All the time, but especially around the holidays, blood banks are in need of blood. Everyone is busy, its hard to make time to give blood, but there couldn't be a more important time to give. You could save up to 3 lives, just by giving up an hour of your time.

My normal blood bank service is United Blood Services and they are having an O Drive during the holidays. What does that mean? It means they will track you down to get you to make an appointment to give blood. Not an O blood type? They will take your blood too!


 My poison of choice was the double red donation once again because now I don't have to get a needle stick again until March. YAY!

And since I'm a good donor, they told me to eat a Taco Bell hearty meal after donation. I swore they said Taco Bell, so I swung through the drive through on my way home.

If you are able, please take time to donate this holiday season. What better gift can you give than the gift of life?

#20.3: O Drive

by on 5:00 AM
All the time, but especially around the holidays, blood banks are in need of blood. Everyone is busy, its hard to make time to give blood, b...
I'll never forget the first Thanksgiving that I spent away from my family. I was a freshman in college and we were in Grand Junction at a basketball tournament. I ate Thanksgiving dinner at the Golden Corral and then I cried. Who eats Thanksgiving dinner at the Golden Corral....well apparently a lot of families do, my college basketball team family included, but I just wanted to be at my Grandparents with all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, sisters. Looking back, it wasn't as bad as I seemed to think. Those girls were really family too, we were sisters all united by a leather basketball. We were a team family. I couldn't have asked for a better group of girls to get me through my first couple years of college.

My second Thanksgiving away from my family came when I was at school in Oklahoma, luckily I have great friends and even though it wasn't my immediate family, it was still family in Southwest Oklahoma. These are my boys! and yes we drank beer on Thanksgiving.


Today, I will be celebrating my third Thanksgiving away from family. Its never easy, but I'm not crying so I think that's an improvement from my inaugural run. Even without family here with me, I still have a lot to be thankful for. So today I am thankful for:

Friends and family - Even though I'm not with my family, I won't be alone today. I'll be spending Thanksgiving with the Retired Guy and Bonnie. They take care of me like their own kid, so it will be almost the same as being with my immediate family and the food will be delicious. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the famous pumpkin roll. I request one every year from Bonnie.

My family, they are there rain or shine. Sure we have our differences and we aren't the poster child for the Brady Bunch, but we get it done and we love each other. I am so thankful for my family! As you can see I can't even get the words to come to say how I truly feel about them.

Being healthy - I've been really trying to get into better shape, to lose weight and be healthier in general. I'm making progress and this will be the first year that I, by my own choice, ran a 5K today to celebrate Thanksgiving. Want to be a Thanksgiving bada** too? Run your own Turkey Trot and come back to link up on Monday. If we have Turkey Trotters from at least 10 states Football Fan and I will be making generous donations to 2 great charities, The Salvation Army and Toys for Tots.



My job and my ranchers - My job is stressful and depressing at times, there is too much political and otherwise BS for my taste. But those days that I spend out on the desert, or on horseback, or by Razr with my ranchers have a way of erasing those crappy days that can sometimes occur. Although with the government shutdown and budget crisis, its easy to think that my job isn't all that great, its better to be thankful for having a job, a mostly secure job and the opportunity to work with great people and sometimes the view ain't bad either.


Tylie - What dog owning human isn't thankful for their dog? Lately, I've become even more thankful for Tylie because as she starts to show her age, I can't help but think about losing her. But she is still here now and she is still super excited every time I come home to her. I can't imagine life without her. Plus she snores and that is pretty funny!




 Since I've lived here lived here for 4 years, there should be many more posts, but there aren't because I'm a slacker. To catch up on on my DIY(with recruitment of helpers) projects, just click here!

This project is complements of my taste in picking flooring, paint colors etc. It is not a product of my blood, sweat and tears. Actually, there was plenty of tears because this is one of the rooms that was flooded, but now that its all done.....its a much better place!


**Don't forget to Trot Your Turkey tomorrow through the weekend. Report back with your pictures and thoughts! If we get trotters from at least 10 states, we will be forking over a donation to the Salvation Army!**
The Assistant Pack Leader had wanted a weenie dog for as long as I can remember. Said weenie dog had a name long before he entered this world and Critter joined our family one year for Christmas.






