Our Own Internal Standards

On Thursday afternoon I took Norm to the airport as he was off on a business trip to Switzerland. That day while packing for his trip he made a pot of chili con carne to tide me over as he knows that in his absence I would probably just exist on popcorn and salticrax if he does not make it effortless for me.

That evening to serve it I added some tortilla chips and topped it all with cheese, sour cream and salsa. It was rather delicious.

I built a big fire and snuggled up on the couch with the animals. It was bitterly cold this week which was probably related to the fact that it snowed on Table Mountain!

That night the pups were so sweet when it came time for bed. They generally sleep on the sofas in the evenings and when it is bed time Norm carries Panda outside to wee and then carries both of the poms up to bed. It was almost like they understood that I cannot manage all that and when I was ready for bed I woke up Panda and said ‘ok baby it is time to go out to pee’ and he blinked and peered at me, hopped down and trotted outside to do his business. I locked everything up and put out the lights and then said to them all ‘ok up to bed!’ and they formed a queue with Navajo at the lead, Pixie in the middle and Panda at the rear and they all trotted off upstairs.

In our room Pixie sleeps on 2 of our pillows which we have set up as a warm comfy bed for her and Navajo has his own sheepskin bed opposite hers. Navajo raced in and plopped down on Pixie’s pillows and looked cheekily up at her with big naughty brown eyes. She glared at him and when he stayed put she grumpily yapped and told him off and he got up and slunk over to lie awkwardly on Panda’s tiny little bed. He thinks he is a tiny thing and cannot understand why he cannot curl up in my lap like the wee ones. He does this funny maneuver where he herds you to force you to sit down then shoves his head between your legs and down at your feet so that you can lie down across his body and put your arms right along his sides for a full contact hug. He then wraps his giant paw around your legs and hugs you back. He is such a sweet loving baby.

The latest with the doggy physio is that she suspects Navajo may have OCD or Hock arthritis in his leg. And no that does not mean he continuously washes his leg or sorts his toys alphabetically, it is a different OCD. You can read more about it here. I just hope we can get him some relief as he is still struggling.

On Friday morning Cordelia came in to work early but this still put me arriving into work much later than usual. As many people were not in the office on Friday due to it being a 3 day weekend no one seemed to notice. I had to work over a bit each afternoon that week to make up the time I had taken off to drop my car and to drop Norm at the airport as whatever happens, I have to put in a minimum of 40 hours billable time.

Friday after I finished at work I had to do all of the tasks that Norm usually takes care of.  I waited for Cordelia to finish then went into the township to drop her near her home, then back home to feed the dogs and make myself dinner. I had the left over chili again so at least there was little effort involved. After dinner I built a fire and got cosy with the pups. I was content to stay home and relax. I remember the days when I would not have dreamed of staying home on a Friday and if I did the FOMO would have driven me mad, funny how our priorities change. The only thing I was missing out on was Norm.

On Saturday I had made plans to meet up with my friend Helen for lunch. I had initially invited her to come with me to Simon’s Town to view the mandalas being made by the visiting Tibetan Buddhist monks. however I had gotten the weekend wrong and had to message her back to say I was being a numpty. As we had already agreed to spend time together we just re-planned our day and decided to meet up for lunch instead. Even this proved to be wrought with a challenge or two.

I have been lucky to have Charles our dog walker available to keep the dogs exercised in Norm’s absence and he messaged to ask could he come early that day as he had to be somewhere at 1. I told him that was fine as I had a lunch date for 1. I got ready and waited.

Eventually he arrived and walked them and I only left the house at 12.50 but still arrived for my lunch appointment almost on time. However there was a sign at the entrance to Deli Delish when we arrived announcing they were closed for a private function. We decided to leave our cars where they were and walk across to Zur Holzbucht instead.

As it was such a stunning sunny day we opted for the beer garden and got a table at the back which was nice and shady.

Helen was dappled in sunbeams.

I was seated completely in the shade but it was still very bright.

We both opted for the stuffed pork fillet which was filled with ham and cheese, rolled up like a kiev and breaded and fried.

The sauce was similar to the sauce on a Hollandse Biefstuk which is a rich brandy butter and mushroom sauce. The portions were huge and Helen and I both said ‘wow at least we can take half of it home for dinner’ before launching into it and devouring every single bite! Oops. It was perfectly cooked and so full of flavour. I was absolutely stuffed to the gills but it was too divine to leave on my plate.

The waiter had told us when we sat down that there was a function on from 2pm so we had an hour to eat and chat. It went by very quickly I must say and by the time we paid our bill and left the party was kicking off. If we had been dressed for the occasion we might have played out our own version of the Wedding Crashers.

But we didn’t.

We did chat a bit to a young muscle-bound lad who tried on multiple occasions to either put up an umbrella for shade, or to remove an umbrella for whatever reason. It wasn’t very clear what his objective was, just that he failed miserably. Of course I took the piss. He took it with good humour and left the brolly alone after that.

It was a gorgeous day and it was nice to have some one on one time with Helen to chat a bit. I think we are quite similar in nature.

