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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