Camp Culture

Last week was a bit of a life challenge as we had load-shedding almost every day. To those who do not know, that means the city turns off the electricity to the grid in ring fenced areas at certain periods of the day. So you have to plan ahead, if it’s in the morning make sure to boil a full kettle of our precious water and charge your phone. I wasn’t sure whether our office had a generator so on Monday I went off to Now Now Cafe and got a large coffee, some oatmeal for breakfast and a bottle of water and got up to the 4th floor in the elevator before the 8am load shedding kick off time. I couldn’t face a 4 flight hike laden with my bags and I also couldn’t face not having a coffee. I park .4km away from my office at the moment so I cannot stair climb after the walk, I would literally have a heart attack.

All of these electricity issues are related to the collapse of 6 generating units, allegedly their collapse is related to the ANC’s lack of maintenance of the infrastructure that the previous government had built. Other people have insinuated darker forces are at play as the collapse of so many units at once the day after Ramaphosa announced the uncoupling of the 3 main Eskom business units smacks of sabotage. Here is a good article by the BBC summarizing the entire fiasco.

Whatever the root cause, the resolution must not be underestimated. It will require external input and re-governance.

Land expropriation without compensation is also an issue. The constant flip flopping of the ANC direction on this issue is head spinning.

SARS (SA Revenue Service) is also in a shambles. The ANC has made such a mess of South Africa. Tom Moyane even had the nerve to try and stop his suspension. The ANC criminals and the Guptas have ripped the heart out of our assets and pocketed millions in exchange. It destroys my confidence in the future of this country.

There have been two recent house break ins in my immediate area and a few more nearby in Hout Bay. The crime has peaked again. Post Christmas shopping? At this point we would consider leaving SA but only if my children would too. In the meantime I’m here to be near my children and we just do our best to live our best lives.

The new project has been good, I’ve been told I have to work on their desktop computer due to data security risks but it’s so less powerful than my laptop and keeps bombing out when I’m trying to chow through large tables of Data Warehouse data. I’ve lost hours of work a few times now as everything just crashes.

One day after much frustration I decided I needed a walk and I strolled around the city for a bit. I crossed paths with the SAPS police on horseback. I just love seeing them cruising through the city looking so powerful.

Another day last week when I needed to get out of the office I treated myself to lunch nearby at Nuri Sushi Factory. I love it there. I had the Dr Cara’s low carb salad with steamed prawns, carrot and cucumber ribbons, avocado chunks, sprinkled with sesame seeds and topped with Chinese mayonnaise.

It was delicious but was awkward to eat with chopsticks so I give it a 4 Kitten Star rating. If it was all in chunks rather than the curled noodles it would have been easier to manage.

Norm has been good about cooking this week but only from Wednesday as we had Xmas leftovers for most of our dinners at the start of the week.

Norm really spoiled me on Valentines Day. He made a lovely salad / side dish of boiled sliced pink beetroot, topped with goats cheese, on a bed of steamed spinach served with a pink fillet steak.

He made a white Lindt chocolate brûlée for dessert.

It was all so gorgeous.

He also gave me a lovely card and lilies, my favorite flowers.

I’m a lucky girl.

We exchanged the booking we had made to go to Beefcakes for NYE and couldn’t attend as we were in the States. Instead we booked to go to a burger and drag act night on Friday.

We arrived just after 7 and parked right outside the door. We were welcomed in by a bevy of good looking muscular bare chested men. Maybe they were wearing tank tops. My mind may be playing tricks on me.

Anyway.

We were taken to a table with tall stools. There was no way my back could cope with that so I asked to get moved and they put us in a charming little 50’s style booth with velvet seats. I was very happy.

We were surrounded by flamingos, gold lame and beautiful young men. I think we were the only people there who were neither gay nor out for a hen night!

I love drag artists. My IG feed is probably 1/3 hot bearded men with tattoos, 1/3 dogs, and 1/3 drag artists.

I’m a woman with varied interests.

Anyway. I ordered a strawberry daiquiri from our very sweet young waiter.

We ordered some nachos to share for starters. They were basically Doritos with thick cheese on top, very awkward to eat. The guacamole was not bad. I’ll give them 2 Kitten Stars.

Next time I will rather have chili poppers.

I had quite a few cocktails but Norm had one glass of wine then went onto water as he was driving. The way that the food works on this event is that you choose whether you want a beef, chicken or vegetarian burger and they bring a tray of toppings for you to add as you wish. There were 2 types of cheese, mushroom sauce, guacamole and chopped chilis to choose from.

The burgers were delicious. I used every one of the toppings. The patties had a lovely flavor and the meat was excellent quality. I think it was a kitke roll, but it was yummy whatever type of bread it was. I really enjoyed mine and I give it 5 Kitten Stars.

After we finished eating the acts came on. There were 2 artists. Vida Fan Tabisher and Samantha Knight were appearing and they were both absolutely brilliant.

Vida opened by teasing us with a leg and arm appearing cheekily from behind the curtain. She came out and serenaded us, but she was very in your face with her sense of humor, more of a bawdy style.

The second artist was Samantha Knight who was tall and muscular and lithe as the lithest thing you can think of. I googled her and found a video for you. Enjoy!

She came out in bright fur and stockings. She was dynamic. She had quite a few costume changes and looked amazing in whatever she was wearing.

Vida then did a funny routine where she criticized her ex and his small penis and I think her video starred her male self in it but I’m not positive. It was very funny.

Samantha did a sort of tribute to Freddy Mercury and she was so good, she is such a talented dancer with thighs to die for.

Samantha didn’t leave all the humor to Vida however, this skit was quite funny.

The finale was the waiters stripping off for our titillation.

I give the overall evening 5 Kitten Stars and recommend you book Beefcakes soon!

We headed home after I finished my drink and we got back to Hout Bay just before 11.

I had a lazy morning on Saturday recovering from all those cocktails. Norm was working and the animals snoozing so it was peaceful and luckily a bit cooler. Some of the days during the week it had gotten up to 40deg C! That’s feckin hot in Fahrenheit trust me. Ok it’s 104 F to be specific. We have no air conditioning at home so it makes it hard to sleep.

The rest of my weekend was somewhat more cultured than camp. If you can classify a musical as not camp and a wine sozzled day as cultured?

On Saturday we went to see Steven Sondheim’s Into The Woods at the allegedly newly renovated Theatre on The Bay.

We were running late and enroute we looked out and spotted whales in the bay! We only spotted them because they were blowing, the sprays from the blowholes are all you see sometimes. It was very exciting.

As is our preference we booked for the dinner and theatre package as it means you have a relaxing dinner timed around the production and you get parking as you are early. It can be a nightmare to park nearby as it’s all street parking and I have seen cars broken into that were parked too far from the theatre. Being by the beach there is nothing for miles when it’s hot. There is also housing tightly squashed in to the close.

Traffic was rammed so we parked down the road and walked around to the theatre. We went upstairs to the restaurant and were seated by the door so we could catch a bit of breeze and see a glimpse of the sea.

The restaurant has been redecorated and looks nice.

We ordered our food and settled in with a drink.

For my starter I had the tian of prawn and salmon.

Norm had the caprese salad.

I chose the beef short rib for my main.

It was quite nice but it was a wee bit dry.

Norm had the linefish, I think it was skipperjack.

He said it was excellent.

For dessert I had the chocolate fridge cake which was like a chocolate torte. It was very rich. I gave Norm half and took a bit of his ice cream.

I give the dinner 4 and the show 5 Kitten Stars.

I give the upstairs ladies loo only 1 star however. There are 3 cubicles, one was out of order and the second did not have a latch on the door and did not flush. The tap was broken on one of the sinks and the hand dryer had no oomph. It was not a pleasant experience at all. The queue was out the door for the downstairs ladies and maybe that one was renovated? I can’t say.

