Sharing Words

September 7, 2022

I haven’t written much lately. Not because I didn’t have anything to say. There are just a lot of folks out there who do have something to say and can say it better than I can.

I have a lot of thoughts. Sometimes they keep me awake at night. Sometimes they are good actionable thoughts. Sometimes they are fractions of memories that make me happy or maybe queasy. My brother asked me the other day if I had any regrets regarding my behavior when I was younger–or even into middle age. I said I did. But, the past is not changeable, nor should it be dwelled upon. So, I just try to do better going forward.

Below are a few articles or books I’ve recently read that I think are worthy to share:

Trump should fill Christians with rage. How come he doesn’t? Michael Gerson writes in depth about the embrace of faux Christianity with politics. He doesn’t mince words. “Surveying the transgressive malevolence of the radical right, one is forced to conclude: If this is not moral ruin, then there are no moral rules.” He lays out what is and isn’t acting like a Christian or any other decent, moral human being.

The Overstory by Richard Powers is an amazing book about people in love with trees. “We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men. . . “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.”

From Asymmetry: A Novel
by Lisa Halliday” When, then, does one man’s delusion become the world’s reality? Is it every generation’s destiny to contend with a dictator’s whims? “By shrewd and constant application of propaganda,” we read in Mein Kampf, “heaven can be presented to the people as hell and, vice versa, the wretchedest experience as a paradise.” But only when the people in question fail in their duty toward vigilance. Only when through inaction we are complicit. Only when we are sleepwalking ourselves. Another swig. “Baby? Baby, where are you?” Somewhat appropriate for these times, wouldn’t you say?

You know who is a great thinker? Patti Smith. I love her poetry, her songs and her books Someone asked me who I would like to be in another life and I said just like Patti Smith. Check out her Wikipedia page for information on all her works. Prepare to be amazed.

Photo from Wikipedia.org

Smoking Hot Summer

July 21, 2022

It’s hotter than blue blazes here in Texas. Every stinking day for at least a month it’s been over 100 degrees. Thank God for air-conditioning–I say before I see my smoking hot monthly electric bill.

What have y’all been up to?

I threw myself a 75th birthday party with two homemade cakes courtesy of hubby. Lots of family came in town and my eclectic group of friends came to wish me well. It was a super party. Everyone brought me wine or vodka. Hmm, what did that say?

I think the hubby was a bit overwhelmed with all the activity.

I’m getting out a little more. Living thru the pandemic which seems to have no end in site. Still wearing that mask, but going a few more places. Like the Van Gogh Immersive show. What a wonderful experience.

I’ve been reading a lot. My ability to read a long book is over. I mostly find murder mysteries or sci-fi novels. River of Gods by Candice Millard is a very good book about Sir Richard Francis Burton. He’s one of my favorite historical people. Olga Dies Dreaming: a novel by Xochitl Gonzalez is excellent as well.

So, when do you think ‘the former guy’ will finally get arrested for the umpty-million treason acts he’s committed? Can they please also take his whole family and his cohorts in Congress? It still amazes me how people can believe and adore him. I’ll say one thing, In the four years he was president, he and his administration managed to perpetrate a humongous amount of scandalous and down-right scary deeds.

Here’s a quote I really like: “To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.”

― Oscar Wilde

I’m very appreciative of the life I have right now. I hope you all can find a balance, a peace, a joy in your life.

I leave you with this picture of the grandkids–because I’m sure they are the cutest ever!!!


Year of the Tiger

February 1, 2022

I hope your 2022 is going well so far. But, just in case it isn’t, there is another new year to jump start from the beginning. The Year of the Tiger. What does that mean?

  1. The year 2022 in the Gregorian calendar is designated the Year of the Tiger.
  2. The Luna Year is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, Lunar New Year is also celebrated in Korea, Singapore, Mongolia, Tibet, Vietnam and in Asian communities worldwide. Read more on c/net
  3. It might work out better as a Tiger can symbolize strength and being brave.
  4. Although, if you have made it thus far since February 2021, you have probably been fairly brave.

This post is also a reminder that it’s never to old to learn new stuff. Lately, I’ve learned several things that made my brain hurt at first, but is now really cool.

1.The hubby and I received Echo Dots and smart blubs. LOVE IT! It helps me sleep by playing lovely classical music at a mere request. Dot–our nickname for her, reads the hubby’s audible books. The bulbs have a safety feature so you can ask to turn on a light when entering a room. For older folks who have had a tendency to fall lately, this is a good thing.

2. When you learn something new you are exercising your brain, which can help improve cognitive functions such as concentration, attention to detail, memory recall and problem solving, and also reduce the chance of developing dementia. I hope I can remember that! Check out more.

2. Somehow, I allowed my self to become the treasurer of the Board of Friends of Spare Parts. An art, education, environmental nonprofit I have volunteered for at least 10 years. It is challenging to say the least. But, an article from CNN Health and other articles say: “As we age, we are better able to anticipate problems and reason things out than when we were young. Small’s research shows that our complex reasoning skills continue to improve as we get older.”

I’m going to leave on this musical note:


Happy New Year from an old hippie

January 2, 2022

When is it too late to say “Happy New Year”? My personal opinion is it’s appropriate all through January, then it becomes tiresome. Also, we forgot our black-eyed peas. I hope that does not forecast a calamitous year.

However… things aren’t looking too good in the USA right now. Most days, I open up Facebook, Twitter or news sites and go WTF! 

At my age, it’s hard to face the reality of our possible demise. My generation spent so much time and energy trying to create a place of equal opportunity for all genders, ethnicities, ages et. al. and for education, housing, healthcare, civil rights…

And, the saddest thing to me was when I told a group of 30-40ish women that ‘I was just an old hippie’ and that’s where my values and attitudes were born and raised, they just gave me a blank, puzzled stare. Suddenly, I felt my age a bit more. 

Our poor planet! Katharine Hayhoe’s TED Talk addresses the issue of climate change.  Her message “the most important thing you can do is just talk about it,” makes this talk essential viewing.

If you want to escape reality for a while, my suggestion, if you like science fiction, is to watch all five seasons of “The Expanse” on Amazon Prime. The sixth and last season is airing now. Best stuff out there! I confess to watching it three times–’cause I’m old and my mind wanders.

world peacePeace and love y’all,


Lighting the corners of my mind

September 7, 2021

It seems the older I get the more I reminisce. Similar to the lyrics in The Way We Were by Barbra Streisand, my memories are lighting up the corners of my mind–a lot. Sometimes it’s with candle light and other times with strobes! Sometimes they come with the shadow of guilt, others with a great, big smile. According to some, ‘it is a healthy exercise to share thoughts and feelings of one’s experiences to recall and reflect upon important events within one’s life.’ 

A friend of mine on Facebook wrote a post today about her parents’ memories and how she realized the importance of capturing them before they were gone.

My mom passed away four years ago and every single day I regret not filming her when she was with us. I regret not asking her more questions and capturing her answers along with her voice, her smile, and her radiant love for our family. My dad is 79. He spent the year of the pandemic alone with his two dogs (Stewie and Jessica). He’s an amazing man… I wanted to be sure not to miss his stories about growing up, meeting my mom, becoming a dad and a grandpa.

There are many things I wish I had talked about with my parents including their own history. In my defense, they didn’t always make it easy. I recommend making conversation with one’s parents, the best you can, and learning their history. It’s your history as well.

This is a hard post to write. I loved and respected my dad, but I wasn’t particularly good at showing it. I was too busy being the rebel to appreciate my dad until much later in my life, when I began to see the interesting, kind and artistic man he was. The shame is on me. But I stick to saying no regrets, because I am who I am–kind of like Popeye.

My Dad in me in Germany right after WWII.

Albert Victor Kinslow grew up on a farm in a small, central Texas town. The story he told me one time was his father went to his job as postmaster, and when he came home that evening my dad had been born. He exclaimed ” Oh, what do you know, a little jackass” And, that’s why my dad was always called Jack.

He married our mother, Lula Bell McEntire, when in his mid thirties right before being deployed to fight in World War II where he was awarded the Silver Star. He consequently made the US Army his life’s career. My father was a trusted advisor to generals and had earned the rank of Colonel years before he retired in 1966. A man who never drank a drop of alcohol, he made it available at our home when it was his turn to host dinner for his circle of officers and neighbors.

Col. Jack was a gardener. When we lived in Hawaii he was mentored by our Hawaiian landlord/neighbor on growing orchids, plumerias an other tropical plants He had an eye for art and took craft classes. This is where he learned to make these beautiful glass lamps. He’d take long walks nightly to gather sanded glass on the beach. Much of this type of glass can no longer be found–the reds, greens and blues. He also made furniture, and jewelry out of the local seeds and nuts. Later in retirement, he was the neighborhood widows’ favorite person to call for small fix-it jobs.

I saw my father cry when a lot of men wouldn’t. I’ve heard him speak harshly when he lost his temper. Dad was deemed honest, fair and ethical by all his friends, family and colleagues. He loved our mother with a passion and almost always let her have her way. He loved all three of his children, though I’m pretty sure he never really understood us.

When he took the role of granddad/mentor to my the son he was different, but also still the same. My son to this day appreciates what he learned from his granddad. That is the heart of his life he passed on.

My parents’ 47th anniversary. In the corner a pre wedding photo. They were married at Travis Park Methodist, San Antonio.


Almost cut my hair

July 25, 2021

A small, Sunday history lesson: I lived the halcyon days of young adulthood in the sixties and seventies when letting your hair grow out provoked many a conflict–especially for the guys. This past year, I was reminded and inspired by this Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song and just let my hair grow. 

https://youtu

No longer under my mother’ thumb, I quit maintaining my shorter hair when I left home for college. But, I began wearing it short again in my mid-30’s. After retirement and during the past year and a half COVID pandemic, we have all have gone thru many changes–some good and some not so good. One thing I changed was to let go of regular hair cut appointments. I felt it was a freeing sort of decision. It certainly took a load off my limited income budget as well!

My dad, an Army Colonel, buzz cut my brother’s hair until he was in at least junior high. Four years younger than me, my brother was lured by the music and begun to follow his sister into the Hippie movement. By college, he was growing his hair out and never quit. Still, after a certain length, he cuts it for Locks of Love. An aside story… The night after our mother died I dreamed she said to me, “Tell Jack he doesn’t have to cut his hair for my funeral.”

A couple of pictures of us. One about middle age, and a more recent version. You can see his braid which ends past the middle of his back.


Dreaming of the Rolling Stones

May 16, 2021

Have a little dream on me!

Last night, I dreamed of my geriatric self. I was one of several older folks, lying in a row of hospital beds on one of those long screened-in porches you sometimes see at rest homes. We were all watching TV, waiting for Mick Jagger to come on and perform. Well, it could happen! After all, Keith Richards is still alive and kicking, and still smoking cigarettes.

I was fortunate to be living in Austin during the heydays of the Vulcan Gas Company and Armadillo Word Headquarters. I personally knew some really great musicians during that time. But, I never saw the Rolling Stones live. I finally saw Joan Baez in person last year right before Covid-19 shut us all down. Some people got up and left when she got political on stage. I’m not sure what they were thinking if they didn’t expect that. She did sing my favorite song!

I watched this horribly cheesy movie last night about an alternate universe. When one of the heroes was asked ‘did he sign on to go thru the portal and fight?’ He said “Sure, I live my life half-assed and random.” My motto is ‘everything we’ve gone thru brings us to this point’. I also say I have no regrets, though I do own up to my mistakes.

What worries me now is what is going on with all the irrationally skewed, nonsensical information which seems to have originated thru the ‘looking glass.’ Like Alice we are trying to make sense of how about 40% of our population can be that stupid to believe all the unreliable news and down-right lying. This misinformation curdles the brain and makes it a mushy rancid organ. How can we get past it? Suggestions are welcome.

This post is all over the place, kind of like my rambling mind today. But that’s OK, at least I’m still here to write about it.


The Other Grandmother

March 7, 2021

Creating a human being takes two sets of genes–male and female (unless you’re a clone) and each child created is unique. Those genes go back many generations–all the way to Adam and Eve if you like. I’m not a stickler for traditional family structures. A family when I grew up typically had two grandmothers. But there can be step-grandmothers or other women of varying influences in your life. I used to think it was having been born a Gemini that I ended up with traits including adaptability, gregariousness, intelligence, impulsiveness and being interested in almost everything. But after writing a post on my Granny from my mother’s side, I realized that my Dad’s mother influenced me in very different, but significant ways as well. So nature vs nurture vs horoscope?

We called my father’s mother ‘Grandmother’. She became an invalid after the birth of her last child. We kids were never given any information how that happened medically speaking. They lived in big house in Oglesby, Texas and were farmers in addition to my grandfather being a Justice of the Peace. By the time I came along, they had leased out the land, but still had a barn and chickens. She had a four poster bed set in the fairly large living room with big windows where everyone gathered for visits. Bertie was from a family of very tall Texans. With satin slippers on her feet she took up the length of the bed. My grandfather sat at the end of the couch and played solitaire on a well-worn ivory board thru all the hubbub of family visits. He was not a talkative fellow. Below is a photo of my grandparents and all five children and the Reid family of tall Texans.

Every visit with her was precious. She would ask the grandchildren, one by one, to lie next to her on the bed and talk about us, our interests, our lives since we last visited. I value to this day that she gave me the feeling of unconditional love. We played Chinese checkers and sometimes watched TV on small black and white set at the foot of the bed. She taught me how to crochet and I can still manage a small afghan on occasion. She also made quilts of which I still have two. I figure they are at least 100 years old.

Grandmother was a Christian like Jesus intended. She had many pen-pals from all over the world with whom she corresponded in letters or postcards sharing news and giving blessing. She wrote poems. I’ve felt many times I learned the value of correspondence from her–of course with a decidedly modern look.

She lived to be in her nineties, though I did not see her the last few years. Several years ago I made an impulsive decision to buy a plot for myself and my husband in the same cemetery in which most of the Kinslow family is buried. I guess I’ll never know if we ever really get there.


What’s in a name?

January 30, 2021

I have two names–Mary and Laura. I was named Laura after my grandmother Laura Bell. My family called me ‘Laura’ from the beginning. But, my official first name is Mary. So every time I went to a new school, doctor’s office, anywhere they didn’t know me, I was called ‘Mary’. I used to hate it, and always corrected the perceived error. Now I just figure I have two first names and go with the flow. Laura Bell McEntire with me at about four years old.

Yesterday, I virtually attended a speaker series hosted by SA2020. Folks from right here in my San Antonio community spoke on a range of topics–pulling from their own passions and projects. Deborah Omowale Jarmon, Director and CEO of the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum, was an enthusiastic advocate for making sure we all tell our own stories. Her encouragement comes from the place of knowing how much the African American population’s stories has been ignored, lost or destroyed. Her task is to reclaim as much as possible of that history as it pertains to the San Antonio community. People with attitudes like this are who make me love my City.

Who are your parents, your grandparents? How did you come to be where you are? How did you become who you are? Who are the people or events in your life that influenced you? I thought, well I have a blog and I do tell my story, just maybe not enough. I always say to my family and friends, “If you want to know me, read my blog.” I’m fairly certain not so many actually do that. Oh well. It helps me record my past–something that seems important to me at my age.

Granny with my Aunt Marlene–still living in McGregor.

My grandmother Laura Bell Walton was from a small town in Texas near Gatesville called The Grove. She graduated from High School in McGregor, Texas in 1917. She lived there with her husband Ralph McEntire until he passed I think in 1961. She then moved to Abilene a few years later with her grown daughter, my Aunt Marlene, and family. Granny had book cases in the living room full of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twin books. Also, the somewhat bawdy Decameron by Boccaccio and Shakespeare’s play and many others. Throughout the years I read most of them. Granny and Papa also smoked, drank whisky and played cards with their friends. I used to like to listen to them talk and laugh. There was an outdoor shed always stocked with cases of 7Up, Coca Cola, Dr. Pepper and Ginger Ale bottles.

There’s a lot more but that can wait. This is a small blog after all. What’s your story?


A fade-to-gist

August 11, 2020

Maybe it’s retirement combined with #COVID-19 self semi-quarantine, but I find myself using some of my time to wander thru memories for whatever remains of my wild and crazy youth.

“Human memory is notoriously unreliable, especially when it comes to details. Scientists have found that prompting an eyewitness to remember more can generate details that are outright false but that feel just as correct to the witness as actual memories. In day-to-day life, this isn’t a bug; it’s a feature”

I like this psychedelic brain image.

“A key rule about memory change over time is what we call fade-to-gist,” so says Dr. Charles Brainerd, (real name) a professor of human development at Cornell University.

What set me down memory lane recently was Dirt Road to Psychedelia a documentary about the mid to late sixties music scene in Austin, TX including the Vulcan Gas Company

The Vulcan was the hippest, coolest place in Austin (maybe the world). The following are some things I dredged up in memories as a direct result of viewing the film. And, yes, I going to be name-dropping because…

I started going to the Vulcan when it opened in early ’68. Some of my college friends were musicians and we went often together, but not always.

I was introduced to marijuana by a musician friend who went on to play bass with the 13th Floor Elevators. So that got me thinking. During my junior year in college 67-68 I spent much time in the company of the previous drummer for the Elevators. John Ike had quit the band and his mother thought he ought to go to college. He was a fun person to be with.

In the summer of ’68 I spent a lot of time in the company of the band New Atlantis in their Austin rental house. New Atlantis played at the Vulcan often and there I was introduced to Johnny Winter. I was crazy about his blues guitar licks. We became friends. I went to all of his Austin shows and we’d hangout for hours afterward. He called me his ‘college girl’ as I was still attending at that time. He got famous from those Vulcan gigs, and the last time I visited with him was in the mid-70’s when he stopped by the Armadillo Beer Garden.

The Armadillo World Headquarters, an Austin Texas music venue, in September 1976 photo by SteveHopson

By the time the Vulcan closed, I had graduated and was living in Music Mecca aka Austin. The Armadillo opened in 1970 and I was a frequent visitor thru early 1980 when I moved to NM. It felt like I was there every time the doors opened, but that’s not true. I saw so many wonderful shows–Jerry Lee Lewis on New Year’s Eve. Taj Mahal, Bette Midler, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Zappa, Van Morrison, Ravi Shankar… I rented the downstairs room of my house to drummer Jerry Barnett who worked some at the ‘Dillo and played with Shiva’s Headband.  Jerry was kind enough to get me in the door for free many, many times.

A boyfriend once broke up with me while the Dylan song “Ramona’ played on the PA in between stage sets of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee. He said, “Oh by the way, I’ve asked Ramona to move in with me, so this is our last date.” It was a rather apropos lead in, don’t you think?

Me and my brand new baby boy 1974

If you want to read more, try Race Relations, which I wrote about 10 years ago and recently updated.

As it all fades, the gist of it is–I had a really good time with little or no regrets. Because what would be the point of regrets?

Feel free to leave comment of your memories.