Posted by: Laura Carter | November 1, 2014

Ebola is the new black

Originally posted on Deconstructing Myths:

I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie extoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” Like the nameless speaker in Ralph Ellison’s contemporary masterpiece “Invisible Man”, there are those of us who know this feeling of inconspicuousness. The corporate media outlets have unwittingly reminded us all that there exists an entire continent of people who, for all intents and purposes, have disappeared off the face of the Earth. Despite frantic reports of airports blocking flights from West Africa or highly publicized outings of infected health care workers, the outbreak barely registers on the scale of public health concerns in…

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Posted by: Laura Carter | October 20, 2014

TEDxSanAntonio # 5

Ideas-In-Action-TEDxSanAntonio-280wThis year’s TEDxSanAntonio event had a decidedly different tone from the four previous events. I think that’s as it should be. Constantly evolving with fresh speakers and topics, each event–a mind opening, idea sharing experience–then becomes a unique memory for its audience.

Hosted again by Rackspace, the auditorium filled with a record crowd of close to 700 attendees and volunteers. With the theme “ideas in action,” speakers often left the audience with a call to action–to become advocates for change–to fight for immigration reform; to provide better access to quality heath care; to challenge the soda companies and their sugary ways; to learn how to share ourselves more and to tell our own stories. One speaker gave us tools to determine what might be a problem, or maybe a dilemma; and another stated it was a problem we aren’t encouraging girls enough to learn STEM.

We learned “life is improv,” and ‘hacker’ is not a bad word but creativity. Because the “old ways can’t get us to the new place,” we should improve support for urban impact entrepreneurs and develop urban agriculture. On the other hand, ‘colonias’ can become engaged communities. We nodded our heads in agreement that our schools are often “educating with broken tools” and project- based learning is so much more effective.  We stood on our feet and put our hands together with acceptance for a journey of self discovery as a young man came out of the closet and onto the stage as a drag queen. We heard a poet and a river speak the distinctive language of San Antonio.

Kori Aston hand-painted this picture while she told a story of strength and love.  It’s a good word for TEDxSanAntonio, one that I find each year. All the speakers’ names and topics are posted on the TEDxSanAntonio website  All the previous speakers’ videos are there as well. This year’s will be there after processing.

Kori Aston painting

Kori Aston painting

An experience better enjoyed live, plan to attend next year’s event–no doubt already being planned. Better yet, take heed to the issues presented, choose to make a difference in your community with your time and talents. Join the TEDxSanAntonio community by engaging in a Salon, a smaller, usually more ‘hands-on’ event, scheduled throughout the year.

Posted by: Laura Carter | October 10, 2014

Enjoying retirement with a nap

Some time ago, both my husband and I made the decision to retire in the summer of 2014. In preparation for beginning this new phase in our lives, I did some reading on the subject. I came across some articles by Dudley Tower, PhD on his website Dynamic Aging Institute. According to Tower, “dynamic aging is a unique, systemic, more fully engaged, and proactive approach to one’s own aging process.” He states the retirement isn’t meant to be a “leisurely declining into oblivion.” And, the retiree should “…engage completely with life, develop fresh skills and qualities, and find creative new areas of your life…” I find this approach both validating and exhilarating.

Among all the other changes and new adventures, it may seem a minor point, but one of my first challenges has been learning how to ‘sleep-in’. I put away my wristwatch the day I retired and no longer set the alarm at what I now perceive as a God-awful early hour. But, I still wake up about the same time as I always did when I was working and am unable to get back to sleep. The cat doesn’t help as he obviously has not changed his schedule for breakfast and going on his morning inspection of the yard.

asleep with a bookMy solution? I treat myself with naps. I cherish this new freedom to incorporate a nap into the day’s activities. I lie down in the quiet and close my eyes for as little as 20 minutes, or sometimes longer. My favorite way to nap is to bring a book and drift off reading.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, napping offers these benefits for healthy adults, including:
Reduced fatigue
Increased alertness
Improved mood
Improved performance, including quicker reaction time, better memory, less confusion, and fewer accidents and mistakes

That works for me!

And, now, that this post is done, excuse me while I go take a little nap.

Posted by: Laura Carter | October 8, 2014

TEDxSanAntonio-attend or watch

Ideas-In-Action-TEDxSanAntonio-280wThe fifth annual TEDxSanAntonio: “Ideas in Action” is set for Saturday, October 18 at Rackspace Global Headquarters.

I’m sure it will prove to be another assembly of world-changing conversations about the most innovative, creative, intriguing, and sometimes disruptive, ideas alive in our city on the rise. Speaker topics range from art, science, education and health, to technology, social justice, and the environment.

If you are wavering as whether to attend or not, check out the full list of speakers and topics. This impressive line-up should entice you to join our TEDxSanAntonio community as we once again gather for the all-day experience of feeding our heads.

Register and attend in person- it’s not too late!

Watch the livestream at

Join the Watch party at Geekdom

There’s a seat waiting for you!tedx empty chairs

Posted by: Laura Carter | September 23, 2014

British Invasion Redux

Last night I went to a great music concert/fundraiser in Austin courtesy of my sister-in-law who works for Health Alliance for Austin Musicians or HAAM.

The British Invasion of the 60′s was revisited by an eclectic procession of Austin/Texas/British musicians. It was a very entertaining musical history lesson and a whole bunch of fun!

allatx playbill

Click for full list of performers

The Zombies (in the flesh!) sang this old Kinks tune. It really it made an impression on me, so I decided to share.

Posted by: Laura Carter | September 14, 2014

Cultural Extinction

At any given time, I have about a dozen books on my shelf waiting for the right time to be read. So it was with “The Wayfinders-Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World,” by Wade Davis, which had been waiting patiently for about three years. Once I’d read the first few pages, I gulped this book like it was a life-giving elixir.

way finder book coverDavis begins by sharing his view of the world. And believe me, from his life experiences as a National Geographic explorer, writer and anthropologist, he is well versed in world. “Together the myriad of cultures makes up an intellectual and spiritual web of life that envelopes the planet and is every bit as important to the well being of the planet as is the biological web of life we know as the biosphere.” Davis calls this social web of life an ethnosphere — the “sum total of our thoughts and intuitions, myths and beliefs.” This ethnosphere is the core of our adaptive nature and our legacy.  And, the truth is we are facing the loss of half of humanity’s social, cultural and intellectual legacy, as the extinction of human cultures is picking up pace.

Excellently written and thought provoking, this book is essentially a compilation of Davis’ series of Massey Lectures. Davis shares his extensive knowledge of a good many diverse populations with whom he developed relationships. First, the Polynesians, spreading their cultural realm to hundreds of islands throughout the Pacific with their amazing art of navigation. Who knew Thor Hyderdahl’s “Kon Tiki” was full of bunk! Peoples of the Anaconda is a perfect example of a large and diverse civilization whose existence is woven into the very fabric of its physical location–along the Amazon River. The Aborigines of Australia, with their ritual ‘dreaming,’ evolved a deep, timeless relationship with their world. “What does it mean that though out history “dynamic living people have been driven out of existence by identifiable and overwhelming external forces?” Davis asks.

With a perfect blend of science and human insights, Davis makes  powerful observations. In the chapter on Sacred Geography he states, “…I would like to reflect on this particular attitude of ours, this manner in which we have reduced our planet to a commodity, a raw resource to be consumed at our whim.”  The modern world…”is certainly not the true and only pulse of history. It is merely a constellation, of beliefs, conviction, paradigm, that represent one way of doing things…”

For some reason I thought of this song when I was writing this blog. In the vast oceans, we are but ripples and waves. But, as that, we part of the whole. We are past, present, and the future–if we don’t fuck it up.

“I’m a wave upon the ocean, I’m a little ripple on the sea. Don’t get no crazy notion, you know you’re very much like me.” Shivas Headband

Posted by: Laura Carter | September 2, 2014

Free Justin Carter

Justin Carter


New September 2, 2014: Family and friends rallied behind Justin as he was in court two days last week. His wonderful lawyers, Don Flanary III and Chad Van Brundt argued two significant motions, one for “no probable cause” regarding the search warrant. The other was dismissal of a ‘confession’ Justin made to two detectives from NB–without his lawyer being present. Yes, that happened. No surprise, the judge denied both.

What’s next? Flanary and Van Brundt continue the quest for justice by appealing the decisions to the 3rd Court of Appeals. That will only take a couple of years. Yes, that the way it happens.

In the meantime, they will ask for the bond restrictions to be eased so at least Justin might be able to work.

Sitting in court, listening to witnesses for the defense define social media, hyperbole, and other aspects of the law was very interesting. As my granddaughter said, “It’s really nothing like they show on TV.” I considered it a real learning experience–however unfortunate the reason we were all there in the first place.

Thanks to all our friends and supporters and our lawyers for whom we have the utmost respect.

I want to add that in no way do we make light of what Justin wrote, only that it was meant to be a sarcastic retort.


June 23, 2014: More trial delays. Not sure what’s happening. I trust the lawyers 100% to be doing an excellent job for my grandson. Justin and I laughed all the way home talking about “Game of Thrones” characters. We definitely do not agree on favorites.

May 9, 2014: Justin’s new court date is June 19th. Ironically both Juneteenth, “the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States” (read more), and Justin’s brother Logan’s birthday. Hopefully this auspicious date will translate to a full dismissal of all charges. Please sign the petition page at, where there are usually updates as well.

March 2014:Latest article from the Austin Chronicle. Pretty much sums up what’s been happening. Next court date is March 27, 2014.

December 2013:Justin is still going to court for pre-trial hearings, about once a month. The next pre-trial hearing is on December 16, 2013. It would be a nice Christmas gift if his case was dismissed and he was free to get back to his job and life.

Thanks to an anonymous donor angel, Justin’s $500,000.00 bail was paid in full and he was released to his family on July 11th. It is not over yet, as the charges are still pending. We are grateful he is no longer in jail. Check the news for other updates.


OK, I’m really diving in now. Since June 25, when my son did his first interview about Justin’s plight, the story has spread across the world. Never in my life did I think my family would be the center of a story that continues to make the airwaves, printed media and rounds on the internet.

I also find rather Kafkaesque Justin’s arrest and subsequent incarceration, the outrageous bond, and the unwillingness of the prosecution to even entertain the fact that they have blown a comment completely out of proportion.

I think one of the reasons this story hits home is because there is a whole generation of citizens out there who understand the propensity of ‘trash talk’ on internet forums and games. Facebook has become a repository of some of the banter. Cruise around the internet and you’ll find comments that certainly make my generation cringe. But, criminal? I think not. It’s also the reality of jailhouse abuse that has us angry and upset. Should it be accepted that every person behind bars is abused and that’s just part of the punishment? To me that’s criminal.

I’ve read so many stories, with so many spins on the facts, though I thank them all for getting the word out. I thought the one from the Christian Science Monitor was the most intelligent.  Plus a video from Sky Williams who also made a fundraising page.

Needless to say, we love everyone of you who has supported Justin in comments, by signing the pledge (86,918 as if post time). Please support the fundraisers for bail. I promise the money will go to getting Justin out of jail. I also thank the most excellent attorney, Donald H. Flanary III for his time and expertise on this case.

I look forward to hugging my grandson in the flesh very soon.

Posted by: Laura Carter | July 8, 2014

Speaker Search Underway for TEDxSANANTONIO 2014

“We heard you, San Antonio!”


With a theme of “Ideas in Action,” TEDxSanAntonio is now accepting speaker applications for the event that will be held at Rackspace Global Headquarters on Saturday, October 18, 2014. Visit to complete the online application. See complete news at

Here are just two of my favorite speakers from previous years to give you a taste of the San Antonio flavored TEDx event. I liked these two because they were compelling and inspiring personal stories. Please visit  TEDxSanAntonio to view any or all the speakers from the first four years. You won’t want to miss the 5th annual event!
Linda Perez 2012 TEDxSA

Life is short, build a ranch, and pick your bull wisely! Linda Perez 2012 Photo credit Davis Staedtler


Nelson Guda, tedxsanantonio

Nelson Guda 2013 A life photographer with a stunning, visual story. Photo credit C. Mims

Posted by: Laura Carter | June 24, 2014

Nothing is a coincidence

There have been so many cosmic and cool things in my life. And, I don’t care if anyone but me thinks so. But, listen to this one.

The summer I was nineteen, I came back home to San Antonio from my freshman year at Southwest Texas State College. Just for something to keep me occupied, I accompanied my friend, Rosie Gander, to the San Antonio Little Theatre. We signed up to volunteer as stagehands for their big summer show–”Sound of Music”–staged at the old Sunken Gardens outdoor theater.

I met an airman there who was also volunteering as a stagehand. Steve drove a little convertible sports car and was DJ part-time on a local radio station. We spent a lot of time talking and laughing, and smoking cigarettes in the lulls between the our stage duties. He came over to my house for dinner and I think we may have gone to the movies. (I need to ask if he remembers)

At the end of the summer, my family moved, I went back to college and Steve went to Viet Nam. We wrote each other faithfully for about three or fours years. He had quite the way with words, good at sarcasm and funny stories. If you can image any funny stories coming out of Viet Nam. He went back to the states for college when he got out of the Air Force and we lost track of one another.

Forty-four years later he finds me through this very blog site.  I told him I saved all his letters because I thought they were such a piece of history. We began corresponding where we left off. Only this time we’re writing via email. He’s just as eloquent and just as funny as he was those many years ago.

Carole, Steve and me  48 years later

Carole, Steve and me
48 years later

In April this year, Steve and his wife, Carole, came to San Antonio (they live in a small town in Nebraska) for Fiesta (admittedly a mistake as it was hotter than blue blazes this year.) My husband and I spent several days with them when they weren’t doing Fiesta things. We had such a wonderful time. I loved getting to know Carole, and Steve…same great guy, just a little older.

Now, come on, isn’t that cosmic and cool?




Posted by: Laura Carter | June 22, 2014

10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be

Laura Carter:

I find these insights so spot-on, I must share. I do some, but not all of these things sometimes. Must stop!

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

1. You ascribe intent.

Another driver cut you off. Your friend never texted you back. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. So what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.

Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others.

2. You’re the star of your own movie.

It is little wonder that you believe the world revolves around you. After all, you have been at the very center of every experience you have ever had.

You are the star of your own movie. You wrote the script. You know how you want it to unfold. You even know how you want it to…

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