Music & Cocktails

This weekend we really enjoyed watching Glastonbury live via our BBC iPlayer. We try to catch the key acts every year, however until this year it was only available once they were on YouTube. We can now watch real time via streaming. On Friday evening we  loved the set by The Pretenders, it is hard to believe that Chrissie Hynde is 65 years old, unlike many aged artists she has not lost any of her vocal abilities.

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We also really enjoyed Radiohead. They sound exactly the same as they always did too they just look a bit older (as do we all).

Saturday we watched some new artists and a few others, but my fave was Katy Perry. Her shows are always so fun to watch. Her dancers were dressed in all manner of silly headdresses which made it interesting. Sunday night we watched Ed Sheeran. I do love Ed Sheeran but am not a fan of his ‘rapping’. It does not sit nicely on him. I prefer his folky / pop songs.

It was freezing cold and I was wearing about 5 layers of clothes, a furry blanket and snuggling an animal or 2 while watching in front of a roaring fire. It felt funny to see people who were attending the festival in shorts and t-shirts looking hot and flustered.

Saturday I had a busy schedule. First thing that morning I had a follow up session at Skin in Hout Bay for the laser treatments I am having. It was a small area we are working on so I was in and out and back home quick sticks.

I had a bit of time before my next appointment so I made a HFLC breakfast for Norm, Caitlin and I. I added feta, cheddar and cilantro to the omelette. I love salsa even though it is not banting if store bought, but I added it to mine. The bacon was preservative free.

Norm was busy painting the pantry ceiling & Caitlin has been busy renovating some tables for her new flat so our house has a lot of painting going on. She had bought the tables on a local Facebook group where people sell off their bits and pieces of furniture and used clothing. She got them very cheap and they are solid wood. She sanded them down and is busy painting them white. She has replaced the glass tops with adorable wall tiles. Her furniture is all white, grey or blue so these will be perfect.

Cait Tables

Excuse my big boot in the pic, oops. They are not finished so this is a pic of them in the garage.

I then had an appointment at the hairdresser Saturday afternoon. My hairdresser Leandra has moved to a new venue in Cape Town city centre and I was not 100% sure where it was so I gave myself an hour to get parked and find it. I am glad I did as the street signs were very misleading. I cannot parallel park so I parked up a few blocks away from Church Street and walked down. I knew I was looking for number 66 and the street sign pointed towards the mountain for numbers below 84 so off I trudged in that direction. I got into the 1st bit of road which was quite dark as the sun was blocked by the buildings and I came face to face with a dude with his penis in his hand. I think he was having a pee, however I did not stop to find out. I crossed over to the other side of the road but he had already seen me and he shouted out to me and waved his willy in my general direction, looking rather disappointed that I was not keen on a close up. This was rather frightening as we were the only 2 people anywhere to be seen. If he had pursued me I would have been in a spot of bother. I kept moving quickly and he went off in the direction I had just come from and so we went our separate ways. I got to the main road and realised that I had ran out of buildings and was obviously going the wrong way, so I turned around and headed back in the direction I had come from but luckily he had moved out of sight.

Eventually I found the spot for the new salon and climbed upstairs and settled in.

 

I had my hair coloured and trimmed and then I offered the hairdressers assistant Thembi a lift home. Thembi shared with me that she is so excited that her daughter was coming soon for a visit. She has been living in the Eastern Cape with her grandfather and aunts. She had been getting in with a bad crowd when living here in Cape Town and so Thembi sent her off to school there. It is so hard for parents who work to keep an eye on their teens and all it takes is getting in with a bad crowd and then there is trouble. We discussed how her kids have been so much more privileged than she was growing up and how they take this for granted. I think if you have never been hungry, you cannot conceptualise it or appreciate how blessed you are to not have to worry about your next meal.

Norm and I had a date night on Saturday and went out for dinner to Papino’s which is one of our faves in the winter. They had a roaring fire and it was nice and cosy.


We both ordered our usual, the Hollandse Biefstuk which is a pan-fried beef fillet with mushrooms flambĂ©ed with brandy at R172. We had Portuguese chips with it which are like thick home made potato chips (or crisps to you brits.) We shared an order of their fried mushrooms.

We even had a bit of dessert and squeezed in a cheeky Malva pudding. Described as ‘Served Home-made, warm Cape pudding served with vanilla ice-cream or cream’ it costs R45.

On Sunday while Norm was continuing working on painting the kitchen I lazed about and finished the last few episodes of OITNB which left me emotional and wound up so I then watched a couple of films while slow cooking a pot roast for dinner that evening. I picked random films I thought would not interest Norm as I prefer to save those we both are keen on to watch together.

First I watched Brain on Fire which is based on a real life event.

brain on fire

It was pretty good, if a bit intense. I give it 3.5 Kitten Stars.

Next I watched Captain Fantastic just because I was intrigued by the cover pic.

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I did not even look at the cast list beforehand and I only realised the lead was played by Viggo Mortensen when he shaved his beard about 3/4 of the way through the film as he is thin as a whippet in this film and far from his usual handsome self. I really loved this movie. I laughed out loud, I sobbed with heartbreak and I sat amazed and breathless. It was riveting and very emotionally gut-wrenching.

I give it a full 5 Kitten Stars.

Once Norm finished painting he joined me in the lounge and he built us a big cosy fire.

By then my beef roast was ready.

I had cooked carrots in the sauce with the roast and to go with it I steamed broccoli and made fondant sweet potatoes. It was rather delicious if I say so myself.

The following night I started our dinner before Vanessa arrived to do my pedicure to save a bit of time later. I cleaned the fat layer off of the roast from the previous night and shredded the meat, chopped the carrots and put it with the sauce from the pot roast into a casserole dish and heated it in the oven. Norm peeled and thinly sliced the remainder of the sweet potatoes and layered with cream and mozzarella cheese and we baked this too. It was delicious and perfect for a cold night.

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It even stretched until lunch on Tuesday!

Monday morning I had an appointment to see the ENT specialist my GP had recommended. She is in the new Christian Barnard Hospital at the foreshore so I walked over from my office. It is about a 10 minute walk so was very easy. The new hospital is stunning, bright and clean. I hope it stays that way.

I liked the ENT. She was very approachable and seemed to find me funny. She did an ultrasound check of my ears and discovered my middle ear is full of fluid. She sprayed a bit of anaesthetic up my nose followed by a scope and discovered I have a deviated septum. She could see the scar tissue from all of my childhood issues with my ears. I missed so much school as a child due to chronic ear infections. She also noted the scarring of my oesophagus from acid reflux. It was like a psychic doctor asking about stuff from my past which I had not mentioned. She has given me a list of things to do twice a day. First I have to wash out my sinuses with a salt water solution, followed by a nasal spray to open my sinuses, then turn my head upside down and drop in a steroid and antibiotic mix which is actually eye drops. Then I must do the Valsalva manoeuvre. The Valsalva manoeuvre is performed by moderately forceful attempted exhalation against a closed airway, usually done by closing one’s mouth, pinching one’s nose shut while pressing out as if blowing up a balloon.

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All of this will be done twice a day for 2 weeks and then I must go back to see if it is resolved. It is a mission and rather awkward to achieve in the mornings before work as I leave so early.

After work last night we were invited to a cocktails evening at Retha’s. She has a friend Jennifer who is working on the yachts in Europe who wanted to practice her cocktail skills. Here is our lovely bartender with a round of cosmos.

bartender

I was willing to be a guinea pig as I love cocktails.


We got to choose a few different cocktails for Jennifer to make and I asked for a pina colada. They were divine!


She made a few different ones. I am not a fan of mint so I skipped the mojito round.

We had been nibbling on cheese and nuts and homemade bread but eventually we decided we needed proper food and we ordered Thai food on OrderIn.

We ended the night on a round of chili chocolate tequila drinks.

chili choc martini

It was so delicious.

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Dunno what Norm is up to in the background? Trying to drag me off home most likely as he was driving and not cocktailing.

We did not stay late but all those different cocktails meant I suffered a bit on Wednesday morning. But it was worth it as it was a fun evening.

I have a few fun events coming up this weekend. We are going to the winter warmer special at La Mouette on Saturday so I am very excited about that.

lamouettefood

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It is one of our favourite restaurants in all of Cape Town.

Sunday I have a drum circle to attend. I have booked to attend a workshop late July to make my own drum which I am so excited about. I have asked for a hartebeest skin rather than a goat skin as the colour is much richer. I thank the animal who shall give his skin to my drum.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and weekend. Much love.

New Beginnings

Wednesday was a day of new beginnings for me. It was the day I started the project with the new client that I have been undergoing the arduous recruitment process for. It is a very different working environment to the corporate environment I am used to. It is more like a government office environment, i.e. it is rather dirty and low budget. If you want a cup of coffee there is only instant available and you have to bring your own spoon and cup to make it. None of the luxuries of ground coffee beans and an espresso like the office I am in on Mondays and Tuesdays. You have to bring your own plate, knife and fork as well as your own food unless you want to risk walking down the main road for sustenance. You will be taking your life in your own hands to walk down the road on your own as it is a rather chaotic street.

The bathrooms are horrific. You feel the need to wash your hands after going to wash your hands there.

It is a long travel time to get here, I spend about 20 minutes getting through one single junction which queues up for miles. The full trip is almost an hour each way.

I do not have comfy, safe, dry undercover parking, I park across the road and have to walk through a rather unsavoury, dirty, noisy street to get to the offices. If it is raining, then my laptop and I just get drenched. If you have never been to Africa you cannot conceptualise the noise of an African taxi rank which is just outside my desk window. A constant hooting of horns, whistles of the guys touting for passengers, shouting and catcalling. It is deafening and difficult to concentrate.

However the work seems like it will be interesting and I will learn new skills and have the knowledge and experience of a new system to add to my CV. It is a common system being rolled out to multiple universities internationally. Also in the current economic climate I am just grateful for work, I will adjust to the other details soon I am sure. But that does not mean you won’t have to listen to me whinge. 🙂

Wednesday was also the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere.

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Image credit.

I was invited to attend a Sweat Lodge to celebrate the Solstice. The sweat lodge has many uses and can be used to achieve whatever you wish; either just for cleansing and purification or to get answers and guidance by asking spiritual entities or the Great Spirit and Mother Earth for wisdom, or help with an issue.

The lodge itself is made up of saplings tied together and draped with blankets to keep in the heat from the stones. An actual fire is not built inside, the heat is from stones heated in the ceremonial fire pit outside of the lodge.

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Image Source.

The ceremony has protocols which must be honoured before you even arrive, you should either fast or have only light fruit for at least a few hours prior to entering the lodge. Women who are on their moon cycle should not enter the lodge. We were asked to dress in skirts or dresses and the women should cover their shoulders, the men should wear a shirt to cover their chests. I wore a long dress and a sarong around my shoulders. The long dress made crawling around in the lodge a bit of a challenge.

The process around building the fire is also bound by tradition, you build up the rocks into the fire pit with each attendee offering a rock to the Great Spirit and Mother Earth and silently stating their intentions for the ceremony either silently or aloud for the group. You go round the fire pit in a clockwise manner, each person placing a stone until the designated number of stones is piled onto the wood ready for lighting. Once the fire is lit only the lodge keeper or the fire keeper may cross between the fire pit and the altar which is set up midway between the fire pit and the opening of the lodge. The Stone People spirits are awakened in the stones by heating them in the sacred fire until red-hot.

Prior to entering the lodge everyone must smudge themselves from the smoke being emitted from the abalone shell filled with sage at the entrance to the sweat lodge. The entrance faces to the East and towards the sacred fire pit. This has very significant spiritual value. Each new day begins in the East with the rising of Father Sun, the source of life and power, dawn of wisdom, while the fire heating the rocks is the undying light of the world, eternity, and a new spiritual beginning that we seek in the sweat ceremony.

Once the fire outside the lodge has had an hour or so to get very hot everyone enters the lodge and settled around the pit.  There were 23 of us in the lodge so it was very full.

One at a time the white hot stones were loaded onto a shovel and pushed into the lodge, then lowered into the shallow pit inside the sweat lodge, first placing a stone on the west, then north, east, south, and in the centre to symbolise the Grandfather. Additional stones are then placed to Grandmother and The People. The lodge keeper and the attendees all welcomed the stones, saying ‘welcome grandfather’ or ‘welcome grandmother’. After seven stones were in the pit, the entrance is closed by the Fire Keeper. This began the first round of ceremony in the lodge. The sweat leader played the Drum and called forth the spirit guides in prayer from the Four Directions. The sweat leader then dips water and pours it onto the hot stones in the pit, producing large amounts of steam, usually one dipper for each of the four directions, or until told by the spirits to stop. Then she begins the prayers, songs and chants.

We started by all stating our ancestry and calling on our ancestors to join us in the lodge. I called on my Cherokee ancestors and White Buffalo Woman.

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There are multiple rounds of prayer and with each of these rounds 7 new stones are brought into the lodge. There is a minimum of a round for each of the four directions, where each direction symbolises a different purpose and energy.

The temperature in the lodge increases in heat as the fire pit fills up with the stones. At one stage it became too hot and we begged for air and the side was opened slightly.

I personally felt that the lodge was too full, when I have had a lodge before there was enough space to lie down should the heat become too intense. I also went into a trance like state in that previous lodge as I was able to relax and lie down. This facilitated visions and mysticism. However I still felt the benefit of the lodge, it was just not very physically comfortable.

By the time we finished the rounds it was midnight. Norm came to collect me and we went home without my indulging in the meal with the group. As I had started my new job that day I was exhausted. The night before I woke at 4am having only gone to bed at midnight so I had done all of this on 4 hours sleep.

The night after the lodge I was only in bed just before 1 am but I slept straight through until 7am. I never do that. In fact, there was a short in our security beam and the alarm went off, the dogs went insane and the security company came to trawl around our garden and I slept right through it all.

I feel so relaxed after the lodge, more in touch with my ancestors and my spirituality. I think that what has been missing in my life was prayer and spirituality. I have found this in my Cherokee roots and it is grounding me. I was raised with no religion or spirituality in our home, my Dad was agnostic. I have always been sceptical of the concept of a singular god. I am far more comfortable praying to The Great Spirit and calling on my ancestors for guidance and blessings.

I am so happy that I have found this path.

I wish you all a great weekend. ❤️💕❤️

Solstice Celebrations 

I started on Saturday with the Corticosteroids my doctor prescribed for my on-going issues with my ears and sinuses but they have made no difference whatsoever. I went back on Monday for another blood pressure check and to get my lab results. My blood pressure is still high and needs to be monitored. The lab results showed I still have a bacterial lung infection and I am now on a different course of antibiotics. My GP has also referred me to see an ENT specialist about my blocked ears. I made an appointment for next week to see her. She is located near my client where I am based on Mondays & Tuesdays so I will just walk over there and hope there is no rain that day. Umbrellas are useless in Cape Town with our winds.

We have finally been receiving a bit of rain here and there which helps with our on-going drought issues however we must not become complacent that a few drizzles will resolve the low dam levels. The City of Cape Town has decided to finally get off it’s hands and send out a RFI (Request for Information)  this week to try and come up with some ideas to resolve the issues rather than just hope for heavy winter rains.

It is now very cold in the mornings and I cannot bear to take a cold shower. I keep my shower to as short a time as possible and I get wet when the water is tepid, but ice cold water on a cold morning is just asking for sickness and goodness knows I am struggling enough with that already. I no longer condition my hair in the shower, I put on a leave in conditioner afterwards. I look a mess most of the time as I try to only wash my hair once, or at most, twice a week. Luckily menopause has sucked all of the moisture out of my once oily hair and it copes fine.

I think we are going to have to bite the bullet and implement a proper grey water recycling system as Norm has a damaged shoulder and is struggling with carrying the buckets of water down to the garden.

As mentioned in my last blog, Friday was a public holiday in South Africa and I went across town to Maestro’s on The Beach to have lunch with my friend Di.

It was a stunning winters day and we grabbed a table outside to enjoy the view of Table Mountain and the beach.

As it was a weekend I decided that carb controls be damned and I ordered their chicken schnitzel with cheese sauce, chips and onion rings. The Schnitzel comes with a choice of one side dish for R105 (about $8 USD). The cheese sauce is an extra R19 as were the onion rings (at R25).

It was really yummy and I wolfed down every bite.

I even had ‘dessert’ in the form of an Oreo Milkshake for R35. It was thick and creamy and rather divine.


Di and I had not seen each other in ages as we live on opposite sides of Cape Town and neither of us are great on motorways nor can we drive at night but we made up for lost time, spending 5 hours sitting in the sunshine and gabbing. It was good for my soul. It was lovely having the sun on your back and good conversation with a friend who cares.

When I eventually made it home Norm and I decided to watch a film and we chose the movie ‘A Cure For Wellness’ as I had thought I had seen a friend posting about it on Facebook. Later I checked back on their feed only to discover it was a different film they watched. Oops.

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A Cure for Wellness was a crazy,  bizarre and rather uncomfortable film. It was a bit like a train smash in that you could not stop watching it no matter how horrid or distasteful it got. The premise of the film is that an ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. It all derails from the point of arrival and just becomes more and more strange. It ended in a rather unfinished manner (so many questions) and therefore makes me think they are planning a sequel. I will not subject myself to that if so.

A Cure For Wellness gets 2 kitten stars and that is only because it managed to hold my attention.

Early on Saturday Mzudumo arrived and got started in the garden while Norm and I had plans to  go the shops to buy a cover for my new iPad. I saw on Facebook that a friend was asking about the cost of an Uber to Cavendish Mall so we stopped to collect her and her son and gave them a lift. They were going to the cinema so we could not give them a lift home as we had to get back to give Mzudumo his lunch.

I went to the iStore but they only had black covers and I wanted something a bit more colourful and cheerful. They referred me to Incredible Connections and they had a red one which is the colour I wanted but it was almost a thousand rand! I chose a bright fuchsia coloured one instead but when I got it home and on my iPad I saw that it only has a ‘prop up option’ when in the landscape view, not in the Portrait view. As I play covet and it is only available in that view it means it is not very handy for me. That is what I get for being a cheapo miser to save R300!

After we finished shopping we went for brunch. We chose Mugg & Bean as it serves breakfast all day and Norm loves his omelettes.

We both went for their ‘Simple California Omelette’ which is described as a deconstructed 3-egg omelette filled with cheddar, mozzarella & fresh basil. Loosely topped with fresh avocado, back bacon & Danish-style feta, drizzled with a basil pesto mayo & served with pan-fried cherry tomatoes. It is R77.90.

It is served with toast, Norm had the low carb option but I had white bread and just ate a bit of it. We found it odd that they did not serve the toast with butter. We asked for butter but by the time it arrived the toast was cold. The butter was rock hard as if it had been in the freezer, I could not even cut it with my knife, much less spread it on my toast. This is a pet peeve of mine, butter should be served room temperature.

Caitlin had her childhood best friend Katherine down from Johannesburg that night with her gorgeous twins Luke and Tyler who are 3 years old. It is a good rehearsal for grandkids (which are not even visible on the horizon at this point.) The boys are so different considering that they are twins, Tyler is fearless and exuberant and very friendly while Luke is more cautious, gentle and sensitive. Tyler had a great time playing ball with Pixie who loved the attention and was so gentle with him but Luke was a bit intimidated by the dogs and refused to get on the floor, choosing rather to walk from couch to couch.

As the boys were having dinner with us I decided to make something child friendly and made 3 cheese mac and cheese adding full fat cream cheese into the sauce as well as cheddar, then topping it all with mozzarella for baking. Of course I plonked a load of chilli in mine.

 

Once the twins settled down to watch a movie upstairs in bed with Katherine and Caitlin Norm and I put on a movie to wind down from all of the excitement. We chose Collateral Beauty with Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren. We chose it for the brilliant cast.

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I found bits of it confusing, but it was a very emotional movie and well acted. Other than Keira Knightley who looks the same no matter what emotion she is displaying. I give it 3.75 kitten stars.

Katherine and the kids were flying very early the next day and they were up and out and away to the airport. After Caitlin got back she went back to bed as it was so early for her. It was father’s day and she rose about lunch time to give Norm his presents from her, Lily and Trevor. They gave him some meat thermometers for when we braai a roast as well as a grill matt for cooking on the grill which means you do not have to scrub the grill, you can just wash the matt.

braai mat

On Sunday I had another drumming session planned. There were more people there this time which made it even more fun. We sang lots of songs and we performed a new activity called ‘Heart to Heart’ which is about connection, toning and harmony. It is done with 2 people and you put your ears together, place one hand on the other person’s back over their heart area and the other over their opposite ear. You then vocalise until you are harmonising the sound. Caitlin and I did a reenactment to show how it’s done.


I was rather full of trepidation as it meant being intimate with a total stranger as well as ‘singing’ which I know I am not very good at (exuberance and skill are totally different things.) I loved it though! It also sort of relaxes you for the singing portion of the day.

Later I read about how sound is used for meditation and in various spiritual practices to aid connection to spirit and the universe. I find it fascinating.

After my drumming session I raced home as Caitlin had booked us into Woodcutters Arms pub for a late Fathers Day Dinner.

We got stuck into their yummy pub grub. Norm had his fave starter the Scotch Egg at R45. Caitlin and I shared the Jalapeno Cheddar Cigars at R44.


Norm had a blue cheese and onion burger from the specials board and I had the Cajun Chicken Burger at R82.

Caitlin and I shared the onion rings and she had a Red Pepper and Halloumi Salad at R85. I was stuck into my burger too quickly to snap a pic of her food but it was very pretty, however she said the halloumi was cold.

Norm was very virtuous but Caitlin and I shared a dessert. We had the White Chocolate and Oreo Sundae for R43. It was so delicious.


Monday and Tuesday were both very busy at work. As I was at the doc on Monday I had to work late to make up the time and so Norm cooked dinner. He baked chicken breasts, fried a variety of squash and steamed corn on the cob. It was very yummy.

Caitlin slept at Wes as his parents were away and there had been a break in on Sunday night. He slept through it and didn’t hear a thing but they took about 4 TVs, iPads, laptops and a lot of valuable items. I’m just glad he wasn’t injured.

I had a client workshop today and when I got home I cooked my fave, Mexican food. It’s quick and easy.

I prepared the toppings while the chili con carne cooked.


Then I made it into a big pile of yumminess.

Tomorrow is a big day. I start my new project at my new client and then tomorrow night we pour a sweat lodge to celebrate the Winter Solstice. It’s my first sweat lodge with this group and I’m very excited. It will only finish at 11:30 or midnight so I will be knackered on Thursday but I am sure I’ll survive.

Wish me luck! ❤️

Sister’s Circles

I went to my first Sister’s Circle on Sunday afternoon. As my neck was still playing up and Norm was heading to Builder’s Warehouse which is in that general direction, he offered to drop me on his way.

I have had 2 visits to the chiropractor this week for my locked neck, the first was on Saturday morning and he had done spinal manipulation as well as ultrasound treatments to my neck and shoulders. He asked me if I had any recent infections as my glands were very inflamed and swollen. I explained the recent dramas with my chest infection and the rebound inflammation from the antibiotics. The chiro thinks the inflammation has caused restriction in the muscles resulting in the misalignment and ‘freezing’ of my neck.

Norm drove me to the chiro in Noordhoek as I was struggling to turn my head (which is not really conducive to driving around a mountain) and we had a clear route and so we arrived quite early. We stopped for a coffee at The Village Roast which is in The Farm Village in Noordhoek.

I loved the sign outside.

I love this village market in general, it is very quaint.

village roast

The drive there is quite spectacular with views of the majestic mountains and the sea in the distance. But with the rain and storms over the weekend, the sky was quite ominous and dark.

The chiro managed to unlock my neck with a bit of manipulation and ultrasound. He said the neck went out due to the swelling in my lymph glands and neck tissue which indicate there is still infection in my body.

After we got home from the chiro I settled in with a heating pad around my neck and wrapped in a furry blanket. The kitties were cold and snuggled in with me. Norm was painting the kitchen ceiling and pottering about so I watched quite a few episodes on Netflix of the new series of Orange Is the New Black. It is one of my faves.

The sister’s circle on Sunday was very interesting. I was a bit anxious as I always am when I will be meeting new people or trying new things. Being an import to SA, new people always ask me a million personal questions. That is my idea of hell. I have no problems with sharing every minutiae of my life in my blog, but writing while safely behind a keyboard and talking to other humans face-to-face are two very different interactions for me.

There were 5 women attending. The full moon was on June 9th and it is known as the Full Cold Moon as we are in the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere.

We started with Gerri smudging us all as well as the space and then we performed the Cherokee Morning Song.

We n’ de ya ho
We n’ de ya ho
We n’ de ya,
We n’ de ya,
ho, ho, ho, ho.
He ya ho, he ya ho,
ya ya ya

Then we did a bit of drumming on the large drum while singing other traditional ‘women songs’.

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We started with this song which is lovely and is in my own tribe’s tongue.

WOMEN’S HONOURING SONG (Agehya – woman in Cherokee)

“A n’ agehya way a way a

Way a n’ way

Way a way a

We n’ a way a way a ..a.. a ..a

We n’ way n’ way he

We n’ a way way a ha

We n’ a way n’ a way way ho

E way a way a ya way a way a way a.. a.. a ..a”

We then joined in the Prayer:

“See them dance in grace and beauty! Mothers, Grandmothers, sisters, aunties, daughters.

All women of Nations, women of ALL the Nations, you are the strength, you are the force, you are the healing of the Nations.”

It was very empowering.

Then we held a Talking Circle. In the talking circle each woman is passed an object, in our case it is a woven disk made of reeds with a long leather cord in the centre. You hold the circle over your abdomen or womb and you are allowed to share whatever is in your heart. While you hold the circle no one is allowed to speak, their role is to listen intently without judgment or comment. As I had never attended I asked to go last. Once it was my turn I started by saying that I was very nervous and I did not know what I was going to say and then promptly burst into tears. That was unexpected! I then talked about how I have been struggling with my health and about my anxiety over upcoming changes with work.

It made me realise that I really have no women in my life to share my problems with. As an empath I have plenty of people who tell me about their problems, but no one who seems to want to ask how I am doing, or how I am coping. I used to belong to a book club and thought of those girls as my ‘circle’, however the book club disbanded and I am never included in their outings anymore. That makes me sad. I have a group of women who are online friends who belong to my ‘Fashion House’ on my online Covet Fashion game which I have played for years now and we all tell each other our problems and chat about our everyday dramas. I am very grateful for them, at least I have some form of an outlet. The Sisters Circle can also now help to fill that gap for me.

After we all finished talking we did a closing off ritual.

We then broke for snacks and a chat and one of the women told me about some vitamins and homeopathic remedies which may help with my anxiety as they balance your adrenaline levels. I have felt as if I have been stuck in hyper-adrenaline mode for a very long time now, starting when we had an armed invasion back in 2013. That is a lot of adrenaline flowing for a long time.

I am all fight or flight response- mostly fight unfortunately for those around me. I have bought the products and will see if it helps with the effects of this issue, my insomnia, my anxiety, my high levels of aggression and dark moods.

After our tea break we had a lesson about the role of the drum in Native American culture where Gerri told us fables about the origin of the drum and it’s use in NA culture. Two of the women had new drums and they wanted to awaken their drums so we had a drum awakening ceremony. This meant we moved outside into the garden. It was freezing cold but we built a fire and gathered around it. We gave thanks and we prayed to the 7 directions.

7-Sacred-Directions

The ceremony was very interesting. The women ‘sang into’ their drums to help the drum find it’s voice, then a prayer ritual was performed. It was lovely and the 2 women now have drums which they can use for future ceremonies.

Afterwards Norm came to collect me. He brought the doggies with him and took them for a long walk on the nearby green while he waited for me.

On Monday I had a client workshop in the city. The rain stopped just long enough for us to walk over to their offices. We are so grateful for the on-going drizzles we are having, but it means the temperatures are pretty cold, especially in the mornings when I drive in. It was only 9 degrees C this week.

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We have also had a lot of mist and fog which makes driving difficult in the mornings when it is still dark. The office at work is so cold. I am wearing vests under my clothes, several layers, a scarf and boots and I am still freezing.

Norm made us a delicious banting dinner on Monday evening. He baked chicken wrapped in bacon, steamed gem squash, cauliflower mash and red cabbage.

He even made up a little lunch for me. He has been so good to me while I have been feeling so rubbish the last few weeks.

I went back to the Chiro on Tuesday after work and he worked more on my neck. My mobility has gotten better but I still have huge lymph nodes and tenderness in my neck, head and sinuses. Usually when we go to the chiro it is a Saturday as that is the day he treats dogs as well as humans, so I had never met all of his doggies. He has 2 Labradors as well as 2 giant Newfoundlands. I loved this guy who was on his back, snoring on the couch.

chiro dog

The labs came for lots of love while I was waiting my turn. They were very sweet and so gentle compared to bolshy high energy Navajo.

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After I got home Norm and I made dinner. We made chilli con carne and corn on the cob. It was yummy for a cold winter night.

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Then I snuggled up with Blue and Panda and Norm and I watched a bit of our addiction, Breaking Bad.

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Wednesday Caitlin was at Wes for the night and Norm was supposed to attend a Neighbourhood Watch meeting, but when he went to get a takeaway for us he ran out of petrol which rather derailed his plans. This is so risky in South Africa, it is not safe to be stranded so I was rather annoyed. Both for making himself vulnerable to that risk as well as with my cold food. But I am easily annoyed these days as I feel so rubbish all of the time.

I have had such a headache for days now. I have probably taken more headache tablets in the last week than I have over my entire life. So I had Norm take in another sputum sample for analysis and I made another appointment to go to the doctor today. He’s done a blood test and given me cortisone tablets. Hopefully the blood test will reveal what is up. I can’t take feeling so poorly. I start another project on Wednesday and will be split across two projects, I need to be at my best and I am far from that.

 Tomorrow is a public holiday in South Africa. It is Youth Day. It commemorates those students who were shot by the police for peacefully demonstrating against the forced learning of Afrikaans, the language of the originators of Apartheid.

There have been several protests this week that I was aware of. Two trains were set alight and shops looted at Cape Town station on the night of the 12th of June, when commuters went on the rampage in reaction to lengthy delays.

Then on Wednesday this week there was a protest by taxi drivers over illegal taxis who have not paid for a license to operate in the areas near Capricorn, Retreat, Steenberg and various other suburbs on the perimeters of Cape Town.

There were 2 separate drive by shootings the night before these protests. In the one in Capricorn no one was injured, however in the 2nd which occurred in Lavender Hill, a boy was shot in the head and taken to hospital, it is not clear whether the 2 incidents are related or whether they are related to the on-going gang wars which I have written about in previous blogs.

The gangs are related to various illegal activities, drugs as well as smuggling. A recent bust has resulted in several people going to jail for smuggling of various items, including perlemoen, known as abalone in other countries. People destroying natural resources for personal gain. 

Father’s Day is Sunday, I wish the best to all of those men who are birth fathers, adopted fathers, stand in fathers and who fulfill various other roles men play in the lives of our children. Your importance cannot be underestimated. 

Have a great weekend everyone. 

Armageddon

This has been a rather eventful few days in South Africa. None of the events were good, in fact it felt a bit like Armageddon. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next thing on the agenda of the gods is a Zombie Apocalypse. I refuse to eat brains, I only have a tazer and an axe for defence, and I am the slowest one in my family and therefore first on the menu so I certainly hope it does not come to that.

As I mentioned in my last blog, Caitlin and I worked from home on Wednesday as the storm due to hit the Western Cape was expected to be fierce. The predictions were correct as the wind howled, the sea churned and the rain poured down.

The damage we suffered was minor compared to many people. Norm had spent the day moving all of the garden furniture and garden ornaments into the flat at the back of our house so that they would not be airborne. Late morning Caitlin’s bedroom window started rattling and we realised that one of the panes was about to fall out and we had to call in an emergency repair guy which cost us R850 for 10 minutes work. That is only a temporary measure as they could not safely get onto a ladder to repair it and just secured it until the weather clears. We did not want to leave it though as the wind was howling into Caitlin’s room and it was really icy cold.

We are having someone in to quote for repairing the putty around all of our wooden framed windows. Wood framed windows look lovely but require a lot of maintenance, especially by the coast.

The day before the storm hit the sky in Cape Town was spectacular.

Image Credit.

The sky was dark and dreary from my balcony.

our storm

Later we saw on social media that  some of the new shacks which were still being built for the people who had lost their homes in the recent fire in IY were damaged.


Then we heard that a tree was down on the only road out of our suburb.


It was removed quite quickly by the local garden centre, Earthworx Garden World.

I settled in to get some work done but we had no wifi for sending or receiving emails, but luckily I had all of my data on my laptop and did not need to connect to a database or communicate with the team.

I did have my faithful companion Panda as my work colleague.


As the day went on and the storm built up in strength we saw many pictures & videos on social media of the chaos that was going on along the seafront.

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This is the beach nearest my home, it is about 5 minutes from our house.

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Three Anchor Bay slip way disappeared under foam & water. Everyone was advised to keep away from the Sea Point /Mouille Point Promenade. (photo credit from Jacques Weber JDW)

But typical of the South African resilient spirit, there were some people such as windsurfer Jake Kolnik who chose to risk their lives and ride the waves.

windsurfer

By the end of the day we heard that 8 people had died.

Later we heard the horrific news that a fire was raging out of control in the Garden Route where my son and daughter both live and that the entire area was being evacuated.

We saw some terrifying images on social media.

We saw heart-breaking photos of animals running from the heat of the fire and later those who survived but seemed to have lost their families. I hope this baboon is not injured and that his troop just scattered and that he finds them again.

baboon

There are still wild elephants roaming the Knysna forest which has mostly burned down, I hope they made it to safe ground.

We later heard that a family had been killed in the fire. Madre Johnston, 33, her husband Tony, 34, and their son Michael all perished. Madre, the mother was 8 months pregnant and they were celebrating their 3 year old child’s birthday. So tragic.

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Today the news is that a fire-fighter has died from damages sustained in the fire and another is in critical condition with 50% burns over his body. This brings to five the number of fatalities as a result of the fire.

There is a suspicion that the fires were a result of arson as there were at least 26 different fires that were being fought. What type of person does this knowing the devastation it will cause?

The after pics are so sad. So many people have lost everything.

The fires were near my son’s house but luckily he is safe. The fires are still burning and the firemen and women are still fighting to keep them under control. I pray for all of those who were affected and all of those who are still in danger. 

Meanwhile, life goes on. Norm has been doing a bit of painting in the newly renovated kitchen. And then yesterday the electricians from Thomas Electrical in Hout Bay came and installed my new light fittings. There are 2 of the smaller 3 light fixtures on the upstairs and downstairs landings and there are now 2 of the 5 light fixtures in the dining room and the lounge. They go so well with the curtain rails and the stair railings. I did not like the old fixtures that were there when we bought the house so I am very pleased to have these which match.

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The weather is freezing cold but despite this menopause overruled my senses and I slept with my fan on Wednesday night and I woke with my neck literally frozen. I could not move my head and so after work I managed to get an appointment to see an acupuncturist at the Hout Bay Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture Clinic. He did both acupuncture and cupping which did give me a bit of relief from the spasms in my neck but it did not resolve the locked neck. Now I am even struggling to open my mouth as well as turn my head.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my chiropractor in Noordhoek and hopefully that will sort me out properly.

Tonight Norm is looking after me and we are relaxing in front of a roaring fire.


In the meantime please keep the victims of the Cape Storm and Knysna fire in your thoughts and pray for the fire-fighters and the homes still at risk.

 

Up, Up & Away

I worked from home all of last week as I was still feeling rubbish and my cough was contagious according to my GP. Rather than start a plague I just stayed home. I did not feel up to working a full day at all last week. I finished my antibiotics last Thursday and I still felt nauseous, dizzy and short of breath so I went back to see my GP again. He checked me out thoroughly and said that he thinks it is all linked to my inflamed sinuses rather than any infection remaining.

He gave me a saline nasal wash, some pills for the nausea and a fizzy tablet called ACC 200 to help with the congestion which was causing me issues with breathing. It took a few days but I finally started feeling human again by the end of the week. I went back for a check yesterday and now he is concerned about my blood pressure so I have to go back in 2 weeks for another check. When I told the doc I had eaten whatever I wanted on the weekend as I was on ‘holiday’ he said ‘that cannot be it’ but I told him that Professor Noakes disagrees – Noakes feels BP rises are linked to diet, not weight.

Norm has been a sweetheart as usual and he cooked for me and Caitlin last Tuesday. I talked him through it but he did all of the work. He fried onions and peppers in coconut oil, then added chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces and browned it all. He then added sliced button mushrooms, 2 cups of chicken broth, a container of double cream and a whole packet of baby spinach. He put it into my oven safe Le Creuset pot and baked it until it was done. It was so delicious and tasty!

Believe it or not, I have had this Le Creuset pot for over 25 years and it is still my fave. It is virtually indestructible.

Last Tuesday night we started watching the series ‘Three Girls’ which is a 3 part docudrama about the grooming and sexual abuse of white children by a group of Muslim men in the UK. The levels of ineptitude by the Greater Manchester Police are actually unbelievable. It is a hard series to watch, Norm got so upset he shouted at the telly. We could only manage an episode each evening, two a night was too intense. We finally finished it on Thursday night, it is so upsetting how these girls were treated by the perpetrators as well as the people who should have been defending and protecting them.

On Wednesday night I cooked pork chops, spreading chilli all over mine and just baking Norm’s. I roasted pumpkin in coconut oil and fried red cabbage in butter and balsamic.

The same night I also prepared a lasagna for Thursday’s dinner. That evening all I had to do was pop it in the oven.

lasagna

On Friday I took a half day off of work as we flew down to George to visit my kids as it is my son Trevor’s birthday today. I gave him a voucher for bits of gear for his Vape and I bought him a few things to wear.

He seemed to like them when we gave them to him on the weekend and he wore them so that is a good sign he was not lying :).

Norm and I arrived early at the Cape Town airport on Friday and so we decided to have some lunch at Mugg & Bean before we flew. I am not great with flying so I had a wee cocktail to calm my nerves.


Norm’s food arrived promptly but mine only arrived much later when he was almost finished eating. He had an omelette which looked yummy.

I was so annoyed with my food coming late that I forgot to take a pic of mine. I had the trio sampler.

mugg n bean

The plane was a few minutes late arriving in Cape Town but we managed to make up the time and arrive on schedule in George.

I was already nervous and got even more worried when I saw how little the plane was. I have been on bigger buses!

Trevor collected us at the George airport when we landed and we drove through to Wilderness and stopped in the village at Palms Garden Square to see my DIL Amber and her friend Lauren’s shops neither of which I had yet seen.  The shops are both so adorable and I am sure will be a great addition to the village. I loved the whole vibe at Palms Garden Square.

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First we popped into Lolly’s Candy Bar.

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The smell of popcorn popping in the shop was so tempting. They also have soft serve ice cream and all manner of toppings as well as every sort of sweet imaginable. It is a children’s paradise! They make amazing milkshakes which Lily sampled the following day when we went back to the square.

We then popped into their second shop, the Evergreen Deli which is just around the corner from their candy shop. It is a gourmet delicatessen and food shop.

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They have lots of imported delicacies and a freezer with duck and other exotic and local meats as well as a deli and cheese counter. They do gorgeous cheese and meat platters and even host events.

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We headed off to Trevor and Amber’s lovely house and I forced Trevor to take a pic with me when we arrived, this is taken on their front deck. He is such a tall, handsome man! I am over 5’7″ and I look like a dwarf next to him.

Trevor had been working really hard all week and I only wanted to see him rather than go out and about, so we decided to stay in and get takeaways on Friday night. We got Thai food from The Royal Siam Thai restaurant. They have really good Spring Rolls, nice and crispy. I had the Crazy Beef which came with a spicy sauce. It was good, I will give it 4 Kitten Stars.

That night we chatted and caught up and then we watched T2 Trainspotting, the sequel to Trainspotting.

T2

It takes place 20 years on from the original film and has the same cast of actors. We had such high hopes for this film as we absolutely loved the original. I was rather disappointed. I did like how they would insert a flashback from the original on occasion to highlight that their lives are playing the same loop. But I thought it was far too dependant on the previous film and would have preferred it to be more of a stand alone storyline. It also annoyed me that they had a scene where Jonny Lee Miller and Ewan McGregor decided to shoot heroin together again and had a psychedelic trip and the next day just carried on with life with no craving or after effects. I think that is an irresponsible representation of heroin use. Norm enjoyed the film a lot but I suspect he just enjoyed being surrounded by the scots accent.

I give the remake 2.5 Kitten Stars.

We awoke on Saturday to hear that there had been yet another terror attack in London. This makes 3 attacks in 3 months. We sat feeling stressed and helpless once again waiting to hear that our friends and family were safe. This is becoming far too frequent.

We may be running out of water in South Africa but I feel safer in regards to risks of terrorism.

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We had a slow start on Saturday morning and then we headed to Flava Café for lunch. We sat upstairs.

Norm tried to stay low carb and ordered their breakfast.

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But Trevor and I both pushed the carb loaded boat out and had the Bacon, Guac & Feta Burger. I had chicken and Trevor had the beef. It is also available as a veggie burger, but if you are indeed vegetarian then I suggest you omit the bacon 🙂

It was a divine burger, the guacamole was home made and it had big chunks of feta and was topped with coriander which I love. The chicken breast was moist and spicy and the bacon crisp. The onion rings were nice and crispy as were the shoestring fries.

I give Flava Café 5 Kitten Stars.

After we finished eating we walked over to the Palms Garden Square again to have drinks at the Bootlegger Brewery and Blind Pig Tap Room which is now my fave place to drink.

blind pig

It is so chilled out and I tried the most divine pomegranate cider. Yum.

Lily & Josh drove through from George to join us and we sat upstairs on the deck under cover of canvas and had a lovely afternoon.

Late afternoon we started getting hungry and we walked back around the village to order take away pizzas from Cocomo. Josh and I had a Mexican pizza which was really nice, Trevor had a chicken pizza, Norm had the Moroccan chicken and it was massive, it had 4 chicken breasts and lots of salad and veggies. Lily ordered a halloumi salad and it was also really large – their food is great value for the money. They also have live music every night so I think this would also be a regular stop for us if we end up moving to Wilderness.

Lily and Josh headed back to George as Josh’s mom has just come home for a visit from the UK where she works. Me, Trevor and Norm just chilled out and watched a bit of telly and chatted and did not have a late night as we were tired from our busy day drinking in the sunshine.

Sunday was our last day in town to spend with the kids and we drove through to Mossel Bay to see Lily and Josh’s new flat. It is the downstairs section of a large house right by the beach. It is nice and spacious and modern and really lovely.

We all went out for lunch to Mossel Bay and we went to Café Havana. I loved the décor, it was colourful and fun.

Lily and I both chose to have tapas for lunch. I had chili poppers, prawn tempura and onion rings. Lily had the calamari, prawn tempura and spinach and feta pastries. It came with a choice of sides and we both had coleslaw and wedges.

After lunch we went back to Josh and Lily’s flat and chilled out until time to go to the airport.

They have their own banana tree in the garden.

I have such beautiful babies.

The sun was setting on our flight back and it was stunning.

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The flight was over in no time and we came home and relaxed a bit before bed time. It was a lovely visit but it is always nice to sleep in your own bed.

Last night after work Norm just cooked some chicken sausages and steaks on the braai and I made a salad to go with it. He also cooked halloumi on the braai and it is my fave new thing to cook on the grill as it is crispy outside and warm and gooey inside.

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There is a massive storm heading to Cape Town tomorrow so we have all been told to work from home rather than risk travelling. The weather service is predicting winds of up to 90km/h, with snowfall on the outskirts of the peninsula and up to 80mm of rain in some areas, with some branding it the largest storm the Cape will have seen in 30 years.

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Norm has taken in to the house everything in the garden which is possible to go flying away. I am so worried about the people who live in the informal settlements as their entire shacks are at risk of taking flight. The storm coupled with the drought could lead to flooding and mudslides so keep us all in your thoughts and prayers.