The Year+ (and Counting) of Covid

So . . . we’ve been back in the U.S. for over a year now. And, boy, have our lives changed.

A duck at Audubon Park in New Orleans.
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Happy Yardi Gras, Y’all

Yes, yes, I know that Mardi Gras is done, dusted, and over for the year. But, just like Christmas decorations stay up after Christmas day, the Yardi Gras spirit continues for just a little while longer.

One of my favorite house floats. The old ladies crack me up. Big Freedia is in the house!
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Happy Mardi Gras, Y’All

So when the powers that be decreed that Mardi Gras 2020 was cancelled, residents of New Orleans didn’t cry or scream or pout or sulk.

OK, fine, I’m pretty sure they actually did do all of those things.

But then, they put on their big boy and girl panties, grabbed a king cake and a big ole drink, and came up with safe ways to celebrate Mardi Gras during a pandemic. One of those ways is Floats in the Oaks.

Remember Celebration in the Oaks at Christmas? Floats in the Oaks is same same, but different. (God, do we miss Thailand and everything being same same but different.)

City Park worked with various Mardi Gras krewes to put together a stationary “parade” of something like 40 floats.

We chose to go at night, and that was good and bad. First, we waited in line for nearly an hour to get in, even though all tickets were sold for certain times. Not good. And, it was really hard to get good photos because there were various street lights on and the car was so damn close to the floats.

But, by going at night, we got to start our tour with some pretty cool lights..

Floats in the Oaks sure isn’t anything like a real Mardi Gras (we can’t wait for next year, which is going to be out of control!), but this year we will take it and be happy with it.

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Final Thoughts on 2020

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but 2020 sucked.  I know, I know, it sucked for absolutely everyone, some more than others. But, no Schneiduk PigFish wrap up of 2020 can start by saying anything other than “2020 sucked.”

Bogota Street Art.
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Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park

Well, we did it. We got off the couch, turned off Hulu/Netflix/Amazon Prime/ESPN+/Peacock, grabbed our hand sanitizer, put on our three-layer masks, and made our way to the Besthoff sculpture garden in City Park. Two outings in one week. Will wonders never cease?

Mother and Child by Fernando Botero.
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Celebration in the Oaks

Whooo hooo! We actually got out of the house and did something. What a novelty!

Anyway . . . we rented a car and, after spraying half a can of disinfecting spray all over the interior and then wiping the car down with disinfecting wipes, we made our way to Celebration in the Oaks, a holiday lights festival in City Park. According to the signs at the entrance, there were over one million lights.

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Thoughts on the U.S. election

We woke up the morning of the election terrified for the soul of the nation. We were depressed and disheartened. But, we had a teeny, tiny bit of hope. As the election returns slowly trickled in election night, and our stomachs twisted in knots, that hope was squashed like a bug on a windshield. As the days went by, and as mail-in votes were counted, that hope slowly unfurled and tentatively poked its head back out and looked around. And, finally, on a dreary Saturday morning, we heard the news we had been waiting for — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won! It was a time for ugly crying by me (tears of happiness and relief, releasing a level of stress I didn’t even know I was carrying) and laughing and catching up with like-minded friends and drinking bubbles. For a brief moment, we (and people all around the world) celebrated the end to a long national nightmare.

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We survived our first hurricane

So, when we moved to New Orleans, we knew hurricanes might be a problem. Little did we know a strong category two hurricane would blow through shortly after we arrived…

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Traveling during covid

Minneapolis in winter is cold and snowy and so very, very dark. As it became clear that we weren’t going to be able to leave the U.S. due to covid anytime soon, it also became clear we were going to have to find a place to spend the winter and that most definitely wasn’t in Minneapolis.

I know, I know, some of you are asking yourselves why we felt we couldn’t leave the U.S. when Mexico and a handful of other places are allowing in Americans. Hello? Remember the worldwide pandemic? Anyone? We recognize that we are on the extreme end of the spectrum, but we don’t feel like anyone should be traveling around the world (or even around the country) for fun during a pandemic (or eating indoors or visiting museums or going to bars or going to the movies or having family reunions, etc., etc.). Is that bad for the travel and hospitality industries? Yes, of course. You know what is even worse? Prolonging this virus because people won’t do what it takes to get the virus under control. And, when we read posts from stupid Americans specifically looking for places outside the U.S. where mask rules are not being enforced so they could vacation without being “inconvenienced” and posts from stupid Americans that refused to follow quarantine rules in places like the U.K., that pretty much sealed the deal for us. We had to find a place in the U.S.

Flowers at the Chicago Botanical Garden.
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Final thoughts on Minnesota

We’ve made our way out of Minnesota. Spending a winter in the dark, cold, snowy climate just so wasn’t in the cards for us. So, we found a realtor in New Orleans and booked ourselves an apartment for six months. More on that later. For the time being, here are some thoughts on our time in Minnesota.


Franconia Sculpture Park

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