Oh, my, omicron


The latter half of the year somehow gave me a false sense of hope that things were getting better. People were getting vaccinated despite a prevailing minority refusing to  get the jab, and cases were supposedly in decline.  We didn’t let our guard down.  

With the appearance of the Delta variant, there was a slight tweak to relaxing covid restrictions.  In what, to me, was a baby step back, masking in all public places went back to effect.  In the office where we had been allowed to take off our masks in common office areas and only donning them in common areas in the building at large, we went back to masking everywhere beyond our immediate workspace.  A small sacrifice and just a tad more caution which was still nothing compared to the lockdowns of the earlier months of the pandemic.

Nothing  changed in my routine.  

I still went to the office 2 to 3 times a week.  I masked indoors and outdoors.  I went through a 4 hour and 25 minute flight from New York to Texas without taking off my mask, only to discover that in Austin, people weren’t really masking up.  In contrast with New York where masking was the norm and those not in compliance’s got THE look, my son and I felt the odd ball out wearing the masks we had gotten used to, so we took them off. I am happy to report that our vaccines held up and we went home healthy and untouched by covid.

Grand Central 12.23.21

The last couple of days, though, have changed the picture drastically.  Suddenly, cases are doubling or tripling.  Lines snaking around the block (not just the corner) where the  urgent care centers and testing clinics are, are now commonplace.  Companies like ours have pushed back the return to office of their employees from January to March.    We are hearing of countries closing their borders again, reminiscent of the early months of covid.

Long lines for testing at one of the mobile sites on 42nd Street

I personally feel a sense of dread.

While I am vaccinated and in line to get my booster shot on Monday,(December 27), I feel boxed in and afraid again.  I know I should have faith in Pfizer, but I have never considered it an iron clad shield against covid in all instances.

What to do.

I have a week’s respite from going to the office because of the holidays, and I am secretly hoping we are requested to work remotely again.  Or maybe I will be able to shore up enough confidence to battle my covid demons before I am required to go back to the routine of working in the office so many days in a week.

Fingers crossed.  

New York, for the most part, is almost back to normal as far as the holiday crowds are concerned.  The tourists are back, with many tourist buses crowding the main thoroughfares again.  That’s both good and bad given the thought that each one of those is possibly carrying the variant. But I try to think of the positive and hope the businesses relying on tourism start to recover.  The masking mandate is in full effect.  Vaccination required in the offices now, even.  But omicron doesn’t listen to mandates.  

Rockefeller Center 12.23.21

Just when we started thinking that maybe we were beginning to get ahead of this, it starts on a sprint again and then races off leaving us in the dust.  And so we brace for it.

Travel Journal: Postcards from Austin

Through the years, one of the things I’ve always enjoyed doing has been to send postcards back home, addressed to my son. At first, it was more of the postcard collector in me, even if my focus has always been on getting the postcards mint and keeping them that way. But after I sent back the first few postcards, I found it to be a meaningful way to create a story of our travels and vacations. Others do scrapbooks, I do postcards.

His Dad and I had taken to writing postcards early on, with him sending me a postcard or two from wherever he went on business trips without me, or wherever we went on vacation. When our son came, I started addressing the postcards to him. It didn’t matter that he was too small to read them. I wanted to have them ready for when he was older, so he can continue the conversation in postcards.

So I always travel with a postcard mailing kit I keep in a handy holder – usually a hard plastic zip pouch. The important thing was that it was compact enough to fit in my purse, and sturdy enough to keep the postcards from getting banged up. I had:

  • Stamps on the ready in the denomination I would need it.  Unless I was traveling to an overseas destination, in which case I would get this upon my arrival.
  • Address labels with his name and our address on it – because I’ve been caught in a situation where I would buy the postcard and write on it at the same time and go look for a mailbox.  Having preprinted address labels for him and friends I meant to send postcards to made it so much easier.
  • Airmail or other stickers and pens – so I can whip them out when I got a break, while I was in the car, or later in the day when everyone was asleep and I could write on my postcards.
  • The postcards come last as I get those from the area we are visiting.

For our trip to Austin, I actually ordered some LouPaper postcards of Texas ahead which I decorated, addressed and wrote on, with the intention of sending them out to fellow postcard collectors from there . Upon arriving at the airport, I immediately scoured the magazine and souvenir stores for the all too familiar postcard racks, and grabbed a few. I try not to splurge here because I know they are usually pricier than the usual souvenir postcards found in tourist traps in my destination, but they also tend to be of a different line and quality. True enough, the postcards at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport were not the same postcards I found in other stores. When I buy postcards, I try to buy at least 2 of each, with one to keep, and one to send home. If a particular postcard looked interesting and I remember a friend who might want one, I buy an extra or two.

By the time I landed at the hotel, I had a dozen or so postcards which I kept in my bag and took with me everywhere, hoping to do some postcard selfies along the way. (And we did manage to do this – but that’s for another blogpost.)

There have been vacations where I sent as little as 2 postcards, and as much as more than 20. It depends on whether or not there are enough postcards available, enough things to write about and the time to do it. But this trip was special because it’s only the second vacation my son and I have taken just by ourselves, and this was most special for the shared memories.


LouPaper Texas postcard

11/7/21: Love that we got to do this together despite the pandemic. It’s been so much fun making new memories with you. We haven’t done this in years! Love you! Mum


“I love you so much”, Artist: Amy Cook, est, 2010, over at Jo’s Hot Coffee, Austin, TX

Postcards sent from Austin

11/7/21: I read about this even before we got here, so it was nice to be able to find a postcard, and actually see it and post next to it with you. (Thank you, Dusty!) And yes, MAMA LOVES YOU SO MUCH. Always, in all ways. Mum


Greetings from Texas

Postcards sent from Austin

11/7/21: Thank you for patiently sitting through lunch with Pearson, Keoni and Caspian. You sat there and let us catch up, quietly letting Mama have her moment with them. I love that photo of you and Caspian walking back to the car. You are so good with kids… it’s because they know you have a kind heart. Love you always— Mum.


Mr. Rogers (mural), Artist: NIZ

Postcards sent from Austin

11/7/21: Another iconic mural we got to see in person.  That pedicab tour was well worth the money.  You and I sat through it speeding through the streets, narrow alleys and walkways of Austin.  I know you enjoyed it, too.  I am so glad we got the chance to take this trip together.  I wish we could go on more fun vacations – just you and I.  Love you!  Mum


Greetings from Texas, the Lone Star State

Postcards sent from Austin

11/7/21:  DID I EVER TELL YOU how lovely and heartwarming it feels when you put an arm around my shoulders and hold me close as we walk?  That has always been one of the best things that happened since you shot past me.  I remember you used to do that even when you weren’t quite so tall and It was awkward for you, but you still did it as we walked.  I hope you will never tire of doing that. Mama loves that.  Sometimes, I wish you wouldn’t grow up so fast, but this is one instance when it’s okay.  Love yout o pieces.. Mum

[6] Welcome to Texas

Postcards sent from Austin

11/7/21:  THANK YOU FOR ALL THE FAB PICTURES AND THE LOVELY MEMORIES… I know that you don’t always like it when I want to take pictures of us — but I can’t help it.  I was doing selfies with a real cam, not even a smartphone, way before selfies were a thing.  I somehow mastered focusing w/o seeing what the camera was covering.  So many nice pictures in this trip because you let me click away. LOVE THAT!  Mum

[7]  Hampton.com

Postcards sent from Austin

11/9/21:  I almost missed this postcard tucked into the information packet in the room.  We didn’t get to see much of Marble Falls but I think we did well on this vacation, making a lot of memories.  Loved having spent all this time with you.  Can’t wait for our next Mom-Son vacay.  Love always, Mum

I had actually acquired quite a hefty bunch of postcards from all over Austin and I’m quite happy with these 7 I sent back. So many memories tucked into each one. I can’t help but reread them as I scanned them, and I know I will be going back to these postcards in the next couple of weeks and more. Even now, as I am typing away, my heart is smiling.

Postcards from. Austin