With a little help from my friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We started watching Series 2 of Mindhunter on Netflix.

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

It has been absolutely stunning weather the last few days.

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

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

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

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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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

 

Patience and Protection

Since Panda became ill the scope of our lives has become quite narrow. Panda is at the center of everything we do and so we spend most of our time at home.

Yesterday we broke out of that pattern for a bit.

In the morning Norm got up to let Navajo and Pixie out for a wee and fed them their breakfast. I had Lola kitty asleep on my tummy so I lazed in bed a bit longer. Norm brought me a frothy coffee in bed and after I finished my coffee I had to get showered and head into Cape Town to Pause for an appointment at the hairdresser. When I got out of the shower I heard a lot of kerfuffle in the bedroom and when I opened the bathroom door Norm chastised me for tossing the duvet onto Panda’s head when I had gotten out of bed. I did not have my glasses on and wasn’t even aware Panda was in the bed with Lola and I, I had assumed that he had gone downstairs with Norm. I felt terrible but it was certainly not deliberate I’m just blind as a bat.

Due to my laziness I headed into town a bit late then I realized I had no cash to pay for my parking and so I also had to go to the bank. As a result I had no time for breakfast.

I had my hair colored and had a gorgeous head massage from Thembi. I left feeling pampered, relaxed and like a new woman.

I went home to collect Norm and Panda as we were going to attempt to go out for lunch. We chose Delish as we can sit outside and they are dog friendly. The owner also has a Pomeranian.

We chose a table in the shade outside.

We had taken Panda’s bed and we settled him into a seat at the table with us.

He was enjoying all of the attention.

I ordered a BLT which came on ciabatta and with fries.

Norm had a burger which also came with fries.

For dessert we shared a piece of baked white chocolate cheesecake which was divine.

The food was tasty and Norm and I both give our meals 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

After we finished our lunch we headed to Mainstream Mall in the village. We split up for the sake of efficiency and Norm carried Panda into Clicks for peepee pads (aka ‘linen savers’ to the posh or polite). I went into Woolworths to get something for our dinner and some other bits and pieces. Norm took his shopping to the car and then walked Panda around the mall until I finished my shop. Everyone wants to stop and chat because he is such a cute baby. (Panda, not Norm although he is pretty cute too.)

We finished up our errands and headed home and Norm walked them all and fed them and we built a fire and relaxed a bit.

We had been watching series 3 of Stranger Things during the week and we finished it yesterday. It was riveting and tense but it was not as good as the previous seasons and there were some annoying bits. For example the constant childish bickering between Hopper and Joyce got a bit tiring after a while.

Saying that, we enjoyed it. I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

Later that night Norm cooked dinner for us. He cooked fillet steaks and baby portobello mushrooms and made chips in the air fryer. We also had coleslaw with it. It was simple and delicious.

We decided to watch a film and we looked through Netflix offerings and chose Shaft with the brilliant Samuel L. Jackson.

It was quite funny which kept me interested and had a lot of shoot em up action which kept Norm amused. I gave it 3 and a half Kitten Stars and Norm gave it 4 and a half which averages out to 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The week started off a bit hectic. Last Sunday night we saw on social media that there was a bad car crash on the coast road into the city and that one of the cars was alight resulting in the road being closed. Luckily it was open again by morning but I do not have any information about the people in the cars or the cause, except it occurred on a section of the coast road where a single lane changes to two lanes to allow overtaking. Maybe the accident occurred due to someone overtaking. The damage to the road was clearly visible the next day and the road was badly charred from the fire.

Tuesday morning I was so tired when my alarm went off that I just could not get out of bed. I left half an hour later than normal and when I got about 30 minutes down the road I came upon a backup of tail lights.

There was a lot of fog and mist coming in from the sea so it was hard to see whether there was just a lot of traffic ahead or what was happening and after a few minutes of being parked up I could see black smoke billowing out and a person who had gotten out of their car to run up to see what was happening confirmed there was a serious accident ahead. After a while they waved us through but I was terrified that the flaming car might explode as I went past. When we drove through the smoke was so thick and black I could barely see and it smelled horrid.

Later I saw a pic of the car on social media.

The rumour was that one of the drivers was a tourist who was driving on the wrong side of the road and that they ran from the scene. I do not know if this has any truth or whether the accident was a result of the loss of visibility due to the fog.

I was so thankful to my ancestors and guardian angels. If I had left home when I normally do I could have been involved in the accident. I was so grateful for my safety and hope that those who were involved recover.

The road was closed in both directions just after I got through resulting in some people sitting there for a long time while they removed the cars which were both very badly damaged.

I had Vanessa here on Monday to do my pedicure and as always it was lovely to see her and catch up with the gossip.

We also had repair men around on Monday to look at our gate and the security beam that keeps going off for no reason. Sorting out both will take money and we are rather tight on finances as Panda’s care has cost a lot, but both things need sorting as they impact our safety. The pool motor also needs replacing but as it is winter there is no rush on that.

We had some happy news this week as Lily has now booked the venue and photographer for her and Josh’s wedding next year. It is all very exciting and thanks to Whatsapp we have been able to involve Mom in all the decisions. As Mom will not be able to make the journey it is special that she can be involved.

We have been a bit hit or miss on our attempts at low carb food this week. Mostly miss.

I made Mexican food on Monday night after Vanessa left. I made tacos and retried beans. It is a quick and easy meal and one of my faves.

Norm cooked a pork fillet roasted in teriyaki on Tuesday night. He made sweet potatoes and broccoli to go with it.

It was delicious and healthy and it is so nice to have someone cook for you when you are tired.

Wednesday we had takeaways and I had sushi from K1. I had prawn roses, salmon roses, cucumber roses topped with prawns and prawn tempura.

Thursday we had takeaways from Posticino and I had grilled chicken with olio and aglio pasta.

It was delicious as their food always is. The next night I had a Mexican pizza from Positicino which was spicy and yummy. They are moving to a new venue at the end of the month so we wanted to get our fix before they close.

On Thursday for lunch I went with my friend Sakshi to see her new flat. It is a two minute walk from my office. It has a lovely mountain view.

After lunch Sakshi gave me a chocolate layer cake as a late anniversary gift. We had a big piece for dessert that night and it was so moist.

My anniversary lilies are blooming and looking so pretty.

On Friday Sakshi and I went to Nuri sushi for lunch and I had Asian fries and prawn pops.

They were so yummy.

This week we have seen in the news that the Minister of Police Bheki Cele announced on Thursday in his budget speech that President Cyril Ramaphosa had given the go-ahead for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to offer support to the police and enter 10 identified areas of the Cape Flats. The 10 Cape Town precincts identified for support by the SANDF are Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, Delft, Elsies River, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Philippi, Kraaifontein and Manenberg.

This drastic measure was taken after eleven fatal shootings occurred in Philippi East in the Western Cape last weekend, prompting local police to initiate a 72-hour action plan. A week ago on Friday unknown suspects killed six women, aged 18 to 26, in Marcus Garvey in Philippi East and then on Saturday evening, five men, aged 18 to 39, were shot dead and one was injured in two separate shootings. All are suspected to be linked to gangsterism.

I have been busy at work and my contract has been extended again with a potential for another extension. I’m happy there so was happy to hear this. I have a new colleague sitting next to me who is a lovely bloke but he is incredibly distracting. He ‘types’ out loud, in other words he verbally expresses everything he types and he reads out loud. He is also using crappy headphones and I hear everything he listens to. His noises are driving me a bit batty. Even when I approached him and asked whether he was aware that he talks continuously out loud he just laughed and said he knows. FFS it makes me mental. I am so intolerant of noise.

The only annoying noise that makes me happy is my baby boy who expresses his displeasure regularly.

He barks if he pees and wants his bedding changed, he barks if he is thirsty or hungry and he barks if he is annoyed or happy (or if he gets trapped under the duvet). Basically he just constantly barks. I can see his frustration at the lack of response in his body. He is pretty much only happy in his Daddy’s arms.

I am so happy that he has survived his illness and is slowly improving that I can tolerate his grumbles. I’ve noticed a bit more tension in his little legs when I do his rehab and we have seen his back legs move a few times. As always we are ever hopeful.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Hope and Comfort

After I posted my last blog about my friend Jay who passed away, my friend Chris messaged me to say he had also experienced the same light show I had written about! Chris was also at school with us and he said that Jay had sent him this image as a GIF:

However IG will not allow the GIF to do it’s thing so I found this video which is a very close representation to what I saw.

The fact that Chris saw the same sorts of lights and that the GIF was sent by Jay confirms to me that Jay was communicating to us. It comforts me.

Norm attempted to start us off eating well this week and did a shop to make dinner on Monday but as he has to wait for me to get home from work so I can take over Panda-sitting and I worked late it was very late by the time he got home and we ended up with another take away that night.

On Tuesday he made a yummy dinner of cauliflower cheese ala macaroni and cheese. He make crispy bacon to go on top and I added grated parmesan and chopped chill to mine.

Wednesday was my Mom’s birthday and the girls and I clubbed together to buy a gift card for her. She had been wanting to buy herself some new perfume and it was the same cost as the gift card so she will buy that for herself from us. It was such a mission to find a company in the US that would accept a SA credit card for a US ‘delivered’ item, even though it was an electronic gift card but that seemed not to matter. Amex was going to charge a fee, Eileen Fischer made me jump through a million hoops and Dillard’s allowed the purchase then cancelled it the following day. Finally I found Nordstrom’s and they were brilliant. From now on I can just send her a credit to spend. I video called Mom on Wednesday night when I got home and we had a nice chat, it is so nice to be able to see her and chat via whatsapp without having to pay for an international call.

That day Norm and I both had to go to the bank as it is a joint account which requires both of our signatures. Standard Bank as always was incredibly inefficient and we queued for an hour to get to see a teller. I really hate this bank and may consider moving our investments to a more user friendly bank. Standard are closing down many of their branches so I assume that the queues will just get worse. They suck at customer service. The teller asked us the same question 3 times and could not seem to grasp the concept of moving funds from one account to another.

We had a dilemma about what to do with Panda as he cannot be left alone and we could not take him into the bank. Caitlin kindly volunteered to puppy sit and Norm dropped him off at her office.

Caitlin said he had a few visitors pop by to see him and he was so tired that night from his adventures.

After our long time waiting at Standard Bank we were starving so we popped into Brownies & Downies across from the bank for a spot of lunch.

They serve their cappuccinos on a cute little tray with a few bits of brownie and fresh cream.

They had a pulled chicken sandwich on ciabatta on special and we both ordered that.

It was so tasty! Slightly spicy and really yum. The chef said it usually has peppers in it but peppers cause my hernia to go a bit mental so I asked him to leave them off and he did. There is a lovely warm vibe there.

The premise of this cafe is to “train people with intellectual disabilities. Special-needs young adults are trained and integrated into jobs in the hospitality and retail sectors. Training while working in Brownies & downieS helps to break down long-standing stigmas and gives customers and special-needs adults the opportunity to meet and interact with each other in a fun and homely environment.”

That night for dinner Norm and I made a really delicious meal. We are getting a bit tired of takeaways but needed something simple and quick. We grilled fillet steaks we had marinated in garlic, pepper and olive oil. We sliced the steaks and served them on a bed of spinach and rocket, pomegranate seeds, toasted pine nuts and thick shavings of parmesan cheese. It was soooo divine! This is going to become a regular meal for us.

Lily drove down to Cape Town to collect her passport at the US embassy and she arrived on Thursday night. Norm cooked for us and made baked pork chops, roasted sweet potato rounds, fried halloumi and steamed broccoli. It was so delicious.

We have continued with nursing little Panda back to health, sometimes he is happy to chow the fancy food from the vet which is supposed to give him the nutrients he needs to recover and sometimes he turns his nose up.

We bought him bibs as his ruff is a nightmare to clean.

Saturday Norm ran errands while Lily and I watched after Panda. He got some tapas type bits for lunch. We had chicken samosas, chili poppers and arancini stuffed with mozzarella with various salads.

The girls offered to babysit Panda for us that night as we tickets booked to go to see the musical Kinky Boots at The Fugard Theatre in the Cape Town city centre.

First we stopped at Hudson’s for a burger.

We sat on the outside patio but it wasn’t unbearably chilly.

I ordered the Original Royale burger with battered onion rings, bacon, cheddar cheese and chili oil.

Norman ordered the East Village Selection of 3 60g sliders but said the meat was very average. I was too hungry to bother with a pic of his dinner.

We give our meal 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We headed over to the theatre and grabbed a drink and roamed around until we could take our seats.

We absolutely loved the show. The lead, Lola, was so talented! Lola was played by Earl Gregory. I remember him from Joseph’s Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Darren Craig played Charlie and he was also very talented as was the actress who played Lauren, Namisa Mdlalose. Their chemistry was very sweet.

We loved the choreography with this scene being my favorite.

We had such a lovely evening with a lot of laughs. It was also nice to see my friend Rob. We have not had a break since Panda became ill so I was glad the girls were so kind.

When we got home we watched some of the acts appearing at Glastonbury.

Some of my favorite performances have been, Miss Janet ❤️

The sexy, energy bomb that is Lizzo.

I also enjoyed King Princess.

We loved Lewis Capaldi too.

We are so limited in what music we get exposed to here that we have a wonderful time watching the various artists.

We stayed up far too late. After Lily left today we have carried on watching. I’m rather lazy today.

Norm took Panda to the vet as he is not too keen on eating, but we finally managed to get some roast chicken down him. The vet says he has lost a tenth of his body weight already. The vet gave him an IV as he seemed a bit dehydrated and she gave him another vitamin shot.

Panda has discovered he can make a bit of a growl now and practices a lot.

We realised just after filming that Panda managed his first solo poop (you can see Navajo realised it when he gave Panda a sniff). That was obviously what the grunting was about! The vet checks may have loosened things up in that regard.

In the local news over the last few weeks were the horrors that have been becoming public around the Al Noor Childrens Home in Cape Town.  Back in June the Department of Social Development  removed 17 children from the centre after conducting a preliminary investigation into a number of serious complaints of alleged physical and sexual abuse.

The children were placed in other child and youth care centres, and are receiving the necessary social support, including assessment and counselling. Then we heard that more children were removed and that the manager was up on various charges including fraud. Amina Okpara was arrested on June 14 for fraud and corruption by the Hawks and may face further charges including sexual offenses. It is alleged that Okpara redirected donor funds meant for daily operations of the Centre into her personal bank account and used it for personal gain. She was arrested during a sting operation by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team together with the Department of Social Development (DSD). At the time of her arrest, there were 35 children in the building none of whom any record existed on the premises.

Joshua Covenant Chigome, spokesperson for MEC of Social Development Minister Sharna Fernandez, confirmed that criminal charges have been laid with the SAPS against the alleged perpetrators.

The home has since lost it’s license and has received an eviction notice from the City of Cape Town.

A third whale has died due to being trapped in the fishing nets around False Bay.

“The former department of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries had issued the exploratory octopus permit about 17 years ago, allegedly without consulting the City. In 2017, after the drowning of a Bryde’s whale, the City asked the department to set limits as a condition of the permit, but this was ignored. The permits were intended to assess the techniques, economics, population and biology and management of a possible future commercial octopus fishing industry, according to a published notice by the environmental affairs department in 2003.”

Everyone is up in arms and a petition is going around and hopefully the nets will be removed. Regardless of where you live please sign.

News from Limpopo showed a different sort of protest in that the protesters hijacked an excavator and forced the operator to dig up the road.

There are so many things to protest but this sort of vandalism doesn’t help anyone’s cause in my opinion.

The SA government is in a mess. The auditor-general’s annual municipal audit report, released this week, details the alarming state of financial management at most of South Africa’s towns and cities.

Only 18 of the country’s 257 municipalities received clean audits in the past financial year.

Unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure at municipalities, which piled up over many years, has now reached R122 billion.

The latest annual municipal audit report details some alarming instances of maladministration in several towns and cities in South Africa. These include spending of R21 million on a single fence, and R58 million in missing pension fund investments. One Eastern Cape municipality paid R2,500 per toilet for a sanitation project that now threatens local drinking water.

Crime is still on the increase and the Cape Town murder rate has risen by more than 18% in one month. It is only six months into the year, the murder rate in Cape Town stands at 2,302. Between November 2018 and April 2019, there were a total of 1,875 murders in the province. In essence, that is an average of 10.2 murders reported in a single day. In April alone, mortuaries in the Western Cape reported 308 corpses that were processed. Gang violence has been identified as the primary cause of this rapid increase in murders. The Cape Flats has been identified as the capital killing grounds of the city.

The crime in our suburb has lessened since they did not release the members of the group who were recently arrested and their bond was refused.

As much as we love SA there is a long way to go to sort out the challenges, however much like I have with the prognosis of my baby boy, I do have hope.

Three Bad Things

I’ve always heard that bad things come in threes, but I am sure that I have exceeded that count recently.

On Monday night I was notified that Jay, one of my dearest and oldest friends, had passed away.

Jay and I went to Junior School and High School together, Jay was in the class one year ahead of me so we had become friends when I was about 12 years old and we had stayed friends ever since.

We got up to such mischief and had such fun doing it. When I was about 15 or so we got into trouble when Jay, my friend Robin and I had told our parents that we were baby sitting Robin’s sister’s kids but in reality we were out driving around and partying. It saddens me that both Robin and Jay have now passed away.

I grew up in North Georgia and after graduation Jay moved to Atlanta to go to University. My friend Marie drove us both down to visit him one weekend. We drove down in her Dad’s old white convertible, I think it was a Cadillac. Jay was working in a record shop (yes it was THAT long ago that record shops were commonplace) so Jay could get discount concert tickets and we went to see Joe Jackson perform at an Atlanta stadium.

We took a bucket of KFC and a bottle of schnapps and we had such fun. It was a simpler time when we were all young, beautiful and broke.

I left the south when I was about 22 years old and I moved to Los Angeles. Every time I would go back home to visit I tried to always meet up with Jay. I ate Jamaican food for the first time when he and I went to a restaurant in the funky little Five Points in Atlanta.

In 1990 I emigrated to South Africa and 7 years later I moved to the UK. Jay and I found each other on MySpace and we followed each other’s blogs and stayed in contact via email and social media, eventually moving over to Facebook as MySpace suffered its death throes.

In 2006 Norman, my children and I went back home for a visit and I contacted Jay to meet up. Jay was still based in Atlanta.

We went to Dave and Busters and had dinner.

We then spent ages playing games in the arcade and had such fun.

He knew of the issues I had experienced in my first marriage and he was so pleased to meet Norm and my kids and see me happy. Jay also seemed settled and happy.

It was another 11 years until I went home to the US again and Jay was the first person I made plans to see but Jay was too ill to come visit me but he did not tell me that until I had returned back to SA. Instead he told me that his father had a heart attack and he wasn’t able to leave his mom and various other excuses. I thought it was all a bit odd but once I was back in SA he let me know about the issues he was having with his liver and the ascites which meant he had to have his abdomen drained of fluid regularly. It turned out that he had end stage liver disease but he was very private and did not tell me that part. He kept telling me that they were doing tests and that he might need a liver transplant and the doctor did not know what caused it.

We chatted on messenger almost daily and he always read my blog and messaged me nice comments about it. Recently Jay went to Florida on holiday but he had to leave earlier than planned and go home to Atlanta to check into the hospital for treatment. We were in constant communication and then he just stopped responding to my messages. I had such a bad feeling and I started messaging various friends back home asking if they could find out how he was. My worst fears were realised on Monday as we were going to bed and many friends messaged me to tell me that Jay had passed.

I was already in so much distress over Panda and whether he was going to survive his sudden illness, so this news devastated me completely.

I barely slept for crying and fretting on Monday night. My heart felt broken. Jay was such a kind, loving, gentle soul. He always had time for everyone and did not have a mean bone in his body.

I had to go back to work on Tuesday and I was a zombie. I kept praying to the Great Spirit that Jay had a peaceful transition. I could not get Jay out of my mind and I felt Jay’s presence all around me.

On Wednesday night I was woken out of a deep sleep by bright flashing lights. I am very visually challenged and I thought it must have been Norm on his phone and I shook him and asked him what was going on. He was sound asleep and told me that nothing was going on, that I was dreaming and to go back to sleep. However I was now wide awake and I could see bright lights shooting around the room, almost like bolts of lightening, flashing and zinging around the room. I have never experienced anything like that. Even when I closed my eyes I could see these lights. I then started wondering was I having some sort of neurological episode and checked that I could move my limbs but the lights did not go away. It went on so long that I started to feel frightened and as soon as I felt this fear, the lights stopped.

Eventually I went back to sleep but I was so confused by the entire episode. I’m now convinced that it was Jay coming through to communicate with me.

My Mom went to the funeral home to pay respects from our family and she said that Jay was so thin. I am glad I did not see him like that, I will remember him happy, healthy and smiling. I hope that he is now pain free and at peace. I miss him.

As mentioned in my last blog, we have still been nursing little Panda. He went to his appointment with the specialist vet on Tuesday and they kept him in overnight to run tests. On Wednesday Norm picked me up at the client in town at lunchtime and we drove through together to collect Panda and speak to the vet. He agrees with the third vet Panda had seen. They are confident it is most likely idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis. He gave Panda IV antibiotics to target the most likely causes of the issue. It will take a few weeks to get the results of the blood tests back and they may not provide any definitive answers.

The vet said this is a very rare condition but that he has another patient with the same issue but that is a large dog. I cannot imagine how his owners cope with turning him and getting him back and forth to the vet.

He thinks the prognosis is good and that Panda will recover but it could take up to 4 months & a lot of nursing care. It is like caring for a mute newborn as he is so helpless & cannot make any noises at all. It does not affect smooth muscles so his urinary & bowel functions are not affected. Luckily his lungs do not appear to have been affected either. We have waterproof pads under him and keep an eye on him so that he is not left lying in urine. He has not yet managed to poop on his own, we have to take him to the vet for them to get the poop out of him manually. We turn him over every few hours to make sure he doesn’t get any pressure sores. We give him antibiotics twice a day and make sure he eats and stays hydrated and I am putting tissue salts in his water. We sleep with him in our bed so neither of us get a full night’s sleep.

I am hopeful yet terribly sad watching the confusion on his wee face when he tries to move or bark. He is so determined to get his bark back. He spends ages just trying and trying.

On Tuesday night while Panda was at the vet overnight Norm and I were so sad and to distract us we avoided any drama or anxiety inducing TV shows. We watched a house building show as that should be mindless and stress free and then at the end the mother in the show bloody well dies of a brain tumor! Her house wasn’t that nice either so it was a poor choice all around. FML

We are seeing a very slight improvement in Panda, but the main thing is that it seems the deterioration has stopped and he has stabilized so we hope he has turned a corner. He can hold his head up longer and can drink from a bowl now.

When it turns 4pm Panda knows it is the time when they usually go for their walk. He gets so excited and barks and barks. Silently. Norm has carried him around the block a few times and Panda comes home bright eyed and smiling. He loves his Dad so much.

Wednesday was rehearsal for the SONA and many roads in the city were closed. I park near Parliament so my usual drive home was closed off. I was diverted onto the motorway and only got home very late as I had to work over to make up the time I missed by popping out to the vet.

On Thursday I discovered what Bad Thing Number 3 was. The client does not allow me to work from my own laptop and when I got into the office and tried to log on to the computer they provide I was greeted with this:

I forced a shut down, then tried to log in using safe mode but the blue screen of death advised that my hard drive was corrupt.

I had gotten to work at 7:30 & I logged a Helpdesk call. Finally at 10:30 they came to collect the computer but they could not say how long it might take to bring it back or whether they would be able to recover my documents. The client decided to send me home at 12 as I had been unable to work all day. I fretted about my work as I did not have a recent back up and redoing my work would put me over my timeline for delivery as I am due to finish up there at the end of July. Luckily when I went in on Friday they had managed to restore my documents and nothing was lost.

When I was leaving on Thursday I mentioned to the client that I had not slept well all week and told him about Panda and how much it had cost in vet bills so far and he said ‘wow, what would a new dog cost?’

What

The

Actual

Fudge?!

I snapped back, ‘your daughter was sick recently, what would it have cost to get a new kid?’. He apologized as he could see he had been inappropriate and had touched a nerve. Some people do not understand how much our pets are part of the family.

When I left work I went to collect my drivers license from the Traffic Department. It took longer to collect it than it did to apply for it and applying consisted of an eye test, fingerprints and waiting in 3 different queues! But at least I am finally legal and now that I have a new wallet hopefully I don’t lose it again and won’t have to go through that for a long time.

It was a beautiful warm day and I was happy to be released from the ivory corporate tower. It also meant I did not get caught up in the SONA traffic dramas.

In his SONA speech on Thursday night our new President seemed to be describing a Disney film instead of a plan of how to address our many issues in South Africa.

He mentioned that there are seven priorities his government will focus on:

– Economic transformation and job creation,

– Education, skills and health,

– Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services,

– Spatial integration, human settlements and local government,

– Social cohesion and safe communities,

– A capable, ethical and developmental state,

– A better Africa and World.

It was a bit like a salesman bidding for a contract, all promises with no tangible plans on delivery of those promises.

Many others agreed with my opinion.

For example what are the specific plans to resolve the chaos prevalent within our State Owned Enterprises. After years of a spending free-for-all at SOEs, both Treasury and Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Department of Public Enterprises have now tightened the reins to the point where those in new leadership positions complain that they are given too little room, too little trust, and too little money to manoeuvre effectively. As mentioned in a recent blog, the resignation of a number of top executives in the past months speaks to this frustration.

On Friday a cold front rolled into Cape Town but the morning was warm and sunny so Norm let Panda sit on the patio to get some fresh air. The pack all gathered round.

Norm said Panda lay there silently barking at the dogs in the road.

The wind came up about 2pm and by 4pm there was torrential rain but I managed to get to my car without getting too wet and headed home damp and chilled. Friday night was spent wrapped up warm and relaxing with the animals. We ordered a pizza. We have been living off of takeaways as we are too exhausted to cope with shopping and cooking on top of nursing Panda. Our waistline is the least of our concerns.

On Saturday the rain continued all day and evening and it was bitterly cold so when I got up I built a roaring fire.

Norm dropped Panda at the vet so they could check him and while Panda was there Norm ran some errands but it was a miserable day and he came home as soon as he could.

Today I was supposed to go to Marina da Gama for drumming but as Panda is in need of so much care and Norm needed to work I decided to stay home. I was in bed with Panda and when Norm went downstairs to feed Pixie and Navajo little Panda started barking like mad.

After Norm finished with the other two he made up Panda’s breakfast and took him downstairs to eat. He gets a little bowl of boiled chicken and broth as well as the food prescribed by the vet. He is not keen on the commercial food but needs the nutrients so we have to encourage him with the chicken and alternate the two.

As Norm was working I could watch whatever I fancied. I love Cher and someone on RuPaul mentioned the documentary about her mother Georgia Holt so I found that and watched it.

It was very interesting and Cher sounds so much like her Mom! Georgia is a beautiful woman and looks so much younger than her age. She is now in her nineties but looks much younger.

Norm took a break from work and gave Pixie a bath with her special shampoo for her skin issues. She looks so tiny when she is wet. She has so much hair and we spent ages blow drying her with minimal success.

She was not impressed at all with our efforts. #ShadyPomWithTheSideEyes

Panda has spent most of the weekend practicing his barking. He now does this to let us know when he needs anything, but much like a crying baby you have to guess what it is that he needs. He barks if he has peed and his bed needs changing, he barks if he is thirsty, he barks if he is hungry and sometimes he just seems to be doing it for the sake of the exercise as it is all he CAN do.

I’m hopeful that he will continue to improve, we just have to keep looking after his needs and keeping him comfortable.

We have come to terms that for now our lives will be devoted to his care and we are not able to decide on a whim to go out for a meal or a drink. But like everything else, this too shall pass and we must just adjust to this restriction and be there for Panda.

Until next time, Kisses From The Kitten xoxoxo

 

Strength of the Feminine

This week has been full of stress, trauma and drama.

My smallest Pomeranian, Panda, has had an odd turn which has had the whole family so upset. Norm had meetings on Wednesday and when he got home he noticed that Panda’s normally high pitched yap was a coarse gruff bark.

Norm took him to the vet who noticed that his face and tongue were swollen and she said that this swelling was why his voice was impacted. She thought he had been stung by an insect and gave him a cortisone injection and some allergex for the swelling.

The other animals seemed to sense he was not well and kept by his side.

Navajo tried to almost cuddle him and had such a look of concern on his face.

The next morning we noticed that Panda was a bit unsteady on his feet but thought it was the sedative effect of the antihistamines but by afternoon he was struggling to stay upright and we rushed him back to the vet. They took X-rays of his spine to check for injuries and X-rays of his airway to check for constrictions but all was fine. The vet was baffled as to what was going on but assumed it was due to the inflammation and gave him more cortisone and sent us home. As the next day progressed he was completely unable to stand on his own and we took him back again. This time they decided he had not been bitten and instead there was something neurological going on and tried to get him an appointment with a neuromuscular specialist at one of the veterinary hospitals but they were all booked solid. As this was a long weekend in South Africa we could only get an appointment for Tuesday. Initially the local vet wanted to keep him there with them until Tuesday but then decided it would be better to keep him at their offices during the day and let him sleep at home in the evening.

As the weekend progressed Panda deteriorated to the point where he could only move his head.

He could not sit up or turn over or even hold his head up by Saturday night. He cannot bark or make any sounds at all. I was in bits and just sat crying and praying. I felt such despair. When he started refusing food and water I was inconsolable with worry.

Finally on Sunday when he came home from being at the vet all day he was perky and alert for the first time in days.

That night he was very hungry and gobbled up the boiled chicken and broth Norm made for him. He ate eagerly and was very interested in his surroundings again. He still cannot make any sound or move his limbs. His legs twitch but are as limp as noodles and he cannot hold himself up.

The vets think it may be Acute idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis. That is quite a mouthful! It is more commonly called Coonhound paralysis. Here is a link about it. It is a serious illness but most animals can recover and that is what I am focusing on, hopes that he will recover. My long term readers may remember that Panda has already survived one near death experience when he was attacked by a dog and I have confidence that he can recover from this too with enough love and care.

The specialist tomorrow will do the relevant tests and hopefully we will have a prognosis and treatment plan in place afterwards. Until then I am trying hard to remain positive.

We have also been giving him doses of tissue salts from my friend Alison. We dissolve them in his broth.

Last week had plenty of other stresses.

On my way home one evening last week I was stopped at a pedestrian crosswalk when a minibus taxi came up behind me and ran the red light, then went across on a pedestrian crossing. I stayed behind him on the way up the mountain and then he stopped in the middle of a narrow curvy road to offload a passenger and another taxi came from behind me and overtook the first taxi that was stopped in the road by driving on the wrong side road with a car coming towards us. It was rather terrifying!

You who live in the US or Europe may ask, where were the police? Well, I ask that often, the taxis here are a law unto themselves and this is why there are so many deaths from taxi crashes. The drivers overload them to ridiculous degrees. At most they should take 14 people, yesterday one crashed and all 24 passengers were killed. They had almost double the number of passengers there should be.

There was another bus torched this week as well. There was a protest in Cape Town and the bus took the brunt of the protestors anger.

I also read that 6 officers from the anti-gang unit were shot in one day! Police were conducting an operation in the community when they came under attack. Police said anti-gang unit members had arrested one suspect allegedly linked to recent murders in the area and as they were searching for another suspect, the officers came under attack. It is pretty scary when even the police are not safe!

This week we also saw shitbag husband Rob Packham sentenced to 22 years for the murder of his beautiful wife Gill Packham. It is not long enough if you ask me. He showed no remorse and continued to try and bullshit his way out of being prosecuted. He is a horrid little toad of a man. For those who don’t remember my previous blog, he not only murdered his wife he burned her car with her body in the boot.

His wife. The mother of his children.

He must rot in jail.

Why do some men feel they have the right to treat women this way? And why are so many men intimidated by strong, confident women? And should we as women try to minimize ourselves in order to fit into that little box that those men want to keep us in?

I had a dilemma of this nature this week where I was told I was too quick, too clever and too thorough. I was told that as I was dealing with a junior resource that I must slow down.

So I must lower my standards for the sake of progress and to avoid damaging a fragile male ego? That is not in my nature. I expect others to rise up to meet me rather. To stretch themselves. When I started in IT I latched onto any mentors who were willing to teach me, but I am generally always eager to learn. I find that is not always the case with others.

My current contract had requirements which concerned me at the start as I am usually placed on a client site with a developer who manages all of the technical aspects. This project there was only me and I have managed to act as the data architect, data modeler and the data analyst in addition to the business analyst and data quality consultant roles I normally do. I’ve had to teach myself to write SQL queries which is a skill I had only a basic grasp of, but I have been given very complicated stored procedures to unpick to determine the mappings and transformation rules.

It was a challenge but I approached it with all I had and I googled what I did not know. My client calls me ‘his superstar’ and my 3 month initial contract has been extended to 6 months and they are trying to find funds to extend me further. This gives me such a sense of achievement. The other day my client reminded me that when I came for my interview I told him ‘no I can’t do that’ in response to many of the things I have now easily achieved.

We are only limited by our own mental boundaries.

Our low carb eating has taken a back seat to our nursing of our baby boy. We had takeaways most nights and the anxiety meant that I either needed a gallon of vodka or M&Ms to get me through it.

I opted for the latter. The family sized bag no less.

Norm did cook this week before our baby fell ill. He has been determined to make the perfect sweet potato fries.

Monday we had chicken breasts stuffed with brie and wrapped in bacon. He roasted broccoli and cauliflower in the oven (I adore roasted broccoli). He attempted the sweet potato fries in the air fryer and I thought they were tasty but he was not 100% satisfied with them.

The next night he made spaghetti bolognaise and served it on spinach noodles and topped it with cheese.

The next night he made pork fillet roasted in teriyaki sauce. He again made his air fryer sweet potato chips. He made roast broccoli, zucchini and green beans.

I tried to eat low carb at work for lunch most days. One day I had the chicken peri peri pot from Now Now Cafe, it is a bed of cauliflower mash, roast chicken, peri peri sauce and topped with sliced almonds and sour cream.

This dish is so delicious!

Friday I always go for lunch at Nuri Sushi Factory and the last two weeks my new colleague has joined me. She is very sweet and was so supportive this week with me being so upset about Panda. Nothing like someone crying in their prawn pops to put you off of your lunch! Sheesh. Was a bit embarrassing really but I’ve been a bit of a basket case.

On Saturday night Caitlin came around and brought a gorgeous dinner to have an early Fathers Day dinner for Norm. She had cooked a pork shoulder in the slow cooker to make pulled pork and she made a low carb mustard sauce to go with it, she also brought two different types of low carb salads and some fresh corn on the cob. It was absolutely delicious! This was restaurant quality food.

Caitlin did a great job. I give my baby’s delicious dinner 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Caity brought over the gifts that she, Trevor and Lily had bought Norm for Fathers Day. We kept Panda’s bed near us so he could feel a part of things. Norm got a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

He also received some PJs and 3 new tops. He was so spoiled but it is what he deserves.

We had quite a bit of rain and it was bitterly cold a few of the days during the week and this cold streak continued on Saturday so we built a big cosy fire while Caitlin was here.

During the day over the long weekend while Panda was at the vet, I watched nonsense on telly to distract me from obsessing endlessly.

I watched the movie ‘Always Be My Maybe’.

It was so cute! I loved the actors and the characters they played. I give it a strong 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

I watched several seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race as it is mindless entertainment which makes me laugh and doesn’t require too much concentration. I wasn’t mentally able to cope with anything more taxing.

Panda went off to the vet for the day today and Norm took me for brunch. It was my first foray out of the house since Friday. I was feeling much lighter of heart and felt up to it. We went to Constantia and popped into Mugg & Bean for brunch. We sat outside on the patio.

I ordered Eggs Benedict.

Norm ordered the The Country-style breakfast consisting of two eggs, back bacon, pork sausage, fresh baby spinach, grilled mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado & cauliflower hashbrowns.

After we finished brunch we walked over to the shops. Norm needed a new battery for his iPhone as his was only lasting an hour and there was an Apple Doctor there and so we dropped it off and had a mooch about the shops. I badly needed a new wallet as the card section in mine was so loose and that is why I lost my driving license. I found one the size I wanted that zips and it was on sale. Do you like it?

Today we were off work as yesterday was Youth Day. Youth Day commemorates a wave of protests across the country known as the Soweto uprising of 1976. 176 people were killed by the apartheid police. It is celebrated as a public holiday across South Africa to remember the brave students who protested.

I wish that I could see more change in the lives of more of the youth as so many still live in such poverty and poor conditions. The ANC has brought so little change to the lives of the poor. But freedom from oppression may be worth more than gold to those who have felt the yoke of that oppression. I guess it is all relative.