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As anyone knows, there are always many facets to making a HUGE life decision.  There are good points, bad points, points you think don’t matter (then discover they do) and things you never thought of that someone points out to you.

I am in the midst of looking at one of those HUGE life decisions.  I am (don’t freak out) THINKING of taking a step back from ballooning.

Now, before you all grab your phones, open Facebook and start inundating me with messages, hear me out.

(Waits for you to take a deep breath and put down/step away from your communication device.)

Ok.  This doesn’t mean I am giving up my AAAA Board position, it doesn’t mean I will never fly again, it doesn’t mean I won’t continue to be active in ballooning and the community and it doesn’t mean I am putting Blew up for sale … it means just what it sounds like — a step back.    Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Ballooning is expensive.  It is expensive for people with a 2 income household.  I am ONE PERSON.  I make ONE INCOME.  I pay for all my own propane, repairs, annual, insurance, diesel, truck insurance, gas for the fan, registration fees (yes, you get some of them back, but not all) travel expenses for out of town rallies, tailgate food and drink … all of it.  Think about the cost that incurs.  On one income. Yes, my crew is AWESOME about pitching in for tailgate, but that is a small portion of it.  I did some math the other day and just keeping legal — Annual and Insurance (on the average) is $1600 a year.  And it hasn’t even been loaded into the truck yet.  It is just legal to fly the system at this point.
  2. I am one person.  While I do have AMAZING friends who help me out A LOT, I am still ONE PERSON.  One person making sure I have all the balloon stuff together at night.  One person making sure all the stuff makes it to the launch field.  One person making the coffee, feeding the dogs and doing the other 30 things that have to be done in the morning before I can even LEAVE for the launch field.  Now let’s turn that into the 9 days of Fiesta.  It would be AMAZING to have someone around to help gather the radios, feed the dogs, make the coffee, help get the tailgate stuff together… all of that individually is easy, but when you are one person trying to do it all it is hard.  And most of the time, even with a checklist, I forget something …
  3. Yes, I make a comfortable living, but I would like to go on a vacation.  Not a vacation where I have to drive there and get up at 5 AM either.  A vacation where I can sleep in and drink all night if I want to.  A vacation that involves an ocean or a city I can see walking through it … nor flying over it.  Fun fact:  Do you know I have not had a non-ballooning vacation since 2014 when my cousin Jen PAID for me to go visit her and assured me it wouldn’t cost me anything?  Yup.  Before that?  My honeymoon.  Before I was a pilot.  Think about that.  Right now I work to fly … and as much as I love it, I am feeling like there might be other things I can do that would also bring me joy.
  4. A house.  I would LOVE to buy a house.  Not that I don’t LOVE my landlords or my current apartment, but I would love to have a place I can call my own.  A place I can add a doggie door if I want, a place I can paint all the walls red if I want and a place I can really put down roots and make MINE.

So I am thinking of taking a step back.  I don’t know what that will look like yet, but if anyone has been in a similar situation, I would LOVE to hear your take and any advice you might have.

 

 

First Dates

If you have been a reader of this blog for the last several years, you know I have gone on a LOT of first dates.  I hate them.  I have gotten good at them, but I hate them.  HATE THEM.

But, they seem to be a necessary evil … I mean, it seems unlikely that Prince Charming is going to ride up to my door, say, “Charity I love you, I must be with you for the rest of our lives,” and move the beagles and me into a house close to my current location.  (I don’t want a castle, I will take a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath with a 2 car garage, backyard and claw-foot soaking tub.  In the heights.  I really like where I live.)

So, tonight I go on yet ANOTHER first date.  I am already doubting it as he said he would find a great place for us to go, then today asked me what was in the area.  I gave some options and he picked a pizza place close to my house (not that he knows that).  I am a bit disenchanted that I essentially picked the place for our date — I have grown weary of planning my own dates.  SO WEARY.  ( #SFL At least Laverne will be able to get to me fast if it goes south.  Laverne is part of the Blind Date Committee which oversees all my dating activities.  You know, making sure there is a photo available and having the code words that tell them whether I need an “emergency” to come up or the cavalry needs to come to my location before I disappear.  You can’t be too careful …)

I am not entirely enthralled by this guy — one of those seemed nice enough when we started talking but now seems to be hitting on me before we have even met.  (Tell me about your shoes … those sound really sexy … are you going to wear them for me on Friday?  I love sexy women in sexy shoes.)  Granted, I did mention I have a love of beautiful shoes and especially high heels, but I don’t think that gives him carte blanche to attempt to sexualize every conversation.  Especially when I specifically said, “I try to put off the sex conversations until I know someone better … it tends to take over a conversation if you start talking sex/sexual innuendo too early.  Then you don’t really get to know each other and decide if you even want to meet.”  That might just be me protecting myself, but it still seems like maybe we should get to know each other at least a little before jumping headfirst into the innuendo pool.  But one has to get back on the dating horse and some point and, let’s face it, the best way is to just jump in the pool.

So …

CANNONBALL!!!!!!!!  (I wonder if there is a drink called the cannonball?  if so, perhaps I should order it tonight …)

I am going to preface this post with this:

Jeremy is a great guy and a wonderful person.  He was a good boyfriend — treated me well, didn’t cheat on me, didn’t beat on me, didn’t try to manipulate me in any way.  So, if you are one of our mutual friends reading this, please take note of that.  I am not going to tell you to stop reading at this point (that will just make you want to read it even more!) but I am going to ask you to respect the fact that he does not follow this blog and does not care to know what I write in it.

All that said, there are somethings I need from a relationship that Jeremy did not.  You have heard me say it before … sometimes love is not enough.  For while I did (and on some level still do) love him, but I was not emotionally fulfilled by him.  This is something I really did not realize I had learned to live without until this weekend.  I came to realize I had allowed Jeremy to justify not being emotionally and physically intimate with be because of his past.  I allowed him to use that to keep me at arm’s length and to keep me as a companion … not a lover.

A friend of a friend came into town and since he was staying with my good friends about 20 seconds from my apartment, we met.  A few times.  For the purposes of this blog, we will call him Fe’e.  Fe’e and I hit it off and spent some time together on Easter while my friends were off doing the family thing.  We talked for a few hours and … well …. you know.

I am not going to get into the details, but suffice to say I had an epiphany Monday morning.  I didn’t realize that I had learned to live without my partner telling me I was a beautiful, desirable, sexy women who elicited an emotional and physical response from my partner.  I had learned to live with sex being seen as a chore or, worse, as an opportunity for one person to satisfy themselves without listening to what their partner wanted and needed.  I didn’t realize how much I missed being held and talking and laughing and being kissed and touched in a non-sexual way — just in a “I want to touch you” way.  In a, “It makes me feel manly to hold you and cuddle you and protect you,” way.

I didn’t realize that I had justified so many things about my past relationship that I had learned to live without some things that were, are, and should always be, very important to me.  I need to know my partner wants me.  I need to know my partner finds me attractive — even if I am wearing a pink tank top, gym shorts and smell like sweat.  Even if I am wearing leggings and a tunic that makes me look like I am wearing pajamas.  I need to hear, “You are so hot … even in your gym clothes.”  I need to know I am desirable and most of all, I need that intimate connection.  I am not talking about a physical connection — I am talking about what happens when 2 people can talk for hours and not have awkward silences.  When they can lay in bed and make conversation while randomly kissing and hugging.  The thing that happens when 2 people who were attracted to each other upon meeting really get to know each other and learn about each other — that is the kind of intimacy I am talking about.  The kind of intimacy that comes from being physically and emotionally honest and intimate.

I hadn’t realized I had learned to live without it until it was there, staring me in the face telling me how amazing I was.

Never again.

Now, Fe’e lives in a land far, far away and it seems unlikely I will ever see him again (not to be confused with not wanting to)  … after all, the man said the sexiest words EVER to me …. “Roald Dahl changed my life.”  But even if I never see him again, I owe him a great deal of gratitude for reminding me that what I need in a relationship is important and the other person not being emotionally able to give it to me is not an excuse to do without.

It is amazing what you can learn overnight.

 

Tour de Force

After my hiatus from blogging, there are a LOT of things I want to write about.  However, there is one glaring thing that needs to be written about.  It is not going to be easy, it is going to hurt but it needs to be said.  And I am going to write about it without using any of my trademark cute euphemisms or code names.

After nearly 2 years together, Jeremy and I have gone our separate ways.  It was not anyone’s fault, there was no infidelity, no lies, no horrible thing that went wrong.  All that happened is … Disney failed.  Disney tells us that love is enough.  Love is enough to get you through anything.  If you have true love, it can conquer all.

Not true.  Love cannot conquer two completely different people who want and need incredibly different things out of a relationship.  And that is really all that happened.  We wanted and expected incredibly different things from our relationship and some of those things were so fundamentally different they would require personality changes from both of us.  And, quite frankly, at this point in our lives, it is unlikely that either of us is going to undergo fundamental changes to our personality.  So, along with woodland creatures NOT cleaning my house, Disney lied.

Yes, I am sad and yes, I am going though some heartache and grieving.  It is not easy having to admit that something you wanted so desperately is not going to happen and it is even harder to know you are the one who ultimately made the decision to cause someone you love pain.  However, I do believe it was the right decision for both of us and I hope we will both find someone who complements us, not complicates things.  I love him, I love what we had and I truly believe there is a woman out there who is significantly less structured and requires a LOT less maintenance than I do.

So, Denver.  Jeremy and I were supposed to go to Denver to celebrate 2 years together last weekend.  However, since that did not happen, Andi and I went!  We read Smithsonian magazines (we always read them on road trips) got pedicures, found local watering holes and saw the Star Wars and the Power of Costume exhibit.  We laughed and talked and talked and talked and talked (as anyone who knows us knows) and at the end of it, my heart and my soul were feeling better.  Yes, it was difficult to see and do all the things I was supposed to do with Jeremy — I would have worried if it had not been.  The Boba Fett costume at the exhibit did shake me a bit and I spent a lot of time thinking about him, me and what we could have possibly done to overcome our differences.  It hurt, but was also very freeing.  It was almost cathartic in a way …

Andi and I had a wonderful time and got to spend some much-needed girl time together … I will warn you, this is a photo heavy post!

By the way, if you are ever in Denver, have dinner at The Ale House @ Amato’s — it is AMAZING.  The food is amazing, the staff (especially the 2 bartenders Chris and Jake) is amazing and the food is amazing.  I promise, you will NOT regret it!!!

So, here’s to a much-needed weekend away, to beginnings, to endings, and all the wonderful stuff in between.

Well Hello Again!

Somehow when things are going faster than fast in my life or when my life is going really well, I forget to prioritize writing.  No, that is not true.  I don’t forget.  I just plain don’t.  I am ashamed, I admit it, but I SUCK at taking the time to do things for myself and always push the things I want to do to the back burner to be done at that time we are all so familiar with — Later.

I looked at my blog today and realized the last time I wrote was nearly 2 years ago — I think that is the longest hiatus I have taken from blogging.  I really enjoy the process of blogging and love how it lets me get my thoughts on (virtual) paper and out into the world, so I need to MAKE time for it Now … not Later.

Since it has been 2 years, let me catch you up:

  • Number of broken bones — 3 (2 elbows, one finger)
  • Number of surgeries — 2 (1 on one of the above mentioned bones)
  • Boyfriends Acquired:  1 (or kept from the last post)
  • Boyfriends Un-acquired — 1 (it was amicable — painful, but amicable)
  • Balloon Competitions Competed in– 1 (with a broken bone, no less!)
  • Moves — 1
  • Miles Run/Jogged/Walked — 137.5
  • Races Completed — 3
  • Trips Taken — 4 (I am not counting trips to Las Cruces)
  • States Visited — Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Things I have learned:

  • Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you are meant to be together forever.  Loving each other means discussing things that need to be discussed and not shutting down the conversation because the issue stresses you out.  It means doing things you may not enjoy because they make your partner happy.  It means listening and really understanding what your partner is saying and not going along because it is easy.  And for Lord’s sake, it means getting help if you need it because sometimes you just need someone trained in the therapeutic arts to help you fix your head.  And while you are fixing your head, you might fix a whole lot of other things too.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be complacent in a relationship.  It does not do either of you any good.
  • Shattered elbows SUCK.  However, slings make FANTASTIC pin boards and if you wander around with a sling, you get sympathy pins!
  • You can fly a balloon with a shattered elbow — but you are going to need some help on the landing.
  • You can land in a ditch, get soaked to the bone and still have a great time.
  • I CAN stick a balloon on the ground when I need to (did that TWICE this year and is something I have struggled with in the past).  I don’t enjoy it and don’t feel particularly comfortable with it, but I can do it AND I can talk someone else through how to do it!
  • Moving furniture can be amazingly therapeutic
  • Take time for yourself and do things you love no matter how many people you have to say no to or you *think* you are going to disappoint.  Anyone who loves you will respect and encourage you to do so.
  •  People say/write/do really mean things when they think they are being anonymous. Always assume someone, somewhere is going to hear what you said or read what you wrote or see what you said/wrote/did and act accordingly.  Unless you want them to think you are an ass and tell everyone they know you are an ass.  Then feel free to do whatever you want
  • If you have the chance to help someone or pay it forward, take it.  Sometimes all someone needs to make their life a little better is for someone to say, “I can help with this, let me help and just pay it forward when you can.”
  • If you land in the mud, laugh about it and remind yourself that great stories rarely start with, “So there I was, sitting in my recliner …”
  • Those stories?  They are even better when you have great friends to make them with!
  • If you are going to be within a few hours of somewhere you want to go or something you want to see, just take the time and do it — you will regret it forever if you don’t.  (And if you don’t want to, but your person does or the people you are with do, just go along with it … you might even have some fun while you aren’t looking!)
  • And finally, if you have the chance to help someone check something off their bucket list, DO IT!!!!!!!13716250_10206793352453772_647706557814882262_n.jpg

 

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Next time I will try to be more brief and not be away so long!

Running Turtles

I have this tank top I love to wear when I run.  It is pink and loose fitting so pretty much fantastic for warm weather running.  Which we are WELL into here in New Mexico.  The really great thing about this particular tank top though, is what it says:  “I run.  I’m slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter, but I run.”

That is how I felt today.  I didn’t want to go, I was looking for a reason not to and almost found it in Little Anita’s chile rellenos.  BUT!  I went.  (Sven helped.  Not gonna lie.)

I walked from the office over to the cemetery and waited for the motivation to kick in.  I did round one of my run/walk cycle.  I waited for the endorphins.  I waited for the motivation.  I waited for the adrenaline.  I waited for ANYTHING>

It didn’t come.

You know what did come?  Sore hips.  Those came with a vengeance.

So, I did round 2.

Again, I waited.  Usually by this time I have found a rhythm, a stride or something to bring me joy on my run.  This time?  Shin pain.

At this point I had gone one full round of the cemetery I run at.  I thought, I will do one more round.  That puts me on the downhill side of my running cycle.  Once I really warm up, that pesky hip and shin soreness will melt away.  If that doesn’t motivate me, nothing will!

So I did round 3.

And waited.

And waited.

Nada.  Well, nada except the lingering hip and shin soreness.

So I let myself stop.  I walked back to the office and tried not to beat myself up too much.  This is the first time in a LONG time I have hit a wall and NOT been able to break through it.

So I got to thinking about this particular run and I noticed a few things:

  1. Every step I took today felt like I was plodding through pudding (or peanut butter!)
  2. I was short of breath the entire run — starting when I passed the freshly mown grass
  3. The honeysuckle smelled amazing.
  4. The cemetery looked lovely today — all the Memorial Day flags were out and there were even some little stands with the story of particular veterans who are buried there.  It was sobering and uplifting all at once
  5.  I don’t know why today was so hard — I was pacing faster during my running segments that I have been (not by much, but faster is faster) but movement was just hard today.  It was a struggle.

So, for today, I am done.  But, tomorrow, Sunday and Monday are all other days, with other runs.  I am spending the weekend at a balloon event in Rio Rancho, but I am determined to try and sneak at least one run in … if nothing else, to prove to myself I can do it.

Runner friends … any advice?

 

 

Making Strides

Quick announcement:  If you are thinking of starting a walking or running program, check out these 2 apps — MapMyRun and RockMyRun.  Both free, both amazing.  They have made this process so much easier and enjoyable.

Anyway.

For those of you that have been following this blog for a while or who have known me since I had an additional last name, you know I used  to be a runner.  I used to run upwards of 10 miles a week (that’s run, not run/walk) and be able to run a 5k without walking half of it.

Then, life happened.  I fell down some stairs and dislocated a knee, started dating a new guy and somehow, slowly, running got shifted to the back burner, then eventually to the oven, then over to the counter and finally pushed to the back of the top shelf of the pantry.

This is not to say I have not dabbled in it every now and again, but I have not been as serious about it as I used to be.

Then, I work up one day and realized something.  I MISSED running.  I missed the uninterrupted hour to myself, the feel of my feet hitting the ground and the feeling of accomplishment after reaching a new milestone.

So, I laced up my shoes, put my headphones in, updated my Garmin and started hitting the pavement.

It is hard.  It is So. Hard.  I can’t run for miles at a time anymore … I am starting at the beginning again.  I am doing a run/walk program that is scheduled over 12 weeks.  It is going to take me more.  But I am OK with that.  I am OK with starting at the beginning again.  I am OK with not being able to run miles at a time — to be honest, I am having trouble running FEET at a time.

Until today.

Today was one of those days when I was looking for ANY excuse not to run.  I was tired.  I had a hard day at work.  It was forecast to be windy.  There were storm clouds moving in and I didn’t want to get caught in the rain.  However, I had two people pulling for me who weren’t taking any excuses … Running Sunflower (you remember her, right?) and Sven.  Both of them know I am prone to excuses and neither one of them is taking it.  Sunflower has long been a supporter of my running — she is one of the women that really got me started on it.  Sven just won’t take any of my crap.  (And I think we all know I can really dish that out!)

So, I laced up my shoes, put my headphones in and turned on the Garmin.  The first few repetitions were hard.  But at repetition 4, it happened.  It was like everything just *poof* fell into place.  My posture, my rhythm, my mental state, everything was clicking.  It felt AMAZING.  It was the first time in a LONG, LONG time I really felt like a runner again.  I felt like I could have gone for so much longer … but, alas, the Garmin beeped and it was time to walk again.  The best part?  It happened 3 more times.  Every time it was time for a run cycle I felt a little stronger, a little faster, a little more victorious.  It was amazing.  (Also, I have a really bad habit of checking my watch to see how much longer I have in a run cycle … I didn’t’ do  that ONCE today!) It was so amazing I had to stop myself from doing any more.  Although I wanted to, my head prevailed and reminded me that I am prone to shin splints if I start over-training.

So I came home and iced my shins.

I am being proactive.

I  don’t want anything to keep me from feeling that amazing feeling on my next run day.

Plus?  I am 10 pounds away from blingy-butt pants.  I figure running can only help on the quest for those!!!!!