Five

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was good attendance despite the pouring rain.

Caitlin videoed a bit of the speeches and crowds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Patience and Hearts

When you have an infant you get excited over their developmental progress even though you expect it to happen and you have a general timeline of when it should happen.

When little Panda became paralyzed we had no idea if he would recover and if he did we had no idea of the timeline of his improvement. The specialist Vet and all the articles we read about acute idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis said that he should eventually recover but it could be a few weeks or even 6 months before we saw progress. This week he has had so much progress it is making my head spin and my heart happy.

He is sitting so strongly.

All 4 of his legs are starting to move with the back ones being very strong and moving a lot. His tail is wagging a bit too. It’s just difficult to catch on video. I thought I had a brilliant video this morning then realized I had not hit the record button. Meh.

I got a video of him doing a little side leg lift after an encouraging tummy tickle.

I did get a nice video of his bark which is almost back to normal.

He can lie down from a partial sitting position and wiggles about quite the thing. He is very agitated sometimes and we suspect he may be experiencing a sort of pins and needles as his nerves wake up. But he seems happy enough (as long as Daddy is nearby).

I was already in touch with two of my worst character traits, the fact that I am a control freak and that I have no patience. Dealing with Panda’s illness has forced me to accept my lack of control but I still struggle with patience.

Again, when teaching a child you expect some level of ignorance as they are children, but when teaching or educating adults it can be exasperating if they are resistant to new information or are slow to grasp it. If I tell someone the same info over and over and it is not sticking I get incredibly frustrated. This week I am working with a guy who has a high level of formal education so he cannot be stupid, he just cannot seem to grasp or retain anything I’m teaching him. I catch myself getting exasperated and feel bad for being a bitch, but then he asks me again something I’ve told him 10 times already and I lose it all over again.

How I was ever a trainer I have no idea. Maybe I was more mellow back then? But that was a lifetime ago. This week marks 12 years since I emigrated back to South Africa.

This week I was approached by a homeless man when getting into my car in the city. He told me that he was trying to raise money for his family to stay in a shelter. He said he ‘isn’t a bad guy’ and he sells stickers/decals so ‘he does not have to commit crime’.

For some reason I found using the crime deterrent as a marketing ploy and a reason to buy his stickers a bit amusing and repeated it back to him and burst out laughing which set us both off in fits of giggles.

Lucky for my car park pal, just that week I had discovered the heart decals are part of the Secret Love Project. I’ve seen people selling them before but did not know the background.

According to their website, the Secret Love Project is a registered charity dedicated to helping the homeless in Cape Town. They offer a lifeline out of extreme poverty and a fresh path to re-integration into society for the people who have been marginalised and neglected by society.  They provide anyone in need a way to make their own money, become self-sufficient, and enjoy acceptance by the community.

Each month the project provides 10,000 free heart sticker packs to the homeless to sell to motorists at R20 each. The sellers keep 100% of their sales which amounts to R200,000 a month (R2,4million per year) going directly into the hands of the most needy in our community.

I gave the man R20 and let him keep the stickers to sell on to someone else in order to double his money. He was very happy and I felt like I had helped someone so it was a mutually beneficial experience. If you can support them here is the link to make a donation.

I love supporting any initiative which gives someone the means to help themselves rather than those which just give out money as it empowers people and allows them to keep their dignity. That is why I was happy to be able to contribute to another NGO which is dear to my heart, Community Cohesion whom I have blogged about before.

On Saturday my friend Mel who runs Potted Up, held an Open Day in collaboration with Community Cohesion and Norm, Panda and I attended.

The view from the nursery is so stunning.

I bought a little birdcage with succulents in it for my kitchen windowsill.

I also bought a rusty looking pot with succulents for my front porch.

In addition to all of the sweet little pots of succulents Community Cohesion were also selling some of the items they have made in the community. I bought some eco-friendly bamboo straws in a sweet little fabric envelope and a drum stick decorated in beads and thread.

I put my drumstick in the holder on my drum and it fits perfectly.

I was so pleased with my purchases and felt happy to be able to contribute to a worthy cause.

Before we went to the open day Norm and I went for breakfast in the village at Delish.

We grabbed a seat outside by the children’s play area.

Of course we took Panda as he cannot be left alone.

Norm fancied a bacon butty so he ordered scrambled eggs and bacon on ciabatta bread.

I ordered toasted seed bread with smashed avocado and a poached egg and asked for crispy bacon on the side.

I really enjoyed that and will have it again. The egg was cooked perfectly, the seed bread was delicious and the avocado fresh and lemony. 5 Kitten Stars to Delish ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We have attempted to do low carb this week but it was very hit or miss.

On Monday Norm made his delicious low carb chicken croquettes but served them with chips which sort of defeated that one! It was delicious though so whateverrrrr.

I cooked a pork fillet and mushrooms in a teriyaki sauce and roast sweet potatoes. To go with I made a buttery cauliflower purée and sliced the pork onto it. We also had steamed broccoli in a butter sauce.

The other nights we had takeaways, with Friday being my usual sushi night. I had my fave: crab salad, tempura prawns, salmon roses, and cucumber roses topped by prawn.

The portions seemed more generous this week but the rice was a bit undercooked. (Yes I am hard to please)

The crime in Hout Bay has made the front page of one of the local papers.

One of SA’s top lawyers has been hired in response to the ongoing issues we are experiencing often due to the inept Justice System which continues to put dangerous criminals back onto the streets.

After slagging off SAPS in my last blog, they have now caught all 3 of the suspects in the murder of the tourist Ivan Ivanov. Today there was a vigil held on the mountain in the place where he was murdered.

Shortly before the vigil was due to begin, we heard on the neighborhood watch radio that there were several hikers attacked very near that same location. It is never ending it seems.

The UK consulate has put out a warning to tourists thinking of coming to SA. In response the Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane tried to reassure us that all is fine. Does anyone smell bullshit?

Last week the Hout Bay post office & several others in Cape Town were robbed at gunpoint. It was SASSA grant day so everyone would have been collecting their payments and the post offices would have had a lot of cash on hand.

There have also been a series of armed robberies in Cape Town. So what planet the tourism minister is living on is definitely not planet reality.

Crime is certainly not restricted to SA and this week there have been 3 mass shootings in the USA, the last two both occurred this weekend. As long as White Supremacy and the NRA govern the country these shootings will continue with no protection offered to the victims except thoughts and prayers.

Meanwhile like many people we distract ourselves by watching nonsense on telly. We finished watching Killing Eve last night and we both loved it.

Last Sunday we watched Bohemian Rhapsody which was brilliant but I found Rami Malek’s ginormous fake teeth a bit distracting especially when singing as it made him whistle. But other than that it’s a must watch and I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

Today I was supposed to go drumming but I am not feeling 100% and opted for a pajama day instead.

I cooked a big pot of chili con carne for dinner tonight.

It was hot and spicy and yummy.

I cooked it in the gorgeous new Jamie Oliver pots and pans I bought this week which were R1000 off as mine are in a dire condition.

I love them so far!

We are watching Den of Thieves for our Sunday night film. It is more of Norm’s type of film but as I’ve been blogging I’m not bothered.

I hope I feel better tomorrow as it’s back to work. As much as I love to complain about my job, I do enjoy what I do. I was chatting to one of the young girls who works at the cafe where I get my lunch and she said she starts work at 3.30am and that made me realize I am so lucky and that I need to be grateful for the reasonably well paid, mentally challenging job I have and that I should STFU really.

Have a great week, keep safe and well until next time.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Do Turkeys Have Totems?

This week crime has been predominant in the news. We read about three policemen being shot in Delft, one of the areas which has a high incidence of gang related violence. One of the policemen died and the other two were seriously injured.

This happened despite the recent deployment of the SANDF (the army) to help with the gang issues.

I also read that Shoprite, one of SA’s largest retailers, has implemented its own crime squad due to the high numbers of armed robberies they have to contend with. Apparently the chain has at least one a day!

Closer to home, on Saturday over the neighborhood watch radio we followed a chase of 3 criminals being pursued through Hout Bay. An Ukrainian tourist, 44 year old Ivan Ivanov, was stabbed multiple times in a struggle over the theft of his backpack. He was on a walking trail very near our village and was only a short distance from the public car park for the hiking trail. The tourist died.

I have heard that 80% of the crime in the Western Cape province is committed by people who are either on bail awaiting trial or are on parole from a crime. I wonder whether the perpetrators of this murder fall into that statistic? One of the three murderers was apprehended but two are still on the run.

Another tourist was robbed of his bags on the beach in our village and a woman was attacked while walking on the beach this weekend. Keri Cross is the Director of Community Crime Prevention (CCP) and she said the woman was out walking around noon when she was attacked on a trail just above Sandy Bay nudist beach.

Fortunately, another walker heard the woman’s screams and rallied the troops.

Cross said Hout Bay has about 820 cameras at different locations and the CCP Watchcon control room could track the suspect’s every move.

“Alerts were immediately sent out on all channels and a number of service providers and volunteers sprang to action to try to find the suspect. The chase lasted for over 90 minutes, with the suspect managing to evade response teams a few times. Shortly after 1pm, OmniVision Security spotted the suspect on CCTV along the mountainside and response teams moved to intercept him. The suspect was cornered, taken into custody and handed over to SAPS.”

As one of the key industries in Hout Bay is tourism these types of issues could be catastrophic to our village.

A study by the Western Cape community safety department has revealed some shocking figures, showing why the province seems to be losing its fight against violent and gang-related crime.

Nearly half – 45.8% – of Western Cape detectives have not received even basic training, while over 90% have had no specialised training.

Speaking to 702 Radio, MEC for Community Safety, Albert Fritz said, “Of the 875 cases monitored during the assessment, 380 dockets just did not arrive at court – this is completely unacceptable. When dockets are received, they are often incomplete, leading to cases being struck off the roll. Eventually, in some of the very serious crimes, like gangsterism, they only get a 2% conviction”, said Fritz.

This is shocking but not surprising. A skills audit done in the SAPS (SA Police Service) revealed that many officers are illiterate and that over 1000 policemen have criminal records themselves. Corruption is also very high within both the police force and the government.

Basically, in summary, we are fucked if we rely on the police for safety.

It made me so angry that the police were up in arms over the shooting of the officers in Delft and National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole has vowed to stop at nothing to get the killer(s). Why are the police not as irate over the crimes and murders visited upon us every day citizens and visitors?

In Hout Bay, the majority of the criminals are apprehended by our amazing network of security providers: Hout Bay Community Policing Forum (CPF), Community Crime Prevention (CCP) various volunteers, and Watchcon coordinating it all with the police only acting as bit players. I am so grateful for the selfless individuals who rise to the occasion and risk their own safety to protect others.

“Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said Hout Bay had one of the best neighbourhood watches in the city. It’s extraordinary, the speed of the action. They have really mastered the art of crime-fighting and what we call plural policing where they combine Law Enforcement, SAPS and private security companies. They form a line of people, and if you’re a suspect, you can be sure that they will catch you, brilliant people doing excellent things,” he said.

Meanwhile life goes on.

I mentioned in my blog last week that I made a curry last weekend which we had for dinner on Sunday. I tried to keep it low carb and high fat, but we did have a few cheeky poppadoms which I just microwaved.

For the curry I fried onions, red and yellow peppers, chilis and garlic in curry powder and coconut oil and once done I used my hand blender to liquidise it. I fried cut up chicken breast in coconut oil and curry and various other spices then once cooked I added a bag of butternut chunks, more spices and a bottle of passata then let it simmer all of Saturday afternoon. I fried another onion, added cauliflower rice and loads of coriander to serve it over instead of traditional rice. I also stir fried a bag of baby spinach, then liquidised it with some cream and some spices. It was delicious and was enough to last for dinner on Monday night too.

On Tuesday Norm cooked a recipe from our favorite low carb site but we were not very keen on this dish. It was incredibly, overwhelmingly meaty and not very flavorful.

We won’t try that one again.

On Wednesday evening Norm had a meeting at Massimo’s and brought home dinner for us. I had tapas: pepite (fried polenta bits with truffle salt and Parmesan), calamari and fried baby artichokes. It is all high in carbs but I am addicted to these gorgeous polenta bites.

It was all so delicious. I had never eaten baby artichokes like those. I liked them a lot!

On Thursday we tried out some of the offerings from the new menu recently launched at Spiro’s in Hout Bay.

I had 2 of the prawn skewers priced at R60 for one or R110 for two skewers and there are 3 prawns per skewer. You order your side dishes separately and we ordered hand cut chips and loaded chips and shared them.

It was all very tasty and I loved the Greek version of loaded fries. I wish them much success with their venue remodel and new menu.

Friday we also had yet another takeaway and I chose sushi from K1 in Hout Bay.

I had crab salad, tempura prawns, salmon roses, and cucumber roses topped by prawn. It was all very yummy but I have noticed that their portions have gotten smaller. They used to give 4 tempura prawns instead of 3, the crab salad is about half the size it used to be and there are now 3 pieces of sushi in a portion rather than 4. Every restaurant appears to be struggling but once customers feel they are not getting value for money they will go elsewhere so I hope this reduction in value doesn’t affect them.

I cooked last night. I baked pork chops, fried red cabbage in balsamic and made fondant sweet potatoes.

I had a bit of drama with OrderIn this week for lunch. I ordered buttermilk chicken tacos from Knead Bakery in Wembley Square. The app provides a status of the delivery process and the status was sitting at ‘accepted by the restaurant’ past the time when I had been told it would be delivered. I sent a query on the app to ask whether there was an issue but I received no response. Finally after over an hour the status updated to say the food had been collected from the restaurant and the driver was on his way. I tracked his journey via the app and when I went to collect the food I asked him what took so long. He said he needed air in his tire. Umm what? It took an hour and a half.

When I got to my desk and opened the box the food was in complete disarray.

The OrderIn description said it came with salsa, a sriracha sauce, cheesy nachos and slaw but none of these things were included. The food was ice cold and incredibly dry. There was a small container of an incredibly sour, disgusting sauce which I could not stomach.

On their menu it is described as: BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN TACOS R95. Buttermilk marinated chicken breast coated and deep fried with tangy slaw, fresh salsa, creamy coriander dressing, fresh coriander, avo & radish.

But on the app it says: Buttermilk marinated chicken breast coated & deep fried with tangy slaw, fresh salsa & sriracha mayo in a 4×10 mini taco served with a side of cheesy nachos & sriracha mayo dip.

I wrote to OrderIn customer service and complained about the clusterfeck of chaos. In their defense, Knead admitted that the dish no longer comes with nachos and the description on the app is wrong and that they had inadvertently sent a vegan sauce instead of the promised sriracha sauce. Poor vegans.

Knead offered to give a free replacement meal the following day so I agreed to give them a second chance. OrderIn said they will credit me with 2 free delivery fees as well.

The food arrived and the driver was surly and short, obviously he was annoyed that he did not get a tip as I hadn’t ordered or paid, it was done by the agent dealing with the complaint. But the food was warm and intact and came with the correct sauce.

It was very tasty but I found a small bone in the chicken. I won’t order from Knead again despite their efforts to compensate me. It literally left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

The weather has been a bit crazy this week, bringing a lot of much needed rain.

On Monday when I got into work I realized I had left my mobile phone in my car. I park almost half a kilometer away and it is still dark when I get to work so I was not keen on going back to get it. As I work in a dangerous area and I knew the phone could be seen once it became light I was worried my car would be broken into and my phone stolen.

Walking back and forth again resulted in an almost 1.5 kilometer walkathon before I could start work. But it could have been worse if it had happened on any other day as the weather turned on Monday afternoon and it started raining on my way to my car that afternoon and we even had a bit of thunder and lightning on Tuesday night. We built big fires every night to keep the chill out.

Despite the weather I had two hair raising incidents driving. One morning I was in a long queue of traffic and due to the rain and mist I left plenty of space between me and the car in front. As I neared Bakoven a SUV came flying up onto my rear, flashing his lights and swerving around me as if to overtake. There were cars coming on the other side of the narrow coast road and there were cars in front of me, so there was nowhere for me to move to and nowhere for the psycho driver to go if he got around me. I eventually got fed up, slammed on my brakes and gave him the finger out of my window and he backed right off.

The same day on my way home I was stuck behind a bus which was going slowly, but the road is very dangerous so I settled in and relaxed. Next thing in my rear mirror I see a fancy SUV racing up on the wrong side of the road, overtaking a long queue of traffic and then overtaking the bus on a blind bend. If a car had come around the bend it would have taken out me, the bus, and countless other cars. For the gain of at most, fifteen minutes.

The roads are full of arrogant arsehats.

We have had some progress with Panda’s illness. He is starting to get stronger and can hold his head up longer. He can even lift his head up from a side leaning position which shows his core strength is coming back. His bark is also getting stronger.

When I come home from work I am greeted by his yips, wiggles and happy smiling face. We still have to try and decipher his whines and barks. This week he was moaning a lot and squirming and we tried everything to settle him. Eventually Norm picked him up and put him on his lap.

Next Panda lets out a giant loud burp. He obviously had a bit of trapped wind is why he was so unsettled.

Norm has continued with putting him in his walker even though he cannot move around yet, but it gets him used to the walker.

Navajo is so protective over little Panda.

He had a busy day yesterday as Norm and I attended a fundraiser for CCP. I had told them when I booked that we would have Panda with us and when we arrived at Dario’s they had reserved a table for two people and a dog.

So cute.

Our table was out on the patio.

Norm held Panda so he could be a part of the social aspect.

The set meal included a coffee, orange juice and champagne, 2 eggs, 3 bits of bacon, a potato rosti, stuffed tomato and toast.

We popped Panda down on his bed while we ate.

There was an adorable baby French Bulldog sitting next to us, I love this breed. Look at that face!

After we finished we headed to the shops to run some errands. On our way home we saw that the new skate park was full of people skating.

It is lovely that the kids in the community have this venue.

We gave Panda a bath when we got home as he was starting to smell like an incontinent geriatric’s underpants. It took us both to do it as holding him and washing him is not easy since he cannot stand and he has tons of hair! We dried him with the blow dryer after. He smells so much better and I’m sure he feels better.

Last night Norm and I watched A Star is Born.

I loved this film so much! I adore Lady Gaga and also enjoy Bradley Cooper. His affected voice and accent was a bit annoying but he has a nice singing voice and of course Gaga was fabulous. I give the film 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

Tonight we are watching Bohemian Rhapsody during dinner and I am really looking forward to that.

I had mentioned that the girls and I had bought my Mom a voucher for her birthday and she went shopping and bought some Chanel perfume with her voucher.

Look at her cute little smile. I love that we found a way to treat her despite being so far apart.

Work is slowly moving along. We had a BI department meeting and we were given a lot of information from teammates who had attended several recent conferences. I was rapt as I am always eager to learn new info.

It was a bit distracting that the guy behind me talked throughout the entire meeting. Ironically he is one of the people who has so much to learn. He also spends our smaller team meetings on his phone.

Why is it that those who need education the most are those who are the least eager to learn? Or is that why they need the education? A chicken and egg sort of situation?

Conversely my other colleague (the one who reads out loud and verbalises everything he types) is curious about everything. He has the most obscure conversations with me. He said to me that my bone structure reminds him of the ‘Red Indians’ on television. I had never heard Native Americans called this until I moved to Europe. It is a colonial term freely used there and in South Africa. I find the term incredibly offensive. I told my colleague that it is not politically correct to call us that and that I am of Cherokee origin. He obviously read up about my lineage and the next day he said ‘so do turkeys have totems?’ I said to him I did not understand the question and then he said ‘oops I meant Cherokees’.

That made me giggle. I’m happy to discuss things with him however as he is inquisitive and eager to learn. Even though he called me a turkey.

I hope you all have a great week. Until next time, Kisses From The Kitten xoxoxo

Patience and Protection

Since Panda became ill the scope of our lives has become quite narrow. Panda is at the center of everything we do and so we spend most of our time at home.

Yesterday we broke out of that pattern for a bit.

In the morning Norm got up to let Navajo and Pixie out for a wee and fed them their breakfast. I had Lola kitty asleep on my tummy so I lazed in bed a bit longer. Norm brought me a frothy coffee in bed and after I finished my coffee I had to get showered and head into Cape Town to Pause for an appointment at the hairdresser. When I got out of the shower I heard a lot of kerfuffle in the bedroom and when I opened the bathroom door Norm chastised me for tossing the duvet onto Panda’s head when I had gotten out of bed. I did not have my glasses on and wasn’t even aware Panda was in the bed with Lola and I, I had assumed that he had gone downstairs with Norm. I felt terrible but it was certainly not deliberate I’m just blind as a bat.

Due to my laziness I headed into town a bit late then I realized I had no cash to pay for my parking and so I also had to go to the bank. As a result I had no time for breakfast.

I had my hair colored and had a gorgeous head massage from Thembi. I left feeling pampered, relaxed and like a new woman.

I went home to collect Norm and Panda as we were going to attempt to go out for lunch. We chose Delish as we can sit outside and they are dog friendly. The owner also has a Pomeranian.

We chose a table in the shade outside.

We had taken Panda’s bed and we settled him into a seat at the table with us.

He was enjoying all of the attention.

I ordered a BLT which came on ciabatta and with fries.

Norm had a burger which also came with fries.

For dessert we shared a piece of baked white chocolate cheesecake which was divine.

The food was tasty and Norm and I both give our meals 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

After we finished our lunch we headed to Mainstream Mall in the village. We split up for the sake of efficiency and Norm carried Panda into Clicks for peepee pads (aka ‘linen savers’ to the posh or polite). I went into Woolworths to get something for our dinner and some other bits and pieces. Norm took his shopping to the car and then walked Panda around the mall until I finished my shop. Everyone wants to stop and chat because he is such a cute baby. (Panda, not Norm although he is pretty cute too.)

We finished up our errands and headed home and Norm walked them all and fed them and we built a fire and relaxed a bit.

We had been watching series 3 of Stranger Things during the week and we finished it yesterday. It was riveting and tense but it was not as good as the previous seasons and there were some annoying bits. For example the constant childish bickering between Hopper and Joyce got a bit tiring after a while.

Saying that, we enjoyed it. I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

Later that night Norm cooked dinner for us. He cooked fillet steaks and baby portobello mushrooms and made chips in the air fryer. We also had coleslaw with it. It was simple and delicious.

We decided to watch a film and we looked through Netflix offerings and chose Shaft with the brilliant Samuel L. Jackson.

It was quite funny which kept me interested and had a lot of shoot em up action which kept Norm amused. I gave it 3 and a half Kitten Stars and Norm gave it 4 and a half which averages out to 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The week started off a bit hectic. Last Sunday night we saw on social media that there was a bad car crash on the coast road into the city and that one of the cars was alight resulting in the road being closed. Luckily it was open again by morning but I do not have any information about the people in the cars or the cause, except it occurred on a section of the coast road where a single lane changes to two lanes to allow overtaking. Maybe the accident occurred due to someone overtaking. The damage to the road was clearly visible the next day and the road was badly charred from the fire.

Tuesday morning I was so tired when my alarm went off that I just could not get out of bed. I left half an hour later than normal and when I got about 30 minutes down the road I came upon a backup of tail lights.

There was a lot of fog and mist coming in from the sea so it was hard to see whether there was just a lot of traffic ahead or what was happening and after a few minutes of being parked up I could see black smoke billowing out and a person who had gotten out of their car to run up to see what was happening confirmed there was a serious accident ahead. After a while they waved us through but I was terrified that the flaming car might explode as I went past. When we drove through the smoke was so thick and black I could barely see and it smelled horrid.

Later I saw a pic of the car on social media.

The rumour was that one of the drivers was a tourist who was driving on the wrong side of the road and that they ran from the scene. I do not know if this has any truth or whether the accident was a result of the loss of visibility due to the fog.

I was so thankful to my ancestors and guardian angels. If I had left home when I normally do I could have been involved in the accident. I was so grateful for my safety and hope that those who were involved recover.

The road was closed in both directions just after I got through resulting in some people sitting there for a long time while they removed the cars which were both very badly damaged.

I had Vanessa here on Monday to do my pedicure and as always it was lovely to see her and catch up with the gossip.

We also had repair men around on Monday to look at our gate and the security beam that keeps going off for no reason. Sorting out both will take money and we are rather tight on finances as Panda’s care has cost a lot, but both things need sorting as they impact our safety. The pool motor also needs replacing but as it is winter there is no rush on that.

We had some happy news this week as Lily has now booked the venue and photographer for her and Josh’s wedding next year. It is all very exciting and thanks to Whatsapp we have been able to involve Mom in all the decisions. As Mom will not be able to make the journey it is special that she can be involved.

We have been a bit hit or miss on our attempts at low carb food this week. Mostly miss.

I made Mexican food on Monday night after Vanessa left. I made tacos and retried beans. It is a quick and easy meal and one of my faves.

Norm cooked a pork fillet roasted in teriyaki on Tuesday night. He made sweet potatoes and broccoli to go with it.

It was delicious and healthy and it is so nice to have someone cook for you when you are tired.

Wednesday we had takeaways and I had sushi from K1. I had prawn roses, salmon roses, cucumber roses topped with prawns and prawn tempura.

Thursday we had takeaways from Posticino and I had grilled chicken with olio and aglio pasta.

It was delicious as their food always is. The next night I had a Mexican pizza from Positicino which was spicy and yummy. They are moving to a new venue at the end of the month so we wanted to get our fix before they close.

On Thursday for lunch I went with my friend Sakshi to see her new flat. It is a two minute walk from my office. It has a lovely mountain view.

After lunch Sakshi gave me a chocolate layer cake as a late anniversary gift. We had a big piece for dessert that night and it was so moist.

My anniversary lilies are blooming and looking so pretty.

On Friday Sakshi and I went to Nuri sushi for lunch and I had Asian fries and prawn pops.

They were so yummy.

This week we have seen in the news that the Minister of Police Bheki Cele announced on Thursday in his budget speech that President Cyril Ramaphosa had given the go-ahead for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to offer support to the police and enter 10 identified areas of the Cape Flats. The 10 Cape Town precincts identified for support by the SANDF are Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, Delft, Elsies River, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Philippi, Kraaifontein and Manenberg.

This drastic measure was taken after eleven fatal shootings occurred in Philippi East in the Western Cape last weekend, prompting local police to initiate a 72-hour action plan. A week ago on Friday unknown suspects killed six women, aged 18 to 26, in Marcus Garvey in Philippi East and then on Saturday evening, five men, aged 18 to 39, were shot dead and one was injured in two separate shootings. All are suspected to be linked to gangsterism.

I have been busy at work and my contract has been extended again with a potential for another extension. I’m happy there so was happy to hear this. I have a new colleague sitting next to me who is a lovely bloke but he is incredibly distracting. He ‘types’ out loud, in other words he verbally expresses everything he types and he reads out loud. He is also using crappy headphones and I hear everything he listens to. His noises are driving me a bit batty. Even when I approached him and asked whether he was aware that he talks continuously out loud he just laughed and said he knows. FFS it makes me mental. I am so intolerant of noise.

The only annoying noise that makes me happy is my baby boy who expresses his displeasure regularly.

He barks if he pees and wants his bedding changed, he barks if he is thirsty or hungry and he barks if he is annoyed or happy (or if he gets trapped under the duvet). Basically he just constantly barks. I can see his frustration at the lack of response in his body. He is pretty much only happy in his Daddy’s arms.

I am so happy that he has survived his illness and is slowly improving that I can tolerate his grumbles. I’ve noticed a bit more tension in his little legs when I do his rehab and we have seen his back legs move a few times. As always we are ever hopeful.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Strength of the Feminine

This week has been full of stress, trauma and drama.

My smallest Pomeranian, Panda, has had an odd turn which has had the whole family so upset. Norm had meetings on Wednesday and when he got home he noticed that Panda’s normally high pitched yap was a coarse gruff bark.

Norm took him to the vet who noticed that his face and tongue were swollen and she said that this swelling was why his voice was impacted. She thought he had been stung by an insect and gave him a cortisone injection and some allergex for the swelling.

The other animals seemed to sense he was not well and kept by his side.

Navajo tried to almost cuddle him and had such a look of concern on his face.

The next morning we noticed that Panda was a bit unsteady on his feet but thought it was the sedative effect of the antihistamines but by afternoon he was struggling to stay upright and we rushed him back to the vet. They took X-rays of his spine to check for injuries and X-rays of his airway to check for constrictions but all was fine. The vet was baffled as to what was going on but assumed it was due to the inflammation and gave him more cortisone and sent us home. As the next day progressed he was completely unable to stand on his own and we took him back again. This time they decided he had not been bitten and instead there was something neurological going on and tried to get him an appointment with a neuromuscular specialist at one of the veterinary hospitals but they were all booked solid. As this was a long weekend in South Africa we could only get an appointment for Tuesday. Initially the local vet wanted to keep him there with them until Tuesday but then decided it would be better to keep him at their offices during the day and let him sleep at home in the evening.

As the weekend progressed Panda deteriorated to the point where he could only move his head.

He could not sit up or turn over or even hold his head up by Saturday night. He cannot bark or make any sounds at all. I was in bits and just sat crying and praying. I felt such despair. When he started refusing food and water I was inconsolable with worry.

Finally on Sunday when he came home from being at the vet all day he was perky and alert for the first time in days.

That night he was very hungry and gobbled up the boiled chicken and broth Norm made for him. He ate eagerly and was very interested in his surroundings again. He still cannot make any sound or move his limbs. His legs twitch but are as limp as noodles and he cannot hold himself up.

The vets think it may be Acute idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis. That is quite a mouthful! It is more commonly called Coonhound paralysis. Here is a link about it. It is a serious illness but most animals can recover and that is what I am focusing on, hopes that he will recover. My long term readers may remember that Panda has already survived one near death experience when he was attacked by a dog and I have confidence that he can recover from this too with enough love and care.

The specialist tomorrow will do the relevant tests and hopefully we will have a prognosis and treatment plan in place afterwards. Until then I am trying hard to remain positive.

We have also been giving him doses of tissue salts from my friend Alison. We dissolve them in his broth.

Last week had plenty of other stresses.

On my way home one evening last week I was stopped at a pedestrian crosswalk when a minibus taxi came up behind me and ran the red light, then went across on a pedestrian crossing. I stayed behind him on the way up the mountain and then he stopped in the middle of a narrow curvy road to offload a passenger and another taxi came from behind me and overtook the first taxi that was stopped in the road by driving on the wrong side road with a car coming towards us. It was rather terrifying!

You who live in the US or Europe may ask, where were the police? Well, I ask that often, the taxis here are a law unto themselves and this is why there are so many deaths from taxi crashes. The drivers overload them to ridiculous degrees. At most they should take 14 people, yesterday one crashed and all 24 passengers were killed. They had almost double the number of passengers there should be.

There was another bus torched this week as well. There was a protest in Cape Town and the bus took the brunt of the protestors anger.

I also read that 6 officers from the anti-gang unit were shot in one day! Police were conducting an operation in the community when they came under attack. Police said anti-gang unit members had arrested one suspect allegedly linked to recent murders in the area and as they were searching for another suspect, the officers came under attack. It is pretty scary when even the police are not safe!

This week we also saw shitbag husband Rob Packham sentenced to 22 years for the murder of his beautiful wife Gill Packham. It is not long enough if you ask me. He showed no remorse and continued to try and bullshit his way out of being prosecuted. He is a horrid little toad of a man. For those who don’t remember my previous blog, he not only murdered his wife he burned her car with her body in the boot.

His wife. The mother of his children.

He must rot in jail.

Why do some men feel they have the right to treat women this way? And why are so many men intimidated by strong, confident women? And should we as women try to minimize ourselves in order to fit into that little box that those men want to keep us in?

I had a dilemma of this nature this week where I was told I was too quick, too clever and too thorough. I was told that as I was dealing with a junior resource that I must slow down.

So I must lower my standards for the sake of progress and to avoid damaging a fragile male ego? That is not in my nature. I expect others to rise up to meet me rather. To stretch themselves. When I started in IT I latched onto any mentors who were willing to teach me, but I am generally always eager to learn. I find that is not always the case with others.

My current contract had requirements which concerned me at the start as I am usually placed on a client site with a developer who manages all of the technical aspects. This project there was only me and I have managed to act as the data architect, data modeler and the data analyst in addition to the business analyst and data quality consultant roles I normally do. I’ve had to teach myself to write SQL queries which is a skill I had only a basic grasp of, but I have been given very complicated stored procedures to unpick to determine the mappings and transformation rules.

It was a challenge but I approached it with all I had and I googled what I did not know. My client calls me ‘his superstar’ and my 3 month initial contract has been extended to 6 months and they are trying to find funds to extend me further. This gives me such a sense of achievement. The other day my client reminded me that when I came for my interview I told him ‘no I can’t do that’ in response to many of the things I have now easily achieved.

We are only limited by our own mental boundaries.

Our low carb eating has taken a back seat to our nursing of our baby boy. We had takeaways most nights and the anxiety meant that I either needed a gallon of vodka or M&Ms to get me through it.

I opted for the latter. The family sized bag no less.

Norm did cook this week before our baby fell ill. He has been determined to make the perfect sweet potato fries.

Monday we had chicken breasts stuffed with brie and wrapped in bacon. He roasted broccoli and cauliflower in the oven (I adore roasted broccoli). He attempted the sweet potato fries in the air fryer and I thought they were tasty but he was not 100% satisfied with them.

The next night he made spaghetti bolognaise and served it on spinach noodles and topped it with cheese.

The next night he made pork fillet roasted in teriyaki sauce. He again made his air fryer sweet potato chips. He made roast broccoli, zucchini and green beans.

I tried to eat low carb at work for lunch most days. One day I had the chicken peri peri pot from Now Now Cafe, it is a bed of cauliflower mash, roast chicken, peri peri sauce and topped with sliced almonds and sour cream.

This dish is so delicious!

Friday I always go for lunch at Nuri Sushi Factory and the last two weeks my new colleague has joined me. She is very sweet and was so supportive this week with me being so upset about Panda. Nothing like someone crying in their prawn pops to put you off of your lunch! Sheesh. Was a bit embarrassing really but I’ve been a bit of a basket case.

On Saturday night Caitlin came around and brought a gorgeous dinner to have an early Fathers Day dinner for Norm. She had cooked a pork shoulder in the slow cooker to make pulled pork and she made a low carb mustard sauce to go with it, she also brought two different types of low carb salads and some fresh corn on the cob. It was absolutely delicious! This was restaurant quality food.

Caitlin did a great job. I give my baby’s delicious dinner 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Caity brought over the gifts that she, Trevor and Lily had bought Norm for Fathers Day. We kept Panda’s bed near us so he could feel a part of things. Norm got a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

He also received some PJs and 3 new tops. He was so spoiled but it is what he deserves.

We had quite a bit of rain and it was bitterly cold a few of the days during the week and this cold streak continued on Saturday so we built a big cosy fire while Caitlin was here.

During the day over the long weekend while Panda was at the vet, I watched nonsense on telly to distract me from obsessing endlessly.

I watched the movie ‘Always Be My Maybe’.

It was so cute! I loved the actors and the characters they played. I give it a strong 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

I watched several seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race as it is mindless entertainment which makes me laugh and doesn’t require too much concentration. I wasn’t mentally able to cope with anything more taxing.

Panda went off to the vet for the day today and Norm took me for brunch. It was my first foray out of the house since Friday. I was feeling much lighter of heart and felt up to it. We went to Constantia and popped into Mugg & Bean for brunch. We sat outside on the patio.

I ordered Eggs Benedict.

Norm ordered the The Country-style breakfast consisting of two eggs, back bacon, pork sausage, fresh baby spinach, grilled mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado & cauliflower hashbrowns.

After we finished brunch we walked over to the shops. Norm needed a new battery for his iPhone as his was only lasting an hour and there was an Apple Doctor there and so we dropped it off and had a mooch about the shops. I badly needed a new wallet as the card section in mine was so loose and that is why I lost my driving license. I found one the size I wanted that zips and it was on sale. Do you like it?

Today we were off work as yesterday was Youth Day. Youth Day commemorates a wave of protests across the country known as the Soweto uprising of 1976. 176 people were killed by the apartheid police. It is celebrated as a public holiday across South Africa to remember the brave students who protested.

I wish that I could see more change in the lives of more of the youth as so many still live in such poverty and poor conditions. The ANC has brought so little change to the lives of the poor. But freedom from oppression may be worth more than gold to those who have felt the yoke of that oppression. I guess it is all relative.

The Sounds of Silence

It is often the tasks that we think will go smoothly which end up being the most trying and those situations where we anticipate drama that end up being the easiest to achieve.

Today Norm and I had a few errands to run which we had expected to be very quick. We both nipped out in our ‘house clothes’ (which they call leisure wear in the US and pajamas in some countries). After all, who might we see at the police station or at the Computicket ticket kiosk? I showered but did not bother with makeup as we expected to be back home in no time.

First we stopped at the Police station as we both needed affidavits signed. I have lost my drivers license and I need the affidavit to collect a new one and Norm needed one signed for business reasons. We had printed all the paperwork we needed, had our passports for ID, a proof of residence and even a pen so we were very prepared.

We arrived and there was one lone guy working the front desk. He spent ages filling in forms of some sort for a previous ‘client’ and after about 20 minutes he drifted over to help us. Eventually after more than half an hour we finished and we were off to Checkers to collect our tickets for Sam Smith whom we are seeing perform this week.

We queued for ages at the Computicket kiosk even though we were very well prepared for this adventure as well, we had a print out of the transaction email, my ID and my debit card and when we got to the desk I handed all of this over. The woman entered my card number and nothing came up. I then realized that I have had my cards renewed since I had bought the concert tickets over 6 months ago so that is why it would not come up on her screen. She tried the booking reference but that did not work either. Eventually she called over a manager who repeated all of the same steps with no success so they ended up having to phone Computicket but the phone rang foreverrr before someone eventually answered. The manager kept asking me to ‘show her the email on my phone’ despite the email being printed out and lying on the counter in front of her. It was rather exasperating but eventually they managed to find my tickets on the system and print them.

We spent well over an hour on these tasks which we thought would be quick sticks.

By this time we were starving as we had not had breakfast so we decided to pop into Allegria Cafe for brunch. Enroute we ran into several people we know, we couldn’t get away with looking a mess and seeing no one of course!

We both ordered a coffee and Eggs Benedict with bacon.

The eggs were soft and the bacon crispy. It was perfection. 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

After brunch we came home and Norm had a nap.

We had been kept awake until almost 2am last night by our hard partying, Beatles loving, jacuzzi shagging, profanity belting neighbours. They had a Beatles album on loop for 10 hours or more as they were partying when we got home from lunch. It takes a lot of effort to make the Beatles obnoxious but the volume was so loud we could barely hear our own telly over the noise from their music even after we closed all of our doors.

We eventually ended up calling the police, once at 12.30 and again after 1am. The police just hung up on me three times but I kept phoning back. FFS that volume of music is so thoughtless.

One of the people we ran into at the shops was our other neighbour whose house is even closer to Miss Beatles and she said she was kept awake until 3am. We had eventually went to bed and drowned the bulk of the noise out with our fan.

It might be time to start using some special powers to get Miss Beatles to move on.

Other than the noise drama this weekend things were pretty uneventful this week.

Last Monday Norm picked up dinner for us from Posticino in Hout Bay.

The chicken schnitzel was nice but the pasta was light on sauce and a bit dry, I’ll give it 4 Kitten Stars overall ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

On Tuesday Norm had a meeting after I got in from work so I cooked dinner. He had shopped so I didn’t have to plan.

I made chicken breasts wrapped in Richard Bosman prosciutto and served it with Woolworths sweet potatoes stuffed with a creamy leek sauce and steamed asparagus.

The chicken was delicious but I wasn’t overly keen on the sweet potatoes dish as I’m not a huge fan of leeks. But if you like leeks it is a quick and easy side dish, you just chuck the tray into the oven and bake for half an hour.

Speaking of Woolworths, this week they announced a new make up collaboration with Sir John who is known for being the man behind the faces of celebrities such as Beyoncé, Priyanka Chopra and Kim Kardashian West.

These are one of the few 100% vegan and Beauty Without Cruelty-endorsed products in South Africa. I am keen to check them out but my makeup routine is pretty basic, I don’t wear eyeshadow and use high street products.

As it is almost election time in South Africa the current party governing SA are busy bribing voters and making promises they won’t deliver on (and I use governing in the loosest sense possible). They trotted out some shiny new trains to gawk at, promising they will be up and running soon. PRASA later clarified that the trains will not be fully operational until late 2020 at the earliest.

However the launch did not go as smoothly as Ramaphosa probably hoped.

The entire country has had multiple protests over various things this week. Some groups have been protesting crime, some protesting drugs and education challenges and some protesting service delivery.

A report by the Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice found that three South African cities are among the top 50 most violent places on earth based on murder rates per 100,000 people. Cape Town’s murder rate has steadily increased since 2009/10, up by almost 70% between 2009/10 and 2017/18, despite plateauing over three years.

“The increase in the murder rate in Cape Town is presumably driven by gang violence, which has been exacerbated by the supply of thousands of illegal firearms to criminal gangs in Cape Town,” the report I found said.

The ANC have made a mess of governing this country.

I had a few days of intense sushi-ness this week. On Thursday for lunch I had a takeaway from Nuri.

I ordered salmon roses and double prawn rolls. They were both very tasty but very awkward to eat from the takeaway box without mutilating them. The box is great for transporting them however as it stops them rolling about!

One of the young lads on our team, Mawande has just got a new job working for Oracle which is such a brilliant opportunity for him. He will gain so much experience. I am sad to see him go as he is a very nice lad and is always so helpful to me.

The team went for a coffee to say cheerio and to wish him well. He was flying to Johannesburg today, they have their head office there. He is starting work tomorrow. He had never flown or stayed in a hotel and I gave him a bit of advice about everything from avoiding the costly mini bar in his room, to being early for his flight and being on his best behavior while on training as this is the time when they will be assessing him. He was a bag of nerves but I think he will do just fine.

For lunch on Friday I went for sushi again. I had a major craving all week.

After work I went to my chiropractor Kevin for my regular 5 week adjustment.

I had sushi from K1 for dinner that night. I had salmon roses, prawn and cucumber roses, prawn nigiri and crab salad. It was all delicious.

Norm and I finally finished his favorite series, Ray Donovan and we started watching The OA this weekend.

We finished the first series and I really loved it! I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. It was bizarre but it was right up my alley!

We were up early on Saturday as Norm had to take Pixie to the Chiro in Noordhoek. I stayed in bed until he got back home as it was a bit drizzly and dreary weather out.

We had plans to collect my friend Jenny for lunch. As she is visiting from the UK I had planned to take her to a Constantia wine farm with a lovely view but the weather was not very cooperative and we ended up going to Peddlar’s instead. We had not been there in a while as the last time we went it wasn’t very nice. But they seem to have upped their game.

We got a nice bright table inside rather than risk the on and off drizzle outside on the patio.

We all opted for one of their Burgers. Norm and I both had the Bacon and Cheddar burger which came with fries and gorgeous onion rings.

Norm ordered the Cheesecake for dessert. It looked very appealing.

Proof that looks cannot be relied on when it comes to food, Norm said it wasn’t great and only rated it 2.5 Kitten Stars.

I also ordered dessert and in a similar vein, my creme brûlée looked lovely.

However when I cracked open the perfectly formed crisp topping, underneath it was a very soupy consistency. It did not even have a very tasty filling.

I was very disappointed in my dessert and give it 2 Kitten Stars but my burger was delicious and gets a full 5 Stars. The meat was good quality, the patty nice and thick, it was juicy and perfectly cooked.

Jenny was very virtuous and avoided the bun, the chips and dessert.

It was lovely to see Jenny, we first met in George well over 25 years ago as our ex-husbands were work colleagues. We lost touch for ages but reconnected when I moved back to SA. Ironically she moved to the UK after I came back here! Jen is a very kind, no nonsense sort of woman, it is always lovely to catch up with her.

We left late afternoon and took her back to her daughter Vicky’s house and we headed home. Norm walked the dogs and we settled in for a quiet evening at home, however our eejit neighbour put paid to that plan!

Later last night we got a bit hungry so Norm popped out to Massimo’s and I had the chicken milanese which is chicken breaded in Parmesan and fried, it came with mash and roast veg. It was delicious.

Tonight we had a takeaway from Cassarechio, Norm had ravioli and I had half of a Mexicana pizza.

This week I was added to a Facebook group page for planning our 40th high school reunion. Things like reunions and lunches with old friends make you realise just how quickly your life has hurtled past. I would love to attend but we just don’t have the funds to go to the US just 9 months after our recent visit.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Sam Smith in concert this week. I hope you all have a lovely week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Protected by Women

The last week or so the vibe in our village has been a bit tense after the recent protests that resulted in the roads in and out of our village being closed and 5 men being murdered.

Community Crime Prevention (aka CCP) posted an update the day after the 4 taxi drivers were shot to reassure us that our concerns over our safety were being addressed:

“6 Vehicle Control Points held in the course of the day and 8 taxis impounded. 14 traffic warrants served and 3 arrests made on outstanding warrants during vehicle stops. Strong Police presence along with Traffic/Metro/Law Enforcement continues.”

There has been a heavy police presence all week.

I have had a few of my international readers asking me about the background to the taxi violence and I have found an article to explain it which you can read HERE but in summary it is that there are 2 different taxi associations who are fighting over the right to use the lucrative Hout Bay to Wynberg routes. There are many people in Hout Bay who use the african taxis and the difference in cost between the government run MyCiti buses and the african taxis is supposed to be about R14 each direction per day according to the people I have spoken to. This is a lot of money to those who are paid so little.

Last Friday there was a meeting in Hangberg (a suburb in Hout Bay) which was meant to be a forum for all of the political parties to speak to the voters and it started peacefully enough but it erupted into a brawl and was eventually called off.

Today the police minister Bheki Cele was due to arrive in Hout Bay to address various issues. The police were out in force.

However I saw on social media that this visit triggered another protest. I later read that the protest was local students, specifically organised by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) and I cannot find anything online regarding this protest in Hout Bay specifically, but the march was held across many areas in South Africa. The students have stated that they ‘want the Education Department to improve the school’s infrastructure and implement a safety programme to rid places of learning and South African streets of drugs.’  I also read that Cosas is raising concerns over the violence, the sexual assault of learners by teachers and the need for the provision of sanitary towels in schools.

Below is an update on the outcome of the meeting with the Police Minister.

Throughout all of the chaos and nonsense, the rest of us have to keep on with the requirements of living life.

I had a phone call from my gastroenterologist to tell me that the results of my biopsy were back and that it was all clear! Such a relief. The medication he has given me for the heartburn is working well and my reflux is minimal. If I avoid overeating then I am  mostly okay. If the meds do their job then hopefully I will be able to avoid having another op. I had a bit of dizziness on Wednesday when I went back to work but that has  gone away. I think it was from too much caffeine. I do not cope well with excessive caffeine.

Norm has been looking after me as always. He made a delicious dinner on my first night back at work last week. He made chicken sausage fried with mushrooms which he served with sweet potato mash and baby spinach. It was so yummy. Sausage and mash is such a warm cozy homely meal.

I cooked on Thursday night and made tacos, one of my favourite foods. They are so quick to make when late home from work.

We got sushi from K1 on Friday and I ventured out of my comfort zone and tried some different items.  I had salmon roses, prawn nigiri, crab salad and tempura prawns. It was all so delicious. This might become my new normal.

We had takeaways from Spiro’s one night last week, I had crispy squids and chips and Norm had chicken souvlaki. We love Spiro’s and it is one of our fave take away spots, the portions are big and the prices are reasonable and the food is consistently good.

We also had takeaways from Massimo’s one night, I had the creamy prawn and crab granchio pasta and Norm had the fritto misto that was on special and both were delicious.

On Saturday I had to buy a birthday gift for Bronwyn so Norm and I popped into Culture Box at Oakhurst Farm Park in upper Hout Bay to look for a gift as I wanted to support our local shops and designers. They had some lovely things and I finally settled on a gorgeous thick, soft black scarf which will be perfect for winter. They wrapped it in tissue paper and put it in a bag for me so I did not have to wrap it.

Norm and I then went off down to Hout Bay village to find some lunch. We decided to try the new Famous Bean Cafe which I had not yet been to.

It was overcast but still warm enough to sit outside and we found a nice shady table on their patio.

I had heard good things about their burgers and the menu said they are hand made patties so Norm and I both ordered the ‘Famous Burger’.

It arrived on a wooden serving board with a little bowl of fries.

The burger was OK, but only just OK. I far prefer the burgers from Dario’s personally. I also ordered a chocolate milk shake but it was not nice at all. It was more milk than shake and the ice cream used was not nice, it tasted quite artificial. Maybe I am spoiled by the amazing hand made Italian ice cream at Ice Dream? Hout Bay has some brilliant restaurants so the owners of Famous Bean Cafe will need to up their game if they want to survive. All in all I give my experience at Famous Bean 3 Kitten Stars and that is mainly due to the attentive and chatty waitress who served us and the free WiFi. I will give them another chance however, I will go for breakfast and see how their eggs benedict stand against the other venues in the bay.

Norm and I popped into Woolworths and did a shop of bits and pieces we could heat for an easy dinner as we had such a big lunch. We bought chicken samoosas, mozzarella arancini, sesame chicken, asian slaw, potato salad and beetroot.

We spent the evening relaxing surrounded by the animals. Navajo chilled at my feet with his head on the footstool. He is such a beautiful boy.

On Sunday I met up with Bronwyn and a few of her other friends to celebrate her birthday. We met at Kirstenbosch Gardens which is such a beautiful special place. It was a hot day and the gardens were very busy.

Norm dropped me off as I intended to have a wee vodka or two and I met up with the other ladies at the gate. We went into the gardens and managed to find this little secluded area under cover of the trees and we set up our little camp and put out all of the goodies Bronwyn had bought for us to feast on. She had brought loads of gorgeous freshly baked breads, salami, pepper ham, parma ham, brie and several types of cheese, lots of dips and spreads and pate as well as crisps and cupcakes. She really spoiled us!

I had brought a jug of vodka, apple juice, soda and passionfruit cordial and Bronwyn had brought wine and champagne.

We posed for some funny photos which had us all giggling like school girls. We did a cheesy album cover shot draping ourselves all over the giant trees that were sheltering us from the sun.

Then we straddled a different tree and did a sort of human centipede shot.

Several of us tried to master a group selfy but only Bronwyn had any measure of success.

We spent all day there and finally wandered home around 5:30pm, I for one was a little tipsy from my vodka concoction. We had such a wonderful day chatting and munching and I so enjoyed spending Bronwyn’s special day with her and such fabulous women and our one token fella (he was the photographer and is not in the pics I posted).

Our little spot was like a magical fairy garden, it was such a divine special area. I love the energy you get by being surrounded by ancient trees and I also gained energy by interacting with the less than ancient humans sharing the fairy garden with me.

We talked about all manner of things ranging from who would make up the perfect dinner party if you could invite dead people, to the ideal table of living hot men. We touched on the foolishness of the young, dissected the traditional gender based roles of men and women in society and how we ignore these stereotypes and apply our own rules in our own relationships, and we discussed the physical and emotional abuse suffered by so many women all in the name of what masquerades as love.

Angie raised a very salient point about how so many of the abusers are protected by society, by other women or even by the victims themselves. Society tells women they should be grateful that they have a man, any man, regardless of how he treats ‘his’ woman. So many african families will tell the wife that she must do as she is told and bow to the needs of the man. If the man wants a houseful of children, even though he is unwilling to work to feed or clothe them, the wife must accommodate his wishes. This pattern of subservience is also still prevalent in many Afrikaans families so it is not restricted to race. It is prevalent in most countries within many races and religions.

Silence may be the only protection offered but sometimes that is all that is required. Whether the silence is there out of fear of reprisal, or just due to the gaslighting that occurs to the victims, the end result is still men literally getting away with murder or with ongoing repeated abuse. Does this silence make the victim complicit in their own abuse or is it just a symptom of the victim hood?

Last week the mother and step father of a child who was systematically tortured and abused until he died were both sentenced. The courts have called the child ‘Baby Daniel’ for the sake of anonymity of the mother’s other children.  The step father has been sentenced to life in prison, while the child’s mother was sentenced to 20 years behind bars. The judge said that the mother was guilty in that she did nothing to remove the child from the reach of the step father. The report from a social worker states that the mother was a victim of sexual abuse and physical abuse as a child which resulted in her making poor relationship choices and violence was normalised for her.

As a survivor myself I feel some level of sympathy for her. I know that I also made many poor life choices due to the damage of my childhood and I also made poor relationship choices which led to more abuse, first being engaged to a man whose emotional abuse convinced me that I was so ugly and stupid that I was lucky to have him as no one else would be interested in me, all while trying to lead me down a path of drug addiction, a road he was very familiar with. I managed to get out of that relationship but then ended up marrying an angry, violent man. However I could never have stood by while anyone harmed my children. My children’s father did not abuse them, he only directed his violence towards me. Once my son was old enough to witness the abuse something clicked in my head. I still remember it very clearly, we were living in LA and one night while I lay on the floor having been thrown across the room, I looked up to see my son standing in the doorway. He was less than 2 years old and I was pregnant with my second child. I then realised that if I did not do something to change my circumstances that my children would grow up with this violence as the template for their own relationships. I stood up and picked up my son and put him back into his bed. I then calmly walked up to my ex-husband and I told him that if he ever laid another hand on me and did not kill me, that I would wait until he went to sleep and I would bash his head in with a brick. He later told me that he could see in my eyes that something had changed. He never hit me again after that. He still abused me emotionally and played power games with me but he never laid a hand on me until many years later after our divorce. I am proud to say that I stood up to him that time as well. Part of the issue with abuse is the loss of power, the helplessness associated to being a victim. Not everyone has the strength of character or the confidence to break these chains.

Obviously Baby Daniel’s mother did not. I feel so much sadness for Baby Daniel, for his mother and for the other children from that family. I hope that the other children are able to get counselling to help them heal from the horrors that they have seen or experienced themselves and can break that cycle in their own lives.

As for his step father, I hope that karma deals with him in the manner he deserves.

Hold your own loved ones close and tell them that you love them.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x