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Just Added

The Car Crisis

I’ve got a big road trip coming up next month – driving from San Diego to the Bay Area. So right before I fell asleep last night I had cars on my mind. I went back in time to a white Trans Am I had in the 80’s. After owning two used Camaro’s, I was pretty psyched to drive my first new car. How I got this car is a story in itself, but the short version is I bought a little Sunbird type of car and it was a lemon. When we went back to the dealer, my dad asked me to leave the room, and when he came out, I was upgraded to a Trans Am. I ended up selling that car when I decided to move cross country to San Diego.

Val's Trans Am

And that was pretty much the end of my love affair with cars. Nowadays, I’ll just drive whatever is leftover in the driveway. My friends laugh when they see me driving around in my husband’s big ole Nissan Titan truck. It is a bit of an adventure – especially in narrow parking lots when a three point turn becomes a twenty point turn. My car just needs to be comfortable and reliable. Kind of like a pair of sweats. What happened to me?

I guess “it” happens to the best of us. One of my favorite shows on NPR is Click and Clack. After 35 years of telling folks how to fix their cahs, they are retiring. No more Cah Talk (Car Talk). I didn’t really care about the fixing the cah stuff, it was their Boston accent that cracked me up. And I have to wonder, did I ever sound like them?

My earliest memory of anyone noticing my accent was at my first “real” job in San Diego. One of the guys came up to me and asked me if I was from England. I wanted to say “You don’t travel much, do you?” But it being a new job and all, I replied appropriately.

So I will wrap up this rambling blog by psyching myself up for the upcoming road trip. I will make Mark Twain’s quote below my mantra. Hopefully by taking the “high” road, I won’t be a big bummer to my travel companions.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Just Added

Empty Nest

I will soon have an empty nest.  I will be an empty nester.  I may even experience empty nest syndrome.  This seems to be exacerbated if you have other symptoms.  Of course, I have them:  menopause and retirement.  I guess I should schedule my therapy appointments right now for the massive depression heading my way.

Empty Nest?

This all hit home in June. We attended a parent/student orientation at CAL Berkeley.  We spent a day and a half on campus preparing for the separation from our daughter. Along with useful information about academic pressure and campus safety, they put us in small groups to discuss our feelings.  You know what that meant — watching moms and dads get very emotional about their little chicks leaving the nest.  School wasn’t going to start for three months and these folks broke down in front of complete strangers.  I kept thinking this would all be better with a glass of wine.

I flashed back to my college orientation.  My parents dropped me off at college the weekend before school started and drove home. Ok, they actually helped me bring my stuff into my dorm room.  Then my dad made fun of my roommate, to her face, and then they drove home.

A University of Missouri study I read was encouraging. It found that “mothers talked mainly about their pride and joy in watching their kids make this transition and the relief they felt in seeing the fruits of their labor realized.”

And then, I heard about “The Boomerang Generation.” Don’t confuse this with cool Australian kids playing with a flattened throwing stick. Just when your well spent mental health dollars have gotten you over the grief, anxiety and depression of your empty nest – whoosh, they fly back.  About one third of them.  It is not that they want to come back so much, they just can’t support themselves.

I can’t predict the future, but I bet there are going to be new labels on parents and the next generation of kids.