October 2008

We are on a bender. I know it will pass. Yesterday we overslept for the 1st time since the Big One enrolled in Educational Prison. Dancer-husband DROVE him there. No car pool. Nothing. And he was still 4 minutes late.

Then, he drove to dance class. And PAID for parking. Then drove to REHEARSAL and paid for parking. After prison, The Big One and Devil baby played in the fire-engine red car with Nita the fire dog. I needed to get a STACK of books from the library.

As I drove to the library I felt like I, myself had been released from prison. I didn’t have to limit myself to a backpack full of light books. I checked them ALL out. Really. I think we ended up with 6 books for Devil Baby, 6 for Aidan and a few for me, all on Lyme Disease. We got several audio books as well.

The best part of all was the trip to Eastside Neighborhood Services Thrift Store (formerly Silver Angel). It was like coming home. I just don’t get to Central Avenue anymore. I blew $7 on stuff for the boys and got to see Laura, Elizabeth and best of all, Paulette who I haven’t seen for what seems like decades.

So here I am weighing community involvement (if only the thrift store had a tea shop within) with gluttony.

I got a comment from a loyal reader the other day. Devin commented on the fact that it is harder to be car-light than car-free. Yep. I get it. It’s a challenging moral choice in every moment.

Devil Baby late for school. . .or drive him? Walk up to the library for 10 books, when I’m cold. . .or drive? Over the past 15 months I’ve realized that it really is the neighborhood trips that I most need the car for, not the big ones. I don’t see myself driving downtown or to the U to teach yoga. Those trips are easy by bus. I think what we need to do is keep the miles on our car low. How few miles can you drive per year? The car came to us with 79,000. Keep it under ???? by the end of the year?

Canada is calling though. Our dear, dear, dear friend Jim MacDonald of Brandon MB died on Monday. We bought the Little Red Wagon to get up to visit him one last time before he left this world and we didn’t get there. I wish Jim the best transition ever. He deserves it. We will be there to say goodbye on Saturday.

Jim was like a second Father to me, a grandpa to the boys and our best friend.

Goodbye dear Hagrid. We love you.


“So what happens to your blog now that you’ve purchased a car?” my sister “Barbie” asks me.

“We just become a Car-Light Family,” I reply.

Yikes. Did we just do this?

My symptoms have been increasing by the day, and it looks like we are getting closer to a diagnosis on all this pain and wobbliness. Not sciatica. Not MS. Not ALS. Not LUPUS. Not Chronic Fatigue.

Lyme Disease. From a bite over 20 years ago, before they were talking about Lyme Disease. So, we caved into the pressures of the world. No, wait, we didn’t do that. We looked practically at our lives, winter, stress and my illness and bought “The Little Red Wagon” from our next-best-thing-to-Amish friends, Mark & Annie.

They have been lightly fanning the car in front of us for over a year.

“It’s in the garage waiting for you. Whenever you are ready.”

I’m ready. I don’t want to be ready. I want to figure it out. I want to be car-free. I also want to get where I need to get when the pain makes it so I can barely walk, so this is what we’ve done.

I told dancer husband that I thought we needed to think about “Mark’s Car”. Within days he was on the phone, getting it done. He is in the beautiful, beautiful car, on his way home.

We knew it would be a Volvo. We hoped it would be a wagon. I secretly wanted it to be red.

I’m trying not to think of this latest move as a failure. We still think of ourselves as a car-light family, and will continue to document our new life. This process has really been about the intention. We want to live more authentically, slow down, live interdependently and with a greater consciousness of the way we damage the planet. Today I did two things to keep that intention, both before I even saw the Little Red Wagon. First, I set up a car-pool with Boychoir, which started with tonight’s rehearsal. Next, I let a family across the street know that we bought a car and it would be available to them if they wanted to ride somewhere, needed to get somewhere, etc. They dropped down to one car when their second car was totaled last spring. It is about intentional living still, and how do we do it with a car? Stick with me?

Dancer Husband and I went out last night to see Electric Arc Radio. We were late, and it wasn’t a car-free issue this time. Crime Fighter Man and his wife, Power Suit Peterson picked us up in their snazzy toyota (which we’ve borrowed a time or two). Nice wheels. I just assumed we were going on the scooter, but apparently the cold is a little intense on the scooter so hubby made other plans. I didn’t know about the cool thing. I figured it was just like winter biking. I must stop sending him down for groceries.

We had a lovely evening-beginning with dinner at the new Noodle shop on Central Avenue. If you haven’t tried it, you MUST. It earns the “I’d walk up the hill” award for best Restaurant on Central. Sen Yei Sen Lak is owned by Joe and Holly. They are ethical, well-balanced, family focused and of course, make excellent food. We were able to get a table and they helped us get out the door at 8:00 pm. We ate, we drank, we were happy as we rolled our buddha bellies into the Ritz Theater.