Critter Jack is the poster child for personality. He was quirky, he was fun and he wasn't afraid to stand up for himself......or any toy who he made the decision to adopt. Critty could "back it on up fat Jesus" into the roping box that looked eerily similar to the corner of the couch. Fist bump, had that one down. Want him to roll over? He'd do it with style by spinning in a circle first. every.single.time.

Critter was very protective of his bones, treats and especially of the toys that he found on his own. A hedgehide (which of course is a hedgehog that had his feet chewed off so he couldn't run away and had been gutted....becomes a hedgehide) or a bear that he pulled out of Assistant Pack Leader's garage sale pile, or "Snowy" the snowman that he adopted out of Tylie's Christmas stocking. These special things had a special hiding place in his crate, or condo as he liked to call it. And if any human tried to take these things out of his condo.....they would be the proud owner of a bloody stump for a hand.


Critter and Assistant Pack Leader were quite the pair. Critty was the best healer and looked after Assistant Pack Leader while she was fighting cancer. He would cuddle for hours on the couch making sure she wasn't lonely. He'd watch any show that she wanted and just all around loved her until she got better. But don't let that cute little face fool you, make him mad and you'd find a present waiting for you in your bedroom.

Critter was only with us for 6 short years, but he was a member of the family and a best friend to Assistant Pack Leader.


Yesterday, Assistant Pack Leader had to make one of the hardest decisions of her life. Critter had hurt his back and was in constant pain. She did the brave, honorable and was worthy of Crit's devotion. She let Critter join his brother Luck in doggie heaven where he can continue to look over the Assistant Pack Leader. And while this is an impossible decision, its one that we as pet owners are charged with. To do what's right and what our pets need us to be strong enough to do when they aren't strong enough to help themselves.


Rest in Peace Critter Jack.

Quite possibly the hardest decision I've ever made. Rest easy, Critter J. I lost a huge part of my heart today, and the six years I had you were some of the best. Love you pal.

RIP Critter

by on 5:00 AM
The Assistant Pack Leader had wanted a weenie dog for as long as I can remember. Said weenie dog had a name long before he entered this worl...
If you need me this winter your best bet will be to visit a crap ton of ski areas throughout the mountain west. I had a semi-impluse purchase of a 2013-2014 season pass to Monarch Ski Area. Now its unlikely that I will actually go to Monarch more than once, but let me tell you, they call their pass One Planet, One Pass and they have deals all over for free days at tons of resorts. I figure I can pay for it AND get to try out a ton of new ski areas!!! WIN.



See you on the slopes!

We are already starting to plan some trips, so if you want on the fun train...holla!

I must go

by on 5:00 AM
If you need me this winter your best bet will be to visit a crap ton of ski areas throughout the mountain west. I had a semi-impluse purchas...
Welcome to Soul Food Friday, grab the button (its at the bottom of my blogpage), link-up and share what feeds your soul. It can be anything!


Don't sweat the small stuff! Yet its the small stuff that makes things ok. What can turn my day around in an instant? The 5Cs of small stuff:

Coke (fountain of course)


Coffee


Country Stuff
 

Color


Cuddly doogs 


 What turns your day around? Does it start with a C?







Some of you probably don't know that I lived in Tennessee for a year after I finished grad school at Oklahoma State. I worked for the Center for Profitable Agriculture, which was a partnership between the University of Tennessee and Farm Bureau. We worked directly with farmers and ranchers to develop value-added agricultural enterprises. I worked with livestock producers. It was a great job.

Anyway, when I moved to Tennessee, I had been there a total of 2 times which means I had met my co-workers a total of 2 times. This is as close to loading all my crap in a trailer and moving somewhere without knowing a soul that I have ever been......maybe it will be as close as I ever am.

Although I was only there a year, I made some very good friends through work. One in particular I still talk to on a regular basis. She is fun and active and down to earth. Whenever I have fun, exciting news.....I tell her. Whenever I'm struggling and need to talk.....I tell her.

Its great to know that there is always someone there to listen and to give their thoughts and advice.
Is it weird that one of my favorite rooms in my house is the bathroom. Its simple, its clean (well has clean lines) and when I compare it with what it looked like when I moved it, I feel like I'm HGTV worthy.



For this update, I got my family involved. It was all freshly painted by me. Dad was charged with replacing the light fixture, sink and countertop. Check out that sweet 70s countertop and sink....use your imagination for the what the whole thing looked like! eeeekkkkkk! Mom helped me lay the new tile. I wish I had a picture of the awful "tile" laminate that was in here before, you can sorta see it in the fabulous mirrored shower doors. HA! And I pulled out some used decorations and wall hangings and repurposed them. One thing that I really love about this bathroom is the hooks. I opted for coat hooks to hang towels on rather than towel rods because the room is so small and I'll just tell you, it will be hooks in the bathroom forever for me. Looks nice, easier to use and takes up less space! I love them!


Improvement? I think yes!
"Debt is normal. Be weird" ~Dave Ramsey

With the great basement swimming pool installation of 2011, I took out a loan against my finally paid off car to pay for it. This was when I decided it was time to be more responsible, get rid of some debt and get some actual cash in that savings account I'd been nursing for years.

Let me preface with I'm not a total Dave Ramsey follower, but I have utilized a few of his principles to help me stay on track and not find myself in this dire situation again. Because I already am doing a few things on the 7 Baby Steps (out of order) I continued what I was doing, but tried to follow the steps to catch up (and I'm still chasing those steps, I never catch up)!

I am a big fan of the debt snowball. I had my doubts when I started this whole ordeal, but I can't even tell you how good it felt to say good-bye to a monthly payment, no matter how small the payment or balance was. I am now down to my mortgage and student loans, charging on! To help loosen up the purse strings to be able to really apply some $$ to those monthly payments, I started using the envelope system. Here's a little story about my 'envelope system'. I am still living paycheck to paycheck, but at least what I owe other people is getting smaller and that is great feeling. I'd still say I'm a long ways from having money though!

I'm happy to report that I have my title back! Just in time to try and figure out a way to pay for another disaster, but at least I'm not still paying for the last one this time! And with that little title back in my hand, I make another checkmark on the Dirty 30 list!



** Don't forget to come back on Friday and link up with Almost Gypsy Soul for Soul Food Friday! Share with blogworld what you love about your life, call it what feeds your soul!**
It used to be that Friday night was reserved for grabbing a few beers after school to go home and get ready to go out on the Strip, usually closing down the bar and hitting up the MacDonalds on the way home (in the early hours of "tomorrow"). But I think its safe to say I've outgrown that stage as I'm usually in my sweats before I'd even be leaving the house in the "old" days.

You really want to impress this girl with a Friday night?

How about a Taken marathon and drinking whiskey and diet before heading to bed at a decent hour. I'm there. Or maybe hours on hours of Phase 10 with some friends in the trailer park? Count me in! How about a little fire while sitting around on coolers bag chairs (much more comfortable) with some cornhole. Can't get me away. Want to go all out? How about a small town dance. Done deal.

And there you have it.....big Friday nights!

Friday night

by on 5:00 AM
It used to be that Friday night was reserved for grabbing a few beers after school to go home and get ready to go out on the Strip, usually ...
I am 2.5 months into my Chalean Extreme workout plan where I have (mostly) faithfully been working out...minus yoga....yoga doesn't count in my professional opinion. I've made some progress on the weight loss front, but more importantly I don't dread working out. I am actually finally getting to where I look forward to my workout, even when its at 5 am and that is a great feeling folks!

In the beginning I stuck to Chalean Extreme workout videos and old folks volleyball. Now, I'm starting to add in a few other things to keep it interesting and hopefully really kick the weight loss into gear...like Spin class!

In addition to the workouts, I've been a faithful My Fitness Pal-er, logging in 73 consecutive days! YAY me! I can't believe how often I am still shocked by the number of calories there are in certain foods. Foods that I didn't give two thoughts about putting in my mouth before. Before you think I've gone health nut on you....I still have cravings everyday for junk food. There are days where I'd give ANYTHING to have a candy bar, a coke, a Taco Bell. Be my fitness pal!

So am I there? no! Am I almost there? no! BUT I'm closer than I was yesterday and I feel better than I did yesterday and my clothes fit better than they did yesterday.


What do you do to burn calories? Do you keep track of what you eat?
Today was Monday Tuesday and despite having a sign-up day in one of my more distant towns for work, it kinda sucked. We started the day off with not getting paid. Apparently our paycheck payer people thought it would be funny to identify checking accounts as savings accounts and vice versa....causing my check to be rejected by my bank. Maybe by Thursday folks.

Then of course we made it to Big Piney.....without half our folders. Apparently yours truly thought it would be a good idea to forget a whole box....along with blank paper.....and the extra printer cartridge. That's how I roll. In disaster mode. By the seat of my pants. Do you think it has anything to do with it was 11-12-13? Is that anything like Friday the 13th?

Good news is I got caught up on my annual golfing stories, cows coming off the forest stories, stories of babies filling the voids of lost husbands, hunting stories and sincere thank yous. Let us not forget the laughing at ourselves. We salvaged the day and we will be back tomorrow. Please pray that Thursdays sign-up day has all its folders, blank paper, extra printer cartridges. I'll be throwing in extra blank forms, some paper clips and a few "borrowed" pens.

Good bye Tuesday-Monday and welcome in HUMP DAY!


Tuesday-Monday

by on 5:00 AM
Today was Monday Tuesday and despite having a sign-up day in one of my more distant towns for work, it kinda sucked. We started the day off...
Geographical disaster, that's me. Most people, once they have been somewhere can get back there. Me.....if I've been there, there is absolutely no guarantee that I can get there again, much less make it back from there.

And if I've been there a million times, I can give you horribly confusing directions. For instance, I was giving directions to a friends house a couple weekends ago in Oklahoma and they sounded something like this:

go out on 33, past the hospital until you see the golf course sign <friend says "which golf course>, I don't know which one, then you turn left on that road and go over the railroad tracks, then down a big hill and up a big hill and turn right and its the first house on the right. To make my directions even clearer than mud, I use my hands when I talk, big hands.

Yep, I'm that girl and that black cow better not move!
Like our chicken fried
And cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up


We live in the greatest country on Earth and we salute the ones who died so we don't have to sacrifice all the things we love.

A huge thank you to all past, present and future military. You guys and gals ROCK!








God Bless America!
[Linking up  with Jeannett at Life Rearranged]


life rearranged
Well, I'm please to report that I'm getting better at this Instagram thing, after I called my little sister and had her explain #hashtags to me. I know I'm unwise beyond my years. And one thing I learned last week on #hashtags, one must be careful, they might be misunderstood.

So what's been on my Instagram lately?



Hashtags here included #oklahomaorbust #mrandmrs #weddingcrashers #crapstablecallingmyname
and where is the confusion you ask?

Hashtags for these worn out tenny runners....#stretchingthelegs #longlegproblems #oklahomaorbust

#turboprop #goodbyeoklahoma

#bringyourownpumpkin #scary #halloween and I apparently wasn't feeling very creative on Halloween Eve.

What's on your Instagram?




I love to eat, therefore I'm trying to teach myself to love working out again. I'm slowly getting there. For example after I stuffed my long legged body on a tiny turbo prop plane for a few hours....the next morning I wanted to go for a run....I never want to go for a run. For the record, I did go for a run.


Then the other day I saw these beautiful smiling faces on an advertisement for a Turkey Trot and I thought......if I did a turkey trot 5K I could eat more and not feel so guilty and since I'm not going anywhere for Thanksgiving this year....well I talked myself into it. Then I remembered Football Fan's virtual 5K and had an even better idea......if I can con people into doing this with me.......I might actually do it! even better.

So Football Fan and I are putting on a virtual 5K Turkey Trot and if you want to participate, here's what you do:
  1. Run, walk or trot a 5K between November 28 and December 1, 2013. You can use an organized race or you can just grab some friends and family and jet off into the sunset a 5K.
  2. Take an awesome picture of your adventure and write down a few words you can tell us why you wanted to run, what you had for dinner, who went with you -- anything you want!
  3. [Bloggers]Come back to Football Fan's and/or my blog, grab the button code, link up and tell us about your trot (and a picture of your dinner for my benefit would be greatly appreciated). The link up will be posted on Monday, December 2.
  4. [Non-bloggers] Email Football Fan and/or me (almostgypsysoul@outlook.com) your picture and words and we'll make sure you get credit for your dedication! Please email them to us no later than Sunday, December 1, so we can include them with the link up.
What we do:
  1. Make this super cute Turkey Trot button for you to link up to us with. Link up on Monday, December 2.
  2. If we have people from 10 different states join (and report back to us) our challenge, we will make a generous donation to the Salvation Army or Toys for Tots 
So get out your running shoes and work off that turkey, have fun and we'll donate to a good cause! 
Almost Gypsy Soul
A year ago I was fairly certain that I would be weddingless this year. I thought all my friends had gotten married last year, but I'll just say I have alot of friends (and dang good ones at that) and I am so, so happy to be able to celebrate their big day with them (especially when it means a trip to Oklahoma and a pit stop at El Vaq for some carne tapitia).

Flyfisher Guy found him a good one and he married her! The weather was beautiful, the wedding was beautiful, the food was amazing and I stayed up until 3 am so I think its safe to say that the reception and after party at the Hard Rock was pretty good too. And just for the record.....in a one week time period I stayed up until 3 am twice and got up at 430 once......I still got it (sorta). It may or may not have taken a full week to recover from these hours that I kept.

Thank you for a wonderful weekend and congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Richardson!

Photo via Facebook



Sometimes you just wish you could change the way things are, but sometimes you just can't. Its not that you did something wrong, its not that something is wrong with you, its just that sometimes there just isn't enough of the kind of love that you want.


Being thankful for the love that you do have can be hard. But you have to try because its either that or nothing. And by "you" I generally mean me.

 Its been said that if you give someone ownership of their job, they will look at it as their own, take pride in it and strive to do it well. And I think its true. I am proud of my ranchers, and they are mine and I'd do darn near anything for them. I am proud of where I currently call home and just for reference Rock Springs isn't the armpit of Wyoming -- Rawlins is.

I am proud of the lives they lead, providing food and fiber for Americans and the rest of the world. They are ambassadors for agriculture and especially for southwest WY agriculture, which is different than a lot of areas throughout the US. Besides for the 'normal' goods that people think of when they think of agriculture, my guys (and gals) are doing great things.....they are publishers of magazines, they are suppliers of wool to the US Military, they are suppliers to 100% American made products, they do interviews to be an advocates for agriculture, they are on discussion panels and work groups for a variety of issues from range health, environmental concerns, endangered/threatened species etc, they are first, second, third and fourth generation ranchers, they are widows who buckled down and are making it work, they sit on multiple boards for state departments of agriculture, conservation districts, county committees, stockgrowers, water boards, wool growers and the list goes on and on.

I can honestly say that I believe my job is important and it makes a difference. That may not be true for all government employees and it may not even be true for all FSA offices, but I know the difference it makes right here. I know our work is appreciated by most and that has got to be enough for me.

American farmers and ranchers, even those that participate in government programs, are more than just a hand out. They are probably the most important people in the world.


I like music, as I assume most of you do. I like most kinds of music, but I prefer country music, always have and always will. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the sticks, maybe because it speaks to me or maybe it’s because it’s the best genre out there, maybe all of the above. Whatever the reason, I like to think that I know a lot about country music, but every time I turn around I learn something new, ha, who knew. So, this month’s playlist is a list of songs, that until recently, were not on my radar (except one, it’s good, so just go with it). If you haven’t heard them before, enjoy and if you have… well, enjoy! 

Tyler Farr, Hello Goodbye
Clay Walker, Jesse James
Reckless Kelly, Stick Around
Wade Bowen, Trouble
Kenny Chesney, Being Drunk’s a lot like loving you