Relatable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The horror goes on and on.

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

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

Fuck that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wish me luck next week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Enough is Enough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I felt very spoiled.

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

They were already there when we arrived.

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

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

We got settled in and checked out the menu.

I ordered a Passionate Buddha cocktail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Panda kept me company.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were some men who joined in support.

There were so many people supporting the cause.

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

Below is a list of the known 23 victims:

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

A vigil was held at UCT where Nene attended University.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How sweet was that?

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

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

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

Hold The Guavas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My selfy skills need work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I had a Mexican pizza from Cassarechio.

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

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

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

View this post on Instagram

Physio time ❤️

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Act Two

Considering that I was worried about being able to endure a full week, this week flew by! I find if you are out midweek it makes the week feel shorter.

The monotony of our week was broken up on Wednesday when we attended the Opera at the Artscape. It was organized by my friend, a lovely ex-colleague named Rob.

We left early and stopped at Col’Cacchio in the Foreshore for a quick bite. We chose them because of the proximity to the theatre and they do low carb options.

We were seated at the front by a large window.

There were only six tables of customers in that section of the restaurant and three of them had Americans sitting at them. What are the odds?

I chose the Zucchetti Verde Rosso for R95: zucchetti with chicken parmigiana. Zuchetti is zucchini made into a noodle format.

It was very tasty but I could have done with more chicken. Next time I will have a salad starter as I didn’t quite feel well fed up.

Norm had the low carb beef lasagna with brinjal (aka eggplant), bolognaise, ricotta, Italian parmesan. It was R100.

He enjoyed it.

We give our dinners 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

After dinner we headed off to the Artscape Opera House.

We saw the Opera ‘I Capuleti e i Montecchi’ which is based on the classic love story, ‘Romeo and Juliette’. We had a drink in the lobby prior to the show.

The opera house had a display of beautiful costumes from other versions of the opera.

It is such a beautiful opera. It was a Cape Town Opera production and they did such an amazing job.

Here is a link to a video of images from their Instagram account, hope it works!

View this post on Instagram

The young cast of rising stars and phenomenal creatives have given their all to this production of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. This eternally fascinating story of Romeo and Juliet with incredibly beautiful music opens tonight on the opera stage followed by performances on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May. Designer Michael Mitchell has done some extraordinary costume and set designs which look like renaissance paintings, it’s a visual feast. The contrast between the privileged and powerful Capulets, insurgent Montagues and the innocence of Romeo and Juliet’s ill-fated love is palpable and ultimately heart-wrenching. Tickets are between R100 and R300 to see this glorious opera with an orchestra, forty singers and superb set, costumes and lighting. Book today, link in bio! . . . . #AllThingsItalianCPT #capetownopera#music #art #classicalmusic #opera#theatre #singer #artist #operasinger#soprano #travel #fashion #teatro#concert #instagood #capetownopera#piano #style #capetown #dance#orchestra #architecture #makeup#theater #artschool #musica #priora#bhfyp #musicstudents

A post shared by Cape Town Opera Company (@capetownoperacompany) on

Here is a clip of a version of the same opera done years ago, it begins with the scene between the priest Lorenzo and Guilietta where he persuades her to drink the sedative.

The opera was so beautiful and we were surprised to see a female actor playing the part of Romeo.

Apparently that is traditional. I thought maybe it was just the Cape Town version as it is supposed to be one of the top ‘gay capitals‘ in the world or something like that. Then we joked that the dramatic nature of Romeo and Giulietta’s relationship was just like some of our lesbian friends’.

The actress Brittany Smith played Guilietta in the show we attended, and she was beautiful and had an incredible voice. She was a pleasure to watch.

We were seated on the second row so we could see down into the orchestra pit as well. It was interesting to watch the faces of the musicians. Some of them just appeared to be doing a job, their faces lacking any animation. Some of them had such joy beaming from their faces that you could see their love of music. It gave us something to do during the set change breaks. The opera was 3 hours duration so was a bit long and tiring for a school night. But we loved it so much.

The Opera merits a full 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We had a bit of middle aged excitement this week when all of our things we had ordered for the house arrived.

