Courage over Comfort

This week we had the National and Provincial Elections in South Africa. Considering the corruption the ANC has been proven to be guilty of and how much embezzlement they have done by pilfering money from so many areas I had hopes that they might be knocked from their perch but unfortunately the masses have again voted them into power.

I think that some people continue to support the ANC because they feel that the party saved them from the horrors of apartheid. They vote out of fear that if they give another party power, things could revert back to that repression.

Contrary to the fear of SA returning to the days of apartheid I overheard several old white toppies at work yearning for ‘the old days’. They reminisced over when SA was a safe place to live, where the shops were closed on Sundays and families went to the beach and had barbecues. What they are neglecting to remember was that those beaches were restricted to white use only and the black and colored populations were banned from the beaches and so many other places where whites took their privilege for granted. You can understand how some of the Africans who lived through that horrendous time are afraid of going back to that, but conversely the ANC have done nothing in their 25 years of governing to better the lives of the majority of their constituents.

Change is badly needed in SA. Our state owned enterprises are limping along having been badly managed and plundered by corruption. There have been so many politicians who have been proven to be involved in the state capture debacles and these people need to be prosecuted. The economy is struggling and needs uplifting. I only hope that Ramaphosa can turn the country around.

I am happy that the DA party has retained control of the Western Cape at a provincial level, now that they have gotten rid of Patricia De Lille I hope that they can also turn themselves around as I think she was as corrupt as the ANC politicians.

The benefit of the election was that most of the country had the day off to allow them to vote. As I am not a citizen I cannot vote but I fully enjoyed the paid day off!

Caitlin had a bit of drama on the holiday as she had a car crash. She works for a company with a mostly American client base so she had to work. On her way in to the office she had a guy turn directly in front of her resulting in her swerving into oncoming traffic to avoid hitting him. She hit the verge in the center of the road and it caused her tire to burst. Her bumper and rims were badly damaged. Luckily she was not injured but the driver kept going and did not stop so she has to claim on her insurance and pay her deductible and it will cost her thousands.

She had assistance from several people who stopped and changed her tire for her. There must be some chivalry left! I am just so grateful she was not injured, it could have been really bad if someone had been coming in the other direction.

Road safety in SA in general is a bit dodgy. Coming home last Friday I came around a blind bend to find an articulated lorry stopped in the middle of the road with no safety cones or any warning at all. I then drove on a bit to find a man frantically trying to pick up a load of broken bricks which had obviously fallen off of the back of the lorry. The poor guy had no protection or warning signs behind him for any traffic which came upon him, he was very vulnerable. You would never have that situation in Europe. The lane would be closed while it was all cleaned up.

We have tried to stay predominately low carb this week. Norm cooked where he could.

One night he did a ‘one pan’ meal of baked chicken, roast cauliflower, broccoli and butternut.

He also boiled some sweet potato and served it all with mashed sweet potato. It was delicious.

I also cooked a few times, I made a Mexican ‘Taco Salad’ by frying mince, adding spices and then serving it on a bed of lettuce. I topped with cheese, salsa, sour cream & guacamole. It was rather yummy if I say so myself.

To go with it I attempted to make some ‘cheese’ taco shell substitutes using provolone cheese. We used to get thinly sliced provolone from Woolworths but they no longer stock this and so we bought a block and I grated it and baked it. I did not leave them in quite long enough and they were a bit chewy rather than crispy but they were OK.

The following night I used the left over spicy mince to make a chill con carne and to serve it we topped it with cheese, salsa and sour cream.

On election night we decided to go out for dinner and I was craving prawns so we went to the Lookout Deck at the Hout Bay harbour. It was a cold night and there were only a few other tables of people there.

We chose to sit out on the deck as it was cold but not too cold.

As a result of it being such a quiet night the staff in the kitchen were obviously bored as the noise they made was incredibly loud and a bit off putting.

I ordered the Prawn Pan for R198.

Norm ordered the catch of the day which was Dorado. It was a nice meaty piece of fish and he said it was nice.

We had a moment of weakness and fell off the low sugar bandwagon. We both ordered a sundae. I had the chocolate nut sundae and Norm had the caramel fudge one.

The next day I felt sluggish and my joints were killing me, it reminded me of the toxins of sugar and that it is not compatible with my chemical make up.

One night we ordered Banting pizza from Casarecchio. It has a cauliflower base so it is low carb. I had it with mexican beef, peppers and onions and it was very tasty.

On Friday night I had my usual treat of Sushi for dinner. I had Crab salad, Cucumber Roses topped with fat steamed prawns, Salmon Roses and Butterflies.

Saturday morning I slept late and Lola kept me company. In fact I woke up to her sitting on my chest and she then refused to move for hours. I had a long lie as it would have been rude to disturb her, right? #ThatsMyExcuse

It was an absolutely stunning day.

When I finally got up I discovered a dead mouse deposited right where I usually sit in the lounge. I hoped it wasn’t Lola who killed him and then came to kiss me with that mousey mouth. Bleh.

Norm made us a late breakfast and I watched the Brené Brown Netflix show ‘The Call to Courage’. She referred to this quote from Theodore Roosevelt.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I have always felt that I am courageous but I think maybe I am just aggressive and volatile. I am not at all good at being vulnerable. In fact if I feel hurt I attack. I cannot express feelings of vulnerability. I’m not very good at expressing anything except in writing actually!

Saturday night I had booked tickets to go to our fave live music venue Cafe Roux to see a performer we had never heard of, Cat Simoni. Many of her YouTube videos are a bit cheesy but this one has sound only and is a song I love, just to give you an idea of her voice.

It was a tribute to Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, James Taylor and Carole King, I chose to go as I love all of their music.

We arrived about 7 and we were shown to our favorite table.

We were quite hungry so we ordered some dinner. I chose the chicken salad which came with grilled chicken breasts, avocado, fresh Parmesan slices, toasted pine nuts, rocket and a fresh light salad dressing.

This salad was so delicious! I really enjoyed it. It had turned into a really warm day and evening after our week of cold and misty weather so a salad was the perfect choice.

Norm had the braised chicken fillet with mushroom sauce and steamed vegetables and he really enjoyed it.

We both give our food 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We settled in and waited on Cat to come on stage. Another couple were seated next to us and then shortly after that Cat came on. Usually the staff announce the performers and at the same time remind the audience that they should not talk during the performance but this time it did not happen. Maybe the couple next to us were not aware of this rule and they talked loudly throughout the entire show. The man even sang full voice along with Cat. He was out of tune and it really spoiled the evening for me, I found him so annoying!

When I wanted to confront him Norm reminded me of all of the concerts where I have misbehaved. I threw a girl across the tent at George Ezra and shoved a woman so hard I nearly chucked her off of the bleachers at Rodriguez and I threw a drink on a woman at Kings of Leon. I have an anger management issue. I am not good in crowds and I am not good with arseholes. Sometimes it goes a bit awry when those things are combined. His reminders calmed me down and I sat passively even though bristling with annoyance.

However Cat had a lovely voice and I loved the songs she sang. Funny enough my favorite was the unplanned track she sang as an encore, Landslide by Stevie Nicks.

Despite the obnoxious arse next to me we had a brilliant night.

The next day was both Mother’s Day as well as my daughter Caitlin’s birthday and she came around to collect me about 12:30 and we went down to the village to shop for some tidbits. We tried to keep the carb count low but had a few exceptions.

We had chicken meatballs, mozzarella arancini, a few different types of cheese, ham, dips, crudités, low carb seed crackers, onion marmalade and a low sugar cranberry iced tea. It was easy and delicious.

For dessert we had low carb brownies and Banting ice cream.

I loved the brownies but Norm did not like them at all. That is fine, more for me!

I gave Caitlin one of her birthday presents as the other gift had not arrived yet.

I had bought some succulents in a little metal teapot at the Vintage market from Potted Up.

I love the teapot and it is so heavy that it won’t blow around in the crazy Cape Town winds.

The children gave me a lovely little stone bird which goes on a metal rod and will go into a flower pot in my garden. How adorable is he?

Caity also painted a lovely little purple butterfly for me. I am going to frame it as it is so special.

Apparently Lily is bringing another little gift for me this weekend but the phone calls from Lily and Trevor and spending the day with Caitlin made me feel greedy to expect anything more. I am so blessed.

Caitlin and I were going to make some pewter designs and she brought us each a little notebook and a wooden box to decorate. I chose a few designs and Caitlin drew them to size.

I traced the first design onto my pewter and outlined it with the tools, then puffed out the design to make it raised. We melted beeswax to fill the back of the design to stop it being flattened.

We then rubbed it with a liquid which gave it a patina and then polished it.

After we finished we glued it to our notebooks. I did a Celtic design.

Caitlin did a protea.

I think they turned out rather fabulously. I am so chuffed with our efforts.

We packed up after 8pm as we were finished, tired and hungry. Norm went for takeaways and Cait and I shared a Banting pizza and salad.

We rang my Mom to wish her a happy Mother’s Day and had a laugh about all sorts. Norm and I are hoping to go visit this year or next. I really miss having her near enough to pop round for a visit. I sent her a little parcel of things for her fairy garden. They arrived today.

We all relaxed a bit then Caitlin headed home. It was such a lovely day.

Today I was back at work. This is the first full week we have worked in ages as we have had a public holiday every week for the last 4 weeks.

I hope I cope. It’s going to be a busy week. Norm and I are going to the Opera on Wednesday to see Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. I am ever so excited. I adore the emotions the opera triggers in me. Here is a little taste for you.

Lily and Josh arrive on Friday and we are going to Hudson’s for burgers to celebrate Caitlin’s dinner as a family. Pixie has a chiropractor appointment on Saturday morning and I have drumming on Sunday so it will be a busy weekend.

I hope you all had a great weekend and here is hoping for a good week ahead for us all.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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The Power of Change

I think that my husband has a very sexy voice and accent, but sometimes our attempts to communicate with me and my southern drawl and him and his Scottish accent results in some confusion.

In my last blog I mentioned that we took a road trip out towards Paarl but I forgot to tell you about the rather funny conversation Norm and I had over the Afrikaans Language Monument. The monument commemorates the semi-centenary of Afrikaans being declared an official language of South Africa separate from Dutch.

I had always heard it called the ‘Taal Monument‘ as Taal means ‘tongue’ or ‘language’ in Afrikaans. So when Norm saw it sitting on the hill he said ‘Is that the Afrikaans Monument’ to which I said ‘That is the Taal monument’, to which Norman replied ‘Yes it is indeed quite tall but what is it called?’. I said it is the ‘Taal Monument’ and he again said almost with annoyance, ‘YES I KNOW it is tall but what is it called??’.

We had such a giggle once we realised that we were both on about the same thing.

It was a short week last week. I only realised it was a public holiday in SA when I opened my May time-sheet template on the 30th and saw the following day was marked off as a holiday. Otherwise I would have been sitting in the office all alone wondering why there was no traffic and no one was in! The holiday is known as Worker’s Day in SA but it is also known as Labor Day or May Day. If you want to read more about the history behind it in South Africa here is a LINK.

Mozambique has been hit by yet another Cyclone. This is the second cyclone in a six week period. In the last count I saw, at least 38 people have died and about 35,000 homes have been destroyed by the storm. Aid workers were desperately trying to reach survivors but rain was disrupting their movements. They are now also suffering an outbreak of cholera on top of the other issues they are contending with and 14 people have been diagnosed.

Our weather in Hout Bay and Cape Town has suddenly turned very cold. As a result the cats are very clingy. They only get near each other when it is cold or rainy.

The mist rolled in and has been making the valley and seas quite eerie. I made a collage of what the view is like normally compared to what it has been like some days last week, you would not have even known there is a mountain range behind that mist!

It was quite beautiful at night as long as you did not have to try and drive in it.

We also had a tragedy a bit closer to home this week when a runner was shot in the back in Hout Bay while jogging down one of our main roads in Beach Estate. Luckily he survived. There was also a robbery and stabbing of a 20 year old French woman who was walking through the Bo-Kaap, an area formerly known as the Malay Quarter.

Crime is so out of hand in South Africa. We are so under resourced when it comes to the numbers of police needed, especially in Hout Bay.

Norm has been cooking for us on our new low carb reboot. One night he made teriyaki fillet steaks, fried halloumi cheese until it was crispy, roasted sweet potatoes and steamed asparagus. It was delicious.

Another night he baked chicken breasts and fried red cabbage with bacon & cooked the other half of the halloumi cheese from the previous night.

As a result of cutting out carbs and sugar I have managed to lose 2kgs this week!

We had a bit of a cheat night on the evening of the public holiday though as we went to Massimo’s for dinner.

Yes I needed my roots done. Shhh, don’t be rude.

We were seated by the door so we got periodic blasts of cool air which was a lovely contrast to the heat from the pizza oven.

As it is an Italian restaurant there were limited low carb options which were appealing to me in the colder weather so we gave ourselves a night off of our rations. I usually have pasta from there so I figure I shaved a few carbs off of my usual fare? Give me a wee bit of credit please for trying!

I had 3 dishes from their tapas menu. I chose the deep fried calamari, mozzarella cheese bites and the pepite which is fried squares of polenta topped with truffle salt and grated fresh parmesan cheese. It was all delicious.

Norm ordered “JJ’s Jewels” which is two oven roasted artisan sausages with mash, balsamic and onion gravy and seasonal vegetables. You can also have it with fries but their mash is yummy.

We did not realise it when we decided to pop in but Wednesday evening is open mic night so anyone who wanted to sing could get up and do so. There were a few of the restaurant patrons who sang but the best singers by far were the restaurant staff who all have really good voices.

We had just popped out for a quick bite but we ended up staying until the end of the evening as it was so enjoyable. I give our evening a high 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This has been a bit of a rocky week in regards to our families beloved animals. Lily’s childhood pet, Bacardi was put down as he had bowel cancer and it had spread to his spine and he was losing the use of his back legs. Lily had been so desperate for a Weimaraner dog when she was young and her Dad managed to find her one. Bacardi was a highly strung but loving dog for her and a companion for her Dad after the kids all moved out. We are all very sad that he is gone. The fact he died on the same date as Jean’s birthday was quite comforting to the kids as he adored Jean. Jean was their childhood nanny who raised them and whom they loved dearly as a Grandmother figure. I imagined Jean coming to take Bacardi over to the other plane.

On the same day our own dogs all went to the vet for their annual inoculations. Navajo has been scratching his ear a lot and the vet took a scraping and found he has yet another yeast infection in his ear. Even when muzzled he tries to rip your arm off when treating it though so it must be very sore.

Pixie was in fine health for a change but wee Panda has been deemed not so wee and has been put on a diet. He weighs almost as much as Pixie and she is much bigger framed than he is. He is not happy about it as he loves his food. After he finishes he looks up at Norm like, where is the rest of it? The increase in weight explains his increased snoring lately as he sounds like a chain saw and as he sleeps right up next to me I will be glad to have that noise toned down a bit!

We had also planned to take Blue the kitty to the vet as he had a couple of lumps on his head which both Norm and I are too blind to see but Caitlin had our cat carrier and had to bring it around. She checked out his lumps and could clearly see that they were scabs so he has probably been fighting again.

It was nice having Caitlin here for a visit. We chatted about what we should do next weekend on the 12th as it is both her birthday and Mother’s Day. We thought about doing lunch and painting at Clay Cafe but it was booked for parties of 2 that day so we decided to get some snacks in for our lunch and do pewter art at home and watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. She is going to get some boxes for us to decorate and we will do a design to decorate them. I’m just happy to have at least one of my babies here for the day and the fact I get to spend Cait’s birthday with her is very special. Lily and Josh will be down the following weekend and we are all going for a late birthday dinner for Caitlin then.

Norman had not shopped so that evening we had a takeaway from Posticino. We tried to keep the carbs down so we each ordered the Eggplant Parmigiana and a large salad to share. It was really tasty and far less carbs than if we had a pasta or pizza. It gets a full 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday night we always have takeaways as well and I had my usual sushi from K1 in Hout Bay.

I had the crab salad, salmon nigiri, butterfly and salmon roses. Only two of my choices had rice. 50/50 right? #BetterThanFishandChips

It scores a full 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I treated the household to some new appliances this week. I ordered a new toaster and kettle combo. Our old kettle was a second hand gift from a friend who emigrated years ago so no telling how old it was. It leaked something awful and the toaster was a bit hit or miss on the toasting function.

I love the white!

I also ordered a cordless Dyson vacuum at a ridiculously obscene cost but it is made for coping with dog hair and lord knows we have plenty of that! It hasn’t arrived quite yet but hopefully it will soon. Norm vacuums daily and the floors are covered in hair almost immediately after.

Luckily I had a hair appointment on Saturday morning to sort out the aforementioned gray roots so I was up and out reasonably early.

Norm made us a yummy low carb high fat breakfast before I left as I knew we would not get lunch so I needed the fat to keep me full until evening.

He also made me a latte in my favorite Elvis mug ❤️

I’m a lucky Kitten.

When I was in the city there was a Taxi protest outside CT Traffic Services which is more than likely related to the Traffic Enforcement of Taxis. The police have been doing roadblocks and have been impounding taxis for unpaid fines or other violations. The taxis think they should be above the laws.

I parked a few blocks away so that I got in a bit of a stroll. Thembi brought me a coffee and got busy colouring.

I also had a moisturizing treatment. Afterwards Leandra did a lovely blow dry, I wish my hair looked so sleek on a daily basis.

I went home to collect Norm, we ran a few errands and then went to the local primary school to attend the 3pm show ‘Faces of Amoyo‘ being put on by Amoyo Performing Arts Foundation.

It started out with the whole group of performers singing You Gotta Be.

There were 17 different scenes with the children dancing, singing and even acting.

There were school children of all ages performing and there was such talent!

We enjoyed the show so much! Amoyo does amazing work in the community, helping children to stay focused on positivity and to try and keep children away from the influences of alcohol, drugs and crime. If you can spare any money to donate to them they are in desperate need of funding. Here is a link to their funding page. Either a once off donation or a regular monthly debit will be going to support the brilliant work they do. If you are overseas a little bit of foreign currency goes a long way.

Afterwards we stopped off to buy some Banting ice cream from our local Italian Gelato spot, Ice Dream. They make their own ice cream and it is so yummy and stops me from feeling deprived of treats while reducing our sugar intake. They also do vegan ice cream as well as the regular and no sugar versions.

We then came home so Norm could walk and feed the dogs and at 6pm we headed out for an early dinner. We went to Papino’s in Hout Bay.

We both ordered our fave dish from there, the hollandse biefstuk, and we also decided to have a cheat night so Norm ordered fries and I ordered Portuguese chips.

It was delicious! They seem to have changed the sauce recipe and added a new spice which I could taste and smell but could not identify. I’m not 100% sure about it, but I love their steaks and can always have a plain fillet if I decide to change from my usual choice. We enjoy this cosy, friendly little spot. I give it 4.5 Kitten Stars as the steak was perfect but the sauce was not quite what it usually is. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

We were home early and had a relaxing evening as we had such a busy day.

Today we are also having a lazy day as befitting a Sunday. I made an omelette for a late lunch and Norm made bacon.

Now we are watching Knock Down The House.

I have such a girl crush on AOC. ❤️

Later on we may go into the village or I may spend all day in my PJs! Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Sizzling

There was a fire last Friday night and we could smell the smoke from our house so intensely that I checked social media to see if it was nearby but it was miles away in Grabouw. When I woke up on Saturday the whole valley was covered in smoke and the horses across the valley were whinnying which I assume was due to being agitated by the smoke.

We read that this fire had been contained and was under control but then on Sunday evening we started smelling smoke again.

We read on social media that there was a new fire on Kloof Nek and Signal Hill which had spread across to Sea Point. It was dark but we could see from our balcony that there were thick clouds of smoke rising over the back of Table Mountain. The pics we saw were horrific.

When I drove in on Monday morning I could see the mountain was still smoldering and the choppers were busy dousing the flames.

These ongoing fires are worse than I have ever experienced since I have lived in SA. It seems too coincidental that they are occurring in an election year. There have been rumours for years that the ANC party are trying to make the Western Cape ungovernable and to challenge our resources to the point of collapse in an attempt to shift the voters from the DA to the ANC.

Several people were on twitter claiming that the ancestors were punishing the white home owners by the fire on Signal Hill.

We had a tragedy this week where 4 children were killed when a walkway collapsed. The Black First Land First (BLF) spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp has come out in support of a comment by Facebook user Siyanda Gumede, in which he said he “doesn’t have a heart to feel pain” for the three children who died after the tragic collapse of a walkway at Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark, who he assumed to be white. This political party has been accused of hate speech over their comments on many occasions. The BLF seem to hate all white people and want us all out of South Africa.

The EFF party also want the white people to leave South Africa and think that any land or property we own should be taken from us. Their leader Julius Malema has said that we must be happy that the EFF have not called for white genocide.

The EFF have also had claims of hate speech levied about their abuse of journalists, predominately women journalists.

Bheki Cele who is our Police Minister had objected to the appeal for additional police officers being allocated to the Western Cape. The Western Cape Equality Court estimated that the Western Cape is 4,500 officers short of the amount needed to police the province. In December, the court found that the system being used to allocate police resourcing was unfairly discriminating against poor and black people in the Western Cape. The provincial police-to-population ratio was one officer for every 509 residents and in Cape Town it was even worse – 1:560. This had to be corrected so that crime-fighting capacity in the province could get close to the national average of 1:375, so that crime could effectively be addressed.

The fact that Cele is one of the ANC’s disciples just feeds into that theory that the treatment of the Western Cape is deliberately subversive.

The newly implemented Rail Enforcement Unit has been somewhat successful in their arrests of a few of the culprits who are committing crimes on the railways. The  stats I can find are that thirteen arrests were made by the end of 2018: for assault, possession of drugs and stolen property, theft and fraud. It is just a shame that there had to be millions worth of damages done and many injuries and a death to trigger any results to happen.

There were more arrests made in 2019 for cable theft. In January the police arrested five suspects allegedly involved in cable theft in Rondebosch.

Regardless, it is still not a safe environment to travel on the trains in the Western Cape. It is not safe to venture into many of the areas in Cape Town due to gang violence and lack of police presence. It is not always safe just to walk around being white. I have had verbal abuse when walking in the city being told to ‘go home’ or ‘get out’. It can be very intimidating.

Norm was called out to attend a break in very near our home on Friday night. The family were violently attacked when 5 African men walked into their home carrying axes. The security beams were off and the back door was open due to the intense heat. There was a delivery driver arriving to drop off food or cigarettes and he was also attacked. There were several children there who witnessed this all. I hope the family and their visitors get over this trauma. I hope the smaller children do not even realise what was going on and therefore won’t have too much residual trauma.

There will most likely not be any arrests made and if so they most likely will not make it to court or a conviction.

There have still been no arrests for the train arson attacks. A whopping 214 trains were burnt in suspected arson attacks in South Africa in the past three years, with 174 of them torched in the Western Cape.

Transport minister Blade Nzimande’s response to a parliamentary question revealed that most cases of arson took place in 2016 when 69 coaches were burnt, compared to 65 in 2018 and 41 in 2017.

The Western Cape accounted for 56 of the 65 coaches burnt in 2018, with eight incidents taking place in Gauteng and one in KwaZulu-Natal.

All of these problem areas are under the ownership of the National government, the ANC, so I am a bit confused why they think that non-delivery in these areas will impact on people’s votes?

But then again as a westerner there are many things I do not understand about South Africa.

We have chosen to make our home here and so we just get on with life.  I can only hope that we can find a way for us all to live in peace and harmony.

I started a new project with a client on Friday. This is the 3rd project I have done for this client since 2010. I am documenting the metadata for their data warehouse. It seems like it will be interesting.

It has been a busy week and we have not been eating that healthy so we are going to get back to banting from tomorrow.

I tried the quail’s eggs my friend gave me and boiled them and added them to a chinese slaw salad I picked up from woolies and some tuna.

Norm did cook one night and made baked pork fillet with mushrooms, corn on the cob and gem squash and it was very yummy.

We ended up having take aways a few nights however so our balance of healthy vs unhealthy was off.

Last night we met our friends Mel, Steve and their daughter Chloe at Hoghouse Brewing Company.

We took an uber so that Norm could have a few drinks.

One thing that I struggle with at this venue is drinks. I know it is a brewery but I do not drink beer. I tried their cider but it was just OK, I did not really enjoy it. I ended up drinking water. I go there purely for the food. We ordered food to share for the table, we ordered lots of meat as you do at a BBQ joint.

We ordered 300g of pork ribs, 300g of pulled pork, 300g of burnt ends and 300g of pork belly.

The boys ordered the chorizo scotch eggs, Chloe ordered some nachos, Mel ordered the eggplant parmiagiana and we ordered chips, onion rings, chili poppers and wild mushroom arancini.

For dessert I had a pasteis de nata, Chloe had a vanilla milkshake and Mel and Steve had sorbet.

I found that  few of the dishes had changed since we were last there. The burnt ends were quite fatty, next time I would choose the beef brisket in the hopes it was less fatty. I did not try the pork belly but there was a gorgeous crackling and it looked nice. I loved the pulled pork. In fact next time I may just order that only it was so good. We had a lovely evening catching up with our friends and eating like piggies.

Today Norm and I are having a pajama day. I have been fasting with only hot water with lemon until lunch time to clear my digestion. I have tidied my clothes and have been writing. Norm is going to make us a high fat low carb lunch of eggs, bacon and avocado. I know that I will feel better once we get back to reducing our sugar intake. It makes a huge difference to my digestion and my arthritis symptoms. We will derail temporarily next weekend as the girls are coming up for our belated Christmas lunch. I look forward to that! Seeing my girls, not the banting derailing.

I have also booked a few events to look forward to, I booked to go to the theatre to see Into the Woods. It is playing at The Theatre on the Bay which is our fave venue and we have booked the dinner and show option which is usually lovely. I booked a lunch at Foxcroft with some girl friends. I love that restaurant.

Today we woke to some cool weather and it has rained quite a bit which hopefully will dampen some of the ongoing fires we have been having.

I am very grateful for the rain.

I wish you all a happy week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0

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.

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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!

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

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

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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?

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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

Drumbeats and Heartbeats

On Monday Western Cape Premier Helen Zille declared the Western Cape a disaster area due to our on-going drought crisis. “The disaster declaration will accelerate the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre’s Project ‘Avoiding Day Zero’, the Province’s strategy to ensure that taps do not run dry,” Zille said in a statement. I am so glad the government are finally actually doing something other than just sitting back, wringing their hands and hoping for rain.

Then today we awoke to a disaster of a different sort, the news of a bomb in Manchester at the Ariana Grande concert. There are 22 people who are known dead, 59 people injured and many who are still missing at the point of writing this. If the bomber deliberately targeted this audience then they were aiming to hurt young people as Ariana’s audience is predominately young. I feel such pain for the families of those who were victims of this attack, my own children have attended a concert there and I have several friends based in Manchester. I have now heard they are all safe.

It makes my heart so sad.

Last Friday after work I cooked dinner for myself, Norm and Caitlin. Norm had bought some mince and cauliflower so I decided to make a banting Cottage Pie. As we had a tiny bit of butternut left over in the fridge I steamed that as well as a big bag of cauliflower and blended them both to make the topping. When Norm pureed it we also added an egg yolk to help bind it all. For the mince I fried it in one pan, fried an onion, a big yellow pepper and a pack of chopped bacon in another and once both were browned I mixed together, added a big splodge of tomato paste, some Worcestershire sauce and dark soy and a half a cup of beef stock and let it simmer. We popped it all into a dish and topped it with cheddar cheese and baked it.

Carrots are on the orange list, but I really fancied carrots so we boiled them and just kept the serving small.

While I was cooking dinner Norm was out walking Navajo but they were gone for ages. When they got home he told us that he had managed to get the neighbour to accompany him on the walk with their dog. They have a gorgeous wee Border Collie which is an ‘outside dog’. First of all I detest that term – if your dog is not going to be part of your pack and therefore live in the house with the family (as a minimum at least at night), then don’t have a dog. Secondly, a border collie requires a lot of exercise and stimulation if it is not being used as a working dog. They got the dog as a pup and it has a squeaky toy which it is obsessed with and I seldom see anyone interacting with this gorgeous girl, we just hear the frantic squeaking of her playing on her own with her toy. We never see the dog being walked and when we arrive home it comes to our fence and cries and cries for our attention. If we are outside it comes to try and interact with us. This dog breaks my heart. Norm has been taking Navajo to their gate to interact with the wee girl and they have finally made pals. Norm has offered to walk her every evening with Navajo but the owners seemed nervous as Navajo is rather an intimidating beast to strangers. We hope the owners become relaxed enough to let Norm give her regular outings with our pack.

My upper back was feeling very dodgy last week, like any sudden move would throw it out completely. The 2 hours I spent looking down doing the exam on Friday morning was just too much for me and it sent me into intense spasm in my neck and across my shoulders. I am sure it is stress that does these things to my body. I don’t think I can blame this ailment on menopause too can I?

I took it easy on Friday evening and when I went to bed I took 2 Tramacet which are strong pain pills that were left over from my hip op a few years ago, however they only lasted until 3am when I awoke with a start. I was wide awake for ages but eventually fell back to sleep.

When Norm got up to feed the dogs he brought us both a coffee in bed. I did not want to spend too much time in bed though as I did not think it would be great for my back. However the Tramacet had relaxed my muscles enough that my spasms did feel a bit better once I got up and had a shower.

I just made a quick cheese and pepper omelette for breakfast to tide me over as I was off to the Drumming Circle I mentioned in my previous blogs. I was very excited but as I always am when experiencing new places and things I was also full of anxiety. As my neck was so stiff Norm offered to drop me and come back to collect me after and I gratefully accepted and off we went to the Constantia Hills to the home of the host, Gerri.

Before I left home I asked the Universe to send me a sign that I was on the right path for my journey of spiritual discovery. As my signs mostly seem to come in the form of birds I asked for it to be a sign which involves birds and for it to be so obvious that even I could not miss it. I told Norm this on our way there and he just gave me the heebie-jeebie side eye as he usually does with anything remotely spiritual.

When Norm dropped me I went and knocked at the door. While waiting on the door to be opened I looked down and noticed the sign propped against the side of the porch.

Sometimes the spirits have a sense of humour.

I took this that I was indeed right where I was meant to be.

Gerri welcomed me in and we went through to have a chat about my genealogy. Gerri is of British descent and we chatted about the pull of the Native American ideology. Gerri has studied with Grandmother Robin Youngblood who you can read about on her site.

Once all of us who were attending arrived we were all smudged by burning sage in a large abalone shell and using a wing of feathers to waft the smoke around us while Gerri uttered the cleansing prayer.

smudging kit

Image credit.

We then all settled in around the Mother Drum.

Gerri handed out song sheets for us all, they are in various Indigenous tongues. We sang in Zulu as well as Native American languages. We also banged on the Mother Drum to the beat. Gerri’s daughter Jess has a stunning voice and she sang the lead as some songs have a sing and repeat format.

At one point I heard a hawk loudly joining in with us from the garden – my second bird sign that I was walking the path meant for me. He sang much better than I do but that is OK, I can live with that. I just felt blessed that he came to show his support.

I am not what one would call a ‘singer’ by any stretch of the imagination, in fact I am quite possibly tone deaf as I sound dreadful even to my own ears, but that did not stop me. I did not feel self conscious at all despite there only being 4 of us chiming in. It was a judgement free, loving environment where I could just be myself.

I loved that I could openly discuss things such as past life regression and soul connections and soul contracts without people looking at me like I was a lunatic.

After we finished the drum circle songs we went into the garden and performed the Cherokee Morning Ritual giving thanks to all 4 directions and to the Great Spirit.

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The next circle is planned for June and they are going to learn some new rattle songs.

Norm and I will be going to George the weekend of the next circle however as it is Trevor’s birthday so I will have to miss a circle. I have not seen my son in months though and I am so excited to spend time with him. He is such a special boy. I guess he is not really a ‘boy’ if he is over 30 years old and 6’6″ tall, but he will always be my baby.  

After Norm collected me on Saturday afternoon we headed home. My back seemed pretty much healed despite all of the drumming. Or maybe I felt better because of the drumming? Healing comes in various ways, maybe the communing of my spirit with my ancestors healed my physical ailments?

We had a relaxed night and just chilled out for the evening and got takeaways for dinner as I was not in the mood to cook.

Sunday morning Norm got up and made a lovely Banting brekkie for me, him and Caitlin. He even served Caitlin breakfast in bed. We are such lucky ladies to have Norm to look after us.

I decided to give myself a bit of pampering in the afternoon and did a deep conditioning treatment on my hair and shaved my legs. They are so white as to be blinding so I decided to use a bit of Caribbean Tan to perk them up a bit. However I appear to have missed my foot. Just one of course. Oops. I look like I have been tanning in one random sock.

Norm took the dogs on a little Sunday jaunt.

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I would have gone with them if I had known, I just won’t join on his normal walks as it is a bit like climbing a mountain just to get up our road as it is a steep, steady incline and I find I am knackered before we even get off our street.

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Sunday evening we decided to have a braai as it was quite warm outside.

Even our pets were chilled out and pretending to be friends. Navajo looks happier than Blue with this camaraderie to be fair.

It was dark by the time Norm started the braai and as a result the sausages got a bit burnt but the fillet he cooked was lovely. We just made a big salad and served coleslaw to go with it.

After we had dinner we decided to watch a film and due to all of the Oscar hype we chose Manchester by the Sea. I was not keen on supporting Oscar winner and alleged sexual predator Casey Affleck who starred in the film, however I have to admit he did a brilliant acting job. However whenever a demon dwells inside a person they are quite often good at covering this up and putting on a false front.

I found this film so heavy going. It was full of angst, drama and trauma. It was so sad and depressing. It did have some brilliant acting and cinematography, but that is all I can say about it. I give it 2 kitten stars for the acting and beautiful vistas.

This week I booked tickets for Norm and I to go to the Theatre on the Bay. We are going to see ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’.

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Ironically, my actual booking went wrong! When I went onto Computicket and selected 2 seats and went to pay, it offered a Dinner and Show package deal which I selected, but then instead of releasing the seats I had chosen, it added 2 more seats as part of the dinner deal at the Sidedish Theatre Bistro.

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Once I realised this I emailed Computicket and explained and they promptly responded and actioned a cancellation of 2 tickets. I was ever so impressed! Such excellent customer service.

I have had many instances of sties and eye infections in the last year or two, whereas I had gone my entire life before that without ever having experienced one. Late last night I started to have a pain in my right eye and by the end of the evening it was quite swollen. I suspected a sty was starting and so I tried the hot compress route but when I woke this morning it was really red and swollen. I suspect it may be yet another thing caused by the dryness of my eyes due to menopause sucking the life blood out of me.

It is such fun getting old.

I left work a bit early today to go to my doctor. He’s given me an ointment. He’s also given me spray for my sinuses as I have been a bit dizzy and had quite a few headaches. I have a morning cough that just won’t go away and he’s asked me to bring in a morning sputum sample for testing by the lab.

I found out today that I have made it to the next stage of the interview process for the job I took the exam for last Friday and on Thursday I have to do a presentation of the analysis I did in the exam. Eek. So good news I did well, but bad news I have more torture in store for me.

Wish me luck on the health front as well as with the interview please! I’m rather nervous about both.

 

In Their Shoes

I have often wondered where and how we learn our humanity, our values, ethics and emotions. I do not think that we are all destined to adhere to the same belief system that our families do. I know that we make our own choices, however I also know how hard it can be to be a single resistor in an environment which is supportive of whatever it is that we feel is wrong.

This is even more of a challenge in today’s climate of ever increasing conservatism and radical beliefs. It seems every American town is now the equivalent of the repressed fictional town in Footloose where no activities should take place which are fun or pleasurable, where we should not be the unique individual our internal nature tells us to be. Instead we should adhere to the cookie cutter outline of the virtuous and pure as imagined by the pastor and church who are defining what is and what is not acceptable. Anything can be viewed as sinful if you choose to view the world through those narrow minded principles. If you exchange the pastor or preacher in this scenario with a leader from ISIS or any other extremist religion you often have similar levels of suppression and repression in the name of their god.

Religious extremism is the same, whether we call the believers ‘Christian’ or any other label – it is still just a form of extremism and a means of oppression.

Our family are really looking forward to seeing the Disney film ‘Beauty and the Beast’. 


However there is already controversy around this film on multiple points.

The first is regarding the introduction of a gay character in the film. This has led to banning of the movie in a narrow minded little ‘christian’ theatre. Because apparently Jesus would be embarrassed to see people display love.

Beauty ala theatre

And due to the intense homophobia of Putin, the film will be shown in Russia but with an adult rating. Which sort of defeats the purpose of the film which is to delight children and adults both. Children will most likely not even catch on to any subtle nuances regarding the interactions of the new plot line.

All of this furore because of men dancing. Insanity.

The second area of controversy is around the lead character, Emma Watson. Emma posed for a cover on Vanity Fair and showed a portion of a breast, a wee bit of under boob if you prefer to be specific. Emma was then savaged on social media about how she let down the side regarding feminism, shouting that she cannot be both a feminist and display her sexuality. Emma set them straight – clarifying that for her feminism is the freedom to do whatever she wishes with her body. I really admire this young woman, she seems so switched on. Especially for a child star, so many of these kids derail completely.

We all know that many ‘men’ (and some women) are intimidated by a woman owning her sexuality. The issue is with them – not with the woman who is showing a bit of skin. The normalisation of rape culture is ever so prevalent.

That rape culture which leads to women being traded like cattle and treated far worse than most animals. Fears of Human trafficking were raised in South Africa as 4 local girls vanished in a week. There was a total of 5 girls who were all assumed to be part of the same issue, another girl in the same area has been missing since last year.

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Luckily a later report has indicated that the 4 girls missing from Kuils River have now been found, the story around their disappearance has not been publicised however they were found miles away up in a town up north. I am just glad for their families that they were found and I hope for the family of the 5th girl that she is found safe very soon.

Cape Town is such a unique city and it has some idiosyncrasies which I have never seen anywhere else. One of these is the number of unfinished motorways which just hang in the air over the city looking bizarre.

The City of Cape Town has asked for proposals that would address these unfinished bridges with a view to alleviate the traffic congestion in the city centre and to contribute some form of upliftment for the poor. Each of the six proposals had to address Cape Town’s traffic woes, as well as have an affordable housing component. The models were all on display in the City of Cape Town offices.

Cape Town

I look forward to the changes and hope it does alleviate the congestion in the city, traffic in Cape Town is just insane.

The xenophobia in South Africa has carried on in different factions. There is continued fighting within the zama zamas (illegal miners). I have written about the issues with the illegal miners before. The rumour is that the local Basotho are behind the recent ambush and murder of 14 illegal miners. The Basotho resent the influx of Zimbabweans, Malawians and Mozambicans competing for gold. It appears that there is a hierarchy of thieves.

We even had an incident of conflict regarding race in my new office. It started out in a rather innocuous conversation about coffee of all things. The tea lady (whom I will refer to by her initial ‘N’ as I do not want to intrude on her personal privacy) was making herself an espresso from the coffee machine and an Afrikaans guy asked did she want milk. She replied no thank you and he said ‘you like your coffee like yourself, black?’. She replied ‘I am not black.’ This is where he should have shut up and apologised and shuffled off back to his desk. Instead he said ‘Brown?’. When he saw her displeased expression he then said ‘well what colour are you?’ I wanted to crawl into a cupboard. I did not know either of these people so I felt like I could not get involved so I just dropped my gaze and shuffled off to my desk. However it got under my skin and I felt that I should have defended N. But I was unsure what was the appropriate thing to say?  And did N even WANT me to intervene?

I am still not sure whether this dude realised what a dolt he was being or not. I personally had never thought about that common phrase – how often do you hear someone (white) saying jokingly that they like their coffee like they like their men: strong and black? Until you are on the other side of that quip you may not realise the conflict you are creating or the pain you are causing.

Those of us who are privileged have no idea of the challenges others go through. On Friday I had workshops on the Protection of Personal Information Bill. The workshops were held at my consulting house so I drove through to Century City. I popped over to the garage to get a coffee as they have a Torrador coffee shop there. The way the process works is that you go and order your coffee and they give you a slip, you take the slip to the queue and pay at the tills. Yesterday while I was waiting my turn in the queue a man walks into the shop and just pushes to the front and takes the next available till. Myself and the African guy in front of me both shout ‘there is a queue’ to the man, who turns around and waves his arms and says ‘what is a queue?’. He had a strong Italian accent and I said to him, ‘you may be European but you know exactly what a queue is.’ The African guy in front of me just said ‘it’s fine let him go’ but I wasn’t having it. Fair is fair. The European grumpily trudged over to join the queue behind me, muttering the entire way, and then when he got behind me decided he needed to make amends and proceeded to

put

his

arm

around

me and pat me on the shoulder.

This wound me up to no end. I hate strangers getting in my physical space, but to take it further and presume that you have the right to put your hands on my body? Oh HELL no.

I turned around and looked him in the eye and said ‘Do not touch me.’ The women behind the tills were loving this, I assume they see this level of passive aggression often but as a white woman I am comfortable being able to express the right to own my body and tell people to stop touching it. Many others are not confident enough to do so. Many people are so desperate for work they will endure so many insults and injustices just to keep employed. This advert blew up on social media due to the racism and the fact that it sounds like slavery, not employment.

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I am not sure whether it is age which has opened my eyes or whether it is the many environments I have lived in but I seem to be so much more awake. I feel that ageing and/or menopause have changed me in more ways than the obvious physiological ways. I am more self accepting, more confident and less compliant. I speak up for what I feel is right, even when it makes me unpopular. We won’t mention the flip side of menopause and the memory fails and hot flashes. Growth usually comes with discomfort.

I saw an interview with the wonderful Annie Lennox where she said that if nothing else, Trump deserves the credit for being the catalyst to wake up women globally and get them to show up and demand equality.

March the 8th is International Woman’s Day. However there are so many insidious things which still mean that the world has such a long way to evolve to the point where we do not have ‘Gay’ rights, ‘Women’s’ rights, ‘Transgender’ rights or any other kind of rights other than Human Rights. We should all be equal.

On this day of what should have been a day for Women, I received an email from a company who claimed to be celebrating International Women’s Day. But their message was so derogatory to women. The email subject header alone annoyed me.

Girlboss

Then embedded in the email = there it was again.

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Really??? As a means of celebrating women they choose to minimise us and qualify our ability to be Boss? To liken us to a child? What were you thinking Takealot? This propagates that culture that women are inferior. When I tweeted my displeasure to Takealot they were completely oblivious to the fact that they were being sexist.

If you want to promote the #GirlBoss book, bundle it into a promotion aimed at GIRLS. Find some books which encourage girls and have a promotion around that.

girl boss

Do not blur the two.

One thing which did appeal to me was the email sent out by ONE. ONE.org is a campaigning and advocacy organisation of nearly eight million people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Did you know that 130,000,000 girls were unable to go to school today? Or any other day? They did not choose to not go, they do not have access to education. My family and I decided to participate in this initiative.

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I chose my number and made my video.

The sirens and the Hoover in the background add a nice touch, don’t you think? Not? Oh well at least I tried. My family told me I look grumpy. I was trying to bring the appropriate level of seriousness to the video.

Caitlin chose her number and as always was creative in her delivery. Cute hey? She had her colleagues contribute.

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Thursday I decided to be also be a bit creative and adventurous and cook something new, I fancied salmon and so we debated over the fact that it was so expensive but we bit the bullet.

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I used the zucchini noodles from Woolies to make another pseudo pasta dish. I browned chopped onions and mushrooms, then added the zoodles and cooked for a minute to soften, then added a container of double cream, a tin of coconut milk and a few drops of dark soy and a squeeze of tomato paste and gave it a good stir, I cut the salmon up and chucked it in and that was it. I served with steamed broccoli.

It was really tasty and ever so quick for a meal after work.IMG_5115

This week I was advised that I am being put forward for a new project with a new client. I am of course panicking about the unknown, Norm is as always trying to sooth my frazzled nerves. I have only just settled in my new office, and this will mean moving outside of the Cape Town city centre and will add on a lot of time to my commute. However in the current economic client I am just happy to have work. I will see whether I am the right fit for the work they need soon I hope.

We have a busy weekend planned, my social calendar seems to always be feast or famine, I have a weekend with no obligations or a weekend with a back to back itinerary.

I hope you enjoy your weekend.

Impervious to Pain

I recently watched a film called ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ where the actors were discussing the fearlessness that comes from having survived something of such trauma and heartbreak that you can then endure anything else life may throw at you. Tempered in steel.


Deep trauma changes a person. I know that I am one of those changed by my past. I also know that women are able to endure a lot of pain, both internal and external, mental and physical. Much more than most men can in my opinion. 

The strength of a collective group of women was never more evident than the Women’s Marches which occurred world wide on the 21st January to protest the election of a misogynistic racist pussy grabber to the office of US President and to show solidarity of support of women’s rights. 


I had felt so heartsore over the election of that beast that the images of women united together in spirit from all over the world made me feel a bit of hope. It lightened my despair.

This week has passed in a blur. I just know I seemed to drink a lot of coffee, that is always the case when I have a lot of workshops. They require a lot of energy especially if I am facilitating. We had a battle of the coffee supplier this week with 3 different coffee brands sending in baristas to do tastings for free then allowing us to vote for our favorite. In my opinion the best by a mile was illy coffee which was so divine I had 3 cups. So 5 in all that morning if I add in the others which I sampled.

We had a week of unique and traumatic  wildlife interactions. We had yet another giant leopard toad appear in our kitchen. 


That makes 9 of them already this year. As we take them far down the hill to release on the green this cannot possibly be the same toad reappearing. As Caitlin and I are both phobic this makes for a lot of screaming and hyperventilating when we stumble upon one.

On Thursday night Caitlin had a fright when driving home when an owl flew into her car. Luckily it just scooted across her bonnet and she thinks it was only dazed. How upsetting!

Friday I gave Daren a lift and we drove up Suikerbossie Hill watching carefully for the owl. Next thing we know a minicab taxi is hurtling towards us on our side of the road, luckily Darren shouted and I moved lanes to avoid colliding head on with the van. We neither died, nor spotted the owl. Win. Win.

We tried to keep to Low Carb eating where we could and the hot weather led to us cooking outside several nights this week. Norm cooked fillet steaks and chicken sausage for us on Friday, it felt like a nice way to kick off the weekend.

Saturday morning I was up early to head to Noordhoek to go to the chiropractor with Pixie. She has improved ever so much! She can jump up and is much stronger. She is so sweet. 


She loves that frisbee.

Norm has been working on my kitchen all weekend. He rented a tile cutter and is finishing up the tiling. He dropped me at Retha Saturday afternoon for drinks. We chatted in the sun by the pool until everyone arrived to braai. That’s a BBQ or grill to non-SA people. We had lots of us there but we had a huge salad and cole slaw and plenty of bread to go with the mounds of chops, chicken and sausage so there was plenty to eat. We even had a yummy chocolate cake from Oakhurst Spar. It was a relaxed evening with lovely people.

I had a slow morning today and then just after noon Retha and I set off on a road trip east up the coast. Retha is thinking about buying a small property to rent and we wanted to explore the Gordon’s Bay Area. We stopped at the harbour and parked and walked around hoping to find a table for lunch. 



We tried The Thirsty Oyster which had a waiting list and a host with a rude attitude. We walked to the other side of the harbour and got a table straight away. We ordered a cheeky cocktail.




The view was stunning. 


The food however was far from stunning. 

We ordered 3 starters, we shared the smoked salmon mille feuille and I had the shrimp cocktail while Retha had the deep fried Camembert.



The cheese was nice but Retha wanted bread, the shrimp cocktail was served in a glass which made it impossible to eat. It was bland. The salmon was nice, I think if they added a layer of creme frais to the stack, it would enhance it as it was a bit dry.

For my main I had the Queen Combo, prawns and calamari, and Retha had the Chef’s Combo which is hake and prawns.



The prawns were tiny but nice, however we had to ask for sauce. Retha’s fish looked moist and plump but I noticed she encountered a lot of bones. My calamari tasted frozen. It was very average. 2.5 Kitten Stars.

After lunch we went to a show house and then drove back. It was unbearably hot.

The heat hasn’t helped the high number of fires in the Cape. Suspicion is that there is arson behind much of these. I suspect they are politically motivated. This arsehole from the BLF (Black First Land First) posted about burning white owned farms.


This sort of thing sickens me, destroying things other people work for in order to pay for crimes perpetrated long ago by others. We can only hope they catch them. Our droughts continue and we are desperate for rain! 

Tonight we had a pizza from Massimo. I had the St Hilary. It was divine with figs, marscapone and honey with Parma ham.


Tomorrow I have a busy day but we must get back onto low carb! Sometimes you gotta have a pizza. 

Enjoy your week all!