Part 1: New Orleans
Blake and I went to New Orleans last week for a CLE conference/mini-vacation. For the first time in a long time, we experienced 0 delays and 0 cancelled flights. We made all of our connections with plenty of time to spare and didn't lose a single piece of luggage. But, mama came down with a sore throat that has put a little bit of a damper on things. I really could have done with more sleep, less cough drops, and 8 fewer trips to Wal-Greens. I also could have done with more hurricanes and have decided that Creole food is not really my thing.
Sickness, red beans and rice for every meal, and Bourbon-Street-sans-alcohol aside, I'm really glad that we had a chance to visit New Orleans. It is a unique city with a rich history, beautiful architecture, and modern tragedy. We took a bus tour that wound us through the French Quarter to the Garden District (where we drooled over the mansions of people like the Mannings (see below) and Sandra Bullock) to City Park and the Ninth Ward.
I wasn't really sure what to expect of the Katrina-struck parts of the city, but what we saw was just as bad. The population in some places is only at 30% of what it was pre-Katrina. Re-building has definitely begun, but in some areas, the new average home price is almost double what it was pre-Katrina = some people can't afford to move back into their old neighborhoods. Also, a lot of the businesses have yet to return, meaning that the people don't have easy access to things like a grocery store. And, even if you can and do move back to the Ninth Ward, while the flood wall has been repaired and enhanced, it's still right there, holding back water that is much higher than your new roof.
Still, the people seem pretty satisfied with what they have and are determined to continue the rebuilding of their ever-sinking city. Makes me relish the comforts and relative safety from natural disasters of home.
Part 2: Marriage is Long-Term
Earlier this month, Blake's grandparents celebrated 60 years of marriage! This amazing accomplishment of course warranted a gathering of family and friends. Said gathering took place on Saturday and was really a nice time. Even though I wasn't feeling so hot (see above and below) it put a smile on my face to see Blake's grandparents still together, helping one another, remembering old times, and basking in the glow of the love and admiration of their friends and family. Blake's grandmother's wedding gown was on display and it has stood the test of time - still as beautiful and pristine as the day she wore it.
As Blake and I get ready to start a family, I've been thinking more and more about how our commitment to one another and to our marriage is only just beginning. We've always agreed that marriage is forever and we've been blessed by amazing role models of the type of commitment marriage takes. My paternal grandparents have also been married for 60 years. My maternal grandparents, I have no doubt, would still be married were my grandfather alive. Blake's parents have been married for over 30 years. My parents were married for nearly 30 years when my mom passed away and I have no doubt that they would also still be married otherwise. I know that divorce is inevitable for some and that some marriages need to end, but I look at our family and know that for us, it will not be an option, no matter how tough it gets. I wish for us and for all of our married friends the same kind of stick-to-it-iveness that Blake's grandparents have been demonstrating for 60 years.
Part 3: The Flu
Well, I don't know if it's actually the flu. I got a flu/HINI shot a couple of months ago, so my un-sophisticated medical mind tells me that I therefore cannot have the flu or HINI... but, nevertheless, I am experiencing some serious flu-like symptoms. Saturday night, I went to bed with the same congestion and sore throat I'd had all week in New Orleans. I woke up Sunday feeling pretty much the same and just really tired. I ate oatmeal for breakfast, some soup for lunch, and downed the fluids. Somewhere between the cheese stick I ate while watching Sex in the City II and halftime of the Colts game, though, the cold morphed. All of the fluids I'd been diligently consuming (and the cheese) no longer wanted to inhabit my body. Result - what seems like hours retching over the toilet until I couldn't breathe or see. Fun stuff. Doctor says there's a nasty virus going around and that there's not much to do but wait it out. Awesome. So... I'm here in bed, at noon on Monday, waiting it out. And boy do I look pretty.