When the Student is Ready

I had such a relaxing lovely weekend last weekend and this weekend has been such fun.

Last Saturday Pixie was booked into the doggy chiropractor in Noordhoek and I had expected to be up and away early but Norm was so sweet and he offered to take her for me so I had a chance to properly relax. As Lily and Josh were here it was nice as I got more time to hang out with Lily.

We  had our first load shedding in Hout Bay last weekend and we were without electricity for a few hours on Saturday night. Of course it happened at night when you cannot see to read or otherwise amuse yourself easily. Here is a link to an article about the grid shut downs that are being done by Eskom. Cape Town finally rallies and just squeezes out of the water restrictions when we get hit with electricity restrictions. Such incompetence by our government.

But you have to make the most of life. Me, Norm, Lily and Josh played 30 Seconds by the light of a few lanterns and some candles and it was actually lots of fun! Josh seldom hangs out with us as he is usually playing games online upstairs when he is here so there was that advantage too. We had a laugh. The boys played against the girls. Norm and I are very good at it seeing as we have been married so long and so we have verbal shortcuts. Lily and Josh would argue if they were on the same team so we thought the girls vs boys option the safest.

Sunday I was up and away early to go drumming at my friend Gerri’s. Gerri is the drum master and she also organised the recent Dance. She is a lovely, kind woman. She gave each of us drummers a gorgeous wee bag of sage and a smudge wand to burn it with as a year end present. How sweet? It is nice to have a portable set of smudging tools for taking with me to various places or to have with me at ceremonies.

I would like to find a container for burning it in with a closed lid and a heat free handle. Maybe I should design one.

I stayed afterwards as we had all taken a dish to share at our year end lunch for the drummers. I had stopped at Alphen Farmstall in Constantia and bought a vegetarian spinach and feta quiche as well as a melktart for dessert. It was nice to chat to everyone and hear about their experiences at the dance. We also discussed Shamanism and the Red Road and discovered that several of us wish to study The Path of the White Wolf.

Here is a clip of the author, Grandmother Robin discussing it.

Gerri has already studied the Path of the White Wolf years ago with Grandmother Robin but she was saying that she would like to do it all again. I have wanted to do the course since I first met Gerri and discovered it, but I have not had the money or the time to commit to it. I have decided that I will send my desire out to the Universe and if it is meant to be, then the doors will open to allow it to happen. When it is meant to be, it will be.

I am considering giving up my gaming addiction to Covet Fashion as that consumes hours of my day. I could better spend that time enriching my life and proceeding on my spiritual journey. I feel that my Grandmothers have been pushing me towards this learning and I have found my teachers. I hope that it becomes possible for me to study the teachings of Grandmother Robin.

When I was packing up my car to go to drumming I dropped my iPhone and the screen shattered.

I was so upset because as a consultant I must have my phone.

Lily and Josh were out and so Norm and I just got a Chinese takeaway from Blue Lotus for dinner as I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

I had prawn dim sum to start.

For my main I had crispy chili chicken with noodles.

It was all very delicious indeed.

The kids arrived home from Josh’s prize giving ceremony just after we ate but they had already eaten at the track. We were all a bit knackered and so Josh played games and the rest of us watched a bit of telly.

On Sunday afternoon we heard of a rescue operation underway on Chapman’s Peak where it seemed that a woman had fallen over the cliffs. There was limited information via the radio to know whether it was a suicide or an accident. The following day we heard that the woman had died. It seems she died while taking a selfy, the article says she was trying to make it look as if she was jumping over the setting sun. She and her husband climbed over the railing onto the crumbly mountain. Her husband risked his life trying to get to her after she fell. It was her 31st birthday. It is such a tragedy for her loved ones and a sad loss of a life.

Monday I was back at work and Lily and Josh drove back home to Mossel Bay.

I had such a crap day at work on both Monday and Tuesday as I’m trying to upgrade my ancient laptop’s Operating System. It did not go smoothly and it was stressing me out. To be honest I am not bothered by the old operating system. My actual issue is that my MS PowerPoint decided to have a fatal error and I cannot open any presentations people send. I can open my own, but nothing emailed to me. As a consultant I do a lot of presentations. My colleague decided that I should update to Windows 10 and that required updating my operating system too apparently.

It led to a cluster feck of chaos. I spent several days staring at various updates happening on my screen or on the phone to the Helpdesk.

It did my head in. It was all for nowt as my laptop refused. I do not know how to resolve it without wiping my machine and doing a completely new install.

Now one of my clients has messed up my email address and I cannot receive email and have to walk over to their offices this Monday. I’ve also got to go to UCT to present to them in the afternoon so it’s going to be a busy day,

I left work at 2pm last Monday to go to the phone shop to get a new phone. I got a sexy new red iPhone XR. I’m ever so chuffed but it is hard to get used to. It took ages for me to figure out how to do a screen grab! (OK I admit that I did not figure it out I had to google it.)

It’s not the latest model but it’s what I can afford and more importantly it was in stock and got me up and online quickest. We are trying to decide whether to sell my broken screened old iPhone as is, fix it and let Norm use it, or fix it and sell it. I could maybe get a couple of grand to go towards my credit card debt.

After my phone was sorted we popped over to collect my new contact lenses and then stopped at Woolies and shopped for a few days food supplies.

For dinner last Monday night I made a Mexican salad: spicy mince on baby gem lettuce leaves, topped with half an avo, cheddar cheese, salsa & fromage frais.

It was HFLC as well as yummy but the best thing about this dish is it takes very little time to prepare and I always have some left over for my lunch the following day. As we did not do taco shells or tortillas it was low carb.

When I came home on Tuesday the garage door was open, the back gate was flapping in the wind and Norm was not answering his phone. I carefully pulled into the garage and Norm appeared from the back of the house in a bit of a state. There was load shedding all afternoon and he had managed to lock himself out of the house. Navajo was locked IN the house and he was freaking out. We have now discovered that our front door key only works from the inside! For some odd reason it does not work from the outside. Unfortunately Norm only discovered this when he got home from his meeting and could not get back in. As there was no electricity he had also been unable to cook Mzudumo lunch or conduct his Skype meetings or even charge his flat mobile. It was a stressful day for him bless him.

When we got in Norm went off to make the calls he missed and so I decided to cook again and it wasn’t totally low carb as we had fish cakes which had a wee bit of potato in them. I made roasted pumpkin, stir fried vegetables and coleslaw to go with them.

On Wednesday there was load shedding again. It was from 6-8.30 that night. I fried red cabbage and boiled sweet potatoes on my gas cooker and Norm cooked a pork roast and mushrooms outside on the gas grill. Norm made buttery mash from the boiled sweet potatoes.

Thursday I had a meeting at UCT planned but we ended up moving that out and instead ended up missioning out to Stellenbosch for a 10am meeting. We didn’t know what the traffic would be like and it’s a long drive so we left the city in plenty of time and arrived at 9.30. We walked over to a little coffee shop across the road from the client’s office. They told us it was load shedding so they had no electricity and couldn’t make a coffee, only an iced coffee. We ordered an iced coffee and sat outside. The coffee was bitter and dreadful and as I had just had a coffee on the drive up I felt a bit twitchy after drinking another. We walked over to the client offices to meet our MD and he told us that the meeting was moved to 11.30 and we were still an hour and a half early. We used that time to catch up with the tool vendor that we are partnering with for the project. Then we had a 2 hour requirement gathering workshop followed by an hours drive back to my car and then I had another 45 minutes drive to my home. We will spend the next week putting together the proposal and will see if it gets a foothold.

If that project takes off I will not be happy to drive out there every day!

On our way back to Cape Town we were starving so we stopped at a roadside burger joint. They had a really cool bright yellow truck parked in the window.

The food was mediocre but we were so hungry we wolfed down our lunches and were quickly heading back towards Cape Town.

Caitlin came around for dinner on Thursday night. It was lovely to see her. I seem to see my closest child the least!

We had an easy night in on Friday as we were both pretty tired. We got takeaways from the local Indian food restaurant The Indian Oven.

Saturday I was invited to a ladies only wine and cheese event for lunch to celebrate my friend Sharon’s 50th birthday at Buitenverwachting vineyards. It is only a few minutes away from our home. First I decided I should be sensible and line my stomach so I did not get totally paralytic. Wine is not my friend and there were loads of women I had not met going to be there and I was full of social anxiety. Second, I also needed to get Sharon a little gift and I could do both if Norm and I went to Deli Delish as I could pop next door to The Barn to shop for a gift.

We got a sunny table in the corner and ordered and then I popped next door to look at their offerings and as I walk out I run into Sharon going to collect her birthday cake!

We said a quick “hello, see you later” and carried on with our individual missions. I loved so many things in The Barn Village Store and I found a lovely necklace, an amethyst little crystal gem in a silver holder.

I went back to Deli Delish just as my coffee arrived and our breakfast came shortly after. I had a small breakfast, 2 fried eggs, bacon and a piece of whole-wheat toast. Norm had the Eggs Benedict. It is a low carb version with black mushrooms. I was distracted by my shopping expedition and forgot to take a pic of our food and I was distracted by our food and forgot to take a picture of the gift I bought! Shocking. 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

After we ate we went back to the house so I could put on my face and dress. I wore a dress I had bought when we went to the UK a few years ago but I have only worn it once if that. I adore polka dots.

Norm drove me to the wine farm and dropped me. It was a lovely warm day after an overcast drizzly morning. The venue is lovely. I was engrossed in talking and quaffing wine and did not take a pic but here is one I found on IG. Sharing is caring right?

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🍇>🍷

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They served several large wooden boards with fresh crispy bread, a variety of different types of cheese, red pepper pate, olive tapenade, trout pate, butter, olives and various other tasty bits.

The wine on offer was their buiten blanc and a rose and many, many bottles of both were consumed! There was a wonderful group of women there, I met some women I hope to add to my own circle of friends. I really connected with several of them.

Sharon’s gorgeous kids were there and also sampled the yummy cake which was both vegan and Banting.

It was a really lovely day. It reinforced what Sharon said to me about my feeling anxious but still showing up- “braving always brings big rewards”. I think this should become my new mantra.

It was wonderful to see Sharon so happy.

When Sharon made her speech she talked about the tie that bound all of us women together: we are all her spirit sisters, tied together through our common stories of survival and adversity. Most of us have survived things that might destroy many other people. But yet, despite those challenges, in the words of Maya Angelou, “…..still I rise.” We are all strong, survivors.

I went away feeling uplifted by female energy. And rather tipsy from 6 hours of drinking!

Norm collected me and took me home and fed me and looked after me. I feel so blessed by my life.

Today he made me coffee in bed and when we finally got up he made me a HFLC breakfast of bacon, cheesy scrambled eggs and avocado.

I’m having a quiet day today, Norm is working and I’m doing life admin.

I hope you have all had a good weekend and I hope you enjoy what is left of it.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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The Product of our Environment

I had to get up very early last Saturday to take Norm to the airport for his flight to Johannesburg. I have not been feeling great for the last few weeks, I seem to have had a long running tummy bug so I spent the day languishing on the sofa with terrible stomach cramps.

I was due to collect him at 6pm that same evening but then his flight was delayed when they had an issue with the plane. He asked me to come later but as I can’t see at night it meant still going to the airport early while still light and just hanging out. Eventually he landed and we set off towards the city. Parking for an hour was R40 but an Uber home would have been around R200 so it was worth the mission.

By the time we headed off to find dinner it was almost 9pm and we were starving. We decided to go to Constantia as parking is easy and it was less hassle. Mugg and Bean were closing so we went to Primi Piatti.

Norm ordered the Chicken Campagnola “Chicken scallops sautéed in garlic, mustard, mushrooms, rosemary, parsley, cream and white wine. Served with linguine and roasted vegetables.” But instead of pasta he had it with zucchini fries. I was not feeling that hungry so I had “Sylvia’s Crispy Chicken Livers” which is described as crispy chicken livers sautéed with onion, garlic, fresh chilli and lemon. It is only R55 as it is a starter portion and I had it with fries.

We were both tired and my tummy was very crampy so we headed home. We did not want to go straight to bed and started a new show called ‘Sick Note‘ starring the ginger lad from Harry Potter.

It is absolutely bizarre. Funny, but in a dark off kilter way. Don Johnson is also in it and he plays the stereotypical obnoxious American.

I’ll give it 3.5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

On Sunday we woke to a cooler day thanks to the cloudy weather.