But we go for the shows not the decor. So, saying that, here is a little clip about the show.

I loved Zak Hendricks as both The Wolf / Cinderella’s Prince, and Kate Normington, the actress who played the witch but everyone in the cast was excellent. We had a great night. We got home after 11 and then Norm had a drink and we watched a bit of telly so headed off to sleep quite late.

On Sunday I went to lunch in Constantia with my friends Nicola

and Alison

We were seated outside under a brolly.

We went to one of my faves, Foxcroft.

Their current lunch offering is R495 pp and you get 2 tapas, 1 main course, 1 dessert.

Their online menu differs from the one we were offered so I cannot give details on some of the dishes.

I chose Yellowfin Tuna: 6-month kimchi, sesame, black vinegar for my 1st dish. It was so yummy. The tuna was so fresh.

For my second course I chose the mussels. I adored this dish. I liked that they used not only the mussel but the muscle that attached it to the shell.

For my main I had the Oak Valley Pork Belly: Pomme purée, apple mustard, walnut, cider jus. I’ve had it before and loved it and certainly wasn’t disappointed this time either.

For dessert I had the Strawberries: Compressed, semi-dried, verbena, bergamot. It was like a deconstructed strawberry shortcake and was delicious.

The food was amazing and I give it 5 Kitten Stars however the usually impeccable service was lacking yesterday. We had to wave down our waitress and had to top up our own water and wine. Our waitress was just nowhere to be seen for the majority of the day.

We had given Alison a lift to lunch and on our way home we stopped at her house for a drink and ended up staying for dinner and hanging out and chatting with the family. Unfortunately I wasn’t clever enough to stop drinking and I have been suffering all day today!

It was a very busy weekend but it was such fun and we had such a variety of events.

I’m a happy Kitten. A hungover Kitten, but a happy one.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

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My Best Beloveds

This has been a week of highs and lows, excitements and stresses ending with a fun and busy weekend.

We tried to get back onto low carb eating from last Monday and we had a delicious high fat / low carb meal for dinner that night. Norm made pork chops, cauliflower mash, fried halloumi cheese, fried mushrooms and steamed baby broccoli.

Tuesday he cooked again and fried chicken breasts with onion and spinach, added in a container of cream, some spices and chicken stock and he served it over creamed sweet potatoes and with steamed asparagus to go with it. It was so delicious, similar to a cream pastry free pie.

Wednesday I met my friend Gillian for lunch at Nuri Sushi. I did not realise it when I made the decision where to meet but she does not eat sushi so luckily Nuri does prawn pops and ‘asian fries’ which are both divine so we had those. The prawn pops are like scampi in the UK.

The asian fries are sliced deep fried potatoes, like thick chips. They are really yummy.

That night Norm had a meeting so he stopped for take aways from Massimo’s on the way home and it was gorgeous as always but not banting as we both had schnitzel with mash and roast vegetables.

Thursday Norm made home made chili con carne and we topped it with cheese and sour cream. The beans are not low carb but the rest is and it was so delicious.

I started my new project with a new client a week ago on Friday but my first full day was this past Monday. I was panicking with insecurity at the beginning of the week as I always do, but by the end of the week I had my processes set up and was no longer worried. I am definitely challenged with the amount of work to be done but I think I can manage it. I was set up on SQL Developer but I have always used MS SQL so it took me a bit to get used to the different interface and language but I am going well now that I have my rhythm.

We also had crazy road diversions in the city all week because of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) so it made it just that little bit more stressful. Some of the roads I normally take were just randomly closed as I work right near Parliament. I panic when I get lost and there are a lot of one way streets so any changes from my routine get me off balance.

It has been really hot and windy this week and as it often does when we have that combo of chaos we had fires and this week we had several!

Regular readers may remember me telling you about the fire last year in the gorgeous Tintswalow Hotel, and on Tuesday there was yet another fire, this time in the main lodge.

Here is a link to some pics of the damage which the hotel posted on their Facebook page. It looks pretty bad.

On Thursday as well as the road congestion from SONA we had another fire on Camps Bay road near the Table Mountain cable car turn off. This was the second in one week in the same general area!

This fire meant all traffic was diverted around the mountain and my usual half hour drive turned into 2 hours of sitting in bumper to bumper non moving traffic.

I decided to amuse myself by taking photos and enjoying the beauty of the views.

I watched the choppers scooping up sea water to dump on the fires.

There was also a fire at Holy Cross school on Thursday. There was even a small fire in Hout Bay near the beach.

When I finally got home that night Norm and I had a swim. I was so grateful to have a pool.

I sat for ages with my feet in the water cooling off after my horrendous journey home.

On Friday it was hot already when I got into work and driving past the part of Table mountain where the fire had occurred the previous day, there were still fire engines in place and the area smelled like an ashtray, it was horrible.

Maybe that was why I was tempted by the peanut butter cronut from Now Now Cafe. It was worth every carbohydrate.

My playlist on Spotify that day was Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton, as I listened to it I thought about how much my Grandmother loved Hank Williams and still did not catch on to the fact it was her birthday, despite all of the obvious nudges she sent me. It was only later that evening when my cousin Warren messaged me to say it would have been Grandma’s 111th birthday that day if she was alive that I put two and two together and realised she had been contacting me to tell me hello.

Friday afternoon after work I went to the chiropractor and then was home before 5pm and Josh and Lily had already arrived at the house from Mossel Bay. We just had chinese take aways for dinner and Caitlin came over later and she had left over chili when she arrived.

We finally opened our Christmas presents. I got Lily and Josh some clothes from the US and they all fit perfectly. I got Lily a gift card for her birthday as that was what she wanted. I was not sure about Wes’s size and so I got him a shirt he could take back, it is just as well I did as it was too small.

Josh gave me a gorgeous wrap which will look lovely when drumming or even over a swimsuit. I wore it over my dress on Saturday for lunch. I wore it with turquoise jewelry. My hair is wet as it is so hot.

Wes game me a bottle of Vanilla spice amarula which was delicious.

On Friday evening the girls and I baked the chocolate cake and 2 pans of cornbread ready to prepare into the stuffing the following day.

On Saturday Lily and I got up and had a coffee then got busy cooking. I took puff pastry and filled it with chocolate chips and maltesers, snipped them shut, basted with melted butter to make them golden and popped them in the oven for our breakfast.

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Voila! #BelatedChristmas breakfast #breakfast

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That day we all pitched in and cooked with Lily and I first doing the icing for the cake, the cornbread stuffing and then later starting the veggies and the potatoes and putting the meats into the oven.

When Cait arrived she finished preparing what was left to be done and she and Wes cooked the veg and potatoes then Wes carved the hams.

We had so much food! We had 2 small hams cooked in pineapple, honey and coke. We baked a big chicken and surrounded it with mushrooms, basting it all with chicken stock as it cooked. Wes cooked some small pork chippolatas. We made cornbead stuffing, mashed potatoes as well as roast potatoes. I made a huge trough of gravy to go over it all. For veggies we had fried red cabbage, brussel sprouts, glazed carrots & broccoli casserole.

After lunch we went and lay by the pool to cool off and Lily braided my hair.

We lay around on cushions by the pool until we felt able to ingest more food and then we came inside and had chocolate cake and the vanilla Amarula on ice. As we had not been together for Lily’s birthday a few weeks ago we had a belated sing along.

We then all lay about on the settees like stuffed piggies and watched a bit of telly. It was so lovely to spend time with my girls, I wish Trevor and Amber had been able to come but hopefully we can pop down to visit them, I sent their gifts back with Lily. Hopefully they like them and they fit.

Today the sky has been a bit misty and it has cooled off a bit.

Josh and Lily were up and away about 11. Norm went to a triathlon for a bit but I have had a lazy day.

This week we finished binge watching Russian Doll which I really loved. It was very good.

Work has kept me on my toes and it will continue to do so for the next few months.

This week I have Valentines to look forward to, Norm is cooking and we are just staying in. On Friday we are going to Beefcakes to a drag show which should be a laugh. On Saturday we are going to Theatre on the Bay to see Into the Woods, a musical. We will have another very tiring weekend but you need to grab as much fun as you can out of life!

I hope you enjoy your week and wish a Happy Valentines Day to you.

Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x

Sizzling

There was a fire last Friday night and we could smell the smoke from our house so intensely that I checked social media to see if it was nearby but it was miles away in Grabouw. When I woke up on Saturday the whole valley was covered in smoke and the horses across the valley were whinnying which I assume was due to being agitated by the smoke.

We read that this fire had been contained and was under control but then on Sunday evening we started smelling smoke again.

We read on social media that there was a new fire on Kloof Nek and Signal Hill which had spread across to Sea Point. It was dark but we could see from our balcony that there were thick clouds of smoke rising over the back of Table Mountain. The pics we saw were horrific.

When I drove in on Monday morning I could see the mountain was still smoldering and the choppers were busy dousing the flames.

These ongoing fires are worse than I have ever experienced since I have lived in SA. It seems too coincidental that they are occurring in an election year. There have been rumours for years that the ANC party are trying to make the Western Cape ungovernable and to challenge our resources to the point of collapse in an attempt to shift the voters from the DA to the ANC.

Several people were on twitter claiming that the ancestors were punishing the white home owners by the fire on Signal Hill.

We had a tragedy this week where 4 children were killed when a walkway collapsed. The Black First Land First (BLF) spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp has come out in support of a comment by Facebook user Siyanda Gumede, in which he said he “doesn’t have a heart to feel pain” for the three children who died after the tragic collapse of a walkway at Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark, who he assumed to be white. This political party has been accused of hate speech over their comments on many occasions. The BLF seem to hate all white people and want us all out of South Africa.

The EFF party also want the white people to leave South Africa and think that any land or property we own should be taken from us. Their leader Julius Malema has said that we must be happy that the EFF have not called for white genocide.

The EFF have also had claims of hate speech levied about their abuse of journalists, predominately women journalists.

Bheki Cele who is our Police Minister had objected to the appeal for additional police officers being allocated to the Western Cape. The Western Cape Equality Court estimated that the Western Cape is 4,500 officers short of the amount needed to police the province. In December, the court found that the system being used to allocate police resourcing was unfairly discriminating against poor and black people in the Western Cape. The provincial police-to-population ratio was one officer for every 509 residents and in Cape Town it was even worse – 1:560. This had to be corrected so that crime-fighting capacity in the province could get close to the national average of 1:375, so that crime could effectively be addressed.

The fact that Cele is one of the ANC’s disciples just feeds into that theory that the treatment of the Western Cape is deliberately subversive.

The newly implemented Rail Enforcement Unit has been somewhat successful in their arrests of a few of the culprits who are committing crimes on the railways. The  stats I can find are that thirteen arrests were made by the end of 2018: for assault, possession of drugs and stolen property, theft and fraud. It is just a shame that there had to be millions worth of damages done and many injuries and a death to trigger any results to happen.

There were more arrests made in 2019 for cable theft. In January the police arrested five suspects allegedly involved in cable theft in Rondebosch.

Regardless, it is still not a safe environment to travel on the trains in the Western Cape. It is not safe to venture into many of the areas in Cape Town due to gang violence and lack of police presence. It is not always safe just to walk around being white. I have had verbal abuse when walking in the city being told to ‘go home’ or ‘get out’. It can be very intimidating.

Norm was called out to attend a break in very near our home on Friday night. The family were violently attacked when 5 African men walked into their home carrying axes. The security beams were off and the back door was open due to the intense heat. There was a delivery driver arriving to drop off food or cigarettes and he was also attacked. There were several children there who witnessed this all. I hope the family and their visitors get over this trauma. I hope the smaller children do not even realise what was going on and therefore won’t have too much residual trauma.

There will most likely not be any arrests made and if so they most likely will not make it to court or a conviction.

There have still been no arrests for the train arson attacks. A whopping 214 trains were burnt in suspected arson attacks in South Africa in the past three years, with 174 of them torched in the Western Cape.

Transport minister Blade Nzimande’s response to a parliamentary question revealed that most cases of arson took place in 2016 when 69 coaches were burnt, compared to 65 in 2018 and 41 in 2017.

The Western Cape accounted for 56 of the 65 coaches burnt in 2018, with eight incidents taking place in Gauteng and one in KwaZulu-Natal.

All of these problem areas are under the ownership of the National government, the ANC, so I am a bit confused why they think that non-delivery in these areas will impact on people’s votes?

But then again as a westerner there are many things I do not understand about South Africa.

We have chosen to make our home here and so we just get on with life.  I can only hope that we can find a way for us all to live in peace and harmony.

I started a new project with a client on Friday. This is the 3rd project I have done for this client since 2010. I am documenting the metadata for their data warehouse. It seems like it will be interesting.

It has been a busy week and we have not been eating that healthy so we are going to get back to banting from tomorrow.

I tried the quail’s eggs my friend gave me and boiled them and added them to a chinese slaw salad I picked up from woolies and some tuna.

Norm did cook one night and made baked pork fillet with mushrooms, corn on the cob and gem squash and it was very yummy.

We ended up having take aways a few nights however so our balance of healthy vs unhealthy was off.

Last night we met our friends Mel, Steve and their daughter Chloe at Hoghouse Brewing Company.

We took an uber so that Norm could have a few drinks.

One thing that I struggle with at this venue is drinks. I know it is a brewery but I do not drink beer. I tried their cider but it was just OK, I did not really enjoy it. I ended up drinking water. I go there purely for the food. We ordered food to share for the table, we ordered lots of meat as you do at a BBQ joint.

We ordered 300g of pork ribs, 300g of pulled pork, 300g of burnt ends and 300g of pork belly.

The boys ordered the chorizo scotch eggs, Chloe ordered some nachos, Mel ordered the eggplant parmiagiana and we ordered chips, onion rings, chili poppers and wild mushroom arancini.

For dessert I had a pasteis de nata, Chloe had a vanilla milkshake and Mel and Steve had sorbet.

I found that  few of the dishes had changed since we were last there. The burnt ends were quite fatty, next time I would choose the beef brisket in the hopes it was less fatty. I did not try the pork belly but there was a gorgeous crackling and it looked nice. I loved the pulled pork. In fact next time I may just order that only it was so good. We had a lovely evening catching up with our friends and eating like piggies.

Today Norm and I are having a pajama day. I have been fasting with only hot water with lemon until lunch time to clear my digestion. I have tidied my clothes and have been writing. Norm is going to make us a high fat low carb lunch of eggs, bacon and avocado. I know that I will feel better once we get back to reducing our sugar intake. It makes a huge difference to my digestion and my arthritis symptoms. We will derail temporarily next weekend as the girls are coming up for our belated Christmas lunch. I look forward to that! Seeing my girls, not the banting derailing.

I have also booked a few events to look forward to, I booked to go to the theatre to see Into the Woods. It is playing at The Theatre on the Bay which is our fave venue and we have booked the dinner and show option which is usually lovely. I booked a lunch at Foxcroft with some girl friends. I love that restaurant.

Today we woke to some cool weather and it has rained quite a bit which hopefully will dampen some of the ongoing fires we have been having.

I am very grateful for the rain.

I wish you all a happy week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0

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 ❤️

View this post on Instagram

Good Morning World 🌎😘

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

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