Monday Monthly Mission #11

May 3rd, 2010 - filed under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

On the first Monday of every month, we take on a ‘mission’ – a shift or habit or inspiration – to work on together. There’s strength (and support) in numbers! On the last Thursday of the month, we reconvene to see how far we’ve come.


I’m baaaaAAAAAck! Did you guys miss me? I sure missed you all! Today Waits is 2 months old exactly, and I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. Ain’t he a cutie-pie? Maternity leave has been a total blast, but now I’m sooooo excited to get back to blogging!

And how better to jumpstart our community, than with a challenging new MMM?

IMG_1007High atop my vintage Schwinn, ‘Althea’. Summer 2008.


Let’s talk transportation. We all know that gas-powered vehicles are an environmental nightmare, but it can be hard to break out of such a convenient (and let’s face it – comfortable) habit. The truth is, if you really want to cut your carbon footprint, transport is key – in terms of impact it’s second only to going veg*n.

So in honor of springtime and the sunshine that it brings (perfect for vehicle-free transportation), I challenge you to rethink how you get around. Could you alter your errands to stay within a bike-friendly zone? Could you jog around your neighborhood instead of driving to the gym? Could you walk to work, or to the coffee shop, or to the drug store? Could you do your grocery shopping with a friend, for the company *and* the car share? Could you catch the bus to school? Could you ride the subway to dinner? Could you set up an office carpool? Could you rollerblade to brunch?

As you can see, the possibilities for change are endless. And they really add up!

Personally, I do own a car. But I do the vast majority of my ‘moving’ by other means. I do my grocery shopping daily, by foot (while walking the dogs). I walk a lot actually, and it’s a great way for Waits to experience the world. I used to ride my bike everywhere, which gave me an even greater range, but that’s out until this baby gets a bit bigger.

These days my car averages 1 tank of gas per month, almost exactly on the nose. I fill it up around the 1st, and it takes about 4 weeks to get down near ‘empty’. So my personal goal for this MMM is to cut that in half. I intend to use only 1/2 a tank of gas this month! If I can make that my standard I’ll be sittin’ pretty, don’t you think?

IMG_1011Damian and I rockin’ the bike helmets. Safety first! haha. Summer 2008.

IMG_1079The bike basket during an afternoon of errand-running. Summer 2008.

So, what could *YOU* do to curb your emissions in the transportation arena? And do you choose to accept this mission??

  • Christa

    So nice to see you back! Waits is adorable – he look so fat and happy and beautiful.

  • Shelby

    He is super cute! I’m really going to have to think about this mission!

  • tine

    :D my first month trying one of your missions and it’s something I already do! Woooo! I failed my driving test when I first took it, and developed this weird fear of driving due to it. I never bothered to get my license after (I’m 22 now) but carpooling, walking, and all of those “other” means of transportation are actually really easy to use if you’ve never had the convenience of being able to hop in a car and go whenever

  • Kate in SB

    And it just so happens to be National Bike Month!

    I’m sure lots of other communities are participating. There’s lots of bike-related events going on in Santa Barbara, more info at

    Bike to Work Day is coming up on Friday, May 21.

  • Valerie

    So happy you’re back! Waits is the most adorable 2 month old I have ever seen!

    My husband I just just got bicycles at a used bike shop in Seattle. I installed collapsing baskets on mine for groceries and stuff. It is still rather rainy here, but we are looking forward to biking as many places as possible. I am working up my endurance so I can bike to the grocery store and my volunteer shifts at the library.

    We are also looking moving closer to downtown so we never have to drive to our favorite restaurants & shops. My husband carpools with a co-worker everyday. I run in my neighborhood & have a weight set, which eliminated a gym membership and needing to drive there. We walk onto the ferry & use the bus whenever we go to Seattle.

    This MMM has inspired me to break out the rollerblades as well. I also hadn’t thought of sharing a car ride with the neighbors for grocery shopping. I will have to give this one a try

  • Kathryn

    Haha, Kate, I was just about to mention National Bike Month. :D
    I walk to school and work, and I’ve got a big ol’ milk crate on the back of my bike when I want to go somewhere farther. It’s especially useful when I bike home from work and pile all the food in the crate (I work at a local bakery/coffee shop/patisserie…can you say free leftovers?! I love it!).
    I live in a pretty friendly bike community so I am totally excited for this MMM. :)

    And ohmygod adorable Waits. My coworker has a four-month-old named Westley and he is the most fun ever. Such a happy baby. Waits looks the same way!

  • Amy

    Nice to see you posting again!

    I’m walking a lot more now that the weather is nice when I run errands. It’s good exercise, my neighborhood is pretty, I occasionally get to meet friendly dogs… it’s all good!

  • Amy

    Waits is also still adorable. :)

  • Minna

    I’m almost 21 and don’t have driver’s lisence. I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing! I haven’t really thought about learning how to drive because I wouldn’t have the money to buy a car anyway.

    So far I’ve been travelling by buses and public transport. Right now, living in the Melbourne CBD, I barely use any transport at all, I walk to work, walk to the gym, walk as much as possible. And sometimes take the tram (which should be quite environmental friendly, no?).

    I absolutely love public transport IF it’s well-organized. I loved using the subway when I lived in Stockholm (fast, spacious, always on time) and I love late night train rides home when there’s just a few people travelling besides me.

    Although back home in Estonia, public transport (outside of the city) sucks BIG TIME. I live about 10km outside of the city, which is not that far really, but we only get mini buses that are supposed to run every half an hour, but the reality is different. They stop service at 9:30pm on weekdays which means you can’t even go to the theatre. So you either need friends living in the city or your own car. It’s a private business thus our commune is not responsible for it. I have written to my commune long letters and asked them to change things because there are people out there that really need that transportation… but they won’t.

    Ideally I would love to live juuuust a little bit outside of the city but close enough to still be able to cycle as much as possible.

  • Amycat

    Arghh! It does my heart good to see you back! I’ve been feeling my days were lacking something without your posts to encourage and inspire me! Waits is looking ADORABLE!!
    I can’t believe you only use 1 tank of gas a month! That’s incredible. Most average 1 a week! I don’t drive, and around where I live in the Northern Beaches in Sydney, buses are the easiest way to get around, but I do walk to work. I’ve been wanting a bike for ages though, so perhaps I’ll hop on the bandwagon!

    Good to see you back!

  • Melisa

    So glad you’re back with us! Waits is totally adorable. :)

  • Hope Hughes

    Good to have you back! Waits is simply beautiful! Loved the pics! I’m hoping that they will make my area more bike friendly, but right now it’s far to dangerous to ride here. It’s sad really, but you’re a target if your on a bike…not to mention the hostility that is given.

  • Tabitha

    Glad you’re back!
    Waits is absolutely precious.
    This is a great mission. I’m not sure how much I can cut down because most of the places I go are too far to walk, but I’m going to try!

  • EroSan

    Welcome back!

    I love this MMM! I’ve been looking for a pretext to start biking back to work (the office is not as close to my house anymore)… But it will take some sacrifice on my side. Afterall the weather here in Merida is like 38 C on average (that’s around a 100 f for you all metric-impaired xD) and on may we could easily be over 42 degrees Celsius…

    Watts is just lovely! Congratz!

  • EroSan

    *Waits is just lovely!

    sigh… I hate committing typos! specially when I can’t edit my comments >_<

  • Courtney

    Welcome back!!! Waits is absolutely adorable. :)
    This MMM I really, really want to do, but I can’t. I live nowhere near the majority of things I need to do. The major road where any walkable errands are is still under construction and has never been pedestrian friendly (no sidewalks). Then there’s my bike. I’ve had it since the eighth grade and I’m 26. It’s too small for me and thus negates me using it for slightly farther tasks. I’m working on saving up for a new, at least for me, bike. Unfortunately when you’re living with friends and trying to find a place of your own, getting a new bike isn’t high on the priorities list. I will try to get the most out of my gas tank. It’s been doing better since it’s warm and I don’t have to run the heat. She usually gets 36 mpg average, so hopefully I can get that up to around 38 or 40 for this tank.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite Nona

    I’ve rarely been able to afford a car in my life so alternate means of transportation seem natural to me. I did just join Zipcar (a car sharing program) for those times when I must have a car to get to places like Salem where I volunteer for a board. Love your site, it has inspired me tremendously.

  • Carrie

    Glad you got to take a break, and I HAVE missed you! That baby is marvelous! He looks like he’s really waking up to the world.

    I have to admit that living in LA, I am just too chicken to get out there on a bike. Not a competent enough bike rider to deal with the traffic OR with the foothills by our house. What I can do is capitalize on my son’s fascination with the bus and take it for the short hop trips we do – library, park, drugstore. I’ve been without a car here and only bused it in the past and this is just not a public transpo friendly city, but I always feel lame driving a few miles up the hill to drop off our giant sack of books…just a little far/heavy to manage on foot. Looking up the bus schedule now!

  • Salekdarling

    One of the biggest issues of living in the middle of no where is that I cannot go anywhere without using a car. I can bike to my hometown which is five miles away from my house but that won’t happen during the nasty winters we get in PA.

    My jobs are located 22 miles from my house. I share a vehicle with my friend since we work in the same place. It’s not easy at the moment since we live separately but before the month is over we’ll be in the same household closer to school and our jobs. :)

  • Rebecca

    The baby is ADORABLE! (I am a lurker on your blog but had to step forward to congratulate on the baby!)

    As for the mini-mission: great idea..I do use my car as well but try to limit it when I can but I can DEFINITELY do more (and by “do more” I mean, “use it less”). However, one question…when you say you go grocery shopping while walking the dogs..I tried that but my little girl barks and barks when I leave her outside to run into the, I feel kind of uncomfortable leaving her there for even a few minutes..suggestions?

  • Jenny B.

    yay! You’re back! I check everyday to see if you’re back and today you are. Super excited!

    P.S. That baby you’ve got is so so beautiful!

  • Ginger Baker

    Living (and growing up) in NYC, I not only don’t own a car, I don’t have a drivers license! Actually, one of my goals for May/June is to practice driving and get my license. Not because I plan to start driving a lot (though now that my 86-yo, walker/wheelchair needing grandmother lives with us, my mom and I may get a car together so we have the option to drive her to the doctor) but because I know that if I move anywhere else in the country, driving is a vital skill to have. I’m 30 btw!

    I commute using public transport (bus/ferry/subway) but I should really start walking to the ferry now that it is nice out.

    I have to say, I’ve been intrigued by biking for a long time, but I haven’t biked really since I was a kid, and never in traffic, so I am a bit nervous about that. Plus I love to wear skirts and heels, and not sure how to work that. And then there is the sweat factor… I am definitely open to suggestions if anyone has thoughts on those issues!

  • Sayward

    Yay! So glad to see you all still here . . . I was worried! I love to see all the familiar monikers – I missed you guys! – and all the new commenters as well. Welcome!

    And thanks for all the Waits love. He says “glurgle coo glurgle”, which of course means ‘thank you’. <3

    I’m glad to hear that so many of you are already essentially doing this mission. That’s awesome! I wonder if we could add something else for those who already go car-less. Maybe each of you can come up with one other small way to cut your carbon emissions? Just something little, so you all can play this month too. =)

    @ Kate in SB and kathryn- What an awesome coincidence! Okay, we’ll definitely be celebrating ‘Bike To Work’ day, here on BA. That’s rad, go serendipity!

    @ Valerie – It sounds like you guys are well on your way for this mission, which is so great! Let me know how the rollerblades go, I’m thinking of getting a pair!

    @ Minna – I agree, public transportation is sooo awesome when it’s awesome, and sooo bad when it’s not. I live in an exceptionally public transit-friendly area, and it keeps our city so nice and un-congested. I really wish more cities would just suck it up and invest in the infrastructure – it’s SO worth it in the long run!

