Friday * November 27th 2015

A Message from the Heart…

Rio Grande Gold

Rio Grande – Truth or Consequences, NM

It seems that I’ve always limited myself by what I feel that I SHOULD do, as opposed to what is my “heart’s desire.”

After a summer of travel, I’m home again in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  I’m fortunate.  I have a very comfortable town-home, that I’m actually going to pay off the mortgage next Monday after taking out the lump sum from my Indiana Teacher Retirement.  (I’m still vested in the retirement system, and will get a “smallish” pension once I turn sixty-five.  However, for now I’m comfortable with my New Mexico Teacher Retirement and early Social Security.)

I’m not rich, but I’m not poor – I planned well…

However, I digress…

I think if I had a “significant other” to share the joys of the upcoming holidays with, I would be totally content.  However, being alone and single somewhat “pales in comparison” to a homespun holiday experience.  I’m divorced (for about 100 years), my parents are gone, my siblings are spread out all over the United States, and even though I have my beloved Cali I yearn for some sort of “holiday connection.”

Am I a “Little Crazy?”

Just in case you didn’t know, I have an anxiety disorder.  My spin is that I was born with a genetic condition that was hard for me to accept.  Actually, I don’t think I’m the least bit crazy and have been through a tremendous amount of SH*T in my life related to “the disorder.”   (although a little different).  Today I met with my psychiatric nurse practitioner for a bi-yearly med check.  We chat, she fills my meds, and she advises me on what I should do.  (Prozac/Xanax)  She says she’s proud of me, that I take “risks”, and live my life richly.  She told me to…

Get Out of Dodge!

I know I’m happiest when I’m traveling.  Sometimes it’s stressful, but in some strange cosmic manner God/Spirit/Universe always takes care of me.  Hokey as it may sound, I firmly believe it.  Sometimes I meet who are caustic and rude.  Other times, I meet kindred souls who I “almost” believe God has sent to me.  I realize that I “need” the caustic and rude people to grow and trust myself.  It’s not always fun.

I’m on a journey – aren’t we all?


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Price of Anything…


In my past, I was a “people pleaser.”

I would go to extremes to maintain a peaceful relationship with people.  I would “go with the flow,” ignoring my own desires and preferences at times being the proverbial “doormat.”  I maintained this “stance” in my education career, in my medical dealings with a syndrome I was born with, and in my personal relationships.

You’ll like/love me if I just keep my mouth shut and don’t question…

Surprise!  We all know that’s just not true.  In fact, some savvy narcissistic types actually capitalize on what they perceive to be “easy” or weak people.  So why, gentle reader is Cheryl writing about this now?

Recently, on the “friend of a friend” capacity of FaceBook, I “friend-ed” some women.  I didn’t know them that well, but met them recently at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.   To be quite honest, most of them I didn’t care for at all.  I found the majority of them to be bossy, whinny, cigarette chain smoking, lazy, and indecisive.  I uh, “unfriended” some of them and some “unfriended” me.

I guess the feeling was mutual…

I don’t have a lot of friends, but I have a lot of “acquaintances.”  The friends I do have, are loyal and treasured.  The older I get, the more I realize what type of people I want in my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate or wish ill will upon the aforementioned women – I just don’t want them in my life.

The type of people I want in my life are the ones that bring out the best in me (and I in them).  I no longer want to “work” for someone to like/love me.

I’ve finally realized I’m OK – just as I am…

Some people will look at you and decide instantly that they don’t like you because of the color of your hair, you’re in better physical shape than they are, or you’re more intelligent.  I don’t understand the “why,” but now I don’t question and say “there’s another one” and move on.  I’ve come to realize that I limit myself by my expectations of myself and others.  Nowadays, I try to approach life with a blank slate – and wait for the experience to unfold.

It’s the only sensible way to live…

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Rainy Day Thoughts…

In the Rain...

“In the rain…”

This is one of my favorite photographs…

I took this photo several years ago in Marysville, Washington.  I processed, printed it out, and framed it myself.  It’s hanging on the wall in my “computer room.”

Today was a rainy day in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  I received two alerts on my cell phone – one for a flash flood warning, and another for severe thunderstorms.

However, I’m thankful I’m dry and safe – sitting in my robe in front of my laptop in my townhome.  Did I ever mention how much I love (and am thankful for) my little Las Cruces townhome?  Well, I am…

My “productivity…”

Hey, even though I stayed in my robe all day while it rained doesn’t mean I wasn’t productive.

My current cell phone is a Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, and I bought it in the summer of 2013.  I have a service with Verizon, mainly because I am “grandfathered” into unlimited data.  I don’t take full advantage of the unlimited data often, but when I do I “really” use it.  I’m not a big TV watcher, but like to stream Netflix from my cell phone to the TV in my RV.  The Motorola phone has a built in HDMI port, but the “new” phone I wanted to purchase (Samsung Galaxy S5) did not.  However, after much research there “is” a way that I can project what is on my phone to my RV television.

So, as not to lose my “unlimited” Verizon data (which by the way is increasing by $20.00 next month) I bought a new, in the original box, Verizon Samsung Galaxy S5 today on eBay.  I found out I was in the “less than 1%” category of Verizon users that still hold on like a junkyard dog to their unlimited data.  However, I do “other” things with my unlimited data that Verizon doesn’t like, but I won’t elaborate upon here.

I wrote about love and relationships on FaceBook too…

Tom Blake writes a weekly column about “Finding Love after 50,” and also has a closed group on FaceBook.


This is what I wrote:

There’s nothing more at this point in my life that I would like to be able to find a best friend, companion, and yes lover. A few years back I spent what I considered a lot of energy and time to “find the right person.”

During that time, I found that I was literally wasting precious time in the search of love that I would never regain. The proverbial “light bulb” came on and I began to “work on me.” I began to take better care of myself (pampering if you will), and took steps to seek out things in my life that would bring me joy.

Last October, I bought a Lazy Daze RV, and learned to drive it. I also learned how to connect and tow my Honda CR-V behind my rig. I spent the winter on the beach of the Sea of Cortez in Puerto Penasco. This past summer I traveled to Oregon to camp host in two different state parks, took some time taking Argentine Tango lessons in Portland, traveled to Moab, Utah for a gathering of women who have a Lazy Daze RV, and on the last leg home went to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

I did meet a nice widower briefly this past summer. However, I felt “smothered” by his company for several reasons. When we went out for drinks and appetizers, he began to pile food on my plate. (It made me feel like a child.) He ignored my requests and kept doing it. I invited him over for a cook-out on the 4th of July, and he proceeded to tell me how to prepare and cook the food – even down to what brand of mayonnaise to use for the pasta salad. That was the end of that…

Recently, while connecting my car to go home a woman at the the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta a woman told me how she admired what I was doing and could never do that herself. The simple answer is “yes you can.” We can all do things we never thought we could do if the desire is great enough. That’s not to say I don’t feel a “fleeting twinge of sadness” at times when I don’t have a partner. However, the overall feeling(s) of joy outweigh the occasional feelings of the blues.

I hope love will find me. However, it’s more important I “find myself.”

At any rate, it’s the end of another day and I’m thankful for the blessings in my life.  Yesterday I gave my “best girl” Cali a bath, combed her out, and cut the hair around her face.  She smells good, and is totally my “flopsy mopsy” girl.  The rain seems to have stopped, and a cool evening is approaching.

I’m thankful for this day…

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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2015

I realized that I’ve lived in New Mexico for almost twenty (20) years and have never been to the Balloon Fiesta…

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,  for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”     ~ Leonardo da Vinci

However, there’s a reason for that – each year during the Balloon Fiesta I was working (teaching) and couldn’t attend.  However, now that I’m one of the “retired” bunch, and the fiesta was on my way home I thought “why not?”  😆

Someone told me that if you were a late arrival, you just might be lucky and snag a free parking space (boondocking) at the Sandia Casino which is just across the highway from Balloon Fiesta Park.  Well, luck was on my side and I stumbled in on Friday afternoon – the day before all the festivities and the first mass accession.

Just walking around the casino parking lot, I had the good fortune to meet Coleen and Stan who live in Albuquerque but pulled their lovely 5th wheel over to the parking area for “party central.”  First, they invited me to have a cup of coffee, then Bailey’s in my coffee, then a yummy breakfast, and ended with MIMOSAS!  They didn’t know me from Adam, but were very gracious and kind.  :-)

Every day I went to Happy Hour with the Escapee “Boomer’s” who welcomed me with open arms (and snacks).  One of the boomers had a friend leave early and gave me his parking “toad” pass.  Yippy Skippy!

I found that navigating the balloon field was best done solo.  I went with a group a couple of times, but if you’re a photographer (albeit an amateur one) it’s best to be the lone ranger so you can attempt to get outstanding shots.

A sense of wonder…

I surprised myself with the joy I felt.  That’s not to say it wasn’t easy getting up at 3:30 a.m. to be on the “field” at 5:00 a.m. for “Dawn Patrol.”  I can’t describe the feeling – but it combined great joy and the feeling of being a part of something special.

I decided to see if I could try my hand at “crewing” and did it once during a Balloon Glow.  The owner was kind and actually let me in the gondola.  Sadly, his balloon was somewhat isolated from the other balloons and it was too windy so he didn’t “tether” very long.  However, he gave me a balloon pin and I’m going to crew with him next year!

Being on the field is somewhat “dizzying” due to the action.  Pilots are inflating their balloons and it seems like “BAM” one is up, then another one…

Behind the scenes…

Hot air ballooning is really interesting, and I had no idea of what goes on in the background.  Apparently, there’s a phenomenon called the “Albuquerque Box,” due to the favorable wind conditions for hot air ballooning due to the location of Albuquerque and the time of year (October).

In addition, it’s no easy feat to become a balloon pilot.  I also didn’t realize that at a balloon gathering (like the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta), balloon owners are paid by how many accessions (and inflation’s to tether for Dawn Patrol and Balloon Glows).

Photo Justice…

I really didn’t know how to properly capture the photos and the spirit of the Balloon Fiesta, so I’ve created a Flickr slide show.  I have to say that of all the balloons at the Balloon Fiesta, there were two (or really four) that I liked the most.

I have an affinity for the Earth Balloon, since it’s the first balloon that I crewed on and plan to do so next year.  A close second is/are the three “bees.”  They’re separate hot air balloons that ascend together and “try” to stay in the same area.  It’s like a little bee family holding hands – and so dang “cute.”


Created with flickr slideshow.


You “must” put the Balloon Fiesta on your travel list…

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Remember Me?

Sometimes, it’s difficult for me to blog when I’m “on the road.”

I guess I’m not very disciplined when when there are other things “vying for my attention.”  However, I’m glad I had the experiences I did this past summer.  I learned a lot about myself, what I want (and don’t want), and what I need to do to “feed my soul.”

My RV Site

Camp hosting at South Beach State Park


In my humble opinion, camp-hosting in exchange for a camp site without financial reimbursement is basically “slave labor.”  Please don’t misunderstand me, I grew up with five brothers and a sister and “hard work” is not foreign to me.  The work itself was not terribly difficult, but I “did” become bored with the somewhat mindless repetition of doing the same thing every day.  (Cleaning yurts and fire pits)

It was somewhat shocking for me to learn that some RV-ers that aren’t so well off financially make a “circuit” of camp hosting jobs.  They stay in one park and camp host for three months, and then go to three other parks and do the same thing within a 25-50 mile radius.  One woman even has a fifth-wheel that she pays every three months to be moved to her “new” location.

It’s probably not something that I care to do again. 

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

When I finished camp hosting for the summer, I spent some time in Portland, Oregon dancing tango, and getting necessary work done to my rig and tow car.  Yes, Virginia – I joined Costco (although the closest warehouse to Las Cruces is in El Paso) in order to buy new tires for my Honda CR-V.  I’ll keep the membership for a year, and see if it’s cost effective.

Colorado River

Gold Bar Camping Area – Moab, Utah

Lazy Daze “Ladeze”

At the end of September, I was off to Moab, Utah for “The Ladeze of Lazy Daze” annual group camp-out.  It wasn’t a “good vibe,” and I found “some” of the group to be controlling and rigid.  I’m all for supporting women, equal rights, etc.  However, there was an undercurrent of “I’m trying to prove I don’t need a man” which I found to be silly.  Yes, gentle readers I have reason to feel that way, but it’s really not worth going into details.

I “will” say that I had to wait 3-4 hours to park my rig because the leader wanted participants near her to park in “her” way, and in a certain configuration regarding the sun, etc…  Then, after I got parked and leveled ANOTHER member came in and was concerned whe couldn’t get out quickly in case there was a flash flood.  (Uh, no rain in the forecast, hot and bone dry, and the river was barely a puddle and we were ten feet above it.)  I’m sorry, but I find this type of behavior controlling and exhausting and certainly not conducive to a fun type of experience.

The weekend was off to a bad start anyway because I was going to caravan to Moab from Salt Lake City with two women I’ve never met.  I met them as instructed in Salt Lake City at Wal*Mart, and the “leader” already led us out the wrong way.  She turned around in a car dealership, and I didn’t follow her.  If I had, I would have had to unhook my car.  I followed the instructions from my GPS, called her on my cell phone, and she soon caught up with the other woman.

However, just before the Moab turn-off at I-70, she passed me and “waved.”  Then, her friend followed suit – leaving me in the dust.  I thought “Did she just dump me?”  Uh, yes she did.

Here’s an excerpt from the e-mail she wrote me the next day:

I hope you can receive this before our GTG, but if not, I’ll repeat myself again.  I apologize for mishandling our caravan experience.  My only excuse is that I could not take on the added stress of traveling with someone with a toad and without a CB.  OK, so I’m a wimp.  But was also experiencing some serious family issues made more frustrating and demanding by attempting to deal with them by phone, while traveling and while attempting to accommodate the needs of two more people.  Plus, I just hate getting lost, and my recalculating GPS SUCKS!  I hope you will forgive me and understand I’m truly sorry for being insensitive. 

Here’s my e-mail response to her:

I didn’t want write a knee jerk response to your message and risk saying something inappropriate.  Thank you for your apology.  I hold no anger or ill will toward you.  However, your actions were cruel and hurtful and I have no desire to attempt to reconcile the situation and be friends.  I’m a kind person and didn’t deserve to be on the receiving end of mean behavior no matter what the excuse.  We all have stresses in our lives but we make our own choices regardless.  I don’t understand how you felt “responsible” for XXXXXXX or myself.  It seemed that you wanted to make all the decisions without input from either of us. I will be civil to you at our gathering and speak to you only as necessary.  This saddens me, but please consider how you would feel if you were treated in a similar manner.

How in the world do I meet insensitive and uncaring people who feel that it’s perfectly OK to sh*t on me and then have me act like it’s perfectly OK?  Needless to say I am/was perfectly done with this woman and her “friend.”  Yes, I cried.  However, God must watch over babies and fools.  I was able to find a nice boon-docking site and calm down.

Not my circus, and certainly not my monkeys!

I’m sorry for the rant, but I had more than my fill of bullsh*t when I was in education (specifically when I did Assistive Technology) and have little or no patience in my retirement years.


“On the field” – Albquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

After the Moab gathering, I hightailed it to Albuquerque to the Sandia Casino for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  I’d never been to the Balloon Fiesta in the twenty years that I’ve lived in New Mexico since I was working during the time of the Fiesta.

I found a boon docking site, had some nice times with Colleen and Stan who live in Albuquerque but had parked their 5th wheel at the casino for the festivities.  (They invited me for both Saturdays for breakfast and MIMOSAS!  I went over to visit the Escapee Boomers, and one of the members gave me a “toad pass” since his friend had left early.

I had met a group of single women I knew through FaceBook at the casino, but I found them to be somewhat “indecisive.”  i.e.  The women spent several hours trying to decide upon what to do for dinner.  (I finally went on my own.)  Several of the women were heavy smokers, and I found myself using my inhaler after spending time with them.

The “group” wanted to go to Santa Fe on the RailRunner, so I researched the train times, how and where to get to the stop, and presented the information.  Again, everyone was “iffy” about who was going, when they would go, etc…  However, one person definitely said she would go with me on the 10:00 a.m. train.

The next morning I wake up and find a FB message that they all had taken the 7:10 a.m. train.

Gee, how nice was that?

The lesson I’ve learned is that I don’t like to be in single women groups.  It seems that many older women are bitter about the path that their lives have taken and want to “boss.”  I realized I don’t want to be associated with those types, and made the “adjustment” by unfriending on FaceBook.

After that, I kept to myself and did things on my own.  Actually, I did things with “fun” people.  I made it a point to go to the daily Happy Hour at the Escapee Boomer gathering, and a nice couple gave me a “toad” parking pass.  It was preferable for me to go to the balloon field by myself, since I was free to roam and photograph without trying to keep tabs and stay with a group.

I must be a loner…

Actually, I was on a “natural high” being on the balloon field by myself in the “Zen-like” mode of photography.  I knew if I “stuck with a group,” I wouldn’t have the freedom to roam as I did to get some amazing photo shots.  It’s all good – OK, except for the $$ I lost at the casino…  :-(


“Dawn Patrol”



I apologize for the rant.  I discovered a lot about myself this summer.  I know that I’m drawn to kind people who don’t have “hidden agendas.”  In the past, I would have tolerated “mucho bullsh*t” from these types of people, and blame myself for why they didn’t like me or treated me in a negative manner.  Now, I “try” to wish them well and move on.

It’s the only sensible way to live…

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