Conspiracies and Spirits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I just wanted to go back to bed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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Basic Rights for Humanity

Norman had a meeting in the city on Wednesday last week and so he came through to meet me and take me for lunch. There is a Kauai just behind my client’s offices and so we met there.

Norm had the Tropical chicken wrap for R59: free range chicken, pineapple, carrot, greens, with thai peanut dressing.

I had the Salsa Quesadilla wrap for R49: white cheddar, red pepper, salsa, jalapeno,
spring onion, coriander.

It was OK, I would have preferred it toasted longer to crisp it up and make it a bit more golden but it was acceptable. I give it 3.5 Kitten Stars.

Thursday was Human Rights Day which is a public holiday in South Africa and is historically linked with the date 21 March, 1960 and the events of Sharpeville. On that day 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police fired on a peaceful crowd that had gathered in protest against the Pass laws. This day marked an affirmation by ordinary people, rising in unison to proclaim their rights.

It was also World Water Day on Friday. This day is to highlight the importance of access to fresh water which is a basic human right. Many people would argue that access to electricity is also a basic human right.

The irony is that both of these precious commodities are scarce in South Africa.

South Africa is suffering from a drought across the majority of the country. Cape Town is no longer in a critical state but many other areas are still desperate for help.

On the flip side of that we have the recent cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi & Zimbabwe resulting in a large portion of areas in those countries being submerged by flood waters and causing hundreds of deaths.

 

Both sides of this coin are due to climate change.

The load shedding has continued with the electricity being turned off for anywhere from 2 to 8 hours in a 24 hour period across rotating areas of the country. There is not much you can do to amuse yourself in the dark. Well maybe if you are young and full of energy, but not when old and tired from working all day. Us oldies just want to watch Netflix and eat chocolate at night. Our goals are usually achievable with minimal effort.

Norm came up with the idea to play Scrabble during the evening’s load shedding.

He forgot that I am a word junky and I kicked his ass. However it kept us occupied and meant that we interacted rather than just grumpily staring at our phones or squinting at a book (I struggle to read even in the light these days).

The shambles around public transport in SA has continued unabated despite the efforts and successes by the new rail enforcement unit. Recent stats on their new unit’s work was that they have conducted about 588 stop-and-searches, 84 hot spots searched and fines to the value of R8300 were issued. What levels of success they have achieved in stopping the theft of the cables I have no idea.

The ANC-led government manifesto states that it will “invest in rail infrastructure to ensure it is safe, reliable and integrated with other modes of public transport. Rail must be the backbone of our public transport system” however the ANC has had the duty to deliver this promise for the last 25 years. Decades of mismanagement, corruption and a lack of care has directly led to the breakdown of South Africa’s rail system.

Since 2010, 3,642 have died and 15,634 people have been injured on our railways. Between 2015 and 2018, R213,744 million was paid out to victims while a total of R503,552 million has been lost due to vandalism and derailments. Behind the shocking statistics are truly horrifying stories of how the ANC and by extension Prasa has failed both their employees and the commuters.

You can read the full report from Thuli Madonsela who was the previous public protector here.

New trains have been promised to the long suffering commuters which have endured poor service, poorly maintained filthy and dangerous trains as well as risk of attack from arsonists and thieves. Many people lose their jobs due to the inability to get to work on time despite arriving at the station hours before they are due at work. Our train services are a nightmare as was witnessed directly by President Ramaphosa when he took a journey last week which resulted in the train being stuck for 3 hours.

This week a dummy of the new train design arrived in Cape Town. However until they deal with the cable theft and security issues it is just a bandage over a gaping and bleeding wound.

Sometimes I despair at the future of this country and sometimes I revel in the beauty around us and the wonderful people of South Africa. I bounce between these opposing dichotomies often.

For example, it was lovely having Thursday off of work for the public holiday however we spent most of it in the dark rather than doing whatever we wanted.

We decided on Thursday that rather than struggle with trying to prepare food without electricity to just indulge ourselves and eat out. We first went to Tasha’s in Constantia but there was a huge queue for a table so we walked across the car park to the other mall and went to Mugg and Bean. We got the last table there. I ordered my food and the waitress then told us that the fryer is not working due to the electricity shut down so I re-examined the menu and quickly choose the Rancheros Omelette, cheesy chili & M&B salsa-filled omelette topped with chorizo, fresh avocado, baby potato, charred corn & cherry tomatoes, drizzled with sriracha mayo & sour cream served on the side.

I did not read the ingredients that carefully as I was rushing to choose something that came without the elusive fries or hash-browns and did not notice that the omelette contained chorizo which I only like if it is sliced thin and fried til crispy, I also forgot about my stomach issues and the prospects of pain from eating chili. I do love chili but it is not my friend at the moment. I chucked the chorizo onto Norm’s plate. However I will not let my own shortcomings contaminate the rating of the food and I will give it a good 4 Kitten stars as it was very tasty, just spicy AF.

Norm had the California Omelette: omelette filled with cheddar, mozzarella & fresh basil. Loosely topped with fresh avocado, back bacon & Danish-style feta, drizzled with a basil pesto mayo & served with pan-fried rosemary cherry tomatoes. He enjoyed it.

After we finished eating we walked back across to the main building and had a wander around the shops. Norm needed to buy a data dongle as he is struggling to work without access to the WiFi during the power outages. We tried to buy another lantern but the shops were all sold out as expected.

We then headed back home and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.

Pixie has been so tolerant of her cone of shame and has even mastered being able to use the cone to scoop up her ball to get it into her mouth. She is a clever wee thing. She needs to have someone scratch her face for her though as she is unable to manage that.

Her little leg is all healed now and so we took the cone off of her yesterday and she is not chewing herself so I think she is A-OK now thank goodness. I love that little ball of fluff, and cannot bear the idea of her being in pain or unhappy.

On Thursday night we went out for dinner during the second period of electricity shut down and we chose to go to Papino’s in Hout Bay. We arrived just as the sun was setting and the owner brought out large silver candelabras for each of the tables which gave us enough light to see. I wanted something easy to manage in the dim light which was also not too spicy or heavy for my constantly sore tummy and so I chose the Flammenkuchen which is a German variation on a pizza. I had never eaten one at Papino’s but I have tried them at various German restaurants and had expected something similar to those thin and crispy styles, but this version was more like a tomato-less cheesy pizza. It was good but it was a bit heavy and salty for my tastes. I do love Papino’s pizza bases though and next time will stick to a traditional pizza.

Norm chose his favourite dish from Papino’s, the Hollandse Beifstuk which is a pan fried steak with a brandy butter mushroom sauce. He was told in advance that they were not serving any starch dishes so it came only with the vegetables.

Apologies for the standard of my pics but they were taken by candlelight so please cut me some slack. The electricity came back on just as we were leaving so we were able to pay our bill and we headed home to enjoy some rare TV time and relax before bed as I had work the next day.

On Friday the load shedding was from 6pm to 8pm and so Norm nipped out to get us take aways for dinner and I chose to have sushi from K1. They do a 2 for 1 special for the same ‘colour plates’ as their dishes are classified by plate colour. I chose the prawn salad which was minimal prawn, chopped cucumber and avocado and topped with sesame seeds.  The other dish in this bracket was the salmon sashimi. It was nice and fresh but cut a bit thick for my liking. I also had cucumber prawn roses & salmon roses as my other 2 dishes. It was R129 for all 4 dishes and I was pleased with my choices but probably will not order the prawn salad again.

On Saturday I had plans to meet my friends Bronwyn and Melody for breakfast at 10 am at Hout Bay Manor. I arrived first and the waiter sat me in a shady spot by the fountain.

I tried to take a group selfy of the 3 of us once the ladies arrived but I failed miserably. I did get Bronwyn and Mel in it though!

I ordered the El Pixo for R75: sweetcorn fritters made with feta, chili & spring onions, served with slices of avocado, streaky bacon, 2 poached eggs, grilled baby tomatoes, fresh coriander, chili, olive oil, lemon zest & a wedge of lemon. I asked for soft eggs and crispy bacon and the chef delivered on both points. It was delicious but I forgot I am supposed to be avoiding chili and ended up suffering a bit after and trying to drown the burn in gallons of water. However I cannot blame the venue for my stomach issues and I give this dish 5 Kitten stars as it was delicious.

The girls both ordered the Dippy Eggs and Buttered Soldiers for R65: 2 soft boiled eggs, 2 slices of buttered toast, blanched asparagus with hollandaise & tarragon, sea salt & black pepper.

They asked that the chef make sure that the eggs were soft as you cannot dip your soldiers into hard eggs. The food arrived but the eggs were too hard and both orders were sent back. The second time was much better.

We stayed so long that we ended up ordering cake and another round of coffees. Bronwyn had the orange cake and I had the chocolate cake which was rich and divine.

Our ‘breakfast’ ended up lasting until 4pm! We had not even noticed how long we were there as we were chatting up a storm. It was all so effortless to communicate with these ladies, there were no awkward silences or talking over each other, the conversation all just flowed smoothly. I love these ladies, I feel like I do not have to put up defenses or false pretenses, I can just be me. That is not something that happens often in Cape Town, there are a lot of false and superficial women who only care about what car you drive, where you live, what gym you attend, how much money your husband makes and where you get your botox injections. I make my own money and do not inject that shite into my body so it can make small talk with some women quite challenging as what matters to them quite often matters not at all to me. It is so refreshing to find women whose views are more aligned to mine despite the vast differences in where and how we were raised.

Bron and Mel shared with me what it was like growing up in South Africa during the apartheid era, something which many of us westerners cannot even begin to comprehend, especially those of us who are white. Friends and families were torn apart due to the Immorality Act. Whites were not allowed to have a relationship with anyone who was not also white. Non-whites were not allowed to go into restaurants or public spaces, even onto the beaches. People of colour were not allowed into any ‘white’ residential areas unless they had a ‘Pass’ which gave them permission to enter an area due to their employment.  The girls told me about the police driving around in large vehicles called a Casspir or a Black Maria. The police would search for non-whites and arrest any who did not have a pass authorising them to be there and would throw them in the back of the van. Unfortunately this mentality has remained with some white people in SA, they phone the police as soon as they see a person of colour walking along the road minding his own business. It can take generations for the damages of the past to heal.

However the current ANC government is doing little to better the lives of the people who were damaged so badly by the apartheid government. Corruption is rife and I see so little progress in creating better living conditions for most people.

I had a conversation with Caitlin last week after I gave an African man on the street some coins. She said to me ‘he will just spend it on drink’ and I said she should not be so quick to judge someone based purely on their physical appearance. He was shaking and yes that could be from DTs due to needing a drink, it could also be due to Parkinson’s or other neurological condition. There is no way to know that without having a conversation with him. Even if he does have a drinking problem, we have no idea what demons he may be living with which drive him to use drink to numb his pain or trauma. He was an elderly man and so he would have been victim to the atrocities of apartheid and we cannot imagine what damage or abuse he may have been subjected to. We may all be just one trauma away from a similar state of poverty ourselves. If I lost my job I am but a few months salary away from financial trouble. I am lucky to have a house, but there is no guarantee I would be able to sell that house in a timely manner to support my lack of income. We do at least have pensions and some savings, however minimal. Some people do not even know where their next meal is coming from. I do not pretend to be able to understand the challenges the poor have to endure.

I am not suggesting that we are obligated to give money to everyone we encounter who extend their hands, there are so many desperate and needy people in South Africa that it would be an impossible goal. I limit the money I give to the elderly or to women as I know that they often suffer the most indignities and are the most vulnerable.

After our hours of chat at the manor, setting the world to rights and discussing our retirement options we realised the time and we wandered off home to our husbands. It was a very hot day but it was lovely in the shade by the pool at the manor. I found a cool corner in my house and relaxed as Norm was busy working.

Later that night we had load shedding again and so we decided to go to Massimo’s for dinner. We managed to nab the last table outside on the balcony.

I had a lovely view of both my darling hubby and an amazing pink sky as the sun was setting.

I wanted to avoid anything acidic or spicy. I chose the Granchio pasta dish: real flaked white crab meat, prawns, mascarpone, a hint of chili & garlic. The chili is so minuscule that it cause me no harm. It was light and creamy and the prawns were beautifully cooked. This is my favourite of their pasta dishes. It gets 5 Kitten Stars.

Norm chose a dish from their specials menu, the Pork and Beef Meatloaf for R135. It was meatloaf topped with a creamy mushroom sauce, served with oven roasted potatoes and seasonal veg. I was impressed they managed to conjure up potatoes as none of the other restaurants have had a back up plan for potatoes as even with a generator the fryers use too much electricity. This dish looked yummy. I love the roast veg that Massimo’s serves as it always includes roast beetroot.

Today we are having a lazy day, Norm made us a late brunch of eggs, preservative free Richard Bosman bacon and avocado. We will go for dinner at the pub later on.

I have an appointment to go to a gastroenterologist on Tuesday about my stomach pains. I am really struggling to cope, the occasional heartburn is now pretty much constant and the added dull ache has me a bit worried. I wanted to wait til after my current client contract ended but it has been extended a month so I cannot wait any longer, particularly if I do have an ulcer as I suspect I may have. Wish me luck please!

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

The State of Turmoil

There is so much chaos going on in South Africa that I am not quite sure where to start!

Let’s start with an update on the drought. The day after our Dance to Heal the Earth we read that Day Zero was pushed back to mid May!! I thank the Universe for the sign that our prayers were received and acted upon.

The farmers have gifted Cape Town with some of the water from one of their own dams. Between 7.5 and 10 million cubic meters of water is being released from the Eikenhof Dam in Grabouw by farmers who are donating the water to Cape Town. The water will flow via several smaller dams and end up in the Steenbras Dam, from where it will be pumped to City residents.

It is an impressive sight to see this much water flowing. Such a blessing of abundance.

The Day Zero date changed prior to the gift from the farmers however. Could the citizens have reduced their consumption so severely to make such a difference already or was it the dance? I know what I choose to believe and I give thanks.

I hope that the additional month delay before the expected implementation of Day Zero does not give people a false sense of comfort which results in the consumption increasing again. Globally water is at risk and this precious resource needs to be treated as such. I know that I will never again take it for granted.

One of the other areas of chaos is around Zuma, our incompetent fool of a president. The way that elections work in SA is very different to the US. In SA we vote for a political party and the party then chooses who will be our President. Zuma has been in hot water almost since he was put into power. He is corrupt and has been instrumental in the state capture by the Gupta family. Financial mismanagement, deception, corruption and nepotism are pretty much the extent of his skill set. We won’t even mention his previous charge of rape. Oops, I think I just did.

In December last year the ANC elected a new leader of their party, Cyril Ramaphosa who is currently South Africa’s Vice President. This puts Mr Ramaphosa, a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle and one of South Africa’s wealthiest citizens, in position to become the next president of the country, as the ANC still holds a voting majority. However this transition has not gone smoothly as Zuma has refused to step down.

At this point there are 5 options available for Zuma.

One option is that he is recalled as the president of the country by the ANC. The ANC’s top six met with Zuma over the weekend in an unsuccessful bid to persuade him to resign, after which the top six met with the party’s national working committee (NWC) on Monday evening. The NWC then convened an urgent meeting of the national executive committee (NEC) for Wednesday evening in Cape Town which was subsequently cancelled. The NEC is the body that can recall the state president.

If Zuma continues to refuse to resign, Parliament can remove him with a motion of no confidence. Such a motion has already been tabled at the request of the opposition for February 22. Discussions are underway to have this brought forward to as early as next week.

The ANC could also lodge their own vote of no confidence in Zuma.

If a motion of no confidence fails, he could be removed with an impeachment. For this a two-thirds majority support is needed in the National Assembly. Parliament’s Rules Committee is yet to adopt final regulations regarding the impeachment of a president.

Finally, Zuma could resign voluntarily, however he is panicking about his fate should he no longer be president and has tried to ensure his supporters are kept in power to protect him. His position as head of state was all that stood between the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) reinstating the 783 charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering which had been set aside in 2009. The Supreme Court of Appeal set aside the 2009 decision by then prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe to withdraw the criminal case against Zuma. The effect of the judgment is that charges are automatically reinstated.

Mr Zuma’s term as head of state will be up in 2019 when national elections are scheduled to be held however the party want him out sooner than that due to his impact on the overall party.

The other impact of this leadership turmoil is the postponement of the State of the Nation Address (SONA). The fact that they had to postpone SONA gives us an idea of the state of the nation – it is bloody chaos and confusion!

This party has gone downhill rapidly since the wonderful leader Mandela left office.

The resulting delay of the SONA will cost the citizens as all of the politicians and their entourages had already made arrangements and bookings to be in Cape Town and we will all bear that cost. The timing of the new date for SONA will have to consider the Budget speech, which will be delivered on February 21. The SONA is supposed to position the budget speech.

Meanwhile, life goes on for those of us struggling to survive financially while trying to conserve water and function as law abiding adults.

On Monday night our electricity went off again. Norm had a business meeting via Skype that evening and so he had grilled our dinner early so that he could take his call. He did roast veggies, sweet corn, organic chicken sausages and pork chops.

After Norm’s meeting he was busy eating his dinner when the power went off. We knew it was the whole street as we could hear all of the burglar alarms being triggered when the power cut. Ours has a back up battery so it behaved itself. This time it was a transformer which blew knocking out the power on our side of the valley. It may have been due to power surges from every household putting on their air conditioners and fans in the hot weather. It was HOT!

The electricity was still off when we went to bed and only came on at 11am on Tuesday, 14 hours or so later. Puddles of melting ice were forming under the freezer so it came on just in time before everything had to be chucked out (or eaten).

I was so exhausted on Tuesday at work. It was so hot the previous night and it was hard to sleep. With no electricity obviously my fan was not on so I could hear every little pant, grunt and groan from the dogs. I woke before daylight but had to wait for a bit of light to see to get dressed. I was at work before 7am.

That day Josh had driven down to Mossel Bay and Norm had gone to a late meeting so I was on my own that evening. I was not that hungry so I just had some tempura prawns and other bits from the freezer. It was nice to have the house all to myself for a change. The only problem was that I forgot I had to feed the dogs at 6pm. When I finally got a bit peckish myself at about 6:30pm I went into the kitchen to see what I could find. I had a poke about in the fridge, shut the door and then turned to see all three of them sitting in a row with their adorable furry faces staring at me, heads cocked in confusion. I could hear their questions: A) Where is our Dad? and B) Who is going to feed us? I then twigged that they were asking me what the hell is going on and I hurriedly gave them their dinner. Luckily dogs have a short memory and give up their resentments immediately.

I could learn from dogs.

On Wednesday I had nothing to take to work for lunch so I used OrderIn to order from Obz Cafe. It was still hot out so I chose the Prawn and Avocado salad for R106.00.

This was yummy and I will order this again. It was swimming in the dressing though so I will ask for that to be served on the side next time.

Wednesday evening Norm and I were invited to Caitlin’s for dinner as a thank you to Norm for all of the help he gave her with her flat renovations. However midday Norm rang to say he had an invitation to the British High Commissioner’s for a function and so we quickly rescheduled Caitlin’s dinner to Thursday evening instead.

Every year the British High Commissioner holds a huge event at their official residence to mark the Eve of Parliament. However, as SONA has been delayed while the ANC take out their trash and get their house in order, this means that the opening of Parliament is also delayed indefinitely.

Norm and I are always invited to this event because of Norm’s MBE. This year Norm’s invite did not arrive so he contacted his friend at the embassy to ask was it cancelled because of the delay of Parliament opening. His friend told him that the invite had gone to his old email address which was from his previous job. Once Norm found out it was still being held despite Parliament not opening, we rescheduled with Caitlin and decided to pop in.

It is such a stunning old Cape Dutch thatched home with terraced gardens going down from the back of the house. The area where the house is has many hills and there are large crowds attending so sometimes you have to walk for quite a distance, however Norm kindly dropped me at the front gate where I waited for him to walk back up. I had been so silly as to wear not only new shoes but new shoes with a bit of a heel as I was wearing a cocktail length dress. I never, ever wear heels as my knees can’t take it. But a girl has gotta look cute.

Even an old one with dodgy knees.

We were greeted by an African choir at the front of the house and we joined the reception line to meet the new British High Commissioner HE Mr Nigel Casey and his wife Clare who seemed nice and friendly. (‘HE’ is the honourary title given to an ambassador in case you think my caps lock got stuck or I was emphasizing his gender or something random.)

We were greeted by rows of staff bearing trays laden with cold sparkly champagne but I waited to get a drink until after we were inside and had gone through the reception line. I know what it is like trying to balance a drink and a handbag while trying to shake hands. I am too clumsy for that challenge.

Open bars were set up on each end of the upper garden serving mixed drinks, cocktails, wine or champagne and there was a stand from Ocean Basket serving complimentary sushi. At the bar there was a very cute, suntanned and tattooed bartender with long blonde surfer hair in a manbun who served me. Ignoring the man bun, his cuteness was somewhat dampened when he could not understand my accent when I asked for ‘water’. Water is one of those words which I always struggle to get people to understand. My southern accent seems to throw them. Too many syllables in those vowels Scarlett!! Never mind, another bartender caught the exchange and just before I was given a straight up large vodka on the rocks he intervened and told the guy ‘dude she asked for water. NOT Vodka.’ Oops. Can you imagine me taking a giant glug and then spitting it out all over the fancy pants people around me?

Somehow I can. And that lovely scene would probably be promptly followed by me rolling down the terraced garden with my dress over my head.

The cocktail of the day was a whisky sour and so I took one just because it looked pretty and I love cocktails, however I seemed to forget that I detest whisky. It was a yummy cocktail however it was rather heavy on the whisky. It was kind of like a margarita with a shot of whisky in it.

Ay caramba.

I amused myself watching the women who were rookies at this event for the first time as many had on stilettos which impaled them into the grass. I struggled to walk steadily over the rough grass in my wedges, I would have broken an ankle in stilettos. The attire of the attendees ranged from a old dude who like a right tramp in mismatched wrinkled clothes and flip flops, to women who looked ready for the Oscars. My fave is always the people who wear ‘traditional clothing’ whether that be kilts or African designs. I love the bright and energetic colours.

We had a wander around the garden, trying to see who we could recognise. However I am half blind and Norm has a memory like a sieve so the only person we noticed was Patricia De Lille skulking about in the corner of the garden surrounded by body guards or protectors.

Norm was worried she might recognise me from my twitter profile and quickly scuppered me off to the other end of the garden before I was accosted by one of her thugs as a social media vigilante.

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At the British High Commissioner’s event

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The new High Commissioner gave his welcome speech to the crowd.

Afterwards everyone continued to mingle, munch canapes and guzzle the free booze. In his speech, Nigel had told us that the cocktail of the day was a Whisky Sour in honour of it being ‘International Whisky Day’ however he appears to have told us a wee porky as I checked and it is only in March. Maybe he said National, but then I wondered whose nation, his home country or his current assignment? After a bit of research I see that it was International Scotch Whisky Day on the day of the event so I will let him off.

The choir from the front of the house then moved around to the back of the garden and performed from there.

They had amazing voices and a lovely harmony. I really enjoyed them.

We wandered about until about 8pm and then we headed off to get some dinner. As we were in Bishopscourt it seemed easiest to pop over to Constantia Village so we went to Primi. I ordered a strawberry daiquiri to cool me off as it was still very warm. Neither of us were terribly hungry so Norm ordered a salad and I ordered tapas.

Norm had the Caesar Salad: Cos lettuce tossed in PRIMI Caesar dressing with boiled egg, pecorino shavings and garlic croutons. You can choose to add either Anchovies for an additional R20, Grilled Chicken for R25 or Crispy Bacon for R20.

I had 2 items off the tapas menu. I chose Sylvia’s Crispy Chicken Livers which was described as ‘Crispy chicken livers sautéed with onion, garlic, fresh chilli and lemon.’ This was R55. They were incredibly salty and slightly burnt but I still nibbled a bit of them.

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Crispy Chicken Livers

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For my other dish I chose Zucchini Fries, described as ‘Tempura battered zucchini with garlic aioli’ for R40. I loved these, they were both crispy and tasty if not completely low carb due to the tempura batter.

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Zucchini fries

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We arrived home relatively early but my feet were killing me from balancing on heels in nobby grass clumps. The drought has meant the previously lush grass is now dry and clumpy.

Thursday after work we headed over to Caitlin’s for dinner. She and Wes cooked together while Norm and I played with the kittens.

They have grown so much since I first met them. The kittens, not Wes and Cait. they are pretty much fully grown.

Scout kept jumping on me and bumping his face against mine.

As a result he had a lipstick smudge over his eye which we at first mistook for an eye infection.

Caitlin and Wes spent ages carefully rolling the pumpkin into gnocchi but it was so worth it. The sauce was baby tomatoes, sage, cream and bacon. It really was divine.

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Pumpkin Gnocchi with bacon and sage sauce

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For dessert Caitlin surprised Norm with a chocolate brownie cheesecake from Martin’s bakery which is owned by Wes’ uncle and aunt.

We both felt very spoiled. Wes even brought a bottle of wine for Norm and a very funky looking bottle of a creamy liqueur I have not yet tried as a thank you for treating him on Lily’s birthday. I will be cracking this baby open this weekend. He is such a polite young man.

I hope you all have had a great week and that you have a lovely relaxing weekend free from chaos. Mine is expected to be busy!

Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

Mni Wiconi – Water is Life

On Sunday my drumming circle had an all day dance for rain. Norm and I had a lazy day on Saturday as I knew that Sunday would be exhausting and I wanted to be well rested in order to give all of my energy to the drumming.

Norm and I decided to just get a take away and I opted for my fave pizza from Massimo’s.

Lily, Josh and his Dad were at the track all day Saturday and Josh won his race so they were in a festive mood when they got home that night around 7pm. We all sat outside when they arrived home and enjoyed the cooler evening air.

Sunday morning I was up by 6.30 as I was wide awake and excited for the dance. I dressed in a long dress with sleeves as you must show modesty and respect when in a mixed gender ceremony. I packed up my own lunch and a salad and a french stick to contribute to the evening communal meal. I took my own drum, but we all drummed using the one large communal drum.

I was not sure how many drummers might be there and whether we would all fit around the large drum but as the drummers kept changing in number as people arrived and left throughout the day it was fine. There were about 30 people there in total between the dancers, the drummers and the people who were in charge of managing the ceremony. The supporters and drummers varied, only some of us stayed all day.

The dance was held at Sacred Ibis which hosts many different events that are open to public attendance. It is a lovely calm space and feels like you are out in the middle of the country instead of less than 5 minutes from my front door.

When I arrived they were still setting things up and getting organised.  I headed down to the field where they had already set up the drum and the arbour which is the area where the dancers dance.

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The arbour for our dance yesterday ❤️

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In the centre of the arbour was a large tree which was being used to symbolise the Tree of Life. The dancers would place their prayer ties on this tree and pray to Mother Earth at the tree.

Before anyone enters the arbour they must be smudged with the smoke from burning sage and a prayer said. All of the items used in the ceremony are also smudged. All day there is a designated smudger who goes around the dancers and smudges throughout the day in order to keep the energy pure.

Once the dancers have been smudged they are to remain separate from any one else and must remain in the dance or rest areas. The dancers were instructed to fast from the previous night. They have no food or water throughout the day and the dancing is hot and tiring. It is a real sacrifice.

Once the arbour is dressed, no one may enter except the dancers or the people who are part of the ceremony. The arbour is an open structure made of poles with string woven between them to form a circle. The design is based on the same concept as a medicine wheel. There are openings to each of the 4 directions. Prayer ties and crystals mark each of the gates.

Before the dance the elders must set the intention. The intention for this dance was defined as: “The only thing we truly “own” and that we can give in return for the Abundance that Mother Earth gives to us, is our bodies. For that reason, we fast, dance, sing, drum and pray, giving ourselves fully to Spirit and the Tree of Life, in complete focus and devotion.

This One Day Dance is in love, honour and gratitude of the Water, holding the prayer that our dams be replenished in Cape Town soon. Mni Wiconi – Water is Life.

Dance To Heal The Earth is about Restoring the Balance of Life – the Sacred Feminine and Masculine, in Respect, Honour and Healing for Mother Earth and All Our Relations. It’s important to come with an attitude of humility, and a sincere desire to give of ourselves in sacrifice for all the ways that humans have desecrated the Earth. We seek forgiveness for our human family; awareness of and connection with All Our Relations, in order to understand how we may better serve them; and celebration of Life by honouring the Tree of Life.”

There are 5 rounds of dance with the drummers calling in the procession of dancers. There are two rounds of sweat lodge for the dancers where they pray and call in the spirits and guides. The first is the Brush Off Sweat to brush off worldly energies, cares and worries. The last round of the event is a Gratitude Lodge where they give thanks to the spirits and ancestors who joined into the celebration and express their gratitude of the experience.

After each round there is a Pipe Ceremony. The dancers held their ceremony down in the lower fields in the sweat lodge area, under a group of trees, the drummers and supporters held ours in a seated area near the farmhouse under the shade of a giant tree. The Pipe Ceremony is also part of the event, each of the participants pray and give thanks for the day and for being allowed to participate. I prayed for water in abundance.

While the drummers were conducting our Pipe Ceremony we could hear songs being sung in Imazamo Yethu cascading across the valley. It was such a special sound. One of the men there said that it sounded like a Xhosa wedding celebration song as it seemed to be a call and response format with the Lead Man calling and the remainder of the men repeating, then the Lead Woman singing and the women responding. It was so beautiful. I wondered if they could hear our drumming and singing too and what they thought about it.

This is one of the songs we sing, we sing in multiple languages. This song is in Japanese I think.

And we sang the Water Song as well, we sing it at a faster pace which is more suitable for drumming.

The lyrics are “Ne-be Gee Zah- gay- e- goo Gee Me-gwetch -wayn ne- me — goo Gee Zah Wayn ne- me- goo”. Translated to English you see that the words are very appropriate for the ceremony we were conducting:

“Water, we love you. We thank you. We respect you.”

There are 5 rounds of dance in total. With the 2 sweat lodges and the pipe ceremonies added in it is a very long day.

While we were in ceremony the energy was amazing. We could see so many birds circling our ceremony. Thank you to all the birds that came swallows, doves, hawks and the 7 eagles that made the infinity sign over the Dance. A huge white butterfly flew into our drumming circle and skimmed across my head and then swooped down into the circle and flew off to sit on a nearby bush. The butterfly represents transformation and the world is in such a state of transition this is no surprise. It gave me chills.

When the dancers went into the lodge to do the Gratitude Sweat, the drummers all went up to prepare the feast. Everyone brings a vegetarian dish of some sort to contribute and it all gets laid out at the end for us to nosh on.

After the final sweat is completed, the dancers come out of the lodge and the drummers and supporters join them. We all stood in a circle around the fire pit and we were each given a string of prayer ties. Prayer ties look like little ghosts tied on strings to me. They are squares of fabric which have a pocket of tobacco put into the center and are then tied with string. I did not take any pics of my own as phones were banned, however I found this pic which looks exactly like the ones we made.

Most of ours were bright yellow, the colour of turmeric as turmeric was used to dye many of them. Saffron-hued Buddhist robes are dyed with turmeric. Turmeric has been used for centuries in many different cultures. The followers of the Hindu religion see turmeric as auspicious and sacred and use it as part of their bridal ceremonies. Ayurvedic medicine has used it for centuries as well.

We all went into the circle one at a time and dropped our prayer ties into the fire pit and we all said whatever word that came to us. Mine was ‘Abundance’.

After the burning of the ties we all went back into the dance arbour and had a final round of Pipe Ceremony and then we had a closing prayer where we released the ancestors and spirits who came to join us and we gave thanks to them all and to the 6 directions. We gave thanks and praise to the Spirits and the Ancestors, first to the Centre, then to Mother Earth below, then to the East and the South, the West and finally to the North.

After the closing ceremony the procession was led up the hill to the farmhouse where the food was waiting for the fasting dancers. The dancers were allowed to fill up their plates and find seats and then the rest of us had a bite to eat. Everyone was very tired but glowing with the energy we had created.

By the time I got home it was after 7pm and I was completely finished. My legs ached from standing, my arms ached from drumming and my voice was rough from singing.

All I have to give to Mother Earth is my body and I give of this gladly to praise her for our lives and provision of the sustenance we need and to request that we are blessed with abundance of water.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox

Shadows

The hot weather has continued but despite the mugginess in the air promising us rain it has been scarce. We received a few drizzles again on Friday, we are so thankful to the Water Spirits and the Cloud Spirits. I pray that they distribute water liberally over our dams. I would so rejoice if we had a weekend of rain. I’m trying to practice gratitude for the water we do have rather than stressing and focusing on the scarcity of it. Keeping a positive gratitude is the aim.

We have a houseful this weekend which is lovely. Josh is racing this weekend and Lily and his Dad David came down to stay for the weekend.

Last night we had a braai. It was windy but we were sheltered at the back of the house. Norm cooked chicken sausage, steaks and chicken kebabs and Lily and I made cole slaw and there was potato salad from woolies. Lily made garlic butter for the mushrooms and Norm cooked them on the grill.

Last weekend when Norm and I were at Pick n Pay they had an excellent special on Brie and Camembert and so we picked up some Brie. On Wednesday evening Norm braaied 2 fillet steaks for the 3 of us as I was going to slice them that was enough meat. I put the Brie into some oven proof dishes and drizzled them all with honey and Norm popped those on the top shelf of the gas braai while the steaks cooked. I made a big salad of spinach, cabbage, carrots, cucumber & tomato and for the meat and I made a sauce by chucking in a preserved fig, a green chili, a big shot of lemon juice, a glug of vinegar and some honey and blitzing it until smooth. To serve I sliced the meat and rubbed it with the sauce and lay it across the salad and served a little bowl of it for adding to the salad.

OMG this was so good!

I will try to recreate that again but as I never measure anything my dishes are never consistent. But I try to not get too hung up about that.

I have written before about mindfulness and that I am trying to focus on being in the present and conscious of my internal dialogues. A friend mentioned the work of Tara Brach on The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine website. I subscribed to the site and they have sent me some videos on deepening our connections to others. You can click that link and sign up to the site and watch yourself. I really recommend it.

I also recommend subscribing to Tara’s YouTube channel.

Tara talks about the need for self-acceptance and how lack of this can interfere in our ability to form intimate bonds and relationships with others. I strongly identify with this as I have self confidence issues. People always find this surprising as I have no issues with stating my opinion and to those who do not know me well, I appear to be a confident extrovert. In reality I have this inner voice constantly telling me I am not good enough, that I am inadequate in many of the ‘roles’ I play, from my career to parenting to marriage to just being a woman.

In today’s culture women over 50 are invisible and are often deemed not worthy of attention. In many cultures women are not valued at all regardless of their age. If you have wrinkles or are overweight, you are bombarded with millions of media images of perfection and this can impact your self esteem. With the influx of stories about women being victimized by men and then not believed and even worse of those violators not being taken to task for those violations deepens these feelings of being undervalued.

The first video from Tara is discussing ‘How to Shift from Self-Criticism to Self-Acceptance and Love’.

It is impossible to feel negative about ourselves and still form a strong bond with another person. The two are mutually exclusive.

The second video is discussing ‘How Self-Acceptance Rewires the Brain for Deeper Connection’.

Three points which Tara mentions as a way to help us change our sense of self are:

  1. Learn to Observe your own thoughts. (Mindfulness)
  2. Mindfully Feel your feelings.
  3. Offer a gesture of care to your inner self.

The idea that Tara puts out there is that what we hide from others (and often even hide from our own conscious thoughts) can block us from forming deep bonds.  Hiding what you do not like about yourself impacts upon your ability to have a healthy relationship with another.

This is aligned to what I have been reading from Jung about the shadow archetypes. Jung believed that the Shadow archetype represents all that we are ashamed of, all that we do not like about ourselves and all that we keep secret, the unconscious parts of ourselves which we repress. As long as we repress this part of ourselves we cannot grow into a complete mentally healthy person. We have to become conscious of this aspect of ourselves and bring it into the light. Jung’s philosophy is that the act of making the shadow conscious is the starting point towards psychic health and individuation.

It is not the same as the Cherokee concept of the Shadow Walker. A shadow walker is someone who can walk the line between light and dark, life and death. So both conceptually refer to a division in the person, but very different in actuality.

Many therapists and psychologists believe that shame is the root of most addictions. Addictions in turn can then become part of our shadow self and something that we hide. We also hide various other behaviours which in turn can lead to deep feelings of shame and self loathing.

The 12 Step recovery groups have a slogan ‘we are only as sick as our secrets’. This refers to the idea that feelings of shame and regret about actions taken while not in recovery can quickly derail a person in their attempts to get clean or sober.

For me I know that my issue is around both self acceptance of my physical self and my strong personality.

Aging and weight loss have riddled my body with bags, sags and lumps and bumps. This makes me so self conscious that I cringe at the idea of anyone seeing me undressed, even my darling loving husband who loves me unconditionally whatever my weight.

This is not HIS issue or HIS feeling of revulsion I am experiencing, it is just a thought in my head. I do not have to buy into that thought, I can choose to let it go.

So for me to implement the 3 step guidance that Tara gave in the second video I will need to first witness the voices in my head and listen to what they are saying. To acknowledge that these are just my self destructive thoughts and they only exist in my own head, these are not what anyone else is feeling.

Secondly, I need to name the feelings which are triggered by these thoughts. Am I feeling shame that I have taken so little care of my physical shell? Am I feeling embarrassed that I am not toned and sleek? Am I feeling other emotions? What are they?

Labeling these emotions activates a different area of our brain. We need to think of the emotions as waves and let them just roll over us while mindfully acknowledging our suffering.

For an empath, the need to ‘dampen’ down our deep wells of emotion is a survival instinct. If we allow ‘in’ everything and tap into some of that energy it can be incredibly overwhelming and even depressing. We need to learn the skills to master it and not allow it to ‘stick with us’. To feel the empathy but not let it overwhelm us.

The third step is to offer comfort to ourselves. Tara suggested closing your eyes, putting your hand on your heart and offering emotional and even verbal comfort to yourself. When something which causes us pain rises, to even verbalise ‘ouch’.

Imagine the joy of yourself healing from these useless negative emotions.

To move away from self judgement to self acceptance is the goal.

An easy way for most of us to relate is regarding dieting or food issues in general. We set a goal for ourselves to lose weight, this is sometimes driven by feelings of self disgust or lack of worthiness. If we ‘cheat’ on our diet, we then have even more feelings of self disgust, sometimes leading us to give up completely on our goal. Instead, we should just write that off as an oops and carry on with no guilt. Just pick yourself up and go back to the original goal. It is only one meal. But if you self sabotage repeatedly then you need to address those issues. Why do you not feel worthy of self care and healthy food? Is the weight some sort of protection?

Some of these feelings of lack of self acceptance run very deep, the roots may be buried in childhood. We may have to keep hacking at those roots with a metaphysical machete.

Consciousness is our first step. I am willing to take that step, do you want to come along?

Kisses from the Kitten xxoxoxoxox

Dependent

Last night we watched an article on Trevor Noah about the issues with access to clean, uncontaminated water in the United States. I am unable to view the video in that link here in SA, but hopefully the link will allow you to see the video as it is both terrifying and fascinating and worth viewing. We were astounded that there are several cities in the USA which do not have access to a clean and safe water supply. In fact, data CNBC obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency reveals that only nine U.S. states are reporting safe levels of lead in their water supply. These include Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Tennessee. Now with Mr Nasty Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA the USA is up the river without a paddle.

Of course we were aware of the crisis in Flint Michigan as it has been in the international news, however like most we assumed it was due to the sneaky, financially driven poor decisions made by government officials such as Governor Rick Snyder. It is beyond my comprehension how this man was re-elected after showing such disregard for the lives and health of his constituents. But as Trump has demonstrated it is very easy for an idiot to come to power in the US as there are many other idiots who vote them in.

But I digress.

Here in South Africa we are having a water crisis as well. Ours is due to several factors: the first is our useless government who are so busy raping the country they cannot be bothered to plan ahead or do maintenance on the water supply infrastructure, the second is that we are having a long term drought.

In the Western Cape our dam levels stand at 22 per cent, with only 12% of usable water left. There are restrictions on the amounts of water each household should be using. Many people have implemented a grey water system which recycles their household water into a storage tank which is then used to water their gardens and wash their cars or even fill their pools. Grey water is water from baths, showers, hand basins and clothes washing machines / laundry. Water from other sources (such as from toilets, kitchen sink, dishwashers and bidets) is considered to be black water (you wouldn’t want to swim in that!).

Our own grey water system consists predominantly of Norman tracking up and down the stairs to empty our buckets and containers of saved shower water. Waking up at 5.45am and climbing into the shower when it’s chilly in our unheated house without waiting on the water to get warm is not much fun, but I do it. I tend to get into the shower, lather up and then only put the water on at a trickle, quickly rinse and jump out.

This time of year in South Africa is very unpredictable in regards to weather. We recently had a bout of chilly weather with strong winds, resulting in us all digging out our boots and jackets. We even had a few downpours of rain which gave us a bit of hope. But then this week it has been incredibly hot and dry and whatever moisture the gardens managed to absorb last week was promptly dried up leaving the ground again gasping for water. The grass has come back a tiny bit just with the miniscule bit of moisture it had, but it is a strain of African grass, so it is resilient. 🙂

If we get a wet winter it will bcome lush again. 

I hope. 

Today Mzudumo is coating the grass with horrible smelling fertilizer which isn’t great in this heat. 😷 But the garden needs it.


In our kitchen we keep a jug under the tap and wash our hands over the jug. Veggies are then washed in the same grey water and then after we have finished dinner the jug is emptied into the garden. We apply the ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow’ approach in the loos as a single flush can send loads of valuable drinkable water sloshing down the drain. You could save between 7 and 10 litres a day by just doing that small change. 

Our system is basic but our plants are doing pretty well from it.


The issue with the aging infrastructure seems to be relevant to both the USA water crisis and the SA water crisis. In both instances the governments say they cannot ‘afford’ the investment in the infrastructure, but if you look at the money spent on the resulting healthcare issues triggered by the lead in the water in Flint, I cannot understand how they can risk the potential lawsuits and increased healthcare costs? We won’t even go into the increase in military spending. Spending more to kill than to heal and nurture?

Access to safe, clean water is a basic human right, so how is it that so many of us do not have that access? 


On 28 July 2010, through Resolution 64/292, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights.

Humans must have water. We are dependent on it to survive much less to keep clean and provide us with sanitation.

The other item which I have been thinking about a lot is addiction. A different sort of dependency which leads to huge levels of crime and various health care issues.

I watched an interview with the author Johann Hari and was transfixed by his points. You can view his TED Talk video for yourself and tell me what you think? Have you addiction in your family, or has it affected a person in your life or even you?

Hari has done a study on addiction and the ‘War on Drugs’ and has published a book called ‘Chasing the Scream’.  His theory is that addiction is linked to pain, disconnection, loneliness and trauma rather than solely based on a genetic tendency towards addiction. Most children of addicts live a life of uncertainty and chaos. My theory is that this corresponds with his analysis, the damage and insecurity of a childhood spent with an alcoholic or addict parent can cause it’s own trauma. I suspect there is a bit of both nature and nurture, environment and genetics both at play.

The shame and punishment that an addict receives from most of society perpetuates the cycle of loneliness and despair and the cycle of addiction continues. By removing the criminalization and spending that money on rehabilitation the possibility of reducing the number of addicts increases and the crime which results from that addiction also reduces. 

The book contains reference to Billie Holiday and so I reasearched her life and death. The story of the tragedy of Billie Holiday’s life is heartbreaking. I knew she was an addict but didn’t realize what a horrible childhood she had. The attempted rape at age 10 alone, much less her teen years spent as a prostitute would have given her enough trauma and shame to result in her need to escape reality.  

I have always found addiction a fascinating topic. It’s clear that it is not 100% related to genetics or all children born of two alcoholic parents would inevitably be alcoholics, however that is not always true. Interestingly, children of alcoholics often choose to be sober due to their fear of losing control but marry an alcoholic as they are familiar with and somewhat comfortable in the role of care taker.

If the world wide issues with addiction were resolved just imagine what it would do to heal our society as a whole.

Our four day week flew by. Norm was working in Johannesburg on Wednesday and flew out really early, so poor sick Caitlin had to feed the dogs. She was very ill and could barely leave her bed for days. We had Cordelia work all week and hired Charles to walk the dogs. He brought his little sister to walk the Pomeranians. It was very cute.

It was so hot all week so we barely cooked inside. Norm braaied chicken kebabs on Tuesday night and I made a salad. The dogs wanted some of my chicken. Nav turned his back on it all. I love his little rabbit like tail.


I was up early the next morning as Norm woke me when he left for the airport. It meant I could get away a bit early from work that afternoon to deal with things at home. 

That morning on her way to work Cordelia saw some guys almost rob an old man, but they got a fright when she arrived and they ran off. Norm was conducting the Neighborhood Watch operation from the airport in Johannesburg.

That night Caitlin felt up to a bit of organic chicken sausage so I cooked sausages and just made a salad for myself as that was too much roughage for Cait’s poorly tum.

I added a bit of yummy mango.


I worked at our Canal Walk offices on Thursday and went through really early. My colleagues told me I need to buy new clothes as my trousers are so baggy that they look like clown pants. How rude.

They didn’t know that I had tried on a different pair which were so big they literally fell off as I walked across my bedroom. the clown pants were the second option. 


Cordelia thought I was funny taking a pic of my pants. 

I worked from home that afternoon but it was unbearably hot. I was glad I was wearing my baggy linen outfit. regardless of how unflattering it was. 

Norm arrived back home late Thursday afternoon and he had a very sore shoulder. He had been seeing a physio a while back which had brought a lot of relief but it had seized again after his trip.

Friday Caitlin felt up to going into work and Norm was off to the physio and I was back in the office in the CBD. At least it was air conditioned. I walked over to Food Lovers Market at lunch time for sushi, it was too hot for cooked food, but the walk over made me feel faint it was so hot. They were removing the burned out cars by the Artscape which were left over from a film set and that diverted me for a bit. 


I left work at 3pm as I had started so early. I popped by Retha’s place on my way home and had a few glasses of wine and then Caitlin messaged us all to say her offer on the flat was accepted. So exciting! She now has to meet with a broker to get a loan hopefully. She has a decent reliable salary so she should qualify.

Norm came to take me home last night as Retha and I had a few drinks and I also can’t see to drive in the dark. We decided to go get takeaways rather than use OrderIn despite Norm’s sore shoulder as Norm had no wine at home and so he popped straight back out after dropping me at home. Just at the end of our suburb he hit a rock in the road which is a common method to get people to stop, but as he wasn’t mugged I assume it was from the construction going on at the nearby school. He drove off towards Massimo’s and realized once on the main road that he had a blowout. The area is a bit too close to the high crime areas for comfort and Norm hadn’t taken his phone so couldn’t phone me to rescue him. Luckily he had his radio and could request assistance and his friend JJ came to change the tire as Norm’s shoulder is so bad he is struggling to use that arm at all. I’m just glad he is safe. Once again JJ is our local hero.

Norm eventually went off to get us dinner. We munched and had a relaxed early night trying out our new Look TV which is so superior to DSTV. We will be cancelling that service. 

At least Norm can amuse himself watching British shows tonight while Cait and I have a mom and daughter night. We are going out to dinner then to watch Beauty and the Beast at the cinema. 

I hope you enjoy your weekend. x