Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Minimalism Game, in summary

In January I played the minimalist game where my mission was to get rid of the same number of items as the day of the month. So on the 15th I got rid of 15 things and so on until I couldn't do it anymore. January had 31 days and I made it to 28. (week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4)

Even though I didn't make it to the 31st, I feel accomplished. I thinned out my junk drawers, kitchen cabinets, and my closet. This weekend I tackled my closet again, so I will likely be rid of those last 90 (29 + 30+ 31)  items eventually.  But I'm finding my closet is something that will happen in rounds of thinning out, and not one massive purge. It's far more emotional than I ever anticipated to give away clothes that don't fit any more. Still, after Sunday's round of some rough honesty with myself,  I removed another 26 pieces of clothes to donate. This is in addition to the other pieces I purged during the game.

So after 28 days of hardcore de-cluttering am I happier or more organized or less stressed like minimalists adherents espouse? A little.

The minimalist game didn't markedly change my happiness level, but it is a hell of a lot easier to find the utensil I'm looking for in my silverware drawer (see day 28), which means I'm getting food in my belly faster and THAT makes me happy.  But I still look around my apartment and wonder, "what the hell is all of this stuff?" which tells me there is more work to be done.

But I never looked to minimalism for happiness. I wanted a project to help me streamline my life. Something to help me evaluate my belongings and force me to decide what was worth keeping and what I was just holding onto for no good reason. I think I achieved that and more.

While I'm no longer madly scavenging for things to chuck out, I regularly find myself  looking at my possessions and asking "do I really need this?" A happy byproduct of the game because ultimately controlling your "junk" accumulation is a day-to-day effort. Purging 27, 28, 29 items a day is not sustainable.

Ultimately, the game has made me conscientious of the use (or non use) I'm getting out of the belongings I already have, and made me think twice before bringing something new into the house.

I still have a long way to go but I'm equipped with the right mindset now. Example: I'm currently  grappling with my desire for this antique four poster bed that is MASSIVELY discounted because the store is going out of business.

I haven't caved yet because the colors wouldn't really fit "style-wise" in my bedroom, which is already a tad crammed with too many dressers and side tables, so do I really need a brass bed set?  Not really but its sooooo prettyyyyyyy..... Agh. Send help!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Weekend Hike: South Table Mountain

Weekend recaps aren't usually my jam, but I thought it would be useful for me to keep a record of the places I've been hiking so I can quick reference the trails when I inevitably forget which one was which.

On Saturday I hiked South Table Mountain for the second time. It's just 20 minutes or so outside of Denver, so its good when you don't have all day to commit to hiking.

Picture courtesy of wikipedia I forgot tot take a picture of the mountain itself... whoops. This greenery in this picture is a little farther a long than we currently are. no leaves out just yet.

Steep zig-zagging trails to the top offer just enough of a challenge to make it interesting, but not so much you want to kill yourself or your hiking partner for suggesting it. Lot's of gentle sloping trails at the top, would be good for mountain biking if I could find another way up there other than the main trail head which is too steep and narrow to haul a bike up with my low skill level.  Offers pretty views of Golden, the Front Range, Denver and Coors Brewery. 

I picked this trail again because we had some new friends joining us and I though it would be a nice introductory trail: not too hard not too boring.   I can't wait for this trail to come to life this Spring and summer.

Coors brewery

looking for prairie dogs

Not a fan of heights

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Frozen Dead Guy Days

No I did not write that wrong, and you didn't read it wrong either. Frozen Dead Guy Days is a Festival in Nederland, Colorado that took place this past weekend and I had the opportunity to visit for a day.

The man behind the celebration is Bredo Morstoel, a Norwegian who died in 1989. He was cryogenically frozen in California and later moved to a Nederland, where his family had hopes of starting their own cryogenic facility, which had humble beginnings as a shed filled with dry ice. The facility never got off the ground and both of Morstoels children were deported back to Norway due to expired visas. Not wanting her father to thaw out before his time, Bredo's daughter Aud petitioned the city to permit her to continue to keep her father's body in the shed, and hired a caretaker to transport the ice needed to maintain cryopreservation. (More detailed story here.)

The story garnered national attention, so naturally the good people of Nederland decided  to commemorate Bredo with a festival, and thus the ever-so-bluntly named Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival was born (see what I did there?) It's Dia De Los Muertos meets St Patrick's day meets Gattaca.

I met up with a friend in Boulder where we caught a bus out to Nederland. Entrance to the festival is free. While you're there you can take in the dead-guy themed activities like:

Coffin Races


Frozen t-shirt contests

Not pictured but also part of the weekend are: a parade of hearses, frozen turkey bowling, and a costumed polar plunge. Of course there are all traditional trappings of a regular, non-sepulchral themed festival: live music, local beer, food and my favorite: people watching.  And take it from me, the people watching is almost as good as the view of the mountains.

Frozen Dead Guy Days is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous/niche festivals you could ever attend. It takes place every year during the first full weekend of March, so the weather is hit and miss. I absolutely plan to go back next year, possibly as a pall bearer in a coffin race.