The show was fun. A little on the long side, but that was because I was in pain most of the evening, sitting in my reserved-for-late-comers folding chair in as near as the Ritz gets to a nosebleed section. Andy Sturdevant was a fabulous narrator, Stephanie Wilbur Ash was a brilliant Rock Star, Dave Salmela held his own as the “sexiest man in Northeast Minneapolis” and his beautiful, talented wife, Jenny Adams was engaging as ever. Herbach was cute as a bug’s ear and Kurt Froehling as Bono was the highlight. I’m not a fan of Bono, cover songs from my college days still scratch in my head. Kurt was brilliant. The rest of the gang was great, too, but I missed the house. And the Beauty Everywhere. And the sex. Where was that Sam? I didn’t attend last season at all. I was pissed when they left Northeast. And I ran into a few babysitter problems. I can’t seem to get anyone to actually be alone with Devil Baby late at night. Besides, who leaves Northeast for greener pastures? Truth be told, there are no greener pastures. Now that they are back at the Ritz, my love and devotion are back as well. I Can’t wait for the Very Brady Christmas.

Again, if you haven’t been, you’ve missed out. It is one of the coolest happenings in Minneapolis. Before I decided to live locally, I did leave Northeast to hit the nightlife. Well, maybe not for the past 12 years, but when I was cool (or thought I was), I saw lots of cutting edge performance art at the old Red Eye, which of course is now the home of “Sex World”.

Things they are a changing. It’s that time of year. The Big One is appalled by my post.

“What happened to the PG-13 rating mom? Sex. Sex World. Pissed?” he says to me with 12-year-old disgust.

“Post yourself, dude.” If he can crawl out from under his homework this week, he might just do that.

That’s our blog. Check here for a list of the top Environmental blogs.


Not sure who they are, or how they found us, but I’ve always dreamed about a Trash Watch/Recycled Bag hug. I’ve arrived.

Is it just my bad luck or do people driving an Almighty Prius think that they own the road? Gab, gab, gab, just doing my part for the environment, blab, blab, blab.

If I’m killed by a Prius driver on a cell phone, please scream for Social Justice. It has happned twice. In the last week. Prius driver pulls out in front of me while on the cell phone. Diane Loeffler, are you out there? Let’s get a law passed about no driving while on the cell phone. For grown ups.

As I walked out of the Rosedale Library after pre-school French class, I had an “I need to buy a car” moment. I was wrangling Devil Baby and “Knows-How-To-Relax” Becky had her nice, mellow 3 year old in tow. I adore Becky. If she and I were popcorn, she would be sweet yummy caramel flavored (that is care-a-mel to you Minnesotans) and I would be sour cream and onion flavored. At lunch, she would be an interesting Portobello Sandwich with balsamic vinegar and mozzarella. I would be the Tex-Mex with too much 4-alarm fire sauce. She has THREE boys, one in college, one in Boychoir and one the same age as Devil Baby.

Back to my story though, one that I’m wanting to stay in denial about. My left leg gave out. Again. Back in the spring when my blood pressure dropped and I got dizzy I would avoid falling by bracing myself on the bus stop sign pole. That was one thing, but this leg-giving-out business is starting to piss me off. Not to mention the burning pain in my spine that seems to never end. I sent Devil Baby to cross with Becky and William and I dragged my leg across the parking lot like you see those little ants carry one of their dead friends. All these beautiful moms with their beautiful french speaking kids and I’m dragging myself across the parking lot in pain. I hoisted myself up into Becky’s Saturn SUV and the strength started to come back. It always does but that pain doesn’t go away.

Sometimes I can’t make it to the bus stop because of the pain and the weakness. And then, the next day I’ll be hanging out in a handstand, or in side plank like nothing ever happened. Do the bad days warrant giving up our car-free days? I’m sad and scared that we might have to. Tonight I’m understanding why people reach for the Vicodin in times like these. Bad, burning pains in my spine.

So, put on your armchair physician hat (or your medical intuitive hat) and let’s play “diagnose the car-free mama”. Let’s get me back on track so I can keep living the way I want to live. (Let’s home my wonderful G. P. doesn’t read the blog today!)

Here is what they’ve ruled out:

MRI of brain, no tumor, no MS lesions (whew!)

Addison’s Disease (no sign of low adrenal function — reminder, give Nita her medicine)

Vit B12 – good

Kidneys – good

Vit D – good

Magnesium – good

Iron – I’m a carrier for Iron Overloading, so everything is good but the iron stores, which suggest I’m on the verge of anemia.

Thyroid and Thyroid anti-bodies – good

White, red blood cells – good

No Lyme’s disease

No damage to the heart, but my stress echo suggested I was a couch potato, if you remember that post.

Insurance denied my full spine MRI, still waiting for the appeal

We haven’t done one of those tilt table tests yet.

What are we missing?????

Eco-Farmer friend Jen just learned that the para-thyroid might be the culprit. I’m seeing a cool holistic doctor on Wednesday. I’ll see what she thinks, but in the meantime, throw me some ideas. But don’t mention that your Grandma has the same symptoms. Really folks, I’m only 44.

The Big One is mad, mad, mad. The blog is mentioned on page 154 in the October issue of the mag and it lists me as the owner of the blog. I tried to get them to change it so The Big One wouldn’t revolt, but still, I ended up with all the credit. Sweet little paragraph though. They called it “clever, witty, insightful.” No use of the word “snarky” though. I’ve got to get that edge back. Off to teach the delightful step, rock, steppers. I’m sure they will inspire me.