The Path of Peace

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

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

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

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

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

It was rather delicious if I say so myself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our friend Delia was there as well.

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

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

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

I also had the prawn croquettes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We had sushi for dinner from K1.

It was so yummy.

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

Either way it will be what it will be!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

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Elasticity

Relationships change, just like people change. I know that I have definitely changed as it has been over 35 years since I left the south.

As much as I had been dreading the trip here, it was long but uneventful. We flew from Cape Town to Doha, had a 8 hour layover in Doha and then took a second flight from Doha into Atlanta. It was about 33 hours of travel in total. My cousin Brent was kind enough to accompany Mom on the drive from North Georgia to Atlanta airport to pick us up as Mom was ill.

Mom’s new home is so lovely.

She has such beautiful decorations for Christmas.

Her tree is so pretty too.

Mom’s cat Irie is a very spoiled demanding kitty.

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It was so nice to wake up at my Mom’s house on Christmas. She has been so generous with both Norm and I.

She gave me a lovely black wool cardigan and two new pairs of boots.

Norm got a couple of lovely new tops and a puffer vest.

(Excuse his ‘just got out of bed’ hair.)

The kids and I gave Mom a lovely aquamarine bracelet.

Christmas Day was spent at my Uncle Joe’s home in a suburb of Chattanooga.

It’s on a large plot which is right on the Tennessee River.

Joe’s son Brent, his lovely wife Kelly and his cute and funny daughters were there for lunch as well as my uncle Harley. Several of my cousins and other family members popped in.

My cousin Mona and I grew up together and call each other sister. It was so special to see her.

Norm and I had a lovely day.

One afternoon Norm and I went for a walk around Mom’s new estate. There is a pond behind her house.

There is a little clubhouse that residents can use.

It was brisk with cold and on our way home we got caught in the rain.

One thing about returning to your childhood home is that you want to experience the foods you cannot get wherever you live. One of those on my list was good old southern BBQ. We went to Bailey’s BBQ which is a large metal shed type structure which you wouldn’t even notice if you weren’t looking for it. But the food was delicious.

Mom and I both enjoyed our food.

My uncle Joe joined us.

One night we went to the Home Plate Grill which is a small diner in the centre of Ringgold. I ordered the Shrimp Plate which comes with hush puppies and 3 sides. I chose fries, fried okra and pinto beans.

After dinner that evening Mom and I dropped Norm off at the house and went to Chattanooga to the mall. There are loads of sales on and Mom bought me 3 beautiful bras.

I usually buy my bras from the grocery store and guess at the size, so Mom is trying to class me up a bit. She had them measure me and I had to try on several designs to find the perfect fit. Living in Africa has lowered my standards as decent bras are incredibly expensive there. I’m so happy with my fancy new bras.

When we left the bra shop it was bucketing rain and Mom and I got soaked going to the next shop.

Mom also bought me some plain black trousers for work. She has given me a stack of her clothes which are like new. Luckily my suitcase was mostly empty on the way over here.

Mom hasn’t been feeling well so I have been cooking breakfast and tidying up around the house. At first I had fallen into a pattern of waking at 4:30am and then being unable to go back to sleep. I forced myself to lie in bed until 5 and then I would move to the couch so as to not disturb Norm. As the week has gone on I have managed to sleep a bit later each day and this morning slept til 7am.

I sit quietly on my phone playing games and Facebooking until everyone else wakes up around 8 or so then I make a proper southern breakfast of eggs and sausage, country ham or bacon. Mom has to make the biscuits if we have them as that is beyond my skill set. Mostly I just made toast or English muffins.

I have been trying to keep things tidy whereas normally I would have just taken for granted that Mom would look after us all. This trip I see how my Mom has slowed down, I see how frail she sometimes seems and I want to look after her. At what point does the caregiver become the one who needs care given? I wish I lived closer to her.

On Friday we were supposed to go on a road trip across the mountain but the weather was abysmal as it was pouring with rain and several areas ended up flooded. We decided to have a lazy pajama day and we stayed home and relaxed. That night we went searching for a Mexican restaurant and chose Tres Amigos near my Mom’s house.

I ordered a combo plate with a taco, tostado and an enchilada.

It was yummy. I really miss proper Mexican food. The fact that you get complimentary chips and salsa is fabulous and the idea of refillable drinks is also unheard of in SA.

Mom was kind enough to allow me to have some of my old school friends around for a visit. I did a post on Facebook and tagged lots of people whom I would be happy to see and asked those who wanted to come to send a private message for the address. That way we did not compromise Mom’s security or privacy and it also meant that we had an idea of numbers for catering. We preordered a tray of sandwiches and a fruit and cheese platter from Publix and we got up early to tidy up the house and collect the food.

People arrived from 2pm. Karen is one of my oldest friends as she has been my friend since we were 5 years old. She has been married to Mike since we left high school and they still seem to be the perfect couple. Next my lovely friend Jackie arrived and then my friend Larry.

Last to arrive was my cousin Mona and her daughter Stephanie.

It was a perfect sized group for my Mom’s house.

It was so nice to see my friends and to catch up with news of other classmates. Larry brought his old annuals for us to revisit.

Some had replied to say they had other plans or were no longer living in the area. Several other people had RSVP’d that they intended to come but then cancelled due to illness.

