The Art of Acceptance

I have had a very eventful week!

Late on Tuesday evening we saw on social media that there was to be yet another riot in Hout Bay. We read that they intended to block our road out of the village and then we saw the residents nearby posting that there were tires being burned in the road and they could hear trees being cut down with chain saws. Eventually we heard on the Neighbourhood Watch radio that the Public Order Police Services (POPS) had finally arrived and then we heard the loud bang of several stun grenades being thrown to disperse the rioters. That sound was chilling and rather frightening that it was so near our house.

Protesters reportedly threw petrol bombs at the police officers. We read that there were arrests made of 2 of the protest leaders.

This protest was rumoured to be about the lack of engagement by the government in the ongoing issues around re-homing the victims of the fire which happened months ago.

Delays are ongoing and people are angry that they are being kept in the dark regarding progress. The other rumour is that it is not the people who are awaiting houses who are causing the unrest, that it is the slum lords who are no longer going to be able to own multiple shacks for rental and whose income will be impacted who are behind the ongoing chaos. But based on the protests just last week I am not so sure about these rumours.

Last week a 13 year old girl went missing from a suburb in Cape Town.

anchen pink ladies

Her mother seemed very vague on where she could be, when she actually disappeared and many of the details around her disappearance.

I found her profile on Facebook and the photos there are very sexual for a 13 year old girl, you would guess she was much older.

A few days after her disappearance she was found in a local township in a shack. These areas are incredibly dangerous for the people who live there, much less for a young white girl. Every day we hear of murders, shoot outs between gangs, rape of women and children and other drug fueled issues.

I wonder what Anchen was thinking when she left to join a man she ‘met’ on Facebook? How horrid must her home life be to want to escape it so badly? Why is her Facebook page so sexual and why is her mother not policing its contents? Why did she feel the need to find ‘love’ with a stranger? So many questions.

This pic on her page made me very sad.

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You can see the pain in her eyes. What is Anchen’s secret and what is causing her such pain? I hope the entire family get counselling and find peace and that Anchen was not damaged when missing. I hope that she has not been damaged in the past and that is why she is so unhappy and over-sexualised for her age.

A few weeks ago I slipped in my kitchen and twisted my knee. This is the same leg that I had a hip replacement done a few years back. Since I slipped my knee has been very swollen and sore. My usual chiropractor managed to unlock my back Saturday before last, but the limping has caused it to go out again. I went for an x-ray on Friday afternoon at Constantiaberg MediClinic.

The report tells me that I have arthritis in my knee and narrowing of the joint.

Lovely.

Before I went off to the hospital last Friday I used OrderIn to order sushi from Sakura Sushi Bar for my lunch.

  • 1 X Salmon Roses @ R64.00
  • 1 X Golden Roll @ R48.50
  • 1 X Open Prawn Tempura @ R48.50
  • 1 X Prawn, Avo & Mayo Salad @ R48.00

It was delicious.

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We had no leftovers from the previous night when Norm had made us a delicious low carb dinner of noodles made from spinach, pork fillet, spinach, mushrooms and coconut cream sauce. So I had a legitimate excuse for being indulgent instead of just ‘it’s Friday’.

pork pasta

I managed to get a last minute appointment with Dr Kevin Lentin first thing Saturday morning. This is the lovely man who helped my Mom when she was here last year and injured her back.

I had such an interesting conversation with him. He does not just adjust your spine and send you on your way, if you are interested in just that I assume he does, but he takes a very thorough history from you and what became very evident in my exam is that there is a lot of underlying issues which are exhibiting themselves in body pain.

Kevin explained that every stimulus that comes in your conscious mind is processed by your subconscious mind and compared to every past memory your have. When it finds the same stimulus in your ‘files’ then it tells your body to react in the same way as it did when you last experienced that same stimulus. What he thinks is happening with me is that my body is sort of in this incessant loop of an adrenaline reaction. When your body is stuck in this loop then many of your bodily functions go into an almost shut down mode, or at the least are impaired in functionality. Your digestive system, your cardiovascular system, your muscular system and even your libido are impaired.

The way to deal with this is to ‘reprogram’ your subconscious to remove the reaction from this stimulus and to detoxify the liver from the poisons which it may be ‘holding onto’.

He said it may take a while to uncover where the brain has gotten ‘stuck’ in this loop, however I am pretty sure I know most of the ‘baggage’ my brain is holding onto. My issues started primarily after our home invasion a few years ago. This would have triggered my childhood memories of an armed invasion we had when I was 5 years old. I was at my Grandmother’s house and several armed men came into the house to rob her. They were wearing stockings over their faces. They tied us all up and made us lay face down on the kitchen floor. They held a gun to my head and threatened my grandmother to force her to give them the combination to the safe we had in the bedroom. So when we had the men come into our lounge wearing a balaclava I immediately regressed to that 5 year old child. My daughter Caitlin said that I sounded like a child screaming. I need to tell that inner child that she is safe and dig down to heal that long term wound.

I also have a lot of residual anger and trauma from my first marriage which results in my completely inappropriate reaction to things Norm does or says as they are filtered through the screen of my previous marriage.

The first step to resolving my issues with my anger is to be first be aware and secondly to be accepting of the current situation, without colouring it with the past.

I have been practicing this and it actually works!

After my appointment with Kevin we went back to the house and I sat outside in the sun while my darling hubby made us breakfast. He made us cheesy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, tomatoes and avocado. I felt very spoiled.

Later I had to head into the City for a hair appointment. I had rescheduled my usual 5 weekly appointment as next weekend is my birthday and we have a lunch planned so Leandra my hairdresser managed to juggle things to squeeze me in early.

I was a few minutes early and I had a wander around her new shop which is downstairs from the new salon. It is really lovely!

 

They have just gotten their signage and I nicked this pic of Leandra off of her instagram.

leandra sign

The shop downstairs if called Repeat After Me and the hair salon upstairs is called Pause. They are at 66 Church Street opposite where Cafe Mozart used to be. You should pop in and have a browse, they have stunning clothing, shoes, jewelry and art. Leandra is also setting up 2 treatment rooms for massage and manicures etc. She does such a lovely job on my hair.

leandra me.jpg

Saturday evening we had a date night and had booked to go for dinner at Lucky Bao.

baosign

When we arrived at 7.15 for our 7.30 booking the restaurant was rammed and there were no seats available as it is a tiny venue. There were even people spilling outside onto the patio. We stood in the doorway looking confused until one of the staff came past and asked us were we OK and we asked about our booking. He said to us that they were full and that he could only seat us at 8pm. He suggested we have a seat outside by the fire pit to wait, but the wind was howling and the fire pit is also the smoking area so we were not willing to do that. We asked him how it is that we booked and yet there were no seats and he just shrugged. It was really annoying but I tried to practice Acceptance.

But I was still annoyed.

Baby steps.

We decided to have a drive through Hout Bay and think about where to go as an alternative. We ended up going to The Lookout Deck at the harbour just for a change from our usual spots. We go there in summer but not usually in the winter. It has a stunning view, even though it was dark and we could not appreciate it.

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Image credit.

We grabbed a table outside on the deck as there is a glass divider protecting you from the wind. It was not too cold as we both had on jackets.

I ordered salmon roses as a starter which were very nice.

 Norm ordered the fishcakes.

lookout fishcakes.jpg

For my main I chose the Prawn Special, half a kilo of prawns for R150. They were just ok, not amazing. They were a bit soft and difficult to peel.

Norm ordered the calamari and said it was not very good. It is the sort of venue you go to for drinks and music on a sunny summer afternoon, not for impressive food.

I mourned my planned evening at Lucky Bao.

Sunday we got up and out to do a grocery shop as we were out of pretty much everything. On our way out of our suburb Norm spotted a group of 6 young boys climbing a wall of a property. We stopped and they ran, we chased them for ages and finally rang Watchcon to send a car to stop them and have a word with them. They looked to be between 6 and 8 years old! That is the sort of nonsense that drives me mad in South Africa. The crime is rife. Norm rang the bell to advise the residents of what was going on but no one was home, we potentially saved them the loss of their belongings if there was a window open for the little buggers to crawl through.

Next we popped into the Allegria Cafe for a bite of late breakfast. I had my usual Eggs Benedict.

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Later in the afternoon we went to view some show houses. I adore my home and I love Hout Bay but the levels of crime have me so stressed. If these protests keep going on then I worry about the price of our house being affected when we do want to sale and retire. Our 5 year plan is to move to the Garden Route and buy a place in Wilderness. That is where my son lives and is also quite near where my daughter Lily stays as she is in Mossel Bay. I am even considering buying a plot and building at a later stage. This is the view from the plot I have my eye on. Pretty amazing isn’t it?

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If we were financially able to do so I would sell up now and move but I need to work and save for a few more years before I can retire, hence the traipse around the show houses.

I planned out our show house approach and made a spreadsheet like all good analysts do. We were going to view a variety of areas to get an idea of the market. We first drove out to Marina da Gama. We arrived at the show house only to be told by the agent that she could not show the house as she did not have the keys! We drove for 20 minutes out of our way for nothing. Out of the list I had made there were 3 houses where the agent either did not show up or could not access the property. Shocking and unprofessional but that is just Cape Town for you.

We toured all around the city and viewed houses in Tokai, Bergvliet, Plumstead & Wynburg. We viewed townhouses, old houses, renovated houses, nice houses and dismal horrid houses. We were quite surprised by how much the price of houses has gone up since we bought ours. I have one which is everything I want in a house which is in Noordhoek but we have not seen it yet, just viewed it on the website. I still want to go and view that one but other than that nothing really tickled our fancy.

We watched a film when we got home. I just went through the list of ‘People are watching’ films and randomly picked. It was called ‘Security‘ and starred Antonio Banderas and Ben Kingsley.

film_antony banderas

It was the sort of film that appeals to both me (because, well Antonio) and Norm (because, well they shoot shit & blow things up.) It kept our attention and even made us laugh a bit, maybe not because it was funny but for odd reasons. I will give it 3 Kitten Stars, because, well, Antonio.

We had a relaxed evening as we were exhausted even though all we did was roam around the city in a car!

This morning I went to see Kevin again and he worked a bit more on my back, I see him again on Wednesday and he is going to target my knee.

After I finished I spent an hour sitting in traffic on the motorway and I didn’t rant or rage! I just enjoyed my view and appreciated the beauty of my surroundings and my many blessings.

I hope you all have a great week. Next weekend will be exciting as Lily is coming down and it is my birthday!
Until then, Kisses from the Kitten for you all xoxoxox.

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Weekend at Woodies

The last few weeks have been riddled with chaos and filled with both natural and unnatural disasters both near and far.

Terrorism and the alt-right hate groups kicked off on Saturday the 21st in my home country, the USA. There was an alt-right rally in Charlottesville Virginia which resulted in a battle between the good guys and the bad guys (i.e. Nazis, skinheads and your generic racists). This resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, murdered in another of the cowardly ‘murder by automobile’ incidents which are becoming so prevalent.

We then heard about the same thing happening in Barcelona on Thursday, this time a multi-pronged Islamic extremist attack resulting in 14 deaths as per the last article I saw. This was well planned and had many different terrorists involved. The most deaths occurred again when a van drove into a crowded pedestrian area and mowed down loads of innocent people.

These acts of cowardice and hatred sicken me.

We then heard about the floods in Sierra Leone and that over 400 people have died, many bodies have not been found and some of those who were found were never identified and were dumped into a mass grave.

Again another flood occurred in India where almost 300 people are dead or missing.

Yet millions of people do not believe in Global Warming?

The levels of ignorance astound me.

However the most revolting news item in SA is the story of the group of cannibals who have been discovered in Durban. The case is still under investigation so they are not sure if it was a ritual or what the hell is going on.

The mind boggles.

It has been rather chaotic closer to home as well.

Tuesday there were protests  over the re-blocking which the city is supposed to be doing in the township where the fires were months ago. The progress is very slow and the victims of the fire are still living with no electricity in tiny homes which keep flooding when it rains. Their protests were at least directed to the government and the appropriate people this time instead of towards the other residents of Hout Bay as they have been in the past!

reblocking protest

After I got to work on Friday Norm messaged me to say that there were more protests going on, this time in Hout Bay by the harbour area of town. The protests were regarding lack of service delivery in Hangberg, one of the townships in Hout Bay.

Image credit. Image Credit.

The police started using stun grenades to push back the protesters. The protesters blocked the roads and stopped people moving about the harbour. They tried to charge tolls to people who needed to pass by the roadblocks. It carried on for most of the day. Luckily I was on the other side of town at my client and missed being in the middle of any of it.

Then we woke this morning to news that there had been yet another fire in IY. I read on Hout Bay News that Thula Thula, which is the fire relief NPO in Hout Bay, has reported that there was a fire in Madiba Square to the Hughenden side of Imizamo Yethu and that another 20 homes were destroyed. The area is not part of the previously damaged area and does not have electricity but it is super-blocked so the fire trucks could get to the blaze before it ripped through the entire township. Super-blocking means that the dwellings are laid out in a grid pattern which accommodates vehicles being able to pass between the structures.

Residents reported that the fire was started by a cooking fire that was knocked over in a ‘domestic scuffle‘.

On a more personal level, this week has been very busy and seemed to go by in a blink. After a weekend of lovely weather last weekend we had a lot of rain that followed and then it has gone full circle resulting in a gorgeous bit of warm sunny weather this past weekend.

We have had ongoing drought so it was a relief to get the little bits of rain. The news this week reported that our mayor is planning on implementing some desalination plants to mitigate the risk of the dams drying up completely, one of them is supposed to be built in Hout Bay. Why they have waited so long to investigate this option is beyond my understanding.

I had a bizarre thing happen last Monday night. I was sitting on the couch and I tilted my head forward to look at my iPad and my left ear started cracking and pinging and I suddenly had a severe bout of vertigo so bad that I was almost ill. I sat up and held on to the couch until my head stopped spinning and then after it stopped I could feel stuff rushing down the back of my throat. (Sorry I know that is rather gross but it is elemental to my story.) Luckily I had a follow up appointment with my ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat specialist) the next morning. When I told her what had happened she seemed very concerned. (I had thought it was a good thing and that it meant my middle ear had ‘unblocked’ but what do I know? Nothing it appears.) She was concerned my eardrum had burst.

She wanted to test my balance due to the intense vertigo episode and so she had me walk heel to toe along a straight line which is taped on her floor, then she had me stand on a cushion with both of my eyes closed. I felt like I was having a test for DUI! I have always had terrible balance due to my vertigo but I somehow passed all of the tests.

She tested the pressure in my ears and said that both eardrums are still ‘flat’ which means they are still full of fluids, but the left one was improved. Then I had to do a full on hearing test in a wee booth with headphones on. The smallness of the booth triggered my claustrophobia but I managed to keep myself together and I got through it. I have some hearing loss on the right ear but she said it is not too critical. It could be due to all of the deafening concerts I attended when young or from shooting rifles without headphones as a kid.

I had not realised it was raining so hard when I went into work on Tuesday morning and I wore fabric boots to work, however the ENT is about 2-3 blocks away and it was pouring so on the walk over there my boots got soaked. My socks inside my boots were sodden and I spent the day with wet feet after my morning traipse across the foreshore.

When I got home on Tuesday I built a roaring fire and put my boots by it to dry. Norm made us a delicious dinner of low carb noodles made from spinach and coconut cream chicken with baby spinach to go over it. He served it with broccoli and it was so yummy.

On Wednesday morning I had an appointment to see the dental hygienist to get my teeth cleaned and Norm had to drop his car across the road at the garage so he came with me. I am not very good with dentists. I survived it however and we went to the shops to get something for dinner that night as he would be without transport once I went off to work. We had a quick breakfast at Mainstream and then I dropped him home and shot off to the client.

In the afternoon I worked over to make up some of the time I lost that morning and when I got home Norm had again made us dinner. He made fillet steaks for us and an ostrich steak for Caitlin as she is not keen on beef steaks. To go with it he roasted a mix of sweet potato and pumpkin in coconut oil and steamed some baby broccoli.

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I have been very spoiled by my gorgeous man as usual!

We have now found out his car is going to cost about R16k to repair it so we will be on a bit of a budget for a while. His car is about 10 years old so we may need to look at replacing it.

 

Last Friday morning the dogs woke me up a bit earlier than I normally get up for my client which is based on Mowbray so I decided I might as well go in early as I still had time to make up from going in late due to my dental appointment on Wednesday. However I forgot that when I go to work in that direction, leaving early just means I get stuck in the school traffic so my drive was a bit of a nightmare and took me an hour and 15 minutes instead of the normal 45 minutes. An extra 45 minutes I could have lain in bed!

