Path of Persistence

I’ve been trying to keep up with all of my own tasks as well as those which Norman  is usually responsible for and so far the house is still standing and all 5 animals are still alive.

Some of them are coping better than others.

Navajo is still hopping about on 3 legs and his ankle is still so swollen.

I am spraying arnica on it twice a day. It does not hurt him but it is cold and it smells funny so at first he scooted off in the opposite direction whenever he saw the bottle. I praised him and gave him so much love each time I treated him that he eventually started to stick his leg out and wait for the spray as he knew it would be followed with lots of attention. He was on anti-inflammatory meds every evening which I mixed into his mince. Norm tried every means possible to hide it, wrapping it in a block of cheese, in a sausage, in a ball of mince, he tried everything. I just grind it up and mix into the mince and he is eating it but the meds are now finished and I need to get him back to the vet but I can’t take him myself as I am in the city all day on a new project and cannot take time to get back to Hout Bay in business hours.

We gave Navajo a few days rest without walking, he was a bit overexcited about life (poor cats) but I think he needed to take it easy. He is struggling with getting up the stairs. He has no problem going down, he lifts that back leg and flies down the stairs. He is struggling a bit with weeing, he prefers lifting the ‘good leg’ and of course when he tries he wobbles about and then remembers and rights himself. Bless him.

He is a clever boy. The other day I heard Pixie snuffling about under the stairs and I managed to crawl in there with her to discover both of her balls lined up in a neat little row just outside of her reach. She has a little smushed up Pomeranian face and not much of a snout, whereas Navajo has a really long nose. He deliberately puts her toys there and sits back and watches her repeatedly trying to get to them, knowing she cannot reach them with her wee mouth. He has a strong streak of sadism.

Maybe he is paying Pixie back for annoying him. She can be a right little pain in the butt. She has this ‘trick’ where she goes outside at the back just when we are getting ready to go up to bed. She can get in and out of the house via her doggy door but once I lock up she cannot get upstairs to join all of us as she cannot navigate the security gate as she is too chubby to get through the bars. Navajo will not settle at night if one of his pack is missing so I have to go out and try and entice her back inside. If she decides to be awkward then I have to put off all of the alarms, unlock all of the locks to get out the back, traverse the dog poop and other surprises lying around in the dark while shoe less and fetch her. So when she did it this week I said to her ‘come in Pixie’ and then opened the treat cupboard to feed the cats. She then thought I was getting a treat to bribe her in and popped in through the doggy door with a look of expectation. Navajo had come down to assist me (aka get under my feet and make it twice as difficult) and I turned and said to them both in a very gruff voice ‘Naughty children GET UPSTAIRS NOW!!’ and they both turned and ran upstairs as if being pursued by a monster, feet scrambling against the tiles until they got traction. They knew they were being naughty and they were like cheeky children flying up those stairs. It was all I could do not to laugh.

The other doggy drama has been with the neighbour across the road who has several huge dogs. She cannot manage them all on leads while walking them on her own and so she takes them down to the road reserve off lead. This would be fine if they were disciplined. They are not. Twice this week I have had these massive dogs attacking my dogs while mine are in their own garden. They fight through the gate so only their snouts can make contact but this can be enough. When I lived in Los Angeles I had a little American Eskimo dog named Teka and while walking her one evening she had sniffed under a gate and the dog on the other side managed to get hold of her lip and tore it badly leading to a bad cut and a ton of blood.

I lost my cool a bit on Thursday when I got home and the dogs all started fighting for the second time that week and I saw the owner just watching from across the road rather than trying to restrain her dog. I have now told her that I will pepper spray the dogs if they attack my dogs while in their own garden. I hate to do that but I must protect my dogs.

It is a family joke that we always have some major catastrophe when Norm goes away and this trip I have been forced to be Mrs McGyver. The first issue was the garage door which cannot be opened when the electricity is off. Mzudumo and Cordelia were both at the house working that day when the power tripped. Luckily Mzudumo has experienced this before with the dodgy SA electrical supply and he managed to override the electric motor and open the door manually. However he did not fix it back so when I got home I could not open the garage and had to go through the house and open it manually but then I could not figure out how to get it back onto opening by the remote. Norm phoned and talked me through it and I sorted it out.

Next the ice maker in the fridge blocked up due to the electricity being off. This is also something Norm usually sorts out but I managed to chisel out the blockage and get it operational again.

I also have been plodding my way through some of the items on Norm’s honey-do list. I had been given a gorgeous bird feeder a few Christmases ago and I recently found it in a cupboard and when Caitlin and I went for lunch yesterday I bought some dried worms at Earthworx and hung it up. I can see it from my kitchen window and hopefully it will draw some interesting birds.

I have a plant which has needed to be tied to a stick to support it for ages and so I dug around in the garage and found a stick which I hammered into the ground and tied up the plant. So far it is still standing! This one long stem had grown so long and was so top heavy it was just lying on the ground. I could not bear to just chop it off in order to get it to fill out a bit as it had lots of blooms. I will cut it all back at some stage but I thought this was a good interim solution.

Josh has been a godsend as he has fixed the garage motor which kept shorting out every time we tried to open it, the landing light which tripped and various other things.

He drove all the way to House and Home to collect the headboard we ordered weeks ago but it was still not in stock! This is now twice we have driven to the shop to collect it after being told to do so, the first time it was damaged when Norm arrived and she said come back the following Tuesday to collect a new one. Unfortunately Josh was sick and could not go on Tuesday and it took over a week until he was well enough to make it through. He popped in last Thursday only to be told it was still not in stock. The reason we chose this particular head board was because the original salesman told us it WAS in stock. They have now said they will deliver it when it is finally in stock but had no date when that will be. Shockingly bad customer service.

Welcome to Africa. Not much is terribly efficient here.

Last Sunday I had my friends Caroline and Helen over for lunch.

We have all worked together on various projects over the years and we are all geeky girls who adore our animals. We talked data, dogs and cats mostly!

My dogs were barking like lunatics as there were lots of kids out in the street playing. Pixie was so annoying that I shouted ‘OK Pixie, that is enough I am getting my gun’, to which Caroline says ‘bloody Americans, I bet she goes through loads of Pomeranians.’

I laughed so much.

We have a water gun which we use to keep the Poms in check as they really detest getting wet. Pixie especially hates water and as soon as she sees the gun she has a Pavlovian type response and starts shaking the water off of her before it even hits her. It does not phase Navajo as he loves water and tries to catch the stream in his mouth.

That day I had gotten up early and tidied the house and then went to Spar to get some things to serve for lunch. I got croissants for Josh and I to have for a late breakfast. They have divine ones. I over heated them a bit, they were not so brown when I bought them but I prefer them with the chocolate melted.

For lunch I picked up loads of bits and pieces. I bought a roast chicken, some cold meats, some cheeses and fresh bread.

I made a cheese platter and used my lovely Carrol Boyes serving items.

I served salads and various ‘picky things’ which was all perfect fare for a warm sunny day. We have vowed to make this a regular event with the three of us meeting up more frequently.

Wednesday it started to storm in the early evening and the thunder and lightening were rather majestic.

Cape Lightning #storm #CapeTown #lightning

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Our dogs are not bothered by loud noises or the bright flashes of lightening but the dogs at the guest house next door are and they started barking as soon as the thunder started and they were still barking the following morning when I woke up. I think the dogs are left on their own most of the time and so no one is there to calm them when they get upset and they get upset over every noise. A siren sets them off howling like coyotes for hours.

Thursday was my last day at UCT and I had to leave at lunch time to go to the American Consulate to get my passport renewed. It was very sad to leave UCT I have been really happy working there it is a great team.

I had to get a new photo made for my passport and the American passport has a lot of rules. You are not allowed to wear glasses, you cannot smile, you have to put your hair behind your ears so that your ear lobes show and you cannot wear earrings. The US passport pics are also a different size than most other countries require. Add all of these requirements up and top them with some very unflattering down lighting, dirty hair and the inability to NOT smile when facing a camera and you end up with this clusterfeck of chaos. The photographer kept saying ‘don’t smile, look grumpy’ and so caught me pinching my smiley lips together.

I look like a criminal. I am now stuck with this photo for the next 10 years. My last passport was before the new rules and it was quite flattering.

Oh well.

After the photo I went to the Red Gallery Cafe for a quick bite of lunch before my appointment at the Consulate. I sat outside despite the gloomy weather and I ordered the chicken stir fry.

It was a massive portion and was nicely flavoured. There was so much left over I had the rest that night for my tea.

We have a 4 day weekend with two days off of work for Easter holidays.

Yesterday was Good Friday and Caitlin collected me and we went out for lunch. It has been raining for a few days now on and off and we had planned to go down to the harbour and have lunch and walk along the slipway but the weather was not being very cooperative. Caitlin wanted to buy a protea and so we decided to go to Earthworx Garden World as they have a sweet little cafe there where we could still wrap up warm and sit outside but be protected from the weather.

We both ordered the Chicken Pie and salad.

After we ate we wandered around and bought a few bits and pieces. I got a new type of succulent which I do not have, some potting soil and a new pot, I got the worms for my feeder, some stuff you put in the mellow yellow toilets to reduce the wee smell and some spray to try and stop the dogs peeing on the patio. We have a lot of pee related issues.

Caitlin came back and played with the pups for a bit and pottered around with me in the garden then headed home late afternoon. I just made myself a pizza with some left over mozzarella and the last of the salami from the previous weekend. It wasn’t fancy but it filled a gap.

Today is the Two Oceans Marathon which results in one of the roads out of Hout Bay being shut as it is actually the race route. I can see the choppers overhead following the runners.

#OMTOM2018 #choppers #houtbay

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I can also hear the voices over the tannoy cheering on the runners.

Sounds of #omtom2018

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I have the marathon playing live in the background on the telly as I write and I can hear it outside as well. I love seeing the beautiful images of Cape Town and the surrounding areas. The rain and clouds have cleared and it is a gorgeous day. I am going to pop a gammon in the oven and do some gardening today. My new succulent will be split into two plants and re-potted.

The drought has resulted in me changing the plants which have not survived without water and replacing them with succulents. You can literally just throw a leaf from a succulent into a bit of dirt and it grows. Amazing.

I am trying to get plenty of rest this weekend as I start a new client and project on Tuesday. It will be a rather intense project and I am feeling a bit stressed about it from both a logistical point of view as well as worrying about the level of intensity of the project. I am meeting a colleague on Monday afternoon to prep for the next day.

Luckily I have a friend staying with me to help with managing the dogs and the staff and everything else around the house. Like most things we just have to keep chipping away at it all until we get it done.

I am nothing if not persistent.

Enjoy your weekend. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

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Wild West

Do you ever feel like your life is running away and that you are desperately trying to keep up? I am very much feeling like that at the moment. Sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities I have.

Work, life and everything else has me feeling like I am not at all in control and as a self confessed control freak that unsettles me.

Luckily Norm and I had a relatively calm weekend. On Friday we just wanted a quiet night in so Norm popped out for fish and chips for me and Josh from the local chippy, The Catch. Norm ate chicken and salad from Spiro’s instead. Norm could eat from Spiro’s every night if we let him. I do love Spiro’s but I fancied a nice bit of battered hake and mushy peas and I was not disappointed. One needs a bit of variety. A girl cannot live on chicken souvlaki and salad alone.

I had started watching a documentary called Wild Wild Country one day when I was home on my own. I picked it randomly as it sounded like something Norm would not find interesting. I had never heard of Bagwan Shree Rajneesh, or Osho as he came to be called so I had no clue what I was in for.

Wow. I loved this series so much!!

The documentary used various clips from decades old films or videos to narrate and slowly roll out all of the past information about the heyday of the movement. The Bhagwan’s attorney was former top Los Angeles defense lawyer, Philip J. Toelkes. Philip went by the name Swami Prem Niren when he was living and working with the Bagwan and he was interviewed recently and this interview was used to provide a lot of the story. He seemed a bit melancholy, like he is either still mourning the loss of Osho or as if he is still struggling with the break up of the communal Rajneeshpuram ashram life style that they all led. It did seem rather heavenly. Sheela claimed that there were no drug addicts or alcoholics living there but what she really meant was that the environment was restricted from these items so was drug and alcohol free predominately, but they could have a beer with their dinner. The addicts and alcoholics were there they were just content with their life and did not feel the need to exercise those addictive behaviours. Maybe they became sex addicts? That is a joke btw.

I found the relationship between Osho and Ma Anand Sheela in particular rather fascinating and I am still unconvinced which of them was the instigator for the criminal activities they ended up getting prosecuted for. I don’t want to say too much as I want you to watch it with the same sense of wonder that I did. I will talk a wee bit about Osho and his methodologies and philosophies however.

According to the Bagwan “every human being is a Buddha with the capacity for enlightenment, capable of unconditional love and of responding rather than reacting to life, although the ego usually prevents this, identifying with social conditioning and creating false needs and conflicts and an illusory sense of identity that is nothing but a barrier of dreams.”

To me this is simply mindfulness. I interpreted this as saying that our thoughts create our own prisons and mental conflicts. If we simply lived in the present moment without viewing life through the filters of societal expectations and ‘norms’ then we would be much happier.

It is probably no surprise to hear that the Bagwan was called the ‘Sex Guru’ by some people. For a ‘holy’ person he was rather unconventional in his views about sex. He believed in the pursuit of pleasure and that sexuality was something not to be ashamed of, that any interaction between mutually consenting adults should not be taboo. He felt that love should be treated as sacred and fully enjoyed as a beautiful experience not a sinful task we should rush through.

There was much controversy surrounding the Bagwan and the “neo-sannyasins” or  “sannyasins” as his followers were sometimes called. There were some unconventional therapies practiced in the ashram.

He had “active meditation” techniques which were characterised by stages of physical activity leading to silence. The most famous of these remains Dynamic Meditation, which is a bit of a compressed summary of his various approaches.

The 5 stages are described here on this website, I am not going to bother to reinterpret rather let it come from the Osho’s mouth so to speak.

Whatever you have to say about his techniques, the followers all seemed deliriously happy in the old footage. Maybe it was all the sex but I suspect it was just the freedom of being able to be their true selves with no judgement. I sort of likened it to being almost childlike in the carefree aura they all seemed to have before things went a bit awry.

I don’t want to say more, but I will give Wild Wild Country a full on 5 Kitten Stars.

Last Saturday we met Caitlin for brunch at Martins Bakery. Martins is owned by Caitlin’s fella Wesley’s aunt and uncle.

I feel like I seldom see Caitlin now that she has moved out as we are both so busy. I don’t like to just pop in when I am out as she is a grown woman, I do not want to poke myself into her day uninvited. Norm and I were a bit late as we forgot that we were going to Caitlin’s flat after brunch to help her with bits and pieces and so we needed to pack some tools. We arrived a few minutes late and Caitlin walked over from her flat as she lives just literally across the road. Caitlin and I both had the eggs benedict.

Norm had the omelette with bacon, cheese and mushrooms.

They were all perfectly cooked. We had so many errands so we did not buy anything to take home, but they have delicious banting chicken pies.

We went over to Caitlin’s flat and Norm helped her hang up her clocks and paintings and helped her with various bits and pieces. It was fun to see her silly kittens again, they are so full of adorable nonsense.

On Tuesday we had a wee visitor in the form of a spider. It was rather large. I was watching telly and saw this movement out of the corner of my eye and saw this large furry dude shooting down the side of the fireplace and he then took off under the telly. We had a houseful of animals as usual so Norm tried to catch the spider. Don’t you love how Blue just does not give AF? He is such a funny cat.

He succeeded and took Mr Spider outside and popped him into the bushes. He is much safer out than in with our bunch.

Look who came in? And went right back out….. #spider #rainspider 🕸🕷

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Sunday we had a lazy day. Norm popped down to the shops and made a lovely dinner for us of baked chicken, roast vegetables and corn on the cob.

Monday and Tuesday were busy at work as I am wrapping up my project for handover at month end. We had a client workshop to walk-through some of our reports. All went well with minimum change so we are on track for the end of the month.

Tuesday night Norm was out at a business dinner so Josh and I used OrderIn to order a curry. I did not think it was up to their usual standard and in the middle of the night Josh woke up violently ill. He is still ill and the doctor has put him on a bag full of meds as he had food poisoning. Bless. I made him chicken soup and I had chilli con carne that I made yesterday.

Wednesday was Human Rights Day which is a public holiday in South Africa so we had the day off. Human Rights Day commemorates the Sharpeville Massacre that took place on March 21, 1960, when 69 people were killed during a protest against pass laws. Pass laws were implemented during apartheid as a way to restrict the movements of Africans.

We had a lazy morning and then Norm took me for lunch at Deli Delish. I love this venue it is always sunny and bright and I adore all of the pillows in this section where we usually sit. They are very welcoming to doggies out on the patio as well,  this is where we take the pups on the rare occasion that we venture out with all 3 of them.

We settled in with a big coffee and ordered some food.

I had the smashed avo on seed bread topped with a poached egg and I ordered some bacon to go with it.

#Brunch

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Wednesday was also the day I dropped Norm at the airport. He is flying to Atlanta to help my mother get her house sorted out to go on the market. My mother is a hoarder. Not a nasty ‘you can never have too many cats’ sorta hoarder, more of a ‘one can never have too many black cashmere sweaters’ sorta hoarder. She has 4 walk in closets rammed absolutely full of her clothing. (Aka 4,721 black cashmere sweaters and 2,488 pairs of black loafers at last count.) She also used to make china dolls so she has a room full of those and so much other bits and pieces of various ‘collections’ she has.

I drove him to the airport and he flew off to Johannesburg, then onto London and then onto Atlanta where my mom is collecting him. He is so sweet to go through all of that to fly over to help her, I have no paid time off left and cannot afford to be without pay.

Before the house sells she has stuff to go to auction, some bits to give to charity and there are a few items I want to come here if possible. My grandmother’s old armchair and tea set, my dad’s old wooden boxed phonograph are all things I want to ship over and as long as the cost is not too exorbitant we will do so. Mom has bought a new built single story small bungalow in north Georgia much nearer to our family. She does not really have anyone who can be relied on to help her quickly down in Atlanta, I will be so much more relieved to have her nearer her brothers and my cousins.

I have arranged lunch on Sunday with some friends I have not seen in ages and I am really looking forward to that. Next week is also a 4 day week with Friday being the start of Easter, then the following is also a 4 day week due to Easter Monday. It is lovely to have three 4 day weeks in a row. However I do wonder what percentage of people in South Africa are actually Christian? I do not celebrate Easter as I am not Christian. We often have a family lunch of some sort but there is no religious ceremony involved. Yet most of the country get the day off as well as a 4 day weekend. Is that the norm around the world or is the paid Christian holiday a leftover from the previous colonialism and apartheid inflicted on the country and its indigenous residents?

Maybe I think too much. I will just celebrate the paid days off from work and not look that gift in the mouth.

I hope you all have a Fabulous Friday sort of day tomorrow and a great weekend.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Takers and Fakers

I mentioned that the Budget Speech was done last Wednesday. I also discussed the failings of the current government to adequately plan for the number of children in the Western Cape province and how 10k children have no placement in a school. I found it rather ridiculous that the ANC blamed the high levels of uneducated Africans solely on the past years of apartheid when the ANC have been in power for over 20 years. From what I have seen the ANC have done very little to better the cause of their constituents during those 20 plus years.

Unemployment in January 2018 was 26.7% as compared to the official unemployment rate in 1994, as recorded by Statistics South Africa, which was approximately 20%. The ANC have failed to improve in this area either and the two issues are intrinsically linked. Education is one of the paths out of poverty and unemployment.

Statistics SA calculates an “expanded rate” of unemployment which includes people who do not have a job and are available to work but have not taken active steps to look for work. Calculations using the expanded rate put unemployment at 31.5% in 1994 and 35.6% between July and September 2013. So either way you slice the data, the ANC is failing to progress the living conditions of the voters.

It is estimated that 53 million girls do not have access to education. This can be due to many different reasons but some of the girls are too isolated to be able to attend a physical school and so a proposal was made to the African Union (AU) Summit by the ONE foundation which suggested digital learning could be a way to reach many children. Globally there are so many challenges to getting access to education and this needs to be addressed strategically, hopefully the new first lady will help to further that agenda.

Another issue compromising the rights of young girls is the high incidence of sex trafficking and child trafficking and other ways of suppressing these young girls from living their best lives. A crazy situation has just literally blown up in South Africa. This oppression was done in the name of religion.

Back in February 2016 a raid was done on the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry church where 18 kids between the ages of 7 and 13 years of age were removed from the care of the church. This was after months of investigation into the practices of the church where it was identified that none of the children there were being allowed to go to an external school and were also not being educated by the church. This is illegal to not educate a school aged child and so the police removed the children on the instructions of the Social Development MEC.

A report by chapter 9 institution the CRL Rights Commission was presented to Parliament’s portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs in October last year where they warned it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Commission chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva told City Press that she interviewed the cult leaders in 2016 during her investigation into church practices and made the parliamentary committee aware of her “serious concerns” however for some reason this case seems to have slipped through the many governmental cracks and the predictions by the CRL report were realised when the cult leaders ran out of money and then decided it would be a good idea to go on a crime spree in the hopes of topping up their coffers.

The cult members ambushed a police station in Ngcobo on the Eastern Cape. There were 5 police staff killed as well as an off duty soldier. Three of the SAPS members were shot on site while two additional members were kidnapped before being killed and left on the side of the road. During the attack, ten firearms and a police van were stolen from the police station, and an ATM a short distance from the police station was robbed.

Investigations into the raid on the police station led the police to the doors of the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry church yet again where another shoot out occurred, this time the interaction left seven people dead and resulted in 10 arrests. Further exploration of the ‘church’ premises revealed that there were approximately 100 girls here who were being kept as sex slaves. These children ranged in age from infants to teens. The adults who lived on the premises were not allowed to leave the compound either.

If only the government had acted on the report they could have saved those girls from years of sexual abuse and gotten them into a school so that they could get an education.

There has been some rather horrid news over the last week.

There was a post going around social media regarding a woman who went missing on her way to work on Thursday, a notice was put out by the Pink Ladies organisation. 57-year-old Gill Packham‚ a teacher at Springfield Convent in Wynberg‚ was reported missing by a relative on Thursday morning. On Thursday night a burning BMW was discovered at the train station in Diep River and a body was discovered in the boot of the car. It is feared but not confirmed that this body is the missing teacher. I pray that she died prior to them setting the car alight as that would be a horrendous way to die. I feel so sad for her children and loved ones. Such a senseless death.

We also heard on the radio that there was some sort of taxi war going down on Thursday night in Hout Bay, very near our home. There were reports of gun shots from multiple people.

“Hout Bay police have now confirmed that a 22-year-old man was killed during a shooting incident outside the OK Mini-Mart in Hout Bay on February 22.

The shooting, which occurred at 9.30pm, is believed to be related to a taxi war.

“Another victim was shot inside the OK Mini Mart and sustained injuries to his head. He was transported to Groote Schuur Hospital,” said Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch. “A murder case and attempted murder case were opened. No arrests have been made as yet. All leads are being followed up to establish the cause of the incident.”

