I planned to write an end-of-year letter to friends, but gave up and decided to turn it into a blog.
So, dear friends, 2021 was a year of missing pieces. No overseas trips, few social events, and no encounters with crowds.
Our only adventures were ones that involved saying a short prayer that everyone inside the restaurants and movie theaters we visited had been vaccinated.
In 2021, our farthest travel destinations were to a town sixty-seven and a half miles north of us and to a Native American museum—Hibulb Cultural Center– thirty-five miles away. Given the lack of other trips, both were wondrous adventures. In one, we were invited to join relatives of a friend for a sunny afternoon of food, storytelling and laughter. In the other, we learned more about the history of native peoples in our region and left with a desire to know more.
Though we spent a great deal of time at home, we were able to use this time wisely. While we couldn’t travel to Spain to refresh our Spanish, or return to Ireland to work on our “lilting brogue,” we have begun to study the Greek alphabet. We were already familiar with alpha, beta, and delta, and can’t understand why the World Health Organization skipped epsilon, zeta, eta, theta, iota, kappa, lambda, mu, nu, xi before landing on omicron.
Perhaps they should have opted for something one syllable in length and easily slipped into a sentence, such as, “I have not one iota of confidence that we can trust them to move from omicron directly to the next letter, ‘pi’.”
Some of these alphabetic symbols have meanings, e.g., theta means ‘thick,’ as in, “I can’t believe how many theta-heads there are out there who won’t get vaccinated.” Omicron means ‘off.’ “Wouldn’t it be lovely if the virus skittered omicron soon.” This awkward sentence further supports the choice of epsilon to follow delta. And since epsilon means ‘end,’ it would have sent a strong signal that the virus needed to leave.
What did we do when we weren’t studying? We didn’t have as much time for self-improvement as we would have liked, because we had to go grocery shopping, bake, and eat. Our monthly visa bills were proof that nothing has been more important during the pandemic than visits to QFC, Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Costco. Clothes hems are fraying, holes are appearing on the knees of our jeans (making them very fashionable), and weeds are taking over our garden, but our bellies are full and the shape of our bodies reminiscent of muffins, mind you, homemade muffins.
Baking cookies replaced dining out on our agendas. Now that it’s the holiday season, we have expanded our repertoire from oatmeal raisin and sesame tahini cookies to chocolate/pumpkin and cranberry/orange breads, chocolate truffles, and madeleines. I’m planning one more bake-athon for cranberry/date bars. On the healthy side of the menu, we’ve been turning out loaves of Irish brown bread, crusty lunkers so weighty that only a crane can lift, and full of flavor.
When not in the kitchen, Ann still writes, and Greg continues to build guitars.
That sums up our year. We are grateful to have kept healthy (no colds in two years), spent time with friends, been able to return to our YMCA to exercise, and added to our streaming subscriptions.
May you and your families be safe and healthy, your holidays sweet, and the coming year mask-free.