Wednesday, August 26, 2009

it's all about perspective

I've been meaning to blog since Sunday, but every time I sit down to do it the things I thought I wanted to write down just don't seem to form themselves into cohesive utterances. So...I think I'm just gonna roll with that and go a little more freeform on this one. How 'bout it?

Things I Like:

-riding bikes with friends
-having one of those moments where you just feel ALIVE
-how Tiger Balm smells kinda like Christmas
-going to the movies by myself twice in a week
-seeing the people around me smile
-much-needed climbing crew reunions at the pub
-how pumped I get for school once classes actually start
-diet dr. pepper with Sonic ice
-random texting with the bff from college
-birthday minutes
-planning trips to visit friends near and far
-being the kind of person who can get completely engrossed in a movie
-being the kind of person who can barely sit still
-my favorite Tweeps, who constantly brighten my day
-having shower days and non-shower days
-being barefoot as much as possible
-my ceiling fan
-hanging out with kids
-random dance spazzout sessions at the climbing gym
-talking to my grandma on the phone
-talking to anyone in my family on the phone
-thinking about my amazing little sister
-talking about my amazing little sister
-my amazing little sister

I think that's a good start. For now at least! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

notes from the backcountry

It all started with a delicious pepperoni pizza. Now, the first time I hiked Half Dome, I indulged without incident in eating pizza & a pint pre-hike, so I thought this would be fine, especially considering that this hike in was only 3 miles and 3 fairly flat miles at that.

Wrong wrong wrong. Nothing about that tasty pizza settled and I spent the first two miles of the hike convinced my appendix was going to burst at any minute. We're not talking some nausea here. I quite literally almost cried with how much it hurt. (Not that I would cry. I don't cry. I make Chuck Norris cry.) Finally, it got a little better and my countenance shifted back to normal, which is really more like “excited puppy” and tends to freak a lot of people out.

Arriving at camp was fairly anticlimactic. We set up camp without incident and shortly therafter broke out our camp dishes for some grubbin'. Everyone stayed pretty close to camp and we got a good fire going in our pit. There was what I consider unnecessary haste in bear bagging our foodstuffs, but I'm not the boss. I went over to watch the bear bagging occur so that I could reverse the process in the morning as I am an early riser at camp. (Why this is not also true back home I don't know. Though I wish it were.) Before I knew it, I was the one rigging the bear bag, utilizing a couple of my favorite climbing knots to rig it up, much to the surprise of my male campmates.

We then returned to the campfire for more chatter with the neighboring campers. The conversation lasted until the fire died down to ember, and then we parted ways towards our respective sleeping arrangements.

As expected, I woke up absurdly early, forcing my body to sleep until at least 7. I won that battle, but just barely. I happily navigated down to water's edge to filter some breakfast water, then brewed myself some delicious coffee with my oatmeal. The only problem with this situation is that by the time everyone else is finally crawling out of their tents, I am fully caffeinated & probably singing nonsense songs. Not exactly the best way to make friends in the morning.

All things considered, the morning was quiet and lazy, as a Saturday morning should be. We didn't do much of anything until a group decided to head to the caves for a little bit of exploration. I stayed back, enjoying the rarity of a quiet camp. While the rest of the crew was gone, more of our party arrived on site & started setting up camp.

When everyone got back from 'sploring the caves, we donned our swimsuits for what was supposed to be a refreshing turn in the lake. Most everyone got in and some went fishing instead. I decided to give the cliff jumping a go. It is NOT fair that I am not allowed to be a little skittish about dropping 30 feet into water off a veritable cliff. “Why are you scared? You jump out of planes!” is not my favorite thing to hear as I'm trying to muster the cajones to hurl myself off said rock into said (cold) lake.

Nevertheless, I finally took the plunge and that was that. Once was enough, though. I scrambled back up the granite boulders to our campsite and promptly fell asleep on the rock behind our tent. After my little nap, I changed out of my wet swimsuit and into my climbing shoes, which had arrived just hours prior thanks to A, who had also hiked in my MadPad. We assembled a small group of would-be climbers to explore the boulders near camp, which mostly consisted of the dads and their kids and me. I inadvertently inserted the word “sketchball” into the vocabularies of the three kids (ages 9, 8, & 7) during our little climbing excursion. We didn't do anything super crazy, but definitely found a few fun problems to pump out on.

Everyone started trickling back towards camp as dinnertime loomed, and eventually we all found ourselves back at the campfire, hungry and tired and dirty. A discussion ensued over the superiority of certain freeze-dried meals over others, and I've decided that I'd rather have a pocketrocket over a jetboil, though both are pretty sassy compared to the Coleman my dad used to bring to camp when we were kids. I ate a dinner almost exclusively consisting of rice, which was slightly disappointing if not filling. You can't always win. And I like rice, so it works, I guess.

Following dinner, we sat around the campfire, stoking it with the sparse logs A was able to gather. I managed at one point during the evening to drop both my hat and headlamp actually IN to the fire, and pulled them out fairly intact save for the horrible burnt plastic smell that still lingers all over the hat. Good thing I had a 2nd one to wear to bed that night. We roasted marshmallows and played with sticks in the fire. I sent smoke signals on over to @theclimbergirl, but she says she didn't get them. So now my campmates think I'm nuts and @theclimbergirl didn't even get my message. Good thing I think she's rad anyways. :) Worth people thinking I'm extra nuts for sure.

Sunday I couldn't sleep past 6:15 and woke up just minutes before the sun peeked over the mountain across the lake. I pulled down the bear bag, enjoyed a quiet breakfast and a lazy morning as the rest of camp slowly rose to meet the day. I enjoyed a lovely conversation with the fellow at the next camp, and as we talked we realized we had attended the same wedding in my hometown back in 2001. Even the backcountry is a small world, I guess! We're now FB friends with plans to backpack again someday.

Come late morning, we started packing up camp for the hike out. I stubbornly volunteered to pack out my MadPad, a situation which required some creative rigging and extremely tentative balancing. It was figured out, though, and I managed to hike the three miles out with only four rest stops.

There was a much-needed pizza stop on the way out, where we washed our dirt-embedded hands in the restroom sink. Everyone else in the restaurant looked so clean! I dozed most of the two hours home, trying not to upset my slightly sunburnt face. Upon arriving home, I first jumped in the pool with the kids, then promptly unpacked, happily wrapping myself in the delicious aroma of camp as I prepared my laundry and sorted my gear and food out.

Now, with everything put away, I'm anxious for the next adventure! If everything goes as planned, I'll have at least one trip each month until November, which would be wonderful, and then next season will be here before we know it.

Katiebeth: Young Adventurer Extraordinaire (or something like that...)

P.S. I'd appreciate it if the power company would remove whatever cell tower was giving us reception up there. It's not real backcountry if I can Twitter! (and I haven't the willpower not to. I love my Tweeps too much.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


The theme of transparency seems to be recurring in my life. And each time it pokes its little head out, I seem to learn something new. I can remember the first time I was really aware of the concept was in junior high school. I would get so frustrated with the flippancy with which people would use “how are you?” in conversation, and so I learned to make a point of smiling and making eye contact and asking questions because, well, I knew I liked it when people treated me that way so it made sense. I'm not saying I had this whole thing dialed by any means, but it's the earliest I can recall transparency being something I recognized in relationships.

I usually can read people pretty well, and have always had a hard time with difficult-to-read individuals and feeling comfortable with them. I think this has all to do with my deep-seated desire to be liked and appreciated because if I know how I am being reacted to and understood, I feel more comfortable. I have more control. (I'm really hoping this isn't some kind of pathology I don't know about...) Growing up I strove to achieve because it was the venue through which I received positive feedback. It was a priority for me to be appreciated that way because it was better than the alternative. (Just for the record, I was very much loved as a child and never doubted this.) It seemed like it was easy in our household to get noticed by doing something wrong, so I wanted to do right things.

And that translates kind of strangely through adolescence. It affected my faith in that I developed little patience for hypocrisy and definitely stirred up a tenderheartedness that has gotten me into trouble more than a few times. I've had to learn the hard way how to say no and how to rest, usually at the expense of those closest to me. They see all the ugly, all the times when I'm frustrated and tired and all my buttons have been pushed and I'm so drained I haven't the energy to be helpful to anyone.

So then comes college and with it the joys of self-discovery, identity formation and social networking websites. What a recipe. My undergrad years coincided rather disastrously with the advent of MySpace and Facebook. Not that it was a disaster for me, but that I think these things have contributed to a very unique generation of young adults. We have friends all over the world we've never met, and aren't even aware of the degree to which we manipulate our images via our respective social networking addictions. Now, having friends all over the world isn't all bad. In fact, I love Facebook and Twitter and use them on a regular basis. I love having friends accessible to me pretty much any time of the day.

And that's probably not so good.

It's not my friends' jobs to be available to affirm me or make me feel wanted when I want to feel wanted. It's not their responsibility to be on the other end of the phone always or respond to every text I send. So why in the world do we get so caught up in this delicate construct of relationship that's essentially built on “what I want you to know about me”? And in saying this I'm not arguing for total and complete transparency because that's a safety issue. (I grew up being told I would be murdered by anyone I told my name/age/location/favorite color to. Wait, maybe that last one was a Monty Python thing...anyways...)

And this whole issue resurfaced today in a conversation with a fellow blogger and very dear IRL friend. (Check out her site at last post was a VERY sweet entry about yours truly that very nearly made me tear up!) She informed me that a blog we both follow was under some fire because of some choices the blogger made in the amount and type of information she chose to share through her blog. There were some lack of truths involved and frankly the whole situation kind of unsettled me. We can be so very interested in the type and amount of attention we receive via our cyberspace communities that we not only distort transparency but we lose the chance to develop it in our real lives.

Because I really shouldn't get upset when Twitter's down. It's a chance for me to focus on the people right in front of me, with no distractions. As much as I care for each and every person within my favorite little Twitter community, that must always be tempered by an even greater focus on the people around me. And an openness to reviewing each thing I say in cyberspace as a tiny fragment of who I am, aware of how I might be inadvertently manipulating how it might be perceived. I need a willingness to be called out, both here and in real life.

So, friends, if I ask nothing else of you, I ask that you never be hesitant to call me out. I want to be transparent through all aspects of communication, from conversation to text to Facebook to Twitter to gchat to good old-fashioned letters. :) For your sake and mine.

Monday, August 10, 2009

falling...with style

In case you haven't already heard me say it, graduating from AFF is perhaps more exciting and more awesome than graduating from college. First of all, it's the opposite with regards to the “what do I do now?” feeling. When you graduate AFF, you know EXACTLY what to do...go skydive! The sky is your limit, literally. :)

Saturday I got a late start up to the dropzone which turned out to be okay since it was a pretty busy morning of tandems. For all the hours I spend there, most of them are spent chatting and doing handstands and talking about jumping with anyone and everyone. And packing, when there's packing to be done.

It's always fun when a big group comes out to the hangar to cheer on a friend or family member. There's so much excitement in the air. I think that it's easy to forget just how thrilling that first jump can be, and how from the perspective of most of the population, a tandem skydive is extreme. Even with as few jumps as I have, I find myself separating my experiences from theirs'...and while yes, it is different to BE a skydiver than it is to go for a ride on a tandem rig, we're all getting to do something exhilarating and fun and exciting. That never changes. So I try to be as welcoming and open and non-elitist as possible at all times. :)

Anyways, back to AFF. Mom runs our loads, fitting in the students and the up jumpers (the non-tandems) around the tandem loads so that everyone gets a chance to fly. She figures out who's coming up when, who needs to be where when, and lets us know when our load is going to be. If I've learned one thing from G, it's to always be ready--physically AND mentally--for a jump. Sometimes it's only five minute's notice to manifest for your load if we're busy or something opens up.

We reviewed the dive plan for level 7, and then found out that A would be my instructor instead of G. A was an instructor of mine a few levels ago but not since I dropped to one instructor, so I had never jumped without G. G reads me well. He knows I need the pressure put on me a little bit, but that I have a tendency to be tense because I'm a perfectionist. A is much more mellow, which I think worked out perfectly come jump time. I knew and G knew that my struggle with this dive would be to relax and be confident, something I think was easier for me--for whatever reason--with A. G taught me SO MUCH that I was ready for the jump, and so having A there who is more relaxed just set me up for a good jump. Plus I wanted to do G proud. :)

All during the ride to altitude, I consciously held on to positive feelings and positive thoughts, acknowledging my fear--both of jumping itself and of getting it all wrong--but deciding that I was going to have a great jump no matter what. The pressure was off in a way, because I felt more confident of my skills as a skydiver, so even if I tanked like a rockstar I'd just get to jump again. Which is NEVER all bad. Who doesn't want more time in the sky?

The exit was great and I had no problems stabilizing. I launched into a backflip and recovered pretty well, if not a little flat. But I caught A's eyes, who motioned for me to arch harder which I did. Then it was time for turns, one in each direction, followed by a forward track, which I seem to be getting the hang of a little better. Wave off and pull and I knew so long as I didn't tank my landing pattern that it was a successful dive and I'd get to move on.

I have a terrible habit of ending up waaaaaaaay far away from the hangar and having to pretty much hike back across the field. More embarassing than anything else and it's definitely a matter of learning the altitudes for a pattern and manipulating the canopy for a good solid landing. Because if everything else goes wrong on a skydive, you really want the landing to be successful, right?

I took a short break and then almost immediately got ready for my last student jump, called a hop-n-pop. A hop-n-pop is when you exit at the altitude at which you'd usually wave off and pull to inflate your canopy, which is exactly what you do. They drop you at 4500 feet and you immediately stabilize and pull. It's to practice for an emergency exit. Mine went fine. G said it'd be scary, but I didn't find it particularly scary--I knew what I needed to do and I did it.

Since everyone else on the load was going to altitude, I got down a lot sooner than they did and started packing my canopy. As soon as A got down and confirmed the pass with D, D announced to the hangar that there was a new skydiver--me! I was immediately dogpiled on and hugged and congratulated profusely. Finishing the pack job was probably a good way for me to equalize a little before leaving (early--I had a baby shower to get to!). I view packing like I view belaying--a little bit boring, entirely necessary, and wonderfully therapeutic. It's physical, so I am moving, and it requires my attention, but I have a little bit of mental space to think and process as I pack. I love that.

I hugged my new “family” before I left, and as I got in the car to leave I literally had goosebumps I was so terribly excited. I didn't call my regular family or friends for the first few minutes of the drive. I wanted to settle into the reality on my own, and frankly, you could have told me I was nuts or silly or stupid or anything and I wouldn't have cared. I wanted to enjoy the feeling of accomplishing that goal as something that I had singularly fought for and desired and reached. Not to make anyone else happy--for once. :) And that's special to me.

I went to the baby shower (for a dear friend I haven't seen since her wedding last year!) and later hung out with J, S & R. We slacklined and went swimming and tried to learn to juggle in the dark. I got home a little after midnight and veritably crashed. Falling asleep as soon as I hit the pillow has not been a problem for me lately, that's for sure.

Sunday morning I got up and went to church (late) and taught my class (I have the three-year-olds...and they were all boys today) then headed out to the dropzone kind of on a whim. I should have stayed in town for a rehearsal, but I took a bye and called to make sure I could get on a load. As soon as I got up to the hangar, D was already rigging up a canopy for me to jump. I packed it in the quiet hangar and waited for my friends to drop out of the sky.

Once they were down we had a little bit of time to organize our load with who was doing what. It was decided we'd do a tracking dive--something pretty simple and fun for a first solo jump for me, especially on an unfamiliar rig.

I felt familiarly nervous as we climbed to altitude, but this time it had much less to do with how I'd perform and all to do with just getting on top of the power curve and being in control of my dive. The jump went pretty well, save for the fact that I tracked with the wind...which, since it was not particularly windy was okay, but could have put us too far south. Ah, well. It worked out fine. I was aware of the other jumpers flying beside me and it was really really really really really cool to just get to FLY with them. I think it was the first time I've smiled in freefall. We were close to each other, able to make eye contact. We flew. Like birds. Sigh.

The canopy I was flying was considerably smaller than the gigantic student rigs I've been flying and so it was a lot more dynamic especially with turns. I tried to get a good feel for the canopy well before it was time to set up for the landing pattern. The landing went all right, save for the fact that I landed a liiiiittle too hard, but still ran it out and stood it up. I might be a little stiff for a couple days, but no biggie. It's those last few feet of altitude that'll make all the difference, you know? It's all part of learning.

And the day just got better. I set the canopy up for the pack job and then went to pay D for the jump (not being a student is SO much cheaper!). He informed me that not only was he planning to just give me the main I had just jumped (was S's old canopy--a 170 square foot main) but that A (one of the pilots who also jumps) wanted to give me her container/harness and reserve. And I get to use her automatic activation device until her new rig comes in. I could have cried, if I was a crier. I was literally given an entire functioning rig. Now my expenses are going to be much more manageable--things like a jumpsuit and a helmet and goggles and altimeter. Expensive, still, but hey, I have a birthday coming up...*wink wink, nudge nudge*

I'm still totally flabbergasted by their generosity--they have no idea how much they have just blessed me, almost a stranger considering how long I've been jumping. So that brings my grand total to 10 jumps counting my tandem back in May...I think I can make 25 for an A license by my birthday in November, right?

It was a good weekend and I'm a little bit sad to be missing all next weekend since I'm going backpacking (for the first time!) but then school will start and schedules will change and it's only two weeks until my next free weekend...I promise not to wait that long to blog, even if it's just about ponies or dinosaurs or sharks or...please, leave a comment about your weekend or direct me to your blog if I don't read already! I'd love to hear about others' adventures. :)

Blue skies!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

on living at the hilt

Some days I want to hide under my covers. I don't want to get up, I don't want to be responsible or punctual or even brush my teeth. I want to close my eyes and cover my ears and sometimes I even could go for a hug.

I often get caught up in my own hurricane of a personality before I realize what's happening. I end up feeling pulled in sixty-seven different directions, and in those moments all I want to do is go climb. Climbing settles me because no matter how in a tizzy I am when I start, I have to set that aside. Skydiving is proving to be the same. I am forced to focus and forced to physically process any stress or tension or conflict. All the things I have to do and be and say are irrelevant for those minutes. Climbing and jumping play on my tendency to hyperfocus and to be lost completely in whatever demands the most attention from me. I haven't decided yet whether that's good or bad.

So frequently I get drained by how much I care and how much I want to make other people happy. I will never be able to shake completely that's a part of who I am. I genuinely enjoy seeing others fulfilled & loved. It heartens me to know that the people around me are cared for. This can come at an expense, which I willingly accept. Eventually, though it comes around to me feeling selfish when I pursue the things I want to do. I know this is silly, but I'm hardwired that way. To convince myself that it's okay to want to be alone and to say no takes all I can muster sometimes! And when people try to tell me these things, it's even more frustrating. I KNOW I'm busy. I KNOW I don't have to say yes. I KNOW it's okay to rest. I get it. I don't need to be admonished in that regard, thanks.

And right now there's a lot of things that are vying for my attention--hence the wanting to hide under the covers. So many forms and projects and tasks that don't have a set time to be done, so they just loom over the periphery of everything else, threatening to send me into a panic attack when I think on them too much. My initiative wanes, because I'm exhausted before I even start. That said, I'm certainly not living in a cloud of distress, but I have my moments.

So when people ask why I do what I do for fun, I don't have a great answer. I do those things because they can match the intensity and fervor with which I process the rest of life. They seem to fit. And those things can be an escape, a place to explore my fears and limits, but eventually the ground comes quickly and I have to plant my legs, shinsplints and all, on some solid ground so I can step purposefully toward the next moment. Because even if I'm not sure where I'm going, I want to get there on purpose.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


My family came by the dropzone today. They were headed up the state, I had a rig to pack (S leaves the student canopies for me to pack so I can learn how to do it) and a free afternoon so it worked out.

Funny thing was, that "feeling" I've started to have since I started taking climbing more seriously was at an all-time high. Since this is an unfamiliar thing for me to experience, I don't know if it crosses over and is just part of the whole "growing up" thing or not. I've spent a good part of my life doing as I was told, looking for approval and achieving what I was "supposed to". It's something I struggle with always, but am learning gradually to let go of.

I'm going to go ahead and make climbing the scapegoat here, since climbing is sort of what got everything going--led to slacklining and eventually I'd say even skydiving. The attitudes I developed, the confidence, the way I fit with these activities in a way I'd never fit with other sports. The people I met--a veritable smorgasboard of smart, warm, adventurous individuals that I have loved spending time with.

And the more I become the person I am most comfortable being, the me that I like the most, the more I realize that's not so much what I had in mind, and perhaps not even what was expected of me. And that's a harsh reality, because in my mind "smart kids" like me don't struggle with this, they just get through school, get a respectable "smart kid" job, and everything is sunshine and butterflies.

How is it that I am engaged in a daily battle where some days I'm so happy I'm beside myself and ready to take the world by storm and other days I'm petrified that I am merely scratching an itch and eventually these passions will fade away and then I'll be a shoulda-coulda-woulda who used to have potential? I understand that it is all a balance (which is sometimes a difficult concept for my stubborn mind to wrap itself around) and that everything has an ebb and flow.

And right now, I'm okay with that. So long as at the end of the day I know that I gave it my all, I'll be just fine. It's just hard when a family is as tight knit as mine is and I feel absolutely on the fringe, like I'm not on the grid where I can even relate these things and what they mean to me.

So then skydiving and climbing become something bigger. Something uniquely defining and not just in the way that people look at you and go "you're crazy" or "you're hardcore" or "what's with all the extreme sports?", but in the way that I feel like I am pursuing things that make me terribly happy. And experiencing that doubt just becomes part of the whole thing...knowing that I am the one making choices and having to own them.

more learning to fly

Confession: I am a control freak with performance anxiety. I like to know what's going on and how to respond to it and how everything works and...well, you get the idea.

Jumped levels 5 and 6 today, and packed four rigs. (Two student rigs, an under-100 and G's wingsuit rig...more later on all that). I was on my way to the dropzone immediately after breakfast and didn't pull in the driveway until after 11 p.m. I arrived at around 10 a.m. and took it easy for a couple hours, watching S pack and trying my best to get into some calculated mischief. We went out to catch a couple of tandems and I managed to get munched on by our friendly neighborhood mosquitoes (they LOVE me) before it clicked why people always talk about their skydiving stuff smelling like Deet. The skeeters come out in full force in the nice green tandem landing area. They leave the student landing area alone cause it's dry and full of pokeys.

Anyways. On level 5, I had to learn to be much more stable in my turns and turn all the way around instead of only a 180 like in level 4. After said jump, I packed the 300 square foot student canopy (which I did NOT fly...waaaaaay too big) with some assistance. Let me tell you, I understand now why skydivers can sometimes--how to put this--have a “mouth” on them. Getting that thing situated with all of its risers (the cords that connect everything) and material and keeping it neat and organized and getting it stuffed into that tiiiiiiiiiny little bag is enough to elicit some choice verbage, that's for sure. A couple of times I had to up and walk away from pack jobs because I was letting my frustration get the better of me. I would calm down and come back later to finish up. I then packed my own student rig.

Somewhere in there, I packed J's rig, which is less than 100 square feet. Smaller square footage = more dynamic performance. It was definitely a change from the gigantic student rigs, that's for sure. Then G grabbed me to discuss level 6's skydive--back layouts and tracking AND a solo exit, meaning I let go of the plane without any instructor assistance, stabilize, and fly. For the whole jump, G doesn't touch me unless I'm going to kill myself. Also I got to try my hand at spotting and having an instructor on my left instead of my right as he has been for all other jumps. Spotting is using landmarks to identify and decide on where the door opens and when the pilot cuts the engine so we can jump out. Of course I managed to screw up that part a little, but that's kind of the point...making mistakes and learning. I put us a little too west, but we were able to get back to the landing zone just fine. G is very good about letting me screw up only insofar as I don't endanger anyone, which gives me a lot of opportunities for learning. Which I am doing plenty of.

The layouts are exactly what they sound like they are--flips--and tracking is flying forward very quickly by flattening out your body. It allows you to move laterally in a given direction. I got into the layouts easy, but had trouble stopping the movement and ended up for the first time losing control in freefall. It sounds scary, but it's really not that bad. It's just a matter of responding to the situation, getting back IN control of your body, and staying where you are so you can do what you need to do. What a great lesson for me, both as a skydiver and a person.

As for the tracking, I was a little funky with my arms for the first go at it, but after I took a break and tried again, it was FUN and came much easier. I didn't monitor my altitude perfectly and pulled a little low, but my opening and landing were fine.

After that, G briefed me on how the jump went and we talked about level 7 which frankly scares the bejeezus out of me. It is a solo jump that combines everything I've been learning. I'm kind of glad I know the flow now so I can visualize and build confidence over the course of the week. I've learned that I am adept at responding to situations but that I suck when it comes to being on the power curve, making the decisions. And I need to figure that out for this jump.

I stayed around to watch G fly his wingsuit so I could watch his canopy deploy since I had packed it last weekend. It worked--he had threatened me with my AFF if he had to cutaway, which he didn't, so I get to keep jumping. In fact, he handed it to me to pack it a second time. It was all I could do to finish that pack job, as I was starting to crash, and bad. I perked up with an Anchor Steam and a lap around the hangar, as well as some vaguely dangerous antics like scaling the hangar door and the like. We all stood around until heading out, this time after dark. We (the young generation of jumpers) met up at our “clubhouse”--J's apartment--where we ate pizza and watched The Sharp End. I doubt I'll ever get tired of that movie.

I'm trying to temper my enthusiasm a bit since I'm pretty sure everyone I know is tired of me talking about skydiving. I can't make any promises, far I'm pretty well hooked. Anyone else wanna try it?