Stress and Driving

I am frequently stressed while driving. One would think that knowing the Nashville streets so well, having grown up here, my anxiousness would be at a minimum. Instead I find that my stomach is perpetually tight whether I am cruising down the highway or stopped at a red light. 

It took flying to San Jose, CA to realize why I get so stressed driving. No, I didn't go there to meet with a psychologist who specializes in driving stress, although I would imagine that if someone like that existed, they would have a ton of clients. Here's what happened. We arrived on Monday night, rented a car and drove down to Los Gatos, where we stayed for the week. Driving that bright red Chevy Aveo (tiny little thing that takes about 2.2 minutes to get up to 60), I realized almost immediately (I wasn't even up to 60 yet) that I wasn't anxious - Even though I was driving an unknown car in an unknown city at a very late hour. Mercy me, all the cars around me were what I would call "model drivers." People weren't speeding around one another at 20 miles over the limit, no one tailgated, folks were letting each other in. Shoot - no one was cutting anybody else off! What amazing land of driving was this?!

We did a lot of driving while we were there - San Jose, San Fransisco, Santa Cruz, attending a dear friend's wedding events and sight seeing. I don't remember one time that I was anxious while driving. I'm not really sure why Northern California drivers are so considerate - perhaps because it is illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving, because road signage is well placed, or because they seem less stressed about life in general. Maybe these people just know how to drive.  

It certainly made me dread coming back to the Nashville drivers. I don't know why Nashville drivers are so hyped up. I mean, really, do people think that I will speed up if they ride my bumper? Just so all of you tailgaters know, I am not that easily intimidated. I like going the speed limit. And what is up with the power hungry attitude? Forget about trying to merge into traffic around here....getting in front of someone is a capital offense!! Even us good drivers have to become aggressive sometimes just to be able to get where we need to go. Take it easy, people. Do yourself and your neighbor a favor by leaving space between you and the car in front of you and letting others in. I promise life will be less stressful if you do, I should know.

I loved Northern California for many reasons. It's incredibly beautiful, nice weather, some of my favorite people live there, and last but not least - driving is like going to the spa. Bravo to the drivers of Northern California. You gave me a bit of relaxation last week that I wasn't expecting.

Cicada Brood XIX

Every 13 years, millions of cicadas dig their way out of their underground nests and swarm the air of middle Tennessee - frightening children, exciting dogs, and startling anyone who walks outside. Every year, we hear cicadas up in the trees humming their buggy tune. But it’s usually easy to miss it - blending in with the other outdoor background noise. This year however, the chance of busting an ear drum when you go outside is a real risk...I can already hear them as I sit writing this. Yes you guessed it, this is the 13-year cicada swarm and everyone is anticipating their arrival ‘en masse’.

Many people have no idea what to expect because they aren’t from here and have never experienced it before. Let me just say that when I was 5 years old, I remember being on the playground during the cicada swarm. The air was so thick with them that even a pre-schooler could catch them just by stretching out her hand. The next time they arrived, thirteen years later, I was about to graduate from high school. I remember the massive amount of cicada shells covering every outdoor surface (apparently they come of the ground looking like beetles, then they shed their outer shell emerging as winged beasts).

If you live in this area, your garden plants aren’t in danger of being eaten by the cicadas. However, if you have young trees, it’s a good idea to cover them with cheesecloth or tobacco cloth during the 5 weeks that they are out. Female cicadas lay their eggs in small young branches by splitting the wood. Apparently apple, pear, dogwood, oak and hickory trees are particularly at risk.

I am not afraid of cicadas because I know they can’t hurt me, but these critters are seriously large and alien looking and I can certainly let out a startled cry when they fly into my head. Scientists have named this year’s swarm, or brood as they like to say, Cicada Brood XIX. Though they are just roman numerals, those X’s seem ominous, don’t they? A brood to beware? But I’m not worried...more like excited to have such an interesting subject to discuss among friends, and to see how much fun Rusty will have trying to catch them in mid air. And I know my chickens will be happy with their fancy cicada treats.

Oh and if you would like to try a high protein cicada recipe yourself (yes people can eat them), here is a recipe for cicada tacos. I doubt that I am brave enough, but I know many a braver person than I. If you do try it, please let me know about it.