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

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Hardly Strong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Help! Which ones should I choose?

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

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

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

I also had an iced coffee which was divine.

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

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

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

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

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My lovely family @TeamLaMouette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Herb gnocchi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Road trippin ❤️ #ChapmansPeak

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

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

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

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

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

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

However only 1 portion arrived so we just shared it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We settled in and ordered a drink and some lunch.

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

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

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

We walked down to the lighthouse and back.

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

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

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

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

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

I am so blessed.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x0

 

Letting Go

What is it about us that makes us self-sabotage? Even though we know how great we feel when we give up our vices or lose weight or eat healthy, why do we not adhere to these best laid plans? Is it lack of will power? Lack of self worth? Or is it just chemistry? When you eat sugar, you crave sugar. If you smoke a cigarette it makes you crave another one. These actions set up a cycle of dependency within our bodies.

I feel permanently exhausted lately. I do not sleep very much but I know that part of this is due to diet, based on how wonderful I felt when we were on 100% Banting. However getting back on track once we have drifted is proving to be a challenge for us both. Even Norm is slipping and he was always so stalwart that it helped keep me focused on healthy goals.

A poor diet also creates horrendous mood swings for me. (As if menopause didn’t throw in enough of those hurdles for me to surmount.) As a result I was a cow all weekend. The problem is, even when I know I am being a cow, there is nothing I seem to be able to do to snap me out of my cow-ness.

Then I go into a mental state of such anxiety thinking about why my behaviour is so horrid, maybe I am depressed? If not, then why do I feel so low all of the time, when I have so many amazing things to be happy about?

And then I go into a spin of anxiety about my mental health. I wonder if once a person has been diagnosed with mental health issues whether this then triggers it’s own issues? My mental health has been relatively stable since I moved back to South Africa, bar a few blips triggered by events such as our home invasion.

And then I wonder am I just thinking too much? The curse of the Virgo, we over analyse every event, every word and every action.

Anyway. Virgos.

On Friday, Norm had managed to sell our old couch and an exercise bike we had been wanting to get rid of for ages. We were rather short on cash due to paying to ship over the few items my mother had given me as well as buying the ‘new’ 2nd hand sofa, so I was happy we had cash to get us through until month end.

We had a quiet weekend. On Friday night Josh was home with us and we ordered take aways from Posticino and just had a quiet evening at home.

Josh was racing on Saturday so he was up and out of the house at dawn. Norm and I lay in bed until 8 when the dogs insisted on their breakfast. I had a hair appointment in the city and Norm and I decided to go for brunch before I left so we popped into La Cuccina.

As it was a last minute plan, Norm did not have time to shave. I love him with facial hair but he says it itches so it never lasts long.

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Phwaor.

I ordered my usual Eggs Benedict.

Norm ordered scrambled eggs and bacon. They make their own bread and he was unable to resist those carbs. I ordered my bacon well done and poor Norm also got his well done even though he likes his still oinking.

Afterwards I headed into the city to the hairdresser. I love the vibe at the new salon Pause, and I thought about how many different salons in how many different places that I faithfully trekked to just to continue with Leandra and how happy for her I am that she now has her own salon and shops. She is such a lovely hard working girl and I wish her every success with both.

After my appointment I headed home and relaxed outside by the pool for a while, tossing Pixie’s ball to keep her amused.

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Pixie and the Pool Pipe #WeirdBandNames

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That evening we decided to go out for dinner and we went to the local pub, however it was rammed as there were several sports games on (she says vaguely) so we did an about face and headed back out again as soon as we saw how noisy and crowded it was.

We decided to head up to Constantia for a change and went to Primi. It was a very dark night, despite there being an almost full moon, it was difficult to see when traveling through the poorly lit wooded areas.

We eventually made it there and settled in and ordered a drink and some food. We got some of their delicious zucchini fries.

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Zucchini fries

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I chose the Recco Classico pasta which was described as “A curry-infused Napoletana with garlic and fresh chilli, rounded off with cream and garnished with fresh coriander.” They serve it in 2 sizes. I chose the smaller option. The price for plain pasta was either 65 / 80, or With Chicken it was 80/ 95 or With Prawns it was 115 / 155. I chose to add prawns.

When my dish arrived it looked very yummy and I took a big bite of prawn and pasta but quickly had to spit it out as the prawns were still in their shells. I had to fish each prawn out of the sauce and de-shell it resulting in a right mess and burnt fingers. It also meant the first bite of prawn was pretty much lost in spitting it out. There were only 4 prawns in the dish which meant I paid an extra R50 for very little prawniness.

But the sauce was delicious.

Shortly after eating I had some sort of allergic attack and could not stop sneezing and my throat felt swollen. The only things I know I am allergic to is dust or iodine so it could have been the prawns but I suspect it was dust. My eyes were watering like mad so we did not hang about and we headed back to Hout Bay after we ate. Once home I took an antihistamine which seemed to calm things down but my throat still felt very swollen.

The next day I had planned on attending a sweat lodge but as I had felt so rubbish the night before I was worried it might be the beginnings of a cold and as I was so exhausted I decided I needed a pajama day and I settled in to have a day of rest.

I was a bit sad as I was looking forward to lodge. The weekend before last we had our drumming practice on Sunday at Gerri’s and afterwards many of us stayed to help build a new sweat lodge. Gerri had gotten lots of wattle from Greyton and had been soaking it in the pool to keep it moist.

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Soaking the wattle

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The wattle all got classified by size and straightness.

Next we dug 8 holes and 2 poles for each of the 4 directions were placed on opposite sides of the circle and these became the lodge entrances. These would form the ‘doors’ to the lodge.

Then the wattle were bent inwards towards the centre of the circle.

This is quite physical and takes hours to finish. I was unable to stay til the end but Gerri sent a pic of it once it was complete.

When they want to hold the lodge they just cover the structure with thick blankets and this keeps the heat in.

So I was a bit sad I could not christen the lodge, but I have to remember to allow rest time and I feel as if I have been non-stop for months. The weekend before last was busy end to end.

Last weekend on Friday after work we had a team lunch at Col’Cacchio near our offices.

Note my colleague trying to garrot me with his dinner knife.

Charming.

The next morning Norm and I were up and out early as we took Navajo to see the doggy chiro that treats Pixie. As we could not leave little Panda home alone we took all three of them.

Navajo was a bit of a nightmare. He is not good with new situations and he was like a large, slavering bull in a china shop. David the chiro did not seem too sure of him and Norm had to hold Nav tight to stop him nipping David. Eventually David managed to treat Nav and we quickly scarpered out of there. We have put Nav on another dose of strong anti-inflammatory meds and will see if his ankle calms down. It is worrying as it has been months and he is still limping. David is worried his muscles will atrophy.

That night Norm and I had gone to Papino’s for dinner and as mentioned I was busy at the lodge until late on Sunday so I felt pretty knackered when Monday rolled around.

This Saturday I had woken to news that my cousin Mona’s husband of 25 years had passed away. It was their 25th wedding anniversary on the previous Wednesday and he died on his actual birthday.

Mona and I were raised like sisters as we both spent a lot of time at our grandmother’s house. I lived next door to my Gran and Mona lived with her father and siblings a few miles away. Mona’s mother Avene was my mother’s sister and she had died when her 3 children were tiny.

Mona was raised in a Christian church-going family, however my family never attended church, in fact my father was agnostic.

I was the naughty cousin once we got to be teens, I was partying, exploring tarot cards, Ouija boards and all sorts of things and I remember once involving Mona in my Ouija board antics and she freaked out and crossed herself and ran. Mona has maintained her life long bond with the church.

I never felt close to Christianity, however this did not stop Mona and I from being ‘sisters’. We may have drifted apart many times but we never stopped loving each other, so my heart is breaking for her and her daughter Stephanie. Stephanie was from Mona’s first marriage but was quite young when Mona remarried and so she saw Steve as a second father. As I have lived outside of the US for almost 30 years I had only met Steve once or twice but according to everyone who did know him he was a lovely man.

I pray that Mona and Steve’s loved ones all find the strength they need to get through this.

I am going to focus on changing my perspective, and yes I know I’ve said that before. I read in this post that “Happiness is accepting what we don’t control — which is everything outside of ourselves — and investing in what we do control, which is everything inside us.” Control is a huge issue for me, so I am still having challenges with that it seems. Maybe this is a ongoing life lesson…….letting go of trying to control everything so that I can find my own peace and be happy?

Thank you for reading and if you can spare a prayer for Mona and Stephanie I would be most appreciative.

Until next time, kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Takers and Fakers

I mentioned that the Budget Speech was done last Wednesday. I also discussed the failings of the current government to adequately plan for the number of children in the Western Cape province and how 10k children have no placement in a school. I found it rather ridiculous that the ANC blamed the high levels of uneducated Africans solely on the past years of apartheid when the ANC have been in power for over 20 years. From what I have seen the ANC have done very little to better the cause of their constituents during those 20 plus years.

Unemployment in January 2018 was 26.7% as compared to the official unemployment rate in 1994, as recorded by Statistics South Africa, which was approximately 20%. The ANC have failed to improve in this area either and the two issues are intrinsically linked. Education is one of the paths out of poverty and unemployment.

Statistics SA calculates an “expanded rate” of unemployment which includes people who do not have a job and are available to work but have not taken active steps to look for work. Calculations using the expanded rate put unemployment at 31.5% in 1994 and 35.6% between July and September 2013. So either way you slice the data, the ANC is failing to progress the living conditions of the voters.

It is estimated that 53 million girls do not have access to education. This can be due to many different reasons but some of the girls are too isolated to be able to attend a physical school and so a proposal was made to the African Union (AU) Summit by the ONE foundation which suggested digital learning could be a way to reach many children. Globally there are so many challenges to getting access to education and this needs to be addressed strategically, hopefully the new first lady will help to further that agenda.

Another issue compromising the rights of young girls is the high incidence of sex trafficking and child trafficking and other ways of suppressing these young girls from living their best lives. A crazy situation has just literally blown up in South Africa. This oppression was done in the name of religion.

Back in February 2016 a raid was done on the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry church where 18 kids between the ages of 7 and 13 years of age were removed from the care of the church. This was after months of investigation into the practices of the church where it was identified that none of the children there were being allowed to go to an external school and were also not being educated by the church. This is illegal to not educate a school aged child and so the police removed the children on the instructions of the Social Development MEC.

A report by chapter 9 institution the CRL Rights Commission was presented to Parliament’s portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs in October last year where they warned it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Commission chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva told City Press that she interviewed the cult leaders in 2016 during her investigation into church practices and made the parliamentary committee aware of her “serious concerns” however for some reason this case seems to have slipped through the many governmental cracks and the predictions by the CRL report were realised when the cult leaders ran out of money and then decided it would be a good idea to go on a crime spree in the hopes of topping up their coffers.

The cult members ambushed a police station in Ngcobo on the Eastern Cape. There were 5 police staff killed as well as an off duty soldier. Three of the SAPS members were shot on site while two additional members were kidnapped before being killed and left on the side of the road. During the attack, ten firearms and a police van were stolen from the police station, and an ATM a short distance from the police station was robbed.

Investigations into the raid on the police station led the police to the doors of the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry church yet again where another shoot out occurred, this time the interaction left seven people dead and resulted in 10 arrests. Further exploration of the ‘church’ premises revealed that there were approximately 100 girls here who were being kept as sex slaves. These children ranged in age from infants to teens. The adults who lived on the premises were not allowed to leave the compound either.

If only the government had acted on the report they could have saved those girls from years of sexual abuse and gotten them into a school so that they could get an education.

There has been some rather horrid news over the last week.

There was a post going around social media regarding a woman who went missing on her way to work on Thursday, a notice was put out by the Pink Ladies organisation. 57-year-old Gill Packham‚ a teacher at Springfield Convent in Wynberg‚ was reported missing by a relative on Thursday morning. On Thursday night a burning BMW was discovered at the train station in Diep River and a body was discovered in the boot of the car. It is feared but not confirmed that this body is the missing teacher. I pray that she died prior to them setting the car alight as that would be a horrendous way to die. I feel so sad for her children and loved ones. Such a senseless death.

We also heard on the radio that there was some sort of taxi war going down on Thursday night in Hout Bay, very near our home. There were reports of gun shots from multiple people.

“Hout Bay police have now confirmed that a 22-year-old man was killed during a shooting incident outside the OK Mini-Mart in Hout Bay on February 22.

The shooting, which occurred at 9.30pm, is believed to be related to a taxi war.

“Another victim was shot inside the OK Mini Mart and sustained injuries to his head. He was transported to Groote Schuur Hospital,” said Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch. “A murder case and attempted murder case were opened. No arrests have been made as yet. All leads are being followed up to establish the cause of the incident.”

Rumours were circulating that this incident was linked to the most recent fire in the township. The fire is rumoured to have been caused by a fight over taxi routes. The man who allegedly started that fire has gone into hiding and the way things work in the community is that if you are not there to pay the price of your actions yourself then a family member will be given your punishment. The rumours are that one of the victims was the brother of the alleged arsonist.

The local Driftwood Restaurant & Pub in Hout Bay was reported to have been robbed by 4 armed men the morning after the shoot out. This was potentially an inside job as the takings from the previous night were all on site. There are various gambling machines in the pub which also would have been emptied. Who knew the patterns of the bank deposits? This has happened before at this same venue.

I had a relaxed weekend at home despite all of the chaos swirling around the village. Norm was away from Friday morning when he flew to Zambia at ridiculous o’clock in the morning. He left the house at 4.30am but I did not hear him tiptoe out, I only woke when Josh left for work.

Friday night Josh and I stayed in and ordered a curry from the Indian Oven and it was ever so delicious as always. As I had been awake so early that morning and Josh was working the next day we were both asleep by 10pm.

Saturday I had a friend pop by to drop off some cleaning products that I bought, but other than that I had a lazy day just doing not much of anything. Of course everything I do is accompanied by my shadow.

I started watching a new series called Retribution on Netflix. There were only 4 episodes in the series and I binge watched them all on Saturday night. It was such a great show, I really recommend it and give it a full 5 Kitten stars.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday I had to emerge from my nest and go shopping so I showered and went down to the village. I did not bother to put on make up so of course I saw so many people I know. Typical.

I decided to cook a beef curry for that evening and I put in loads of veggies and lentils and some cannelloni beans. It cooked all day and we had it that evening for dinner. I forgot to buy any cauliflower rice so we just had it as is with some poppadoms and some chicken samoosas I bought at woolies.

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Beef and veggie curry

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Norm arrived home late on Sunday night so I waited up for him to get in. I am never sure who is more excited to see him, me or the dogs. Navajo has barely been eating while Norm was away and he is also limping on his back leg again. I am not sure if this is just amateur dramatics or whether he really has a problem. He is a bit of a drama queen.

On Monday Vanessa came around to do my pedicure and after she left I made dinner. I had cooked a bolognaise sauce on Sunday afternoon. I sliced up a couple of aubergines and fried them to make sure they cooked properly. I then created a sort of Lasouka or Mousana. (What you get if a Moussaka and a Lasagna had a baby.)

I layered the meat sauce in the bottom of the pan and topped it with a layer of the fried aubergines.

They were not as burnt as they look trust me, I am a Mousana Master. I then added a layer of ricotta cheese and topped with a layer of sliced mozzarella and baked it all for about 30-40 minutes.

It was very rich with all of the cheese, it would have been fine without the ricotta. But it was rather tasty and was a nice change from my usual low carb lasagna.

We have had a bit of rain here and there as well and the current estimate for Day Zero is July 9th.

Our new president has announced his new cabinet and I am rather disappointed to see that it is littered with Gupta owned Zuma supporters. His choices are driven by what is good for the ANC, not what is good for the country.

I am most disappointed in the retention of Bathabile Dlamini. Her incompetence has been proven many times over. David Mabuza will be sworn in as the Deputy President of South Africa which is also a slap in the face of all of us as he has been surrounded by scandal and corruption charges. A few of the ministers who did get moved out were a relief so it is not all doom and gloom. However this was a missed opportunity to do a proper clear out of the Gupta-ites and Zuma sycophants.

Ramaphosa only gets two kitten stars for this new cabinet. And that is me being incredibly generous.

⭐️⭐️

I’ve got my eye on you Cyril!

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

The case of the disappearing sparrow

We have been blessed with another stunning day in Cape Town. We pottered about getting our back garden ready for spring and summer. We planned what to do at the back and finally decided on putting in a wooden deck. 

Panda enjoyed the sunshine.


We emptied all the pots and filled them with new compost. Next weekend we can go buy plants. 


Only my fuchsia and one other little shrub survived the cape winter.

Last Sunday was also a warm sunny day and Norm and I again just pottered about. Pixie found a shady spot to park off and chill.


Norm was a busy bee, with Panda shadowing his every move. 

These grasses are dying off, we are going to dig them up and put some lilies there. We need this section of the garden to screen the pool from the gate and street. 


Navajo loves us being outside and he stayed close behind little Panda.

Sometimes he gets too close.

That night I cooked pretty much everything left in the fridge. For dinner I made stuffed gem squash. I cooked the gem squash then scooped them out and mashed the squash with 3/4 of a block of full fat cream cheese. I crumbled in crispy bacon and baked.


With it we made fondant sweet potatoes, spinach and mushrooms fried in butter and red cabbage which I parboiled then fried in butter and balsamic. It was so delicious and all low carb.

I threw all the other vegetables left from that week’s shop and some cream and stock into a pot and made soup. Once the veg was soft I used the stick blender to purée it.

This week the local news was full of various items that caught my attention. There were  2 more mining deaths in a zama zama mine. These are illegal mines so are usually highly unsafe. People desperate for money will ignore safety and risk their lives. This after the recent deaths of 11 people from another mining accident only 4 months or so back. 

I myself have had a busy, stressful week. I kicked off a new project and had 2 workshops. I’m the PM so I facilitated. 

Almost knocking over 2 pedestrians was probably the peak of my stress levels. I was turning off of a busy road and was watching for cars coming on the road I was crossing, but when I turned right the sun blinded me and I looked up to see two young people leaping out of my path. I nearly had a panic attack as I’m sure did they. My heart was thumping! 

Speaking of which, I had an appointment with the Momentum nurse this week to take my blood pressure but she couldn’t find the building. The name of the company where I work is in giant red letters high on the building and the building is very tall. You can’t miss it. So after 10 trips up and downstairs, multiple dropped calls and with me talking the ditzy mare in like a bloody air traffic controller she tells me she can’t find free parking and that as she has no handbag she will not be able to come in and we must reschedule. So that was 40 minutes of my day and lots of stress wasted, it was so unprofessional.

So I rescheduled and stated I wanted a different nurse. Then Friday rolls round for the next booking. Twenty minutes later I phone the number they gave me except it goes to a different nurse. Then their office rings me back and says the nurse is downstairs. Down I go to find no nurse. 

Back to my desk and ring the call center. They are baffled. They don’t know where she is.

My phone rings and it’s the nurse. She says that she is definitely downstairs. Off I go to reception again. By this time my blood pressure was very high. Surprised? 

Cait was so sick from food poisoning that she had a miserable weekend away last weekend and wasted her money. Not only that she missed 3 days of work! The venue which served the food that gave them food poisoning has offered them a ‘replacement weekend’ away though which is at least something. 

Unfortunately for her I made one of her fave’s – Mexican style food – while she was still on a diet of toast and broth.

I made home made salsa with red onion, tomatoes and coriander. I made cheese tortillas and fried some yellow peppers and onions. I made mince with lots of spice and homemade guacamole. It was so yummy.

 

Crime is still bad here and safety is risky in general. We had two young girls hit by cars in separate incidents in our village this week. One young mother of 24 died. A 15 year old survived. Then we hear repeatedly of attacks on our Rescue and Ambulance teams. 


Living in SA means I have a safety check list I follow every time I go out. The door into the garage from the house is opened and locked from inside. I get into the car, roll up the windows and lock the doors and only once I’ve started the car do I open the garage door. I back out and close the garage door and then open the gate. I make sure both the garage door and gate close. My bags are locked in the back before the garage is opened. I carry my bags strapped to my body when walking across the city to the office. I hold a can of pepper spray in my hand. All these things are second nature and part of my routine now. 

At home the alarm is always on and we have slam lock doors. 

We were saying this week how we missed Belfast and being able to walk about the city at night safely. Stumbling home from our local. We really look forward to going to visit our old stomping grounds and meeting up with our old friends. We have two nights in Belfast during the end of year holiday we have planned. I’ve discovered a few old friends on FaceBook this week. Hopefully we can have a reunion of our crowd from 1997-9 I think it was!

I had one of those “Only In Africa” moments this week. I stopped for petrol and this dude at the petrol pump was hogging both of the pumps on one side. This is the tiny two pump station above Camp’s Bay. The reason he took up so much space was that he had put his car up on a jack in order to ensure he could fill the tank completely.


He then repeatedly shook the car and dripped a tiny bit more petrol in repetitively. It took forever. Meanwhile the queue went out to the street on the other side for the two available spots. It was ridiculously selfish and pointless. But somehow amusing.

The other newsworthy item in SA is the investigations into state capture. State capture is a type of systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision-making processes to their own advantage through unobvious channels, that may not be illegal. The Gupta family seem to influence many decisions and tenders in SA.

Thuli Madonsela is also investigating Zuma for breaching executive ethics code as part of a state capture case. The skeletons will all come rattling out now.

Norm cooked roast pork fillets for him and I on Tuesday as Cait still wasn’t eating. We only ate one of the fillets however so the following night I cut up the remaining fillet for our dinner then I cooked yellow peppers and sliced mushrooms then added the pork and cream. I made fondant sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli and fried mushrooms.

Thursday I had Vanessa round to do my pedicure. After she left Norm got takeaways from Spiro’s. It was late and we had no food really. 

Friday night we had a takeaway Curry. I shared prawn curry with Cait and shared palak paneer with Norm.


Panda is very keen on me dropping some of it.

I had a Facebook memory from a year ago pop up so I made a comparison pic of me then and now. I’ve lost 23 kgs, or 50lbs depending on which you prefer. 


On Saturday morning at 6am Norm’s alarm went off. He just said oops and went back to sleep but I was then awake. And feeling murderous. 

To make up to me he bought a lovely chaise lounge for my bedroom online. Now that he has moved his office to Lily’s old room I have a lovely big window where it will be perfect.


We went to Northgate on Saturday. As the gardener was here we have to leave the garage door open and so we locked the door from the garage that goes into the house. Except Caitlin’s day had derailed and she unexpectedly came home and couldn’t get in. We viewed the granite and ceasarstone for our countertops. I liked these below. I am going to have pale cream with a drop of yellow painted in a shabby chic style on the cupboards. The floors are terracota. 


I can’t decide if I prefer no pattern or a lovely natural pattern. 

We went out to Papino’s for dinner. We had our usual hollandse style steak cooked in brandy and mushrooms.

I ordered naughty onion rings. Oops.


We went home and watched nonsense on telly and I had my Banting ice cream. Yum.

We woke to the dual disasters of a bomb going off in Chelsea NY and a maimed bird in my lounge.


The Bird was missing lots of feathers but seemed in shock and as if he was maybe even injured. Norm thought it wouldn’t last.


Bizarrely it disappeared. He put it in the garage in a basket and it is nowhere to be found. It had a resurrection. Hopefully Lola didn’t damage him as he must have flown out!

We had a lovely productive day. The weekend was relaxing as well other than Caitlin’s dramas. But these things happen.

We got to narrow down the counters, this week we go see the painters and the cabinet makers then we will order the units. I’m so excited to have it ready before my mom arrives! 

This week I start a third project for a new client this time. I’m also going to the theatre and making kitchen plans. It’s going to be a busy week!

the karmaeleon

I had several conversations this week about the many changes that life throws at us, changes at home or at work, changes in location or fortune. I know I’ve personally touched on all of those so I’m sure there are plenty more challenging situations, in addition to those experienced by me.

My measure of success is our ability to adapt to that change in circumstance, and should it be a detrimental occasion, how quickly do you get back on your feet? And are you able to let karma take its course or can you not let things go? I struggle with that one, I resist change despite choosing a life rife with change.

I really resisted change in my work situation. I didn’t want to leave the project I’ve been on for ages. But circumstances changed and leave I must.

I’m trying to get my head round the change and I’m doing so, there are still logistical challenges which mean working further than the city.

I’ll adapt. I love my job, the client is what defines the level of stress. The project I’m moving to has very technical, switched on stakeholders who know what they want. That direction makes it simple. So there are positives and negatives. 

There were several protests this week, mostly around lack of change or the speed at which it is moving by the current government. The ANC was such a strong party with Mandela at the helm. Now it’s a sham.

Many of their political rallies are poorly attended and the people are finally starting to be unwilling to settle for lack of progress when they see the politicians living fat off their spoils.

   
 One protest shut down the motorway, one took place at Sir Lowrys Pass another was in Stellenbosch, and a third in the City Centre regarding housing shortages in the Western Cape. Rumour is that the EFF is generating the conflict. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

There were protests for the unfair bail of alleged murderers of a local child.

There were protests by members of the ANCYL over the lack of transformation  of the sport of Rugby. Several sports have been subject to harsh penalties by the Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula which to me is a bit unfair. If the foundation is not laid by the government at grass roots level, then how can professional level sporting bodies magically generate these players as young adults? A sportsman is identified young and nurtured in countries who have successful national teams. Again the government are pointing the blame elsewhere instead of admitting lack of forethought and planning which is the real root cause.

The provincial government is much more progressive and forward thinking. But they have a long way to go.

Monday night Norm picked up some mince and I made a quick dinner for us as I was so tired from our late night out for Mothers Day. I made tacos and cheesy taco shells but I got distracted and they were rather crispy so we had tacos and tostadas. See, I went with that change and flipped it. They were crispy and yummy.

Tuesday Lily’s friend Talya came for dinner. I made mashed sweet potato which I had parboiled the previous night while I was busy making our tacos. I wrapped chicken breasts in bacon and baked them, fried whole mushrooms in butter and made a creamy mushroom sauce, and steamed broccoli to accompany it.

  
That night I noticed that this small itchy bite on my leg had gotten infected. Lily looked at it and thought it was a spider bite and that she saw “fang marks”. The family decided it looked nasty and made me promise to go to the doctor as soon as possible. With my replaced hip I need to be careful of infection. 

At least I got to sleep in an hour later the next morning. I went down just after 8.30 when the office opened. The receptionist fit me in as the 2nd patient of the day so I didn’t have long to wait. The doctor lanced it and it was all very sore and disgusting. He aspirated a lot by shoving in a needle. Not much fun. He also put me on a kick ass antibiotic and did a blood test. It’s still full of stuff and sore but not bright red and my leg is no longer hot. Hopefully it heals soon. 

As a result of my itinerary of visits to the doctor, the lab and the chemist I only got to work at 10am. I had to work late to make up my time and my darling husband made a delicious dinner for us.

  
He made pork chops, cauliflower mash, steamed asparagus and fried mushrooms. It was so wonderful to be looked after.

Thursday was my daughter Caitlin’s 28th birthday and we booked dinner at Spiro’s.  We turned over so many different options and changed the booking several times. Initially we were going to Deez for Mexican, but there is very little in the way of carb free options and Norm is not a Mexican food fan. Then last year’s pic of our prawn fest came up as a Facebook memory and we all fancied prawns. Last year we went to Pescarne but they changed owners so Caitlin just decided we would try the prawns at Spiro’s. 

Caitlin’s fella Wesley joined Norm, me, Lily and Caitlin. He is very cute and such a nice guy.

   
 
The girls both ordered mussels and Norm, Wesley and I ordered the crispy squid. When it arrived it was really large pieces of squid and I knew they would be chewy. Norm bit into his and confirmed my suspicion. I sent mine back but the boys ate theirs.

The waitress came back and said they had one order of the small squids left. They were delicious and indeed crispy!

  

Us girls all ordered the 6 Tiger Prawns at R160. My daughters both had chips and salad but I just had the salad.

  

There was a strongly flavoured sauce on the prawns. I would have preferred a choice of sauces on the side, I prefer peri peri or lemon butter. But the girls enjoyed it. The prawns themselves were fresh, fat and juicy, really nice.

When we got home we sang Happy Birthday and blew out candles and had a bit of carrot cake.

I stayed awake far too late and had a couple of cranberry and vodkas with dinner so I struggled to wake up the next morning. I was facilitating a client workshop that afternoon in Bellville on the north side of town. A few strong espressos later I drove the team out there while delicately balancing their laptop with the jobs open. The laptops died and they struggled to get it ready to show the client. Luckily they sorted it all while I did my rules confirmations and we looked at the data on my laptop. Phew. 

The weather was cold and drizzly. The workshop took 2 hours so I dropped my team off and headed home. 

I had my usual session on the patio to wind down after my busy day. Lola kept me company. It was brisk and cool. 

  

I was really tired and not up to cooking. I fancied a Massimo’s pizza. I had the Pavarotti which is bolognaise, mozzarella and basil.

Oh my it was so divine.

  
One night of carbs won’t kill me. I’m still slowly losing. I put no pressure on myself. If I really want something I’ll have a bit.

The weather was so misty when I woke on Saturday. Pixie had a chiropractor appointment in Noodhoek at 9:30am. I drove with my fog lights on through the valleys and up Muizenberg Mountain. Suddenly I came through the mist and it was perfectly clear. I looked out over the side of the mountain and it was like looking out a plane window at a sea of clouds.

  
After our appointment I needed petrol but first I stopped to draw cash at the Oakhurst ATM. Pixie sat watching me from the window. She’s so cute.

We popped into Hout Bay and filled up with petrol then headed home. I walked in to the house and heard Norm’s Neighborhood Watch radio announcing an attempted ATM robbery at the very same one I had just left!
Thank you Grandma. Just as I had arrived home a little hummingbird was dancing about in the bush outside our gate, Grandma sends me hummingbirds to let me know she is around. She obviously protected me. 

Retha and I went for lunch at our fave, the local Hout Bay gem The Riverway Cafe.

  
  
We had a gorgeous shared lunch of the Dragonfly Board platter with pulled lamb, pita bread, tzaziki, hummus, olives, zucchini, fries, and chicken strips with a blue cheese dip. We also shared piggy poppers as their version is my fave thing ever. 

     
 

We had a latte, shared a large bottle of water and rounded it off with a gorgeous Pimms cocktail and it was R170 each. Bargain! Such tasty quality in a lovely setting is worth every penny.

  
We had a lovely afternoon and I toddled off a bit tipsy from the Pimms and sugar. 

Norm and I just had a quiet night in. We were going out for dinner as we were on our own, but we decided to order take aways from the new chippy and rent a movie on BoxOffice. That didn’t go as planned.

Norm arrived at 6:30pm to be told they were not taking any more orders. He said, ‘ummm, so when should I come back?’ Only to be to,d they were not taking any more orders for the night! At 6:30?? 

Damn, there goes that plan.

So as we were all ready for fish Norm popped into Spiro and bought us grilled fish. It was a thick, gorgeous piece of fish in a lemon butter sauce so I was perfectly happy.

However once we settled in with our food, we tried to rent Sisters on DSTV BoxOffice.

So we entered the long assed ridiculous number and sent the SMS. Over and over.

  
It costs me airtime for each SMS and I spent about half a hour messing around, generating new codes and finally resorting to tweeting to them. They couldn’t sort it and never bothered to respond if they did. I messaged them again this morning and they had no clue what was going on.

What crap service.

Instead of the movie service we decided to try out our new high speed internet that we had installed this week from Sonic Wireless. Norm remembered that the Eurovision Song Contest was on and we streamed that for a laugh. We always made an event of it when we lived in the UK. I fell asleep of course. 

We woke to a thump and our alarm going off. Norm could not get it to engage again. It turned out Navajo rolled into the door and knocked it open and we didn’t notice. The alarm won’t activate with the door open. After it settled down I couldn’t go back to sleep despite it still being dark.

Today I am having a pajama day, I’m making a roast chicken dinner later for us all. I’ve just been sitting by the pool enjoying the sunshine.

  
Norm is spending the day working in the garden. He is putting down fertilizer to try and get the existing grass growing again and pitting down a bit of grass seed on the bare bits where Navajo runs round killing it. I doubt it works but you have to try, right? 

Holiday Squared

We continued our Sunday tradition last weekend and I made a gorgeous roast beef for dinner. I cooked it American style as a pot roast rather than baking it. I cooked it in broth, onions and garlic. Once cooked I strained the sauce and added cream to the rich broth. I made crispy, buttery fondant sweet potatoes and steamed long stem broccoli. 

 

That meant the next night was destined to be Tacos. I shredded the left over beef and seasoned with cumin, paprika and whatever else was in the El Paso spice packet. Haha. 

I made my own salsa however so at least that contained no sugar or carbs. We served with a simple, crispy salad.

We bought sliced smoked provolone at woollies this time and that is the magic bullet to the cheese taco success.

  
After my previous attempts it made such a difference in both the effort it took as well as the consistency of my results. I overlapped two pieces of cheese and popped onto baking paper and baked til bubbly and it worked perfectly!

  

I even had leftovers to take for lunch on Tuesday.

Tuesday was a pseudo-Friday as last Wednesday was a Public Holiday. I arrived home and sat on the balcony outside my bedroom to destress. The sunset was amazing! 

  

We got take away crispy calamari squidlets that night for dinner from a local restaurant but they must have changed their supplier as they were not nice, they were very rubbery and chewy. Neither Lily nor I could eat them. Normally they are tiny and crispy and delightful but these were the size of a flippin tarantula and wouldn’t even fit in your mouth. Meh.

The public holiday which was on last Wednesday 27 April commemorates the day in 1994 when the first democratic election was held in South Africa. South Africa celebrates Freedom Day to mark the liberation of our country and its people from a long period of colonialism and white minority domination (apartheid).

But are we free? We have an uneducated, embezzling, unethical government led by a buffoon. Corruption and crime is at an all time high. 

As a result we residents have to do all we can to defend ourselves. We have several groups of men in Hout Bay who are unwilling to allow the underbelly of society to win the battle. They patrol our streets at night.

These are the pics of the highlights of one of these groups’ Freedom Day morning.

  
A knife of considerable size was taken off of a man who was spotted skulking about in the wee hours of the night.

A car was stolen and crashed by the thieves into another person’s house while racing away, catching the house alight. 

(But damn that house has some stunning doors!)

Some mornings we hear of 4-5 families being attacked in their homes at night. One family spent 2 hours tied up and locked in their bathroom. Another lady lost 5 teeth and suffered a broken jaw. People will say ‘Thank God you are safe’  to the survivors but I get so angry that it even happens. 

This country has such potential, but it has so many challenges. I don’t see the infrastructure put in place to support the change needed to address those challenges. 

Many African women especially still suffer from years of suppression both culturally and politically. I see this in many young women who have not yet found their voices. They are hesitant to speak up in a group until they gauge the temperament of their audience. Racism and sexism and bigotry can be hidden behind smiling faces. That is the worst racism or bigotry, the kind so ingrained the bigot is unable to see it. The people who put people into stereotypical boxes of their own narrow minded views. Those who say “I love gay people” or “I don’t like Germans” or generalise any stereotyped characteristics of a particular group or race. 

There are fabulous people who also happen to be gay. There are plenty of miserable arses who are gay. The same as any group of humans.

Even Germans. *giggle*

There was another protest at the City of Cape Town offices next to my office on Tuesday. It was the residents of Dunoon protesting over lack of housing. We have on average a protest a week. But people keep voting for their oppressors and those oppressors keep blaming history. At what pace should change happen? I have no doubt that the DA led Western Cape is better managed than the ANC led provinces. But even in the Western Cape change is slow.

On Thursday I hurried home at 4 from work as I had Vanessa coming round to do my nails. We had a good chat and a giggle as always. 
On the holiday I had been a busy bee and prepped food for a few dinners, so after Vanessa left I heated up the chicken curry I had made.

  

To go with it I made normal basmati rice for the girls and cauliflower rice for us low carb peeps. I just chopped up onion, cucumber and tomato and mixed in a bit of fromage frais. I had all manner of veg in the curry and in my bowl I added lots of green chilis as well.

 On Friday Lily and Caitlin got up early and went to the courts for a bail hearing of one of the alleged murderers of their childhood friend. Carl’s mom Carla needed support and my girls went. I am so proud of what kind thoughtful girls they are. 

They chatted to the bounty hunter who had managed to track down and catch accused Juane Jacobs. He was the size of a wall, a huge bear of a man bulging with muscles. He also captured a recent well publicized rapist, word on the streets is that the raper has become the rapee.

Karma is a bitch.

After court Lily had to go to SARS to sort out her tax number and as it is right by my office she joined me for a quick lunch. The weather was overcast and grim all week. 

After I got home from work we were all having a wander round the garden and Norm was working on the pool, but we were not outside for long and when we came in we saw that cheeky Panda had jumped onto the couch he normally pretends to be too feeble to reach on his own. Then he had opened my bag and gotten into a zipped compartment and opened up a closed box to steal my sugar free gum and was subsequently whisked off to the vet. The vet made him vomit. He brought up tons of gum. 

According to the vet the issue with xylitol is that the dog has a blood sugar drop and their body can’t regulate it, so the vet said after 4 hours to keep an eye on him and if he seemed especially tired to give him honey and take him to the 24 hour vet. Except 4 hours later was his bedtime and little dogs sleep lots.

We watched him and kept waking him up and making him walk sleepily around the room like a movie overdose victim.

He was fine thank goodness!  
That night we had the third of my midweek holiday prepared meals, bolognaise sauce. Norm picked up Butternut ‘noodles’ and we had those with my bolognaise sauce and fresh grated Parmesan.

  

We had a lazy morning on Saturday then headed out to Easy Life Kitchens in Tokai. We booked for them to come and give us a design and quote for a kitchen refitting.

  
We ran our errands and finally got a new clock for the kitchen.

 We need bedside lamps but I didn’t find what I wanted. We hit Builders Warehouse for various bits and pieces as welł as the chemist. By then we were starving so stopped on our way home at Greens in Constantia.

I had Eggs Benedict which was cooked perfectly other than a single strip of almost raw bacon.

  
But the eggs had perfect runny centers, it was topped with a rich hollandaise,  it was yum yum.

Norm had a cheese and bacon frittata.

  
On Saturday I hit 14kgs down in weight since I started the low carb lifestyle in January. Just over 30 pounds in U.S. terms. Amazing to me still to lose it so easily if I only make the right food choices. Fat is good but sugar is bad is a new concept. I’m still having a big bowl of Banting ice cream every night. We stock up every week at Ice Dream in Hout Bay.

We eat well and yet we just keep losing, it boggles my mind.

Saturday evening Norm and I decided to go out for dinner and went to local venue Papino’s.

 We had a bottle of Diemersdal Sauvignon blanc which was delicious and crisp,

 
We both had the same main, Hollandse Biefstek with extra mushrooms and vegetables. The steak was so tender. The veg was al dente and fresh.

  

We were not out late and when we came home Caitlin wanted to rent a film and we decided on The Hateful Eight by Tarantino.

Thanks to the fact my brain doesn’t shut off I had been awake since 5.30am and having had a few glasses of wine I passed out, missing the end of the movie.  

 This morning I woke at 4 and could not go back to sleep due to passing out mid movie last night. So I lay in bed playing games on my phone until the dogs finally forced Norm up to give them breakfast. 

I got up and made a giant milky coffee with our new machine and settled in to watch Hateful Eight again. This time with my eyes open. 

I loved it! I am such a fan of Tarantino’s films. The acting was great. I can see why Jennifer Jason Leigh was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. Michael Madsen is one of my faves and he brought his sexy back in this film. The last film I watched him in he was rather bloated and corpulent. But he was sleeker and less red faced, or just potentially had better makeup in this one.

Norm made breakfast and I had a mooch round outside with the dogs, happy to see a bit of sun.

  
  
My flowers are finally blooming from all this rain.

  
Today is crisp and sunny. I’m pleased to have an extra day off as Monday is Workers Day, I hope you have a great weekend. I’m enjoying the fact that I have no obligations!