We bought a new Dyson vacuum which is amazing. It is cordless so you can whiz around with it easily. It is made for managing dog hair and our house has never been cleaner. It breaks down into a little handheld version as well so you can quickly do a little bit if needed.

We also bought a Phillips Air Fryer. We tried it out the first night and used this recipe HERE. It was for pork chops and brussel sprouts. We followed the instructions in the recipe and then cooked a few minutes longer as the chops looked a bit anemic.

Norm fried halloumi in the grill pan to go with it. While we were eating the first chop we cooked the second for 15 minutes. It turned out much more golden.

They were good! I loved the sprouts. I used American mustard instead of Dijon and the maple syrup is not low carb but it was a teaspoon between us and most of it remained in the bowl where I mixed it into the sprouts. We will do this again but will cook one or the other in the fryer, the air needs to be able to circulate around the contents I think. Will keep you posted on our progress.

We also got a new bed for Navajo. He has so many issues with his back and leg and we hope it makes it softer than lying on the tiles for him.

He’s such a lovely boy.

Last Tuesday Norm cooked the low carb cauliflower cheese and bacon dish I loved so. With it we served the last of the chicken frikkadels leftover from Sunday lunch.

On Thursday night I had my usual Friday treat a day early and had sushi.

I had my usual crab salad, butterfly, salmon roses and cucumber roses with prawn on top.

It was delicious even if it contained a bit of rice and sugary mayo.

There was a horrific murder in the news in Cape Town this week and we all read in shock about the hijacking and murder of the surfer David Wolfromm. The hijackers shot him, stole the car after having thrown him bleeding into the back, then crashed the car and set it alight with him still tied up inside. That would be a horrendous way to die. From the first time I read about this murder I had a feeling that I had a connection to the victim. Even before they released his name, I felt it. Today when I went to drumming everyone was discussing David’s murder and several of the attendees had attended various memorials for him. I then realized that I had met David and his family at the song marathon I attended last August where various spiritual groups had all gathered in a giant tipi to sing and drum. People sang in many different languages and David was a follower of the South American tribe Huni Kuin or the Kaxinawá, also known as the Kashinawa who are an indigenous people of Brazil and Peru. He and a group of others sang in the native language and it was beautiful.

David seemed like a lovely happy man. He had a wife and 5 children so it is just so unfair that a good man was taken for no reason at all.

Today we did a few songs in honor of David. We sang The Wolf and we learned a new song in Huni Kuin called Eskawata Kayaway. We used shakers rather than our drum.

From what I understand the tribe does not have a written language so everything such as lyrics are just written down phonetically. I managed to find a video of a man I assume to be Huni Kuin singing the song we sang today in honor of David.

It seems odd that he doesn’t move his mouth but maybe it is cultural? At least it’s the same song and as it appears to be a rare thing to find online I am grateful I found it!

I am glad that we paid a tribute to David and maybe a bit of him will stay with our group and we may adopt this new song to add to our repertoire for the dance? It’s just so sad for his loved ones.

There were other crimes and various headlines around transport.

There were a few instances of local bus robberies in the news. A man was shot and killed on a bus into town this week. The Golden Arrow bus service has suffered more than 20 robberies on its buses in the last seven months. They say they are going to consider implementing a specialised unit targeted at dealing with crime.

The residents of Hout Bay are threatening another protest if the City of Cape Town does not deliver on their promise of adding additional buses to the existing routes to cater for the hundreds of residents who took taxis before they shut down the taxi route from Hout Bay to the City. People just stand and watch full buses not even stop because of over crowding. People are late into work and late back home to their families due to the lack of available transport.

There has also been ongoing issues about 5 hours up the coast in George near my children. The city is in the process of introducing the Go George bus service and buying out taxi routes has been full of drama with at least two assassinations, attacks on buses and numerous protests.

South Africa’s public transport system is in a shambles. You have read my many blogs about the train system, the taxi service and now the buses. I am so grateful I have a car and am not reliant on the vagaries of all the unreliable transport methods in SA.

We had a re-enactment of Caitlin’s birthday and my Mother’s Day celebrations on Friday night as Lily and Josh were down in Cape Town for a wedding.

We went to Hudson’s in Claremont on Friday for 7. I have always gone to the city branch or Green Point but Claremont was easier for Caitlin. Lily and Josh stayed with us on Friday night and we all went together in my car and arrived first.

The music was all rock and was incredibly loud. Even the kids found it loud so that opinion is not just because I am an old fart. It was deafening. You could not converse without shouting directly in someone’s ear. The table was so sticky that we asked them to wipe it but it remained sticky even after wiping and they told us it is always sticky. It was so sticky we kept the menus and put our arms and phones on them or they stuck to the table. It wasn’t a very pleasant venue and we found out that the food was far inferior to the other branches.

Norm and I both had the Original Royale.

It had onion rings, cheddar cheese, bacon and a bit of chili oil. It was R89 for the 180gram patty I had or R105 for the 250gram that Norm had.

Lily had the Shroom Burger with cheddar cheese and mushroom sauce, Josh had The Player with bacon, feta and avocado and both Caitlin and Wesley had the Tribeca Selection with 3 100g sliders: The Shroom, The Player and The Wiseguy (which has tons of chili).

You order your side dishes separately at an additional cost. I had skin on fries and bought dusted onion rings for the table to share.

The breaded rings on the burger were a bit heavy on the dough, I far preferred the dusted version.

Caitlin and Wes had truffle fries and Norm had sweet potato fries but he said they were ice cold. I ordered a vanilla milk shake and it was as thin as milk and super sweet. It was not nice. I’ve had shakes at both of the venues we normally go to and they are usually thick and delicious.

My experience at the restaurant was only nice because of the company. I give it 2 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️

After dinner we opened gifts.

Caitlin got both some cute fun gifts and some practical gifts.

She got a set of three books from me by the author Joe Abercrombie, the First Law Trilogy series.

Her dad bought her a slow cooker. Lily got her a set of cute notepads with sloths on them and a glass cutting board and a toy for her cats.

She set it up as soon as she got home and Mittens had a blast.

The kids gave me a set of painted stones. I have been wanting some of these for ages. I have set them out on the front porch.

The bird they also gave me is now flying over my succulent collection.

I love them all. I love any type of garden art.

It was lovely having my girls with us.

It was nice to see their fellas too.

We were up early on Saturday as Lily and Josh had to run some errands and then get to their friends house and get ready for the wedding and out to Stellenbosch by 2pm.

Norm took Pixie to the chiropractor in Noordhoek early in the morning and when he came home he made us cheese omelettes, bacon and avocado. I added a spoon full of onion marmalade to mine.

It was delicious. I am a lucky Kitten.

Saturday evening we decided at the last minute to go out to dinner and we headed to Constantia and managed to snag a table at the Cattle Baron.

We were seated out on the little patio area under a gas heater.

Norm ordered the 300g Chateaubriand: Fillet flambèed with brandy. Served with a Cattle Baron Bèarnaise & a mushroom sauce.

I ordered the 200g Sautéed Mushroom Fillet: Grilled beef fillet served on deep-fried rosti and topped with garlic sauteèd mushroom. It was R195.

We both had chips and shared an order of mushrooms sautéed in garlic butter. They serve a complimentary dish of mashed butternut and creamed spinach with the steaks. It was all so delicious, the steaks were both very tender and perfectly cooked.

I had the chocolate fondant with ice cream: molten chocolate cake with a crispy exterior and runny chocolate centre. It was R58.

Our meal was delicious and the service perfect so we give 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. This place is becoming my fave local steak house.

We went home and cosied up with the animals.

Panda tolerated Blue because it was so cold.

On Sunday after drumming I drove back from Marina Da Gama and collected Norm and we went for lunch at Woolworths before we did our grocery shop.

I ordered a bottle of still water and a chili omelette with bacon.

I was given sparkling water and did not notice until I took a swig. Blech who enjoys sparkling water and if you do, why do you hate yourself so much? It tastes like I imagine water tastes like when drank around a mouthful of rocks.

