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

 

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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

Toxicity and Acidity

This has been a rather eventful week in Hout Bay, but before I catch you up let’s go back to where I left off on my last blog because us Virgo’s are nothing if not methodical in our approach.

Last Sunday Norm and I went out for a pub meal at our local, Woodcutters Arms. As it was a bit late for a Sunday night in our little village, the place was almost empty so we took a nice big booth at the back.

I asked if they had any of their Sunday Roast left and the waitress checked with the kitchen and said there was one portion of the beef roast remaining so I happily ordered it. I love their roasts, they have delicious horseradish and crispy roasties.

However this time as I was last in the queue I got the end of the roast and it was full of fat. The vegetables were completely raw, not even blanched. The roasties were perfect as was the yorkshire pudding and sauces.

Norm ordered his fave scotch eggs: Smoked Paprika Sea Salt, Pea Puree and Pea Shoots for R45.00. He said that the coating was very thick and hard. Maybe there was too much breading but as the egg is so under-cooked I suspect maybe the oil was just too hot? He was a bit disappointed and he usually loves this dish.

For his main he ordered the Pork Sausages: Served on Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Peas, Brown Sauce Onions and Gravy for R78.00. He enjoyed this dish and it was such a massive portion he took some home for lunch the following day.

When the manager came to inquire about our food I said mine was ‘OK’ but she sensed the hesitation in my voice and she asked was I sure so I mentioned that the beef was very fatty. I did not make a fuss, and she offered to replace it with something else but I was pretty full from the bits I could eat so I declined her offer. But then when the waitress brought the bill she told us that the manager had taken my dinner off of the bill! That is a rare occurrence in South Africa, in the US it is commonplace but certainly not here.

I realised that I had forgotten to mention in my last blog that when my friends and I had our excessively long breakfast at Hout Bay Manor that the manager had taken off the  main courses from the bill due to the eggs debacle. Amazing customer service in both regards.

We love the Woodcutter’s Arms and will not be deterred by a once off bad meal, it is our local and we enjoy sitting in their beer garden on a warm sunny afternoon and their food is usually always good, I think it is a very high standard for ‘pub grub’.

On Monday I was back at work and had to rush home to meet Vanessa who came to give me a pedicure. She is such a lovely girl and we have such a laugh while she is working on my calloused tootsies. We sat chatting and watching the Brexit chaos on sky news while she worked.

While Vanessa was finishing up Norm started cooking our dinner. He chopped chicken breasts and fried them in mushrooms and onions and to go with it he puréed some butternut with lots of butter and stir fried some baby spinach. I helped him with the sauce for the chicken and added thick cream, a bit of bisto and a big spoonful of Richard Bosman bacon jam to add a bit of depth to the flavour. It was a quick and easy meal and was very tasty as well as low carb and high fat with the added cream and butter.

Another night Norm cooked a big pot of bolognaise sauce and we had that with sweet potato mash and steamed baby broccoli and the next night he topped the sauce with mashed cauliflower and cheese and baked it making it last two nights. It was all very yummy. I am a very lucky Kitten!

On Tuesday afternoon I had to leave work early as I had an appointment to see a gastroenterologist about my abdominal pain and constant acid reflux. He sent me for an ultrasound which checked my organs and aorta and when I told the sonographer that I was trained as a radiographer she happily announced all of the findings in my scan, ‘there is your liver and it is fine, there is your gallbladder and it is nice and clear, and there is your aorta and you do not have an aneurysm’. Bloody hell an aneurysm was the one thing I was NOT worried about but thanks for clearing that up!

My gastroenterologist is a very amusing guy. He told me about the difference in men and women in regards to their bowels. He said that women tend to be constipated and I asked him was that a control issue? He said it is a thesis on it’s own (he is a professor) and yes, part of it is about control. He said that women often have issues with using  public toilets whereas if a man needs to go he is happy to pull over to the side of the road, drop a squat and use grass to clean himself. I even have issues going in a posh venue and could never go in anywhere unsanitary. I would only go on the side of the road if I was in danger of death or explosion. As a Virgo I cringe at even discussing these things. But discuss them I will do as Prof B booked me in for a ‘top and tail’ as he so charmingly called it, aka a gastroscopy and a colonoscopy.

On Wednesday morning I got up at my usual early hour and headed off to work. As I got to the entrance by the first taxi rank which goes up into the township I had a taxi almost back into me when he came flying backwards, reversing quickly into main road with his lights off and no brake lights in the dim light. He was setting up a blockade on the road but I did not realise that, I just thought he was being an idiot so I drove around him.

I carried on towards the roundabout at the police station and I drove straight into a protest / roadblock.  The taxis had all formed a line end to end around the traffic circle by the cop shop and were in the process of closing off the roads. I have had this happen before and I did the same thing as I did then, I just drove on the wrong side of the road and put my foot down and shot off towards the coast road to the city. Until you have been in that sort of situation you have no idea how terrifying and intimidating it is. You never know if the protesters will throw rocks at your car or even shoot at you, whether they will allow you to drive through or whether they will hold you hostage. I did see one police van but he just drove around the blockade and down towards the village ignoring the blockade.

I rang Norm once I had gotten past it and he told me that he had just started to ring me as he saw on social media that there had been 40 shots fired in a shoot out between rival taxi gangs resulting in a death to one of the drivers. This is in a residential area with a school nearby but these idiots do not care who is endangered in their fights over financial gain. They fight over which taxis get to drive which routes. This week I had a taxi overtake a long queue of traffic by driving on the wrong side of the narrow curvy coast road, not only endangering themselves and their passengers but all of the other drivers who could be involved if there was an accident.

The taxi drivers ended up closing down the entire village, blocking all of the points of exit or entry into the village. I must have been one of the last cars to get out via that route. Eventually law enforcement and the security teams managed to clear the roads and get the taxi drivers to leave. Why they did not arrest them all for their actions I have no idea. You sometimes wonder who is in charge, the cops or the bad guys.

Norm and I had started watching the new Netflix series about The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Norm and I used to live in the village next to where the McCann family lived in the UK and we had followed it all when it was going on so many years ago. However due to the lies and publicity put out by the Portuguese police I had incorrectly come to the conclusion that the parents were somehow involved, whether this was a cover up because they overdosed her on a sedative when leaving her alone in the room or some other skulduggery. However now that I have watched this documentary and reviewed all of the facts I believe that Madeleine was most likely the victim of child trafficking. There were so many leads that hinted at this but none of them were properly investigated as the Portuguese police were too busy trying to implicate the parents rather than launch a proper investigation. They did not even set up a roadblock until several days after the child went missing. Goncalo Amaral was the head of the incompetent policemen from the Polícia Judiciária‎ in Portugal and he has been proven to be corrupt and was fired from his post. He has also been proven to be money grabbing by writing a book full of lies, ironically called ‘The Truth of the Lie’ which was banned and then reinstated in a court of appeal. He has recently been linked to a mafia crime ring. He diverted this investigation and I feel he is ultimately responsible for the poor performance of the Portuguese police. Based on the latest charges against him it makes me wonder if he was actually implicated in her disappearance and that is why he derailed it. We may never know the truth.

It was a heart wrenching story and I cannot imagine what the McCanns have gone through over the years. To lose a child is traumatic enough but to then have people blaming you must be horrific. However it is a very well done documentary and I give it 5 Kitten Stars.

We have also started watching Outlander. It is a show that people have recommended to me for years but when they mentioned the time travel aspect I thought, nah, not for me. But I recently joined a new Fashion House in my covet fashion game and they are all fans of the show so I decided to give it a try when we found it on Netflix and I love it!! Many of the women who are fans are all agog over the lead character played by the handsome Sam Heughan but he does not do anything for me, don’t get me wrong he is cute but then, so are puppy dogs. But I do love the sight of a man in a kilt, especially my own man. I give Outlander 5 Kitten Stars.

On Friday afternoon when I left work I popped into Woodheads to buy waxed string to finish decorating my drumstick. I had plans to work on it over the weekend but my days got away from me and I have not yet finished it. But at least I am prepared!

I could not decide on the blue or the red so I got a roll of both. I hope they will go nicely with the design I recently painted on my drum.

On Friday evening Norm and I had a takeaway from the Blue Lotus Chinese restaurant in Hout Bay and finished the last episodes of the Madeleine documentary series. We were both up and out on Saturday morning as Norm had to take Navajo to Noordhoek to the doggy chiro and I had a hair appointment in the city at Pause.

I love my hairdresser and her assistant, they make me feel so spoiled.

When I got home Norm was out so I sat on the patio while the pups had a run around, it was a cloudy misty day.

I took a selfy of my newly coloured hair while I waited, how does it look?

When he got home Norm and I went down to the village for a late lunch as it was after 2pm and I was starving. We went to Zur Holzbucht the local German restaurant and chose a table in the beer garden as it was not too hot for my delicate wee Scotsman who cannot tolerate the heat or sun (neither can this Cherokee for that matter).

Norm had a light lunch earlier that day while I was busy in town so he had the only dessert on the menu, the apple strudel. He asked for it with ice cream but it came with cream instead, he said it was just average, nothing special.

I was ravenous so I had the kassler roast with sauerkraut and pan fried potatoes. It was really yummy, I love their food and I am a sauerkraut fiend and they make their own. They have very rich yummy gravy and the potatoes were crispy outside and soft and fluffy inside. I give it 4.5 Kitten Stars.

Sunday we were invited out for lunch with some friends but I had to start my prep for the colonoscopy I was having on Monday so sadly we were unable to attend. I was allowed to eat up until 1pm and Norm kindly made us crispy bacon and cheesy scrambled eggs which he served on a fresh croissant he had picked up that morning from Oakhurst Spar. Their pastries and baked goods are top notch and always fresh. It was very yummy. We kept referring to it as ‘my last meal’ like I was a Dead Woman Walking and due for execution rather than just the indignity of a scope.

And then the fun started. I had to drink 3 sachets of the prep diluted in a glass of water, followed by another glass of water, with a glass of water every hour between them. I was allowed no solid food after 1pm and so that evening I only had a cup of strained chicken (noodle-less) soup and some jelly, but to be fair I was not hungry due to the overabundance of water slogging around in my system. The prep itself was not as bad as I had heard as I had imagined it to be horrendous. It was rather unmentionable but at least it was efficient in it’s function, albeit being a bit uncomfortable. Enough said about that!

I took Monday off of work for the procedures and when I logged onto Facebook I saw that the village was again on lock down. There was another shoot out between the taxi drivers, this time resulting in the death of 4 men and the injury of several more. The large white vans in the video below are what we refer to here as taxis, they shove in dozens of passengers and drive like lunatics resulting in a many road traffic accidents and deaths, but they are the only affordable transport option that many of the poorer residents have access to.

By the time we had to leave to go to the clinic the roads were cleared and we sailed through with no issues.

Today I read on the Community Crime Prevention Facebook page that “All calm in the area with large presence of SAPS/POPS, traffic and Law enforcement. Multiple road blocks and impoundments (sic) of taxis reported this morning with 1 licensed firearm confiscated for ballistic testing already.”

I just hope that they continue to monitor this ongoing issue and punish the lawless who are driving the routes without a permit and putting all of our lives at risk.  It is such a toxic situation. I wish they would just close down the taxi ranks in the village and put on more of the buses and sort out proper safe affordable public transportation. The buses are usually safe but they do not cover the entire city and some say they are too expensive. I do not know the comparative price between the African taxis and the MyCiti buses. Uber and Taxify are expensive and are not always safe and the trains are also a risk to your safety and are very unreliable. This country has so many issues. The elections are coming up so it will be interesting to see if anything changes and which party wins, but somehow regardless of which party takes power I just think it will be more of the same old bullshit.

Speaking of bullshit, back to my more personal dramas……we made it to the clinic in plenty of time for my procedures. I had told the doc I wanted to be knocked completely out and I was taken in to the exam room and asked to undress and the nurse attempted to put in an IV, however I have very poor veins and my arm is black and blue today. She eventually got the IV in and gave me something ‘to relax me’ and that is the last thing I remember until I was being shaken awake and my basket of clothes shoved at me. I stumbled around and managed to get myself dressed and wandered off to the loo. They then moved me over to the tea room and went to fetch Norm. He made me a cup of tea and gave me a biscuit but I was nodding off and did not manage to really eat or drink. I was in such pain that I was not coping so they gave me another injection for nausea and then due to the excessive cramps they gave me an injection of buscopan to try and stop the cramping but it had no effect. Prof B took me in to view the images and he confirmed that my hernia repair had reversed and my hernia was back. He also found a polyp which he removed and sent for biopsy. He also said I have a lot of diverticulum and a very tortuous colon and he struggled to navigate it. Luckily there is no inflammation and I should have no issues with it. I know that is probably TMI but my blogs serve as a diary and even as memory aids for me when I cannot remember things, at least I can look it up!

I came home and slept the entire afternoon, the anesthetic knocked me out. I told Norm that must be what it is like to be in a relationship with a heroin addict as I could not keep my eyes open.

Prof B has put me onto a new medication which is a PPI or a proton pump inhibitor. When compared to taking an antacid, I like to think of it as the PPI actually wets the forest down to prevent the flare up of fires in the first place and an antacid just attempts to douse the already raging flames with a bit of water. I took one of them last night and one this morning and I am not having any reflux pain at all. I did take another day off of work as my throat feels like someone drove a truck down it and my stomach has not settled from all of the invasive things which occurred *ahem* so I did not feel up to being in the office all day with a dodgy tum. I will go back tomorrow.

Hopefully there will be no further taxi dramas and life will continue as it should, toxicity and acidity free.

In the meantime, I wish you all a great week. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

Hellos, Goodbyes & All That Jazz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until then, kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x.

Covens and Crises

We have been blessed with a bit of cool refreshing weather and even quite a bit of rain.

After the intense heat of the previous week I was walking into my office one morning and I was feeling jaunty as the cool air felt wonderful and I was so pleased about the rain. I encountered several street people as I always do. There are several homeless shelters near where I park my car. The sight of these men dragging along their sodden bedding and looking so cold made me feel so sad for them. Some of them have mental illness issues, some are addicts and some are just unlucky from circumstance.

I thought about the times when I was basically homeless myself but the difference is that as a middle class white woman, there were always friends I could rely on for support. I could couch surf or even sleep in my car if I did not have an alternative place to stay. But for the majority of destitute Africans, this is not an option. The majority of Africans live in small shacks which may have several people living in them with no couch to surf. Most people who live in shacks or on the streets may not even have a car as a back up place to provide a safe dry place to sleep.

I cannot imagine how hard the lives of the homeless must be. Having nowhere warm or dry to sleep, nowhere to store your meager belongings. I walk across the city every day and I see entire families sleeping on the streets. It makes my heart so sore.

I have had a few high anxiety days the last few weeks and I have tried to note the conditions which may be triggering these feelings. One is sugar, on the days when I had oatmeal with a banana in it for breakfast I had high anxiety levels mid-morning. The second trigger appears to be caffeine. If I drink the free coffee the client provides then I am twitchy and anxious. It is from a machine which grinds the beans so it must be a stronger bean than the single shot lattes I have from the cafe next door.

Often we can manage our issues by observing our triggers. Internal observation is not something that comes easy to most of us however, whenever I suggest to friends and family that they keep a food diary to try and identify what triggers various responses or pains in their body they seem to look at me like I am tripping. However that process requires ownership of our problems and most people seem to prefer to just take a pill rather than change their behaviour.  I hate the dozy feeling I get when I take anti-anxiety meds so I would rather try and understand the root cause of the issue. Maybe that is my Virgo analytical nature coming through?

The other issue I have been having is with my stomach. I had a hiatal hernia repair in 2007 and am now having symptoms which tell me it is back. I have chronic heartburn and reflux that wakes me up several times a night. On occasion I have a pain in my upper abdomen. I know I need to go to a gastroenterologist but I am hoping to wait until this current project ends as I suspect I will need some time off work and cannot bail on my client.

I have been feeling quite low all week as I had another instance of someone I thought was a friend very clearly sending me the message that we are not friends. Again, some people only consider you useful when you can do something for them. If they need something they contact you without hesitation, but then drop you when it is convenient. I suspect I am quite naive, to me if we act like friends, then we are. But to others they have no problem with being superficial if it suits their needs. I do not have it in my nature to be superficial, my feelings are worn on my sleeve. (Not very Virgo like is it?) If I do not like someone I am unable to hide that and if I do like someone then I want to hang out with them. Seems quite straight forward to me.

My client and I are still getting along great, he comes and asks me for advice on decisions that have nothing to do with me as a consultant, it is quite flattering that he respects my opinion. We had a funny conversation this week when he came to tell me that he has been accepted to do his PhD at a University in Arkansas. He was pronouncing it ‘Ark-kan-sus’. I told him that ‘Kansas’ is pronounced ‘Kan-sus’ but when you add the Ark it is ‘Ark-an-saw’. Now imagine this convo with a french speaking African who only learned English in his teens. It was quite funny.

It was my client’s birthday last week and when I discovered he is a Pisces I was very surprised as that is the opposing sign to Virgo and they are usually too sensitive for my abrupt and uncensored points of view but he and I get on great and we actually seem to balance each other out quite nicely. I told him that is because he is my client and I am on my best behavior. He gave me a look that said ‘if this is your best I don’t want to see your worst’.

Lily and Josh came down last Friday afternoon and Caitlin came over to join us that evening for dinner and a visit. We ordered take away pizzas from Posticino in Hout Bay and really enjoyed them. I hung out with the girls downstairs while Josh played video games upstairs and Norm faffed around being Norm. Lily was sad that she had to leave Toothless with a cat sitter as he was too small to bring all the way to Cape Town. She is so in love with that kitten. He is adorable.

It was so nice to see my girls, I wish Trevor could come visit but Josh and Lily were down for a wedding so that would not have worked even if Trevor could get away as the road closures for the Cape Town Cycle tour made life rather complicated.

On Saturday afternoon Lily and Josh went to Kalk Bay to the wedding that they were attending. They chose to use AirBnB for the night as it was cheaper than using an Uber to get there and back from Hout Bay and they knew they would have a drink or two and couldn’t drive back. The bride looked stunning, she is a gorgeous girl.

That night Norm collected dinner from The Blue Lotus. I had a portion of salmon roses.

I also had the crispy chili chicken with fried rice.

I really enjoyed it all but I always order the same thing and need to broaden my horizons in regards to their menu. I am a creature of habit.

Norm cooked for us a few nights this past week and last Wednesday he made a delicious chicken and mushroom dish. He fried the chicken and mushrooms then added double thick cream and some stock to made the sauce. We served it over creamy cauliflower mash and to go with it he stir fried green beans and mushrooms in garlic and butter. It was so tasty.

Another night he baked pork chops and served them with roasted butternut and the rest of the packet of green beans.

As always we had take aways a few nights, we had food from Spiro’s and Casareccio too. They are two of our usual take away faves.

We had a few random visitors this week. One evening as we were heading off to bed I looked up and noticed a rather large spider on the bathroom ceiling. We never kill spiders and so Norm caught him and took him out into the garden and released him.

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Then a few days later a wee birdy flew into the house and settled on the curtain rail. I cannot tell what type he is but he has a hummingbird type of beak? Is he a sunbird? I am not sure and the pic is not the best (Norm’s work not my own usually dreadful pics). Here is a link, have a look and let me know what you think?

On Sunday my friend Carol came around to help me decorate my drumstick. It is still not finished as I want to re-lace the padded end with red waxed string and I need to also add waxed string to the top and bottom of the section with the beads, but I love the effect so far.

The colours represent the colours of the Native American medicine wheel. The Four Sacred Directions are represented by the colours yellow, red, black and white. Blue represents Father Sky in the upper realm, Green represents Mother Earth below, and purple represents the self, that spirit that journeys in this physical world.

It was a nice relaxing afternoon. I had invited Carol for lunch but the whole village was rammed due to the cycle race and the road was closed so Norm had to go to Constantia as the shops in Hout Bay were empty so we ate quite late. He brought back a roast chicken and some salads and we all had a yummy and easy lunch.

That night we were lazy again and Norm got take aways from Massimo’s. I had the Granchio pasta which was on special: real flaked white crab meat, prawns,
mascarpone, a hint of chili & garlic. It was absolutely divine. The cream sauce is so light and not too heavy (I detest a thick slodgey sauce) and the prawns were delicate. I really enjoyed it.

We chose Massimo’s as it meant we did not have to drive into Hout Bay itself as it was rammed with visitors for the race. But I wasn’t considering that I was at Massimo’s the following night too. But it is one of my fave restaurants in Hout Bay so I did not mind.

Monday night I was invited to join an all women quiz team representing Community Cohesion who do amazing work in Hout Bay and the surrounding areas.

We met at Massimo’s at 6.30. There were 8 women in total and we called ourselves the Community Cohesion Curvaceous Covenettes. That is a lot of C’s at one table (pun intended).

We had such a laugh and to make it all the more exciting we won!! We all got a bag of goodies from the Richard Bosman range. We received a packet of Prosciutto, some unsmoked bacon, a piece of chorizo, a jar of bacon jam and one of bacon salt. I was happy just to have the laughs but to get to go home with these treasures made it an amazing night.

Our table also won 2 of the raffle prizes, a bottle of wine and an overnight stay for 2 people. Our clever little coven of beauties did well!

The next morning I was feeling a tiny bit hungover from the vodkas consumed the previous night. I slipped out of the bedroom in the dark as usual but when I got to the gate to go downstairs it would not open, the key wouldn’t go into the lock. I had to wake Norm to help and after much fiddling he managed to unlock it. The dogs and cats all had to get involved though and poor Naked Norm had to dodge Navajo’s attempts to shove his cold nose up his bum, avoid a dancing Pixie who was needing a wee and tripping over little Lola kitty winding around our legs while Panda yipped excitedly to cheer us all on. I was so glad it happened when Norm was here to deal with it as I would have panicked about not being able to get out.

Then when I finally managed to get downstairs and went dashing through the garage in the dark, the cord from our hoover grabbed me by the leg and I stumbled and careened around the garage and almost broke my neck. All this while slightly hung over from our quiz event (well it was actually from the vodka not the actual quiz).

Then when I got home last night I was sitting watching telly when it suddenly went off. I went out and checked the fuse box and the plugs had tripped. Water seems to be getting in somewhere and it is tripping the earth leakage thingy (she says vaguely). However once I switched the fuses back on, the internet would not start up. Our main router is based upstairs and we have a repeater downstairs to boost the signal to allow us to watch Netflix on the telly downstairs. It would not connect, I could not get on the internet to play games either. After running up and down the stairs flipping and resetting everything a million times I finally managed to isolate the issue. The power tripping had blown the downstairs modem. Norm had spent several hours trying to get hold of our service provider Sonic Wireless but first the phone just rang out and then they would answer, put him on hold and then disconnect the call. Every time we have an issue they are useless. They usually dismiss any queries by telling you everything is fine on their end (their first line of support ‘it’s not me, it’s you’). You have to send screenshots of the download speed tests to prove we are not getting the bandwidth or speed that we pay so dearly for. As soon as fiber rolls out to our street we are changing over to someone else (anyone else would have to be an improvement!).

Then today when our dog walker arrived he could not get into the house as his remote did not work. He also said that the alarm was not on. That meant that Navajo could not get out for a wee if he needed to. It also meant the house was not secure. I assumed that the electricity had tripped again and I was worried about our freezer full of meat melting and arriving home to puddles of dog wee so I left work early and came home to sort things out. That sounds nice but it just means I have to work late to make up for the lost hours as I cannot work from home.

It has been a stressful week so far other than the laughs and giggles we had on Monday. Thank goodness for the coven!

At least my week can only improve, right? Let’s hope so as my whinging is annoying even me!

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

The Path of Peace

This was my first week back at work after my month off and it was a challenge to get back into a routine. On Monday I had a full day workshop on Data Modeling, on Thursday I attended a DAMA Conference and today I had a presentation to a potential new client and had to drive to Stellenbosch so at least I had a break from the usual monotony of being desk bound for 8 hours a day.

Last Thursday I finally bowed to pressure (pun intended) and went to the doctor and the chiropractor about the headaches I have been having for weeks. My GP told me I had a sinus infection and that my neck was out of alignment. He subscribed antibiotics and muscle relaxers.

I popped into Allegria Cafe and Life for a bite to eat after seeing the doc. I had the chicken salad with avocado and it was delicious.

I saw the chiropractor later that same afternoon but after a day or two of no pain my headaches returned and I ended up going back to the chiropractor again yesterday morning.

That day I shopped for food while waiting on my prescriptions to be filled and so on Thursday night I cooked for a change. I was surprised I hadn’t forgotten how! I roasted a pork fillet in a spicy plum sauce, and to go with it I made roast sweet potatoes, mushrooms and fried red cabbage in butter and balsamic.

It was rather delicious if I say so myself.

I had a lovely last weekend to round off my holiday.

On last Friday morning I went to Blue Route Mall to return some items, finish my last bits of Christmas shopping and pick up something for Lily’s birthday. After shopping I went to Jakura for lunch and had their crispy chili beef. It was delicious and spicy.

They also do yummy sushi and have one of the fun conveyor belts with the sushi on it. I don’t know why but that makes it taste better.

On Friday evening Norm and I had planned to go out for dinner but it had started pouring with rain, the windows were rattling like mad and the sky was really cloudy and misty so we decided to rather stay in.

Norm went down to the village to pick up a curry from The Indian Oven.

I had butter chicken and we shared saag aloo and cauliflower rice. It was OK but I have found their food is not as special as it used to be. I used to love their curry with prawns but the prawns now taste plastic and frozen so I moved to chicken dishes instead, but I invariably find a bit of cartilage or bone in my food which is very off putting. But of the options for curry in Hout Bay this is the best of the lot.

Last Saturday morning we had a lie in and then I made eggs baked in half an avocado and topped with cheese and bacon to go with them.

I found the avo to be a bit bitter when warmed but Norm loved them.

Saturday evening Caitlin popped by and we had our friends Mel and Cyril round for drinks and snacks.

We had a lovely night laughing and telling stories about all sorts. It was a relaxing night and stress free as we just did snacks so I wasn’t running around messing about with food.

On Sunday I had planned to go drumming in the morning but I only woke at 9.30 and it was too late to get there so we had another long lie in bed.

Later in the afternoon we went to La Parada at Constantia Nek to meet friends. They have live music on Sundays and it is heaving. Sharon had organized it and invited several others. Her friend Walter was there.

He managed to knock over 3 different glasses which had us all dodging liquids. Oops.

Our friend Delia was there as well.

We had a giggle about Delia being a mom of 5 yet she struggled to convince the bouncers she was of legal age. She is such a cutie and she is such a nice person as well.

Sharon and I had a good natter, it was lovely to see her. She is such a kind person.

We all ordered tapas to eat. Norm and Delia had the tuna tataki and I had the grilled calamari.

I also had the prawn croquettes.

The calamari was lovely but the prawn croquettes were overly cheesy and did not seem to contain much in the way of prawns at all. They also tasted a bit doughy. I won’t recommend those. The tuna tataki looked divine.

We had some German tourists sitting at the same table and I spent a lot of time chatting to Heloise who was sat next to me. She and I instantly bonded. She said to me that she felt like I ‘was a drummer whose heart was in rhythm with hers’. I hadn’t told her I was a drummer and that freaked me out a wee bit! We talked about spirituality and our pasts and beliefs and she said that I healed her with some of the things I said. I told her that I have been told I am a healer, I just do not know how to apply these alleged skills. Another friend told me that just my energy can heal people. I don’t question it, I just let it flow if I am speaking to someone on that topic. If spirit sends me a message I speak it and try to be a conduit and not block it by trying to be rational.

It was a latish end for a school night but Norm and I went home and relaxed a bit after. I managed to stay awake for my workshop the next day so it is all good.

Norm cooked a few nights this week. One night he stuffed chicken breasts with cranberry and cheddar cheese. He served with roast sweet potatoes and vegetables.

Another night he made spaghetti bolognaise with low carb noodles and topped it all with cheese.

Together one evening we cooked fillet steaks with spinach pureed with mature cheddar cheese and served it with roast vegetables.

My friend Cyril said that the spinach looked like a frog about to jump, I agree that it does! I am glad he didn’t say that before I ate it or it would have put me off.

This weekend we were supposed to have my kids here for a late Christmas lunch and to exchange gifts, however this has been a week full of sadness in that two of Caitlin and Lily’s girlfriends’ fathers passed away and one of Wes’ friends also lost his father. Touched by 3 deaths in one week. I pray for peace for their families.

I woke to an interesting message from a friend today who is a medium and psychic. A friend who passed away a few years ago came through to my psychic friend to tell her that ‘my Native American rituals’ (I assume he meant my drumming and prayers) has meant that he can no longer communicate to me. She said he was very dramatic and she even named him so there is no doubt who it is. I found it interesting that prayer has blocked him from communicating with me. I wonder what that means?

I know that I have a lot of peace when I drum and I feel very close to my ancestors and nature. I hope my friend finds the peace which still seems to elude him much as it did in life.

Caitlin popped around this afternoon to get her presents. She liked her presents and the kids gave Norm a lovely shirt and they gave me a gorgeous mermaid blanket. I love it so much!

We had sushi for dinner from K1.

It was so yummy.

I am off to the hairdresser early tomorrow and then we are going to a friend’s leaving party in the afternoon. We had a huge rainstorm today and as much as we need the rain I hope it clears tomorrow as the party venue is outside at the beach.

Either way it will be what it will be!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x