The Value of a Woman

September was Women’s Month in SA and I wrote about some of the women who were murdered during that month. One of those victims was Jesse Hess who was raped and murdered and her grandfather also murdered. The Police suspected Jesse’s cousin was the perpetrator but felt they did not have sufficient evidence and so they decided to wait until the suspect committed another crime with the same pattern. He did.

The man has been arrested and appeared in court charged with rape, aggravated robbery and attempted murder following an attack on a 16-year-old this week. He is suspected in the assault on another woman as well. The police decided it was worth sacrificing another woman yet sacrificed at least two. He is finally in custody, now we must hope our criminal justice system can manage to convict him.

It says so much about the misogyny endemic in SA that the death of other women was an acceptable trade off for his capture.

In that same blog I also mentioned the rape and murder of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana. Her murderer was convicted last week and has been sentenced to 3 consecutive life sentences.

If you can stomach it, here is a link to a transcript of his confession.

I hope he rots in jail.

This misogyny does not only affect South Africa, it is international. The police in Minneapolis just announced that an internal review of sexual assault cases turned up an estimated 1,700 untested rape kits from as far back as the 1990s, a backlog that officials say could take at least two years to clear.

The revelation of the untested kits comes one year after the discovery of widespread failings in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault in Minnesota which spurred changes by police departments and county prosecutors throughout the state. Minnesota police frequently struggled to investigate cases of sex assault in the years reviewed, often failing to interview witnesses, collect evidence or even assign detectives in cases in which the victim was drinking, the months long investigation found.

But I assume that most of the victims are women and the majority of the police are men who either did not value the safety of these women or feel they deserved justice.

The world has a long way to go to reach equality between genders.

In fairness the violence and crime in SA is not always against women. I read a post on Facebook from a man who was hosting friends for dinner on Friday night when one of the couples there received a phone call from kidnappers who had their 19 year old son and two other lads as hostages and were demanding R8k in ransom. The police were completely ineffective but the guests contacted a Muslim security firm and despite it being the time they would normally be in Mosque they arrived in minutes. They were still wearing their religious garments but they were so effective and clued in to what they were up against. They hacked into the boy’s phone. The boys were left on their own briefly and managed to escape and were rescued. It must have been terrifying for all involved.

I have written many times about the dire state our State Owned Enterprises and this has definitely not improved. Last Friday the employees of South African Airways declared they were going on strike and rather than deal with the potential chaos of managing with a skeleton staff or bringing in untrained temporary staff, SAA cancelled all flights on Friday and Saturday. International flights resumed today.

SAA estimate a daily loss of R50 million per day and that if the strike continues then they will fold. The airline is more than R40 billion in debt, and it’s failing to generate enough revenue to launch a recovery. The recent strike action now has the potential to finish the company off for good. It’s understood that SAA will struggle to pay worker salaries at the end of the month.

On Monday the Springbok Rugby team did a bus tour through Cape Town and some of the suburbs.

Much of the city turned out to celebrate their success.

Their World Cup success has made so many people feel positive about the hope of our multicultural society being more tolerant of each other. Hopefully it helps in that regard and the magic lasts.

Work has been very busy and stressful. We had several workshops and I am now involved in 3 different work streams. We are also doing a bid for another client and had to spend a bit of time giving input to that. I had worked a lot of overtime and intended to leave early on Friday but we had a meeting which ran over and then I still had to do my status reports so I left about 5 despite getting in just after 7am.

On Saturday I had a pajama day and did absolutely nothing. Lola woke me at 6am. That is when my alarm goes off during the week and she obviously wanted a cuddle like she gets most mornings. I was not best pleased.

Norm got up very early as Navajo had a chiropractor appointment at 8:45 and it’s a long drive there. Norm has been working with Navajo to get him to use his new ramp to get into our new truck. We were worried that Navajo would refuse it and he was a bit wobbly going up but he used it!

We had no milk for a coffee so I decided to lie in bed with the Pomeranians and cats. On his way home Norm bought milk and croissants and when he got in he cooked breakfast and we had a yummy bacon and egg croissant.

I decided to watch a film in the afternoon while Norm was having a nap.

I randomly chose the film ‘Fractured’ as it was on the recommended list on Netflix.

I don’t want to give anything away, it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster! It was nothing like I expected. The acting was a bit sketchy but I still really enjoyed it. Don’t get distracted at the end, it has a major twist. I give it a strong 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

We started out the week trying to keep it low carb but that failed miserably. Norm cooked chicken kebabs and sweet potatoes with fried mushrooms and coleslaw and it was yummy.

The rest of the week was takeaways. I had sushi on Friday night but it arrived so discombobulated that it wasn’t photo ready. Oops. It still tasted delicious once I reconstructed it.

Today I was supposed to go to drum rehearsals but the dogs woke us at 6am and Norm and I both managed to fall back to sleep and only woke at 10am so it was too late to shower and drive there for 10.30 so I gave it a miss. Norm brought me coffee in bed and Lola and I snuggled.

We have a super king bed and she chose to balance on top of my bent knee. Why do cats choose the most awkward spots to sit?

Pixie sprawled across my lap while I played games on my iPad.

You can barely tell which end of her is which. I almost always have at least one animal perched on top of me.

Today is a stunning day with very little wind. We have had insane winds most of the week and the calm is nice.

In the afternoon Norm went to the shops and I put a chicken curry in the slow cooker for tomorrow’s dinner. Norm tried a new low carb recipe tonight.

It was delicious but next time we will use fillet as it was a bit tough. I suspect he used stewing steak. Nevertheless it was very tasty.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend, mine has been very lazy and relaxing.

This week we are off half a day on Thursday to attend our year end function. It will hopefully make the week pass a bit faster.

Have a wonderful week. Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Good Vibrations

From mid-September to early November The Veil is thinner than normal. The Veil acts as a barrier between the physical world and the spirit world. Think of it as a sort of spiritual bridge that the spirits or mortals must cross over in order to communicate freely.

As I am able to see and hear spirits and have empath abilities this energy has had a strong effect on me. On Sunday and Monday I had virtually no sleep. I could feel a strong vibrational energy coursing through my body. I half expected to experience sleep paralysis but luckily I did not.

Work was very intense but the lack of sleep only tired me, bizarrely it did not affect my ability to function. We had many meetings to kick off the new work parcels and I was on-boarding our new analyst so I had a lot of things on my plate. As she still does not have access to the database I had to send her the metadata she needed to do the mapping. This obviously impacted my own progress.

This week we held a workshop with a female executive and after the meeting some of the men on the team were slagging her off and insinuating she was stupid. I suspected that it was because she is a woman and I got very annoyed. I blurted out ‘well she seemed far more intelligent than anyone I have met on this project’ and turned to flounce off dramatically but unfortunately my laptop was still plugged in and it caused me to get yanked back to my desk. It sort of ruined the drama of my exit. Bloody typical.

Misogyny is rife in many South African cultures. By African culture I’m not limiting this opinion to only the various tribes, I’m including many other cultures and all colours. This is part of the root cause of the high levels of gender based violence.

Norm also had a busy week of meetings and he attended the launch of the newly formed Africa Scotland Business Network. ASBN is “a dynamic, Scottish diasporic network based in Africa connecting the fast-developing African continent with the progressive spirit and booming industries of Scotland”. It is described as a fully independent membership network of businesspeople and companies founded by a diverse team of successful Scottish and African entrepreneurs.

As we were both so busy we had a lot of takeaways. I had sushi from K1 on Monday night.

I always order it with no ginger but the prawns must have been next to the ginger during prep as it tasted strongly of ginger. But it was still edible.

Norm cooked many of my favorites on Friday night: fillet steak, onion rings, chips, creamed spinach, butternut and coleslaw and it was delicious.

Norm bought a ramp for Navajo to use to get into the back of his new truck. Navajo can’t jump due to his back and leg issues. We tried using the Pomeranians as examples but it wasn’t a success as Panda nicked the treat we were using to tempt them.

Excuse my rubbish video skills.

We will keep trying until he’s comfortable and next time we will keep the other dogs out of the way to reduce the chaos.

Norm was up early on Saturday to catch a flight to Johannesburg. He brought a frothy coffee to me in bed and headed off about 9am. There was a protest planned in Hout Bay from 9 to 11 but he was going the opposite direction and got through with no issues.

I was scheduled to perform at a Sacred song circle marathon and I was so tired I almost decided not to go, but I didn’t want to let everyone down so I dragged myself out of bed.

I had my second morning coffee on the porch with the dogs. It was a beautiful, hot, windy day.

I had breakfast and showered and packed my drum, rattle and a sarong to wear over my trousers. In our culture you wear a skirt or a dress in a mixed ceremony or if you wear trousers you cover them with a sarong. We had each chosen a colour of the medicine wheel to wear. I chose black as I have loads of black clothing.

My friend Michelle came to my house then I drove us through to Scarborough. It is a gorgeous drive along the southern peninsula and the coast is so wild and beautiful.

The song marathon was held in a large bell tent laden with thick blankets and had a large alter in the center.

There were many different performances over the weekend and songs and chants from many different spiritual cultures.

A group was just starting when we got settled into a section of the tent. They were singing songs from the natives of the Brazilian shaman culture and most were in Portuguese but you eventually manage to join in as they are sung a few times and we were all given song sheets. This is the type of sound but not necessarily the same songs. It’s just to give you a flavour.

Our drum circle was on next and Gerri had brought our large communal drum. We sat in the central part of the tent.

There were 7 of us performing. Jess was the drum leader and we sang some songs in several African languages and in many of the languages of various North American Native tribes. We had passed out sheets of lyrics and many people sang along with us.

We started welcoming in the directions with the Cherokee morning song, WE N ’ DE YA. We then sang many different songs. The Women’s Honouring Song is one of my favorite songs that we sing.

We sang in Yoruba, a Nigerian language.

And in Lakota. I also love this song.

It was incredibly warm drumming in a closed space and I was dripping with sweat when we finished. I was exhausted yet pulsing with the energy of the spirit.

We did not stay long after we performed as the dogs were inside the house on their own so we headed back up the coast road. It was even more stunning on the way home!

There were lots of kite surfers as the wind was blowing a gale.

After Michelle left I popped down to the shops for something for dinner and once I fed the dogs and ate myself I showered and then collapsed on the sofa to veg out. I was exhausted.

I saw there was a new series of ‘End of The F***ing World.

It is full of murder, intensity, black humor and all around bizarreness. Just my cup of tea. I love it!

It has a brilliant soundtrack of a lot of retro music. If you are on Spotify here is the link.

I give the series and the soundtrack 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Today I am relaxing with the dogs and resting up for another busy week at work. Norm flies home this evening.

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.

Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

The Hypocritical Kitten

One thing about keeping a blog is that you often have moments of self realization. Before I write I always read the previous week’s blog to remember where I left off. Last week I was having a whinge about clients hiring a specialist (i.e., me!) and then not listening to my advice. Then I proceeded to note that I did the same thing at my hairdresser! My too short fringe taught me that lesson. Listen to the experts! Such a hypocritical Kitten.

Work has been full of the usual stresses. This week my colleague and I were called to a meeting with several C-level executives and neither our MD or the programme manager were in Cape Town to support us. We invited our other company director and on the morning of the meeting her partner was bitten by a bush pig and admitted to hospital.

Yes, that was not an autocorrect mishap.

A bush pig.

We toddled off on our own to the meeting and managed to get through it with minimal trauma. Basically they want us to pick up two additional work parcels so we are recruiting another developer to join the team. My friend Sakshi joined us on Friday so that will mean we will have a team of four on site. If we succeed this could result in more work in the future as they desperately need our skills.

When I left the office someone had parked so close to my driver’s door that I could not get in the car. I had to get in the passenger side and climb over. I was wearing a tight fitting dress and I am not very flexible or bendy and ended up knocking every dial or control enroute to the drivers seat so when I started the car the radio blasted, the windscreen wipers and turn signal came on and the high beam lights were knocked on. I’m too old for all that exertion.

Last Sunday night I woke up in the middle of the night and was ill. Something I had eaten was too acidic and had triggered my hernia and I felt dreadful. I had no antacids and I could not get back to sleep as the acid was burning my esophagus so on Monday I was a bit of a zombie.

Norm went away to the UK on Monday and is flying home today. My friend Michelle has been staying with me and helping with the dogs. The animals love her and I would struggle to cope without her.

I cooked for us every evening. I made a bolognese sauce on Sunday night and we had spaghetti and garlic ciabatta on Monday. I then used the rest of the sauce to make a lasagna for Tuesday dinner.

I just made some nice tempura hake, chips, baked beans and cole slaw the next night. On Thursday I stopped at Spar for a baked chicken and salads.

Thursday was Halloween and the first time I have not held a party in many years and it made me so depressed. I love Halloween and I love dressing up. I decided to dress up to hand out candy to the kids. My outfit is a bit of a hodgepodge but I was happy.

Friday I made good progress with documenting data rules for one of the new work parcels and I left at 3 and got home early. Michelle and I used OrderIn to have pizzas delivered from Posticino and they were delicious as always. We just chilled out with the animals that night.

The weather on Saturday morning was very misty and overcast. You could not even see the mountains.

I sat on the patio with the dogs all surrounding me and had my morning coffee.

Michelle went off early that morning and so I watched a Netflix documentary called “Tell Me Who I Am”.

I had not read anything about it, I just picked it as it came up on the screen as a suggestion. It was a very difficult film to watch. I don’t want to give away the ending so will just say that it is about identical twins from an aristocratic family. One brother, Alex, had a motorcycle accident at 18. His helmet flew off and he hit the ground with his head. He was in a coma for 3 months and when he woke he had lost his entire memory except that he recognized his twin, Marcus. He did not remember his parents, his home, his friends or any of his past history. The other twin manufactures an imaginary past to avoid telling Alex about their real, traumatic past. In the film Marcus finally tells Alex the truth. It is an emotional film but very good. I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

When Michelle got home we settled in to watch South Africa vs England play in the Rugby World Cup finals. I had set up a UK streaming account using a VPN. Except we could not get the UK app to load. We spent about an hour frantically searching for an alternative but finally settled for listening on the radio.

It was so exciting when SA won! I think it is just what SA needs for morale.

The Boks get at least 5 Kitten Stars!

💫⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

However it does not mean that there aren’t still many reasons for despair in SA. More police were arrested for corruption last week. Three police officers, and an ex-officer were arrested on charges of extortion, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice for attempting to solicit a bribe from arrestees for the release of a panel van full of marijuana from Swaziland.

At least once a week we hear a corruption related story.

But we won’t let that burst our bubble of patriotism, pride and elation.

Last night Michelle and I decided to watch a film. Michelle had brought home popcorn and we chose to watch ‘The Laundromat‘ purely because it stars Meryl Streep.

Neither of us knew anything about it and both assumed it was your typical drama. It so wasn’t!

It also starred Antonio Banderas, David Schwimmer, and Gary Oldman with a cameo from Sharon Stone.

The film is a series of interwoven vignettes about various characters involved or affected by the Panama Papers. “The Panama Papers consist of 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney–client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities. The documents, some dating back to the 1970s, were created by, and taken from, Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, and were leaked in 2015 by an anonymous source.

The documents contain personal financial information about wealthy individuals and public officials that had previously been kept private. While offshore business entities are legal (see Offshore Magic Circle), reporters found that some of the Mossack Fonseca shell corporations were used for illegal purposes, including fraud, tax evasion, and evading international sanctions.”

It was filmed in a fly on the wall, tongue in cheek manner. I enjoyed it but it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. I give it 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When we woke today the mist had cleared and it was gorgeous.

Our drumming circle met this morning so Michelle and I went off to Muizenberg. The traffic lights near Gerri’s house were out due to protest action. The protestors had burned tires at the intersections last week.

Recently there have been several busses set alight in this area. I am not sure if the events are related but neither of these protests punish the government just the citizens.

Anyway. We did manage to get there with no trauma.

We were smudged in the back garden.

We did our calling in the directions outside then moved inside to drum.

Drumming was fabulous fun as always and I left on a buzz. We are performing next week at a Song Marathon so we needed to decide what to sing and to rehearse.

Afterwards Michelle and I popped home to let the dogs out to wee and then we headed down to the Harbour. It was a beautiful day so it was very busy. All of the market stalls by the ocean side were open. We managed to get a table right by the window at The Lookout Deck.

The view from our table was so breathtaking.

I was so hungry as it was almost 3pm. I ordered salmon roses to start.

And for my main I ordered the prawns. I love that they are served in a pan.

Michelle had the fish and chips.

There was live music on and so we hung out for a bit to listen to them. Eventually we fancied dessert and we both ordered the chocolate nut sundae.

The food was all fabulous as was the vibe. We left at 5pm so that we could get home for the dogs.

We strolled back to the car enjoying the beautiful bay that I am so blessed to dwell in.

We spotted the infamous seal of Hout Bay. There is a guy who feeds him and expects the tourists to tip him.

I snapped my pic and legged it as he started shouting at me. He’s a bit of a violent nutter.

When we got home Michelle took the dogs for their walk and fed them their dinner and now we are all relaxing. I am so grateful for her support and companionship this week.

Saying that, I am looking forward to seeing my darling hubby. He had a very successful trip and got some leads on other consulting opportunities so it has been great for him.

I’ve had a lovely relaxed weekend and hope you have too. I wish you all a wonderful week ahead.

Until next time, Kisses From The Kitten xoxoxo.

3 Roots

When I meet new people they often cannot place my accent as I have absorbed a bit of each of the places I have lived. When I first moved to Los Angeles no one could understand my drawl. I had to tone down the Scarlet O’Hara-ness of it just to avoid people taking the mickey out of me. Then after living in Northern Ireland I took away a bit of that accent, as well as bits from the various places we lived in England, a bit from Norm’s Scottish brogue and probably even a bit from my many years in SA. I feel like I have at least 3 ‘homes’, the US, the UK and South Africa.

It is rather discouraging that all 3 of these countries seem to be governed by the inept, the corrupt and the misled. I felt so sad this week when my favorite South African politician, Mmusi Maimane,  resigned as the leader of the Democratic Alliance.

I had such hope in his ability to change things for the better for South Africa, however it appears he could not even change his own party to align with what most South Africans hope for, unity and peace. I wish him well in his future.

Then when I read articles like this one it discourages me even more. “Four police officers were arrested by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) in Honeydew, for alleged murder and assault. The officers stand accused of torturing two men in holding cells at the local police station, one of which was killed. They allegedly punched and kicked the two arrested men repeatedly, while they were still in handcuffs. One of the men died from his injuries, and it is further alleged that the officers involved did not report this. The other man survived after being treated in hospital for his wounds.

“The police officers continuously kicked and assaulted the arrested people until one [died] and they didn’t report this to anyone. Only the family member came later on and insisted to see his brother and that’s when the discovery was made,” Ipid spokesperson Sontaga Seisa told EWN.”

How many others have these beasts tortured which went unreported?

The last week has been very challenging at work. Our reporting line is that we report to the Data Team Leader who reports to the Programme Manager. I provided a status report which has rattled some cages and caused some discord. Our overall project work stream status was Red. The Team Lead felt like we were reporting the wrong info and was upset as it made him look like he was not providing us with clarity and assistance. But I defended my stance and clarified the areas of confusion and eventually he seemed to accept what we were reporting. On Friday we provided a demo for our proof of concept and he obviously had no clue what we are doing much less how we achieved it. Regardless of his lack of support we managed to implement a process which has minimized the risks we had highlighted and resolved the issues we had reported. The Programme Manager respects our experience and skills and thinks we are exactly what the project needs and to me that is what matters. So despite the challenges we ended the week on a successful note and this week’s status report was yellow. Next week we should go green if we continue with the path we are on and hit no further snags.

It is so much easier when the client supports you and is not an adversary. I can never understand clients who bring a specialist on board only to be threatened by the application of those specialist skills.

The one bit of good news is that my friend Sakshi is also joining the project to do a Data Governance exercise so I will have her there from the 1st of November which makes me very happy.

This week flew by, probably because we are so busy. Norm has been working a lot of hours and is prepping for a new project too. We also had good news for Norm in that he has just bought a new car. It is a small truck with a canopy and will be perfect for his needs. We usually take my car when we go out together, his car is for hauling things to the dump or carrying the dogs around.

He collects it next week. I am so glad he will be getting rid of his 11 year old Zafira, I worry about him driving around in it as it has a lot of issues. Saying that we have spent a lot of money fixing most of them!

Norm only managed to cook a few nights due to his busy schedule.

He made a few recipes from our fave low carb website. He made the yummy low carb version of Mac & Cheese, Cauliflower Mac & Cheese. We top ours with crispy bacon.

We also spotted another recipe on that site and tried that one night. It was so simple, he baked chicken breasts, made guacamole and crispy bacon and layered it. The taste combo was divine. It sounded a bit odd but we loved it, this will be a regular menu item. He served it with sweet potato slices fried in butter.

He also cooked one of my favourite meals, fillet steak, fried mushrooms and steamed asparagus and baby broccoli. He also did some chips in the air fryer.

We went out to eat last night at Peddlars in Constantia as I was craving a burger and I am not a fan of any of the burgers that are served in Hout Bay. We went early so it was not too busy yet.

Norm likes to take pics of me but he always avoids my camera when pointed back at him, but that never stops me.

I chose the bacon and cheddar burger.

It is served on a platter with crispy fried onions and chips. It gets 5 Kitten Stars, it was tasty, juicy and delicious. A great standard of meat and just the right amount of toppings. I like a burger I can pick up and bite rather than have to cut with a knife and fork due to being too big for the bun to cope.

This week we finished watching Season 2 of The Sinner.

It was riveting viewing and I really enjoyed it. It had nothing to do with the Series 1 story line other than starring the same detective, Detective Ambrose who is in both. It is a similar sort of premise in that like Season 1, we know who committed the crime but we do not know why. The show then explores the background of the perpetrator and what led them to executing the crime. It gets a full on 5 Kitten Stars as it was really brilliant.

One of the subjects that was discussed in The Sinner was the concept of Lilith, the Night Hag archetype.

I have experienced a lot of episodes of sleep paralysis and am very familiar with the Night Hag, however I did not know that she is a well known ‘creature’! I thought she was the product of my imagination. She has been visiting me since childhood. I read up a bit about the concept and I think next time I will not be as terrified when she visits me. I hope.

I have also just finished watching Rhythm & Flow Season 1 and I also enjoyed that. It is a competition to find a new Rap performer and the guy who won was really talented.  The judges are Tip “T.I.” Harris, Cardi B and Chance the Rapper. I am a big Cardi B fan, she is so funny. A bit rude on occasion but always funny. There were some very talented artists on the show. I hope the winner becomes a big success as he has so much talent.

 

We have been having a lot of rain lately, drizzly misty days and then on Friday we had a downpour of note! We had a few places where the rain came in, we have a leak in the lounge ceiling and the rain water also poured under our patio door and onto the upstairs landing. It rained hard all Thursday night and then on Friday morning many of the roads were deep in water resulting in a rather hazardous journey to work. It was like white water rafting in a Nissan. It cleared up on Saturday and when I went into town to the hair dresser it was sunny if a bit chilly.

I always enjoy my visits to Pause, Leandra is a lovely girl and a great hair dresser and Thembi gives the best head massages ever. We decided to only trim my fringe as the rest of my hair was still falling nicely. Leandra had finished my fringe and I asked her to cut a bit more off as it grows so fast, but I should have followed her advice as I look a wee bit like I could have appeared in the film Dumb and Dumber.

Next time I will listen to Leandra. Luckily it grows quickly. Silly me.

Norm took Pixie and Navajo to the doggy chiro yesterday morning and it seems to have helped them both. Pixie is getting old and it breaks my heart to see her struggling. You can see the age on her face. It makes me a bit sad. If only our animals could live forever. Not in a creepy ‘Pet Sematary’ sort of way though.

Despite all of the challenges of our week, I have to count my blessings. Our home survived the torrential downpour, I have a job, we have food on our table, we have electricity and running water in our home, I have a wonderful husband, children and family and my Mom is still here with us. I have so much more than so many others and for all of that I am grateful.

Halloween is coming soon and this is the first year we have not hosted a Halloween Party. Cape-Tonians are just so unreliable, you never know how many people will arrive until the party is underway, so you do not know how many to cater for or how big the crowd will be despite people RSVP’ing. We decided to stop having the parties for that reason, it is expensive and stressful and that stress is just not worth it. It makes me so sad to not be dressing up or going out. But such is life. I was hoping a local venue might have a party we could attend but it does not appear to be the case.

I have a busy week ahead. It is pouring rain again today and I have had a pajama day. I hope you have all had a great weekend and that you have a safe and enjoyable week ahead. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

 

Soul Food

It is starting to feel a bit like summer is finally here, our weather has been stunning this week if a bit windy.

As my new client has a stricter dress code I have been digging into my cupboard to find clothes that are appropriate. Usually I wear jeans and a T-shirt to work. This week I wore a chocolate linen dress and jacket that I have had for over 25 years! Quality always lasts.

We have made a bit of progress on the project but it has been slow going. It is a rather chaotic environment. I was asked to go to a interview at another client next week but it is even further away from where I am working currently which has added two hours of travel to my day. I told my contract house that I was unwilling to drive even further. My last client also wants me back as the next phase is kicking off there but I am now committed to my current client. There are too many clients who want my skills but I can only be in one place at a time! It is a nice change from having several of us on the bench, I prefer to be busy and have something I can sink my teeth into.

Load shedding has kicked in this week and we have had several instances where we had no electricity. It is so much easier if it happens in the day time as you can always amuse yourself, but if it happens at dinner time or during the time of the evening when we are chilling out and watching telly it is rather annoying! It happened on Thursday night from 8pm to 10.30pm just when we were relaxing and it was so frustrating. Norm read to me while I played games on my iPad. I love the sound of his voice so I was OK with that form of entertainment.

Norm has been busy with work so wasn’t able to shop and cook every evening but he did his best.

Monday night he cooked a delicious pork fillet, fried sweet potato slices, mushrooms and brussel sprouts. This was another attempt of doing the sprouts in the air fryer and it’s the last attempt as they were not nice. The outside leaves get a bit charred and the inside remains too crispy for my taste.

On Tuesday he made chicken, spinach and feta sausages with cauliflower mash and steamed broccoli.

The rest of the week we had takeaways. On Friday I had sushi from K1 in Hout Bay and it was all very fresh and yummy.

I had salmon roses, prawn roses, king nigiri and cucumber roses topped with prawns.

On Saturday I met my friend Bronwyn for breakfast at Hout Bay Manor. First I delivered my Operation Shoebox parcels for the little girls as the Manor was the drop off point for Hout Bay.

It was a beautiful day and Bronwyn and I sat outside.

Bronwyn ordered the Eggs Benedict but with potato rostis as the base instead of an English muffin. She added bacon and it was R78.

I chose the El Pixo which was R75 and consisted of Sweetcorn fritters and feta, chilli, spring onions, avocado, streaky bacon, 2 poached eggs, grilled baby tomatoes and fresh coriander.

Bronwyn was meeting some other friends at 12.30 and invited me to stay and we ended up hanging out til 3pm! Bjorn works with Bronwyn and his friend was over from the UK.

The guys had lunch and Bronwyn and I had cake and coffee. Bjorn’s friend had a curry and Bjorn had a delicious looking duck breast.

We chatted about so many things, spirituality, astral traveling, anxiety, past life regression, gender based violence, the different beliefs of the many cultures in South Africa and so many other topics and the time flew by.

It was such a relaxed day spent with lovely people. It was good for my soul. I am able to vent and be myself with Bronwyn, there is no judgment or need for holding back my true feelings or my wacky beliefs.

After I went home I relaxed while Norm pottered about and then we ordered take away dinner from Massimo’s and we watched a bit of The Sinner. I had watched it ages ago with Lily but there is a second season available and as Norm had not watched it we started watching from the beginning again. I read that there is also a third season but that has not been released here yet. It is intense but very good.

Today I was due to go to my Drumming Circle but we had committed to go to a party at our Scottish neighbor Kate’s. The timing would have meant I was rushing around if I tried to attend both so I gave drumming a miss.

We had a bit of a downpour of rain late morning but it cleared up soon afterwards and it was bright and sunny after.

We went down to Kate at about 1.30pm and arrived to the sound of bagpipes.

There were many other Scots there so Norm felt right at home. We found a seat in the shade and grabbed a drink.

Everyone was asked to bring along a bottle and a plate of food to share. After the piper finished there were a couple of young girls who were DJing. There was lots of dancing and everyone had such fun.

Except maybe the doggy. He howled when the piper played. Everyone is a critic.

The view from Kate’s garden is the same as ours obviously just a bit lower down the mountain. She has a stunning garden.

We had such a lovely afternoon chatting to everyone, drinking and dancing. Kate is such a brilliant host.

We staggered up the hill just as it started to drizzle with rain again. Norm walked and fed the dogs then crashed. Afternoon drinking is not for the weak. As I have a long drive to work and an early start tomorrow I limited myself to just two drinks.

We had a bit of progress with the wedding planning. After last weekend’s wedding dress adventures Lily finally decided on her wedding dress this week. I wish I could show you but obviously I can’t but it is so beautiful on her. She is going to be such a stunning bride.

I’ve had such a delicious weekend and hope that you all have enjoyed yours too.

Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Mother’s Little Helper

Last week in my blog I mentioned how calm I have been on this new client project. I had attributed it to emotional growth, but then those voices I have in my head  started again to tell me I am not clever enough, educated enough, young enough…….just not enough. Those voices reminded me that I am now medicated and the meds have probably had enough time to take proper effect, so maybe that is to account for my new found sense of confidence and peace? Either way, whatever the root cause I am happy with the outcome and will not question it.

On Monday the client still had not given us access to data or any documentation so my colleague and I were told to leave at 1pm. I stopped to collect Norman and we went to Allegria Cafe for a late lunch. It was a lovely day so we sat outside in the shade.

As it was warm Norm and I both decided to order salads. They had a crumbed chicken salad on special and I ordered that with extra avocado. The avocado was creamy and perfectly ripe.

It was really delicious and fresh. Allegria do one of the best chicken schnitzels in Hout Bay and they did not disappoint me that day.

After we finished our lunch we headed over to try and find the things I still needed for my Operation Shoebox Christmas boxes. I chose 2 little girls aged 2 years. On the weekend Norm and I bought the clothing and toys and on Monday we bought the other bits we needed. 

Both little girls said they love baby dolls so we got them both the same doll as it was cute and small enough for the box. I think it is important for the development of a child’s identity to have a baby doll they can relate to in appearance. It was really difficult to locate a black baby considering we are in Africa. She has a dummy and a teddy and her outfit can come off. I think the babas will love it.

One little girl also said she loves Peppa Pig and we tried to find her a few things with Peppa Pig on them. She will get a Peppa Pig hat, a long Peppa Pig shirt which could be worn as a nightgown, and finally a colouring book with stickers which are Peppa Pig.  The other girl has a cute unicorn on her long t shirt but the other items are the same. In addition both girls get a facecloth, a bar of soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a packet of sweets, crisps and a juice box. The sweets are jelly pink princesses.

Both girls will get a peak cap, a white vest T shirt, a turquoise ‘skort’ which is a skirt with shorts underneath, and a sleeveless T shirt dress. All items are in colours which will blend to mix and match. One girl likes red and her dress is primary coloured stripes, the other girl’s dress has cartoon dinosaurs on it.

I always use plastic boxes instead of the cardboard shoe boxes as the kiddies or mom’s can use them for storage. As the kiddies are both toddlers it will make a nice little box for their personal treasures. I gave them the left over stickers too.

I also went to Woolworth’s and they had several things in my size so I bought a casual maxi dress, a wrap around dress in a gorgeous bright blue and a black skirt with a funky hem. All can be worn to work or for casual events.

We also shopped for food so on Monday night Norm cooked chicken sausages, sweet potato rounds and sweet corn on the cob.

On Tuesday morning I still had no access to the data at work but we finally got our identity cards so we could leave the office without having to knock to be let in if we had to go to the loo! To celebrate my new found access freedom we decided to go down to get a cooked breakfast for a change instead of my usual morning fare of a trough of milky cappuccino. My colleague and I both chose bacon and egg rolls and took them back to our desks. I took off my long sweater and bit happily into the roll to find that the yolk of the egg leapt out of the roll, shot across my cheek, skittered across my forearm, dropped down to my keyboard and decorated the Z to the V in sticky yolk. What a bloody disaster. I cleaned it all up, finished my breakfast and carried on. About midday I reached up to push back my hair to discover that the side of my hair was stuck together with yolk which had hardened into a crust. It brushed out luckily, but how had it looked until then?!

On Monday night I had put a beef, mushroom, onion and carrot stew into the slow cooker and left it overnight. It was absolutely divine the next night! We served it with cauliflower mash. The meat was tender and the sauce full of flavour.

The next night we tried a new recipe for cooking brussel sprouts in the air fryer. We converted incorrectly from Fahrenheit to Celsius and ended up burning them to a crisp. OK, me it was me. Norm left me in charge for 10 minutes.

We had kassler chops, fried mushrooms and the rest of the corn on the cob. Next time we will succeed with the sprouts I am confident. (i.e. Norm will do it)

Norm had meetings on Thursday so we had takeaways and I chose sushi from K1 Sushi in Hout Bay. 

I had salmon roses, bamboo roses topped with prawns, prawn roses and a salmon and prawn nigiri. It was delicious.

On Friday Lily came down for the weekend and we chose to have Chinese food for dinner that night. We ordered from Blue Lotus and we both had the crispy chili chicken and Lily ordered spring rolls and I had the prawn dim sum and we shared them.

The food was great, the only thing we could complain about was the spring rolls. They had a strong almost mustardy flavour which put us both off. They were also a bit soggy. The chicken was perfect as was the dim sum.

Caitlin came around early on Saturday to collect us as we were off to the northern suburbs for wedding dress shopping. For the first booking we went about an hour drive away to Durbanville.

It was a lovely salon, the sales attendant was also very good.

That is not her, that is a dummy. Just FYI.

My mom happened to be awake so we video called her so she could participate in viewing the dresses Lily tried on. Caitlin and the attendant faffed around while I sat holding the phone for Mom.

There were two dresses I loved but one was too fancy for the boho beach vibe of Lily’s wedding venue, but the other one has made it to our top three list.

We went onto a third bridal shop but it was horrid. We did not have an appointment as they would not answer the phone but as it is a large mall type shop we risked it. They managed to find an attendant but she was not very attentive. Caitlin had to join Lily to help dress her as the attendant buggered off. All of the dresses looked a bit cheap but the only one we liked was tagged at R15,000 so they only looked cheap. The music was horrid there too, it was a mix of trance music and Indian bollywood style. I could not wait to get out of there.

On Monday Lily and Caitlin have an appointment to try on the top 2 dresses again at a wedding fair and if they buy one at the fair it could save up to 10% off which is great news.

After we finished with wedding dresses we headed over to Sable Square to China Town to try and find fans and sun umbrellas for the wedding guests to cope with the heat. First we went for sushi as we were starving. We went to Saki Sushi which have a conveyor belt and an all you can eat special. We got seats around the conveyor belt and quickly got stuck in. We all ate until we almost felt nauseous. Oink. Then we had a wander around china town looking for the things Lily wanted just to give her an idea about costs. I bought a black shredded lace tutu for Halloween. It appears that I am not going out this year but it will be worn next year. Caitlin bought a necklace and Lily bought a very cute shirt and 2 cute hippy type hats. It was a lovely day but we were knackered and headed home after China Town. Caitlin stayed to chat a few minutes then was off as we were meeting early today.

We had plans to meet up at the Penguin exhibit in Simons Town at 11.30. We were meeting Caitlin and Wes as well as Calum, our nephew from Scotland.

The queues and crowds were hectic and reminded me why we never go there. We had a wander all around the penguin areas but it was very hot in the sun, very windy by the sea and I was hungry, so as soon as I could I steered them all off to the harbour.

It was nice to spend time with my girls.

It was a stunner of a day but the wind was a bit hectic.

It was lovely however.

The penguins are too cute.

We agreed to meet at Bertha’s which is right by the water and has a lovely view.

However the outside patio was packed so they found a nice table inside for us all.

Looks like we exhausted poor Calum.

I woke him up.

The boys all had Hake and calamari but the girls and I all had prawns.

On the way home we came across Chapman’s Peak which is so stunning. I filmed it for you guys. Between all of the curves and my crappy filming skills I hope it does not make you nauseous.

It has been a brilliant weekend with family, fun and excitement. I hope you all had a lovely weekend too.

I wish you all a happy week ahead. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Stepping Into Your Power

Usually when a client’s project wraps up I have a few days to recover before I start a new project with another client, but my last project ended on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday afternoon we had a sales meeting with a new client and I was asked to come back on Wednesday to join their Data Migration team so my head was spinning! It was exacerbated by the fact that our new client is in a panic as they are on a tight schedule and have not built a reconciliation process. They have been told by their auditors that a reconciliation process is required for approval. We have not even signed a statement of work and the client seems a bit all over the place in regards to timelines and requirements so I have no idea how long we will be there.

Usually when I start a new project I am full of anxiety and fear. Will I be able to do what the client needs? Will I be out of my depth? Is it too technical for my skills? But this time I have not been nervous at all. I am quite comfortable and confident. Even Norman remarked on the fact that I have not been panicky. It’s as if something shifted.

I was discussing this with a friend and she said that maybe the shift is due in part to the dramas from my last client. Maybe the every day battles with the developer sharpened my confidence? Similar to the way a grain of sand can turn into a pearl. The oyster adds layer after layer of substance to protect itself from the irritating sand and eventually a pearl forms from the layers of protective minerals.

The developer is the irritating grain of sand and the emergence of my confidence represents the pearl in this scenario with the outcome being me stepping into my power.

It was an interesting way to look at it. Through pain comes growth.

The interesting thing is that my previous client contacted me on Friday to say the next phase is starting soon and they may need me back sooner than expected to document the metadata.

The current client initially only needed us for three weeks but the work he requires will take much longer than that. It is still all up in the air.

My new client is in the northern part of Cape Town and it adds an hour each way of travel to my day. Normally I panic driving on the motorway, especially when I’m traveling to an area I am unfamiliar with. I’ve been using Google Maps and have gotten lost once, however I did not stress. I’m just taking my time.

I’m enjoying this feeling of peace. Long may it last.

Unfortunately peace is not present in all of Cape Town or Hout Bay.

Last Saturday night a lot of the schools had their year end dances and many of the students met at the beach at the end of the night. A 19 year old young man and two of his friends were robbed and two of them were stabbed. The 19 year old died. He was a student at UCT. Later in the week another victim was stabbed at the beach and another had a brick thrown at his head. This is all taking place just down the road from Camps Bay police station.

On Wednesday this week we had a shooting in Hout Bay which also occurred almost on the doorstep of the police station. It was part of the ongoing taxi wars. A driver and his passenger were both shot.

The Western Cape police service is severely under resourced and many of the police nationwide are corrupt or criminals themselves.

This week in another province there was a shootout between two rogue cops who had just robbed a post office and two legitimate police. You couldn’t make it up!

We had such a surprise on Thursday evening. I had arrived home about 6pm and had just gotten into my comfy (e.g. sloppy) clothes and settled in to watch a bit of telly. The doorbell rang and I looked out and thought ‘hmmm no idea who that is so I’m ignoring it’ and came back to sit down. Luckily Norm is more curious than I am and he went outside to see who it was. As he got closer he saw the other person was smiling at him but he could not see who it was until he was right at the gate. It was our nephew from Scotland who was visiting Cape Town! He wanted to surprise us and he certainly did! He brought a bottle of wine for Norm and flowers for me.

They are so beautiful. Calum is a digital nomad. He travels around the world staying in a place only as long as he fancies, renting AirBnB properties and absorbing the local customs and atmosphere. He owns an IT based company so can work anywhere he likes. It’s a brilliant lifestyle for a young single man. He has been living in Bali on and off as he loves it there. He is meeting up with some South African friends in Cape Town and has rented a flat with an amazing view of Table Mountain.

It had been ten years since we last saw Calum. He stayed with us for a few months when we first bought our house. He and Caitlin became such good friends so we rang her on Thursday and she came round to join us for pizzas.

Calum joined Caitlin and her friends today on a mountain hike.

It was so misty it made the visibility a bit difficult.

There was a lot of cloud cover over the mountains visible from our house this morning too.

We had a bit more excitement this week as Lily and Josh won an engagement photo shoot from Ruby Bear Photography. They went to the beach near where they live. The sun was setting towards the end of the shoot and the photos we have seen are amazing!

They got soaked from the waves.

But the photos are beautifully done.

I had drumming this morning and before I left I sat outside to have my morning coffee. The dogs were outside with me, I wanted Panda to trot down the stairs so I could film it but he refused to cooperate.

I really loved our drumming session, I felt so rejuvenated and relaxed afterwards, it is always so cleansing for me. It is also nice to see all of my drumming circle.

Afterwards I collected Norm and we went for a pub lunch at Woodcutters Arms. It was very busy but we found a table in the beer garden. Norm ordered the Guinness Beef stew with mash which looked delicious.

He rated it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had two starters. First I had the jalapeño cheddar cigars.

They could have been cooked a bit longer to crisp the phyllo pastry a it more. They were a bit doughy but they were tasty.

I then had the starter portion of popcorn chicken strips with chips.

I give my dishes 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ They make the best homemade chips so that boosted the score.

Yesterday Norm and I went to Blue Route Mall. Norm needed some shorts and I wanted to spend my birthday gift card. I also wanted to shop for the two toddlers I am making my Operation Shoebox Christmas donation boxes for. Norm found several nice things but I could find nothing I fancied. I was looking for work clothes as my current client offices are much more professional and I can’t wear jeans every day like I usually do. I did get all of the clothes and toys for my Christmas boxes though. Now I just need the boxes and the food treats and I can drop them off.

Norm and I had brunch at Mugg & Bean in the mall. Norm had the Tropical Breakfast, consisting of a fresh seasonal fruit salad served with full cream plain yoghurt, luxury muesli & honey.

I went for lunch instead of breakfast and had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken which was described as ‘sesame-crusted buttermilk chicken strips served with a side of sweet chilli sauce.’ However if there were sesame seeds on that chicken they must be invisible.

They were not very crispy either, they needed to be fried longer. They were rather disappointing.

After we finished shopping we headed home to relax.

We watched a few films this week.

I chose “The Silence” because it had Stanley Tucci in it. (Or one of those Tucci brothers anyway.)

It sucked so bad it could have sucked a golf ball through a garden hose. I give it 2 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️

It had a ridiculous ‘plot’ (if you can call it that) and was nonsense.

However this afternoon we watched ‘In The Shadow of The Moon’ and I really enjoyed that. It was also a bit far fetched but I was very entertained by it. It gets 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

We also just finished a series on Netflix which I really enjoyed called The I-Land.

I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Norm was not as keen on it as I was as he thought it a bit weak on plot. (Yet he enjoyed that disastrous The Silence??)

Norm has cooked for us most of the week. As I get home so late with this new project I can’t or we would be eating at midnight.

He made chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, gem squash, fondant sweet potatoes and roast broccoli on Monday night. It was delicious.

Another night he grilled fillet steaks and I made a salad. He also did some chips in the air fryer. It was a really warm evening so was perfect.

Wednesday he made chicken sausages with cauliflower mash, mushrooms and steamed asparagus.

I had my usual weekly treat of sushi. I had crab salad, salmon roses, cucumber roses topped with prawn, and tempura prawns.

They added something crispy on top of the crab salad and I did not enjoy that at all. I think I will stop ordering that dish as it is a bit tasteless. But the sushi was delicious and fresh.

I have had a busy weekend and am looking forward to just chilling for the rest of the evening before I have to do that long commute again all week.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend and that you have a great week.

Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo