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It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.


… and that can be good!

~W. Edwards Deming

Seychelles is a beautiful country. No one who has gazed at our magnificent granite mountains, strolled our pristine beaches or enjoyed our warm, clear sea would argue the point. 

Beauty has value, of course, but it’s not always enough to sustain an economy and provide for a population, no matter how small.

As the World Bank explains:


This island is predominantly service-based and highly vulnerable to global shocks and climate change due to its isolation and small size.


… The limited land space, capital, and human resources restrict Seychelles’ ability to benefit from economies of scale in production and economic diversification. 


Although tourism and the fishing industry have done us well over the years our dependence on the global economy for guests combined with the bleak outlook for a continuing availability of fish in massive numbers, it seems time to do a re-think and make some changes.


Change is never easy; belt-tightening that makes daily living a challenge and new rules forced through scarcity often result in painful restrictions and has historically led to societal unrest and rebellion.

But what if all that needs changing is attitude?


We would rather be ruined than changed;

We would rather die in our dread

Than climb the cross of the moment

And let our illusions die.

~W.H. Auden


Three little changes in perspective, just three, all eventually inevitable anyway, could set Seychelles on a quick path to solving issues that now loom large. Why not lead, rather than struggle to catch up with those who possessed the vision … and the cojones … to forge the way forward?


First thing: The legalization of marijuana. 


The instant benefits of such a move have been made clear in places where the laws have been changed in favor of a reasonable approach. Take, for example, the US state of Colorado where over US$ 1 million was raised in tax revenue alone in the first 30 days of legalized pot …


The proposal outlines plans to spend some $99 million next fiscal year on substance abuse prevention, youth marijuana use prevention and other priorities. The money would come from a statewide 12.9 percent sales tax on recreational pot. Colorado’s total pot sales next fiscal year were estimated to be about $610 million.

People are already growing weed here illegally, a condition proven to do more harm than good by putting ill-gotten gains into the hands of bad people:

For the first time ever, many of the farmers who supply Mexican drug cartels have stopped planting marijuana, reports the Washington Post. “It’s not worth it anymore,” said Rodrigo Silla, a lifelong cannabis farmer from central Mexico. “I wish the Americans would stop with this legalization.


Keeping pot illegal is not only of no benefit to the country, but creating a drag on the economy through policing costs in time and energy and tying up the courts. 


Since both the police and the courts should be busying themselves pursuing far more dangerous and detrimental crimes and since the income generated by legal pot farms would add much to the country’s coffers, it’s a win/win situation waiting to happen.

It’s not only farmers and retailers that would see profits, but also ancillary business like bakeries and other purveyors of items to munch. (Watch this if you doubt the potential for the sale of snacks.)


As more places make recreational pot an option, Seychelles could grow a global export market for what must be excellent … and somewhat exotic … pot at exactly the same time this country draws mellow tourists who would enjoy tokes on the beaches at sunrise AND have a load of extra cash from the taxes on the weed for enforcement of laws against … and treatment for … truly dangerous and addictive drugs that take a heavy toll here like alcohol and heroin.


And speaking of mellow tourists … that brings us to the second change: The legalization of same-sex marriage.

Not only is the writing on the wall for marriage equality to become the standard in the modern world, it is also simply right … and why should anyone care enough about someone else’s love life to get in their way anyway?


There are now eighteen countries that recognize gay marriages, NONE of which is a tropical holiday destination.

Aside from earning Seychelles the designation as a caring, progressive country that refuses to cater to bigotry, it’s also a huge money maker:


In a paper posted this week by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, researchers predict that same-sex marriages will bring nearly $700 million to the California wedding industry and pump almost $65 million in new revenue into the state budget over the next three years.


Weddings are income generators for many local business and they lead to anniversaries so guarantee repeat visits, and with the simple step of legalizing gay marriage in this wedding-destination, tourist-dependent country we open up a new and untapped market … AND up the image of the country globally.


Another win/win.


The third change requires a bit more than an attitude shift: Swift conversion to solar power.

If every new construction project in Seychelles over the past few years had been required to roof with solar collectors, we’d not need to import expensive, dirty fossil fuels to run much of the country … and we wouldn’t have as many power cuts. (My power just cut … sigh … so who knows when I’ll be able to publish this post.)

We are 4 degrees south of the Equator, which results in having 12 hours of daylight every day of the year, unlike Germany that expects to be 100% onboard with renewable energy by 2050 and has already made a very good start on that goal.


Germany is, without a doubt, the leading country for using solar energy. Not only has Germany installed thousands of solar panels already, but it plans to be using nothing but renewable energy by 2050. The country has remained the top buyer of solar energy panels for several years now, and is expected to continue going forward in the same direction during the upcoming months.


During 2009, Germany installed eight times more megawatts of photovoltaics solar energy capacity than America did that year.


Unlike the diesel the generators that now provide electricity to Seychellois need constantly and a great cost, sunshine is free. Just imagine how much juice would be produced now if places like Four Seasons Resort, Ephilia Resort and Eden Island had been mandated to install solar voltaic systems as part of their projects!


Car parks covered in panels are a great idea!


Remember, if nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.



(If you don’t like weed, don’t use it. To those who find homosexuality somehow offensive I say: If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t marry anyone the same sex as you are … and GET OVER IT. If you are opposed to renewable energy from the sun that shines every day … well … you’re either weird or you have a strong financial stake in dirty, expensive fossil fuels.)


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Some days are better than others, and some are so spectacularly better they deserve an entire post dedicated to their spectacularness.


Maia Spa

This has been one of those days.

Let me begin by stating unequivocally that I SO deserve this day … ‘nuff said.
Going into detail about just why I’m deserving of hours of luxurious pampering would only serve to dent this almost transcendental state I’m enjoying for as long as I can keep it going, and you already know how life can suck so there’s no reason to go there.

Here are the magic words that made a Wednesday in May wonderful:

Maia Luxury Resort and Spa

Seychelles has a few 5 Star+ resorts and Maia is the jewel in the crown. Award-winning and consistently listed as one of the best hotels in the world by every globally recognized travel publication and tourism organization, it is beautiful with attention paid to every detail and an atmosphere of peaceful exclusivity.


Maia Attention to Detail

The hotel serves only its guests, so opportunities to luxuriate in Maia environs are rare for most people in Seychelles. I, however, am not most people. (Okay … most days I am very much ‘most people’, but today I was special.)

Here’s how my Wednesday unfolded:

After dropping the kids for their trip to school at 6:15, I returned home for coffee, yogurt and a bit of work. I then drove the 15 or so minutes to Maia where I pulled up at the gate, flashed a smile, and was admitted … after the security guy made a phone call.

I was greeted in the Welcome Pavilion by the gracious Mr. Georges, a manager of long standing with Maia, who escorted me to the Maia Spa where I was served cool juice as my feet soaked in scented water and I was asked to choose from a selection of heavenly oils, then led to an amazingly comfy message bed.

For the next hour I was pampered and pummeled in equal measure, a most pleasurable experience I could easily live with as a daily occurrence.

That done, I was slightly rearranged as it was my face’s turn to be gently indulged for another hour in ways I’m sure took a year or three off this old visage.

Soon after deciding I was NEVER leaving, I was served the most delicious chilled glass of juices I’ve ever tasted and a bowl of fresh fruits … kiwi, melon, pineapple, etc. … in a lovely alcove surrounded by garden and water and bird calls.


After-pamper refreshment … Maia Style

I may not have left if champaign and sashimi with great company had not been on offer, but it was, so I did.

Many thanks to Maia’s General Manager, Ernst Ludik, and to Georges Gravé for the day and the terrific conversation.

I’d be very happy to do this day again …


Champers and Mimosa …

“Like” Maia on facebook to see more …

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ImageHave I mentioned the ghost sitting on my roof?

Apparently … or is that apparitionalyly? … it’s just Sydney, my dead neighbor. Not that anyone has ever actually seen a wispy version of a long-departed guy perching near my rain gutter, but that hasn’t stopped the story from spreading from Anse Soleil to Baie Lazare like an invasive creeper.

Like many islands and much of Africa, Seychelles, being an island AND African, enjoys a casual familiarity with ghosts and gris gris. Although steps are routinely taken to keep the number of zombies (locally known as ‘dandotia‘ to a minimum, it seems there are few effective methods for keeping the wraiths away. Believe me, if I could find a spell that would convince the people around here that disembodied Sydney had moved on to a more comfy spot than my hot tin roof, I would put it to use. Not that I’m much bothered by the idea of a rooftop phantom neighbor, but the kankan makes it difficult to find someone willing to walk down my road to cut my grass.

Although it seems silly … and it’s been no few times I’ve watched people scoff with horror attempting a skepticism they so don’t feel … far be it from me to insist on a non-existence of spirit beings. Heck, for all I know we’re surrounded by them all the time, just as we go through life unaware (thankfully) of all the mites, viruses, bacteria and such that inhabit everything and take every opportunity to become one with us. Not to say I believe we die and turn to dust mites, although that is more likely than growing wings and strumming harps given decomposition and all, as the idea of Sydney morphing into millions of tiny bits that could infest my mattress is just too gross to consider. Perceiving the unseen, the unknown and the unknowable may or may not be within the realm of human potential. ESP and other notions of connections with a higher consciousness have been debated for centuries, so who am I to point a finger and laugh?

Someone whose grass needs cutting, that’s who.

And, yes, I am keeping with the date theme that started with May the 4th (be with you), but may have to shift gears as the month goes on. Tomorrow, however, I will be spending the day in 7th Heaven, so watch this space.

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History is a cyclic poem written by Time upon the memories of man. <

                                                                    ~Percy Bysshe Shelley


Yesterday, the fourth was with us. Today, the revenge of the fifth, but aside from that almost sad reach for the Star(Wars) and being rather fun to say, ‘fifth’  looks weird and is fun to say.


Try it:

Fifth, fifth, fifth, fifth, fifth.


Dribbling yet?


Historically, the Cinco de Mayo has more going for it than jokes about BestFoods in a basin and a colorful Mexican holiday. 


In actual fact, the condiment, like the Irish county, is pronounced “mā-ō”, and the holiday originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. (Mexico’s Independence Day is el dieciseis de septiembre … much harder to convert into a photo meme.)


It was on the 5th of May in 1862 the Mexican forces loyal to Benito Juarez defeated troops sent by Napoleon III in the Battle of Puebla. Coincidentally, it was also on a 5th of May, in 1821, that Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile on the island of St. Helena, so we might say that el cinco de Mayo doesn’t sound so good in French.


Also on this day the 13th Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery (1865), Jesse Owens set the long jump record (1935), Holland and Denmark were liberated from the Nazis (1945), Alan Shepard became the first American in space (1961) and Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, John B. Stetson (the hat guy) and Michael Palin were born.


Funny thing about dates … 


They’re arbitrary, not real things in any real way … as Einstein said: an illusion.


“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”  

                                              ~ Albert Einstein


When the earth was flat and lives were shorter, chariots were sometimes thought to be the vehicles of the rising sun, yet now we’re on a globe NOT at the center of the universe … but what’s a couple of thousand years in the grand scheme? Not even an eye blink.


But how else are we puny humans, chained as we are to our biological forms and reliant on biochemical actions and reactions, to sort out our perception of the world around us?


Imagine the confusion if every 5th of May Napoleon Bonaparte died at the same time the 3rd Napoleon got his ass kicked in Mexico! Sacré blue! The French would never stand for such a thing.


“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” 

                                                                               ~ Albert Einstein



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On a warm morning in May of1980 I was living in Sacramento, California. My kids were 11 and 9 at the time. (The same ages Sam and Cj are now.) Because I considered it a prime duty to raise them right, I kept them out of school, knowing the experience gained that day would resonate for decades longer than a lesson in long division.


The day grew hotter as we stood in a very long line for a very long time, but we’d prepared well, had plenty of water and no shortage of amusement in the queue.


The venue was the Century Complex. The event, the first showing of “The Empire Strikes Back”.


The film, of course, was brilliant. It introduced us to Yoda and we exited with our heads full of deep meaning, confusion and lines that within days had been grafted on to daily conversation.


“THAT is why you fail.”


“There is no try.”


“Luke! It’s a trap!”


“I love you.” “I know.”


My brother was in New York, so had seen the movie a few hours before the time had come on the west coast. He’s a ‘no spoiler’ kind of guy, so kept mum, but was chomping at the bit to share the experience and waiting by the phone for a call from us to rehash what we’d just seen.


New York audiences, being a bit more elaborate in their reactions, were not holding back, and my bro was most impressed with the reaction to the penultimate scene:


<Darth Vader: No, I am your father.




There was about an hour of long distance back-and-forth over what various plot twists and hints might mean for the next installment … Who did Yoda mean when he told what was left of Obi Wan, “… there is another”? Was Vader lying? Would Lando and Chewy find Han? Would they someday be making “Han Solo-incased-in-carbonite coffee tables”?</a> (Okay, that one didn’t occur to any of us until decades later.)


Yes, all those questions were answered in a follow-up that included Ewoks, but it took some time for that to happen. In between that then and the then that was walking out of the movie on that day in May made movie-making history and changed the culture of imagination forever.


That is why on this day, I say:

May the 4th be with you …


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Yep. I’m still here. Back-in-the-saddle

I won’t lie; it’s not been an easy few years, but I continue to survive. The process of reading back over old posts has brought back much of the journey I’ve been wandering and I have to admit I’m glad I wrote at least a bit about some of the shit-filled puddles I’ve slogged through. It serves to remind me that I can … survive, that is … and to appreciate the far clearer, far cleaner path I now tread.

Gone are the dregs of ex-husbands, Latino musicians and other unpleasant tastes that lingered. Old friends are still with me and wonderful new people are now enriching my life in unexpected ways.

To catch you up a bit, I’m fine. The kids are great and much bigger than they used to be. They continue to be wonderful, smart, funny, kind, caring and gorgeous and I continue to be blessed by the gift that is them.

I have been working, but most of the writing done has been for other people with the wisdom to understand their own lack of skill … and for dosh, of course. Social media management has kept me busy and up-to-date on many things I might have otherwise missed, and two new clients are such a joy to work with that I may never stop.

As some may know, I had another radio gig. It was a hoot and I enjoyed the people I worked with, but the station could only afford me for a while.

And, yes, I am still in Seychelles.

The country has changed a lot over the years. There are now real supermarkets and more than one traffic light, but still no fast food franchises, thankfully. The Internet is faster and more reliable, but expensive and still nowhere near ‘real world’ speed. There are more hotels and ginormous houses, more private jets flying in, more humongous yachts. Heroin is taking a toll on those too stupid to understand its consequences, so crime is up. Almost everyone has a smart phone and most houses are hooked up to sat TV. In other words, like just about everywhere else in the world.

In the wider world adoption has become less an option for children in many countries. As the rich get richer Pearl S. Buck’s account of the effects of that become ever more worrying. The USA has apparently become the country of the greedy and the stupid, the world’s religions are getting progressively more desperate and middle ground seems to be vanishing on all fronts.

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Back on the air …

Back on the air …

After some years, I have a new radio gig. It’s live streamed, so international listeners can tune in via purefm.sc … and I do take requests.


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Years come and go and like with many that have rolled around lately this year I can’t tell which I dislike the most: the coming or the going.

New Year’s Eve is a turning point and I can almost not remember the last time I didn’t spend a portion of the event not engaging in an internal debate over what was more depressing — the year I just went through or the one I’m facing. (I know that’s a lot of negatives, but ’tis the season … )

Since none of my children died in 2011, it certainly wasn’t the worst I’ve seen, but there wasn’t much else to rejoice over. For the most part it’s been a 365-day slog with far-too-regular, far-too-often-futile attempts at dodging incoming shit asteroids.

Yep. So much like last year that I could just repost the blog I wrote as 2010 closed out, but I’m just that much older and that much more jaded, so less inclined to end on the up-note I managed then.

One more year of the disappointment parade has me beat to a pulp. Having managed to whip up anticipation of breakthroughs and opportunities to grab a brass ring or two, in retrospect I have to wonder how any glimmer of optimism ever managed to reflect off dreary, dull surfaces in the first place. How flickers of hope appeared in such soggy, dismal ground is a mystery.

I know. I know. New beginnings … anything’s possible … if I set my mind to it … blah, blah, blah … or as Anne Lamott put it: Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.

Experience, however, has me turn more toward Nietzshe when it comes to hope:

In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man’s torments.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Since my dawns are usually accompanied by anxiety, dread and a case of the shakes that lets me know I am, indeed, awake, if I were to hold some hope somewhere I would like it to take more the shape of a good night’s sleep, and prolonging torments sounds less constructive than admitting defeat.

I’m tired, you see: tired of working my ass off for zero return; tired of trying to mold a world around me that refuses to go anything but pear-shaped; tired of convincing myself a better day is in the making only to take another load of shit to the head; tired of pretending there’s anything within my control to change for the positive. Tired to the point of no longer being able to work up a head of steam or care enough about anything to form an opinion worth writing about.

Plans turn to dust at my feet, so I now just duck and cover as best I can while working on a “don’t give a shit” stance that might at least allow me to keep standing between hits. It’s not a case of damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t because there’s little I have options to either do or don’t do.

One thing I can and do do is try to find the lessons in this life and own up to my role in my demise. No doubt about it, I’ve made some crappy choices, been too harsh, too opinionated, too defensive. I’ve neglected relationships that should have been cultivated and cultivated some that didn’t deserve the efforts. I have a sharp tongue that defensively masks a damaged heart and forces distance that would be better bridged. I harbor resentments and forget nothing, so carry toxins and use them as excuses. Although generous with joy, I am selfish with misery, a trait that is a setup for loneliness. I am intolerant, short-fused and overly-impressed with my propensity to be right.

Dwelling on my faults, as active a venture as that is, does little to give hope, however, as I don’t see the basic me changing much in the time I have left. I do my best to practice kindness, to contribute in positive ways, to keep my fucking mouth shut, but am nonetheless still subject to the knee-jerk reflexes of a lifetime.

Of course, it’s not all bad. Sam and Cj keep me going, giving good reason to get up, get moving and put on a happy face. They keep me laughing on the outside as I agonize over how to keep them motivated, happy and secure, pay their school fees, provide for their futures and answer all the questions I have answers to as Mark disappears into his new life and adds to their long list of losses. They are what make regrets impossible and my constant reminder that things do happen for a reason.

Looking backward down my path, it does all make sense, one-thing-leading-to-another-to-another-to-here, and there’s not one thing I would change as I’d fear altering the present reality. But that doesn’t mean this reality is any less sucky on a day-to-day, year-by-year basis or that I’m any less tired or scared or worried.

Any more questions on why I haven’t been writing here much? Whiny poor-me-life-sucks posts bore the shit out of me, especially when they’re written by me, and since I have little else to say I’m shutting up as I’m shutting down.

If I had hope left, I’d pump it up about now, grab at my disintegrated bootstraps and yank. As it is, however, I’ll keep an eye out for a set of jangling keys to divert me from my funk and call that ringing in the New Year.

As for hope, this is about the best I can do …

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
~T.S. Eliot

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Nope. Not Kansas …

I’ve been trying to post this for almost 3 weeks … sigh …

Joan of Arc and John the Baptist stopped by today. They were on their way to visit Elvis over by the Bay of Blue Chickens, so were in the neighborhood. Instead of pulling up in their old Sunny, they’d rented a saloon from Arctic Car Hire, filled the boot with Seybrews, a couple of PETs of windowlene, a bottle of Beach House for me and a bourgeois for the grill.

On the way down, they’d stopped by the “Special Fresh Frozen Ice” place, hoping to load the eski, but all they had today was delo so, so the drinks weren’t chilled. No matter. They were wet.

The gang had been hoping to include Tony and David, but not knowing their real names (Paul and Larry, respectively), they got only puzzled looks when asking directions to the right lakaz.

Joan of Arc, the sweet ball of my friend Helmut, is married to an Angus and for short goes by Joan of Arc. John the Baptist is her half-brother, married to her half-sister on the other side, Mary Snow, which does not make her Mary Snow the Baptist because that’s his first name.

Elvis works for an Internet company named after nuts and lives with a twin called Silvie whose sister’s name is Silvia. They have a son dubbed Rolly, which is pronounce “Wally” and a daughter they called Paloma … emphasis on the ‘Pal’.

It was a lovely day, most enjoyable … lots of talk about fish, the weather, sex and the doings of everyone we know … right up to the time they started discussing politics. That stuff’s just confusing no matter where you are, but trying to explain Michele Bachmann took the conversation to a totally different level!

Ah … island life …

None of this story is true. All of it could be.

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Wazzup …

Kids are on school holidays.

It’s April, the hottest month in Seychelles.

The sea is as calm as a pond and crystal clear.

My Internet connection is driving me mad.

Just four of the reasons I’m not blathering here. Enjoy the peace …

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