Mother’s Little Helper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was nice to spend time with my girls.

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

It was lovely however.

The penguins are too cute.

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

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

Looks like we exhausted poor Calum.

I woke him up.

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

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

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

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

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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

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

With a little help from my friends

This week was exhausting as Norm was away on a business trip to Kenya and I was in charge of the house, the 5 animals as well as still working. I negotiated with work to only do half days so that helped. I also hired my friend Michelle to come sleep over and assist me. I could not have coped without her as she stayed with Panda as he still cannot be left on his own.

We soon got into a routine, we both got up at 7 and while I was getting ready for work Michelle fed the dogs and sorted out Panda. While I was working she did Physio with him, practiced standing and took him out for a bit of sun.

The earth has healing energy so it was good for him to connect to that. He is now able to sit for quite a long time, lie down and roll over.

On Tuesday we took him for Physio at the Animal Fitness Centre in Plumstead. While I was sitting in the waiting room with Panda in my lap, he suddenly extended his front legs and sat up! Michelle said he had also done it earlier that morning. Once he realized he could do so he started to do it constantly and he has built up a lot of strength in his front legs.

Then with the Physio’s assistance he walked a few steps. She used this strap under his hips.

I cried with happiness to see him walk. He was smiling from ear to ear with pride.

They did a lot of strengthening and stretching exercises with him and he was so sore for several days as his muscles have all atrophied completely.

Every day Michelle walked Pixie and Navajo then came home to collect Panda and walk him around the neighborhood for a bit. It was so exciting for him.

All of the animals loved Michelle and she was so helpful to me around the house. She vacuumed up the endless dog hair, tidied the house, did laundry and the dishes. She was such a blessing. She even did a bit of reiki on all of the dogs.

Panda is still very restless at night. The first night he woke me every hour. The next night it was every two hours. The 3rd night Michelle tried to get him to sleep with her so I could get a decent nights sleep but he complained and thrashed about looking for his mommy. At 2am I woke to his howling, went and got him and brought him into my bed, he drank some water and then slept til morning.

I cooked for us each night. On Sunday Norm did a shop for me and I cooked a big pot of bolognese sauce. On Monday when I got home I made some toasted ciabatta and cooked the spaghetti and we had a quick and tasty dinner. I grated some fresh Parmesan on top and voila.

The following night we got home quite late due to Panda’s Physio and I cooked lasagne noodles, layered them with the remaining bolognese sauce, some ricotta cheese and mozzarella. I toasted the remaining ciabatta. It made another delicious dinner from the one packet of mince.

The following night I just cooked some frozen tempura hake fillets and chips and served it with baked beans and coleslaw. On Thursday I stopped at Oakhurst Farmstall Kwikspar and bought one of their delicious chicken and mushroom pies, some of their potato salad, and I made more coleslaw and we had another easy meal.

Norm had a good trip once he finally got to Kenya. He was due to fly on Sunday night but the flight was cancelled. Then the second flight was also cancelled. The third flight was delayed four hours so it was 2am when he got to his hotel and he had another flight at 5am so he got very little sleep and had to start work as soon as he landed. When he got home on Friday night he woke in the middle of the night ill with food poisoning and spent most of Saturday in bed.

I had an appointment to get my hair done at Pause in Cape Town CBD so he had to cope for a bit on his own. As the grey around my face is getting quite prevalent Leandra has decided to lighten the colour around my face to make the contrast with my natural black hair colour less severe and noticeable.

What do you think? Leandra gave me some lovely curls even though I wasn’t going anywhere special.

After my hair appointment I went into Hout Bay and got some electrolytes and Imodium for Norm, got petrol, went to the bank and did a bit of a shop.

When I got home I made Norm a pot of vegetable soup.

Lily and Josh were planning on coming down for the weekend but they both have flu so they stayed home. Caitlin came for dinner on Saturday night and it was lovely to see her. We made various salads and did tapas of chicken samosas, chicken strips and arancini balls. Norm got out of bed and managed a bowl of soup and some toast.

We started watching Series 2 of Mindhunter on Netflix.

This is such a riveting series, I am loving it so far, but then I have an obsession with serial killers.

It has been absolutely stunning weather the last few days.

Today Norm is feeling a bit better and Panda is stuck to him like glue. He so loves his Daddy. I was supposed to go to drumming but I am exhausted and need a day of rest.

I have started on the full strength anxiety / depression meds and I have not had any anxiety reactions this week. No vertigo or palpitations or any other symptoms. It is such a relief.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend and that you have a great week.

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

I Hear You Knocking

 

I suspect that I have suffered from anxiety for most of my life but I just did not have a name for it. When I moved from a tiny little town in rural Tennessee to Los Angeles in the 80’s I was diagnosed with asthma because when I would drive on the motorways I would hyperventilate and it was assumed it was a reaction to the air quality. Now I realise that I was experiencing my first full blown panic attacks.

Over the years they have reappeared in moments of extreme stress with different intensities. At their worst I faint and at their best I just feel a bit ‘twitchy’ and hypersensitive. A few years ago I was interviewing the CIO at a client and I blacked out in the middle of the interview, my vision went black and I heard the roaring in my ears but I stayed upright. Luckily the project manager I was working with realised something was going on with me and carried on the interview and I came around within a few minutes. On Wednesday this week the same intensity of breathless panic hit me. It started with being aware of my heartbeat, it seemed to be jumping around loudly in my chest. Then my bottom lip went numb which is the signal my doctor told me to be aware of, it signifies a panic attack. The symptoms then escalated until I could feel myself about to faint, I heard the roaring in my ears and my vision started to go dark. I managed to talk myself out of it by breathing deeply and slowly and reassuring myself that I was fine, it was not a heart attack, it was anxiety. Naming it took away some of its power. I scrambled around in my bag and found my anxiety medication and slipped an ativan under my tongue, drank some water and sent an SOS whatsapp to Norman asking him to ring me and talk me down. I walked around the office talking to him until I felt a bit more steady. However I could feel it’s insidious presence at the back of my mind, like a steady knocking to remind me of its presence.

One thing I find with anxiety is that if I try to be a typical Virgo and analyse what may have triggered it, it makes me more anxious. However I am pretty sure that it is the combination of work pressures, money pressures, the fear over Panda’s health and worries over his prognosis.

Sometimes you just have to accept that it is what it is and try to just take things a minute at a time.

When I went home I had to shower and get ready to go out again as it was Norman’s birthday.

We have a lot of history together.

We had made plans to go for dinner with our friends Mel and Steve. Caitlin had offered to babysit Panda so we could have a night out and so we dropped him off there enroute to Peddlars.

Caitlin has 2 kitty cats and neither of them were very happy about the interloper.

In fact there were a few stare offs going on between little Mittens and Panda.

We had booked and were seated at a nice big round table.

Soon after we were seated our friends Mel, Steve and their daughter Chloe arrived.

We were not allowed to take any pics of Chloe (teenagers) but it was lovely to catch up with them all, they had just returned from the UK where they were looking for Universities for Chloe.

We had a lovely dinner. Everyone except me ordered starters but I knew I wanted dessert and could not manage 3 courses. Mel was very generous and gave me one of her spinach and feta croquettes which were delicious! I will order these next time we go there. They were R59 and amazing, tasty little balls of heaven.

Norm ordered the Gnocchi Gorgonzola for R68: Potato dumplings with spinach, assorted mushrooms, cream and gorgonzola. Norm enjoyed it but I tasted it and thought it was revolting but then again I do not like gnocchi or gorgonzola so there you go.

Chloe had the calamari and it was a massive portion. Steve had the beef carpaccio. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food.

For his main, Norm ordered the fillet steak which was on special and had it with sweet potato fries but I did not snap a pic of it. The rest of us ordered burgers, Steve and I both had the Bacon and Cheddar Burger for R125: Crispy bacon, mature cheddar served with chips and onion rings.

Mel chose the Camembert Chicken Burger for R120: Chicken breast with melted camembert, cranberry and herb salsa, served with chips and onion rings. She enjoyed it but said it was very salty.

For dessert both Chloe and I had the chocolate brownie at R49. It came with ice cream and was garnished with strawberries.

I had asked the waitress about the brownie because as an American I have high standards for brownies and she assured me it was divine. She was wrong. It was full of chunks of chocolate and had very little actual brownie taste. The texture was wrong. I did not enjoy this dish very much at all.

I had advised the restaurant when booking that it was Norman’s birthday and so they did a special little bit of decoration on his cheesecake.

Norm gave his dinner 5 Kitten Stars but mine gets 4.5 as the brownie disappointed me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

We stayed quite late for a school night just chatting and having a laugh and then we went to collect Panda. He was so excited to see us, I am sure he thinks we may just abandon him. Silly boy. We are in it as long as he is willing to fight.

Norm has been working on Panda’s prototype for a walking frame to assist him with rehab once his legs will function. He bought an aluminium side table and removed the top so that he just had the frame. He tested out the size using towels and clamps to hold Panda up.

During the week Norm went to a fabric shop in town to get neoprene. He had Panda in his arms and the manager stopped him to advise no dogs were allowed in the shop. When Norm explained his illness and why he needed the fabric, the lovely manager went to get samples of the fabric and brought them to Norm, let him choose, cut the size needed and helped Norm pay. So sweet.

On Saturday he made a sling from the cloth to go into the frame.

Panda was confused as to what was going on.

Panda is slowly starting to get stronger while simultaneously losing weight and muscle mass. Trying to get him to eat is a nightmare, some nights Norm has to almost force feed him the recovery food with a syringe and some nights he will almost bite your arm off for a bit of roast chicken and sometimes he turns up his nose. However he always has an appetite for biltong or dried meat treats.

He is still having tissue salts melted into his drinking water and he loves them. He licks any sediment up from the bowl when the water finishes. He is also now taking a daily dose of Colostem. It is a mix of colostrum and stem cells. Colostrum is taken to strengthen your immune system and help your body fight disease-causing agents.

Stem cells have the following benefits:

  • Synergistic formulation,
  • Colostrum supports healthy immunity.
  • Supports many aspects of healthy adult stem cell cascade (activate, specialise & regenerate) Encourages normal immunity
  • Helps to maintain a healthy gastro-intestinal environment

He also has CBD drops at night to help relax him for sleep.

Next on the agenda is to take him to Dr Barry Hindmarch for acupuncture next month when I get paid. Meanwhile Norm and I do a bit of light physio to keep his joints supple. I work on each leg individually and take them through their range of motion and then give him a massage but he is just a bag of bones, skin and copious amounts of hair.

I have seen his back leg kicking and this week when it happened I clapped and cheered and he did it again. Initially we weren’t sure if he was using his body to move his leg or whether it was deliberate fine muscle movement. Either way it is encouraging even though it is such a minor thing.

His bark gotten a bit stronger.

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with Panda, on Monday when I got in from work Navajo was unable to get up from the floor. He had obviously put his back out. Against my advice Norm went behind Navajo and tried to lift his hindquarters up. Navajo screamed in pain and nipped out to try and bite Norm and barely missed his face. If you have ever had back pain you know that if someone tries to help you up it can cause you pain. We messaged David the doggy chiropractor to request an appointment the next day and fretted over him all night. We had been given some CBD Jell-O shots for Panda and I decided to give one to Navajo to help with his pain. He happily took it all and about an hour later he was as high as a kite. He refused to come upstairs and he collapsed and fell sound asleep. I worried about him all night and woke feeling like death. When we came downstairs Navajo was as good as new. He had refused food the day before but he wolfed down his breakfast and acting like he had no pain at all! Norm took him to the chiropractor and David also did a little treatment on Panda to release some tension in his neck.

I’ve not stuck to low carb this week. Norm and I are both stress eating. On Monday he made a nice chicken stir fry but we had no sauce and I made a sort of satay sauce with teriyaki, sugar free peanut butter, chili and a bit of honey. We served it on noodles.

Tuesday night we had pasta takeaways from Cassarechio which left me with leftovers for lunch the following day. Thursday we had takeaways again, I had tapas from Massimo’s: calamari and fried polenta bites.

Friday I went for lunch at Nuri sushi with my friend Sakshi. I left work early as I was having another high anxiety day and had to take my meds to cope. It meant I was really tired and as I had done my billable hours there was no need to stay.

That evening Norman decided to try this recipe from one of our favorite low carb sites. He bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded it up so it was quick and easy and they tasted delicious.

He made homemade coleslaw and frozen chips in the air fryer.

This week there was an armed robbery at the iconic Mount Nelson Hotel. It is a very high end beautiful building and has amazing service. Police spokesman FC Van Wyk said 15 armed men arrived at the hotel in two vehicles. The security guard at the access control gate was threatened with a firearm. Two of the suspects removed the guard’s baton and hand radio and stayed with him while other members of the gang proceeded to enter the hotel.

“They pointed staff members and guests with two firearms and robbed them of their personal belongings,” a statement from Van Wyk said.

“The suspects then started breaking the glass cabinet display windows in the foyer with big hammers and removed jewellery, and also took an undisclosed amount of cash from the cash register.”

The suspects fled the scene shortly after the robbery and 5 of them were later arrested.

Such high profile crimes are sure to impact tourism which is a large part of Cape Town’s economy.

The Army has now finally been deployed to the high crime areas around Cape Town to deal with the gang crime and high number of murders. It took a few weeks to get them on the streets. I hope it makes a difference.

Before the press all told us the Russians were stealing our information I downloaded the FaceApp and did the obligatory old lady shot.

I look just like my Grandmother ❤️

Saturday we just relaxed, I slept until 10 which is unusual for me. I obviously needed the rest.

It was freezing cold out so I built a fire. All five of the animals kept close by.

We had seen a few episodes of Killing Eve on a flight and we really enjoyed it and Caitlin downloaded both series for us and we watched a few episodes of that. It is gripping.

I put on a pot of chicken curry late that afternoon and it wasn’t ready for dinner that night so we are having it tonight. I’ll do spinach purée and cauliflower rice with coriander to go with, it smells divine.

Today I went to Marina da Gama for drumming. I have missed a few sessions so it was lovely to see everyone. Drumming and singing helps to ground me and gives me peace. This song is one of my favorite songs and I always get a lot of positive feelings from it. It is so beautiful.

I hope Panda makes more progress this week and I hope you all have a great week. Until next time. Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

 

Conspiracies and Spirits

This week’s Old Fart Convo that I eavesdropped on at work was about Conspiracies and Spirits. First they said that ‘All Americans believe in Conspiracies’. No, no we don’t. Only some do. They touched on Flat Earthers and the people who are convinced the Moon Landing was faked.

Then the conversation drifted over to the subject of Spirits. They steadfastly denied that ghosts or spirits exist, then conversely almost crossed themselves and clutched their rosaries when one of them mentioned Ouija boards. When one of them asked the other two had they ever used a Ouija board they all said ‘NO!’ rather vehemently.

At this point I started giggling and they turned around to look at me but I did not attempt to interrupt their discussion. My expression and sniggers seemed to somehow unsettle them though and they shuffled off back to their desks.

Some of us do not need the assistance of a Ouija board to communicate with the other side, if anything we need help with blocking that communication!

My friend Alison shared a Light Language Activation image with me which is geared toward helping an empath disconnect from energy which is not theirs.

I have now started following Markus on social media and I enjoy his Light Activation images.

If I know that I will be around someone I need to protect myself from, then I do a protection ritual beforehand, but it is the experiences and interactions we do not expect that can get to me. My ability to protect myself is lessened when I am exhausted or stressed and I am both of those at the moment.

There is very little progress with Panda’s recovery and this whole experience has been expensive, stressful and exhausting.

Panda still sleeps in the bed with Norm and I as he always has, but he is most often wide awake alllll night. I do not go into a deep sleep as I have a possibly irrational fear of rolling over onto him in my sleep and smothering or crushing him. He can still only make a little growl and an almost soundless bark and cannot move away.

On Sunday night he had a very restless night but I still got up and managed to get to work and exist thanks to caffeine. The client had forgotten to send an email to HR to extend my contract another month and on Monday my access card did not work, but they let me in to the office using a visitor pass.

Panda was awake most of the following night too, so when my alarm went off at 6am on Tuesday I was still very tired and I hit the snooze button and went in for 8am instead of 7am. Tuesday morning they would not let me in to the building at all without an escort, preferably my manager but my manager usually only comes into work about 10am. Finally after half an hour of ranting and leaving annoyed voicemails on my managers phone, someone on the team walked past and I asked the receptionist if he could walk me to my desk and she allowed me in. One of the elevators is out of order and I had to queue forever it seemed for the one working elevator to have space as the queue was all the way back to reception. In between rants at reception I had nipped out and treated myself to a coffee and it was cool by the time I got to drink it and it was mostly foam rather than the coffee I desperately needed. I also realised I had left my lunch at home.

I just wanted to go back to bed.

Panda has become a 4am alarm as he wakes most nights looking for water or to be turned over. To be honest we usually have no idea what he wants, we have to go through the list of options until he settles. Much like a new Mom with a crying baby that you change, feed, water, rock and then finally when you feel like you can’t cope any longer you put them down in their cot and they immediately pass out, except it is barking and not crying.

Ironically Panda is looking healthier than before his illness in some regards. His breath used to be deadly and now is not scented at all. He had constant dark circles under his eyes which the vet had said were an environmental allergic reaction and those are gone. His eyes are bright and clear. He is still taking the tissue salts to boost his immune system and recovery. We grind them into powder, add to water and give him them in a syringe.

I’ve ordered some CBD products for him as well to see if they help with his healing. I will try anything if it might help. We will continue to support him any way we can.

Progress is very slow but we do get glimmers of hope. We do little Physio sessions with him, rotating his legs as if he is walking, flexing the ankle and elbow joints, then ending with a massage. It feels like he is pushing back against our hands with his back legs when we do the exercises. I hope that is true and it is not wishful thinking.

Norm cooked a few nights this week. He made a beefy bolognaise type sauce and served it with mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli and cauliflower. The following night he made a pseudo cottage pie by layering the leftover meat sauce, mashed sweet potatoes and topping it all with cheese and baking it. It was lovely to have homemade healthy food.

On Friday morning I was checking Facebook notifications and I saw a memory from our anniversary a few years back. With all of the stress and chaos Norm and I both forgot. I cannot believe we have been married for 22 years! Sometimes it feels like we just met and sometimes it feels like we have always been together. We will always be there for each other, we are soulmates despite being compete opposites.

When I got home from work Norm had bought me a lovely bunch of lilies, my favorite flowers.

He also shopped and made us a gorgeous dinner. He grilled a fillet steak and I made a salad of spinach, rocket, pomegranate seeds, toasted pine nuts and grated parmesan cheese. He made fried sweet potato fries in the air fryer and fried whole mushrooms in butter.

We built a fire and settled in for a relaxed night surrounded by our babies.

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It was a big change from our last few anniversaries but we cannot leave Panda on his own so we are housebound for the foreseeable future.

Norm took Pixie to Noordhoek to the doggy Chiro on Saturday morning. I had to try and feed Panda. The vet and Norm have no qualms about shoving the large syringe down his neck but I can’t. I hand fed him.

Afterwards I started a big fire even though it was so early in the day as it was freezing cold and raining outside.

I watched a few episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Panda was in good form and watched it with me.

I mixed it up with a few episodes of the new season of Good Girls on Netflix.

Today I finished the last episode of Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and have to search for a new addiction. If anyone can recommend anything please do!

Norm and I watched a documentary about the water crisis in Flint Michigan and then we watched a documentary called ‘Minimalism’.

It is about a movement of people who are trying to simplify their lives and get rid of all the clutter and unnecessary items we tend to cling to. I find that my need for ‘things’ has definitely lessened either due to age or due to the environment I live in where so many people have so little. I question do I need this item, or do I want this item. In the past I was into mass consumption as well but I realized pretty early on that things cannot buy you happiness. Many hoarders are that way due to some sort of traumatic loss, they surround themselves with things and fear letting anything go as a way of feeling more in control.

I am a control freak but on a conscious level I fully realize we have no control over anything.

This situation with Panda has proven that to me if nothing else.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo