More That Binds Than Tears Apart

I recently heard on the radio that there is indeed such a thing as Man Flu. Apparently there is research which proves that men are more incapacitated by illness than women. That is the good news for you dudes lolling about clutching your tissues and Vitamin C and suffering with a case of severe helplessness. The bad news is that the reason you are so helpless is that men are the weaker sex. Women may tend to be weaker physically due to their size and musculature, but we are superior in every other way.

Hey, don’t blame me, it has been validated by science.

Dr. Kyle Sue, a medical professor at a Canadian university performed the analysis. Several studies he cited suggest that female mice have stronger immune systems than their male counterparts, and that gender hormones have a direct effect on the immune system.

A 2013 study from Stanford University found that women’s antibodies tend to respond more rapidly to an injection of the flu virus than men’s antibodies. The study also found that men with higher testosterone levels tended to have the weakest antibody response. As a result, the study suggests that testosterone suppresses the immune system, while estrogen boosts it.

This explains why the flu has decimated me and had such a strong effect. Menopause results in a decrease in estrogen and an increase in testosterone. I often joke that I have more testosterone than most blokes, based on my hirsutism and aggressive, snarky personality. Apparently this may be true.

I started feeling dodgy weekend before last and by the following Wednesday it was coming on thick and fast. I still made it to work that Thursday and Friday but on Friday I was not fit for thinking much less working and after our morning meeting I came home and went straight to bed. I spent Saturday in bed popping every medication possible in the hopes that I was well enough to attend my friend Melanie’s 50th birthday party which was last Saturday night, however it was not to be. I was feeling like death that night and knew I was in no state to be partying much less did I want to go and spread my germs and create some sort of epidemic. On Sunday I was due to go drumming but I was not fit for that either. I took both Monday and Tuesday off of work and barely left my bed for 4 days. Wednesday I worked from home but I did not make it for a full day, I crashed in the afternoon.

I had plenty of company, Lola never left my side and Panda popped in and out depending on how cold he was and where his beloved Daddy was at the time.

Norm brought me breakfast and lunch in bed.

I got up to go downstairs for dinner if only to give my back a bit of a rest. Norm has been cooking healthy banting meals most of the time. This was various squash, sweet potato and roast pork.

He made a delicious beef and bean curry with cauliflower rice and poppadoms.

He built a roaring fire each night, wrapped me up in furry blankets and settled me in with a tray.

Tonight he made fillet steak, perfectly pink inside yet crusty outside, exactly the way I like it. The man now has a meat thermometer FFS. He is Jamie Oliver in a kilt. He boiled sweet potatoes, fried red cabbage in balsamic and butter and steamed some mixed broccoli, green beans and zucchini. It was simple yet delicious.

He has been so good to me. I could not have coped without him as the congestion was making my vertigo worse so my head was spinning like a top. I walked like a crab for a few days, skittering sideways, holding onto the wall and bumping into things due to my dizziness. It was like drinking a bottle of wine without the happy part.

Thursday I went back into the office and then also worked Friday and today. After work today I finally gave up and went to my GP. He listened to my lungs and my cough and decided I have a chest infection and he has put me on antibiotics.

We did venture out of our nest for a wee bit on Saturday night as we were invited out to our friend Helen’s birthday celebrations at Quentin’s which is just up the road. We said that if it was the UK then one of the restaurants in that area would be our local and we would walk there, however to do that here in SA would require risking our lives. In fact, when Helen and her friend drove home from dinner that night about midnight they had giant rocks thrown at their cars and a lot of damage was done. They were driving past the township at the police station when it occurred.

Yes. This happened right opposite the police station.

Welcome to Africa.

If that was the UK there would be manned CCTV in place and if that horror did occur it would be nipped in the bud immediately instead of happening to at least 4 other people that night according to the number of posts from the victims.

It was a dreadful end to a lovely evening. There were about 20 or more of us and we had two tables. It’s a lovely venue and the winter special is on.

I chose the avocado ritz to start.

It was nicely done, the avocado was ripe but firm, the prawns were fresh and perfectly cooked and the sauce was light and nice.

For my main course I chose the Roast Loin of Kingklip. It was all Banting which was nice as my dessert definitely wasn’t!

The fish was perfectly cooked, very firm in texture. The sauce was lovely and the spinach was tasty.

For dessert I chose the dark chocolate pudding. I was so eager to tuck in I didn’t snap a pic. Oops. It was so rich and decadent. I would have liked a bit of ice cream to cut through the richness of the chocolate but it was really creamy and gooey and lovely.

We didn’t last very late we were home about 11pm. We were one of the first to go but I was still feeling a bit rough. Norm snapped a pic of Helen and I on our way home.

On Sunday Norm just picked up a roast chicken and made some salads for a late lunch. My friend Retha popped round for a few minutes and had lunch with us. Norm and I spent the rest of the day snuggled up on the settee watching movies. We built a big fire and the critters all gathered round.

Lazy Sundays ❤️

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One thing about being ill was that I watched a lot of Netflix. When I watch on my own I try to find things I know Norm will not enjoy and as a result I chose a documentary series called “The Keepers“. It is a heart-wrenching series and for any other survivors of sexual abuse, there are triggers galore in this story. I found it a very difficult yet riveting story to watch. Like a train smash.

It is based in Baltimore Maryland in the USA and it tells the story of years of sexual abuse and deviant behaviour by several Catholic priests charged with the care of children. It is revealed that not only did the nuns and various other people at the schools or churches know about the abuse, but so did the Baltimore Diocese who chose to rather cover up the abuse than to deal with the issue of negligence in their duty of care. In fact, after the abuse was reported in the ’60’s by an altar boy who was attending St. Clement Parish, Father Maskell was removed from the parish and put in charge of looking after young girls at Archbishop Keough High School which was a girls only convent school. This gave Maskell and his colleagues free rein to abuse these girls in some horrific ways. They even brought in other pedophiles to be serviced by the girls in the priest’s offices on the school grounds. The girls all remembered that they were raped by police officers and various other men and that even Dr. Christian Richter, a local gynecologist colluded in the abuse. Maskell was also chaplain for the Baltimore police department during that time and he was good friends with the police chief at the time. Maskell’s brother was a police officer. The breadth of the cover up reaches right to the level of at least a Bishop and goes down deeply into the seedy echelons of the people who worked as police, those who had a duty to serve and protect the community.

There were several murders which have been linked to the perpetrators of the sexual abuse, one was the death of a nun, Sister Cathy, who knew about the abuse and was thought to have confronted the abusers and was subsequently murdered. The other death was a woman who resembled the nun. There are other rumors of deaths which people now think could be related to Maskell and his deviancy. None of them have been solved.

One of the ‘girls’ who seemed to have been a particularly favoured target of their abuse has since recovered many of her suppressed memories about that time and even recovered a memory of Maskell taking her to view the body of Sister Cathy. This victim had gone to Cathy to ask for help in dealing with the abuse. The priest had told her when he took her to see the body that if she told anyone else about the abuse she would end up in the same situation as Sister Cathy.

The concept of Recovered Memories was quite new at the time the 2 survivors had taken their case to court. This as well as the long period of time between the abuse and the charges was used as a means to suppress the case. There should be no statute of limitations on abuse of a child.

The church representatives tormented the witnesses and tried to diminish and intimidate them. In the end the church and the courts colluded to stop the case going forward to trial. No one has been prosecuted for the death of the two women nor the dozens of sexual abuse victims who came forward. The Church has subsequently paid off several of the surviving victims of the abuse who incriminated Father Maskell. They call it compensation but we all know it was guilt money which they hoped would make it all go away.

They don’t realise it is never about the money.

The #MeToo movement has empowered many victims to come forward. Many of these people were victimized decades ago but have not come forward for various reasons. Many victims repress all memory of the abuse.

I did not remember being abused as a small child until many years later when I was a mother myself. An episode of trauma triggered all of the memories to rush in just after Trevor was born. It all came hurtling back. I fully believe that our minds can restrict us ‘viewing’ information which we are unable to process or endure. Complete escapism. It’s a survival mechanism.

I was in a conversation the other day with 2 other women. All three of us are survivors of an abusive first marriage. We all found it hard to believe as we are all really forthright almost bolshy women. I know that my past is why I am who I am. I am a survivor. I know that whatever life throws my way cannot be worse than the things I have already made it through. This gives me a sense of bravery I might not otherwise feel.

I have a strong bond with the underdog and my kids call me Mama Bear. Woe betide anyone who messes with my children. Even though my eldest is 6’6″ and just turned 32 this week I still feel protective over him. At some point I’ll have to hand over that baton I guess! For now I am happy being Mama Bear.

We are hoping Norm hears some good news about his ongoing visa dramas this week, so we will appreciate any good vibes you can send our way.

Until next time, kisses from the Kitten xoxoxox

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Takers and Fakers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

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

Beef and veggie curry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

⭐️⭐️

I’ve got my eye on you Cyril!

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

The Sacrificial Kitten

I feel like I should have some sort of large neon flashing light counting down to when the water runs out in Cape Town on my blogs. “It is X amount of days until Day Zero” announced in some deep ominous voice when it opens, a bit like all the silly nonsense we had on our MySpace blogs. Day Zero is a moving target which is based on our consumption, the rainfall and the dam water levels. I did mentioned that the City of Cape Town (CoCT) does have such a countdown. HERE is the link again and you can see that the previous date of 12 April has now been pushed back a few days to the 16th of April. This is as a result of people conserving more and that tiny drizzle of rain we had this week, so we gained 6 days.

I also discussed how Day Zero will only impact some people in Cape Town. An article about township residents and water has confirmed these views. If you have lived most of your life with the restriction of ‘use only what you can carry’ then you are already water conscious and far less precious than most of us are. Many people do not even have a bath or a shower in their home so they are not worried about not being able to do either of those things when Day Zero arrives.

Now we are watching the infighting at the governmental level and blaming of each other regarding taking responsibility for the water crisis. The National government (the ANC) are responsible for ensuring that the provinces have an adequate water supply and the local government (the DA) are responsible for ensuring the water is distributed to the residents.

Both are pointing fingers at each other and neither seem to have a clue what to do to get us out of this mess. National government is saying that the residents are wasteful and do not look after our resources rather than acknowledging that the population has outstripped the supply as discussed in a previous post. Local government is trying to ride that same old pony to the bank and is trying to put the financial burden onto the citizens. Neither of these actions are helping.

It is amazing how little water one can use when being very aware and cautious. I managed to wash up about 4 sinks full of dishes on the weekend using one small pan of water. I put a tiny bit into a second pan for rinsing and I washed them all in the same pan of wash water. It is not ideal but it is what we must do.

Humans need to start thinking more on a global scale than just to the limits of their vision or the ends of their noses. We all need to think about our footprint on Mother Earth.  I saw that California is proposing legislature which will make it illegal for restaurants to offer plastic straws. After their one-time use, non-biodegradable plastic straws often end up in our oceans and waterways where they break down into smaller, micro-size pieces that are discarded into our environment. They are oftentimes mistaken as food by marine life. An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic garbage ends up in the world’s oceans every year and an estimated 90% of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs. I rejoiced about the new proposed legislature while others I see online are saying ‘we have bigger issues like child abuse and crime to deal with here in Amuricah!’ uh yeah and that is why those are both illegal too you imbeciles.

People.

In Cape Town many restaurants have taken a voluntary pledge to not use single use plastic items which are not recyclable and to ban plastic straws completely.

We all have to make sacrifices for the good of others. Norm and I discussed on the weekend how much water it uses to make a frothy coffee. We have already had to feel the environmental guilt from using the pods, but now to realise that it takes a bowl of water to wash the milk out of the frother after each cup is making me give up my machine coffees. I will heat the milk in the microwave and try to avoid the resulting horrid little slimy bits you get from heated milk.

Sigh.

On Friday when Norm came home with the dogs from their walk Navajo was limping. He was right as rain when they left home but he came home and refused to put his back foot onto the ground and tucked his leg right up into his body. We all tried to keep him still to see if he had a thorn but we could see nothing. If we touched his foot he yelped.

When we got up on Saturday morning Norm took him to the vet. The vet could not look at it properly and due to the yelping when we touched it he wanted to sedate Navajo and do an x-ray to make sure there were no fractures. That is now over R3k we have paid at the vet this month. Norm had to leave him and so he came back home to wait for the call to say Nav was awake from the sedation. Norm went back to collect Nav a bit later and the vet had given him a cortisone injection in his foot and he seemed much happier to put it down to walk on it, but he was high as a kite and was rather amusing when trying to navigate round the house. The vet thinks he just strained it.

Today we heard that Lily’s Weimaraner Bacardi is unwell. I would appreciate a positive thought or prayer for his healing please.

My friend Melodie popped by for coffee and a chat on Saturday afternoon. It was really warm and windy out so we sat out at the back of the house, the patio there is really protected by the wind. Norm had bought some choccie biscuits and a small cheesecake for us to have with our coffees on his way back from the vet.

It was lovely having Lily down for the weekend. On Saturday Lily and Josh went to a Havana themed birthday party at the Grand. Norm dropped them off so that they could Uber home and have a few drinks.

The Grand is right on the beach and it is a lovely venue. They are such a cute couple those 2. Lily borrowed the dress from Amber and Lily bought Josh his outfit that day and he borrowed Norm’s hat.

When Norm returned from dropping off the kids he decided to pop down to The Kitchen Takeaway for something for our dinner as there was just us two eating. We ordered the Ribs and Prawns combo. Both of those choices tell you how much Norm loves me as he hates to eat food that he has to touch with his hands but I had ordered it as a combo and we only realised it was for 2 people when he arrived and so he sacrificed his own choices in order to share mine.

Awww.

It was delicious.

After dinner Norm and I sat down to watch a bit of telly and the next thing I knew Josh and Lily were arriving home. It was well after midnight and we had obviously both nodded off in front of Dragons Den. We all headed sleepily off to bed.

When we woke on Sunday Nav ran around and jumped half up on the bed. He had not been able to do that the previous day as it hurt to put pressure on that back foot but on Sunday he seemed much better. He did still yelp when we gave him a yogurt container to lick as he tried to hold it with a front paw which resulted in putting pressure on the back foot and he cried loudly and looked a bit sheepish at us. But once he got his balance back he was fine and spent the day without any further protests.

Norm and I hung out around the house until Lily decided to head back up the coast and then we showered to go out. I did my once weekly hair wash but still managed to keep the water usage to a minimum by not waiting on the cold water to heat and by having it drip down rather than pummel me with water. Norm is tracking our consumption daily to ensure we are below the current 50l per person per day targets.

As we were getting ready to leave Lily rings to say she has just discovered Josh’s truck keys were in her handbag. She was about an hour up the road and had to turn back, thus adding in so much wasted time to her already long journey. Poor Lily. She also left all of her dirty washing but we will keep that for her return. 😉

Norm and I finally headed out to hit the shops about 1pm. We decided to pop in for a spot of lunch at Tashas in Constantia and were lucky enough to get a table outside with a view of the mountains. It even had a bit of shade for my wee scotty.

Considering how hot it was outside we were happy for the shade.

We both ordered the Apple Goat Cheese salad for R114 which was described as: goat’s cheese served on ciabatta toast, caramelised apple, baby gem lettuce, micro herbs, walnuts, red onion & rocket tossed in a balsamic & olive oil dressing.

We just scraped the cheese off of the toast but I had a naughty nibble of the corners of the crispy ciabatta. It was a delicious combination of flavours and I really enjoyed it.

After we returned home Norm heard that another hiker had been stabbed in the St James area which is popular with hikers. The attacker had posed as a security guard and was wearing a uniform. This would have led the victim to think that the stabber was there to assist or to protect them, not to attempt to murder them.

Two weeks ago, nine hikers were robbed and stabbed in the St James Peak area, by two men who appeared to be hikers. The duo had joined the group and hiked with them for about half an hour before attacking them.

Obviously the person or gangs who are performing these robberies are planning their approach, it is not just opportunism which is the impetus for many of our crimes. This is deliberately going there with a plan to do harm. I do hope they catch these horrendous cowardly ‘men’ as they seem to target the older or more elderly hikers.

It doesn’t sound like your usual tikhead (aka meth-head).

Unfortunately this is yet another area where local government have thrown their hands up as the Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato has washed the province’s hands of responsibility for the murder. He has pretty much said ‘Nothing to do with us!’ as technically any crime remains the constitutional prerogative of the South African Police Service (SAPS) which is ‘owned’ by National Government.

I guess that title of ‘Community Safety Member of the Executive Council’ is just a suggestion?

On Sunday afternoon after we got home from the shops I put a beef roast into the slow cooker. That made for a gorgeous roast dinner on Monday evening. To go with it I made fondant sweet potatoes.

Sunday evening it was still really hot so we bought some chicken kebabs at the shops to braai on the grill. Norm made those with grilled corn on the cob and I made a few salads to go with it. I even pickled some cucumber in vinegar.

Late on Sunday night we read about Cape Town fire fighter Ashley Kruger’s death while she was on duty fighting a blaze on Table Mountain. City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Theo Layne said 37 firefighters, a city-contracted helicopter, four fire engines and three water tankers were involved in extinguishing the blaze with assistance from Table Mountain National Parks. The fire fighter was a friend of a friend so it is particularly upsetting when you can put a face and name to the death of a hero. RIP to Ashley’s friends, her wife and her family, they at least have a bit of consolation that she died being selfless and heroic. The ultimate sacrifice.

On Monday when I got home from work I was so happy that I had put that roast into the slow cooker as I arrived home to no electricity! The entire valley was without electricity all day.

Luckily we have a gas cooker and so I could cook the sweet potatoes and reheat the roast. It was incredibly hot outside and a roast was possibly not the best meal for the weather but it was what it was.

When I left work on Monday it was 38 degrees C! That is 100.4 degrees in American.

Norm and I sat outside in the moonlight trying to catch a bit of a breeze. The dogs were baffled as to why we were sitting quietly in the dark and why we were on the front stoep.

Eventually at about 10pm the electricity was restored and we could put the fans on. The weather did finally cool off a bit about bed time and there was even a tiny bit of rain on Tuesday morning.

For dinner on Tuesday I shredded the remainder of the beef roast, added beans and spices and made chili con carne.

It was good, but not amazing because some of the kidney beans were still hard. I boiled the chilli after we finished and it was fine for lunch today.

I am attending an event on Sunday called “Dance To Heal The Earth – One Day Dance in Honour of The Water.” Dance to Heal the Earth is a profound focal point for discovery, initiation, healing, and manifesting our intention, in alignment with the Great Creation, Mother Earth and the Core of our Beings. Every movement in the Dance is a prayer of profound focus and intention.

“All living things will take part. Dance to Heal the Earth! Let your feet beat a healing rhythm into the earth. Let your feet beat a strengthening rhythm for those who struggle the hardest. Let your feet beat a life-giving rhythm for all peoples, regardless of race or national boundary, regardless of whether we’re human or whether we’re the trees, the air, the fish, the birds, the buffalo, the bear, the crow. Our dance is a prayer, and our songs, rhythms and our breath give life.”<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
i)

I will take my drum and sing to support the drummers. If there are not too many people who want to drum I will join on the large communal drum, but I’m not good with being crowded so I will take my own just in case. Either way I am really looking forward to it.

I read a quote today by Cheryl Strayed that reads:

“Our work, our job, the most important gig of all, is to make a place that belongs to us, a structure composed of our own moral code. Not the code that echoes imposed cultural values, but the one that tells us on a visceral level what to do.”

To me that sums up exactly what I am trying to achieve, to have my heart beat aligned to the beat of Mother Earth, to align my compass to the direction of what is right and just.

The Throne

I never thought I would get excited about a toilet. As a Virgo even the mention of a toilet makes me cringe. However the looming presence of Day Zero is a bit of a game changer and makes you think about things which we take for granted every day.

Such as elimination of waste.

Norm was tasked with getting us prepared for the very likely possibility that we have to live without running water to our homes. He went to several stores and all of them were out of stock of 25 liter water containers as well as ‘survivalist’ toilets. He put his name down to be contacted and they rang to say they had stock on Tuesday and over R3k later we have the containers we need as well as a toilet.

We are currently restricted to 50 liters consumption per day per person. To put this into perspective, here is a video from several months ago on what 87 liters looks like when going about your daily life. Imagine this being restricted to the proposed 25 liter per person per day.

Or to try and determine what you are personally using, there is a calculator page where you can input your consumption and it will give you an idea. I think you will be shocked at how quickly it mounts up.

Here is a more recent video which discusses the restrictions in US measurements but despite only being released a few days ago it also is out of date as the parameters change almost daily.

I already only wash my hair once a week and my ‘showers’ are more of a 2 minute quick, cold sprinkle of water than an actual shower. I use makeup remover cloths each night to avoid using water to wash my face. We have buckets in the shower to catch our grey water and this water is used to flush the loos or water the few plants which have survived the drought and lack of irrigation. We have pipes which attach to our guttering down pipes which route any rain water into our pool. We limit our dishwasher to when it is so full you cannot get in an extra spoon. As a result our pantry smells revolting. Anyone have tips for destinking a sitting dishwasher? We can’t waste water rinsing every dish so there is left over bits on some. It’s rather horrid, but we are doing what we can.

We have hand sanitiser by all of the sinks to reduce the water we use washing our hands. We try to avoid using much water to cook. Or we are clever about it. Last night Norm washed the spinach over the steamer then used that water to steam the broccoli. That bit of water will go into the garden today.

It made a gorgeous dinner too. 😍 He stuffed chicken breasts with Brie and wrapped them with bacon. He added a bit of cream to the spinach.

Back to whining about the drought after that brief interlude……

Meanwhile we witness other people using their garden hose to wash their cars. I have not washed my car in months and months. It used to get washed weekly.

However the panic only seems to be among certain residents. When I chat to my African colleagues about Day Zero they say ‘bring it on’. The point of view of some people is that it is only the people who live in ‘expensive houses’ who will be impacted by this issue. I was chatting to a colleague who said that the people who live in the informal settlements already have to walk 3 or 4 blocks to reach the standpipe at the location so they already conserve water. If you have to walk and carry every bit of water you use then you will value every drop.

When Mzudumo and Cordelia arrived at work on Tuesday, Norm had a talk with them about the water restrictions. Neither of them had a clue about Day Zero. They know to conserve water as Mzudumo isn’t washing the cars or watering the dead garden and Cordelia is asked repeatedly to not waste water.

Norm is now measuring our consumption via the water meter. He tracked how much we used on a day when Cordelia was in as she mops and does the laundry and dishes and therefore uses a lot of water. Norm has now given her a spray bottle of diluted cleaning product to use for cleaning rather than a bucket. We asked her to only do 2 loads of washing, one of whites and one of colours.

We will track our consumption daily and identify when we might be going over our designated amount.

Many people have wondered why the city doesn’t just apply the same principals to the water supply as they did to the electricity supply. From what I understand the water pressure fluctuations causes issues with the aged infrastructure and results in new leaks. It can also cause issues with the geyser etc from what I’ve heard but I know nothing about plumbing or building.

With all of this added anxiety and stress I am still trying to manage my crazy lady hormones and emotions.

#BabySteps

A post shared by Kitten In The City (@stresskitten) on

It is not easy.

Traffic is my bugbear. I now listen to my Robbie Robertson’s CD Music for the Native Americans and practice my ho’oponopono prayers and that calms me.

But it takes a focused approach to living consciously and being aware of our emotions. I try and analyse whatever emotion I am feeling and then decide whether it is helpful or harmful and then let it go or use it to channel into something positive.

However not all frustration and anger are ‘bad’ emotions. I believe that the turmoil on Mother Earth is a catalyst for change. I feel a huge change coming, I hope that the  feelings of anger which so many people are feeling is building up to a positive transformation and bringing so many people into the light.

We just have to wade through the dark to get into that light.

Keep heading towards that light people. We will come through this, just as we come through everything that life throws at us.

That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

The Red Road

Last Sunday was taken up with showhouse visits as it has been for the last month. It is rather exhausting. At least it was a stunning sunny day and it was good to be out and about.

At least we had a long lie in bed watching the news and drinking coffees before we headed out. We had decided to stop for lunch at Greens in Constantia but when we arrived there the whole restaurant had changed! We just thought that they had done a reno and we remarked on how nice it was looking and that they changed the tables and chairs and we were pleased that there were seats available as it is normally rammed on a weekend. Then when we asked for a table the waiter said ‘we are closing’ and when I expressed surprise Norm pointed out that the waiter’s shirt was branded ‘BCG’ and the waiter laughed and told us that it is now yet another branch of Bootleggers Coffee Company. We were rather shocked as Greens was such a popular venue, it was always so busy. Why would they close? Regardless, we could not eat there as they were closing even though it was only 1p.m. We wandered off down the rows of shops and saw that Hartlief Deli had some tables available and so we went into there and managed to grab a table.

We ordered a coffee and I chose the German Salad. It was a salad heaving with shredded gypsy ham and grated emmental cheese. The ham was so delicious!

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Norm chose the Chicken Salad. His chicken was tender, juicy and very tasty.

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We both polished off every bite and headed out to go to our list of viewings we wanted to see. We viewed 6 different properties. Only 4 were on our planned list and 2 were ones where we saw the boards when driving around and just popped in.

The first one we saw I absolutely adored. I loved every thing about it except the location. It is on the corner of 2 very busy roads and the traffic noise is very bad. When we arrived there was a young boy roaming around in the car port and about to enter the gate which was left open. When we asked him if we could help him he begged for money however he was well dressed and clean so he is not a street urchin. I wonder whether if we had not disturbed him would he have gone in and taken a chance at stealing something. The agent was out back and did not hear us enter or even call out to her, she only heard us when we rang the bell.

We saw a few others which were not options for us for various reasons. One was a bit dirty looking despite the fact that their domestic was busy scrubbing the floors in the midst of the showing. There was a teenager watching rugby in one room, a child asleep in another and the house reeked of curry which was bubbling outside on a cook stove which was in a junk filled lean to by the kitchen. The pool was so green as to be a possible dwelling for a plethora of frogs. The whole house was so revolting and off putting I did not even view all of the rooms, I legged it after I walked in on the sleeping child.

WTF?? Who shows a house in that state?

We also went back for a 2nd viewing to a house which was on our list of maybes, but during the 2nd viewing we noticed things we had not noticed when we viewed previously so it is off the list.

We saw another one which we just drove by and when we saw the on show board we stopped and it was sheer perfection, however it was also 2 million above our budget so perfection is to be expected. However the agent there had another property which is in our budget and we made an appointment to go and see it this Saturday.

The search continues.

We got home exhausted on Sunday evening and after Norm walked the dogs he nipped out to get a curry from the Indian Oven.

indian oven 2

I went over my carb allowance as I also had a few cheeky vodkas to chill me out a bit.

We binged on Sons of Anarchy and wound down.

SOA

The traffic going into town on Monday was horrendous, especially as it was only 7a.m. I heard on the radio that there was a taxi strike going on and that is probably why there were more people driving. All of the taxi ranks were empty.

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Usually the taxi ranks are full of taxis, people and noisy chaos.

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The taxi drivers were preventing the buses from running, in fact they torched several buses. A Golden Arrow bus (below left) was set alight in Delft earlier this morning and a MyCiti bus (below right) was also set alight on the N2 at the R300.

 

As a result of the strike the roads were chaos. Many people could not make it into work at all due to intimidation by the taxi drivers. They stoned many other buses. Over 50 people were injured and more than 150 windows or windscreens were broken.

taxi injury

The next day the tea lady at our office said that there were men redirecting people around a corner to a taxi but when they went around the corner there were men with guns who then robbed them.

Later in the afternoon I read that the Western Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works, Donald Grant, and representatives of the SA National Taxi Organisation (Santaco), as well as a Taxi Task Team, had met to thrash out a leadership issue and the strike was called off.

South Africa is having such amazing weather that it seems rather ludicrous to hear that yet another hurricane is bearing down on the Caribbean. Hurricane Maria hit the already recovering area on Monday evening.

When I got in from work on Monday I saw that Norm had started painting the dining room. The dining room is open plan with the kitchen so when the kitchen was repainted it meant the dining room needed to be painted the same colour but he has not gotten around to finishing it until now. With the house going on the market we have to do all the little chores which have been on our list for a while.

Tuesday was a very busy day at work as it was my last day on the project where I usually work on Mondays and Tuesdays. We had a client meeting and I did my last handovers and updated all of the documentation on the shared repository. It felt very odd leaving there as I have been at that client on and off for the last 9 years. I am now full time at my client on the other side of town. I have gotten used to that environment and it does not quite seem so foreign to me now however I do prefer working in the CBD. For one thing, there are plenty of places to walk to easily for food. My new client has nothing at all except a KFC which is incredibly unhealthy. That will force me to be prepared and take in my lunch every day. I have stocked up on soups so that in a crisis I can at least take in a tin of soup rather than eating rubbish food or spending a lot of money on OrderIn as they charge a delivery fee and of course I always give a tip so this can quickly add up.

The other reason I prefer my CBD office is that it is peaceful and quiet most of the time. My new office is right by a taxi rank and the noise is deafening and continuous. The constant hooting of the taxis and the shouting and whistling of the taxi gaatjie (the man who collects the fares, opens the taxi doors and shouts out the vehicle’s destination to potential passengers as the minibus) is incessant. I find it hard to tune it out.

After my busy day I packed up all of my belongings from my desk into my car and headed home. Norm had been at Caitlin’s new flat grouting some of the new tiling he had done for her and painting and doing all sorts of chores at our house so while he was dropping off Cordelia I started cooking dinner. I saw he had also shopped and so I baked pork chops topped with peppers and roasted some chopped butternut in coconut oil. I fried sliced mushrooms in butter and garlic and steamed baby broccoli topped with lemon.

I woke on Wednesday to hear about another earthquake in Mexico which had killed over 200 people. This is just a week or so after a previous earthquake had struck off the southern coast of Mexico.

mex earthquake

The world seems to be in free fall. It is rather concerning the levels of destruction happening on a regular basis. We humans have a lot to answer for in our destruction of the planet which is the direct impetus for a lot of these issues.

I blame Trump for the others 🙂

On Wednesday evening I attended a talk by Michelle Reid on Shamanism. Michelle poured the women’s sweat lodge I last attended. It was such an interesting talk and the venue ‘Soul‘ is so lovely. There is a coffee bar, a sort of reading area and a gorgeous outside area surrounded by plants and a water feature.

As it was evening Norm kindly offered to drive me. We were a bit early so we sat out in the courtyard and had a coffee while waiting for it to begin.

soul me

As the talk was not going to last very long Norm just sat in the courtyard and worked on his book while we were listening to Michelle. Michelle took us through her own path to Shamanism and she and I have so many parallels in our lives – I find it so fascinating. She and I have birthdays one day apart and I feel a real draw to her spiritually, I feel that we have been connected in other incarnations in some manner.

I am booking to go on her Introduction to Shamanism course.

shamanism

I feel she has been sent to guide me on my spiritual path as she keeps getting recommended to me whenever I ask others for various areas of guidance or information. I asked someone about studying drumming & shamanism and Michelle was recommended but we did not connect at that time. I asked someone else about getting a drum bag made and she was again recommended to me. I then attended the Women’s Sweat Lodge and there she was, pouring the lodge. I had resisted attending that lodge and when Michelle sent me the protocols there was mention of White Buffalo Woman who I feel is my spirit guide, if not one of my ancestors. I feel that when the Universe points us towards a path we must follow that path.

red road women healing

I will show up and do the foot work and see where this path takes me. I find it all very exciting. I know I am not fulfilling my destiny or my purpose, I hope this opens the doors to allow me to do that.

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Michelle told us the tale of Spider Grandmother whom I had never heard of. Folklore differs somewhat between the tribes, however in Hopi stories she is known as the Earth Goddess. Although accounts vary, according to mythology she was responsible for the stars in the sky; she took a web she had spun, laced it with dew, threw it into the sky and the dew became the stars. Some tribes claim she is responsible for the creation of dream catchers, used to filter out bad dreams and allow only good thoughts to enter. In some cultures she is so sacred that you cannot mention her name except in ceremony.

I find this all so fascinating learning about my roots and history as a Native American descendant.

On my way into work this morning I went past the site where the City of Cape Town has proposed placing the TRA (Temporary Relocation Area for the fire victims.) There was a protest just starting about the removal of the trees in that area. There has been no environmental impact study done to understand what may happen to that area if they remove them.

graveyard protest

Photo credit.

There is yet another peaceful protest planned today in Hangberg. I will be at work and cannot attend. This is to show support for the people involved in the protests last week.

hangberg peace protest

The whole world seems to be protesting.

This weekend is a long weekend. Lily and Josh came down and I made chili con carne. 


We have kept our house viewing appointments to a minimum for this weekend to allow Norman maximum time to do the bits and pieces he wants to do around the house in order for them to be able to come and do the pictures for our sales brochure.
When I got home I sat on my balcony staring at the clouds ove the mountains.

I’m going to miss this view. Even when grey and cloudy it’s beautiful.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend.

Kisses from the Kitten. xoxoxox

 

 

Teach a Man to Fish

This week has been very heavy going for me emotionally. My heart is heavy with sadness and uncertainty.

Once again this week we have had protest action in Hout Bay. Starting on Tuesday there were roadblocks and riots going on in Hangberg, the opposite side of the Bay from where I live.

The protest was in relation to an announcement last week by the DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) that rock lobster quotas would shrink further this season. Many of the residents in Hangberg are fishermen. Other residents were protesting about ongoing service delivery problems and issues with communication between their community and the City of Cape Town.

The Hangberg protests started on Tuesday and carried on most of the week.

Photo credit.

hangberg protest

Image Credit.

As with most scenarios where there is a lot of chaos and confusion there was a big debate about exactly what happened between the police and the protesters.

Many people were saying that the police were being incredibly restrained in their approach, while others were saying that the police were firing at ‘the innocent’. I am not sure how you feel but if I was innocent and somehow found myself in the midst of a protest and the police arrived I would make my way home and try to avoid any trouble. For the protesters to call themselves innocent is a bit of stretch. They were clearly seen stealing property such as picnic tables from the neighbouring restaurants and setting fire to them in the streets.

The tables were sometimes used as shelter from the water cannons and rubber bullets that were fired at the protesters.

hangberg boy

Image credit.

The video below was filmed by Tin Dwarka who was on the scene. It is difficult to watch.

Very quickly after it happened a journalist had posted an article stating that the police had shot a child in the mouth. Then many of the people on our local Facebook group started asking ‘what was a child doing there?’ or ‘why wasn’t he in school?’. These sorts of comments are to me the moral equivalent of asking the rape victim what she was wearing when she was raped. There are no bad children, only bad parenting. The boy’s parents were possibly participating in the riot and he followed suit.

However the claims of innocence by the majority of the protesters and their attitudes that they were the victims in this scenario were ridiculous as there is footage of a bus full of tourists being robbed by the protesters during the protest. How does that represent your cause?

hangberg tourist bus.jpg

Image credit.

Tourism in Hout Bay is down due to the news reports of our ongoing protest action and many of the residents of Hangberg will be employed by the tourist industry, so how do they not make the connection that they are only hurting themselves?

Later that night we heard on the Neighbourhood Watch radio that the protesters had resorted to looting and were doing damage to the nearby businesses. They broke into the Hout Bay Harbour Market as well as the other businesses nearby. They broke the windows out of local restaurant Fish On The Rocks.

It all seemed out of control.

On Tuesday evening we sat listening to all of this on the Neighborhood Watch radio and I made chicken Stir fry with spinach low carb noodles. It was yummy. I fried the chopped chicken and once browned added in lots of sugar free peanut butter to some chopped chili, soy sauce and coconut oil.

I’m trying to stay low carb and drop those kilos I picked up.

We woke on Wednesday at 6am when our house alarm went off as the city was putting in a new electricity supply of some sort in our neighbourhood. The power going off triggered the house security alarm which triggered the dogs going insane. We were without power for 12 hours. Luckily I was working so it didn’t impact me too much other than getting dressed for work in the dark. Have you ever put on mascara in the dark? I didn’t attempt my eyeliner.

The protests carried on all of Wednesday and Thursday. Houses were broken into and property was looted.

The protesters were shooting off flares, one of which landed on a boat in the harbour.

harbour boat

When I got home on Wednesday the power was still off. Once our electricity came back on that evening I started making dinner. We had fillet steak I marinated in balsamic vinegar, lemon, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. It was so tender it barely needed to be chewed. I steamed gem squash and fried cabbage and mushrooms to go with it.

I noticed that my birthday flowers are blooming. That is what I love about lilies, they change daily and last so long. This pic is almost 2 weeks after my birthday.

On Thursday night we had an ‘everything in the fridge dinner’. You know when you have lots of little bits left at the end of the week but not enough of any of them to feed three people? A few spoonfuls of this and a few spoonfuls of that, throw in an aubergine and you’re good to go.

We sliced the left over fillet steaks, fried the left over zucchini from the lasagna earlier in the week, roasted baby vine tomatoes in garlic and balsamic, creamed spinach, baked some aubergines, sliced up some avocados, made the last bit of cabbage into cole slaw, chopped up the remainder of a cucumber and made tzaziki, grilled halloumi, and fried some yellow peppers with sliced chorizo and it was a feast! All of the items went so well together.

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There was enough left for me to bring to lunch Friday which meant I wasn’t tempted to use orderin.

The protests in Hangberg seem to be over. Friday I read that a truce has been brokered between the Hangberg rioters and police after a meeting with MEC Dan Plato.

I then heard at lunch time that there had been a terror attack in the London underground. Luckily the device did not fully detonate and no one died. It’s getting so risky to be in Europe just living life. They arrested a suspect but the chances are there will be another coward willing to sacrifice themselves for their misguided cause. But if you think about the risk then the fear could paralyze you. If you let this stop you enjoying life then the terrorists have achieved their goal. 

It’s been a sad weekend for me as Caitlin has moved out. That’s my last baby now moved out and independent. The renovations on her flat are mostly done. She has some cupboards to finish painting then she’s all done but she decided to stick with her plan as she had booked the movers for early Saturday morning and so she moved her furniture and slept her first night there last night. 

I was up early too as Pixie and I were off to Noordhoek to the Chiro.


Afterwards I came home and Norm made us a yummy HFLC breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and avocado.

We headed out in the afternoon to view more potential houses. We saw 3. I loved one of them but it’s massive. 5 bedrooms and a huge garden with a large pool and a koi pond. Norm thinks it is too large for us. We are supposed to be downsizing.

We also saw a cute small house but he thinks that one is too small.

It’s like viewing show houses with a Scottish Goldlocks. Hopefully we will find one that is ‘just right’.

Norm and I popped by Caitlin’s flat after we finished viewing houses. First she came home and we filled up her car and Norm’s truck with her desk and last bits and pieces and hauled them over. It is really a lovely flat now. She changed everything about it and did most of the work herself. She should be very proud of her efforts.

But now my nest is empty. It makes me sad.

After we left an exhausted Caitlin at her flat we were starving so we stopped off at Primi Piatti for dinner as it was on our way home.

I had a naughty Dacquiri.


We stayed as low carb as possible with our food choices however and had fillet steak in a creamy mushroom sauce and substituted the lower carb mashed butternut and sweet potato instead of normal mash.


It was delicious and after we came home, we watched an ep of Sons of Anarchy which is my new addiction. We hadn’t gotten into it before but now we can stream we have started from the beginning. I am hooked!

We have several more house viewings today. This whole exercise of house hunting and moving is very stressful. The nice ones go fast. I’m comparing them all to my current house and they all come up short in comparison. I love my home.

We just need to keep looking. The one that is meant for us will be found eventually.

I just need to focus on the present and keep my eye focused on the prize.

Wish us luck. ❤️❤️❤️

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo 

The Sisters Lodge

Wednesday was a Public Holiday in South Africa. It was Women’s Day in South Africa. I will let Wikipedia explain it for you: “National Women’s Day is a South African public holiday celebrated annually on 9 August. The day commemorates the 1956 march of approximately 20 000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to petition against the country’s pass laws that required South Africans defined as “black” under The Population Registration Act to carry an internal passport, known as a pass, that served to maintain population segregation, control urbanisation, and manage migrant labour during the apartheid era.[1] The first National Women’s Day was celebrated on 9 August 1994.[2] In 2006, a reenactment of the march was staged for its 50th anniversary, with many of the 1956 march veterans.”

I had a very fun day planned as we had a Sisters Circle followed by a Sweat Lodge at my friend Gerri’s place, Eagle Owl Lodge. Lily and Josh were also driving down from Mossel Bay to spend a long weekend with us.

We woke up to the dogs insisting on breakfast as we often do on a day off. Pixie jumped up on the side of the bed until I picked her up and put her on the bed, then she proceeded to sit on my head and pull my hair.

morning pix

After Norm fed the dogs their breakfast he brought us a coffee to have in bed and Pixie came back up for a cuddle now that her belly was full.

Pix

She is the cutest thing isn’t she? It is impossible to resist that face!

Eventually we got up and I made us a simple but healthy banting breakfast of boiled eggs, crispy bacon, avocado and mature cheddar cheese. The fat in it would serve me for the entire day as I would not eat again until late that evening after lodge.

I showered and put a ton of oils into my hair as the heat from the Sweat Lodge would give me a nice hair treatment. Menopause has made my hair so dry and low carb life has made it thin so I need all the hair help I can get and I love multi-tasking. 🙂

Norm drove me over to the Lodge as I knew it would be dark when we finished so I would not be able to drive home as I cannot see at night. To be fair I can’t see worth a damn in the day time either!

It was the first lodge I have attended which was poured by Michelle, aka “Dancing Heart Spirit Woman”. Her husband Gordon was the fire keeper and he was assisted by Neo.

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The process started with us all circling the fire-pit and the fire being lit by the fire keepers. We then all took a pinch of tobacco to offer to the Great Spirit and we all stepped forward to put this offering into the fire while voicing quietly to ourselves our wishes. You can ask for what you want to receive from the Great Spirit (such as guidance or enlightenment) as well as for the things you want to be taken away (such as pain or emotional baggage which is not serving your personal growth).

The attendees placed items or offerings onto the altar. You can place anything you want to receive your prayers, blessings and energy onto the altar, such as a photograph, a personal item you cherish or beads or crystals.

Once the fire was lit we went inside to have a talking circle. There were 25 women attending and we all sat in a circle and Michelle asked us all to talk about what we thought was ‘magnificent’ about ourselves, what we valued and what we loved about ourselves. For many women loving themselves is not something that comes easily. We often doubt ourselves and have a running conversation in our heads telling us just how badly we are performing at life or what idiots we are. Another lovely exercise to perform in a group of women who know each other well is to have everyone go around the room and tell each other what THEY like about the other attendees, it really builds self esteem and highlights to you how others perceive you.

When the talking stick came to me I said that I admired my bravery. I hate change, yet I have moved about 50 times, I have residency in 3 countries, have traveled extensively and have a job that requires me to go to many new clients, sometimes on my own. I work across multiple client offices and have multiple roles, from project manager, data analyst, business analyst, data migration consultant to data quality consultant. My life has been all about change. I admire the fact that even though I may be terrified, I get up and I show up and I carry on regardless of my fears.

I strongly identify with the phrase ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’.

I was worried about attending the lodge at all, I am not good with strangers, I am not good with small spaces and I am not good with being very hot – basically all of the items which make up the description of the sweat lodge experience! The last lodge I attended was very full and I found it very uncomfortable physically not to be able to move about very much. But when Michelle sent out the lodge protocols it had a section talking about White Buffalo Woman.

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White Buffalo Woman has come to me in visions, she has come through with messages about ‘knowing who I am and accepting my role as a healer’ whenever I go for a psychic reading. I feel a deep connection to her. She may even be my Spirit Guide as she is so prevalent in my life. Maybe she is an ancestor?

Whatever her role, I took this as a message that I must attend the lodge and that I must put my fears aside. This is part of my journey of spiritual growth and I must just show up and walk the walk.

After the sharing circle we all changed into our lodge clothes and we went outside to get ready to enter the lodge. I wore a bikini bottom and a short swimming cover up which meant I had freedom of movement but still some modesty. (And that I did not step on my boobs while climbing on my hands and knees through the lodge)

We were organised into 2 rows, the first to form an inner circle (the hottest part) and then a second to form an outer circle. I asked to be near the exit so I could catch air between rounds as I find it hard to endure the heat. It was physically very tight on space once all 25 of us were in but I coped by wiggling regularly, however it is hard to get into a meditative trance state if wiggling about or uncomfortable.

There are 4 rounds, one to each direction as each direction has a different symbolism. 28 stones are placed on the fire, 7 for each of the rounds. The process of the lodge is divided into 4 rounds, where the power and spirit of the 4 sacred directions are called in along with the hot stones.

We started the 1st round and once the stones were in we went around the circle and called in our ancestors and spirit guides and stated our intention for the lodge. I called in my Cherokee ancestors and White Buffalo Woman. My intention was for healing of my physical pain and my mother’s physical pain and for less resistance to the emergence of my empath abilities and my healing powers for others. I asked to be more open and willing. I asked for patience and acceptance in my daily interactions. I asked for continued strength and love in my marriage and for protection over my children and their partners. I prayed for rain over Africa as we are experiencing a long running drought.

In between the rounds the doors were opened to allow in some of the cold fresh air from outside. In the other 3 rounds we sang songs and drummed and we prayed. In one of the rounds we all hummed loudly together, then we all made the Om sound and finally we all released our spirit animals and our inner child and we made all of the noises we wanted or needed to make, such as howling at the moon, ululating, shouting, singing, humming, whistling or just unleashing your inner voice. I loved that feeling of freedom and release. It brought me to a place of such pure joy in my heart. I often howl in my car when on my own to release both stress and joy. I identify strongly with wolves.

After the 4th round we all exited the lodge in a clockwise fashion and went out to cool off and change into normal clothes and then we came back to undress the lodge and pack away the blankets. We then all had a meal together of bread and soup made from ingredients grown in Michelle and Gordon’s garden. It was healthy and delicious and we were all starving as it had been a long & exhausting 7 hour process.

The energy that I absorbed from 25 women sitting closely together and singing, praying chanting and drumming gave me a boost and I felt like I made some strong connections with several of the women.  It was such a powerful lodge of energy from the women combined with the full moon.

After we all finished eating Norm came to collect me and we went off home. I got to spend a bit of time with Lily, Caitlin and Josh which rounded my day off brilliantly.

This entire month is Women’s Month in SA and yet there are still such levels of misogyny. There has been publicity over deputy higher education minister Mduduzi Manana for an alleged assault against a woman in a pub at the weekend. We often hear of women beaten by their partners, their sons, or random strangers. Many of these men act without impunity. SA, like most of Africa, is a very patriarchal society. Women here often struggle financially to survive. It is often a hard life for women in SA. It is estimated 1 in 5 women suffer some form of abuse in SA.

This sort of culture is so prevalent that our National Radio station, 5FM has no qualms with their DJs spouting out misogyny. The morning after celebrating Women’s Day I hear slimy pervy DJ Roger Goode blaming Angelina Jolie for Brad Pitt’s drinking problems and Kim Kardashian for Kanye’s dimished success. Then in the next sentence he starts calling Sarah Jessica Parker ‘horseface’ and whinnying continuously when she is mentioned. This man seems to have a lot of hatred for women. The only reason I was listening to him was that all of the other channels were reporting the news in Afrikaans and I do not speak Afrikaans. Yet the SABC moved my fave DJ Fresh off air to some obscure channel I cannot find? I do not understand their decisions to allow Roger Goode air time and to remove DJ Fresh.

Anyway, SA has a long way to go in many areas.

The weather turned from the heat & sunniness of the last week and it has now been raining for over 24 hours. I wonder if we women in the lodge contributed to that as I heard several others also praying for rain?

I had work on Thursday and after work I built a big fire and then Lily and I made Mexican food for all of us. It was really yummy and then we all watched silly videos on YouTube and then watched a bit of the IAAF Athletics Championships and had the excitement of seeing South African Wade Van Niekerk almost win the Men’s 200 meter race. It was so close!

wade.PNG

I am so proud of South Africa for how well they are doing overall in the medals.

IAAF medals.PNG

Yesterday the La Creuset mini ramekins I ordered for myself and my girls arrived.

gift.jpg

The boxes were wrapped so sweetly, I had asked for gift wrapping and asked for the card to say ‘Mommy Loves You’ and they printed it on the ribbon! Cute heh?

gift wrap

 

Tonight we are going to have a quiet night in as I have another hectic weekend in store. On Saturday morning I am going with Caitlin to a shop to view some flooring she wants to purchase for her new flat. I am then going to Cheyne’s for lunch with some girlfriends in the afternoon and then Norman and I are off to dinner and the theatre on Saturday night.

On Sunday I am attending a drum circle where we will awaken our new drums. I cannot wait to hear her voice, I have resisted trying her out as she needed to dry properly and undergo the ritual to awaken her spirit. She is looking gorgeous.

drum dry

I hope you all enjoy your weekend and I hope I have the stamina required for mine 🙂

xoxo