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Avant Garde

Ah yes. You ask me if “From your musical tastes to your political views, were you ever way ahead of the rest of us, adopting the new and the emerging before everyone else?:.

Yes, yes indeed. When I was 9 years old I was pushed into what they then called the “Mentally Gifted Minors” program at school. I was painfully shy so being pushed to the forefront of anything was a little uncomfortable but I was always wanting to please my parents so I did my best to excel. At 10, all of the MGM students were enrolled in Speed Reading and my already voracious appetite for reading  expanded further. By the age of 11, I beat the rest of my peers in a in class competition that lasted several months. The competition? We were each given fake “money” to spend on the purchase of stocks. We each did our own research by tracking the stocks in the newspaper and at the end of the term the student that had made the most money won. Yup, that was me. The stocks? Xerox. This was in 1971.

Somewhere around 1972 or so, I met Jacques Cousteau and spoke to him personally about his creation, the aqualung. Sea exploration was changed forever and I still have the little cloth patch he gave me.

Within the next few years I met my first computer. It took up a huge amount of our small math classroom and my brain exploded with the possibilities. I was fascinated by the whole thing. It took punch cards and we learned about the room sized machines that were the cutting edge technology of the time. The company….I.B.M.

By the age of 13 I had already seen Dorothy Chandler in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Charlton Heston in The Crucible before most kids even understood what a true theatrical production was. I was entranced. I fell in love with the bigger than life feel of the theater and the magic behind those curtains. I learned the broad scope of the words “The Arts” and my soul became torn between The Arts and The Sciences.

When the first home computers came out, I was already waiting for my opportunity to program my own personal computer. I had an Atari 800 the instant I could convince my husband that this was the way of the future.

Yeah, being a woman and being computer savvy in the late 70’s early 80’s was way before the time of most men. I was in on the early “bulletinboards” and was devouring computer magazines and programming my own computer.

I was a nerd before the word was even invented. Alas, I fell into the trap that so many women before and since have done. I let go of my huge advantage over the masses and became a wife and mother and set my dreams aside. But I have always kept an eye on the techie side of things and I have no regrets over having my children…….the husbands yes….the children no.

C’est la vie

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Unexpected Visitor

It seemed a little strange to me that my window herbs were waving at me. Really, the drugs I have to take don’t cause hallucinations as a rule. Granted my vision isn’t always the greatest (I tend to walk around looking through my own fingerprints on my glasses).

Still my plants never respond when I talk to them (don’t judge) and had never previously waved at me. Honestly it was rather a bizarre moment. Once I had cleaned my glasses I located the source of the movement. She was quite a pretty shade of green, just like my sweet basil that had apparently appealed to her. I can only assume it was the pleasing smell of the basil since the praying mantis eats other insects and not plants. Heaven forbid that my plants had the kind of bugs that would appeal to her, but then she had probably just bitten of the head of her mate and was freshening her breath.

Okay, so I am going through a divorce and the whole biting the head off the mate thing kinda appealed to me. I learned a lot of things about the praying mantis as a child and I have seen plenty of the beige little twig like critters running around outside in the pine needles under my big tree out front, but hadn’t seen one of this size and in this color for years. I had captured one as a child and had fed it lots of little bugs and flies. I wasn’t a girly, girl nor a tom boy, just somewhere in between with an insatiable curiosity about a lot of sciencey things (yeah I know that isn’t a real word but hey, this is my story). There were 2 different bugs that captured my interest as a kid and this was one of them. The praying mantis has a chameleon like ability to change it’s color to match it’s surroundings. The other insect that captured my interest also had that ability as well. It was a crab spider and my mom was so not pleased when that particular umm pet, had babies. How was I to know that those particular types of spiders don’t lay eggs in egg sacs like the majority of spiders do?  Did I also mention that many female spiders also do away with their mates? It isn’t just the black widow that does that. Oh to be a praying mantis or a spider…sigh.

So she and I observed each other for a bit, the praying mantis atop my sweet basil and I leaning against my kitchen sink. How she got into my kitchen and onto my plant I will never know. I had a nice little trip to memory lane remembering being young and curious about everything. Jars with metal lids that had holes poked in, insects of all kinds, butterflies, lizards, whatever could be caught in a large Southern California backyard, we kids caught, examined, fed, watered and learned about. Outside, in the fresh air, with no computers, cell phones and distractions from our jobs of just being kids.

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Confessions of an Over Thinker

I am an Over Thinker.

I wonder if there is an Over Thinkers Anonymous? You know what I mean. You have the best intentions when you get out of bed and decide what you are going to do with your day so you start with the basics. Should I wear the blue jeans or the print flowy skirt that makes my ankles look slim? If I wear the jeans will the extra serving of ice cream at the pharmacy show up as a poofed out belly? Maybe I should wear the skirt….. but didn’t I wear that the other day, I wonder if it is clean. Better wear the capri pants, the cut hides the belly but still makes the ankles look slim (don’t ask me why, maybe it is because that is the only part of me that IS slim).

The same thing happened this week with blogging. I was overthinking everything. What do you mean change the name? I don’t want to change the name…..is the name bad?…..are the first names always bad?……should I leave out the part about the map? All these random thoughts popping in and out of my head as I also was struggling with other “issues” and rethinking my introduction.

Over thinking things is a life long struggle for me. A wiz at school as a child I still agonized over everything, absolutely EVERYTHING. I worried about what the other kids at school thought of me to the point that I barely spoke with the fear of being thought stupid. Yeah, my IQ was determined at a very young age to be exceptional (160) and I was placed in what they called at the time Mentally Gifted Minors or MGM. Nobody really explained this to me but I suddenly found myself in an office with a group of adults reciting numbers to me and asking me to repeat them forwards and backwards, I believe I was 9. Aside from that little snippet of memory not a lot is clear. But I do remember being painfully shy and everything I did I would think about over and over again. My schoolwork was meticulous and I always got A’s. As a teenager and young adult I was so afraid of doing something wrong I would choose to not do things due to my fear of making mistakes and drawing attention to myself. Getting good grades was a given but the agonizing that went into the work is something that I have never shared.

Several of the jobs I have had made me agonize over details that nobody cared about but me. To my supervisors it must have seemed like I was slow, I was so afraid of making mistakes that I overthought things and started over to get things perfectly done. Perfection takes time. Not all jobs want perfection, they just want the job done.

Life is not about perfection and none of us is perfect. Overthinking about something makes us lose sight of the actual goal sometimes. My goal is to learn to put the racing thoughts and observations about life that I have accumulated in my 50 plus years, into words for others to laugh at, cry over and to share in.

I once had a therapist (yeah I have had more than a few of those) that told me to take the word SHOULD out of my vocabulary. I should, he should, they should, all of that gone. Shoulds are not real and don’t count in real life. There is only do and do not………..wait, didn’t a little green guy say that?  Oh well, so there is only the reality of what you actually do. Thinking is not doing. Thinking about the things I want to say and share is not actually saying or sharing and thinking doesn’t count as blogging until my ass is in my chair and I am typing.

This is me, Grynnie, typing. May the force also be with you.