Monday, October 5, 2009

Hot Air

I spent the past four days with two wonderful friends - Dee Hunt from Nevada and her sister, Sheila Hansen from California - and oh man (or oh man-less) did we girls have fun!

It is International Balloon Fiesta weekend, so hot air balloons were coasting through bright blue New Mexico skies for most of the past several days. And that isn't the only place hot air was coasting.

Bring the three of us together for more than a few hours and I can assure you that a LOT of hot air was released. We ate and talked and shopped and talked and rested and talked and...well, I imagine you get the picture.

A lot of our conversation was important, tied to current events or family and friends, but enough of it was just the three of us blowing off steam individually or collectively that the hot air balloon fiesta definitely had some good competition.

It's good to have friends you can trust and 'air' your thoughts, concerns, opinions, fears, rants and frustrations with. Like I said, there was a lot of hot air coasting through many of our conversations. Although, when I really stop to think about it, we did very little negative sharing in our hot air conversations, it was more like sisters sitting around knitting and talking about the weather (which couldn't have been more perfect).

But in spite of hours and days of togetherness and hot air - inclusive conversations, the Balloon Fiesta really did trump us, with the vibrant colors, floating balloons, blasting propane flames, colorfully dressed crews, wee morning hours, expectant crowd from all over the country, turkey drumsticks at 5 AM, minibuns, breakfast burritos and fried cheese curds (etc, etc).

My friend Tom Mizner was our tour guide and it was so fun to be at the Balloon Fiesta with someone who has "been there-done that-and worn several t-shirts over the years".  He's crewed, parked, visited and more, so he knew where to park, when to arrive, what was going on, etc. He was great and really made the event much more fun than it would have been without him. AND he put up with all that hot air too!

We stood in the middle of literally hundreds of hot air balloons as they were inflating, HUGE caverns of color and hot air that floated away from us sometimes one at a time, and sometimes lifting in concert. It was so much fun!

Oh yeah, and when I say  'the morning', I mean THE MORNING: we were THERE at 5:30 AM and completely awestruck with HUGE smiles for the next several hours, then headed home by 9:30 AM. It was like ending our day when it should have been starting. Naps, shopping, and dinner with friends followed. By bedtime, we crashed hard. All hot air was spent.

I have never seen anything like the Balloon Fiesta and will return again next week with the ABQ Chamber, and hopefully in years to come as well. I will miss my two dear friends, but am certain the hot air will keep me going.

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