I had no lunch to take to work on Friday so I decided to give OrderIn another chance after the last fiasco and I ordered from Sakura Sushi Bar.

I ordered a variety of stuff, I was so hungry. I ordered:

  • 1 X Salmon Roses @ R64.00
  • 1 X Golden Roll @ R48.50
  • 1 X Open Prawn Tempura @ R48.50
  • 1 X Veggie Spring Rolls (2pcs) @ R17.00

It was all delicious! OrderIn pulled through this time and my smiling driver arrived with hot spring rolls and intact sushi.

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It was all delicious and I will definitely order from there again – it gets a full on 5 Kitten Stars!

Friday night we decided to have a relaxed night so we went for dinner at Woodcutters Arms, our local pub. There was sport on telly so the place was buzzing and had a great energy. We have had so many restaurants close lately it is good to see one of them succeeding.

I had my usual fave the jalapeño cheddar cigars.


I then had a Cajun Chicken Burger which comes with onion rings and a jalapeno sauce.


Norm had the Fish & Chips and said it was lovely.

Early on Saturday morning Pixie and I were off to the chiropractor in Noordhoek. I slipped a few weeks ago and jammed my knee and it has been very swollen. As a result my back is a bit out due to my limping. David the chiro worked on me and got me back in alignment and gave me a script to get my knee x-rayed if it does not improve. Pixie has a lot of swelling in her back and I have noticed she is struggling with the stairs a bit. We are in the wars my Pixie and I!
After we got home I had to get ready for an appointment for a laser treatment and a facial later in the afternoon at the salon Skin and so that Norm could use the car he decided to come with me for breakfast at La Cuccina which is next to the salon and then come back to collect me after. It was a stunning, sunny day so we sat outside on the balcony. We ran into a couple of friends, that is one thing I love about Hout Bay, every where you go you see a familiar face.

Regular readers know about my Eggs Benedict obsession so of course I opted for that.


After I finished with my Laser torture and relaxing facial Norm came to collect me and dropped me off at Retha for a visit.

Our friend Carol was there too.

Retha and Carol were doing pewter drawings and while they were busy we all had a lovely rum cocktail.

I stayed until after Norm had walked and fed the dogs and he collected me. Then we got a take away curry from Indian Oven, our local Indian food restaurant. Their food is divine. We had intended to go out for dinner but my sore knee was aching and so swollen I decided I should stay in and keep it elevated.

We watched a bit of telly and I ended up falling asleep on the sofa after my day of cocktails so when we went up to bed I was wide awake and lay there thinking and fretting about things I have no control over for hours. I finally got off to sleep about 4a.m. so when the doggies woke Norm for some food at 8 a.m., he tiptoed out and let me sleep until 10 which was heavenly. He came up with a coffee and we had a lazy day.

Norm and I watched the film Rough Night. I had not heard any reviews or anything at all about this film so it was a pleasant surprise. I laughed so hard!! It is just farcical nonsense but sometimes we need a bit of that to counter the challenges of life.

rough night

I give it 4.5 kitten stars.

Later that afternoon we showered and went to Retha’s for sundowner cocktails.

Retha drinks Norm

We chatted so long that before we knew it, it was too late to have a braai as we had planned and so we decided to all rather go out for dinner. We ended up back at the Woodcutters Arms again and had a lovely evening chatting and laughing.

woodies_me norm

We ordered all sorts of goodies to eat.

Retha and I shared the jalapeno cigars (I never get tired of those). Norm, Retha and Barry all each had the scotch egg.

woodies scotch egg

I had the Chicken Caesar burger which was on the specials board.

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Retha had the ribs.

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And Norm had the sausage and mash.

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We ended up staying until last rounds and then we headed home. We were both exhausted and I slept like the dead until my alarm went off.

Today life resumes as normal, I am busy with both client projects and life carries on.

The weather has turned cold again so instead of grilling outside I decided to just chuck all the meat in with some peppers and onions and bake them.


I made a colorful salad and will grill some halloumi.


I hope you have a great week. Avoid the cannibals and terrorists if possible. 

xx

 

 

Awakening & Feasting

This has been a fun but hectic weekend. I knew it would be tiring having so much fun so on Friday evening we just ordered in take away pizzas. Lily and Josh were out with their friends for dinner so it was just me Norm and Caitlin. We stayed Banting and ordered cauliflower bases for our pizzas from Papino’s in Hout Bay. I had never tried theirs and they were excellent! I wolfed it down before I could take a pic unfortunately. The edges were crispy and the toppings were plentiful. I suspect they are even better when eaten in rather than as a take away, but it is nice to have a choice of low carb. We have tried other pizza places and they are not as nice.

We were all up early the next morning as the girls and I were going shopping to look at flooring for Caitlin’s new flat. We headed out to the Access Park area and found some lovely laminate flooring in a gorgeous oak which she is keen on. She is being very thorough in her pricing – comparing various installers and suppliers prices to find the best solution as it is an expensive exercise to replace flooring. Norm and I had it easy when we did ours in the UK. We went to IKEA, bought the middle range of product and he installed it himself.

After we finished shopping we were all starving so we stopped at Martins bakery on Main Road near Caitlin’s new flat. I did not take any pics so I nicked one off their website 🙂

Martins

The bakery is owned by Caitlin’s boyfriend Wes’ family and is very charming. Their food is divine and their baked goods spectacular.  They also do gluten free and low carb options so I will stock up on various bits and pieces next time I am there. We intend to make this a regular weekend meet up once Caitlin has moved into her flat. I just had a coffee and a donut as I had a day of feasting planned, but the girls both ordered breakfast and it looked really nice.

After we ate Lily and I went to collect my car at the flat and we came back to Hout Bay. Lily and Josh were off to meet their friends and I was booked for lunch at Cheyne’s in Hout Bay with my friends Nicola and Alison to sample the winter special again.

We all made it pretty easy for the waiter as the restaurant was rammed. We all had the crayfish tempura which was on the specials board. It arrived steaming hot and perfectly cooked. I love the dips that came with it. Yum yum yum.

For our mains we went with the same dish I had last visit as it was so yummy, the Crispy pork san choy bau served on baby gem lettuce and topped with kimchi, chinese mustard and a quail’s egg. It was sprinkled with crushed roasted peanuts.

As our 3rd dish Nicola and I had the Deep Fried potato and coconut dumplings which are served with a tom yum lemongrass cream. Alison had the Spinach and Pak choi ohitashi with toasted sesame and crushed peanuts.

We managed to knock back a few bottles of the delicious Iona Sauvignon Blanc as we stayed for hours chatting and catching up. It was a lovely afternoon full of scintillating conversations and lots of laughs. Ali gave me a lift home and then I changed quickly to head out for dinner and theatre at the lovely Theatre on the Bay.

First we grabbed a drink downstairs and then we headed upstairs for dinner.

I had the tempura prawns and salad to start.

For my main I had the linefish. I cannot remember what type of fish it was but it was tasty and well cooked, The carrot dish was  a bit under-cooked but it was an acceptable dish overall.


We had both chosen the chocolate and ricotta dessert however we expected something soft and light and instead the dessert was very solid and heavy. In fact it was almost impossible to slice in order to eat it. It tasted a bit like it had been frozen and then thawed out.

In defense of the restaurant manager, when he saw that I had barely touched mine he offered us a different dessert instead but I declined. He then offered us a coffee or a drink but we kept saying ‘no it is fine’. We said to him we were going to pop down to get a bottle of water and then wait to go into the theatre. When we went downstairs to the bar he popped up out of nowhere like a genie and then refused to take payment for the bottles of water! What lovely customer service!

At 8pm we filed into the theatre and settled in. I had not read any reviews about the play so it took me a few minutes to realise that there were only 2 actors in the entire play!

mystery play

It then took me a few more minutes to recognise the brilliant Jonathan Roxmouth! I so loved his performance in Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat.

The other actor, Weslee Swain Lauder was also very funny and talented. They had us laughing a lot.

There were cut outs of the 2 main characters in the theatre foyer and we decided to be silly.

We really enjoyed the play it was so well done and very funny. We love that this venue is about 10 minutes from our front door.

On Sunday I had a Drumming Circle and before the circle started those of us who had recently made our own drums all met up to do an Awakening Ceremony for our drums. We started out as always by smudging our bodies as well as our drums with sage.

I love how my drum has turned out now that she is dry.

The ceremony consists of us all speaking into the back of our drums while imagining our intentions for our drums: will we use it just to make music, for healing or shamanism work, for our own pleasure or as part of the community. During this part of the ceremony you are to allow the drum to ‘speak back’ to you and express what the drum wants to be called or any other info. I gave thanks to the hartebeest who gave their skin to me for covering my drum and to Mother Earth for providing me with the skin for my use. I asked the Great Spirit to bless my drum and to help my drum serve a higher purpose in healing and shamanism.

We then went through the various drum sequences and what they mean, trying them out as a group on our new drums and for me, hearing my drum’s voice for the first time. My drum had a lot of vibration when I drummed and the handle reverberated strongly in my hand. She has a very deep voice and almost seemed to have an echo, hence I decided to name her Echo.

We snipped off the umbilical cord of our drum and I chose to burn mine in the ceremonial fire.

We all then went back into the house to join the others who had come for the Drumming Circle. There were lots of us there and we were a multicultural group. Victoria who made a drum with us brought a friend who has studied as a Sangoma. We all performed our usual repertoire but we have added a few new songs. Shortly before the end of the session, Victoria’s friend started to sing and her voice was amazing! She was up and dancing and drumming and singing and it was chilling, she was in the spirit of the ancestors and she was absolutely fabulous. Afterwards we all joined in another ad-lib song with her, howling, shouting, singing, chanting – whatever our own spirit decided to put out there. It was undoubtedly the best drumming circle I have attended. The Great Spirit was in that room with us.

Afterwards Norm came to collect me and while he was walking the dogs I made us dinner. It was such a stunning warm day we just did sausages and salads. To go with we had cole slaw and grilled halloumi cheese. It was all nice and light.

Norm and I decided to watch a film later in the evening and we chose Lion.

Lion.jpg

Image credit.

One of the issues with streaming is that often the subtitles do not download with the film. We were not sure if they just did not exist or whether they were missing but we managed to follow it until it switched over to English. It was such a heart rending film and highlights the number of vulnerable children in the world. As am empath I struggle to watch these things, my emotions can be overwhelmed.

Today we are back to the day to day grind. I was so tired this morning that I drove to the wrong client office. Luckily I realised what I had done and only cost myself an extra 10 minutes travel time. Silly me.

Tonight Norm is making us a nice banting dinner. Tomorrow I am back at the ENT for her to check my ears to see if the fluids have cleared, and then Wednesday morning I am at the dentist for a cleaning. I am not great with dentists so wish me strength.

I hope you all have a wonderful week.

The Sisters Lodge

Wednesday was a Public Holiday in South Africa. It was Women’s Day in South Africa. I will let Wikipedia explain it for you: “National Women’s Day is a South African public holiday celebrated annually on 9 August. The day commemorates the 1956 march of approximately 20 000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against the country’s pass laws that required South Africans defined as “black” under The Population Registration Act to carry an internal passport, known as a pass, that served to maintain population segregation, control urbanisation, and manage migrant labour during the apartheid era.[1] The first National Women’s Day was celebrated on 9 August 1994.[2] In 2006, a reenactment of the march was staged for its 50th anniversary, with many of the 1956 march veterans.”

I had a very fun day planned as we had a Sisters Circle followed by a Sweat Lodge at my friend Gerri’s place, Eagle Owl Lodge. Lily and Josh were also driving down from Mossel Bay to spend a long weekend with us.

We woke up to the dogs insisting on breakfast as we often do on a day off. Pixie jumped up on the side of the bed until I picked her up and put her on the bed, then she proceeded to sit on my head and pull my hair.

morning pix

After Norm fed the dogs their breakfast he brought us a coffee to have in bed and Pixie came back up for a cuddle now that her belly was full.

Pix

She is the cutest thing isn’t she? It is impossible to resist that face!

Eventually we got up and I made us a simple but healthy banting breakfast of boiled eggs, crispy bacon, avocado and mature cheddar cheese. The fat in it would serve me for the entire day as I would not eat again until late that evening after lodge.

I showered and put a ton of oils into my hair as the heat from the Sweat Lodge would give me a nice hair treatment. Menopause has made my hair so dry and low carb life has made it thin so I need all the hair help I can get and I love multi-tasking. 🙂

Norm drove me over to the Lodge as I knew it would be dark when we finished so I would not be able to drive home as I cannot see at night. To be fair I can’t see worth a damn in the day time either!

It was the first lodge I have attended which was poured by Michelle, aka “Dancing Heart Spirit Woman”. Her husband Gordon was the fire keeper and he was assisted by Neo.

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The process started with us all circling the fire-pit and the fire being lit by the fire keepers. We then all took a pinch of tobacco to offer to the Great Spirit and we all stepped forward to put this offering into the fire while voicing quietly to ourselves our wishes. You can ask for what you want to receive from the Great Spirit (such as guidance or enlightenment) as well as for the things you want to be taken away (such as pain or emotional baggage which is not serving your personal growth).

The attendees placed items or offerings onto the altar. You can place anything you want to receive your prayers, blessings and energy onto the altar, such as a photograph, a personal item you cherish or beads or crystals.

Once the fire was lit we went inside to have a talking circle. There were 25 women attending and we all sat in a circle and Michelle asked us all to talk about what we thought was ‘magnificent’ about ourselves, what we valued and what we loved about ourselves. For many women loving themselves is not something that comes easily. We often doubt ourselves and have a running conversation in our heads telling us just how badly we are performing at life or what idiots we are. Another lovely exercise to perform in a group of women who know each other well is to have everyone go around the room and tell each other what THEY like about the other attendees, it really builds self esteem and highlights to you how others perceive you.

When the talking stick came to me I said that I admired my bravery. I hate change, yet I have moved about 50 times, I have residency in 3 countries, have traveled extensively and have a job that requires me to go to many new clients, sometimes on my own. I work across multiple client offices and have multiple roles, from project manager, data analyst, business analyst, data migration consultant to data quality consultant. My life has been all about change. I admire the fact that even though I may be terrified, I get up and I show up and I carry on regardless of my fears.

I strongly identify with the phrase ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’.

I was worried about attending the lodge at all, I am not good with strangers, I am not good with small spaces and I am not good with being very hot – basically all of the items which make up the description of the sweat lodge experience! The last lodge I attended was very full and I found it very uncomfortable physically not to be able to move about very much. But when Michelle sent out the lodge protocols it had a section talking about White Buffalo Woman.

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White Buffalo Woman has come to me in visions, she has come through with messages about ‘knowing who I am and accepting my role as a healer’ whenever I go for a psychic reading. I feel a deep connection to her. She may even be my Spirit Guide as she is so prevalent in my life. Maybe she is an ancestor?

Whatever her role, I took this as a message that I must attend the lodge and that I must put my fears aside. This is part of my journey of spiritual growth and I must just show up and walk the walk.

After the sharing circle we all changed into our lodge clothes and we went outside to get ready to enter the lodge. I wore a bikini bottom and a short swimming cover up which meant I had freedom of movement but still some modesty. (And that I did not step on my boobs while climbing on my hands and knees through the lodge)

We were organised into 2 rows, the first to form an inner circle (the hottest part) and then a second to form an outer circle. I asked to be near the exit so I could catch air between rounds as I find it hard to endure the heat. It was physically very tight on space once all 25 of us were in but I coped by wiggling regularly, however it is hard to get into a meditative trance state if wiggling about or uncomfortable.

There are 4 rounds, one to each direction as each direction has a different symbolism. 28 stones are placed on the fire, 7 for each of the rounds. The process of the lodge is divided into 4 rounds, where the power and spirit of the 4 sacred directions are called in along with the hot stones.

We started the 1st round and once the stones were in we went around the circle and called in our ancestors and spirit guides and stated our intention for the lodge. I called in my Cherokee ancestors and White Buffalo Woman. My intention was for healing of my physical pain and my mother’s physical pain and for less resistance to the emergence of my empath abilities and my healing powers for others. I asked to be more open and willing. I asked for patience and acceptance in my daily interactions. I asked for continued strength and love in my marriage and for protection over my children and their partners. I prayed for rain over Africa as we are experiencing a long running drought.

In between the rounds the doors were opened to allow in some of the cold fresh air from outside. In the other 3 rounds we sang songs and drummed and we prayed. In one of the rounds we all hummed loudly together, then we all made the Om sound and finally we all released our spirit animals and our inner child and we made all of the noises we wanted or needed to make, such as howling at the moon, ululating, shouting, singing, humming, whistling or just unleashing your inner voice. I loved that feeling of freedom and release. It brought me to a place of such pure joy in my heart. I often howl in my car when on my own to release both stress and joy. I identify strongly with wolves.

After the 4th round we all exited the lodge in a clockwise fashion and went out to cool off and change into normal clothes and then we came back to undress the lodge and pack away the blankets. We then all had a meal together of bread and soup made from ingredients grown in Michelle and Gordon’s garden. It was healthy and delicious and we were all starving as it had been a long & exhausting 7 hour process.

The energy that I absorbed from 25 women sitting closely together and singing, praying chanting and drumming gave me a boost and I felt like I made some strong connections with several of the women.  It was such a powerful lodge of energy from the women combined with the full moon.

After we all finished eating Norm came to collect me and we went off home. I got to spend a bit of time with Lily, Caitlin and Josh which rounded my day off brilliantly.

This entire month is Women’s Month in SA and yet there are still such levels of misogyny. There has been publicity over deputy higher education minister Mduduzi Manana for an alleged assault against a woman in a pub at the weekend. We often hear of women beaten by their partners, their sons, or random strangers. Many of these men act without impunity. SA, like most of Africa, is a very patriarchal society. Women here often struggle financially to survive. It is often a hard life for women in SA. It is estimated 1 in 5 women suffer some form of abuse in SA.

This sort of culture is so prevalent that our National Radio station, 5FM has no qualms with their DJs spouting out misogyny. The morning after celebrating Women’s Day I hear slimy pervy DJ Roger Goode blaming Angelina Jolie for Brad Pitt’s drinking problems and Kim Kardashian for Kanye’s dimished success. Then in the next sentence he starts calling Sarah Jessica Parker ‘horseface’ and whinnying continuously when she is mentioned. This man seems to have a lot of hatred for women. The only reason I was listening to him was that all of the other channels were reporting the news in Afrikaans and I do not speak Afrikaans. Yet the SABC moved my fave DJ Fresh off air to some obscure channel I cannot find? I do not understand their decisions to allow Roger Goode air time and to remove DJ Fresh.

Anyway, SA has a long way to go in many areas.

The weather turned from the heat & sunniness of the last week and it has now been raining for over 24 hours. I wonder if we women in the lodge contributed to that as I heard several others also praying for rain?

I had work on Thursday and after work I built a big fire and then Lily and I made Mexican food for all of us. It was really yummy and then we all watched silly videos on YouTube and then watched a bit of the IAAF Athletics Championships and had the excitement of seeing South African Wade Van Niekerk almost win the Men’s 200 meter race. It was so close!

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I am so proud of South Africa for how well they are doing overall in the medals.

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Yesterday the La Creuset mini ramekins I ordered for myself and my girls arrived.

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The boxes were wrapped so sweetly, I had asked for gift wrapping and asked for the card to say ‘Mommy Loves You’ and they printed it on the ribbon! Cute heh?

gift wrap

 

Tonight we are going to have a quiet night in as I have another hectic weekend in store. On Saturday morning I am going with Caitlin to a shop to view some flooring she wants to purchase for her new flat. I am then going to Cheyne’s for lunch with some girlfriends in the afternoon and then Norman and I are off to dinner and the theatre on Saturday night.

On Sunday I am attending a drum circle where we will awaken our new drums. I cannot wait to hear her voice, I have resisted trying her out as she needed to dry properly and undergo the ritual to awaken her spirit. She is looking gorgeous.

drum dry

I hope you all enjoy your weekend and I hope I have the stamina required for mine 🙂

xoxo

Drum Solos & Tea Silos

I have had such an eventful fun weekend.

Friday we had a quiet night in and just chilled out. Caitlin was out with friends and we just ordered take aways. I knew I had a busy weekend ahead and did not want to be tired on Saturday as I was up early to be at my Drum Workshop where I was going to be making my own drum for the spirit work I am busy doing.

We started at 10 a.m. and Jesse, who was leading the workshop, had already prepared the base for our Drums by gluing together thin rings of plywood to form a circular base. There were 3 sizes available, I chose the medium one as I know how heavy they can get when holding them and drumming for long periods of time.

There was a large row of tables with covers over for us to work from. We had a workstation with a variety of different colours for us to choose what colour we wanted to stain our wood.

Once we were done painting or staining our drum bases we put them in the sun to dry.


While they were drying we moved on to make our drum sticks to go with our drums.

There was a bag of leather offcuts and we chose a piece. I loved the colour of the tan hide. We then chose a template, there was a choice of either a round end or a pointed end. I chose the pointed one. You then cut out 2 of the shapes using the stencil. You then use the stencil to mark the holes around the edge, then use a hole puncher to make the holes. Then you sew the 2 pieces together. You can either have the rough side or the smooth side of the leather showing. I chose the rough side. I used a turquoise thread to sew them together using a cross stitch. Then you choose your ‘stick’ and stuff the ends of the drum stick with cotton. You use threads to secure it to the stick.


Meanwhile the skins were soaking in water. I had chosen a hartebeest skin but everyone else was using goat.


What I had not considered was that a hartebeest skin is so much thicker than a goat skin and was therefore almost impossible to cut nicely. Especially the long strip which was a long continuous narrow piece that was to make the ties.

We lay down a template onto the skin and cut it out, marking the holes where we would later secure the drum skin on.

We used a hammer to open up the holes we had marked.


Then we started the rather laborious part of using the thin strips of skin we had cut out to tie the skin onto the base, and then we made a handle in the center by wrapping and tying the strips of skin.

When we all finished we took a group photo.


When I got home I hung it in the garage to dry.

Tonight it looks stunning! I love the patterns.


That night I was so physically exhausted and was struggling to stay awake while downstairs watching telly, but once I got to bed I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned and when I finally did get off to sleep I woke every few hours.

I was glad that the next day my outing was only at 2p.m. I was meeting my friend Di for High Tea at the Silo Hotel at the V&A Waterfront.

We asked for seats with a view and we were given seats in the Library.


The Tea was pre-ordered as they request 24 hours notice to do the baking. It arrived and looked very spectacular.

There were various finger sandwiches, smoked salmon, cucumber and egg salad.


There were also various pastries, this one was chocolate and salted caramel. It was divine.

This one was crispy outside and contained a condensed milky caramel type filling.

The hotel is very new and had lovely furnishings with an African flair.

After we spent 2 hours grazing on the goodies for our High Tea we decided to each have another drink. Di was driving so she had a coffee, I was not so I decided to have a Bloody Mary. I did not look at a menu, I just ordered one. The Bloody Mary arrived and it was a very odd dark brown colour and tasted as if it contained predominately Worcestershire sauce. When the waiter came back a few sips later I mentioned that it was not very nice. He took it away and brought a second one. That one had an excess of lemon juice, it should only have a wee twist of lemon. However rather than be Mrs Awkward American I shut up and drank it.

When the bill came I had a bit of a shock that the drink had cost R105! My word.

However, that just shows me to always order off a menu in a new venue!

Norm collected me and we headed home. It was a lovely weekend of friends and spirit work.

This is a 4 day week as we have a public holiday on Wednesday and will be attending a Sisters Circle and sweat lodge. I hope you have a great week! Xoxo 

The Yum Cha Experience

We were so lucky to get a table on Thursday at Cheyne’s in Hout Bay to experience his fabulous winter special, the ‘Winter Yum Cha Experience’ which is R150 per person for any three dishes of your choice from his winter menu. You then have the option of paying R50 for an additional 4th dish so we used that option to have dessert, working out at the bargain price of only R200 per person! His menu is divided into 4 sections: Sea, Land, Earth and Happy Endings.

The decor in Cheyne’s restaurant is very intimate, it is not a huge venue but the dark blue walls give you a sense of warmth and coziness, perfect for a cool winter’s evening. The chairs are covered in a lovely soft velvet. He has a variety of interesting artworks on the walls which always serve as good conversation pieces.

We invited my daughter Caitlin and her beau Wesley to come with us. She has been working so hard at getting her flat ready to move in and has invested so much time and money into it I thought she deserved a wee treat.

Norm and I shared a bottle of Iona Sauvignon Blanc which was divine. Crisp and light and not too acidic for me as I struggle with some wines since we reduced our sugar intake.

We spent ages trying to choose from the long list of delicious sounding items and we finally decided to have one of our 3 courses as a starter. We all chose from the Sea section of the menu.

Sea Menu snip

Norm and I both had the Crispy Chili Salt Squid which came with a little puddle of sesame mayo and a green chili caramel dipping sauce. It was both crispy and spicy as promised, I loved it.


Both Wes and Caitlin had the Baby Shrimp Tempura with red pepper caramel and garlic truffle aioli. I swapped a bite for a bite with Caitlin and it was really nice. If I go back and this is on the menu I will have this. It is like a modern tastier twist on Scampi like you get in Ireland. It was a nice sized portion as well.

cheyne_prawn tempura
We ordered 2 ‘Side dishes’ from the Earth portion of the menu as one of our 3 courses and shared them both per couple.

Earth Menu snip

We each had a bowl of the Duck fat fries with truffle salt and Nori dust which were divine. They come with a spicy dipping sauce called a Bulls-eye Sauce.


We also each had the Deep Fried potato and coconut dumplings which are served with a tom yum lemongrass cream. These are from the Earth portion of the menu but there is nothing earthly about these, they are little balls of heaven. 

cheyne_potato dumpling

We all chose a dish off of the Land menu.

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Both Wes and I had the Crispy pork san choy bau served on baby gem lettuce and topped with kimchi, chinese mustard and a quail’s egg. It was sprinkled with crushed roasted peanuts.

I loved that crispy pork dish! The pork was lean and crispy, the sauces were just the right combo of tastes to balance it out perfectly.

Norm had the char grilled Chalmar Rump dish with gochu-jang and shimeji cream which he said was very tasty.


Caitlin ordered the crispy wings which arrived after we had all finished our dishes and all of the sides had been gobbled up. The only slight blemish on a perfect evening. But she made such a mess eating them maybe that was for the best that she did not cover her potato dumplings with sticky sauce?

For our 4th (and extra) dish we all chose to have Dessert. I had the double thick Peanut Butter milkshake, with 70% chocolate soil and crushed peanuts. I adore peanut butter in anything but put it in ice cream and I am in heaven. This was a perfect end to my amazing meal.

 

cheyne_penutbuttershake

Wes had the Sago pudding which the rest of us all agreed tasted a bit like you would expect frogs eggs to taste, but Wes loves Sago pudding and he was very happy.


Norm and Caitlin both had the Apple fritter with ice cream. I did taste a wee bite and it was yummy.

cheyne_apple pie

It was such a lovely evening.

Today I finally made my own drum to use at my drum circle and any other events which I go to on my spirit journey. I’m too exhausted to tell you about it today.

Tomorrow I am going to the Silo Hotel for their Afternoon Tea with my friend Di. The hotel is at the V&A Waterfront so the views will be stunning. I am very keen on that as well so there is lots of excitement for this weekend.