After lunch I popped over to the optometrist to collect my new contact lenses but I was too late and the office was already shut. Instead I went to Woollies and did a small shop to tide me over for a few days. One can only exist on chili con carne for sooooo long!

That evening it got chilly after the sun disappeared behind the mountain and I built a big fire and started watching series 4 of Black Mirror. Norm was not a huge fan of the previous series’ of this show which we had watched together, so I knew he would not mind if I carried on without him. I love this sort of show. He prefers shows with guns and thugs with British accents. I like a bit of quirky dark humour.

Over the weekend I also discovered a brilliant new series called Maniac. Do yourselves a favour and watch this series!!! It just came up as a recommended series and so I gave it a try without even reading about the plot or reviewing the cast, then when I discovered it has some of my faves in it I was hooked!

However while researching the cast for this blog, I see that the character which I thought was played so brilliantly by Phil from Modern Family was actually played by Justin Theroux! I think they were separated at birth.

I devoured it over the long weekend. I give the Maniac series a full on 5 Kitten Stars despite their trickery over Phil clones.

I have the funniest convos with my kids about the series we each find and recommend to each other.

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Netflix conversations

A post shared by Kitten In The City (@stresskitten) on

I am notoriously bad with names and I love that my daughter Caitlin knew exactly who I meant despite getting the names and movie references wrong. Hopefully if I get Alzheimer’s in my dotage she will be there to be the Mommy Whisperer.

The other screenshot of a convo was triggered by the Netflix recommendation of the show Nappily Ever After.

I really loved this movie.  It is about a woman named Violet and is played brilliantly by Sanaa Lathan. I thought it was the perfect example of a woman who has lived her whole life trying to be ‘perfect’ both physically and behaviorally. She had tried to live up to the societal and parental expectations which either she set herself or imagined that others set for her. I identified with this so strongly. As a Virgo I have ridiculously high expectations for not only those in my life, but for myself as well. It is only recently that I am starting to recognise these standards are internal. Most people will never even notice the things which we think are huge issues, we need to give ourselves a break. Our goal should be happiness, not point scoring (even against our own internal dialogues). I feel that these ridiculous standards are what lead to anxiety for many of us. That standard which means we will never be perfect. If we ever achieve those goals we simply move the goalposts higher.

I love the actress Lynn Whitfield and she did a brilliant portrayal as Pauletta, the mother of Violet and the impetus behind Violet’s need for perfection. I also loved Lynn in Greenleaf where she played a horrid woman who was simply a victim of her environment. I really enjoyed Greenleaf even though it was all sex and Jesus.

I also never realised just how much of a challenge black women have in regards to hair maintenance! Again, is the desire for long silky locks triggered by a woman’s own inner desires, or is it a look that they imagine men prefer? Who are these women making all of that effort for? If it is for their own confidence and they are happy to invest that much money and time into maintaining it then that is all good.  I spend a fortune to keep my grey away so I cannot point any fingers. I also keep the grey away to mostly please my husband, so I cannot really be hypocritical about that point either. However if I could not afford the upkeep any longer I would be happy to chop it short and let the grey grow in…..but that might be too much of a shock for my grey hating Scotsman.

It is not easy being a woman!

On Sunday Caitlin and I had plans to meet our friend Carla for lunch at Dunes in Hout Bay. Caitlin had agreed to collect me on her way through. We had not booked as we were waiting to see how the weather played out. The weather was stunning but there was a wee bit of wind, something which is not always conducive to a sand free meal when on a beach. But we decided to risk it and we were given a table at the back under cover and behind a clear plastic curtain thing to keep the wind (i.e. sand) out.

We still had a lovely view of the beach.

We waited until 1.30 and when we still had no response from our many calls and messages to Carla we went ahead and ordered as we were starving.

Caitlin chose the kingklip and ordered it with salad.

I ordered the Pulled Pork Knuckle Sandwich which came with chips.

Regular readers know I am a pulled pork aficionado. I have high porky standards and I was ever so impressed with their pulled pork! It is not dripping in sauce like so many local places serve it, it was not full of fat and it was a nice large portion. I think I have found a new favourite dish for Dunes! I give this sandwich a full on 5 stars, I can think of no way to improve on it.

Eventually we heard from Carla who had her days confused and was not going to be able to join us. Never mind, that just gives us an excuse to reschedule. Caitlin and I had planned on lunch anyway so it was no inconvenience. It was lovely to get to spend time with my daughter.

Monday was Heritage Day which is a public holiday in South Africa. I had a slow morning after I fed the dogs and tidied up the house. I made a big cup of tea and sat outside staring at my mountain while the dogs enjoyed the fresh air.

Eventually it started to get a bit warm sitting in the sun and I thought I needed to get motivated. I had a list of chores I have been putting off due to laziness and so I set myself some goals for the day.

I took down my little globe planters to clean the glass and realised one of them was split and at risk of falling apart and splintering everywhere so now I am down to only 2 of them left.

You would never guess by looking at my kitchen windows that I have a cleaner in two days and a gardener in one, yuck.

