Total Eclipse of Normal

February 19, 2022

Yes, I writing about the pandemic again. Also, politics.

I posted this picture on Facebook yesterday. It’s the hubby two years ago when the pandemic first began in earnest. Since then, folks keep asking, “when will be get back to normal?” The answer is never, forget about it!

First of all, two years ago, the former guy was creating governmental chaos every damn day. Faux news, conspiracies and boldface lies…which the media happily wrote about for clicks’ sake. Do you want to return to that or embrace it as something that was normal? Hell no! At least now, good change is happening more often. There are still plenty of roadblocks, but there is hope.

As Jessica Wildfire said in a recent post, “The harder we try to get back to normal, the harder we make it on ourselves.”

And, anyway, maybe normal isn’t as good as it was cracked up to be. My experiences have taught me that working outside ‘normal’ leads to more fun, new ideas and learning, and is generally good for you.

One of my favorite movies is “Young Frankenstein” When Dr. Frankenstein, pronounced (Frankensteen) sends Igor (pronounced Eegor) to steal a brain it goes like this.


2021–the year of the roller-coaster

December 29, 2021

2021 should have been better. Instead, it propelled our lives thru loop de loops, ups and downs.

January began in fine San Antonio tradition, with a plethora of fireworks in every neighborhood. Though illegal within city limits, that never stops anyone from lighting up the sky with bottle rockets and gunfire.

https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2021/01/01/watch-san-antonio-celebrates-the-end-of-2020-with-hundreds-of-illegal-fireworks/

In the same skyward excitement in December 2021, the James Wolf Space Telescope went into space and beyond. Not science fiction, but real-life science. One of my twitter friends @starstrickenSF tweeted “Lift off. Let’s go! 13 billion years back in time to the edge of the universe.”

This so much better than the “let’s go Brandon” brouhaha which is some kind of lame attempt to say ‘F**K Joe Biden. This comes from the same type of idiots who refuse to get vaccinated (non-scientific); participated as traitors and insurrectionists in an assault on the Capitol on January 2021. Oh, yes and let’s not forget the book culling and rioting at school board meetings throughout the year.

Speaking of the outer space… keeping us entertained is the best sci-fi show, maybe ever. In anticipation of the last and best season. the hubby and I watched all episodes and are now waiting eagerly for the last three episodes of season six.

All I have to say to the Evangelicals at this point is “Jesus ain’t say that”. In case you have any doubts here is a Christmas card from Republican Congressman Thomas Massie and his family.

The CDC offered a whiplashing amount of guidelines for every new variant i.e. Delta and Omicron The world became hopeful with every positive statistic on new vaccines and downward infection trends, we went crashing down with mega-growth of spreads. Congress had its ups and downs as well. P.S. Democrats are the ups and Republicans are the downs.

‘A few weeks into the pandemic, some people even began to use the word “apocalyptic” to describe what was taking place. Often, this word is used to scare people into some kind of fearful, exclusive, or reactionary behavior, all in expectation of the “end times.” But the word “apocalyptic,” from the Greek apokálupsis, really just means “unveiling.” ‘ said Father Richard Rohr

Such glorious words which meant for us an unveiling of sorts. A reuniting with a daughter and her family in April was probably the year’s highlight! A misunderstanding had kept us apart for way too long. I did write about it. Between outbreaks, we actually got a group vacation!

Great Wolf Lodge in Minnesota. We were all vaccinated and boosted in case you’re wondering.

To add to that Susie Dent, a lexicographer and etymologist shared this. ‘ “Respair” has just one record next to it in the Oxford English Dictionary, from 1525, but its definition is sublime. Respair is fresh hope; a recovery from despair. May 2022 finally be its moment. to add to that. Her latest book is Word Perfect: Etymological Entertainment for Every Day of the Year.”

“Do your little bit of good where you are; Its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu, recently deceased.


Counting on joy

December 12, 2021

Sometimes in social media there are posts on finding joy in your life. Often we are asked to list every day what constitutes a joyful experience for us. I never lasted more than a day or two of keeping track. Today, I did think about it because… it’s Sunday.

Recommended watching: This past Thursday, the last season of The Expanse (on Prime) premiered. It’s based on James S A Corey’s novels The Expanse. In all my considerable years, this is the most amazing and thoughtful sci-fi show ever.

Humanity is out in space. Unfortunately, we still haven’t learned to get along. There are the inners (Earthers), Mars (who want to be free from Earth), and the Belters (Beltalowdas) those who live on the outer moons and asteroids. Before the premier, fans from all over the globe did get along thru a ZOOM meeting to discuss aspects of the show. It brought me much joy to see and hear the ‘expanse’ of the show’s fandom.

Rocinante is the name of the spaceship the heroes fly in all their missions

Recommended reading: Amor Towles’ Lincoln Highway. A tale of travel, discovery, heartfelt characters and a quite emotional ending. At first, I didn’t think he could outdo his A Gentleman in Moscow. And, while this book is different, it is that same irresistible unfolding of a good story.

Recommended human contact: Man, these past almost two years have been rough as far as in person contact. As more folks are vaccinated, lately I had the total joy of visiting with several friends in person. A few of these folks are long-time friends and catching up was glorious. Thru the Messenger App we saw our grandchildren look for candy canes and an elf in their Christmas tree. Also, a group of volunteers I work with met for a small party and White Elephant gift giving. I got this!

Recommended outdoor exercise: I try to walk everyday along the city trails near my home. I see the season changing finally to Fall. And, there are deer! All sizes from little guys to big bucks. They are so domesticated they will amble right in front of you–expecting you to wait till mom and her kids cross the trail. Yesterday, the squirrels were fussing at me as they seemed to be chasing each other perhaps in some squirrelly mating ritual.

Recommended: Find your joy and share it!


Questions you won’t see on Jeopardy

November 12, 2021

This morning, as I do every morning, I was cruising the internet and these questions popped into my mind.

How did people function in the morning before there was coffee?

At what age did time start moving so quickly? It’s almost Thanksgiving 2021 for crying out loud and we still have a global pandemic.

Who can choose their favorite movie? It’s not a fair question–we all have dozens. Same with books or music albums.

What did we do before streaming? With no commercials, The ability to rerun or fast forward, thousands of choices for our viewing pleasure, pausing for food or bathroom trips and no great big cable bills. I am so spoiled!

Why put a price on carbon? Because it’s the single most powerful tool available to reduce America’s carbon pollution. I answered that one for you.

What the hell happened to Eric Clapton? Besides becoming an antivaxxer dude? Brain damage? Remember, he was a heroin addict and alcoholic for many years.

thanks to Larry Busacca Getty Images

Who knew we would have so much fun at the Great Wolf Lodge in Minneapolis, MN? Well, the grandkids did.

Grandpa in the Water Park


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.


Easter Basket Brain Candy

April 4, 2021

Patti Smith begins singing her amazing “Gloria” with “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” Quite a thought on Easter morning, I guess.

I do believe Jesus lived and died for forgiveness. This week is a testament to forgiveness as we celebrate a reunion of my husband and his daughter who had been ‘estranged’ for somebody’s sins, but not mine. Her husband and our beautiful granddaughter are met with a feeling of increasing love as our family grows. Between the hubs and I, we now have seven grandchildren–I did not see that coming.

The last time we saw Linda was about 20 years ago, though we have been very close with her sister. The total soap opera storyline of how this all came about was based on perceptions. Forgive me for not giving details.

A forgiveness for all of us for not doing better. A forgiveness for hurting each other.

Easter brings forgiveness and hope going forward. That’s the message.


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.


Slow dancing to COVID-19

August 6, 2020

Are we there yet?

This was a constant refrain on road trips when we were kids. Now in the 21st week of most folks’ isolation life we are asking “are we done, yet?” NO we are not done—not even close.

There are still lots of folks who deny there’s a very contagious disease out there. In a week or two, when some schools start up with in-school classes, we’ll see another wave of infections–this time in children, teens and adults. I can’t imagine the complexity of the question whether to attend school or not. That it is possibly a life threatening decision, makes it even more difficult.

I like this chart of suggestions, though some of these may be easier said than done. Alas, we are slow dancing this pandemic so we have time to work our way through.  Because it didn’t just disappear, it’s not going away, and, no, we are not there yet.


Aging: forgetting to remember

December 10, 2019

I’ve noticed the older I get, the more I have forgotten. I also think I misremember a good deal. Merriam Webster defines misremembering as “to remember incorrectly.” I think you’ll agree this seems a ubiquitous trait for any of us who have the opportunity to live into ‘old age.’

Last week, my brother, sister and I went on a road trip to attend the funeral service of our last aunt, our mother’s only sibling. It closed the door on that entire generation of our family from both sides. People we loved and grew up with. None of us cousins from either side are particularly close. And, some of us have already reached, or are nearing, whatever our expiration dates are.

The many conversations we had unearthed precious memories of our childhood into adulthood when our grandparents and parents were still with us. We commiserated the loss of them and held dear the love and the amazing upbringing they gave us. Each of us had different perspectives, but common memory roots.

As I age, I am apprehensive of loosing all the parts of me. It’s important to be able to share with friends and/or families those significant memories which shaped us and now hold us together.

Now, if I can just remember why I came in the kitchen.