Candles for Kitten

On Tuesday I went to visit the staff nurse at my client to have her take my blood pressure. I had not had my BP meds that day and my BP was still within acceptable parameters (118/84). The nurse told me I should never just stop my BP meds, but then told me not to take them this week. Errr…huh? She then lectured me about glucose absorption, food metabolism & diet. She is a rather large lady who says she lives off of salad, fruit and ‘breakfast biscuits’ (which are just cookies with the word ‘breakfast’ in the title). She finished off by telling me that being menopausal I need to be careful not to lose any more so that my face doesn’t sag from the weight loss (it is obviously better to die of an obesity triggered heart attack than to not be attractive? God forbid we women don’t please the masses with our physical appearance!). What a bizarre & totally unhelpful experience, luckily I understand Banting and didn’t listen to her advice. I went to the GP later that day to discuss what I should do in a sensible manner.

I told the GP that I didn’t take my meds that day and how ill I felt lately and that I suspect it is due to low BP from taking my meds. He said I must stop the meds and monitor my BP for 4 weeks. I’m so pleased. He told me the weight loss cured my high blood pressure. He just kept saying ‘you lost a quarter of your body weight!’ I’m so glad I didn’t end up walking the path of my Dad and dead of a stroke before 50 due to obesity. I’m breaking that cycle. I love food and to me it is my reward, my celebration, my way to show love. It’s got to be looked at differently, eat when hungry and not eat sugar. Simple one would think, right?

I sent a tweet to Professor Tim Noakes who promotes the Real Meal Revolution. We had a Twitter convo where he explains that the dietary change rather than the weight loss is what resolved my blood pressure issue.



This week Norm finally went to the physio for his sore shoulder. I told him it is his neck, and indeed the physio clicked his neck, massaged his shoulder muscles,  did a bit of acupuncture and then taped Norm up.


Hopefully he has some relief as he has been very sore.

Again this week the headlines were full of people telling young women what to do, how to dress. That being themselves was not acceptable. But this is on my doorstep rather than France. Fighting in Africa to be African. That colonial repression. Pretoria Girls School pupils were protesting having to wear their hair straightened or in ‘white hair’ fashions. Not allowed to wear an African style.

They set dogs on these girls for their protests.

That would never happen with white children who protested.  

This week we were going to order our kitchen cupboards and wanted to go first to have one last look and agreed to go Thursday. If time permitted we we would also go view the  granite for the countertops. I had a back appointment and two meetings but I cancelled all in order to accommodate Norm’s schedule but he had not made plans in advance with either of the contacts to secure our appointments and so no one was available. Then he insisted I follow him on the motorway across town to see the granite, I told him the granite places were at Paarden Island and he said I was ‘ridiculous,  of course they aren’t’.

I’m visually challenged and don’t cope well with driving to places I don’t know. I am phobic about driving on the motorway since I had a woman side-swipe me. He made me follow with no clue where we were going for me only to be told we had to go to (you guessed it) Paarden Bloody Island. I wanted to garrot him with my phone charger.


I got over it, as I always do. I did sulk for a few hours first though. 

But he lived. 

Small things.

On Friday I booked a half day off in the afternoon to go and redeem the prize for a VIP tour of Klein Constantia a huge sprawling beautiful estate just over the mountain from Hout Bay. 


I won the prize on Crush Mag Online.


We were given an explanation of the different areas of the vineyard as shown via a large aerial map. Different varieties of grapes are grown in different areas depending on climate and sunlight. 


We got in the estate truck and drove to the top of the mountain. The view was spectacular even on a cloudy cold day.


We parked beside a little man made dam. 


 We popped some of the estate’s bubbly. It was crisp and dry and smooth.


It is on average 5 degrees cooler up there so we didn’t stay long. The wind was howling straight in from the sea.


We drove down the mountain and had a tour of the entire process.


We finished in the VIP wine tasting room. 

They took us through 3 Sauvignon Blancs which were all delicious. Then a Chardonnay, a Chenin blanc, 2 reds then ended with a gorgeous dessert wine. 


We were given the very special wines which aren’t usually on the pleb tasting menu. We loved our visit!

Then as we were leaving they gave me 2 huge bottles of their wines.


We had a fabulous time and I felt a bit tipsy so we stopped for a coffee at Green’s Constantia. We were naughty and had cake. I had Orange Cake.


Norm had apple crumble with berry topping.


After we left we went home to take Cordelia home and feed and walk the dogs. We were attending a mafioso themed party for our friend Andy and his twin Bennie so got ready to go out.



Everyone made a real effort at adhering to the theme.


It was such fun. The pool area was decorated so beautifully with a tent stretched over the garden.


There was a DJ.


And fake money, dice and silly mustaches to play with littered the tables.