I still had a very sore tummy so I cuddled up with a blanket and a cup of tea and put on the Netflix movie Christmas Chronicles just because I love Kurt Russell.

If you have kids this movie is a must see! Even if you don’t but you enjoy holiday feel good movies it is a good one. Even if you only watch it to see Kurt sex up Santa.

I give Christmas Chronicles a full on 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m starting to have anxiety about the trip we are making to the USA at year end. I stress about the fact I’m hurtling through the air, about negotiating through all of those people, the public toilets, the discomfort, the 33 hours of travel time and about not seeing my children for Christmas and all of the unknowns around travel instead of being pleased I get to go and see my Mom.

I stress about wanting to see some of my childhood friends and wondering do they want to see me? My politics and religious beliefs are diametrically opposed to most of the people who grew up in the predominantly right wing south.

I feel anxiety because I am living in the future and even in the past. I know that my anxiety is due to not being present and mindful, so why is it such a challenge for me to shut out that noise? If I know that is my cure, why not drink the medicine? It is not that easy to grab your mind by the scruff of the neck and yank it back to the present.

But that is my goal.

Norm helped me come up with a way to shift my focus once there and I have to interact with Trump supporters. I will just try and understand that it is because they spent their lives in this little microcosm so they have not been shaped by the world’s opinions. Their view is narrow as the exposure in their lives has been narrow. I am not in any way implying that their lives may not have been rich or worthwhile. The narrowness could be a chasm, but that does not change its breadth.

After all, we are the product of our environment and if our environment is limited then so are our experiences.

Last week flew by due to trying to wrap up our project at UCT. We handed in our deliverables after they went through a few rounds of peer and stakeholder reviews. I think we did a good job and now we hope we get called back to implement our design.

Norm cooked on Monday and made pork chops, roast veg and salad.

It was yummy and he made enough for my lunch on Tuesday. Tuesday he was working and did not have a chance to shop so for dinner that evening he just grabbed a take away from Posticino. Norm loves it at this venue as he can get food which is mostly low carb despite it being an Italian restaurant.

On Wednesday we were back at our main office and off the client site. That night we had plans to meet our friends Alison and Andy for dinner after work and we met up at Papino’s. We love the food at Papino’s. The decor is a bit like a ski chalet, all wooden benches and simple styling. You do not go for the decor, you go for the food and the friendly staff. Norm and I were the first to arrive and tried to get a selfy but the sun behind us made it a bit awkward.

Andy and Alison arrived right on time and we all settled in with a drink and caught up with each other’s news as we had not seen each other in a while. They are such lovely people.

We all ordered a steak, this is what Norm and I always choose at Papino’s. Myself, Alison and Norm all had the Hollandse Biefstuk.  I had mine with Portuguese style ‘chips’ and it comes with steamed veggies.

My steak was perfectly cooked and the sauce was divine. We had a lovely evening and headed home just after 10.

The next day I had no leftovers for work so I used OrderIn to get food from Tortilla Modern Mexican.

I chose the Burrito Bowl @ R58.00 & I upsized it to regular (for an extra R10.00) & chose the Barbacoa Braised Beef as my protein choice, the Asada Sauce, and for the toppings I chose a ‘Little Bit Of Everything’. Next time I will omit the coriander rice as I do not think it enhances it and it adds carbs. It was delicious though and I was very happy with my choice.

Last night Norm cooked for us and made chicken sausages, fried sliced mushrooms, roasted some veggies and made low carb coleslaw. It was healthy and yummy.

Today we did another document walk through with the client, this time the technical design. I was only scribing rather than facilitating so it was not as stressful. We finished early and so I knocked off work at 3pm which is a great way to kick off the weekend. Lily and Josh are here for the weekend and it is so nice to see them both. Josh is racing this weekend so they will be out and about for most of the time but I still get to see their lovely faces.

Pixie is at the chiro in the morning so that means an early morning trip out to Noordhoek. Sunday I have drumming practice and we are having a year end lunch for the drummers and I am looking forward to hearing from everyone about how the recent Dance To Heal The Earth went.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

Grateful

I had a bit of an emotional, sad slump recently and to try and redirect my thinking in a more positive direction I decided to do a “30 days of Gratitude” exercise by doing a daily post on Facebook of some of the many reasons I have to be grateful. I’ve done this before (that was another blog Jerry) but it was long ago. It does help to focus your attention on your blessings.

I did not think in advance about what I would express my gratitude for, it is not like a “hierarchy of needs met” list. I also hope it wasn’t like an Oscar Acceptance speech where I forgot to thank someone important. I would just briefly close my eyes and then whatever popped into my head was put on my list! I decided to capture them all so…..Tah Dahh!

Day 1: I started a new project today and in the current economic climate I’m grateful to have a job in a career I enjoy ❤️

Day 2: I am grateful for my 3 wonderful children. They are good, kind, loving, intelligent humans. Beautiful both inside & out ❤️

Day 3: I’m grateful for my lovely, handsome and kind husband who loves me just as I am ❤️

Day 4: I’m grateful for my Mom and that she is still here to know my children ❤️

Day 5: I’m grateful for our lovely, cozy home. A warm, strongly built home that withstands the crazy Cape Town weather ❤️

Side Note: this one was written on a day when the weather was insane and the wind was howling.

Day 6: I’m grateful that I’m going to have a new daughter soon ❤️

Side Note: This was posted on the day I discovered my son proposed to beautiful Amber.

Day 7: I’m grateful that I get to wake up to this view every day ❤️

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Good Morning World 🌎😘

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Day 8: I’m grateful that I have a reliable, safe car and don’t have to cope with the train & bus strikes & dramas ❤️

Day 9: I’m grateful for my health (note I said health, not fitness🤭😂) ❤️

Day 10: I’m grateful for all of the wonderful people who have been teaching me my culture but I’m especially grateful to my friend Gerri who has been so generous & loving with me on my path ❤️

Day 11: I’m grateful for my 5 animals, they all have such unique, quirky personalities ❤️

Day 12: I’m grateful for Weekends ❤️

Day 13: I’m grateful for sunny afternoons in beer gardens with friends ❤️

Day 14: I’m grateful for the beautiful but bizarre little village I live in, full of odd quirky misfits much like myself ❤️

Day 15: I’m grateful for my cousins. As an only child your cousins are often your only playmates (especially when you live miles away from anything interesting 😂) ❤️

Day 16: My timeline is full of my friends’ heartbreak & tragedy so today I’m just grateful. Oh so grateful ❤️

Day 17: I’m grateful for my psychic and empath abilities ❤️

Day 18: I’m grateful my marriage is not constrained by gender norms. Aka I am happy my husband can cook ❤️

Day 19: I’m grateful for social media. I’ve still got many friends from my MySpace days and some of my ‘real life’ Cape Town friends I first met via Twitter events. Most of the women I share my most intimate stories with on a daily basis I met via Covet Fashion groups! ❤️

Day 20: I’m grateful that I’m going to be coming to the US to see my family for Xmas & NY! ❤️

Oops I missed a day! 🙈 In that case……

Day 21: I’m grateful for the water filling our dams.❤️

Day 22: I’m grateful for the drought in that it taught us all the value of every precious drop of water!

Mni Wiconi 💦 💧❤️

Day 23: I’m grateful for my amazing bed #MemoryFoamThingysFTW ❤️

Day 24: I’m grateful for the beautiful majestic mountains around me. ❤️

Day 25: I’m grateful for the beautiful oceans that surround us.❤️

I’m so lucky that I live in such a beautiful place ❤️

Day 26: I’m grateful for the arts and artists. Actors, Dancers, Singers, painters, sculptors and all of the other people who devote their lives to creating beauty ❤️

Day 27: I’m grateful for all of those who love me ❤️

Day 28: I’m grateful my husband’s flight made it safely home (eventually) ❤️

Day 29: I’m grateful to be alive ❤️

Day 30: I’m grateful for all of my Ancestors. Thank you Grandmothers. Thank you Grandfathers. Aho Mitakuye Oyasin 🙏

#30DaysOfGratitude

Cockroaches & Criminals

This week was supposed to be the last at our client but we were asked to include integration into production so we had to extend our design and we are now running into 2 more days of work next week. Today I did my final slides for delivery, and sent out my document for review. On Monday I am in meetings all day yet we will be expected to finish our presentation and wrap up our documents for delivery so it is very tense at the moment.

I had the most revolting thing happen this morning. As I arrived at work I pulled back my chair and walked forward towards my desk when I heard a crunch underfoot. I looked down to find a gigantic brown cockroach. Just writing about it is making me feel nauseous. I had to scoop it up with a piece of paper and drop it in the bin. The men in the office only offered to intervene after I squealed for ages so bugger them, I wouldn’t accept their latent offerings of half-heartened chivalry.

Meh. I hated that I killed a creature even a cockroach, which revolts me to my core. How is that? And how is it I am such a carnivore? Complete denial. I suspect if I lived alone I might become predominately a vegetarian. I do not ever see me being a vegan. I eat a lot of eggs and cheese.

Anyway.

The Myciti bus strikes have continued on this week with the 4th bus getting torched. Conveniently, the taxis have been taking up the slack from the buses so they are coining it. The negative for us drivers is that the taxis (who all drive like lunatics) are rather abundant on the motorways. I hate driving on motorways but it seems to be saving me time. I think. It moves at least which I assume saves me petrol.

There was a taxi driver who shot one of  the local patrollers recently in Hout Bay. There are stacks of the taxis lined up all around the football pitch and it seems there was a run in between the drivers and the patrollers who walk the area and take care of the criminals before things get out of hand.

The other local news this week was that there was a vigilante group who cleared out the criminals from Hangberg in the Hout Bay harbour.

For several nights running the news on the street was that there was a vigilante gang who rounded up the known criminals and had the police come and get them. It happened several evenings this week. That is the only way that anything will change is if the communities pull the covers of the people hiding in their areas. Apparently they got in an uproar after a criminal stabbed a Rasta who tried to stop a criminal from robbing a tourist. The Rasta had his son on his shoulders at the time. One straw too many for that camel and the community flipped.

After the fire which happened in Hangberg a while back, several of the residents who were made homeless in that area are still living in temporary housing. We heard this week that the building of the temporary resettlement of the shacks for the residents of Imizamo Yethu near our homes will go ahead despite our objections. I cannot imagine the traffic impacts on the already struggling Hughenden Road.

Our new President has done a long overdue cabinet reshuffle. I am not very close to things to know who any of the new ones are but this video is pretty good, at least you will recognise them. To be honest they can’t be worse than the previous money grabbers.

Now that Zuma has gone I have focused my hatred towards Trump and given old Cyril a chance to sort out the giant spiders web of intricacy of corruption in regards to how many of our state funds get sent to the Guptas. I assume there is no chance to get any of the billions back.

The land expropriation thing is worrying. Anytime a ruling party wants to change the constitution that is a worry. What is their motive and is it purely self serving. But there is nothing one can do. I raised objections to so many political things and the city writes back and basically says ‘I recognise your complaint and choose to ignore it and go right ahead and do whatever illicit activity I planned to do in the first place’. I may have ad-libbed a wee bit but it is something like that. I think the Cape Town gang bosses run the City.

There was a new gang unit rolled out recently to try and address the issues with crime in the gang ridden areas around Cape Town. The unit was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Police Minister Bheki Cele this month in an effort to fight the scourge of gangsterism. Almost as soon as it was launched the South African Police Union raised an interdict against it operating. They did not approve of the methods via which the unit was staffed and said it violated their appointment processes. Like everything it seems, it has become a political battle.

The Rail Enforcement Unit was also finally launched apparently without the hitches associated to the Gang Unit. Let’s hope the criminals now leave the trains alone at least! It must be a nightmare not having a car in Cape Town. Norm is having to uber a lot lately as his car is still off the road.

Norm went to the dentist today and he has to have 2 teeth extracted and an implant done. He has had a recurring abscess and I finally asked him to go to our friend Andy who is a very good dentist, after his usual dentist saw nothing even on x-ray. But Norm can feel the abscess. (More money, eek. I may have to rob a bank.) But you must not mess around with your mouth.

I finished work early and went to collect Norm after his dental appointment, I picked him up at Dario’s. He had also gone for a coffee after his haircut and shave. My beloved beard is gone. Right before he faces the cold south when we go visit for the hols. Silly man.

When we got home I sat on my balcony and started writing my blog.

Norm has been pretty good about cooking for us this week even without his car to get to the shops. He grilled steaks and corn on the cob on his gas grill and I made a salad one evening.

And on Thursday he made an easy meal of steamed butternut, Thai fish cakes and cole slaw. He had a conference call and had left the butternut on to steam and forgot about it. He came racing downstairs to find my La Crueset pot burnt black. The house still smells like a forest fire.

He did end up getting a take away once or twice but sometimes you can only achieve so much in a day. He has been managing far better than I would without a car.

On Wednesday they held a memorial for Ant Allen at Bakoven beach. Norm went with his friend JJ. Norm said there was probably a thousand people there. It was a sad occasion. I could not get off of work at the moment.

I hope that it brought Anthony’s wife Bev some comfort to see how many people respected Ant. I cannot imagine what she is going through. Norm said it was a very sober occasion and he left feeling very sad.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the US. It is funny how many people wish me happy Thanksgiving when I live outside of the US. It was just a Thursday to me! Even if I was home I would of course be thankful for my blessings but I would find it difficult to recognise the day which honours the alleged settlement of the country my forefathers had already been settled in for centuries.

But I do love stuffing. I have already told my mother she must make an extra pan just for me to eat….huddled in a corner with a spoon. Yum. I cannot wait for a good old fashioned Christmas, maybe it will even snow!

I have to be up very early to drop Norm tomorrow, he will be back later that evening and while he is out I intend to catch up on my rest. I am so exhausted. A new project is very tiring. Even without cockroach wrangling.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten.

x0x0x0x0x0

 

The Evolution of a Hermit

This has been a week of great sadness and tragedy interspersed with brief moments of happiness.

Norm was away on business from Sunday afternoon until late Monday night when Caitlin was kind enough to go and collect him from the airport. Normally for such a short trip he would just leave his car at the airport, but his car is still in the garage. I am so worried about what it is going to cost. Just one part was quoted at R18k from the Opal dealer but the garage managed to find the part second hand in a scrap yard but I am sure the bill will be a bit scary as there were major problems with the engine. It is over 10 years old and that is somewhat to be expected.

The tragic news started to come in on Monday when I woke and saw that over the weekend my friend from back home in the US had lost her home in a fire. She has small children and this must be so incredibly traumatic for them all. There is a Go Fund Me account for the family and if you are in a position to donate I would be most appreciative. The link is HERE.

Then on Tuesday we heard that our friend Anthony, or Flying Ant, as he was affectionately known, had fallen to his death in a paragliding accident. Norm knew Ant well as they were both very involved in security patrols and responses in our little valley. They sometimes had coffee together and Norm had a lot of respect for Ant. I did not know him very well personally but I have often used his aerial photography in my blogs and would see him out and about in the village. He even took my son up in a tandem jump a few years ago.

As Ant was so young and well respected this has hit the village hard. I cannot imagine how his widow Bev is coping, they seemed to be a couple who were truly in love. This was not the first marriage for either of them and from personal experience I know that marriages a bit later in life can result in very strong bonds, you both know what you want from a partner when you are a bit older. From what I have heard Bev also lost her first husband in a tragic accident. It is just so sad and heartbreaking.

On Wednesday night everyone in the village agreed to hold a tribute and light a candle on our balconies or in our windows to show our sadness and respect for Ant. Norm and I participated.

I hope knowing how many people were grieving for Ant brought Bev at least a small comfort.

To add to the tragedies swirling around us, I contacted a friend this week only to find out that she has just had a double mastectomy! The family had kept it private and she only let me know after the fact. I then read on Facebook about a childhood friend in the US who lost his wife this week from cancer. It is a horrid disease.

I also read about another friend from school who is in hospital with pneumonia.

So much sadness and tragedy.

But our lives must go on, we must try not to get too overwhelmed by the sadness.

Work has been very intense as we are wrapping up our deliverables and on Wednesday  I had nothing to take for my lunch and I used OrderIn to order from Knead. I chose the BBQ Pulled Pork Taco @ R82.00. The pulled pork was nicely done, the food was intact when it was delivered and I have no complaints about it. It was tasty. I wasn’t too keen on the tzaziki sauce rather than sour cream, but hey ho, it did not kill me.

It was really warm on Wednesday when I got home from work and so Norm cooked dinner for us on the gas grill. He made fillet steaks and corn on the cob on the braai and I made a salad for us with cucumber, tomatoes, avocado and feta cheese. It was all delicious.

Norm finally received his police clearance certificate in the post, he needs it for lodging his application for a spousal visa. He had applied for this certificate months ago and had rang the post office as it had not yet arrived. He was told by the post office that there was a major backlog of post sitting in containers in Johannesburg. Apparently this Post Office backlog happens every year.

Yet another example of the gross incompetence prevalent in our state owned enterprises.

On Thursday night we decided to braai again as we still had corn and salad fixings so Norm bought some chicken sausage and cole slaw and we had that for dinner.

The one bright moment in our week was that we have decided to go to the US to spend Christmas and NY with my Mom and family. Norm has to leave the country as his visa runs out and so we decided we might as well just bite the financial bullet and go over. We will pay it off throughout the year. Life is too short to worry about finances. It always works out in the end. I am trying not to think about the 33 hours of travel to get there, I am not good with flying and the whole experience stresses me but I am trying to focus on the end goal of time with family and friends.

Norm and I have decided to make more of an attempt to be sociable. We realised that we have become hermits. When we first met over 20 years ago we were both big party animals. In fact we met in a bar, doing tequila body shots! Then once we were married we were out most nights either at the pub, out dancing or on a mad bender. In Northern Ireland we often just had open nights at home where I would cook a big pot of chili and anyone who wanted to pop in could do so, we would play music, sing, and have a laugh with whomever popped in to join us that week. We were also very social when we lived in England.

When I moved to South Africa I was on my own for a few months and so I was trying to make a social circle in my new country and I would go for drinks after work with my new colleagues or just go off exploring with my friend Mandi who was also living in Hout Bay when I emigrated here. Then when Norm joined me in SA we were often out for drinks during the week and on most days over the weekends. Then when my daughters moved in with us to attend Uni we preferred to spend time with them and we started staying in more for family time. We eventually ended up becoming almost reclusive and only going out if invited to join others, seldom organizing anything that did not involve just our family or one other couple who we often hung out with. Then my daughters moved out, my friends’ marriage broke down and Norm and I continued our pattern of rather staying home with the animals and being cosy on our own.

With our new determination of getting out more we went down to the village on Friday night after work. I had seen that there was live music outside at The Vine so we decided to check it out.

When we arrived the patio at The Vine was rammed with people and kids and Norm was struggling with his allergies so we thought that sitting under a tree outside might not be the best solution for him and we decided to rather have dinner at our friend Spiro’s restaurant next door. We were early so we had no trouble getting a table.

I did not manage to Ninja a pic of Norm and so we get a pic of his grumpy face.

Spiro was working the crowds and he brought us some snacks to occupy us while we waited on our food to arrive. Norm ordered the Biftekia for R145 which was like a big meatball with feta cheese inside and he really enjoyed this dish, he said it was something he will order again. If he has salad instead of chips it is low carb.

Sorry about the typically dreadful nature of my photos, it was dark and I am blind.

I had a few dishes from their meze menu. I had the Naxos for R65 which is the greek equivalent of cheesy onion fries. I love these, they are crispy and full of yummy flavours.

I had the crispy squids for R70 and the chicken livers which are in a creamy sauce and come with wedges of pita bread for dipping in the delicious sauce.

We were so full up that we could not be tempted by the dessert which Spiro was trying to get us to try so we compromised and took home a slice of the Baked Baklava Cheesecake that Spiro and Julie’s daughter Mary had made. It is so divine and delicious. We had planned to share it later that night but someone (me) greedily ate it all when someone (Norm) was not looking. Oops.

We decided to watch a film once we got home and we watched Outlaw King which is a film about Robert the Bruce.

I have to confess I fell asleep but the bits I watched were very good!

On Saturday we had a busy day planned and so we were up and out early. I had a hair appointment booked for 10 and Norm dropped me on Long Street and shot off to the V&A Waterfront to run some errands and shop for the braai we were attending later that afternoon. We recently bought a new printer and it has decided it likes to eat paper and has proceeded to do so for every item we try to print. So he had to return that and he also had some other things he needed to do.

I had my hair coloured, cut and blow dried and when I finished I messaged him and he came back to collect me and we headed off to the Northern Suburbs. (I dunno why I capitalised that except it is feckin far away.)

We were invited to a housewarming party for Sue, a woman I first met on Twitter years ago but have only met in ‘the flesh’ a few times. But she is a nice person and we are being sociable so off we went! Norm had picked up a poinsettia for a house warming gift, some drink for me as he was driving and some healthy snacks and some meat as Sue was providing the salads and breads. We managed to find her new house with no issues, it is such a charming house! She was very lucky that she had very little to do to be able to move in, it is modern and airy and was nicely maintained by the previous owners. I did not know anyone else who was attending and I am so socially awkward when it comes to meeting people. I quickly got a cider down my neck to assist me with that challenge and everyone was very friendly and welcoming and we met some lovely people.

Then a guy named Stephen arrived a bit later and when he was introduced to me I just felt an instant kinship to him! He and I pulled up chairs in the shade in the garden and started chatting away. Within 5 minutes we had found a common friend, there was far less than 6 degrees in that separation. I mentioned Hout Bay and he said ‘oh do you know Melody Diamond’ and I said ‘YES I love Melody!!’ And he explained to me that he had met Melody via a Facebook group page and that Melody had been so helpful to him, this group had set up a Go Fund Me account which raised money to get new teeth for Stephen as he had a gum disease and his front teeth all fell out. He was depressed and struggling to get work and this group did so much to help him. His teeth look amazing!

Stephen and I realised we had lived very near each other throughout several of our moves – we both seem to have itchy feet! It seems we circled in each others peripheries for years until we finally collided in a garden in Durbanville.

I also had a long chat to two young people who were there whose names I did not catch and after talking for so long it is then too awkward to ask! But we talked about so many things about spirituality, energy, positivity, religion and shamanism. It was a lovely afternoon with good food, good conversation and I really enjoyed it.

Usually I am terrible at small talk, I find there is a fine line between being friendly and being overly intrusive and I am not good at walking that line. As an only child I am not very skilled at making friends so I usually find these situations painful. But maybe because Sue is also a bit of an introvert, her friends are also of that nature and so we were all in the same awkward boat, but whatever magic was at play, it all worked.

We left late afternoon as Norm had to walk the dogs and our house alarm had been going off all afternoon as the wind was insane. We had the security company pop in so knew there was no safety issues but we did worry about the neighbours who had to listen to our alarm.

We decided to watch a film last night after we got settled in and we chose The Ballad of Buster Scruggs as it is a Coen Brothers film and we enjoy their work.

It was a series of short stories revolving around life in the old West and what a challenge it was just to survive. It is a black comedy full of irony and if you have an aversion to tragedy this is not the film for you to watch, however it seemed the perfect end to our tragedy laden week.

Life is just a series of happenstance occurrences and we are all lucky to get out of it alive.

Until next time, hold your loved ones close and tell them you love them.

Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

UTC 2 UCT

This week has disappeared in a blink of an eye. I guess the new project means we don’t have any time to waste and as we are focusing so intensely the days pass quickly. I have so many gaps in info from the client but I need to leave time to document it all so it’s a balancing act to take time to obtain the info and still leave time to knock it into a decent deliverable.

I had a ditzy moment last week when I set up my new client email account and was then confused when someone sent a meeting request for a slot in the past. The client heard the discussion with my colleague when I said I set my time zone to “UTC” time. The client pointed out I’m at UCT not UTC and that UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time, not the actual University where I was. I felt a right eejit.

Then I realized that why I keep saying UTC instead of UCT is that I grew up near Chattanooga which is where University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is located. No wonder my brain gets dyslexic.

On Monday Norm only got to the shops after I got home so it was quite late and he wanted something quick and easy so he just grabbed some fish cakes and veg. He stir fried the veg and baked the fish cakes. He made fresh cole slaw to go with it.

Norm has also been busy with work. Not having a car has been awkward for him. On Tuesday he has both Cordelia and Mzudumo here working. Cordelia gets paid monthly so that is no issue but Mzudumo is paid daily as he only comes once a week. In addition to the cash Norm also has to come up with lunch for them both. He usually nips out to the bank and gets them chicken to cook or a pie and chips or something but this week he managed to put together a big plate of bits and pieces from fish cakes to left over veg so he coped without shopping. However he needed to get to the ATM so he trotted off to the closest shops with Navajo. It’s not very safe walking on our roads but Navajo is a great guard dog. Norm just had to make a plan and so he braved it.

On Wednesday we heard that there were some traffic issues near the circle and then we heard that the police station was shut. Eventually we heard that a policeman who was on duty had killed his wife then shot himself. So sad! I hope they did not leave any children behind as that would be so heartbreaking for the kids to lose both parents to such violence. RIP to them both, I assume the husband had to be mentally ill to do such a thing. Once again women are treated as property of their partner, with him feeling he has the right to do as he wishes.

That day we also heard that there had been a second bus fire. This time it was in Khayelitsha. If the buses are not being torched then the trains are! It is a nightmare in SA if you do not drive and have your own car.

Wednesday Norm was trying to piece together dinner from our almost bare cupboards. He had chicken and mushrooms and carrots. He opened the chicken to find it was off. As he had already chopped the vegetables he decided to pop down to get chicken rather than scrap it all for a takeaway. He bought noodles and a sauce and it was yummy.

One night we had takeaways from Spiro’s but I did not snap a pic. I had yummy little crispy squids. Norm had chicken souvlaki.

This week we discovered Norm’s visa runs out on Christmas Day. We toyed with the idea of going to see my Mom for Christmas but the flights were R40k so that’s impossible at this point. Norm will pop into the UK on his own sometime before the end of the year. It’s so annoying that we have to keep doing this while they mess him around.

I also received a text message that my drivers license is ready. Three messages in fact. The problem was that message 2 came hours before message 3 which came hours before message 1 so it was illegible nonsense.

Luckily I managed to decipher it once the other messages arrived. I’ll pop by next week to collect it. Dreadful prison faced photo and all. 🙄

Speaking of an inability to manage communications, I’ve had weeks of harassment by my bank, FNB. The law has changed so as an American citizen I have to submit a tax return, even though I’ve not earned there in 30 years. Not only that I have to go back and submit for several other years. What a waste of money for me to pay a US tax man to file just to confirm that with the exchange rate my salary is below the level which mandates filing. Nonsense.

Anyway the bank is sending me emails and text messages over and over telling me to complete the forms they sent me which I filled in and returned last week. I finally emailed to complain and they tell me I did not submit a different form! Nightmare.

This week I ordered lunch from Tigers Milk via OrderIn. First my order was ‘stuck’ for 20 minutes and finally the restaurant picked up the order. That is the one good thing is you can track it each step. Eventually it arrived. I had ordered taquitos. They were described on the menu as ‘TAQUITOS | (V) Crunchy tortilla fingers filled with nacho cheese sauce, guacamole, refried beans, sour cream and Pico de Gallo”

I lived in LA so I know my Mexican food. I expected something like

->See sexy tacquitos <-.

Instead I got this globby, cold, gooey mess:

The FLOUR tortillas were filled with microscopic amounts of cheese and not even heated, just rolled up and then the toppings were thrown on top. I expected them to be separate. Like fajitas. Or lightly on top of CRISPY corn tortillas. The dish was very sour, I’m not sure what that was about. I barely ate it. It really was exceptionally revolting. There was nothing nice about this dish.

It was a gorgeous evening on Friday and after I got in from my appointment at the chiropractor I sat on the balcony upstairs by my bedroom.

Norm and I fancied some live music and a bit of a night out. We knew there was music on at The Lookout Deck on Friday evenings so we went there once the dogs were walked and fed. They had a duo performing which we had not heard before.

They sang some very cool songs, but did not always get the right key. But they did ok. It was so beautiful there as the sun was setting.

We had seats right by the harbour.

I ordered a vodka with passion fruit cordial and lemonade. At home I have soda but when out I hesitate to order with soda as some places are light on the passion fruit and it’s too vodka-y for me. Our waiter says ‘that’s like a sweety’ and I wanted to tell him to bring my drink and hold the sass. Cheeky fuck. Annnyyywayy.

I fancied a bit of Sushi and ordered my usual salmon roses.

The salmon was fresh and tender. It was excellent.

I had ordered a prawn and avo starter but they were out of breaded prawns (which means they are frozen 🙄). I changed to the starter portion of fish cakes and ordered chips to go with them.

Norm chose the fish and chips.

We did not stay too late, we had another drink then headed home. We are such home bodies.

We have started a new series we are both really enjoying called ‘The Last Kingdom‘.

I love the visuals, the costumes are absolutely amazing. I tried to find the designer but googling just brought back a load of geeks moaning that the costumes were not authentic because there was insufficient embroidery on the tunics, or their swords were the wrong length, or the helmets were the wrong time frame. Give me a break. They were a visual treat full of fur, leather, chain mail, and all manner of interesting designs. I loved them! But I guess to a history nerd it would be as annoying as it is to me when medical shows do silly things like have a patient on a spinal board sitting up. To each their own bête noire.

On Saturday Norm and I left home at 10.30am and headed off to collect some fresh pastries from Martins Bakery.

We then headed over to Caitlin’s flat. We bought Banting pie and rolls, croissants, muffins, fresh milk for coffees and ham for the croissants. Caitlin put out cheeses, jams, butter and other bits and made us all coffees. Her friend Carmel was down from Johannesburg so it was nice to see her. After she left Norm got busy on his handyman duties. He put up a smoke detector.

He hung up 3 photographs and two mirrors in her bedroom.

The cats kept a close eye on things.

After he finished what she needed done we headed off to Constantia to the shops. We then came home to drop our shopping.

Around 4pm we headed out to Zur Holzbucht to pop in and have a drink to celebrate my friend Annie’s birthday.

There were a few people there whom we already knew and we met a few other interesting people. It was a lovely sunny day and we were seated out in the beer garden.

It was an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. Everyone was quite merry.

Things escalated quite rapidly.

We did not want to get stuck hanging around too long as that leads inevitably to drinking too many and Norm was driving. Later we heard there was a roadblock with a breathalyzer so I’m glad we were sensible.

We popped into the Indian Oven for a Curry on our way home.

We had saag aloo (aka spinach and potato), spinach bajees, cauliflower rice, naan bread and poppadoms. I had butter chicken and Norm had chicken korma. It was delicious.

We had a quiet night in and watched a few more episodes of The Last Kingdom.

Norm made us brunch today once we finally got out of bed.

He made cheesy scrambled eggs & bacon, he served it with some avocado and tomatoes.

We have had a somewhat lazy day with me doing admin, playing games and blogging and Norm has been working. I wanted to do some gardening (aka poking about in my pots) but it’s really warm outside so I’m lying low inside where it’s cool.

We just passed the halfway mark on the project so this week will be plugging our knowledge gaps and getting our deliverables finished and reviewed. Wish me strength as I think I’ll need it!

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

A Smashing Start

I started a new project this week at UCT in their IT department. We are a team of 3 consultants but one of us is not really on board yet as our role informs hers so she arrives more towards the end of the timeline. It’s a short term project so we have a lot to learn in a very short time. As a result my head is thumping every night when I get in. It’s a rather risky area of the city to be wandering around wearing a laptop and the traffic home is dreadful which adds to the stress but it’s a good project with a potential of a long term contract so at least it’s interesting and I’m learning about a new domain of data. With growth there comes pain!

I’ve been driving into the city then around onto the motorway and nipping off by the windmill. It seems crazy to drive so far but it’s quicker as it’s against the traffic. As it’s not stop start like surface roads it’s better on petrol consumption.

It has been awkward with Norm’s car being in the garage as he can’t shop for dinner. I might have to start to do so at the Shoprite by my new office. He cooked where he could do so last week. He did a quick shop on Monday and he did sausage, cheese topped steamed broccoli and cole slaw with mashed sweet potatoes.

On Tuesday after work Caitlin popped around and we got take away chicken schnitzel from Posticino. She brought back our ladder as we had more lights burned out than we had functioning and we needed to sort them or buy miners headlamps to navigate the house at night. She has finished most of her renovations now so she shouldn’t need it.

Norman went for a Chinese meal at Blue Lotus one night.

I had spicy crispy pork with noodles. The coating was crispy and the pork was tender. The amount of chili was perfect, a kick but no pain. This is my fave dish of theirs by far.

I had left overs for work only a few days but one day I was in workshops all day until well after 1 and was starving by the time I was free. As I start at 7am I tend to eat at 12. I ended up having KFC as Chicken Licken and JoJo’s fish and chip shop are the only other alternatives. It was the first time I had KFC in years! The next day when I had no lunch I decided to use OrderIn for a healthier alternative and picked Tigers Milk. I chose the Corny Chicken salad which consisted of: Mexican chicken strips, chargrilled corn, black beans, fresh avo, jalapeños, lettuce and pico de gallo with tortilla dippers. It was really delicious. I will order that again.

The weather has finally cooled down after intense heat during the last few weeks of October.

On Monday a thick mist was still present when I drove into work and then later that day a thick cloud rolled over the mountain.

After that it was lovely and cool all week. It heated up a bit as the week went on. The project office is freezing so I am still wearing boots and sweaters to work, but then I have to walk to my car so it can get hot.

I didn’t make it down to Dance to Heal The Earth this weekend as work is too intense and I just can’t spare the time. I’m rather exhausted. As a result we had a quiet night in on Friday night. I got home late as traffic was a nightmare. Norm popped into Cassarechio for a takeaway and we started watching a new series on Netflix.

Saturday we had a lazy morning. I woke to this cheeky face lying on my chest.

I had a coffee in bed then Norm and I had another coffee out on our balcony. I love this view.

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Good Morning World 🌎😘

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Then we showered and went for brunch at La Cuccina. We grabbed a table outside in the shade.

We both fancied a change from our usual fare. Norm ordered the Smashed Avocado with grilled halloumi on Banting bread and I ordered Smashed Avo with two poached eggs on sourdough for R89. A lot of smashing. It was thick smashed avo, lemon juice, salt & black pepper served with fresh coriander, chilli, thinly sliced red onion & olive oil. I ordered well done bacon on the side.

This dish was divine. It may be my fave new thing. Nice and fresh with the tart lemony avo and the burst of chili and sweet red onion is perfect. Next time I’ll also order mine with Banting bread as Norm said their version was nice. Not many Banting options taste nice, they are often very dry.

We also picked up two low carb ready meals for our dinner that night.

On our way out I noticed this mural, isn’t it stunning?

While we were leaving, Trevor my son rang and told me he asked his long term partner Amber to marry him!

I’m so pleased for them. Amber was one of Lily’s best friends as a child so she is like part of the family already. She is good for Trevor as she gets him out of the house and away from his computer. He would be such a hermit without her. I also love her mother Rose, she’s a fabulous woman and her baby sis Sage is too cute.

Trevor asked Amber in such a cute unique way. There’s this rapper they both like that started a twitch account and Trev asked him to say “Amber will you marry Trevor” ❤. You can watch here:

Proposal

I’m so excited!

We popped over to Earthworx after brunch as I needed potting soil. I love wandering around there.

We watched a film called “The Invitation” last night. It was really odd. I’ll give it 3 Kitten Stars.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Last night for dinner we popped our ready meals in the oven and I made fried cauliflower and onion rice to go with them. We shared them, we had beef curry and beef bourguignon.

The beef was high quality with no fat or revolting bits. The sauces were rich and plentiful. At what I think was about R80 and R95 respectively they were a bargain. They also do vegan and gluten free options as well. I think we will get a take away from here weekly. It’s great quality at a good price.

Today has been a chilled Sunday as we had no obligations so we have had a long lie in bed drinking coffees and then a lazy day after our lazy morning.

Norm made brunch for us: eggs, bacon, avo and tomato. I chose boiled, he had his scrambled.

We heard on the radio that another fire has started in Hout Bay. The winds are blowing quite a bit so hope it’s out and no one is injured or loses their home.

On Thursday night there was also a furor on the radio and social media. Many people were complaining of gunshots being heard somewhere in the valley. It was the funeral of a taxi driver who had been shot recently. They were firing off their guns in recognition I assume.

Never a dull moment in our wee village.

I feel a bit readier to tackle another intense week after lolling about all weekend. I needed complete downtime or I was going to splinter. A mental health day (or two). I’m feeling much calmer.

I wish you all a week of peace and love.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo