Saturday, January 1, 2022

Christmas Cookies and COVID Cooties

2021, you really didn't need to take Betty White from us, too. That was just adding injury to insult (and injury).

My year wasn't all bad, by any means. It did have some bad moments early on: namely, the debacle with getting the right kind of COVID-19 test within 72 hours of flying to Brazil with my mom in January, and then having the Lyft we were taking to the airport get T-boned and totalled ten minutes after we'd been picked up. On the other hand, a sushi-filled Valentine's dinner with my love, and then a spa day with a couples massage at SoJo Spa Club two weeks later, were both awesome. My employer, Microwize Technology, moved its Paramus headquarters to a smaller but sexier suite in the same office building. We attended our first (and only, thus far) pandemic wedding together in the spring, and were relieved to do some outdoor dining and drinking down the shore in the summer. I fed many, many squirrels, both on my own and with my mom. I've invested a wee little bit in cryptocurrency, Ether to be precise. My girlfriend and I had a weekend stay in Cape May, taking in an amazing meal and a fun railbiking experience. I managed to get to the New York Renaissance Faire and see some friends. Writing/editing/proofreading for a healthcare-oriented quarterly magazine? Check. She gave me a ukulele for my birthday, and as I'm learning to play it, I've started incorporating it into a new song I'm writing (having written and recorded another new one earlier in the year). She and I watched "Squid Game" and were fascinated in spite of ourselves. Finally took in my first in-person concert (the Indigo Girls) since - gasp! - February 2020 with a friend, and did some hiking on Pyramid Mountain with another. A second spa day? Yeah, we had to. In fact, I think this is going to become a regular thing for us. I got to see some old grammar/high school friends for the first time in over a decade, attended another friend's pandemic 50th birthday party, got Christmas cookies from yet another friend, and got to see my honey on Christmas Eve before heading to my mom's. The company is doing well, and the rest of the management team and I may be visiting our affiliated company in Egypt together next year. I even got around to starting "Black Mirror," and you were right, Ahmed, I do enjoy it, a lot.

But yeah, there was pain and nuisance and death in 2021, too. I lost family in Brazil, on both my mom's and my dad's sides, some I hadn't gotten to know well (or at all) and some I knew very well indeed and miss dearly. My girlfriend and I suffered a wasp sting each (from the same wasp, I'm certain) within ten seconds of each other. That attractive new office space is also louder, which sometimes grates on me. The Web hosting service I'd been with for two decades lost my trust and my business by not delivering prompt and honest updates when a planned server migration turned into two days of down time for my sites, and longer for some others; the sticking point wasn't the down time, however, it was the lack of communication and transparency on the part of MacHighway, and so I pulled my sites and started over with someone else. The old friends I saw late in the year for the first time in forever? It was unfortunately because we'd scrambled to get to Florida to visit the deathbed of another of our friends we hadn't even known was battling (and succumbing to) cancer, though at least we did get to see him one last time. Cancer sucks, losing friends and family members sucks, and though it's been six and a half years since the first loss I really felt, it just does not get any easier. The list of people I miss grows longer... time to try reconnecting with those I can still reach.

What's that? Oh, yeah, the COVID cooties. Well, after three doses of the Pfizer vaccine with nothing but a sore arm each time, and making my way through over 20 months of the pandemic unscathed... I got scathed on Christmas Eve. 😳 Though neither of us knew it at the time, my honey was infected when we saw each other that evening. She started feeling sick the next day and tested positive soon thereafter, by which time my throat had started feeling scratchy.

So I've been quaralating (quarantining/isolating) this week and will continue to do so for the next few days, though I'm happy to report that we're both starting to feel better. I actually had a flu experience once that was much more intense but over a shorter period of time; nonetheless, this was bad enough, and I don't doubt that it would've been worse had I not been vaccinated. I still don't like trap music, though, so I never lost my sense of taste. (Also, I'm certain that those Christmas cookies helped me survive, so thank you, Rhonda!)

Got two worthy causes before I sign off, in case you've somehow gotten through the holidays with a little cash and charity to spare. One is to help South African students finish high school (the organizer, Nicol, is a friend who grew up in South Africa herself): Movin' right along, the other seeks to restore the car from "The Muppet Movie" (see what I did there?): If you can donate to and/or share either of these GoFundMe campaigns, it would be most appreciated.

I hope everyone is safe, healthy, and happy, or will be so soon if you're not right now, and I wish us all a better New Year in 2022. 🎉

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