Monday, January 29, 2007

But baby it's cold outside

Winter has given suburbia the upper hand.

Of course I'm not going to stop believing in global warming because it's cold outside (only idiots and Rush Limbaugh can pull that off), but I do have to say I've waned a little from my mission.

Cold weather. No car. These things have hastened my trip to crazyville. I've started taking Steve to work more often so I can do something other than sit at the kitchen table with a glass of red wine and my hands over my ears to quell the desire to run screaming from the house. And because of this newfound lethargy, I've started taking shortcuts to the daily feedings.

But an article in this week's New York Times Sunday Magazine has gotten me back on track. Unhappy Meals, an article by Michael Pollen, reminds me that eating food, real food, is the best way to combat illness, obesity and unsatisfying meals.

Thank you Mr. Pollen. Even the best intentioned housewife can fall off track.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My story worked! People, following my model of drive less/walk more, are driving less.

Uhhh. And gas prices might have had a little something to do with it. Maybe.

The winter of my discontent.

I told Steve the other day if I ever write a book about not driving, I'd call the chapter about these last few month, "The winter I almost killed myself."

"It's funny," I said.

Steve said in a year or two, maybe funny. Right now? It seems a little too likely.

Not having a car in the winter with two very small children is mind-numbingly dull. They are too little for arts and crafts. They have more energy than can be burned up walking around the block. And there are just so many episodes of My Little Pony I'm willing to let them watch.

So we trudge along, waiting for spring. On the plus side, I've taken to doing my crossword puzzles online. It took a little getting used to, but as Carolyn would say, "I did it!"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Here's what I remember about 2006...

There was no snow in February when we moved, something I rejoiced.

In fact, that whole winter of driving between Michigan and Illinois with a newborn baby, there was hardly any snow. Some days, I didn't even need a jacket.

When I stopped driving in July, it was so hot some days I couldn't leave the house because I thought it unsafe for Penelope, only six months old. This from a woman who walked her newborn to the park in February.

Thanksgiving day, it was so warm Carolyn went outside with a miniskirt. No tights.

So it should come as no surprise 2006 was the warmest year in more than a century. So why am I surprised?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It was so cold, my teeth hurt.

That's how outside play in January feels, in spite of a winterless kind of winter that feels more like a chilly October, most of the time. With the howling wind on a treeless, flat, Illinois landscape, little fingers and noses freeze right up.

So life without a car pretty much sucks in January, even a mild one. Still a half hour running at the playground beats a half hour screaming at the kids to stop eating dog food or stop playing in the toilet or stop hitting each with wooden blocks.

Now you know why a survey from last year indicates moms still want an SUV, dammit. It's hard to consider global warming when you're about to go nuclear on your kids.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Are moms ruining the planet?

It's hard to say. Although the United States accounts for approximately 5 percent of the world’s population, it produces an estimated 21 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emmissions. “Light-duty” vehicles, which are used primarily for personal transport, accounted for 62 percent of total transportation emissions.

A transportation survey from last year said Americans had more shopping trips than days of the year. The proliferation of minivans and SUVs are designed for family travel.

And if a woman staying at home to raise her children doesn't have a car during the day, she indeed is subject to a very lonely existence.

Women, by and large, run their households. With 5.5 million women staying home, the responsibility for shopping and childrearing falls mainly on their shoulders. So how can moms lead the way toward a greener future, and do they want to?