Stepping Into Your Power

Usually when a client’s project wraps up I have a few days to recover before I start a new project with another client, but my last project ended on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday afternoon we had a sales meeting with a new client and I was asked to come back on Wednesday to join their Data Migration team so my head was spinning! It was exacerbated by the fact that our new client is in a panic as they are on a tight schedule and have not built a reconciliation process. They have been told by their auditors that a reconciliation process is required for approval. We have not even signed a statement of work and the client seems a bit all over the place in regards to timelines and requirements so I have no idea how long we will be there.

Usually when I start a new project I am full of anxiety and fear. Will I be able to do what the client needs? Will I be out of my depth? Is it too technical for my skills? But this time I have not been nervous at all. I am quite comfortable and confident. Even Norman remarked on the fact that I have not been panicky. It’s as if something shifted.

I was discussing this with a friend and she said that maybe the shift is due in part to the dramas from my last client. Maybe the every day battles with the developer sharpened my confidence? Similar to the way a grain of sand can turn into a pearl. The oyster adds layer after layer of substance to protect itself from the irritating sand and eventually a pearl forms from the layers of protective minerals.

The developer is the irritating grain of sand and the emergence of my confidence represents the pearl in this scenario with the outcome being me stepping into my power.

It was an interesting way to look at it. Through pain comes growth.

The interesting thing is that my previous client contacted me on Friday to say the next phase is starting soon and they may need me back sooner than expected to document the metadata.

The current client initially only needed us for three weeks but the work he requires will take much longer than that. It is still all up in the air.

My new client is in the northern part of Cape Town and it adds an hour each way of travel to my day. Normally I panic driving on the motorway, especially when I’m traveling to an area I am unfamiliar with. I’ve been using Google Maps and have gotten lost once, however I did not stress. I’m just taking my time.

I’m enjoying this feeling of peace. Long may it last.

Unfortunately peace is not present in all of Cape Town or Hout Bay.

Last Saturday night a lot of the schools had their year end dances and many of the students met at the beach at the end of the night. A 19 year old young man and two of his friends were robbed and two of them were stabbed. The 19 year old died. He was a student at UCT. Later in the week another victim was stabbed at the beach and another had a brick thrown at his head. This is all taking place just down the road from Camps Bay police station.

On Wednesday this week we had a shooting in Hout Bay which also occurred almost on the doorstep of the police station. It was part of the ongoing taxi wars. A driver and his passenger were both shot.

The Western Cape police service is severely under resourced and many of the police nationwide are corrupt or criminals themselves.

This week in another province there was a shootout between two rogue cops who had just robbed a post office and two legitimate police. You couldn’t make it up!

We had such a surprise on Thursday evening. I had arrived home about 6pm and had just gotten into my comfy (e.g. sloppy) clothes and settled in to watch a bit of telly. The doorbell rang and I looked out and thought ‘hmmm no idea who that is so I’m ignoring it’ and came back to sit down. Luckily Norm is more curious than I am and he went outside to see who it was. As he got closer he saw the other person was smiling at him but he could not see who it was until he was right at the gate. It was our nephew from Scotland who was visiting Cape Town! He wanted to surprise us and he certainly did! He brought a bottle of wine for Norm and flowers for me.

They are so beautiful. Calum is a digital nomad. He travels around the world staying in a place only as long as he fancies, renting AirBnB properties and absorbing the local customs and atmosphere. He owns an IT based company so can work anywhere he likes. It’s a brilliant lifestyle for a young single man. He has been living in Bali on and off as he loves it there. He is meeting up with some South African friends in Cape Town and has rented a flat with an amazing view of Table Mountain.

It had been ten years since we last saw Calum. He stayed with us for a few months when we first bought our house. He and Caitlin became such good friends so we rang her on Thursday and she came round to join us for pizzas.

Calum joined Caitlin and her friends today on a mountain hike.

It was so misty it made the visibility a bit difficult.

There was a lot of cloud cover over the mountains visible from our house this morning too.

We had a bit more excitement this week as Lily and Josh won an engagement photo shoot from Ruby Bear Photography. They went to the beach near where they live. The sun was setting towards the end of the shoot and the photos we have seen are amazing!

They got soaked from the waves.

But the photos are beautifully done.

I had drumming this morning and before I left I sat outside to have my morning coffee. The dogs were outside with me, I wanted Panda to trot down the stairs so I could film it but he refused to cooperate.

I really loved our drumming session, I felt so rejuvenated and relaxed afterwards, it is always so cleansing for me. It is also nice to see all of my drumming circle.

Afterwards I collected Norm and we went for a pub lunch at Woodcutters Arms. It was very busy but we found a table in the beer garden. Norm ordered the Guinness Beef stew with mash which looked delicious.

He rated it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had two starters. First I had the jalapeño cheddar cigars.

They could have been cooked a bit longer to crisp the phyllo pastry a it more. They were a bit doughy but they were tasty.

I then had the starter portion of popcorn chicken strips with chips.

I give my dishes 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ They make the best homemade chips so that boosted the score.

Yesterday Norm and I went to Blue Route Mall. Norm needed some shorts and I wanted to spend my birthday gift card. I also wanted to shop for the two toddlers I am making my Operation Shoebox Christmas donation boxes for. Norm found several nice things but I could find nothing I fancied. I was looking for work clothes as my current client offices are much more professional and I can’t wear jeans every day like I usually do. I did get all of the clothes and toys for my Christmas boxes though. Now I just need the boxes and the food treats and I can drop them off.

Norm and I had brunch at Mugg & Bean in the mall. Norm had the Tropical Breakfast, consisting of a fresh seasonal fruit salad served with full cream plain yoghurt, luxury muesli & honey.

I went for lunch instead of breakfast and had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken which was described as ‘sesame-crusted buttermilk chicken strips served with a side of sweet chilli sauce.’ However if there were sesame seeds on that chicken they must be invisible.

They were not very crispy either, they needed to be fried longer. They were rather disappointing.

After we finished shopping we headed home to relax.

We watched a few films this week.

I chose “The Silence” because it had Stanley Tucci in it. (Or one of those Tucci brothers anyway.)

It sucked so bad it could have sucked a golf ball through a garden hose. I give it 2 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️

It had a ridiculous ‘plot’ (if you can call it that) and was nonsense.

However this afternoon we watched ‘In The Shadow of The Moon’ and I really enjoyed that. It was also a bit far fetched but I was very entertained by it. It gets 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

We also just finished a series on Netflix which I really enjoyed called The I-Land.

I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Norm was not as keen on it as I was as he thought it a bit weak on plot. (Yet he enjoyed that disastrous The Silence??)

Norm has cooked for us most of the week. As I get home so late with this new project I can’t or we would be eating at midnight.

He made chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, gem squash, fondant sweet potatoes and roast broccoli on Monday night. It was delicious.

Another night he grilled fillet steaks and I made a salad. He also did some chips in the air fryer. It was a really warm evening so was perfect.

Wednesday he made chicken sausages with cauliflower mash, mushrooms and steamed asparagus.

I had my usual weekly treat of sushi. I had crab salad, salmon roses, cucumber roses topped with prawn, and tempura prawns.

They added something crispy on top of the crab salad and I did not enjoy that at all. I think I will stop ordering that dish as it is a bit tasteless. But the sushi was delicious and fresh.

I have had a busy weekend and am looking forward to just chilling for the rest of the evening before I have to do that long commute again all week.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend and that you have a great week.

Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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Method of Measure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She wasn’t bothered as she got the chicken.

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

It is so wonderful to see him returning to health.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was also really delicious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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

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

 

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

 

Rain Angels

We have had quite a bit of rain this week. It rained lots on both Tuesday and Wednesday. My rain fairies were looking out for me. When I left home on Tuesday it was raining quite a bit and it was really dark so I struggled to see to navigate on my drive in. When I got into the city and parked up, it stopped raining while I walked in and as I settled in with a coffee the heavens opened and it poured again! It then slowed a bit and around 3pm a colleague said it was just about to pour again and so I left work. When I went outside it wasn’t raining at all, but by the time I went a few blocks it was drizzling and as I got into the car it poured again. The same thing happened on Wednesday so I avoided frizzy hair and working in damp clothes but the dams got filled a bit, a win win all around in my eyes.

On Monday after work I had Vanessa come around to give me a pedicure. The dogs love her so much and go a bit mad when she arrives.

Vanessa always tells me such interesting tales. I asked her what she knew about the delivery truck that crashed in Hangberg and she said that it was due to a truck’s brakes failing and the truck then ran over an old man who was standing outside his shack and was unaware of the out of control truck. Vanessa said that the community beat the truck driver for hitting and killing the pensioner and that they also robbed the elderly victim as he lay dying. I found this confusing to exact justice for his death yet to have such little respect for the man to rob him! Shocking.

That night Norm made us the delicious Cauliflower ‘Mac’ and cheese dish we love and topped it with crispy bacon.

Another night he made a dish from the same recipe site. Buffalo Ranch Stuffed Chicken.

He made sweet potato fries in the air fryer and steamed broccoli drizzled with lemon juice. He forgot to drizzle the chicken with the ranch dressing before serving it but it was yummy and a nice change.

With the cold rainy weather we just snuggled up and had cozy evenings in watching Netflix. We finished watching ‘What If‘.

I absolutely loved this series! I enjoyed the intrigue and tension and it kept my full attention. I found Rene Zellweger a bit affected but I still give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Norm took Pixie to the vet this week as she is having another skin reaction and she now has 2 different shampoos that we have to wash her in.

Lily came down on Thursday night as she had an early appointment on Friday morning at the American consulate to renew her passport. She and Norm gave Pixie her skin treatments and Pix seems less itchy.

Norm bought the ingredients for tacos and Lily and I made beef tacos and refried beans. It was all delicious.

Lola sat at the table with us so politely.

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Where’s my plate? #cat #kitty #Lola

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After dinner we made a big fire and snuggled in.

It was still freezing cold on Friday night so we decided against going out to dinner so we decided to try Nippon Sushi for Chinese food. Norm has said he will never go back as he was so annoyed by the service. He was told it would take 20 minutes when he placed the order. He went to the shops and then went next door to have a glass of wine. He went back after 30 minutes only to be told it would take an additional 20 more minutes. He was exasperated. The food was good but it was no better than the food at Blue Lotus who are quick.

We watched RuPaul and messed about. Lily downloaded an app that turns you into an anime character. Pretty cute heh?

On Saturday the girls had booked to take me to lunch but I had forgotten that I had a hair appointment in the city. I was up and out early and found easy parking as the city was quiet. We decided to lighten the hair around my face as my grey is annoying me. We also moved my parting to see if that helps. Leandra also gave me a different cut.

I stopped by the shop and got a roast chicken and salads for lunch. Later that afternoon Caitlin came around. Caitlin is creating the website for Lily and Josh’s wedding invites. The girls reviewed it and made some changes and then that evening we went to Papino’s for dinner. We all ordered fillet steaks and I also ordered some mushrooms and onion rings for the table.

I had Portuguese chips, Norm had fries and the girls had mash. It was all delicious. I was a bit annoyed when the waitress told me they were out of vodka. Especially as there was a shop next door. But the food was great and I give mine 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It was lovely to have both my girls here with us.

Caitlin came back to the house for a bit then headed home late that night. Last night the alarm kept tripping and it woke us up several times. The rain has gotten into the gate motor so we have had to bypass one of our circuits until the electrician can come next week. It keeps tripping and is causing all sorts of issues.

Today we had a lazy morning until Lily had to drive back home. I was supposed to go to drumming but I did not want to miss any time with Lily so decided to stay home. We sat out on the balcony drinking coffee and enjoying the warm weather we awoke today.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Act Two

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

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

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

We were seated at the front by a large window.

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

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

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

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

He enjoyed it.

We give our dinners 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

After dinner we headed off to the Artscape Opera House.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He’s such a lovely boy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were other crimes and various headlines around transport.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Norm and I both had the Original Royale.

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

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

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

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

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

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

After dinner we opened gifts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was lovely having my girls with us.

It was nice to see their fellas too.

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

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

It was delicious. I am a lucky Kitten.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We went home and cosied up with the animals.

Panda tolerated Blue because it was so cold.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First I baked the base for 5 minutes.

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

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

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

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

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