For those of you who do not live in or near New Orleans, you may not be aware of the madness that begins to take over the city in January after Twelfth Night (hey, isn't that a Shakespeare play?). For me, it's difficult to imagine going back to a world where folks don't celebrate Mardi Gras. Life without Mardi Gras, after all, would be just plain boring. No King Cake, no cheap plastic beads, no parades for two weeks straight, no excuse to start getting boozed up on Friday night and stay that way well into the following Tuesday. Mardi Gras Day is one of the few times in a year where it is acceptable to start drinking at breakfast (screwdrivers make for excellent MG breakfast food) and continue to imbibe until you simply can't walk another step to another bar (because your feet are tired, not because you're too drunk - okay, maybe because you're too drunk).
Mardi Gras, however, is also one of those times in the year where I spend a lot of time reflecting back (to previous Mardi Gras days, to friends long gone, etc). For myself and some other New Orleanians, Mardi Gras is the unofficial new year - it is how we measure how the time passes from year to year. The cycle of life in New Orleans really seems to revolve around Mardi Gras. It's the ultimate party, the ultimate celebration of everything. It's the end of a period of festivities that starts around October and Halloween (which is just a rehearsal for Mardi Gras, really) and it is the beginning of the period that kicks off Jazz Fest season. It is a marathon of celebrating and remembering.
So even though January 1st is our technical New Year, Mardi Gras is my personal New Year. And I'm hoping that this one goes more smoothly than the last.
Last year, as you may know, The Saints (otherwise known as the only football team I will ever love) WON THE FRICKIN SUPERBOWL. New Orleanians continue to reflect back on this proudly as our symbol of success, validation, and civic pride. Because that happened so close to Mardi Gras, there was an enormous parade thrown for the team (starring the team) in addition to all the regularly scheduled Mardi Gras parades we have every year (there are A LOT). Mardi Gras was dubbed Lombardi Gras. And it was good. It was fan-fucking-tastic even as everyone reveled in their black and gold and shared the love (in a place where there can be so much animosity and in-fighting). H and I got engaged and we enjoyed it for a time.
A short time. When I count out all the shit that went terribly, terribly wrong last year it is completely mind-boggling to me that I've come out the other side with my sanity (somewhat) intact. I won't bore you with the details (but let's just say that unemployment was only the tip of the iceberg). I'm really shocked that H still wants to hang out with me - I think we're getting a good dose of our "for worses" in early. Time for some "for betters," please.
So, with a renewed wedding optimism I've resubscribed to some wedding blog feeds (just a few) and I've started contacting vendors again and thinking about realistic wedding prettiness. This is all so much less daunting now that I have a budget number - I have guidelines. I highly recommend knowing your budget number before you EVER look at a blog or a magazine. It was way too stressful for me to work with unknowns but maybe that's just the Taurus in me. But now the brainstorming has begun in earnest. H even bought me a copy of the DIY Bride the other day ('cause he's awesome).
And I will totally start working on crafty wedding projects...just as soon as I've made my Mardi Gras costume and partied my butt off with all the people who are in town for the occasion.