I then clipped off some of the succulents which were getting a bit crowded in their existing pots and replanted them outside in some of my other pots. I moved around some other plants, did a bit of weeding and then decided to tackle my cupboards. I cleaned out all except one cupboard (which of course is the one that REALLLY needs it) and I came up with tons of clothes to give to charity.

There are even some clothes which I have had since before I moved back to SA in 2007. I found my fave pair of old corduroy trousers and thought I would try them on just for a giggle and was ever so surprised when they fit me! Not only did they fit but they were a bit loose. I chucked out everything from pajamas to winter coats. I used the old rule of ‘if you have not worn it in a year you do not need it’ adage and I threw out all of the ‘I paid so much for this unfashionable thing’ items which end up banging around for decades due to guilt over their cost.

Bye.

For each item I asked myself ‘will I ever wear this again’ and if I hesitated then I threw it out. I am sure someone will get good use out of all of these items and it made me so happy to be able to find things on my now tidy shelves! Now I just have the last cupboard to do and that is me sorted until next year I hope.

Norm will pop over to Thula Thula to drop them all off once he is settled back home. I saw on social media that there was yet another fire in the township on the weekend and so there will be plenty of people who can benefit from these items.

While I was working I found an old iPod from when I moved to SA. It is like a time capsule. I remember that I had tried to copy far more music than the iPod could accommodate and so it only has artists beginning with A to C. There was some music I still love, such as Angie Stone, Beyoncé, the Black Crows and even some Counting Crows which I enjoyed but some of it, like AC/DC for example, was not conducive to the pace and boredom of cupboard cleansing. But it gave me a cool backing track of memories.

Sunday night I tried one of the ready meals I had picked up in my shop at Woolies. Norm and I never usually eat ready made meals but Lily had told me that the Woolies pulled pork was very good and I spotted this carb laden little gem: Pulled pork and macaroni and cheese. If you are not vegetarian and not counting carbs then I highly recommend this meal.

I tried a few of their other dishes over the weekend but they were not as nice and so I won’t recommend that you try them. I tried the Braised Beef Stew but it had very little meat and a few chunks of fat. I also tried the Bean and Lentil Bites which were actually really revolting in texture. I think if they had been covered in breadcrumbs and were crispy outside (like a cheese croquette) then they would be amazing. But the dishes fed me and stopped me living off of popcorn all weekend, so there is that.

Tonight is my last night without my Norm, he flies back home tomorrow and life will be back to normal, as much as it ever is.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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Hummingbirds & Sand Dunes

We had a bit of a break from rain over this past weekend but it has started again on and off as we roll into the work week. As much as we need the rain to top up our thirsty drought ridden dams, it was nice to see a bit of blue sky when I was off of work and could enjoy it. It rained on and off through Friday but Saturday and Sunday were both stunners. The rain is coming down pretty hard today.

I had very little planned for last weekend and had anticipated a bit of relaxation but then my plans started to ramp up.

Friday Josh and his friend Shane arrived down from Mossel Bay to stay with us for the weekend as Josh was racing.

As Lily was at Comic Con in Johannesburg for the weekend Josh brought Shane with him for support. We ordered pizzas from Posticino as Josh likes to carbo load on the day before a race.

Saturday the boys were off to the race course very early and I had an appointment to get my eyes tested at Tanya Seeber optometrist in Hout Bay at 11. Norm and I decided to pop down for breakfast prior to my appointment and we chose The Hummingbird Eatery and Patisserie as it was right next door.

There were only a few people seated when we went in and we hoped this meant we would be served quickly.

I was not terribly hungry and their menu says that they offer a ‘Daily Muffin’ so I just ordered a chocolate chip muffin, luckily the flavour they had that day was my favourite. As the cafe calls itself a patisserie I had high hopes for this choice.

Norm ordered the full English breakfast with banting toast.

Our coffees came quite quickly but the food seemed to take a very long time. In fact, 10 minutes before my eye appointment was scheduled Norm went to find the waitress and met her coming through with our food. I quickly wolfed down the muffin but was very disappointed with the quality of it. The muffin had a hard lump in it which I think must have been a bit of the batter which was not fully mixed through properly. It was very dense and heavy. The muffin was very dry which makes me think it was not made daily as the menu suggested. Norm said his meal was fine but the banting toast did not taste like bread at all but then I have yet to meet a banting toast I enjoyed.

We have given this venue a few chances, you can read my most recent blog about our visits to this venue here. I see that on that older blog I had a whinge about the hollandaise, but I noticed on this recent visit that they actually have Bearnaise sauce on their Eggs Benedict, but the complaints still stand on the fact it was overcooked. Each time I am disappointed in the food and this was the 3rd strike of kitten discontent and we will not bother to go back. I give them 1 Kitten Star. ⭐️

I dashed over to the optometrist while Norm finished his food. I had my eyes examined and ordered some new daily use contacts. I have always had monthly use lenses but I wear them so seldom it is a waste. With the dailies I can just wear when I get dressed up and want to look nice and then chuck them away. I am allergic to many of the soaking solutions and this cuts out an irritant from the process. I am waiting on the salesman from the frames supplier to bring a pair of frames for me to try on so I did not order my spectacles yet.

