25 October 2009

One Way to Annihilate the Material Beast

I participated in an unintentional experiment this past year: how to tame materialism. We put everything in storage for a year - except what could fit in the back of the Jeep. The brewing equipment, which took up most of the already small space, was apparently a necessity. So, I had very little with me. Four months of the year I lived out of one carry-on duffel bag and a backpack (which really only fit my computer, a book or two, and my camera body and one lens).

Occasionally, I thought back to the storage unit - usually when I was tired of wearing the same outfit for the 5th time in a month. For the most part, though, there was nothing that I really missed. I made due with what was available. I learned what was and was not essential (like a comfortable bed).

Having been living out of what fit in the Jeep, we started to get the idea that we had very little to move. Our house did not need to be de-cluttered to be sold, and being away for so long, we quickly forgot about all the stuff we acquired in our 1800 foot house.

Reality hit us when the two hours we thought we’d spend loading a UHaul turned into the fifth hour. The storage unit employees became more and more obvious about spying on us to see if we could actually fit it all in the truck. This was our worst move ever. Either we have too much shit, or I am getting too old for this shit. Probably a little of both. We have less stuff now than nine years ago when we moved from Phoenix to Portland, but, it still seems like too much.

Certainly, life is slightly more comfortable now. And, I have more outfits to choose from. But, it was nice being able to throw everything into the back of the Jeep and go.

B once suggested driving around the country living out of a Suburban. I hated the idea then - I worried about not having all of my stuff around to make life comfortable. After living out of a duffle bag for a year, I no longer have fear of loosing my comfortable material life. Really, I just don’t need that much stuff to be comfortable and happy. It’s a great thing to have come away with.

08 October 2009

I won!

At the risk of sounding like a small child... I won; I won!

Once in a while I enter contests, or even buy a raffle ticket - assuming I don't have to give up too much personal information. I have never, ever in my life won anything. It might simply be an annoying sense of optimism that propels me to keep entering these things. I usually don’t even listen as raffle numbers are called out, because I know it won’t be my number. I am not a winner.

But, the other day I won a jacket and a hat. Imagine that! It wouldn’t have mattered what I won, I'd still be acting like a child. I'm a winner!

I just hope what they send me is what they told me I won. It is free shit, after all.

here are the jacket and the hat - just in time for the snow

Aura JacketStripe Beanie

Update: I got it - and it is exactly what's on the website. I got the jacket in the red color, as well as the hat. Yay!


04 October 2009

New Home

On the drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff, there is a bend in the road where the high desert turns into pine forest. Every time I round that bend, I feel like a four year-old who just found out I am going to Disneyland. I typically try to hold in my giddy clapping at the sight of the pine trees, except when I am with B (which usually results in a “you are so weird” response). What can I say, the mountains make me happy.

It is nice to be so close to the mountains, and in the west again. Key West was like another country in attitude and culture. So is the west compared to the east. Like in Key West, there is no “east-coast action” here. It’s not the island attitude that I loved so much. But, it is the west; rarely are people tightly wound jackasses for no reason. It’s a noticeable difference the further west you drive. The midwest is slightly better than the east, but there is still quite a bit of residual east-coast action. Much more than those heartlanders would have you believe.

One bit of interesting trivia about Fort Collins is that it is the inspiration for Disneyland's “Main Street, USA.” Disney’s designer apparently spent his childhood in Fort Collins. I don’t remember what Disney’s Main Street looks like, but College St. is a main street that is heavily used and crowded with restaurants, bars, and shops. Fort Collins has not been taken over by the glamorati like other old Colorado towns, which makes it a friendlier, less hoity-toity place.

We can do everything we need to do here without moving the car out of the garage. That’s one of the things I loved about living in Portland, Montpelier, and Key West. I can walk or jump on my bicycle and be anywhere in 5-10 minutes. I can shop, eat, and even go to the DMV without getting in my car. Fort Collins also has an extensive trail system all around town, making it even safer to ride a bike to the movies, bookstore, and even dinner. Here’s a link to the map. All the red are paved bike paths, the green is bike lanes, and there are more dirt trails all around town. I love it!
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