Tuesday, Bloody Navvy

Today is a day of celebration for me. My doc rang with the results of my biopsy and they are clear, no issues noted and no cancer cells identified. This is just such a relief! Another area of relief is that if I have any other issues a hysterectomy is not the primary option for resolution – we will try hormones or other approaches first. I have been worried about the risk of a major op and the ability to take that much time off as I have no sick leave or holidays left, so it would be unpaid.

Today is also Friday and it has been a long week…so I am looking forward to hanging out with the family and spending some time with my husband who has been away for what seems like months.

As always, as soon as he goes chaos ensues. It was just me and the girls maintaining the house, dogs, cats and everything else and we were coping pretty well, taking turns with the animals’ morning feeds, evening feeds, walking and of course the shopping and cooking of dinner for the humans.

On Tuesday night I get a frantic message from Lily that she had arrived home to find Navajo covered in blood, the paving covered in blood and she panicked. Her thoughts were that maybe we had an attempted break in and Nav was either injured or was wearing the criminals’ blood as an overcoat. This was because we had a broken gate at the back, we later decided was from the crazy assed wind storm we had the previous night. Her other thought was that maybe Nav had eaten one of the other animals. So she did a head count and all were accounted for, so she figured it had to be his blood, but she could not find any injuries. She let him into the house to try and determine his injuries but all this did was allow him to run around frantically and shake his blood frothed mouth and sprinkle blood everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
BloodyNav

Luckily Caitlin arrived home and the 2 girls decided they needed to take him to the vet as they could not get the bleeding to stop. Apparently when the girls arrived at the vet they would not let them come in through reception as Navajo was so bloody, they took him back round the trade entrance. (Trade?! Do they KNOW his owner has an MBE? Hahaha)

The vets could not control Nav and gave him an injection to knock him out and sutured his wee tongue. The girls brought him home at the same time I arrived home and when they opened the door Nav jumped out but when he hit the ground he did a crablike stagger off into the bushes and then just collapsed. He weighs about 40kgs & it took both of the strong young vets to lift him so we had no hope of lifting him.

It took over an hour of scrubbing to get up the blood, but the next day Cordelia spent hours scrubbing as well so my cleaning skills obviously leave a lot to be desired.

Nav finally got a bit more stable and staggered into the lounge to lie on his bed, but he was pretty out of it until the point we all went to bed. The next day he was back to his normal naughty self, amazing how animals don’t hold onto all of that ‘stuff’ that we humans hold onto. An animal does not know it ‘should’ be sore or that it had a bad day the previous day, they see each day as new.

And that is a lesson a lot of us ‘intelligent’ beings could learn from.

Party to the Mex

I had my minor procedure last Wednesday. I was such a bag of nerves and in a state of panic. Luckily I had Lily with me to distract me with silliness like photos.

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When we arrived at the clinic it was raining and we had to park miles away. But as we started trotting in, a little golf cart appeared with covered sides to drive us to the entrance.
It was like Disneyland meets Gray’s Anatomy and made us giggle like mad.

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There was an emergency C-section so I was bumped back and only went to theatre at about 5.30pm so I was starving!

I must have looked very scared cos people kept coming up to my bed while waiting to wheel into the operating room and telling me I looked terrible and making me breathe. Nice. Not. Lol. Anyway…..

So I woke up and got back to my room only to be told I might have to wait til 10pm to go home. But this was the same nurse who said I had to wee before I went home to “make sure my uterus worked”. Errrr, what? I didn’t bother asking if she bought her license much like most of South Africa’s taxi drivers. I just counted my blessings she wasn’t operating on me.

The girls have been great nurses and have been a huge help. They made us dinner on Thursday, my fave – tacos and lemon meringue pie. It was delicious and I felt very blessed.

I had no sick leave as I used it all with my hip op last year, so I had to take annual leave so I only took off 2 days and worked from home Friday.

Friday evening I felt well enough to go to my friend Diane’s birthday dinner. It was at what appears to be a new place called Remex. Retha and I drove all way round the city to Tableview and then we followed the directions link from their website. To our surprise it took us to Remax the estate agent!!

We managed to get there eventually and our friend Tony joined us. We had a lovely chat and lots of laughs.

The guy who was in charge seemed like he was the owner as he was very attentive. He tried to describe the dishes to me but I told him I have been to Mexico many times and know what it is supposed to be like, and after chatting we ordered. Unfortunately he got confused and thought I ordered chimichangas and delivered these but there was no drama when I told him I wanted enchiladas. He even brought me a sample of the chilli con carne and the chicken so I could test them!

The chilli poppers were ok. I felt like maybe they needed to cook a wee bit more but they were ok. It was too dark for pics, so you gotta take my word for these things.

The enchilada was good, the chicken filling was nice and chunky and spicy. It came with sour cream, chopped tomato and home made guacamole. Most restaurants these days seem to use that prepackaged crap which is revolting and has a horrid bitter aftertaste from the chemicals required to stop it going that funky rotten avo colour. Bleh!

If I lived in Table view I would definitely go back there, they have a nice vibe about the staff, they want to make you happy.

I was disappointed that they ran out of churros and even more so that they didn’t make their own.

But we still had a laugh, and that was our main objective.

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Not So Easy E’s

Sunday was Mother’s Day in SA and the USA. Norm was working and my son was in Plett for a wedding and Josh was enroute home to George, so it was just me and my daughters who were around. I had booked Cheyne’s for lunch as I have not been in a few months and was very keen on going back. As my girls are still at Uni I can’t expect them to pay for it so if I am paying I might as well please myself, so I took it upon myself to make a booking.

The morning was relaxing, I had a late lie in and Lily brought me coffee in bed and made me toast and my girls bought me a stunning pair of amethyst and silver earrings so I felt very spoiled.

We arrived at Cheyne’s ready for a feast!
me girls
We debated how to approach ordering – do we just each choose a dish of our preference and keep to that or do we get some things for the table to share, tapas style? We decided on the share option and we ordered 3 plates to share for our 1st course.

We went for the following dishes for round 1:
PAN FRIED PEPPER PRAWNS, SHIITAKE MUSHROOM, GINGER AND LIME SYRUP
prawns

This one was not my best – mostly due to the strong taste of ginger on the shitake mushrooms. The girls loved it but ginger is too intense for my delicate wee taste buds :-).

The SEA FIRECRACKER CRAYFISH, RED DRAGON SAUCE, GARLIC CHIVE QP, SHUMAI DIPPING SAUCE and last but certainly not least, my fave seafood ever, the PAN FRIED SCALLOPS, GREEN CHILLI PUREE, RED PEPPER KIMCHI, FENNEL.
scallops crayfish

I adore scallops and they are so seldom on the menu in SA, these did not disappoint. They were very tender and tasted just slightly of the sea as they should. The crayfish is always one of my picks on Cheyne’s menu when available. There is little which can top a nice fresh crayfish. That is similar to a lobster for you yanks. One would think what a waste to tempura a crayfish tail but they would be wrong.

We then had a break to digest and had quite a debate about the next round of dishes as we all adored the crayfish so much we considered having another dish of it for round 2. Caitlin was not too keen on the chilli in the beef dish so we decided on 2 vegetable dishes: potato and coconut dumplings and the aubergine tempura as well as the meat dishes. We had ordered several dishes and then had a little discussion mid-order which left the waiter confused, but we were happy with what we ended up with and we were charged for what we were served, so it’s all good.

We had the 48HR BEEF SHORTRIB, STAR ANISE MASTER STOCK, POTATO CREAM.
shortrib

I remembered the short rib from our 1st visit to Cheyne’s and so I was very keen on trying it again. The name to me is a bit off putting and I would never have chosen it otherwise, this is one of the dishes I struggled to convince the girls to try but we all loved it. The beef is so tender and full of rich flavours. It literally falls apart it is so tender. It was served with what us common folk would call mash. Cheyne called it ‘potato cream’ which has triggered off ‘Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off’ to be bouncing round my head in a continual loop. (You know the one, the potato, potahtoh song). The flavours of the stock were divine and we all liberally poured it over a variety of things (see what I mean about getting a bit cavalier with the combinations after Cheyne had most likely spent ages finding the perfect taste mix). My view is that everything is better with gravy. Or tempura batter. But not both, that would just be silly.

The other main was the MUMBAI CHILLI BEEF, CARDAMOM, GINGER, TOASTED COCONUT FLAKES,
chili beef

Lily and I have a favourite Chinese dish, often it is called Szechuan beef. This version had less of the crispy hardness that sometimes occurs when they overfry it. It was tender, spicy, and moist. The flavours were just so amazing. We all loved this dish.

And we rounded out that course with the previously mentioned vegetable dishes:
POTATO AND COCONUT DEEP FRIED DUMPLINGS, HOT AND SOUR COCONUT CREAM and the AUBERGINE TEMPURA, GREEK YOGHURT, LOCAL HONEY, TORN BASIL.
auberginedumplings

Those dumplings are now one of my favourite things I have ever eaten. It is almost donut like in texture except fluffier and lighter. The outside was perfectly crispy and the inside was like a little coconutty cloud of heaven. The sauce for dipping it in was the perfect complement, slightly curry-ish, and slightly coconut and lightly creamy.

