Wednesday, January 27, 2016

what i'm loving wednesday

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm not even positive that this link up is still active, but alas....I'm doing it anyway! What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Wintertime activities. Its cold, its dark. Its important to find something to stay active in the winter and I learned to ski last year, so this year I'm honing my skills on my sticks and I'm keeping my snowboard waxed for the big dump that has yet to come.

Butternut squash. Random you say? I concur. I went to the grocery store tonight, on a mission for avocados, which were way over ripe and $1.50 each.....the perfect replacement? A butternut squash. I put a tiny bit of butter with canola oil and Splenda brown sugar blend....even the dog was beggin' for some veggies!


Pull-up assist. I know, I know the word assist is in there. I can do a total of 1 pull-up.....on a good day. BUT, with the assist I can do nearly all of them and I feel like a badass. Plus I feel like if I do more than one assisted I'm getting stronger faster than doing 1 real pull-up.

Shades of Blue. I miss SOA and The Following more than one should miss TV shows, but I think I've found an acceptable replacement. Jennifer Lopez, dirty cops, FBI informants. I'll watch.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

my first date

Damn, I'm the best first date I've ever been on! I liked my first date with myself so much that I think I'll do it again. Where does a girl take herself on a first date?

The Leonardo's Mummies of the World  exhibit....and I paid full price!

Vote: Do I need a selfie stick?

The exhibit was great! I splurged and also got the audio tour and I'll always do that from now on! It repeats some of the printed information on the displays, but it also gives so much more information! The exhibit was nearly empty (much different than when I went to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit on the weekend).....having the place nearly to myself would be worth a day of annual leave for me! There is no photography allowed in the exhibit, out of respect for the deceased as well as preserving the exhibit for years to come. I highly recommend Mummies!

I was actually in Salt Lake to visit the University of Utah travel clinic to get caught up on shots and prescriptions before leaving for Peru, Ecuador and Galapagos Islands, but since I was in the big town I thought I could get caught up on some errands and take myself out! I got my skis a hot wax and ran to REI to pick up a few things after going to the travel clinic where I got my typhoid pills and found out that I didn't need a rabies shot! yippee!

I also ate (for the second time) at Red Butte Cafe....lunch special of lamb, yam and avacado tacos with pickled jalapenos and blackbean coleslaw. Delicious!

Overall, I give the first date 2 thumbs up....there shall be a second!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

letters from a soldier

I've got a special treat for you guys today. Jaron was my soldier when I volunteered with an organization called Soldier's Angels. I gained as much from our friendship as he has and I am truly honored to call him and his wife, Maggie friends....even though we haven't yet met in person. Please take time to read Jaron's story and check out the Clayton's dream of  Running Dogs Brewery, the brewery for Vets by Vets! Thank you Jaron for sharing your story with Almost Gypsy Soul! And I can't wait until you are up and running, I'll be headed West for a visit and a big tall beer!
Dear Almost Gypsy Soul Readers,

My name is Jaron Clayton and met Jennifer in 2008 in a letter received while in Iraq explaining that she was my Soldiers Angel. This surprised me to say the least I had no idea that there were people that would care enough to write a complete stranger asking what we needed and wanted while we were away from home. The care packages and letters in times of need when they meant more than words can describe will never be forgotten. She even made me a custom embroidered patriotic blanket out of jeans! I can't thank Jennifer enough for dedicating that year to being my Angel.

We have kept in touch throughout the years and since then I have honorably discharged from the Army. I have moved around the Pacific Northwest from Washington to Idaho to Oregon about 6 times moving up from job to job trying to find my calling. I now have my skilled nursing home administrator license and have the role of Executive Director at a small nursing home in St. Helens, OR. Though I very much enjoy making sure elderly and disabled individuals are cared for my, true passion is in brewing craft beer for others to enjoy.

I have brewed on and off for the past several years and would like to finally start a licensed nano brewery out of our place here in St. Helens. My goal if licensed to sell is to make sure I give back to Veterans like Jennifer has to me and others and donate 10% our profits and 50% of specialty beers. Jennifer has given once again to me to support my cause and I again can't thank her enough for the support. If you would like to support us as well, click below!

The story behind the name?
I had grown up with cats all my life and my wife(girlfriend at the time)had grown up with dogs. When I was in Iraq she decided she wanted to get a dog, I was needless to say a bit apprehensive to come home to a puppy. Of course I couldn't say no to her, and especially after I saw the cutest picture of a Italian greyhound puppy. I struggled the most adjusting to home life for the first year I was back, our Italian Greyhound boy Gianno was my comfort. A true man's best friend that was indescribable. He was really fast and loved to run as much as he loved the comfort of our laps and a warm fire to lay next to. 2 years later we decided to get a Hungarian Vizsla puppy, Winchester, with matched love of running as well as extreme love of our laps. These 2 were our kids and I wanted to show that love in my love of brewing. Our logo is a silhouette of those 2 playing with each other at a park.

Shortly after I had planned on taking our brewing further and making that logo, Gianno was attacked by another dog and did not make it. To date this has been the hardest thing I had ever gone through. Chester and my wife Maggie have been my comfort in getting through the pain as I tried to be their comfort with his loss as well. Eight months ago we were finally ready to accept another member to the crew and accepted a beautiful female Vizsla puppy into our family, her name is Annabelle or Annie for short. We are the The Running Dogs.

Thank you Jennifer for allowing me to write on your blog and keep on being the great person you are!

-Jaron Clayton

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

in 2016

Well I started thinking about this blog a long time ago as in before I finished by 2015 goal list. But to be honest I've had a really difficult time coming up with what exactly it is that I want to accomplish in 2016, not because I feel like I've already done enough, but I'm not really sure what holds the meaning of life in it like I feel like I need to focus on this year.

So, one day I woke up...somewhere after January 1 when all of our goals should be known and saw this list on another blog that I subscribe to, Fat Mum Slim. And while I don't gather that she was the author either, I knew these 16 things were what I want to accomplish in the year 2016. While its a "generic" list, its meaning will be a little different for all who set out to accomplish 16 in 2016.


1. GET A HOBBY - Let's be honest, I can't really afford many more hobbies. The upside of having alot of hobbies, there is always room to devote more time and attention to said hobbies. In 2016 I will:
  • take 3 mountain bike trips
  • take 2 golf trips
2. DO SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU - I'm a hermit and I don't like change, yet I love to travel. Leaving the US of A and my understanding of the English language isn't an easy thing for me to do. In 2016 I will:
  • hike the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru
  • stand in both the southern and northern hemispheres at the same time in Equador
3. NURTURE YOUR BODY - This is something that has become so very important to me over the last 2 years. Our bodies are temples and allow us to explore all that God has made for us. In 2016 I will:
  • get 12 massages to maintain physical and mental health
  • complete the Hammer & Chisel program
  • get to my new goal weight
4. STEAL MOMENTS OF SOLITUDE - I live alone, so a better goal is probably for me to leave my solitude and get out there, but I didn't make the list so I'll stick to it! What was that about comfort zones? In 2016 I will:
  • take time for myself and complete 4 books with my girlfriends in the Bucketlist Book Club
5. PLAN A GETAWAY - Please refer to 1 and 2....I've got this one in the bag, but just in case you don't think I can honestly cross a goal off of a list with another goal from the same list....In 2016 I will:
  • plan at least one weekend getaway....key word being plan, I tend to go and plan along the way.
6. CREATE SOMETHING - I've got thousands of Pinterest pins awaiting me to create. In 2016 I will: 
  • complete at least 2 Pinterest pins
7. FIND A SONG + MAKE IT YOUR SONG - I've had the same favorite song for a long time now. Its going to be a change, but in 2016 I will:
  • find a new "Jen" song
8. SAVE MONEY - ah, the ever elusive save money goal. I have this goal every year, sometimes I nail it, sometimes I don't. In an effort to hold myself more accountable I'm going to make mini goals in order to meet the overall goal. In 2016 I will:
  • meet a quarterly savings goal for 4 quarters
9. SPREAD YOURSELF THICK - to me this means to slow down, to do what makes me happy and make an effort to say NO so that I can enjoy the things I do put on my plate. Picking one thing to concentrate on this year for this goal is tough, but to be thick I'd better have some focus. In 2016 I will:
  • focus on being a strong supervisor and providing the training and guidance to developing new employees while maintaining to improving the service that we provide to participating customers.
10. PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE - I'm the strangest person I know. I feel like outgoing hermit accurately describes me. Make sense? Yeah, don't worry it confuses me too. I'd prefer to stay home as to going out. I prefer a small group to a "club". Speaking of which I saw a new bar sign in Rock Springs that said "Night Club" um.....yeah, no. Not in Rock such thing. In 2016 I will:
  • join Sweetwater Mountain Biking Association
  • join Co-ed volleyball team
11. MAKE DATES WITH OTHER PEOPLE - This will likely be in the form of some type of trip. In 2016 I will
  • make a conscious effort to schedule dates with other people at least once a month
12. DATE YOURSELF - If I can't date me, then why would anyone else? Solitary time is good for the soul. In 2016 I will:
  • take some me time and take myself somewhere at least once a month. Don't worry, I won't tell you what I talk about with myself.
13. IMPROVE THE LIFE OF OTHERS - I like doing things for others. I like making/doing/gifting things that I know people will love. I like making others lives just a bit easier. And this year I am super excited about what I'm going to do to fullfill this goal. Stay tuned for more info! In 2016 I will: 
  • donate to a special cause and special people to help fullfill their dream
  • adopt a kid from the Tree of Sharing
  • adopt a senior from the Tree of Sharing
14. BE GRATEFUL - I have so much to be grateful for yet I still find myself thinking about all the things I don't have frequently. In 2016 I will:
  • write a blog each month about something in my life that I am grateful for.
15. CHOOSE A CHARITY - My go to charity is the Salvation Army. Each year I choose to donate to the Western State College Foundation, Dr. Clem Ward Scholarship Fund (Oklahoma State University), the Dave Grimes Memorial Fund and the Salvation Army. This year I'm going to do something a little different under this goal. Stay tuned for more information about that! In 2016 I will:
  • donate to Salvation Army, Western State College Foundation, Dr. Ward's scholarship and Dave Grimes Memorial Fund.
16. STOP FEELING GUILTY - All things considered, I'm a pretty good person. I try to do things for others, I try to please others and its usually at my own expense. In 2016 I will:
  • do what's best for me
  • say NO when I need to or when I do not want to do something 

As always, I reserve the right to add, delete, change any or all of these goals as I deem necessary.

Monday, January 4, 2016

the barn by bryan [january 2016]

I must have blacked out for a minute… Is it really 2016?? Wow! Well, with a new year comes new tunes. This year I’m sure we will all keep our resolutions, if we made them. And, hey, look at this way the days are getting longer. Anywho, here is your New Years playlist!

Real Men Love Jesus, Michael Ray
Beautiful Drug, Zac Brown Band
Riser, Dierks Bentley
The Underdog, Aaron Watson
Nobody to Blame, Chris Stapleton

Happy New Year!!! Enjoy!