Norm looked like John Cleese.


There were beautifully prepared finger foods being circulated. The vibe was fab. The surprise was when Travis flew in from Dubai to surprise his Dad.


It was very sweet.

My daughter Lily and her fella Josh had driven down from the Garden Route and brought my son Trevor so we didn’t stay long at the party, we came home to be with my kids.

We had a nice evening with the family. The next day on my birthday the kids and Norm spoiled me rotten! Beautiful Moroccan style lanterns, a gorgeous necklace, an orchid, birdbath and a beautiful candle holder by Carrol Boyes, one of my fave designers.


The girls fixed my Chiwara masks – the baby had broken off. I love these and they cannot be found any more. This is one of my ‘Save in a fire’ items. I actually bought them in New York when working for a buyer at a mart. She let me use her license as these cannot exchange hands without a museum or art collectors license these days. I adore them. 


That morning I received some beautiful flowers in a sweet blue vase from Amber, Trevor’s girlfriend.  They have a very sick kitty so she could not come down.


The kids had to go to the mall and brought cinnamon rolls home. Oh wow. Sugar. 

Saturday we had booked my birthday lunch at Quentin’s Oakhurst Barn for 1pm.


We were given the choice of inside the barn or out, as the patio is sheltered from the mad wind that was blowing, we chose the outside.


We settled in.


Retha joined us.


She brought a lovely present for my birthday.


We had a variety of starters. 

I had the scallops in burnt whisky butter.


Several people had the avocado ritz. Caitlin felt it needed more avocado and less Marie Rose sauce.


The kids had mussels.


Retha had the lobster bisque.


We had a lovely relaxed meal. 


And acted silly.



For our mains, 3 of us had the fillet steak but Lily ordered her steak well done and it was a bit pink, while the boys ordered medium rare and got well done.


Trevor said it was so nice a cut it didn’t really matter.

I had the prawn curry. It was quite dear at R255 but nice.


It was more Thai style than Malay but really tasty.

Retha had oxtail.


Norm had the lamb.


We decided to go full piggy and get dessert and coffees.


They were divine and worth the non-Banting slip. 

We headed home and watched movies and some of us napped. Later Wes, Caitlin’s fella, came round. He brought me a huge beautiful bunch of lilies.


Later that night we ordered pizza from Massimo’s. I had half Manuel and half Hot Latina. It was so good but I couldn’t eat it all as I had such a big lunch.


We played a few rounds of pictionary and then we played this crazy game where you each write down 10 words, then you have a variety of rounds. There is a round of 30 seconds, a round of pictionary, a round where you can only give a single word clue, one where you can only use facial expressions and not speak and one where you can only use hand puppets.


We had such a laugh. I have such fun with my crazy family. 

Today the kids went back to the Garden Route. Caitlin and I went to Muizenberg to see a new flat she is keen on buying. The traffic was very busy so we got back late to Hout Bay and Norm and I shot off to the shops. All of the cafes were already shut so we went to the Woolies coffee shop. We had a bacon and mushroom omelette with avo. 


They were exceptional. We were so pleasantly surprised. 

We did a shop then came home. We had a lazy afternoon. After our busy weekend, we deserved it. It was a stunning day.


I noticed the snippings I planted have taken root and are thriving.


This evening I made a roast chicken, roasted garlic aubergines, steamed broccoli and some spicy coleslaw so Norm and Cait had dinner and there was food for my lunch tomorrow. I dread weighing tomorrow but I’m back on the banting wagon after a free weekend of cinnamon rolls and daily cake.But for your birthday you should be able to not worry about it. As long as you pick back up after it is all fine. 

That’s the motto for life, just keep trying! 

A Different Perspective

It’s funny how my reaction to almost the exact same situation can change depending on one factor. For example, I woke at 6.45 Sunday morning. The sun was just peeking around the curtains, Norm rolled over and took my hand and Panda crept up from my feet to nestle in the crook of my body, giving my arm a little lick. I felt cosy and content with my lot in life. 

This was probably because we went to bed before 11pm so we had gotten a full nights sleep, a goal which I seldom seem to achieve. 

I average about 5-6 hours of sleep a night and this week I just felt like I’m not coping with the demands and obligations of my daily life. I had a mini meltdown and we vowed to try and go to bed earlier. Regardless of when we went to bed I still had insomnia, lying and staring at the ceiling or tickling Panda’s tummy until I even annoyed him and he shuffled off to the foot of the bed to sleep. I went to work Friday on 4 hours sleep. Friday night Norm went to bed at 11 but I was wide awake. Exhausted, yet wide awake. 

I watched a horrific show about Banaz Mahmod who was a beautiful young Kurdish Muslim girl who was a victim of an honour killing by her family. Banaz had been forced into an arranged marriage to a violent man, she left him and developed a relationship with a young man and her family felt that this brought shame on the family. Interesting that the man they chose as her husband who beat and raped her wasn’t considered shameful, but the kind young man she chose did. A very skewed perspective. The incidence of honour killings in the UK is most likely completely under-estimated, but the number of victims is still very high. As the family are the ones who commit the murders, and it’s generally the family who reports a child missing, who would report a missing victim of an honour killing? 

The news and social media have been filled with the story of the French ban on Burkinis on 15 of the French Riviera beaches.  We watched in disgust as photos emerged of the police forcing women to remove their clothing in public.

Why do men always feel that they have the right to tell women what to wear? Or what to do or say? It seems if a woman shows too much she is scandalous, if she doesn’t show enough she must be repressed! 

Image.

We won’t even begin to discuss the insanity that breast-feeding generates. What are a woman’s breasts for except to nurture a baby? If men (and unbelievably other women) are offended by this natural act then they should avert their eyes. Expecting a mother to feed her baby in a toilet stall in order to not offend you is ridiculous. 

Yet society has no issue with breasts as objects of objectification or sexual attraction. That is warped. 

My three all breastfed until the next one came into the picture. I had contractions when pregnant with Caitlin so stopped feeding Trevor. It got me into trouble on several occasions with right wing nazis. AKA the Religious Right, Alt-right, whatever you wish to brand this behavior. I was used to the laid back attitudes of my hippy friends in LA. Moving to repressed small town George on the southern coast of Africa was like stepping back in time. I had to rein it in. 

My insomnia has continued all week. Last Monday I woke to howling wind and pouring rain but was in work for 7am, trudging across the foreshore, clutching my pepper spray through the dark streets having had only a few hours sleep. I had gotten in early to prepare for our client who was coming down from Johannesburg. Except I was a week off, they arrived today, not last Monday. FML. 

We had the electricians come to move the electricity box and meter. When I was a kid it was called a ‘fuse box’ but it doesn’t have fuses, it has trip switches, so what was that about? Just another childhood “huh?” moment. The electrician moved the board from the kitchen to the garage, now we have to wait for the city of Cape Town to come move the meter. They only install prepaid meters now, and we are already on a prepaid unfortunately. It’s a pain in the arse! 

Last Tuesday night I finally got the burger I had been craving. I cooked delicious bunless burgers stuffed with thick chunks of cheddar. I fried bacon until brown and crisp, removed it from the pan then fried a thinly sliced onion in a bit of butter and coated it with the lovely bits in the pan. Once the onions were brown I moved them to the side and added the burgers. We sliced mushrooms and fried them until brown then sprinkled with cheese and cream to make a sauce. On top of the burgers was crisp lettuce and creamy avocado slices. We made sweet potato wedges to go with it and it was all delicious! 

While all of this deliciousness was being made I also made a lasagna sauce for the following night. Luckily Caitlin came home and helped.  I followed the Real Meal Revolution recipe (more or less) and fried chopped streaky bacon in a cast iron pan until brown, removed from the pan and fried a chopped onion and a gigantic red pepper in the bacon fat, then fried some mince and once done added a generous squidge of tomato paste and stirred it through lifting that lovely brown sediment at the bottom of the pan, then added passata and a tin of tomato. I left it to simmer for a few hours.

The next evening Retha came for dinner with her friend Emily who is visiting from France.


I layered the sauce I made the previous night with thinly sliced zucchini, marscapone and mozzarella. I made two rounds of the layers and baked it until brown.

I just made a simple salad with gem lettuce, avocado, cucumber, rosa tomatoes and some raw zucchini slices to go with it. 


After they left that night I lay in bed for ages unable to sleep. I was struggling to function at life by this stage. Luckily Norm kindly went and shopped and cooked a dinner of delicious pork fillets, cauliflower mash and roasted veggies for dinner. It was lovely and I felt very spoiled. 

I needed a bit of nurturing. 

Friday finally came around as it inevitably does. We were both knackered and so we just got take aways. I had delicious fish and chips from our new local chippy. It was yummy. 

That night I again couldn’t sleep. I watched 3am go past. I had to wake at 730 as my alarm went to remind me to take Pixie to the Chiro. I showered and Norm made me scrambled eggs and coffee. 

Pixie and I shot off across the mountain. 


The fog was really thick. This is a valley which stretches as far as you can see, but it was just clouds of fog! It was like being in a plane.


Pix and I were early so we had a little cuddle.


I had no makeup on but let’s not talk about that. I am never able to have normal eyes in a selfie. I either look half asleep or crazy.

Afterwards I took Pixie home and Norm took me to Retha’s. She was moving out of the house she had shared with Pierre. The house he chose to leave from. It was a significant move, packing their shared lives and deciding what to keep. Every item triggering memories for Retha.

By the time I arrived Retha’s friends were in full swing and loads had already been moved to her new cottage.


I went to the cottage and started unpacking. I managed to get the kitchen all mostly sorted and the fridge and freezer packed up before everything melted. After a very long day we all chilled out with a glass of wine. 


The view is amazing. The view is completely different from Retha and Pierre’s house, it’s from the other side of the valley. A total new perspective. I thought that quite symbolic.


There are 2 stunning horses next door who trot about the paddock right in front of her cottage. 


Or over for a peek at the new neighbour. 


Norm and I stayed there Saturday until early evening then popped home to change and went out for dinner. We decided to go to our old fave The Indian Oven. We were delighted to discover that they do cauliflower rice! Norm had that but I didn’t have it though I cheated and had basmati rice and naan bread. 

We shared the Panak paneer, spicy spinach in sauce with paneer cheese cubes. Norm had the chicken korma and I had prawn curry.


We even pushed the boat out and had some onion bhajis.


I was so happy. 


The place was packed, we got the last table and several people were turned away. It was so yummy.

We finished by 10 and came home to relax as we were so exhausted. It was a productive busy day! Sunday we wanted to have a pajama day but hunger drove us out as we had no food.

We went to The Riverway Cafe which we knew had recently been sold. The little details are what makes the entire interior so gorgeous there. 


I hope it doesn’t lose that special something Julie brings. 

We had a lovely brunch.


I had the Brekkie salad and Norm had a feta, bacon and avocado omelette with Banting bread.


It was divine. We jokingly called it the Last Breakfast. We learned when Ragafellow’s changed hands, the personal approach from the Ragavelas family was missing, the burgers went downhill, I had gristle in two visits in a row, it really annoyed Norm that they stopped the little pickles and once the attention to minutiae goes, we go. I am hoping that it isn’t true but I suspect I will have to find a new brunch fave. 

After brunch we hit the shops and then headed home. I put on a beef silverside roast in a big pot with carrots and chopped red pepper, garlic and onion and 2 tins of chopped tomato, a box of beef stock and some water. I let it simmer.

I popped out to get petrol and drove by Retha and she was all settled in already, her family had been busy! I hope she and the kitty cats settle in nicely.

Our clients arrived today and we had a day of meetings.I felt so odd for weeks now. Today was no exception. My lips were tingling. My head was thumping. I felt light headed and spaced out. I actually felt so ill I went to the staff nurse, but she wasn’t in. 

When I came home Norm took my blood pressure and it was very low. I then realized that I’ve been taking high blood pressure meds but since I lost all of this weight I may no longer have high blood pressure. So the meds are lowering it too much. 

That explains how exhausted and dizzy I have been. I thought it was my sinuses! 

Tomorrow I will go to the nurse and ask her opinion then pop by the doc if need be. 

Tonight I shredded the left over meat from last night’s beef roast and added chili powder, paprika, cumin, chilli, chopped coriander and heated through.


 I sliced a yellow pepper and an onion and fried it in butter. 


We made guacamole and chopped tomato, lettuce and more coriander. I made provolone cheese ‘shells’.


All put together like a mexican style salad. Topped with sour cream and it was so good.


Tomorrow I’m hoping my doc takes me off the meds and I start to feel normal and not so odd. Actually I will always be odd. But you know what I mean, less like I’m in a vacuum. 

Fingers crossed!

Circles of Healing

I have never considered myself artistic. Even as a child I preferred to read the names of the crayon colors and organize them into little Virgo sorted categories than to use them to create. I would rather colour in and focus on staying within the lines than to draw or paint my own picture. So how I end up in any art classes is usually by accident rather than design.

My friends Retha and Patty had attended an art class in our village which was based on something called Awakening Spirit Through Art, or ASTAR. There is more info on the process here, but in summary it is utilizing the healing power of art made in an atmosphere of total acceptance, using a variety of methods to help adults to let go of fear and judgement and to bypass the analytical mind to enable free authentic expression. Retha showed me her pieces and I instantly signed up. 

Retha and I attended the class yesterday and I loved it. It was in a stunning, bright studio in Celeste’s gorgeous home here in Hout Bay and there were about 10 women attending this week. There is a different ‘theme’ each class, the theme for this class was circles. We were each given a large circle of paper.

We started out with Celeste the instructor showing us how to use the various mediums.


There were lots of different bits and pieces to play with, from fabric, beads, paper, seashells, sand, glitter, paints, dyes, washes, crayons & pastels to all manner of things to explore.


We were asked to choose a seat, each seat had been set up with various tools. Celeste then asked us to close our eyes and she grounded us and took us through a visualization to a past memory. She took us to the age of 5 years old, which to me was a time of great, deep emotional pain and trauma. I could not land on a happy memory. My mind has shut out so much of my childhood at that age. She then took us to a place in our memory where we were ‘creating’ something and my memory leapt forward and settled on a painting class I had attended when I first moved to South Africa 24 years ago. That was my memory.

I didn’t think or let my mind get in the way of the creative process. I just picked up a pastel and started. We filled in the inner circle.


I used paper, pastels, dye, feathers, dried flowers and paint. I’ve only now recognized that the dried Bougainvillea was the same plant we had growing on the wall of the house I lived in when I moved to George.


We then had a tea break and were served muffins, cheese and drinks. As Norm had so kindly made me cheesy scrambled eggs and bacon that morning before I left I only had a coffee. 

We then had to blindly choose a card turned face down from a tray. Mine was the perfect message for an analytical Virgo.


Nothing is a coincidence.

We then settled back into completing the outside circle of our piece. I used a white feather to represent my Cherokee ancestors, the Guinea fowl feather is for my present African existence. Kalahari sand for Africa, with a flower above each to represent my grandmother and the many hours spent digging in Georgia dirt planting the flowers she dearly loved.

I really did succeed in not using my concious mind, I just let it all evolve organically. When we finished we stuck them up on the wall and we all had to say one positive thing that we liked about our piece. We were asked to say nothing about our other fellow attendee’s art. 


When it was my turn, I said that I was pleased with how it represents my life coming full circle. My original Cherokee roots speaking to my newer African roots. The Native to Native common thread. 

We will attend a follow up class in a few weeks, but I really enjoyed it and would recommend it. I give it a 5 Kitten stars rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. 

After we finished I went round to Retha’s place for a bit then she dropped me home. Norm and I watched the Olympic triathlon event then later we had a date night as Caitlin is away in George for a baby shower.

We went to Constantia village as we fancied Japanese food, only to discover that where the Japanese restaurant used to be is now another branch of Raj which is an Indian food restaurant. I’ve not heard great things about them and they were pretty empty so we went to Primi Piatti. We were pleasantly surprised to discover they had enlarged their offerings to include Low Carb options! We got off to a rough start as we were served sparkling water rather than still and the cocktail I ordered was basically a glass of frozen ice.

As a starter Norm ordered the salad caprese, but the waiter heard ‘Greek salad’. Never mind, Norm seemed to enjoy it.

I ordered the Caesar Lettuce Wraps at R65. Baby cos leaves filled with crispy bacon & grilled chicken; topped with boiled eggs, croutons, anchovy, pecorino shavings & Caesar dressing. Served with garlic-rubbed crostini which I didn’t eat. The rest was Banting friendly, other than the salad dressing.


I really enjoyed that starter, I ate every bite other than the ciabatta!

For his main Norm chose the fillet steak with mushroom sauce and had cauliflower mash to accompany it, it is called the Filletto al funghi: Flame-grilled beef fillet tournedos, served sliced with a mushroom, green peppercorn, brandy & mustard sauce at R175. It was massive and he loved it. 

I had my fave dish which is non-Banting but as I had minimal carbs all day I wasn’t bothered. It was the CHICKEN CAMPAGNOLA: Scallops of chicken sautéed in garlic, mustard, mushrooms, rosemary, white wine & cream. Served with linguine & roasted vegetables on the side.


The veg arrived separately so Norm and I shared those. I detest rosemary and picked that out when I spotted it. But it was all very yummy.

We had a lovely romantic evening then headed back to Hout Bay.

We are so pleased that so many restaurants in Cape Town are offering Low Carb High Fat options, here is the Eatout list of venues. 

We tried the Col’Cacchio low carb menu on Friday as Norm was in the city for a meeting and we met for a cheeky weekday lunch. They have lots of options.


We both ordered the Chicken Parmigiana on zoodles, the Verde Rosso.


It was so delicious and guilt free. I love zucchini noodles!

We had a hectic week, I’ve been assigned to project manage a new project so I produced my initial deliverables and got as organized as I can prior to the commercials being in place. My Mom went home from the hospital after her accident and is hopefully working towards her goal of coming to SA in October. 

The goodies I ordered from Mr Price Home arrived and I put them out in the lounge.


We have had the full range of weather this week from hot days, pouring rain and wind to the expected norm for August of cold winter days. We had a stunning full moon on Thursday which was still visible while driving into work Friday morning.


Image credit.

This week I was notified that I won a bottle of wine, a tour and wine tasting at Klein Constantia, a local vineyard. I won a competition on Crush.


As it’s my birthday in a few weeks I think I will book it for that weekend.

The Olympics closing ceremony is tonight, it’s been a week of watching all manner of sports. I cheer on all my countries, the US, South Africa, and Great Britain. My Brit husband Norman was involved in the Olympics in 1988 and 2000 and is rejoicing in the high medal count that GB has achieved.

This has been South Africa’s biggest medal count since they were accepted back into the Olympics in 1992. A lot of controversy has surrounded Caster Samenya and her gender. Caster took gold in the 800 meters and had a social media campaign launched in support of her. #HandsOffCaster 

Trying to say that her genetics give her an unfair advantage is no different than saying that a very tall athlete has an advantage in the high jump. Or would be the same if 1.96 meter (6’5″) tall Mahama Cho called foul because he struggled to compete in the Tae Kwondo match against 2.0 meter (6′ 7″) Azerbaijan’s Radik Isaev. 

Today the weather is abysmal, we have spent the day in bed with the doggies watching the Olympic events we missed. 

I’m going to venture out of bed now to make some brunch. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. ❤️

Laughing Virgo, Hidden Satire

It takes a lot to entertain a Virgo. We are difficult customers in general due to our high standards. These are the same standards to which we hold ourselves, so to us that’s fair.

I’ve learned to try and bite my tongue and just accept a plate of food or a cup of coffee but the Virgo need for continuous improvement is hard to suppress. I hear my inner Virgo burst out in a Tourette’s type style with things like: ‘so is this one or two shots of coffee’ and ‘did you fry the sprouts in butter after you par-boiled them’. I annoy even myself.

Hence my worry that the stress I was feeling Wednesday over my Mom’s accident would cause me to have my usual jaded approach to the evening of comedy we had been invited to attend by the lovely Letishia from Queen Bee Marketing. It was in honour of Women’s Month.


 I had also gone back to work that day after 4 days off, so I was tired. However I’m the sort that does my best to not let my friends down so I ran home and changed and quickly freshened up and Retha collected Caitlin and I and we all set off to The Cape Town Comedy Club


As we arrived I received a message that my mom was out of surgery and was going to a regular room rather than ICU. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I welcomed that drink! 


We had some delicious platters, pizza, chicken wings, chili poppers, calamari, chips, cold meats, cheese and breads. It was all delicious!


We had such a laugh! The comedians were hilarious and emcee Tracy Klass had me wetting my menopausal pants with her between set bits. 


Of the comedians I really enjoyed Shimmy Isaacs and the guest Riaad Moosa was hilarious. They both had a bit of American piss taking in their routine which I could relate to. Trying to communicate in a country with a shit load of official languages can be a challenge!


We had a great night.



That night I struggled to sleep, I had just enough to drink that I had that feeling of hyper-awareness where you are incredibly concious of the existence of your arms and can’t remember where you normally put them when you sleep. I couldn’t get comfy. As a result I was finished at work the next day. But it was worth it.

Thursday we had a client workshop at Century City which finished after 4 and I was meeting Vanessa at my house for my pedicure at 5 so had a race to get to Hout Bay but just made it on time! 

After Vanessa left I made dinner, chicken breasts stuffed with goats cheese and wrapped in bacon.


To accompany I steamed broccoli, boiled gem squash and fried mushrooms in garlic and butter. It was divine! 

I also made the sauce for a Banting cottage pie for the following day. Friday evening Caitlin had Annie round and Lily and Josh arrived as well so there were 6 of us for dinner. I made cheesy, creamy, chorizo sauce with normal pasta for the non-banters as well as garlic bread. Annie arrived with spinach cannelloni so we had tons of food. We had a lovely evening. I love having my girls home, I just missed Trevor and Amber. They were literally fighting fires in Wilderness as the mountain and vlei near them caught light.


The wind was howling and it spread rapidly, destroying 4 homes and loads of vegetation.



Images via George Herald.
I feel so grateful for my son and DIL’s home being spared as this is a pic of their road. The black charred area in the last pic above is the nature reserve across from their home.

I feel so heart sore for the 4 families who have lost their homes and the animals who might have died in the veld.

Saturday we had a slovenly morning in bed, then went to check out a few different suppliers of sinks and taps and other bits for our upcoming kitchen remodeling project. The kids were all out so we didn’t have any responsibilities that evening. 

We stopped at Green’s Constantia on our way home that afternoon for a coffee and a naughty non-Banting slice of lemon cheesecake. It was light and not too tart and really divine. We stopped off at Retha’s house and then headed home. That night we contemplated going out but it was pouring rain and howling wind and decided to rather get meze from Spiro’s instead. We shared chicken, crispy squid, grilled halloumi, salad, tzaziki and zucchini ribbons grilled in butter. Healthy and reasonably low carb. We watched a bit of the Olympics. 


Silly Lola kitty.

I did a bit of online shopping at Mr Price and got some bits to tart up my lounge. A few more of the cushions I recently bought, an ottoman and some throws. 


Yes more throws.

The bright red throws I recently bought are just too red.


Last night I translated my weight loss so far into pounds and realized I had lost almost 50 pounds! I grew up thinking in pounds and now that my world is in kilos it’s difficult to be bilingual. I didn’t really set goals when we started this lifestyle, I decided to let my body find its balance. I had remarked that if I lost 50 lbs it would put me back pretty close to the weight I was when I met Norm almost 20 years ago but at 53 years of age, in a menopausal, non-exercising body that seemed unrealistic so I said that if I lost 25 lbs I would be happy. As my scales are in kilos I hadn’t thought about that goal, so it was a bit of a shock to me! 

I feel very proud of my determination and efforts. 

I feel like I am 20 years younger! 

Patience for the Patient

I worked last week’s public holiday so that this weekend I had a 4 day weekend but it has been far from relaxing.

I woke on Monday to messages from my mom’s friend’s daughter that my Mom’s car had been hit by a girl who ran a red light. 

Mom has very bad osteoporosis so the airbags have shattered her sternum and 7 of her ribs.

They have moved her to a trauma center in Atlanta. This means that the trauma must require specialists. It’s so hard being so far away and unable to see her myself. Mom is booked to fly to South Africa in October for 3 weeks. But that is only 8 weeks away and I so hope she is able to travel by then. She has been looking forward to it for so long, as have the children and I.

She is having a plate put in to secure her chest. The function of your rib cage and sternum is to protect your heart and organs from damage. I’m so freaked about the thought of her having an op. As a former radiographer I have just enough medical knowledge to terrify me.

We got rid of our landline so we are ringing international mobile to mobile. It’s all so stressful not being able to connect when I want and hear her voice. She left the cutest voice message. 

Today we have been in limbo waiting to hear about the op, communication is further complicated by the time difference.

Monday we had a load of errands to run but first I met the book club girls for Dawny’s birthday breakfast. We went to La Cuccina for breakfast. I had the poached eggs with grilled asparagus, grated Parmesan and mint. I didn’t notice mint on the description as I detest mint. 


Mint has strong properties in the spiritual realm. 

After breakfast Norm collected me and off we went to check kitchens at a place on the other side of town. We are waiting on their quote. We searched for a unit for our lounge with no success and bought some throws for the couch and some mix and match linens.


Two duvet covers, 4 sheets and 2 sets of pillow cases which will all match my existing bedding. 

Caitlin stopped at the shops for dinner for us and I quickly threw it together when she got home. I steamed baby broccoli, soft boiled an egg, made a salad and we had smoked salmon, cream fraiche and smoked mussels. I also cooked pecorino cheese til crispy to make ‘crackers’. 

Today I was supposed to attend a self defense course but my head was all over the place. 

Norm made me breakfast for Women’s Day, cheesy scrambled eggs, special thinly sliced pork belly, avo and tomato.


Later today Norm had to go to the garden center so I tagged along to keep my mind occupied. 

We had a coffee and a walk about, then bought some ground cover plants for the garden. 

I’m back at work tomorrow and then tomorrow night we are at an event for Women’s Month at the Comedy Club, goodness knows I could use a laugh! 

Please send positive energy for my Mom. 

The Stench of Corruption

Wednesday was voting day for the local elections in South Africa. The election results were brilliant at highlighting that the ANC is losing their stronghold on the masses. This wasn’t the final figs shown below as the ANC did hold onto Joburg. I just couldn’t find a better graphic.


The EFF did brilliantly as newcomers to the political arena and I suspect will continue to rally support by those disallusioned with the ANC’s corruption and self-serving manner.

The DA maintained their hold on the Western Cape and widened their realm to include Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane. The irony of the much maligned Nkandla, home of our dubious president being taken by the IFP wasn’t lost on anyone. He should have paid back the money he embezzled, the people are watching you Zuma! 

The ANC kept the face of Zuma out of the public eye until the final ceremony. 

And then this happened.

In addition to embezzlement our president was accused of rape. This was 10 years ago. Currently 1 in every 3 women are victims of rape in South Africa. We have one of the highest rates of child rape in the world. With role models like our president is there any wonder about the prevalence of rape culture in SA?

The ANC are a farce. Their leader is bringing them shame and they all reek of the stench of corruption. 

It’s been a busy wobbly week with a public holiday in the middle. I’m now in the midst of a four day weekend and won’t go back to work until Wednesday.

We slept late today. Norm attempted to make this dish.

It looked so easy.


Never mind, he tried, it was edible (other than the raw bits of pork). The egg was perfect and it was tasty if not attractive.


We had a few nights of pork this week as we bought a big packet of chops and only Norm and I were home, so they stretched to 2 nights. We made crispy fondant sweet potato fried in butter til brown, and last night to go with I made a lovely sauce by frying sliced mushrooms in butter, then added a pack of baby spinach and once wilted added a container of double cream. I steamed some broccoli to round it off. 

Norm cooked the other chops and did sweet potato and roast veg. It’s lovely to have him cook for us when I work late.


We didn’t have a late night as I had been up early to the hairdresser. A friend sent a pic of me 5 years ago and it really highlighted how much hair I’ve lost.

“Now” is the one in the green top.


The fat kept my wrinkles pumped up too 🙈

Nevermind, my hair is growing back and there appears to be no grey in the new hair coming back in. However as the back is so long will I have an odd mullet when the new hair gets a bit longer?

After the hairdresser Norm and I popped into The Riverway Cafe for brunch.  I had the ‘Brekkie Salad’ which was Banting friendly. It was salad leaves, rosa tomatoes, avocado, Parmesan, crispy bacon and a soft boiled egg. Delicious.


I’m trying to be more adventurous and less predictable. Normally I go automatically for the Eggs Benedict. 

Afterwards I went round to the shops and Norm went home to drop Mzudumo home. I had a birthday present to sort for tomorrow.

I’m also broadening my foods to allow in some fresh fruits from the orange list. We grow our own beautiful passion fruits, aka grenadillas.


I had these in my morning full fat yogurt instead of my usual teaspoon of local honey.

We had take aways on Wednesday from Posticino and were terribly disappointed. It was divine last week but this week they burned my food and sent home the wrong food entirely for my daughter. You have to be consistent. They were apparently very busy but that shouldn’t mean you lower your standards.

We had take aways from Massimo on Friday and they were perfect as always. I had the John Wayne and the avo was so perfect, the beef neck cooked for 5 hours in the pizza oven.

I ate it before I could snap a pic. Oops. Take my word, it was stunning.

We had chicken wrapped in bacon on Tuesday evening when Norm cooked for us.


He did sprouts, mushrooms and mashed cauliflower to go with.

We have eaten well this week! My weight is maintaining and I have a day or two where I do have carbs, but still have no sugar or sugary foods or drinks.

I’ve got a busy few days off, tomorrow morning the girls go for breakfast, then Norm and I are visiting a few kitchen places. Tuesday I go for a defense class put on by the CCP and Wednesday I’m going to a Women’s Comedy event. 

I hope you have had a fab weekend. Xx

Powerless

I’ve lived a nomadic life. I was born in Georgia, on the south-east coast of America and when I emigrated to South Africa the first time I had been living in LA on the west coast for 7 years prior, so I have many moves between the 2 coasts. I have lived all over South Africa: in various suburbs in Johannesburg, several homes in George, Knysna and various places in Hout Bay. I’ve lived in Belfast in Northern Ireland, hopped over to England and bounced around the East Midlands, West Midlands, Surrey and we rented here and there on projects so I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few across the UK.

I have permanent residency in both the UK and SA and a US passport.

But I can’t vote. 

This is so frustrating and makes me feel powerless. I never had any interest in politics when I was young and my family never discussed anything remotely political. When I left the States I had never registered. Now 30 years later I have no proof of last residence, social security card or any of the required documents they wanted when I tried to register to vote for Obama.

It was probably my marriage to news junkie Norm which got me interested, or possibly it evolved from my time spent in SA. I had never heard about apartheid until I met my first husband, I guess that started the awareness at least.

Today was a national holiday to allow everyone the time to vote. As several of us couldn’t vote, we decided to work and take off on Monday as Tuesday is Women’s Day and we get that day off as well. Now we have a long 4 day weekend.


Image credit.

We went for a late team lunch at Vasco Da Gama Tavern when we finished work.


We walked as it wasn’t that far from the hotel where we park so had aimed for a closer pub but with it being a holiday it was closed, so ended up traipsing from the foreshore to Greenpoint. It poured with rain just after we arrived but luck was on our side and we were dry on the way there and back. I headed home with a relaxed Friday feel, except I have 2 days of work remaining!

I would have loved to vote, I hope that the DA can take more areas from the ANC. The ANC has become a farce of the type of party Mandela envisioned. “President” Zuma is an uneducated, lying, unethical, cheating, misogynist much like Trump. Neither should be in power.

I’m waiting excitedly for the results in SA.


Image credit.
Mmusi Maimane is our hope.

He has been compared to Obama but prefers to align to Bill Clinton. If he can convince enough that he is the best candidate it will make such a difference. 

Let’s all hope for positivity and change for SA.