I don’t know about you, but Christmas in 2020 seems like it was a very long time ago – maybe two or three years ago. And for that matter, all of 2020 seems but a distant memory – that is, those parts of it I can remember. Does this sound at all familiar? I refer to it as “Pandemic Time Dilation/Displacement Syndrome” (PTDDS).
During 2021, we kept soldiering on, no matter the circumstances. We sought out our three doses of Moderna as soon as each became available. And flu shots. Life was slowly returning to the familiar, but lately there have been some setbacks. That can feel demoralizing. For us, the only possible antidote is practicing-mustering-realizing thankfulness for all the blessings we have experienced: not just in the past, but every day. So easy to forget…
Is it possible that Omicron will prove to be an important turning point – for the better – in the pandemic? It is too early to know, but there is a hope that higher infection rates, coupled with milder symptoms, might spell a transition of COVID-19 to an endemic disease, with a much more manageable, and less dangerous, future.
Christina Andersen Floral Design is now 23, with all but the first year at the Monroe Center (a former Levolor Blinds factory) in Hoboken. After essentially coming to a halt in 2020, business has substantially recovered. In June, Chris received a Hoboken Green Business Award from the Mayor at an outdoor ceremony, a part of the Hoboken Green Fair, spotlighting businesses that follow sustainable practices, as a positive example to the rest of the business and general community. This is the sixth year in a row that CAFD has been so honored. In October she decided to throw herself a “boosted birthday bash”. In an effort to stay physically and emotionally fit, she continues yoga and has restarted almost daily walking. A wonderful year-end distraction was the baking of family-tradition Christmas cookies, especially Pepparkakor, to which Martin was introduced as part of the marriage pact.
Most of his musical activities have remained virtual: private lessons and NJSO youth orchestra coaching via Skype and Zoom, plus symphony home recording projects. The Symphony’s virtual gala in April spotlighted the 30th anniversary of the NJSO youth orchestras: Martin was feted as one of two musicians who have coached in the program from its inception. At long last, the full orchestra resumed live performances in October. The elaborate safety protocols for musicians, staff, and audiences are a pain, but of course necessary. Also this fall, Martin was invited to teach part-time at nearby Stevens Institute of Technology. He remains active as chair of the NJSO musician committee; and was just re-elected to a three-year term on the Executive Board of the music union Local. He will finish his final term on the Vestry of All Saints Episcopal Church next June. In June Martin risked flying, making a (long-overdue) visit to his mom in Palm Springs, remaining there 22 days. There was a lot to do, and he and mom had a fine time together. Her health, at 91, is good; she continues to live independently, with help from her friends and neighbors, particularly Anita Vavere and Emil Oana. On Christmas Eve, Martin played viola at All Saints in a string quartet along with five singers (vaccinated, distanced, masked), live-streamed instead of having live church attendance. The next day, participants received a message that our priest had tested positive for COVID-19. Thankfully no one else involved in the service caught the virus, and our priest has recovered fully, after mild symptoms.
For a second year in a row, we did not travel to Wyoming in August for Grand Teton Music Festival/vacation. The festival did resume this year, but we were not confident about our safety. Really missing our friends, the music, and the mountains, we’re hoping to return next season.
In July we enjoyed attending two outdoor-vaccinated-socially-distanced chamber music concerts, performed by NJSO colleagues in the gardens of the Newark Museum. Good music, beautiful weather, a real breath of fresh air.
In September we decided to repeat last year’s vacation destination – Salem County in upstate New York – since it was derivable and because we had such a good time being there last year. Once again, we stayed at Bunker Hill Inn, spending time with our innkeeper and friend Laura Coldwell, with whom Martin played some flute/violin duets. We were able to explore the area in greater depth, and also had several visits with Pat Lamb and Jack Isgro, whom we had met the year before through our Hoboken friend Jane Kober. Jane actually came up to Salem for a few days while we were there. We definitely see ourselves returning to the area often. September saw the 20th anniversary remembrance of the 9/11 tragedy. As eyewitnesses to those events and their aftermath, it brought back vivid memories and strong feelings of those poignant times.
Christmas holiday in-person get-togethers had to be scrapped because of a few positive (mild) cases amongst our friends and family, but we have been kee ping in touch on the computer screen, on the telephone, and via email (like this one). We were able to meet outdoors with friends on New Year’s Eve around Susan Copeland and Brian Mynard’s fire pit; and spent New Year’s Day in Brooklyn with Chris’s sister and brother-in-law Melinda and Peter (rapid testing all around). On January 5th dared a meal at Halifax restaurant (they are one of Chris’ flower accounts; had 20 feet of space to the next table that night) as we reflected on 31 years of marriage, having a great meal as we enjoyed our own private game of “name that classical tune/music trivia” while listening to the piped-in sound system.
Hoping your holiday season has been at least pretty good; and wishing us all a better 2022.
Martin and Christina