition of the White House cookbook from Grover Cleveland’s time in the White House), and Vegetarian, which has some gorgeous photos.

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Thank You, Santa

Boo’s thank you letter to Santa.
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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and Santa’s a Wreck

I have no idea of the origin of this, but one of my friends just posted this on Facebook. Enjoy!

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and Santa’s a Wreck

Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck.
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to “Elves”.
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.
And labour conditions at the North Pole
were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!
The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.

And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their rooftops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called “Unenlightened.”
And to show you the strangeness of life’s ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorised use of his nose
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.

So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she’d enough of this life,
Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.
And as for the gifts, why, he’d never had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.
Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim, Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamoured or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls, or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacifistic.
No candy or sweets, they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.
For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.
No baseball, no football.someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, dishevelled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.¦
He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you’ve got to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.
Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere, even you.

So here is that gift, it’s price beyond worth.
May you and your loved ones, enjoy peace on Earth.

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Macy’s "Believe" Campaign and Make-A-Wish Foundation

‘Tis the season for making wishes come true. My friend Heather, who is an active volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey, told me tonight via Facebook about their campaign this holiday season with Macy’s stores throughout the country.

Kids can bring a letter to Santa to any Macy’s store to drop into a special mailbox, and for each letter, Macy’s will donate $1 (up to $1 million dollars) to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. If you don’t have a stamp, no worries … your letter will still make it to the Man with the Toys, because Macy’s will take care of the postage.

My friend Heather personally picks up the letters from her local Macy’s store and mails them to the North Pole. When you envision someone who fits the description of “dedicated volunteer,” this woman is it. A heart of gold, this girl has.

Other than my connection with Heather (which goes back more than 20 years to our college days … egads!) I have no connection with Macy’s or this campaign. I just think since so many kids (mine included!) are writing to Santa, this is a great, easy, and simple way to make all the other 364 days through the year much brighter for so many.

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Yes, Melissa, There Really Is a Santa Claus. (And He’s A Pervert.)

Remember little Virginia O’Hanlon? The 8 year old New York girl who wrote to the New York Sun asking if Santa was real and receiving what is now the infamous editorial, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” in reply?

Good thing she didn’t write to my local newspaper instead. Given the headline that was used for an article recently, she might have gotten more truth in reporting than she expected.

The newspaper was on our kitchen table this weekend for several hours before I picked it up (I was doing the Read-a-Thon, remember) and was promptly aghast at this headline:

Ex-Santa Arrested on Child Porn Charges

OK, now obviously this is wrong on so many levels. Set aside for a moment (just a moment) the hideous charges. (The story – which I’m not linking to here because I don’t want to encourage more risque search terms than I’m already going to attract with this post – goes into details about how he was also a child photographer and offered to make house calls – as creepo Santa! – to unsuspecting children.)

This story was on Page 1 of our Local Section – so, it wasn’t the front page per se, but the front page of the local section. Which, frankly, is the only section I read of my paper. Still, if the editors are listening (and I am Friends with two of them on Facebook and seriously considering sending them this post), I have to wonder … what the hell were they thinking??!! Clearly, someone wasn’t.

Kids who believe in Santa can read. Mine do, and can, and I’d like to keep it that way for as long as possible, thank you very much. I don’t have many years left of this, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want it to end this way. How would you explain that? (Hopefully I’m being vague enough here – lest any innocent eyes land on this blog post.)

Sadly, this pervert Santa is only one of the many messed up Misfit Toys out there this holiday season. No doubt we’re in for more reportage on Elves Gone Wild as Christmas draws closer.

So, here’s a tip to all you journalists out there. Take a lesson from the folks writing the editorial response to 8 year old Virginia who read the New York Sun, and remember that maybe an 8 year old might be within eyesight of your words. Kids may not be reading the paper per se (and sad to say, I almost wouldn’t want them to, given coverage like this) but for old farts like me who actually still do get a printed paper and have it on our kitchen tables next to our coffee, you might be well advised to consider that – like Old Saint Nick himself – children are watching and see everything.

In the meantime, to my local paper? Bah humbug … and may you find a piece of coal in your stocking as your punishment for that fine headline.
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