    That’s great that you can walk everywhere you need to right now. That is the ultimate ideal!

    @ Amycat – Thanks lady, it’s good to be back! That’s awesome that you don’t own a car. You should totally get a bike! Biking is *so* much fun! =D I miss it, can’t wait till Waits is big enough for the bike seat!

    @ Erosan – Hi! *waves*

    Okay, so I totally appreciate you wanting to bike more, but don’t hurt yourself man! That is HOT!

    @ Courtney – I totally understand. Can you maybe just make some small tweaks? Every little bit helps! Like, do all your errands on one day, and do them by driving to the center of town and then walking to do all your stuff from there, instead of driving to each place? Also, Craigslist and Freecycle and garage sales are great places to check for used bikes. You can find some great deals! Good luck!

    @ Nona – Zip Car is great, I meant to mention that! Thanks for the reminder.

    @ Carrie – Ugh, LA is such a disaster as far as public transit goes. I know they’re working on it, which is great. In the meantime good luck with the busses! That’s so cute that your son is so into them. =)

    @ Salekdarling – Well, at least you share a car to get to work. And it sounds like things are going to get even better soon. Baby steps can go a long way! =D

    @ Rebecca – Welcome out of the lurk! But oh no, poor puppy! That’s a tough one. I’m no trainer, but I would try getting her used to it slowly. Maybe try tying her up and then just going of of sight for a short time. Then slowly increase the time as she gets used to it. Not sure if that would work? Maybe you could Google around and see if there’s any training methods out there, specifically for that problem.

    Good luck, I hope it works out for you! I understand having a codependent pooch – my Harley used to break out of the house when I was gone, trying to find me! =(

    @ Jenny B. – Hi! <3

    @ Ginger Baker – Sounds like you’re doing great with this mission already! As for biking, I understand feeling nervous about it. I was too, but it’s way too fun and I got over the nerves real quick. Here in Portland I have friends who commute to work by bike year round, which means ~5 months of rain and sometimes snow. What they do is wear their rain gear (and conversely, wear very little in the crazy summer heat) while biking, and then change when they get to work. They just have to factor in an extra 10-15 minutes to change. No biggie.

    You could totally do the same thing with a skirt and heels! You can even get little ‘saddle bags’ for the bike, that lock, so you can leave your clothes there instead of having to lug them around.

    Just a thought. =) Good luck!

  • TeanyTinyStar

    Oh my gosh what a cutie! I’v been trying to walk more so I’m sure I won’t have trouble with this one :) Good thing the weather’s so beautiful!

  • Salekdarling

    We missed you too Sayward! <3 And yes, Waits is absolutely beautiful. His facial expressions made me giggle. ^_^ My friend Allison and I found an apartment about ten minutes from our jobs. I could bike to work and I'm crossing my fingers and hoping we have a yard so I can plant my garden finally. The weather has been atrocious here. It will be 80 degrees one day and the next day it's 40 degrees! I feel bad for the farmers.

    My job is uphill from the apartment we are looking at and it's pretty steep. I'll probably keel over while biking. Haha!

  • Eden

    Waits is adorable! You already knew that! :)

    My real question is what got painted “Coventry Gray”? We just painted some things in our house and I’m dying to stalk others’ painting expeditions too!

  • MathTutor

    My car was unfortunately totaled on Sunday (what a coincidence), so I have unknowingly been reducing carbon emissions thanks to my new fear of interesections! (it wasn’t my fault some kid ran a red in front of me, so i hit him, not intentionally of course) It is amazing how easy it is to carpool, and have discovered that I live next to alot of my friends! Once my injuries subside, I will def. by hopping on my bike and I am already looking into my bus system once it gets down to that. Being able to not rentacar until i’m 25 helps. I will consider that an omen that I don’t need a car though! =P

    BTW, kudos on the BA Schwinn! My friend is refurbishing a vintage Schwinn, I’m def. gonna send him a link to that pic ;)

  • Cayce

    I wish I could curb my driving more. I live in the mountains and, even though we did choose our home b/c it’s close to dh’s work… it is not walkable or bikeable. BOO. So, we chose our cars wisely and we also think twice before driving…we plan out our errands.

    Here’s a BIG one for you… when you do have to drive FOLLOW THE SPEED LIMIT. My dh teaches an entire lecture about this every year. Driving 55 vs 70 DOES save gas. I should have him write a guest blog for me about it. I don’t know all of the technical things about it…

  • Kelly H.


    That lil’ guy is so precious and beautiful. I love the pics…What a sweet pea!

    In 2000, my car was stolen and, much to my surprise at the time, I adapted to life without it quite well. I would walk, run, bike or bus and it was quite fun and interesting. When I bought my house in 2004, I bought a truck for hauling stuff and to help on those days I really couldn’t or didn’t want to bus since I was now farther away from conveniences. I still bussed more than I drove. Unfortunately, slowly but surely, inclement weather deterring me and carpooling options dwindling, I started to drive more and more. My bf and I try to carpool every now and then and we just bought bikes with the intent to bike more places more often when the summer returns, but I was grateful for your reminder. :o)

    I noticed there is now another Kelly reading and posting! Better add my last initial…

  • Sayward

    @ Salekdarling – Wow, aside from the weather it sounds like things are really going great. New apartment, biking to work, and I’ll be crossing my fingers for that garden!

    @ Eden – ‘coventry grey’ = our new bedroom (but those pics are incomplete – pre art and stuff) Enjoy the paint stalking! =D

    @ MathTutor – Oh I’m so sorry! That’s awful, but good for you for seeing the positive. I hope that this does turn out to be a blessing in disguise for you.

    @ Cayce – I’ve heard that! It was so hard to drive the speed limit in socal, but here in Oregon everyone drives like grannies haha, and it’s much easier to slow down. I bet we save a lot more gas her! =D

    @ Kelly H. – Ahh, it’s a slippery slope to convenience. But congrats on the bikes! Hopefully this will serve as a bit of inspiration to get you back into your no-driving groove!

  • Callie

    Welcome back! I’d gotten a bit out of the habit of checking your blog and now I’ve got so much catching up to do!

    Waits is beautiful! I’d be really interested in a post about proper nutrition for babies in vegan families. I’ve heard some horror stories that make me hesitate, but I’m sure you’ve done tons of research!

    Biking is an awesome way to get around, for anyone in the DC/MD area we’ve got a local bike coop where you can get a bike for CHEAP or get your old bike fixed up, or if you’ve got extras they could always use donations.

    For this MMM I’m going to tap into our bus system, which intimidates me a little but I’m told is one of the best ways to get around. Thanks for the challenge, and again welcome back!

  • Sayward

    @ Callie – Thanks! It’s great to be back.

    Yeah, it’s a shame there’s been a few ‘vegan’ families that have made headlines by being total morons. Unfortunately the issue has been that they’re idiots, not that they’re vegan, but that is not how it’s reported. No right-minded person – vegan or not – would feed a baby just soy milk and apple juice and think it would be okay!

    Anyway, vegan nutrition for infants and children is really no different than it is for other children. It’s just a matter of making sure they’re getting enough [healthy] protein and [healthy] fat, and a wide variety of veggies for vitamins. Pretty much a universal struggle for any parent! =D

    I’ve never taken busses in the DC area but I’ve used the subway a lot. Great public transit in that part of the country – you’re lucky!

  • Sarah B

    Woo woo for adorable Waits! We welcomed our little Arlo on the 14th… only 4 days overdue.

    Check this out:

    They’re just starting up where I live, in Salem MA. I bike to the train to get to work anyway, might as well invest the $5 in the sticker to get the discount at this great little shop, Crunchy Granola Baby.

  • Sayward

    @ Sarah B – CONGRATULATIONS!!! So happy for you. =) Isn’t it incredible? I hope it’s been a smooth transition for you guys and parenthood is treating you well so far. Also, great name! (a musical reference as well?)

    Cool link, what an awesome idea. Eeee, congrats again!!!

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