Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yes, I did it. I jumped out of a plane.


Friday, Oct. 12

I arrived in Albuquerque last night (Thursday, Oct. 11) around 8:45 p.m.  My plane was a little late... Anyway, it took a little while to exit and find my brother.  Why are airports so complicated?  Neither one of us had had dinner (well, I had a tiny pack of peanuts on the plane) so my brother suggested Chinese food.  We were on the way to the restaurant and talking about random stuff - if I'm remembering this correctly, he made a comment on my huge purse (I brought a huge purse that I could slip my iPad in) and that reminded me that I forgot to bring my epi pen.  Joe decided that Chinese food wasn't the best option since they use a lot of carrots in their recipes.  So instead, we went across the street to the grocery store and got a DiGiorno pizza.  It was pretty darn tasty.   We talked for a while and then went to bed.  Not too much to report there.  Joe acted like I was such a needy guest because I expected clean sheets and pillows.

This morning, we slept in - well, if you can call it sleeping in.  I woke up several times throughout the night and at 6:30 a.m.  I heard what sounded like someone tap dancing on the carpet in the hallway.  It turned out to be the blinds on the sliding door.  So I turned off the fan and went back to sleep but was awake for good by 8:30 a.m.

My brother has this amazing invention called a Keurig.  He bought vanilla and regular coffee...so good.  

We left for Santa Fe around 11 a.m. even though we had no plans whatsoever for our trip to Santa Fe.  Parking there was almost impossible, but we somehow stumbled upon an open spot in the public parking lot.  Then we set out in search of a sushi restaurant we had passed while looking for a place to park.  We eventually found the little sushi restaurant and had lunch.  It was pretty darn tasty.  We then looked around the shops but everything was so expensive and I didn't see anything I really needed.  I thought about buying my sister a beautiful pendant, but then the lady told me it was over $100.  Geez.  

Here is a photo of me by an awesome looking cat attacking a bird.  It was right outside the sushi place and I stared at it through the whole meal.  I figured I needed a picture with it.


I somehow convinced my brother to take me to the outlet mall (Coach store).  I didn't see anything I needed at the Coach store but saw a coat I liked in the window of Wilson's Leather.  My brother said I couldn't afford it, but we decided to go in anyway.  As it turned out, both of us walked out of the store with leather jackets.  Mine is an awesome red moto jacket.  And Joe got a light brown leather coat.  I also got some leather gloves that have buttons on them. They're so cute!  We were going to look for a lake on the way home (on the way to Santa Fe we saw a sign for a lake, but we couldn't imagine a lake around here) but it was raining.

 Here is a picture of the road, I think it was on the way to Santa Fe...


We passed this train on the way to Santa Fe.  It's a road runner...



Instead of finding the lake, we went to the grocery store and bought some meat for burgers and ice cream ingredients.  Joe was going to make me grind the meat, but his grinder wasn't working right, so he went back to the store to buy some already ground beef.  But he still made me make the seasoning and form the patties.  Then he grilled them on his fancy grill.  The burgers were amazing!

We also started the ice cream making process.  I learned how to separate eggs.  I don't know why people keep trying to get me to cook...

Below is the view from my brother's apartment - I'm so jealous.



Saturday, Oct. 13

Today, I actually got to sleep in – it was glorious.  We weren’t in a hurry to do anything, so I lay around reading Wicked and watching Criminal Minds with my brother (such a creepy show!).  We finished the ice cream making process and put it in the freezer to … well…to become ice cream.  By the way, we made the most delicious coffee cookies and cream ice cream!  Who knew you could make ice cream with a Kitchen Aid mixer?

Around 3:00 p.m. we headed to Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.  We parked at a commuter lot and took a school bus to the fiesta.  Besides the bus driver making a left in front of traffic and almost causing an accident, the ride went smoothly.  It was a little windy, so we were worried that they weren’t going to have the balloon glow.  This would’ve been very upsetting because the fair part of the fiesta wasn’t worth the money/bus ride to us.  We walked around and looked at all the souvenir booths until it was time for the balloon glow.

The balloon glow was pretty neat.  I think it was a little bigger than the St. Louis Balloon Glow (ok, it was a lot bigger).  I didn’t bring my SLR camera with me on this trip, so I only had my point and shoot, which my brother kindly pointed out, has less megapixels than his iPhone.

Joe was very disappointed when I wouldn't buy this bear hat/scarf/mittens:


But then again, he didn't buy these leopard gloves...


I don't think this photo needs an explanation...


Joe loves his new jacket.  He wears it everywhere now.


I wasn't very photogenic this trip, but here I am in my green peacoat:


The mountains are called the Sandia Mountains because they become pink at sunset.  Sandia means watermelon in Spanish.


Again, I don't think this photo needs an explanation...but if you need one, there was a wood carving competition going on at the fair and they had this nice cutout sign.

Balloons!




Spider Pig!







Here is a video of all the balloons glowing at once:

video

We ate our delicious ice cream when we got back :)




Sunday, Oct. 14

What a day!  This was the day I have been looking forward to all year.  And I have to say, it didn’t disappoint.  Why was I looking forward to today you ask?  Well, today my brother and I went skydiving.

We woke up early and headed out on the four-hour journey to the middle of nowhere (aka Alamogordo).  Our reservations were for 1:00 p.m.  Naturally, we didn’t feel like eating before the jump so we were just a little hungry.  We got there a bit early and went in to sign our lives away.  I swear, the document they made us sign must have stated in twenty different ways that we or our family or anyone who has ever come in contact with us could not sue them if we were injured or killed at any point during skydiving.  I get that they have to cover their butts, but isn’t it sad that it’s come to that?  I guess we’re in the frivolous lawsuit era… Anyway, the paper work did not make my brother feel better about skydiving.

I feel like I should inform you about how scared my brother was.  Apparently he is afraid of heights.  I don’t know why he agreed to go with me.  He said I didn’t give him a chance, I just told him he was going with me.  I say that’s BS because I couldn’t make my brother do anything, especially pay for something he really didn’t want to do.  Ironically enough though, he really enjoyed skydiving and is already talking about going again.

We got to watch some other people land before we went.  It was comforting to see other people safely make the landing.  Then back to the place to get harnessed up and set out on the adventure of my lifetime (or at least this year).  After a few instructions, we got into a tiny plane.  It fit five people – my tandem instructor, Dusty, and me; my brother and his instructor (didn’t catch his name); and the pilot.  I looked out the window on the way to the drop site which, considering my height, wasn’t exactly comfortable.  But I love the view from airplanes.  Dusty pointed out some of the sites, including the white sand dunes of White Sands National Monument.

I don’t really know how to describe the sensation of falling out of a plane.  I was instructed to put my left foot and then my right foot on a ledge, put my head on Dusty’s shoulder, take a deep breath, and then…well, and then we leaned out the door and into the air.

I thought maybe I’d get butterflies in my stomach like I do when I go on rollercoasters, but it’s nothing like that.  I guess you’ll have to go skydiving yourself to really understand the feeling of falling into the air.  Once the parachute opened, I was basically just sitting in the harness, enjoying the view.  I had a video camera attached to my wrist and I tried to get video of the view, but honestly, having a video camera on my wrist was odd and I kept forgetting it was there and held onto my harness instead.  Anyway, here is the video from my wrist along with some pictures we paid a guy $35 to take…




After skydiving, we ate lunch at Applebees and then headed out to White Sands National Monument to go sledding down the sand dunes.  We had to pay $10 for a used sled, but oh well.  The dunes were beautiful.  I have to say though, I prefer sledding down snow.

video









These bushes adapt to the area ... um, if you really care about why it's in the sand like this, ask my brother.  I don't remember what the sign said.



We didn’t stay too long at the dunes because we still had a four hour ride home.  What a long drive!  I am so glad that once upon a time someone invented audio books because otherwise, long road trips would be very dull.

Monday, Oct. 15

Today we didn’t do much of anything.  We just lay around reading and watching TV, recovering from yesterday.  Around 7 p.m., we went up to the ice rink to watch some of my brother’s friends play hockey.  When I originally planned the trip, my brother played hockey on Mondays and I wanted to see him play (now he plays on Wednesdays).  The game was interesting even though Joe didn’t get to play.

Tuesday, Oct. 16

Planning to fly home on my birthday wasn’t the greatest idea I’ve ever had.   It was just a long day.  I do love being up in the clouds though...

 







And when I finally got into St. Louis, it was to realize that I got to go back to my dad’s work with him for the next hour and a half.  Oh well… I had Wicked to read and it wasn’t so bad.  Besides, I already had a great birthday weekend.  I also received several texts from friends and family throughout the day wishing me a happy birthday – that always makes me feel good.

My mom had a nice birthday meal ready for me when we got home.  Chicken and rice…mmmm.  Then time for presents.  My sister made me a Cardinal’s high socks Sunday shirt (she designed it herself) and some knee high socks.   Not as good as skydiving, but still a pretty good birthday gift ;) 

I have to say, it was a great trip, but I’m glad to be home.

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