Then she finally brings our food and I get a few bites in wondering why I don’t taste chili when I got a mouthful full of salmon. Not what my mouth was prepared for.

Eventually a chili omelette was delivered and it was ok. It had a weird cream cheese and chive type stuffing that was a bit odd but it was ok.

But due to the long time it took to cook, the fishy first attempt and the weird cheese it gets 2 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️

Tonight Norm and I made low carb pizza, I used veggie pizza bases and topped them with mozzarella and Proscuitto.

First I baked the base for 5 minutes.

I made my own sugar free sauce from garlic, a tin of chopped tomatoes I liquidized, a small tin of tomato paste and a dash of Worcester sauce.i simmered it for about half an hour.

I topped the sauce with the ham and the cheese and baked.

It was good. Not as good as a real pizza, but for low carb it was edible.

We are wrapped up warm watching telly and listening to the pouring rain. Cape Town needs the rain.

Wishing you all a great week ahead. Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

When the Student is Ready

I had such a relaxing lovely weekend last weekend and this weekend has been such fun.

Last Saturday Pixie was booked into the doggy chiropractor in Noordhoek and I had expected to be up and away early but Norm was so sweet and he offered to take her for me so I had a chance to properly relax. As Lily and Josh were here it was nice as I got more time to hang out with Lily.

We  had our first load shedding in Hout Bay last weekend and we were without electricity for a few hours on Saturday night. Of course it happened at night when you cannot see to read or otherwise amuse yourself easily. Here is a link to an article about the grid shut downs that are being done by Eskom. Cape Town finally rallies and just squeezes out of the water restrictions when we get hit with electricity restrictions. Such incompetence by our government.

But you have to make the most of life. Me, Norm, Lily and Josh played 30 Seconds by the light of a few lanterns and some candles and it was actually lots of fun! Josh seldom hangs out with us as he is usually playing games online upstairs when he is here so there was that advantage too. We had a laugh. The boys played against the girls. Norm and I are very good at it seeing as we have been married so long and so we have verbal shortcuts. Lily and Josh would argue if they were on the same team so we thought the girls vs boys option the safest.

Sunday I was up and away early to go drumming at my friend Gerri’s. Gerri is the drum master and she also organised the recent Dance. She is a lovely, kind woman. She gave each of us drummers a gorgeous wee bag of sage and a smudge wand to burn it with as a year end present. How sweet? It is nice to have a portable set of smudging tools for taking with me to various places or to have with me at ceremonies.

I would like to find a container for burning it in with a closed lid and a heat free handle. Maybe I should design one.

I stayed afterwards as we had all taken a dish to share at our year end lunch for the drummers. I had stopped at Alphen Farmstall in Constantia and bought a vegetarian spinach and feta quiche as well as a melktart for dessert. It was nice to chat to everyone and hear about their experiences at the dance. We also discussed Shamanism and the Red Road and discovered that several of us wish to study The Path of the White Wolf.

Here is a clip of the author, Grandmother Robin discussing it.

Gerri has already studied the Path of the White Wolf years ago with Grandmother Robin but she was saying that she would like to do it all again. I have wanted to do the course since I first met Gerri and discovered it, but I have not had the money or the time to commit to it. I have decided that I will send my desire out to the Universe and if it is meant to be, then the doors will open to allow it to happen. When it is meant to be, it will be.

I am considering giving up my gaming addiction to Covet Fashion as that consumes hours of my day. I could better spend that time enriching my life and proceeding on my spiritual journey. I feel that my Grandmothers have been pushing me towards this learning and I have found my teachers. I hope that it becomes possible for me to study the teachings of Grandmother Robin.

When I was packing up my car to go to drumming I dropped my iPhone and the screen shattered.

I was so upset because as a consultant I must have my phone.

Lily and Josh were out and so Norm and I just got a Chinese takeaway from Blue Lotus for dinner as I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

I had prawn dim sum to start.

For my main I had crispy chili chicken with noodles.

It was all very delicious indeed.

The kids arrived home from Josh’s prize giving ceremony just after we ate but they had already eaten at the track. We were all a bit knackered and so Josh played games and the rest of us watched a bit of telly.

On Sunday afternoon we heard of a rescue operation underway on Chapman’s Peak where it seemed that a woman had fallen over the cliffs. There was limited information via the radio to know whether it was a suicide or an accident. The following day we heard that the woman had died. It seems she died while taking a selfy, the article says she was trying to make it look as if she was jumping over the setting sun. She and her husband climbed over the railing onto the crumbly mountain. Her husband risked his life trying to get to her after she fell. It was her 31st birthday. It is such a tragedy for her loved ones and a sad loss of a life.

Monday I was back at work and Lily and Josh drove back home to Mossel Bay.

I had such a crap day at work on both Monday and Tuesday as I’m trying to upgrade my ancient laptop’s Operating System. It did not go smoothly and it was stressing me out. To be honest I am not bothered by the old operating system. My actual issue is that my MS PowerPoint decided to have a fatal error and I cannot open any presentations people send. I can open my own, but nothing emailed to me. As a consultant I do a lot of presentations. My colleague decided that I should update to Windows 10 and that required updating my operating system too apparently.

It led to a cluster feck of chaos. I spent several days staring at various updates happening on my screen or on the phone to the Helpdesk.

It did my head in. It was all for nowt as my laptop refused. I do not know how to resolve it without wiping my machine and doing a completely new install.

Now one of my clients has messed up my email address and I cannot receive email and have to walk over to their offices this Monday. I’ve also got to go to UCT to present to them in the afternoon so it’s going to be a busy day,

I left work at 2pm last Monday to go to the phone shop to get a new phone. I got a sexy new red iPhone XR. I’m ever so chuffed but it is hard to get used to. It took ages for me to figure out how to do a screen grab! (OK I admit that I did not figure it out I had to google it.)

It’s not the latest model but it’s what I can afford and more importantly it was in stock and got me up and online quickest. We are trying to decide whether to sell my broken screened old iPhone as is, fix it and let Norm use it, or fix it and sell it. I could maybe get a couple of grand to go towards my credit card debt.

After my phone was sorted we popped over to collect my new contact lenses and then stopped at Woolies and shopped for a few days food supplies.

For dinner last Monday night I made a Mexican salad: spicy mince on baby gem lettuce leaves, topped with half an avo, cheddar cheese, salsa & fromage frais.

It was HFLC as well as yummy but the best thing about this dish is it takes very little time to prepare and I always have some left over for my lunch the following day. As we did not do taco shells or tortillas it was low carb.

When I came home on Tuesday the garage door was open, the back gate was flapping in the wind and Norm was not answering his phone. I carefully pulled into the garage and Norm appeared from the back of the house in a bit of a state. There was load shedding all afternoon and he had managed to lock himself out of the house. Navajo was locked IN the house and he was freaking out. We have now discovered that our front door key only works from the inside! For some odd reason it does not work from the outside. Unfortunately Norm only discovered this when he got home from his meeting and could not get back in. As there was no electricity he had also been unable to cook Mzudumo lunch or conduct his Skype meetings or even charge his flat mobile. It was a stressful day for him bless him.

When we got in Norm went off to make the calls he missed and so I decided to cook again and it wasn’t totally low carb as we had fish cakes which had a wee bit of potato in them. I made roasted pumpkin, stir fried vegetables and coleslaw to go with them.

On Wednesday there was load shedding again. It was from 6-8.30 that night. I fried red cabbage and boiled sweet potatoes on my gas cooker and Norm cooked a pork roast and mushrooms outside on the gas grill. Norm made buttery mash from the boiled sweet potatoes.

Thursday I had a meeting at UCT planned but we ended up moving that out and instead ended up missioning out to Stellenbosch for a 10am meeting. We didn’t know what the traffic would be like and it’s a long drive so we left the city in plenty of time and arrived at 9.30. We walked over to a little coffee shop across the road from the client’s office. They told us it was load shedding so they had no electricity and couldn’t make a coffee, only an iced coffee. We ordered an iced coffee and sat outside. The coffee was bitter and dreadful and as I had just had a coffee on the drive up I felt a bit twitchy after drinking another. We walked over to the client offices to meet our MD and he told us that the meeting was moved to 11.30 and we were still an hour and a half early. We used that time to catch up with the tool vendor that we are partnering with for the project. Then we had a 2 hour requirement gathering workshop followed by an hours drive back to my car and then I had another 45 minutes drive to my home. We will spend the next week putting together the proposal and will see if it gets a foothold.

If that project takes off I will not be happy to drive out there every day!

On our way back to Cape Town we were starving so we stopped at a roadside burger joint. They had a really cool bright yellow truck parked in the window.

The food was mediocre but we were so hungry we wolfed down our lunches and were quickly heading back towards Cape Town.

Caitlin came around for dinner on Thursday night. It was lovely to see her. I seem to see my closest child the least!

We had an easy night in on Friday as we were both pretty tired. We got takeaways from the local Indian food restaurant The Indian Oven.

Saturday I was invited to a ladies only wine and cheese event for lunch to celebrate my friend Sharon’s 50th birthday at Buitenverwachting vineyards. It is only a few minutes away from our home. First I decided I should be sensible and line my stomach so I did not get totally paralytic. Wine is not my friend and there were loads of women I had not met going to be there and I was full of social anxiety. Second, I also needed to get Sharon a little gift and I could do both if Norm and I went to Deli Delish as I could pop next door to The Barn to shop for a gift.

We got a sunny table in the corner and ordered and then I popped next door to look at their offerings and as I walk out I run into Sharon going to collect her birthday cake!

We said a quick “hello, see you later” and carried on with our individual missions. I loved so many things in The Barn Village Store and I found a lovely necklace, an amethyst little crystal gem in a silver holder.

I went back to Deli Delish just as my coffee arrived and our breakfast came shortly after. I had a small breakfast, 2 fried eggs, bacon and a piece of whole-wheat toast. Norm had the Eggs Benedict. It is a low carb version with black mushrooms. I was distracted by my shopping expedition and forgot to take a pic of our food and I was distracted by our food and forgot to take a picture of the gift I bought! Shocking. 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

After we ate we went back to the house so I could put on my face and dress. I wore a dress I had bought when we went to the UK a few years ago but I have only worn it once if that. I adore polka dots.

Norm drove me to the wine farm and dropped me. It was a lovely warm day after an overcast drizzly morning. The venue is lovely. I was engrossed in talking and quaffing wine and did not take a pic but here is one I found on IG. Sharing is caring right?

They served several large wooden boards with fresh crispy bread, a variety of different types of cheese, red pepper pate, olive tapenade, trout pate, butter, olives and various other tasty bits.

The wine on offer was their buiten blanc and a rose and many, many bottles of both were consumed! There was a wonderful group of women there, I met some women I hope to add to my own circle of friends. I really connected with several of them.

Sharon’s gorgeous kids were there and also sampled the yummy cake which was both vegan and Banting.

It was a really lovely day. It reinforced what Sharon said to me about my feeling anxious but still showing up- “braving always brings big rewards”. I think this should become my new mantra.

It was wonderful to see Sharon so happy.

When Sharon made her speech she talked about the tie that bound all of us women together: we are all her spirit sisters, tied together through our common stories of survival and adversity. Most of us have survived things that might destroy many other people. But yet, despite those challenges, in the words of Maya Angelou, “…..still I rise.” We are all strong, survivors.

I went away feeling uplifted by female energy. And rather tipsy from 6 hours of drinking!

Norm collected me and took me home and fed me and looked after me. I feel so blessed by my life.

Today he made me coffee in bed and when we finally got up he made me a HFLC breakfast of bacon, cheesy scrambled eggs and avocado.

I’m having a quiet day today, Norm is working and I’m doing life admin.

I hope you have all had a good weekend and I hope you enjoy what is left of it.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

UTC 2 UCT

This week has disappeared in a blink of an eye. I guess the new project means we don’t have any time to waste and as we are focusing so intensely the days pass quickly. I have so many gaps in info from the client but I need to leave time to document it all so it’s a balancing act to take time to obtain the info and still leave time to knock it into a decent deliverable.

I had a ditzy moment last week when I set up my new client email account and was then confused when someone sent a meeting request for a slot in the past. The client heard the discussion with my colleague when I said I set my time zone to “UTC” time. The client pointed out I’m at UCT not UTC and that UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time, not the actual University where I was. I felt a right eejit.

Then I realized that why I keep saying UTC instead of UCT is that I grew up near Chattanooga which is where University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is located. No wonder my brain gets dyslexic.

On Monday Norm only got to the shops after I got home so it was quite late and he wanted something quick and easy so he just grabbed some fish cakes and veg. He stir fried the veg and baked the fish cakes. He made fresh cole slaw to go with it.

Norm has also been busy with work. Not having a car has been awkward for him. On Tuesday he has both Cordelia and Mzudumo here working. Cordelia gets paid monthly so that is no issue but Mzudumo is paid daily as he only comes once a week. In addition to the cash Norm also has to come up with lunch for them both. He usually nips out to the bank and gets them chicken to cook or a pie and chips or something but this week he managed to put together a big plate of bits and pieces from fish cakes to left over veg so he coped without shopping. However he needed to get to the ATM so he trotted off to the closest shops with Navajo. It’s not very safe walking on our roads but Navajo is a great guard dog. Norm just had to make a plan and so he braved it.

On Wednesday we heard that there were some traffic issues near the circle and then we heard that the police station was shut. Eventually we heard that a policeman who was on duty had killed his wife then shot himself. So sad! I hope they did not leave any children behind as that would be so heartbreaking for the kids to lose both parents to such violence. RIP to them both, I assume the husband had to be mentally ill to do such a thing. Once again women are treated as property of their partner, with him feeling he has the right to do as he wishes.

That day we also heard that there had been a second bus fire. This time it was in Khayelitsha. If the buses are not being torched then the trains are! It is a nightmare in SA if you do not drive and have your own car.

Wednesday Norm was trying to piece together dinner from our almost bare cupboards. He had chicken and mushrooms and carrots. He opened the chicken to find it was off. As he had already chopped the vegetables he decided to pop down to get chicken rather than scrap it all for a takeaway. He bought noodles and a sauce and it was yummy.

One night we had takeaways from Spiro’s but I did not snap a pic. I had yummy little crispy squids. Norm had chicken souvlaki.

This week we discovered Norm’s visa runs out on Christmas Day. We toyed with the idea of going to see my Mom for Christmas but the flights were R40k so that’s impossible at this point. Norm will pop into the UK on his own sometime before the end of the year. It’s so annoying that we have to keep doing this while they mess him around.

I also received a text message that my drivers license is ready. Three messages in fact. The problem was that message 2 came hours before message 3 which came hours before message 1 so it was illegible nonsense.

Luckily I managed to decipher it once the other messages arrived. I’ll pop by next week to collect it. Dreadful prison faced photo and all. 🙄

Speaking of an inability to manage communications, I’ve had weeks of harassment by my bank, FNB. The law has changed so as an American citizen I have to submit a tax return, even though I’ve not earned there in 30 years. Not only that I have to go back and submit for several other years. What a waste of money for me to pay a US tax man to file just to confirm that with the exchange rate my salary is below the level which mandates filing. Nonsense.

Anyway the bank is sending me emails and text messages over and over telling me to complete the forms they sent me which I filled in and returned last week. I finally emailed to complain and they tell me I did not submit a different form! Nightmare.

This week I ordered lunch from Tigers Milk via OrderIn. First my order was ‘stuck’ for 20 minutes and finally the restaurant picked up the order. That is the one good thing is you can track it each step. Eventually it arrived. I had ordered taquitos. They were described on the menu as ‘TAQUITOS | (V) Crunchy tortilla fingers filled with nacho cheese sauce, guacamole, refried beans, sour cream and Pico de Gallo”

I lived in LA so I know my Mexican food. I expected something like

->See sexy tacquitos <-.

Instead I got this globby, cold, gooey mess: