Turning It Down

In America, we’re not used to living smaller. And it’s no wonder given that we live in the land of “super-size it”, SUVs and “bigger is better”. It’s the way I and my fellow Baby Boomers were raised and to us, it’s as natural as breathing.

hummer-h2Recently though, there are a lot of us Boomers (and Post-Boomers) who are thinking that maybe we’ve taken this “more is better” thing a bit too far. We’re realizing that there is a price to pay for all this growth – a price to the environment and our community and a price to our sanity.

My wife and I realized this about 7 years ago when work (or a sudden lack thereof) circumstances and financial circumstances forced us to consider how much we had and how to get by with less. Before our downsizing, we were happily rattling around on two acres of land (most of which needed to be mowed each week)
and living in a 3800 square foot house with two late model cars and lots (and lots) of stuff that we had accumulated over our 12 years of marriage.

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Rapid Transit <-> Slow Living?

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3:1 — and ‘Turn Turn Turn’ by the Byrds’

One thing about rapid transit — it make you slow down.

Among the things I am learning about living without a car is that it takes a lot more planning and a lot more time to get from place to place. A no car life that uses public transportation to get from place to means that you… Read the rest of this entry »


One thing about commuting on a bike. There’s a lot of other people doing the same thing. I have been a regular bicycle commuter for about a month now and I am starting to recognize other people who are out at the same time I am. I have no idea who these people are, I only know them by some unique characteristic that they have.

Dobie Lady – young, she always wears a hat and big sunglasses. She is training a doberman to walk with her without a leash. She has a fannie pack that is filled with dog treats. She stops, the dog stops and sits and she give him a treat. Never any expression as we pass. All business. Gotta get the dog trained. Dog’s gonna get fat from all the treats. Read the rest of this entry »

The Smaller Footprint Project

This whole crazy idea came from our ongoing adventure in reducing our environmental footprint. This time, we were going to concentrate on the cars. See, like most American families, we own two cars. The question I had is did we really need two cars or could we get by with one? It seemed like a good idea — at least to try.

And truthfully, I couldn’t find a reason not to embark on this project. I could, however, find a lot of reasons to give it a try. For example:

  • Spring and summer and fall weather in Wisconsin is ideal.
  • The city I live in (Madison) is really and truly a bicycle friendly city. Lots of bike paths and lots of other people commuting to and from their jobs on bikes.
  • One of my jobs is 5 or so miles away and is reachable by bike path. No busy streets to content with. The days that I work in my other job, I work with my wife so we commute together.
  • I had a bike (actually I have two) that was perfect for commuting. Lightweight, not too fancy, pretty basic and comfortable
  • I didn’t have to carry a computer or other heavy items. Most days, everything I needed I could fit in a fanny pack or in a backpack.
  • Gas prices were going through the roof and I am too cheap to waste money.

So, why not. Besides, I figured that I could always fall back on my car if I needed to — say if the weather turned nasty or if I needed to carry something big to work.