Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Swimming Through Life

Saturday, August 8, 2015

L - Who do you LIKE??

The Rogue Speaks:

The GOP debate was watched by millions of people, many of whom only wanted to see how the "front runner" would fair against a field of real politicians, and one neurosurgeon.  And, yes, I did watch it, in bed, with a glass of wine and a couple of Bayer aspirin.  Here are my views on the candidates, in alphabetical (almost)order:

Jeb Bush -  Pleasant enough, smiling, but not always telling the truth about his years as governor of Florida.  Fact check needed there, for sure.  And please!!  No more dynasties!!!

Ben Carson - What a nice man he is.  Unfortunately, he has no political experience, and in fact, has very little knowledge about how this country works.  He is not at all assertive.  He should stick to separating Siamese twins. OR he could volunteer to give one of the candidates a frontal lobotomy, and delight the rest of the field.

Chris Christie - Yes, he DID hug Obama after Hurricane Sandy.  So what, Rand????  But I don't trust him to be completely honest, plus he looks a little like a member of La CosaNostra.  Sorry!  I just couldn't help that!

Ted Cruz - He looks like a televangelist about to burst into tears.  Anyone who says, "I always tell the truth," probably doesn't.  He supports pork barrel politics, because he has a video out, cooking bacon by wrapping it around the barrel of his AK47, and firing away until the bacon is fried.  What does a "Christian" need with an AK47, you ask? You tell me!

John Kasich - The only one on the stage who appeared to be actually presidential and genuine.  I'm glad he got into the debate.

Mike Huckabee - This guy isn't a politician, but a preacher.  He will push his religious agenda, and walk all over the Constitution.  Now some people may like that, but most Americans do not.  We don't want his brand of religion shoved down our throats, or any other religion, for that matter.

Rand Paul - Rand, Rand, Rand!! You look like a sophomore geek at MIT!  And you have a tendency to get a little hostile.  Not very presidential, and way too much of an isolationist for my taste.

Rick Perry - How many times does he have to take that public speaking course and not get an F???  The glasses didn't help his image one bit, plus he has a goofy smile, and a bad memory.  Carly Fiorina should really have had his place on the stage.

Marco Rubio - Pretty, smooth talker, but without any real substance.  He hasn't been out of short pants long enough to fully understand American voters.  AND he's a suck-up.  Just ask a couple of the other candidates.

Scott Walker - Despite what he says, Wisconsin is not better off with him as governor.  Way too many questionable decisions! Lots of Fact Checks needed there!  Plus, he is VERY bad at managing his $222,899 salary.  He has between $10K and $20K in credit card debt, and one of his cards charges 27.4%, and he has $100,00 to $200,000 in student loans for his two boys in college, and so just how does he expect to manage our country? Plus, he has squinty eyes.  I never trust a man with squinty eyes.

And finally(I told you it would almost be in alphabetical order), "He Who Shall Not Be Named."-
A sociopathic narcissist who knows just what to say to get the borderline mentally incompetent fired up and cheering.  He has no respect for other people, especially hates women, and is only out for himself.  Claims that he will bring American jobs home, while his men's clothing brand is made in Mexico.  Calls people stupid.  In short, he's the last man on earth fit to be president--a total loser.

That's my take on the top 10 GOP candidates, and my  "L" post on Jenny's AlphabeThursday.  I welcome any and all comments.

Friday, July 10, 2015

H is for How I See It

The Rogue Speaks:

I have been away from my blog lately, because sometimes life gets too complicated and causes one to not be able to think in a reasonable manner.  However, so much is happening in our country right now, that I feel compelled to express my thoughts on the issues at hand.

Before I comment on those issues, I would like to tell you a little story about a dentist, William T.G. Morton (1819-1868).  Morton, in the 1840's, began using inhaled ether on his patients in his dental practice.  Prior to that time, extracting a bad tooth was horrendously painful.  The patient screamed, moaned, and gripped the chair, while the dentist grabbed the offending tooth with a pair of pliers and twisted, pulled, and yanked until the tooth came out.  People flocked to Morton and his new invention in droves to have painless extractions, and inhaled anesthesia was invented.

There was a glitch in this wonderful invention, however, and it was with the surgeons whom Morton approached with his invention to make surgery pain-free.  The surgeons actually believed that screaming, writhing, and bellowing in pain while one's limb was being cut off, or one's appendix was being removed was the way it was supposed to be. Surgery always came with pain.  That was the hard and fast rule.  This is no joke, people!  These doctors REALLY believed that!  If you don't believe me, Google can help you out with this.  It was quite a while before these doctors finally came to the realization that Morton's invention made their lives and the lives of patients easier when they were treated humanely with a few whiffs of ether before the mutilation began.  Some people find it very difficult to let go of their archaic thinking, either out of stubbornness, ignorance, fear, or all three.  Sad, don't you think?

On the subject of undocumented Mexicans, here's how I see it:  In the mid to late 1800's, the US brought hundreds of thousands of Mexicans into the southwest to work on the cattle ranches and in the fields, harvesting fruits, etc.  They were hard-working, and they were cheap labor.  During the wars, they were sorely needed because American men were off fighting.  Working in America became a way of life for Mexican immigrants. Today, it seems to have been built into their genes, and they just can't seem to stay away, no matter the cost.
In 1924, the Border Patrol was established, for one reason or another, and even though the public didn't see Mexicans as "illegal aliens," the law said they were fugitives.  That did not stop farm and ranch owners from hiring them, or protecting them, however, because they kept the costs down, and gave the owners more profit.  And don't kid yourself, they're still doing it.
The door closes, the door opens.  In 1942, we were at war again, and Mexicans, illegal or otherwise, were once again needed.  Whenever America let them, they came.  And if it were not for those hard-working people, America would not be the most lush agricultural center it is today.  If all of those workers leave America, and go back to Mexico, never to return, don't even think about buying all those fresh fruits and vegetables you enjoy.  You will not be able to afford them unless you are part of the 1%. 
Donald Trump has absolutely no class.  Every time I hear him yelling about immigrants, rape, murder, etc., and see that silly comb-over flapping in the breeze, I get a little throw-up in my mouth.  The problem is not with the undocumented Mexicans, the vast majority of whom are just trying to work hard and take care of their families, but with the wealthy, sociopathic drug-lords.  Trump should be able to identify with them, because he most definitely is a sociopath as well.  He will trample anyone to get what he wants.
In the case of gay marriage, here's how I see it:  Our Founding Fathers came to this country searching for religious freedom.  Anyone who believes otherwise is woefully ignorant.  They did not come to America to insure that we lived in a "Christian nation."  They gave us our Constitution.  In that document, the only reference you will find to God, are in the words "In the year of our Lord," which was the accepted way of stating the date at that time.  Most people haven't even read the Constitution, and merely take the word of some other person as to just what it says.  Pretty lazy, I think.  Read it yourself.  I did.
Whenever anyone starts trying to explain the science of sexuality to the "conservative" element, they all stick their fingers in their ears and sing, "Lalalalalalalalala!!!!" at the top of their lungs.  Why  they choose to remain so ignorant is just beyond me.
Evangelicals are literally choking on their screams that homosexuality is a sin.  They are quick to quote Leviticus, that old testament book of laws that supposedly God handed down to the Children of Israel.  I am not one of the Children of Israel.  I am not Jewish--I am Northern European and English/Irish.  If the book of Leviticus ever applied to anyone, it definitely is not me.  I eat bacon.  I love shrimp. I wear poly/cotton blends, and I don't believe in stoning anyone for any reason.  Not only that, the word homosexuality appears  NO WHERE in either the old or the new testament, UNLESS someone has re-written the Bible to suit their own beliefs.  If you have studied the Bible, you should know that re-writing it is a no-no.
To those Bible-thumping, mean-spirited, close-minded people who claim to be "Christians," how about following the teachings of Christ for a change.  You remember him--that radical, socialist Jew, swarthy, with long hair and sandals, who said in John 8:15, "Ye judge of the flesh; I judge no man."
Before I jump into my final rant, I would like to give you a little background on the Pledge of Allegiance.  It was written in 1892, by Francis Bellamy (1855-1931), who was a socialist minister.  When I was a little girl, saying the Pledge every day in school, the words "under God" were not part of the Pledge.  It was changed in 1954 at the urging of Dwight Eisenhower, who was president at that time.  Bellamy's daughter was very much against the change.
As to the Confederate battle flag, here's how I see it:   Segregation, rednecks, moonshine, KKK, ignorance, stupidity, arrogance, and hate.  One would think that over the centuries, with all the advances in science, genetics,  history, etc., that the human beings in this country could have reached a consensus that, as our Constitution reads, all men really ARE created equal.  There is just no mystery about that.
Whew!!! This is the longest I have been at the computer in MONTHS!  If you've a mind to, I would love to hear your views on these subjects.
Isn't Jenny a gift??



Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Birthing in Bolivia

The Rogue Speaks:

"Pretend Sweethearts"
Drew and Brianna

My nephew Drew, a musician, singer-songwriter, and his wife Bri, musician, singer-songwriter, moved to Bolivia a couple of months before the birth of their son, Lucien ("Lucky").  Prior to that time, they lived and worked in Portland, Oregon, making beautiful music, and some of the sweetest harmony you have ever heard. They call themselves "Pretend Sweethearts," and make stunning music videos, as well as performing live.


They made the decision to move to Cochabamba, Bolivia after Drew had visited there several times and fell in love with the region.  Brianna, long ago bitten by the wanderlust, was eager to make a home there.  And so they have.

The following is the account of Lucien's birth, as written by Drew:

Our Homebirth Story - February 27, 2015, Cochabamba, Bolivia

It was almost two a.m. For the last couple of hours, a thunderstorm had been building up beyond the mountains rising close by our house. Blue flashes illuminated the sky, silhouetting the undulating ridge. The rain was falling hard and the contractions were intense. Bri was in such pain, having foregone drugs, that the only relief came in taking hot showers. But with the storm closing in, that would have to stop. We determined that after this last shower, she’d go upstairs. Then as soon as the next contraction had passed, I’d ask our doctor Julio to come check her dilation. Thunder crashed. He noted nine centimeters, then donned a gown and began arranging all of his gear, cleaned his hands again and put on gloves. Any minute now.

In the last few days leading up to Lucky’s birth, we were a little nervous because, after weeks of counting on it, our midwife Vivian Camacho couldn’t be with us for the birth. She is working on a Master’s in social entrepreneurship and as summer wore one she’d gotten busier and busier. However, she put us in touch with Dr. Mireya Zapata, whose clinic in Quillacollo serves poor women who might otherwise have unsupervised home births, or, if attended by anyone, then perhaps an aunt, a neighbor woman with some experience birthin’ babies, or some kind of traditional healer – a k’allawaya or curandera/o who may specialize more in magic and faith healing than in delivering a healthy baby. Thus is the reality of far too many pregnant women in Bolivia: poverty conspires with superstitions and fear of doctors, leaving her to face birth in dirty conditions, with inadequate help, the umbilical cord cut with a piece of broken glass…

We had done everything a college-educated couple (unimaginably privileged by comparison to the average Bolivian) could do to prepare for a natural homebirth. We had started in the US – in Portland – where our midwife had given us the kindest and gentlest, non-invasive attention we could have asked for. As the pregnancy seemed to be totally without complication, we did our best to envision finding a midwife in Bolivia and having our baby as we’d planned. Vivi encouraged us with her kindness and solidarity, helping us through the last two months of our pregnancy and introducing us to María René, a natural birth enthusiast and now good friend who helped us throughout the day Bri after began labor. Three days before labor started, we went for an ecografía (sonogram). A 3D ultrasound only cost about $35, but at Bs/240, would have been perhaps a weeks’ wages for the roughly %60 of people living in poverty here. The ecografía showed Lucky was in good shape, decently heavy and in position to begin labor at any moment. We knew we could count on Mireya and her team to help us deliver him safely.

Earlier in the afternoon, we tried some oral nipple stimulation and other touching techniques we’d practiced as we explored tantra, but they helped only a little. Eventually, intense, painful contractions led us to believe the labor was moving along more quickly than, in fact, it was. Bri’s reaction was to engage with the pain. She let her breathing get away from her, and the uterus responded with less productive contractions. We were doing our best, but overlooked this dynamic. Luckily, once Mireya was able to determine her dilation had slowed dramatically, she assessed the breathing pattern needed to change and I translated her instructions. Bri was disappointed the labor didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Mireya and her team left, promising to come back in the evening, allowing time for Bri to move along. There wasn’t anything else we could do but try to change the mood. María René soothed her and the two of them went for a walk. With some years of experience, María René had attended a lot of births and had her two kids at home. She began concocting a mate – an herbal infusion – to mildly stimulate the labor physiology. Around the world folk medicine for labor and birth varies from dangerous to very effective. Just as the medical approach discourages using oxytocin to induce dilation until the cervix is already open 5-6 centimeters, we waited to administer strong teas of oregano (which may stimulate oxytocin production) until later in the evening. Walking helped a lot, so Bri took space from me and paced upstairs, occasionally coming downstairs to take a hot shower. She breathed calmly and as deeply as possible, showing the utmost self-control and deepest inner strength.

Mireya came back at about nine, with her two male doctor comrades - and in true Bolivian fashion, her husband and two sons. Dilation was proceeding, so she left Julio and Gherry behind to supervise the process. As Bri wisely asked, we only let one other person into the bedroom at a time. We had a thin twin mattress on the floor, and a strap hung from the door, so she could labor any number of ways, squatting, standing, hanging. María René had left late at night to get home and take care of her own children. Aurora, our six year old who was also born at home, had come back from the neighbors’ house and did her best to stay out of the way, perhaps to sleep. The guys sat downstairs and talked quietly while I attended Bri as best I could. When her cervix had reached 6 centimeters, I brewed stiff cups of mate de oregano, which Bri sipped between contractions. We kissed and she held onto me tightly, standing as the contractions came, leaning her head on my chest. We exchanged caresses and “I love you’s” and I kept encouraging her, telling her how beautiful she looked and how well she was doing.

Eventually, there came that last moment when we knew birth was imminent. In Spanish, the colloquial expression for giving birth is dar a luz – literally to give to light. I love this expression, as it really maintains the spiritual dimensions of what’s happening. In labor, both mama and baby are in a liminal space. The ability of a woman to push an eight or nine pound baby through her pelvic bones and her [vagina] is a thing inconceivable to most men or even most women. You’re doing something that is ordinarily impossible. The baby is between worlds: the dark, safe, nurturing haven of the womb, and crossing the difficult, rather dangerous threshold into a world of light, of air, contact with germs and bacteria and the violence of everyday life. But it’s also a glorious, unimaginable awakening – a breakthrough, a passage, the inverse of death. That last hot shower, then back upstairs... Julio came in and checked – nine centimeters plus – and readied himself hurriedly. The thunder was loud. Aurora awoke, sniveling audibly in the hall. I put her back to bed.

Bri was now squatting on the pallet, knees wide, leaning against me – I can’t really remember just how we were holding each other. Julio was in front of her, kneeling, waiting encouraging: “Ahora ¡empuja!” I could tell she was ready to deliver. The candle on our dresser-top altar flickered. Everything about her breath and her actions had shifted. Thunder, lightning. Aurora awoke and stood at the door. “Come on in here – Lucky’s about to come out!” I said. She stood next to me, surprisingly calm, watching with eyes wide, waiting. Bri made animal grunts and gasped quick breaths, pushing, trying, feeling. After maybe three minutes of pushing, out popped a head. Julio held it and pulled gently as Bri pushed, and Lucien Henri sprang into the world, the blue lightning flickering on his wet body in the dark room. Julio deftly cleared his airway. “What’s that?” asked Aurora, staring at the umbilical cord. An adorable smile spread across her face. Bri tilted her head up to kiss me. Julio smiled as he handed the little creature to us. “Felicidades,” he said.

I hope you have enjoyed the  "dar a luz" that Drew has portrayed here.  Now go check out more offerings on our sweet Jenny's blog!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014


The Rogue Speaks:

This post is sort of a "two-parter."  The first part deals with the Constitution of the United States, and the First Amendment to that historic document by which our country is governed.  Please read very carefully the words of the First Amendment:

"Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Many scholars believe that the First Amendment is the most important part of the Constitution, because it protects several of the basic human rights, and reminds us of some of the dangerous areas on which the government might attempt to tread.  The first part, to me, is the part that this nation needs to become aware of, and to remember in the next few months.  It is MOST important.  There are conservative groups in this country who are trying to force their religious beliefs on the nation.  They would like to see their rules for life, health, and marriage become laws in America.  They want their religion to be THE religion of the United States.  As you can see, the Founding Fathers were firmly against this kind of thinking.  They had had enough of religious intolerance in England, and were determined that that intolerance NOT happen in America.

Forty of America's finest men signed the Constitution.  If they had not firmly believed in what they had written, do you think they would have put their names to it?  If you would like to see those names, let me know, and I will send you the list.

Many of these "conservative" groups have stated that all one has to do is read the Constitution to find that God had a hand in the writing, and that the name of God can be found in the words that were written.  Read it!  Read the Constitution, and see if you can find a reference to the God, or Jesus, or a Creator  that these modern "conservatives" worship.  Let me save you some time.  It isn't there.  The only reference you will find is "in the year of our Lord" which at that time was a common way of stating the date, and had nothing to do with religion.   The people who have told you otherwise either have not read the Constitution, or believe that you will not read it yourself, and will only take their word for it.

During the Republican debates, one of the hopefuls, a woman, stated with certainty that John Adams and his family were devout Christians who fought to abolish slavery.  First, slavery wasn't an issue at that time, and second, John Adams, his wife, Abigail Adams, and their son John Quincy Adams were actually Unitarians.  In fact, many of our founding fathers were either Deists or Unitarians, and were not at all associated with any conservative Christian group.  Thomas Jefferson, one of the signers of the Constitution,  is identified with both Unitarianism and Deism.

So, let's talk about Deism.  Deism is a religious philosophy that deals with reason and observation of the world at large.  The Deists feel that there is no need for organized religion.  They also do not believe  in the supernatural manifestations such as miracles.  They believe that God does not interfere with the decisions, good or bad, that we make in our lives.  Deists believe that human beings see God through the world around us, and through nature.

I took an active part in organized religion for many years, until one day I woke up and realized that that religion just wasn't working for me any more.  I'm not saying that I don't believe in God.  The jury is still out on that one.  But, like the Deists, I don't believe that God intervenes in our lives, to save us in times of need.  If He did, no children would die needlessly, and no people would be made to suffer from painful and debilitating diseases. I don't believe in miracles, and I certainly don't believe that an image of the Virgin Mary appearing on a toasted bagel is a message from God. The Deists believe that God does not interfere with  situations in the natural world.  If He did, He would be on serious overload 24 hours a day! 

Here is an example of that overload:  Rod's brother, an evangelical, came to visit us a few years ago.  He had been in Phoenix for a chiropractic seminar, and came down to play golf with Rod before going back to Atlanta.  The day before, he had lost his "readers."  I happened to have an extra pair that someone had left in my booth at an art fair, so I gave them to him.  He proceeded to tell me that God had provided those readers for him in answer to his prayers!  Really?????  God has enough time on his hands these days to come up with readers for you??? Get over yourself!  Women are being raped in Africa! Children are starving in third word countries!  And God provided you with "readers"?????

Getting back to the Deists, here are some names that you might recognize as contributors to the American way of life over the years:

George Washington
Benjamin Franklin
Ethan Allen
James Madison
Mark Twain
Thomas Jefferson
Albert Einstein
Thomas Paine

 I can go on, but I doubt seriously that the people who really need to get this message are actually reading this post and THINKING.   What I really want is for those sanctimonious people to realize that the rest of us have just as much a right to our beliefs as they do, and to quit trying to undo what our Founding Fathers did when they wrote the Constitution.  Freedom of religion is a basic human right.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cranberry Salsa!!!! Bueno!!!!!!

The Rogue Speaks:

Yet another thing to make with fresh cranberries!  My daughter Beth and I have made this a LOT!  I took a big bowl of it (double recipe) to our friends' house for Thanksgiving, and came home with an empty bowl!  One thing, though, I cut down the amount of sugar in it down to less than 1/2 cup.  Still tastes great!

