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

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One

I have only one more day on my current project and I am so glad it is almost over but it makes me sad that we did not finish developing the entire solution. I loved the work, I enjoyed working with my client as I appreciate that he is as passionate as I am about data quality. I was given enough trust to make design decisions and manage the delivery without too much interference and I was fully supported by him. He trusted my judgment as an expert. However as I have mentioned on previous blogs, the developer who was allocated to the project has caused endless drama.

I am used to making visible progress every week and working to time constraints and delivering to very high standards but the standards of the developer are not like mine. He made rookie mistakes like copy and paste errors, mapping the rule to the wrong field, and misinterpreting the objective of the rule and building the rule to validate the opposite of what it should, for example it errors where the field is populated rather than null in a basic completeness rule. Yet he does not want help and will not admit his code is wrong even when proven to be so.

This week he reported me to HR for made up nonsense when I told him he had corrupted the data and lost the leading zeros from the numeric fields in our postal code validation data. He huffed and puffed and argued with me and then got especially angry when I finally told him that double clicking on an excel file will drop the leading zeroes from numeric data and that sort of basic knowledge is ‘excel 101’, but it is a well known risk to anyone involved in data. He just cannot take feedback because of his arrogance so he flounced off to whinge to HR.

I am exhausted from the drama. I am also working 10 hour days to get as much completed, handed over, and signed off as I can.

I worked very late last Monday and only got home at 7pm. When leaving there were hardly any other people about as it was so late and because the schools were off that week the usual groups of children kicking a football or shouting or dancing were also missing.

As I walked through the square and towards the road where I park my car the most beautiful sound of bells started ringing from the Town Hall. After 8 months working from this office I had never heard them!

It was quite magical! It seemed a suitable send off from work as it was a public holiday the following day so I had the day off.

Tuesday was Heritage Day in South Africa. On this holiday, South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions. Most people seem to call it ‘Braai Day’ and just have a barbecue. As Norm is not a keen braaier and we are not South African, we are never quite sure what to do with ourselves on that holiday.

Prior to 1995 the 24th of September was known as Shaka Day in KwaZulu-Natal. This was in commemoration of the Zulu King, Shaka, on the presumed date of his death in 1828. Shaka played an important role in uniting disparate Zulu clans into a cohesive nation. Each year people gather at King Shaka’s grave to honour him on this day. The Public Holidays Bill presented to the new democratic Parliament of South Africa in 1995 did not have the 24th of September included on the list of proposed public holidays. As a result of this exclusion, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a South African political party with a large Zulu membership, objected to the bill. Parliament and the ANC reached a compromise and the day was given its present title and seen as a public holiday.

Norm and I had not decided what we were going to do on my day off and when I woke with an intense headache I did not feel up to doing anything. I have a bit of medical knowledge due to Radiographer training and I am a bit of a hypochondriac as are many Virgos and these two things are a dangerous combination. On Monday evening I had a very sore area over my groin and upper leg and it was a bit bruised. As this pain was gone on Tuesday when I woke and my head was incredibly sore I became panicked that I had a blood clot which had moved and I was going to have a stroke any minute. Norm looked at me like I was insane when I told him this. It is very feasible dammit! Now that I survived my non-existent clot I can find it funny.

My Dad had his first heart attack in his thirties and died of a stroke at the age of 49 so I am justified in my paranoia, but luckily that was exactly what it was, paranoia.

As a practical Virgo I was also prepared to consider it could be residual sinus pain after my flu so I decided to try Salex which is a type of saline medication you mix into boiled water and squirt up your nostrils. Like a neti pot.

I also tried Hopi ear candling to try and unblock my ears.

Norm had nipped out that morning to buy us fresh pastry and he brought some with a frothy coffee to me in bed.

I took some aspirins and lay relaxing for hours with lots of Lola Kitty snuggles.

Norm is trying to start getting us back onto high fat, low carb eating but as I have been interspersing my diet with muffins and croissants this is probably not good for me. We want to start losing for our year end trip to the US and for Lily’s and Josh’s wedding. Those sorts of photos last forever so we need to get our arses in gear.

On Wednesday Norm took Panda for his last session of physio and hydrotherapy as Panda is pretty much back to normal. He can make it all the way up the main stairs, however sometimes it takes either a lot of our encouragement or a lot of us resisting his annoying bark. Yesterday none of us could be arsed to get up and stand behind him and clap and cheer him up the stairs and we were too tired to let his yapping bother us so he eventually ran upstairs on his own without any encouragement. He has the ability but he is not very confident.

That night Panda did the full walk around the neighborhood with the other two dogs after having gone for his physio session so he was so exhausted that night. He passed out on the sofa and did not budge all night.

I once again only got home about 7pm. When I got home Norm made us a delicious dinner of roast mushrooms and pork fillet, fondant sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli.

When I left work on Thursday it was so hot walking to where I park my car and when I got in it was 34 degrees Celsius!

As it was after 6pm this was a shocker. Normally in Cape Town it usually starts cooling off late afternoon.

It was just too hot to turn on the oven that night so Norm stopped and got a ready cooked roast chicken and some coleslaw and salad and made chips in the air fryer to go with it. It was perfect for that weather.

Pixie does not seem to understand how hot her hair can make you feel when she climbs all over you for attention. When I was trying to cool off and relax by playing Covet Fashion, Pixie just wanted to play.

On Friday Lily came down for the weekend.

On Saturday Caitlin, Lily and I were going shopping for fabric for the bridesmaids dresses and then we had an appointment at 1pm to go to The Wedding Boutique for Lily to try on wedding dresses.

My favourite designer was Alena Leena who is Cape Town based. I loved almost all of her dresses.

Lily tried on all manner of designs from a princess style to a mermaid style, to the fitted style, many different fabrics from a few made of lace to heavy ones made of beads and all manner of patterns from flowers to art deco.

Lily tried on 6 dresses and we are still having a dilemma choosing one as they all looked so beautiful on her. But she is a gorgeous girl with a perfect body and luckily she fit into all of the tiny sample sizes with only a few being a smidge too tight in the chest. I wonder what they do with bigger girls as they only have a few dresses on site unless they have a storage room to hide the size 16s out of sight?

We narrowed it down to 2 that we all love and one which I do not like but the girls adore. We took videos and photos of each dress and sent them all to the Wedding Whats app group Lily created so as to include my Mom in the planning and design decisions. It was so funny that Mom’s top choice was my top choice and her least favorite was the same one that is my least favorite. The girls both prefer the one Mom and I do not like but if Lily wants that one I will immediately accept it, she has to go with what makes her heart sing. They all look beautiful it is just down to personal design choices.

After we finished shopping we were starving and there was a branch of Fat Cactus just down the road so we stopped off. It was very empty but the service was still shockingly slow.

Caitlin was driving us but Lily and I ordered a strawberry margarita.

It was lovely spending more time with my gorgeous girls.

I ordered the chicken tacos. They were very tasty and I give them 4 Kitten Stars.

Lily wanted a plain cheese quesadilla but the waitress said the cheese quesadilla had onions in it and she should order the Chi Chi Chi quesadillas with chorizo, cheese and chipotle which was the same dish Caitlin had ordered.

Neither of the girls enjoyed this dish. I tasted it and I could see why. It was basically a huge pool of barbecue sauce with a single slice of chorizo in each triangle of quesadilla. It did not taste nice and was like trying to eat soup with chopsticks. The girls each gave it 3 Kitten Stars (and that was being generous.)

I ordered refried beans which were NOT refried beans, it was a sort of chili made from kidney beans without meat. It only arrived when I was half way through my tacos.

Our second round of drinks took forever to arrive and when I saw them sitting on the bar I sent Caitlin to collect them. Our waitress was more interested in chatting up the cute bartender than looking after her 2 or 3 tables. The one thing nice she did was to turn off the footy when we asked her too. The sound of the game was blasting when we went in and as we were the only table we cheekily asked her to turn it down and she not only muted it but she put on some nice blues music too.

All in all, our lunch gets a measly 3 Kitten Stars.

On Friday night Lily and I started watching ‘The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco’. It is a spin off of ‘The Bletchley Circle‘ but as we hadn’t see the original series first we felt a bit uninformed.

On Saturday when we got home we were trying to find something on Netflix that we had not all seen and asked Caitlin had she seen it but she had so we decided to watch a few episodes of the original series as none of us had seen that. It is OK, not ‘wow’ but a decent show. As it is set in the 1950’s it is so hard to view the racism and misogyny that was deemed acceptable. Is this what the Trumplodytes mean when they refer to ‘Make America Great Again’? It is only a positive environment if you are a white man.

When we got home Norm had made a basic mince and tomato base sauce so I added kidney and borlotti (pinto) beans and seasoning and turned it into chili con carne and we had it with chips, salsa and sour cream. Mexican or Tex Mex food twice in one day is fine with me!

Today it is raining again and a bit cooler. At least the rain we have had has kept the garden alive.

My Clivia are thriving and are showing off lush bright orange blooms.

My air plant is blooming too.

Lily drove home this morning and Norm and I have been relaxing and enjoying the cooler weather as have the doggies.

Wish me luck tomorrow with coping with my last day. I have a sales meeting with another client on Tuesday and I have also been put forward to a new client based in Pietermaritzburg so we will see which of them comes forward and contracts us first.

Enjoy your week and until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xxoxoxoxox.

Five

I have five more days on my current project and then hopefully I don’t ever have to work again with the developer I’ve had so many issues with. This week he allegedly developed 10 data rules but only half were valid. He could not even get his job to complete on Friday but felt no pressure and swanned about chatting up the ladies instead of working to resolve the issues. It is always 1 step forward 2 steps back. The Dosey Doe of development.

We have also had 5 days of protesting in Hangberg, a suburb in our village. Some residents are demanding that a tract of land earmarked for electrical infrastructure be used for housing and there is much unhappiness about plans for evictions and houses being demolished in Hangberg.

50 protesters lit fires in the road and vandalised a construction site, and a truck was torched at a power depot. Roads were closed off, buses were rerouted and shots were fired at foot patrols in the area. Flares and petrol bombs were also directed at the officers.

Police fired tear gas and let off stun grenades in an attempt to quell protests. The protesters retaliated with stones and marine rocket flares.

The protests against gender based violence have continued all across South Africa. The police seem to have approached some of the protests against violence to women with even more violence.

My daughter Caitlin and her boyfriend Wes and some of their friends joined the protest in Cape Town yesterday.

There was good attendance despite the pouring rain.

Caitlin videoed a bit of the speeches and crowds.

Millions of people across the planet also protested against Climate Change on Friday.

The youth across the world have been inspired by Greta Thunberg and her protesting against climate change. I love that the younger generations are so vocal and unwilling to put up with the risks to their futures and their health and are not so ignorant as to deny the information from the science community.

I took my car in for a service this week and it cost me R8.5 thousand as I had to have the brakes, pads and discs replaced. Norm spotted a little bakkie he fancied and is planning to trade his Opel for it once he gets paid for his last project.

Panda has made more progress this week and he managed to get upstairs all by himself on Tuesday. He still needs help getting onto the sofa but he has no issues jumping down off of the sofa or the bed. He is much stronger on his feet and it feels like he has gained back the weight he had lost. He is now joining the other dogs on their walks. Norm gradually increased the distance with him on his own until he managed their full walk and then he joined the others once he mastered that.

Norm has been very busy with work this week so we have had a few takeaways. I tried some new dishes instead of sticking with my tried and trusted usual dishes.

I had the spicy chicken breasts from Papino’s and was really pleased. It usually comes with mash and I will try it with that next time but I fancied chicken and chips.

It was garlicky and spicy and so divine. I give it 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I also tried a new dish from Casareccio. I had their Pasta Pollo with chicken, mushrooms and a creamy sauce. It was so delicious and it tasted like a dish I made for the kids when they were younger. It was Trevor’s favorite meal. I also give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

We chose a few dishes from Massimo’s specials menu and they were both so good we went back the next night and chose the same dishes and shared them between Norm and I. The first night I had the Pollo (Chicken) Milanese and Norm had the Pork Stufata and we both had creamy mash. Their mash is soooo good, creamy and not lumpy. The next night we ordered both dishes and had half of each. The chicken was a large Chicken Breast, schnitzel style, coated with breadcrumbs and parmigiano, served with creamy polenta or mash and seasonal roast veg. The other dish was slow cooked pork casserole in a porcini and field mushroom sauce, with a touch of cream, also served with roast seasonal veg and creamy polenta or mash. The pork was so tender it would melt in your mouth. Both dishes are so tasty I wish they were on the menu all the time. Both get 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I only had one bad experience this week when I had pasta from a local venue and it was under-cooked and very dry. It is unusual for our local venues to be inconsistent. It is a dish I have often which is what led to my being adventurous and trying new dishes.

I was having a bit of an adventurous week all round as I decided on the spur of the moment to chop off my hair and get a fringe! (AKA ‘Bangs’ to the American readers.)

My hair is getting so grey and we have been lightening the colour around my face to try and lessen the contrast of the grey. Now we will continue that approach and eventually may even let the grey grow out.

After my hair appointment I gave my friend Thembi a lift home. We were chatting and she told me that her neighbor had died that week. She said the neighbor had taken away the husband of a Malawian woman and the Malawian woman had stolen a pair of the neighbor’s underwear off the washing line and had put some sort of poison on them and then took them back to the neighbor and when she wore them it made her vagina swell up massively and a few days later she died. That is some bad mojo! How much of it is fact, how much is gossip and how much is superstition is unknown but I never doubt anything to do with magic, the mind has as much power over people as the body does, sometimes even more.

Other than going to the hairdresser Norm and I have had a lazy weekend.

Today he made us a lovely brunch of crispy bacon, avocado and a cheesy omelette.

We started a new documentary series called The Kalief Browder Story which is based on a true story and was produced by Jay Z.

It is very intense and almost unbelievable how this child was treated. The US prison system seems to be in a mess, especially Rikers prison. We are only a few episodes in as it is too hard to watch more than one episode at a time but it is highly recommended.

The next 5 days will be spent finishing off the last few bits and pieces with my project. I’ve been put forward for an assessment of a new client’s adherence to the Protection of Personal Information Act and to produce a strategy to address any gaps. The client is based in Pietermaritzburg which is a 4.5 hour flight from Cape Town. But at least it is a short duration.

Until next time, I wish you all a great weekend. Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Relatable

This has been such a stressful week at work. Usually when a Data Quality system is being developed a client will hire both myself and a developer to design and build the system and reports.

My current contract obligation was primarily to document the metadata for a new data lake analysis environment being built and the data quality system was a ‘nice to have’ not a requirement. But to document the metadata I had to do data analysis and our methodology is to define the data rules as an output of that data analysis, so I have documented over 600 data rules. As the client did not have the budget to also employ a developer from my contract house I was provided a junior developer that works for the client to do the build.

I didn’t mind that he was unskilled in development, or that he was a junior as I’ve mentored new developers before. The key is attitude. A good developer loves a challenge. They also adhere to deadlines or they escalate issues in a timely manner. However this developer has such a large ego he cannot admit he has problems until he is way over his deadline and he seems to be unable to concentrate long enough to keep his head down and make progress. He is seldom at his desk, especially in the afternoons. As a result we have only managed to build and test less that 100 rules in the almost 8 months I have been on site. I roll off the project at the end of the month and want to achieve as much as possible. The client moved the dev to sit next to me so I could keep an eye on him. This week when I was doing my status report I asked him about progress. I asked what he had achieved in the days I was unable to work due to my PC being out of commission (an issue which was due to him unplugging it and corrupting my hard drive). I was also off sick on Thursday and Friday so basically I expected vast progress in that week. He said he spent three days on performance enhancement and so I asked for run time statistics on a run prior to optimization and a run after this optimization in order to gauge the success of his efforts. He knew I was seeing through his BS and he had obviously not achieved anything so he went into defense mode and screamed loudly at me ‘you are not my manager’ and swore at me and stomped off in a huff. It is like dealing with a temperamental toddler. It was so offensive to me for a man to verbally abuse me and to try and intimidate me so I reported his behavior to the client. As a survivor of domestic abuse if a man raises his voice to me it badly triggers my anxiety.

The dev decided not to communicate with me after his tantrum on Tuesday morning. He put on headphones and ignored me when I spoke to him. Even if I tapped his desk to get his attention he ignored me. When he is confused (which is often) he makes a noise like Scooby Doo, a sort of high pitched ‘huuunnnhh’? He knows I am noise sensitive so he drummed loudly on his keyboard while smirking. He refused to respond to my emails or answer my questions. How can I manage a project with no communication?

The client (his line manager) returned to the office on Friday (appropriate that it was the 13th) and we three had a meeting to discuss the issues. The dev lied and denied any personal attacks and at one point even whined to the client ‘tell her to stop looking at me’!

I’ve never worked with such a petty childish person.

Basically he was told that I am managing the project and he has to man up and communicate with me and he needs to make progress.

This project has been so stressful in regards to the lack of accountability for his attitude about work and failing to meet targets. I’m used to tight project timelines and accountability if you do not meet your deadlines. I’m relieved I finish at the end of the month even though I really like the client and the environment but I am happy to leave this developer behind.

11 more days……..and yes I am counting.

Last week I read about Nora, the young girl with special needs who went missing from her Malaysian hotel in the middle of the night and was found over a week later naked in the jungle, dead from starvation and stress.

A lot of people could not believe that no foul play was involved as she was found naked, or that she could not find her way back to the resort where her family were staying as she was discovered relatively close. However I could completely relate to this young girls fears.

Back in the early 90’s I spent a few months in Brunei with my boyfriend who was working there. Brunei borders Malaysia and while there I participated in ‘Hashing‘ which is similar to orienteering. The group all start out together as you enter the jungle but the more fit runners end up distancing themselves quite a bit from the unfit (aka me). I was running for a long time on my own and eventually got completely lost. If you have never been in a jungle it may be impossible to comprehend just how dense the vegetation is. The light is always dim due to the trees and vines which completely obscure any light getting through. It was incredibly hot and humid and after a while I stripped down to my underwear as I was dripping with sweat and my clothes were as sodden as they would be if I had swam in them and were chafing me. The sounds of animals surrounded me, I could hear so many unidentifiable terrifying noises and hear things crashing invisibly through the brush around me.

Eventually I ran into another girl who was also lost. She had given up and was just sitting crying by a stream. She and I hugged each other, held hands and walked together until the rescue group eventually found us. By then it was completely dark and we could see nothing.

When I finally emerged from the jungle, dripping with sweat, filthy and crying I punched my boyfriend in the face.

So I could completely empathize with Nora. I felt such sadness thinking about how frightened she would have been. I feel such pain for her parents.

The issues I posted about in my last blog are still ongoing in South Africa. We continue to read about the death, rape and abuse of women and girls by men and the patriarchy shown by men who defend these attacks with their ‘not all men’ bullshit or the ‘women should not dress like whores’ blaming the victim defense.

A taxi driver was captured by private security guards after he allegedly raped a female passenger for 10 hours in his van. The traumatised woman said the suspect beat her up before raping her and she thought he was going to kill her too.

Today I read about a 3 year old girl who was raped by her friend ‘s father. The child’s mother went to the police 5 times over 4 days and none of the police would believe her or take her information down or open a case. Eventually the child’s older sister posted about it on Facebook and when the story went viral the police finally responded. However when they came to the mother’s home they brought the accused with them. The accused was charged but has been released on bail. As the victim said the man also rapes his own child this man should be locked up, not released.

A 57-year-old man was arrested in the Western Cape for allegedly raping a 1-year-old baby in Mitchells Plain in August.

The horror goes on and on.

On the 21st of this month there is another March planned to protest femicide.

People keep asking what is to be gained from protesting as if we should sit and wring our hands and await a white horse and a knight.

Fuck that.

Here is a summary of The Total Shutdown’s demands to government contained in the memorandum handed to the president at the Union Buildings on August 1: 

“1. A commitment never to appoint any individual who has been implicated or minimises the causes and consequences of GBVAW to Cabinet or to lead a state institution and a commitment to announce the dates of a national gender summit.

2. A review of past national action plans to end GBVAW with a view to understanding why they failed and that the Ministry of Women in the Presidency be tasked with managing the review. 

3. The development of criteria and screening for appointing individuals who are tasked with leading efforts to end and respond to GBVAW. 

4. The development of a National Action Plan on gender-based violence whose terms of reference will be determined by the review process envisaged under demand number two. 

5. The resuscitation of the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Quality of Life and Status of Women, and that a prerequisite for committee membership is a proven track record on working on GBVAW and gender diversity issues.

6. The establishment of accountability and oversight mechanisms to ensure that an adopted National Action Plan is implemented. 

7. Focusing on the prevention of re-victimization and re-traumatisation through the establishment of a well resourced national hotline that will enable survivors to request and receive information on support services. 

8. The provision of prevention services and information on GBVAW with a view to raising awareness on the different forms of GBVAW, preventing violence and changing attitudes.

9. Training to provide legislators with information on the key features of drafting legislation to develop laws aimed at combating GBVAW and promoting gender diversity and equality. 

10. Consistent sentencing and enforcement of existing laws, in particular, the minimum sentencing legislation in sexual and domestic violence cases and that the judiciary stops using harmful and negative gender stereotypes.

11. The prioritisation of the provision of legal aid to victims of GBVAW including those who want to hold the state accountable for its failure to protect them from violence and those who have been subjected to lawsuits for publicly naming perpetrators.

12. Sensitisation and adequate training regarding diverse gender identities and LGBTQIA_ minorities for members of the judiciary and their resource providers. 

13. The provision of psycho-social support, or funding for such support, to victims and survivors of GBVAW including a publication of a referral list of the places where the service will be provided. 

14. A commitment to beginning a process to develop a comprehensive law on addressing GBVAW. This includes engaging the South African Law Reform Commission to begin a consultation process. 

15. Recognition that intersecting forms of oppression heightens women’s vulnerability to GBVAW and that these factors are taken into account during the investigation, prosecution and sentencing. 

16. That the existing Thuthuzela Care Centres’ resources be developed and vacant posts filled and that the centres be established as places of safety and care for all gender identities who are survivors of GBV.

17. The introduction of an automated national registry for protection orders. 

18. Provision of gender inclusive shelters and interim housing to enable womxn to escape abusive relationships and a list of those shelters to be confidentially shared with relevant service providers. 

19. Registration of GBVAW cases in hospitals and the provision of information on support services available to survivors of GBVAW, as well as ensuring that an effective referral mechanism is put in place. 

20. Publication of a monthly list of police stations and police officers who have been reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate for failing to provide services to survivors of GBVAW.

21. Adoption of a policy to make prosecutor-led investigations of GBVAW cases compulsory in order to provide guidance and assist in the gathering of evidence in order to ensure that cases are taken to court.

22. Publication of a national training schedule on GBVAW and gender diversity for all relevant government departments including home affairs,  social development, justice, safety and security and health.

23. A sustained media campaign for 365 days by all departments led by Government Communication and Information System providing information including awareness.

24. Government should ensure that laws, policies, practices and systems are sensitive to gender diversity to protect the bodily and physical as well as the psychological and emotional integrity of transgender and GNC people from GBV. 

* Each of the 24 demands was assigned a deadline, some of which have already passed without being met.”

Norm and I started watching a Netflix series just released in SA which is called ‘Unbelievable‘ and coincidentally is about how the patriarchy can affect victims of rape. The main character is raped, reports it and subsequently withdraws the charges due to the mental stress caused by the ordeal.

Unbelievable is based on a true story and can be both heartbreaking and enraging at the same time. It can be hard to watch.

The police and all support personnel should be female. A victim of trauma should not have to lay bare her soul to a representative of the gender who caused that trauma. If you don’t have a vagina, you cannot comprehend the dehumanizing effect of rape.

I did have one good thing happen this week thanks to my darling hubby. He booked tickets for us to spend three weeks with my Mother over the Christmas holidays. We went to see Mom last year but as my Mom paid for the flights we kept the cost down as much as possible and took a longer flight with a long layover in Qatar. It was a 38 hour trip which was so exhausting. This trip we have a short flight to Johannesburg and then fly direct to Atlanta. We will take the shuttle to Chattanooga and Mom will collect us from there which is about a 30 minute drive to her house. We will have a few days to adjust before Christmas which we will spend with family. We have booked our dog and house sitter so the house and animals will be safe and well looked after.

I am so excited! I am trying to focus on that.

Panda has also continued to improve and he can now jump off the couch or bed, he can go down the front stairs and get both in and out of the doggy door so we no longer have to take him out to wee or poop.

He still has to master jumping up and going up the stairs. But he’s making brilliant progress.

Norm has been very busy with work but still looked after us even if he did not manage to cook every night.

He cooked fillet steaks, fondant sweet potatoes, creamed spinach and roast beetroot one night. It was so delicious. The steaks were charred outside and nice and pink inside.

He cooked Kassler chops (aka gammon steaks) and served them with chips, coleslaw and the remainder of the beetroot.

We had takeaways on the nights he was out doing workshops all day. We had Chinese from the Blue Lotus one night. I had crispy chili chicken with prawn dim sum.

I have had a lazy weekend as I’m still coughing and my sinuses are full of crud. I had a long lie in bed yesterday playing games and reading. Norm brought me a frothy latte in my fave mug.

Panda kept me company as Norm was in his office working.

He loves tummy rubs. I meant Panda, but Norm probably does too.

Norm popped down to Spar while I was showering. When I finally emerged downstairs about lunch time I made a yummy simple lunch of roast chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and a green salad from what he had picked up in his shop.

We have also been pretty lazy today but after the traumatic week I had and the busy one Norm has had we needed time to rejuvenate before we do it all again next week.

I hope you all enjoy the remainder of your weekend and that you have an easy week ahead.

Wish me luck next week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Enough is Enough

My work week started pretty much on the same note as it ended on last week. My PC was still with the technician when I got in on Monday morning and finally at midday my client said I may as well go home.

On my way I popped in to the shop and got steaks for dinner. To go with them Norm made mushrooms, fondant sweet potatoes, red cabbage, and brussel sprouts cooked in chicken stock.

To make the fondant potatoes, he just peeled and parboiled them, then he sliced the potatoes into thick discs and fried the discs in butter until browned. I love these. He parboiled the sliced sprouts in chicken stock then fried them off in butter. He added the mushrooms in with the sprouts once the stock had cooked down.

Before I left work on Monday I asked my client to let me know when my computer had been fixed so that I did not drive into the city for nothing. I got a message late Monday afternoon to say my computer had been repaired so I went in at 7:30am on Tuesday only to discover it still had issues.

I raised another Helpdesk call. Finally by lunch time on Tuesday I was operational and had to quickly test the data run from that morning.

Tuesday was my birthday and I woke to some stunning lilies from Norman.

He also made a card for me and gave me a gift card from Woolies so I will get a new top or jeans or something nice with it.

When I got home from work there had been a delivery of a stunning bouquet of various bright flowers. They were from my son Trevor and DIL Amber.

There was also a basket containing a package of yummy treats with a cluster of beautiful pink roses attached.

The treats were licorice All Sorts, biscuits, a Lindt chocolate bar, biltong and a large box of nougat. So special!

I put the roses in a vase. The buds were so lush and they are such a beautiful colour.

I felt very spoiled.

That night we met Caitlin and Wes for dinner in Hout Bay at Cheyne’s.

They were already there when we arrived.

Wes gave me a bottle of Amarula (my favorite liqueur) and Caitlin made a colorful mandala type drawing for me. It is to help with anxiety. I can focus on the colors and patterns to ground me.

On the other side of the art she wrote a really sweet note. It was so touching.

We got settled in and checked out the menu.

I ordered a Passionate Buddha cocktail.

Cheyne’s had on their Spring Yum Cha special at the price of R280 per head for 4 courses. There are four sections of the menu, Sea, Earth, Land and Happy Endings. You can choose any four dishes. I always choose one from each section.

Wes had shrimp tempura and Norm, Caitlin and I all had the Hake tempura from the Sea section of the menu to start. It came with pickled shallots, miso mayo and unagi sauce.

It was perfection. The tempura was light and crispy and the tartness of the pickled shallots and the richness of the unagi sauce were the perfect compliment.

Next I had my favorite, the Mumbai chili beef. It was as tasty as it always is.

Norm and Wesley ordered the pork belly. It came with pear teriyaki, crispy potato, Keralan cream and puffed black rice.

This dish looked so beautiful. Norm rated it a full 5 stars so it must have tasted as good as it looked.

Caitlin and I ordered the crispy potato pave from the Earth section of the menu. It was flavored with truffle oil, maldon salt, Parmesan and caviar.

I wasn’t convinced about these. I always have the potato and coconut dumplings but felt like I should be adventurous. I missed my dumplings so we need to go back soon!

The pave potatoes were like what you would get if a hassleback potato and a croissant had a baby. They were tasty and delicious but just a bit dry. I nicked some sauce from Norm’s pork belly dish and it was just what the potatoes needed.

Instead of a dessert, Caitlin ordered 2 of the Land offerings, the baby back ribs and the Tokyo beef slider. I tasted the beef slider and I am definitely having that next time. It was tender sliced beef in a gorgeous shiitake cream with crispy rosti potato and it was served on a brioche. It was divine!

Norm had ordered the aubergine tempura dish from the earth section but it never arrived. Norm asked the waiter could he rather have an extra dessert as he was past eating savory food by the time we had finished our last round of food and the waiter had cleared the plates. Caitlin had not ordered a dessert so she had a bit of his peanut butter shake.

I also ordered the peanut butter milkshake. It comes with miso butterscotch, toasted nuts and chocolate soil.

Norm and Wes chose the creme brûlée. It came with toasted banana bread and miso ice cream.

I had a taste and it was as divine as it was the last time I had it. It was the perfect texture, light, rich and creamy with a crispy sugar topping. We all gave our meals 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When the bill arrived there was a bottle of wine on the bill that we did not drink, but it was quickly replaced by the correct bill and we paid up and headed home as it was a weeknight.

On Wednesday I woke up with the beginnings of a terrible flu. I went into work as I was so behind thanks to my PC issues.

I felt dreadful but I struggled through and delivered the analysis I needed to. However as the night went on I felt worse and worse. I called in sick on Thursday and Friday and just stayed in bed feeling sorry for myself.

Norm looked after me, pumping me full of Corenza C, Acc 200 and steaming mugs of med lemon.

Panda kept me company.

August was Women’s Month in South Africa but instead of being shown the honour and respect we deserve, the murder and rape of women and children continued unabated.

South Africa’s femicide rate is 5 times higher than the global average, and more than one in five women experience physical violence, worsening to one in three in low-income areas.

The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) had found that South Africa had the world’s highest rate of rape, estimated at 138 rapes per 100,000 women in 2017.

The women in SA decided enough is enough and planned a week of protests.

I watched the protests on social media and on the telly from my bed.

I was so proud of the women who took to the streets.

There were some men who joined in support.

There were so many people supporting the cause.

During Women’s Month alone at least 23 women or girls were murdered.

Below is a list of the known 23 victims:

  1. Nolundi Vumsindo from the Eastern Cape. The 44-year-old victim was sleeping in her home next to her daughter when a man pushed into the house and stabbed the woman before running away.
  2. Verusha Padayachee, a 32 year old gym owner from Pietermaritzburg was found beaten, cable tied and strangled allegedly by her husband. She had a restraining order against him. He has since committed suicide.
  3. Lynette Volschenk, a 32 year old woman from Cape Town was murdered and chopped up by a 21 year old male suspect who lives in the same block of flats.
  4. An 84 year old grandmother from the Eastern Cape was brutally stabbed to death in front of her grand children. Her murderer claimed she was a witch.
  5. Meghan Cremer, a 30 year old woman from Cape Town was taken from her home, beaten, murdered and dumped on a sand mine. One of the suspects was known to her and her family.
  6. Leighandre ‘Baby Lee’ Jegels, a 30 year old boxer from the Eastern Cape was allegedly shot and killed by her policeman husband. Jegels’ professional boxing career took off in 2014 and in two years she was named the South African Junior Bantamweight Champion. She later also became the WBA Pan African Junior Bantamweight Champion. 
  7. Nathlia Pienaar a 6 year old from Cape Town was shot dead in a gang shooting while playing outside her house.
  8. Sadiqah Newman, 26, from Cape Town, was 8 months pregnant and a mother of two. She was shot 8 times while walking to a shop with a friend. Cops say the young woman was used as a shield by the man who was the intended target.
  9. Chantal McKenzie-Vlotman a Cape Town mother of 6 and a grandmother of 4 was fatally shot.
  10. Lauren Prins, a 30 year old Cape Town disabled mother of a three year old boy died after she was shot 10 times in gang cross fire.
  11. Jo-Anita Schulz was shot dead on Women’s Day by her husband.
  12. Nyameka from Cape Town was murdered and her body was dumped. Her murder is believed to be gang related.
  13. Yanela from Cape Town who was murdered and dumped. Her murder is believed to be gang related.
  14. In Johannesburg a 39 year old female doctor was strangled to death.
  15. The doctor’s helper was also murdered and burnt beyond recognition by robbers who then stole TVs, laptops and cellphones.
  16. Jesse Hess who was 19 years old and lived in Cape Town was murdered. Her 85 year old grandfather was murdered too.
  17. Esmeralda Isaacs, a 14 year old girl from the Northern Cape was stabbed multiple times and was found dumped on a field. No one has been arrested.
  18. An Eastern Cape woman, aged 71, was stabbed to death by her son.
  19. A Cape Town woman, aged 55 was stabbed to death by her 14 year old son.
  20. Sisanda Fani, aged 30, from Port Elizabeth, a young mother, was found dead in her car from a single gunshot to head. She was in the process of getting divorced.
  21. An unknown woman in her thirties was found murdered and dumped under a tree near a primary school in Welkom.
  22. Janika Mallo, 14 years old from Cape Town, was raped and murdered and her body found dumped in her Grandmother’s yard
  23. Uyinene Mrwetyana (Known as ‘Nene’ to family and friends) Nene was 19 years old and living in Cape Town and was raped and murdered in the post office.

A vigil was held at UCT where Nene attended University.

After days of unrest our president finally made an appearance to try and placate the protestors.

I hope it is not empty platitudes. Let’s hope that the government puts something in place to affect this huge issue. None of us feel safe. But life goes on and you do what you can to maximize your security and minimize your risks.

We have had continued progress with Panda. He can make it out of the doggy door into the back garden and as of today he can make it back in! He can go up and down the two steps from the garage to the scullery. He now runs on his walks with Norm. He went to his Physio and she has said he will only need a few more appointments.

This week we had Vanessa come stay with him on Tuesday night while we were out. But Norm also tried leaving Panda alone for a few hours Norm had to go to the dentist. He made sure he could get to water and had him pee before he left. He was fine on his own.

As Norm had work done on his dental implant he has to eat soft food. Last Sunday we had pasta from Posticino. I had spaghetti with amatriciana sauce. It was delicious.

On Tuesday Norm made the low carb mac n cheese using cauliflower and it was delicious as always.

We also had pasta from Massimo’s one night. I love their pasta.

On Friday Lily came to stay. She dropped Josh at his best mates house as they were going riding early on Saturday. We watched Black Mirror and shared a lasagna and margarita pizza from Cassarechio on Friday. Cassarechio does such a wonderful lasagna.

On Saturday there were 10 of us booked for dinner at Papino’s for a late birthday celebration but I felt so ill that I rescheduled. We ordered takeaway pizzas and pastas from Papino’s instead. They even sent a divine little parcel of chocolate mousse for my birthday dinner.

How sweet was that?

We had Josh, Lily and Caitlin here with us. The girls and Trevor gave me a gorgeous statue of Ganesh, a Hindu god. Ganesh (or Ganesha) is a god of wisdom, success and good luck.

It has been so hot this weekend but I’ve stayed snuggled up in my pajamas. At least I was surrounded by my family. If I am not well by tomorrow I must go to the doctor as I will need a note for work. I hope I wake up magically recovered. Wish me luck.

Until then, air Kisses from a germ free distance from The Kitten. xoxoxoxox

A Smile A Day

Every day we see some new bit of progress with Panda’s development. If you compare his progress from my last blog to this one it is amazing! I usually write a few notes each day in my blog and then connect the dots and tie it all together when I’m ready to post but I had to scrap most of my notes as he has had so many milestones in a single week.

Since Norm returned from Kenya a week ago we have had a Physio session every afternoon when I got home from work.

At the start of the week we used a bit of fabric under Panda’s tummy to support him and used treats to encourage him to walk across the garden to me.

He was still unable to stand very long without assistance and he would not walk far without support.

He went to the Animal Fitness Centre on Monday afternoon and he had his first hydrotherapy session.

Look at that smile! Considering how much he hates water he was very happy in the jacuzzi. But he loves the staff, they are so kind. But they are also firm and told us to stop babying him and make him ‘be a dog’. He managed a few steps without any support and Norm got to see him walking unaided.

The next session we had at home we tried getting him to walk without the band under his tummy and he managed a few steps.

On Thursday morning Norm took him in the kitchen while he was preparing his food and Panda trotted around the kitchen completely on his own.

That afternoon we had him walk from Norm to me, turn around on his own and then walk back to Norm for a treat. That helped him work on turning and balance. He sometimes fell when turning but we persisted and he was doing it well after a few tries.

By Friday he was able to stand up by himself and walk unaided. Until then he could sit up but not stand as his back legs were still too weak.

He was still a bit wobbly and did a few tumbles but we just encouraged him to keep trying. The other animals had to be involved as they also wanted treats.

This morning when I came downstairs Norm and the dogs were already up and when Panda saw me he stood and trotted over to greet me! That delighted me.

Every day there is some progress. He can cock his leg to wee without falling over. He does his toilet outside when we pop him onto the grass and if he is inside and needs to go he barks to tell us he wants to go out. He hated using the pee pads when he could not stand. His tummy is more regular now that he is moving around and he has managed to do that outside now too. We have removed his little bed from our bed and he sleeps on the regular mattress like we do. He struggled to roll over in his bed as it has an indentation in the middle and now he does not wake us to turn him over. Last night he got up and came to snuggle into my tummy like he used to do. He is also being fed the recovery food and baked chicken in the garage with the other dogs each morning or eats out of a bowl on his own without being hand fed. These little returns to normalcy make us so happy.

Panda still can’t stay alone as cannot lift his front legs high enough to get out of the doggy door to go pee, or walk that far to get to the pantry where their water bowl is kept and we do not trust Navajo to not knock him over.

We had amazing weather this week no rain and lots of heat. My flowers are all blooming.

Does anyone know what this plant is called? I think it is so beautiful.

Today it is misty and we have a bit of drizzly rain.

Maybe because there is so much was going on, the week went by so quickly. We made some positive progress at work. The colleague next to me was even more distracting than usual as he has a cold. So now he has added coughing and sniffing to his usual repertoire of talking out loud to himself and playing loud music on rubbish headphones. I want to scream ‘STFU’ to him all day but instead I slap the desk and say ‘you are talking out loud again’. He also does no work, just messages his wife, reads linked in, does personal emails and listens to music. The client does not care too much as they do not pay him as he is on a government driven placement scheme, so we taxpayers are paying for him to mess about each week. When I suggested he tell our manager he has no work to do he just chuckled and said ‘Oh I am keeping myself busy’ and I wanted to say ‘yes but not in any way that is beneficial for the client’. I managed to repress that comment.

I had some sad news on Monday when I heard that one of the women at my old nail salon died. Simie was from Zimbabwe and was only 40 years old and had a 9 year old daughter. She also had two older sons but I feel so sad for her daughter who will now be in an all male household. Her husband said that Simie had pelvic pain and was diagnosed with fibroids at the government hospital and sent home. Her pain increased to such a stage that she went back to hospital 3 weeks ago and they realized she had been misdiagnosed and had stage 4 cervical cancer and she never returned home. Our government hospitals are horrendous. They are understaffed, under supplied with vital equipment and supplies, and very dirty. If the proposed National Health Insurance Bill is passed we are all in trouble. What the government wants to achieve is for those of us with jobs and private health insurance to pay for free healthcare for the poor and underprivileged but we already do so via our taxes. Why must they remove our access to private healthcare and hospitals?

It became public this week that 76% of police stations in South Africa do not have adult rape kits in stock, while a further 69% of stations do not have child rape kits in stock.

Without these kits, evidence in reported rape cases could not be collected, and without evidence the ability to successfully prosecute rapists diminished drastically, DA spokesman Andrew Whitfield said in a statement.

“If the minister of police does not heed to our call to resolve the rape kits crisis he must take full responsibility for the failure of the SAPS to investigate rape, arrest rapists, and ensure successful prosecutions of those who commit this heinous crime,” Whitfield said.

SAPS have now said that they have signed a contract with a supplier to provide rape kits for the next three years.

“The supplier will provide 13 different types of evidence collection kits including, adult sexual assault kits, paediatric sexual assault kits and Buccal (swab) sample collection kits. The first consignment of kits was received yesterday (Saturday) and they are being strategically distributed to provinces today to augment their existing stocks,” SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said in a statement issued Sunday. 

Naidoo explained that a dispute with the supplier forced the SAPS to cancel its contract after allegations of corruption arose between the supplier and members of the SAPS.

Before this, however, the kits were procured at national level and distributed to stations around the country, with the numbers managed on a central database.

Let’s see if they manage to resolve this issue as SA is deemed to be the country with the highest number of rapes internationally. This is only those which are reported and it is estimated that many rapes go unreported.

We have spent so much time dealing with Panda that we have not had much time to cook.

I made tacos and refried beans one night.

I used the left over taco meat to make chili con carne by adding beans, tomato passata and lots more spices.

One night Norm bought a chicken and mushroom pie and made chips in the air fryer and salad to go with it.

We had takeaways a few nights, on Monday I had tapas from Massimo’s. And then I had a Parma ham pizza from Massimo’s on Thursday. We love their food and they are right by our house so it is easy.

I am having a lazy weekend. Norm has been working all weekend so I have caught up with several series on telly.

I have started a new series called Offspring this week which is an Australian series and is very cute.

I adore the quirky theme song to it!

I also watched a documentary called First Face of America which I found really interesting. It is about the discovery of a 13,000 year old skeleton of a young girl they called Naia in a deep cave in the Yucatán province of Mexico. Naia is one of the original ancestors of Native Americans. The remains have been described as the “oldest, most complete and genetically intact human skeleton in the New World”.

It made me wonder what number of scientists are also Christian. How can you believe in both evolution as well as a divine being who is claimed to have created two humans whom we are all descended from with so many diverse physical appearances? I do pray to Wankan tanka or the Great Spirit and I also pray to my ancestors. I believe in giving thanks and showing gratitude for my blessings. However I do not try and tell other people what to believe or who to worship. If only most Christians believed in this right and did not try and convert others or tell them that they will be punished with hellfire and damnation if they do not believe in Jesus.

I also watched an episode of a show I have really enjoyed which is called This Is Life With Lisa Ling. Each episode Lisa has a topic about people who are living unconventional lives or who have jobs in controversial careers. This episode was about the Gay Rodeo.

It made me sad that so many of the LGBTQ community still cannot be who they really are or love whom they want to love openly and publicly. It was encouraging to see that some of the people on the show have been able to do so but so many places in America are unaccepting of being different. Most of the people interviewed had stories of violence or intimidation due to their sexuality. One man came out after a marriage which produced three children and his now adult son will not speak to him, same as many parents are unaccepting of their children. Do they think that being gay is a choice rather than who they are?

The human species still has a long way to go to develop acceptance and humanity.

I hope you have all had a good weekend and that you have a great week ahead. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Hold The Guavas

Last week was a four day work week in South Africa as Friday was a public holiday. It was National Women’s Day. It commemorates the events on 9 August 1956, when more than 20,000 South African women of all races staged a march on the Union Buildings in protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act of 1950, commonly referred to as the “pass laws”. In South Africa, pass laws were a form of internal passport system designed to segregate the population, manage urbanisation, and allocate migrant labour. Also known as the natives law, pass laws severely limited the movements of not only black African citizens, but other people as well by requiring them to carry pass books when outside their homelands or designated areas. Before the 1950s, this legislation largely applied to African men, and attempts to apply it to women were met with significant protests. Pass laws would be one of the dominant features of the country’s apartheid system, until it was effectively ended in 1986.

I celebrated the day with my friends Melodie and Bronwyn. We jumped on the bus in Hout Bay at about 11am and went into Sea Point. We got off on Main Road and strolled along popping into any shop that caught our eye. Bronwyn bought herself a gorgeous pink cardigan and bought the same one for me in a stunning bright blue. It is so soft and feels lovely against your skin.

It is an early birthday present. I am very lucky and felt so spoiled.

We stopped at Mojo Market where there are loads of different food stalls and live music.

We had not had breakfast so we ordered a cappuccino and donuts.

They make the donuts to order so they are hot and they are lovely and crispy outside. You can have them sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar or with hot icing. The icing comes in vanilla, chocolate and caramel and I asked for a bit of each. Wow those were sinfully delicious.

After we finished we walked down to the promenade by the seaside to Winchester Mansions. It is a gorgeous Cape Dutch building with a lovely sea view.

We were seated on the front patio looking out to the ocean.

My selfy skills need work.

Mel ordered chicken wings and wedges and Bronwyn and I both ordered chicken strips and chips.

The serving was huge but the chicken was moist and tender and the batter crunchy. It was very nice. If this was a ‘light meal’ the portions of their mains must be unmanageable! I was very impressed.

There was a sweet baby redwing starling which hopped up onto my handbag and begged for food. It was the sweetest. I love birds and this little guy seemed almost tame.

We had a lot of laughs. Bronwyn was telling a story about an interaction with someone and said that she almost ‘kicked her in the guava’. I had never heard that term used to describe someone’s lady bits and I laughed myself silly. We then somehow got onto the subject of mushroom soup and I pointed out that it smells like semen. These two discussions gave us a lot of amusement.

After we had finished eating we strolled back up to catch a bus, but the stop for the one we needed was back on Main Road so we walked around to that stop. We waited ages and when our bus came through it was so full the driver did not even stop. After standing in the cold wind for about 20 minutes we gave up and booked an Uber.

The rest of the weekend was pretty chilled and relaxed. It has been sunny but cold. I put Panda out on the front porch so he could get some fresh air and sunshine.

Sunday it started raining again. Last week it rained on and off for most of the week and was very cold. We had fires most evenings.

We have had a busy week and ended up with takeaways for dinner several nights.

I had a prawn yiro from Spiro’s with loaded chips.

It was very tasty and the home made pita bread is one of the best I’ve ever eaten. It was quite silky in texture. The yiro came with feta and tomato saganaki sauce as did the loaded chips. The sauce was divine. I enjoyed it very much.

I had pizzas a few different nights. I had a Regina pizza from Massimo’s one night.

And I had a Mexican pizza from Cassarechio.

They are very different styles of pizzas but both are nice. Massimo’s is more like the pizzas you get in Italy but the one from Cassarechio was tasty too.

Norm cooked a delicious dinner on Thursday night. He grilled fillet steaks and halloumi cheese, fried sweet potato rounds in butter and served it with a baby spinach and rocket salad topped with pomegranate seeds. It was all perfectly cooked.

Panda has made more progress this week. We took him to see a Physio to see if he is ready for hydrotherapy. She did not think he is quite ready but she gave us some additional exercises to do at home with him. He is trying so hard. When you lift him he’s trying to stand, he puts his legs out straight to hold himself up. Norm even managed to hold him up so he could pee. He practices wiggling and scoots his body from one end of the bed to the other.

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Physio time ❤️

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Despite my relief at Panda’s progress I had a high anxiety week. I have had an intense headache and palpitations for weeks and finally on Thursday I reached the limit of my endurance and booked an appointment with my GP. He did a test where he asked questions about my stress and anxiety and determined I had moderate to high anxiety. He discussed my options and we agreed that I should try a daily dose of anxiety / depression medication as I could not take the Ativan on a daily basis as I had been doing recently. He also gave me something for my headache which has now improved.

On Thursday there were protests in Hout Bay at the harbour. The protestors were upset that they had not been paid. Who was supposed to be paying them I’m not sure and why they had to cause obstacles for everyone who lived in the area I am not sure. Many of these protests make no sense.

There was another truck petrol bombed in Cape Town this week. I also don’t understand who can be benefiting from this. There have also been a series of cars stoned just off the motorway.

The death of Ivan Ivanov that I blogged about recently has led to the implementation of a new team of guards on Table Mountain. I hope that they make a difference and make it safe for people to use the parks and mountains without so much risk.

With so much chaos and ineptitude in our country I find it farcical that the government is attempting to implement a National Health Service (NHI). They should focus on resolving the current problems before attempting such a huge transformation.

Many of the government hospitals are in dire straits so they have to sort that out before they have any chance of it being a success.

Norm and I have started watching a new series on Netflix called The Family.

It is as fascinating as it is worrying. It is about a secretive Christian Conservative organization in Washington, D.C. called The Fellowship Foundation, aka ‘The Family’. It outlines how they infiltrated the Washington political scene and the power they wield. I really recommend it.

I hope you all have a fabulous week. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo