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

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Conspiracies and Spirits

This week’s Old Fart Convo that I eavesdropped on at work was about Conspiracies and Spirits. First they said that ‘All Americans believe in Conspiracies’. No, no we don’t. Only some do. They touched on Flat Earthers and the people who are convinced the Moon Landing was faked.

Then the conversation drifted over to the subject of Spirits. They steadfastly denied that ghosts or spirits exist, then conversely almost crossed themselves and clutched their rosaries when one of them mentioned Ouija boards. When one of them asked the other two had they ever used a Ouija board they all said ‘NO!’ rather vehemently.

At this point I started giggling and they turned around to look at me but I did not attempt to interrupt their discussion. My expression and sniggers seemed to somehow unsettle them though and they shuffled off back to their desks.

Some of us do not need the assistance of a Ouija board to communicate with the other side, if anything we need help with blocking that communication!

My friend Alison shared a Light Language Activation image with me which is geared toward helping an empath disconnect from energy which is not theirs.

I have now started following Markus on social media and I enjoy his Light Activation images.

If I know that I will be around someone I need to protect myself from, then I do a protection ritual beforehand, but it is the experiences and interactions we do not expect that can get to me. My ability to protect myself is lessened when I am exhausted or stressed and I am both of those at the moment.

There is very little progress with Panda’s recovery and this whole experience has been expensive, stressful and exhausting.

Panda still sleeps in the bed with Norm and I as he always has, but he is most often wide awake alllll night. I do not go into a deep sleep as I have a possibly irrational fear of rolling over onto him in my sleep and smothering or crushing him. He can still only make a little growl and an almost soundless bark and cannot move away.

On Sunday night he had a very restless night but I still got up and managed to get to work and exist thanks to caffeine. The client had forgotten to send an email to HR to extend my contract another month and on Monday my access card did not work, but they let me in to the office using a visitor pass.

Panda was awake most of the following night too, so when my alarm went off at 6am on Tuesday I was still very tired and I hit the snooze button and went in for 8am instead of 7am. Tuesday morning they would not let me in to the building at all without an escort, preferably my manager but my manager usually only comes into work about 10am. Finally after half an hour of ranting and leaving annoyed voicemails on my managers phone, someone on the team walked past and I asked the receptionist if he could walk me to my desk and she allowed me in. One of the elevators is out of order and I had to queue forever it seemed for the one working elevator to have space as the queue was all the way back to reception. In between rants at reception I had nipped out and treated myself to a coffee and it was cool by the time I got to drink it and it was mostly foam rather than the coffee I desperately needed. I also realised I had left my lunch at home.

I just wanted to go back to bed.

Panda has become a 4am alarm as he wakes most nights looking for water or to be turned over. To be honest we usually have no idea what he wants, we have to go through the list of options until he settles. Much like a new Mom with a crying baby that you change, feed, water, rock and then finally when you feel like you can’t cope any longer you put them down in their cot and they immediately pass out, except it is barking and not crying.

Ironically Panda is looking healthier than before his illness in some regards. His breath used to be deadly and now is not scented at all. He had constant dark circles under his eyes which the vet had said were an environmental allergic reaction and those are gone. His eyes are bright and clear. He is still taking the tissue salts to boost his immune system and recovery. We grind them into powder, add to water and give him them in a syringe.

I’ve ordered some CBD products for him as well to see if they help with his healing. I will try anything if it might help. We will continue to support him any way we can.

Progress is very slow but we do get glimmers of hope. We do little Physio sessions with him, rotating his legs as if he is walking, flexing the ankle and elbow joints, then ending with a massage. It feels like he is pushing back against our hands with his back legs when we do the exercises. I hope that is true and it is not wishful thinking.

Norm cooked a few nights this week. He made a beefy bolognaise type sauce and served it with mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli and cauliflower. The following night he made a pseudo cottage pie by layering the leftover meat sauce, mashed sweet potatoes and topping it all with cheese and baking it. It was lovely to have homemade healthy food.

On Friday morning I was checking Facebook notifications and I saw a memory from our anniversary a few years back. With all of the stress and chaos Norm and I both forgot. I cannot believe we have been married for 22 years! Sometimes it feels like we just met and sometimes it feels like we have always been together. We will always be there for each other, we are soulmates despite being compete opposites.

When I got home from work Norm had bought me a lovely bunch of lilies, my favorite flowers.

He also shopped and made us a gorgeous dinner. He grilled a fillet steak and I made a salad of spinach, rocket, pomegranate seeds, toasted pine nuts and grated parmesan cheese. He made fried sweet potato fries in the air fryer and fried whole mushrooms in butter.

We built a fire and settled in for a relaxed night surrounded by our babies.

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It was a big change from our last few anniversaries but we cannot leave Panda on his own so we are housebound for the foreseeable future.

Norm took Pixie to Noordhoek to the doggy Chiro on Saturday morning. I had to try and feed Panda. The vet and Norm have no qualms about shoving the large syringe down his neck but I can’t. I hand fed him.

Afterwards I started a big fire even though it was so early in the day as it was freezing cold and raining outside.

I watched a few episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Panda was in good form and watched it with me.

I mixed it up with a few episodes of the new season of Good Girls on Netflix.

Today I finished the last episode of Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and have to search for a new addiction. If anyone can recommend anything please do!

Norm and I watched a documentary about the water crisis in Flint Michigan and then we watched a documentary called ‘Minimalism’.

It is about a movement of people who are trying to simplify their lives and get rid of all the clutter and unnecessary items we tend to cling to. I find that my need for ‘things’ has definitely lessened either due to age or due to the environment I live in where so many people have so little. I question do I need this item, or do I want this item. In the past I was into mass consumption as well but I realized pretty early on that things cannot buy you happiness. Many hoarders are that way due to some sort of traumatic loss, they surround themselves with things and fear letting anything go as a way of feeling more in control.

I am a control freak but on a conscious level I fully realize we have no control over anything.

This situation with Panda has proven that to me if nothing else.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Three Bad Things

I’ve always heard that bad things come in threes, but I am sure that I have exceeded that count recently.

On Monday night I was notified that Jay, one of my dearest and oldest friends, had passed away.

Jay and I went to Junior School and High School together, Jay was in the class one year ahead of me so we had become friends when I was about 12 years old and we had stayed friends ever since.

We got up to such mischief and had such fun doing it. When I was about 15 or so we got into trouble when Jay, my friend Robin and I had told our parents that we were baby sitting Robin’s sister’s kids but in reality we were out driving around and partying. It saddens me that both Robin and Jay have now passed away.

I grew up in North Georgia and after graduation Jay moved to Atlanta to go to University. My friend Marie drove us both down to visit him one weekend. We drove down in her Dad’s old white convertible, I think it was a Cadillac. Jay was working in a record shop (yes it was THAT long ago that record shops were commonplace) so Jay could get discount concert tickets and we went to see Joe Jackson perform at an Atlanta stadium.

We took a bucket of KFC and a bottle of schnapps and we had such fun. It was a simpler time when we were all young, beautiful and broke.

I left the south when I was about 22 years old and I moved to Los Angeles. Every time I would go back home to visit I tried to always meet up with Jay. I ate Jamaican food for the first time when he and I went to a restaurant in the funky little Five Points in Atlanta.

In 1990 I emigrated to South Africa and 7 years later I moved to the UK. Jay and I found each other on MySpace and we followed each other’s blogs and stayed in contact via email and social media, eventually moving over to Facebook as MySpace suffered its death throes.

In 2006 Norman, my children and I went back home for a visit and I contacted Jay to meet up. Jay was still based in Atlanta.

We went to Dave and Busters and had dinner.

We then spent ages playing games in the arcade and had such fun.

He knew of the issues I had experienced in my first marriage and he was so pleased to meet Norm and my kids and see me happy. Jay also seemed settled and happy.

It was another 11 years until I went home to the US again and Jay was the first person I made plans to see but Jay was too ill to come visit me but he did not tell me that until I had returned back to SA. Instead he told me that his father had a heart attack and he wasn’t able to leave his mom and various other excuses. I thought it was all a bit odd but once I was back in SA he let me know about the issues he was having with his liver and the ascites which meant he had to have his abdomen drained of fluid regularly. It turned out that he had end stage liver disease but he was very private and did not tell me that part. He kept telling me that they were doing tests and that he might need a liver transplant and the doctor did not know what caused it.

We chatted on messenger almost daily and he always read my blog and messaged me nice comments about it. Recently Jay went to Florida on holiday but he had to leave earlier than planned and go home to Atlanta to check into the hospital for treatment. We were in constant communication and then he just stopped responding to my messages. I had such a bad feeling and I started messaging various friends back home asking if they could find out how he was. My worst fears were realised on Monday as we were going to bed and many friends messaged me to tell me that Jay had passed.

I was already in so much distress over Panda and whether he was going to survive his sudden illness, so this news devastated me completely.

I barely slept for crying and fretting on Monday night. My heart felt broken. Jay was such a kind, loving, gentle soul. He always had time for everyone and did not have a mean bone in his body.

I had to go back to work on Tuesday and I was a zombie. I kept praying to the Great Spirit that Jay had a peaceful transition. I could not get Jay out of my mind and I felt Jay’s presence all around me.

On Wednesday night I was woken out of a deep sleep by bright flashing lights. I am very visually challenged and I thought it must have been Norm on his phone and I shook him and asked him what was going on. He was sound asleep and told me that nothing was going on, that I was dreaming and to go back to sleep. However I was now wide awake and I could see bright lights shooting around the room, almost like bolts of lightening, flashing and zinging around the room. I have never experienced anything like that. Even when I closed my eyes I could see these lights. I then started wondering was I having some sort of neurological episode and checked that I could move my limbs but the lights did not go away. It went on so long that I started to feel frightened and as soon as I felt this fear, the lights stopped.

Eventually I went back to sleep but I was so confused by the entire episode. I’m now convinced that it was Jay coming through to communicate with me.

My Mom went to the funeral home to pay respects from our family and she said that Jay was so thin. I am glad I did not see him like that, I will remember him happy, healthy and smiling. I hope that he is now pain free and at peace. I miss him.

As mentioned in my last blog, we have still been nursing little Panda. He went to his appointment with the specialist vet on Tuesday and they kept him in overnight to run tests. On Wednesday Norm picked me up at the client in town at lunchtime and we drove through together to collect Panda and speak to the vet. He agrees with the third vet Panda had seen. They are confident it is most likely idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis. He gave Panda IV antibiotics to target the most likely causes of the issue. It will take a few weeks to get the results of the blood tests back and they may not provide any definitive answers.

The vet said this is a very rare condition but that he has another patient with the same issue but that is a large dog. I cannot imagine how his owners cope with turning him and getting him back and forth to the vet.

He thinks the prognosis is good and that Panda will recover but it could take up to 4 months & a lot of nursing care. It is like caring for a mute newborn as he is so helpless & cannot make any noises at all. It does not affect smooth muscles so his urinary & bowel functions are not affected. Luckily his lungs do not appear to have been affected either. We have waterproof pads under him and keep an eye on him so that he is not left lying in urine. He has not yet managed to poop on his own, we have to take him to the vet for them to get the poop out of him manually. We turn him over every few hours to make sure he doesn’t get any pressure sores. We give him antibiotics twice a day and make sure he eats and stays hydrated and I am putting tissue salts in his water. We sleep with him in our bed so neither of us get a full night’s sleep.

I am hopeful yet terribly sad watching the confusion on his wee face when he tries to move or bark. He is so determined to get his bark back. He spends ages just trying and trying.

On Tuesday night while Panda was at the vet overnight Norm and I were so sad and to distract us we avoided any drama or anxiety inducing TV shows. We watched a house building show as that should be mindless and stress free and then at the end the mother in the show bloody well dies of a brain tumor! Her house wasn’t that nice either so it was a poor choice all around. FML

We are seeing a very slight improvement in Panda, but the main thing is that it seems the deterioration has stopped and he has stabilized so we hope he has turned a corner. He can hold his head up longer and can drink from a bowl now.

When it turns 4pm Panda knows it is the time when they usually go for their walk. He gets so excited and barks and barks. Silently. Norm has carried him around the block a few times and Panda comes home bright eyed and smiling. He loves his Dad so much.

Wednesday was rehearsal for the SONA and many roads in the city were closed. I park near Parliament so my usual drive home was closed off. I was diverted onto the motorway and only got home very late as I had to work over to make up the time I missed by popping out to the vet.

On Thursday I discovered what Bad Thing Number 3 was. The client does not allow me to work from my own laptop and when I got into the office and tried to log on to the computer they provide I was greeted with this:

I forced a shut down, then tried to log in using safe mode but the blue screen of death advised that my hard drive was corrupt.

I had gotten to work at 7:30 & I logged a Helpdesk call. Finally at 10:30 they came to collect the computer but they could not say how long it might take to bring it back or whether they would be able to recover my documents. The client decided to send me home at 12 as I had been unable to work all day. I fretted about my work as I did not have a recent back up and redoing my work would put me over my timeline for delivery as I am due to finish up there at the end of July. Luckily when I went in on Friday they had managed to restore my documents and nothing was lost.

When I was leaving on Thursday I mentioned to the client that I had not slept well all week and told him about Panda and how much it had cost in vet bills so far and he said ‘wow, what would a new dog cost?’

What

The

Actual

Fudge?!

I snapped back, ‘your daughter was sick recently, what would it have cost to get a new kid?’. He apologized as he could see he had been inappropriate and had touched a nerve. Some people do not understand how much our pets are part of the family.

When I left work I went to collect my drivers license from the Traffic Department. It took longer to collect it than it did to apply for it and applying consisted of an eye test, fingerprints and waiting in 3 different queues! But at least I am finally legal and now that I have a new wallet hopefully I don’t lose it again and won’t have to go through that for a long time.

It was a beautiful warm day and I was happy to be released from the ivory corporate tower. It also meant I did not get caught up in the SONA traffic dramas.

In his SONA speech on Thursday night our new President seemed to be describing a Disney film instead of a plan of how to address our many issues in South Africa.

He mentioned that there are seven priorities his government will focus on:

– Economic transformation and job creation,

– Education, skills and health,

– Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services,

– Spatial integration, human settlements and local government,

– Social cohesion and safe communities,

– A capable, ethical and developmental state,

– A better Africa and World.

It was a bit like a salesman bidding for a contract, all promises with no tangible plans on delivery of those promises.

Many others agreed with my opinion.

For example what are the specific plans to resolve the chaos prevalent within our State Owned Enterprises. After years of a spending free-for-all at SOEs, both Treasury and Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Department of Public Enterprises have now tightened the reins to the point where those in new leadership positions complain that they are given too little room, too little trust, and too little money to manoeuvre effectively. As mentioned in a recent blog, the resignation of a number of top executives in the past months speaks to this frustration.

On Friday a cold front rolled into Cape Town but the morning was warm and sunny so Norm let Panda sit on the patio to get some fresh air. The pack all gathered round.

Norm said Panda lay there silently barking at the dogs in the road.

The wind came up about 2pm and by 4pm there was torrential rain but I managed to get to my car without getting too wet and headed home damp and chilled. Friday night was spent wrapped up warm and relaxing with the animals. We ordered a pizza. We have been living off of takeaways as we are too exhausted to cope with shopping and cooking on top of nursing Panda. Our waistline is the least of our concerns.

On Saturday the rain continued all day and evening and it was bitterly cold so when I got up I built a roaring fire.

Norm dropped Panda at the vet so they could check him and while Panda was there Norm ran some errands but it was a miserable day and he came home as soon as he could.

Today I was supposed to go to Marina da Gama for drumming but as Panda is in need of so much care and Norm needed to work I decided to stay home. I was in bed with Panda and when Norm went downstairs to feed Pixie and Navajo little Panda started barking like mad.

After Norm finished with the other two he made up Panda’s breakfast and took him downstairs to eat. He gets a little bowl of boiled chicken and broth as well as the food prescribed by the vet. He is not keen on the commercial food but needs the nutrients so we have to encourage him with the chicken and alternate the two.

As Norm was working I could watch whatever I fancied. I love Cher and someone on RuPaul mentioned the documentary about her mother Georgia Holt so I found that and watched it.

It was very interesting and Cher sounds so much like her Mom! Georgia is a beautiful woman and looks so much younger than her age. She is now in her nineties but looks much younger.

Norm took a break from work and gave Pixie a bath with her special shampoo for her skin issues. She looks so tiny when she is wet. She has so much hair and we spent ages blow drying her with minimal success.

She was not impressed at all with our efforts. #ShadyPomWithTheSideEyes

Panda has spent most of the weekend practicing his barking. He now does this to let us know when he needs anything, but much like a crying baby you have to guess what it is that he needs. He barks if he has peed and his bed needs changing, he barks if he is thirsty, he barks if he is hungry and sometimes he just seems to be doing it for the sake of the exercise as it is all he CAN do.

I’m hopeful that he will continue to improve, we just have to keep looking after his needs and keeping him comfortable.

We have come to terms that for now our lives will be devoted to his care and we are not able to decide on a whim to go out for a meal or a drink. But like everything else, this too shall pass and we must just adjust to this restriction and be there for Panda.

Until next time, Kisses From The Kitten xoxoxo

 

The Power of Change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love the white!

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

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

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

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

I’m a lucky Kitten.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now we are watching Knock Down The House.

I have such a girl crush on AOC. ❤️

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

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

A Smashing Start

I started a new project this week at UCT in their IT department. We are a team of 3 consultants but one of us is not really on board yet as our role informs hers so she arrives more towards the end of the timeline. It’s a short term project so we have a lot to learn in a very short time. As a result my head is thumping every night when I get in. It’s a rather risky area of the city to be wandering around wearing a laptop and the traffic home is dreadful which adds to the stress but it’s a good project with a potential of a long term contract so at least it’s interesting and I’m learning about a new domain of data. With growth there comes pain!

I’ve been driving into the city then around onto the motorway and nipping off by the windmill. It seems crazy to drive so far but it’s quicker as it’s against the traffic. As it’s not stop start like surface roads it’s better on petrol consumption.

It has been awkward with Norm’s car being in the garage as he can’t shop for dinner. I might have to start to do so at the Shoprite by my new office. He cooked where he could do so last week. He did a quick shop on Monday and he did sausage, cheese topped steamed broccoli and cole slaw with mashed sweet potatoes.

On Tuesday after work Caitlin popped around and we got take away chicken schnitzel from Posticino. She brought back our ladder as we had more lights burned out than we had functioning and we needed to sort them or buy miners headlamps to navigate the house at night. She has finished most of her renovations now so she shouldn’t need it.

Norman went for a Chinese meal at Blue Lotus one night.

I had spicy crispy pork with noodles. The coating was crispy and the pork was tender. The amount of chili was perfect, a kick but no pain. This is my fave dish of theirs by far.

I had left overs for work only a few days but one day I was in workshops all day until well after 1 and was starving by the time I was free. As I start at 7am I tend to eat at 12. I ended up having KFC as Chicken Licken and JoJo’s fish and chip shop are the only other alternatives. It was the first time I had KFC in years! The next day when I had no lunch I decided to use OrderIn for a healthier alternative and picked Tigers Milk. I chose the Corny Chicken salad which consisted of: Mexican chicken strips, chargrilled corn, black beans, fresh avo, jalapeños, lettuce and pico de gallo with tortilla dippers. It was really delicious. I will order that again.

The weather has finally cooled down after intense heat during the last few weeks of October.

On Monday a thick mist was still present when I drove into work and then later that day a thick cloud rolled over the mountain.

After that it was lovely and cool all week. It heated up a bit as the week went on. The project office is freezing so I am still wearing boots and sweaters to work, but then I have to walk to my car so it can get hot.

I didn’t make it down to Dance to Heal The Earth this weekend as work is too intense and I just can’t spare the time. I’m rather exhausted. As a result we had a quiet night in on Friday night. I got home late as traffic was a nightmare. Norm popped into Cassarechio for a takeaway and we started watching a new series on Netflix.

Saturday we had a lazy morning. I woke to this cheeky face lying on my chest.

I had a coffee in bed then Norm and I had another coffee out on our balcony. I love this view.

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Good Morning World 🌎😘

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Then we showered and went for brunch at La Cuccina. We grabbed a table outside in the shade.

We both fancied a change from our usual fare. Norm ordered the Smashed Avocado with grilled halloumi on Banting bread and I ordered Smashed Avo with two poached eggs on sourdough for R89. A lot of smashing. It was thick smashed avo, lemon juice, salt & black pepper served with fresh coriander, chilli, thinly sliced red onion & olive oil. I ordered well done bacon on the side.

This dish was divine. It may be my fave new thing. Nice and fresh with the tart lemony avo and the burst of chili and sweet red onion is perfect. Next time I’ll also order mine with Banting bread as Norm said their version was nice. Not many Banting options taste nice, they are often very dry.

We also picked up two low carb ready meals for our dinner that night.

On our way out I noticed this mural, isn’t it stunning?

While we were leaving, Trevor my son rang and told me he asked his long term partner Amber to marry him!

I’m so pleased for them. Amber was one of Lily’s best friends as a child so she is like part of the family already. She is good for Trevor as she gets him out of the house and away from his computer. He would be such a hermit without her. I also love her mother Rose, she’s a fabulous woman and her baby sis Sage is too cute.

Trevor asked Amber in such a cute unique way. There’s this rapper they both like that started a twitch account and Trev asked him to say “Amber will you marry Trevor” ❤. You can watch here:

Proposal

I’m so excited!

We popped over to Earthworx after brunch as I needed potting soil. I love wandering around there.

We watched a film called “The Invitation” last night. It was really odd. I’ll give it 3 Kitten Stars.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Last night for dinner we popped our ready meals in the oven and I made fried cauliflower and onion rice to go with them. We shared them, we had beef curry and beef bourguignon.

The beef was high quality with no fat or revolting bits. The sauces were rich and plentiful. At what I think was about R80 and R95 respectively they were a bargain. They also do vegan and gluten free options as well. I think we will get a take away from here weekly. It’s great quality at a good price.

Today has been a chilled Sunday as we had no obligations so we have had a long lie in bed drinking coffees and then a lazy day after our lazy morning.

Norm made brunch for us: eggs, bacon, avo and tomato. I chose boiled, he had his scrambled.

We heard on the radio that another fire has started in Hout Bay. The winds are blowing quite a bit so hope it’s out and no one is injured or loses their home.

On Thursday night there was also a furor on the radio and social media. Many people were complaining of gunshots being heard somewhere in the valley. It was the funeral of a taxi driver who had been shot recently. They were firing off their guns in recognition I assume.

Never a dull moment in our wee village.

I feel a bit readier to tackle another intense week after lolling about all weekend. I needed complete downtime or I was going to splinter. A mental health day (or two). I’m feeling much calmer.

I wish you all a week of peace and love.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

The Karma of Kings

The wind started up on Thursday night and howled viciously like it sometimes does in Cape Town. I sat listening to the windows rattling in their panes and the doors banging against their frames and thought how terrifying it must be in this weather to live in a shack in one of our townships.

On Saturday when I went to the hairdresser I was chatting to Tembe who does my shampoo and colour and she said she had not slept a wink on Friday night as she was so frightened that the roof might blow off of her shack. I cannot even imagine the noise a tin shack would make in this howling wind.

Norm and I hunkered down on Friday evening and he popped down to the village and bought a free range chicken burger from The Kitchen Takeaway for us and we stayed in. We started watching The Haunting of Hill House.

I love this type of horror, a bit of the occult, ghosts, spirits, mystery and intrigue, but only a bit of shock and not full of unnecessary gore or blood. The PTSD Virgo’s perfect horror.

There are a few episodes which are about sleep paralysis which I found very interesting as I have experienced this phenomenon often and it is absolutely terrifying. I have thought it was my body  astral travelling while I was deep asleep. My experiences follow the same pattern each time, I wake up and I am fully conscious but unable to speak or move and I feel a heaviness pushing down on my chest. I am always lying on my back and experiencing something visual and terrifying in my mind, I may see demons, shadow shapes or even people in my life who have died. I always wake up crying and I feel a deep sense of loss after the terror subsides. However as my mind becomes awake and I realise I cannot move I make this loud keening sound which Norm says sounds like a ghost wailing and it absolutely terrifies him. Even from my own ears the sound is horrendous. It is this sound that wakes Norm up and alerts him to my distress. I do not remember this happening when I was a child, but due to PTSD from abuse when I was about 5 years old I have blocked out a lot of my childhood so I am not sure when it first started happening.

I’ve not finished the entire series, but I give The Haunting of Hill House a full score of 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We went to bed later than usual and I was woken at 5am on Saturday morning by Lola sharpening her claws on the carpet next to the bed. Why can’t she just get into bed and snuggle in quietly? Why does her arrival require verbal acknowledgment and physical contact? On the rare occasion that she does get into bed quietly, if she can see my hands then she inserts herself under them or nudges or nibbles them until I pet her. Her last resort is to actually park her rear end on my face. It is so charming to wake up to the aroma of cat butt.

I had a hair appointment on Saturday at 11 and we lay in bed as long as we were able to. While I showered Norm popped down to the Spar to get us fresh pastries and when he got back he made us coffees to go with them. After I finished eating I headed into Cape Town. The sun was out and it was gorgeous. The wind had finally calmed down.

I stopped to enjoy the view over Camps Bay and snapped a pic. It is so beautiful. There was a young girl there taking selfies while balanced on one leg on a rock that was hanging over the periphery of the cliff. Many people die every year in the pursuit of the most Instagram likes but I also feel it is a way to cull the gene pool of stupid people, so there is that.

When I got into the city I parked up and the City of Cape Town car parking attendant walked up to me and I paid up, got the receipt to display in my window and I let him keep the change. He was very happy, it only cost me a few rands and we both benefited from the arrangement, me via karma and him via coins. Afterwards we went off in different directions, I walked off down the hill and when I was almost down to Long Street I was approached by a drunk homeless guy who started trying to get cash from me and he was very persistent. He reached out towards me as if to grab my arm and the parking attendant popped up out of nowhere and started walking between us, escorting me down the hill. I was so grateful to the parking attendant, as a woman it can be very risky walking about on your own.

Even in broad daylight, even when dressed in long trousers and long sleeves. Nothing enticing in my attire, nothing risky about my setting, it is a major public road. But I am a woman and therefore a potential target.

That is the reality of life, regardless of what country a woman lives in she has to be aware and alert at all times.

I headed into Pause and had my hair coloured and a treatment done, it was lovely and relaxing. Tembe gives the best head massage ever! I snapped a pic when I got home while waiting on Norm to get dressed. No more grey roots!

Afterwards I collected Norm and we then headed to my friend Mel’s house. Mel was having a succulent sale at her house. She had some adorable containers and plants. As she has a gardening business I knew she would have some beauties and I was right!

There were several ladies there shopping, chatting, having a drink and enjoying the stunning view.

Our friend Bronwyn was also there selling some really lovely things to support Community Cohesion. Community Cohesion does wonderful work, they provide support to the community by “providing psycho-social support, education and training. This translates into one on one Social Worker Therapeutic Intervention, Crisis Containment and Wide-Ranging Counselling, Group debriefs, supported group work and workshops to improve life skills.”

They are very deserving of any financial donations you can make, and if it is foreign currency a small amount converts to a lot in our local currency.

I hope that Community Cohesion make a huge success out of their new fundraising initiative. These items are handmade by various people who will get a commission on the items sold so it will not only help the organisation but it will benefit the creator of the items too and form a step to sustainability, creating income for their clients and also for the organisation.

I particularly loved the wooden jewelry and the shopping bags.

Unfortunately I am flat broke already this month so I couldn’t buy anything from either of them on Saturday but I needed to drop something off by Mel and so we stayed for a quick drink that led to a long chat! It was lovely as I met some new women that I enjoyed chatting to and saw a few ladies that I already knew I enjoyed the company of. Norm and Cyril, Mel’s hubby, sat outside by the pool rather than endure our chat so the blokes were happy enough too. It was a lovely afternoon.

After a bit Norm and I left and we headed down to the harbour to have some food at The Lookout Deck.

We were seated by the windows with a lovely view of the harbour.

The sun was shining on the mountains and it was stunning.

It was already almost 5pm and as we had no lunch and I had also had a glass of wine on my empty stomach, I was desperate for food. We quickly ordered and my salmon roses arrived quite quickly. The sushi was delicious and cost R68.

For my main I just had the tian of prawns starter at R87. It had panko prawns and a salad of red onion, avocado and tomatoes in a balsamic reduction with sweet chili sauce.

Norm had the fish and chips for R123.

He said it was very good, the fish was a nice thick piece of perfectly cooked fish. My prawn dish was very tasty too.

We both still felt a bit hungry after and opted for dessert. Norm had the baked lemon cheesecake which was on the menu at R65. It came with their soft serve ice cream and a bit of berry coulis.

I had a chocolate nut sundae for R59.

Our entire bill including 2 cocktails, a glass of wine and our food was R624 for the two of us (thank goodness for credit cards).

After we finished we headed home and Norm took the dogs for their walk and fed them then we settled in for the evening. Norm had a bit of a nap while I played Covet fashion. It was a lovely relaxing day.

I felt like I needed a pajama day on Sunday so I did not go to drumming. I had a shower and put on a warm track suit while Norm made us a yummy brunch of bacon, cheesy eggs and mushrooms.

Panda tried to nick my bacon, the cheeky sod.

The wind had picked up again and was howling outside.

Later in the afternoon I randomly discovered American Vandal. And only while looking for a link for this blog did I realize we missed series one and went right to series 2!

We think it is hilariously cringe-worthy even though it is about poop and Virgos do not like to discuss such things. It seems as if it is modeled on the interaction style of the two dudes from Catfish crossed with the filming style of 13 Reasons Why. I said to my daughters that it should have been called ’13 Reasons Why I Pooped My Pants’.

We give it 3.5 totally silly Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨. It is perfect fare for a lazy windy Sunday. We will watch series 1 at a later point as we have already finished this one.

We were treated to a burst of rain on Sunday evening. This is good after the crazy wind storms as our pool is a bit low as the wind appears to have emptied it out a few inches. Last night we discovered the pool pump is not working and we worry the dropped levels may have burnt out the pool motor. However I know nothing about pools or motors so we will need to phone an expert to come and have a look once I get paid.

Monday Norm cooked for us and made a low carb dinner of baked pork chops, cauliflower mash, fried zucchini and brussel sprouts. It was healthy and delicious. The cauliflower was given to me by a work colleague who is a part time organic farmer.

Following on from the train arson attack last week that I blogged about, we have been advised that PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) was supposed to have implemented their new Rail Enforcement Unit this week but we have been told for months now that they are still not ready. We were told the Unit would be in place by ‘October at the latest‘ but they are still delaying the implementation of this police unit for whatever reason.

The other big item in the news is the VBS bank heist. It has been identified by the South African Reserve Bank report that almost 2 Billion Rand was siphoned off by VBS bank. The 150-page report implicates prominent South Africans such as EFF deputy president, Floyd Shivambu‘s younger brother Brian and Venda King Toni Mphephu. They have also identified irregular behaviour in the relationship the bank had with our ex-president, the corrupt and dodgy Zuma who borrowed money for his Nkandla development and has been implicated in huge levels of theft of public funds as part of the State Capture investigations.

Zuma has said that he is misunderstood and not a criminal. The Venda King has now said that he will pay back the money he received from the bank if it can be proved the money is “shown to have been proceeds of the illegalities in the report”. So basically he is saying he has no knowledge of the money, and the king appears to be offering to pay back the money at the same time as he is denying having received it.

“To the best of my knowledge no amount of R17 million was paid to me, gratuitous or otherwise,” he says.

I wish I had enough money that R17 million could arrive in my account and me not notice!

VBS was placed under curator-ship by SARB earlier this year amid allegations of mismanagement and fraud.

As to whether the tax payers ever see any payback of the embezzled money will remain to be seen. Somehow I suspect the government will cover up their dirt and move onto the next item of corruption.

The other big item is the MyCiti bus strike.

That strike started on Monday and is still continuing.

Criminals have used this strike as cover for their dodgy activities as my work colleague was standing at the bus stop on Monday, unaware of the strike and he was approached by 2 homeless guys and while one asked for a light the other dove in and grabbed his laptop bag and ran. His laptop was not insured and he is an IT consultant so this will be a huge impact to his life. The druggies will probably trade it for a hit or two and move on with their lives, meanwhile my friend has had to have trauma counselling and take out a loan to purchase a new laptop.

The people who rely on public transport will really struggle now as they will not have the buses to use and the train service is incredibly unreliable now due to the recurring arson and vandalism attacks. The only people who will benefit from this cluster feck of chaos are the taxi associations. They will be so busy they will earn much more than usual due to the fact that people have no other options.

There have been no arrests made in the arson saga and we have heard so many different suggestions on who is the culprit. The ANC has been blamed for using the attacks as a means to destabilise the Western Cape (which is under DA rule).

The transport minister Blade Nzimande has even blamed organised crime for the attacks.

Dan Plato has blamed ‘economic sabotage’.

In other words…..no one knows for sure. Or if they do they are keeping quiet.

I am off to our head office tomorrow and the next day for training on Data Governance, I guess a change is as good as a holiday. A holiday spent in an office block drinking bad coffee. Wish me luck.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

 

Our Own Internal Standards

On Thursday afternoon I took Norm to the airport as he was off on a business trip to Switzerland. That day while packing for his trip he made a pot of chili con carne to tide me over as he knows that in his absence I would probably just exist on popcorn and salticrax if he does not make it effortless for me.

That evening to serve it I added some tortilla chips and topped it all with cheese, sour cream and salsa. It was rather delicious.

I built a big fire and snuggled up on the couch with the animals. It was bitterly cold this week which was probably related to the fact that it snowed on Table Mountain!

That night the pups were so sweet when it came time for bed. They generally sleep on the sofas in the evenings and when it is bed time Norm carries Panda outside to wee and then carries both of the poms up to bed. It was almost like they understood that I cannot manage all that and when I was ready for bed I woke up Panda and said ‘ok baby it is time to go out to pee’ and he blinked and peered at me, hopped down and trotted outside to do his business. I locked everything up and put out the lights and then said to them all ‘ok up to bed!’ and they formed a queue with Navajo at the lead, Pixie in the middle and Panda at the rear and they all trotted off upstairs.

In our room Pixie sleeps on 2 of our pillows which we have set up as a warm comfy bed for her and Navajo has his own sheepskin bed opposite hers. Navajo raced in and plopped down on Pixie’s pillows and looked cheekily up at her with big naughty brown eyes. She glared at him and when he stayed put she grumpily yapped and told him off and he got up and slunk over to lie awkwardly on Panda’s tiny little bed. He thinks he is a tiny thing and cannot understand why he cannot curl up in my lap like the wee ones. He does this funny maneuver where he herds you to force you to sit down then shoves his head between your legs and down at your feet so that you can lie down across his body and put your arms right along his sides for a full contact hug. He then wraps his giant paw around your legs and hugs you back. He is such a sweet loving baby.

The latest with the doggy physio is that she suspects Navajo may have OCD or Hock arthritis in his leg. And no that does not mean he continuously washes his leg or sorts his toys alphabetically, it is a different OCD. You can read more about it here. I just hope we can get him some relief as he is still struggling.

On Friday morning Cordelia came in to work early but this still put me arriving into work much later than usual. As many people were not in the office on Friday due to it being a 3 day weekend no one seemed to notice. I had to work over a bit each afternoon that week to make up the time I had taken off to drop my car and to drop Norm at the airport as whatever happens, I have to put in a minimum of 40 hours billable time.

Friday after I finished at work I had to do all of the tasks that Norm usually takes care of.  I waited for Cordelia to finish then went into the township to drop her near her home, then back home to feed the dogs and make myself dinner. I had the left over chili again so at least there was little effort involved. After dinner I built a fire and got cosy with the pups. I was content to stay home and relax. I remember the days when I would not have dreamed of staying home on a Friday and if I did the FOMO would have driven me mad, funny how our priorities change. The only thing I was missing out on was Norm.

On Saturday I had made plans to meet up with my friend Helen for lunch. I had initially invited her to come with me to Simon’s Town to view the mandalas being made by the visiting Tibetan Buddhist monks. however I had gotten the weekend wrong and had to message her back to say I was being a numpty. As we had already agreed to spend time together we just re-planned our day and decided to meet up for lunch instead. Even this proved to be wrought with a challenge or two.

I have been lucky to have Charles our dog walker available to keep the dogs exercised in Norm’s absence and he messaged to ask could he come early that day as he had to be somewhere at 1. I told him that was fine as I had a lunch date for 1. I got ready and waited.

Eventually he arrived and walked them and I only left the house at 12.50 but still arrived for my lunch appointment almost on time. However there was a sign at the entrance to Deli Delish when we arrived announcing they were closed for a private function. We decided to leave our cars where they were and walk across to Zur Holzbucht instead.

As it was such a stunning sunny day we opted for the beer garden and got a table at the back which was nice and shady.

Helen was dappled in sunbeams.

I was seated completely in the shade but it was still very bright.

We both opted for the stuffed pork fillet which was filled with ham and cheese, rolled up like a kiev and breaded and fried.

The sauce was similar to the sauce on a Hollandse Biefstuk which is a rich brandy butter and mushroom sauce. The portions were huge and Helen and I both said ‘wow at least we can take half of it home for dinner’ before launching into it and devouring every single bite! Oops. It was perfectly cooked and so full of flavour. I was absolutely stuffed to the gills but it was too divine to leave on my plate.

The waiter had told us when we sat down that there was a function on from 2pm so we had an hour to eat and chat. It went by very quickly I must say and by the time we paid our bill and left the party was kicking off. If we had been dressed for the occasion we might have played out our own version of the Wedding Crashers.

But we didn’t.

We did chat a bit to a young muscle-bound lad who tried on multiple occasions to either put up an umbrella for shade, or to remove an umbrella for whatever reason. It wasn’t very clear what his objective was, just that he failed miserably. Of course I took the piss. He took it with good humour and left the brolly alone after that.

It was a gorgeous day and it was nice to have some one on one time with Helen to chat a bit. I think we are quite similar in nature.

After lunch I popped over to the optometrist to collect my new contact lenses but I was too late and the office was already shut. Instead I went to Woollies and did a small shop to tide me over for a few days. One can only exist on chili con carne for sooooo long!

That evening it got chilly after the sun disappeared behind the mountain and I built a big fire and started watching series 4 of Black Mirror. Norm was not a huge fan of the previous series’ of this show which we had watched together, so I knew he would not mind if I carried on without him. I love this sort of show. He prefers shows with guns and thugs with British accents. I like a bit of quirky dark humour.

Over the weekend I also discovered a brilliant new series called Maniac. Do yourselves a favour and watch this series!!! It just came up as a recommended series and so I gave it a try without even reading about the plot or reviewing the cast, then when I discovered it has some of my faves in it I was hooked!

However while researching the cast for this blog, I see that the character which I thought was played so brilliantly by Phil from Modern Family was actually played by Justin Theroux! I think they were separated at birth.

I devoured it over the long weekend. I give the Maniac series a full on 5 Kitten Stars despite their trickery over Phil clones.

I have the funniest convos with my kids about the series we each find and recommend to each other.

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Netflix conversations

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I am notoriously bad with names and I love that my daughter Caitlin knew exactly who I meant despite getting the names and movie references wrong. Hopefully if I get Alzheimer’s in my dotage she will be there to be the Mommy Whisperer.

The other screenshot of a convo was triggered by the Netflix recommendation of the show Nappily Ever After.

I really loved this movie.  It is about a woman named Violet and is played brilliantly by Sanaa Lathan. I thought it was the perfect example of a woman who has lived her whole life trying to be ‘perfect’ both physically and behaviorally. She had tried to live up to the societal and parental expectations which either she set herself or imagined that others set for her. I identified with this so strongly. As a Virgo I have ridiculously high expectations for not only those in my life, but for myself as well. It is only recently that I am starting to recognise these standards are internal. Most people will never even notice the things which we think are huge issues, we need to give ourselves a break. Our goal should be happiness, not point scoring (even against our own internal dialogues). I feel that these ridiculous standards are what lead to anxiety for many of us. That standard which means we will never be perfect. If we ever achieve those goals we simply move the goalposts higher.

I love the actress Lynn Whitfield and she did a brilliant portrayal as Pauletta, the mother of Violet and the impetus behind Violet’s need for perfection. I also loved Lynn in Greenleaf where she played a horrid woman who was simply a victim of her environment. I really enjoyed Greenleaf even though it was all sex and Jesus.

I also never realised just how much of a challenge black women have in regards to hair maintenance! Again, is the desire for long silky locks triggered by a woman’s own inner desires, or is it a look that they imagine men prefer? Who are these women making all of that effort for? If it is for their own confidence and they are happy to invest that much money and time into maintaining it then that is all good.  I spend a fortune to keep my grey away so I cannot point any fingers. I also keep the grey away to mostly please my husband, so I cannot really be hypocritical about that point either. However if I could not afford the upkeep any longer I would be happy to chop it short and let the grey grow in…..but that might be too much of a shock for my grey hating Scotsman.

It is not easy being a woman!

On Sunday Caitlin and I had plans to meet our friend Carla for lunch at Dunes in Hout Bay. Caitlin had agreed to collect me on her way through. We had not booked as we were waiting to see how the weather played out. The weather was stunning but there was a wee bit of wind, something which is not always conducive to a sand free meal when on a beach. But we decided to risk it and we were given a table at the back under cover and behind a clear plastic curtain thing to keep the wind (i.e. sand) out.

We still had a lovely view of the beach.

We waited until 1.30 and when we still had no response from our many calls and messages to Carla we went ahead and ordered as we were starving.

Caitlin chose the kingklip and ordered it with salad.

I ordered the Pulled Pork Knuckle Sandwich which came with chips.

Regular readers know I am a pulled pork aficionado. I have high porky standards and I was ever so impressed with their pulled pork! It is not dripping in sauce like so many local places serve it, it was not full of fat and it was a nice large portion. I think I have found a new favourite dish for Dunes! I give this sandwich a full on 5 stars, I can think of no way to improve on it.

Eventually we heard from Carla who had her days confused and was not going to be able to join us. Never mind, that just gives us an excuse to reschedule. Caitlin and I had planned on lunch anyway so it was no inconvenience. It was lovely to get to spend time with my daughter.

Monday was Heritage Day which is a public holiday in South Africa. I had a slow morning after I fed the dogs and tidied up the house. I made a big cup of tea and sat outside staring at my mountain while the dogs enjoyed the fresh air.

Eventually it started to get a bit warm sitting in the sun and I thought I needed to get motivated. I had a list of chores I have been putting off due to laziness and so I set myself some goals for the day.

I took down my little globe planters to clean the glass and realised one of them was split and at risk of falling apart and splintering everywhere so now I am down to only 2 of them left.

You would never guess by looking at my kitchen windows that I have a cleaner in two days and a gardener in one, yuck.

I then clipped off some of the succulents which were getting a bit crowded in their existing pots and replanted them outside in some of my other pots. I moved around some other plants, did a bit of weeding and then decided to tackle my cupboards. I cleaned out all except one cupboard (which of course is the one that REALLLY needs it) and I came up with tons of clothes to give to charity.

There are even some clothes which I have had since before I moved back to SA in 2007. I found my fave pair of old corduroy trousers and thought I would try them on just for a giggle and was ever so surprised when they fit me! Not only did they fit but they were a bit loose. I chucked out everything from pajamas to winter coats. I used the old rule of ‘if you have not worn it in a year you do not need it’ adage and I threw out all of the ‘I paid so much for this unfashionable thing’ items which end up banging around for decades due to guilt over their cost.

Bye.

For each item I asked myself ‘will I ever wear this again’ and if I hesitated then I threw it out. I am sure someone will get good use out of all of these items and it made me so happy to be able to find things on my now tidy shelves! Now I just have the last cupboard to do and that is me sorted until next year I hope.

Norm will pop over to Thula Thula to drop them all off once he is settled back home. I saw on social media that there was yet another fire in the township on the weekend and so there will be plenty of people who can benefit from these items.

While I was working I found an old iPod from when I moved to SA. It is like a time capsule. I remember that I had tried to copy far more music than the iPod could accommodate and so it only has artists beginning with A to C. There was some music I still love, such as Angie Stone, Beyoncé, the Black Crows and even some Counting Crows which I enjoyed but some of it, like AC/DC for example, was not conducive to the pace and boredom of cupboard cleansing. But it gave me a cool backing track of memories.

Sunday night I tried one of the ready meals I had picked up in my shop at Woolies. Norm and I never usually eat ready made meals but Lily had told me that the Woolies pulled pork was very good and I spotted this carb laden little gem: Pulled pork and macaroni and cheese. If you are not vegetarian and not counting carbs then I highly recommend this meal.

I tried a few of their other dishes over the weekend but they were not as nice and so I won’t recommend that you try them. I tried the Braised Beef Stew but it had very little meat and a few chunks of fat. I also tried the Bean and Lentil Bites which were actually really revolting in texture. I think if they had been covered in breadcrumbs and were crispy outside (like a cheese croquette) then they would be amazing. But the dishes fed me and stopped me living off of popcorn all weekend, so there is that.

Tonight is my last night without my Norm, he flies back home tomorrow and life will be back to normal, as much as it ever is.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxoxoxo