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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Five

I have five more days on my current project and then hopefully I don’t ever have to work again with the developer I’ve had so many issues with. This week he allegedly developed 10 data rules but only half were valid. He could not even get his job to complete on Friday but felt no pressure and swanned about chatting up the ladies instead of working to resolve the issues. It is always 1 step forward 2 steps back. The Dosey Doe of development.

We have also had 5 days of protesting in Hangberg, a suburb in our village. Some residents are demanding that a tract of land earmarked for electrical infrastructure be used for housing and there is much unhappiness about plans for evictions and houses being demolished in Hangberg.

50 protesters lit fires in the road and vandalised a construction site, and a truck was torched at a power depot. Roads were closed off, buses were rerouted and shots were fired at foot patrols in the area. Flares and petrol bombs were also directed at the officers.

Police fired tear gas and let off stun grenades in an attempt to quell protests. The protesters retaliated with stones and marine rocket flares.

The protests against gender based violence have continued all across South Africa. The police seem to have approached some of the protests against violence to women with even more violence.

My daughter Caitlin and her boyfriend Wes and some of their friends joined the protest in Cape Town yesterday.

There was good attendance despite the pouring rain.

Caitlin videoed a bit of the speeches and crowds.

Millions of people across the planet also protested against Climate Change on Friday.

The youth across the world have been inspired by Greta Thunberg and her protesting against climate change. I love that the younger generations are so vocal and unwilling to put up with the risks to their futures and their health and are not so ignorant as to deny the information from the science community.

I took my car in for a service this week and it cost me R8.5 thousand as I had to have the brakes, pads and discs replaced. Norm spotted a little bakkie he fancied and is planning to trade his Opel for it once he gets paid for his last project.

Panda has made more progress this week and he managed to get upstairs all by himself on Tuesday. He still needs help getting onto the sofa but he has no issues jumping down off of the sofa or the bed. He is much stronger on his feet and it feels like he has gained back the weight he had lost. He is now joining the other dogs on their walks. Norm gradually increased the distance with him on his own until he managed their full walk and then he joined the others once he mastered that.

Norm has been very busy with work this week so we have had a few takeaways. I tried some new dishes instead of sticking with my tried and trusted usual dishes.

I had the spicy chicken breasts from Papino’s and was really pleased. It usually comes with mash and I will try it with that next time but I fancied chicken and chips.

It was garlicky and spicy and so divine. I give it 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I also tried a new dish from Casareccio. I had their Pasta Pollo with chicken, mushrooms and a creamy sauce. It was so delicious and it tasted like a dish I made for the kids when they were younger. It was Trevor’s favorite meal. I also give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

We chose a few dishes from Massimo’s specials menu and they were both so good we went back the next night and chose the same dishes and shared them between Norm and I. The first night I had the Pollo (Chicken) Milanese and Norm had the Pork Stufata and we both had creamy mash. Their mash is soooo good, creamy and not lumpy. The next night we ordered both dishes and had half of each. The chicken was a large Chicken Breast, schnitzel style, coated with breadcrumbs and parmigiano, served with creamy polenta or mash and seasonal roast veg. The other dish was slow cooked pork casserole in a porcini and field mushroom sauce, with a touch of cream, also served with roast seasonal veg and creamy polenta or mash. The pork was so tender it would melt in your mouth. Both dishes are so tasty I wish they were on the menu all the time. Both get 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I only had one bad experience this week when I had pasta from a local venue and it was under-cooked and very dry. It is unusual for our local venues to be inconsistent. It is a dish I have often which is what led to my being adventurous and trying new dishes.

I was having a bit of an adventurous week all round as I decided on the spur of the moment to chop off my hair and get a fringe! (AKA ‘Bangs’ to the American readers.)

My hair is getting so grey and we have been lightening the colour around my face to try and lessen the contrast of the grey. Now we will continue that approach and eventually may even let the grey grow out.

After my hair appointment I gave my friend Thembi a lift home. We were chatting and she told me that her neighbor had died that week. She said the neighbor had taken away the husband of a Malawian woman and the Malawian woman had stolen a pair of the neighbor’s underwear off the washing line and had put some sort of poison on them and then took them back to the neighbor and when she wore them it made her vagina swell up massively and a few days later she died. That is some bad mojo! How much of it is fact, how much is gossip and how much is superstition is unknown but I never doubt anything to do with magic, the mind has as much power over people as the body does, sometimes even more.

Other than going to the hairdresser Norm and I have had a lazy weekend.

