The Gamblers

We spent a weekend in Las Vegas not too long ago and it was ah-ma-zing!  The hotel we stayed at was Mandalay Bay in a gorgeous room. For thirty bucks a piece we scored a day pass in their beautiful spa.  Call me sheltered, naive, or uncultured, but in my opinion, it was magical. You got a giant robe and sandals to wear while visiting, along with a locker and all of the towels you could want.  There were greek or roman looking fountains spilling into hot tubs and a cold tub at the center of the spa, all surrounded by lounge chairs. We spent our time going between the dry heat room and the eucalyptus steam room, then to the cold pool to bring it all together.  

We went once in the morning to have a coffee and a sweat, then again before they closed after a day on the strip. It was perfect.  

Spa lobby, no cameras allowed inside!

We did not gamble that much, but threw a few dollars into some video poker, keno, and a Goonies movie themed slot machine, which at least gave you some extra steps to complete in between spins to extend your money a little bit.  

I ate some of the most delicious macaroni and cheese from the hotel room service menu and we left a half eaten plate of shoestring french fries because we could not finish them all!  What happens in Vegas… Our last stop of the night was to surprise some friends who got married that weekend at their hotel. We took the bus to Circus Circus, gave them a hug, then headed back to our hotel only to miss our stop and walk a mile back after getting to see the Welcome to Vegas sign.  

Perriee is the absolute best travel buddy I could ever dream to have.  We just have so much fun together everywhere we go. I know that anything that life deals out is automatically going to be easier and better if she is there to share it with.  

Saying that, I can now share that we are going to be leaving our spot where the a-frame cabin is standing.  Over the last year, it has become clear that although the exact spot where the cabin sits along with the tipi is absolutely magical, it is not the land that shines, but our energy when we are there together.  When we have thought about our future there and the things we want to do there, we have had some difficulty envisioning it in alignment with the what the other family might want to do in the future. 

We started poking around on the internet and have found that it might even be possible for us to find our own place.  I had not even considered that as a possibility since we started this journey over two years ago. Because of that, we are moving on.  We were at a point where we could invest a good amount of time and money into the cabin, but decided to first talk with the group about some things that have been weighing heavily on my mind for a long time now.  I have not mustered the courage to bring it up until now. Once the words were out it was clear what the best move should be, and it is, which is to leave. We are all adults and have found ourselves to be different in ways that just won’t mesh as a lifestyle and it is ok.  It is neither good nor bad. We are different and are all mature enough to recognize it. Things are a little raw at the moment, but I truly am looking forward to watching us all grow from this, even if it just through an Instagram post. I know Perriee and I feel a great sense of relief over it and I hope everyone else does too. 

We don’t have any regrets.  Our time there has brought us so much.  It has been one, very long, team building session for the two of us and we have emerged stronger from it all.  And it is not ending! We are still Making Time for Tipi.  That is not ending. In fact, it is very active as I sit here writing this post right now.  We can’t wait to take you on the next leg of the journey.    

Homework

Trust Your Gut:  Over the last couple of years I have found myself in some situations which were uncomfortable to me.  I am working on building up the courage to speak up for myself so eventually I was able to get out of them. The real practice is to have the ability to not get into those situations in the first place.  

As a child, I was constantly reminded to suck it up and deal with the situation at hand, no matter how uncomfortable it may have been.  My childhood was a bit of a roller coaster so I mastered the art of “grin and bear it” amidst some pretty heavy stuff. At the time, that was super useful.  I was a kid and had little control over decisions that were made on my behalf so a good survival technique was to make the most of a bad situation and keep pushing forward.  

In my new found forties (42 now, thank you very much), I am realizing that as an independent adult, I don’t have to just “go along” with things that I can literally feel eating away at my gut.  I need to recognize that feeling early on and learn to say, “no” with intent. For those situations that I miss the signs, it is imperative that I face the discomfort head on, and move away from it as soon as possible.  That is so hard for me!!

Life is too short to waste on negativity that is doomed to persist.  Whether it is a toxic person, relationship, environment, or whatever, we need to be able to see that some things will not change no matter what.  That takes courage to do and is super scary for people like me. Hopefully a lot of you don’t have this courage deficit that I have. If you do, just practice.  Put yourself first. Know that the feeling of the freedom from that toxicity in your life is so much better than the feeling of marinating in it. Save yourself!  

As 2019 comes to a close, I can say that I feel pretty good about how it ended.  Last year on New Year’s Eve I made a promise to myself to have more confidence. Good job me.  Leaving the partnership with our friends where our spot is, Camp Good Enough, was one of the most difficult things that I have ever done but it has already opened up a space for better things and I am proud of that.  

I don’t know what lies ahead, but I will make sure it is interesting.  Happy New Year everyone! Happy new decade!  

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em 

Know when to walk away and know when to run

You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table

There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done

The Gambler, Kenny Rogers

Creating Space

We are close.  All of the time.  By choice. Why not live in a smaller space?  It is easier to heat, easier to clean, easier to pay for.  The space inside may be small, but the yard will be big. This is our chance to build our dream home. Fourteen by fourteen, ten by twelve, anything under 200 square feet. Cozy.

In preparation for the foundation, we needed to clear the space.  That is what we worked on this past weekend. Matt cut down a bunch of dead ash trees, Perriee and I pulled out honeysuckle, and organized the downed trees.  It was amazing. We were celebrating our two year wedding anniversary by preparing the land for our new house. Some of the stones that we cleared out of the duckyard  in the city made a great fire ring at our cabin spot. It is crazy to say that we broke in our spot with the first nice outside fire last weekend. Up until now, all of the good fires down there had been inside the tipi.  It was really feeling like home out there by the time we packed up on Sunday.

Before we left the farm for the week, we joined my sister with Elaine, brother, sister-in-law, friend, and Mila the doggie for a hike around the property. It was a birthday hike (my sister’s).   The final ascent is always the best since the trail we took ends at the tipi.

Homework:

Make space for good things.  Sometimes we have to make physical space.  If we are going to live in a home with less than 200 square feet, we will not be bringing lots of things.  The good news? We have already started getting rid of things. When we packed up the house to move a few years ago, we donated so many things to the Goodwill that the person receiving the items recognized us.  I would like to believe that we have a modest amount of belongings, most of which will remain in the house for Airbnb guests when we move to the cabin.

Other places to create space?  Our time. Perriee and I made time to go on that hike, which sounds easy enough but is challenging for us when we are there because we try to cram in as much work as possible into our time spent there.  An easy way to make some space for yourself is to take a lunch at work. Walk away from your desk and eat in a place that others might not find you in (unless of course, you want to socialize during that time).  Take that 30-45 minutes to regroup, read a book, check Instagram without shame. Make it your time and don’t apologize for it. Read Essentialism- the Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  You will see what I mean.

Cast Iron Cooking Corner:

We ate good this weekend and it was due to cast iron cookware and good old fashioned fire.  

Friday night we made grilled chicken sandwiches on rye bread.  Perriee brought the chicken breast already cooked from work. So it wouldn’t get dry, I tossed in some butter, bacon, and onion to reheat the chicken in before we grilled the sandwiches usng the Dutch oven.  

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Friday Dinner

Saturday morning? Goetta and an egg for me, rewarmed biscuits and gravy for P.  

Saturday night, it was all about veggies.  Using that awesome fire we had going outside, I cooked down a head of cabbage and bacon with roasted beets in one pan and sauteed squash and tomato in another.  We got to bring our food to the farm potluck that we had at the house that night with the whole “family” (a whole other list of delicious food).

Sunday morning:  Grilled cheese and pickles.  Delish.

Once we are set up down there, I would love nothing more than to offer cast iron cooking to any of our tipi guests that we host.  It will be another dream come true. #blessed