Carnival Time is Over!

Well Carnival season has finally come to an end and we are now in Lent. I’m not super-religious, and I’m not Catholic, but living in such a Catholic city, your schedule ends up revolving around their religious calendar.

an old skirt I repurposed with old mardi gras beads

I went to the mardi gras again, but this year was slightly different, albeit still fun. Most of the people I used to go to parades with have moved out of the city, and the rest of us are now on “real-world” work schedules. No longer are the days in grad school where I may have had one or two classes on the day of a parade, which I may or may not have attended. No longer can I schedule in my school-work around partying; I have to schedule partying around work hours. *sigh* So often I’d be racing home at 5 trying to beat road closures for the uptown parade, waiting on friends from downtown to somehow find their way uptown, and all of us drinking in a much less carefree manner knowing that we’d have to go to work the next day. I had a different kind of stamina: the stick-to-one-type-of-drink-all-night and don’t-stop-moving-lest-you-remember-that-you’re-tired. This season was also un-seasonably COLD. Of the three mardi gras seasons I’ve been here for, this was both the latest one and yet the coldest one.

mardi gras day, before the cold and rain soaked me to the bone

But given all of that, it was still a lot of fun. I took the time to make costumes; I planned outfits for the majority of parades that I went to; I finally made it to lundi gras festival; and I started mardi gras day downtown by being awoken to drunken skeletons banging on pots/pans/random metal objects and 6 AM. Other accomplishments include finally drinking (and finishing and enjoying) my first bloody mary–with copious amounts of spicy, pickled green beans. I think the situation was finally ideal for a bloody mary: mardi gras morning, breakfast time, rainy, 40 degrees, Zulu parade, and time to catch coconuts. And catch coconuts I did! Despite the frigid, wet weather, there were still a lot of people out on that parade route, but I managed to snag 11 coconuts, one of which I actually caught with my face (and I had the fat lip to prove it).

my coconuts!

This year, I’m doing a weird combo. My boyfriend is Ethiopian and is an Orthodox Christian. When they fast, they go hard!. No animal products (except seafood for whatever reason) and you’re supposed to fast until midday Mon-Fri (basically until after morning church services, which you’re supposed to attend everyday). I think there are probably a few other things they do as well, but I figure this is a good place to start for me. (btw: my boyfriend isn’t even going to fast with me! if that ain’t some mess…)

So I gave up animal products, except seafood, and like all my Catholic friends, I give myself Sunday as a cheat feast day. But on that day I only allow myself dairy products, mostly because I don’t want to develop lactose intolerance like I did last year. I also gave up liquor, limiting myself to beer and wine (I know, such a sacrifice), but I’m aiming to limit my intake of even that if I go out, and trying to keep drinking only to social occasions and not at home with dinner. Living in New Orleans, limiting alcohol intake can be a challenge, especially with St. Patrick’s day coming up, and basically any of the 5 million other festivals in the spring.

Also, exercise. I think this is going to be more of a challenge then abstaining from certain foods. The best time for me to ensure I workout is in the morning–when I don’t want to get out of bed. If I wait until after work, all I want to do is change into pajamas and sit. My ideal workout time is like 10 or 11 AM, but since there’s that little thing called my job, I guess I’m going to have to negotiate with myself to get up and get going. Eventually, this late winter/cold spring will be over, and I’d like to be ready to go to the beach. I should set an actual goal, maybe to get myself motivated, but…I’ve been doing a pretty terrible job at achieving them so far this year. What I want is to be able to do a real pistol squat (all the way down and back up); ideally 3 in a row on each leg. As well as to easily do 50 pushups in succession.

So: no meat (except seafood), no dairy (except sunday), no eating before 12:30 pm on Mon-Fri, no liquor, only drinking at social occasions and even then only 1-2 drinks, workout often, complete 3 pistol squats, and easily complete 50 pushups in a row. Challenge Accepted!