Method of Measure

Yesterday I went to my drumming circle. I haven’t gone in over a month for various reasons, one weekend I was suffering from stress another was when Panda was sick and I had to look after him then the last event Norm was sick. My voice took a lot of strain as I have not sung in so long.

The session was well attended by the core group of drummers who have been together for a few years. It was a really powerful session with a lot of things shifting for a few people. After drumming several of us stayed around for a cup of tea and a chat.

We discussed the need to work for financial survival vs the wish to work doing something that your heart desires. For example, I went to University to do Radiography but ended up in IT specializing in Data, a move which ultimately made it financially viable for Norm and I to move back to SA. However, if I could work in any field with no need to bring in enough income to support us, I would love to train as an acupuncturist. One of us in our circle is trained as a Project Manager but prefers to work in an area that supports her beliefs. One of us is in marketing but wants to change directions in her career. One of us is working with energy but does not make enough money to live comfortably. Everyone seems to need a side hustle just to survive.

We talked about how the world measures success. Is it measured purely by how many toys and homes you have managed to accrue or is it based on how many lives you have touched or changed in a positive way, or the influence and impact we have over the things we believe in? What is your measuring stick?

Norm and I both made a really great salary in the UK. I spent most of my salary on flying the kids to us for school holidays and on taking them all around Europe and to the US. We saved little but made a lot of memories and exposed my children to so many different cultures and places.

I deem that as positive whereas some people may see it as a waste of money that I should have been saving for our retirement. It is all based on your personal perspective.

Meanwhile Norm and I have a clear ability to measure Panda’s success as he progresses every day!

We have a little footstool by the couch for the Pomeranians to use to get onto the couch. Last Sunday Panda was trying to jump on to the footstool but he could not lift his front legs high enough. But by Thursday night we saw him with both of his front feet on the stool. He still does not have the strength to pull himself up but it is still visible progress. Mastering stairs and being able to use the doggy door are the next milestones we are aiming for him to achieve.

On Monday when I was getting ready to leave for work, Panda was awake at 7am and ready to go downstairs for a treat. Before he was ill he would follow me downstairs and have some biltong when I left every morning. He obviously remembered that routine and he barked and barked until Norm got up and took him down to have a wee and a treat.

We continued with encouraging him to walk around the garden to build his muscles and help with his confidence.

He did so well that instead of carrying him around the block Norm decided to try and walk him on a lead. He did brilliantly and was so pleased with himself so each day Norm walked him a bit farther. He cannot manage the whole walk he used to do but he goes down the hill and back, then up the hill and back down.

On Wednesday Norm took him to the Physio and walked him into the offices on his lead and the Physio was shocked and pleased at his progress.

We are trying to get him back into his pre-paralysis routines. He was eating his chicken and his dried food in his old bowl in the garage with the other dogs each morning and evening with a few top up meals between. Norm noticed he was looking very jealously at Pixie and Navajo’s raw food and so he has gradually put him back onto that and he is eating eagerly instead of begrudgingly. We are also encouraging him to drink out of the communal water bowl in the pantry instead of wanting us to give him water individually out of a small bowl.

Pixie has been very naughty all week. We were eating dinner and put Panda’s bowl of chicken down by the table so he would eat a bit more with us. We heard a snuffling noise and looked down to see Pixie had nipped in and polished off all of the chicken.

She showed no remorse at all despite having just eaten her own dinner.

The next day when Norm was feeding Panda, Pixie bit him quite badly, breaking the skin in two places. He chastised her and put her into the bathroom to cool off.

She wasn’t bothered as she got the chicken.

When I came downstairs yesterday Panda met me at the bottom of the steps and was twirling around and wagging his tail like he used to. He sat by me while I had my toast begging for a bit.

It is so wonderful to see him returning to health.

I added many of the videos of Panda’s progress to my Kitten In The City YouTube channel so that anyone whose dog may have the same illness can be encouraged to support their dog in recovery and not give up.

Norm is very busy at work but still managed to cook for us a few nights.

He made a HFLC dinner of pork chops, mushrooms, cauliflower mash purée, red cabbage, and brussel sprouts cooked in chicken stock.

The next night he made lemon and pepper chicken kebabs with coleslaw, and a parmesan and spinach salad and chips.

We also had takeaways a few nights. We had yiro’s from Spiro’s, I had prawn and Norm had lamb and we both had loaded chips. It was very yummy.

I had crispy chili chicken and prawn Dim Sum from Blue Lotus.

It was also really delicious.

Friday we got takeaway chicken schnitzel with salad from Posticino’s.

On Friday work was a nightmare. I had worked for 10 hours on Thursday on a deliverable which was due on Friday and I had gone in to finish it up and prepare it for delivery. A few people on the team had recently moved desks and at 9:45am one of them unplugged the network cable and power supply for the entire pod of desks. My computer then failed to start back up even in safe mode.

All of my work and data for the client is on my desktop hard drive. I lost all of the 15 hours work on my deliverable and could not access my timesheet which I’m supposed to send for invoicing as it is month end. I hope I get paid! I spent hours waiting on the Helpdesk technician and playing games on my phone while seething with anger at my moronic colleague who never even apologized. I finally took an Ativan as I thought my head might explode. That is the first time my new daily dose of anxiety meds have not been enough to keep me calm.

I left at 2:30pm as the Helpdesk technician finally showed up to take my hard drive away so there was no point in staying. I had a chiropractor appointment that afternoon and then came home to chill.

Norm and I started watching Peaky Blinders this week. It is so funny to be surrounded by the Birmingham accent again.

Some bits are rather violent so I just don’t watch those bits but overall it is a good series.

The weather this week has been overcast and drizzly with some intermittent hot days. The weather started out overcast and chilly yesterday but then warmed up. Lola spent the morning chasing birds.

Today is cold and rainy so we are having a cosy pajama day. Norm cooked us some brunch.

Now I am snuggled on the couch with Lola and Panda. Life is pretty good.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and here’s to a peaceful week ahead.

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Advertisements

Patience and Hearts

When you have an infant you get excited over their developmental progress even though you expect it to happen and you have a general timeline of when it should happen.

When little Panda became paralyzed we had no idea if he would recover and if he did we had no idea of the timeline of his improvement. The specialist Vet and all the articles we read about acute idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis said that he should eventually recover but it could be a few weeks or even 6 months before we saw progress. This week he has had so much progress it is making my head spin and my heart happy.

He is sitting so strongly.

All 4 of his legs are starting to move with the back ones being very strong and moving a lot. His tail is wagging a bit too. It’s just difficult to catch on video. I thought I had a brilliant video this morning then realized I had not hit the record button. Meh.

I got a video of him doing a little side leg lift after an encouraging tummy tickle.

I did get a nice video of his bark which is almost back to normal.

He can lie down from a partial sitting position and wiggles about quite the thing. He is very agitated sometimes and we suspect he may be experiencing a sort of pins and needles as his nerves wake up. But he seems happy enough (as long as Daddy is nearby).

I was already in touch with two of my worst character traits, the fact that I am a control freak and that I have no patience. Dealing with Panda’s illness has forced me to accept my lack of control but I still struggle with patience.

Again, when teaching a child you expect some level of ignorance as they are children, but when teaching or educating adults it can be exasperating if they are resistant to new information or are slow to grasp it. If I tell someone the same info over and over and it is not sticking I get incredibly frustrated. This week I am working with a guy who has a high level of formal education so he cannot be stupid, he just cannot seem to grasp or retain anything I’m teaching him. I catch myself getting exasperated and feel bad for being a bitch, but then he asks me again something I’ve told him 10 times already and I lose it all over again.

How I was ever a trainer I have no idea. Maybe I was more mellow back then? But that was a lifetime ago. This week marks 12 years since I emigrated back to South Africa.

This week I was approached by a homeless man when getting into my car in the city. He told me that he was trying to raise money for his family to stay in a shelter. He said he ‘isn’t a bad guy’ and he sells stickers/decals so ‘he does not have to commit crime’.

For some reason I found using the crime deterrent as a marketing ploy and a reason to buy his stickers a bit amusing and repeated it back to him and burst out laughing which set us both off in fits of giggles.

Lucky for my car park pal, just that week I had discovered the heart decals are part of the Secret Love Project. I’ve seen people selling them before but did not know the background.

According to their website, the Secret Love Project is a registered charity dedicated to helping the homeless in Cape Town. They offer a lifeline out of extreme poverty and a fresh path to re-integration into society for the people who have been marginalised and neglected by society.  They provide anyone in need a way to make their own money, become self-sufficient, and enjoy acceptance by the community.

Each month the project provides 10,000 free heart sticker packs to the homeless to sell to motorists at R20 each. The sellers keep 100% of their sales which amounts to R200,000 a month (R2,4million per year) going directly into the hands of the most needy in our community.

I gave the man R20 and let him keep the stickers to sell on to someone else in order to double his money. He was very happy and I felt like I had helped someone so it was a mutually beneficial experience. If you can support them here is the link to make a donation.

I love supporting any initiative which gives someone the means to help themselves rather than those which just give out money as it empowers people and allows them to keep their dignity. That is why I was happy to be able to contribute to another NGO which is dear to my heart, Community Cohesion whom I have blogged about before.

On Saturday my friend Mel who runs Potted Up, held an Open Day in collaboration with Community Cohesion and Norm, Panda and I attended.

The view from the nursery is so stunning.

I bought a little birdcage with succulents in it for my kitchen windowsill.

I also bought a rusty looking pot with succulents for my front porch.

In addition to all of the sweet little pots of succulents Community Cohesion were also selling some of the items they have made in the community. I bought some eco-friendly bamboo straws in a sweet little fabric envelope and a drum stick decorated in beads and thread.

I put my drumstick in the holder on my drum and it fits perfectly.

I was so pleased with my purchases and felt happy to be able to contribute to a worthy cause.

Before we went to the open day Norm and I went for breakfast in the village at Delish.

We grabbed a seat outside by the children’s play area.

Of course we took Panda as he cannot be left alone.

Norm fancied a bacon butty so he ordered scrambled eggs and bacon on ciabatta bread.

I ordered toasted seed bread with smashed avocado and a poached egg and asked for crispy bacon on the side.

I really enjoyed that and will have it again. The egg was cooked perfectly, the seed bread was delicious and the avocado fresh and lemony. 5 Kitten Stars to Delish ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We have attempted to do low carb this week but it was very hit or miss.

On Monday Norm made his delicious low carb chicken croquettes but served them with chips which sort of defeated that one! It was delicious though so whateverrrrr.

I cooked a pork fillet and mushrooms in a teriyaki sauce and roast sweet potatoes. To go with I made a buttery cauliflower purée and sliced the pork onto it. We also had steamed broccoli in a butter sauce.

The other nights we had takeaways, with Friday being my usual sushi night. I had my fave: crab salad, tempura prawns, salmon roses, and cucumber roses topped by prawn.

The portions seemed more generous this week but the rice was a bit undercooked. (Yes I am hard to please)

The crime in Hout Bay has made the front page of one of the local papers.

One of SA’s top lawyers has been hired in response to the ongoing issues we are experiencing often due to the inept Justice System which continues to put dangerous criminals back onto the streets.

After slagging off SAPS in my last blog, they have now caught all 3 of the suspects in the murder of the tourist Ivan Ivanov. Today there was a vigil held on the mountain in the place where he was murdered.

Shortly before the vigil was due to begin, we heard on the neighborhood watch radio that there were several hikers attacked very near that same location. It is never ending it seems.

The UK consulate has put out a warning to tourists thinking of coming to SA. In response the Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane tried to reassure us that all is fine. Does anyone smell bullshit?

Last week the Hout Bay post office & several others in Cape Town were robbed at gunpoint. It was SASSA grant day so everyone would have been collecting their payments and the post offices would have had a lot of cash on hand.

There have also been a series of armed robberies in Cape Town. So what planet the tourism minister is living on is definitely not planet reality.

Crime is certainly not restricted to SA and this week there have been 3 mass shootings in the USA, the last two both occurred this weekend. As long as White Supremacy and the NRA govern the country these shootings will continue with no protection offered to the victims except thoughts and prayers.

Meanwhile like many people we distract ourselves by watching nonsense on telly. We finished watching Killing Eve last night and we both loved it.

Last Sunday we watched Bohemian Rhapsody which was brilliant but I found Rami Malek’s ginormous fake teeth a bit distracting especially when singing as it made him whistle. But other than that it’s a must watch and I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

Today I was supposed to go drumming but I am not feeling 100% and opted for a pajama day instead.

I cooked a big pot of chili con carne for dinner tonight.

It was hot and spicy and yummy.

I cooked it in the gorgeous new Jamie Oliver pots and pans I bought this week which were R1000 off as mine are in a dire condition.

I love them so far!

We are watching Den of Thieves for our Sunday night film. It is more of Norm’s type of film but as I’ve been blogging I’m not bothered.

I hope I feel better tomorrow as it’s back to work. As much as I love to complain about my job, I do enjoy what I do. I was chatting to one of the young girls who works at the cafe where I get my lunch and she said she starts work at 3.30am and that made me realize I am so lucky and that I need to be grateful for the reasonably well paid, mentally challenging job I have and that I should STFU really.

Have a great week, keep safe and well until next time.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Do Turkeys Have Totems?

This week crime has been predominant in the news. We read about three policemen being shot in Delft, one of the areas which has a high incidence of gang related violence. One of the policemen died and the other two were seriously injured.

This happened despite the recent deployment of the SANDF (the army) to help with the gang issues.

I also read that Shoprite, one of SA’s largest retailers, has implemented its own crime squad due to the high numbers of armed robberies they have to contend with. Apparently the chain has at least one a day!

Closer to home, on Saturday over the neighborhood watch radio we followed a chase of 3 criminals being pursued through Hout Bay. An Ukrainian tourist, 44 year old Ivan Ivanov, was stabbed multiple times in a struggle over the theft of his backpack. He was on a walking trail very near our village and was only a short distance from the public car park for the hiking trail. The tourist died.

I have heard that 80% of the crime in the Western Cape province is committed by people who are either on bail awaiting trial or are on parole from a crime. I wonder whether the perpetrators of this murder fall into that statistic? One of the three murderers was apprehended but two are still on the run.

Another tourist was robbed of his bags on the beach in our village and a woman was attacked while walking on the beach this weekend. Keri Cross is the Director of Community Crime Prevention (CCP) and she said the woman was out walking around noon when she was attacked on a trail just above Sandy Bay nudist beach.

Fortunately, another walker heard the woman’s screams and rallied the troops.

Cross said Hout Bay has about 820 cameras at different locations and the CCP Watchcon control room could track the suspect’s every move.

“Alerts were immediately sent out on all channels and a number of service providers and volunteers sprang to action to try to find the suspect. The chase lasted for over 90 minutes, with the suspect managing to evade response teams a few times. Shortly after 1pm, OmniVision Security spotted the suspect on CCTV along the mountainside and response teams moved to intercept him. The suspect was cornered, taken into custody and handed over to SAPS.”

As one of the key industries in Hout Bay is tourism these types of issues could be catastrophic to our village.

A study by the Western Cape community safety department has revealed some shocking figures, showing why the province seems to be losing its fight against violent and gang-related crime.

Nearly half – 45.8% – of Western Cape detectives have not received even basic training, while over 90% have had no specialised training.

Speaking to 702 Radio, MEC for Community Safety, Albert Fritz said, “Of the 875 cases monitored during the assessment, 380 dockets just did not arrive at court – this is completely unacceptable. When dockets are received, they are often incomplete, leading to cases being struck off the roll. Eventually, in some of the very serious crimes, like gangsterism, they only get a 2% conviction”, said Fritz.

This is shocking but not surprising. A skills audit done in the SAPS (SA Police Service) revealed that many officers are illiterate and that over 1000 policemen have criminal records themselves. Corruption is also very high within both the police force and the government.

Basically, in summary, we are fucked if we rely on the police for safety.

It made me so angry that the police were up in arms over the shooting of the officers in Delft and National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole has vowed to stop at nothing to get the killer(s). Why are the police not as irate over the crimes and murders visited upon us every day citizens and visitors?

In Hout Bay, the majority of the criminals are apprehended by our amazing network of security providers: Hout Bay Community Policing Forum (CPF), Community Crime Prevention (CCP) various volunteers, and Watchcon coordinating it all with the police only acting as bit players. I am so grateful for the selfless individuals who rise to the occasion and risk their own safety to protect others.

“Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said Hout Bay had one of the best neighbourhood watches in the city. It’s extraordinary, the speed of the action. They have really mastered the art of crime-fighting and what we call plural policing where they combine Law Enforcement, SAPS and private security companies. They form a line of people, and if you’re a suspect, you can be sure that they will catch you, brilliant people doing excellent things,” he said.

Meanwhile life goes on.

I mentioned in my blog last week that I made a curry last weekend which we had for dinner on Sunday. I tried to keep it low carb and high fat, but we did have a few cheeky poppadoms which I just microwaved.

For the curry I fried onions, red and yellow peppers, chilis and garlic in curry powder and coconut oil and once done I used my hand blender to liquidise it. I fried cut up chicken breast in coconut oil and curry and various other spices then once cooked I added a bag of butternut chunks, more spices and a bottle of passata then let it simmer all of Saturday afternoon. I fried another onion, added cauliflower rice and loads of coriander to serve it over instead of traditional rice. I also stir fried a bag of baby spinach, then liquidised it with some cream and some spices. It was delicious and was enough to last for dinner on Monday night too.

On Tuesday Norm cooked a recipe from our favorite low carb site but we were not very keen on this dish. It was incredibly, overwhelmingly meaty and not very flavorful.

We won’t try that one again.

On Wednesday evening Norm had a meeting at Massimo’s and brought home dinner for us. I had tapas: pepite (fried polenta bits with truffle salt and Parmesan), calamari and fried baby artichokes. It is all high in carbs but I am addicted to these gorgeous polenta bites.

It was all so delicious. I had never eaten baby artichokes like those. I liked them a lot!

On Thursday we tried out some of the offerings from the new menu recently launched at Spiro’s in Hout Bay.

I had 2 of the prawn skewers priced at R60 for one or R110 for two skewers and there are 3 prawns per skewer. You order your side dishes separately and we ordered hand cut chips and loaded chips and shared them.

It was all very tasty and I loved the Greek version of loaded fries. I wish them much success with their venue remodel and new menu.

Friday we also had yet another takeaway and I chose sushi from K1 in Hout Bay.

I had crab salad, tempura prawns, salmon roses, and cucumber roses topped by prawn. It was all very yummy but I have noticed that their portions have gotten smaller. They used to give 4 tempura prawns instead of 3, the crab salad is about half the size it used to be and there are now 3 pieces of sushi in a portion rather than 4. Every restaurant appears to be struggling but once customers feel they are not getting value for money they will go elsewhere so I hope this reduction in value doesn’t affect them.

I cooked last night. I baked pork chops, fried red cabbage in balsamic and made fondant sweet potatoes.

I had a bit of drama with OrderIn this week for lunch. I ordered buttermilk chicken tacos from Knead Bakery in Wembley Square. The app provides a status of the delivery process and the status was sitting at ‘accepted by the restaurant’ past the time when I had been told it would be delivered. I sent a query on the app to ask whether there was an issue but I received no response. Finally after over an hour the status updated to say the food had been collected from the restaurant and the driver was on his way. I tracked his journey via the app and when I went to collect the food I asked him what took so long. He said he needed air in his tire. Umm what? It took an hour and a half.

When I got to my desk and opened the box the food was in complete disarray.

The OrderIn description said it came with salsa, a sriracha sauce, cheesy nachos and slaw but none of these things were included. The food was ice cold and incredibly dry. There was a small container of an incredibly sour, disgusting sauce which I could not stomach.

On their menu it is described as: BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN TACOS R95. Buttermilk marinated chicken breast coated and deep fried with tangy slaw, fresh salsa, creamy coriander dressing, fresh coriander, avo & radish.

But on the app it says: Buttermilk marinated chicken breast coated & deep fried with tangy slaw, fresh salsa & sriracha mayo in a 4×10 mini taco served with a side of cheesy nachos & sriracha mayo dip.

I wrote to OrderIn customer service and complained about the clusterfeck of chaos. In their defense, Knead admitted that the dish no longer comes with nachos and the description on the app is wrong and that they had inadvertently sent a vegan sauce instead of the promised sriracha sauce. Poor vegans.

Knead offered to give a free replacement meal the following day so I agreed to give them a second chance. OrderIn said they will credit me with 2 free delivery fees as well.

The food arrived and the driver was surly and short, obviously he was annoyed that he did not get a tip as I hadn’t ordered or paid, it was done by the agent dealing with the complaint. But the food was warm and intact and came with the correct sauce.

It was very tasty but I found a small bone in the chicken. I won’t order from Knead again despite their efforts to compensate me. It literally left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

The weather has been a bit crazy this week, bringing a lot of much needed rain.

On Monday when I got into work I realized I had left my mobile phone in my car. I park almost half a kilometer away and it is still dark when I get to work so I was not keen on going back to get it. As I work in a dangerous area and I knew the phone could be seen once it became light I was worried my car would be broken into and my phone stolen.

Walking back and forth again resulted in an almost 1.5 kilometer walkathon before I could start work. But it could have been worse if it had happened on any other day as the weather turned on Monday afternoon and it started raining on my way to my car that afternoon and we even had a bit of thunder and lightning on Tuesday night. We built big fires every night to keep the chill out.

Despite the weather I had two hair raising incidents driving. One morning I was in a long queue of traffic and due to the rain and mist I left plenty of space between me and the car in front. As I neared Bakoven a SUV came flying up onto my rear, flashing his lights and swerving around me as if to overtake. There were cars coming on the other side of the narrow coast road and there were cars in front of me, so there was nowhere for me to move to and nowhere for the psycho driver to go if he got around me. I eventually got fed up, slammed on my brakes and gave him the finger out of my window and he backed right off.

The same day on my way home I was stuck behind a bus which was going slowly, but the road is very dangerous so I settled in and relaxed. Next thing in my rear mirror I see a fancy SUV racing up on the wrong side of the road, overtaking a long queue of traffic and then overtaking the bus on a blind bend. If a car had come around the bend it would have taken out me, the bus, and countless other cars. For the gain of at most, fifteen minutes.

The roads are full of arrogant arsehats.

We have had some progress with Panda’s illness. He is starting to get stronger and can hold his head up longer. He can even lift his head up from a side leaning position which shows his core strength is coming back. His bark is also getting stronger.

When I come home from work I am greeted by his yips, wiggles and happy smiling face. We still have to try and decipher his whines and barks. This week he was moaning a lot and squirming and we tried everything to settle him. Eventually Norm picked him up and put him on his lap.

Next Panda lets out a giant loud burp. He obviously had a bit of trapped wind is why he was so unsettled.

Norm has continued with putting him in his walker even though he cannot move around yet, but it gets him used to the walker.

Navajo is so protective over little Panda.

He had a busy day yesterday as Norm and I attended a fundraiser for CCP. I had told them when I booked that we would have Panda with us and when we arrived at Dario’s they had reserved a table for two people and a dog.

So cute.

Our table was out on the patio.

Norm held Panda so he could be a part of the social aspect.

The set meal included a coffee, orange juice and champagne, 2 eggs, 3 bits of bacon, a potato rosti, stuffed tomato and toast.

We popped Panda down on his bed while we ate.

There was an adorable baby French Bulldog sitting next to us, I love this breed. Look at that face!

After we finished we headed to the shops to run some errands. On our way home we saw that the new skate park was full of people skating.

It is lovely that the kids in the community have this venue.

We gave Panda a bath when we got home as he was starting to smell like an incontinent geriatric’s underpants. It took us both to do it as holding him and washing him is not easy since he cannot stand and he has tons of hair! We dried him with the blow dryer after. He smells so much better and I’m sure he feels better.

Last night Norm and I watched A Star is Born.

I loved this film so much! I adore Lady Gaga and also enjoy Bradley Cooper. His affected voice and accent was a bit annoying but he has a nice singing voice and of course Gaga was fabulous. I give the film 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

Tonight we are watching Bohemian Rhapsody during dinner and I am really looking forward to that.

I had mentioned that the girls and I had bought my Mom a voucher for her birthday and she went shopping and bought some Chanel perfume with her voucher.

Look at her cute little smile. I love that we found a way to treat her despite being so far apart.

Work is slowly moving along. We had a BI department meeting and we were given a lot of information from teammates who had attended several recent conferences. I was rapt as I am always eager to learn new info.

It was a bit distracting that the guy behind me talked throughout the entire meeting. Ironically he is one of the people who has so much to learn. He also spends our smaller team meetings on his phone.

Why is it that those who need education the most are those who are the least eager to learn? Or is that why they need the education? A chicken and egg sort of situation?

Conversely my other colleague (the one who reads out loud and verbalises everything he types) is curious about everything. He has the most obscure conversations with me. He said to me that my bone structure reminds him of the ‘Red Indians’ on television. I had never heard Native Americans called this until I moved to Europe. It is a colonial term freely used there and in South Africa. I find the term incredibly offensive. I told my colleague that it is not politically correct to call us that and that I am of Cherokee origin. He obviously read up about my lineage and the next day he said ‘so do turkeys have totems?’ I said to him I did not understand the question and then he said ‘oops I meant Cherokees’.

That made me giggle. I’m happy to discuss things with him however as he is inquisitive and eager to learn. Even though he called me a turkey.

I hope you all have a great 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

Hellos, Goodbyes & All That Jazz

Due to safety risks I did not want to mention it in my last blog but Norm was away last week for 3 days and as per usual, everything went haywire. Even Facebook and Instagram crashed! I mentioned in my last blog about the lock jamming in our security gate resulting in us being locked in upstairs and that was the first thing to go wrong but he was still here to resolve that. He ended up using a bicycle chain to lock the gate shut. Quite innovative really as I would have just said to hell with it and left it open.

I also mentioned the dramas with the electricity knocking out the downstairs WiFi and trying to resolve that after much poking about. I spent one night with no telly and much frustration.

The one thing I did not mention was that Pixie had developed a hot spot on her back leg. It was on her inner leg and within a matter of 48 hours she had gnawed it raw to the point that it was bleeding and very gooey and starting to go septic. She would not eat and was so lethargic that she worried me so. Pixie loves food and if she is not eating then you know she is very ill indeed. As I had to come home early due to the issues with the dog sitter and the alarm I decided to take her down to the vet on Thursday afternoon. The vet noticed that she had little patches of eczema all over her body and she said I had to leave Pixie behind so that they could sedate her and shave and treat her wounds. I was already so worried about her that this set me over the edge and it took all of my self control to not start sobbing. I did have leaky eyes and the vet was comforting me and telling me that Pixie would be fine. I felt a right wuss.

I went back home for a bit and soon after I got home Norm arrived back from the airport. He settled in a bit but then it was time to go back and collect Pixie. The vet said that they had to keep giving her more meds as she kept waking up, the little crack head. Eventually they managed to shave her and give her a dose of anti-inflammatory meds, cortisone and antibiotics. They also put on a cone to stop her chewing her leg.

After we collected Pixie from the vet Norm drove me over to Constantia to my friend Gerri’s house. She was moving out of her house and we were having a drum session to say goodbye to the land and the ancestors of the land. I cannot see to drive at night so Norm was kind enough to take me there.

We dug a hole in the spot where the lodge used to be and we put the prayer ties from the lodge into the hole and we burned them. We gave some tobacco to the ancestors and thanked them for all of the beautiful ceremonies we have had at her home. It was at Gerri’s home that I had my first sweat lodge in South Africa and where I started to learn about my Native American roots and to start to follow the red road so I felt very emotional.

We sang the Cherokee morning prayer song We n’ de ya ho to each of the directions.

Gerri prayed and said thank you to the spirits, the trees, the ancestors and the beings who all supported the teachings and learnings that have happened at Eagle Owl Lodge. When she called in the spirits and the ancestors the wind picked up and starting blowing a gale. The birds started flying around overhead.

We then all settled around the communal drum and sang our hearts out and drummed with great enthusiasm. While we were drumming an owl came and settled in the tree overhead and hooted along with us. The hadedas flew over and raised their voices in unison with us. A load of frogs started chirping along with us too. As we were smack dab in the middle of a housing estate this was quite magical. I could feel the energy of the beings showing support and making their presence known. I could feel the love of the land surrounding us.

We were oblivious to the dramas going on inside the house as one of the neighbours came over and just walked into the house and started going insane and calling us satanists and all sorts of vitriolic poison. Norm had unfortunately arrived in the midst of her craziness and when she was asked to leave the house she started attacking Norm and taking photographs of him and the car and when he asked her to stop she called him a Glaswegian Git. A) He is not Glaswegian and B) he is not a git! She is crazy AF. Nevermind, she will not have us there to harass any longer.

We did not let it spoil our night however, I left on a high, despite the sadness of knowing I will never go back to that house where I learned so much, I know it is time to move on. I always absorb so much energy and positivity from drumming and singing our prayer songs.

I have started praying on my knees, I have always had bouts of praying but never on a consistent basis and since I started following the red road I try to give gratitude regularly but I had never really knelt to do so. I met a really lovely woman a while back at Gerri’s and she said to me that I needed to get on my knees and since then it has been niggling at the back of my mind and I have finally started to do so. If I forget to kneel and pray before I leave in the morning for work I pray on the drive in and listen to NA music to try and keep me centred and to put me into a calm state. It really does work.

On Friday it was 32 degrees and it was so hot walking from the office to my car after work. I worked late to try and make up some of the hours I had lost dealing with Pixie and when I left my office the town was chocka with young people. There was a global student protest about climate change and many of the student must have been hanging around afterwards. Here is a link to a video of the Cape Town protest but it was all over the world.

As it was so hot Norm popped down to get us sushi for dinner from K1 sushi. They have a buy one get one free offer so all of this loveliness was only R123! That is $8.50 USD. I had salmon roses, prawn roses, cucumber roses topped with prawns and prawn tempura. Can you guess that I like prawns?

Friday night we had load shedding and it continued all through the weekend, occurring 4 separate times on Saturday. Load shedding is to protect the stability of the national power grid during times of severe strain. When Eskom is unable to meet the nation’s demand for energy it implements power rationing – load shedding – which reduces the load on the grid by cutting electricity to suburbs, towns and villages. In this way, Eskom is able to manually reduce demand to match its capacity. It is not too bad when it is in the day time as you can amuse yourself doing things, but when it happens in the evening you have to wait for it to finish in order to go to bed or you are likely to be woken when the lights all come back on. It went off at 4am and I woke up dripping with sweat as the fan was off. It was so tiring being woken all night by this nonsense. We were at Stage 4 of load shedding all weekend but it has dropped back to Stage 2 at the moment. We are due to be without power tonight from 8pm to 10.30pm which of course is right when we are usually getting ready for bed. It is exhausting remembering to prepare for it and trying to function.

Eskom has said that one of the reasons why it has been so intense this week is due to cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Zimbabwe knocking out the supply there which we are dependent on.

However insiders say that it is due to a number of issues, mainly poor maintenance of the infrastructure.

Whatever the reasons, it is a pain in the arse to deal with.

On Saturday morning I had plans to meet my friend Bronwyn for coffee at Hout Bay Manor but it was closed for a wedding so we had to quickly regroup and we decided to go to Delish instead as we could sit outside there. We had coffee and scones.

We chatted for hours and realised that we have so much in common and I decided we are basically twins. I had been told by several people before we met that we looked alike and had the same mannerisms and even communicated the same and when we talked we realised it is so true. I left feeling so relaxed and yet energised as you do when you really connect with someone. Women need female energy in their lives and I had been missing that. I hope we manage to spend more time hanging out as I think it would be good for both of us.

Bronwyn had a lunch date with her family and so we headed off just after midday. Norm and I were taking Caitlin and Wes to Hoghouse Brewery for dinner that evening.

We collected them and drove over to Ndabeni arriving for 6:30. We were seated upstairs.

We were warned that they were due for load shedding at 8 so we quickly made our choices and ordered. You order the food for the whole table and share it.

We ordered 100g of Korean burnt ends and 100g of normal burnt ends. These are the ends of a beef brisket which go a bit burned. We also had 300g of pulled pork.

We ordered 300g of pork ribs, 200g of beef brisket and 200g of pork belly.

For our sides we had big fat chips, onion rings and mushroom arancini. The fellas had the chorizo scotch eggs. It was quite a spread!

I finished it off with a pasteis de nata, I adore these little gems.

We literally waddled out of there with big fat bellies, the food there is so divine. There was nothing that we had that was not tasty and delicious. It was nice to be able to hang out with Caitlin and Wes, they are such a lovely couple. Wes is a really nice lad and I am glad Cait is with him, they are very well suited.

There was a famous rugby player called Siya Kolisi also there. He is a huge bloke and very handsome.

I felt sorry for him as everyone wanted to take a pic with him and he just wanted to hang out with his adorable son. He was very polite to his fans however.

We left before load shedding kicked in and dropped the kids at Caitlin’s flat then headed home. It was a restless night with the power going on and off. I was a bit groggy when I woke on Sunday and I had a lazy morning. Norm made us bacon and eggs for brunch and then Caitlin came to collect me at 4pm as we were going to see the musical Chicago which was on at the Artscape. Caitlin had won a competition on CapeTownetc and she invited me to attend with her.

We went to the city and drove down Kloof Nek looking for a restaurant with easy parking as the show started at 6pm so we did not have much time to mess around. We saw parking outside of Van Hunks and so we grabbed it and went in. They sat us outside on the balcony and we had a nice mountain view.

But when the wind was blowing in a certain direction it reeked of urine. There are many homeless people in that area and that area is also a bit of a party place so I assume the street is used as a urinal by the masses. Charming.

We asked to move and were put on the other side of the veranda where we were much happier.

We were even happier when we saw that there were two for the price of one burgers and we ordered the Parmesan crusted chicken breast burgers with chips and onion rings.

We finished our dinner and headed off to the theatre. Parking was a bit of a mission and we had to race up to collect the tickets, get a bottle of water and have a wee. We made it just in time to our seats only a few minutes before the curtain came up.

It was a brilliant production and we really enjoyed ourselves. It was nice to have a weekend full of female company and time with family.

When we got home it was load shedding and so Norm and I stayed up until the lights came back on but then it was so late when we got into bed and I was really tired today. However the positive energy I gained from drumming and the time with people I enjoy bolstered me up and kept me buoyant. Pixie went for her check up at the vet who says she is doing really well and that has also helped.

I hope the load shedding settles down soon as life is enough of a challenge without that. Thursday is a public holiday so it will be nice to have that day off. I do not have any annual leave left or I would also take off Friday but I am grateful for the one day I will have to relax.

I hope you all have a great week surrounded by happiness and love. That is what makes the world go round after all.

Until then, kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x.

The Humming Heart of my Ancestors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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