Today he made us a lovely brunch of crispy bacon, avocado and a cheesy omelette.

We started a new documentary series called The Kalief Browder Story which is based on a true story and was produced by Jay Z.

It is very intense and almost unbelievable how this child was treated. The US prison system seems to be in a mess, especially Rikers prison. We are only a few episodes in as it is too hard to watch more than one episode at a time but it is highly recommended.

The next 5 days will be spent finishing off the last few bits and pieces with my project. I’ve been put forward for an assessment of a new client’s adherence to the Protection of Personal Information Act and to produce a strategy to address any gaps. The client is based in Pietermaritzburg which is a 4.5 hour flight from Cape Town. But at least it is a short duration.

Until next time, I wish you all a great weekend. Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Relatable

This has been such a stressful week at work. Usually when a Data Quality system is being developed a client will hire both myself and a developer to design and build the system and reports.

My current contract obligation was primarily to document the metadata for a new data lake analysis environment being built and the data quality system was a ‘nice to have’ not a requirement. But to document the metadata I had to do data analysis and our methodology is to define the data rules as an output of that data analysis, so I have documented over 600 data rules. As the client did not have the budget to also employ a developer from my contract house I was provided a junior developer that works for the client to do the build.

I didn’t mind that he was unskilled in development, or that he was a junior as I’ve mentored new developers before. The key is attitude. A good developer loves a challenge. They also adhere to deadlines or they escalate issues in a timely manner. However this developer has such a large ego he cannot admit he has problems until he is way over his deadline and he seems to be unable to concentrate long enough to keep his head down and make progress. He is seldom at his desk, especially in the afternoons. As a result we have only managed to build and test less that 100 rules in the almost 8 months I have been on site. I roll off the project at the end of the month and want to achieve as much as possible. The client moved the dev to sit next to me so I could keep an eye on him. This week when I was doing my status report I asked him about progress. I asked what he had achieved in the days I was unable to work due to my PC being out of commission (an issue which was due to him unplugging it and corrupting my hard drive). I was also off sick on Thursday and Friday so basically I expected vast progress in that week. He said he spent three days on performance enhancement and so I asked for run time statistics on a run prior to optimization and a run after this optimization in order to gauge the success of his efforts. He knew I was seeing through his BS and he had obviously not achieved anything so he went into defense mode and screamed loudly at me ‘you are not my manager’ and swore at me and stomped off in a huff. It is like dealing with a temperamental toddler. It was so offensive to me for a man to verbally abuse me and to try and intimidate me so I reported his behavior to the client. As a survivor of domestic abuse if a man raises his voice to me it badly triggers my anxiety.

The dev decided not to communicate with me after his tantrum on Tuesday morning. He put on headphones and ignored me when I spoke to him. Even if I tapped his desk to get his attention he ignored me. When he is confused (which is often) he makes a noise like Scooby Doo, a sort of high pitched ‘huuunnnhh’? He knows I am noise sensitive so he drummed loudly on his keyboard while smirking. He refused to respond to my emails or answer my questions. How can I manage a project with no communication?

The client (his line manager) returned to the office on Friday (appropriate that it was the 13th) and we three had a meeting to discuss the issues. The dev lied and denied any personal attacks and at one point even whined to the client ‘tell her to stop looking at me’!

I’ve never worked with such a petty childish person.

Basically he was told that I am managing the project and he has to man up and communicate with me and he needs to make progress.

This project has been so stressful in regards to the lack of accountability for his attitude about work and failing to meet targets. I’m used to tight project timelines and accountability if you do not meet your deadlines. I’m relieved I finish at the end of the month even though I really like the client and the environment but I am happy to leave this developer behind.

11 more days……..and yes I am counting.

Last week I read about Nora, the young girl with special needs who went missing from her Malaysian hotel in the middle of the night and was found over a week later naked in the jungle, dead from starvation and stress.

A lot of people could not believe that no foul play was involved as she was found naked, or that she could not find her way back to the resort where her family were staying as she was discovered relatively close. However I could completely relate to this young girls fears.

Back in the early 90’s I spent a few months in Brunei with my boyfriend who was working there. Brunei borders Malaysia and while there I participated in ‘Hashing‘ which is similar to orienteering. The group all start out together as you enter the jungle but the more fit runners end up distancing themselves quite a bit from the unfit (aka me). I was running for a long time on my own and eventually got completely lost. If you have never been in a jungle it may be impossible to comprehend just how dense the vegetation is. The light is always dim due to the trees and vines which completely obscure any light getting through. It was incredibly hot and humid and after a while I stripped down to my underwear as I was dripping with sweat and my clothes were as sodden as they would be if I had swam in them and were chafing me. The sounds of animals surrounded me, I could hear so many unidentifiable terrifying noises and hear things crashing invisibly through the brush around me.

Eventually I ran into another girl who was also lost. She had given up and was just sitting crying by a stream. She and I hugged each other, held hands and walked together until the rescue group eventually found us. By then it was completely dark and we could see nothing.

When I finally emerged from the jungle, dripping with sweat, filthy and crying I punched my boyfriend in the face.

So I could completely empathize with Nora. I felt such sadness thinking about how frightened she would have been. I feel such pain for her parents.

The issues I posted about in my last blog are still ongoing in South Africa. We continue to read about the death, rape and abuse of women and girls by men and the patriarchy shown by men who defend these attacks with their ‘not all men’ bullshit or the ‘women should not dress like whores’ blaming the victim defense.

A taxi driver was captured by private security guards after he allegedly raped a female passenger for 10 hours in his van. The traumatised woman said the suspect beat her up before raping her and she thought he was going to kill her too.

Today I read about a 3 year old girl who was raped by her friend ‘s father. The child’s mother went to the police 5 times over 4 days and none of the police would believe her or take her information down or open a case. Eventually the child’s older sister posted about it on Facebook and when the story went viral the police finally responded. However when they came to the mother’s home they brought the accused with them. The accused was charged but has been released on bail. As the victim said the man also rapes his own child this man should be locked up, not released.

A 57-year-old man was arrested in the Western Cape for allegedly raping a 1-year-old baby in Mitchells Plain in August.

The horror goes on and on.

On the 21st of this month there is another March planned to protest femicide.

People keep asking what is to be gained from protesting as if we should sit and wring our hands and await a white horse and a knight.

Fuck that.

Here is a summary of The Total Shutdown’s demands to government contained in the memorandum handed to the president at the Union Buildings on August 1: 

“1. A commitment never to appoint any individual who has been implicated or minimises the causes and consequences of GBVAW to Cabinet or to lead a state institution and a commitment to announce the dates of a national gender summit.

2. A review of past national action plans to end GBVAW with a view to understanding why they failed and that the Ministry of Women in the Presidency be tasked with managing the review. 

3. The development of criteria and screening for appointing individuals who are tasked with leading efforts to end and respond to GBVAW. 

4. The development of a National Action Plan on gender-based violence whose terms of reference will be determined by the review process envisaged under demand number two. 

5. The resuscitation of the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Quality of Life and Status of Women, and that a prerequisite for committee membership is a proven track record on working on GBVAW and gender diversity issues.

6. The establishment of accountability and oversight mechanisms to ensure that an adopted National Action Plan is implemented. 

7. Focusing on the prevention of re-victimization and re-traumatisation through the establishment of a well resourced national hotline that will enable survivors to request and receive information on support services. 

8. The provision of prevention services and information on GBVAW with a view to raising awareness on the different forms of GBVAW, preventing violence and changing attitudes.

9. Training to provide legislators with information on the key features of drafting legislation to develop laws aimed at combating GBVAW and promoting gender diversity and equality. 

10. Consistent sentencing and enforcement of existing laws, in particular, the minimum sentencing legislation in sexual and domestic violence cases and that the judiciary stops using harmful and negative gender stereotypes.

11. The prioritisation of the provision of legal aid to victims of GBVAW including those who want to hold the state accountable for its failure to protect them from violence and those who have been subjected to lawsuits for publicly naming perpetrators.

12. Sensitisation and adequate training regarding diverse gender identities and LGBTQIA_ minorities for members of the judiciary and their resource providers. 

13. The provision of psycho-social support, or funding for such support, to victims and survivors of GBVAW including a publication of a referral list of the places where the service will be provided. 

14. A commitment to beginning a process to develop a comprehensive law on addressing GBVAW. This includes engaging the South African Law Reform Commission to begin a consultation process. 

15. Recognition that intersecting forms of oppression heightens women’s vulnerability to GBVAW and that these factors are taken into account during the investigation, prosecution and sentencing. 

16. That the existing Thuthuzela Care Centres’ resources be developed and vacant posts filled and that the centres be established as places of safety and care for all gender identities who are survivors of GBV.

17. The introduction of an automated national registry for protection orders. 

18. Provision of gender inclusive shelters and interim housing to enable womxn to escape abusive relationships and a list of those shelters to be confidentially shared with relevant service providers. 

19. Registration of GBVAW cases in hospitals and the provision of information on support services available to survivors of GBVAW, as well as ensuring that an effective referral mechanism is put in place. 

20. Publication of a monthly list of police stations and police officers who have been reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate for failing to provide services to survivors of GBVAW.

21. Adoption of a policy to make prosecutor-led investigations of GBVAW cases compulsory in order to provide guidance and assist in the gathering of evidence in order to ensure that cases are taken to court.

22. Publication of a national training schedule on GBVAW and gender diversity for all relevant government departments including home affairs,  social development, justice, safety and security and health.

23. A sustained media campaign for 365 days by all departments led by Government Communication and Information System providing information including awareness.

24. Government should ensure that laws, policies, practices and systems are sensitive to gender diversity to protect the bodily and physical as well as the psychological and emotional integrity of transgender and GNC people from GBV. 

* Each of the 24 demands was assigned a deadline, some of which have already passed without being met.”

Norm and I started watching a Netflix series just released in SA which is called ‘Unbelievable‘ and coincidentally is about how the patriarchy can affect victims of rape. The main character is raped, reports it and subsequently withdraws the charges due to the mental stress caused by the ordeal.

Unbelievable is based on a true story and can be both heartbreaking and enraging at the same time. It can be hard to watch.

The police and all support personnel should be female. A victim of trauma should not have to lay bare her soul to a representative of the gender who caused that trauma. If you don’t have a vagina, you cannot comprehend the dehumanizing effect of rape.

I did have one good thing happen this week thanks to my darling hubby. He booked tickets for us to spend three weeks with my Mother over the Christmas holidays. We went to see Mom last year but as my Mom paid for the flights we kept the cost down as much as possible and took a longer flight with a long layover in Qatar. It was a 38 hour trip which was so exhausting. This trip we have a short flight to Johannesburg and then fly direct to Atlanta. We will take the shuttle to Chattanooga and Mom will collect us from there which is about a 30 minute drive to her house. We will have a few days to adjust before Christmas which we will spend with family. We have booked our dog and house sitter so the house and animals will be safe and well looked after.

I am so excited! I am trying to focus on that.

Panda has also continued to improve and he can now jump off the couch or bed, he can go down the front stairs and get both in and out of the doggy door so we no longer have to take him out to wee or poop.

He still has to master jumping up and going up the stairs. But he’s making brilliant progress.

Norm has been very busy with work but still looked after us even if he did not manage to cook every night.

He cooked fillet steaks, fondant sweet potatoes, creamed spinach and roast beetroot one night. It was so delicious. The steaks were charred outside and nice and pink inside.

He cooked Kassler chops (aka gammon steaks) and served them with chips, coleslaw and the remainder of the beetroot.

We had takeaways on the nights he was out doing workshops all day. We had Chinese from the Blue Lotus one night. I had crispy chili chicken with prawn dim sum.

I have had a lazy weekend as I’m still coughing and my sinuses are full of crud. I had a long lie in bed yesterday playing games and reading. Norm brought me a frothy latte in my fave mug.

Panda kept me company as Norm was in his office working.

He loves tummy rubs. I meant Panda, but Norm probably does too.

Norm popped down to Spar while I was showering. When I finally emerged downstairs about lunch time I made a yummy simple lunch of roast chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and a green salad from what he had picked up in his shop.

We have also been pretty lazy today but after the traumatic week I had and the busy one Norm has had we needed time to rejuvenate before we do it all again next week.

I hope you all enjoy the remainder of your weekend and that you have an easy week ahead.

Wish me luck next week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Enough is Enough

My work week started pretty much on the same note as it ended on last week. My PC was still with the technician when I got in on Monday morning and finally at midday my client said I may as well go home.

On my way I popped in to the shop and got steaks for dinner. To go with them Norm made mushrooms, fondant sweet potatoes, red cabbage, and brussel sprouts cooked in chicken stock.

To make the fondant potatoes, he just peeled and parboiled them, then he sliced the potatoes into thick discs and fried the discs in butter until browned. I love these. He parboiled the sliced sprouts in chicken stock then fried them off in butter. He added the mushrooms in with the sprouts once the stock had cooked down.

Before I left work on Monday I asked my client to let me know when my computer had been fixed so that I did not drive into the city for nothing. I got a message late Monday afternoon to say my computer had been repaired so I went in at 7:30am on Tuesday only to discover it still had issues.

I raised another Helpdesk call. Finally by lunch time on Tuesday I was operational and had to quickly test the data run from that morning.

Tuesday was my birthday and I woke to some stunning lilies from Norman.

He also made a card for me and gave me a gift card from Woolies so I will get a new top or jeans or something nice with it.

When I got home from work there had been a delivery of a stunning bouquet of various bright flowers. They were from my son Trevor and DIL Amber.

There was also a basket containing a package of yummy treats with a cluster of beautiful pink roses attached.

The treats were licorice All Sorts, biscuits, a Lindt chocolate bar, biltong and a large box of nougat. So special!

I put the roses in a vase. The buds were so lush and they are such a beautiful colour.

I felt very spoiled.

That night we met Caitlin and Wes for dinner in Hout Bay at Cheyne’s.

They were already there when we arrived.

Wes gave me a bottle of Amarula (my favorite liqueur) and Caitlin made a colorful mandala type drawing for me. It is to help with anxiety. I can focus on the colors and patterns to ground me.

On the other side of the art she wrote a really sweet note. It was so touching.

We got settled in and checked out the menu.

I ordered a Passionate Buddha cocktail.

Cheyne’s had on their Spring Yum Cha special at the price of R280 per head for 4 courses. There are four sections of the menu, Sea, Earth, Land and Happy Endings. You can choose any four dishes. I always choose one from each section.

Wes had shrimp tempura and Norm, Caitlin and I all had the Hake tempura from the Sea section of the menu to start. It came with pickled shallots, miso mayo and unagi sauce.

It was perfection. The tempura was light and crispy and the tartness of the pickled shallots and the richness of the unagi sauce were the perfect compliment.

Next I had my favorite, the Mumbai chili beef. It was as tasty as it always is.

Norm and Wesley ordered the pork belly. It came with pear teriyaki, crispy potato, Keralan cream and puffed black rice.

This dish looked so beautiful. Norm rated it a full 5 stars so it must have tasted as good as it looked.

Caitlin and I ordered the crispy potato pave from the Earth section of the menu. It was flavored with truffle oil, maldon salt, Parmesan and caviar.

I wasn’t convinced about these. I always have the potato and coconut dumplings but felt like I should be adventurous. I missed my dumplings so we need to go back soon!

The pave potatoes were like what you would get if a hassleback potato and a croissant had a baby. They were tasty and delicious but just a bit dry. I nicked some sauce from Norm’s pork belly dish and it was just what the potatoes needed.

Instead of a dessert, Caitlin ordered 2 of the Land offerings, the baby back ribs and the Tokyo beef slider. I tasted the beef slider and I am definitely having that next time. It was tender sliced beef in a gorgeous shiitake cream with crispy rosti potato and it was served on a brioche. It was divine!

Norm had ordered the aubergine tempura dish from the earth section but it never arrived. Norm asked the waiter could he rather have an extra dessert as he was past eating savory food by the time we had finished our last round of food and the waiter had cleared the plates. Caitlin had not ordered a dessert so she had a bit of his peanut butter shake.

I also ordered the peanut butter milkshake. It comes with miso butterscotch, toasted nuts and chocolate soil.

Norm and Wes chose the creme brûlée. It came with toasted banana bread and miso ice cream.

I had a taste and it was as divine as it was the last time I had it. It was the perfect texture, light, rich and creamy with a crispy sugar topping. We all gave our meals 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When the bill arrived there was a bottle of wine on the bill that we did not drink, but it was quickly replaced by the correct bill and we paid up and headed home as it was a weeknight.

On Wednesday I woke up with the beginnings of a terrible flu. I went into work as I was so behind thanks to my PC issues.

I felt dreadful but I struggled through and delivered the analysis I needed to. However as the night went on I felt worse and worse. I called in sick on Thursday and Friday and just stayed in bed feeling sorry for myself.

Norm looked after me, pumping me full of Corenza C, Acc 200 and steaming mugs of med lemon.

Panda kept me company.

August was Women’s Month in South Africa but instead of being shown the honour and respect we deserve, the murder and rape of women and children continued unabated.

South Africa’s femicide rate is 5 times higher than the global average, and more than one in five women experience physical violence, worsening to one in three in low-income areas.

The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) had found that South Africa had the world’s highest rate of rape, estimated at 138 rapes per 100,000 women in 2017.

The women in SA decided enough is enough and planned a week of protests.

I watched the protests on social media and on the telly from my bed.

I was so proud of the women who took to the streets.

There were some men who joined in support.

There were so many people supporting the cause.

During Women’s Month alone at least 23 women or girls were murdered.

Below is a list of the known 23 victims:

  1. Nolundi Vumsindo from the Eastern Cape. The 44-year-old victim was sleeping in her home next to her daughter when a man pushed into the house and stabbed the woman before running away.
  2. Verusha Padayachee, a 32 year old gym owner from Pietermaritzburg was found beaten, cable tied and strangled allegedly by her husband. She had a restraining order against him. He has since committed suicide.
  3. Lynette Volschenk, a 32 year old woman from Cape Town was murdered and chopped up by a 21 year old male suspect who lives in the same block of flats.
  4. An 84 year old grandmother from the Eastern Cape was brutally stabbed to death in front of her grand children. Her murderer claimed she was a witch.
  5. Meghan Cremer, a 30 year old woman from Cape Town was taken from her home, beaten, murdered and dumped on a sand mine. One of the suspects was known to her and her family.
  6. Leighandre ‘Baby Lee’ Jegels, a 30 year old boxer from the Eastern Cape was allegedly shot and killed by her policeman husband. Jegels’ professional boxing career took off in 2014 and in two years she was named the South African Junior Bantamweight Champion. She later also became the WBA Pan African Junior Bantamweight Champion. 
  7. Nathlia Pienaar a 6 year old from Cape Town was shot dead in a gang shooting while playing outside her house.
  8. Sadiqah Newman, 26, from Cape Town, was 8 months pregnant and a mother of two. She was shot 8 times while walking to a shop with a friend. Cops say the young woman was used as a shield by the man who was the intended target.
  9. Chantal McKenzie-Vlotman a Cape Town mother of 6 and a grandmother of 4 was fatally shot.
  10. Lauren Prins, a 30 year old Cape Town disabled mother of a three year old boy died after she was shot 10 times in gang cross fire.
  11. Jo-Anita Schulz was shot dead on Women’s Day by her husband.
  12. Nyameka from Cape Town was murdered and her body was dumped. Her murder is believed to be gang related.
  13. Yanela from Cape Town who was murdered and dumped. Her murder is believed to be gang related.
  14. In Johannesburg a 39 year old female doctor was strangled to death.
  15. The doctor’s helper was also murdered and burnt beyond recognition by robbers who then stole TVs, laptops and cellphones.
  16. Jesse Hess who was 19 years old and lived in Cape Town was murdered. Her 85 year old grandfather was murdered too.
  17. Esmeralda Isaacs, a 14 year old girl from the Northern Cape was stabbed multiple times and was found dumped on a field. No one has been arrested.
  18. An Eastern Cape woman, aged 71, was stabbed to death by her son.
  19. A Cape Town woman, aged 55 was stabbed to death by her 14 year old son.
  20. Sisanda Fani, aged 30, from Port Elizabeth, a young mother, was found dead in her car from a single gunshot to head. She was in the process of getting divorced.
  21. An unknown woman in her thirties was found murdered and dumped under a tree near a primary school in Welkom.
  22. Janika Mallo, 14 years old from Cape Town, was raped and murdered and her body found dumped in her Grandmother’s yard
  23. Uyinene Mrwetyana (Known as ‘Nene’ to family and friends) Nene was 19 years old and living in Cape Town and was raped and murdered in the post office.

A vigil was held at UCT where Nene attended University.

After days of unrest our president finally made an appearance to try and placate the protestors.

I hope it is not empty platitudes. Let’s hope that the government puts something in place to affect this huge issue. None of us feel safe. But life goes on and you do what you can to maximize your security and minimize your risks.

We have had continued progress with Panda. He can make it out of the doggy door into the back garden and as of today he can make it back in! He can go up and down the two steps from the garage to the scullery. He now runs on his walks with Norm. He went to his Physio and she has said he will only need a few more appointments.

This week we had Vanessa come stay with him on Tuesday night while we were out. But Norm also tried leaving Panda alone for a few hours Norm had to go to the dentist. He made sure he could get to water and had him pee before he left. He was fine on his own.

As Norm had work done on his dental implant he has to eat soft food. Last Sunday we had pasta from Posticino. I had spaghetti with amatriciana sauce. It was delicious.

On Tuesday Norm made the low carb mac n cheese using cauliflower and it was delicious as always.

We also had pasta from Massimo’s one night. I love their pasta.

On Friday Lily came to stay. She dropped Josh at his best mates house as they were going riding early on Saturday. We watched Black Mirror and shared a lasagna and margarita pizza from Cassarechio on Friday. Cassarechio does such a wonderful lasagna.

On Saturday there were 10 of us booked for dinner at Papino’s for a late birthday celebration but I felt so ill that I rescheduled. We ordered takeaway pizzas and pastas from Papino’s instead. They even sent a divine little parcel of chocolate mousse for my birthday dinner.

How sweet was that?

We had Josh, Lily and Caitlin here with us. The girls and Trevor gave me a gorgeous statue of Ganesh, a Hindu god. Ganesh (or Ganesha) is a god of wisdom, success and good luck.

It has been so hot this weekend but I’ve stayed snuggled up in my pajamas. At least I was surrounded by my family. If I am not well by tomorrow I must go to the doctor as I will need a note for work. I hope I wake up magically recovered. Wish me luck.

Until then, air Kisses from a germ free distance from The Kitten. xoxoxoxox

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

A Smile A Day

Every day we see some new bit of progress with Panda’s development. If you compare his progress from my last blog to this one it is amazing! I usually write a few notes each day in my blog and then connect the dots and tie it all together when I’m ready to post but I had to scrap most of my notes as he has had so many milestones in a single week.

Since Norm returned from Kenya a week ago we have had a Physio session every afternoon when I got home from work.

At the start of the week we used a bit of fabric under Panda’s tummy to support him and used treats to encourage him to walk across the garden to me.

He was still unable to stand very long without assistance and he would not walk far without support.

He went to the Animal Fitness Centre on Monday afternoon and he had his first hydrotherapy session.

Look at that smile! Considering how much he hates water he was very happy in the jacuzzi. But he loves the staff, they are so kind. But they are also firm and told us to stop babying him and make him ‘be a dog’. He managed a few steps without any support and Norm got to see him walking unaided.

The next session we had at home we tried getting him to walk without the band under his tummy and he managed a few steps.

On Thursday morning Norm took him in the kitchen while he was preparing his food and Panda trotted around the kitchen completely on his own.

That afternoon we had him walk from Norm to me, turn around on his own and then walk back to Norm for a treat. That helped him work on turning and balance. He sometimes fell when turning but we persisted and he was doing it well after a few tries.

By Friday he was able to stand up by himself and walk unaided. Until then he could sit up but not stand as his back legs were still too weak.

He was still a bit wobbly and did a few tumbles but we just encouraged him to keep trying. The other animals had to be involved as they also wanted treats.

This morning when I came downstairs Norm and the dogs were already up and when Panda saw me he stood and trotted over to greet me! That delighted me.

Every day there is some progress. He can cock his leg to wee without falling over. He does his toilet outside when we pop him onto the grass and if he is inside and needs to go he barks to tell us he wants to go out. He hated using the pee pads when he could not stand. His tummy is more regular now that he is moving around and he has managed to do that outside now too. We have removed his little bed from our bed and he sleeps on the regular mattress like we do. He struggled to roll over in his bed as it has an indentation in the middle and now he does not wake us to turn him over. Last night he got up and came to snuggle into my tummy like he used to do. He is also being fed the recovery food and baked chicken in the garage with the other dogs each morning or eats out of a bowl on his own without being hand fed. These little returns to normalcy make us so happy.

Panda still can’t stay alone as cannot lift his front legs high enough to get out of the doggy door to go pee, or walk that far to get to the pantry where their water bowl is kept and we do not trust Navajo to not knock him over.

We had amazing weather this week no rain and lots of heat. My flowers are all blooming.

Does anyone know what this plant is called? I think it is so beautiful.

Today it is misty and we have a bit of drizzly rain.

Maybe because there is so much was going on, the week went by so quickly. We made some positive progress at work. The colleague next to me was even more distracting than usual as he has a cold. So now he has added coughing and sniffing to his usual repertoire of talking out loud to himself and playing loud music on rubbish headphones. I want to scream ‘STFU’ to him all day but instead I slap the desk and say ‘you are talking out loud again’. He also does no work, just messages his wife, reads linked in, does personal emails and listens to music. The client does not care too much as they do not pay him as he is on a government driven placement scheme, so we taxpayers are paying for him to mess about each week. When I suggested he tell our manager he has no work to do he just chuckled and said ‘Oh I am keeping myself busy’ and I wanted to say ‘yes but not in any way that is beneficial for the client’. I managed to repress that comment.

I had some sad news on Monday when I heard that one of the women at my old nail salon died. Simie was from Zimbabwe and was only 40 years old and had a 9 year old daughter. She also had two older sons but I feel so sad for her daughter who will now be in an all male household. Her husband said that Simie had pelvic pain and was diagnosed with fibroids at the government hospital and sent home. Her pain increased to such a stage that she went back to hospital 3 weeks ago and they realized she had been misdiagnosed and had stage 4 cervical cancer and she never returned home. Our government hospitals are horrendous. They are understaffed, under supplied with vital equipment and supplies, and very dirty. If the proposed National Health Insurance Bill is passed we are all in trouble. What the government wants to achieve is for those of us with jobs and private health insurance to pay for free healthcare for the poor and underprivileged but we already do so via our taxes. Why must they remove our access to private healthcare and hospitals?

It became public this week that 76% of police stations in South Africa do not have adult rape kits in stock, while a further 69% of stations do not have child rape kits in stock.

Without these kits, evidence in reported rape cases could not be collected, and without evidence the ability to successfully prosecute rapists diminished drastically, DA spokesman Andrew Whitfield said in a statement.

“If the minister of police does not heed to our call to resolve the rape kits crisis he must take full responsibility for the failure of the SAPS to investigate rape, arrest rapists, and ensure successful prosecutions of those who commit this heinous crime,” Whitfield said.

SAPS have now said that they have signed a contract with a supplier to provide rape kits for the next three years.

“The supplier will provide 13 different types of evidence collection kits including, adult sexual assault kits, paediatric sexual assault kits and Buccal (swab) sample collection kits. The first consignment of kits was received yesterday (Saturday) and they are being strategically distributed to provinces today to augment their existing stocks,” SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said in a statement issued Sunday. 

Naidoo explained that a dispute with the supplier forced the SAPS to cancel its contract after allegations of corruption arose between the supplier and members of the SAPS.

Before this, however, the kits were procured at national level and distributed to stations around the country, with the numbers managed on a central database.

Let’s see if they manage to resolve this issue as SA is deemed to be the country with the highest number of rapes internationally. This is only those which are reported and it is estimated that many rapes go unreported.

We have spent so much time dealing with Panda that we have not had much time to cook.

I made tacos and refried beans one night.

I used the left over taco meat to make chili con carne by adding beans, tomato passata and lots more spices.

One night Norm bought a chicken and mushroom pie and made chips in the air fryer and salad to go with it.

We had takeaways a few nights, on Monday I had tapas from Massimo’s. And then I had a Parma ham pizza from Massimo’s on Thursday. We love their food and they are right by our house so it is easy.

I am having a lazy weekend. Norm has been working all weekend so I have caught up with several series on telly.

I have started a new series called Offspring this week which is an Australian series and is very cute.

I adore the quirky theme song to it!

I also watched a documentary called First Face of America which I found really interesting. It is about the discovery of a 13,000 year old skeleton of a young girl they called Naia in a deep cave in the Yucatán province of Mexico. Naia is one of the original ancestors of Native Americans. The remains have been described as the “oldest, most complete and genetically intact human skeleton in the New World”.

It made me wonder what number of scientists are also Christian. How can you believe in both evolution as well as a divine being who is claimed to have created two humans whom we are all descended from with so many diverse physical appearances? I do pray to Wankan tanka or the Great Spirit and I also pray to my ancestors. I believe in giving thanks and showing gratitude for my blessings. However I do not try and tell other people what to believe or who to worship. If only most Christians believed in this right and did not try and convert others or tell them that they will be punished with hellfire and damnation if they do not believe in Jesus.

I also watched an episode of a show I have really enjoyed which is called This Is Life With Lisa Ling. Each episode Lisa has a topic about people who are living unconventional lives or who have jobs in controversial careers. This episode was about the Gay Rodeo.

It made me sad that so many of the LGBTQ community still cannot be who they really are or love whom they want to love openly and publicly. It was encouraging to see that some of the people on the show have been able to do so but so many places in America are unaccepting of being different. Most of the people interviewed had stories of violence or intimidation due to their sexuality. One man came out after a marriage which produced three children and his now adult son will not speak to him, same as many parents are unaccepting of their children. Do they think that being gay is a choice rather than who they are?

The human species still has a long way to go to develop acceptance and humanity.

I hope you have all had a good weekend and that you have a great week ahead. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

With a little help from my friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We started watching Series 2 of Mindhunter on Netflix.

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

It has been absolutely stunning weather the last few days.

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

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

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

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo