The Humming Heart of my Ancestors

I have had 2 lovely weekends since my last blog and I have a lot to say so grab a cuppa and settle in.

The weather has been absolutely stunning but we have had a lot of wind.

Last Saturday I was up very early as I had an appointment at 9am to get my hair done at Pause in the city. I usually schedule it around lunch time but I had moved it to accommodate the belated family Christmas lunch which has now been rescheduled to February. At least it got me up and out of the house. (I am trying to think of an advantage to waking early on a weekend).

After I finished with my hair I popped home to collect Norman and sat outside waiting on him to get ready as it was such a nice day.

We went to Dario’s in Hout Bay for lunch. It was a bit windy but we still chose to sit outside on the veranda.

I fancied a burger and had heard their burgers were good so I ordered the jalapeno burger with bacon, cheese, jalapenos and an egg but asked them to leave off the egg. I asked for it to be medium well as I cannot face a bloody burger. Luckily the bacon was nice and crispy as well.

It was a brilliant burger, in fact I might say it is the best burger I have had in Hout Bay now that Ragafellow’s has closed. And I am not an easy to please person when it comes to burgers. I do not like a lot of herbs in the burger patty and it must be nice quality meat. No icky bits. No pre-made patties. This one ticked all the boxes. It gets 5 Kitten Stars.

Dario’s have taken over the shop that was previously next door and have put in a little play area for kiddies at the back. They are even open some evenings now so we will make a point of having burgers there more often.

After lunch we went home to relax a bit as we were off to a friend’s leaving party that afternoon. It was held at Dunes restaurant which is in a stunning location right on the beach in Hout Bay. We headed over there about 5pm and the place was already packed. The party was in the upstairs section of the restaurant.

We ordered drinks and mingled with our friends, some of whom we had not seen in ages. The party was in honour of our friends Dawn and Gavin who are emigrating back to the UK after being here since 2007.

We had a laugh about my recent trip to the US and my Facebook posts (aka rants) about the annoying children on the flight and the woman who was seated behind me putting her feet on my armrest. I was the first person that Dawn and Gavin met on their move to Hout Bay as we met on the plane when we were all emigrating from the UK to South Africa and at that time their daughter Bo was an infant. The flight could have gone quite badly except Bo was an absolute dream of a baby and slept the entire trip. Dawn and I were sat next to each other and started chatting and we realised that we were both not only in the process of emigrating to South Africa but we were going to be living in the same village! What are the odds of that? Once Norm arrived we all socialised at braais and various other functions and we even had a ladies book club for many years until we all lost enthusiasm and it fell by the wayside. Norm and I are older than most of the group and neither of us are into sport and the other couples all either have small children or are runners and/or cyclists so we drifted apart the last few years but were still friends. It will seem odd to not have them just across the valley from us. Bo is starting high school this year and will have to settle in with a new group of kids in Bath. She is such a beautiful girl and a talented little sportswoman, she does everything from horse riding to surfing so I hope she copes with the British weather. I hope Dawny can cope without her amazing cleaner Doreen, it is hard to shift to doing everything yourself once you have had household help.

We will really miss them even though we did not see them that often lately.

We did not stay late as Norm still had to walk the dogs before it got too dark. We headed home about 7ish and stopped for fish and chips on the way.

Last Sunday we had a lazy day and I did not even get out of my pajamas! I had a long lie in bed then Norm popped down to get us some food and we just relaxed. We started watching The Assassination of Gianni Versace which we really enjoyed. I knew very little about Versace’s murder or his murderer Andrew Cunanan so it was all new info to me. I give the series 4 Kitten Stars, it loses a star due to the convoluted timeline of info which can sometimes be very confusing but it is very much worth watching.

On Monday night Norm had a business meeting after I got home from work so he just picked up a take away from Massimo’s for dinner after his meeting. We both had the pork fillet medallions with roast vegetables and smashed baby potatoes.

There was so much food that I had enough for lunch the next day too. It was delicious and gets 5 Kitten Stars!

On Tuesday Norm had Mzudumo there working in the garden and he had also been running around all day and so that night he just made fish cakes, corn on the cob and steamed baby broccoli. It was quick and easy.

Wednesday night we attended a meeting about the SRA that Norm and the other steering committee members are trying to implement and so we had a quick dinner before we left. Norm had made chili con carne. We topped it with cheddar cheese. It was delicious.

On Thursday a colleague brought in some quail’s eggs. He raises quails and gets about 20 eggs a day from them so he gave them to me for free! I will make a nice Caesars salad this weekend using them and let you know how it goes.

Friday I had an interview with a client regarding a new project I am going to be assigned. I start on the 1st of February. I was really hoping that the UCT project would kick off and I would be assigned to that project but the delays in their obtaining financing means that I am ‘on the bench’ and the company I work for needs to place me on a paying client site. The new project is for a large retail customer and is the 3rd project I have done for them. It is a 3 month project.

On Friday night we just got a takeaway and had Chinese food from Blue Lotus in Hout Bay. I had an order of salmon roses to start and crispy chill chicken with rice for my main. It was really good. I will give it 4 Kitten Stars.

I was up early on Saturday as I was going to a Drum Painting workshop at Sacred Ibis and it started at 10am. It is such a peaceful spiritual space.

There are so many interesting pieces of art there I can roam around for ages checking things out.

We started out upstairs in the loft space. We took turns reading aloud from a book that comes with the Sacred Path Cards and we read the section about the origin of the drum in Native American culture. The part that resonated with me was the part about the drumbeat mirroring the heartbeat of Mother Earth and the sound of the heartbeat of our mother while in the womb. That was my first experience when I did past life regression, I went back to when I was in my mother’s womb and could hear her heartbeat.

Then we all lay down in a circle and Michelle led us on a drum journey and took us all to a mental space where we could communicate with our drums and ask them to guide us in what we should do to adorn them. I had printed out 3 images that spoke to me and I was originally going to paint a simple wolf head howling. However the messages that came through to me very clearly were that I should pay tribute to my female ancestors, in particular my grandmother who communicates to me with hummingbirds. So I chose the more complicated hummingbird image for my drum.

We then drummed and walked around the vast garden down to the ancestors tree to call in the ancestors for guidance and support.

We sang the Cherokee Morning song, we n’ de ya ho.

While we were standing in a circle singing, a beautiful butterfly flew into the centre of the circle and flew around in front of each of us, around the tree and then flew off. I took that as a message from our ancestors that they supported our efforts and appreciated the song of tribute.

We then walked back up to the house and had a bite of lunch before we settled in to paint. We all had taken a dish to share and we had salad, pizza, quiche, bread and some home made orange and date muffins.

We cleared away the plates and settled in to paint. I traced my image directly onto my drum using carbon paper and then I chose the paints and started painting. It took me hours to do it and I had to repaint a few bits that went a bit wonky but I was very pleased with the end result.

Once I finished I phoned Norm to come and collect me around 4pm. On the way I showed him my drum and he said to me that while he was outside in our garden that 2 hummingbirds came and danced around the pool! I think that was my grandmother showing her pleasure in what I painted and my tribute to her.

We headed home and he walked the dogs but it was very hot outside so he only took them on a quick jaunt. I was absolutely exhausted from the drum journey and the painting. My arthritis was not happy with the clenching of the paint brush or with gripping my drum. I was ready for bed by 9pm but managed to stay awake til a reasonable hour.

Today I have been going nonstop since I woke up. I was collected at 10 by my friend Alison and we headed off to The Shamballah Tea House & Holistic Centre where we were attending a talk on ‘The Fertility Astrology of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon’ which was being given by my friend Nicola Smuts Allsop who is a fertility astrologer. This basically means she helps women to understand when it is best to try to fall pregnant. She does much more than that but you can read about it all on her website via the link above.

We traveled across Chapman’s Peak drive which is such a beautiful drive.

The event was held far away in a remote location near Cape Point. It was a lovely venue and it was a very interesting talk, even though I understand zip about astrology I enjoyed the history aspect of the discussion.

After the talk Alison and I popped in to visit her mom who lives in Noordhoek for a few minutes. Alison is lucky to have her mom near enough to be able to pop in for a cuppa. Afterwards we came back across Chappies and Alison dropped me at home.

I was ready for a late lunch/ early dinner by this stage as it was about 4pm and I had only had tea, biscuits and such so Norm and I went down to Zur Holzbucht. I always enjoy the food here. It was a very hot day so we sat out in the shady beer garden.

Norm ordered a salad with grilled chicken. He only gave it 3 stars as he said the chicken tasted like it had been cooked previously and reheated so was a bit dry.

I ordered a dish which I cannot remember the name of but it was basically a German version of a posh Ploughman’s as it came with half a boiled egg, half a camembert cheese, pickles, peppers, pickled onion, cole slaw, pickled mushrooms. red onion, olives, black forest ham, salami, kassler roast and sliced tomatoes. It was delicious and perfect for such a hot day as I did not fancy cooked hot food.

I give it 5 kitten stars I enjoyed it so much. I would have liked a bit of german potato salad because I love it, but there was way too much food to finish as it was so that is just me being greedy.

After lunch we went to the shops and got some ready made salads for me to take to lunch this week and a few other odds and ends we needed then came home. Norm has had a nap and is now taking the dogs out for a walk while I write. I think tonight will be an early night for me as my busy weekend has exhausted me!

I hope you have had a lovely weekend yourselves and I wish you have a wonderful week ahead.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

 

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The Path of Peace

This was my first week back at work after my month off and it was a challenge to get back into a routine. On Monday I had a full day workshop on Data Modeling, on Thursday I attended a DAMA Conference and today I had a presentation to a potential new client and had to drive to Stellenbosch so at least I had a break from the usual monotony of being desk bound for 8 hours a day.

Last Thursday I finally bowed to pressure (pun intended) and went to the doctor and the chiropractor about the headaches I have been having for weeks. My GP told me I had a sinus infection and that my neck was out of alignment. He subscribed antibiotics and muscle relaxers.

I popped into Allegria Cafe and Life for a bite to eat after seeing the doc. I had the chicken salad with avocado and it was delicious.

I saw the chiropractor later that same afternoon but after a day or two of no pain my headaches returned and I ended up going back to the chiropractor again yesterday morning.

That day I shopped for food while waiting on my prescriptions to be filled and so on Thursday night I cooked for a change. I was surprised I hadn’t forgotten how! I roasted a pork fillet in a spicy plum sauce, and to go with it I made roast sweet potatoes, mushrooms and fried red cabbage in butter and balsamic.

It was rather delicious if I say so myself.

I had a lovely last weekend to round off my holiday.

On last Friday morning I went to Blue Route Mall to return some items, finish my last bits of Christmas shopping and pick up something for Lily’s birthday. After shopping I went to Jakura for lunch and had their crispy chili beef. It was delicious and spicy.

They also do yummy sushi and have one of the fun conveyor belts with the sushi on it. I don’t know why but that makes it taste better.

On Friday evening Norm and I had planned to go out for dinner but it had started pouring with rain, the windows were rattling like mad and the sky was really cloudy and misty so we decided to rather stay in.

Norm went down to the village to pick up a curry from The Indian Oven.

I had butter chicken and we shared saag aloo and cauliflower rice. It was OK but I have found their food is not as special as it used to be. I used to love their curry with prawns but the prawns now taste plastic and frozen so I moved to chicken dishes instead, but I invariably find a bit of cartilage or bone in my food which is very off putting. But of the options for curry in Hout Bay this is the best of the lot.

Last Saturday morning we had a lie in and then I made eggs baked in half an avocado and topped with cheese and bacon to go with them.

I found the avo to be a bit bitter when warmed but Norm loved them.

Saturday evening Caitlin popped by and we had our friends Mel and Cyril round for drinks and snacks.

We had a lovely night laughing and telling stories about all sorts. It was a relaxing night and stress free as we just did snacks so I wasn’t running around messing about with food.

On Sunday I had planned to go drumming in the morning but I only woke at 9.30 and it was too late to get there so we had another long lie in bed.

Later in the afternoon we went to La Parada at Constantia Nek to meet friends. They have live music on Sundays and it is heaving. Sharon had organized it and invited several others. Her friend Walter was there.

He managed to knock over 3 different glasses which had us all dodging liquids. Oops.

Our friend Delia was there as well.

We had a giggle about Delia being a mom of 5 yet she struggled to convince the bouncers she was of legal age. She is such a cutie and she is such a nice person as well.

Sharon and I had a good natter, it was lovely to see her. She is such a kind person.

We all ordered tapas to eat. Norm and Delia had the tuna tataki and I had the grilled calamari.

I also had the prawn croquettes.

The calamari was lovely but the prawn croquettes were overly cheesy and did not seem to contain much in the way of prawns at all. They also tasted a bit doughy. I won’t recommend those. The tuna tataki looked divine.

We had some German tourists sitting at the same table and I spent a lot of time chatting to Heloise who was sat next to me. She and I instantly bonded. She said to me that she felt like I ‘was a drummer whose heart was in rhythm with hers’. I hadn’t told her I was a drummer and that freaked me out a wee bit! We talked about spirituality and our pasts and beliefs and she said that I healed her with some of the things I said. I told her that I have been told I am a healer, I just do not know how to apply these alleged skills. Another friend told me that just my energy can heal people. I don’t question it, I just let it flow if I am speaking to someone on that topic. If spirit sends me a message I speak it and try to be a conduit and not block it by trying to be rational.

It was a latish end for a school night but Norm and I went home and relaxed a bit after. I managed to stay awake for my workshop the next day so it is all good.

Norm cooked a few nights this week. One night he stuffed chicken breasts with cranberry and cheddar cheese. He served with roast sweet potatoes and vegetables.

Another night he made spaghetti bolognaise with low carb noodles and topped it all with cheese.

Together one evening we cooked fillet steaks with spinach pureed with mature cheddar cheese and served it with roast vegetables.

My friend Cyril said that the spinach looked like a frog about to jump, I agree that it does! I am glad he didn’t say that before I ate it or it would have put me off.

This weekend we were supposed to have my kids here for a late Christmas lunch and to exchange gifts, however this has been a week full of sadness in that two of Caitlin and Lily’s girlfriends’ fathers passed away and one of Wes’ friends also lost his father. Touched by 3 deaths in one week. I pray for peace for their families.

I woke to an interesting message from a friend today who is a medium and psychic. A friend who passed away a few years ago came through to my psychic friend to tell her that ‘my Native American rituals’ (I assume he meant my drumming and prayers) has meant that he can no longer communicate to me. She said he was very dramatic and she even named him so there is no doubt who it is. I found it interesting that prayer has blocked him from communicating with me. I wonder what that means?

I know that I have a lot of peace when I drum and I feel very close to my ancestors and nature. I hope my friend finds the peace which still seems to elude him much as it did in life.

Caitlin popped around this afternoon to get her presents. She liked her presents and the kids gave Norm a lovely shirt and they gave me a gorgeous mermaid blanket. I love it so much!

We had sushi for dinner from K1.

It was so yummy.

I am off to the hairdresser early tomorrow and then we are going to a friend’s leaving party in the afternoon. We had a huge rainstorm today and as much as we need the rain I hope it clears tomorrow as the party venue is outside at the beach.

Either way it will be what it will be!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

Elasticity

Relationships change, just like people change. I know that I have definitely changed as it has been over 35 years since I left the south.

As much as I had been dreading the trip here, it was long but uneventful. We flew from Cape Town to Doha, had a 8 hour layover in Doha and then took a second flight from Doha into Atlanta. It was about 33 hours of travel in total. My cousin Brent was kind enough to accompany Mom on the drive from North Georgia to Atlanta airport to pick us up as Mom was ill.

Mom’s new home is so lovely.

She has such beautiful decorations for Christmas.

Her tree is so pretty too.

Mom’s cat Irie is a very spoiled demanding kitty.

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It was so nice to wake up at my Mom’s house on Christmas. She has been so generous with both Norm and I.

She gave me a lovely black wool cardigan and two new pairs of boots.

Norm got a couple of lovely new tops and a puffer vest.

(Excuse his ‘just got out of bed’ hair.)

The kids and I gave Mom a lovely aquamarine bracelet.

Christmas Day was spent at my Uncle Joe’s home in a suburb of Chattanooga.

It’s on a large plot which is right on the Tennessee River.

Joe’s son Brent, his lovely wife Kelly and his cute and funny daughters were there for lunch as well as my uncle Harley. Several of my cousins and other family members popped in.

My cousin Mona and I grew up together and call each other sister. It was so special to see her.

Norm and I had a lovely day.

One afternoon Norm and I went for a walk around Mom’s new estate. There is a pond behind her house.

There is a little clubhouse that residents can use.

It was brisk with cold and on our way home we got caught in the rain.

One thing about returning to your childhood home is that you want to experience the foods you cannot get wherever you live. One of those on my list was good old southern BBQ. We went to Bailey’s BBQ which is a large metal shed type structure which you wouldn’t even notice if you weren’t looking for it. But the food was delicious.

Mom and I both enjoyed our food.

My uncle Joe joined us.

One night we went to the Home Plate Grill which is a small diner in the centre of Ringgold. I ordered the Shrimp Plate which comes with hush puppies and 3 sides. I chose fries, fried okra and pinto beans.

After dinner that evening Mom and I dropped Norm off at the house and went to Chattanooga to the mall. There are loads of sales on and Mom bought me 3 beautiful bras.

I usually buy my bras from the grocery store and guess at the size, so Mom is trying to class me up a bit. She had them measure me and I had to try on several designs to find the perfect fit. Living in Africa has lowered my standards as decent bras are incredibly expensive there. I’m so happy with my fancy new bras.

When we left the bra shop it was bucketing rain and Mom and I got soaked going to the next shop.

Mom also bought me some plain black trousers for work. She has given me a stack of her clothes which are like new. Luckily my suitcase was mostly empty on the way over here.

Mom hasn’t been feeling well so I have been cooking breakfast and tidying up around the house. At first I had fallen into a pattern of waking at 4:30am and then being unable to go back to sleep. I forced myself to lie in bed until 5 and then I would move to the couch so as to not disturb Norm. As the week has gone on I have managed to sleep a bit later each day and this morning slept til 7am.

I sit quietly on my phone playing games and Facebooking until everyone else wakes up around 8 or so then I make a proper southern breakfast of eggs and sausage, country ham or bacon. Mom has to make the biscuits if we have them as that is beyond my skill set. Mostly I just made toast or English muffins.

I have been trying to keep things tidy whereas normally I would have just taken for granted that Mom would look after us all. This trip I see how my Mom has slowed down, I see how frail she sometimes seems and I want to look after her. At what point does the caregiver become the one who needs care given? I wish I lived closer to her.

On Friday we were supposed to go on a road trip across the mountain but the weather was abysmal as it was pouring with rain and several areas ended up flooded. We decided to have a lazy pajama day and we stayed home and relaxed. That night we went searching for a Mexican restaurant and chose Tres Amigos near my Mom’s house.

I ordered a combo plate with a taco, tostado and an enchilada.

It was yummy. I really miss proper Mexican food. The fact that you get complimentary chips and salsa is fabulous and the idea of refillable drinks is also unheard of in SA.

Mom was kind enough to allow me to have some of my old school friends around for a visit. I did a post on Facebook and tagged lots of people whom I would be happy to see and asked those who wanted to come to send a private message for the address. That way we did not compromise Mom’s security or privacy and it also meant that we had an idea of numbers for catering. We preordered a tray of sandwiches and a fruit and cheese platter from Publix and we got up early to tidy up the house and collect the food.

People arrived from 2pm. Karen is one of my oldest friends as she has been my friend since we were 5 years old. She has been married to Mike since we left high school and they still seem to be the perfect couple. Next my lovely friend Jackie arrived and then my friend Larry.

Last to arrive was my cousin Mona and her daughter Stephanie.

It was a perfect sized group for my Mom’s house.

It was so nice to see my friends and to catch up with news of other classmates. Larry brought his old annuals for us to revisit.

Some had replied to say they had other plans or were no longer living in the area. Several other people had RSVP’d that they intended to come but then cancelled due to illness.

Many people never bothered to even acknowledge my invite however. Several people whom I had sent personal messages to didn’t respond to those either. Today I rationalized that as I literally flew halfway around the world and hadn’t been home in 11 years if people are so rude as to not even respond then they are not my friend and so I culled them from Facebook and unfollowed them on Instagram. Why pretend to be friends? I’ll most likely never see them again and why allow them to be a voyeur into my life. The people I find the funniest are the men who are quite often alllll up in my inbox but did not bother to respond publicly. What are they hiding or who are they hiding from? They are all married but I tell my husband who messages me, but they are obviously being shady. I should call them out on their bullshit.

So many people around this area seem to be ill and after everyone left I also started to feel a bit achy and my throat started hurting. I went to bed early with a hope that it would go by morning but I’ve woken today feeling dreadful. Mom and Norm went to the chemist to get meds and I’m dosing up on immune boosters, vitamin C and flu meds.

We were supposed to go for lunch with my cousin Warren today but I felt too bad so we stayed home and Mom cooked dinner for us. Norm has had a bit of cabin fever I think.

Warren and his wife Anita popped around to see me tonight so at least I got to see him. He was drinking and he behaved a bit childishly and annoyed Mom and they had a row and he stomped off dramatically. The joys of the dysfunction of family.

Tomorrow we are supposed to be going to our friend Joy to spend the night and she has organized a NYE party for us so I am really hoping I feel better.

The same thing happened a few years ago when we went away for Christmas to the UK, I went down with a bug on NYE and was laid up for several days of our holiday. Obviously new bugs find me when I travel.

I’m at that point of my holiday where I start to panic that I am running out of time to do all of the things we want to do. I’ve still not bought the kids their gifts, we will do a belated Christmas when I get back to SA.

I want to go to downtown Chattanooga to see the city as I’ve heard that it has been transformed into a vibey metropolis with art galleries and restaurants. When I was a kid it was dangerous and run down so I look forward to seeing it rejuvenated. We went for a drive through the small town of Rossville where I grew up but it is so rundown and derelict. Every corner seems to be a pawn shop or second hand car lot. It made me rather sad. The little town my Mom has settled in is very sweet, it still has that charming country town feel.

I am glad Mom has settled here. She is in a lovely estate with family and old friends nearby.

It’s perfect and I’m so happy to see her happy.

I hope you all enjoy your New Year.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Rolling into the Chaos

Life has been building up to the Chaos of Christmas.

The joys of the holidays have not been a deterrent to the criminals in the bay however. Or maybe the holidays were the impetus? The need for festive cash? Or maybe there are some humans who are nasty year round as there was an attack on our local little gem, the World of Birds. World of Birds is a local tourist attraction and sanctuary. They have cute little monkeys and reptiles as well. It has been in Hout Bay for 45 years. Before we emigrated back to SA, whenever we would come on holiday we used to always take the kids for a day out to let the little squirrel monkeys climb all over them in the Monkey Jungle.

The venue has been struggling financially as animals are expensive to maintain, especially exotic ones. Last weekend after a busy weekend of visitors the 81 year old owner was tied up and robbed of R70k worth of takings.

The crime around the ongoing bus strikes has also resulted in more chaos when last week the police used tear gas and stun grenades on the protesters who were causing disruption near my office.

Meanwhile life carries on for those just trying to get shit done.

I presented to my UCT project clients last week. I decided to wear a dress as it was very warm and I was facilitating.

Norm cooked for us a few nights this week and I cooked a few nights. One night we had chicken sausages and the poms love chicken sausage.

On Thursday after work I collected Norm and took him to collect his car which has been in the garage for 6 weeks. It cost us R20.5 thousand rand as it had some major things wrong with it. I left him at the garage and drove home. I had just changed into my pajamas when I get a call from Norm saying the car had broken down again on the way home from the garage! It has been there ever since with the only info we have been given that it might be the fuel pump. It is so incredibly frustrating.

When I arrived back home I saw that I had a big parcel waiting for me and when I unwrapped it, it was a box of goodies and treats sent from our company directors. There was a bottle of bubbly, some chocolates, nougat, nuts, biltong and other treats. The company who produced it is called Gift Lady which is an awesome online gift service where you can choose your own hampers or order flowers and other goodies.

On Friday we had take out sushi from K1 sushi in Hout Bay.

I had my usual order of salmon roses, bamboo roses, prawn roses and prawn tempura. It was all delicious.

On Saturday night we went to the Artscape Theater to see the musical Matilda.

I had bought tickets for Caitlin’s birthday months before and we were so excited to finally go.

We met Caitlin for dinner at Col’Cacchio at the foreshore before hand.

I chose it as they have low carb alternatives. Saying that, both Caitlin and I had a pizza 🙂

I had the Smokey Babe with Asian deboned smoked pork ribs, red onions, corn, spring onions and coriander. I asked them to hold the mint. (Who TF puts mint on a pizza??)

Caitlin had a half and half: half Brie and half Sedriano (sesame seeds, tomato, avocado  and some sort of salami-ish something which I cannot spell or understand and the silly website restricts you from copying text).

Norm was a good boy (who left hungry due to just a single bit of chicken in his dish). He had the Zuchetti Verde Rosso which is chicken parmigiana over zucchini noodles. He did say it was very tasty but they should have the choice of a half portion or a full portion and the size he ordered should be the half portion.

After we ate we drove over to the theatre and parked up and just had time to grab a bottle of water and get seated before the bell rang.

The show was an absolute delight and we loved it so much.

The children were incredibly talented and it was amazing that they could remember the sometimes complex lines!

But the little actress who played Matilda was just incredible. Three different actresses share the part and I do not know the name of the one which was starring the night we went but it is the little one on the left.

We had such a brilliant night!

The rest of the weekend was relaxing for me as Norm was working on writing  report so I was just keeping myself amused. I watched a few Christmas themed comedies yesterday and an old but cute Susan Sarandon film called The Meddler. I also enjoyed Four Christmases which was silly but funny.

Pixie has been my sidekick.

Today is a public holiday in South Africa. It is the Day of Reconciliation. It is a day to commemorate the end of Apartheid. The actual holiday occurred on Sunday the 16th but the day we were given off of work was Monday. However as my annual leave starts on the 19th I chose to work today, take tomorrow as the paid public holiday and start my annual leave on Wednesday.

I am working from home surrounded by the animals. Blue is on the balcony next to me enjoying what little breeze is available.

I have a busy week planned as it starts to ramp up to silly season and we prepare for our trip. I have my annual gynae check up on Tuesday morning and a friend’s drinks party on Tuesday evening.

Wednesday I am at the hairdresser early in the morning and on Thursday evening Norman and I are invited to the British High Commissioner’s residence for Christmas drinks.

It is such a gorgeous venue and they always throw an amazing bash with open bars, delicious canapes and live music.

I may be going out on Friday night to see a friend who is over from Canada at the moment but as Norm and I fly early the next morning it cannot be a late one or a very alcohol fueled one. Our flight is 33 hours and that is a challenging enough expedition without being tired or hungover. But my friend who is visiting has a packed itinerary travelling around SA and I do not know if she will be able to fit me in any other time which makes me really sad as we have been friends for almost 30 years.

This year has left me evaluating so many relationships in my life. It has been a sad and emotional year for me, a year of pain and transition. But with growth comes pain, with transformation comes pain and as I have seen, often with awareness comes pain.

I can attest to all of these. As I am becoming more spiritually aware and ‘conscious’ of the sincerity and energy of others and more trusting of my instincts I grow. With this growth comes the growing pains. I hope I will come out of this year a stronger person or at least more aware and trusting of my intuition.

I am really looking forward to spending time with my Mom and with Joy (my second mom who is too young to actually BE my mom). I have not been back to the US since 2007 and have not seen any of my cousins or other family members since. I am very excited to see my Mom’s new house as well. I am so happy that her house in Atlanta finally sold and that she is settled back in North Georgia near where she grew up as she is near friends and family. Her old home was too large for her to cope with and this new one is a bungalow so she can get around easily and manage much better on her own.

Joy has organised a NYE party for us and we are driving up to stay at her lake house for a few days. I am sad that I will not be able to see my children for the holidays but they all have their own partners and are generally scattered all over for the holidays.

Life changes and we have to change with it.

If we are lucky we might get a bit of snow for Christmas, if nothing else it will be nice to not be cooking in the brutal SA heat.

Mom has offered to host an afternoon tea one of the days we are there and I will invite some of my old school friends around for a catch up.

If I do not connect with any of you again before the holidays I wish you all a happy Christmas and New Year.

Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x.

Grateful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View this post on Instagram

Good Morning World 🌎😘

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

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

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

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

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

Day 12: I’m grateful for Weekends ❤️

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oops I missed a day! 🙈 In that case……

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

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

Mni Wiconi 💦 💧❤️

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 29: I’m grateful to be alive ❤️

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

#30DaysOfGratitude

Cockroaches & Criminals

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

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

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

Anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten.

x0x0x0x0x0

 

The Evolution of a Hermit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much sadness and tragedy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x