Thursday, December 21, 2017

[sweetwater leadership] business and services

I was accepted into the 2017 Sweetwater County Leadership class, which was pretty exciting since only 15 people get to take the class each year. The class consists of leadership classes, a class community project and visiting business and places that make Sweetwater County tick. The goal of the class is to give a broad overview of the County and encourage participants to step up and take a leadership role in the community. Its also a great way to get to know people throughout the community.

Each month the class spends a day exploring a topic that is prepared by the previous graduating class. Topics include:
1. Business and Human Services
2. Health
3. Industry
4. Recreation
5. Government
6. Education

Our first day was Business and Human Services. We had the opportunity to explore, behind the scenes, several services and business throughout the community. There are so many services that really aim to help fellow citizens including the Community Food Bank, the various Senior Citizen centers and WY Work Services.

We visited several businesses that have deep roots in the community, many starting out as small businesses as well as some of the larger businesses that Sweetwater County is known for. We visited the Hitching Post restaurant, Summit Title, Flaming Gorge Harley Davidson, Joe's Pet Depot and Halliburton.

Monday, December 18, 2017

[life riveted] building

 Building inside an Airstream is much harder than I thought it would be....I knew there was curves and it would present a problem, but I was under the illusion that he was straight for a little while before his shell started to curve. Well.....straight for a little while (in an Airstream) mean approximately one inch. Its a good thing we had the top hand (pictured below)....oh and The Retired Guy, affectionately known as The Project Manager. The Project Manager maintains that he has nothing to do with design, but he strayed into the design every now and again.

Franklin felt HUGE after we tore everything out of it and I got a little carried away with what all we could actually fit back into him. We started with a twin bed with lots of storage. We salvaged some of the Airstream original roller drawers and added some under bed storage.

Next we tackled the barnwood which I say if I never tear another pallet apart in my life that may be too soon.....BUT.....I LOVE the way they turned out. While they appear to be an easy task, just think curves. ggggrrrrrrr. And I may or may not have shed real tears when we had to go back for "one more load" of pallets. I'd be amiss if I didn't thank The Feedstore for letting us take some pallets off their hands!

Another one of my favorite parts of Franklin that turned out by accident is the kitchen counter. I think we ended up spending about $50 to build this counter top. I was freaking out because I had planned to use a prefab countertop until I realized that it wouldn't fit (because of those dang curves yet again). I was distraught trying to come up with something, knowing that custom countertops just wouldn't be in the cards. We ended up using 1/2" plywood and facing it with pallet wood. I dyed it turquoise with wood dye and put on several coats of floor grade polyurethane.

The Project Manager likes white. I do not like white. So you can probably guess who was in charge of picking colors for the kitchen cabinet doors, but the design, all the Project Manager.

We had torn out all the walls for the bathroom because they didn't really fit all that well and then we built walls, just a little better than President Trump. The bathroom was one of my favorite and least favorite rooms in Franklin. It made me cry, it made me cuss and it made me doubt this whole project, but it turned out perfectly! It has my most favorite pieces...a $4 enamel bowl sink that I found at an antique store in Montana and a stock tank shower tub, both of which were a B to put in!

The other side of the bathroom has a little storage and a place to sit if needed.

A few of the smaller details that tie it all together and I really like are....antique brass spray paint...where ever I could spray, a wine cork corkboard for storing keys and leaving notes for our guests, and our namesake on the door.

We were able to go on a few camping trips this year and got along just fine. We still have a couple of smaller projects to finish up before the final reveal, but we are mobile!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

[life riveted] franklin's bones


When Franklin came to live with me, I thought we'd slap some paint on the walls and get to decorating. Little did I know, Franklin needed a little more TLC than I was prepared to give. Did you know that 75% of all Airstream renovations never get finished? But, thanks to the Project Manager, who you know as The Retired Guy, I got prepared to give Franklin some TLC.

Bare with me, this will be the boring-est post about Franklin, there is no where to go but up from here, unless you are like really into demolition and plumbing and electrical and sealing up leaks. Click here to be reminded of what Franklin looked like when he arrived (also his name was Wilson when he arrived). If you are interested in knowing why Wilson became Franklin, give a little click here.

Ok, so now you are all caught up on Franklin....ready to see what happened in a little over 1 year?

 We got super lucky on the electrical.....everything worked, we just had to follow it and identify it. We did make a few adjustments due to how I would be using Franklin. For instance, I run on battery power or can plug into 110. Franklin has propane powered stove and hot water heater. Electric takes care of LED lights (I used 3 different kinds depending on where they were going, double, single, reading), water pump and 12V plugs to charge devices. Because I only anticipate glamping for a few days at a time, I saved my $450 bucks on an inverter and skipped that step along with skipping the generator. Of course the AC will only work when plugged in, but I live in WY so I don't think that will be an issue. We do plan on adding a solar panel suitcase in the future, just to be on the safe side. I didn't realize the difference between bright white and soft my lights sport custom frosted glass spray paint on the insides of the lenses to soften the light a bit. There is no lack of light in Franklin!

Plumbing didn't exist in Franklin and there really wasn't all that much to tear out. We put in new Pex pipe with Sharkbite fittings, expensive but worth it. Leaks were minimal and fairly easy to fix. We used 3/8 Pex, in hindsight, go with 1/2" the fittings and valves are MUCH easier to come by! Amazon was my go to purchase point for most things Franklin, but in some cases I was proven wrong....I thought if you couldn't buy it on Amazon, you didn't need it!

After hours of searching and asking questions on Airstream Forums, I settled on this water heater. It's a snazzy little dude from the UK that is tankless and ventless. We mounted it in the cabinet underneath the stove and while I haven't had any problems, I try to remember to open the door to vent it a little better as it can get a little warm in there. It has provided many nice warm showers after long days on the mountain bike trails.....very much appreciated. I don't think I would change this one at all!

This Sur-flo pump fit the bill.....literally under $100! Its quiet, provides great water pressure and was easy to install according to the project manager.


Franklin's floors were in a bit of disarray once we pulled the carpet and linoleum out during demolition. So we gave him some new "sub-floor" which ended up being the final floor....more on that later. I used the cheapest 1/4 plywood I could find in town. Hindsight.....upgrade the plywood a little bit. We also built new wheel well boxes because the old ones were 1970's plastic.....which was quite brittle. Bonus the boxes that were under cabinets made cabinet shelves!

Franklin's shiny shell got a few upgrades too! We pulled off all the windows and doors, cleaning off all the old gasket and replacing it with new gasket.....a little spray paint and new screen and spline spruced the windows right up.

Franklin had no keys, so he got some new storage compartment locks too. And I used this sealant to reseal around the windows, doors and seams. Hint: using a large syringe to apply the sealant instead of a caulking gun is bomb.

Putting all this "on paper" doesn't make it seem like much...but this took a long time! I can honestly tell you I thought Franklin and I were going to be part of the 75%!

Monday, May 1, 2017

the barn by bryan [may 2017]

I saw something the other day that is both depressing and sometimes true here in the great white north; “April showers bring May Plowers”, and sure enough, it snowed today!!  This winter has made me drink a lot!  It’s been a long one!  But, I do see some green grass coming up, so hope is alive, and hey, the desert is going be crazy green this year!  Here’s to hoping spring comes soon!  Oh, yeah, and your playlist…

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Fishing in the Dark
Billy Currington, It Don’t Hurt Like it Used To
Luke Combs, Hurricane
Eddie Rabbit, I Love the Rainy Night
The Great Divide, Yesterday Road


Friday, April 14, 2017

[loving life] being thankful


Be constantly on the lookout for things to be thankful for. The more you search for gratitude, the more you will realize how much goodness you already have in your life. From the tiny things, like a green traffic light, to the big things, like having a job you love – living every day with a mindset of gratitude is such an easy way to spend your life being happy with right now instead of always obsessing over what you want in the future.

Earlier this week someone asked me "What do you want to do ideally?" which of course translates into the dreaded "What do you want to be when you grow up?" or "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" So I started thinking about what my perfect week would actually look like and here is what I came up with.

I want to go to work (I'll even keep the job I have because I like it most of the time) and help the agriculture industry. When I go home I want to ride my bike or ski and knock back a couple beers after that. I want to wake up to the sound of silence and drink coffee on the porch overlooking some cows (and baby goats). I want to wear hats more often than not. I want to travel some. I want simple. I want what some would call mediocre. I want a white picket fence.

So as I'm describing this perfect life, knowing its probably not attainable. I realized how thankful I am for a few small parts of the perfect world. I have a job that I like (most of the time) where I get to help those who feed and clothe us. I am healthy enough to ride my bike or ski anytime I want.....and I'm old enough to buy my own beers. I have ranchers that let me tag along anytime to look over their cows, sheep and baby goats while I sip coffee from my travel mug while wearing a hat. I have a best friend that loves to travel more than me and is always down for an adventure. While there is no white picket fence, I'm smart enough to know I'd have to keep that thing painted, so maybe I really don't want one after all.

At times I feel my life is anything but simple and mediocre, but its a good life and for all these little things that I can twist to fit my perfect life image, I am thankful.

Giant bicycles. baby goats. 1/4 zip pullover jackets. Nordica powder skis. beer. star gazing. coffee. agriculture. grilled steaks. Tylie dog. 1972 Airstreams. oreo thins. southwest wyoming ranchers. sunsets. family. baseball hats. reading books. sweatpants. my health. washing machines that don't leak. aviator sunglasses. wide open spaces. good friends. smiling. project managers. place of work. jeans. campfires.

I love oreo thins alot.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

rodeo all-star

My BIL, T, he likes to rope. a lot. Like if he isn't drinking beer, mountain dew, or working you can bet he's somewhere with a rope in his hand. at a rodeo. at a jackpot. in the practice pen. And you know what, he's pretty good at it too.

Since I'm ready for a trip to Colorado (I haven't been since January) here's what I'm going to need you to do.....go to the Fan Voting for Rodeo Allstars and


because she is awesome and he is awesome and I want to hang out with them for the weekend at the rodeo.

And because I really, really want  you to go vote for them (once a day, everyday) I'm going to give you the link so you don't even have to Google. You're welcome.

Monday, March 6, 2017

the barn by bryan [march 2017]

March… 4 foot of snow on the ground and the wettest time of year is still yet come (here at least)! I’d better get that boat fixed, might need it! But, we are on the downhill side of winter and spring is just around the corner.
It is again my pleasure to bring the monthly playlist to the AGS faithful. This is a compilation of songs that I have been listing to as of late. Some new, some old… but all worth a listen.

Everything I See, George Strait
With You I Am, Cody Johnson
Can’t Be a Cowboy Forever, Aaron Watson
Loud and Heavy, Cody Jinks
Over When It’s Over, Eric Church 

Happy Birthday Jen!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

boos & brews 2016

When a 6 year old wants "Aunt Jen" to have her Halloween party because it was fun, who is Aunt Jen to say NO? That's right, not allowed. So thanks to Little Boy, we had a 2nd Annual Boos & Brews Costume party. I changed the name a little, but it was essentially the looked like the same party. All those decorations that I bought last year, well they needed dusted off and re-used.

I wanted to be Ursula from The Little Mermaid this year so I hopped on my faithful Amazon account to score a sweet deal, only there weren't any. The going price for Ursula costumes....about $120+. So I thought I'd settle for Ariel. Amazon didn't disappoint there, except my mermaid skirt didn't make it from China before the party so I had to do a little improvising, as in I changed the sheets on my guest bed.

And I give you, The Little Mermaid 2016. While she doesn't sing to well, she sure likes those Dirty Hippies, complements of a mountain bike trip to Fruita.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

loving life [let people love you]


Let people love you. You don’t have to earn it, work for it, deserve it, be good enough for it. That’s the whole point of love, at the end of the day. People love you for you, not who they want you to be.

I feel alone sometimes which is probably understandable since my closest family member is 4.5 hours away and the only other thing in the house that breathes is a good bottle of wine my dog. Yes, I think the bottle of wine does not count......maybe.....probably.....does not count. Its so easy to focus on what one doesn't have especially when someone doesn't love you the way you want them to, but that doesn't mean its not all they have or that there aren't people out there who love me just the way I am and for who I am.

To those who do love me, even when I might be a little hard to love. Thank you!, I'm thankful for you. For whatever reason, I have a hard time believing that I'm worth that love and I'm going to try just a little bit extra to let you love me, just because you want to. Not for what you can gain from me or what I can do for you, but just because you love me. The footprints of your love, make me who I am.

I'm having a bit of a hard time putting my thoughts and feelings into words on this topic, probably mainly because shit happens that has caused some serious contemplation, on my part, on this subject. And so, I'll just say this: Its hard to hear that someone doesn't love you, or even like you a little bit, it makes you doubt other people's love for you even when those "other people" have given you no reason to doubt. But, still, when you hear it, hear that you are less important than money, time, another person, a job (whatever it may be) and it hits you deep down in the gut. with a thud. and all you can do is wonder what is wrong with makes you take a good, hard look at your life and purpose, but its probably not even you. And then you pick up the pieces and move on because that is the choice, there isn't any other choice. Something good comes from bad right? remember those "other people". Well, that punch in the gut lead to me to repairing a long lost friendship, where things were said that weren't meant, tears were cried that shouldn't have never been and there were lost years that should have been filled with jokes, visits, phone calls and texts. So through tears and reflection, I found one of my very best friends again and I'm going to let them love me despite our little falling out a few years ago. That punch in the gut, it lead me to looking at my relationships with family, friends and acquaintances. And I'm choosing  to let those family, friends and acquaintances love me with all they have (or don't have) but I will walk away if need be. life is short.

While this post was all about loving me, stayed tuned where I attempt thoughts and understanding on getting to love people back....or  even loving those that don't love me in loving life #17! I read a post today on 10 signs you are doing better than you think you are....I've nailed all 10, so I'm ok. It's science. So I'm going to keep on being me.

You're welcome for the random rambling of gobble-d-gook. Hope at least one sentence made sense to someone besides for me, but if not at least there are some good quote pictures.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

the barn by bryan [february 2017]

It’s another all request month from our host, (apparently I have been slacking in the Red Dirt category… and I have, sorry).
It’s hard to resist the pull of the classics, especially with what you hear on mainstream radio, but, I must say, these are an exception to the rule. Makes you feel pretty darn good about the artists that don’t sell out and hope that it will continue. Maybe Trump will make mainstream radio play more songs like these…. Hahahahaha….. Merica!

Casey Donahew Band - Kiss Me
Wade Bowen, Sun Shines on a Dreamer
Miranda Lambert, Things That Break
Micky and Motorcars, Tonight We Ride
Randy Rogers Band, Neon Blues 


Monday, January 9, 2017

2017: falling in love with life

    Almost Gypsy Soul was born out of a "Dirty 30" list and each year since I've had the equivalent of New Years Resolutions or goals....2014, 2015, 2016. I've tried to keep you up to date on my progress through this blog and through that these have come to feel like a checklist, not really sure that I'm reaping what I'm trying to sow here, so to speak. This year I want less of a list to methodically and thoughtlessly cross items off of and instead, something more, something with deeper meaning something empowering, something that pushes me to be better, pushes me forward, productive member of society, comfortable in my own skin, have a direction ya know that kind of thing. And while I'm not sure I'll be able to articulate it through my words, I hope you'll bear with me anyway while I navigate 17 ways to fall in love with your life in 2017. I'm really good at math and figured out that I'll have to examine more than one of these per month to get through them all. Feel free to tell me when I'm falling too far behind!

    Stay tuned while I fumble my way through loving my life!

    These 17 things are complements of  Kim over at the Thought Catalog


    Start doing the ‘someday’ things right now. Every time you tell yourself that someday you’ll take horseback riding lessons or someday you’ll travel to Asia or someday you’ll start volunteering, you get further and further away from ever making it happen. Stop living through the ‘idea’ of something and start actually experiencing it, today.


    Feed your mind. Mindless consumption of content (television, newsfeeds, etc) is fine every once in a while; we all work hard and we all deserve to turn our brains off for a moment or two. But you also need to remember that your mind is starving for knowledge, and consistently challenging and enlightening your mind with interesting books, articles, movies, shows, documentaries, and anything else you can think of is such an important part of taking care of yourself and ensuring that you’re always on a path towards growth.


    Make peace with the fact that you’ll never be perfect. The sooner you figure out how to let go, and how to truly comprehend that no one is perfect, the more you will begin to love yourself as you are.


    Be constantly on the lookout for things to be thankful for. The more you search for gratitude, the more you will realize how much goodness you already have in your life. From the tiny things, like a green traffic light, to the big things, like having a job you love – living every day with a mindset of gratitude is such an easy way to spend your life being happy with right now instead of always obsessing over what you want in the future.


    Stop belittling yourself to make others feel more comfortable. When you get into shape or get a promotion or experience some kind of major success in your life, it is your job to be humble, but it is not your job to criticize yourself just to make others feel adequate. Be modest, but also be unapologetically you.


    When you’re with people you care about, truly be with them. Everyone on your phone will still be there in an hour or two. Let yourself disconnect and spend time with the people who truly make you feel loved and cherished for more than a millisecond or two.


    Try (safe, healthy) things that make you uncomfortable. These things make you uncomfortable for a reason, and usually it has to do with being outside of your area of expertise, being in unfamiliar territory, and knowing there is a possibility of failure. But don’t let that stop you from giving that toast at your friend’s wedding or signing up to run a half-marathon. Give yourself the gift of being in a constant state of curiosity and discovery, and don’t let your apprehension and fear of failure stop you from living a full, exciting, and ever-expanding life.


    Ask for help when you need it. This never, ever makes you weak. It takes an incredibly strong person to be willing to admit that they can’t do everything on their own.


    Listen before you jump to conclusions. Gossip is easy, judgment feels good in the moment. But if you truly want to love yourself, and be proud of the person you are, speaking poorly about someone else will only make you dislike yourself in the long run. Remember, always, that everyone has a story that you don’t know.


    Spend your money consciously. When you truly need something, buy it without guilt. When you really want something and have wanted it for a long time, earn it. And when you desperately want something in the moment, just because it’s in front of you, and having it now, now, now feels good, let your brain step in, let your desire step back, and give yourself a moment to breathe. You can always come back to it later if you’ve thought about it and truly debated it and still want it. Just give yourself the option to be present in your purchases, instead of a zombie consumer. The less you feel like a servant to money, the happier you’ll be and the more peaceful you’ll feel.


    Find joy in the little things. Holiday music, lazy Saturday mornings, laughing so hard that you cry, hot coffee, leaving work early, light traffic, fresh laundry, smiling with a stranger, a beer on the house. These are the little moments that make up a life.


    Find your sense of self from what you do and what you’ve done, not what you plan to doWanting to donate your time to a nonprofit or to rise up in the ranks at work or to finally reach out to that friend who is going through a hard time is an admirable thing to want. But thinking about what you want to do means nothing. Talk means nothing. Dreams are lovely, but actions are what truly determine who you are.


    Make your home an oasis, not a source of stress and excess. Less stuff, more light, photos of those you love, warmth as opposed to flashiness, soft blankets, comfortable sheets, and a space that reflects who you are – instead of a space that reflects what you think it’s supposed to look like.


    Look up. Your phone is tempting, addicting, all-consuming. We all feel this way, it’s okay. But remember that there is a world happening all around you, and sometimes, just looking up on that train or plane or sidewalk and seeing every other person scrolling through their screen is enough to gently remind you to work harder on staying in the moment and remembering to live.


    Pay attention to your breath. It’s something so natural, so automatic, so easy to take for granted. But making an effort to pay attention to your breathing every once in a while is an easy way to remind you that you are truly alive.


    Let people love you. You don’t have to earn it, work for it, deserve it, be good enough for it. That’s the whole point of love, at the end of the day. People love you for you, not who they want you to be.


    Love them back. Your partner, your mom, your brother, your coworker, the cashier standing right in front of you. They are all human, and just as fragile as you are, and in so much need of a hug or a piece of kindness or a word of encouragement. You can love them intensely and lifelong, or you can love them just for this moment, through a smile or a gesture, never to see them again. There is no limit to what you are capable of giving. When you share love, more is created. It’s the most renewable resource in the world. Use it.

      Thursday, January 5, 2017

      the barn by bryan [january 2017]

      Well Ladies and Gentlemen, we are at the start of another year… dang!  Not sure where the time goes!

      Some reflect on the past year and resolve to make better choices or to do something in the coming year that didn’t happen in the past or something like that…

      I haven’t won the lottery yet (dammit), so, I will still go to work.  This year my resolution is to get “yacht” in proper working condition so it can actually get used!  That is all that I am promising myself and those fortunate to grace the deck of it.

      With all that has happened in the past few months, it could be an interesting year in 2017!
      While we wait to see what 2017 has in store for us enjoy these jams!!

      I Don’t Look Back, Gary Allan
      Free Bird, Lynyrd Skynyrd
      Pledge Allegiance to the Hag, Eric Church
      You Just Can’t See Him From the Road, Chris Ledoux
      Summer of ’69, Bryan Adams

      Happy New Year!!