Archive for December, 2009

This time last year, I was digesting the news that my ex-husband had killed himself and foolishly thinking that 2009 would HAVE to be a better year.

Well … I’m done with those sorts of thoughts.

“Things can’t get any worse” is a phrase that will never again cross my lips or enter into my mind, and this year has provided proof absolute that worse happens, as I thought I had stressed sans equivocation in my last post.

Just when I thought it was safe to go back into the summing up pool … after a year fraught with uncertainty, fights and fear, disappointment, betrayal, and hitting an all time low with the sudden death of my son … hoping against hope that the last few days of this horrid year would slither by without creating one more drop of misery, my mother was taken into hospital. THEN, after surgery to correct the issue that was making her miserable, she had a heart attack. Yesterday.

So … another year ends, and although I am very glad to see the back of it, hoping for better in the next one feels too much like tempting the fates to fuck things up even worse. I still have a lot to lose.

Wish me no Happy New Year. Keep all Hallmark admonishments to put on a smiley face, party like a rock star, make the most of it … blah, blah, blah.

I’m tired, my friends.

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For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning. ~T.S. Eliot

If there’s one thing the past couple of years have taught me, it would be to never assume things can’t get worse. They can. They do. And 2009 stands as an example of just how faulty my thinking was at the dawning of this year.

To say that I approach the closing of this admittedly arbitrary bunching of days with some sense of relief would be accurate, although no little trepidation accompanies the heralding of 2010.

Much like an attempt at herding hyenas, I formulate plans, well aware that so few factors lie within my control … or even influence … and try to prepare for contingencies that range beyond the boundaries of the comfortably conceivable all the way into OMG!-if-that-happens-I-won’t-make-it-this-time territory.

At the same time, I take onboard frequent admonitions to think positively, to take the bull-of-the-future by the horns and wrestle it into submission, in the hope that thoughts are things and we can create our own reality.

With that in mind, I’m dwelling at length on options I do have and taking T.S. Eliot’s words to heart. The whole “to make an end is to make a beginning” resonates and puts a spin on endings I can warm to.

With this holiday season being about as dreary and miserable as I can take, a determination to form a 2010 that will close to a more upbeat finale has formed, and it’s very likely that to begin that ending I may have to stamp “DONE” to quite a few aspects of my present, stop listening to “last year’s words” and await another voice.

Life is, however, a process and 365 days of the coming year will toss a lot of flotsam into whatever pool I manage to dam up. Some will float and some will sink and some may even be fun to play with for a while. My job now is to clear the debris and find somewhere to stand that won’t have me constantly treading water.

Now if I can just stop with the metaphors …

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Deb's farewell "Sunset White Party at Lounge 8" ... she's a classy lassy ...There are many differences between life on a small tropical island and life just about anywhere else, or in what those of us here refer to as the “real world”.

Some of those differences are annoying, like a slow and sporadic Internet connection, unpredictable shortages of things you never expect a whole country to run out of … potatoes and toilet paper, for example … and the ridiculously high price in time and money of going anywhere.

Some are great. The climate, the beaches, the pristine water, clean air, lack of crowds, mass media, marketing blitz and glitz in general all contribute to the positive aspects of Seychelles life.

(In completely classic timing, the electricity just cut off … again … so it may be hours before I can actually post this.)

A double-edged sword, as is so much in life, taking the good with the bad is a daily practice.

On an important up note, inhabitants finding like-thinking, fun others learn quickly not to take anyone for granted. Friendships are founded fast and furious, and with so few entertainment options available, social interactions … meals, beaching, dives, hikes, mutual veranda confabs and such … happen regularly to the enjoyment of all.

The downside is that all but a handful of these like-thinking, fun others are only here for a short time. Work contracts usually run for a couple of years; a long enough time to get attached, dependent on the entertainment value of the said fun other, and accustomed to their presence.

The first few years of life here saw me avoiding any closeness with expats. Goodbyes were much harder for me then, and it seemed a set up to allow myself to get close enough to temporary islanders to face suffering the predictable loss of them after only a year or so.

I’m over that now that I’ve learned the payoff; not only are there fab times while we’re rock-bound together, the result of them moving along is a wide and global scattering of people I adore. Even with island Internet and its issues, we stay in touch over the years between visits, and there’s no shortage of holiday ops in some of the most interesting places on the planet.

