My daughter helped me face my fear…. of public transportation

Santa Cruz Buses are Good for the Environment Too!
Image borrowed from: http://forum.bustalk.info

My 6 year old daughter has been asking me to take her on the bus for a solid 2 years now. Apparently there is something that seems glamorous about going for a ride on a huge blue box. You can see the bus stop from our living room window, so there is no hiding the bus swinging on by every hour, on the hour.

I had been avoiding taking her on the bus for 2 years now. However she gently reminded me of my promise I had made 2 years ago. I realized I had no more excuses. It was time to conqure my fear, and get my ass on that bus.

Now you may be asking yourself, “What the hell is her problem? Why would she be nervous about taking the bus?”. Well let me shed some light on the ways of my manic brain. The last time I took the bus was 20 years ago when I was 14 or 15 years old. Back then (the 90’s if you may), the only people that rode the bus were junkies, homeless, mentally disabled, and teenagers. Do you know how scary teenagers are? Fucking scary!!!! Ok, but really. The bus smelled like piss back then and had a strange dirty, sticky, vibe to it. Even as a kid, I only rode the bus maybe 1-2 times in my life. Anywhere I needed to go, I could ride my bike, walk, or get a ride. And when I was 16, and got my license, you better believe I felt too cool to ride the bus.

But here I am now, 34, and about to take my precious babies on what I thought would be cesspool of germs and goober. But my baby gets what my baby wants. (enter sarcastic tone). One fear I have is pretty logical. I was afriad I would get on the wrong bus and end up driving to Africa let alone across town. I did some research online and found our route. I also found the bus fare amount and made sure I had exact change. $2!!! What a deal!! Of course in my mind I kept thinking, “What if I don’t have enough? What if the coin gets stuck on in the machine and everyone yells at me? What if, what if?”

So we had our money, we had the time we needed meet the bus, and we had our route. We were all ready to go. So here we are at the bus stop. I had a 6 year old, a 21 month old in a sling attached to me, an umbrella stroller, a backpack, and a bag for our library books. Here we come!!! We got on the bus with flying colors. Phew! No one even yelled at me one. Go figure!

I was pleasantly surprised once we got settled in a seat and was on our way. The buses must have been remodeled somewhere in the past 20 years (Who would have thought?). The seats and floor was clean. There was no unpleasant smell. I felt comfortable and safe. There were no crazy people. Don’t get me wrong… There were people of all walks of life, shapes and sizes, etc. But mostly college students, some elderly, and lower income people. But was nice to experience a different side of life that I don’t think about on a day to day basis. And it was nice to just sit back and not have to worry about other drivers, traffic, etc. Granted it took twice as long to get to where we were going, vs driving myself. But we weren’t in a hurry and just had fun riding the bus.

Sometimes it takes our children to help push us beyond our bubble and comfort level. I certainly did not want my daughter to share in my own fears without having her experience life for herself. Most of my daily fears are not based on reality, but my own perceptions and judgements. Which isn’t healthy, but my own shit that I deal.

But that is saved for a new post. For now, all I can say is, YAH for public transportation!!!!

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

Where I live being “green” is very important. Our community promotes being environmentally conscious everywhere you turn. I like to think that I do my part…. but I know I can improve leaps and bounds. I try and buy organic as much as I can afford. We use wax paper snack bags or reusable Tupperware and reusable water bottles. I had been cloth diapers for the first year of my son’s life. Now I use decomposable disposable diapers. I also eat the leftover food off my kids plates, because it would be a waste to throw it out. There are starving people all over the world, you know.

Being a "green" mom does not come easy for me.

Being a “green” mom does not come easy for me.

But often times I find myself thinking, this just isn’t enough. I need to do more to help contribute to saving the Earth. But it’s hard being a busy mommy on the go, and “green” at the same time. And these are my top reasons why:

1. The shower is my babysitter. I have to say, water is a natural resource that I waste. I am not proud of it, mind you. But I love using hot water. Taking a super long shower is my way of taking 20 min to myself and just zone out in utter heaven. My kids apparently feel the same way. Their favorite activity is what we call a “showerbath”. A showerbath is when you basically take a shower with the bath plugged up. My kids can take a showerbath forever!!!! At least until the water runs cold. And in that amount of time, I can get the entire house cleaned, dinner going, check my Facebook feed, water the garden and sneak some ice cream. It is the best babysitter ever!

2. Paper grocery bags make great trash bags for holding the recycle. I think it was a quote from the show Modern Family, where one of the characters says, “I haven’t been judged by this many people since I forgot my canvas bags at Whole Foods.” I own at least 10 reusable grocery bags. They live either in my car or in the corner of my kitchen. But for whatever reason, they never make it into the grocery store. I would like to think that it is just too much with carrying the baby, my purse, and/or travel coffee mug, that causes me too overwhelmed for the grocery bags. But frankly I am just too damn lazy to get them out.

So every time I get to the checkout stand, I get really nervous. I mean, who am I to forget the reusable bags? I feel like the cashier is judging my ass up and down. I mean, how could I? The nerve. So what do I do? I make this huge stink about how I always make sure to reuse the paper bags in a very productive manner. I tell the cashier the same story I have told them over and over. About how the paper bags makes great trash bags for my recycle. And how it is so much better than plastic bags for the environment  I don’t know… somehow it makes me feel a little better. Sometimes when I feel really guilty, I will buy a new reusable bag to add to my collection of other reusable bags that are sitting in my car.

3. Baby wipes are my best friend. I love baby wipes. I use them for everything. They are stashed at the diaper station, my kitchen table, the bathrooms, my purse, my car, everywhere. I use them to wipe my kids ass, my own ass, the table, the highchair, my car dashboard, the kids hands after the park or store. I love this wonderful, slightly modern invention. But apparently they do not decompose very quickly in the landfill.  And I could easily use a wet cloth towel or sponge when cleaning everything (but our asses), but then I would need to wash the towels. And I am saving my water consumption for my 30 minute long showers. Oh and by the way, I probably use about 10 wipes or more when cleaning poop off the baby’s ass. I think I still get poop on my hands even with that amount of wipes.

4. Saving Electricity. The other day our power went out for about 5 min while PG&E worked on the house. I have to say, for those 5 minutes, it felt like a shift in the vibrating energy of our home. And for 5 minutes, I felt extremely relaxed and peaceful. It felt really great. And I want to get back to that again. Our house always has a TV on, or computers running, lights on somewhere, baby monitor etc. Oh and the heater. Don’t get me started on that.

Someone was telling me the other day that I need to get an EMF protector. I laughed inside thinking about how we would need about 100 EMF protectors from the amount of energy our house uses. And it doesn’t get any better at night. I believe we have a nightlight in almost every room of the house. Mainly this is because I don’t want to run into the wall and kill myself when the baby wakes up, and I have to stumble to help him. That and if our daughter needs to get up in the middle of the night to pee, there is a light showing her the way. And god forbid we miss a text or phone call on our cell phones. So those must be on and charged at all times. You could probably power up a small village with the amount of energy we use on a monthly basis.

There are parents out there that are extremely on top of it when it comes to purchasing “green” cleaning products, saving our natural resources, and just contributing to saving the Earth with every $30 water bottle they purchase and reuse. And to them, my hat is off! I think about them every time I clean my child’s plate and take home another 10 paper bags from the grocery store.