Blog

February 2, 2020 – Whistle Pig Day!

Hiking with Trail Dames

This week like so many women with busy lives, we were multitasking so we could enjoy (?) unseasonably warm weather. Should we enjoy warm weather in winter?? We went on a journaling hike with Trail Dames and recorded the podcast in the car on the way back. Christine was busy helping her daughter fight city hall on behalf of trees. Stephanie spent two weeks using tooth tablets instead of toothpaste to see how it measures up. Turns out, it is a greener choice and an incremental step that we will continue to take although it’s maybe not as pleasant as toothpaste. Small sacrifices….

New Decade, New Rules

January 24, 2020

So, we’re back. Maybe third time’s a charm  How many folks out there can identify with wanting to do something – something important to you – and just not being able to do it because of all the things you have to do? Sound familiar?

We love getting together to speak into a microphone and challenge each other. It’s playful and inspiring and yet we were struggling just to get firmly out of the starting gate. So we did what women do – we stepped back, re-evaluated what we were trying to do and tried to create goals and a plan that were challenging but doable. So this time we are going to post two times a month. We would like to stay friends so we are not going to be accountability partners on weight goals, but we will talk about the struggle to achieve health goals and we will support each other in our respective journeys. I hope you come with us.

Week One – Gwinnett Public Transit/MARTA

Gwinnett County, Georgia recently had a referendum vote about synching up with MARTA to expand public transportation options. It was very contentious and it failed. We – Christine and I – are trying to examine our lives and look for real ways to improve our carbon footprint. I have to acknowledge my privilege here and say that while I favored the expansion, I didn’t have much first-hand knowledge of how our transit worked or what my options were. I believe in putting my money where my mouth is, so this week I took public transit to work 3 out of 5 days.

I live a short distance – about a 10 minute drive – from the Gwinnett Transit hub at Sugarloaf Mills. I work a short distance – about a 10 minute walk – from the Chamblee MARTA station. So, I’m a pretty good test case. I drive 15 miles one way to work each day; it takes about an hour. So when driving, I am in my car two hours a day minimum. So my transit commute means taking bus 10A or 10B to Doraville Station – the terminus for Gwinnett Transit – getting on the MARTA rail and riding one stop to Chamblee. 

Here’s what I learned:

CONS

Riding transit adds at least another 1.5 hours to my commute each day. 45 minutes each way. Best case. That means my commute goes from 2 hours each day to 3.5 hours each day. That’s 17.5 hours a week – transit adds another equivalent working day to my commute.

PROS

I don’t have to drive. I read, I met a lovely woman who crochets. I played video games on my phone. I could actually feel a big difference in my stress levels, not having to be behind the wheel for 2 hours each day.

It’s cost-effective. If we didn’t have the car and I did this every day, we’d save $750 a year just in gas without factoring in maintenance and insurance.

It’s good for the environment. I am ashamed to say my paid-for current car averages about 16.5 mpg commuting. I hate the knowledge that I am driving such a gas-guzzling car when I no longer need to schlep large groups of kids to events.

There is an intangible benefit of feeling connected. I saw my commute differently this week. I walked past a great little consignment boutique I didn’t know was a block from my office. It felt great to be outside walking – getting exercise and taking in all the construction activity in Chamblee.

Now that I know this…

Good question. I have a son in college and daughter about to graduate high school. We are going to have to figure out a car for my daughter and maybe we can actually sell my current car and substitute something more appropriate for Atlanta traffic if transit is part of the mix. I would be willing to ride it a couple times a week when I don’t have an event or other obligation that I need to reach in the evening. But it’s hard to get beyond the number of hours each week this requires. I’m saying this as someone who wants to use it. Without better connections and more workable routes, this is a tough sell even for me. Nonetheless, we need to make this happen and I will take one for the team a couple days a week until they figure it out. I hope this will be used as a data point for cooperation between Gwinnett Transit and MARTA.

 
 
  1. There are multiple ways to pay, but if you have a Breeze card you can get a free connection onto MARTA.  Problem: that only works if you go FROM Gwinnett TO MARTA. If you are starting out on MARTA you need a separate single ride ticket for MARTA. You can get it loaded onto your Breeze card but my point is, it’s an additional charge. I bought a 10-ride Gwinnett ticket using Breeze – enough for one week’s worth of rides $22.50 +$2.00 for the Breeze card and $2 shipping – $26.50. And then bought 10 single ride tickets for MARTA $25.  If I rode transit everyday regularly, the weekly expense would be $22.50 +$12.50 = $35. Not bad, it’s less than the apx. $50 a week I spend on gas alone.
  2. KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING. I realized Monday morning, I knew very little about how to catch the right bus. I was in the Sugarloaf Mills parking lot blissfully unaware of the huge separate parking lot across the street where Gwinnett has a major transportation hub. Fortunately I thought that might be the case and got there absurdly early. I was still able to catch the 7:30 am bus after a couple of times standing in the wrong area.
  3. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. If you miss a connection by even a little, it messes up the whole thing. On Day 2 the bus and a flat tire at the second stop. It was resolved quickly and we were back on the road, but I was 15 minutes late to work. My total commute that day was about 5 hours.

CONS

Riding transit adds at least another 1.5 hours to my commute each day. 45 minutes each way. Best case. That means my commute goes from 2 hours each day to 3.5 hours each day. That’s 17.5 hours a week – transit adds another equivalent working day to my commute.

PROS

I don’t have to drive. I read, I met a lovely woman who crochets. I played video games on my phone. I could actually feel a big difference in my stress levels, not having to be behind the wheel for 2 hours each day.

It’s cost-effective. If we didn’t have the car and I did this every day, we’d save $750 a year just in gas without factoring in maintenance and insurance.

It’s good for the environment. I am ashamed to say my paid-for current car averages about 16.5 mpg commuting. I hate the knowledge that I am driving such a gas-guzzling car when I no longer need to schlep large groups of kids to events.

There is an intangible benefit of feeling connected. I saw my commute differently this week. I walked past a great little consignment boutique I didn’t know was a block from my office. It felt great to be outside walking – getting exercise and taking in all the construction activity in Chamblee.

Now that I know this…

Good question. I have a son in college and daughter about to graduate high school. We are going to have to figure out a car for my daughter and maybe we can actually sell my current car and substitute something more appropriate for Atlanta traffic if transit is part of the mix. I would be willing to ride it a couple times a week when I don’t have an event or other obligation that I need to reach in the evening. But it’s hard to get beyond the number of hours each week this requires. I’m saying this as someone who wants to use it. Without better connections and more workable routes, this is a tough sell even for me. Nonetheless, we need to make this happen and I will take one for the team a couple days a week until they figure it out. I hope this will be used as a data point for cooperation between Gwinnett Transit and MARTA.

The Journey Begins…Sort Of

So what we didn’t expect was how much we needed to learn about podcasting! We’ve had several false starts including an ugly round of microphone reverb that we will spare you. But now we think we are ready to get going and we are glad to have you with us. Whoever you are. What’s your journey like right now? We keep finding that the more we try to take on, the more the universe sends our way. We are experiencing life like drinking through a fire hose right now. It’s exciting but it’s also exhausting.  All of that makes sticking to a self-care plan pretty difficult but we are standing tough together and we hope you have someone to band together with too. If not, you have us.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

post