As of this coming Thursday, another treasured wonder bites the dust: our own Miss Kinky Black, Deb Wilson, is buggering off after two and a half years of keeping people here smiling, drinking and generally well amused.

As is tradition, a farewell is conducted with appropriate amounts of booze, food and conversation. In Deb’s case, classy woman that she is, it happened at Lounge 8 with everyone decked out in white to best offset the fabulous sunset that arrived on cue to thunderous camera clicks bent on immortalizing the occasion.
As a departing gift, a book compiled of our individual memories concerning Deb was printed. Titled appropriately “Paradise My Arse” … a phrase trotted out by Ms Wilson on more than one occasion … and emblazoned with a photographic representation of her making that point so well, it’s bound to be a gift she’ll keep handy throughout her life for ease of reference to this rock, her time here and those of us who will still be missing her.

New, wonderful, funny people will show up, though, and we’ll let them into our lives, enjoy them while they’re here, then think up leaving gifts special to them when it’s time for them to head back to the real world. That’s just how it works …

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Cheating … at golf?

A bit behind the pop culture curve as always, I’m just catching up with the flap over Tiger Woods and his wandering putter and can’t help but wonder about the reactions his now-admitted infidelity is getting.

It seems people are surprised … and disappointed.


Because he’s such a “nice guy” in his public personal? Do the People Mag photos of cuddling a new baby in tender fatherhood sum up the man? Does the fact that his wife presents the best of model-like beauty convince the world that he’s bound to be bound?

Gimme a break.

Tiger is a man.

It doesn’t matter one bit if he’s a famous, rich, handsome, charming man … in fact that makes philandering even more likely than for the obscure, poor, ugly and socially clumsy.

It doesn’t matter one bit that he’s happily married with children.

It doesn’t matter one bit that screwing around could cost his reputation, his marriage, his career.

It doesn’t matter one bit that sinking one in other women’s grassy greens could rip the heart out of the woman who dedicated herself to him, threaten the stability of his children and ruin lives.


The only thing that matters is an easy hole at the end of a short fairway and a chance to make the shot without drawing a crowd. The hole doesn’t need to be special in any way, nor even well groomed … a hole is a hole is a hole.

Because there are so many public courses offering free play at the drop of a smile, opportunities to take off-the-books strokes are aplenty, and few players resist the pull of a new lay, especially those that offer no real challenge.

Tiger can cry now, beg for forgiveness, plead for privacy, experience deep and profound remorse … because he got caught.

Men are dogs, whether they carry a seven iron, a fishing line, a football, a guitar or the Presidential Seal.

It’s time to revisit this post, perhaps …

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The year begins ...
Cj and me in February
First f 3 trips to Bird Island
Anchor Cafe
With Shrone at the beach in March
Book promo in April
Happy and Iris were here in May
June 2nd ... the worst day of my life
California ... filled with sadness
Lots of love in Mexicoa
Switzerland in July
Tribute tatt ...
Old friends leave ... Ciao, Lio!
New friends come ... Me with Carlos and Violeta
With Deb and Mel
Visitors Kim and Cake
New friends Tommaso and Helen
Alan adds my kids to an old tatt
Gay takes the kids on hayaks ...
I spend some time online ...
Back to Bird in October and in November
Sam's 7th birthday dinner
Cati finally arrives ...
Enzo and Amanda add to the mix
November ends
Christmas is coming and the year is almost over ...

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Since I’ve been writing about testicles, it seems as good a time as any to hammer on a bit about impotence. In this case, the notorious … and mega-costly … impotence of the United Nations.

It’s never a hard bang, as the UN provides fodder almost daily, but today is exceptionally easy.

Starting with this article titled, “Copenhagen summit must be global turning point, UN climate chief says”, we are treated to the usual spin cranked out by the giant PR machine funded by countries all over the world motivated by the need to appear to be doing something positive.

Mr de Boer said his Christmas wish was that politicians and officials “keep it simple”. “What I want to see at the end of this conference is a list of rich country targets that are ambitious, clarity on what major developing countries will do to limit the growth of their emissions and a list of financial pledges that will make it possible for the much broader developing nation community both to change the direction of their economic growth and adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change – that’s what I’m asking Father Christmas for,” he said.

Ignore all the “non-binding”s and “not an outright cut, but a slowing of emissions growth”s and go with the Santa thing, and it sounds okay, I guess.

But …

Like everything the UN does, there’s a flip-side reality that spins things a bit differently.

Like …

Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges.

Good for business in Copenhagen, for sure, and a fun time for all lucky enough to make a living ostensibly working for the good of the planet.

Given that the bulk of delegates will be testicle-bearing, there is bound to be much posturing, and even that is being addressed …

… even the prostitutes are doing their bit for the planet. Outraged by a council postcard urging delegates to “be sustainable, don’t buy sex,” the local sex workers’ union – they have unions here – has announced that all its 1,400 members will give free intercourse to anyone with a climate conference delegate’s pass. The term “carbon dating” just took on an entirely new meaning.

… so perhaps releasing a bit of the pressure.

After all, this is work, remember …

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My dear friend, Gay, touts a simple solution to many of the world’s problems: universal male castration.

Her thinking goes party as follows:

Naturally produced sperm is no longer necessary for the manufacture of new people, and who needs it by the bucket-load anyway?

Ridding the world of the testosterone-ladened can only reduce violence, and have the added advantage of allowing men to do more thinking with their big heads, rather than be ruled by their little ones.

Testicles are hardly the most attractive of male features.

Being a huge fan of male danglies myself, I find her proposal a bit drastic, but must admit to an attraction to the thought, nonetheless.

An article from the BBC today does go far toward illustrating Gay’s point.

One in four South African men questioned in a survey said they had raped someone, and nearly half of them admitted more than one attack.

With a recent report quoted as saying ” … a child was being raped in South Africa every three minutes … “, the suggestion of ball removal does have appeal.

Given that today happens to be the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the whole testosterone-driven, conquer-the-world-and-kill-a-whole-bunch-of-people-while-you’re-at-it thing resonates more than a bit.

Would the world be a better place, and would men be happier creatures, if the juice that drives so much of the machine lost its compelling oomph? Would male bonding have more positive impact if they didn’t each carry their best friend around in their pants?

Feel free to discuss, and if you’d like to put Gay in charge, I’ll pass along the message.

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It’s been six months today since my son, Jaren, died of a massive heart attack. The fact that half a year has passed has done little to alleviate the loss, although I can now write the words, “Jaren is dead” without crumbling.

In the case of the death of one’s child, I don’t think time heals. Much like an amputee, the edges of the missing part of me have scarred enough to tolerate the many times a day I bump up against memory, pick at regret and finger possibilities forever gone, but gone is gone and phantom pain hurts.

Jaren was the smartest and funniest person I have ever known, and the privilege of being his mother for 38 years I will carry for the rest of my life. Only 38 years is an unbearable shame nothing can change. Nothing.

Only recently, I received a copy of the autopsy report, something I had been waiting months for. No parent should ever have to read such a document, but for me it was a necessary part of the process I must go through to come to some understanding of the events that led to such a horrible conclusion.

I didn’t really need to know how much his brain weighed or the contents of his stomach, but that’s the sort of information the coroner’s office provides, so I know all that now. I also know that my son had a 98% blockage in the same place my coronary artery was clogged before an emergency bypass extended my stay on the planet in 1999.

I was told at the time mine was discovered that I had a one-to-30 day probability of a fatal heart attack, and from that moment until the surgery the following day I was not allowed to do as much as raise my head.

Jaren had been suffering from intense angina, and the night before he died worked his usual shift pushing drinks at the Liquid Kitty. On his feet for hours, he mentioned to his buddy behind the bar with him that his left arm and neck were “killing him”.

Perhaps it was too late then. Maybe if he’d had the option of seeing a doctor, the bypass he needed would not have been possible. But …

If he’d had health coverage, medication to control cholesterol and his diabetes would have been provided for years, and the routine operation that reroutes blood through the heart would have happened when needed. Other health issues could have also been addressed, and he wouldn’t have felt so alone, so on his own, so without options.

Jaren never asked for help. Any questions about his welfare were always answered with an “I’m fine”, and although he always went the extra mile for anyone in his life who needed him to do that, he did not do it for himself, nor request it of anyone else.

The list of “should haves” for me is longer than I can look at in one sitting, so I pick and choose and wish I had done different things and had one more chance.

I miss my son. The world … not just my world, but the whole damned thing … is poorer without his smile, his gentleness, his humor and his amazing intelligence.

If there’s one thing I would ask on his behalf now, it would be that universal health care in America becomes a reality.

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