Protest on a Half Shell

We had thought we might go for breakfast or brunch to the Hout Bay Harbour Market today to mark the end of my four day break, but when I woke up this morning my wrist and joints were sore from yesterday’s tent excursion and drumming and as it was gloomy outside we decided to stay in and hibernate.

I ordered some wood to be delivered next week and played games and chatted online from the comfort of my bed and snuggled with the animals.

Winter is the only time the cats are friends. Even then, we caught Blue attacking Lola like a vampire yesterday, biting her neck ferociously.

Norm and I eventually emerged from our warm beds about 11.30 and Norm made us gorgeous French toast with maple syrup.

It was crispy and perfect. I’m a lucky woman.

Then I was sitting outside on the patio drinking a large cup of tea and looking at the misty mountain while Navajo had a run round the garden, as one does on a Sunday.

Then the Neighbourhood Watch radio burst into life and we saw on social media and via WhatsApp that there was a protest happening at the Harbour.

The road to the Market was blocked off and filled with burning tires.

We heard that they set the buildings at the market on fire and I was so relieved that the Universe protected me from being there. I read that they also torched the Department of Public Works store, two harbour master offices, one fisheries inspector’s house and another government official’s house.

We listened on the radio and followed via social media and WhatsApp and heard that the march had then diverted out of the Harbour and towards the village, up Empire Road, through Beach Estate heading towards the police (SAPS) station. Then we heard many sirens coming down from the Nek and into town. The Public Order Police (POP) were dispatched as were the fire department.

The protestors fired off many rescue flares and also set a house in Beach Estate on fire. They vandalized property all along their path.

Eventually the protestors were met with force by POP and rubber bullets finally stopped the madness.

I’ve heard several stories which are being claimed as motivations for the protest. I read that there was a police raid on the poachers and this resulted in the death of one of the poachers. Then we heard that a single diver had gone missing late Friday while diving off the Chapmans Peak side of the bay. Yesterday there were rescue helicopters and NSRI boats out searching but they did not find the missing diver. Then they said the protest was against the police not allowing them to search for the body.

The stories vary on whether the poacher was shot or drowned. We saw this posted online.

Finally we saw that the press had reported a few articles on the protest. “Residents of the harbour community claim that the protests erupted following the death of a young fisherman who was allegedly shot dead by a policeman on Saturday. The incident stemmed from an alleged poaching incident.” Another article said the boat hadn’t returned and the police wouldn’t search, an another said that the police shot at the boat.

So possibly the police raided a group of poachers and one of them died in the process.

The poachers in this area generally poach abalone or lobsters. There are quotas on the limits to fishermen but these limits are ignored by poachers. The poachers claim that the tight quotas mean they cannot survive if they adhere to them. Here is a good article about it. Far be it for me to sit in judgment from here in my big house sitting by my warm fire, resting up before I go back to my corporate job. I just don’t see the point of punishing people who are not responsible. What did the Market owners and traders do to deserve this?

We must not lose sight of the fact that a mother lost a son, people lost a friend. Whether what he was doing was right or wrong, a young man died.

We also saw on social media that a car had burned on the road out of Hout Bay late Friday night. The story on this is a bit vague too.

Car burning in Hout Bay last night

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The reports are that the car was abandoned. Maybe it was torched. Maybe the driver crashed it and ran. Who knows.

There is never a dull moment in Hout Bay.

We heard again of another friend who is emigrating. The list grows. Meanwhile in my typically backwards manner we are fighting for the right to stay, with Norm jumping through hoops to get his residency permit.

I daydream of having my kids, my Mom, and all of our friends and family all living on a big compound together somewhere isolated from the rest of the world. As long as it has my family, WiFi, peanut butter and Netflix I’d be happy. 😂🤷🏻‍♀️

Tonight we are staying in rather than deal with any possible dramas. Why put our beak into something that has nought to do with us. We are wrapped up and trying to keep warm. The dogs are being annoying because it is too wet to walk them.

I am back to work tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have a non-eventful drive to work. Wish me luck.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

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The Fear of Loneliness

The fear of loneliness can be a motivator behind many decisions made by some people. Irrational sometimes to outsiders, these decisions can result in constraints to the lives of some and heartbreak to others. People settle for people they do not love, or stay in relationships with people they do not love rather than risk being alone. Loneliness is one of humanity’s biggest issues, often leading to despair. Isolation is even used as the ultimate prison punishment, it can affect people in many different ways, leading some people to behave bizarrely. As an only child of working parents, one whose home was surrounded by countryside rather than playmates, I grew up being alone a lot and I am comfortable with my own company. However nothing makes me happier than time with my family. My family is everything to me. But I do not mind being alone.

This topic came up this weekend when watching ‘Like Father‘ with the fabulous Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer. Kelsey plays the Father and that was his term, ‘fear of loneliness’, he used it when discussing a poor decision made by Kirsten (in the role of the daughter) and proposing explanations for why the situation may have happened.

Lauren Miller Rogen was not only the screenwriter but also the director and producer of the film and hubby Seth Rogen appears in it.

It was a good enough movie to amuse me on a lazy cold winters day. I give it 3 and a bit Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

Thursday was the start of a four day weekend for me as it was Women’s Day in South Africa.

August the 9th is a Public Holiday marking the day of the national march of women in 1956 to petition against legislation that required African persons to carry the ‘pass’.

The ‘pass’ was an identification document which restricted a black South African’s freedom of movement under apartheid and only by having the pass were they allowed to enter ‘white’ areas. The ‘pass’ had come into force under the Urban Areas Act (commonly known as the pass laws) of 1950.

On August 9, 1956, 20,000 women staged a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against proposed amendments to the act. They left petitions containing more than 100,000 signatures at prime minister J.G. Strijdom’s office door. They stood silently outside his door for 30 minutes.

The women then sang a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (This translates to “Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock”.).

As discussed in my last blog, women in South Africa do not have a lot to celebrate however.

Neither do many women worldwide. I loved reading this week about the increase of the number of women entering into politics in the US. The one thing we can congratulate Trump on is waking people up to the risk of letting racist, misogynistic bigots run the country and getting them to step up to vote or even to run for office.

This day also marks the anniversary of my first day at work in South Africa after I immigrated back here in 2007. We were given a fancy lunch at the Mount Nelson by my new company and I thought ‘wow’ I can get used to this. However I only lasted 6 months with that company and am now on my third contract house since moving back. If I am unhappy, I move on. Life is too short.

I had booked to go on a reconnection medicine walk on Thursday but I woke up so stiff and sore from the cold that I could barely make it downstairs and so I had to cancel. We have had a cold snap of icy weather in Cape Town and my arthritis is reacting badly to it.

Instead I wrapped up warm and stayed tucked in bed and Norm went to get us pastries and then brought me pastry and a frothy latte in bed, where I lay surrounded by cats and snoozing Pomeranian pups.

That morning a guy came to repair the cowl that blew off of our chimney and the animals and I stayed in bed while Norm dealt with that. As the guy said it blew off the chimney due to his fitting it incorrectly the first time he did not charge us! That was lucky.

I put together some lunch from the salads I had picked up on my way home on Friday. I bought them for the shared lunch after my walk but as I did not walk we had some yummy bits to choose from. We had Asian slaw, potato salad, pickled beetroot with chunks of creamy feta and roast chicken. It was divine, healthy and so easy.

On Thursday evening we decided to just stay in by our cozy fire. We got chicken burgers from The Kitchen Takeaway and just relaxed.

The joint pain I was having could have been due to the Wednesday night when I had gotten chilled to the bones while sitting in an assembly room watching Norm present to 50 residents and several members of the City Of Cape Town Council about the proposal to start a Central Improvement District, aka a CID. This is a private-public partnership formed by the property owners in the area to provide complementary services over and above what the City of Cape Town provides.

Our CID will cover 3 areas, Oakwood, Hughenden and Meadows, it will be called by the acronym ‘OHMCID’. The website is live and the process is busy following the regulatory requirements. We just need 60% of the property owners to sign up to it and we can start to boost our security and be more in control of managing our area.

The presentation finished about 8pm and we were starving so we headed into the village and stopped at the Woodcutters Arms Pub in Hout Bay.

Norm was tired after presenting that night as well as several other meetings he had for work that day. It was a relief to get into somewhere warm.

❤️

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We both ordered a few Tapas items which they served on platters.

I had jalapeño cheddar cigars, onion rings and popcorn chicken strips.

Norm had his beloved scotch egg with fries and hake goujons.

The food at that pub is reliably well cooked and tasty. We wanted something simple to share and nibble with our fingers. I give it four Kitten Stars for being exactly what you could hope for in a Gastropub. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It hit the spot and we came home and crashed after.

We have both had busy weeks. At least the days were busy with work but our evenings were spent in front of a fire as it’s been so cold and drizzly outside. The animals were happy snuggling up.

The cats love it when we have a fire.

We had plans to go on a road trip on Friday as I also had the day off. We were going to drive across Chapman’s Peak to Imhoff Farm but it was drizzly, overcast and rainy so we fancied something a bit cosy. We needed to do a few errands so we decided to go to Peddlars in Constantia then pop over to the mall.

We quickly settled in to a table by the window after trying 2 others which were reserved (it was very empty so that shuffling around was all a bit bizarre).

Even Scots Norm was feeling the cold.

We decided to just order the pub platter to share.

It had calamari, onion rings, chips, chicken strips, pulled pork spring rolls and a few sauces. It was really yummy and hit the spot. We didn’t linger, we had a drink each then headed off to the mall. We got a human wrist support for Navajo’s sore ankle.

The doggy Physio has recommended it, so far so good, we will see if he wears it. We had a few other things we needed so we ran our errands then bought a few groceries and we decided to go for a coffee.

We popped into Mugg & Bean and Norm had a cappuccino and a slice of caramel cheesecake.

Norm gives their cheesecake 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had an iced coffee and a chocolate chip muffin. They have divine muffins.

We headed home as Norm had to walk the dogs and take Cordelia home at 5. We popped into Hout Bay quickly first as I had inadvertently sat on my specs and they badly needed to be adjusted so we stopped by Tanya Seeber enroute.

We were still full from lunch so didn’t even eat dinner that night despite shopping for it. We just nibbled nuts, cheese and apples and such that night.

Despite our plans going awry we had a lovely day together. I feel very blessed that after 21 years of marriage Norm is still my best friend. We can make most things we do enjoyable.

On Saturday morning Norm cooked us a delicious breakfast to set us up for the day.

After breakfast Norm and Nav pottered about the garden.

I got ready while they were busy as I was signed up for a slot in a day of singing at a two day Sacred Song Circle Marathon event.

This is one of the songs in our repertoire and it is one of my favorite songs to sing. It’s such a happy lighthearted song with such a nice rhythm.

The lyrics are “waniskâ! pêtâpan ôma

âsay piyêsîsak kî-nikamowak

ê-miyonâkwan kitaskînaw”

This translates to:

“Wake up! The sun is coming.

The birds are already singing

How beautiful this land of ours is.”

Isn’t it a lovely song, suited for what turned out to be a lovely day. The event started on Friday evening and carried on all day Saturday. It was held in a house off the beaten track, in a remote area in the southern peninsula and it was about an hour from my house. I went to Gerri’s house, our drum circle leader, then she and I drove in convoy to the house.

Our drummers were supposed to wear red.

There were lots of people there, approximately 20 adults. There were also children of all ages and there were many places on the property to keep children occupied but the vibe was relaxed and they ran in and out of the tent too. The singing was held in a large round tent filled with rugs, blankets and pillows. There was a center altar with many items there for blessing. There were different rounds of songs, with the changing of song leaders every hour or so. When we arrived our friend Martyn was singing and then it was to be our turn. Martyn sang very lovely, soothing, soft songs and everyone was quite lethargic from the shared lunch they had eaten just before we arrived. Gerri brought our large communal drum and when it was our turn we stood up around it. We sang all dance songs so they were mostly quite energetic. Waniska is probably our slowest song and we really wail on the chorus even for that one. We woke the tent up and got the energy going.

After our round we stayed for one more round of South American native songs which were sung in Spanish or Aztec. Some of the terms were familiar from my North American song repertoire and some from my very limited Spanish. I left and drove Michelle back to Gerri’s house where she had left her car. I then headed home, cold and tired but happy.

Norm cooked us a delicious dinner when I got home. He grilled the fillet steak and we finished off the salads from the previous day. He also boiled some corn and sliced up an avocado.

He also made a roaring big fire to warm me up. It was a divine end to a lovely day.

We are having a lazy evening tonight and we do not yet have plans for tomorrow, we will have to see what the day may bring.

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

#SheToo

I am beginning to think that someone must have a voodoo doll of me and that they are enjoying sticking pins into it as my body has moved from one ailment to the next for what feels like months now. The strange thing is that each ailment is corresponding with the symptoms of someone in my life who also has that ailment. Is this some sort of empathetic referral? Is this part of my exploration into spirit medicine work?

A work colleague was out of work all of last week with back pain. On the weekend I managed to put my lower back out ironically on the day when he suddenly felt fine.  I am in a lot of discomfort but I have not been to a chiro, I am stretching and trying to endure in the hopes it resolves itself. So far, no luck but it has gotten better. My whole lower back was locked the first few days but now it has settled into the one hip. Specifically my left hip which is the same hip I had replaced a few years ago. I will have to go to the chiro so I booked in for tomorrow after work.

Josh has been with us all week but he left to go back home to Mossel Bay on Thursday. Lily will be happy to have him home. I will miss him, every time he goes it is like empty nest syndrome again as he is as much our son as the 3 humans I gave birth to are. I wonder if Lily’s Spirit Guardian Owl is going to remain now that Josh has come back home?

Our family have a strong connection with birds. They send me messages often.

We have had a few days of really warm weather which was a nice change. We were able to go without a fire in the evenings to keep us warm. On Thursday the rain started again and it turned a bit colder.

The flowers that Norman gave me for our anniversary last week are blooming and are so stunning. I love lilies. The smell is so gorgeous.

Norm has been looking after Josh and I very well as always. On Sunday he had not shopped so we had a takeaway from Spiro’s.

On Monday Norm shopped and cooked for us for the rest of the week. He baked chicken with mushrooms and zucchini in chicken stock and then stir fried baby spinach and fried brussel sprouts to go with it that evening.

He made a pork roast and fried red cabbage and roasted butternut and steamed some cauliflower on Tuesday.

On Wednesday he did chicken sausage and sweet potato mash with fried zucchini and home made coleslaw.

Thursday he made Banting cottage pie with a beefy stock topped with cauliflower mash and a thick layer of cheese. He steamed baby corn and gem squash to go with and it was delicious. His cooking skills are so good he does most of our cooking now.

I had a conversation with yet another friend this week who has told me that she too has been the victim of domestic abuse and is ready to get out of this situation after many years of suffering. I am not sure why the universe has sent me so many women to talk to about abuse lately. It is like I am the Survivor Whisperer. Much of the conversation seems to be around reversing the psychological conditioning that has resulted in them blaming themselves for the abuse or for not leaving sooner. That conditioning is hard to escape when you have heard it for years from the man abusing you and the other enablers who may be in your life. Even if that enabler is a seemingly well intentioned parent who tells you that you should be thankful for a man who stays with you. The previous generation does not always understand the power we women possess and that we have the ability to just put our backs into it and push through to the other side. We can make a powerful foe once we decide to push back against our oppressors. I feel the female energy rising up in pacha mama.

I do not know my role in these women’s lives unless it is simply to share my own experiences and to listen to them when they need to talk. I am also trying to listen to the messages I hear from my guides and to do the footwork they suggest I should do. If my guides tell me that I have to say a specific thing to a specific person, I am trying to simply be the vehicle to deliver that message with no filters.

The hardest thing to ignore is the messages I get about the women who are still caught up in their own cycles of dysfunction. I get messages that specific women need help, but if they do not acknowledge that need, then what should I do? THAT part I have not figured out. I am still very new at this healing role which is being forced upon me by the universe. I am not at all sure of the path the universe has in store for me in regards to support of women who have been victimised. I will just keep being present and doing what I can until the Great Spirit makes it clear.

I do feel a universal energy shift. It is coming. I have been reading about this particular prophesy or potential energy shift.

“We live in a time of great change… a time which appears and reappears in the prophesies of many Aboriginal cultures from all over the world. The world is in decay, the systems man has built and valued for so long are falling apart… this is the time of the 7th Fire.

We must begin the healing now. We must live as flesh ruled by spirit, choosing compassion over greed … choosing love over fear. We must be the change we want to see in the world, if we are to become the Warriors of the Rainbow.”

#8Fire #8thFire #AnishnabeProphecy 🔥🔥💞💓🌎🌠

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The Anishinaabe people believe in the 7 Fires Prophecy. Each fire represents a prophetical age, marking phases. They seem to feel a change coming as well and believe that there will be a shift back towards Walking the Red Road. “It is at this time that the Light Skinned race will be given a choice between two roads. If they choose the right road, then the Seventh Fire will light the Eighth and final Fire, an eternal Fire of peace, love, brotherhood and sisterhood. If the light skinned race makes the wrong choice of roads, the destruction which they brought with them in coming to this country will come back at them and cause much suffering and death to all the Earth’s people.”

Walking The Red Road means living a consciously present life of practicing and honouring The Seven Sacred Values of the Lakota:

1. Wóčhekiya – Prayer

2. Wičákha – Honesty

3. Wahwala – Humility

4. Waúnšila – Compassion

5. Waóhola – Respect

6. Wawokiye – Generosity

7. Wóksape – Wisdom

I identify strongly with the people of these tribes. I have a deep connection to White Buffalo Woman and the Lakota believe that White Buffalo Calf Woman brought them the 7 virtues.

I am reading everything I can find to try and broaden my knowledge about my own heritage as well as the cultures and teachings of other indigenous people throughout the world. I am trying to be conscious and tuned into the universal energy and the voices of the spirits around me. I have removed the people from my life who impede me in that growth by tainting me with their darkness. I have learned many sacred songs and we sing them in their native tongues at our drumming circles. I still struggle with my own mind, keeping it positive and focused. I’m easily distracted.

My eyes are open. I feel the simmering sizzle of energy and I pray for the light which will emerge out of the ashes of this fire.

A’ho Mitakuye Oyasin.

Midwinter Nightmares & Dreamy Evenings

I mentioned in my last blog about the ongoing police operations going on in my village.

On Thursday I had another crazy drive to work which I assumed was related to the police operations.

I turned out of my suburb onto the main road only to find a half naked man gamboling down the street with a large dog in tow. He was beckoning me on, it felt like a surreal moment where I fell into a bizarre version of A Midsummer’s Night Dream and Puck was leading me to mischief. All he was missing was a flute.

Except it is not midsummer it is the start of winter and this was more of a nightmare than a dream.

It all seemed a bit suspect & then I saw some sort of reflective barricade placed across the road which turns up by the African taxi rank. I did not know if it was placed there by the police or criminals so I did a quick U-turn and went a different route where I found Public Order Police (POP) vehicles parked with flashing lights at every round about.

They blocked the roundabout by the police station with taxis and large stones.

Photo credit for the above images: Ashraf Hendricks.

I later saw this post by Ashraf Hendricks showing the POP shooting tear gas to disperse the protesters.

And then this post showing the police advancing onto the main road to push back the protesters.

Later I discovered on Twitter that Taxi drivers affiliated to Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) are staging a demonstration in Hout Bay main road. This protest is to do with the local taxi drivers fighting over routes. This dispute was allegedly resolved and agreement reached, but it would appear someone forgot to send that memo to Hout Bay.  They say The Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations  (CODETA) has been allowed to operate on their routes illegally.

Eventually I saw that the protesters had been dispersed but things were still tense.

This News article gives more info on the background. There is a bitter history between the parties involved, healing and forgiveness is required. So far at least 13 people have died in the taxi wars.

On a personal front, I have been practicing the songs for the upcoming Spirit Dance to Heal the Earth which is scheduled on the 7th of July.

It is such a different sound to hear the songs sung with a strong male voice as most of our drummers are women.

The cold rainy weather has continued with our dams filling up with precious rainfall. We have been building cozy fires every evening.

I finally got some money in this week so we could loosen up a bit on our tight budget. In fact we splurged on takeaways from Spiro’s on the very night it hit my account.

Thursday night Norm cooked and we finished off the beef stew / goulash he made on Tuesday by using it to top off some low carb noodles. He fried some chopped cabbage and baby zucchini to accompany it.

The week rattled by with busy days full of meetings and cozy nights at home, the weather making us want to bunker down and stay in. On Friday we did just that, we again had a takeaway for dinner. I had chicken schnitzel and linguine with Napoletana sauce from Posticino’s.

Saturday was busy. We went for breakfast at La Cuccina. They were out of hollandaise which forced me to be adventurous and veer away from my usual order. I had The Tyson. You can have it as an omelette or as a wrap) Scrambled eggs, spring onion, mature cheddar, bacon, fresh chilli a tomato, HP and tabasco sauce. There is also a Veg option — you just take out the bacon and add mushrooms. It is R86.

Norm had his fave, Scrambled Eggs and bacon.

After breakfast Norm settled the bill and headed home and I drove into the CBD for a hair appointment at Pause.

It is such a spacious airy venue, there is nothing worse than having clients and staff all crammed together in a tiny salon, but the high ceilings at Pause make the place feel vast. The energy is nice and light and the tall windows bring in lots of light.

Saturday vibes. #wedohair #youdoyou #capetownsalon

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While the color on my hair was setting I had an appointment for a foot massage. There are treatment rooms at the back and they do lots of different therapies and treatments.

I was quite amused by the therapist talking about the drought and “Dojo Tanks”. Bless. I think she meant JoJo tanks. 🤭😂 I just let her whitter on, shut my eyes and relaxed.

My feet and legs felt wonderful afterwards, then when my hair was rinsed, I had a treatment and received a scalp and shoulder massage from Thembi which was just perfect, I felt relaxed top to toe!

I traipsed across town to my car in the drizzly rain afterwards and headed home for the afternoon. Then about 6:30pm Norm and I bundled up and headed back into the city yet again for my second time that day.

We had booked to see Ann Jangle at Cafe Roux our fave music venue.

I subscribe to their upcoming events notifications and I always read the description of the artists advertised to narrow down the choices, then try and find videos of performances to decide who we want to see. I loved all of the videos I could find for Ann.

We enjoy the venue, the vibe and the staff at Cafe Roux so it seemed an easy decision to make.

The rain stopped for our walk across the city, but it was bitterly cold. We settled into our fave table and ordered a drink while deciding what to eat.

Norm ordered the butternut ravioli and I had the bacon, feta and avo pizza. I forgot to snap a pic of either. They were both very tasty, however midway through mine I bit down on something hard and my tooth almost cracked. I fished out a piece of hard plastic, the type that snaps off of a feta container lid. We tried in vain to get the attention of any member of staff. Eventually after being acknowledged by the staff several times yet no one coming near, a waiter came to us. I told him about the plastic and he apologized and called over Mr T who was the manager on duty. He offered to replace my pizza but as I had eaten half of it by then I told him not to bother. He said he would comp the pizza and apologized again and went to get drinks for us. While he was gone I found yet another piece of plastic in my pizza topping. It made me feel quite ill but the manager handled it well, so fair play to him.

At 8.30 Ann Jangle came onstage with her band.

We had fabulous seats and a wonderful view. The trio at the table next to us however had been drinking all day and were very talkative throughout the evening and the man could not keep still, he kept kept invading my personal space, he sat on my jacket, put his jacket in my lap, elbowed me in the ribs and almost knocked me out while clapping maniacally. He had no clue about personal space. I tried to not lose it with the eejit. I silently imagined breaking my glass and impaling him on it.

But I’m a lady.

*cough*

Ann’s voice was stunning. She had a very powerful voice and unbelievable range, she could sound almost girly, dreamlike and tender, then switch to this deep, strong voice so easily. The childlike quality does not come through in her video recordings that I found. I loved that she had only 4 people on stage, it kept her voice as the focal point. I really enjoyed her, she is so talented.

We got home late and as a result had a long lie in bed this morning. When we got up Norm started a roaring fire and made us breakfast.

It was delicious.

I’ve been enjoying the sounds of the crazy storm outside and being grateful for the rain and my warm home.

I’m very blessed.

Until next time.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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

Letting Go

What is it about us that makes us self-sabotage? Even though we know how great we feel when we give up our vices or lose weight or eat healthy, why do we not adhere to these best laid plans? Is it lack of will power? Lack of self worth? Or is it just chemistry? When you eat sugar, you crave sugar. If you smoke a cigarette it makes you crave another one. These actions set up a cycle of dependency within our bodies.

I feel permanently exhausted lately. I do not sleep very much but I know that part of this is due to diet, based on how wonderful I felt when we were on 100% Banting. However getting back on track once we have drifted is proving to be a challenge for us both. Even Norm is slipping and he was always so stalwart that it helped keep me focused on healthy goals.

A poor diet also creates horrendous mood swings for me. (As if menopause didn’t throw in enough of those hurdles for me to surmount.) As a result I was a cow all weekend. The problem is, even when I know I am being a cow, there is nothing I seem to be able to do to snap me out of my cow-ness.

Then I go into a mental state of such anxiety thinking about why my behaviour is so horrid, maybe I am depressed? If not, then why do I feel so low all of the time, when I have so many amazing things to be happy about?

And then I go into a spin of anxiety about my mental health. I wonder if once a person has been diagnosed with mental health issues whether this then triggers it’s own issues? My mental health has been relatively stable since I moved back to South Africa, bar a few blips triggered by events such as our home invasion.

And then I wonder am I just thinking too much? The curse of the Virgo, we over analyse every event, every word and every action.

Anyway. Virgos.

On Friday, Norm had managed to sell our old couch and an exercise bike we had been wanting to get rid of for ages. We were rather short on cash due to paying to ship over the few items my mother had given me as well as buying the ‘new’ 2nd hand sofa, so I was happy we had cash to get us through until month end.

We had a quiet weekend. On Friday night Josh was home with us and we ordered take aways from Posticino and just had a quiet evening at home.

Josh was racing on Saturday so he was up and out of the house at dawn. Norm and I lay in bed until 8 when the dogs insisted on their breakfast. I had a hair appointment in the city and Norm and I decided to go for brunch before I left so we popped into La Cuccina.

As it was a last minute plan, Norm did not have time to shave. I love him with facial hair but he says it itches so it never lasts long.

❤️

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Phwaor.

I ordered my usual Eggs Benedict.

Norm ordered scrambled eggs and bacon. They make their own bread and he was unable to resist those carbs. I ordered my bacon well done and poor Norm also got his well done even though he likes his still oinking.

Afterwards I headed into the city to the hairdresser. I love the vibe at the new salon Pause, and I thought about how many different salons in how many different places that I faithfully trekked to just to continue with Leandra and how happy for her I am that she now has her own salon and shops. She is such a lovely hard working girl and I wish her every success with both.

After my appointment I headed home and relaxed outside by the pool for a while, tossing Pixie’s ball to keep her amused.

Pixie and the Pool Pipe #WeirdBandNames

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That evening we decided to go out for dinner and we went to the local pub, however it was rammed as there were several sports games on (she says vaguely) so we did an about face and headed back out again as soon as we saw how noisy and crowded it was.

We decided to head up to Constantia for a change and went to Primi. It was a very dark night, despite there being an almost full moon, it was difficult to see when traveling through the poorly lit wooded areas.

We eventually made it there and settled in and ordered a drink and some food. We got some of their delicious zucchini fries.

Zucchini fries

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I chose the Recco Classico pasta which was described as “A curry-infused Napoletana with garlic and fresh chilli, rounded off with cream and garnished with fresh coriander.” They serve it in 2 sizes. I chose the smaller option. The price for plain pasta was either 65 / 80, or With Chicken it was 80/ 95 or With Prawns it was 115 / 155. I chose to add prawns.

When my dish arrived it looked very yummy and I took a big bite of prawn and pasta but quickly had to spit it out as the prawns were still in their shells. I had to fish each prawn out of the sauce and de-shell it resulting in a right mess and burnt fingers. It also meant the first bite of prawn was pretty much lost in spitting it out. There were only 4 prawns in the dish which meant I paid an extra R50 for very little prawniness.

But the sauce was delicious.

Shortly after eating I had some sort of allergic attack and could not stop sneezing and my throat felt swollen. The only things I know I am allergic to is dust or iodine so it could have been the prawns but I suspect it was dust. My eyes were watering like mad so we did not hang about and we headed back to Hout Bay after we ate. Once home I took an antihistamine which seemed to calm things down but my throat still felt very swollen.

The next day I had planned on attending a sweat lodge but as I had felt so rubbish the night before I was worried it might be the beginnings of a cold and as I was so exhausted I decided I needed a pajama day and I settled in to have a day of rest.

I was a bit sad as I was looking forward to lodge. The weekend before last we had our drumming practice on Sunday at Gerri’s and afterwards many of us stayed to help build a new sweat lodge. Gerri had gotten lots of wattle from Greyton and had been soaking it in the pool to keep it moist.

Soaking the wattle

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The wattle all got classified by size and straightness.

Next we dug 8 holes and 2 poles for each of the 4 directions were placed on opposite sides of the circle and these became the lodge entrances. These would form the ‘doors’ to the lodge.

Then the wattle were bent inwards towards the centre of the circle.

This is quite physical and takes hours to finish. I was unable to stay til the end but Gerri sent a pic of it once it was complete.

When they want to hold the lodge they just cover the structure with thick blankets and this keeps the heat in.

So I was a bit sad I could not christen the lodge, but I have to remember to allow rest time and I feel as if I have been non-stop for months. The weekend before last was busy end to end.

Last weekend on Friday after work we had a team lunch at Col’Cacchio near our offices.

Note my colleague trying to garrot me with his dinner knife.

Charming.

The next morning Norm and I were up and out early as we took Navajo to see the doggy chiro that treats Pixie. As we could not leave little Panda home alone we took all three of them.

Navajo was a bit of a nightmare. He is not good with new situations and he was like a large, slavering bull in a china shop. David the chiro did not seem too sure of him and Norm had to hold Nav tight to stop him nipping David. Eventually David managed to treat Nav and we quickly scarpered out of there. We have put Nav on another dose of strong anti-inflammatory meds and will see if his ankle calms down. It is worrying as it has been months and he is still limping. David is worried his muscles will atrophy.

That night Norm and I had gone to Papino’s for dinner and as mentioned I was busy at the lodge until late on Sunday so I felt pretty knackered when Monday rolled around.

This Saturday I had woken to news that my cousin Mona’s husband of 25 years had passed away. It was their 25th wedding anniversary on the previous Wednesday and he died on his actual birthday.

Mona and I were raised like sisters as we both spent a lot of time at our grandmother’s house. I lived next door to my Gran and Mona lived with her father and siblings a few miles away. Mona’s mother Avene was my mother’s sister and she had died when her 3 children were tiny.

Mona was raised in a Christian church-going family, however my family never attended church, in fact my father was agnostic.

I was the naughty cousin once we got to be teens, I was partying, exploring tarot cards, Ouija boards and all sorts of things and I remember once involving Mona in my Ouija board antics and she freaked out and crossed herself and ran. Mona has maintained her life long bond with the church.

I never felt close to Christianity, however this did not stop Mona and I from being ‘sisters’. We may have drifted apart many times but we never stopped loving each other, so my heart is breaking for her and her daughter Stephanie. Stephanie was from Mona’s first marriage but was quite young when Mona remarried and so she saw Steve as a second father. As I have lived outside of the US for almost 30 years I had only met Steve once or twice but according to everyone who did know him he was a lovely man.

I pray that Mona and Steve’s loved ones all find the strength they need to get through this.

I am going to focus on changing my perspective, and yes I know I’ve said that before. I read in this post that “Happiness is accepting what we don’t control — which is everything outside of ourselves — and investing in what we do control, which is everything inside us.” Control is a huge issue for me, so I am still having challenges with that it seems. Maybe this is a ongoing life lesson…….letting go of trying to control everything so that I can find my own peace and be happy?

Thank you for reading and if you can spare a prayer for Mona and Stephanie I would be most appreciative.

Until next time, kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Touched by an Angel

One more sleep.

That is, there is only one more sleep until my darling hubby is waiting eagerly at the Cape Town airport for collection.

All I can say is phew. I would say more but kids might be reading.

Managing a home as well as starting a new client and new project has almost done me in. Thank goodness we don’t also have small children, I wonder how single moms cope. Hats off to them. We have so much pressure just as women in general. Waxing and coloring and styling and making up. Feck it can be hard work. Add to that keeping a house functioning and it is a lot to keep juggled. It’s like a finely tuned machine, I used a calendar with color coded keys for each person, the domestic, the gardener, the pool man, the dog food delivery man, the house sitter and dog walker. If one factor shifted it all went awry. For example, Josh was planning on staying in Mossell Bay from Good Friday until the following Thursday so I had booked Vanessa a few nights to stay over and help me, but then Josh had to come back early for work so I ended up having all three of us here but that worked out ok. Luckily we had the new bed for Vanessa.

But then as I had originally cancelled Vanessa from Easter weekend I was on my own on Tuesday morning when I started my new project at our new client site. I had told our cleaner when she was here in person the previous week that I was starting a new project and was supposed to be in an 8am meeting and I also sent an SMS the day before to remind her that I had to leave by 7:30 at the latest and if she wasn’t there I could not wait. I was ready by 7 but there was no sign of her by 7:30 and when I rang her phone was off. Often when she goes to the Eastern Cape she is late coming back to Cape Town so I assumed she was not back and I left a voicemail and sent a text message to say I had to go to work. As she wasn’t here our gardener could not get in to work later at 9 when he arrived. It also meant the dogs were on their own all day. On the days when no one was going to be at home, I booked Vanessa who popped in to let the dogs out for a wander and a wee and filled their water bowls.

I had a meeting with a colleague on Monday even though it was a public holiday just to prep me for Tuesday but it was still exhausting sitting in workshops most of Tuesday. I left as soon as I could and raced back feeling so bad that Navajo was inside unable to go to the toilet from that morning but he did so well bless him.

We could not get our ID badges which meant I could not even go for a wee on my own, eventually that was sorted and yesterday I got access to the WiFi and network. Those niggly little details make such a difference when you get on boarded to a project. It’s lovely being in the city Centre with so many choices of food and a nice coffee place across the road. I’ve mostly eaten at Now Now which has a really great menu and delicious food and a few Banting choices. I have a coffee there every morning and usually my lunch is there too as it’s across the street and I don’t have time to faff about.

I had this Banting dish for lunch Tuesday, it has cauliflower mash topped with spicy chicken, sour cream and sliced almonds. Yum.

Peri Chicken Pot 👍🏼

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Josh and I were surviving off of OrderIn. This went fine most nights but one evening we ordered burgers from The Kitchen Takeaway and had a major drama. The order got stuck in the app. Eventually I noticed that it had been a long time since I placed the order and I had not had an SMS so I checked the app to make sure the order had gone through and noticed it had not been completely processed. I rang the call centre (I won’t call it a ‘helpdesk’ as it certainly NOT that) and after sitting on the phone in a queue for 5 minutes someone finally answered and when I asked her about the status of my order she then put me on hold and disappeared for ages, she then came back to say that the ‘restaurant had refused the order’ and when I asked her why she said she had to check ‘with a colleague’. She then put me on hold again. After another 5 minutes listening to an annoying call centre message she comes back to say that the restaurant was missing an item we ordered and had cancelled the order. I told her that we only ordered burgers – how many ingredients could be missing?! This sounded rather unlikely.

Josh had subsequently rang the restaurant on his mobile who told us that A) they had not refused the order as they had not received the order and that B) there were no missing ingredients, they had all that we asked for. This can only lead me to the conclusion that the call centre agent was not being truthful. This has happened before where OrderIn agents blamed the restaurant for the issues in delivery and when I rang the restaurant they told me that the story I was given by the call centre agents is not true. They are obviously told never to admit a glitch on the app however the damage that they can do to a restaurant’s reputation can be terrible.

Petrol went up this week and I missed that memo. By the time I got the message I was home and in my PJs and not a chance was I moving. It is already taking twice the petrol driving up the mountain now that I drive the coast road.

I was presenting very tedious information to the client in workshops twice this week and both days I had such a sore tummy. Presenting stresses me out especially when I have not written the documents myself. I hate surprises. But both days went well and I have my rules confirmed. I’ll package for sign off next week.

Driving out of the city yesterday a car stalled at the traffic light in front of me. The large truck behind me got annoyed at the delay & overtook the queue of traffic & drove around us & cut in front to turn left at the same time the poor dude got his car to start resulting in a major collision right in front of me. It was rather shocking and loud but no one was badly injured. I was then starting to shift into victim mode and think “why me? Why are all of these stressful things happening to me?” And then I pulled myself up for languishing in egotistic self pity. I needed to shift my focus and say Thank You! Thank you spirit guides and protectors and ancestors for keeping me safe in that accident. Thank you for a job. Thank you for a job where I get to talk to people all day about a topic I love, data and data quality. How lucky am I that I get paid to write, even if I am writing technical approach documents, at least I am doing something I love to do and getting paid a cracking good salary to do so.

I need to refocus. Maybe being without Norm has made me more appreciative of what I have. I just know I can’t wait for him to get home and I’m feeling renewed in how I am approaching this project. Life is good. I’m a lucky Kitten. I just need to focus on those positives and keep myself in gratitude mode.

This morning I was up early and took Pixie to the doggy chiropractor. We were a bit early so we canoodled in the car.

I put a ham in to bake when I got back.

I baked a gammon ❤️

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I then popped out to Spar and bought some veggies so I will do roast butternut and cauliflower, corn on the cob and serve those with the ham.

I’ve just been chilling outside with the dogs and relaxing. Feeling blessed to have this view.

And feeling pleased the plants I repotted are thriving.

The view from my happy place ❤️😍

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Enjoy your weekend and until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo