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December 29, 2022: Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays and end-of-year greetings to you!

From the bottom of my heart, I hope that you and those dear to you are healthy and well and have made it through 2022 without major incident. But if you were faced with more difficulties than you bargained for, I hope your year is closing on a brighter note.

To continuing and new subscribers, as well as those who don’t subscribe (but I hope will), I thank you immensely for tuning into my website’s travel, food, and drink stories; photo essays (new this year); and my Diary Column musings that I passionately write and share with you. I embrace the “likes” and fun comments of those who relate to the sentiments of my tales. A lovely follower told me that she looks forward to reading my stories before going to bed. Thank you, Jackie. If my efforts help you to unwind, it has been my humble pleasure. Many thanks also for your patience when I have been MIA (missing in action) for short stretches between posts. My days manage to get away from me, too!

It has been almost three years since I launched my site at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic -- March 13, 2020. Soon after, life-saving medical advances clamped down on the rise of infectious cases and hospitalizations. And most everyone did their part wearing face masks to help mitigate spread of the virus. As case numbers went down, our hopes for an end to the pandemic soared. I wish I could say we are out of the woods, but that thought has been dashed with the flu and RSV thrown into this winter’ mix. Most people are no longer wearing masks, cases are rising again, and hospital wards are maxing out.

Indeed, a lot has changed, a lot has stayed the same, and COVID is here to stay.

Just as my family was preparing to spend this Christmas Eve with relatives in San Clemente by the beach, we decided to test for the virus the day before to be sure all is clear. We had evaded catching COVID for almost three years. Louie did, however, have what appeared to be an innocent cough.

I tested negative. But not Louie. We stared down at the test tray and couldn’t believe two stripes were staring back at us. “It” finally got him. How he got it, we will never know for sure. But on a recent morning Louie, who usually wears a mask when he walks Paloma, left home without it. He stepped into our local Starbucks to pick up the espresso that I had ordered for him on my Starbucks app. It was crowded with holiday goers, and none were wearing masks. He recalled a man standing nearby sneezing without covering his mouth. Yuk.

After a second positive test, we faced the music that we would not be celebrating Christmas as a group. So, we put on our big boy and big girl undies. I immediately called our doctor who prescribed Paxlovid, the wonder med for people “old” like us.

Thankfully, Louie’s only symptom was a mild cough. No scratchy throat, no congestion, no fever, no fatigue. In fact, he was so energetic, he cooked our Christmas meal – heavenly albondigas soup (he double checked that the virus is not transmissible through food). It was an odd and quiet Christmas Day. No kiss under the mistletoe.

And like trying to dance together, it was a challenge adapting to our new reality in our 1,000 square-foot home with a narrow hallway and one bathroom. Louie was better at being paranoid than I was because he didn’t want me to catch it. “Get away!” he would tell me politely through his mask as we tried to tango around the house without touching. He sanitized everything he put his hands on. And following doctor’s orders to rest, drink lots of liquids and to take Paxlovid for five days, Louie tested negative on the fourth day and remains negative. We can’t be more grateful for his fast recovery, especially because each winter Louie falls victim to the flu that wreaks havoc on his respiratory system.

Since Christmas, I have heard one person after another tell me that they or someone dear to them has the virus. Please, let’s not let down our guard. Mask up. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. And cover your mouth when you sneeze.

Gracias a Dios, we will be able to welcome the New Year as a family.




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Louie’s albondigas soup looks yummy. There‘s nothing like homemade soup this time of year. It’s perfect for the wet, chilly days we’re having.

And there’s nothing quite like your blog. Your thoughtful writing touches my heart and is so comforting to read. Thank you Athena. Happy New Year.

Athena Lucero
Athena Lucero
Dec 30, 2022
Replying to

Thank you, Maria! Your kind words mean a lot to me :)

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