Hope and Comfort

After I posted my last blog about my friend Jay who passed away, my friend Chris messaged me to say he had also experienced the same light show I had written about! Chris was also at school with us and he said that Jay had sent him this image as a GIF:

However IG will not allow the GIF to do it’s thing so I found this video which is a very close representation to what I saw.

The fact that Chris saw the same sorts of lights and that the GIF was sent by Jay confirms to me that Jay was communicating to us. It comforts me.

Norm attempted to start us off eating well this week and did a shop to make dinner on Monday but as he has to wait for me to get home from work so I can take over Panda-sitting and I worked late it was very late by the time he got home and we ended up with another take away that night.

On Tuesday he made a yummy dinner of cauliflower cheese ala macaroni and cheese. He make crispy bacon to go on top and I added grated parmesan and chopped chill to mine.

Wednesday was my Mom’s birthday and the girls and I clubbed together to buy a gift card for her. She had been wanting to buy herself some new perfume and it was the same cost as the gift card so she will buy that for herself from us. It was such a mission to find a company in the US that would accept a SA credit card for a US ‘delivered’ item, even though it was an electronic gift card but that seemed not to matter. Amex was going to charge a fee, Eileen Fischer made me jump through a million hoops and Dillard’s allowed the purchase then cancelled it the following day. Finally I found Nordstrom’s and they were brilliant. From now on I can just send her a credit to spend. I video called Mom on Wednesday night when I got home and we had a nice chat, it is so nice to be able to see her and chat via whatsapp without having to pay for an international call.

That day Norm and I both had to go to the bank as it is a joint account which requires both of our signatures. Standard Bank as always was incredibly inefficient and we queued for an hour to get to see a teller. I really hate this bank and may consider moving our investments to a more user friendly bank. Standard are closing down many of their branches so I assume that the queues will just get worse. They suck at customer service. The teller asked us the same question 3 times and could not seem to grasp the concept of moving funds from one account to another.

We had a dilemma about what to do with Panda as he cannot be left alone and we could not take him into the bank. Caitlin kindly volunteered to puppy sit and Norm dropped him off at her office.

Caitlin said he had a few visitors pop by to see him and he was so tired that night from his adventures.

After our long time waiting at Standard Bank we were starving so we popped into Brownies & Downies across from the bank for a spot of lunch.

They serve their cappuccinos on a cute little tray with a few bits of brownie and fresh cream.

They had a pulled chicken sandwich on ciabatta on special and we both ordered that.

It was so tasty! Slightly spicy and really yum. The chef said it usually has peppers in it but peppers cause my hernia to go a bit mental so I asked him to leave them off and he did. There is a lovely warm vibe there.

The premise of this cafe is to “train people with intellectual disabilities. Special-needs young adults are trained and integrated into jobs in the hospitality and retail sectors. Training while working in Brownies & downieS helps to break down long-standing stigmas and gives customers and special-needs adults the opportunity to meet and interact with each other in a fun and homely environment.”

That night for dinner Norm and I made a really delicious meal. We are getting a bit tired of takeaways but needed something simple and quick. We grilled fillet steaks we had marinated in garlic, pepper and olive oil. We sliced the steaks and served them on a bed of spinach and rocket, pomegranate seeds, toasted pine nuts and thick shavings of parmesan cheese. It was soooo divine! This is going to become a regular meal for us.

Lily drove down to Cape Town to collect her passport at the US embassy and she arrived on Thursday night. Norm cooked for us and made baked pork chops, roasted sweet potato rounds, fried halloumi and steamed broccoli. It was so delicious.

We have continued with nursing little Panda back to health, sometimes he is happy to chow the fancy food from the vet which is supposed to give him the nutrients he needs to recover and sometimes he turns his nose up.

We bought him bibs as his ruff is a nightmare to clean.

Saturday Norm ran errands while Lily and I watched after Panda. He got some tapas type bits for lunch. We had chicken samosas, chili poppers and arancini stuffed with mozzarella with various salads.

The girls offered to babysit Panda for us that night as we tickets booked to go to see the musical Kinky Boots at The Fugard Theatre in the Cape Town city centre.

First we stopped at Hudson’s for a burger.

We sat on the outside patio but it wasn’t unbearably chilly.

I ordered the Original Royale burger with battered onion rings, bacon, cheddar cheese and chili oil.

Norman ordered the East Village Selection of 3 60g sliders but said the meat was very average. I was too hungry to bother with a pic of his dinner.

We give our meal 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We headed over to the theatre and grabbed a drink and roamed around until we could take our seats.

We absolutely loved the show. The lead, Lola, was so talented! Lola was played by Earl Gregory. I remember him from Joseph’s Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Darren Craig played Charlie and he was also very talented as was the actress who played Lauren, Namisa Mdlalose. Their chemistry was very sweet.

We loved the choreography with this scene being my favorite.

We had such a lovely evening with a lot of laughs. It was also nice to see my friend Rob. We have not had a break since Panda became ill so I was glad the girls were so kind.

When we got home we watched some of the acts appearing at Glastonbury.

Some of my favorite performances have been, Miss Janet ❤️

The sexy, energy bomb that is Lizzo.

I also enjoyed King Princess.

We loved Lewis Capaldi too.

We are so limited in what music we get exposed to here that we have a wonderful time watching the various artists.

We stayed up far too late. After Lily left today we have carried on watching. I’m rather lazy today.

Norm took Panda to the vet as he is not too keen on eating, but we finally managed to get some roast chicken down him. The vet says he has lost a tenth of his body weight already. The vet gave him an IV as he seemed a bit dehydrated and she gave him another vitamin shot.

Panda has discovered he can make a bit of a growl now and practices a lot.

We realised just after filming that Panda managed his first solo poop (you can see Navajo realised it when he gave Panda a sniff). That was obviously what the grunting was about! The vet checks may have loosened things up in that regard.

In the local news over the last few weeks were the horrors that have been becoming public around the Al Noor Childrens Home in Cape Town.  Back in June the Department of Social Development  removed 17 children from the centre after conducting a preliminary investigation into a number of serious complaints of alleged physical and sexual abuse.

The children were placed in other child and youth care centres, and are receiving the necessary social support, including assessment and counselling. Then we heard that more children were removed and that the manager was up on various charges including fraud. Amina Okpara was arrested on June 14 for fraud and corruption by the Hawks and may face further charges including sexual offenses. It is alleged that Okpara redirected donor funds meant for daily operations of the Centre into her personal bank account and used it for personal gain. She was arrested during a sting operation by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team together with the Department of Social Development (DSD). At the time of her arrest, there were 35 children in the building none of whom any record existed on the premises.

Joshua Covenant Chigome, spokesperson for MEC of Social Development Minister Sharna Fernandez, confirmed that criminal charges have been laid with the SAPS against the alleged perpetrators.

The home has since lost it’s license and has received an eviction notice from the City of Cape Town.

A third whale has died due to being trapped in the fishing nets around False Bay.

“The former department of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries had issued the exploratory octopus permit about 17 years ago, allegedly without consulting the City. In 2017, after the drowning of a Bryde’s whale, the City asked the department to set limits as a condition of the permit, but this was ignored. The permits were intended to assess the techniques, economics, population and biology and management of a possible future commercial octopus fishing industry, according to a published notice by the environmental affairs department in 2003.”

Everyone is up in arms and a petition is going around and hopefully the nets will be removed. Regardless of where you live please sign.

News from Limpopo showed a different sort of protest in that the protesters hijacked an excavator and forced the operator to dig up the road.

There are so many things to protest but this sort of vandalism doesn’t help anyone’s cause in my opinion.

The SA government is in a mess. The auditor-general’s annual municipal audit report, released this week, details the alarming state of financial management at most of South Africa’s towns and cities.

Only 18 of the country’s 257 municipalities received clean audits in the past financial year.

Unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure at municipalities, which piled up over many years, has now reached R122 billion.

The latest annual municipal audit report details some alarming instances of maladministration in several towns and cities in South Africa. These include spending of R21 million on a single fence, and R58 million in missing pension fund investments. One Eastern Cape municipality paid R2,500 per toilet for a sanitation project that now threatens local drinking water.

Crime is still on the increase and the Cape Town murder rate has risen by more than 18% in one month. It is only six months into the year, the murder rate in Cape Town stands at 2,302. Between November 2018 and April 2019, there were a total of 1,875 murders in the province. In essence, that is an average of 10.2 murders reported in a single day. In April alone, mortuaries in the Western Cape reported 308 corpses that were processed. Gang violence has been identified as the primary cause of this rapid increase in murders. The Cape Flats has been identified as the capital killing grounds of the city.

The crime in our suburb has lessened since they did not release the members of the group who were recently arrested and their bond was refused.

As much as we love SA there is a long way to go to sort out the challenges, however much like I have with the prognosis of my baby boy, I do have hope.

Three Bad Things

I’ve always heard that bad things come in threes, but I am sure that I have exceeded that count recently.

On Monday night I was notified that Jay, one of my dearest and oldest friends, had passed away.

Jay and I went to Junior School and High School together, Jay was in the class one year ahead of me so we had become friends when I was about 12 years old and we had stayed friends ever since.

We got up to such mischief and had such fun doing it. When I was about 15 or so we got into trouble when Jay, my friend Robin and I had told our parents that we were baby sitting Robin’s sister’s kids but in reality we were out driving around and partying. It saddens me that both Robin and Jay have now passed away.

I grew up in North Georgia and after graduation Jay moved to Atlanta to go to University. My friend Marie drove us both down to visit him one weekend. We drove down in her Dad’s old white convertible, I think it was a Cadillac. Jay was working in a record shop (yes it was THAT long ago that record shops were commonplace) so Jay could get discount concert tickets and we went to see Joe Jackson perform at an Atlanta stadium.

We took a bucket of KFC and a bottle of schnapps and we had such fun. It was a simpler time when we were all young, beautiful and broke.

I left the south when I was about 22 years old and I moved to Los Angeles. Every time I would go back home to visit I tried to always meet up with Jay. I ate Jamaican food for the first time when he and I went to a restaurant in the funky little Five Points in Atlanta.

In 1990 I emigrated to South Africa and 7 years later I moved to the UK. Jay and I found each other on MySpace and we followed each other’s blogs and stayed in contact via email and social media, eventually moving over to Facebook as MySpace suffered its death throes.

In 2006 Norman, my children and I went back home for a visit and I contacted Jay to meet up. Jay was still based in Atlanta.

We went to Dave and Busters and had dinner.

We then spent ages playing games in the arcade and had such fun.

He knew of the issues I had experienced in my first marriage and he was so pleased to meet Norm and my kids and see me happy. Jay also seemed settled and happy.

It was another 11 years until I went home to the US again and Jay was the first person I made plans to see but Jay was too ill to come visit me but he did not tell me that until I had returned back to SA. Instead he told me that his father had a heart attack and he wasn’t able to leave his mom and various other excuses. I thought it was all a bit odd but once I was back in SA he let me know about the issues he was having with his liver and the ascites which meant he had to have his abdomen drained of fluid regularly. It turned out that he had end stage liver disease but he was very private and did not tell me that part. He kept telling me that they were doing tests and that he might need a liver transplant and the doctor did not know what caused it.

We chatted on messenger almost daily and he always read my blog and messaged me nice comments about it. Recently Jay went to Florida on holiday but he had to leave earlier than planned and go home to Atlanta to check into the hospital for treatment. We were in constant communication and then he just stopped responding to my messages. I had such a bad feeling and I started messaging various friends back home asking if they could find out how he was. My worst fears were realised on Monday as we were going to bed and many friends messaged me to tell me that Jay had passed.

I was already in so much distress over Panda and whether he was going to survive his sudden illness, so this news devastated me completely.

I barely slept for crying and fretting on Monday night. My heart felt broken. Jay was such a kind, loving, gentle soul. He always had time for everyone and did not have a mean bone in his body.

I had to go back to work on Tuesday and I was a zombie. I kept praying to the Great Spirit that Jay had a peaceful transition. I could not get Jay out of my mind and I felt Jay’s presence all around me.

On Wednesday night I was woken out of a deep sleep by bright flashing lights. I am very visually challenged and I thought it must have been Norm on his phone and I shook him and asked him what was going on. He was sound asleep and told me that nothing was going on, that I was dreaming and to go back to sleep. However I was now wide awake and I could see bright lights shooting around the room, almost like bolts of lightening, flashing and zinging around the room. I have never experienced anything like that. Even when I closed my eyes I could see these lights. I then started wondering was I having some sort of neurological episode and checked that I could move my limbs but the lights did not go away. It went on so long that I started to feel frightened and as soon as I felt this fear, the lights stopped.

Eventually I went back to sleep but I was so confused by the entire episode. I’m now convinced that it was Jay coming through to communicate with me.

My Mom went to the funeral home to pay respects from our family and she said that Jay was so thin. I am glad I did not see him like that, I will remember him happy, healthy and smiling. I hope that he is now pain free and at peace. I miss him.

As mentioned in my last blog, we have still been nursing little Panda. He went to his appointment with the specialist vet on Tuesday and they kept him in overnight to run tests. On Wednesday Norm picked me up at the client in town at lunchtime and we drove through together to collect Panda and speak to the vet. He agrees with the third vet Panda had seen. They are confident it is most likely idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis. He gave Panda IV antibiotics to target the most likely causes of the issue. It will take a few weeks to get the results of the blood tests back and they may not provide any definitive answers.

The vet said this is a very rare condition but that he has another patient with the same issue but that is a large dog. I cannot imagine how his owners cope with turning him and getting him back and forth to the vet.

He thinks the prognosis is good and that Panda will recover but it could take up to 4 months & a lot of nursing care. It is like caring for a mute newborn as he is so helpless & cannot make any noises at all. It does not affect smooth muscles so his urinary & bowel functions are not affected. Luckily his lungs do not appear to have been affected either. We have waterproof pads under him and keep an eye on him so that he is not left lying in urine. He has not yet managed to poop on his own, we have to take him to the vet for them to get the poop out of him manually. We turn him over every few hours to make sure he doesn’t get any pressure sores. We give him antibiotics twice a day and make sure he eats and stays hydrated and I am putting tissue salts in his water. We sleep with him in our bed so neither of us get a full night’s sleep.

I am hopeful yet terribly sad watching the confusion on his wee face when he tries to move or bark. He is so determined to get his bark back. He spends ages just trying and trying.

On Tuesday night while Panda was at the vet overnight Norm and I were so sad and to distract us we avoided any drama or anxiety inducing TV shows. We watched a house building show as that should be mindless and stress free and then at the end the mother in the show bloody well dies of a brain tumor! Her house wasn’t that nice either so it was a poor choice all around. FML

We are seeing a very slight improvement in Panda, but the main thing is that it seems the deterioration has stopped and he has stabilized so we hope he has turned a corner. He can hold his head up longer and can drink from a bowl now.

When it turns 4pm Panda knows it is the time when they usually go for their walk. He gets so excited and barks and barks. Silently. Norm has carried him around the block a few times and Panda comes home bright eyed and smiling. He loves his Dad so much.

Wednesday was rehearsal for the SONA and many roads in the city were closed. I park near Parliament so my usual drive home was closed off. I was diverted onto the motorway and only got home very late as I had to work over to make up the time I missed by popping out to the vet.

On Thursday I discovered what Bad Thing Number 3 was. The client does not allow me to work from my own laptop and when I got into the office and tried to log on to the computer they provide I was greeted with this:

I forced a shut down, then tried to log in using safe mode but the blue screen of death advised that my hard drive was corrupt.

I had gotten to work at 7:30 & I logged a Helpdesk call. Finally at 10:30 they came to collect the computer but they could not say how long it might take to bring it back or whether they would be able to recover my documents. The client decided to send me home at 12 as I had been unable to work all day. I fretted about my work as I did not have a recent back up and redoing my work would put me over my timeline for delivery as I am due to finish up there at the end of July. Luckily when I went in on Friday they had managed to restore my documents and nothing was lost.

When I was leaving on Thursday I mentioned to the client that I had not slept well all week and told him about Panda and how much it had cost in vet bills so far and he said ‘wow, what would a new dog cost?’

What

The

Actual

Fudge?!

I snapped back, ‘your daughter was sick recently, what would it have cost to get a new kid?’. He apologized as he could see he had been inappropriate and had touched a nerve. Some people do not understand how much our pets are part of the family.

When I left work I went to collect my drivers license from the Traffic Department. It took longer to collect it than it did to apply for it and applying consisted of an eye test, fingerprints and waiting in 3 different queues! But at least I am finally legal and now that I have a new wallet hopefully I don’t lose it again and won’t have to go through that for a long time.

It was a beautiful warm day and I was happy to be released from the ivory corporate tower. It also meant I did not get caught up in the SONA traffic dramas.

In his SONA speech on Thursday night our new President seemed to be describing a Disney film instead of a plan of how to address our many issues in South Africa.

He mentioned that there are seven priorities his government will focus on:

– Economic transformation and job creation,

– Education, skills and health,

– Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services,

– Spatial integration, human settlements and local government,

– Social cohesion and safe communities,

– A capable, ethical and developmental state,

– A better Africa and World.

It was a bit like a salesman bidding for a contract, all promises with no tangible plans on delivery of those promises.

Many others agreed with my opinion.

For example what are the specific plans to resolve the chaos prevalent within our State Owned Enterprises. After years of a spending free-for-all at SOEs, both Treasury and Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Department of Public Enterprises have now tightened the reins to the point where those in new leadership positions complain that they are given too little room, too little trust, and too little money to manoeuvre effectively. As mentioned in a recent blog, the resignation of a number of top executives in the past months speaks to this frustration.

On Friday a cold front rolled into Cape Town but the morning was warm and sunny so Norm let Panda sit on the patio to get some fresh air. The pack all gathered round.

Norm said Panda lay there silently barking at the dogs in the road.

The wind came up about 2pm and by 4pm there was torrential rain but I managed to get to my car without getting too wet and headed home damp and chilled. Friday night was spent wrapped up warm and relaxing with the animals. We ordered a pizza. We have been living off of takeaways as we are too exhausted to cope with shopping and cooking on top of nursing Panda. Our waistline is the least of our concerns.

On Saturday the rain continued all day and evening and it was bitterly cold so when I got up I built a roaring fire.

Norm dropped Panda at the vet so they could check him and while Panda was there Norm ran some errands but it was a miserable day and he came home as soon as he could.

Today I was supposed to go to Marina da Gama for drumming but as Panda is in need of so much care and Norm needed to work I decided to stay home. I was in bed with Panda and when Norm went downstairs to feed Pixie and Navajo little Panda started barking like mad.

After Norm finished with the other two he made up Panda’s breakfast and took him downstairs to eat. He gets a little bowl of boiled chicken and broth as well as the food prescribed by the vet. He is not keen on the commercial food but needs the nutrients so we have to encourage him with the chicken and alternate the two.

As Norm was working I could watch whatever I fancied. I love Cher and someone on RuPaul mentioned the documentary about her mother Georgia Holt so I found that and watched it.

It was very interesting and Cher sounds so much like her Mom! Georgia is a beautiful woman and looks so much younger than her age. She is now in her nineties but looks much younger.

Norm took a break from work and gave Pixie a bath with her special shampoo for her skin issues. She looks so tiny when she is wet. She has so much hair and we spent ages blow drying her with minimal success.

She was not impressed at all with our efforts. #ShadyPomWithTheSideEyes

Panda has spent most of the weekend practicing his barking. He now does this to let us know when he needs anything, but much like a crying baby you have to guess what it is that he needs. He barks if he has peed and his bed needs changing, he barks if he is thirsty, he barks if he is hungry and sometimes he just seems to be doing it for the sake of the exercise as it is all he CAN do.

I’m hopeful that he will continue to improve, we just have to keep looking after his needs and keeping him comfortable.

We have come to terms that for now our lives will be devoted to his care and we are not able to decide on a whim to go out for a meal or a drink. But like everything else, this too shall pass and we must just adjust to this restriction and be there for Panda.

Until next time, Kisses From The Kitten xoxoxo

 

Strength of the Feminine

This week has been full of stress, trauma and drama.

My smallest Pomeranian, Panda, has had an odd turn which has had the whole family so upset. Norm had meetings on Wednesday and when he got home he noticed that Panda’s normally high pitched yap was a coarse gruff bark.

Norm took him to the vet who noticed that his face and tongue were swollen and she said that this swelling was why his voice was impacted. She thought he had been stung by an insect and gave him a cortisone injection and some allergex for the swelling.

The other animals seemed to sense he was not well and kept by his side.

Navajo tried to almost cuddle him and had such a look of concern on his face.

The next morning we noticed that Panda was a bit unsteady on his feet but thought it was the sedative effect of the antihistamines but by afternoon he was struggling to stay upright and we rushed him back to the vet. They took X-rays of his spine to check for injuries and X-rays of his airway to check for constrictions but all was fine. The vet was baffled as to what was going on but assumed it was due to the inflammation and gave him more cortisone and sent us home. As the next day progressed he was completely unable to stand on his own and we took him back again. This time they decided he had not been bitten and instead there was something neurological going on and tried to get him an appointment with a neuromuscular specialist at one of the veterinary hospitals but they were all booked solid. As this was a long weekend in South Africa we could only get an appointment for Tuesday. Initially the local vet wanted to keep him there with them until Tuesday but then decided it would be better to keep him at their offices during the day and let him sleep at home in the evening.

As the weekend progressed Panda deteriorated to the point where he could only move his head.

He could not sit up or turn over or even hold his head up by Saturday night. He cannot bark or make any sounds at all. I was in bits and just sat crying and praying. I felt such despair. When he started refusing food and water I was inconsolable with worry.

Finally on Sunday when he came home from being at the vet all day he was perky and alert for the first time in days.

That night he was very hungry and gobbled up the boiled chicken and broth Norm made for him. He ate eagerly and was very interested in his surroundings again. He still cannot make any sound or move his limbs. His legs twitch but are as limp as noodles and he cannot hold himself up.

The vets think it may be Acute idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis. That is quite a mouthful! It is more commonly called Coonhound paralysis. Here is a link about it. It is a serious illness but most animals can recover and that is what I am focusing on, hopes that he will recover. My long term readers may remember that Panda has already survived one near death experience when he was attacked by a dog and I have confidence that he can recover from this too with enough love and care.

The specialist tomorrow will do the relevant tests and hopefully we will have a prognosis and treatment plan in place afterwards. Until then I am trying hard to remain positive.

We have also been giving him doses of tissue salts from my friend Alison. We dissolve them in his broth.

Last week had plenty of other stresses.

On my way home one evening last week I was stopped at a pedestrian crosswalk when a minibus taxi came up behind me and ran the red light, then went across on a pedestrian crossing. I stayed behind him on the way up the mountain and then he stopped in the middle of a narrow curvy road to offload a passenger and another taxi came from behind me and overtook the first taxi that was stopped in the road by driving on the wrong side road with a car coming towards us. It was rather terrifying!

You who live in the US or Europe may ask, where were the police? Well, I ask that often, the taxis here are a law unto themselves and this is why there are so many deaths from taxi crashes. The drivers overload them to ridiculous degrees. At most they should take 14 people, yesterday one crashed and all 24 passengers were killed. They had almost double the number of passengers there should be.

There was another bus torched this week as well. There was a protest in Cape Town and the bus took the brunt of the protestors anger.

I also read that 6 officers from the anti-gang unit were shot in one day! Police were conducting an operation in the community when they came under attack. Police said anti-gang unit members had arrested one suspect allegedly linked to recent murders in the area and as they were searching for another suspect, the officers came under attack. It is pretty scary when even the police are not safe!

This week we also saw shitbag husband Rob Packham sentenced to 22 years for the murder of his beautiful wife Gill Packham. It is not long enough if you ask me. He showed no remorse and continued to try and bullshit his way out of being prosecuted. He is a horrid little toad of a man. For those who don’t remember my previous blog, he not only murdered his wife he burned her car with her body in the boot.

His wife. The mother of his children.

He must rot in jail.

Why do some men feel they have the right to treat women this way? And why are so many men intimidated by strong, confident women? And should we as women try to minimize ourselves in order to fit into that little box that those men want to keep us in?

I had a dilemma of this nature this week where I was told I was too quick, too clever and too thorough. I was told that as I was dealing with a junior resource that I must slow down.

So I must lower my standards for the sake of progress and to avoid damaging a fragile male ego? That is not in my nature. I expect others to rise up to meet me rather. To stretch themselves. When I started in IT I latched onto any mentors who were willing to teach me, but I am generally always eager to learn. I find that is not always the case with others.

My current contract had requirements which concerned me at the start as I am usually placed on a client site with a developer who manages all of the technical aspects. This project there was only me and I have managed to act as the data architect, data modeler and the data analyst in addition to the business analyst and data quality consultant roles I normally do. I’ve had to teach myself to write SQL queries which is a skill I had only a basic grasp of, but I have been given very complicated stored procedures to unpick to determine the mappings and transformation rules.

It was a challenge but I approached it with all I had and I googled what I did not know. My client calls me ‘his superstar’ and my 3 month initial contract has been extended to 6 months and they are trying to find funds to extend me further. This gives me such a sense of achievement. The other day my client reminded me that when I came for my interview I told him ‘no I can’t do that’ in response to many of the things I have now easily achieved.

We are only limited by our own mental boundaries.

Our low carb eating has taken a back seat to our nursing of our baby boy. We had takeaways most nights and the anxiety meant that I either needed a gallon of vodka or M&Ms to get me through it.

I opted for the latter. The family sized bag no less.

Norm did cook this week before our baby fell ill. He has been determined to make the perfect sweet potato fries.

Monday we had chicken breasts stuffed with brie and wrapped in bacon. He roasted broccoli and cauliflower in the oven (I adore roasted broccoli). He attempted the sweet potato fries in the air fryer and I thought they were tasty but he was not 100% satisfied with them.

The next night he made spaghetti bolognaise and served it on spinach noodles and topped it with cheese.

The next night he made pork fillet roasted in teriyaki sauce. He again made his air fryer sweet potato chips. He made roast broccoli, zucchini and green beans.

I tried to eat low carb at work for lunch most days. One day I had the chicken peri peri pot from Now Now Cafe, it is a bed of cauliflower mash, roast chicken, peri peri sauce and topped with sliced almonds and sour cream.

This dish is so delicious!

Friday I always go for lunch at Nuri Sushi Factory and the last two weeks my new colleague has joined me. She is very sweet and was so supportive this week with me being so upset about Panda. Nothing like someone crying in their prawn pops to put you off of your lunch! Sheesh. Was a bit embarrassing really but I’ve been a bit of a basket case.

On Saturday night Caitlin came around and brought a gorgeous dinner to have an early Fathers Day dinner for Norm. She had cooked a pork shoulder in the slow cooker to make pulled pork and she made a low carb mustard sauce to go with it, she also brought two different types of low carb salads and some fresh corn on the cob. It was absolutely delicious! This was restaurant quality food.

Caitlin did a great job. I give my baby’s delicious dinner 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Caity brought over the gifts that she, Trevor and Lily had bought Norm for Fathers Day. We kept Panda’s bed near us so he could feel a part of things. Norm got a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

He also received some PJs and 3 new tops. He was so spoiled but it is what he deserves.

We had quite a bit of rain and it was bitterly cold a few of the days during the week and this cold streak continued on Saturday so we built a big cosy fire while Caitlin was here.

During the day over the long weekend while Panda was at the vet, I watched nonsense on telly to distract me from obsessing endlessly.

I watched the movie ‘Always Be My Maybe’.

It was so cute! I loved the actors and the characters they played. I give it a strong 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

I watched several seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race as it is mindless entertainment which makes me laugh and doesn’t require too much concentration. I wasn’t mentally able to cope with anything more taxing.

Panda went off to the vet for the day today and Norm took me for brunch. It was my first foray out of the house since Friday. I was feeling much lighter of heart and felt up to it. We went to Constantia and popped into Mugg & Bean for brunch. We sat outside on the patio.

I ordered Eggs Benedict.

Norm ordered the The Country-style breakfast consisting of two eggs, back bacon, pork sausage, fresh baby spinach, grilled mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado & cauliflower hashbrowns.

After we finished brunch we walked over to the shops. Norm needed a new battery for his iPhone as his was only lasting an hour and there was an Apple Doctor there and so we dropped it off and had a mooch about the shops. I badly needed a new wallet as the card section in mine was so loose and that is why I lost my driving license. I found one the size I wanted that zips and it was on sale. Do you like it?

Today we were off work as yesterday was Youth Day. Youth Day commemorates a wave of protests across the country known as the Soweto uprising of 1976. 176 people were killed by the apartheid police. It is celebrated as a public holiday across South Africa to remember the brave students who protested.

I wish that I could see more change in the lives of more of the youth as so many still live in such poverty and poor conditions. The ANC has brought so little change to the lives of the poor. But freedom from oppression may be worth more than gold to those who have felt the yoke of that oppression. I guess it is all relative.

Rain Angels

We have had quite a bit of rain this week. It rained lots on both Tuesday and Wednesday. My rain fairies were looking out for me. When I left home on Tuesday it was raining quite a bit and it was really dark so I struggled to see to navigate on my drive in. When I got into the city and parked up, it stopped raining while I walked in and as I settled in with a coffee the heavens opened and it poured again! It then slowed a bit and around 3pm a colleague said it was just about to pour again and so I left work. When I went outside it wasn’t raining at all, but by the time I went a few blocks it was drizzling and as I got into the car it poured again. The same thing happened on Wednesday so I avoided frizzy hair and working in damp clothes but the dams got filled a bit, a win win all around in my eyes.

On Monday after work I had Vanessa come around to give me a pedicure. The dogs love her so much and go a bit mad when she arrives.

Vanessa always tells me such interesting tales. I asked her what she knew about the delivery truck that crashed in Hangberg and she said that it was due to a truck’s brakes failing and the truck then ran over an old man who was standing outside his shack and was unaware of the out of control truck. Vanessa said that the community beat the truck driver for hitting and killing the pensioner and that they also robbed the elderly victim as he lay dying. I found this confusing to exact justice for his death yet to have such little respect for the man to rob him! Shocking.

That night Norm made us the delicious Cauliflower ‘Mac’ and cheese dish we love and topped it with crispy bacon.

Another night he made a dish from the same recipe site. Buffalo Ranch Stuffed Chicken.

He made sweet potato fries in the air fryer and steamed broccoli drizzled with lemon juice. He forgot to drizzle the chicken with the ranch dressing before serving it but it was yummy and a nice change.

With the cold rainy weather we just snuggled up and had cozy evenings in watching Netflix. We finished watching ‘What If‘.

I absolutely loved this series! I enjoyed the intrigue and tension and it kept my full attention. I found Rene Zellweger a bit affected but I still give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Norm took Pixie to the vet this week as she is having another skin reaction and she now has 2 different shampoos that we have to wash her in.

Lily came down on Thursday night as she had an early appointment on Friday morning at the American consulate to renew her passport. She and Norm gave Pixie her skin treatments and Pix seems less itchy.

Norm bought the ingredients for tacos and Lily and I made beef tacos and refried beans. It was all delicious.

Lola sat at the table with us so politely.

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Where’s my plate? #cat #kitty #Lola

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After dinner we made a big fire and snuggled in.

It was still freezing cold on Friday night so we decided against going out to dinner so we decided to try Nippon Sushi for Chinese food. Norm has said he will never go back as he was so annoyed by the service. He was told it would take 20 minutes when he placed the order. He went to the shops and then went next door to have a glass of wine. He went back after 30 minutes only to be told it would take an additional 20 more minutes. He was exasperated. The food was good but it was no better than the food at Blue Lotus who are quick.

We watched RuPaul and messed about. Lily downloaded an app that turns you into an anime character. Pretty cute heh?

On Saturday the girls had booked to take me to lunch but I had forgotten that I had a hair appointment in the city. I was up and out early and found easy parking as the city was quiet. We decided to lighten the hair around my face as my grey is annoying me. We also moved my parting to see if that helps. Leandra also gave me a different cut.

I stopped by the shop and got a roast chicken and salads for lunch. Later that afternoon Caitlin came around. Caitlin is creating the website for Lily and Josh’s wedding invites. The girls reviewed it and made some changes and then that evening we went to Papino’s for dinner. We all ordered fillet steaks and I also ordered some mushrooms and onion rings for the table.

I had Portuguese chips, Norm had fries and the girls had mash. It was all delicious. I was a bit annoyed when the waitress told me they were out of vodka. Especially as there was a shop next door. But the food was great and I give mine 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It was lovely to have both my girls here with us.

Caitlin came back to the house for a bit then headed home late that night. Last night the alarm kept tripping and it woke us up several times. The rain has gotten into the gate motor so we have had to bypass one of our circuits until the electrician can come next week. It keeps tripping and is causing all sorts of issues.

Today we had a lazy morning until Lily had to drive back home. I was supposed to go to drumming but I did not want to miss any time with Lily so decided to stay home. We sat out on the balcony drinking coffee and enjoying the warm weather we awoke today.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Fire and Rock

In a recent blog I mentioned the two old farts who sit near me at my current client who were reminiscing over ‘the good old days’ and now I am starting to be aware of all of their ridiculous conversations. It doesn’t help that Old Fart #1 has a voice identical to Kermit the Frog.

Yes, he is that annoying.

This week’s Old Fart Convo was them both moaning about the client using external vendors to do the analysis and testing on a project. The funny thing is that I AM the external vendor who is doing the analysis and testing. Silly feckers. I have mostly finished the analysis and mapping and the gaps I have remaining are all dependent on the client providing info to me. This last week has been so frustrating as I am being bounced from person to person in my quest for this info. The system owner referred me to another team and that team (after ignoring my request for 6 weeks) finally referred me back to the system owner. I felt like I was playing some sadistic game of ping pong.

I had a funny moment this week when I was trying to use the microwave at the client and could not figure out how to turn it on. (I am very visually challenged and could not see the labels on the buttons). A very nice older man came around to help me and a cheeky young fellow looked at us both flailing blindly about and says “soooo….you guys are both in IT?” with a raised eyebrow. We laughed and he told us about another employee who raised a help desk call because she had inadvertently “deleted the internet”. He calmed her by telling her that is not actually possible. Turns out she had deleted the internet explorer icon.

Bless. Even I am not that daft.

This week flew by as all weeks seem to when you are old AF. I have not been sleeping well all week and I have been very tired. Luckily I’ve had a lazy weekend of rest if not an excess of sleep.

Norm was at the dentist this week and finally got the implant done for the two teeth he had extracted and so he has had to stick to soft food all week. Our low carb path has been diverted badly as a result. Of course my path diverted last weekend when I was away. We had takeaways most nights this week so that Norm could have pasta or other things he could manage with his tender mouth.

Friday night I had my usual sushi from K1 but the last few weeks it has not been as good as it used to be before they changed the chef and most of their staff.

Next week I will try a new venue we heard about to compare. I love my sushi.

It’s been a week of much chaos in South Africa.

One of the largest government clinics in Cape Town was burnt to the ground. Arson is suspected.

There has been a spate of lorries being set alight across SA. One of these was petrol bombed while a driver was resting in the lorry and he sustained serious injuries.

There were two train fires back-to-back in Cape Town this week and another fire occurred today, making three train fires in one week.

I’m not sure where the new rail security teams were while the trains were being torched, but I did read that some of the security guards were terminated. Like most areas in SA there is probably corruption there as well.

Speaking of corruption, President Cyril has appointed his cabinet.

The biggest surprise for many was the appointment of former mayor from Cape Town, ‘Aunty Pat’ as Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure. But as they say, shit rises to the surface. (Do they say that? Scum rises? Bloated dead bodies thrown into a lake rise? Whatever the metaphor for revolting things which rise, you get the drift.) Fox and Henhouse come to mind. As much as I want to see more women in politics I detest this evil wench.

When driving into work this week I passed a man near the police station dancing in the street and waving around a rifle. No one else reported seeing him so I’m not sure what was going on there!

There has also been an unprecedented large number of CEOs resigning recently.

It makes me a bit uneasy when there is so much turmoil. But to be fair, it doesn’t take much to trigger my unease!

I mentioned that I had lost my drivers license recently and I finally printed off the forms to go apply for another. The form said I needed a case reference number from the police. Norm and I had already gone to get an affidavit signed at the cop shop, but then when the form indicated I needed a case number we had to go back to the police station on Thursday evening to get it. We waited for ages and eventually a rather surly overweight cop shuffled over and asked what we needed. When I told him he asked rather abruptly ‘was it stolen?’ and I said ‘I have no idea what happened it is just gone, I assume I lost it’ and fat boy then said ‘where did you lose it’. I had to bite a large hole in my tongue to not say what came into my head but I was unable to stop myself saying ‘if I knew where I lost it I would go find it’ to which he said ‘I am trying to help you’ while simultaneously not helping me at all. He refused to give me a case number as I wasn’t sure it was stolen. What a waste of time.

I left work early on Friday to go to the dreaded licensing department. Since I was last there they have implemented a ticketing system. At first the ticket giver refused to give me a ticket as I did not have proof of address with me. I told her that I had only gotten my license a few months ago and so I am in the system. She said if I wasn’t I would have to come back. I told her I was willing to take that risk (just give me my bloody ticket was resounding in my head).

I had to go through the entire process again, vision test, thumb prints, photographs and payment. I can’t understand why they can’t just reprint it with a fee. I had to pay just under R200 for the new license and an additional R50 for the photographs at a chemist which they don’t even use. What is the point?

It was all so annoying. At least it only took just over an hour as opposed to the last visit which took almost three hours.

We had a lazy day on Saturday and I stayed in bed playing games on my iPad until lunch time. Norm and I made a yummy brunch of an onion and cheese omelette with bacon and avocado and I topped mine with some spicy salsa.

Norm was working all afternoon and so I binged on RuPaul’s Drag Race and lazed about.

Late afternoon Norm took the dogs out for their walk and a short while later came rushing back in a bit of a state. He and the dogs had been attacked by a Doberman whose owner left the gate open. The dobie raced at our dogs and Navajo was ready to take him on but Norm managed to maneuver the dogs away from the dobie but he kicked out at the dog and the dog bit Norm on the foot. The owners heard the shouting and the wife ran out but the dog got away from her grasp and he would not stop attacking. Finally the husband came out and managed to get hold of the collar but the dog bit him and when he let go came back again to attack. Eventually they managed to get him in the gate. We have never seen anyone walk this dog so I’m not surprised he is not socialised and is full of aggression. When Norm got home he took off his shoe and saw that the bite did not break the skin but he suspects he will be badly bruised. The dogs were not fazed by the drama, once home Pixie barked indignantly that Norm had not given them their post walk treat.

Norm and I had booked last night to go see a guy called Frankie who lives in our neighborhood and is the lead singer for a band called The Rockerfellas.

We had no idea what to expect and I was worried it might be a bit too noisy for us old codgers.

But we wanted to see them so we booked to see them perform at Cafe Roux in the CBD. It was a sold out show and so we could not get our usual brilliant seats. Our alternative seats were behind a large column and we could only see a portion of the stage. Luckily they extended the stage a bit and at least we could see the performance if it was at the front.

We arrived about 7:30 and settled in.

I do love this venue and the owner and staff are fabulous. I love that they try to ensure respect to the performers and keep the audience quiet.

We ordered dinner when we arrived. I ordered a pizza with Parma ham, rocket, tomato and fresh Parmesan. Their crusts are thin, just the way I like them.

Norm ordered the butternut ravioli with fresh Parmesan, burnt butter and sage.

The food was delicious and I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The band came on and quickly got the place pumping! They were wearing ridiculous 70’s rock star type clothes and one was even wearing a wig.

They had a variety of props such as flaming helmets and guitars.

Frankie is a really good singer and performer and we had such fun.

They did a few Queen numbers and Frankie changed into his Freddy wannabe get up.

We were singing and clapping and really getting into the vibe. I am now officially a fan and will go watch them whenever they play nearby. They get 5 Kitten Stars as well. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Today I have alternated between being lazy and being productive. Now that we no longer have a housekeeper I had a pile of clean laundry to sort out as well as I badly needed to tidy my closets. My boots and shoes were all over the bedroom. I cleaned out my shoe cupboard and put aside some leather boots for the girls as well as some for charity. It made me feel virtuous and organized.

We then showered and went into the village to run errands and shop. We went to Culture Cafe and Grill for a late breakfast. They have very nice smooth coffee with no hint of bitterness. We both ordered a coffee while we checked out their new menu as they have recently rebranded. The inside looks nice.

Norm ordered the low carb breakfast of eggs, bacon, fried tomatoes, local South African sausage and mushrooms.

I wasn’t as virtuous and I think what I ordered was called the Republic breakfast. It came with boerewors, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, fried tomato, toast and a hashbrown. As I am not a sausage fan I asked if I could have extra bacon instead of the sausage and they accommodated me. I asked for my eggs soft, over easy.

The eggs were rock hard and the owner very kindly cooked more to replace them. I wasn’t a fan of the hashbrown which was a generic frozen version and contained peas and other bits. Not what we yanks consider a hashbrown. But it tasted OK, I just wasn’t expecting the peas.

Norm ordered a side of sweet potato fries and they were the best I have ever had. When we usually order sweet potato fries they are frozen and tasteless but these were hand cut and really nice.

After we finished our lunch we went to the shops and bank and then to fill up my car with petrol for the week.

Norm has been working since we got home as he has so many projects going at the moment. I’ve been chilling with the animals and writing (when Pixie allows me to stop petting her).

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Lap Dog #pom #pomeranian #dog #pup #PixiePup

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Or when she gave me a break from insisting I throw her ball.

We just got a roast chicken and salads for dinner tonight as it has been a warm day. Our weather has been all over the last few weeks, dropping to 11*C some mornings and getting up to the high 20s some days.

That is part of life in SA, you often never know what to expect. It certainly keeps you on your toes.

Tomorrow Vanessa is coming to give me a pedicure and on Thursday Lily and Josh are coming down as Lily has to renew her passport.

It is my boy Trevor’s birthday this week as well, I wish I was closer and could bake him a cake and make a special meal for him. No matter how big they get your children are always Mommy’s babies.

I hope you have all had a good weekend and I wish you well for the coming week.

Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo