Covens and Crises

We have been blessed with a bit of cool refreshing weather and even quite a bit of rain.

After the intense heat of the previous week I was walking into my office one morning and I was feeling jaunty as the cool air felt wonderful and I was so pleased about the rain. I encountered several street people as I always do. There are several homeless shelters near where I park my car. The sight of these men dragging along their sodden bedding and looking so cold made me feel so sad for them. Some of them have mental illness issues, some are addicts and some are just unlucky from circumstance.

I thought about the times when I was basically homeless myself but the difference is that as a middle class white woman, there were always friends I could rely on for support. I could couch surf or even sleep in my car if I did not have an alternative place to stay. But for the majority of destitute Africans, this is not an option. The majority of Africans live in small shacks which may have several people living in them with no couch to surf. Most people who live in shacks or on the streets may not even have a car as a back up place to provide a safe dry place to sleep.

I cannot imagine how hard the lives of the homeless must be. Having nowhere warm or dry to sleep, nowhere to store your meager belongings. I walk across the city every day and I see entire families sleeping on the streets. It makes my heart so sore.

I have had a few high anxiety days the last few weeks and I have tried to note the conditions which may be triggering these feelings. One is sugar, on the days when I had oatmeal with a banana in it for breakfast I had high anxiety levels mid-morning. The second trigger appears to be caffeine. If I drink the free coffee the client provides then I am twitchy and anxious. It is from a machine which grinds the beans so it must be a stronger bean than the single shot lattes I have from the cafe next door.

Often we can manage our issues by observing our triggers. Internal observation is not something that comes easy to most of us however, whenever I suggest to friends and family that they keep a food diary to try and identify what triggers various responses or pains in their body they seem to look at me like I am tripping. However that process requires ownership of our problems and most people seem to prefer to just take a pill rather than change their behaviour.  I hate the dozy feeling I get when I take anti-anxiety meds so I would rather try and understand the root cause of the issue. Maybe that is my Virgo analytical nature coming through?

The other issue I have been having is with my stomach. I had a hiatal hernia repair in 2007 and am now having symptoms which tell me it is back. I have chronic heartburn and reflux that wakes me up several times a night. On occasion I have a pain in my upper abdomen. I know I need to go to a gastroenterologist but I am hoping to wait until this current project ends as I suspect I will need some time off work and cannot bail on my client.

I have been feeling quite low all week as I had another instance of someone I thought was a friend very clearly sending me the message that we are not friends. Again, some people only consider you useful when you can do something for them. If they need something they contact you without hesitation, but then drop you when it is convenient. I suspect I am quite naive, to me if we act like friends, then we are. But to others they have no problem with being superficial if it suits their needs. I do not have it in my nature to be superficial, my feelings are worn on my sleeve. (Not very Virgo like is it?) If I do not like someone I am unable to hide that and if I do like someone then I want to hang out with them. Seems quite straight forward to me.

My client and I are still getting along great, he comes and asks me for advice on decisions that have nothing to do with me as a consultant, it is quite flattering that he respects my opinion. We had a funny conversation this week when he came to tell me that he has been accepted to do his PhD at a University in Arkansas. He was pronouncing it ‘Ark-kan-sus’. I told him that ‘Kansas’ is pronounced ‘Kan-sus’ but when you add the Ark it is ‘Ark-an-saw’. Now imagine this convo with a french speaking African who only learned English in his teens. It was quite funny.

It was my client’s birthday last week and when I discovered he is a Pisces I was very surprised as that is the opposing sign to Virgo and they are usually too sensitive for my abrupt and uncensored points of view but he and I get on great and we actually seem to balance each other out quite nicely. I told him that is because he is my client and I am on my best behavior. He gave me a look that said ‘if this is your best I don’t want to see your worst’.

Lily and Josh came down last Friday afternoon and Caitlin came over to join us that evening for dinner and a visit. We ordered take away pizzas from Posticino in Hout Bay and really enjoyed them. I hung out with the girls downstairs while Josh played video games upstairs and Norm faffed around being Norm. Lily was sad that she had to leave Toothless with a cat sitter as he was too small to bring all the way to Cape Town. She is so in love with that kitten. He is adorable.

It was so nice to see my girls, I wish Trevor could come visit but Josh and Lily were down for a wedding so that would not have worked even if Trevor could get away as the road closures for the Cape Town Cycle tour made life rather complicated.

On Saturday afternoon Lily and Josh went to Kalk Bay to the wedding that they were attending. They chose to use AirBnB for the night as it was cheaper than using an Uber to get there and back from Hout Bay and they knew they would have a drink or two and couldn’t drive back. The bride looked stunning, she is a gorgeous girl.

That night Norm collected dinner from The Blue Lotus. I had a portion of salmon roses.

I also had the crispy chili chicken with fried rice.

I really enjoyed it all but I always order the same thing and need to broaden my horizons in regards to their menu. I am a creature of habit.

Norm cooked for us a few nights this past week and last Wednesday he made a delicious chicken and mushroom dish. He fried the chicken and mushrooms then added double thick cream and some stock to made the sauce. We served it over creamy cauliflower mash and to go with it he stir fried green beans and mushrooms in garlic and butter. It was so tasty.

Another night he baked pork chops and served them with roasted butternut and the rest of the packet of green beans.

As always we had take aways a few nights, we had food from Spiro’s and Casareccio too. They are two of our usual take away faves.

We had a few random visitors this week. One evening as we were heading off to bed I looked up and noticed a rather large spider on the bathroom ceiling. We never kill spiders and so Norm caught him and took him out into the garden and released him.

View this post on Instagram

🕷🕸🕷

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

Then a few days later a wee birdy flew into the house and settled on the curtain rail. I cannot tell what type he is but he has a hummingbird type of beak? Is he a sunbird? I am not sure and the pic is not the best (Norm’s work not my own usually dreadful pics). Here is a link, have a look and let me know what you think?

On Sunday my friend Carol came around to help me decorate my drumstick. It is still not finished as I want to re-lace the padded end with red waxed string and I need to also add waxed string to the top and bottom of the section with the beads, but I love the effect so far.

The colours represent the colours of the Native American medicine wheel. The Four Sacred Directions are represented by the colours yellow, red, black and white. Blue represents Father Sky in the upper realm, Green represents Mother Earth below, and purple represents the self, that spirit that journeys in this physical world.

It was a nice relaxing afternoon. I had invited Carol for lunch but the whole village was rammed due to the cycle race and the road was closed so Norm had to go to Constantia as the shops in Hout Bay were empty so we ate quite late. He brought back a roast chicken and some salads and we all had a yummy and easy lunch.

That night we were lazy again and Norm got take aways from Massimo’s. I had the Granchio pasta which was on special: real flaked white crab meat, prawns,
mascarpone, a hint of chili & garlic. It was absolutely divine. The cream sauce is so light and not too heavy (I detest a thick slodgey sauce) and the prawns were delicate. I really enjoyed it.

We chose Massimo’s as it meant we did not have to drive into Hout Bay itself as it was rammed with visitors for the race. But I wasn’t considering that I was at Massimo’s the following night too. But it is one of my fave restaurants in Hout Bay so I did not mind.

Monday night I was invited to join an all women quiz team representing Community Cohesion who do amazing work in Hout Bay and the surrounding areas.

We met at Massimo’s at 6.30. There were 8 women in total and we called ourselves the Community Cohesion Curvaceous Covenettes. That is a lot of C’s at one table (pun intended).

We had such a laugh and to make it all the more exciting we won!! We all got a bag of goodies from the Richard Bosman range. We received a packet of Prosciutto, some unsmoked bacon, a piece of chorizo, a jar of bacon jam and one of bacon salt. I was happy just to have the laughs but to get to go home with these treasures made it an amazing night.

Our table also won 2 of the raffle prizes, a bottle of wine and an overnight stay for 2 people. Our clever little coven of beauties did well!

The next morning I was feeling a tiny bit hungover from the vodkas consumed the previous night. I slipped out of the bedroom in the dark as usual but when I got to the gate to go downstairs it would not open, the key wouldn’t go into the lock. I had to wake Norm to help and after much fiddling he managed to unlock it. The dogs and cats all had to get involved though and poor Naked Norm had to dodge Navajo’s attempts to shove his cold nose up his bum, avoid a dancing Pixie who was needing a wee and tripping over little Lola kitty winding around our legs while Panda yipped excitedly to cheer us all on. I was so glad it happened when Norm was here to deal with it as I would have panicked about not being able to get out.

Then when I finally managed to get downstairs and went dashing through the garage in the dark, the cord from our hoover grabbed me by the leg and I stumbled and careened around the garage and almost broke my neck. All this while slightly hung over from our quiz event (well it was actually from the vodka not the actual quiz).

Then when I got home last night I was sitting watching telly when it suddenly went off. I went out and checked the fuse box and the plugs had tripped. Water seems to be getting in somewhere and it is tripping the earth leakage thingy (she says vaguely). However once I switched the fuses back on, the internet would not start up. Our main router is based upstairs and we have a repeater downstairs to boost the signal to allow us to watch Netflix on the telly downstairs. It would not connect, I could not get on the internet to play games either. After running up and down the stairs flipping and resetting everything a million times I finally managed to isolate the issue. The power tripping had blown the downstairs modem. Norm had spent several hours trying to get hold of our service provider Sonic Wireless but first the phone just rang out and then they would answer, put him on hold and then disconnect the call. Every time we have an issue they are useless. They usually dismiss any queries by telling you everything is fine on their end (their first line of support ‘it’s not me, it’s you’). You have to send screenshots of the download speed tests to prove we are not getting the bandwidth or speed that we pay so dearly for. As soon as fiber rolls out to our street we are changing over to someone else (anyone else would have to be an improvement!).

Then today when our dog walker arrived he could not get into the house as his remote did not work. He also said that the alarm was not on. That meant that Navajo could not get out for a wee if he needed to. It also meant the house was not secure. I assumed that the electricity had tripped again and I was worried about our freezer full of meat melting and arriving home to puddles of dog wee so I left work early and came home to sort things out. That sounds nice but it just means I have to work late to make up for the lost hours as I cannot work from home.

It has been a stressful week so far other than the laughs and giggles we had on Monday. Thank goodness for the coven!

At least my week can only improve, right? Let’s hope so as my whinging is annoying even me!

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

Advertisements

Rolling into the Chaos

Life has been building up to the Chaos of Christmas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We had such a brilliant night!

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

Pixie has been my sidekick.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life changes and we have to change with it.

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

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

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

Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x.

Shutting Down

We have had a bit of on and off rain this week with more water to fill our dams. However after our weekend last week of sunny gorgeous weather it was a bit disorientating to have some days of cold weather interspersed with the warm sunny days. Do I wear boots? Do I wear flip flops? Those are predominately the only foot wear I wear and the weather in South Africa can change from one extreme to the other as it has done all week. We have not had a fire in the evenings all week so that tells you the temperature has been manageable by just wearing a warm sweater and wrapping up in furry blankets. Then again today was 27 degrees Celsius and it was a glorious day (that is about 78 in F for my American readers who can’t be arsed to google and covert).

We had one morning this week where it was pouring with rain and on my way in to work I spotted a huge bird of prey sitting on a road sign. The bird was as tall as the road sign and really fat with fluffy brown and white feathers. I wish I could have snapped a pic as he looked so majestic but trying to shoot a one handed photo while hurtling along a curvy road in the dark while it is pouring with rain is maybe not the safest so I chose to rather not risk it. I love it when we spot random animals just going about our daily lives, there are a few little bucks which have been spotted in our suburb lately as well, I would have thought it could be due to the drought except our streams are full again.

On Tuesday night Norm cooked dinner for us. He chopped up chicken breasts and mushrooms and fried them, then added baby broccoli and made a sauce out of cream, chicken stock, fromage frais, and a wee squizz of tomato paste.

It was low carb and very tasty and it was nice to try something different as it is easy to get into a menu rut, especially when trying to eat low carb. One can only create so many different types of salad or make cauliflower into so many different potato or rice substitutes.

Tuesday afternoon after work I had to stop for petrol. The South African petrol price had a monstrous hike of a Rand a liter on Wednesday. This puts our petrol up to almost R17 a liter. If my math and metric conversion skills are correct, this translates to $4.50 (USD) per gallon. As everyone was trying to fill up before the midnight price change I had to visit 2 different petrol stations to fill my tank up completely as the first station ran out of petrol in the middle of filling my car. The hike is being blamed on the poor rand value, however the poor rand value can be blamed on the cluster feck of our government and the fact that most of the government’s funds have been embezzled in the State Capture fiasco. So the root cause is the government’s lack of proper governing without the ability to avoid sticking their hands in the taxpayers pockets. I was curious about how our petrol prices rank against the rest of the world and I found this info which tells me we are not the most expensive globally. However this link is NOT considering the average salary in that country so there is very little perspective on the impact of the price to drivers. If the cost of petrol is high as are salaries then the effect is negligible, however South African salaries are not very high and this will really impact all of us. No road trips in my future for a while and this will probably mean my kids cannot pop down for the weekend as often.

Later on Tuesday night I had a dig through our family dress up box. We are having our annual Halloween party on the 27th of October. I am still not even 100% sure of what I am going as but I found a dress which I wore before I met Norman. I was unable to fit into it for decades, but as it is such a lovely funky dress I kept it, if only for Halloween options.

I was so pleased to see that it fit me again! I will possibly use this as the basis of my outfit and just tweak it. It is velvet and I love velvet. I am on the hunt for a crinoline and then I will be able to create the exact look I am after.

Meanwhile, we have had plenty of turmoil in South Africa with multiple different protests occurring across the country. (Much like the US where many women are protesting the potential Supreme Court appointment of the petulant man child Brett Kavanaugh.)

I received a demonstration alert from the US Embassy notifying us that there was a protest planned in the city on the 2nd October under the Western Cape Total Shutdown banner. However I later saw an article saying that this was fake news so I am not sure whether the Cape Town demo went ahead on the 2nd or not?!

The Western Cape Total Shutdown concept was implemented to protest gangster-ism, violence, unemployment and crime in the suburbs around Cape Town. But I am struggling to find any details other than this link.

A march had taken place on the 29th of August where scores of Kensington residents shut down a large part of Voortrekker Road as they peacefully demonstrated with placards and posters. A similar demonstration occurred in Bonteheuwel a few weeks later on the 25th of September when there was another protest held about the crime in the Cape Town suburbs. Residents in areas including Kensington, Bonteheuwel, Bishop Lavis, Manenberg, Kraaifontein and Hanover Park took to the streets to highlight an increase in gang violence in their communities. A total of 13 protesters were arrested in Bonteheuwel and the police shot rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowds.

On Thursday in the Bonteheuwel area a man was murdered by a known gangster. This issue with gangs is part of the basis for much of the protests. the gangs rule these areas. The victim was not associated to a gang so the reason for his murder is so far unknown or at least not yet publicised.

Today the Total Shutdown protests continued, this time in the north of SA near Johannesburg. The coloured communities are protesting over the killing of a woman during alleged gang violence.

They also highlighted their dissatisfaction with what they believe is the lack of prioritisation of people who identify as coloured. The term of ‘coloured’ is not a racial slur, this is a term used in SA to designate a particular distinct group of people. The term may have originated during the apartheid era, however now it is part of every day terminology here and is used by the coloured community themselves.

Another protest which occurred this week is regarding the ongoing issues with the Train Services in the Western Cape which I have blogged about previously. The rail service has been targeted for attack with many fires being set and many instances of robbery due to lack of proper security on the trains. This protest was under the banner of #UniteBehind. We have had at least one death from the arson attacks and at least one death from the robberies. In July alone 32 coaches were damaged as a result of arson. The damage caused to trains and infrastructure came to a total of more than R50m.

#UniteBehind launched #DelayRepay, a campaign to demand better rail service and compensation in cases of continued delays on Thursday. The coalition of civil society movements held a rally at the Cape Town Train Station.

The #DelayRepay campaign is a response to the “disastrous” deterioration of the Metrorail service. The rail service, the organisation said, “robs commuters and the public of money and human dignity”. People have lost their jobs due to this issue when they were late on a recurring basis. Some people spend up to 5 hours commuting every day due to delays and cancellations.

On Thursday there was a collision between 2 trains in the northern part of SA and 320 people were injured.

The first train was stationary due to technical problems when it was rear-ended by the second train. Metrorail’s spokesperson said they were investigating how the second train driver was allowed into a section where the existence of a stationary train had been reported to the depot. They were using the controversial manual authorisation system at the time. Metrorail has said previously it is forced to use this method because of severe cable theft and infrastructure damage that has crippled electronic communication to the signalling network.

Yet another issue due to lack of policing and non-adherence to safety processes in our rail system.

I am so grateful to have a car and to be independent of this drama (and to have a valid license albeit a temporary one.)

Another huge challenge in SA is unemployment where the unemployed rate is over 26% and is as high as 30% for the unemployed youth. This equates to over 6 million people without employment according to stats from the last quarter. The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 36.7% in the first quarter from 36.3% in the previous quarter. The cycle of poverty can lead to an increase in drug abuse and crime. I am so blessed that my children are all employed.

Thursday night Norm and I cooked dinner together. We did a Mexican themed dinner of spicy mince and beans.

We just served the mince like a salad, on a bed of lettuce and topped with cheese, salsa, fromage frais and home made guacamole. It was really yummy and the best thing is it is so fast to prepare when there are two of you to chop and prep.

This weekend I have to take Pixie to the chiro for her 5 week adjustment. Navajo had a visit this week, Norm took him on Thursday. He is such a curious alert dog.

He is getting better about going to the chiro, he was a raging nightmare the first visit but he has gotten used to it now and still remains alert, but is more relaxed.

As for the rest of the weekend, it is open to possibilities. I hope you enjoy yours.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox

Hardly Strong

I was watching a series this week where a mother and daughter were having a bit of a disagreement and the mother said to the daughter ‘You think you are so strong, but it only comes off as hard.’ I have heard this myself many times, I know that I am strong. I am also hard when the occasion warrants it. I wonder what is the tipping point from one to the other? I guess I ride that fence in between the two, falling into one direction or the other depending on my need for self protection.

I had 3 days off last weekend as it was my birthday and I try to always book off work for my birthday. I think it should be illegal to have to work on your special day. Norm and I had discussed what I fancied doing weeks ago but the discussion did not stick in his head and what I planned and what we did ended up being completely different, however I was happy with the way the weekend panned out. I had asked Norm to book for the whole family to go to Hogshead as I knew that their food is a generic people pleaser and we have a few fussy eaters in our family. I had asked Norm to book for just he and I to go for a fancy lunch at La Mouette on the Sunday or even on Monday which was my actual birthday. The Hogshead somehow fell off plan completely and we ended up taking the whole family to La Mouette on Saturday night. A lovely, however pricey expedition.

Friday after I got in from work Lily arrived down from Mossel Bay. It was lovely to see her and catch up with what all is going on in her life. Josh did not come with her this visit as he has been traveling back and forth for months and just needed a bit of a rest. Friday night we just chilled at home, ordered pizzas and cozied up in front of the fire as it was quite cold again and the rain was pouring down.

Saturday morning Norm was up early as he had to take Navajo to David, the doggy chiropractor. Navajo’s ankle seems better but he has so much strain to his lower back and hips from hopping on 3 legs and hauling his weight around on his front legs. Just touching the middle of his back makes him cry. It is breaking my heart watching him struggle. However after seeing David on Saturday and the doggy physio on Monday he actually managed to pee while standing on his bad leg today, something he has not done for months. Fingers crossed he is on the road to recovery.

After Nav and Norm got back home, Norm had to quickly shower and change and he headed off to a business meeting in town where he was presenting to 2 different groups.

View this post on Instagram

❤️

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

Focus on how cute he is and not my messy kitchen in the background please.

Lily and I decided to head into the village as I need to buy new eyeglasses and I needed some advice on what style suits me. I tried on dozens. I narrowed my faves to these 4.

View this post on Instagram

Help! Which ones should I choose?

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

I posted this pic on both Facebook and Instagram asking for votes and I got loads of responses. Most votes seemed to be for either 1 or 3. Some people really did NOT like the red glasses, but I love red and I love cat eye glasses so I am not sure if I can be persuaded to not take them. I go back in 2 weeks for an eye exam and will decide then which ones I want. If I can get number 1 in a black frame, I will definitely take those.

After we finished at the optometrist Lily and I drove down to the Hout Bay harbour as we wanted to have a nibble and go for a walk along the harbour and pier. As we got into the car at the optometrist we were hit by a wave of stench. We have a fish processing plant in our village and when it is in operation the entire village reeks of a horrid smell which makes you feel nauseous. We decided to drive down to the harbour and see what it was like but once there we opened our car and decided it was unbearable so we turned around and headed back into the village and settled on Deli Delish. We sat inside as the weather is so unpredictable and we hoped that meant we would not smell the stinky fish factory.

The stench had made us a bit nauseous and we were conscious that we were eating a big meal a few hours later so we decided to just have a scone and a bit of pineapple tart.

I also had an iced coffee which was divine.

After we finished we headed home to get ready for our dinner at La Mouette. Caitlin and Wes came to our place first and I opened the birthday gifts from the children. They gave me 2 gorgeous warm long cardigans and a low carb cook book.

Wes gave me a bunch of lilies which are my fave flowers, they will last ages and look gorgeous as they bloom.

We had a photo shoot on the balcony outside our bedroom before we left. (Ummm what is going on with my one weird skew boob?!)

We then all drove together into the city in my car and were lucky enough to get parked right by the venue. We asked the doorman to take a pic of all of us outside on the patio on our way in.

View this post on Instagram

My lovely family @TeamLaMouette

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

We were seated in a cozy corner booth with lots of room to stretch out. We were treated to a gorgeous glass of champagne as we were handed our menus. The champers was compliments of our host Mari. Such a thoughtful gesture!

They served us with 2 different types of home made bread and a bowl of warm dipping sauce. The sauce was made up of garlic and various gorgeous flavours in a hot beef fat broth. Sounds odd but it was very tasty, smoky and meaty.

We all decided to go for the Winter Tasting Menu which is R295 for 5 courses.

To kick off, the table was served some ‘snacks’ which were described as:

  • Mushroom gyoza, fermented cabbage and apple slaw
  • Truffle and cheese croquettes, roasted garlic aioli
  • Crispy beef short rib bao, pickled cucumber, crispy onion and chipotle mayonnaise.

These were all fabulous! The cheese croquettes are always a favourite and a meal at La Mouette would be incomplete without them. We all moaned with happiness while devouring them. The bao was rich and meaty, really gorgeous flavours. The gyoza was divine as well and I am not really a fan of the texture of dumplings, but the gorgeous flavours made up for the texture.

Next came the leek and potato soup described as ‘Smoked mash, leek oil, ash and velouté’. This was served with a bit of theatre. First they brought out a bowl with a pile of fine mash with a glistening puddle of leek oil sitting in the centre.

Then they bring around a little container and pour on the creamy soup which you then stir all together.

The soup has such flavour and I loved the way that they presented it.

For the next course you had a choice of either spicy vegetable kofta:
Cauliflower crumble, green tea and parmesan oats cracker. Norm chose this and he said it was tasty and he enjoyed it.

The other choice was the West coast mussels: Curry, compressed apple, burnt chard and onion bhaji powder. All of us except Norm had this dish. I am usually a big mussel fan, I found the delicate mussels to be a bit overwhelmed by the intense flavours of the dish. I enjoyed it but it was not my fave dish of the night.

The next course was a choice of two offerings as well, the choice that most of us went with was the cured pork belly: BBQ carrot purée, red chicory and crackling.

This was so good! The pork belly was tender and had an amazing flavour. The crackling was thin as paper and ever so crunchy. It was beautifully cooked. I loved this dish. I wanted to lick my plate.

The other main option was Herb gnocchi: Parmesan crème fraîche, pickle butternut purée, mushrooms and sorrel. Caitlin had this and she seemed to enjoy it and ate it all up quick sticks.

View this post on Instagram

Herb gnocchi

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

Dessert was lemon meringue:
Mascarpone, lemon leaf snow and wood sorrel. Ohhhhh yummy yum yum. Lemon meringue is one of my fave desserts and this one did not disappoint. It had such flavour. I loved it.

After we finished and asked for the bill we were served some of their homemade macarons. I missed the description but I thought I could taste passionfruit, but the girls thought they were blueberry! Whatever the flavour they were oh so good.

They made our tongues blue but our already full tummies even happier!

We had a lovely evening and Lily drove us home as she was our designated sober driver.

In the middle of the night that night the house alarm went off and Norm looked all around the house to see if he could see anything out of the ordinary but assumed it was just the wind and we eventually went back to sleep.

Sunday we were all up early as always, it is impossible to lie in with a houseful of hungry beasties. Norm went down to the kitchen to feed them and discovered a bird with an injured wing. It was a tiny little bird and Lola had obviously been torturing it and had damaged his wing. Norm caught him and took him down to the green and released him, I am telling myself that he recovered and is now fine.

Then today when I was coming home from work I saw a guinea fowl running frantically along the side of the road and then noticed that there was a bird knocked over and dead in the road and the frantic one was trying to get to its partner. I found both of these experiences so upsetting as I love birds.

Sunday morning Lily and I sat in the sun on the balcony drinking coffee and enjoying the nice change in weather.

The dogs hung out with us as they are always happy to be outside.

Lily had a long drive ahead and so she showered and packed up and headed home late morning. It was so lovely having her here.

Norm and I decided to go out for lunch later that day and headed across Chapman’s Peak toward Jake’s. It is the most stunning drive.

View this post on Instagram

Road trippin ❤️ #ChapmansPeak

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

We were given a fabulous table in a spot of sunshine right by the door so we also caught a bit of fresh air.

I wore one of my new cardigans and it was lovely and toasty warm.

They had a different guy singing than the previous time we were there but we really enjoyed him, he had a great voice. He sang some great tunes and had a wide variety, he did Under the Bridge by RHCP and even King of the Road by Roger Miller which always reminds me of my grandmother.

Norm chose the fish and chips. It was beautifully presented but the fish was undercooked and full of bones. Norm never complains at a restaurant but he actually called over the manager and showed him the raw gooey dough and the piles of bones. The manager said we were the 3rd to complain about the fish that day and I wondered why did he not pull it off the menu? However the manager was very nice and apologetic and took the fish off of the bill.

I chose the Tasting Platter as I fancied picky things. It had panko prawns, yunan ribs, chili poppers, chicken pot stickers and parma ham and cheese balls. I had expected cheese croquettes but these were cold, spicy cheese balls, filled with a soft cheese and were not cooked. They were tasty but just not what I expected. The rest of it was very nice.

Norm felt deprived after his unsatisfactory meal and so we both ordered the Chocolate fudge brownie for dessert described as ‘white, milk and dark chocolate, bar one chocolate sauce and ice cream.

However only 1 portion arrived so we just shared it.

As an American I have high standards when it comes to brownies. Don’t give me a dry ass piece of cake, shove a nut in it and call it a brownie. I think the sauce was not made from a bar one but other than that I have no complaints. The brownie was moist and full of yummy chocolate chunks and was really good. I will be having this every time I visit Jake’s.

We drove the long way home and it had started raining while we were at Jake’s and it became a torrent of rain and it is a very windy road so we made our way slowly. We stopped off and did a little shop of bits and pieces and then headed home and built a big fire to stave off the freezing cold.

The next morning Norm gave me his gift as he had saved it for Monday as he wanted me to have something to open on my actual birthday. I badly needed a new handbag as mine was literally falling apart. He chose this one as it has a separate removable section for containing my iPad. It is simple and elegant, I love it.

Norm had to go to a meeting for work early that morning so he dropped me off about 10 at Cait’s. First we popped into Martins Bakery which is right by Caitlin’s flat. It is owned by Wes’ aunt and uncle so I am always happy to support them. The fact that they make such nice food is a bonus! I bought some donuts and muffins and we headed to Caitlin’s. We had a coffee and a pastry and then we headed to Kalk Bay. I have always loved Kalk Bay, it is a special little place. We parked at one end of the village.

We walked along the main road, hitting all of the cute quirky shops. We trawled through the china shop and realised that it used to be a tattoo parlour and this is where Caitlin and Trevor  got their first tat, we all 3 had one done there together about 12 years ago. Here is a throwback pic of me getting mine.

Caitlin bought some little china figurines to go into her printer tray and some other items and I bought a cowboy hat as mine is falling apart.

We shopped until we were exhausted and hungry and we headed off to Live Bait to see if we could get a table and we were in luck! We were given a lovely table right by the window overlooking the pier.

We settled in and ordered a drink and some lunch.

We both ordered the prawns which came with chips, rice or salad. I chose chips and Caitlin chose salad.

The prawns were perfectly cooked and were ever so tasty. We both loved this dish and scarfed every bite. They were in a buttery, slightly spicy sauce. The chips were home made and delicious.

After we finished eating we went for a walk down the pier to help with our digestion. The wind was howling!

We walked down to the lighthouse and back.

After our walk we stopped for an ice cream at the Ice Cafe as Kalk Bay is infamous for their ice cream. We walked along the road munching and staring at the sea and then when we finished we headed back to Hout Bay.

Caitlin dropped me off at Retha’s so that she and I could have a birthday drink together. Retha gave me Pierre’s steam punk hat for our dress up box which I put on so that I would not forget it. The kitties seemed perplexed by it all.

Norm came to collect me and when we got home I discovered that Trevor and Amber had sent me some Ferrero Rocher chocolates and a stunning bouquet of flowers.

Norm had bought a chocolate brownie to stick a candle in so that he could sing to me and wish me happy birthday. I made a wish that my ex-husband has good results from his biopsy this week. As I made the wish and blew out the candle I smugly thought ‘how virtuous of me to use my wish for the good of my children’ and the candle relit!!! I looked at Norm and he said ‘that means you get an extra wish’ and so I wished another wish. I thought that was a rather spooky experience. But I won’t look my gift wish in the mouth.

I really feel self indulgent wishing for anything as I have all that I could ever hope for – a roof over my head, an interesting career, a lovely family, a loving, handsome husband and wonderful children. I wish there was more money and less crime and that my mother lived closer and then my life would be perfect, but then who ever expects perfection? Even a Virgo would never be that greedy.

I am so blessed.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x0

 

Exploding Kittens & Birthday Celebrations

My life has still been so busy that I have not had time to blog. Writing for me is a stress release, a sort of download of the clutter banging about in my head, so when I do not take the time to write it can make me feel quite off balance.

We have still made the time to enjoy life despite being so busy.

The Saturday after Rosie left, my youngest Lily and I went shopping to get presents for both Josh and Caitlin’s upcoming birthdays. Afterwards we went for lunch at Jakura which does divine sushi and crispy chill beef.

View this post on Instagram

Crispy chili beef and noodles

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

The following day was Josh’s birthday and I bought him some clothes and Lily got him a cake and a few other bits and pieces. The next morning Lily took Josh a chocolate croissant and coffee in bed and then we had a gift opening session. I had to shoot off at 10 as I had drumming circle. It was great fun as always.

View this post on Instagram

Our drumming circle ❤️

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

The pic is from Aurelie from Voice The Change.

I always leave these drumming sessions on such a spiritual high.

It was my daughter Caitlin’s 30th birthday the following weekend on the 12th of May and she had decided that she wanted to celebrate it by going away for a weekend with the people she loves and so she had booked out a large house for 10 of us to go and spend the weekend together.

She had researched what town was half way between her siblings that live in the garden route and those of us who would be driving from Cape Town. She found a place in Robertson on Airbnb and booked, however 5 days before our booking the owner of the Airbnb property cancelled! She used the excuse that her neighbour had hired a lawyer to protest her using her property commercially and she could not book guests until it was resolved in court. That caused Caitlin a lot of stress as she had everything planned out for the weekend and had also booked a venue for Mother’s Day lunch on the Sunday and now had to start her planning all over again.

Luckily there were still properties available and as Amber and Josh both had to work that weekend and could no longer join us, we booked a cheaper house that sleeps 8 instead of 10 and chose a lovely smaller property in Greyton.

I got off of work at 1pm on the Friday and headed home to pack, the traffic was abysmal and I encountered 2 stop and go traffic queues. Once I got home Norm still had to walk the dogs, shower and pack my car so it was 3.30pm when we finally left home. Hout Bay was completely grid locked from the traffic and it took ages to get to the village. Norm and I were in charge of bringing booze and snacks and I wanted to pick up wrapping paper and a birthday cake for Caitlin. We finished all of the shopping and the village traffic was still chaos, Lily had left just before us and was sending us voice message traffic updates and we knew that even once we got out of the village we would have bumper to bumper traffic to negotiate on the motorway. We decided that as we were at the far end of the village we would just cross over Chapman’s Peak and drive around the coast roads to Somerset West and then hop on the motorway somewhere around that area. It might be a further distance in kilometers than taking the main motorway but it was at least moving steadily and as it was along the coast the views were stunning. We decided to relax and just get there when we got there. After the sun went down we were on a long road with very little street lighting and visibility was very challenging. Then when we were 20kms away from the little side road that took us cross country to Greyton the petrol light started flashing so we ended up having to divert to the next town on the motorway.  For those readers who live in the US or Europe, I have to add that the ‘motorway’ is 2 narrow lanes driving through miles and miles of countryside. It is pitch black outside and it is a challenge to drive at night. A horse, goat or chicken could randomly wander into the road near the townships. It’s sometimes a bit hair raising.

After we topped up with petrol we headed back 3 km in the same direction we had come from until we got to the correct road and we then drove through yet more farmland where it seemed to be even darker. We were so relieved when we arrived at the property we had rented.

Luckily Caitlin, her boyfriend Wesley and Lily were there already and had lit a big fire in the lounge and made a potato bake and salad and were ready to start cooking the meat, so not long after we unloaded the car Trevor arrived and then we were tucking into a gorgeous plate of food. Greyton has plenty of restaurants and pubs, but we just wanted to spend time together as a family and had decided to do our own simple non-fussy cooking.

After dinner we all played Pictionary. Our family loves to play games, and Caitlin and Trevor had both brought along loads of different games to amuse us. The kids and I stayed up until 2 a.m. playing games and laughing so much our bellies hurt. We had such fun. For the turns which were ‘all play’ and the 2 teams were racing to get someone to answer correctly, the more you rushed the more ridiculous the drawings turned out. For example, the top drawing is a squirrel and the bottom drawing was the beginning of an elephant. Could you have figured that out?

The next morning was Caitlin’s actual birthday and we had planned to walk over to the local market for breakfast. I woke first and tiptoed outside to explore the property as it was so dark when we arrived the previous night. The garden was quite large with a big pond in the centre where birds were busy diving after the gnats flying around the pond. The mist was rolling in over the mountains and it was so peaceful.

I made a cup of coffee and bundled up in a blanket and sat outside to enjoy the view and watch the birds. About 9am I went into the house to find my phone and noticed that I had several missed calls and messages. The messages were from a vet who had Caitlin’s kitten Scout. Someone had taken him in after finding him roaming around Caitlin’s apartment complex. As I was listed as the secondary contact they rang me when Caitlin did not answer. Luckily Scout has been micro-chipped and they could contact us. I ran to Caitlin’s bedroom to find Cait and Wes awake and Cait on the phone to the vet. She then tried to ring the couple who were looking after the cats but there was no response and we were all in a hysterical panic. How did Scout get out? Was her flat broken into? Where was Mittens, the other kitten? Was Scout injured? The only open window was a 2 story drop to the pavement, could a small kitten survive that without breaking a limb or worse? We phoned the vet back and asked her to check Scout’s legs which she said were perfectly fine.

Eventually the couple looking after the kittens phoned Caitlin back and said they had not been over to the flat yet so they could not have let Scout out. They quickly rushed over to the flat to find Mittens there safe and sound and all alone. She purred like mad when they came in as she must have been so relieved to see another being in the flat with her after a night home alone.

Caitlin’s friends took her cat carrier from the flat and went to the vet to collect Scout and take him home. Mittens gave him a right telling off and actually growled at him when they arrived! Scout has a naughty habit of bolting for the door when you go in and out and hopefully this experience will have given him enough of a fright that he stops doing that. Once we heard the kitties were both home safe and sound we all relaxed.

By now it was well after 10am and the market was only on from 10-12. We decided to still get dressed and walk over there and try to restore the mood to birthday frivolities. The house was only a short stroll away from the main village and we wandered around the stalls and had a crepe from one of them and then walked back home.

We had all gotten Caitlin some small gifts to open on her birthday, even though the cost of the trip away was supposed to be our gift to her. She also had some gifts to open from Wesley’s Mom. She received a box of coloured pencils and a colouring book and a set of cute owls which are to go under hot pots to save damage to your counters.

We also got her a Cranium Dark game, some books, a dream catcher, a lovely lush beach towel, a bracelet, a few other bits and pieces as well as 2 gift certificates to go towards a Bluetooth speaker that she wants.

I also bought tickets for me, Caitlin and Norman to go and see the musical production of Mathilda at the Artscape theatre when the show comes to Cape Town in December. She was a very happy girl and felt nicely spoiled.

For lunch we made egg, bacon and avocado rolls. As we finished eating, Caitlin’s childhood friend Katherine arrived with her husband Lorien. I quickly made them some food too and then the kids all settled in to have a catch up and chat. They have known each other for most of their lives but Katherine now lives in Johannesburg so they do not see each other very often. The kids then decided to play Settlers of Catan. Neither Norm or I are bothered about that game so we sat it out and instead we poured a drink and snuggled up on the patio.

A bit later I started cooking dinner for the hordes. We put a big pot of potatoes and some eggs on to boil for potato salad and I started frying chopped onions and bacon to go into it. After a few minutes the gas ring blew out under both pots and we then realised that the electric eyes on the stove were not working at all! We had a small gas grill outside and we tried swapping the gas bottles in case the inside bottle was empty and maybe that was the issue, however the gas just blew out each time we put a pot on the flame. We ended up cooking our potatoes on the gas grill outside and Lorien unearthed an electric frying pan to use for the bacon and onions. All of the pots and pans in the cupboards were quite dirty and had to be washed before use. The added issue of the stove was almost enough to crack me, but I persevered and eventually Norm and I managed to produce a rather yummy simple dinner of potato salad, green salad, corn on the cob, garlic bread and lots of grilled meat to feed the 8 of us.

We had brought a birthday cake and candles as well and we celebrated.

I cannot believe I now have 2 ‘children’ who are in their thirties! I am officially old. I am also officially very blessed so I have no justification for complaints.

After dinner we moved inside to gather by the fire and play Caitlin’s new Dark Cranium game I had bought her for her birthday. It is like a combination of 60 seconds, Pictionary, Cranium, Charades & various other games all combined into a bundle of hilarity.

To play you first pick an Action Card and show it to the group. This could be anything from ‘while someone sits on your lap’, ‘speaking like Darth Vader’ or ‘while tap dancing’ to ‘walking a large dog’, or it could be ‘draw with your eyes shut’ or ‘model with clay’. Some of these cards also indicate you cannot speak at all.

You then draw a Cranium Card. Without saying any of the words on the Cranium card, you must get the other players to guess what’s on that Cranium card by expressing it in the style of the Action card. For example, can you get your friends to guess “milk a cow” while acting like you are walking a large dog? How about guessing the words “fried chicken” while drawing with your eyes closed? You only have 60 seconds for each turn. We laughed so much!

We had such a fun night and my kids stayed up quite late again but Norm and I as well as Katherine and Lorien went to bed around midnight. After we went to bed the stalwarts played a game called Exploding Kittens which they seemed to really enjoy based on the noise they were making and the laughter.

The next day was Mother’s Day in South Africa and the USA. I woke up early as I always do and had a coffee outside on the veranda. I got showered and sorted my bags as I knew there were a lot of people to get ready and the house had only 2 bathrooms.

Norm and I were the first ones up and ready to face the day.

The kids got up and Katherine and Lorien were packed and away early to go and see their twin boys for Mother’s Day and to hang out with their own family who were also down holidaying in the Cape for a few days.

The rest showered and the children then gave me some garden ornaments for Mother’s Day which I adore.

Our family are trying to only give useful gifts and not just ‘things’ to sit around the house and look pretty and gather dust. I love these birds and am always keen to receive any garden art as a gift as I love sitting in my garden.

However my real gift was waking to all of my children under one roof.

We tried multiple times to do a cute video for my Mom for Mother’s Day and it proved a challenge.

That also led to a lot of hilarity.

We had to check out by 10.30 a.m. so once the cars were packed we all walked around to the far end of the village to a place called Fiore Garden Centre where Caitlin had booked for us to go for Mother’s Day brunch. It was a charming little place with tables in a courtyard which was surrounded by plants.

I ordered the french toast and bacon. It was tasty but it was cold when it arrived. I had asked for well done bacon and some of it was barely cooked but it was edible and I was starving.

We hung out and chatted a bit and had a wander around the garden centre.

It was quite cool and overcast which is perfect travelling weather. We all headed out once we finished our coffees as we all had a few hours drive ahead of us.

It was such a wonderful weekend full of laughter and love and it made me even more aware of just how blessed I am. I am so privileged and proud that this fabulous trio of humans are part of my life.

I am such a Happy Kitten.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

Path of Persistence

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

Some of them are coping better than others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to Africa. Not much is terribly efficient here.

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

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

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

I laughed so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

View this post on Instagram

Cape Lightning #storm #CapeTown #lightning

A post shared by 6000 (@6000coza) on

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

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

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

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

Oh well.

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

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

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

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

We both ordered the Chicken Pie and salad.

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

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

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

View this post on Instagram

#OMTOM2018 #choppers #houtbay

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

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

View this post on Instagram

Sounds of #omtom2018

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

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

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

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

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

I am nothing if not persistent.

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

Safe in the Wings

My interesting interactions with my spirit animal have continued. I have been working on process improvements for the last 6 months or so and on Wednesday I had to present all of this work to our company director. I hate presenting, I get quite stressed out about it. When walking into the office that morning I kept seeing multiple white feathers on the path in front of me. I know that is my grandmother sending me messages of reassurance. Or it could be the universe sending items in my path which slowed me down. I also believe that when  we are delayed in our journey, this can be due to the universe altering your timing in order to avoid something. So when I went to enter the cross walk to go over the last road to get to my office I did not bother looking to my right as it is a one way street. As I arrived at the cross walk I saw lights and looked right to see a daft woman driving quickly the wrong way down the one way street. If my timing had not been delayed by my feather gazing I could have been hit by this eejit as I would have been in the road at the same time she was. 

It has been a busy week yet again. Norm did not make it to the shops on Monday so we got take aways from Posticino. We were not Banting as we had chicken schnitzel which has bread crumbs and is probably fried in vegetable oil, but it was lower in carbs than my preferred dish of pasta as we had it with salad. We had both a feta salad and a mozzarella salad. Sometimes it’s just about better choices, if you can’t attain the Virgo desired scale of perfection, aim for an improvement in the norm!


The portions were so massive that I had enough left for lunch on Tuesday.

The longest running kitchen project in the world drags on. Norm painted a coat of undercoat but we have decided the wall needs a skim where the plumbing was done from the sink to the fridge.


Sigh. Another delay.

While I was at work on Tuesday Norm did a shop for meat and veggies and I fancied something different than our usual meat and 2 veg, so that night for dinner I made a dish which we all love, but substituted zucchini noodles instead of pasta.

zucchini noodles.jpg

I cut up mushrooms and a whole orange pepper and fried them in butter. I added chopped up chicken breasts and fried until cooked. I then cooked streaky bacon in a seperate frying pan until brown and crispy then crumbled it into the pan with the chicken and veg. I added a whole container of mascarpone and heated through. I then quickly fried my zucchini noodles in the bacon fat and then added to the chicken dish.

zucchini pasta.jpg

I steamed asparagus to lie on top of the dish and served. It was divine!!! The sauce with the marscapone was a wee bit rich though so next time I will add a bit of chicken stock to lighten it up.

The court case for Carl continued this week. The Uber driver took the stand on Tuesday. Jean-Piere Muroncwa testified about the alleged assailants Brent Henry and Juane Jacobs chasing the car and forcing them all out of the taxi with threats that they would shoot all of the passengers if they did not get out. Carl got out of the car to try and explain that they had the wrong man, that the boys in the taxi had not been involved in any altercation at the bar. But they did not listen, instead they attacked Carl. The pathologist testified that the severity of the injuries that Carl received could not have been from a punch. This type of severity of head injury usually only occurs in car accidents. Suspicions are that the accused kicked Carl repeatedly in the head. Reading about the injuries and the horrific way this kind and lovely young man died makes me feel ill.

The family hope that the accused will take the stand next week. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts.

South Africa has had a lot of xenophobic attacks again. This is South African born natives who resent the numbers of Pakistanis and Africans from other countries moving to SA whom they say are taking their jobs and perpetuating crime. Last Friday saw a clash between protestors and the police. The police fired rubber bullets at the crowd. 

protest

Image Credit.

Again we saw how much white people are hated by so many races in SA in another case of xenophobia. A government official Esethu Hasane tweeted hate speech in his personal capacity. Before you defend him saying he might be naive about how far social media can reach, his job is Media Liason officer for the Department of Sport and Recreation so he should.

 Afriforum has requested he be fired.


Wednesday Cait stayed over at Wes so I cooked pork chops for Norm and I for dinner as she is not a fan. I stir fried sliced red peppers, mushrooms and zucchini and steamed baby broccoli to go with the chops. I squeeze lots of lemon on the broccoli and it takes away the bitterness. 


Thursday was quite hot so we wanted something simple for dinner. We had free range chicken sausages and I made a salad with tons of avo and creamy danish feta and I added rosa tomatoes, sliced raw zucchini and carrots and cucumber to a base of gem lettuce.

Even though I am a contractor I’ve been based at the same client premises on and off since 2009. I’ve moved floors, desks and teams but still have accrued so much rubbish, from notebooks, highlighters, printed out data models, to plastic utensils and piles of serviettes. Friday we had to move offices. I filled the recycling with stacks of paperwork from long finished projects and I packed up the bits I decided to keep in a big canvas bag and my backpack and I had to cart it all across the city to our new office. It was incredibly hot. Then the strap on my bag broke so I had to grip it all in my arms. After about a 15 minute walk we sweatily arrived at our new offices and I got unpacked. 

We went to get our finger prints taken as the office doors work via biometric scanning. We were taken on a tour of the break room and the rest of the office. We will no longer be parking at the hotel, we have parking opposite the Artscape. 

I no longer have a view of the sea, but we can see the harbour from the break room. Now I look out at zip zap circus from my desk. 

For lunch we went on a wander. I can no longer pop over for my Mexican Friday treat without a real schlep. When I finished work I then had to walk all the way not only to my old office, but on to my car. It was bright in the baking sun and the wind was howling, I just put my head down and got on with it but it took me almost half an hour. 

I was so tired on Friday night when I finally got home, traffic was really heavy. We decided on take aways and I naughtily had fish, chops and mushy peas from The Catch here in Hout Bay.


We just had a quiet night in and I was asleep quickly. 

There has been a huge number of people in the Western Cape ill with tummy issues. There is a theory that this is related to the drought because as the dams reduce in water level, they increase in bacteria as there is less dilution of the water, hence tummy bugs due to poor water quality. As we did last Friday, we also had a sprinkling of rain, it barely wet the ground, yet somehow Navajo still managed to wreck my bedroom carpet. 


Norm and I went out for a quick lunch Saturday after having a long lie in that morning.


We each ordered salad at Greens in Constantia on our way to run errands. 

I had the bacon Caesar and Norm had the chicken Caesar.


While eating there was the sound of sirens as fire engines raced by towards Hout Bay. Retha sent us pics taken from her new house looking across the valley towards her old house. 


Turns out the fire was just across the street from her old house.

I later saw the photos below posted on Facebook, photo credit goes to Dieter Losskarn

The other local excitement in the valley yesterday was the annual Sandcastle Competition. 

Below is an image taken from some cool drone footage of the Valley Pre-Primary Sandcastle Competition. I also saw this posted on Facebook, the image credit goes to http://www.Lawfirmvideo.co.za and http://www.africanwebscience.co.za.

The beach was packed. 


There are some very talented kids in the competition. How cute is this mermaid by a young girl? 


There are also professional artists who enter. This was the Big Five when finished.

After lunch Norm dropped me by Retha for drinks and a catch up. He went home and walked and fed the dogs then came back to collect me. 

On our way home we stopped to collect some dinner to take home with us from Massimo’s but they had a table available so we decided to rather eat in and get a takeaway for Caitlin who was at home.

 I had enjoyed the Fritto Misto starter so much on Valentines that I had it again. Fish, prawns, mussels, calamari rings and baby squid with a sauce.


Norm had salad caprese to start. 

For our main courses, Norm had calamari and I had the pizza on special, the divine St Hilary – fresh black figs, Parma ham, mozzarella, mascarpone & honey.  It’s so yummy.

We had a lovely meal and headed home about 8pm and delivered Caitlin her pizza. We settled in for a cozy evening and rented The Girl On The Train.

What a brilliant film! Emotionally gripping, confusing, intriguing, it kept me awake. That seldom happens.

I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Norm bought the book for me but I just struggle so to see well enough to read. 

Today is a cloudy but warm day.


Caitlin and I made a gorgeous low carb breakfast of banana pancakes and bacon. The pancakes were made of blended eggs, milk, mashed banana, cinnamon, vanilla, baking powder and flour. We used almond and coconut flour and fried in butter. They were divine. 

I’ve got a pot of lower carb chicken curry on the go. Before we cut out sugar and changed our diet to try to avoid preservatives in our food I used to just fry meat and dump in ready made sauces from Woolies, add potato and carrots until soft and serve over boiled basmati rice. Today I used coconut oil and fried up curry paste and as many spices as I could find in my stashes, then once the spices were cooked off I added an orange pepper and onion then I chopped up chicken breasts and added those with garlic, fresh coriander and loads of Birdseye chilis. I added a packet of chopped butternut, 2 tins of coconut milk, tomato paste, tomato purée and gave it a good stir. It’s bubbling away and the house smells divine. 


I’ll serve with kale rice later this evening. The butternut will break down and thicken and sweeten the sauce.

Now I’m watching Fashion Police and blogging while Norm works. Caitlin is off to Wes for dinner later so Norm and I are solo for the evening. 

Tomorrow is my first day in my new office and this week I am supposed to start a new project.

Life is good.