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Feb 18

Ah yes, Mardi Gras. Almost a week ago now. And just getting back to normal today.

I have spent today sorting beads. Something that before I came to live in New Orleans, I never thought a middle-aged man should be doing on a Monday morning.

You see, you get lots and lots of beads over the Carnival period (strictly speaking Mardi Gras is only one day). Some of these beads are worth less than one cent each, just little plastic, well, beads, strung together. But others are extremely elaborate, made of porcelain-type material, some light up, whilst some are throw-backs to the glass necklaces of yesteryear.

So yep, obviously you need to separate the wheat from the chaff, an expression from my childhood that I love to use whenever possible. It is doubly important this year because I will be riding in the St Patrick’s Day parade next month.

So I’ve spent hours and hours ploughing through the mounds of “stuff” we accumulated over the Mardi Gras period. Cuddly toys, miniature toilets, flyswatters, skull bracelets… you name it, it’s been piled up in our living room for days. Now it’s all sorted. Two bags full of plain beads which I can recycle and throw from the Finn McCool’s float next month. A bag full of stuffed animals I can dispense with love as well, and mixed in there are bouncy balls and novelty toothbrushes and such.

Then there is a bag full of krewe logo goodies, beads and toys and what-have-you which all bear the name of the parade from whence they came – those are for visitors, tourists, and much of it will be stuffed in my suitcase to be handed out when I go home in August.

And finally there is a lovely bead bag stuffed with lovely necklaces which are worth keeping, even after nine Mardi Grases (is that the proper plural?). That bag will join the other drawers full of lovely beads in one giant lovely bead collection. I feel we may need a lovely bead cull.

So there you have it. Post-Mardi Gras bead sorting. It’s a lot more work than you ever imagined, eh?