Rumours were circulating that this incident was linked to the most recent fire in the township. The fire is rumoured to have been caused by a fight over taxi routes. The man who allegedly started that fire has gone into hiding and the way things work in the community is that if you are not there to pay the price of your actions yourself then a family member will be given your punishment. The rumours are that one of the victims was the brother of the alleged arsonist.

The local Driftwood Restaurant & Pub in Hout Bay was reported to have been robbed by 4 armed men the morning after the shoot out. This was potentially an inside job as the takings from the previous night were all on site. There are various gambling machines in the pub which also would have been emptied. Who knew the patterns of the bank deposits? This has happened before at this same venue.

I had a relaxed weekend at home despite all of the chaos swirling around the village. Norm was away from Friday morning when he flew to Zambia at ridiculous o’clock in the morning. He left the house at 4.30am but I did not hear him tiptoe out, I only woke when Josh left for work.

Friday night Josh and I stayed in and ordered a curry from the Indian Oven and it was ever so delicious as always. As I had been awake so early that morning and Josh was working the next day we were both asleep by 10pm.

Saturday I had a friend pop by to drop off some cleaning products that I bought, but other than that I had a lazy day just doing not much of anything. Of course everything I do is accompanied by my shadow.

I started watching a new series called Retribution on Netflix. There were only 4 episodes in the series and I binge watched them all on Saturday night. It was such a great show, I really recommend it and give it a full 5 Kitten stars.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday I had to emerge from my nest and go shopping so I showered and went down to the village. I did not bother to put on make up so of course I saw so many people I know. Typical.

I decided to cook a beef curry for that evening and I put in loads of veggies and lentils and some cannelloni beans. It cooked all day and we had it that evening for dinner. I forgot to buy any cauliflower rice so we just had it as is with some poppadoms and some chicken samoosas I bought at woolies.

Beef and veggie curry

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Norm arrived home late on Sunday night so I waited up for him to get in. I am never sure who is more excited to see him, me or the dogs. Navajo has barely been eating while Norm was away and he is also limping on his back leg again. I am not sure if this is just amateur dramatics or whether he really has a problem. He is a bit of a drama queen.

On Monday Vanessa came around to do my pedicure and after she left I made dinner. I had cooked a bolognaise sauce on Sunday afternoon. I sliced up a couple of aubergines and fried them to make sure they cooked properly. I then created a sort of Lasouka or Mousana. (What you get if a Moussaka and a Lasagna had a baby.)

I layered the meat sauce in the bottom of the pan and topped it with a layer of the fried aubergines.

They were not as burnt as they look trust me, I am a Mousana Master. I then added a layer of ricotta cheese and topped with a layer of sliced mozzarella and baked it all for about 30-40 minutes.

It was very rich with all of the cheese, it would have been fine without the ricotta. But it was rather tasty and was a nice change from my usual low carb lasagna.

We have had a bit of rain here and there as well and the current estimate for Day Zero is July 9th.

Our new president has announced his new cabinet and I am rather disappointed to see that it is littered with Gupta owned Zuma supporters. His choices are driven by what is good for the ANC, not what is good for the country.

I am most disappointed in the retention of Bathabile Dlamini. Her incompetence has been proven many times over. David Mabuza will be sworn in as the Deputy President of South Africa which is also a slap in the face of all of us as he has been surrounded by scandal and corruption charges. A few of the ministers who did get moved out were a relief so it is not all doom and gloom. However this was a missed opportunity to do a proper clear out of the Gupta-ites and Zuma sycophants.

Ramaphosa only gets two kitten stars for this new cabinet. And that is me being incredibly generous.

⭐️⭐️

I’ve got my eye on you Cyril!

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Facing The Music

After our busy week last week Norm and I were quite happy to have a quiet night in last Friday. Norm made a delicious low carb cottage pie using cauliflower mash instead of potatoes. He topped it all with a thick layer of mature cheddar. To go with it he served baby zucchini fried in butter.

It was nice to have home cooked food on a Friday as we normally have a take away. Norm is getting pretty impressive with his cooking skills!

After dinner we started watching the People vs. O.J. Simpson docudrama which was shown a while back in the US and garnered great reviews. It is part of the American Crime Story series and I intend to watch some of the other ones after this is finished. We found it funny that even though we knew a lot of the info around this case we were still in suspense. I think the acting is brilliant. We finished the series on Tuesday night as we devoured it.

The weather reports had been predicting rain for Friday and as we were relaxing a call came in over the radio asking for assistance so Norm got dressed and headed out. As he left the sky opened and it poured with rain for several hours.

I thank the Cloud spirits and the Water spirits for blessing us with such abundance.

While Norm was out I looked for something on Netflix to keep me amused on my own. I spotted that they have done a new series of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, this time branding it simply ‘Queer Eye‘. I did enjoy it but they jerk the heart strings and I’m too much of a bawler to watch many of those without getting too sad.

Saturday morning I had an appointment at the hairdresser in the city centre. I was lucky and got parking nearby on Long Street so I only had one near death experience walking across the chaotic traffic. Pause is such an airy gorgeous venue and I joined the throngs waiting for the lovely Leandra to work her magic.

Due to the drought most people are only washing their hair once a week. It is a bit of a bonus when that once a week falls on the day you get your hair washed at the hairdresser. I did not have a cut this time, we just did a half head of colour to cover my roots.

When I got home I asked Norm if he fancied going out for a late pub lunch and then skipping dinner. He agreed and so I waited for him to shower and then we headed out to the Woodcutters Arms in Hout Bay. It was a warm sunny day with a wee bit of wind but we found a table in the beer garden and we settled in.

We ordered drinks and noticed that they had changed their menu and added on a few new items, however we were not tempted to stray from our usual starters and so we did not. I had the jalapeno cheddar cigars and Norm had the Scotch Egg.

The chicken burger I normally order was gone from the menu however and so I chose another starter as a main, the Popcorn Chicken. I just ordered a portion of fries to go with it.

The chicken was nicely moist and not over cooked. The sauce was really bitter. Not sure what was going on there but it was inedible. I just used my tomato sauce I was given for the fries instead as a ‘dip’.

Norm ordered the Fish and Chips with mushy peas. He encountered a lot of bones when eating it but it was a nice large piece of fish and he did not seem to mind the bones.

I had spotted one item on the menu which was new. There was a peanut butter and popcorn sundae. I can’t get the exact name and description as it is not yet on their website. But it was a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream and another flavour I could not quite identify and there was a swirl of peanut butter sauce on the top and the bottom of the sundae. Peanut butter and popcorn are 2 of my favourite things and I was not disappointed in this tasty little pot of sinful deliciousness.

After we finished eating we headed home so that Norm could take the pups out for their daily constitutional. We just had a relaxing evening at home that night.

On Sunday we had invited Caitlin’s childhood friend Lee and his mom Carla over for lunch. Lee is wanting to set up an NGO and Norm has a lot of knowledge in that area so he has offered to assist Lee. Norm and I got up early to tidy up the back garden and Norm did a shop for us. We kept it simple and just did salads and grilled meat. It was a really hot afternoon but it was enjoyable company so we did not mind too much.

When driving to work on Monday morning I heard that there had been yet another fire in the township in Hout Bay. A firefighter was stabbed by a resident while he was battling the blaze. This is such a bizarre thing which happens in the townships sometimes, the very people coming to assist are then attacked. I have blogged about this from an ambulance point of view but it appears to be wider spread than I understood.

Later that day we also heard about a group of girls who had been raped by four men at the beach in the wee hours of the morning. The girls were parked at the beach and these 4 men attacked them. The alleged rapists were all caught which is at least some comfort.

It is not all doom and gloom and bad news however as we just heard that Day Zero has been pushed back to June! The drought has also finally been declared a national disaster so this should free up some funding. According to the statement released by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the government will “strengthen and support the disaster management structures to implement contingency plans and ensure that immediate relief, recovery and reconstruction measures are put in place to enable the national executive to effectively deal with the effects of this disaster”.

The three provinces – the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape – have already been declared provincial disasters and now they will all be declared national disasters.

On a global scale water scarcity is a huge issue.

In its most recent data (2014), the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said 45 countries were experiencing water shortages, defined as less than a thousand cubic metres (one million litres) per person a year. They include South Africa, Cyprus and Morocco.

The UN’s climate science panel, the IPCC, said in a 2014 report that for every degree Celsius of global warming, about seven percent of the world’s population will see a drop of at least 20 percent in renewable water resources.

Pollution and global warming as well as the population explosions over the last few decades have led us to a dangerous point regarding the resources we need in order to survive.

This week has also been full of some brilliant live music. Both compliments of Cafe Roux, but one was in the city centre branch and the other at the Noordhoek branch.

On Tuesday night Norm and I booked to go to see his former colleague Mae Sithole perform with her band at the Cafe Roux branch in the Cape Town city centre. I love how they make sure that the audience is there to listen and not whitter on to their pals.

We had the best seats in the house. We were on a raised platform at the back of the room and we had a brilliant view of the stage. After we sat down we both started to cough and I had a major sneezing attack. Our waiter, Maya, told us that there had been a fight in a club up the street and the bouncers had used pepper spray to break it up. The intense wind meant that it blew into the other bars down the street and we were all choking. They turned on the air con on high and eventually it dispersed but I would hate to imagine what it was like closer up!

We each ordered a drink to calm our sinus passages and then ordered some food.

Norm ordered the butternut ravioli with sage butter sauce. He really enjoyed this and raved about it.

I ordered a pizza as the menu said they make their own bases and the toppings for the Mexican pizza sounded yummy. I was not disappointed, they do nice thin crispy pizzas with plenty of toppings. I loved the fresh coriander.

To give you a taste, I found this video of Mae performing a while back on the Expresso Morning Show.

Mae’s live performance in Cafe Roux was much more passionate. But appearing at 7am on telly might lead one to be a bit less enthusiastic in their delivery.

Mae’s rendition of Jailer had everyone in the venue on their feet shaking it and singing along with her.

I love this video which was filmed on the streets of Cape Town. It will give you a feel for our city’s vibes as well as Mae’s.

And this is one of my favourite songs of hers which was filmed at UCT, the University where I am currently consulting. I wonder did she write this song about her and her German origin husband Joerg meeting and falling in love?

We chatted to Joerg before the performance and he was telling us about their wedding and his need to pay lobola or a bridal dowry as is customary in many African cultures. I think that Mae is Shona as she is from Zimbabwe. Joerg paid 8 cows for the privilege of Mae’s hand in marriage. As she is such a beauty with an amazing voice and a few University degrees under her belt, I think he got a bargain.

The staff, the comfy seating, the food, the venue, the performance were all brilliant. The only debit was getting slightly pepper sprayed, however that is not the fault of the venue.

I will give the evening a full on 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

After the performance ended we joined the crowds trying to greet Mae and exit the venue. We gave her a congratulatory hug on our way past and we went out onto Shortmarket Street to walk to our car and saw that it was pouring with rain! Giant fat raindrops were falling, with thunder and lightening making a rather spectacular show above us. Normally we would run to avoid getting drenched but I was quite happy to revel in it. It poured with rain all the way home and we were so happy, we just hoped that the weather was not upsetting the pups at home but our dogs are never bothered by loud noises such as storms or fireworks. Norm has been walking them while it was storming over head before and they were not in the least bit fazed.

The following day was Valentine’s Day. Norm and I never exchange gifts but I was surprised by stunning flowers when I got in from work.

He had left the sweetest handwritten message on my card.

I am such a lucky girl. ❤️

We did book to go for a night out however. We booked at the Cafe Roux Noordhoek venue for dinner and to see Alice Phoebe Lou. The show was sold out so I am glad we booked in advance.

When we arrived at Noordhoek Village we were rather surprised that there were huge numbers of people milling around. There was no parking so Norm dropped me at the venue and went to park and I went through to get our seats.

We then discovered that there was a market on. Every Wednesday there is the Village Market from 4-8pm. It looked like a lovely market, however it was directly adjacent to the venue where the music was being played and the noises from the market stalls and the people who were attending it was rather overbearing and we struggled to hear each other or the music when it started.

When Norm dropped me I had first been escorted over to sit in the middle of a picnic table where there were already 2 other couples sitting. I had been having issues with my back for a few days so I was not keen on not having a seat with a back to lean on and when the waiter came over after Norm arrived and offered us a table on the perimeter of the venue which did have a back to the seats we gladly abandoned our new friends and moved over to the other table.

We ordered our food which came pretty quickly. I chose the pulled pork which came on a seeded bun with coleslaw and fries. I did not eat the bun but I did have most of the fries.

Norm ordered the cheddar cheese burger which was really messy but he seemed to enjoy it.

Alice came on at about 8.30. She was performing on the opposite side of the courtyard to where we were seated but we could see her OK.

However people would get food from the market behind us and then come and sit on the wall of the bench we were seated on and yammer on loudly. I shushed a few of them and glared at the rest but it was really distracting.

I found a video of Alice performing one of the songs from her last CD so you can hear her.

And this contains some of the songs she sang last night.

Alice has a lovely voice but she spent a lot of time talking to us and in some instances even lecturing us about one subject or another. She was a bit rambling in her conversation and somewhat distracted. She even forgot the lyrics a few times. As a result of that and the background noise I will only give the night 3 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Later that day we heard the horrific news from the USA of yet another school massacre, this one being the worst since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. This is also the 18th school shooting in the US since the start of this year only.

Let that sink in. In six weeks there have been 18 shootings which have occurred at a school. I am so glad I do not have children attending an American school.

However my sadness was somewhat alleviated by the resignation of our president Jacob Zuma. In typical Zuma fashion, he was very late for his own scheduled media appointment. If you can endure listening to his illiterate ramblings and bizarre speech patterns I have embedded the video below.

He jumped ship before the vote of no confidence could occur that was tabled for the next morning in Parliament. Jerking around the bollock deficient ANC and the rest of the country right up to the last minute.

I have my doubts about the proposed new President Cyril Ramaphosa because of the history of his involvement in the Marikana tragedy. I hope as the president he learns to put his constituents ahead of his bank balance. That concept seemed to be a challenge for the last president.

I hope that South Africa can recover from the damage done by Zuma. I also hope that he and the cronies who assisted him in raping our country will be brought to task and justice will be served.

On a more personal level I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend. I have another busy one scheduled. But of course, you will hear all about it soon enough.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Mni Wiconi – Water is Life

On Sunday my drumming circle had an all day dance for rain. Norm and I had a lazy day on Saturday as I knew that Sunday would be exhausting and I wanted to be well rested in order to give all of my energy to the drumming.

Norm and I decided to just get a take away and I opted for my fave pizza from Massimo’s.

Lily, Josh and his Dad were at the track all day Saturday and Josh won his race so they were in a festive mood when they got home that night around 7pm. We all sat outside when they arrived home and enjoyed the cooler evening air.

Sunday morning I was up by 6.30 as I was wide awake and excited for the dance. I dressed in a long dress with sleeves as you must show modesty and respect when in a mixed gender ceremony. I packed up my own lunch and a salad and a french stick to contribute to the evening communal meal. I took my own drum, but we all drummed using the one large communal drum.

#Drum #drumming #nativeamerican #Cherokee #indigenous ❤️

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I was not sure how many drummers might be there and whether we would all fit around the large drum but as the drummers kept changing in number as people arrived and left throughout the day it was fine. There were about 30 people there in total between the dancers, the drummers and the people who were in charge of managing the ceremony. The supporters and drummers varied, only some of us stayed all day.

The dance was held at Sacred Ibis which hosts many different events that are open to public attendance. It is a lovely calm space and feels like you are out in the middle of the country instead of less than 5 minutes from my front door.

When I arrived they were still setting things up and getting organised.  I headed down to the field where they had already set up the drum and the arbour which is the area where the dancers dance.

The arbour for our dance yesterday ❤️

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In the centre of the arbour was a large tree which was being used to symbolise the Tree of Life. The dancers would place their prayer ties on this tree and pray to Mother Earth at the tree.

Before anyone enters the arbour they must be smudged with the smoke from burning sage and a prayer said. All of the items used in the ceremony are also smudged. All day there is a designated smudger who goes around the dancers and smudges throughout the day in order to keep the energy pure.

Once the dancers have been smudged they are to remain separate from any one else and must remain in the dance or rest areas. The dancers were instructed to fast from the previous night. They have no food or water throughout the day and the dancing is hot and tiring. It is a real sacrifice.

Once the arbour is dressed, no one may enter except the dancers or the people who are part of the ceremony. The arbour is an open structure made of poles with string woven between them to form a circle. The design is based on the same concept as a medicine wheel. There are openings to each of the 4 directions. Prayer ties and crystals mark each of the gates.

Before the dance the elders must set the intention. The intention for this dance was defined as: “The only thing we truly “own” and that we can give in return for the Abundance that Mother Earth gives to us, is our bodies. For that reason, we fast, dance, sing, drum and pray, giving ourselves fully to Spirit and the Tree of Life, in complete focus and devotion.

This One Day Dance is in love, honour and gratitude of the Water, holding the prayer that our dams be replenished in Cape Town soon. Mni Wiconi – Water is Life.

Dance To Heal The Earth is about Restoring the Balance of Life – the Sacred Feminine and Masculine, in Respect, Honour and Healing for Mother Earth and All Our Relations. It’s important to come with an attitude of humility, and a sincere desire to give of ourselves in sacrifice for all the ways that humans have desecrated the Earth. We seek forgiveness for our human family; awareness of and connection with All Our Relations, in order to understand how we may better serve them; and celebration of Life by honouring the Tree of Life.”

There are 5 rounds of dance with the drummers calling in the procession of dancers. There are two rounds of sweat lodge for the dancers where they pray and call in the spirits and guides. The first is the Brush Off Sweat to brush off worldly energies, cares and worries. The last round of the event is a Gratitude Lodge where they give thanks to the spirits and ancestors who joined into the celebration and express their gratitude of the experience.

After each round there is a Pipe Ceremony. The dancers held their ceremony down in the lower fields in the sweat lodge area, under a group of trees, the drummers and supporters held ours in a seated area near the farmhouse under the shade of a giant tree. The Pipe Ceremony is also part of the event, each of the participants pray and give thanks for the day and for being allowed to participate. I prayed for water in abundance.

While the drummers were conducting our Pipe Ceremony we could hear songs being sung in Imazamo Yethu cascading across the valley. It was such a special sound. One of the men there said that it sounded like a Xhosa wedding celebration song as it seemed to be a call and response format with the Lead Man calling and the remainder of the men repeating, then the Lead Woman singing and the women responding. It was so beautiful. I wondered if they could hear our drumming and singing too and what they thought about it.

This is one of the songs we sing, we sing in multiple languages. This song is in Japanese I think.

And we sang the Water Song as well, we sing it at a faster pace which is more suitable for drumming.

The lyrics are “Ne-be Gee Zah- gay- e- goo Gee Me-gwetch -wayn ne- me — goo Gee Zah Wayn ne- me- goo”. Translated to English you see that the words are very appropriate for the ceremony we were conducting:

“Water, we love you. We thank you. We respect you.”

There are 5 rounds of dance in total. With the 2 sweat lodges and the pipe ceremonies added in it is a very long day.

While we were in ceremony the energy was amazing. We could see so many birds circling our ceremony. Thank you to all the birds that came swallows, doves, hawks and the 7 eagles that made the infinity sign over the Dance. A huge white butterfly flew into our drumming circle and skimmed across my head and then swooped down into the circle and flew off to sit on a nearby bush. The butterfly represents transformation and the world is in such a state of transition this is no surprise. It gave me chills.

When the dancers went into the lodge to do the Gratitude Sweat, the drummers all went up to prepare the feast. Everyone brings a vegetarian dish of some sort to contribute and it all gets laid out at the end for us to nosh on.

After the final sweat is completed, the dancers come out of the lodge and the drummers and supporters join them. We all stood in a circle around the fire pit and we were each given a string of prayer ties. Prayer ties look like little ghosts tied on strings to me. They are squares of fabric which have a pocket of tobacco put into the center and are then tied with string. I did not take any pics of my own as phones were banned, however I found this pic which looks exactly like the ones we made.

Most of ours were bright yellow, the colour of turmeric as turmeric was used to dye many of them. Saffron-hued Buddhist robes are dyed with turmeric. Turmeric has been used for centuries in many different cultures. The followers of the Hindu religion see turmeric as auspicious and sacred and use it as part of their bridal ceremonies. Ayurvedic medicine has used it for centuries as well.

We all went into the circle one at a time and dropped our prayer ties into the fire pit and we all said whatever word that came to us. Mine was ‘Abundance’.

After the burning of the ties we all went back into the dance arbour and had a final round of Pipe Ceremony and then we had a closing prayer where we released the ancestors and spirits who came to join us and we gave thanks to them all and to the 6 directions. We gave thanks and praise to the Spirits and the Ancestors, first to the Centre, then to Mother Earth below, then to the East and the South, the West and finally to the North.

After the closing ceremony the procession was led up the hill to the farmhouse where the food was waiting for the fasting dancers. The dancers were allowed to fill up their plates and find seats and then the rest of us had a bite to eat. Everyone was very tired but glowing with the energy we had created.

By the time I got home it was after 7pm and I was completely finished. My legs ached from standing, my arms ached from drumming and my voice was rough from singing.

All I have to give to Mother Earth is my body and I give of this gladly to praise her for our lives and provision of the sustenance we need and to request that we are blessed with abundance of water.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox

Shadows

The hot weather has continued but despite the mugginess in the air promising us rain it has been scarce. We received a few drizzles again on Friday, we are so thankful to the Water Spirits and the Cloud Spirits. I pray that they distribute water liberally over our dams. I would so rejoice if we had a weekend of rain. I’m trying to practice gratitude for the water we do have rather than stressing and focusing on the scarcity of it. Keeping a positive gratitude is the aim.

We have a houseful this weekend which is lovely. Josh is racing this weekend and Lily and his Dad David came down to stay for the weekend.

Last night we had a braai. It was windy but we were sheltered at the back of the house. Norm cooked chicken sausage, steaks and chicken kebabs and Lily and I made cole slaw and there was potato salad from woolies. Lily made garlic butter for the mushrooms and Norm cooked them on the grill.

Last weekend when Norm and I were at Pick n Pay they had an excellent special on Brie and Camembert and so we picked up some Brie. On Wednesday evening Norm braaied 2 fillet steaks for the 3 of us as I was going to slice them that was enough meat. I put the Brie into some oven proof dishes and drizzled them all with honey and Norm popped those on the top shelf of the gas braai while the steaks cooked. I made a big salad of spinach, cabbage, carrots, cucumber & tomato and for the meat and I made a sauce by chucking in a preserved fig, a green chili, a big shot of lemon juice, a glug of vinegar and some honey and blitzing it until smooth. To serve I sliced the meat and rubbed it with the sauce and lay it across the salad and served a little bowl of it for adding to the salad.

OMG this was so good!

I will try to recreate that again but as I never measure anything my dishes are never consistent. But I try to not get too hung up about that.

I have written before about mindfulness and that I am trying to focus on being in the present and conscious of my internal dialogues. A friend mentioned the work of Tara Brach on The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine website. I subscribed to the site and they have sent me some videos on deepening our connections to others. You can click that link and sign up to the site and watch yourself. I really recommend it.

I also recommend subscribing to Tara’s YouTube channel.

Tara talks about the need for self-acceptance and how lack of this can interfere in our ability to form intimate bonds and relationships with others. I strongly identify with this as I have self confidence issues. People always find this surprising as I have no issues with stating my opinion and to those who do not know me well, I appear to be a confident extrovert. In reality I have this inner voice constantly telling me I am not good enough, that I am inadequate in many of the ‘roles’ I play, from my career to parenting to marriage to just being a woman.

In today’s culture women over 50 are invisible and are often deemed not worthy of attention. In many cultures women are not valued at all regardless of their age. If you have wrinkles or are overweight, you are bombarded with millions of media images of perfection and this can impact your self esteem. With the influx of stories about women being victimized by men and then not believed and even worse of those violators not being taken to task for those violations deepens these feelings of being undervalued.

The first video from Tara is discussing ‘How to Shift from Self-Criticism to Self-Acceptance and Love’.

It is impossible to feel negative about ourselves and still form a strong bond with another person. The two are mutually exclusive.

The second video is discussing ‘How Self-Acceptance Rewires the Brain for Deeper Connection’.

Three points which Tara mentions as a way to help us change our sense of self are:

  1. Learn to Observe your own thoughts. (Mindfulness)
  2. Mindfully Feel your feelings.
  3. Offer a gesture of care to your inner self.

The idea that Tara puts out there is that what we hide from others (and often even hide from our own conscious thoughts) can block us from forming deep bonds.  Hiding what you do not like about yourself impacts upon your ability to have a healthy relationship with another.

This is aligned to what I have been reading from Jung about the shadow archetypes. Jung believed that the Shadow archetype represents all that we are ashamed of, all that we do not like about ourselves and all that we keep secret, the unconscious parts of ourselves which we repress. As long as we repress this part of ourselves we cannot grow into a complete mentally healthy person. We have to become conscious of this aspect of ourselves and bring it into the light. Jung’s philosophy is that the act of making the shadow conscious is the starting point towards psychic health and individuation.

It is not the same as the Cherokee concept of the Shadow Walker. A shadow walker is someone who can walk the line between light and dark, life and death. So both conceptually refer to a division in the person, but very different in actuality.

Many therapists and psychologists believe that shame is the root of most addictions. Addictions in turn can then become part of our shadow self and something that we hide. We also hide various other behaviours which in turn can lead to deep feelings of shame and self loathing.

The 12 Step recovery groups have a slogan ‘we are only as sick as our secrets’. This refers to the idea that feelings of shame and regret about actions taken while not in recovery can quickly derail a person in their attempts to get clean or sober.

For me I know that my issue is around both self acceptance of my physical self and my strong personality.

Aging and weight loss have riddled my body with bags, sags and lumps and bumps. This makes me so self conscious that I cringe at the idea of anyone seeing me undressed, even my darling loving husband who loves me unconditionally whatever my weight.

This is not HIS issue or HIS feeling of revulsion I am experiencing, it is just a thought in my head. I do not have to buy into that thought, I can choose to let it go.

So for me to implement the 3 step guidance that Tara gave in the second video I will need to first witness the voices in my head and listen to what they are saying. To acknowledge that these are just my self destructive thoughts and they only exist in my own head, these are not what anyone else is feeling.

Secondly, I need to name the feelings which are triggered by these thoughts. Am I feeling shame that I have taken so little care of my physical shell? Am I feeling embarrassed that I am not toned and sleek? Am I feeling other emotions? What are they?

Labeling these emotions activates a different area of our brain. We need to think of the emotions as waves and let them just roll over us while mindfully acknowledging our suffering.

For an empath, the need to ‘dampen’ down our deep wells of emotion is a survival instinct. If we allow ‘in’ everything and tap into some of that energy it can be incredibly overwhelming and even depressing. We need to learn the skills to master it and not allow it to ‘stick with us’. To feel the empathy but not let it overwhelm us.

The third step is to offer comfort to ourselves. Tara suggested closing your eyes, putting your hand on your heart and offering emotional and even verbal comfort to yourself. When something which causes us pain rises, to even verbalise ‘ouch’.

Imagine the joy of yourself healing from these useless negative emotions.

To move away from self judgement to self acceptance is the goal.

An easy way for most of us to relate is regarding dieting or food issues in general. We set a goal for ourselves to lose weight, this is sometimes driven by feelings of self disgust or lack of worthiness. If we ‘cheat’ on our diet, we then have even more feelings of self disgust, sometimes leading us to give up completely on our goal. Instead, we should just write that off as an oops and carry on with no guilt. Just pick yourself up and go back to the original goal. It is only one meal. But if you self sabotage repeatedly then you need to address those issues. Why do you not feel worthy of self care and healthy food? Is the weight some sort of protection?

Some of these feelings of lack of self acceptance run very deep, the roots may be buried in childhood. We may have to keep hacking at those roots with a metaphysical machete.

Consciousness is our first step. I am willing to take that step, do you want to come along?

Kisses from the Kitten xxoxoxoxox

The Sacrificial Kitten

I feel like I should have some sort of large neon flashing light counting down to when the water runs out in Cape Town on my blogs. “It is X amount of days until Day Zero” announced in some deep ominous voice when it opens, a bit like all the silly nonsense we had on our MySpace blogs. Day Zero is a moving target which is based on our consumption, the rainfall and the dam water levels. I did mentioned that the City of Cape Town (CoCT) does have such a countdown. HERE is the link again and you can see that the previous date of 12 April has now been pushed back a few days to the 16th of April. This is as a result of people conserving more and that tiny drizzle of rain we had this week, so we gained 6 days.

I also discussed how Day Zero will only impact some people in Cape Town. An article about township residents and water has confirmed these views. If you have lived most of your life with the restriction of ‘use only what you can carry’ then you are already water conscious and far less precious than most of us are. Many people do not even have a bath or a shower in their home so they are not worried about not being able to do either of those things when Day Zero arrives.

Now we are watching the infighting at the governmental level and blaming of each other regarding taking responsibility for the water crisis. The National government (the ANC) are responsible for ensuring that the provinces have an adequate water supply and the local government (the DA) are responsible for ensuring the water is distributed to the residents.

Both are pointing fingers at each other and neither seem to have a clue what to do to get us out of this mess. National government is saying that the residents are wasteful and do not look after our resources rather than acknowledging that the population has outstripped the supply as discussed in a previous post. Local government is trying to ride that same old pony to the bank and is trying to put the financial burden onto the citizens. Neither of these actions are helping.

It is amazing how little water one can use when being very aware and cautious. I managed to wash up about 4 sinks full of dishes on the weekend using one small pan of water. I put a tiny bit into a second pan for rinsing and I washed them all in the same pan of wash water. It is not ideal but it is what we must do.

Humans need to start thinking more on a global scale than just to the limits of their vision or the ends of their noses. We all need to think about our footprint on Mother Earth.  I saw that California is proposing legislature which will make it illegal for restaurants to offer plastic straws. After their one-time use, non-biodegradable plastic straws often end up in our oceans and waterways where they break down into smaller, micro-size pieces that are discarded into our environment. They are oftentimes mistaken as food by marine life. An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic garbage ends up in the world’s oceans every year and an estimated 90% of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs. I rejoiced about the new proposed legislature while others I see online are saying ‘we have bigger issues like child abuse and crime to deal with here in Amuricah!’ uh yeah and that is why those are both illegal too you imbeciles.

People.

In Cape Town many restaurants have taken a voluntary pledge to not use single use plastic items which are not recyclable and to ban plastic straws completely.

We all have to make sacrifices for the good of others. Norm and I discussed on the weekend how much water it uses to make a frothy coffee. We have already had to feel the environmental guilt from using the pods, but now to realise that it takes a bowl of water to wash the milk out of the frother after each cup is making me give up my machine coffees. I will heat the milk in the microwave and try to avoid the resulting horrid little slimy bits you get from heated milk.

Sigh.

On Friday when Norm came home with the dogs from their walk Navajo was limping. He was right as rain when they left home but he came home and refused to put his back foot onto the ground and tucked his leg right up into his body. We all tried to keep him still to see if he had a thorn but we could see nothing. If we touched his foot he yelped.

When we got up on Saturday morning Norm took him to the vet. The vet could not look at it properly and due to the yelping when we touched it he wanted to sedate Navajo and do an x-ray to make sure there were no fractures. That is now over R3k we have paid at the vet this month. Norm had to leave him and so he came back home to wait for the call to say Nav was awake from the sedation. Norm went back to collect Nav a bit later and the vet had given him a cortisone injection in his foot and he seemed much happier to put it down to walk on it, but he was high as a kite and was rather amusing when trying to navigate round the house. The vet thinks he just strained it.

Today we heard that Lily’s Weimaraner Bacardi is unwell. I would appreciate a positive thought or prayer for his healing please.

My friend Melodie popped by for coffee and a chat on Saturday afternoon. It was really warm and windy out so we sat out at the back of the house, the patio there is really protected by the wind. Norm had bought some choccie biscuits and a small cheesecake for us to have with our coffees on his way back from the vet.

It was lovely having Lily down for the weekend. On Saturday Lily and Josh went to a Havana themed birthday party at the Grand. Norm dropped them off so that they could Uber home and have a few drinks.

The Grand is right on the beach and it is a lovely venue. They are such a cute couple those 2. Lily borrowed the dress from Amber and Lily bought Josh his outfit that day and he borrowed Norm’s hat.

When Norm returned from dropping off the kids he decided to pop down to The Kitchen Takeaway for something for our dinner as there was just us two eating. We ordered the Ribs and Prawns combo. Both of those choices tell you how much Norm loves me as he hates to eat food that he has to touch with his hands but I had ordered it as a combo and we only realised it was for 2 people when he arrived and so he sacrificed his own choices in order to share mine.

Awww.

It was delicious.

After dinner Norm and I sat down to watch a bit of telly and the next thing I knew Josh and Lily were arriving home. It was well after midnight and we had obviously both nodded off in front of Dragons Den. We all headed sleepily off to bed.

When we woke on Sunday Nav ran around and jumped half up on the bed. He had not been able to do that the previous day as it hurt to put pressure on that back foot but on Sunday he seemed much better. He did still yelp when we gave him a yogurt container to lick as he tried to hold it with a front paw which resulted in putting pressure on the back foot and he cried loudly and looked a bit sheepish at us. But once he got his balance back he was fine and spent the day without any further protests.

Norm and I hung out around the house until Lily decided to head back up the coast and then we showered to go out. I did my once weekly hair wash but still managed to keep the water usage to a minimum by not waiting on the cold water to heat and by having it drip down rather than pummel me with water. Norm is tracking our consumption daily to ensure we are below the current 50l per person per day targets.

As we were getting ready to leave Lily rings to say she has just discovered Josh’s truck keys were in her handbag. She was about an hour up the road and had to turn back, thus adding in so much wasted time to her already long journey. Poor Lily. She also left all of her dirty washing but we will keep that for her return. 😉

Norm and I finally headed out to hit the shops about 1pm. We decided to pop in for a spot of lunch at Tashas in Constantia and were lucky enough to get a table outside with a view of the mountains. It even had a bit of shade for my wee scotty.

Considering how hot it was outside we were happy for the shade.

We both ordered the Apple Goat Cheese salad for R114 which was described as: goat’s cheese served on ciabatta toast, caramelised apple, baby gem lettuce, micro herbs, walnuts, red onion & rocket tossed in a balsamic & olive oil dressing.

We just scraped the cheese off of the toast but I had a naughty nibble of the corners of the crispy ciabatta. It was a delicious combination of flavours and I really enjoyed it.

After we returned home Norm heard that another hiker had been stabbed in the St James area which is popular with hikers. The attacker had posed as a security guard and was wearing a uniform. This would have led the victim to think that the stabber was there to assist or to protect them, not to attempt to murder them.

Two weeks ago, nine hikers were robbed and stabbed in the St James Peak area, by two men who appeared to be hikers. The duo had joined the group and hiked with them for about half an hour before attacking them.

Obviously the person or gangs who are performing these robberies are planning their approach, it is not just opportunism which is the impetus for many of our crimes. This is deliberately going there with a plan to do harm. I do hope they catch these horrendous cowardly ‘men’ as they seem to target the older or more elderly hikers.

It doesn’t sound like your usual tikhead (aka meth-head).

Unfortunately this is yet another area where local government have thrown their hands up as the Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato has washed the province’s hands of responsibility for the murder. He has pretty much said ‘Nothing to do with us!’ as technically any crime remains the constitutional prerogative of the South African Police Service (SAPS) which is ‘owned’ by National Government.

I guess that title of ‘Community Safety Member of the Executive Council’ is just a suggestion?

On Sunday afternoon after we got home from the shops I put a beef roast into the slow cooker. That made for a gorgeous roast dinner on Monday evening. To go with it I made fondant sweet potatoes.

Sunday evening it was still really hot so we bought some chicken kebabs at the shops to braai on the grill. Norm made those with grilled corn on the cob and I made a few salads to go with it. I even pickled some cucumber in vinegar.

Late on Sunday night we read about Cape Town fire fighter Ashley Kruger’s death while she was on duty fighting a blaze on Table Mountain. City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Theo Layne said 37 firefighters, a city-contracted helicopter, four fire engines and three water tankers were involved in extinguishing the blaze with assistance from Table Mountain National Parks. The fire fighter was a friend of a friend so it is particularly upsetting when you can put a face and name to the death of a hero. RIP to Ashley’s friends, her wife and her family, they at least have a bit of consolation that she died being selfless and heroic. The ultimate sacrifice.

On Monday when I got home from work I was so happy that I had put that roast into the slow cooker as I arrived home to no electricity! The entire valley was without electricity all day.

Luckily we have a gas cooker and so I could cook the sweet potatoes and reheat the roast. It was incredibly hot outside and a roast was possibly not the best meal for the weather but it was what it was.

When I left work on Monday it was 38 degrees C! That is 100.4 degrees in American.

Norm and I sat outside in the moonlight trying to catch a bit of a breeze. The dogs were baffled as to why we were sitting quietly in the dark and why we were on the front stoep.

Eventually at about 10pm the electricity was restored and we could put the fans on. The weather did finally cool off a bit about bed time and there was even a tiny bit of rain on Tuesday morning.

For dinner on Tuesday I shredded the remainder of the beef roast, added beans and spices and made chili con carne.

It was good, but not amazing because some of the kidney beans were still hard. I boiled the chilli after we finished and it was fine for lunch today.

I am attending an event on Sunday called “Dance To Heal The Earth – One Day Dance in Honour of The Water.” Dance to Heal the Earth is a profound focal point for discovery, initiation, healing, and manifesting our intention, in alignment with the Great Creation, Mother Earth and the Core of our Beings. Every movement in the Dance is a prayer of profound focus and intention.

“All living things will take part. Dance to Heal the Earth! Let your feet beat a healing rhythm into the earth. Let your feet beat a strengthening rhythm for those who struggle the hardest. Let your feet beat a life-giving rhythm for all peoples, regardless of race or national boundary, regardless of whether we’re human or whether we’re the trees, the air, the fish, the birds, the buffalo, the bear, the crow. Our dance is a prayer, and our songs, rhythms and our breath give life.”<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
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I will take my drum and sing to support the drummers. If there are not too many people who want to drum I will join on the large communal drum, but I’m not good with being crowded so I will take my own just in case. Either way I am really looking forward to it.

I read a quote today by Cheryl Strayed that reads:

“Our work, our job, the most important gig of all, is to make a place that belongs to us, a structure composed of our own moral code. Not the code that echoes imposed cultural values, but the one that tells us on a visceral level what to do.”

To me that sums up exactly what I am trying to achieve, to have my heart beat aligned to the beat of Mother Earth, to align my compass to the direction of what is right and just.