The aubergine tempura was also nice but it definitely took 2nd place to the dumplings.

For dessert we could not decide which dish to share as we were pretty full by now, so we decided to push the boat out and go for 3 – figuring it is only a bite each plate per person (ish).

We ordered the following:
• BLONDE CHOCOLATE FONDANT, MISO ICE CREAM 65
• FRIED APPLE PIE, CHILLI JAM, SOUR CREAM ICE CREAM 55
• CRISP CARAMEL BANANAS, COCONUT AND RUM SORBET 55

banana apple pievanilla choc fondant

The only problem with sharing dishes is that you end up piling it all onto one plate and maybe lose the connectedness to the source plate. So you may not be combining properly. One of the above had a substitution of peanut butter ice cream, but as I had moved everything around I am not sure which one! But as a peanut butter obsessive, I didn’t care because it was divine.

The banana dish also had a substitution of a toasted brioche base instead of whatever it was supposed to have as a base. But it was amazing! And I am very reticent about bananas within a dish – I like bananas quite a bit but only as a banana, once you heat it up it brings out the slime and no one likes slime. Except maybe snails, I assume slime is a snail aphrodisiac.

Lily loved the blonde chocolate fondant the most, I really struggled to decide but I think I preferred the banana dessert, but the combo of all 3 sliding together into one big puddle on the plate was pretty fab too.

I feel so blessed to have my girls living with me, my only wish is that Trevor was a bit closer so we could pop over to see him more often, but a 4-5 hour drive each way makes it just a bit much for a quick weekend trip.

The girls had studying to do so after I sucked down the dregs of my lovely bottle of La Motte Sauvignon Blanc we paid up and waddled off home. I had a nice quiet evening in charge of the remote so I could catch up on American Idol which everyone else in the family thinks is cheesy.

Monday was Caitlin’s birthday so we had a quick late night present session as she was going to be off with her friends when I got home that evening and didn’t want to wake at 6.30 when I go to work. I bought her some workout clothes, and a stunning dress and some other bits and pieces which she seemed to love.

Hard to believe my babies are getting so grown up. Being a woman is a challenge and getting old is definitely not for sissies. Turning into an old woman is definitely not a bag of fun either.

It is obviously a lot more fun than being 6 feet under, which I guess is the only alternative, other than trying to preserve your face with plastics and poisons. That apparently works but is not for me.

I was watching a quiz show the other night when the question came up ‘at what age does a woman become invisible?’ to which I blurted out 50. These days 40 year old women can look damned good still. My kids looked blankly at me and I tried to tell them what it is like to be invisible. My daughters (and my son for that matter) are all very beautiful. So the idea that there is a magic age when they will no longer get stared at by every weirdo in the room seemed very appealing to them. I remember being young and getting annoyed by men staring. I was once so put off by a man dining with his wife and staring at me so intently that it creeped me out. I waited until no one was looking except him and I opened up my mouth and proceeded to show him a gob full of well masticated dinner. He looked ready to retch but at least he stopped staring at me. So I do understand the girls’ desire for anonymity. But I tried to tell them that when it is gone, even though it annoys them now, they will miss it.

My darling hubby tells me almost daily that I am beautiful and that he loves me. Is it superficial or narcissistic that we all like to know that someone finds us visually appealing and maybe even desirable?

Anyway, aging is a bitch. Men look away now if you are bothered by the words ‘uterus’ or ‘hormones’ as it’s going to get uncomfortable from this point on.

Menopause can make some women crazy. I wonder if it makes the crazy ones crazier, or whether it is just a random crap shoot of luck. It makes me crazy. It makes me emotional and erratic and easy to get annoyed. Maybe annoyed isn’t a strong enough word…..enraged. That is it – the 3 E’s of menopause. Emotional, erratic and enraged. Like a trio of psychotic dwarves.

Next week I have to go into hospital for a ‘minor procedure.’ A minor procedure to me should be the equivalent of flossing your teeth, not having tubes inserted into orifices or needles impaled into any part of your flesh.

Refer to my previous blogs about my overactive imagination and you will see why I am in a bit of lather about this whole situation. But anyway…..it is only a minor procedure right?

Back to Life, Back to the Mother City

Our arrival back in the Mother City last Tuesday was met with much excitement from the animals that we had not abandoned them forever and a bit of excitement from the girls over their new onesies and other little presents.
They both look very adorable in their onesies. But I am probably a bit prejudiced.

caitonesie
lily onesie

I had just the one afternoon to get back into Cape Town mode and then was back at work on the Wednesday. Even though there is only an hour difference in time it is still an exhausting trip and I was counting down until the following weekend which luckily happened to be a 3 day weekend! The only drawback was that Norm was working as the International Triathlon Union World Series event was on at the V&A (Victoria and Alfred) Waterfront.

Saturday I went off on an excursion with my friends Retha and Pierre. We headed over Chapman’s Peak drive into the Noordhoek Farm Village and went to the Toad in the Village for a late lunch.

I was in carnivore mode and decided to try a burger. I chose the Popper Burger which is topped with 2 cheesy ham filled chilli poppers with sweet chilli sauce R90. Their burgers come with both fries and onion rings so I was a happy kitten – like most southerners if you take most things, dip them in batter and fry them and I will eat them. toad burger

The meat was delicious, I am a burger snob and cannot bear nasty grisly meat or those compressed burgers from the shops where you can use them as a spare hockey puck if required.

I will definitely go back for another meal there.

We then toddled off to the garden centre, I am looking for a fairy or angel fountain for my garden, or else a cute statue. Something like her…
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We had a look round, and both bought a few bits and pieces then we decided to have a coffee, which of course led to dessert.

We asked about their cakes, and the waiter gave a long list of all sorts of varieties, one of which was ‘lemon meringue cake’. I confirmed whether he meant cake or pie, he said definitively ‘Cake’. As I love lemon meringue pie I thought a cake of that nature was worth a try so we ordered the ‘lemon meringue cake’.
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As you can see it is just lemon meringue pie. But Oh what a pie! It was so sweet and creamy and the meringue so light. It really was divine. It was so big I could not even finish it.

Sunday I decided that I deserved a pyjama day as Norm was working and I was rather tired still so I just chilled and played games on the ipad and generally pottered about. That evening when Norm was home we ordered take away sushi. The new place in Red Sail Centre in Hout Bay does a buy 2 get 1 free offer on Sundays so we got a huge assortment of sushi for a good price and I always enjoy their sushi.

Monday was a national holiday and Norm was finally off work. We had intentions to go looking for a new car for me, but we both had major motivational issues so by the time we got out of the house it was already late afternoon. We decided just to go for a long leisurely lunch. We stopped first at my fave which is Ragafellows, but they were closed, so dejected we toddled off to find an alternative.

We decided to try for a table at Pescarne as we had heard they have a new lunch menu and wanted to try it. I didn’t realise that you can ONLY order off the lunch menu, I had assumed it was specials in addition to their existing menu. They just had a handful of items on the menu – ranging from fish and chips at R55 to a seafood platter for 1 at R159. I was keen on the crayfish curry at R139 but the waiter said it was shells and all – and I cannot see the point of eating a messy curry dish with bits of shell or bone in which either requires digging about with your fingers, or else ending up with curry all over you and the spitting out of inedible bits. Charming. Not.

So I opted for the Fish and chips. It was a rather unappetising looking piece of fish, the batter was not a solid tempura type of batter like we get in the UK, it was more of a pancake batter texture, very thin.

pescarne fish.
The first few bites were full of bones and I nearly gagged. But once I got through those first few bites there were no more bones. But there is nothing worse than taking a big bite of food and having to ferret round in your mouth for bits to expel. I think the only positive thing I can say about it is that it was well priced.

I did have a very delicious strawberry daiquiri to keep me amused.
pescarne drinks.

Norm ordered the trinchado, I had thought I was jealous until it arrived and I realised it was basically just a bowl of meat stew. No veg, no potatoes, no rice, nothing except a stale Portuguese roll. If the only side accompaniment is a bread roll then make bloody sure the bread roll is baked that day!
pescarne trinchado

I tasted the dish and was even happier I did not order it – the meat was very tough, and the sauce was very intensely flavoured. It tasted as if it was heavy with rosemary, or tea tree oil. It had a very antiseptic taste to me, really unenjoyable and overpowering. Norm was hungry and is nowhere near as fussy as me (I prefer to say I have a delicate palate rather than that I am fussy) and he ate every bite.

This visit to Pescarne was a bit of a test. I’ve blogged about several of my previous visits there. The 1st visit we had amazing food, amazing service and an amazing experience. The 2nd visit was mediocre, the 3rd was good and the 4th was good. This visit was so poor that I cannot see us going back again – there are too many excellent venues with better prices right on our doorsteps. I do not mind paying high prices for excellent food – but for average food I find it objectionable.

Quite a few people predicted that this venue would not last the winter but I was really pulling for them after my 1st visit, but a restaurant is only as good as its last meal and my last meal there was very average.

Yesterday was another public holiday and I spent it shopping with Lily. I managed to get my pressies for Caitlin’s birthday, Trevor’s birthday and Josh’s birthday so I am a very happy kitten! I hope they like them.