Many people never bothered to even acknowledge my invite however. Several people whom I had sent personal messages to didn’t respond to those either. Today I rationalized that as I literally flew halfway around the world and hadn’t been home in 11 years if people are so rude as to not even respond then they are not my friend and so I culled them from Facebook and unfollowed them on Instagram. Why pretend to be friends? I’ll most likely never see them again and why allow them to be a voyeur into my life. The people I find the funniest are the men who are quite often alllll up in my inbox but did not bother to respond publicly. What are they hiding or who are they hiding from? They are all married but I tell my husband who messages me, but they are obviously being shady. I should call them out on their bullshit.

So many people around this area seem to be ill and after everyone left I also started to feel a bit achy and my throat started hurting. I went to bed early with a hope that it would go by morning but I’ve woken today feeling dreadful. Mom and Norm went to the chemist to get meds and I’m dosing up on immune boosters, vitamin C and flu meds.

We were supposed to go for lunch with my cousin Warren today but I felt too bad so we stayed home and Mom cooked dinner for us. Norm has had a bit of cabin fever I think.

Warren and his wife Anita popped around to see me tonight so at least I got to see him. He was drinking and he behaved a bit childishly and annoyed Mom and they had a row and he stomped off dramatically. The joys of the dysfunction of family.

Tomorrow we are supposed to be going to our friend Joy to spend the night and she has organized a NYE party for us so I am really hoping I feel better.

The same thing happened a few years ago when we went away for Christmas to the UK, I went down with a bug on NYE and was laid up for several days of our holiday. Obviously new bugs find me when I travel.

I’m at that point of my holiday where I start to panic that I am running out of time to do all of the things we want to do. I’ve still not bought the kids their gifts, we will do a belated Christmas when I get back to SA.

I want to go to downtown Chattanooga to see the city as I’ve heard that it has been transformed into a vibey metropolis with art galleries and restaurants. When I was a kid it was dangerous and run down so I look forward to seeing it rejuvenated. We went for a drive through the small town of Rossville where I grew up but it is so rundown and derelict. Every corner seems to be a pawn shop or second hand car lot. It made me rather sad. The little town my Mom has settled in is very sweet, it still has that charming country town feel.

I am glad Mom has settled here. She is in a lovely estate with family and old friends nearby.

It’s perfect and I’m so happy to see her happy.

I hope you all enjoy your New Year.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

High Times

It has been fabulous being off of work this week and I’ve mentally started to finally chill. Even the village energy seems relaxed and it feels like we are away somewhere exotic on holiday rather than roaming round our own town.

Tuesday was the start of my annual leave and I’m now off work until mid-January. I couldn’t have a long lie in that morning however as I had a doctor appointment in the northern suburbs and left home just after 730am to make it. Traffic was abysmal and it was pouring rain and foggy and I barely made it there for my 830am appointment.

After my appointment I collected Norm and we went to Allegria Cafe for breakfast. The tourist season has launched for sure as they were rammed! The owner was running round and keeping everything on track and we were shown to a table off in the corner. I ordered the Eggs Benedict with bacon and it was perfectly cooked.

Afterwards we had lots of errands to run and we went to RockChic to shop for my Mom. I narrowed it down to these choices and sent the pic to my Mom to choose from.

As it was the middle of the night in Georgia I decided to come back to the shop the next day to make my purchase after Mom had replied.

Norm and I did some shopping for our upcoming trip and for dinner and we headed home afterwards as Norm was busy writing his report that was due. On our way we stopped off to collect Norm’s car from the garage. The reason it broke down when we collected it last time was that the fuel gauge was broken and it had been out of petrol. They only discovered that when they dropped the fuel tank to check the fuel pump. The funny thing is I had told Norm I thought it was out of petrol and he said ‘don’t be silly there was a quarter of a tank’. Miss Witchy Pants was right. When will he learn to listen to my messages?

Never mind. At least it did not cost any additional money.

We were invited to our friends Tim and Nicola’s anniversary party that evening in Simons Town.

Nicola looked stunning as always.

Their house is directly on the beach of a nature reserve and they have an amazing view.

There were endless trays of delicious canapés making the rounds and a huge trough of bottles of wine and champagne. We met some lovely people and caught up with those we knew already. It was a beautiful warm night and we were all sitting outside on their veranda overlooking the sea. We had a great night but we were both up early the next morning and so we didn’t stay late.

Norm was busy working and I was up early and off to the city to Pause, the hair salon. I had a lovely relaxing session under the hands of the fabulous Thembi. My hairdresser Leandra snapped a pic afterwards.

Norm was in the city for a meeting and he rang after he finished to find out where I was but I had already left the city. We agreed to meet for lunch back in Hout Bay.

I went to purchase the bracelet for my Mom then walked to the pub and got a table in the beer garden.

While waiting for Norm I heard the clatter of tiny hooves on the roof and looked up hoping for a glance of Santa.

It was just a man cleaning the gutters and the magic was ruined. 🎅😂

Norm arrived and we ordered. He had his fave scotch eggs with chips.

I ordered the popcorn chicken starter with chips.

