Mecca looks like a balloon festival

Mecca looks like a balloon festival

I’ve written about ballooning and festivals a few times already and if you want to check out my trip to Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta look here or the Arkansas Balloon Festival can be found here. Both include tons of pics of balloons.

I think I can say annual with confidence since this is my third year in a row…my annual trip to Albuquerque. Has a nice ring to it. By the time I left on Tuesday afternoon I was thinking I’d be lucky to make it through Oklahoma before I was ready to stop for the night. It had been a long day at work and then add driving on to that…. Thankfully I had lots of phone calls and long chats with friends and family all the way up to 1am when I finally stopped in Amarillo, TX. 

As you drive into Amarillo heading west bound there is a big sign that says ‘Amarillo’. Once I see the sign it’s like George Strait kicks on in my head. Amarillo by morning up from San Antone… Off to bed with balloons dancing in my head…not really but it sounds good.

I had planned to be up early, so I could finally check out the Cadillac Ranch. No such luck since my alarm didn’t go off for the second day in a row. Wth – It took a phone call to bring this sleeping beauty around to the living. Ugh it was after 8am and later than I wanted to start my day. A frantic beauty prep and I was hitting the road to Albuquerque aka Mecca. 

The landscape of the southwest is somewhat desolate with low growing plants and dark red outcroppings with arroyas here and there. I spotted a train that looked a mile long, passed a million trucks and campers, and cruised down the highway at a brisk 80mph. Before I knew it I was driving through the Sandia-Manzano mountains coming into Albuquerque. It feels like coming home, but I’ve never lived there. Crazy thing about this vacation I get up at 4:45am, so I can meet my pilots by 5:30am to drive to fiesta field. That’s love peeps. 

I would like to say this was vacation only but work creeps in especially when you have a big project on a time constraint. So there were about three hours with my head stuck in a laptop sitting in my hotel room. Then there were the phone calls and requests that relate to the project. It will be worth it in the long run isn’t that what we say to ourselves. 

Each day was beautiful for flying. I was a little rusty since I haven’t crewed in a year, but I’m happy to do the work. My pilot landed on the field every day I was there so I had it pretty easy this year. No tumble weeds, locked gates, soccer fields or the reservation. I might be jinxing myself for next year. Omg

We tailgated a couple of times and watched the balloons come across the field while pilots were trying to hit the target with their baggie. An evening hanging out at a beautiful home with the oldest wisteria I’ve ever seen. Saturday was game day and off to the Uptown bar to watch some SEC action. Like the previous year there were a bunch of Sooner fans there watching their game against Texas. The UT fans were huddled in the corner and left pretty quick at the end.

Ate at some familiar places and got to try some new ones. Jimmy’s Cafe was delicious. Highly recommend eating there. I had the huevos rancheros with christmas. Yum!

Spent time switching out baskets and envelopes. It may all seem kind of mundane and like a lot of work I’m sure to some. I enjoy the experience, the people I’m with, and the ability to just be myself. I took naps! It’s a privilege at my current age to be able to nap. Once I creep up in years it might be the norm. Lol

On one of the nights we went to the balloon glow and fireworks. Hung out on the tailgate and drank bloody Mary’s. It was an interesting evening especially when we saw the senorita balloon break away from its tiedown.

On the last day we flew I got to go as well. It was the highest altitude I’ve been in a balloon so far. We were going up to 7200′ not sure if we got all the way to that or not, but I know we got to 6800′. The fiesta field still looks huge from that height. It’s just so massive. There was so much balloon traffic that day – more than I’ve ever seen on one of my trips. All of us in the basket were keeping an eye out for balloons above, below and to the side. Some are just so huge you don’t want to hit by accident. Talk about a potential catastrophe. We went from that height to down on the deck pretty much, so we could land on the field. My pilot did an excellent job. I’m fortunate to have the experience and grateful I continue to have the opportunity to fly. 

If you’ve never been it should be on your bucket list or must see items. It’s a sight to behold that’s for sure.

Until next year mecca.

-G.

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Goal achiever or just a setter: Practical strategies for success.

Goal achiever or just a setter: Practical strategies for success.

I love reading articles on LinkedIn. Sounds like a sickness but I find it relaxing. I came across an article that sparked my interest, but I didn’t have time to read it so I saved it. Such a handy feature.

The article will “squash all of those limiting perspectives and provide concrete strategies you can use to achieve your goals. There are no fixed-limits.” That statement alone peaked my interest and then I got to the core principles. I’m not going to cover all 21 principles but focus on some that stand out to me. For the full article click here. I highly recommend reading it because what is significant for me might not be the same for you.

The first strategy falls under core principles – Set Absurdly Ambitious Goals.

Under this first principle there is a slew of motivational thoughts about goal setting and going after what you want. One thing that struck me and has been striking me for some time now is that for some my competitive nature isn’t wanted, and I’ve been told to my face it’s disliked. I realized that yes, I’m competitive, but the problem is that I’m ambitious. I do 10x what is needed to achieve my goal! 

I was at a women’s symposium and one of the speakers talked about how important it is to be your own spokesperson. Talk up the good things you’re doing. Even the male executive in my group said I need to speak up more often. He said it to all of us. We don’t self-promote enough! Funny thing I’ve been knocked for self-promotion. So onward and upward. 

The second strategy I want to highlight is Learn and Work in Counter-Intuitive Environments.

What does that mean exactly? Think outside your normal box. That means letting go of worry and stress. Be in the moment so ideas can foster, synergy can occur, and be innovative. Do the unexpected because you think differently! Just in case you don’t read the article I really liked this quote so I’m sharing it.

“Choose one thing and become a master of it. Choose a second thing and become a master of that. When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life.”

We have the ability to master whatever we choose, but is up to ourselves to make the choice and Jump! Be creative, be ambitious, speak up, and be curious!

The third item I want to focus on Ignore What Almost Everyone Else is Doing.

Awe the competitive spirit in me gave a shout out on this one! I have to make excuses for being competitive like it’s a bad thing. To quote the article “In the book, Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable, Tim Grover explains that the world’s elite don’t compete with other people. Rather, they make others compete with them. They set the tone and make others react to their environment.” I haven’t read that book but it is now on my list. 

I want to be unstoppable. The only thing that holds me back is myself. Let curiosity win the day and fear take a backseat. Life is full of learning opportunities that I want to explore and experiences/adventure that awaits me in the future. If I allow others to set the bar I’ll never rise any higher than it. I decide where the bar is set. The same goes for my son. If I set the bar at easy or mediocrity then that’s what he’ll achieve. Set the bar high! Go for GOLD – Surround Yourself With People With Higher Expectation than You Have, which is the fourth strategy that falls under mentorship.

The fifth strategy is Give Credit Where Credit is Due.

Despite how independent I feel that I am, I know that credit for any success starts with God and the path he leads me down. Many times the path takes some crazy twists but ultimately my thanks goes to God and what he’s doing in my life. Credit also goes to the people on your team, mentors, sponsors, or leadership. I’m not an island unto myself and taking credit for others work isn’t my style. Appreciation should be a part of everything you do and especially for where credit is due!

Number six – Think Laterally

I think this describes my whole career life. “Rather than climbing up ladders the traditional ways, they think of alternative routes. They skip unnecessary steps by pivoting and shifting.” I started the traditional route of climbing and found it wasn’t really working for me in the male laden industry I was working. Hence finding alternative routes plus a few beaten paths that lead back to the main road. I’ve worked more on pivoting and shifting with some stagnating in there as well. Isn’t that how it seems to work sometimes. The important thing is to not limit yourself. I’m on my third career and I have personal business. No limiting. Shift and pivot so you can find a way. It’s documented that men don’t feel that have to meet all the requirements to apply for a job. Women have the opposite thought process. We tend to believe we have to stick every item. Men are confident they can do It whether they know it or not. Be confident and limitless. I have the same ability to learn and grow as the guy. 

Be whatever you want to be. Achieve whatever you want to achieve. Have the confidence to be ambitious, creative, competitive and don’t let someone else’s idea of what you “should” be set the tone for what you are. I’m fearless and I’m going to be limitless because I decide.

-G.

Off to Colorado I go

Off to Colorado I go

Work travel with a side trip to visit with one of my besties! 

Got to Denver for a meeting and had some time to burn before checking into the hotel so I took off for my favorite restaurant The Berkshire. If you love bacon this is the place for you. When I landed it was spitting snow and raining so I had the grilled cheese with BACON and tomato-parmesan-basil soup. Absolute deliciousness!!!

If you ever have time to tour Celestial Seasonings in Boulder, Colorado I highly recommend it. I had the opportunity to be a taste tester for green teas they are trialing, and I was compensated with a box of Peppermint tea. A great trade off for sure!

Sassy

Once my meeting was over I hit the road to meet up with my friend Cindy and I was finally able to meet her fiance. He’s a sweetie and he’s lucky to get her…just sayin’. (Obviously, I’m writing this after the wedding, so if you are just now reading and missed the trip to Colorado for that event you can catch up here. Rollin’ down the highway Part 1 and Part 2 of the Colorado Trip)

We had a blast with her being my tour guide. I actually started my day birding along the Arkansas River. Cindy knew I would love it and sent me on my merry way with a set of binoculars. I added to my life list, was able to contribute some finds, and in southern tradition I met people that know people from my home town. So much so that our families are buried in the same cemetery. Really folks I just have a knack for finding these encounters. Give me a plane full of people and I bet there’s an Aggie on it. Instant rapport and recognition of shared experiences. That actually happened on my trip to Pittsburgh two weeks ago. The guy sat next to me on the first leg. I never talk but I chatted with him. Alright back to CO.

I’d always wanted to visit the Royal Gorge, which is just outside Canon City. We road the gondola. Cindy rode it but didn’t want to look down. I would’ve hung over the side I was so excited to be hanging in air.

A true test of friendship!

It’s funny how I live in Arkansas and the Arkansas River flows through our great state, but it doesn’t look near this pretty. It’s muddy and nasty by the time it gets to Little Rock. The first time I ever waterskied was on the Arkansas River in southern Arkansas. I was staying with my aunt and unlce during the summer. I remember it being dirty and that I about drowned learning to ski. Experiences that last a lifetime. I’ve spent other days hanging out on the river with my cousin and friends of hers. Despite the brown color of the water we had a good time. Just had to keep sunscreen on her ghostly figure. Think vampire and you’ve got the right color. ❤ her!

The Arkansas River…I want to raft that one day!

Look ma no hands!
Aster’s peaking out
Looking upriver – I want to ride the train too!
Quartz is used everywhere – beautiful
A lovely pine

It was a hot was day in comparison to the spitting snow and rain I had when I landed in Denver a couple of days before. I was melting and grateful for any respite that included shade.

Royal Gorge Bridge

The bridge has lots of movement because of the type of construction and there is a boat load of wind whipping through there. Cindy walked down the center and provided interesting tidbits about the bridge and surrounding area.  In the most recent past there was a fire that burned up the gorge area. Devastating to look at the land and see the carnage fire can bring to nature.

Love this photo because it makes me think of art for some reason! 

This is only a portion of my trip. I’m going to have to break this one down. Next part will be about the mountains and a castle. Really you don’t want to miss it. Oh and a cat named Bandit! A real charmer.

Enjoy-G.

Happiness shared

Happiness shared

Happiness only real when shared ~ Christopher McCandless

I watched the movie ‘Into the Wild’ the other night and this quote struck me. I travel a lot, I live alone, I spend a lot of time alone so did this make all the experiences I’ve had unhappy or lacking happiness. Sometimes I want someone there to share the experience, to enjoy the moment and to revel in the freedom but there are plenty of times I know I’m content with myself. 

So I’m thinking about some of my shared experiences. Like the day I bought my boat my sister was with me and we shared in the excitement. She went on the test drive up and down the lake. It was a beautiful summer day that was exceptional because my dad took us to pick up my boat – it was a family experience and we all shared in the happiness. We’ve had many more days like that on the lake either running about or just relaxing on the back of the boat listening to music and sharing our thoughts and lives. 

Another great example of happiness shared was the day I got word of my new job. My sister was visiting and all the kids made congratulations signs, we had a celebratory meal, and I knew I was going to be able to not only survive but thrive. As a single parent providing for your child the basics is priority number one, but when you can personally advance yourself professionally to meet their wants it’s like icing on the cake. It was a spectacular day shared by my family and friends. A true blessing that continues even today. 

The first time Seth flew on a plane in his own seat and described to the kid in front of us how the wings, flaps, etc work. He was a first grader. One of his tv options was the history channel. Obviously a good choice for an inquisitive mind. The ride to Boston and back was entertaining with him. Love that kid and wouldn’t miss a single shared minute!

There are more than those three memories, but I reflected on those times where it was just me and I felt happiness. As a kid climbing up in a big tree and looking as far as I could see, feeling the wind as it blew through the canopy and the limbs would sway, the smell of the pecan leaves as I would pull myself up, and then the fear and challenge of leaping to the ground when it was time to go into the house. That feeling of success that I overcame my fear AND not breaking anything vital! It was the same as when you leap out of the seat of the swing at the highest point. No fear just exhilaration in the moment. Might’ve been the beginning of some of my adrenaline junky ways. Sometimes I might have a sister join me but there were plenty of times I liked the peace of alone time. 

Or sitting on the hill looking out over the land smelling the lilac bushes and petting my dog. Probably more contentment and dreaming of the future. The beauty of the Ozarks was a major part of my youth. When I moved back as an adult I don’t have the same kind of view but I took up bird watching. It’s the whole nature thing. Very soothing. I can sit on the back deck with my binoculars and gaze up in the trees looking at species I hadn’t previously identified. I have some real happiness in discovering a new bird that was not checked off my list. There’s no one with the same interest and it gets made fun of so the quiet joy that comes from adding to my life list is reserved for myself most of the time.

The movie is about Christopher and his alone time in the wilderness. He finally realized that he would only have true happiness by sharing the experience. In the movie it was one of the last thoughts captured before he was incapacitated it is believed. No one will ever know for sure but I know for myself that I need both. Alone and shared. I’m an introvert at heart and I push myself to move beyond the comfortable. Comfortable is easy I don’t always want easy. A good challenge or puzzle makes like interesting. 

I asked my son what he thought about this quote from Christopher. He said ‘happiness is better shared’. He has a point. Laughter is better when shared. A good case of the giggles by yourself isn’t as fun. 

Conversation and laughter make life more vibrant. Recently I got to spend two separate days running around with friends enjoying life and just being. I appreciate the fact that I have people in my life that get me and all my weirdness. Love ya peeps!

Photo is about time shared. We drank flights of moonshine and whiskey at Copper Run Distillery (click on pic for link). If you’re ever in the Branson, MO area it’s a great stop. We spent hours hanging out on a bar stool. Time well spent!

It’s the weekend so enjoy it by yourself, with others or a combination of the two!

Peace-G.

Anyone for pie?!

Anyone for pie?!

Don’t you just want to bake someone a pie and then drop the mic on them like Minnie did in ‘The Help’. 

It sounds nice in the moment but most of us won’t follow through with it. It’s like having a conversation in your head with nasty replies you want to say except that’s not what comes out – it’s all polite. Bless their heart! Ugh…not really.

Nothing really sparked this blog other than me trolling through Facebook and I see this gem posted by someone else. Loved it and then I thought “how often would I like to make that special chocolate pie”. The collection process is a deal breaker. Gag

Oh well politeness wins out along with southern manners. I have to really think about a time I might’ve been that ornery. Still not coming to me. Of course my mom and siblings might pull out a laundry list if I’m not careful.

If you’ve never seen the movie here’s the clip about the pie. Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/EaWfoNPDz74

Not that I expect anyone to share their deep dark deeds BUT if you have a good story to share please leave a comment. I love getting to hear about others adventures in life.

Skipping the “special” chocolate pie and I’ll have a healthy snack…oh the joys of being an adult.

-G.