After my eye appointment Norm and I headed over to Caitlin’s flat as she wanted to go  and purchase a dishwasher and we offered to help her collect it to save delivery costs. We went to Tafelberg Furnishers in Diep River as she had already been speaking to a salesman there who had put aside the dishwasher she wanted that was on special. We also bought a fold up clothes dryer as Cordelia had broken ours the day before. The salesman was a sweety and insisted on following us to Caitlin’s flat and helping Norman carry the dishwasher upstairs. We tried to tip him for his efforts but he refused. He was such a lovely young man. We managed to get it to fit under her new counters and it also fits perfectly in between her existing appliances. All of them are silver finished and it really looks lovely.

Caitlin also asked Norm to bring his tools to help her hang some of the items she wanted to put on the walls of the flat. The 1st items were to hang over her sofa, so we pulled out the sofa to avoid getting drilling dust all over the furniture. We found a wealth of cat toys lost by Scout and Mittens hiding back there. There were so many wine corks that it looked like a family of miniature alcoholics had been living under the settee.

Caitlin had 2 paintings which Susan, Wes’ mom, had painted for her, they are so stunning and the colours match her flat perfectly. The colour does not show that well but the wall is a soft minty-turquoisey-green and the sofas are a soft grey.

After all of the chores were done we were in need of some food and we walked over to Martins Bakery to get a quick bite to eat.

The kitchen at Martins had already closed but the waiter offered to have the kitchen do a sandwich croissant for us if we wished. We ordered a ham and cheese croissant and a coffee. The croissants at Martins are baked fresh daily and are hands down the best croissants I have ever eaten, including those which were eaten when we were on holiday in France. They are so light and buttery at Martins and so fresh.

We picked up some banting chicken pies to take home for dinner and we just served them with potato salad and coleslaw for a quick and easy meal that evening.

I also bought some sinful treats for later that night. I got a lemon meringue tart for myself.

I picked up a gorgeous, rich chocolate tart for Norm and a couple of pasteis de nata for us both as well.

We were definitely not disappointed in any of these sinful indulgences. In fact as you may notice I had to use pics from Martins as I wolfed mine down so fast I forgot to snap a pic. Oink.

Would one call Martins a Patisserie even though the owners are Portuguese rather than French. What does one call a Portuguese bakery? Whatever you call it, I give everything we had from there a full on 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We walked back over to Caitlin’s and Norm packed up his tools and other bits and pieces and we headed home. Norm and I had a quiet evening as we were a bit tired from all of our running around that day. I built a fire and we cuddled up with the pups and relaxed.

We have just finished watching the Netflix series Guilt which while watching we fluctuated between loving it and being annoyed with the silly bits. I can usually always identify the murderer in a show but this one had me flip flopping on who I thought was the killer. It had plenty of twists and turns.  The show was based predominately in London and had roles where the actors were supposed to be playing someone of English, Northern Irish and American origin. However it was oddly cast and I could hear the actor’s real accents coming through the fake accents the actors were portraying. The Northern Irish roles both sounded like the actors were from the south, not the north. My Belfast accent is far superior to either of the supposed NI actors. The part of the Prince was played by a Brit, but his accent is not naturally posh, I could hear his vowels slipping on occasion. The American actress who played the part of Grace did not sound American to me, I could hear British phrasing slipping in on occasion. The things that annoyed Norm were more factual points like the fact that the Special Prosecutor was interviewing people when they were arrested and various other things about the British justice system which wound him up as being blatantly ‘not British’ according to Mr Kitten. Also the portrayal of the Prince and the lack of support and counsel from the Royal family when he was deep in the poop was a bit of a stretch.

Saying that, we were really gripped by this show (in between being really annoyed) and so I will give it a solid 4 Kitten Stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday Josh and Shane were up early and heading off up the road towards home. I had drumming practice at 10.30 but my morning got away with me and by the time I got out of the shower I was already late! I made a piece of toast and Norm very kindly offered to drive me over to Constantia so I could eat it on the way and he could stop for petrol on his way back to save us time for our lunch appointment at 1. We raced over to Gerri’s and I arrived as they were busy doing their breathing exercises and they had to start over. Oops. I am normally the first to arrive and have never been late before so I did not stress too much. We had 2 solid hours of drumming and singing.

We learned that one of our songs is being sung wrong. The lyrics are:

CHU NO MUGEN NO CHIKARA GA KORE KOTTE ,
MAKOTO NO DAIWA NO MIYO GA NARI NATTA

It is in Japanese and as we sing phonetically we were garbling the message. However as when you have been singing misheard lyrics for a long time, it is hard to sing it the right way once the wrong way is stuck in your brain and we struggled a bit with the rhythm on that one.

Norm collected me around 1pm and we headed off to meet my friend Julie who is over from the UK. Julie is here with her Father and they are staying with Julie’s cousin Belinda and her hubby Wayne and their 2 adorable little babas. We arranged to meet at Dunes on the Beach as it has a playground for their son who is 2 and a half and a gorgeous view for the overseas visitors. We were seated in the children’s play area under a brolly. It was shady enough even for my wee Scotsman.

We were seated looking up towards the restaurant which is always good for people watching.

We had a view of the beach if we peered over the playground wall.

It was lovely to see my friend Julie. We worked together at British Gas when I was in the UK. I have not seen her in about 9 years since she last came over to SA.

I ordered the mussels and as I was starving by the time we finally ordered I scarfed up every little mussel.

It came with bread and the bread was so soft and fresh it must have been made that morning. Norm had the fish and chips and Wayne had a burger which he said was very good. Julie’s dad had the cajun chicken burger which he also enjoyed. Julie and Belinda shared some sushi and the salmon and were happy with their food too. The salmon come on crushed potatoes which they compared to warm potato salad. The pizza oven was off for some reason and several of them had planned on having pizza but quickly had to make a new choice when they heard the pizzas were off the menu.

We hung out for a while enjoying the nice weather and catching up with each other’s news. We were due to pop by Retha’s late afternoon but we had cancelled as we needed to nip home to check on the dogs and walk them. It had turned a bit chilly and so I built a fire while Norm was out with the pups.

On Monday Norm had a business meeting but was kind enough to cook for us before he left.

He had bought woolies hake fish cakes which were on special. He steamed some vegetables and made home made coleslaw. It was yummy and there was enough left for my lunch on Tuesday.

Norm had a bit of excitement on Tuesday when he received the required number of resident approvals to implement an SRA in our area. This is great news as it allows us a bit more control over the security issues we have in our suburb. A few individuals were strident in their disapproval, however the yes votes outweighed the no votes so it should proceed now despite the objections. Norm has put in so many hours of his personal time working on this for the benefit of many residents so I am very pleased to see that work pay off.

I realised yesterday that my drivers license has expired and am in a bit of a panic about getting pulled over. I will have to go as soon as possible to the filthy licensing department to queue with the millions of other people getting their licenses. Oh the joys. My car has gone in today for a service as the brakes have been pulling since my near miss accident when I was working on the UCT project. It is so difficult to achieve these tasks when you are working full time. Norm dropped me off at 8am and then drove me into work and collected me afterwards. It cost me almost R5k for the new brakes and the service. I still have to go to another service provider for the alignment but at least the brakes are sorted and that was the worrying issue.

Last night Norm cooked dinner for us and kept it simple but it was delicious. He baked chicken breasts and mushrooms in coconut oil and roasted some veggies to go with it.

This weekend is a long weekend as Monday is Heritage Day in South Africa. I am meeting Caitlin and our friend Carla for lunch on Sunday and I am looking forward to that. I am also going for lunch on Saturday with my friend Helen and it will be great to catch up with her.

The Cape Town Marathon is on this coming weekend which may impact our ability to get in and out of our village. I will have to check the routes to see what is happening. If I am housebound maybe that means I will do some of the chores around the house I have been putting off forever. Maybe. 😜

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x

To the left, to the left

The crime stats for South Africa were just released by the South African police department (aka SAPS). If you are a fellow data geek you can download them here. The poor grammar and spelling on this website tells you a lot about the state of our police’s attention to detail (or lack thereof). There is so much misalignment and lack of master data management it makes me cringe. For example the official stats are collated by station, yet the filter refers to ‘province’. They refer to ‘residential crime’ yet the stats have ‘Property-related crimes’ as the category heading. This can lead to misinterpretation and misallocation of data which is a huge issue if collating stats and providing Business Intelligence.

If you prefer to have your information already interpreted you can get a summary here. I have also extracted some of the more relevant stats for the Western Cape, where I live, from that site.

The overall crime stats for the province are in this 1st graphic. It would appear the criminals have reduced their attempts on car jackings and ramped up to truck jackings. Maybe they bought a ladder?

The stats for residential crime in my province are in the next graphic below. Residential crime is defined on the crime stats as:

  • Burglary at non-residential premises
  • Burglary at residential premises
  • Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle
  • Theft out of or from motor vehicle
  • Stock-theft

 

My understanding of the difference between burglary and robbery is whether the items were taken directly from a person, or taken in their absence. For example, a mugging is a robbery and burglary is a house or car break in.

And finally, the stats for murder and attempted murder.

The stats for attempted murders went down overall, but is this because their skills improved and the murderers were just more successful at achieving their desired results?

Either way it can make one despair or it can make one take whatever protective action you can, be vigilant and hope for protection from our guardian angels. Since the cops are doing such a crap job at protecting us and resolving crime, some divine intervention is needed. This is one of our motivations in creating the SRA for our area, it gives us some control over our safety and environment as a collective entity.

However we must be careful not to buy into the scaremongering from the Alt-right who claim there is a white genocide underway and that the South African farmers are all being deliberately targeted and murdered. I have blogged about this recently and you can read that blog here.

This video was posted on Facebook recently which gives a view that aligns to mine, that we are being subjected to right wing propaganda. White South African residents are far less likely to be murdered than any other racial group.

This is not discounting the violence and horror of the farm attacks.

You can generally always find information online to support your views, here is a video from the alt-right. Note their constant use of the term ‘they’ – they do not see Africans or Coloured people as equal, this is evident in their terminology. This is also known as Otherism which can be defined as “the exclusion of a person based on their perceived diversions from an acceptable norm.”

Noting that the 2nd video is from Australia and Australia has a long history of racism which is similar to the American history. Australia’s mistreatment and repression of their indigenous people is as systemic and horrid as the US treatment of the Native Americans. The aboriginal people were displaced from their homelands and treated as inferior to the usurping white settlers.

The Australian press has recently been accused of racism due to their portrayal of Serena Williams and her tantrum in the US Open. My opinion is that her behaviour was shocking and unprofessional but no more so than many male players who have thrown wobblies in the past. The fact that the cartoonist then doubled down and refused to admit to racism says a lot about their lack of ownership of their narrow views and their unwillingness to change.

This week has flown by for me, I have been busy at work preparing for a workshop at UCT which was held today. It went well, we are putting in a proposal to bid for some work which could lead to a long term project. I really resisted going to University of Cape Town when I was assigned my previous project there as I always resist anything new but eventually I settled in there and was very happy and in fact was sad to leave. It will be good to go back there again. I popped in after my workshop to visit the team I worked with before. It was lovely to see them all.

Last night after work I went with my friend Retha to her new house to unpack her kitchen things so that she could bring back the boxes and bubble wrap to pack another load of things today as she is moving out of Hout Bay on the weekend. We have been living so close to each other since we met so it will be strange having her not in the same suburb, but things change and we adapt.

Norm has been cooking most of the week. He was adventurous last night and made the most delicious high fat, low carb dinner of chicken breasts smothered with cream cheese and cheddar cheese and topped with home made bacon bits. He served it with sweet corn and cole slaw. It was ready shortly after I got home and as I was starving by the time I got in I scarfed every bite.

I found the recipe on this Low Carb website which has some good ideas.

Norm had a meeting the previous night so we had take aways as he got home quite late. I made chili con carne on Tuesday night as I was craving a bit of spice.

Lily and Josh’s sister are at Comic Con this weekend. I am sure they will have such a laugh. Josh is so mad about comic books it is a shame he wasn’t able to go but he has a race this weekend and he and his friend are coming down to stay in Cape Town with us instead. At least the tickets were not wasted. It is the first official Comic Con event in Africa. There is an annual comic book convention held in Cape Town every year which is called Fan Con but it is nice to see the Comic Con brand come to Africa.

I set up the event for our own fancy dress event which we have every year for Halloween and we are all starting to get excited about planning for that. It is my fave time of year and I cannot wait!

I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I hope you all have a good one too. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0

Hardly Strong

I was watching a series this week where a mother and daughter were having a bit of a disagreement and the mother said to the daughter ‘You think you are so strong, but it only comes off as hard.’ I have heard this myself many times, I know that I am strong. I am also hard when the occasion warrants it. I wonder what is the tipping point from one to the other? I guess I ride that fence in between the two, falling into one direction or the other depending on my need for self protection.

I had 3 days off last weekend as it was my birthday and I try to always book off work for my birthday. I think it should be illegal to have to work on your special day. Norm and I had discussed what I fancied doing weeks ago but the discussion did not stick in his head and what I planned and what we did ended up being completely different, however I was happy with the way the weekend panned out. I had asked Norm to book for the whole family to go to Hogshead as I knew that their food is a generic people pleaser and we have a few fussy eaters in our family. I had asked Norm to book for just he and I to go for a fancy lunch at La Mouette on the Sunday or even on Monday which was my actual birthday. The Hogshead somehow fell off plan completely and we ended up taking the whole family to La Mouette on Saturday night. A lovely, however pricey expedition.

Friday after I got in from work Lily arrived down from Mossel Bay. It was lovely to see her and catch up with what all is going on in her life. Josh did not come with her this visit as he has been traveling back and forth for months and just needed a bit of a rest. Friday night we just chilled at home, ordered pizzas and cozied up in front of the fire as it was quite cold again and the rain was pouring down.

Saturday morning Norm was up early as he had to take Navajo to David, the doggy chiropractor. Navajo’s ankle seems better but he has so much strain to his lower back and hips from hopping on 3 legs and hauling his weight around on his front legs. Just touching the middle of his back makes him cry. It is breaking my heart watching him struggle. However after seeing David on Saturday and the doggy physio on Monday he actually managed to pee while standing on his bad leg today, something he has not done for months. Fingers crossed he is on the road to recovery.

After Nav and Norm got back home, Norm had to quickly shower and change and he headed off to a business meeting in town where he was presenting to 2 different groups.

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❤️

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Focus on how cute he is and not my messy kitchen in the background please.

Lily and I decided to head into the village as I need to buy new eyeglasses and I needed some advice on what style suits me. I tried on dozens. I narrowed my faves to these 4.

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Help! Which ones should I choose?

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I posted this pic on both Facebook and Instagram asking for votes and I got loads of responses. Most votes seemed to be for either 1 or 3. Some people really did NOT like the red glasses, but I love red and I love cat eye glasses so I am not sure if I can be persuaded to not take them. I go back in 2 weeks for an eye exam and will decide then which ones I want. If I can get number 1 in a black frame, I will definitely take those.

After we finished at the optometrist Lily and I drove down to the Hout Bay harbour as we wanted to have a nibble and go for a walk along the harbour and pier. As we got into the car at the optometrist we were hit by a wave of stench. We have a fish processing plant in our village and when it is in operation the entire village reeks of a horrid smell which makes you feel nauseous. We decided to drive down to the harbour and see what it was like but once there we opened our car and decided it was unbearable so we turned around and headed back into the village and settled on Deli Delish. We sat inside as the weather is so unpredictable and we hoped that meant we would not smell the stinky fish factory.

The stench had made us a bit nauseous and we were conscious that we were eating a big meal a few hours later so we decided to just have a scone and a bit of pineapple tart.

I also had an iced coffee which was divine.

After we finished we headed home to get ready for our dinner at La Mouette. Caitlin and Wes came to our place first and I opened the birthday gifts from the children. They gave me 2 gorgeous warm long cardigans and a low carb cook book.

Wes gave me a bunch of lilies which are my fave flowers, they will last ages and look gorgeous as they bloom.

We had a photo shoot on the balcony outside our bedroom before we left. (Ummm what is going on with my one weird skew boob?!)

We then all drove together into the city in my car and were lucky enough to get parked right by the venue. We asked the doorman to take a pic of all of us outside on the patio on our way in.

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My lovely family @TeamLaMouette

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We were seated in a cozy corner booth with lots of room to stretch out. We were treated to a gorgeous glass of champagne as we were handed our menus. The champers was compliments of our host Mari. Such a thoughtful gesture!

They served us with 2 different types of home made bread and a bowl of warm dipping sauce. The sauce was made up of garlic and various gorgeous flavours in a hot beef fat broth. Sounds odd but it was very tasty, smoky and meaty.

We all decided to go for the Winter Tasting Menu which is R295 for 5 courses.

To kick off, the table was served some ‘snacks’ which were described as:

  • Mushroom gyoza, fermented cabbage and apple slaw
  • Truffle and cheese croquettes, roasted garlic aioli
  • Crispy beef short rib bao, pickled cucumber, crispy onion and chipotle mayonnaise.

These were all fabulous! The cheese croquettes are always a favourite and a meal at La Mouette would be incomplete without them. We all moaned with happiness while devouring them. The bao was rich and meaty, really gorgeous flavours. The gyoza was divine as well and I am not really a fan of the texture of dumplings, but the gorgeous flavours made up for the texture.

Next came the leek and potato soup described as ‘Smoked mash, leek oil, ash and velouté’. This was served with a bit of theatre. First they brought out a bowl with a pile of fine mash with a glistening puddle of leek oil sitting in the centre.

Then they bring around a little container and pour on the creamy soup which you then stir all together.

The soup has such flavour and I loved the way that they presented it.

For the next course you had a choice of either spicy vegetable kofta:
Cauliflower crumble, green tea and parmesan oats cracker. Norm chose this and he said it was tasty and he enjoyed it.

The other choice was the West coast mussels: Curry, compressed apple, burnt chard and onion bhaji powder. All of us except Norm had this dish. I am usually a big mussel fan, I found the delicate mussels to be a bit overwhelmed by the intense flavours of the dish. I enjoyed it but it was not my fave dish of the night.

The next course was a choice of two offerings as well, the choice that most of us went with was the cured pork belly: BBQ carrot purée, red chicory and crackling.

This was so good! The pork belly was tender and had an amazing flavour. The crackling was thin as paper and ever so crunchy. It was beautifully cooked. I loved this dish. I wanted to lick my plate.

The other main option was Herb gnocchi: Parmesan crème fraîche, pickle butternut purée, mushrooms and sorrel. Caitlin had this and she seemed to enjoy it and ate it all up quick sticks.

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Herb gnocchi

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Dessert was lemon meringue:
Mascarpone, lemon leaf snow and wood sorrel. Ohhhhh yummy yum yum. Lemon meringue is one of my fave desserts and this one did not disappoint. It had such flavour. I loved it.

After we finished and asked for the bill we were served some of their homemade macarons. I missed the description but I thought I could taste passionfruit, but the girls thought they were blueberry! Whatever the flavour they were oh so good.

They made our tongues blue but our already full tummies even happier!

We had a lovely evening and Lily drove us home as she was our designated sober driver.

In the middle of the night that night the house alarm went off and Norm looked all around the house to see if he could see anything out of the ordinary but assumed it was just the wind and we eventually went back to sleep.

Sunday we were all up early as always, it is impossible to lie in with a houseful of hungry beasties. Norm went down to the kitchen to feed them and discovered a bird with an injured wing. It was a tiny little bird and Lola had obviously been torturing it and had damaged his wing. Norm caught him and took him down to the green and released him, I am telling myself that he recovered and is now fine.

Then today when I was coming home from work I saw a guinea fowl running frantically along the side of the road and then noticed that there was a bird knocked over and dead in the road and the frantic one was trying to get to its partner. I found both of these experiences so upsetting as I love birds.

Sunday morning Lily and I sat in the sun on the balcony drinking coffee and enjoying the nice change in weather.

The dogs hung out with us as they are always happy to be outside.

Lily had a long drive ahead and so she showered and packed up and headed home late morning. It was so lovely having her here.

Norm and I decided to go out for lunch later that day and headed across Chapman’s Peak toward Jake’s. It is the most stunning drive.

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Road trippin ❤️ #ChapmansPeak

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We were given a fabulous table in a spot of sunshine right by the door so we also caught a bit of fresh air.

I wore one of my new cardigans and it was lovely and toasty warm.

They had a different guy singing than the previous time we were there but we really enjoyed him, he had a great voice. He sang some great tunes and had a wide variety, he did Under the Bridge by RHCP and even King of the Road by Roger Miller which always reminds me of my grandmother.

Norm chose the fish and chips. It was beautifully presented but the fish was undercooked and full of bones. Norm never complains at a restaurant but he actually called over the manager and showed him the raw gooey dough and the piles of bones. The manager said we were the 3rd to complain about the fish that day and I wondered why did he not pull it off the menu? However the manager was very nice and apologetic and took the fish off of the bill.

I chose the Tasting Platter as I fancied picky things. It had panko prawns, yunan ribs, chili poppers, chicken pot stickers and parma ham and cheese balls. I had expected cheese croquettes but these were cold, spicy cheese balls, filled with a soft cheese and were not cooked. They were tasty but just not what I expected. The rest of it was very nice.

Norm felt deprived after his unsatisfactory meal and so we both ordered the Chocolate fudge brownie for dessert described as ‘white, milk and dark chocolate, bar one chocolate sauce and ice cream.

However only 1 portion arrived so we just shared it.

As an American I have high standards when it comes to brownies. Don’t give me a dry ass piece of cake, shove a nut in it and call it a brownie. I think the sauce was not made from a bar one but other than that I have no complaints. The brownie was moist and full of yummy chocolate chunks and was really good. I will be having this every time I visit Jake’s.

We drove the long way home and it had started raining while we were at Jake’s and it became a torrent of rain and it is a very windy road so we made our way slowly. We stopped off and did a little shop of bits and pieces and then headed home and built a big fire to stave off the freezing cold.

The next morning Norm gave me his gift as he had saved it for Monday as he wanted me to have something to open on my actual birthday. I badly needed a new handbag as mine was literally falling apart. He chose this one as it has a separate removable section for containing my iPad. It is simple and elegant, I love it.

Norm had to go to a meeting for work early that morning so he dropped me off about 10 at Cait’s. First we popped into Martins Bakery which is right by Caitlin’s flat. It is owned by Wes’ aunt and uncle so I am always happy to support them. The fact that they make such nice food is a bonus! I bought some donuts and muffins and we headed to Caitlin’s. We had a coffee and a pastry and then we headed to Kalk Bay. I have always loved Kalk Bay, it is a special little place. We parked at one end of the village.

We walked along the main road, hitting all of the cute quirky shops. We trawled through the china shop and realised that it used to be a tattoo parlour and this is where Caitlin and Trevor  got their first tat, we all 3 had one done there together about 12 years ago. Here is a throwback pic of me getting mine.

Caitlin bought some little china figurines to go into her printer tray and some other items and I bought a cowboy hat as mine is falling apart.

We shopped until we were exhausted and hungry and we headed off to Live Bait to see if we could get a table and we were in luck! We were given a lovely table right by the window overlooking the pier.

We settled in and ordered a drink and some lunch.

We both ordered the prawns which came with chips, rice or salad. I chose chips and Caitlin chose salad.

The prawns were perfectly cooked and were ever so tasty. We both loved this dish and scarfed every bite. They were in a buttery, slightly spicy sauce. The chips were home made and delicious.

After we finished eating we went for a walk down the pier to help with our digestion. The wind was howling!

We walked down to the lighthouse and back.

After our walk we stopped for an ice cream at the Ice Cafe as Kalk Bay is infamous for their ice cream. We walked along the road munching and staring at the sea and then when we finished we headed back to Hout Bay.

Caitlin dropped me off at Retha’s so that she and I could have a birthday drink together. Retha gave me Pierre’s steam punk hat for our dress up box which I put on so that I would not forget it. The kitties seemed perplexed by it all.

Norm came to collect me and when we got home I discovered that Trevor and Amber had sent me some Ferrero Rocher chocolates and a stunning bouquet of flowers.

Norm had bought a chocolate brownie to stick a candle in so that he could sing to me and wish me happy birthday. I made a wish that my ex-husband has good results from his biopsy this week. As I made the wish and blew out the candle I smugly thought ‘how virtuous of me to use my wish for the good of my children’ and the candle relit!!! I looked at Norm and he said ‘that means you get an extra wish’ and so I wished another wish. I thought that was a rather spooky experience. But I won’t look my gift wish in the mouth.

I really feel self indulgent wishing for anything as I have all that I could ever hope for – a roof over my head, an interesting career, a lovely family, a loving, handsome husband and wonderful children. I wish there was more money and less crime and that my mother lived closer and then my life would be perfect, but then who ever expects perfection? Even a Virgo would never be that greedy.

I am so blessed.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x0