Thursday, November 26, 2015


The mother of all Thankful Thursdays has arrived! Thanksgiving. Today we (hopefully) are celebrating all that we have to be thankful for. Its easy to forget how much we have to be thankful for, but hopefully by taking a day to reflect on just that.....and writing it down....will help me remember far past this one day. So what am I thankful for this year?

health and fitness - The past couple of years has shown me I'm stronger and capable of far more than I ever thought possible. I am thankful for the health that I've been blessed with and the hardwork I've put into gaining back my health and fitness. Its easy to be thankful when I'm out enjoying God's creation.

the dog - My little old dog is my immediate family. She has so much personality and unconditional love its hard to be grumpy when she is around. Seeing how happy little things make her, little things like going for a walk, getting a chewy or a belly rub in the morning....that's what life is about. Its all about the little things.

my family and friends - While I don't see them as often as I'd like because we are spread from here to highwater. I'm so lucky to have friends and family all over....more travel opportunities! and puppy sitters!

Thanksgiving diets - a picture is worth a thousand words. Bring on some mashed taters!

the homestead - I've been lucky enough to find my place in southwest Wyoming. I moved here dreading everything about it, location, people, job....all of it. And now I do not want to leave. I really like my job most of the time, I've met good friends, I love the ranchers I work for, and I love all the activities that I am able to do here (or close to here).

I'm thankful for a pretty great life.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

some wear rolex, some wear timex

I am nearly at a loss for words here folks. After watching a FOX News video about the protest going on where college kids are demanding free tuition and student loan forgiveness, I'm at a loss. At what point did we become a nation of entitled, spoiled brats? Now I have my own ideas about how and when this came about, but really when? how? why?

I feel strongly about the way I was raised. Hell I didn't even know we were in poverty growing up until just a few years ago. I was raised to make my own decisions and own the consequences of those decisions. Anyway back to the actual free college and student loan forgiveness. As such, I took a few concurrent college/high school classes while I was in high school. If I earned good grades, those credit hours were paid for by my high school. I then chose to go to a small 4 year college on an academic and basketball scholarship. I worked my ass off to earn grades that allowed me to keep that scholarship for 4 years of undergraduate study. I worked every summer and held a part-time job when I wasn't in basketball season. I left college with $900 in student loans. When I went to graduate school, I applied for and received an assitantship, which allowed me to pay in-state tuition and make $800 per month in "salary" for my research for the college and helping professors with undergraduate classes. I also volunteered, you know a job where you don't get "paid", coaching high school girls basketball.  I left with my Masters' degree in one hand and approximately $20K in student loan debt in the other. Education can be done with reasonable amounts of debt. My degrees aren't' from Harvard, but I wouldn't trade them or the 6 years it took me to earn them for anything! I am proud to say that I worked hard to earn scholarships, I worked (not full time) while I was in college, I found time to give back to the community, I found a job and I am paying the loans to which I agreed to pay in order to fund my education.

I'm going to make a few generalizations....stereotypes if you will. Go ahead, judge me. Its my feelings and my blog so I'll say what I think. I understand there is always an exception to the rule or in this case my generalizations.

Generalization #1: If you don't work for it, you don't appreciate it. I went to college with several kids who were not footing their own bill. I saw them at class a lot less frequently than those who I knew where on earned scholarship or writing those checks out of their own account. Its no secret that the US isn't exactly the cream of the crop when it comes to smarts and we really want to be handing those college degrees out for free to students who have invested exactly 0 into it. How long will it take to get a degree when there is no ownership? No responsibility to go to class, to get good grades, to keep that scholarship, to graduate so that you can become employed.

Generalization #2: Participation ribbons suck! When everyone wins and no one is better than someone else we are building a mediocre country that will never prosper. Will never get better. Competition makes people work harder to get what they want. People who work hard and get what they want are successful. Successful people do great things and help those less fortunate by choice. So successful people are badass and makes the world a better place.

Generalization #3: The milk is never free. Someone is paying for the milk. Those who pay for the milk will eventually run out of money if only 1% of the people are paying for the milk and 99% are drinking milk for free. This is true for education just like we are seeing for healthcare, food and cell phones.

Generalization #4: A little hardwork never hurt anyone. There are plenty of ways to pay for college without being one of the 1%. For instance most of my friends had a gasp JOB while attending college as a full time student. There are also things out there called scholarships, which require one to spend time a) molding themselves into a marketable product, showing scholarship awarders that they are deserving of "free" money and b) locating scholarships for which they qualify, completing applications, doing interviews and if chosen reporting results. If you are not inclined to get a job or a scholarship, you could always enlist in the military.

Generalization #5: We don't all wear a Rolex. If you aren't rich, don't want to get a job and don't want to fill out a scholarship application.....Don't think you need a Harvard education. There are plenty of good schools out there that are much more affordable than others. These days with concurrent classes in high school, community colleges, junior colleges, vocational/technical colleges and small state or private colleges the opportunities are endless for high school graduates to further their education without strapping themselves with a hundred or two thousand dollars in student loans. by choosing a more affordable school, even with the absence of a job, scholarships or military service you can still have student loans that won't take the rest of your life to pay off.

As for those students who think they should go to college party with no responsibilities during OR after "earning" that college degree. Shut up and go to class, finish your degree, get a job and start paying your student loans. Those loans, which by the way, you signed your name to....saying you promised to pay them back with interest. Signing your name is supposed to better than a handshake. Take responsibility for your choice. Become a productive member of society and make the world a better place. Be thankful you have the opportunity to go to college. You are not a victim. Work hard, make yourself and your life better. Do not depend on someone else to pave your road in gold for you.

Friday, November 13, 2015

bikes, boos & booze

For some reason this year I really had the urge to get some Halloween decorations and dress up. Since I don't really have any friends to go out to the bar with and I wasn't sure what other opportunities I would have to dress up , I decided to take matters into my own hands. I bought a really giant spider,

a spider web tablecloth, a flickering orange porch light and invited some people over for a Booze and Boos Bash.

Since most of my friends ride bikes and the fall weather has been was amended to "Bikes, Booze and Boos", luckily one of the trails at the Wilkins Peak Trail System is called "Better Than Dead"....could it fit any better? Unfortunately the weather did not fit. The wind was blowing about 40 mph and the ride was cancelled.

Pinterest helped me nail some party food and decorations.....although most would probably sufficiently serve as the "NAILED IT" variety.

My costume was a big fat question mark for a while. I mean I wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle....with a tutu but it just didn't feel right. It felt like it was going to be a "NAILED IT" costume. Even with Pinterest, I just couldn't find anything that quite sparked my interest, so I'd settled on bringing Punky Brewster back to life from 2 years ago......until I saw the light, maybe it was that sparkling, white glow that seems to surround real brides when they put on that white dress. Well anyway, I saw it, a vision......Runaway Bride. And so I was. Fingers crossed this isn't my only chance to donn the white dress in my life, but if it is I think I did it justice.

And as the host dog of the party, a costume was required of the canine class. Since I know my dog and her pouting, guilt tripping, sad puppy dog eye ways, I went easy on her. The Blue Heeler Beanie Baby!
 Hope everyone had an awesome Halloween!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

life & mountain biking

I re-started spin classes a little over 2 years ago with no intention whatsoever to ever go biking. I used it solely as a calorie scorching workout, but then the Mountain Bikers happened. The talked me into getting on a real bike on a real(not so real hard core) mountain biking trail, which was actually a double track and not really a mountain bike trail at all.

This summer I really put some miles on the ole' Giant that I bought last year. My first mountain bike and I couldn't be happier with it.

So where am I going with all of this? I've learned a lot about myself and about life from mountain biking! Things I never though possible....are.

1. You are more capable than you think
Nothing makes you feel stronger and more alive than crushing a drop, a corner, a steep hill that you've never had enough confidence to even try. When you nail it, you nail it and you are on top of the world. Have faith, be are capable of great things.

2. Be the best version of yourself
There will always be someone who is faster and/or better than you are on a bike. In my case that is pretty much everyone. My goal is to not be a better rider than anyone I ride with. My goal is to be a better rider than I was yesterday.

3. Know your limits
While you are more capable than you think there is always limits. Know what they are, push them, but know when to say no. Walking is ok. No one is judging you for walking that same switchback that you crushed last week.

4. God is alive
Getting out of town on some singletrack reminds me everytime how lucky we are to live in this great country and the great Creator that we serve. Only he could create the beautiful scenery seen from the saddle.

5. Have fun and live life to the fullest
Isn't that what its all about? Living, loving and having fun? Its pretty hard to not have a great day on some singletrack.

Monday, November 2, 2015

the barn by bryan [november 2015]

The month of thanks is upon us, along with turkey and all the fixings, mmm, mm…
It’s easy to think of the bad stuff, but always remember the good stuff, because you can’t have the sweet without the bitter. So, I am thankful for this beautiful country we call home, from coast to coast and border to border, for the Tig dog that sleeps on my couch even when I tell him not to, for being gainfully employed (most of the time), for the Almost Gypsy Soul and her letting me bring you awesome tunes every month. So, here is your list!

That’s why God Loves Cowboys, Aaron Watson
Shotgun, Randy Rogers Band
Country Nation, Brad Paisley
That Ol’ Wind, Garth Brooks
Everything I See, George Strait