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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Relatable

This has been such a stressful week at work. Usually when a Data Quality system is being developed a client will hire both myself and a developer to design and build the system and reports.

My current contract obligation was primarily to document the metadata for a new data lake analysis environment being built and the data quality system was a ‘nice to have’ not a requirement. But to document the metadata I had to do data analysis and our methodology is to define the data rules as an output of that data analysis, so I have documented over 600 data rules. As the client did not have the budget to also employ a developer from my contract house I was provided a junior developer that works for the client to do the build.

I didn’t mind that he was unskilled in development, or that he was a junior as I’ve mentored new developers before. The key is attitude. A good developer loves a challenge. They also adhere to deadlines or they escalate issues in a timely manner. However this developer has such a large ego he cannot admit he has problems until he is way over his deadline and he seems to be unable to concentrate long enough to keep his head down and make progress. He is seldom at his desk, especially in the afternoons. As a result we have only managed to build and test less that 100 rules in the almost 8 months I have been on site. I roll off the project at the end of the month and want to achieve as much as possible. The client moved the dev to sit next to me so I could keep an eye on him. This week when I was doing my status report I asked him about progress. I asked what he had achieved in the days I was unable to work due to my PC being out of commission (an issue which was due to him unplugging it and corrupting my hard drive). I was also off sick on Thursday and Friday so basically I expected vast progress in that week. He said he spent three days on performance enhancement and so I asked for run time statistics on a run prior to optimization and a run after this optimization in order to gauge the success of his efforts. He knew I was seeing through his BS and he had obviously not achieved anything so he went into defense mode and screamed loudly at me ‘you are not my manager’ and swore at me and stomped off in a huff. It is like dealing with a temperamental toddler. It was so offensive to me for a man to verbally abuse me and to try and intimidate me so I reported his behavior to the client. As a survivor of domestic abuse if a man raises his voice to me it badly triggers my anxiety.

The dev decided not to communicate with me after his tantrum on Tuesday morning. He put on headphones and ignored me when I spoke to him. Even if I tapped his desk to get his attention he ignored me. When he is confused (which is often) he makes a noise like Scooby Doo, a sort of high pitched ‘huuunnnhh’? He knows I am noise sensitive so he drummed loudly on his keyboard while smirking. He refused to respond to my emails or answer my questions. How can I manage a project with no communication?

The client (his line manager) returned to the office on Friday (appropriate that it was the 13th) and we three had a meeting to discuss the issues. The dev lied and denied any personal attacks and at one point even whined to the client ‘tell her to stop looking at me’!

I’ve never worked with such a petty childish person.

Basically he was told that I am managing the project and he has to man up and communicate with me and he needs to make progress.

This project has been so stressful in regards to the lack of accountability for his attitude about work and failing to meet targets. I’m used to tight project timelines and accountability if you do not meet your deadlines. I’m relieved I finish at the end of the month even though I really like the client and the environment but I am happy to leave this developer behind.

11 more days……..and yes I am counting.

Last week I read about Nora, the young girl with special needs who went missing from her Malaysian hotel in the middle of the night and was found over a week later naked in the jungle, dead from starvation and stress.

A lot of people could not believe that no foul play was involved as she was found naked, or that she could not find her way back to the resort where her family were staying as she was discovered relatively close. However I could completely relate to this young girls fears.

Back in the early 90’s I spent a few months in Brunei with my boyfriend who was working there. Brunei borders Malaysia and while there I participated in ‘Hashing‘ which is similar to orienteering. The group all start out together as you enter the jungle but the more fit runners end up distancing themselves quite a bit from the unfit (aka me). I was running for a long time on my own and eventually got completely lost. If you have never been in a jungle it may be impossible to comprehend just how dense the vegetation is. The light is always dim due to the trees and vines which completely obscure any light getting through. It was incredibly hot and humid and after a while I stripped down to my underwear as I was dripping with sweat and my clothes were as sodden as they would be if I had swam in them and were chafing me. The sounds of animals surrounded me, I could hear so many unidentifiable terrifying noises and hear things crashing invisibly through the brush around me.

Eventually I ran into another girl who was also lost. She had given up and was just sitting crying by a stream. She and I hugged each other, held hands and walked together until the rescue group eventually found us. By then it was completely dark and we could see nothing.

When I finally emerged from the jungle, dripping with sweat, filthy and crying I punched my boyfriend in the face.

So I could completely empathize with Nora. I felt such sadness thinking about how frightened she would have been. I feel such pain for her parents.

The issues I posted about in my last blog are still ongoing in South Africa. We continue to read about the death, rape and abuse of women and girls by men and the patriarchy shown by men who defend these attacks with their ‘not all men’ bullshit or the ‘women should not dress like whores’ blaming the victim defense.

A taxi driver was captured by private security guards after he allegedly raped a female passenger for 10 hours in his van. The traumatised woman said the suspect beat her up before raping her and she thought he was going to kill her too.

Today I read about a 3 year old girl who was raped by her friend ‘s father. The child’s mother went to the police 5 times over 4 days and none of the police would believe her or take her information down or open a case. Eventually the child’s older sister posted about it on Facebook and when the story went viral the police finally responded. However when they came to the mother’s home they brought the accused with them. The accused was charged but has been released on bail. As the victim said the man also rapes his own child this man should be locked up, not released.

A 57-year-old man was arrested in the Western Cape for allegedly raping a 1-year-old baby in Mitchells Plain in August.

The horror goes on and on.

On the 21st of this month there is another March planned to protest femicide.

People keep asking what is to be gained from protesting as if we should sit and wring our hands and await a white horse and a knight.

Fuck that.

Here is a summary of The Total Shutdown’s demands to government contained in the memorandum handed to the president at the Union Buildings on August 1: 

“1. A commitment never to appoint any individual who has been implicated or minimises the causes and consequences of GBVAW to Cabinet or to lead a state institution and a commitment to announce the dates of a national gender summit.

2. A review of past national action plans to end GBVAW with a view to understanding why they failed and that the Ministry of Women in the Presidency be tasked with managing the review. 

3. The development of criteria and screening for appointing individuals who are tasked with leading efforts to end and respond to GBVAW. 

4. The development of a National Action Plan on gender-based violence whose terms of reference will be determined by the review process envisaged under demand number two. 

5. The resuscitation of the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Quality of Life and Status of Women, and that a prerequisite for committee membership is a proven track record on working on GBVAW and gender diversity issues.

6. The establishment of accountability and oversight mechanisms to ensure that an adopted National Action Plan is implemented. 

7. Focusing on the prevention of re-victimization and re-traumatisation through the establishment of a well resourced national hotline that will enable survivors to request and receive information on support services. 

8. The provision of prevention services and information on GBVAW with a view to raising awareness on the different forms of GBVAW, preventing violence and changing attitudes.

9. Training to provide legislators with information on the key features of drafting legislation to develop laws aimed at combating GBVAW and promoting gender diversity and equality. 

10. Consistent sentencing and enforcement of existing laws, in particular, the minimum sentencing legislation in sexual and domestic violence cases and that the judiciary stops using harmful and negative gender stereotypes.

11. The prioritisation of the provision of legal aid to victims of GBVAW including those who want to hold the state accountable for its failure to protect them from violence and those who have been subjected to lawsuits for publicly naming perpetrators.

12. Sensitisation and adequate training regarding diverse gender identities and LGBTQIA_ minorities for members of the judiciary and their resource providers. 

13. The provision of psycho-social support, or funding for such support, to victims and survivors of GBVAW including a publication of a referral list of the places where the service will be provided. 

14. A commitment to beginning a process to develop a comprehensive law on addressing GBVAW. This includes engaging the South African Law Reform Commission to begin a consultation process. 

15. Recognition that intersecting forms of oppression heightens women’s vulnerability to GBVAW and that these factors are taken into account during the investigation, prosecution and sentencing. 

16. That the existing Thuthuzela Care Centres’ resources be developed and vacant posts filled and that the centres be established as places of safety and care for all gender identities who are survivors of GBV.

17. The introduction of an automated national registry for protection orders. 

18. Provision of gender inclusive shelters and interim housing to enable womxn to escape abusive relationships and a list of those shelters to be confidentially shared with relevant service providers. 

19. Registration of GBVAW cases in hospitals and the provision of information on support services available to survivors of GBVAW, as well as ensuring that an effective referral mechanism is put in place. 

20. Publication of a monthly list of police stations and police officers who have been reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate for failing to provide services to survivors of GBVAW.

21. Adoption of a policy to make prosecutor-led investigations of GBVAW cases compulsory in order to provide guidance and assist in the gathering of evidence in order to ensure that cases are taken to court.

22. Publication of a national training schedule on GBVAW and gender diversity for all relevant government departments including home affairs,  social development, justice, safety and security and health.

23. A sustained media campaign for 365 days by all departments led by Government Communication and Information System providing information including awareness.

24. Government should ensure that laws, policies, practices and systems are sensitive to gender diversity to protect the bodily and physical as well as the psychological and emotional integrity of transgender and GNC people from GBV. 

* Each of the 24 demands was assigned a deadline, some of which have already passed without being met.”

Norm and I started watching a Netflix series just released in SA which is called ‘Unbelievable‘ and coincidentally is about how the patriarchy can affect victims of rape. The main character is raped, reports it and subsequently withdraws the charges due to the mental stress caused by the ordeal.

Unbelievable is based on a true story and can be both heartbreaking and enraging at the same time. It can be hard to watch.

The police and all support personnel should be female. A victim of trauma should not have to lay bare her soul to a representative of the gender who caused that trauma. If you don’t have a vagina, you cannot comprehend the dehumanizing effect of rape.

I did have one good thing happen this week thanks to my darling hubby. He booked tickets for us to spend three weeks with my Mother over the Christmas holidays. We went to see Mom last year but as my Mom paid for the flights we kept the cost down as much as possible and took a longer flight with a long layover in Qatar. It was a 38 hour trip which was so exhausting. This trip we have a short flight to Johannesburg and then fly direct to Atlanta. We will take the shuttle to Chattanooga and Mom will collect us from there which is about a 30 minute drive to her house. We will have a few days to adjust before Christmas which we will spend with family. We have booked our dog and house sitter so the house and animals will be safe and well looked after.

I am so excited! I am trying to focus on that.

Panda has also continued to improve and he can now jump off the couch or bed, he can go down the front stairs and get both in and out of the doggy door so we no longer have to take him out to wee or poop.

He still has to master jumping up and going up the stairs. But he’s making brilliant progress.

Norm has been very busy with work but still looked after us even if he did not manage to cook every night.

He cooked fillet steaks, fondant sweet potatoes, creamed spinach and roast beetroot one night. It was so delicious. The steaks were charred outside and nice and pink inside.

He cooked Kassler chops (aka gammon steaks) and served them with chips, coleslaw and the remainder of the beetroot.

We had takeaways on the nights he was out doing workshops all day. We had Chinese from the Blue Lotus one night. I had crispy chili chicken with prawn dim sum.

I have had a lazy weekend as I’m still coughing and my sinuses are full of crud. I had a long lie in bed yesterday playing games and reading. Norm brought me a frothy latte in my fave mug.

Panda kept me company as Norm was in his office working.

He loves tummy rubs. I meant Panda, but Norm probably does too.

Norm popped down to Spar while I was showering. When I finally emerged downstairs about lunch time I made a yummy simple lunch of roast chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and a green salad from what he had picked up in his shop.

We have also been pretty lazy today but after the traumatic week I had and the busy one Norm has had we needed time to rejuvenate before we do it all again next week.

I hope you all enjoy the remainder of your weekend and that you have an easy week ahead.

Wish me luck next week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Enough is Enough

My work week started pretty much on the same note as it ended on last week. My PC was still with the technician when I got in on Monday morning and finally at midday my client said I may as well go home.

On my way I popped in to the shop and got steaks for dinner. To go with them Norm made mushrooms, fondant sweet potatoes, red cabbage, and brussel sprouts cooked in chicken stock.

To make the fondant potatoes, he just peeled and parboiled them, then he sliced the potatoes into thick discs and fried the discs in butter until browned. I love these. He parboiled the sliced sprouts in chicken stock then fried them off in butter. He added the mushrooms in with the sprouts once the stock had cooked down.

Before I left work on Monday I asked my client to let me know when my computer had been fixed so that I did not drive into the city for nothing. I got a message late Monday afternoon to say my computer had been repaired so I went in at 7:30am on Tuesday only to discover it still had issues.

I raised another Helpdesk call. Finally by lunch time on Tuesday I was operational and had to quickly test the data run from that morning.

Tuesday was my birthday and I woke to some stunning lilies from Norman.

He also made a card for me and gave me a gift card from Woolies so I will get a new top or jeans or something nice with it.

When I got home from work there had been a delivery of a stunning bouquet of various bright flowers. They were from my son Trevor and DIL Amber.

There was also a basket containing a package of yummy treats with a cluster of beautiful pink roses attached.

The treats were licorice All Sorts, biscuits, a Lindt chocolate bar, biltong and a large box of nougat. So special!

I put the roses in a vase. The buds were so lush and they are such a beautiful colour.

I felt very spoiled.

That night we met Caitlin and Wes for dinner in Hout Bay at Cheyne’s.

They were already there when we arrived.

Wes gave me a bottle of Amarula (my favorite liqueur) and Caitlin made a colorful mandala type drawing for me. It is to help with anxiety. I can focus on the colors and patterns to ground me.

On the other side of the art she wrote a really sweet note. It was so touching.

We got settled in and checked out the menu.

I ordered a Passionate Buddha cocktail.

Cheyne’s had on their Spring Yum Cha special at the price of R280 per head for 4 courses. There are four sections of the menu, Sea, Earth, Land and Happy Endings. You can choose any four dishes. I always choose one from each section.

Wes had shrimp tempura and Norm, Caitlin and I all had the Hake tempura from the Sea section of the menu to start. It came with pickled shallots, miso mayo and unagi sauce.

It was perfection. The tempura was light and crispy and the tartness of the pickled shallots and the richness of the unagi sauce were the perfect compliment.

Next I had my favorite, the Mumbai chili beef. It was as tasty as it always is.

Norm and Wesley ordered the pork belly. It came with pear teriyaki, crispy potato, Keralan cream and puffed black rice.

This dish looked so beautiful. Norm rated it a full 5 stars so it must have tasted as good as it looked.

Caitlin and I ordered the crispy potato pave from the Earth section of the menu. It was flavored with truffle oil, maldon salt, Parmesan and caviar.

I wasn’t convinced about these. I always have the potato and coconut dumplings but felt like I should be adventurous. I missed my dumplings so we need to go back soon!

The pave potatoes were like what you would get if a hassleback potato and a croissant had a baby. They were tasty and delicious but just a bit dry. I nicked some sauce from Norm’s pork belly dish and it was just what the potatoes needed.

Instead of a dessert, Caitlin ordered 2 of the Land offerings, the baby back ribs and the Tokyo beef slider. I tasted the beef slider and I am definitely having that next time. It was tender sliced beef in a gorgeous shiitake cream with crispy rosti potato and it was served on a brioche. It was divine!

Norm had ordered the aubergine tempura dish from the earth section but it never arrived. Norm asked the waiter could he rather have an extra dessert as he was past eating savory food by the time we had finished our last round of food and the waiter had cleared the plates. Caitlin had not ordered a dessert so she had a bit of his peanut butter shake.

I also ordered the peanut butter milkshake. It comes with miso butterscotch, toasted nuts and chocolate soil.

Norm and Wes chose the creme brûlée. It came with toasted banana bread and miso ice cream.

I had a taste and it was as divine as it was the last time I had it. It was the perfect texture, light, rich and creamy with a crispy sugar topping. We all gave our meals 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When the bill arrived there was a bottle of wine on the bill that we did not drink, but it was quickly replaced by the correct bill and we paid up and headed home as it was a weeknight.

On Wednesday I woke up with the beginnings of a terrible flu. I went into work as I was so behind thanks to my PC issues.

I felt dreadful but I struggled through and delivered the analysis I needed to. However as the night went on I felt worse and worse. I called in sick on Thursday and Friday and just stayed in bed feeling sorry for myself.

Norm looked after me, pumping me full of Corenza C, Acc 200 and steaming mugs of med lemon.

Panda kept me company.

August was Women’s Month in South Africa but instead of being shown the honour and respect we deserve, the murder and rape of women and children continued unabated.

South Africa’s femicide rate is 5 times higher than the global average, and more than one in five women experience physical violence, worsening to one in three in low-income areas.

The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) had found that South Africa had the world’s highest rate of rape, estimated at 138 rapes per 100,000 women in 2017.

The women in SA decided enough is enough and planned a week of protests.

I watched the protests on social media and on the telly from my bed.

I was so proud of the women who took to the streets.

There were some men who joined in support.

There were so many people supporting the cause.

During Women’s Month alone at least 23 women or girls were murdered.

Below is a list of the known 23 victims:

  1. Nolundi Vumsindo from the Eastern Cape. The 44-year-old victim was sleeping in her home next to her daughter when a man pushed into the house and stabbed the woman before running away.
  2. Verusha Padayachee, a 32 year old gym owner from Pietermaritzburg was found beaten, cable tied and strangled allegedly by her husband. She had a restraining order against him. He has since committed suicide.
  3. Lynette Volschenk, a 32 year old woman from Cape Town was murdered and chopped up by a 21 year old male suspect who lives in the same block of flats.
  4. An 84 year old grandmother from the Eastern Cape was brutally stabbed to death in front of her grand children. Her murderer claimed she was a witch.
  5. Meghan Cremer, a 30 year old woman from Cape Town was taken from her home, beaten, murdered and dumped on a sand mine. One of the suspects was known to her and her family.
  6. Leighandre ‘Baby Lee’ Jegels, a 30 year old boxer from the Eastern Cape was allegedly shot and killed by her policeman husband. Jegels’ professional boxing career took off in 2014 and in two years she was named the South African Junior Bantamweight Champion. She later also became the WBA Pan African Junior Bantamweight Champion. 
  7. Nathlia Pienaar a 6 year old from Cape Town was shot dead in a gang shooting while playing outside her house.
  8. Sadiqah Newman, 26, from Cape Town, was 8 months pregnant and a mother of two. She was shot 8 times while walking to a shop with a friend. Cops say the young woman was used as a shield by the man who was the intended target.
  9. Chantal McKenzie-Vlotman a Cape Town mother of 6 and a grandmother of 4 was fatally shot.
  10. Lauren Prins, a 30 year old Cape Town disabled mother of a three year old boy died after she was shot 10 times in gang cross fire.
  11. Jo-Anita Schulz was shot dead on Women’s Day by her husband.
  12. Nyameka from Cape Town was murdered and her body was dumped. Her murder is believed to be gang related.
  13. Yanela from Cape Town who was murdered and dumped. Her murder is believed to be gang related.
  14. In Johannesburg a 39 year old female doctor was strangled to death.
  15. The doctor’s helper was also murdered and burnt beyond recognition by robbers who then stole TVs, laptops and cellphones.
  16. Jesse Hess who was 19 years old and lived in Cape Town was murdered. Her 85 year old grandfather was murdered too.
  17. Esmeralda Isaacs, a 14 year old girl from the Northern Cape was stabbed multiple times and was found dumped on a field. No one has been arrested.
  18. An Eastern Cape woman, aged 71, was stabbed to death by her son.
  19. A Cape Town woman, aged 55 was stabbed to death by her 14 year old son.
  20. Sisanda Fani, aged 30, from Port Elizabeth, a young mother, was found dead in her car from a single gunshot to head. She was in the process of getting divorced.
  21. An unknown woman in her thirties was found murdered and dumped under a tree near a primary school in Welkom.
  22. Janika Mallo, 14 years old from Cape Town, was raped and murdered and her body found dumped in her Grandmother’s yard
  23. Uyinene Mrwetyana (Known as ‘Nene’ to family and friends) Nene was 19 years old and living in Cape Town and was raped and murdered in the post office.

A vigil was held at UCT where Nene attended University.

After days of unrest our president finally made an appearance to try and placate the protestors.

I hope it is not empty platitudes. Let’s hope that the government puts something in place to affect this huge issue. None of us feel safe. But life goes on and you do what you can to maximize your security and minimize your risks.

We have had continued progress with Panda. He can make it out of the doggy door into the back garden and as of today he can make it back in! He can go up and down the two steps from the garage to the scullery. He now runs on his walks with Norm. He went to his Physio and she has said he will only need a few more appointments.

This week we had Vanessa come stay with him on Tuesday night while we were out. But Norm also tried leaving Panda alone for a few hours Norm had to go to the dentist. He made sure he could get to water and had him pee before he left. He was fine on his own.

As Norm had work done on his dental implant he has to eat soft food. Last Sunday we had pasta from Posticino. I had spaghetti with amatriciana sauce. It was delicious.

On Tuesday Norm made the low carb mac n cheese using cauliflower and it was delicious as always.

We also had pasta from Massimo’s one night. I love their pasta.

On Friday Lily came to stay. She dropped Josh at his best mates house as they were going riding early on Saturday. We watched Black Mirror and shared a lasagna and margarita pizza from Cassarechio on Friday. Cassarechio does such a wonderful lasagna.

On Saturday there were 10 of us booked for dinner at Papino’s for a late birthday celebration but I felt so ill that I rescheduled. We ordered takeaway pizzas and pastas from Papino’s instead. They even sent a divine little parcel of chocolate mousse for my birthday dinner.

How sweet was that?

We had Josh, Lily and Caitlin here with us. The girls and Trevor gave me a gorgeous statue of Ganesh, a Hindu god. Ganesh (or Ganesha) is a god of wisdom, success and good luck.

It has been so hot this weekend but I’ve stayed snuggled up in my pajamas. At least I was surrounded by my family. If I am not well by tomorrow I must go to the doctor as I will need a note for work. I hope I wake up magically recovered. Wish me luck.

Until then, air Kisses from a germ free distance from The Kitten. xoxoxoxox

Method of Measure

Yesterday I went to my drumming circle. I haven’t gone in over a month for various reasons, one weekend I was suffering from stress another was when Panda was sick and I had to look after him then the last event Norm was sick. My voice took a lot of strain as I have not sung in so long.

The session was well attended by the core group of drummers who have been together for a few years. It was a really powerful session with a lot of things shifting for a few people. After drumming several of us stayed around for a cup of tea and a chat.

We discussed the need to work for financial survival vs the wish to work doing something that your heart desires. For example, I went to University to do Radiography but ended up in IT specializing in Data, a move which ultimately made it financially viable for Norm and I to move back to SA. However, if I could work in any field with no need to bring in enough income to support us, I would love to train as an acupuncturist. One of us in our circle is trained as a Project Manager but prefers to work in an area that supports her beliefs. One of us is in marketing but wants to change directions in her career. One of us is working with energy but does not make enough money to live comfortably. Everyone seems to need a side hustle just to survive.

We talked about how the world measures success. Is it measured purely by how many toys and homes you have managed to accrue or is it based on how many lives you have touched or changed in a positive way, or the influence and impact we have over the things we believe in? What is your measuring stick?

Norm and I both made a really great salary in the UK. I spent most of my salary on flying the kids to us for school holidays and on taking them all around Europe and to the US. We saved little but made a lot of memories and exposed my children to so many different cultures and places.

I deem that as positive whereas some people may see it as a waste of money that I should have been saving for our retirement. It is all based on your personal perspective.

Meanwhile Norm and I have a clear ability to measure Panda’s success as he progresses every day!

We have a little footstool by the couch for the Pomeranians to use to get onto the couch. Last Sunday Panda was trying to jump on to the footstool but he could not lift his front legs high enough. But by Thursday night we saw him with both of his front feet on the stool. He still does not have the strength to pull himself up but it is still visible progress. Mastering stairs and being able to use the doggy door are the next milestones we are aiming for him to achieve.

On Monday when I was getting ready to leave for work, Panda was awake at 7am and ready to go downstairs for a treat. Before he was ill he would follow me downstairs and have some biltong when I left every morning. He obviously remembered that routine and he barked and barked until Norm got up and took him down to have a wee and a treat.

We continued with encouraging him to walk around the garden to build his muscles and help with his confidence.

He did so well that instead of carrying him around the block Norm decided to try and walk him on a lead. He did brilliantly and was so pleased with himself so each day Norm walked him a bit farther. He cannot manage the whole walk he used to do but he goes down the hill and back, then up the hill and back down.

On Wednesday Norm took him to the Physio and walked him into the offices on his lead and the Physio was shocked and pleased at his progress.

We are trying to get him back into his pre-paralysis routines. He was eating his chicken and his dried food in his old bowl in the garage with the other dogs each morning and evening with a few top up meals between. Norm noticed he was looking very jealously at Pixie and Navajo’s raw food and so he has gradually put him back onto that and he is eating eagerly instead of begrudgingly. We are also encouraging him to drink out of the communal water bowl in the pantry instead of wanting us to give him water individually out of a small bowl.

Pixie has been very naughty all week. We were eating dinner and put Panda’s bowl of chicken down by the table so he would eat a bit more with us. We heard a snuffling noise and looked down to see Pixie had nipped in and polished off all of the chicken.

She showed no remorse at all despite having just eaten her own dinner.

The next day when Norm was feeding Panda, Pixie bit him quite badly, breaking the skin in two places. He chastised her and put her into the bathroom to cool off.

She wasn’t bothered as she got the chicken.

When I came downstairs yesterday Panda met me at the bottom of the steps and was twirling around and wagging his tail like he used to. He sat by me while I had my toast begging for a bit.

It is so wonderful to see him returning to health.

I added many of the videos of Panda’s progress to my Kitten In The City YouTube channel so that anyone whose dog may have the same illness can be encouraged to support their dog in recovery and not give up.

Norm is very busy at work but still managed to cook for us a few nights.

He made a HFLC dinner of pork chops, mushrooms, cauliflower mash purée, red cabbage, and brussel sprouts cooked in chicken stock.

The next night he made lemon and pepper chicken kebabs with coleslaw, and a parmesan and spinach salad and chips.

We also had takeaways a few nights. We had yiro’s from Spiro’s, I had prawn and Norm had lamb and we both had loaded chips. It was very yummy.

I had crispy chili chicken and prawn Dim Sum from Blue Lotus.

It was also really delicious.

Friday we got takeaway chicken schnitzel with salad from Posticino’s.

On Friday work was a nightmare. I had worked for 10 hours on Thursday on a deliverable which was due on Friday and I had gone in to finish it up and prepare it for delivery. A few people on the team had recently moved desks and at 9:45am one of them unplugged the network cable and power supply for the entire pod of desks. My computer then failed to start back up even in safe mode.

All of my work and data for the client is on my desktop hard drive. I lost all of the 15 hours work on my deliverable and could not access my timesheet which I’m supposed to send for invoicing as it is month end. I hope I get paid! I spent hours waiting on the Helpdesk technician and playing games on my phone while seething with anger at my moronic colleague who never even apologized. I finally took an Ativan as I thought my head might explode. That is the first time my new daily dose of anxiety meds have not been enough to keep me calm.

I left at 2:30pm as the Helpdesk technician finally showed up to take my hard drive away so there was no point in staying. I had a chiropractor appointment that afternoon and then came home to chill.

Norm and I started watching Peaky Blinders this week. It is so funny to be surrounded by the Birmingham accent again.

Some bits are rather violent so I just don’t watch those bits but overall it is a good series.

The weather this week has been overcast and drizzly with some intermittent hot days. The weather started out overcast and chilly yesterday but then warmed up. Lola spent the morning chasing birds.

Today is cold and rainy so we are having a cosy pajama day. Norm cooked us some brunch.

Now I am snuggled on the couch with Lola and Panda. Life is pretty good.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and here’s to a peaceful week ahead.

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

A Smile A Day

Every day we see some new bit of progress with Panda’s development. If you compare his progress from my last blog to this one it is amazing! I usually write a few notes each day in my blog and then connect the dots and tie it all together when I’m ready to post but I had to scrap most of my notes as he has had so many milestones in a single week.

Since Norm returned from Kenya a week ago we have had a Physio session every afternoon when I got home from work.

At the start of the week we used a bit of fabric under Panda’s tummy to support him and used treats to encourage him to walk across the garden to me.

He was still unable to stand very long without assistance and he would not walk far without support.

He went to the Animal Fitness Centre on Monday afternoon and he had his first hydrotherapy session.

Look at that smile! Considering how much he hates water he was very happy in the jacuzzi. But he loves the staff, they are so kind. But they are also firm and told us to stop babying him and make him ‘be a dog’. He managed a few steps without any support and Norm got to see him walking unaided.

The next session we had at home we tried getting him to walk without the band under his tummy and he managed a few steps.

On Thursday morning Norm took him in the kitchen while he was preparing his food and Panda trotted around the kitchen completely on his own.

That afternoon we had him walk from Norm to me, turn around on his own and then walk back to Norm for a treat. That helped him work on turning and balance. He sometimes fell when turning but we persisted and he was doing it well after a few tries.

By Friday he was able to stand up by himself and walk unaided. Until then he could sit up but not stand as his back legs were still too weak.

He was still a bit wobbly and did a few tumbles but we just encouraged him to keep trying. The other animals had to be involved as they also wanted treats.

This morning when I came downstairs Norm and the dogs were already up and when Panda saw me he stood and trotted over to greet me! That delighted me.

Every day there is some progress. He can cock his leg to wee without falling over. He does his toilet outside when we pop him onto the grass and if he is inside and needs to go he barks to tell us he wants to go out. He hated using the pee pads when he could not stand. His tummy is more regular now that he is moving around and he has managed to do that outside now too. We have removed his little bed from our bed and he sleeps on the regular mattress like we do. He struggled to roll over in his bed as it has an indentation in the middle and now he does not wake us to turn him over. Last night he got up and came to snuggle into my tummy like he used to do. He is also being fed the recovery food and baked chicken in the garage with the other dogs each morning or eats out of a bowl on his own without being hand fed. These little returns to normalcy make us so happy.

Panda still can’t stay alone as cannot lift his front legs high enough to get out of the doggy door to go pee, or walk that far to get to the pantry where their water bowl is kept and we do not trust Navajo to not knock him over.

We had amazing weather this week no rain and lots of heat. My flowers are all blooming.

Does anyone know what this plant is called? I think it is so beautiful.

Today it is misty and we have a bit of drizzly rain.

Maybe because there is so much was going on, the week went by so quickly. We made some positive progress at work. The colleague next to me was even more distracting than usual as he has a cold. So now he has added coughing and sniffing to his usual repertoire of talking out loud to himself and playing loud music on rubbish headphones. I want to scream ‘STFU’ to him all day but instead I slap the desk and say ‘you are talking out loud again’. He also does no work, just messages his wife, reads linked in, does personal emails and listens to music. The client does not care too much as they do not pay him as he is on a government driven placement scheme, so we taxpayers are paying for him to mess about each week. When I suggested he tell our manager he has no work to do he just chuckled and said ‘Oh I am keeping myself busy’ and I wanted to say ‘yes but not in any way that is beneficial for the client’. I managed to repress that comment.

I had some sad news on Monday when I heard that one of the women at my old nail salon died. Simie was from Zimbabwe and was only 40 years old and had a 9 year old daughter. She also had two older sons but I feel so sad for her daughter who will now be in an all male household. Her husband said that Simie had pelvic pain and was diagnosed with fibroids at the government hospital and sent home. Her pain increased to such a stage that she went back to hospital 3 weeks ago and they realized she had been misdiagnosed and had stage 4 cervical cancer and she never returned home. Our government hospitals are horrendous. They are understaffed, under supplied with vital equipment and supplies, and very dirty. If the proposed National Health Insurance Bill is passed we are all in trouble. What the government wants to achieve is for those of us with jobs and private health insurance to pay for free healthcare for the poor and underprivileged but we already do so via our taxes. Why must they remove our access to private healthcare and hospitals?

It became public this week that 76% of police stations in South Africa do not have adult rape kits in stock, while a further 69% of stations do not have child rape kits in stock.

Without these kits, evidence in reported rape cases could not be collected, and without evidence the ability to successfully prosecute rapists diminished drastically, DA spokesman Andrew Whitfield said in a statement.

“If the minister of police does not heed to our call to resolve the rape kits crisis he must take full responsibility for the failure of the SAPS to investigate rape, arrest rapists, and ensure successful prosecutions of those who commit this heinous crime,” Whitfield said.

SAPS have now said that they have signed a contract with a supplier to provide rape kits for the next three years.

“The supplier will provide 13 different types of evidence collection kits including, adult sexual assault kits, paediatric sexual assault kits and Buccal (swab) sample collection kits. The first consignment of kits was received yesterday (Saturday) and they are being strategically distributed to provinces today to augment their existing stocks,” SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said in a statement issued Sunday. 

Naidoo explained that a dispute with the supplier forced the SAPS to cancel its contract after allegations of corruption arose between the supplier and members of the SAPS.

Before this, however, the kits were procured at national level and distributed to stations around the country, with the numbers managed on a central database.

Let’s see if they manage to resolve this issue as SA is deemed to be the country with the highest number of rapes internationally. This is only those which are reported and it is estimated that many rapes go unreported.

We have spent so much time dealing with Panda that we have not had much time to cook.

I made tacos and refried beans one night.

I used the left over taco meat to make chili con carne by adding beans, tomato passata and lots more spices.

One night Norm bought a chicken and mushroom pie and made chips in the air fryer and salad to go with it.

We had takeaways a few nights, on Monday I had tapas from Massimo’s. And then I had a Parma ham pizza from Massimo’s on Thursday. We love their food and they are right by our house so it is easy.

I am having a lazy weekend. Norm has been working all weekend so I have caught up with several series on telly.

I have started a new series called Offspring this week which is an Australian series and is very cute.

I adore the quirky theme song to it!

I also watched a documentary called First Face of America which I found really interesting. It is about the discovery of a 13,000 year old skeleton of a young girl they called Naia in a deep cave in the Yucatán province of Mexico. Naia is one of the original ancestors of Native Americans. The remains have been described as the “oldest, most complete and genetically intact human skeleton in the New World”.

It made me wonder what number of scientists are also Christian. How can you believe in both evolution as well as a divine being who is claimed to have created two humans whom we are all descended from with so many diverse physical appearances? I do pray to Wankan tanka or the Great Spirit and I also pray to my ancestors. I believe in giving thanks and showing gratitude for my blessings. However I do not try and tell other people what to believe or who to worship. If only most Christians believed in this right and did not try and convert others or tell them that they will be punished with hellfire and damnation if they do not believe in Jesus.

I also watched an episode of a show I have really enjoyed which is called This Is Life With Lisa Ling. Each episode Lisa has a topic about people who are living unconventional lives or who have jobs in controversial careers. This episode was about the Gay Rodeo.

It made me sad that so many of the LGBTQ community still cannot be who they really are or love whom they want to love openly and publicly. It was encouraging to see that some of the people on the show have been able to do so but so many places in America are unaccepting of being different. Most of the people interviewed had stories of violence or intimidation due to their sexuality. One man came out after a marriage which produced three children and his now adult son will not speak to him, same as many parents are unaccepting of their children. Do they think that being gay is a choice rather than who they are?

The human species still has a long way to go to develop acceptance and humanity.

I hope you have all had a good weekend and that you have a great week ahead. 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

I Hear You Knocking

 

I suspect that I have suffered from anxiety for most of my life but I just did not have a name for it. When I moved from a tiny little town in rural Tennessee to Los Angeles in the 80’s I was diagnosed with asthma because when I would drive on the motorways I would hyperventilate and it was assumed it was a reaction to the air quality. Now I realise that I was experiencing my first full blown panic attacks.

Over the years they have reappeared in moments of extreme stress with different intensities. At their worst I faint and at their best I just feel a bit ‘twitchy’ and hypersensitive. A few years ago I was interviewing the CIO at a client and I blacked out in the middle of the interview, my vision went black and I heard the roaring in my ears but I stayed upright. Luckily the project manager I was working with realised something was going on with me and carried on the interview and I came around within a few minutes. On Wednesday this week the same intensity of breathless panic hit me. It started with being aware of my heartbeat, it seemed to be jumping around loudly in my chest. Then my bottom lip went numb which is the signal my doctor told me to be aware of, it signifies a panic attack. The symptoms then escalated until I could feel myself about to faint, I heard the roaring in my ears and my vision started to go dark. I managed to talk myself out of it by breathing deeply and slowly and reassuring myself that I was fine, it was not a heart attack, it was anxiety. Naming it took away some of its power. I scrambled around in my bag and found my anxiety medication and slipped an ativan under my tongue, drank some water and sent an SOS whatsapp to Norman asking him to ring me and talk me down. I walked around the office talking to him until I felt a bit more steady. However I could feel it’s insidious presence at the back of my mind, like a steady knocking to remind me of its presence.

One thing I find with anxiety is that if I try to be a typical Virgo and analyse what may have triggered it, it makes me more anxious. However I am pretty sure that it is the combination of work pressures, money pressures, the fear over Panda’s health and worries over his prognosis.

Sometimes you just have to accept that it is what it is and try to just take things a minute at a time.

When I went home I had to shower and get ready to go out again as it was Norman’s birthday.

We have a lot of history together.

We had made plans to go for dinner with our friends Mel and Steve. Caitlin had offered to babysit Panda so we could have a night out and so we dropped him off there enroute to Peddlars.

Caitlin has 2 kitty cats and neither of them were very happy about the interloper.

In fact there were a few stare offs going on between little Mittens and Panda.

We had booked and were seated at a nice big round table.

Soon after we were seated our friends Mel, Steve and their daughter Chloe arrived.

We were not allowed to take any pics of Chloe (teenagers) but it was lovely to catch up with them all, they had just returned from the UK where they were looking for Universities for Chloe.

We had a lovely dinner. Everyone except me ordered starters but I knew I wanted dessert and could not manage 3 courses. Mel was very generous and gave me one of her spinach and feta croquettes which were delicious! I will order these next time we go there. They were R59 and amazing, tasty little balls of heaven.

Norm ordered the Gnocchi Gorgonzola for R68: Potato dumplings with spinach, assorted mushrooms, cream and gorgonzola. Norm enjoyed it but I tasted it and thought it was revolting but then again I do not like gnocchi or gorgonzola so there you go.

Chloe had the calamari and it was a massive portion. Steve had the beef carpaccio. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food.

For his main, Norm ordered the fillet steak which was on special and had it with sweet potato fries but I did not snap a pic of it. The rest of us ordered burgers, Steve and I both had the Bacon and Cheddar Burger for R125: Crispy bacon, mature cheddar served with chips and onion rings.

Mel chose the Camembert Chicken Burger for R120: Chicken breast with melted camembert, cranberry and herb salsa, served with chips and onion rings. She enjoyed it but said it was very salty.

For dessert both Chloe and I had the chocolate brownie at R49. It came with ice cream and was garnished with strawberries.

I had asked the waitress about the brownie because as an American I have high standards for brownies and she assured me it was divine. She was wrong. It was full of chunks of chocolate and had very little actual brownie taste. The texture was wrong. I did not enjoy this dish very much at all.

I had advised the restaurant when booking that it was Norman’s birthday and so they did a special little bit of decoration on his cheesecake.

Norm gave his dinner 5 Kitten Stars but mine gets 4.5 as the brownie disappointed me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

We stayed quite late for a school night just chatting and having a laugh and then we went to collect Panda. He was so excited to see us, I am sure he thinks we may just abandon him. Silly boy. We are in it as long as he is willing to fight.

Norm has been working on Panda’s prototype for a walking frame to assist him with rehab once his legs will function. He bought an aluminium side table and removed the top so that he just had the frame. He tested out the size using towels and clamps to hold Panda up.

During the week Norm went to a fabric shop in town to get neoprene. He had Panda in his arms and the manager stopped him to advise no dogs were allowed in the shop. When Norm explained his illness and why he needed the fabric, the lovely manager went to get samples of the fabric and brought them to Norm, let him choose, cut the size needed and helped Norm pay. So sweet.

On Saturday he made a sling from the cloth to go into the frame.

Panda was confused as to what was going on.

Panda is slowly starting to get stronger while simultaneously losing weight and muscle mass. Trying to get him to eat is a nightmare, some nights Norm has to almost force feed him the recovery food with a syringe and some nights he will almost bite your arm off for a bit of roast chicken and sometimes he turns up his nose. However he always has an appetite for biltong or dried meat treats.

He is still having tissue salts melted into his drinking water and he loves them. He licks any sediment up from the bowl when the water finishes. He is also now taking a daily dose of Colostem. It is a mix of colostrum and stem cells. Colostrum is taken to strengthen your immune system and help your body fight disease-causing agents.

Stem cells have the following benefits:

  • Synergistic formulation,
  • Colostrum supports healthy immunity.
  • Supports many aspects of healthy adult stem cell cascade (activate, specialise & regenerate) Encourages normal immunity
  • Helps to maintain a healthy gastro-intestinal environment

He also has CBD drops at night to help relax him for sleep.

Next on the agenda is to take him to Dr Barry Hindmarch for acupuncture next month when I get paid. Meanwhile Norm and I do a bit of light physio to keep his joints supple. I work on each leg individually and take them through their range of motion and then give him a massage but he is just a bag of bones, skin and copious amounts of hair.

I have seen his back leg kicking and this week when it happened I clapped and cheered and he did it again. Initially we weren’t sure if he was using his body to move his leg or whether it was deliberate fine muscle movement. Either way it is encouraging even though it is such a minor thing.

His bark gotten a bit stronger.

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with Panda, on Monday when I got in from work Navajo was unable to get up from the floor. He had obviously put his back out. Against my advice Norm went behind Navajo and tried to lift his hindquarters up. Navajo screamed in pain and nipped out to try and bite Norm and barely missed his face. If you have ever had back pain you know that if someone tries to help you up it can cause you pain. We messaged David the doggy chiropractor to request an appointment the next day and fretted over him all night. We had been given some CBD Jell-O shots for Panda and I decided to give one to Navajo to help with his pain. He happily took it all and about an hour later he was as high as a kite. He refused to come upstairs and he collapsed and fell sound asleep. I worried about him all night and woke feeling like death. When we came downstairs Navajo was as good as new. He had refused food the day before but he wolfed down his breakfast and acting like he had no pain at all! Norm took him to the chiropractor and David also did a little treatment on Panda to release some tension in his neck.

I’ve not stuck to low carb this week. Norm and I are both stress eating. On Monday he made a nice chicken stir fry but we had no sauce and I made a sort of satay sauce with teriyaki, sugar free peanut butter, chili and a bit of honey. We served it on noodles.

Tuesday night we had pasta takeaways from Cassarechio which left me with leftovers for lunch the following day. Thursday we had takeaways again, I had tapas from Massimo’s: calamari and fried polenta bites.

Friday I went for lunch at Nuri sushi with my friend Sakshi. I left work early as I was having another high anxiety day and had to take my meds to cope. It meant I was really tired and as I had done my billable hours there was no need to stay.

That evening Norman decided to try this recipe from one of our favorite low carb sites. He bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded it up so it was quick and easy and they tasted delicious.

He made homemade coleslaw and frozen chips in the air fryer.

This week there was an armed robbery at the iconic Mount Nelson Hotel. It is a very high end beautiful building and has amazing service. Police spokesman FC Van Wyk said 15 armed men arrived at the hotel in two vehicles. The security guard at the access control gate was threatened with a firearm. Two of the suspects removed the guard’s baton and hand radio and stayed with him while other members of the gang proceeded to enter the hotel.

“They pointed staff members and guests with two firearms and robbed them of their personal belongings,” a statement from Van Wyk said.

“The suspects then started breaking the glass cabinet display windows in the foyer with big hammers and removed jewellery, and also took an undisclosed amount of cash from the cash register.”

The suspects fled the scene shortly after the robbery and 5 of them were later arrested.

Such high profile crimes are sure to impact tourism which is a large part of Cape Town’s economy.

The Army has now finally been deployed to the high crime areas around Cape Town to deal with the gang crime and high number of murders. It took a few weeks to get them on the streets. I hope it makes a difference.

Before the press all told us the Russians were stealing our information I downloaded the FaceApp and did the obligatory old lady shot.

I look just like my Grandmother ❤️

Saturday we just relaxed, I slept until 10 which is unusual for me. I obviously needed the rest.

It was freezing cold out so I built a fire. All five of the animals kept close by.

We had seen a few episodes of Killing Eve on a flight and we really enjoyed it and Caitlin downloaded both series for us and we watched a few episodes of that. It is gripping.

I put on a pot of chicken curry late that afternoon and it wasn’t ready for dinner that night so we are having it tonight. I’ll do spinach purée and cauliflower rice with coriander to go with, it smells divine.

Today I went to Marina da Gama for drumming. I have missed a few sessions so it was lovely to see everyone. Drumming and singing helps to ground me and gives me peace. This song is one of my favorite songs and I always get a lot of positive feelings from it. It is so beautiful.

I hope Panda makes more progress this week and I hope you all have a great week. Until next time. Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo