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

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Hellos, Goodbyes & All That Jazz

Due to safety risks I did not want to mention it in my last blog but Norm was away last week for 3 days and as per usual, everything went haywire. Even Facebook and Instagram crashed! I mentioned in my last blog about the lock jamming in our security gate resulting in us being locked in upstairs and that was the first thing to go wrong but he was still here to resolve that. He ended up using a bicycle chain to lock the gate shut. Quite innovative really as I would have just said to hell with it and left it open.

I also mentioned the dramas with the electricity knocking out the downstairs WiFi and trying to resolve that after much poking about. I spent one night with no telly and much frustration.

The one thing I did not mention was that Pixie had developed a hot spot on her back leg. It was on her inner leg and within a matter of 48 hours she had gnawed it raw to the point that it was bleeding and very gooey and starting to go septic. She would not eat and was so lethargic that she worried me so. Pixie loves food and if she is not eating then you know she is very ill indeed. As I had to come home early due to the issues with the dog sitter and the alarm I decided to take her down to the vet on Thursday afternoon. The vet noticed that she had little patches of eczema all over her body and she said I had to leave Pixie behind so that they could sedate her and shave and treat her wounds. I was already so worried about her that this set me over the edge and it took all of my self control to not start sobbing. I did have leaky eyes and the vet was comforting me and telling me that Pixie would be fine. I felt a right wuss.

I went back home for a bit and soon after I got home Norm arrived back from the airport. He settled in a bit but then it was time to go back and collect Pixie. The vet said that they had to keep giving her more meds as she kept waking up, the little crack head. Eventually they managed to shave her and give her a dose of anti-inflammatory meds, cortisone and antibiotics. They also put on a cone to stop her chewing her leg.

After we collected Pixie from the vet Norm drove me over to Constantia to my friend Gerri’s house. She was moving out of her house and we were having a drum session to say goodbye to the land and the ancestors of the land. I cannot see to drive at night so Norm was kind enough to take me there.

We dug a hole in the spot where the lodge used to be and we put the prayer ties from the lodge into the hole and we burned them. We gave some tobacco to the ancestors and thanked them for all of the beautiful ceremonies we have had at her home. It was at Gerri’s home that I had my first sweat lodge in South Africa and where I started to learn about my Native American roots and to start to follow the red road so I felt very emotional.

We sang the Cherokee morning prayer song We n’ de ya ho to each of the directions.

Gerri prayed and said thank you to the spirits, the trees, the ancestors and the beings who all supported the teachings and learnings that have happened at Eagle Owl Lodge. When she called in the spirits and the ancestors the wind picked up and starting blowing a gale. The birds started flying around overhead.

We then all settled around the communal drum and sang our hearts out and drummed with great enthusiasm. While we were drumming an owl came and settled in the tree overhead and hooted along with us. The hadedas flew over and raised their voices in unison with us. A load of frogs started chirping along with us too. As we were smack dab in the middle of a housing estate this was quite magical. I could feel the energy of the beings showing support and making their presence known. I could feel the love of the land surrounding us.

We were oblivious to the dramas going on inside the house as one of the neighbours came over and just walked into the house and started going insane and calling us satanists and all sorts of vitriolic poison. Norm had unfortunately arrived in the midst of her craziness and when she was asked to leave the house she started attacking Norm and taking photographs of him and the car and when he asked her to stop she called him a Glaswegian Git. A) He is not Glaswegian and B) he is not a git! She is crazy AF. Nevermind, she will not have us there to harass any longer.

We did not let it spoil our night however, I left on a high, despite the sadness of knowing I will never go back to that house where I learned so much, I know it is time to move on. I always absorb so much energy and positivity from drumming and singing our prayer songs.

I have started praying on my knees, I have always had bouts of praying but never on a consistent basis and since I started following the red road I try to give gratitude regularly but I had never really knelt to do so. I met a really lovely woman a while back at Gerri’s and she said to me that I needed to get on my knees and since then it has been niggling at the back of my mind and I have finally started to do so. If I forget to kneel and pray before I leave in the morning for work I pray on the drive in and listen to NA music to try and keep me centred and to put me into a calm state. It really does work.

On Friday it was 32 degrees and it was so hot walking from the office to my car after work. I worked late to try and make up some of the hours I had lost dealing with Pixie and when I left my office the town was chocka with young people. There was a global student protest about climate change and many of the student must have been hanging around afterwards. Here is a link to a video of the Cape Town protest but it was all over the world.

As it was so hot Norm popped down to get us sushi for dinner from K1 sushi. They have a buy one get one free offer so all of this loveliness was only R123! That is $8.50 USD. I had salmon roses, prawn roses, cucumber roses topped with prawns and prawn tempura. Can you guess that I like prawns?

Friday night we had load shedding and it continued all through the weekend, occurring 4 separate times on Saturday. Load shedding is to protect the stability of the national power grid during times of severe strain. When Eskom is unable to meet the nation’s demand for energy it implements power rationing – load shedding – which reduces the load on the grid by cutting electricity to suburbs, towns and villages. In this way, Eskom is able to manually reduce demand to match its capacity. It is not too bad when it is in the day time as you can amuse yourself doing things, but when it happens in the evening you have to wait for it to finish in order to go to bed or you are likely to be woken when the lights all come back on. It went off at 4am and I woke up dripping with sweat as the fan was off. It was so tiring being woken all night by this nonsense. We were at Stage 4 of load shedding all weekend but it has dropped back to Stage 2 at the moment. We are due to be without power tonight from 8pm to 10.30pm which of course is right when we are usually getting ready for bed. It is exhausting remembering to prepare for it and trying to function.

Eskom has said that one of the reasons why it has been so intense this week is due to cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Zimbabwe knocking out the supply there which we are dependent on.

However insiders say that it is due to a number of issues, mainly poor maintenance of the infrastructure.

Whatever the reasons, it is a pain in the arse to deal with.

On Saturday morning I had plans to meet my friend Bronwyn for coffee at Hout Bay Manor but it was closed for a wedding so we had to quickly regroup and we decided to go to Delish instead as we could sit outside there. We had coffee and scones.

We chatted for hours and realised that we have so much in common and I decided we are basically twins. I had been told by several people before we met that we looked alike and had the same mannerisms and even communicated the same and when we talked we realised it is so true. I left feeling so relaxed and yet energised as you do when you really connect with someone. Women need female energy in their lives and I had been missing that. I hope we manage to spend more time hanging out as I think it would be good for both of us.

Bronwyn had a lunch date with her family and so we headed off just after midday. Norm and I were taking Caitlin and Wes to Hoghouse Brewery for dinner that evening.

We collected them and drove over to Ndabeni arriving for 6:30. We were seated upstairs.

We were warned that they were due for load shedding at 8 so we quickly made our choices and ordered. You order the food for the whole table and share it.

We ordered 100g of Korean burnt ends and 100g of normal burnt ends. These are the ends of a beef brisket which go a bit burned. We also had 300g of pulled pork.

We ordered 300g of pork ribs, 200g of beef brisket and 200g of pork belly.

For our sides we had big fat chips, onion rings and mushroom arancini. The fellas had the chorizo scotch eggs. It was quite a spread!

I finished it off with a pasteis de nata, I adore these little gems.

We literally waddled out of there with big fat bellies, the food there is so divine. There was nothing that we had that was not tasty and delicious. It was nice to be able to hang out with Caitlin and Wes, they are such a lovely couple. Wes is a really nice lad and I am glad Cait is with him, they are very well suited.

There was a famous rugby player called Siya Kolisi also there. He is a huge bloke and very handsome.

I felt sorry for him as everyone wanted to take a pic with him and he just wanted to hang out with his adorable son. He was very polite to his fans however.

We left before load shedding kicked in and dropped the kids at Caitlin’s flat then headed home. It was a restless night with the power going on and off. I was a bit groggy when I woke on Sunday and I had a lazy morning. Norm made us bacon and eggs for brunch and then Caitlin came to collect me at 4pm as we were going to see the musical Chicago which was on at the Artscape. Caitlin had won a competition on CapeTownetc and she invited me to attend with her.

We went to the city and drove down Kloof Nek looking for a restaurant with easy parking as the show started at 6pm so we did not have much time to mess around. We saw parking outside of Van Hunks and so we grabbed it and went in. They sat us outside on the balcony and we had a nice mountain view.

But when the wind was blowing in a certain direction it reeked of urine. There are many homeless people in that area and that area is also a bit of a party place so I assume the street is used as a urinal by the masses. Charming.

We asked to move and were put on the other side of the veranda where we were much happier.

We were even happier when we saw that there were two for the price of one burgers and we ordered the Parmesan crusted chicken breast burgers with chips and onion rings.

We finished our dinner and headed off to the theatre. Parking was a bit of a mission and we had to race up to collect the tickets, get a bottle of water and have a wee. We made it just in time to our seats only a few minutes before the curtain came up.

It was a brilliant production and we really enjoyed ourselves. It was nice to have a weekend full of female company and time with family.

When we got home it was load shedding and so Norm and I stayed up until the lights came back on but then it was so late when we got into bed and I was really tired today. However the positive energy I gained from drumming and the time with people I enjoy bolstered me up and kept me buoyant. Pixie went for her check up at the vet who says she is doing really well and that has also helped.

I hope the load shedding settles down soon as life is enough of a challenge without that. Thursday is a public holiday so it will be nice to have that day off. I do not have any annual leave left or I would also take off Friday but I am grateful for the one day I will have to relax.

I hope you all have a great week surrounded by happiness and love. That is what makes the world go round after all.

Until then, kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x.

Covens and Crises

We have been blessed with a bit of cool refreshing weather and even quite a bit of rain.

After the intense heat of the previous week I was walking into my office one morning and I was feeling jaunty as the cool air felt wonderful and I was so pleased about the rain. I encountered several street people as I always do. There are several homeless shelters near where I park my car. The sight of these men dragging along their sodden bedding and looking so cold made me feel so sad for them. Some of them have mental illness issues, some are addicts and some are just unlucky from circumstance.

I thought about the times when I was basically homeless myself but the difference is that as a middle class white woman, there were always friends I could rely on for support. I could couch surf or even sleep in my car if I did not have an alternative place to stay. But for the majority of destitute Africans, this is not an option. The majority of Africans live in small shacks which may have several people living in them with no couch to surf. Most people who live in shacks or on the streets may not even have a car as a back up place to provide a safe dry place to sleep.

I cannot imagine how hard the lives of the homeless must be. Having nowhere warm or dry to sleep, nowhere to store your meager belongings. I walk across the city every day and I see entire families sleeping on the streets. It makes my heart so sore.

I have had a few high anxiety days the last few weeks and I have tried to note the conditions which may be triggering these feelings. One is sugar, on the days when I had oatmeal with a banana in it for breakfast I had high anxiety levels mid-morning. The second trigger appears to be caffeine. If I drink the free coffee the client provides then I am twitchy and anxious. It is from a machine which grinds the beans so it must be a stronger bean than the single shot lattes I have from the cafe next door.

Often we can manage our issues by observing our triggers. Internal observation is not something that comes easy to most of us however, whenever I suggest to friends and family that they keep a food diary to try and identify what triggers various responses or pains in their body they seem to look at me like I am tripping. However that process requires ownership of our problems and most people seem to prefer to just take a pill rather than change their behaviour.  I hate the dozy feeling I get when I take anti-anxiety meds so I would rather try and understand the root cause of the issue. Maybe that is my Virgo analytical nature coming through?

The other issue I have been having is with my stomach. I had a hiatal hernia repair in 2007 and am now having symptoms which tell me it is back. I have chronic heartburn and reflux that wakes me up several times a night. On occasion I have a pain in my upper abdomen. I know I need to go to a gastroenterologist but I am hoping to wait until this current project ends as I suspect I will need some time off work and cannot bail on my client.

I have been feeling quite low all week as I had another instance of someone I thought was a friend very clearly sending me the message that we are not friends. Again, some people only consider you useful when you can do something for them. If they need something they contact you without hesitation, but then drop you when it is convenient. I suspect I am quite naive, to me if we act like friends, then we are. But to others they have no problem with being superficial if it suits their needs. I do not have it in my nature to be superficial, my feelings are worn on my sleeve. (Not very Virgo like is it?) If I do not like someone I am unable to hide that and if I do like someone then I want to hang out with them. Seems quite straight forward to me.

My client and I are still getting along great, he comes and asks me for advice on decisions that have nothing to do with me as a consultant, it is quite flattering that he respects my opinion. We had a funny conversation this week when he came to tell me that he has been accepted to do his PhD at a University in Arkansas. He was pronouncing it ‘Ark-kan-sus’. I told him that ‘Kansas’ is pronounced ‘Kan-sus’ but when you add the Ark it is ‘Ark-an-saw’. Now imagine this convo with a french speaking African who only learned English in his teens. It was quite funny.

It was my client’s birthday last week and when I discovered he is a Pisces I was very surprised as that is the opposing sign to Virgo and they are usually too sensitive for my abrupt and uncensored points of view but he and I get on great and we actually seem to balance each other out quite nicely. I told him that is because he is my client and I am on my best behavior. He gave me a look that said ‘if this is your best I don’t want to see your worst’.

Lily and Josh came down last Friday afternoon and Caitlin came over to join us that evening for dinner and a visit. We ordered take away pizzas from Posticino in Hout Bay and really enjoyed them. I hung out with the girls downstairs while Josh played video games upstairs and Norm faffed around being Norm. Lily was sad that she had to leave Toothless with a cat sitter as he was too small to bring all the way to Cape Town. She is so in love with that kitten. He is adorable.

It was so nice to see my girls, I wish Trevor could come visit but Josh and Lily were down for a wedding so that would not have worked even if Trevor could get away as the road closures for the Cape Town Cycle tour made life rather complicated.

On Saturday afternoon Lily and Josh went to Kalk Bay to the wedding that they were attending. They chose to use AirBnB for the night as it was cheaper than using an Uber to get there and back from Hout Bay and they knew they would have a drink or two and couldn’t drive back. The bride looked stunning, she is a gorgeous girl.

That night Norm collected dinner from The Blue Lotus. I had a portion of salmon roses.

I also had the crispy chili chicken with fried rice.

I really enjoyed it all but I always order the same thing and need to broaden my horizons in regards to their menu. I am a creature of habit.

Norm cooked for us a few nights this past week and last Wednesday he made a delicious chicken and mushroom dish. He fried the chicken and mushrooms then added double thick cream and some stock to made the sauce. We served it over creamy cauliflower mash and to go with it he stir fried green beans and mushrooms in garlic and butter. It was so tasty.

Another night he baked pork chops and served them with roasted butternut and the rest of the packet of green beans.

As always we had take aways a few nights, we had food from Spiro’s and Casareccio too. They are two of our usual take away faves.

We had a few random visitors this week. One evening as we were heading off to bed I looked up and noticed a rather large spider on the bathroom ceiling. We never kill spiders and so Norm caught him and took him out into the garden and released him.

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Then a few days later a wee birdy flew into the house and settled on the curtain rail. I cannot tell what type he is but he has a hummingbird type of beak? Is he a sunbird? I am not sure and the pic is not the best (Norm’s work not my own usually dreadful pics). Here is a link, have a look and let me know what you think?

On Sunday my friend Carol came around to help me decorate my drumstick. It is still not finished as I want to re-lace the padded end with red waxed string and I need to also add waxed string to the top and bottom of the section with the beads, but I love the effect so far.

The colours represent the colours of the Native American medicine wheel. The Four Sacred Directions are represented by the colours yellow, red, black and white. Blue represents Father Sky in the upper realm, Green represents Mother Earth below, and purple represents the self, that spirit that journeys in this physical world.

It was a nice relaxing afternoon. I had invited Carol for lunch but the whole village was rammed due to the cycle race and the road was closed so Norm had to go to Constantia as the shops in Hout Bay were empty so we ate quite late. He brought back a roast chicken and some salads and we all had a yummy and easy lunch.

That night we were lazy again and Norm got take aways from Massimo’s. I had the Granchio pasta which was on special: real flaked white crab meat, prawns,
mascarpone, a hint of chili & garlic. It was absolutely divine. The cream sauce is so light and not too heavy (I detest a thick slodgey sauce) and the prawns were delicate. I really enjoyed it.

We chose Massimo’s as it meant we did not have to drive into Hout Bay itself as it was rammed with visitors for the race. But I wasn’t considering that I was at Massimo’s the following night too. But it is one of my fave restaurants in Hout Bay so I did not mind.

Monday night I was invited to join an all women quiz team representing Community Cohesion who do amazing work in Hout Bay and the surrounding areas.

We met at Massimo’s at 6.30. There were 8 women in total and we called ourselves the Community Cohesion Curvaceous Covenettes. That is a lot of C’s at one table (pun intended).

We had such a laugh and to make it all the more exciting we won!! We all got a bag of goodies from the Richard Bosman range. We received a packet of Prosciutto, some unsmoked bacon, a piece of chorizo, a jar of bacon jam and one of bacon salt. I was happy just to have the laughs but to get to go home with these treasures made it an amazing night.

Our table also won 2 of the raffle prizes, a bottle of wine and an overnight stay for 2 people. Our clever little coven of beauties did well!

The next morning I was feeling a tiny bit hungover from the vodkas consumed the previous night. I slipped out of the bedroom in the dark as usual but when I got to the gate to go downstairs it would not open, the key wouldn’t go into the lock. I had to wake Norm to help and after much fiddling he managed to unlock it. The dogs and cats all had to get involved though and poor Naked Norm had to dodge Navajo’s attempts to shove his cold nose up his bum, avoid a dancing Pixie who was needing a wee and tripping over little Lola kitty winding around our legs while Panda yipped excitedly to cheer us all on. I was so glad it happened when Norm was here to deal with it as I would have panicked about not being able to get out.

Then when I finally managed to get downstairs and went dashing through the garage in the dark, the cord from our hoover grabbed me by the leg and I stumbled and careened around the garage and almost broke my neck. All this while slightly hung over from our quiz event (well it was actually from the vodka not the actual quiz).

Then when I got home last night I was sitting watching telly when it suddenly went off. I went out and checked the fuse box and the plugs had tripped. Water seems to be getting in somewhere and it is tripping the earth leakage thingy (she says vaguely). However once I switched the fuses back on, the internet would not start up. Our main router is based upstairs and we have a repeater downstairs to boost the signal to allow us to watch Netflix on the telly downstairs. It would not connect, I could not get on the internet to play games either. After running up and down the stairs flipping and resetting everything a million times I finally managed to isolate the issue. The power tripping had blown the downstairs modem. Norm had spent several hours trying to get hold of our service provider Sonic Wireless but first the phone just rang out and then they would answer, put him on hold and then disconnect the call. Every time we have an issue they are useless. They usually dismiss any queries by telling you everything is fine on their end (their first line of support ‘it’s not me, it’s you’). You have to send screenshots of the download speed tests to prove we are not getting the bandwidth or speed that we pay so dearly for. As soon as fiber rolls out to our street we are changing over to someone else (anyone else would have to be an improvement!).

Then today when our dog walker arrived he could not get into the house as his remote did not work. He also said that the alarm was not on. That meant that Navajo could not get out for a wee if he needed to. It also meant the house was not secure. I assumed that the electricity had tripped again and I was worried about our freezer full of meat melting and arriving home to puddles of dog wee so I left work early and came home to sort things out. That sounds nice but it just means I have to work late to make up for the lost hours as I cannot work from home.

It has been a stressful week so far other than the laughs and giggles we had on Monday. Thank goodness for the coven!

At least my week can only improve, right? Let’s hope so as my whinging is annoying even me!

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

Bats & Ninjas

We had the most amazing weather all of last weekend and it continued on throughout the week! It is as if it is suddenly summer. Of course with Cape Town the weather can flip quickly so we will see how long it lasts. Our office is freezing and I sit under a vent so I’m still wearing boots and a cardigan and only feel the heat if I have to nip out for food or when I leave to go home.

On Saturday I had to be up and out of the house early to drive Miss Pixie to Noordhoek to see the doggy chiropractor. As usual, we arrived a wee bit early and had a cuddle while waiting.

Currently Pixie is going every 5 weeks for a treatment but we are going to try and push it out to every 8 weeks as she has been coping well in between visits. We will just monitor to see how she copes. As I now have both her and Navajo seeing David it can get very expensive. We just ordered a new brace for Navajo’s leg and hopefully that makes a difference in his mobility which in turn helps his issues with back strain.

After Pixie and I finished at David I drove home and changed out of my doggy fur-covered clothing and collected Norm. We headed down to the village as we had a long list of errands to run.

First we needed some brunch so we popped into Allegria Cafe and Life. We sat outside as it was so warm.

I am starting to realise (after over 20 years of marriage) that the best way to get a decent pic of Norm is to sneak up on him and snap a furtive pic like a ninja (when he least expects it or when he is distracted by something else).

One of the things I like about Allegria is the lovely owner who is always on site to keep the orders moving along and to keep her customers happy. She was standing chatting to us when we ordered and when I asked for an omelette with bacon and emmanthaler cheese she suggested that I also add in carmelised onions for a bit of sweetness.

I loved the carmelised onions and was very pleased with my omelette, however there were a few too many onions for my taste. I will order this again and next time ask for my carmelised onions on the side and that will be perfection.

Norm had his favourite that he usually orders when he goes here: Scrambled eggs, bacon & mushrooms.

After we finished with our lunch we headed off to Tanya Seeber Optometrist to try on the eyeglass frames she had ordered in for me. I had previously posted a few different lenses for people to vote on.

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Help! Which ones should I choose?

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But the pair that almost everyone preferred was pair 1 above which are red and I cannot really cope with red frames every day. But I do love the cat eye shape. If I could afford it I would buy 2 pair and have the red ones for when they suit whatever I am wearing but I cannot afford 2 pair.

Instead I chose these in the pic below, they are black with a bronze coloured finish on the trim and the inside of the frame. They were about 2k rand for the frames alone, once they added on the cost of the anti-reflective coating and the cost to make the very thick lenses as thin as possible, the cost goes up to over 8k rands. Phew. I may have to sell off Norm or a kid to pay for them. Let me know of any offers for either parties. 🤭

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I ordered new specs today. What do you think?

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After we ordered my glasses we hit the chemist and grocery shop as we were out of everything from toothpaste to lipstick. Which reminds me, am I the only lipstick addict who finally finds the perfect colour, buys a few tubes and then when you run out you find they have discontinued that colour? Revlon, you do my flipping head in. Or is it the buyer at Clicks who is erratic in her purchases? When you ask the staff at Clicks for any colour not on the shelf the answer is always ‘that one has been discontinued’. Can anyone say ‘Annoying AF’?

Never mind. Here is me at work at 7am wearing the new lippy. I mention the time so you can give me some sort of bonus points for the earliness and I mention the venue so you can give me some slack for sitting under bright AF strip lighting.

Don’t look too closely at my roots either, I am at the hairdresser on the weekend to sort that out.

Anyway.

We decided to braai that night as the weather was perfect for it so we bought some fillet steaks and salad ingredients. I marinated the steaks in a bowl of whatever-we-had-in-the cupboard when we got home. I think it was Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy, garlic and a tiny bit of mustard. I poked some holes in the steaks so that they would absorb the flavours.

After he walked the dogs Norm fired up the gas grill and braaied the corn on the cob and steaks while I made a salad. I also made a salad dressing but it was dreadful so the less we mention that the better really! I need to find a delicious low carb dressing so any ideas will be gratefully received.

It was all perfect for the hot weather. My steak was bright pink inside but nicely charred outside, just the way I prefer it. I give Norman 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️😂😂

After dinner Norm and I watched a new series we have recently started watching called Somewhere Between. It is a very gripping show and we are quite enjoying it. It has that actor that no one can remember the name of but everyone thinks looks familiar? Apparently his name is Devon Sawa. We have not finished watching it all as yet but based on what we have seen so far I give it 4 Kitten Stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We had a very lazy Sunday. It was even hotter than the previous day and I sat staring at the pool, trying to decide whether I could be bothered to remove the cover and clean it as it has not yet been used this year so the cover is full of crud. Luckily our tube from the guttering down pipe has kept the pool topped up with rain water.

That reminds me, last week there was a very loud screeching sound outside the front of the house late one evening. I was convinced it was bats. Where I grew up in Georgia we had a lot of bats and they would swoop down and bomb your head. I was terrified of them as a child. I told Norm I was sure there were bats, but then I wandered off and did something upstairs and Norm ventured out to investigate. He discovered it was not bats at all but the pool sucky thing had gotten stuck and was having a bit of a squeaky tantrum.

However I did not know that and later I told everyone on Facebook we had a bat infestation.

We don’t.

It still makes me giggle that several people in the Hout Bay group were googling ‘bat sounds‘ and listening to the results thanks to my red herring.

Norm and I decided to tidy up the Halloween dress up box as we both needed to try and find some bits and pieces for our upcoming party. I found some things which I can use to create my outfit, Norm found the bits he needs and we also put aside some things Caitlin needed.

Lily needs a blond wig for her costume and so I tried on the 3 blond wigs we have and sent the pics to the girls. I made silly faces in each of the pics and Lily said I look like a rooster so Caitlin found a pic of my soul mate.

I have such a giggle every time I look at that pic.

Lily managed to find a crinoline for my dress for Halloween. I’m getting so excited, my outfit is coming together nicely!

Norm decided that as it was sunny he would paint another coat on the garage door he is refinishing. I settled in with the kitties and a cup of tea and watched The Good Place while Norm painted the garage door.

This is one I have chosen to watch on my own as I know it is not Norm’s type of show, but I really liked it. It is not earth shaking or amazing, it is just a cute little show with an intriguing concept. I did find the idea that we are constantly being measured by the ‘gods’ and that every thing we do accrues a score on our overall life tally quite interesting and frightening at the same time. Bad things drop our points and good things raise our scores. If my score drops every time I rant at someone who drives like an eejit while I am driving round in the privacy of my car then I must be way down in the negatives due to that alone. Actually, my Virgo tongue has probably dropped my points wayyyy down.

I give The Good Place 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It was still really hot Sunday evening and I fancied sushi and Norm agreed to pop down to K1 in Hout Bay to order a take away.

K1 has a Two for the price of One on the same colour of plate so my order of 4 different types of sushi was only R123 as I only paid for two! A bargain in my books. I ordered Prawn roses, Salmon roses, Prawn tempura & Cucumber roses with prawn. I do not eat seaweed so I have to choose carefully. I did not snap a pic of the tempura but they were really big prawns with a yummy coating and I really enjoyed my entire meal. In fact I will give them 5 Kitten Stars and will definitely visit them again when my sushi craving hits. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

On Monday night Norm and I had to go down to the cop shop as I had some forms I needed to get notarised. We went into the station and there was a Rastafarian dude going mental at the counter, he was wearing a tattered tank top, with matted thick dreads hanging down to the middle of his back. He was there with a woman who looked like she hadn’t slept in months and they were both loudly giving off to the staff. After a few minutes of agitated ranting they were both taken into the back of the station. We were not sure if they were being arrested or what was going on but it made for an interesting show while we stood in the queue waiting our turn.

After we finished at the cop shop we popped by Woolies and got some meat to braai as it was 27 degrees Celsius when I got in my car to go home from work.

The weather app said it was 32C (90F)! Considering we were still wrapped up in front of a roaring fire just last week it is hard to keep up.

Norm fired up his gas grill and he cooked corn on the cob, aubergines and a lovely pork fillet and I made a raw spinach salad to go with it. I love spinach in any form, raw, cooked or creamed. I added lots of avocado to up the fat content.

Later that night there was a bizarre mist that came rolling in over the bay and you could not see outside of the perimeter of our garden. This is perfect cover for the house breakers and sure enough we heard on the radio that some drama was underway.

On Tuesday at lunch time when we went outside we spotted that there was another fire at the Cape Town train station which is across from our offices.

This is part of the ongoing attacks on our transport infrastructure that I have mentioned many times. According to the rescue service, “two trains with three carriages each on platform 17 and 18 respectively were alight”, with reports of the offices above the station deck also being affected.

These fires are causing so much devastation.

Norm cooked again on Tuesday night, he made a chicken and vegetable dish in a cream sauce and made low carb spinach noodles to serve it on.

On Wednesday I had an appointment with my dental hygienist for a cleaning. I am very dental phobic so I had to take a anti-anxiety pill. As I have had a hip replacement I have to guard against any bacterial infections so I also had to take a stack of antibiotics before hand. I arrived a bit early and they took me in early so I did not even have a chance to sort of calm down from the drive (that is why I arrive early to center myself). But I am sure it would be seen as efficiency by any normal patient! As I lay back in the chair I could feel the anxiety meds taking over and I was able to endure it with only 2 hand waves to say ‘Stop!’. The hygienist is brilliant as she chatters to me the whole time to distract me.

However she told me that one of their dentists had been stabbed the previous week while running on the mountain. He was not alone, he was running with other people, however this did not deter the culprits. I have searched for the news article and I think this is it HERE. The good thing is that they caught and arrested the culprits, we just have to hope that the case actually results in a conviction. So many of our arrests do not even make it to court, much less gain a conviction. Not only are our crime levels shocking but our justice system is a bit of a shambles. On the crime stats page they prompt you to take a survey about whether you or someone you know has been a victim of crime in the last 6 month. I took the survey and it tells me that 35% of the respondents have either been a victim or know someone who has been.

Shocking.

Still, life goes on.

Well, if you are lucky it does! Last night Pixie stole a chicken wing from Navajo and tried to swallow it whole. We only noticed when I looked over to see her convulsing on the floor. By the time I got to her she had managed to eject it from her airway. Cheeky lil monkey that she is, she terrified me! She was quite blasé about the whole affair. She even contemplated trying again but I snatched her away from it.

Wednesday night Norm and I cooked together and we made mexican food.

We just made tacos and refried beans and topped the tacos with home made guacamole, salsa, cheddar, lettuce and fromage frais. It was rather delicious as I love tacos. The best thing is how quick they are to prepare.

Today Norm had a meeting at the waterfront so he popped by my offices for a coffee. Work is a bit busy as I have new data to analyse but I took a wee break to chat to my darling.

Tonight he cooked chicken sausage, sweet potato mash with gravy, the last of our sweet corn and fried red cabbage. It was delicious. I love him looking after me.

I’m looking forward to the weekend, I hope yours is full of happiness.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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

The Fear of Loneliness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cats love it when we have a fire.

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

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

Even Scots Norm was feeling the cold.

We decided to just order the pub platter to share.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After breakfast Norm and Nav pottered about the garden.

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

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

The lyrics are “waniskâ! pêtâpan ôma

âsay piyêsîsak kî-nikamowak

ê-miyonâkwan kitaskînaw”

This translates to:

“Wake up! The sun is coming.

The birds are already singing

How beautiful this land of ours is.”

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

Our drummers were supposed to wear red.

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

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

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

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

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

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Letting Go

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway. Virgos.

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

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

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

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

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Phwaor.

I ordered my usual Eggs Benedict.

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

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

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

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Pixie and the Pool Pipe #WeirdBandNames

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

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

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

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Zucchini fries

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

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

But the sauce was delicious.

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

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

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

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Soaking the wattle

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The wattle all got classified by size and straightness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox