Relatable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The horror goes on and on.

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

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

Fuck that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wish me luck next week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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Enough is Enough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I felt very spoiled.

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

They were already there when we arrived.

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

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

We got settled in and checked out the menu.

I ordered a Passionate Buddha cocktail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Panda kept me company.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were some men who joined in support.

There were so many people supporting the cause.

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

Below is a list of the known 23 victims:

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

A vigil was held at UCT where Nene attended University.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How sweet was that?

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

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

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

Hold The Guavas

Last week was a four day work week in South Africa as Friday was a public holiday. It was National Women’s Day. It commemorates the events on 9 August 1956, when more than 20,000 South African women of all races staged a march on the Union Buildings in protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act of 1950, commonly referred to as the “pass laws”. In South Africa, pass laws were a form of internal passport system designed to segregate the population, manage urbanisation, and allocate migrant labour. Also known as the natives law, pass laws severely limited the movements of not only black African citizens, but other people as well by requiring them to carry pass books when outside their homelands or designated areas. Before the 1950s, this legislation largely applied to African men, and attempts to apply it to women were met with significant protests. Pass laws would be one of the dominant features of the country’s apartheid system, until it was effectively ended in 1986.

I celebrated the day with my friends Melodie and Bronwyn. We jumped on the bus in Hout Bay at about 11am and went into Sea Point. We got off on Main Road and strolled along popping into any shop that caught our eye. Bronwyn bought herself a gorgeous pink cardigan and bought the same one for me in a stunning bright blue. It is so soft and feels lovely against your skin.

It is an early birthday present. I am very lucky and felt so spoiled.

We stopped at Mojo Market where there are loads of different food stalls and live music.

We had not had breakfast so we ordered a cappuccino and donuts.

They make the donuts to order so they are hot and they are lovely and crispy outside. You can have them sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar or with hot icing. The icing comes in vanilla, chocolate and caramel and I asked for a bit of each. Wow those were sinfully delicious.

After we finished we walked down to the promenade by the seaside to Winchester Mansions. It is a gorgeous Cape Dutch building with a lovely sea view.

We were seated on the front patio looking out to the ocean.

My selfy skills need work.

Mel ordered chicken wings and wedges and Bronwyn and I both ordered chicken strips and chips.

The serving was huge but the chicken was moist and tender and the batter crunchy. It was very nice. If this was a ‘light meal’ the portions of their mains must be unmanageable! I was very impressed.

There was a sweet baby redwing starling which hopped up onto my handbag and begged for food. It was the sweetest. I love birds and this little guy seemed almost tame.

We had a lot of laughs. Bronwyn was telling a story about an interaction with someone and said that she almost ‘kicked her in the guava’. I had never heard that term used to describe someone’s lady bits and I laughed myself silly. We then somehow got onto the subject of mushroom soup and I pointed out that it smells like semen. These two discussions gave us a lot of amusement.

After we had finished eating we strolled back up to catch a bus, but the stop for the one we needed was back on Main Road so we walked around to that stop. We waited ages and when our bus came through it was so full the driver did not even stop. After standing in the cold wind for about 20 minutes we gave up and booked an Uber.

The rest of the weekend was pretty chilled and relaxed. It has been sunny but cold. I put Panda out on the front porch so he could get some fresh air and sunshine.

Sunday it started raining again. Last week it rained on and off for most of the week and was very cold. We had fires most evenings.

We have had a busy week and ended up with takeaways for dinner several nights.

I had a prawn yiro from Spiro’s with loaded chips.

It was very tasty and the home made pita bread is one of the best I’ve ever eaten. It was quite silky in texture. The yiro came with feta and tomato saganaki sauce as did the loaded chips. The sauce was divine. I enjoyed it very much.

I had pizzas a few different nights. I had a Regina pizza from Massimo’s one night.

And I had a Mexican pizza from Cassarechio.

They are very different styles of pizzas but both are nice. Massimo’s is more like the pizzas you get in Italy but the one from Cassarechio was tasty too.

Norm cooked a delicious dinner on Thursday night. He grilled fillet steaks and halloumi cheese, fried sweet potato rounds in butter and served it with a baby spinach and rocket salad topped with pomegranate seeds. It was all perfectly cooked.

Panda has made more progress this week. We took him to see a Physio to see if he is ready for hydrotherapy. She did not think he is quite ready but she gave us some additional exercises to do at home with him. He is trying so hard. When you lift him he’s trying to stand, he puts his legs out straight to hold himself up. Norm even managed to hold him up so he could pee. He practices wiggling and scoots his body from one end of the bed to the other.

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Physio time ❤️

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Despite my relief at Panda’s progress I had a high anxiety week. I have had an intense headache and palpitations for weeks and finally on Thursday I reached the limit of my endurance and booked an appointment with my GP. He did a test where he asked questions about my stress and anxiety and determined I had moderate to high anxiety. He discussed my options and we agreed that I should try a daily dose of anxiety / depression medication as I could not take the Ativan on a daily basis as I had been doing recently. He also gave me something for my headache which has now improved.

On Thursday there were protests in Hout Bay at the harbour. The protestors were upset that they had not been paid. Who was supposed to be paying them I’m not sure and why they had to cause obstacles for everyone who lived in the area I am not sure. Many of these protests make no sense.

There was another truck petrol bombed in Cape Town this week. I also don’t understand who can be benefiting from this. There have also been a series of cars stoned just off the motorway.

The death of Ivan Ivanov that I blogged about recently has led to the implementation of a new team of guards on Table Mountain. I hope that they make a difference and make it safe for people to use the parks and mountains without so much risk.

With so much chaos and ineptitude in our country I find it farcical that the government is attempting to implement a National Health Service (NHI). They should focus on resolving the current problems before attempting such a huge transformation.

Many of the government hospitals are in dire straits so they have to sort that out before they have any chance of it being a success.

Norm and I have started watching a new series on Netflix called The Family.

It is as fascinating as it is worrying. It is about a secretive Christian Conservative organization in Washington, D.C. called The Fellowship Foundation, aka ‘The Family’. It outlines how they infiltrated the Washington political scene and the power they wield. I really recommend it.

I hope you all have a fabulous week. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Hope and Comfort

After I posted my last blog about my friend Jay who passed away, my friend Chris messaged me to say he had also experienced the same light show I had written about! Chris was also at school with us and he said that Jay had sent him this image as a GIF:

However IG will not allow the GIF to do it’s thing so I found this video which is a very close representation to what I saw.

The fact that Chris saw the same sorts of lights and that the GIF was sent by Jay confirms to me that Jay was communicating to us. It comforts me.

Norm attempted to start us off eating well this week and did a shop to make dinner on Monday but as he has to wait for me to get home from work so I can take over Panda-sitting and I worked late it was very late by the time he got home and we ended up with another take away that night.

On Tuesday he made a yummy dinner of cauliflower cheese ala macaroni and cheese. He make crispy bacon to go on top and I added grated parmesan and chopped chill to mine.

Wednesday was my Mom’s birthday and the girls and I clubbed together to buy a gift card for her. She had been wanting to buy herself some new perfume and it was the same cost as the gift card so she will buy that for herself from us. It was such a mission to find a company in the US that would accept a SA credit card for a US ‘delivered’ item, even though it was an electronic gift card but that seemed not to matter. Amex was going to charge a fee, Eileen Fischer made me jump through a million hoops and Dillard’s allowed the purchase then cancelled it the following day. Finally I found Nordstrom’s and they were brilliant. From now on I can just send her a credit to spend. I video called Mom on Wednesday night when I got home and we had a nice chat, it is so nice to be able to see her and chat via whatsapp without having to pay for an international call.

That day Norm and I both had to go to the bank as it is a joint account which requires both of our signatures. Standard Bank as always was incredibly inefficient and we queued for an hour to get to see a teller. I really hate this bank and may consider moving our investments to a more user friendly bank. Standard are closing down many of their branches so I assume that the queues will just get worse. They suck at customer service. The teller asked us the same question 3 times and could not seem to grasp the concept of moving funds from one account to another.

We had a dilemma about what to do with Panda as he cannot be left alone and we could not take him into the bank. Caitlin kindly volunteered to puppy sit and Norm dropped him off at her office.

Caitlin said he had a few visitors pop by to see him and he was so tired that night from his adventures.

After our long time waiting at Standard Bank we were starving so we popped into Brownies & Downies across from the bank for a spot of lunch.

They serve their cappuccinos on a cute little tray with a few bits of brownie and fresh cream.

They had a pulled chicken sandwich on ciabatta on special and we both ordered that.

It was so tasty! Slightly spicy and really yum. The chef said it usually has peppers in it but peppers cause my hernia to go a bit mental so I asked him to leave them off and he did. There is a lovely warm vibe there.

The premise of this cafe is to “train people with intellectual disabilities. Special-needs young adults are trained and integrated into jobs in the hospitality and retail sectors. Training while working in Brownies & downieS helps to break down long-standing stigmas and gives customers and special-needs adults the opportunity to meet and interact with each other in a fun and homely environment.”

That night for dinner Norm and I made a really delicious meal. We are getting a bit tired of takeaways but needed something simple and quick. We grilled fillet steaks we had marinated in garlic, pepper and olive oil. We sliced the steaks and served them on a bed of spinach and rocket, pomegranate seeds, toasted pine nuts and thick shavings of parmesan cheese. It was soooo divine! This is going to become a regular meal for us.

Lily drove down to Cape Town to collect her passport at the US embassy and she arrived on Thursday night. Norm cooked for us and made baked pork chops, roasted sweet potato rounds, fried halloumi and steamed broccoli. It was so delicious.

We have continued with nursing little Panda back to health, sometimes he is happy to chow the fancy food from the vet which is supposed to give him the nutrients he needs to recover and sometimes he turns his nose up.

We bought him bibs as his ruff is a nightmare to clean.

Saturday Norm ran errands while Lily and I watched after Panda. He got some tapas type bits for lunch. We had chicken samosas, chili poppers and arancini stuffed with mozzarella with various salads.

The girls offered to babysit Panda for us that night as we tickets booked to go to see the musical Kinky Boots at The Fugard Theatre in the Cape Town city centre.

First we stopped at Hudson’s for a burger.

We sat on the outside patio but it wasn’t unbearably chilly.

I ordered the Original Royale burger with battered onion rings, bacon, cheddar cheese and chili oil.

Norman ordered the East Village Selection of 3 60g sliders but said the meat was very average. I was too hungry to bother with a pic of his dinner.

We give our meal 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We headed over to the theatre and grabbed a drink and roamed around until we could take our seats.

We absolutely loved the show. The lead, Lola, was so talented! Lola was played by Earl Gregory. I remember him from Joseph’s Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Darren Craig played Charlie and he was also very talented as was the actress who played Lauren, Namisa Mdlalose. Their chemistry was very sweet.

We loved the choreography with this scene being my favorite.

We had such a lovely evening with a lot of laughs. It was also nice to see my friend Rob. We have not had a break since Panda became ill so I was glad the girls were so kind.

When we got home we watched some of the acts appearing at Glastonbury.

Some of my favorite performances have been, Miss Janet ❤️

The sexy, energy bomb that is Lizzo.

I also enjoyed King Princess.

We loved Lewis Capaldi too.

We are so limited in what music we get exposed to here that we have a wonderful time watching the various artists.

We stayed up far too late. After Lily left today we have carried on watching. I’m rather lazy today.

Norm took Panda to the vet as he is not too keen on eating, but we finally managed to get some roast chicken down him. The vet says he has lost a tenth of his body weight already. The vet gave him an IV as he seemed a bit dehydrated and she gave him another vitamin shot.

Panda has discovered he can make a bit of a growl now and practices a lot.

We realised just after filming that Panda managed his first solo poop (you can see Navajo realised it when he gave Panda a sniff). That was obviously what the grunting was about! The vet checks may have loosened things up in that regard.

In the local news over the last few weeks were the horrors that have been becoming public around the Al Noor Childrens Home in Cape Town.  Back in June the Department of Social Development  removed 17 children from the centre after conducting a preliminary investigation into a number of serious complaints of alleged physical and sexual abuse.

The children were placed in other child and youth care centres, and are receiving the necessary social support, including assessment and counselling. Then we heard that more children were removed and that the manager was up on various charges including fraud. Amina Okpara was arrested on June 14 for fraud and corruption by the Hawks and may face further charges including sexual offenses. It is alleged that Okpara redirected donor funds meant for daily operations of the Centre into her personal bank account and used it for personal gain. She was arrested during a sting operation by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team together with the Department of Social Development (DSD). At the time of her arrest, there were 35 children in the building none of whom any record existed on the premises.

Joshua Covenant Chigome, spokesperson for MEC of Social Development Minister Sharna Fernandez, confirmed that criminal charges have been laid with the SAPS against the alleged perpetrators.

The home has since lost it’s license and has received an eviction notice from the City of Cape Town.

A third whale has died due to being trapped in the fishing nets around False Bay.

“The former department of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries had issued the exploratory octopus permit about 17 years ago, allegedly without consulting the City. In 2017, after the drowning of a Bryde’s whale, the City asked the department to set limits as a condition of the permit, but this was ignored. The permits were intended to assess the techniques, economics, population and biology and management of a possible future commercial octopus fishing industry, according to a published notice by the environmental affairs department in 2003.”

Everyone is up in arms and a petition is going around and hopefully the nets will be removed. Regardless of where you live please sign.

News from Limpopo showed a different sort of protest in that the protesters hijacked an excavator and forced the operator to dig up the road.

There are so many things to protest but this sort of vandalism doesn’t help anyone’s cause in my opinion.

The SA government is in a mess. The auditor-general’s annual municipal audit report, released this week, details the alarming state of financial management at most of South Africa’s towns and cities.

Only 18 of the country’s 257 municipalities received clean audits in the past financial year.

Unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure at municipalities, which piled up over many years, has now reached R122 billion.

The latest annual municipal audit report details some alarming instances of maladministration in several towns and cities in South Africa. These include spending of R21 million on a single fence, and R58 million in missing pension fund investments. One Eastern Cape municipality paid R2,500 per toilet for a sanitation project that now threatens local drinking water.

Crime is still on the increase and the Cape Town murder rate has risen by more than 18% in one month. It is only six months into the year, the murder rate in Cape Town stands at 2,302. Between November 2018 and April 2019, there were a total of 1,875 murders in the province. In essence, that is an average of 10.2 murders reported in a single day. In April alone, mortuaries in the Western Cape reported 308 corpses that were processed. Gang violence has been identified as the primary cause of this rapid increase in murders. The Cape Flats has been identified as the capital killing grounds of the city.

The crime in our suburb has lessened since they did not release the members of the group who were recently arrested and their bond was refused.

As much as we love SA there is a long way to go to sort out the challenges, however much like I have with the prognosis of my baby boy, I do have hope.

Fire and Rock

In a recent blog I mentioned the two old farts who sit near me at my current client who were reminiscing over ‘the good old days’ and now I am starting to be aware of all of their ridiculous conversations. It doesn’t help that Old Fart #1 has a voice identical to Kermit the Frog.

Yes, he is that annoying.

This week’s Old Fart Convo was them both moaning about the client using external vendors to do the analysis and testing on a project. The funny thing is that I AM the external vendor who is doing the analysis and testing. Silly feckers. I have mostly finished the analysis and mapping and the gaps I have remaining are all dependent on the client providing info to me. This last week has been so frustrating as I am being bounced from person to person in my quest for this info. The system owner referred me to another team and that team (after ignoring my request for 6 weeks) finally referred me back to the system owner. I felt like I was playing some sadistic game of ping pong.

I had a funny moment this week when I was trying to use the microwave at the client and could not figure out how to turn it on. (I am very visually challenged and could not see the labels on the buttons). A very nice older man came around to help me and a cheeky young fellow looked at us both flailing blindly about and says “soooo….you guys are both in IT?” with a raised eyebrow. We laughed and he told us about another employee who raised a help desk call because she had inadvertently “deleted the internet”. He calmed her by telling her that is not actually possible. Turns out she had deleted the internet explorer icon.

Bless. Even I am not that daft.

This week flew by as all weeks seem to when you are old AF. I have not been sleeping well all week and I have been very tired. Luckily I’ve had a lazy weekend of rest if not an excess of sleep.

Norm was at the dentist this week and finally got the implant done for the two teeth he had extracted and so he has had to stick to soft food all week. Our low carb path has been diverted badly as a result. Of course my path diverted last weekend when I was away. We had takeaways most nights this week so that Norm could have pasta or other things he could manage with his tender mouth.

Friday night I had my usual sushi from K1 but the last few weeks it has not been as good as it used to be before they changed the chef and most of their staff.

Next week I will try a new venue we heard about to compare. I love my sushi.

It’s been a week of much chaos in South Africa.

One of the largest government clinics in Cape Town was burnt to the ground. Arson is suspected.

There has been a spate of lorries being set alight across SA. One of these was petrol bombed while a driver was resting in the lorry and he sustained serious injuries.

There were two train fires back-to-back in Cape Town this week and another fire occurred today, making three train fires in one week.

I’m not sure where the new rail security teams were while the trains were being torched, but I did read that some of the security guards were terminated. Like most areas in SA there is probably corruption there as well.

Speaking of corruption, President Cyril has appointed his cabinet.

The biggest surprise for many was the appointment of former mayor from Cape Town, ‘Aunty Pat’ as Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure. But as they say, shit rises to the surface. (Do they say that? Scum rises? Bloated dead bodies thrown into a lake rise? Whatever the metaphor for revolting things which rise, you get the drift.) Fox and Henhouse come to mind. As much as I want to see more women in politics I detest this evil wench.

When driving into work this week I passed a man near the police station dancing in the street and waving around a rifle. No one else reported seeing him so I’m not sure what was going on there!

There has also been an unprecedented large number of CEOs resigning recently.

It makes me a bit uneasy when there is so much turmoil. But to be fair, it doesn’t take much to trigger my unease!

I mentioned that I had lost my drivers license recently and I finally printed off the forms to go apply for another. The form said I needed a case reference number from the police. Norm and I had already gone to get an affidavit signed at the cop shop, but then when the form indicated I needed a case number we had to go back to the police station on Thursday evening to get it. We waited for ages and eventually a rather surly overweight cop shuffled over and asked what we needed. When I told him he asked rather abruptly ‘was it stolen?’ and I said ‘I have no idea what happened it is just gone, I assume I lost it’ and fat boy then said ‘where did you lose it’. I had to bite a large hole in my tongue to not say what came into my head but I was unable to stop myself saying ‘if I knew where I lost it I would go find it’ to which he said ‘I am trying to help you’ while simultaneously not helping me at all. He refused to give me a case number as I wasn’t sure it was stolen. What a waste of time.

I left work early on Friday to go to the dreaded licensing department. Since I was last there they have implemented a ticketing system. At first the ticket giver refused to give me a ticket as I did not have proof of address with me. I told her that I had only gotten my license a few months ago and so I am in the system. She said if I wasn’t I would have to come back. I told her I was willing to take that risk (just give me my bloody ticket was resounding in my head).

I had to go through the entire process again, vision test, thumb prints, photographs and payment. I can’t understand why they can’t just reprint it with a fee. I had to pay just under R200 for the new license and an additional R50 for the photographs at a chemist which they don’t even use. What is the point?

It was all so annoying. At least it only took just over an hour as opposed to the last visit which took almost three hours.

We had a lazy day on Saturday and I stayed in bed playing games on my iPad until lunch time. Norm and I made a yummy brunch of an onion and cheese omelette with bacon and avocado and I topped mine with some spicy salsa.

Norm was working all afternoon and so I binged on RuPaul’s Drag Race and lazed about.

Late afternoon Norm took the dogs out for their walk and a short while later came rushing back in a bit of a state. He and the dogs had been attacked by a Doberman whose owner left the gate open. The dobie raced at our dogs and Navajo was ready to take him on but Norm managed to maneuver the dogs away from the dobie but he kicked out at the dog and the dog bit Norm on the foot. The owners heard the shouting and the wife ran out but the dog got away from her grasp and he would not stop attacking. Finally the husband came out and managed to get hold of the collar but the dog bit him and when he let go came back again to attack. Eventually they managed to get him in the gate. We have never seen anyone walk this dog so I’m not surprised he is not socialised and is full of aggression. When Norm got home he took off his shoe and saw that the bite did not break the skin but he suspects he will be badly bruised. The dogs were not fazed by the drama, once home Pixie barked indignantly that Norm had not given them their post walk treat.

Norm and I had booked last night to go see a guy called Frankie who lives in our neighborhood and is the lead singer for a band called The Rockerfellas.

We had no idea what to expect and I was worried it might be a bit too noisy for us old codgers.

But we wanted to see them so we booked to see them perform at Cafe Roux in the CBD. It was a sold out show and so we could not get our usual brilliant seats. Our alternative seats were behind a large column and we could only see a portion of the stage. Luckily they extended the stage a bit and at least we could see the performance if it was at the front.

We arrived about 7:30 and settled in.

I do love this venue and the owner and staff are fabulous. I love that they try to ensure respect to the performers and keep the audience quiet.

We ordered dinner when we arrived. I ordered a pizza with Parma ham, rocket, tomato and fresh Parmesan. Their crusts are thin, just the way I like them.

Norm ordered the butternut ravioli with fresh Parmesan, burnt butter and sage.

The food was delicious and I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The band came on and quickly got the place pumping! They were wearing ridiculous 70’s rock star type clothes and one was even wearing a wig.

They had a variety of props such as flaming helmets and guitars.

Frankie is a really good singer and performer and we had such fun.

They did a few Queen numbers and Frankie changed into his Freddy wannabe get up.

We were singing and clapping and really getting into the vibe. I am now officially a fan and will go watch them whenever they play nearby. They get 5 Kitten Stars as well. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Today I have alternated between being lazy and being productive. Now that we no longer have a housekeeper I had a pile of clean laundry to sort out as well as I badly needed to tidy my closets. My boots and shoes were all over the bedroom. I cleaned out my shoe cupboard and put aside some leather boots for the girls as well as some for charity. It made me feel virtuous and organized.

We then showered and went into the village to run errands and shop. We went to Culture Cafe and Grill for a late breakfast. They have very nice smooth coffee with no hint of bitterness. We both ordered a coffee while we checked out their new menu as they have recently rebranded. The inside looks nice.

Norm ordered the low carb breakfast of eggs, bacon, fried tomatoes, local South African sausage and mushrooms.

I wasn’t as virtuous and I think what I ordered was called the Republic breakfast. It came with boerewors, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, fried tomato, toast and a hashbrown. As I am not a sausage fan I asked if I could have extra bacon instead of the sausage and they accommodated me. I asked for my eggs soft, over easy.

The eggs were rock hard and the owner very kindly cooked more to replace them. I wasn’t a fan of the hashbrown which was a generic frozen version and contained peas and other bits. Not what we yanks consider a hashbrown. But it tasted OK, I just wasn’t expecting the peas.

Norm ordered a side of sweet potato fries and they were the best I have ever had. When we usually order sweet potato fries they are frozen and tasteless but these were hand cut and really nice.

After we finished our lunch we went to the shops and bank and then to fill up my car with petrol for the week.

Norm has been working since we got home as he has so many projects going at the moment. I’ve been chilling with the animals and writing (when Pixie allows me to stop petting her).

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Lap Dog #pom #pomeranian #dog #pup #PixiePup

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Or when she gave me a break from insisting I throw her ball.

We just got a roast chicken and salads for dinner tonight as it has been a warm day. Our weather has been all over the last few weeks, dropping to 11*C some mornings and getting up to the high 20s some days.

That is part of life in SA, you often never know what to expect. It certainly keeps you on your toes.

Tomorrow Vanessa is coming to give me a pedicure and on Thursday Lily and Josh are coming down as Lily has to renew her passport.

It is my boy Trevor’s birthday this week as well, I wish I was closer and could bake him a cake and make a special meal for him. No matter how big they get your children are always Mommy’s babies.

I hope you have all had a good weekend and I wish you well for the coming week.

Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Act Two

Considering that I was worried about being able to endure a full week, this week flew by! I find if you are out midweek it makes the week feel shorter.

The monotony of our week was broken up on Wednesday when we attended the Opera at the Artscape. It was organized by my friend, a lovely ex-colleague named Rob.

We left early and stopped at Col’Cacchio in the Foreshore for a quick bite. We chose them because of the proximity to the theatre and they do low carb options.

We were seated at the front by a large window.

There were only six tables of customers in that section of the restaurant and three of them had Americans sitting at them. What are the odds?

I chose the Zucchetti Verde Rosso for R95: zucchetti with chicken parmigiana. Zuchetti is zucchini made into a noodle format.

It was very tasty but I could have done with more chicken. Next time I will have a salad starter as I didn’t quite feel well fed up.

Norm had the low carb beef lasagna with brinjal (aka eggplant), bolognaise, ricotta, Italian parmesan. It was R100.

He enjoyed it.

We give our dinners 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

After dinner we headed off to the Artscape Opera House.

We saw the Opera ‘I Capuleti e i Montecchi’ which is based on the classic love story, ‘Romeo and Juliette’. We had a drink in the lobby prior to the show.

The opera house had a display of beautiful costumes from other versions of the opera.

It is such a beautiful opera. It was a Cape Town Opera production and they did such an amazing job.

Here is a link to a video of images from their Instagram account, hope it works!

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The young cast of rising stars and phenomenal creatives have given their all to this production of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. This eternally fascinating story of Romeo and Juliet with incredibly beautiful music opens tonight on the opera stage followed by performances on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May. Designer Michael Mitchell has done some extraordinary costume and set designs which look like renaissance paintings, it’s a visual feast. The contrast between the privileged and powerful Capulets, insurgent Montagues and the innocence of Romeo and Juliet’s ill-fated love is palpable and ultimately heart-wrenching. Tickets are between R100 and R300 to see this glorious opera with an orchestra, forty singers and superb set, costumes and lighting. Book today, link in bio! . . . . #AllThingsItalianCPT #capetownopera#music #art #classicalmusic #opera#theatre #singer #artist #operasinger#soprano #travel #fashion #teatro#concert #instagood #capetownopera#piano #style #capetown #dance#orchestra #architecture #makeup#theater #artschool #musica #priora#bhfyp #musicstudents

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Here is a clip of a version of the same opera done years ago, it begins with the scene between the priest Lorenzo and Guilietta where he persuades her to drink the sedative.

The opera was so beautiful and we were surprised to see a female actor playing the part of Romeo.

Apparently that is traditional. I thought maybe it was just the Cape Town version as it is supposed to be one of the top ‘gay capitals‘ in the world or something like that. Then we joked that the dramatic nature of Romeo and Giulietta’s relationship was just like some of our lesbian friends’.

The actress Brittany Smith played Guilietta in the show we attended, and she was beautiful and had an incredible voice. She was a pleasure to watch.

We were seated on the second row so we could see down into the orchestra pit as well. It was interesting to watch the faces of the musicians. Some of them just appeared to be doing a job, their faces lacking any animation. Some of them had such joy beaming from their faces that you could see their love of music. It gave us something to do during the set change breaks. The opera was 3 hours duration so was a bit long and tiring for a school night. But we loved it so much.

The Opera merits a full 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We had a bit of middle aged excitement this week when all of our things we had ordered for the house arrived.

We bought a new Dyson vacuum which is amazing. It is cordless so you can whiz around with it easily. It is made for managing dog hair and our house has never been cleaner. It breaks down into a little handheld version as well so you can quickly do a little bit if needed.

We also bought a Phillips Air Fryer. We tried it out the first night and used this recipe HERE. It was for pork chops and brussel sprouts. We followed the instructions in the recipe and then cooked a few minutes longer as the chops looked a bit anemic.

Norm fried halloumi in the grill pan to go with it. While we were eating the first chop we cooked the second for 15 minutes. It turned out much more golden.

They were good! I loved the sprouts. I used American mustard instead of Dijon and the maple syrup is not low carb but it was a teaspoon between us and most of it remained in the bowl where I mixed it into the sprouts. We will do this again but will cook one or the other in the fryer, the air needs to be able to circulate around the contents I think. Will keep you posted on our progress.

We also got a new bed for Navajo. He has so many issues with his back and leg and we hope it makes it softer than lying on the tiles for him.

He’s such a lovely boy.

Last Tuesday Norm cooked the low carb cauliflower cheese and bacon dish I loved so. With it we served the last of the chicken frikkadels leftover from Sunday lunch.

On Thursday night I had my usual Friday treat a day early and had sushi.

I had my usual crab salad, butterfly, salmon roses and cucumber roses with prawn on top.

It was delicious even if it contained a bit of rice and sugary mayo.

There was a horrific murder in the news in Cape Town this week and we all read in shock about the hijacking and murder of the surfer David Wolfromm. The hijackers shot him, stole the car after having thrown him bleeding into the back, then crashed the car and set it alight with him still tied up inside. That would be a horrendous way to die. From the first time I read about this murder I had a feeling that I had a connection to the victim. Even before they released his name, I felt it. Today when I went to drumming everyone was discussing David’s murder and several of the attendees had attended various memorials for him. I then realized that I had met David and his family at the song marathon I attended last August where various spiritual groups had all gathered in a giant tipi to sing and drum. People sang in many different languages and David was a follower of the South American tribe Huni Kuin or the Kaxinawá, also known as the Kashinawa who are an indigenous people of Brazil and Peru. He and a group of others sang in the native language and it was beautiful.

David seemed like a lovely happy man. He had a wife and 5 children so it is just so unfair that a good man was taken for no reason at all.

Today we did a few songs in honor of David. We sang The Wolf and we learned a new song in Huni Kuin called Eskawata Kayaway. We used shakers rather than our drum.

From what I understand the tribe does not have a written language so everything such as lyrics are just written down phonetically. I managed to find a video of a man I assume to be Huni Kuin singing the song we sang today in honor of David.

It seems odd that he doesn’t move his mouth but maybe it is cultural? At least it’s the same song and as it appears to be a rare thing to find online I am grateful I found it!

I am glad that we paid a tribute to David and maybe a bit of him will stay with our group and we may adopt this new song to add to our repertoire for the dance? It’s just so sad for his loved ones.

There were other crimes and various headlines around transport.

There were a few instances of local bus robberies in the news. A man was shot and killed on a bus into town this week. The Golden Arrow bus service has suffered more than 20 robberies on its buses in the last seven months. They say they are going to consider implementing a specialised unit targeted at dealing with crime.

The residents of Hout Bay are threatening another protest if the City of Cape Town does not deliver on their promise of adding additional buses to the existing routes to cater for the hundreds of residents who took taxis before they shut down the taxi route from Hout Bay to the City. People just stand and watch full buses not even stop because of over crowding. People are late into work and late back home to their families due to the lack of available transport.

There has also been ongoing issues about 5 hours up the coast in George near my children. The city is in the process of introducing the Go George bus service and buying out taxi routes has been full of drama with at least two assassinations, attacks on buses and numerous protests.

South Africa’s public transport system is in a shambles. You have read my many blogs about the train system, the taxi service and now the buses. I am so grateful I have a car and am not reliant on the vagaries of all the unreliable transport methods in SA.

We had a re-enactment of Caitlin’s birthday and my Mother’s Day celebrations on Friday night as Lily and Josh were down in Cape Town for a wedding.

We went to Hudson’s in Claremont on Friday for 7. I have always gone to the city branch or Green Point but Claremont was easier for Caitlin. Lily and Josh stayed with us on Friday night and we all went together in my car and arrived first.

The music was all rock and was incredibly loud. Even the kids found it loud so that opinion is not just because I am an old fart. It was deafening. You could not converse without shouting directly in someone’s ear. The table was so sticky that we asked them to wipe it but it remained sticky even after wiping and they told us it is always sticky. It was so sticky we kept the menus and put our arms and phones on them or they stuck to the table. It wasn’t a very pleasant venue and we found out that the food was far inferior to the other branches.

Norm and I both had the Original Royale.

It had onion rings, cheddar cheese, bacon and a bit of chili oil. It was R89 for the 180gram patty I had or R105 for the 250gram that Norm had.

Lily had the Shroom Burger with cheddar cheese and mushroom sauce, Josh had The Player with bacon, feta and avocado and both Caitlin and Wesley had the Tribeca Selection with 3 100g sliders: The Shroom, The Player and The Wiseguy (which has tons of chili).

You order your side dishes separately at an additional cost. I had skin on fries and bought dusted onion rings for the table to share.

The breaded rings on the burger were a bit heavy on the dough, I far preferred the dusted version.

Caitlin and Wes had truffle fries and Norm had sweet potato fries but he said they were ice cold. I ordered a vanilla milk shake and it was as thin as milk and super sweet. It was not nice. I’ve had shakes at both of the venues we normally go to and they are usually thick and delicious.

My experience at the restaurant was only nice because of the company. I give it 2 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️

After dinner we opened gifts.

Caitlin got both some cute fun gifts and some practical gifts.

She got a set of three books from me by the author Joe Abercrombie, the First Law Trilogy series.

Her dad bought her a slow cooker. Lily got her a set of cute notepads with sloths on them and a glass cutting board and a toy for her cats.

She set it up as soon as she got home and Mittens had a blast.

The kids gave me a set of painted stones. I have been wanting some of these for ages. I have set them out on the front porch.

The bird they also gave me is now flying over my succulent collection.

I love them all. I love any type of garden art.

It was lovely having my girls with us.

It was nice to see their fellas too.

We were up early on Saturday as Lily and Josh had to run some errands and then get to their friends house and get ready for the wedding and out to Stellenbosch by 2pm.

Norm took Pixie to the chiropractor in Noordhoek early in the morning and when he came home he made us cheese omelettes, bacon and avocado. I added a spoon full of onion marmalade to mine.

It was delicious. I am a lucky Kitten.

Saturday evening we decided at the last minute to go out to dinner and we headed to Constantia and managed to snag a table at the Cattle Baron.

We were seated out on the little patio area under a gas heater.

Norm ordered the 300g Chateaubriand: Fillet flambèed with brandy. Served with a Cattle Baron Bèarnaise & a mushroom sauce.

I ordered the 200g Sautéed Mushroom Fillet: Grilled beef fillet served on deep-fried rosti and topped with garlic sauteèd mushroom. It was R195.

We both had chips and shared an order of mushrooms sautéed in garlic butter. They serve a complimentary dish of mashed butternut and creamed spinach with the steaks. It was all so delicious, the steaks were both very tender and perfectly cooked.

I had the chocolate fondant with ice cream: molten chocolate cake with a crispy exterior and runny chocolate centre. It was R58.

Our meal was delicious and the service perfect so we give 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. This place is becoming my fave local steak house.

We went home and cosied up with the animals.

Panda tolerated Blue because it was so cold.

On Sunday after drumming I drove back from Marina Da Gama and collected Norm and we went for lunch at Woolworths before we did our grocery shop.

I ordered a bottle of still water and a chili omelette with bacon.

I was given sparkling water and did not notice until I took a swig. Blech who enjoys sparkling water and if you do, why do you hate yourself so much? It tastes like I imagine water tastes like when drank around a mouthful of rocks.

Then she finally brings our food and I get a few bites in wondering why I don’t taste chili when I got a mouthful full of salmon. Not what my mouth was prepared for.

Eventually a chili omelette was delivered and it was ok. It had a weird cream cheese and chive type stuffing that was a bit odd but it was ok.

But due to the long time it took to cook, the fishy first attempt and the weird cheese it gets 2 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️

Tonight Norm and I made low carb pizza, I used veggie pizza bases and topped them with mozzarella and Proscuitto.

First I baked the base for 5 minutes.

I made my own sugar free sauce from garlic, a tin of chopped tomatoes I liquidized, a small tin of tomato paste and a dash of Worcester sauce.i simmered it for about half an hour.

I topped the sauce with the ham and the cheese and baked.

It was good. Not as good as a real pizza, but for low carb it was edible.

We are wrapped up warm watching telly and listening to the pouring rain. Cape Town needs the rain.

Wishing you all a great week ahead. Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Vintage Shadows

As lovely as a long weekend is, it seems to take a week to get your internal calendar back on track. Norm and I had decided to also try to get back on track with living a low carb life again after Easter and on my first day back at work Norm welcomed me home with a delicious low carb dinner. He wrapped chicken breasts in bacon, roasted sweet potatoes and steamed gem squash and baby broccoli. We added cheddar to the gem squash and sprinkled it onto the broccoli to increase the fat content.

On Thursday he baked a pork fillet and mushrooms in teriyaki, roasted broccoli, zucchini and green beans and steamed a gem squash to go with it.

On Wednesday night Norm and I booked to go and see his ex-colleague Mae Sithole perform at Cafe Roux in Cape Town city center. It is our fave music venue. They insist that the audience give the artists silence and the respect that they deserve. I detest people chatting when watching live music.

We arrived at the venue just after 7 as we intended to have dinner there.

I ordered the braised chicken fillet