We found this recipe in the New Orleans paper last year, and have shared it with many friends.  Hope you like it!!!
I'm linking this post to Jenny's AlphabeThursday!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Adultery, and The Exploding Life Diet

The Rogue Speaks:

When your adulterous husband leaves you for a younger (i.e. "trophy") woman, you just may be exposed to "The Exploding Life Diet."  You are so shocked, so hurt, and oh so furious that you just stop eating.  This is not a diet that I want to try.  In fact, no woman goes on this diet deliberately--it just happens.

I have an old friend who is on this diet.  She's lost 30 pounds.  Her husband, who qualified for Medicare almost 10 years ago, was flattered by a younger, narcissistic  woman who probably thought she was getting a "sugar-daddy."  She seduced him, and because we all know what part of their anatomy (that is NOT their brain) men think with, the next thing my friend knew, her husband was moving out, and seeing an attorney.

What's up (no pun intended) with some of these guys who can be so easily suckered in by a conniving woman who is blatantly breaking up a marriage for her own edification and enjoyment?  I know that deep down, she can't be proud of what she is doing, because when her family comes a-calling, her Senior Citizen boyfriend is forbidden to show his face.

What exactly does a woman who is ten years shy of Social Security want with a married man who is twenty years her senior? Is she looking for someone to pay all her bills?  In this case, I hope she doesn't think he's wealthy, because the state in which she (and he) live is a community property state, so after the divorce, he'll only have one half of what he has now, and of course there is alimony, plus lawyer's fees!   I hope she's thought ahead to when she's 70 and he's over 90!  If he lives that long, she just might be taking care of a sick old man day in and day out.  Or, if he should suffer a debilitating stroke 5 years or less from now, her caregiver role could begin much sooner!

But maybe she doesn't really care about all that for now.  Maybe she just has her eyes on a goal, and has tunnel-vision about the rest of the picture.  OR, maybe she has started now, collecting sleeping pills so she can pop one in his evening cocoa and go out to a fancy dress ball after tucking him in for the night.

I feel soooooo sorry for my friend, that she is having to go through this.  No woman should!  But she is a strong woman (well, except for The Exploding Life Diet), and highly intelligent, creative, talented and thoughtful,  and she will survive this.  Maybe she'll go on to start a successful non-profit like Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler did in that comedy  a few years back.  Ahhh! Revenge is sweet!

This concludes my offering for Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday.  I hope our Jenny is recovering from those pesky aches, pains, and trauma.  We love you, Jenny!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The Rogue Speak:

Zugzwang, a German word meaning "obligation to move," is actually a chess term.  To be "in zugzwang" is to be at a disadvantage because the player must make a move, even though he had rather pass when it is his turn to play.
I know nothing about chess, except of course the names of the pieces, and what the board looks like.  I am, however, taking a "refresher course" in bridge.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that even though I have been playing bridge off and on ever since I was in college, I never knew what I didn't know about the game.  Oh, I kind of suspected that I didn't know, but we always played "party bridge," where there was always a lot of laughing, gossiping, snacks, and maybe some wine.
Now I am learning bridge on a whole different level, and I have a constant fear of being "in zugzwang" if I make the wrong bid or play the wrong card, because if I do, I will definitely "go down," or lose. 
The kind of bridge that I am attempting to learn is "duplicate," and there is no table talk, or wine, or snacks.  This is serious stuff!  I have to actually think! My partner and I can have no signals, like faking a sneeze to tell my partner to pass, or stating my bid in the form of a question, like on Jeopardy. To me, bridge is a game of numbers, and math has never been my strong point.  I am always on the edge of understanding it, but just not quite!!
There is just soooo much to remember!  I have to add up my partner's points with my points, after I figure out just how many points my partner has.  Then I have to figure out how many points the opponents have, and who has what why.  See what I mean?
After we have settled on a contract, then we have to actually PLAY the cards, or if the opponents get the contract, I have to play to defeat them.  I have to "lead," or play the first card.  Oh!  My head is spinning!  I fear that if I play the wrong card I will be "in zugzwang!!"  But this is not chess; it is bridge and I am doing this for FUN.  Really? Hahahaha!
I WILL learn how to play bridge!  There is something very satisfying about playing a cerebral game at my age.  I'm old, you know.  Wish me luck!