So, midterms are over, and I think I did average. Midterms around here are funny. They are required (and, in fact, are a prerequisite to taking the final exams), but they are ungraded. So, we go through all of this stress and anxiety (study, study, study) just to have some TA look them over and hand them back to us. Most of the professors aren’t even looking at them. They all, however, went over the exams in class and told us what they were looking for in the answers, so I guess I have a hint of what to expect for finals.

Thursday and Friday were “Fall Break” – they give us two days off for R&R before tossing us right back in it again. I spent my Thursday up at the Lab (trainings, etc), Friday night at the Balloon Fiesta (which was cancelled due to high winds), and then Saturday and much of Sunday in bed with a head cold. I did always have such good timing with my illnesses – Christmas holidays, weekends, you name it. From now on, I’m going to have an IV tube of Zicam running through my veins. I had forgotten how schools are big germ factories…

Balloon Fiesta

One very nice thing about driving the Albuquerque in the mornings is that I got to see 2 Mass Ascensions from I-25. On Wednesday, in particular, it was so pretty. Coming over the hill just past Casino Hollywood, it just looked like someone had popped a huge champaigne cork and all the balloons were the bubbles, just hanging in the air. Then as I was driving home later in the morning, about 50 of them were landing in Rio Rancho and Bernalillo, right next to the freeway. It looked just like a storybook.

For all of my out-of-town friends, the Balloon Fiesta is a sight to behold. Hundreds of hot air balloons from around the world converge on Albuquerque for a week of flying events and glows. So very cool — when the weather is right. When the weather is bad, the Balloon Fiesta sucks. You’re stuck in traffic for forever, just to see the event that you’ve been counting on for the past year cancelled due to rain/wind/snow. Plus, this year they had one person die (balloon got stuck in power lines, the basket tipped, and a passenger was ejected), and 4 other crashes the first weekend.

Even still, I love the Balloon Fiesta – but I will never invite you because I always have the luck of bringing people out during “the worst weather that the Balloon Fiesta has seen in a jillion years!” I’m bad luck. But if you ever decide to come on your own, let me know and we’ll play host.

This year, our own bad luck turned against us for the first time. Friday was a beautiful, clear, warm day. Brent and I had never been to a Glow (they blow up the balloons, but don’t launch them. They just sit there, burning their flames, and the whole balloon lights up like a lantern), so we decided to go Friday. We got there early, had dinner at Flying Star, got to the park, paid the $6 each to get in, and waited. Then the winds kicked up and it was too unsafe to hold the glow. Cancelled. So frustrating. It took us almost an hour to get out of the park – and people were still flooding in from the other direction. Either they didn’t get the message that the event was cancelled, or they were waiting to see the fireworks that they promised were still going to happen. People. Go figure.

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