It was a stunning day and we had a leisurely meal then went to the chemist to see if I had a refill on my tranquilizer script but I did not. I prefer to use CBD oil for my anxiety but I cannot travel with that so I reverted to my script. I popped into my GP and they said they would email the script to the chemist for collection. Norm picked up something for dinner that night then met me at home.

We grilled out as it was a lovely warm night. I made a simple salad with lots of feta and Norm grilled sweet corn and fillet steaks.

Thursday morning Norm had a Skype call at 7am and I had a long lie in.

We were invited for Christmas drinks at the British High Commissioner’s residence that evening. The historic home is so exquisite and the old cape Dutch furnishings and interior are as well.

The gardens are so stunning.

I wore a dress Norman bought for me, it’s a few years old but has only been worn once before as I seldom dress up or wear short dresses.

We had a giggle trying to get a decent selfy with the cheetah in the background.

And again trying to get one with the house in the background.

There was a bar on entry and waiters were roaming around with trays of delicious canapés.

We had assumed it would be a large group attending but it was an intimate gathering of only a few dozen. The High Commissioner, Nigel, gave a speech and we all toasted to the end of 2018.

Not long after that we booked an Uber and headed off to get food in Constantia. However as we drove there I remembered that we had not taken any cash or cards as the food and drink is catered and we did not intend to go on anywhere after. Luckily we could just update our app with our home address and redirect our driver. Thank goodness we realized before we got to the restaurant, tipsy and broke.

Once home we used OrderIn to get a pizza delivered from Massimo’s as we have no food in the house at all and we had drank too much to drive.

It was delicious as always and we were happy when we toddled off to sleep full of pizza and wine.

Mom rang when we got in to say she was really sick and on antibiotics and might not be able to come to Atlanta to collect us. We looked online at our options and the bus would take an additional 4 hours on top of our 33 hour trip so we decided to rent a car for one day. Luckily Norm sleeps on planes so he should be fine to drive.

We have booked a lovely couple and their daughter to house sit and the dogs know and love them. We have also booked a dog walker to come walk them every day.

I will miss seeing my children over the holidays but I won’t miss cooking in the intense heat.

I am excited about seeing my friends and family whom I haven’t seen in so long. I will take lots of pics and share our adventures with you when I am back home.

Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful holiday celebrating whatever it is that you believe in. I hope the remainder of your year is full of love, family, good food and fun.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

When the Student is Ready

I had such a relaxing lovely weekend last weekend and this weekend has been such fun.

Last Saturday Pixie was booked into the doggy chiropractor in Noordhoek and I had expected to be up and away early but Norm was so sweet and he offered to take her for me so I had a chance to properly relax. As Lily and Josh were here it was nice as I got more time to hang out with Lily.

We  had our first load shedding in Hout Bay last weekend and we were without electricity for a few hours on Saturday night. Of course it happened at night when you cannot see to read or otherwise amuse yourself easily. Here is a link to an article about the grid shut downs that are being done by Eskom. Cape Town finally rallies and just squeezes out of the water restrictions when we get hit with electricity restrictions. Such incompetence by our government.

But you have to make the most of life. Me, Norm, Lily and Josh played 30 Seconds by the light of a few lanterns and some candles and it was actually lots of fun! Josh seldom hangs out with us as he is usually playing games online upstairs when he is here so there was that advantage too. We had a laugh. The boys played against the girls. Norm and I are very good at it seeing as we have been married so long and so we have verbal shortcuts. Lily and Josh would argue if they were on the same team so we thought the girls vs boys option the safest.

Sunday I was up and away early to go drumming at my friend Gerri’s. Gerri is the drum master and she also organised the recent Dance. She is a lovely, kind woman. She gave each of us drummers a gorgeous wee bag of sage and a smudge wand to burn it with as a year end present. How sweet? It is nice to have a portable set of smudging tools for taking with me to various places or to have with me at ceremonies.

I would like to find a container for burning it in with a closed lid and a heat free handle. Maybe I should design one.

I stayed afterwards as we had all taken a dish to share at our year end lunch for the drummers. I had stopped at Alphen Farmstall in Constantia and bought a vegetarian spinach and feta quiche as well as a melktart for dessert. It was nice to chat to everyone and hear about their experiences at the dance. We also discussed Shamanism and the Red Road and discovered that several of us wish to study The Path of the White Wolf.

Here is a clip of the author, Grandmother Robin discussing it.

Gerri has already studied the Path of the White Wolf years ago with Grandmother Robin but she was saying that she would like to do it all again. I have wanted to do the course since I first met Gerri and discovered it, but I have not had the money or the time to commit to it. I have decided that I will send my desire out to the Universe and if it is meant to be, then the doors will open to allow it to happen. When it is meant to be, it will be.

I am considering giving up my gaming addiction to Covet Fashion as that consumes hours of my day. I could better spend that time enriching my life and proceeding on my spiritual journey. I feel that my Grandmothers have been pushing me towards this learning and I have found my teachers. I hope that it becomes possible for me to study the teachings of Grandmother Robin.

When I was packing up my car to go to drumming I dropped my iPhone and the screen shattered.

I was so upset because as a consultant I must have my phone.

Lily and Josh were out and so Norm and I just got a Chinese takeaway from Blue Lotus for dinner as I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

I had prawn dim sum to start.

For my main I had crispy chili chicken with noodles.

It was all very delicious indeed.

The kids arrived home from Josh’s prize giving ceremony just after we ate but they had already eaten at the track. We were all a bit knackered and so Josh played games and the rest of us watched a bit of telly.

On Sunday afternoon we heard of a rescue operation underway on Chapman’s Peak where it seemed that a woman had fallen over the cliffs. There was limited information via the radio to know whether it was a suicide or an accident. The following day we heard that the woman had died. It seems she died while taking a selfy, the article says she was trying to make it look as if she was jumping over the setting sun. She and her husband climbed over the railing onto the crumbly mountain. Her husband risked his life trying to get to her after she fell. It was her 31st birthday. It is such a tragedy for her loved ones and a sad loss of a life.

Monday I was back at work and Lily and Josh drove back home to Mossel Bay.

I had such a crap day at work on both Monday and Tuesday as I’m trying to upgrade my ancient laptop’s Operating System. It did not go smoothly and it was stressing me out. To be honest I am not bothered by the old operating system. My actual issue is that my MS PowerPoint decided to have a fatal error and I cannot open any presentations people send. I can open my own, but nothing emailed to me. As a consultant I do a lot of presentations. My colleague decided that I should update to Windows 10 and that required updating my operating system too apparently.

It led to a cluster feck of chaos. I spent several days staring at various updates happening on my screen or on the phone to the Helpdesk.

It did my head in. It was all for nowt as my laptop refused. I do not know how to resolve it without wiping my machine and doing a completely new install.

Now one of my clients has messed up my email address and I cannot receive email and have to walk over to their offices this Monday. I’ve also got to go to UCT to present to them in the afternoon so it’s going to be a busy day,

I left work at 2pm last Monday to go to the phone shop to get a new phone. I got a sexy new red iPhone XR. I’m ever so chuffed but it is hard to get used to. It took ages for me to figure out how to do a screen grab! (OK I admit that I did not figure it out I had to google it.)

It’s not the latest model but it’s what I can afford and more importantly it was in stock and got me up and online quickest. We are trying to decide whether to sell my broken screened old iPhone as is, fix it and let Norm use it, or fix it and sell it. I could maybe get a couple of grand to go towards my credit card debt.

After my phone was sorted we popped over to collect my new contact lenses and then stopped at Woolies and shopped for a few days food supplies.

For dinner last Monday night I made a Mexican salad: spicy mince on baby gem lettuce leaves, topped with half an avo, cheddar cheese, salsa & fromage frais.

It was HFLC as well as yummy but the best thing about this dish is it takes very little time to prepare and I always have some left over for my lunch the following day. As we did not do taco shells or tortillas it was low carb.

When I came home on Tuesday the garage door was open, the back gate was flapping in the wind and Norm was not answering his phone. I carefully pulled into the garage and Norm appeared from the back of the house in a bit of a state. There was load shedding all afternoon and he had managed to lock himself out of the house. Navajo was locked IN the house and he was freaking out. We have now discovered that our front door key only works from the inside! For some odd reason it does not work from the outside. Unfortunately Norm only discovered this when he got home from his meeting and could not get back in. As there was no electricity he had also been unable to cook Mzudumo lunch or conduct his Skype meetings or even charge his flat mobile. It was a stressful day for him bless him.

When we got in Norm went off to make the calls he missed and so I decided to cook again and it wasn’t totally low carb as we had fish cakes which had a wee bit of potato in them. I made roasted pumpkin, stir fried vegetables and coleslaw to go with them.

On Wednesday there was load shedding again. It was from 6-8.30 that night. I fried red cabbage and boiled sweet potatoes on my gas cooker and Norm cooked a pork roast and mushrooms outside on the gas grill. Norm made buttery mash from the boiled sweet potatoes.

Thursday I had a meeting at UCT planned but we ended up moving that out and instead ended up missioning out to Stellenbosch for a 10am meeting. We didn’t know what the traffic would be like and it’s a long drive so we left the city in plenty of time and arrived at 9.30. We walked over to a little coffee shop across the road from the client’s office. They told us it was load shedding so they had no electricity and couldn’t make a coffee, only an iced coffee. We ordered an iced coffee and sat outside. The coffee was bitter and dreadful and as I had just had a coffee on the drive up I felt a bit twitchy after drinking another. We walked over to the client offices to meet our MD and he told us that the meeting was moved to 11.30 and we were still an hour and a half early. We used that time to catch up with the tool vendor that we are partnering with for the project. Then we had a 2 hour requirement gathering workshop followed by an hours drive back to my car and then I had another 45 minutes drive to my home. We will spend the next week putting together the proposal and will see if it gets a foothold.

If that project takes off I will not be happy to drive out there every day!

On our way back to Cape Town we were starving so we stopped at a roadside burger joint. They had a really cool bright yellow truck parked in the window.

The food was mediocre but we were so hungry we wolfed down our lunches and were quickly heading back towards Cape Town.

Caitlin came around for dinner on Thursday night. It was lovely to see her. I seem to see my closest child the least!

We had an easy night in on Friday as we were both pretty tired. We got takeaways from the local Indian food restaurant The Indian Oven.

Saturday I was invited to a ladies only wine and cheese event for lunch to celebrate my friend Sharon’s 50th birthday at Buitenverwachting vineyards. It is only a few minutes away from our home. First I decided I should be sensible and line my stomach so I did not get totally paralytic. Wine is not my friend and there were loads of women I had not met going to be there and I was full of social anxiety. Second, I also needed to get Sharon a little gift and I could do both if Norm and I went to Deli Delish as I could pop next door to The Barn to shop for a gift.

We got a sunny table in the corner and ordered and then I popped next door to look at their offerings and as I walk out I run into Sharon going to collect her birthday cake!

We said a quick “hello, see you later” and carried on with our individual missions. I loved so many things in The Barn Village Store and I found a lovely necklace, an amethyst little crystal gem in a silver holder.

I went back to Deli Delish just as my coffee arrived and our breakfast came shortly after. I had a small breakfast, 2 fried eggs, bacon and a piece of whole-wheat toast. Norm had the Eggs Benedict. It is a low carb version with black mushrooms. I was distracted by my shopping expedition and forgot to take a pic of our food and I was distracted by our food and forgot to take a picture of the gift I bought! Shocking. 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

After we ate we went back to the house so I could put on my face and dress. I wore a dress I had bought when we went to the UK a few years ago but I have only worn it once if that. I adore polka dots.

Norm drove me to the wine farm and dropped me. It was a lovely warm day after an overcast drizzly morning. The venue is lovely. I was engrossed in talking and quaffing wine and did not take a pic but here is one I found on IG. Sharing is caring right?

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🍇>🍷

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They served several large wooden boards with fresh crispy bread, a variety of different types of cheese, red pepper pate, olive tapenade, trout pate, butter, olives and various other tasty bits.

The wine on offer was their buiten blanc and a rose and many, many bottles of both were consumed! There was a wonderful group of women there, I met some women I hope to add to my own circle of friends. I really connected with several of them.

Sharon’s gorgeous kids were there and also sampled the yummy cake which was both vegan and Banting.

It was a really lovely day. It reinforced what Sharon said to me about my feeling anxious but still showing up- “braving always brings big rewards”. I think this should become my new mantra.

It was wonderful to see Sharon so happy.

When Sharon made her speech she talked about the tie that bound all of us women together: we are all her spirit sisters, tied together through our common stories of survival and adversity. Most of us have survived things that might destroy many other people. But yet, despite those challenges, in the words of Maya Angelou, “…..still I rise.” We are all strong, survivors.

I went away feeling uplifted by female energy. And rather tipsy from 6 hours of drinking!

Norm collected me and took me home and fed me and looked after me. I feel so blessed by my life.

Today he made me coffee in bed and when we finally got up he made me a HFLC breakfast of bacon, cheesy scrambled eggs and avocado.

I’m having a quiet day today, Norm is working and I’m doing life admin.

I hope you have all had a good weekend and I hope you enjoy what is left of it.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

The Product of our Environment

I had to get up very early last Saturday to take Norm to the airport for his flight to Johannesburg. I have not been feeling great for the last few weeks, I seem to have had a long running tummy bug so I spent the day languishing on the sofa with terrible stomach cramps.

I was due to collect him at 6pm that same evening but then his flight was delayed when they had an issue with the plane. He asked me to come later but as I can’t see at night it meant still going to the airport early while still light and just hanging out. Eventually he landed and we set off towards the city. Parking for an hour was R40 but an Uber home would have been around R200 so it was worth the mission.

By the time we headed off to find dinner it was almost 9pm and we were starving. We decided to go to Constantia as parking is easy and it was less hassle. Mugg and Bean were closing so we went to Primi Piatti.

Norm ordered the Chicken Campagnola “Chicken scallops sautéed in garlic, mustard, mushrooms, rosemary, parsley, cream and white wine. Served with linguine and roasted vegetables.” But instead of pasta he had it with zucchini fries. I was not feeling that hungry so I had “Sylvia’s Crispy Chicken Livers” which is described as crispy chicken livers sautéed with onion, garlic, fresh chilli and lemon. It is only R55 as it is a starter portion and I had it with fries.

We were both tired and my tummy was very crampy so we headed home. We did not want to go straight to bed and started a new show called ‘Sick Note‘ starring the ginger lad from Harry Potter.

It is absolutely bizarre. Funny, but in a dark off kilter way. Don Johnson is also in it and he plays the stereotypical obnoxious American.

I’ll give it 3.5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

On Sunday we woke to a cooler day thanks to the cloudy weather.

I still had a very sore tummy so I cuddled up with a blanket and a cup of tea and put on the Netflix movie Christmas Chronicles just because I love Kurt Russell.

If you have kids this movie is a must see! Even if you don’t but you enjoy holiday feel good movies it is a good one. Even if you only watch it to see Kurt sex up Santa.

I give Christmas Chronicles a full on 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m starting to have anxiety about the trip we are making to the USA at year end. I stress about the fact I’m hurtling through the air, about negotiating through all of those people, the public toilets, the discomfort, the 33 hours of travel time and about not seeing my children for Christmas and all of the unknowns around travel instead of being pleased I get to go and see my Mom.

I stress about wanting to see some of my childhood friends and wondering do they want to see me? My politics and religious beliefs are diametrically opposed to most of the people who grew up in the predominantly right wing south.

I feel anxiety because I am living in the future and even in the past. I know that my anxiety is due to not being present and mindful, so why is it such a challenge for me to shut out that noise? If I know that is my cure, why not drink the medicine? It is not that easy to grab your mind by the scruff of the neck and yank it back to the present.

But that is my goal.

Norm helped me come up with a way to shift my focus once there and I have to interact with Trump supporters. I will just try and understand that it is because they spent their lives in this little microcosm so they have not been shaped by the world’s opinions. Their view is narrow as the exposure in their lives has been narrow. I am not in any way implying that their lives may not have been rich or worthwhile. The narrowness could be a chasm, but that does not change its breadth.

After all, we are the product of our environment and if our environment is limited then so are our experiences.

Last week flew by due to trying to wrap up our project at UCT. We handed in our deliverables after they went through a few rounds of peer and stakeholder reviews. I think we did a good job and now we hope we get called back to implement our design.

Norm cooked on Monday and made pork chops, roast veg and salad.

It was yummy and he made enough for my lunch on Tuesday. Tuesday he was working and did not have a chance to shop so for dinner that evening he just grabbed a take away from Posticino. Norm loves it at this venue as he can get food which is mostly low carb despite it being an Italian restaurant.

On Wednesday we were back at our main office and off the client site. That night we had plans to meet our friends Alison and Andy for dinner after work and we met up at Papino’s. We love the food at Papino’s. The decor is a bit like a ski chalet, all wooden benches and simple styling. You do not go for the decor, you go for the food and the friendly staff. Norm and I were the first to arrive and tried to get a selfy but the sun behind us made it a bit awkward.

Andy and Alison arrived right on time and we all settled in with a drink and caught up with each other’s news as we had not seen each other in a while. They are such lovely people.

We all ordered a steak, this is what Norm and I always choose at Papino’s. Myself, Alison and Norm all had the Hollandse Biefstuk.  I had mine with Portuguese style ‘chips’ and it comes with steamed veggies.

My steak was perfectly cooked and the sauce was divine. We had a lovely evening and headed home just after 10.

The next day I had no leftovers for work so I used OrderIn to get food from Tortilla Modern Mexican.

I chose the Burrito Bowl @ R58.00 & I upsized it to regular (for an extra R10.00) & chose the Barbacoa Braised Beef as my protein choice, the Asada Sauce, and for the toppings I chose a ‘Little Bit Of Everything’. Next time I will omit the coriander rice as I do not think it enhances it and it adds carbs. It was delicious though and I was very happy with my choice.

Last night Norm cooked for us and made chicken sausages, fried sliced mushrooms, roasted some veggies and made low carb coleslaw. It was healthy and yummy.

Today we did another document walk through with the client, this time the technical design. I was only scribing rather than facilitating so it was not as stressful. We finished early and so I knocked off work at 3pm which is a great way to kick off the weekend. Lily and Josh are here for the weekend and it is so nice to see them both. Josh is racing this weekend so they will be out and about for most of the time but I still get to see their lovely faces.

Pixie is at the chiro in the morning so that means an early morning trip out to Noordhoek. Sunday I have drumming practice and we are having a year end lunch for the drummers and I am looking forward to hearing from everyone about how the recent Dance To Heal The Earth went.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

Grateful

I had a bit of an emotional, sad slump recently and to try and redirect my thinking in a more positive direction I decided to do a “30 days of Gratitude” exercise by doing a daily post on Facebook of some of the many reasons I have to be grateful. I’ve done this before (that was another blog Jerry) but it was long ago. It does help to focus your attention on your blessings.

I did not think in advance about what I would express my gratitude for, it is not like a “hierarchy of needs met” list. I also hope it wasn’t like an Oscar Acceptance speech where I forgot to thank someone important. I would just briefly close my eyes and then whatever popped into my head was put on my list! I decided to capture them all so…..Tah Dahh!

Day 1: I started a new project today and in the current economic climate I’m grateful to have a job in a career I enjoy ❤️

Day 2: I am grateful for my 3 wonderful children. They are good, kind, loving, intelligent humans. Beautiful both inside & out ❤️

Day 3: I’m grateful for my lovely, handsome and kind husband who loves me just as I am ❤️

Day 4: I’m grateful for my Mom and that she is still here to know my children ❤️

Day 5: I’m grateful for our lovely, cozy home. A warm, strongly built home that withstands the crazy Cape Town weather ❤️

Side Note: this one was written on a day when the weather was insane and the wind was howling.

Day 6: I’m grateful that I’m going to have a new daughter soon ❤️

Side Note: This was posted on the day I discovered my son proposed to beautiful Amber.

Day 7: I’m grateful that I get to wake up to this view every day ❤️

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Good Morning World 🌎😘

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Day 8: I’m grateful that I have a reliable, safe car and don’t have to cope with the train & bus strikes & dramas ❤️

Day 9: I’m grateful for my health (note I said health, not fitness🤭😂) ❤️

Day 10: I’m grateful for all of the wonderful people who have been teaching me my culture but I’m especially grateful to my friend Gerri who has been so generous & loving with me on my path ❤️

Day 11: I’m grateful for my 5 animals, they all have such unique, quirky personalities ❤️

Day 12: I’m grateful for Weekends ❤️

Day 13: I’m grateful for sunny afternoons in beer gardens with friends ❤️

Day 14: I’m grateful for the beautiful but bizarre little village I live in, full of odd quirky misfits much like myself ❤️

Day 15: I’m grateful for my cousins. As an only child your cousins are often your only playmates (especially when you live miles away from anything interesting 😂) ❤️

Day 16: My timeline is full of my friends’ heartbreak & tragedy so today I’m just grateful. Oh so grateful ❤️

Day 17: I’m grateful for my psychic and empath abilities ❤️

Day 18: I’m grateful my marriage is not constrained by gender norms. Aka I am happy my husband can cook ❤️

Day 19: I’m grateful for social media. I’ve still got many friends from my MySpace days and some of my ‘real life’ Cape Town friends I first met via Twitter events. Most of the women I share my most intimate stories with on a daily basis I met via Covet Fashion groups! ❤️

Day 20: I’m grateful that I’m going to be coming to the US to see my family for Xmas & NY! ❤️

Oops I missed a day! 🙈 In that case……

Day 21: I’m grateful for the water filling our dams.❤️

Day 22: I’m grateful for the drought in that it taught us all the value of every precious drop of water!

Mni Wiconi 💦 💧❤️

Day 23: I’m grateful for my amazing bed #MemoryFoamThingysFTW ❤️

Day 24: I’m grateful for the beautiful majestic mountains around me. ❤️

Day 25: I’m grateful for the beautiful oceans that surround us.❤️

I’m so lucky that I live in such a beautiful place ❤️

Day 26: I’m grateful for the arts and artists. Actors, Dancers, Singers, painters, sculptors and all of the other people who devote their lives to creating beauty ❤️

Day 27: I’m grateful for all of those who love me ❤️

Day 28: I’m grateful my husband’s flight made it safely home (eventually) ❤️

Day 29: I’m grateful to be alive ❤️

Day 30: I’m grateful for all of my Ancestors. Thank you Grandmothers. Thank you Grandfathers. Aho Mitakuye Oyasin 🙏

#30DaysOfGratitude

UTC 2 UCT

This week has disappeared in a blink of an eye. I guess the new project means we don’t have any time to waste and as we are focusing so intensely the days pass quickly. I have so many gaps in info from the client but I need to leave time to document it all so it’s a balancing act to take time to obtain the info and still leave time to knock it into a decent deliverable.

I had a ditzy moment last week when I set up my new client email account and was then confused when someone sent a meeting request for a slot in the past. The client heard the discussion with my colleague when I said I set my time zone to “UTC” time. The client pointed out I’m at UCT not UTC and that UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time, not the actual University where I was. I felt a right eejit.

Then I realized that why I keep saying UTC instead of UCT is that I grew up near Chattanooga which is where University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is located. No wonder my brain gets dyslexic.

On Monday Norm only got to the shops after I got home so it was quite late and he wanted something quick and easy so he just grabbed some fish cakes and veg. He stir fried the veg and baked the fish cakes. He made fresh cole slaw to go with it.

Norm has also been busy with work. Not having a car has been awkward for him. On Tuesday he has both Cordelia and Mzudumo here working. Cordelia gets paid monthly so that is no issue but Mzudumo is paid daily as he only comes once a week. In addition to the cash Norm also has to come up with lunch for them both. He usually nips out to the bank and gets them chicken to cook or a pie and chips or something but this week he managed to put together a big plate of bits and pieces from fish cakes to left over veg so he coped without shopping. However he needed to get to the ATM so he trotted off to the closest shops with Navajo. It’s not very safe walking on our roads but Navajo is a great guard dog. Norm just had to make a plan and so he braved it.

On Wednesday we heard that there were some traffic issues near the circle and then we heard that the police station was shut. Eventually we heard that a policeman who was on duty had killed his wife then shot himself. So sad! I hope they did not leave any children behind as that would be so heartbreaking for the kids to lose both parents to such violence. RIP to them both, I assume the husband had to be mentally ill to do such a thing. Once again women are treated as property of their partner, with him feeling he has the right to do as he wishes.

That day we also heard that there had been a second bus fire. This time it was in Khayelitsha. If the buses are not being torched then the trains are! It is a nightmare in SA if you do not drive and have your own car.

Wednesday Norm was trying to piece together dinner from our almost bare cupboards. He had chicken and mushrooms and carrots. He opened the chicken to find it was off. As he had already chopped the vegetables he decided to pop down to get chicken rather than scrap it all for a takeaway. He bought noodles and a sauce and it was yummy.

One night we had takeaways from Spiro’s but I did not snap a pic. I had yummy little crispy squids. Norm had chicken souvlaki.

This week we discovered Norm’s visa runs out on Christmas Day. We toyed with the idea of going to see my Mom for Christmas but the flights were R40k so that’s impossible at this point. Norm will pop into the UK on his own sometime before the end of the year. It’s so annoying that we have to keep doing this while they mess him around.

I also received a text message that my drivers license is ready. Three messages in fact. The problem was that message 2 came hours before message 3 which came hours before message 1 so it was illegible nonsense.

Luckily I managed to decipher it once the other messages arrived. I’ll pop by next week to collect it. Dreadful prison faced photo and all. 🙄

Speaking of an inability to manage communications, I’ve had weeks of harassment by my bank, FNB. The law has changed so as an American citizen I have to submit a tax return, even though I’ve not earned there in 30 years. Not only that I have to go back and submit for several other years. What a waste of money for me to pay a US tax man to file just to confirm that with the exchange rate my salary is below the level which mandates filing. Nonsense.

Anyway the bank is sending me emails and text messages over and over telling me to complete the forms they sent me which I filled in and returned last week. I finally emailed to complain and they tell me I did not submit a different form! Nightmare.

This week I ordered lunch from Tigers Milk via OrderIn. First my order was ‘stuck’ for 20 minutes and finally the restaurant picked up the order. That is the one good thing is you can track it each step. Eventually it arrived. I had ordered taquitos. They were described on the menu as ‘TAQUITOS | (V) Crunchy tortilla fingers filled with nacho cheese sauce, guacamole, refried beans, sour cream and Pico de Gallo”

I lived in LA so I know my Mexican food. I expected something like

->See sexy tacquitos <-.

Instead I got this globby, cold, gooey mess:

The FLOUR tortillas were filled with microscopic amounts of cheese and not even heated, just rolled up and then the toppings were thrown on top. I expected them to be separate. Like fajitas. Or lightly on top of CRISPY corn tortillas. The dish was very sour, I’m not sure what that was about. I barely ate it. It really was exceptionally revolting. There was nothing nice about this dish.

It was a gorgeous evening on Friday and after I got in from my appointment at the chiropractor I sat on the balcony upstairs by my bedroom.

Norm and I fancied some live music and a bit of a night out. We knew there was music on at The Lookout Deck on Friday evenings so we went there once the dogs were walked and fed. They had a duo performing which we had not heard before.

They sang some very cool songs, but did not always get the right key. But they did ok. It was so beautiful there as the sun was setting.

We had seats right by the harbour.

I ordered a vodka with passion fruit cordial and lemonade. At home I have soda but when out I hesitate to order with soda as some places are light on the passion fruit and it’s too vodka-y for me. Our waiter says ‘that’s like a sweety’ and I wanted to tell him to bring my drink and hold the sass. Cheeky fuck. Annnyyywayy.

I fancied a bit of Sushi and ordered my usual salmon roses.

The salmon was fresh and tender. It was excellent.

I had ordered a prawn and avo starter but they were out of breaded prawns (which means they are frozen 🙄). I changed to the starter portion of fish cakes and ordered chips to go with them.

Norm chose the fish and chips.

We did not stay too late, we had another drink then headed home. We are such home bodies.

We have started a new series we are both really enjoying called ‘The Last Kingdom‘.

I love the visuals, the costumes are absolutely amazing. I tried to find the designer but googling just brought back a load of geeks moaning that the costumes were not authentic because there was insufficient embroidery on the tunics, or their swords were the wrong length, or the helmets were the wrong time frame. Give me a break. They were a visual treat full of fur, leather, chain mail, and all manner of interesting designs. I loved them! But I guess to a history nerd it would be as annoying as it is to me when medical shows do silly things like have a patient on a spinal board sitting up. To each their own bête noire.

On Saturday Norm and I left home at 10.30am and headed off to collect some fresh pastries from Martins Bakery.

We then headed over to Caitlin’s flat. We bought Banting pie and rolls, croissants, muffins, fresh milk for coffees and ham for the croissants. Caitlin put out cheeses, jams, butter and other bits and made us all coffees. Her friend Carmel was down from Johannesburg so it was nice to see her. After she left Norm got busy on his handyman duties. He put up a smoke detector.

He hung up 3 photographs and two mirrors in her bedroom.

The cats kept a close eye on things.

After he finished what she needed done we headed off to Constantia to the shops. We then came home to drop our shopping.

Around 4pm we headed out to Zur Holzbucht to pop in and have a drink to celebrate my friend Annie’s birthday.

There were a few people there whom we already knew and we met a few other interesting people. It was a lovely sunny day and we were seated out in the beer garden.

It was an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. Everyone was quite merry.

Things escalated quite rapidly.

We did not want to get stuck hanging around too long as that leads inevitably to drinking too many and Norm was driving. Later we heard there was a roadblock with a breathalyzer so I’m glad we were sensible.

We popped into the Indian Oven for a Curry on our way home.

We had saag aloo (aka spinach and potato), spinach bajees, cauliflower rice, naan bread and poppadoms. I had butter chicken and Norm had chicken korma. It was delicious.

We had a quiet night in and watched a few more episodes of The Last Kingdom.

Norm made us brunch today once we finally got out of bed.

He made cheesy scrambled eggs & bacon, he served it with some avocado and tomatoes.

We have had a somewhat lazy day with me doing admin, playing games and blogging and Norm has been working. I wanted to do some gardening (aka poking about in my pots) but it’s really warm outside so I’m lying low inside where it’s cool.

We just passed the halfway mark on the project so this week will be plugging our knowledge gaps and getting our deliverables finished and reviewed. Wish me strength as I think I’ll need it!

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo