Letting Go

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway. Virgos.

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

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

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

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

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❤️

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Phwaor.

I ordered my usual Eggs Benedict.

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

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

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

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Pixie and the Pool Pipe #WeirdBandNames

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

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

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

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Zucchini fries

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

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

But the sauce was delicious.

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

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

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

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Soaking the wattle

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The wattle all got classified by size and straightness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

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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

Fairy Dust & Foxes

On Monday I arrived home to find my entire house coated in a thick layer of dust.

Every bit of it. Even my bedroom upstairs.

I think I may have brought it on myself. Look at me asking the fairies for dust in my last blog. Fairies have a naughty sense of humour. 


Norm had his hands full all week project managing it and looking after Caitlin and I. We still had to eat and function even without a kitchen. 

The plumber and the electricians were there Monday and Tuesday rewiring and moving the plumbing and putting in the water supply to our fridge for the ice maker. 

Pixie and Panda both helped. AKA nipped the heels of anyone who came near their Daddy.


The room was all empty and ready for transformation when they arrived after Norm had been working all weekend to get the old cupboards removed.


Norm was so good about being resourceful and managed to make a plan and feed us all week.

Monday I worked in the morning from our offices in Canal Walk. I then went to the client in the CBD and ended up home late so that evening we had chicken kebab take aways from Spiro’s in Hout Bay and this gave me left overs on Tuesday for lunch. If I don’t take my lunch it can be a struggle to get Banting meals.

Tuesday Cordelia was there and at least some of the dust was dealt with. The only problem was that Cordelia also thought she was helping by putting away all of the items I left out as my survival kit into random boxes, so now we have no idea where anything is. I had left out 3 plates, bowls, cups, glasses etc just to get us by. Now it is a mad scramble to find a cup or fork. Then you often have to go upstairs to wash it in the bath.

Norm managed to set up the washing machine outside so that Cordelia could at least do some of the laundry. He also managed to do a shop, and when I got home late that evening he braaied us all some gorgeous fillet steaks on the gas braai. He had gotten some lovely salads from Spar the day before so we finished off those. It was really tasty and all low carb.

On Wednesday the joiner arrived to start to put in the cupboards. I was impressed at the progress they made.


I was again working from the other side of town on Wednesday and then I had to go to my other client in the CBD. I hate all of that motorway driving. That night I just got a pizza from Posticino when Norm got us food as I couldn’t face searching for cutlery, going upstairs to rinse it and all the other hassle.


Thursday afternoon I saw on Facebook that there was a two hour delay getting home due to traffic issues related to the building of a fancy block of flats in Bakoven. They had a stop go system operating during peak rush hour as one lane was closed while they dismantled a giant mofo of a crane. Rather than sit in my car I stayed at work til 6 before I ventured off, but still got stuck when I got to Camp’s Bay. At least it’s beautiful.

It was very misty over the sea.


Since I got home so late on Thursday Norm cooked for us again. He cooked pork fillet on the gas grill and bought salads. Halloumi and butternut and a crunchy salad from Woolies. We don’t have anywhere to prepare anything in our non-existent kitchen. Food has to be mostly ready to eat. The halloumi and butternut salad just needed a minute in the microwave.


We sat outside as it was a hot evening and put on the fairy lights to summon our mischievous fairy friends.


After dinner we just relaxed as we had a crazy week and it felt like it went by in a flash. We decided to watch the third US Presidential debate. That orange slime ball of Trump revolts me. Hilary has her shortcomings and I do not fully trust her. However I feel that she will be a decent president. I see how the alt-right and religious zealots love their leader.


So yes the devotion of the survivalists and the rifle carrying conspiracy theorists make sense, but I can’tunderstand how women can vote for Trump. It is unfathomable. Are these women raised on Fox News and a lifetime of so much misogyny it is part of her own reality? 

There is just so much hatred in America it is frightening.  Add on so many guns and it is a volatile mix, a keg waiting to be lit. People often ask me do I not miss the States? No. I miss my Mother but nothing else. Ok maybe shopping. But not that hostile energy of hatred and paranoia I see on the news and even on my own feeds on social media. 

It can come from some surprising corners. Everyone who knows me knows I am a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community (and all variations of any of these ‘labels’) and their rights. So when I was attacked this week on Twitter by a trans producer I was shocked. especially as she attacked me about an article I retweeted, I didn’t even write it! I shared an article from the Medium site.


I woke the next morning to a barrage of assault. A series of 6 abusive tweets about the fact that the trans community had created the term rape culture and as cisgender I know nothing about rape culture etc etc. 

No honey, you know nothing about me. She wished I had been born CAMAB so I would understand. Her hostility didn’t help me understand anything.

I blocked the toxic cow. Before I did I checked her Twitter page and it was full of her trolling people. I think she must be a very sad and angry individual.

Friday rolled around fast. I couldn’t get away from work early as I wanted to miss the crane removalstop go traffic so I only got home late. 

The baskets and drawers were in place as were the electrical sockets. We have 2 large food larders by the fridge for groceries. I have sooo many electrical outlets! 


Norm got take aways for us when I finally got home, he and Cait had Banting food from Spiro but I went for Fish and Chips. When he went to Spiro they told him they had my fave tiny squid so I got a portion of those brought home as a surprise!

I have 1 week to go until my party and my costume is finally sorted. I ordered from a local Cape Town shop I found online called Costume Crazee. It arrived Thursday evening but was tiny. I emailed the shop and they sent a larger size and collected the smaller size the next day. No hassle. Amazing customer service! I am getting so excited! 

Friday evening Norm was out most of the night with HBNW.  Some bad guys were spotted trying to break into a property and the security providers, the police and many others were soon hot on their heels. Norm was in and out most of the night bashing round on the mountain and listening to the radio when he popped in at home.

We got up and out on Saturday. We had a few errands to run but I didn’t make a list and I forgot half of them. Oops. 

As we struggle to feed ourselves with no kitchen we went out for breakfast. We stopped at Greens as it was on our route. 


We ordered coffees, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, bacon and avocado.


Notice anything odd? 

They forgot the bacon! When we pointed it out they returned quickly with a plate piled high with bacon. No damage done. It was delicious. I liked the extra spinach leaves as well. The eggs were creamy and the mushrooms in a delicious creamy sauce. I liked the tang of the lemon I squirted over the avo and spinach.

We headed over to Gelmar in Tokai and were so happy when they had 42 of the handles we need. 


I still only have the sample doors as our schedule is off by a week. The company who made the carcasses messed up the doors which knocked on a few days, then the painter who ended up making the doors had twice as much work as she originally accounted for which adds on a few more days and the next thing you know you are a week behind. I think we are still going to be done before my Mom and Joy arrive. We may not have time to do the tiles and paint but we would enjoy doing the choosing of tiles and paint colour with Mom and Joy’s input.

Saturday evening I wanted to see my ex-brother in law who is visiting from the states. Caitlin, Norm and I went to meet him and my ex husband Hugh at Dunes in Hout Bay. It’s handy as only 5 minutes up the road.


We arrived just before sunset but it was howling with wind so we were lucky to get a table inside.



Service was slow and our waitress rather surly. I’ve come to accept that as the norm there. I only eat there if we have visitors or guests. It’s tradition. 

I had salmon roses to start. 


They were delicious. 

For my main I asked for my steak to be medium and pink but not bloody. It was so raw when it arrived it was still breathing. I sent it back but when it came back it was perfect and it tasted delicious.


After the waitress served us she went to top up our wine glasses and somehow managed to knock over a glass of red wine all over Caitlin. Head to Toe. She didn’t offer to help, didn’t offer a cloth or anything, she just carried on faffing. Caitlin took off her shirt and the waitress put it in salt water. She never came and cleaned the wine off the floor, the manager never approached us to apologize, no offer of compensation.

Nothing.

Yet Caitlin’s shirt is ruined, it’s stained.

This morning as always I woke at 6 but I had a long lie and Norm brought me coffee in bed. I met some girlfriends at my fave new venue Foxcroft Constantia for lunch. Norm and I collected Alison on our way and he dropped us off so that we could have a glass or two of wine and not worry about driving.


We met my friends Nicola and Janine.


We chatted loads and caught up with each other’s lives. 

We ordered lots of dishes as they are tiny.

We tried the dirty steak. Thinly sliced rare fillet with Anchovy, guasacaca, pickled cucumber. It was divine. It is R75.


We tried the Tempura Prawn with Tom ka gai emulsion. It’s R65. 


The Duck is a main on at R 190, it is a 7 Day Dry Aged Duck Breast with Turnips, fermented plum, gem squash, kale.


We also tried the fish. Pearl cous cous, coriander, mussel chowder for R170. Very nice. 


Then for dessert we got 2 sweets and the cheese platter.

We got the compressed strawberries at R70. Toasted croissant, mascarpone and sweet berries. This was the star. Wow.


Raspberry Beignets for R65. Litchi milk ice, raspberries. These were better when I came previously.


And a cheese platter which came with a gorgeous flavored butter and a basket of divine bread. Selection of local and international cheeses, preserves for R120.


We had a lovely time, I came home a bit midday tipsy. I might have a nap. That’s what weekends are for after all.

Enjoy the remainder of yours. Xx

One for the money, 6 for the show

This week has been busy but productive at least. Norm spoiled me and was such a brilliant support. I really am so lucky. I couldn’t work the hours I do without his help in keeping the house running. 

On Monday he made dinner for us as Cait was staying the night at Wes. He made baked teriyaki pork fillets with gem squash, salad and broccoli and it was so yummy.

Panda got nothing. Little minx. Look at his tongue hanging out.

On Tuesday after work I went to Camp’s Bay Theatre On The Bay with the girls from my book club. 

I rushed out of work and Norm made a dinner before I left of baked chicken and mushrooms in cream with steamed asparagus. It was yummy and just what I needed before a night out.

Norm and I collected Chris and we met at Dawn’s place and she drove us girls into town. We met the other girls for a drink in the bar at the Theatre.

As it was my birthday recently I got lots of goodies from the girls. 


We had front row seats and were so close to the cast who, according to the website were Earl Gregory (JOSEPH, JC SUPERSTAR, CATS, SWEENEY TODD) as JOSEPH, Bianca Le Grange (BLOOD BROTHERS) as the NARRATOR and Jonathan Roxmouth (SWEENEY TODD, PHANTOM, CATS, SUNSET BLVD, JC SUPERSTAR, A HANDFUL OF KEYS, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) as the PHAROAH.

I loved the actor who played Pharoah. That could be some skewed aberration of my Elvis obsession. He was hilarious and had a fabulous voice. His dance moves were few and effective and his costume too funny. 

The girls and I laughed so much. Joseph’s father looked like a smug teenaged Jerry Garcia in a nightgown. The actor playing Joseph was very talented. The majority of the brothers in the cast were so incredibly camp. They were very talented and almost all very beautiful to look at, but oh so camp. In a fabulous way, not an unappealing way. There was just a whiff of a drag cabaret around the production.

I loved it.

You could tell that some of the brothers were properly trained dancers who were just singing and some were singers just trying a bit of dancing. Some of the brothers could gyrate their hips better than a fresh young chicken on a podium looking for a blesser / sugar daddy. 

All of the costumes were brilliant. Except the narrator. The narrator herself was actually beautiful with a lovely voice but they styled her in a dreadful white polyester outfit of horrendous proportions. 

It’s funny, after watching every musical production that comes to town you start to recognize the actors.

After the show we took part in a pic with the cast. I find it a bizarre concept that in SA the cast pop out to the lobby to pose for photos with people. But it’s fun! We had a random old lady take it and she cut Dawn off entirely. I am laughing so much my chewing gum shows.

Classy.



Apparently I locked Lola out when I left as she was highly annoyed when Caitlin got home.

Oops. The next morning I had to be up early to go to a workshop in Canal Walk for a new client. But I left a bit early to go and meet the guy from the company who is making our cupboards. We agreed on things like what type of fittings and doors I want. He did a mock up of the design. He got a few walls wrong and we updated it but I didn’t get new pics.  So it is 99% like this.


On the way to meet the kitchen cupboards guy I had a call from my client receptionist to say I had flowers at reception. I told her I wasn’t working there that day and could only come later. That meant I had to detour through and pay to park in the city during rush hour. The flowers were an apology from Momentum Health for their recurring incompetence. Trust them to annoy and inconvenience me when trying to be nice. 

They are sweet flowers.

As a result of my flower detour I got home late and so we all had gorgeous take aways from Posticino. I overdid my carbs that day as I had chicken parmigiana with Napoli sauce and a side of spaghetti. It was so yummy.

I was at the Century City offices again on Thursday. We finally got our direction and I produced a document. I went home early before the motorway got terribly busy. I worked from home for a few hours to finish the document. 

Retha messaged that afternoon to ask if I wanted to come to dinner. Norm had a Neighborhood Watch meeting and dropped me there by Retha at 6. Our friends Andy and Alison also came.


Retha’s new housekeeper can cook. She used to work at a Mexican restaurant and she made chilli con carne and chicken in a spicy sauce.

Retha made nachos to go with. 


Andy came prepared to be bartender and made margaritas to go with our fiesta.


Ooooo they were divine.


We chatted and laughed and stayed far too late. As a result I decided it was pointless going into the city at 7 so I worked from home the next day. Norm made me a gorgeous lunch of cheesy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and creamy avo. I had a few teleconferences and did some analysis and finally finished up at 5. That evening  Norm fancied a curry so Cait and I were forced to indulge his whim. *sigh*

I’m kidding no one, Caitlin and I love curry. It was not as good as it usually is, the prawns were tiny and my rice undercooked. But it was still delicious. 

We had a relaxed night in and a long lie in on Saturday morning. I had several coffees in bed firstly when Norm returned from feeding the dogs and then another later when he returned from letting Mzudumo in. I finally emerged from my giant cozy bed full of pups and cats at lunch time. It was the perfect day for being lazy. It was biting cold and there was a mist settled in over Table Mountain.


A perfect pajama day setting. 

We had date night on Saturday and we had dinner at Grill Under the Milkwood  in Hout Bay.


We both had the Baby Calamari starter. 

Mine was fried, very tender but there was a bit of oil in the plate. It came with tartar sauce. The squid were not as small as usual, the same issue we have had at another place where we also normally order baby squid. Must be something not in the water. 

Norm had his grilled. It was in a lemony sauce. 


When we arrived we knew we maybe wanted the fillet. But after we definitely decided what we wanted the waiter tells us they are out of fillet. FFS. Tell your customer what is off the menu when you deliver said menu. I was in the mood for steak so decided to risk the Surf and Turf: a sirloin steak topped with 4 prawns. It was nice. I’m just not a huge sirloin fan. 

Norm like myself only really eats the lean tender fillet cut usually, so he decided to order the Chicken Cheddapamerella which was Medallions of chicken fillets topped with a cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan cheesy sauce. 


Our bill was R750 for starters, mains and a bottle of water and a bottle of Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc from the Warwick estate. Service was great other than the fillet issue. The place had a nice buzz, as did I after the Professor kicked in.

As today was Sunday we had lots of errands to run so we got up and away by 10. We did lie in until we needed to get dressed even though we were all awake.


In typical Cape Town style the weather turned the opposite direction today was gorgeous, sunny, bright and boiling hot! 


We headed over to Gelmar Tokai and got a small prep bowl basin and tap for the kitchen but they were out of the double basin sink we wanted for the scullery. We got a tap for it however and they say they will phone if they can get the basin for us. I think we will contact Franke directly. 

We also found some handles I fancy. I have several tall pull out larders so they need a wide handle. As we have the stainless still cooker I think the pewter is a nice middle ground between shaker simplicity and modern appliances. What do you think?


We need over 40 so the cost matters as they quickly mount up once multiplied. We just need 3 of the wide one at R72 luckily. We could then use either the small round knob or the shorter or of the style in the bottom of the collage. They are similar prices.

We also got some swatches to take to the painter tomorrow as examples of the colour I want for the cupboards. 


I’m aiming for the soft buttery yellow of an Aga.


We then went for a late breakfast at the wee Cafe Lacomia at the back in Builders Warehouse as we were ravenous.


I had a delish latte.


And a mini breakfast.


We then bought odds and sods such as things for the pool and some seeds to plant then headed home. We stopped at spar and I got some things to make a spinach salad and a whole chicken which I’m currently roasting. I’ll probably fry some red cabbage to go with. 

We had a wander round the garden and lots of things are now blooming.

 

Norm is out walking the dogs, I’m going to finish dinner and then it’s time to relax and enjoy my last few hours of weekend. I hope you have enjoyed yours. ❤️

Laughing Virgo, Hidden Satire

It takes a lot to entertain a Virgo. We are difficult customers in general due to our high standards. These are the same standards to which we hold ourselves, so to us that’s fair.

I’ve learned to try and bite my tongue and just accept a plate of food or a cup of coffee but the Virgo need for continuous improvement is hard to suppress. I hear my inner Virgo burst out in a Tourette’s type style with things like: ‘so is this one or two shots of coffee’ and ‘did you fry the sprouts in butter after you par-boiled them’. I annoy even myself.

Hence my worry that the stress I was feeling Wednesday over my Mom’s accident would cause me to have my usual jaded approach to the evening of comedy we had been invited to attend by the lovely Letishia from Queen Bee Marketing. It was in honour of Women’s Month.


 I had also gone back to work that day after 4 days off, so I was tired. However I’m the sort that does my best to not let my friends down so I ran home and changed and quickly freshened up and Retha collected Caitlin and I and we all set off to The Cape Town Comedy Club


As we arrived I received a message that my mom was out of surgery and was going to a regular room rather than ICU. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I welcomed that drink! 


We had some delicious platters, pizza, chicken wings, chili poppers, calamari, chips, cold meats, cheese and breads. It was all delicious!


We had such a laugh! The comedians were hilarious and emcee Tracy Klass had me wetting my menopausal pants with her between set bits. 


Of the comedians I really enjoyed Shimmy Isaacs and the guest Riaad Moosa was hilarious. They both had a bit of American piss taking in their routine which I could relate to. Trying to communicate in a country with a shit load of official languages can be a challenge!


We had a great night.



That night I struggled to sleep, I had just enough to drink that I had that feeling of hyper-awareness where you are incredibly concious of the existence of your arms and can’t remember where you normally put them when you sleep. I couldn’t get comfy. As a result I was finished at work the next day. But it was worth it.

Thursday we had a client workshop at Century City which finished after 4 and I was meeting Vanessa at my house for my pedicure at 5 so had a race to get to Hout Bay but just made it on time! 

After Vanessa left I made dinner, chicken breasts stuffed with goats cheese and wrapped in bacon.


To accompany I steamed broccoli, boiled gem squash and fried mushrooms in garlic and butter. It was divine! 

I also made the sauce for a Banting cottage pie for the following day. Friday evening Caitlin had Annie round and Lily and Josh arrived as well so there were 6 of us for dinner. I made cheesy, creamy, chorizo sauce with normal pasta for the non-banters as well as garlic bread. Annie arrived with spinach cannelloni so we had tons of food. We had a lovely evening. I love having my girls home, I just missed Trevor and Amber. They were literally fighting fires in Wilderness as the mountain and vlei near them caught light.


The wind was howling and it spread rapidly, destroying 4 homes and loads of vegetation.



Images via George Herald.
I feel so grateful for my son and DIL’s home being spared as this is a pic of their road. The black charred area in the last pic above is the nature reserve across from their home.

I feel so heart sore for the 4 families who have lost their homes and the animals who might have died in the veld.

Saturday we had a slovenly morning in bed, then went to check out a few different suppliers of sinks and taps and other bits for our upcoming kitchen remodeling project. The kids were all out so we didn’t have any responsibilities that evening. 

We stopped at Green’s Constantia on our way home that afternoon for a coffee and a naughty non-Banting slice of lemon cheesecake. It was light and not too tart and really divine. We stopped off at Retha’s house and then headed home. That night we contemplated going out but it was pouring rain and howling wind and decided to rather get meze from Spiro’s instead. We shared chicken, crispy squid, grilled halloumi, salad, tzaziki and zucchini ribbons grilled in butter. Healthy and reasonably low carb. We watched a bit of the Olympics. 


Silly Lola kitty.

I did a bit of online shopping at Mr Price and got some bits to tart up my lounge. A few more of the cushions I recently bought, an ottoman and some throws. 


Yes more throws.

The bright red throws I recently bought are just too red.


Last night I translated my weight loss so far into pounds and realized I had lost almost 50 pounds! I grew up thinking in pounds and now that my world is in kilos it’s difficult to be bilingual. I didn’t really set goals when we started this lifestyle, I decided to let my body find its balance. I had remarked that if I lost 50 lbs it would put me back pretty close to the weight I was when I met Norm almost 20 years ago but at 53 years of age, in a menopausal, non-exercising body that seemed unrealistic so I said that if I lost 25 lbs I would be happy. As my scales are in kilos I hadn’t thought about that goal, so it was a bit of a shock to me! 

I feel very proud of my determination and efforts. 

I feel like I am 20 years younger! 

Lipo for the Soul

After 4 lovely days off I was back at work on Tuesday to over 100 emails, 6 documents to review and issues on two of my projects. No chance of easing in gently to my 4 day work week.

So that evening I only got home at 7pm, exactly 12 hours after I had left home to go in to work. Norm offered to go for fish and chips and I crumpled and indulged. I was too exhausted to take charge. 

Wednesday we had a workshop planned at Meerendal vineyards. 

It is a lovely little estate. 

  

Not long after we got started with the workshop they brought a yummy tea of sandwiches, bagels, spicy chicken and salad. We had a productive workshop and then we broke for a late lunch. I had a salad of rare roast beef and Parmesan.

  
After the workshop we had a wine tasting. I wasn’t driving so I could indulge. The Chardonnay was nice enough as it was unwooded. There were lots of reds but as I’m not a fan of red wine I went for the whites. After the Chardonnay I had the Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and then the 2015. I preferred the 2014 as it was less acidic. 

The view is nice.

  

I had arranged the night before for Norm to collect me at Camps Bay football club on Wednesday afternoon as my colleague Darren offered me a lift to Meerendal if I would be ready for work at 6.45am and if I could get a lift home from Camps Bay after the workshop as he had a football match. When we left the wine farm to come home I messaged Norm to say we were leaving. I then later messaged to say we were in the CBD and then again when we arrived in Camps Bay. I waited and waited. Eventually Norm rang and asked where I was. He was at Hout Bay football club, not Camps Bay, so he was looking for me 15 minutes up the coast road.

I saw a lovely sunset at least.

  
Finally Norm arrived. He drove home slowly and deliberately rather than quickly and a bit erratically like Darren had been driving all day. I drive more like Darren.

I noticed all this while we sat in hostile silence on the way home.

I’ve never been a strategist. I’m not calm and rational enough to be great at thinking about the effect of my actions. I’m an impulse kind of girl. My driving reflects my thought processes. 

Anyway, my sulk ended when I got home and Norm quietly went to the kitchen and made dinner for us all of fillet steak, broccoli, cauliflower mash and fried mushrooms. It was perfectly cooked and I was so grateful. 

I’m such a lucky woman. Even when I’m a cow.

On Thursday I made good progress on my project that is due for delivery. It’s hard juggling multiple projects.

After work I had an appointment to see David for Body Reactivating treatment. I left feeling great. Just like I was light as air, unburdened of emotional baggage. 

I wondered how linked my weight gain was to that baggage and was this emotional clearance a sort of liposuction for the soul? I felt my weight gain was linked to my mental state, the deep sadness I felt while away from my children. I find I’m healing and finally able to let go of that angst, and with it that need to fill that hole with food.

Or is it purely hormonal and my body is simply insulin resistant, so stopping the daily sugar saturation I was subjecting my body to has resulted in returning to the metabolism of my youth where I was able to eat what I fancied? As long as I don’t fancy carbs and sugar every day.

Whatever the reason, I lost not only the kilo I gained on my indulgent weekend away, but I lost another kilo as well! That makes about 17-18 kg (40ish lbs) I’ve lost. 

And we eat so well! 

For those who have never had Body Reactivation, the practitioner receives ‘words’ somehow and he then works on clearing the emotional blockage created by these feelings. The word which used to come up was ‘grumpy’ and ‘frustrated’ but we have worked on those for months, this week the words were ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘exhausted’ and I am indeed both. Work is really stressing me and the 12 hour days, hours traveling and lack of sleep are wearing me down.

Thursday night Caitlin offered to cook and made a delicious dinner of chicken wrapped in bacon, red cabbage, mushrooms and gem squash. 

  
It was so yummy and perfectly cooked.

I felt spoiled again! 

The clock is ticking on Lily moving to Great Brak which is down the coast about a 4 hour drive. I am going to miss her so, she always hangs out with me after she gets home from work. She moves at the end of the month..

I stayed late on Friday, I usually leave once I’ve billed my 40 hours but I had some gap analysis I was well into and knew stopping and restarting would waste an hour I don’t have. So I just stayed and finished it off. 

We had thawed scallops from woollies for that night’s dinner and Norm took them out just before I arrived home. I washed them and put them in a bowl with lemon juice and pepper. The parboiled sweet potatoes just rolled out of their skins. I then sliced them into 3-4 little pieces and fried in a pan of melted butter. I steamed some broccoli liberally sprinkled with lemon. 

Once every thing else was ready I fried the scallops in butter for 3 minutes each side. 

  
It was simple but the flavours all complimented each other beautifully. 

We spent the evening chilled out with the animals. Norm did a bit of work. 

  

I had Pixie’s chiro appointment for her back problems so we were out of the house just after 8 Saturday morning. We got stuck behind a digger for ages, then a student driver so I barely made my scheduled appointment. I decided to book myself in as well on the next visit. My tilted pelvis is causing me such pain in my sacroiliac joints. 

I relaxed that afternoon until 5 when we headed off to our friend Greg’s 40th birthday party. It was on the other side of town and we took the motorway. At one point there were 3 route options, 2 got us there, the third took us back towards the city. You guessed right, we took that wrong exit. We took the next junction which looped us round and we found their house. We hadn’t seen them since their wedding a year earlier! 

I also saw colleagues from 8 years ago and met Priya’s children and both Greg and Priya’s parents. It was a lovely evening and great to see some of their other friends whom I hadn’t seen in ages. 

Towards the end of the night I got a message that a work friend Anze had died. It was just her birthday on the 9th and she had gone out with friends. That night a friend stayed over and in the morning the friend couldn’t wake Anze so she went to phone their other friend, then when she checked again my friend was dead. A tragic accident.

Anze has 2 small children and was in love. I feel so heart sore for the loved ones left behind but especially for the children. Their lives will be forever changed. It is heartbreaking.

This morning the dogs let us sleep til 8 which is a rare treat. I woke thinking of Anze and feeling grateful for my children and husband. I’m glad that at least Anze had a great life, she was such a brave woman. She had been so supportive to me after my armed invasion. She had an armed invasion herself and to save her child from the grasp of the robbers she jumped off her balcony, crushing both her feet and ankles. She was a fearless mother and a supportive friend. 

Norm spoiled me with coffee in bed this morning as I was feeling a bit dreary.

I finally got up and Lily and I made us all a Banting brunch of cheese omelette, onions and mushrooms fried in butter and grilled bacon.

  
Then my friend Retha came and we had a glass of wine on the balcony and a catch up. 

  
This afternoon every one has been napping and I’m pottering about in my pajamas. I’ve made a bit pot of spicy soup, perfect for this cold weather and I’m happy being lazy and to have my dogs and family nearby. I think Pixie senses my sadness and is very clingy.

  
Hold your loved ones close. 

Oops I Did It Again

Sunday evening I joined friends for dinner and I wore my other pair of new jeans. So comfy but they fit properly. It is nice to not keep tugging at my waist.

 
We were meeting up at the V and A Waterfront to send off our friend Caroline who is moving to the UK. I am rather annoyed that I never got a pic with her! She snapped this one of the distracted group.

  

We were lucky to get the ‘Sexy Table’ at Primi which is apparently so named because of the view. But the frisky Spanish maitre de winked when he told me this table fable. The view was pretty sexy however.

  
I love the food at Primi Piatti and as feared, I made a Banting boo boo. 

Or two.

Or so.

I had 2 frozen strawberry daiquiris. Strikes 1 and 2.

Also, I saw the pic on the menu of the Pescatore Pasta described as Patagonian calamari, shelled prawns & half-shelled mussels, pan-fried with olive oil, garlic, white wine, lemon & tomato with a hint of chilli at R135. I had to have it. 

So I did. Strike 3.

 

It was divine. Worth a bit of a stumble.

As if having pasta and 2 sugary strawberry dacquiries was not naughty enough, I ended off with a divine Kahlua Dom Pedro. YOLO bitches.

It was so delicious.

Strike 4.  

  
Oh well. I guess as long as I don’t fall off too often it’s all good. 

To keep me motivated after a night of sugary booze and pasta I created a “Before & After” photo of Norm and I. Christmas was the timing of the pic on the left and our diet started in January. So this is our 3 month progress.

  

I feel much better without the extra weight so I will keep being focussed on eating ‘clean’ as often as possible and trying to make better choices.

Sunday was a public holiday in South Africa. It was Human Rights Day. We were so lazy. I had such a busy, fun filled party weekend that I needed a day to slob about. 

Norm made us a delicious brunch of cheesy scrambled eggs, tomatoes and avocado and later that day we watched a film. In the afternoon I made a Banting lasagna for dinner that evening.

  
It was so yummy. I used zucchini ‘noodles’. To cut them I use my Carrol Boyes cheese slicer.

  
I slice one side to turn to the bottom to keep the courgette flat while I slice it. It works well. Funnily however I slice the mozzarella with a knife. More proof that we are more than our labels. 😉

On Tuesday there was a bomb attack in Belgium resulting in many deaths. Another terrorist attack. It seems nowhere is safe. Who are they punishing? Women, children, all sexes, ages, races, countries, no one is above their hatred.

Why is the world so full of anger and hate? Look at how many Americans support that poisonous, mysoginistic, bigoted, racist, hamster handed psycho Trump. When I see women supporting him I cannot fathom the level of self hatred these women must have to support someone who has no respect for their gender.

Please Universe let enough people vote for Hilary. Even Bernie. I know nothing about Bernie’s politics but I love the bird communing with him on the podium.

I’m a firm believer in birds being messengers from the spirit world. That silly event coupled with the type of friends who support him have gotten my attention.

On Wednesday evening we went with some of Norman’s work associates to Ragafellows.

One of our guests had the Chicken Roulade with mushroom sauce, mozzarella & vegetable stuffing. It looked nice and she ate every bite so it must have been good. It was R125.

  

  

Norm and I ordered the Noaksy burger.

  

It is a burger but adapted for banters. Instead of a bun it is topped with a chickpea and sweet corn fritter. It comes with bacon jam and cheese. Instead of potato it comes with butternut. 

They used to serve little trays of pickled veg which Norm loves and was sulky when the waiter said they didn’t have any. The burgers were very nice, It was a lovely relaxed night. 

Often one evening each week we have a meal of whatever is left from the weekly shop. On Thursday we had one of these. After Vanessa my manicurist left I was starving and so I just started cooking with no plan or direction. I had half a spicy chorizo and a packet of bacon so I chopped them up and fried in butter then I found 2 baby red cabbages and I chopped that in with it. I figured bacon and cabbage go well, so why not? I added balsamic which went nicely sticky.

I had some zucchini and so I sliced it up, with my Carrol Boyes cheese slicer to get as thin as possible, then put the slices in a bowl and drizzled with olive oil, Himalayan pink salt and then grated on some fresh Parmesan. Then spread them over baking paper which I laid onto a large oven tray. 

I discovered a bag of sweet potatoes and boiled them whole in their skins as once cooked it’s easy to scrape off the skin. Also boiled sweet potato are lower in carbs than baked. I put in the blender with a big block of butter and puréed.

I was worried that it was enough food and that the combination was going to be revolting, but it was really delicious! It went so nicely together.

How lucky! 

 

We watched telly and relaxed and relished that we were going to be sleeping in on Friday as it was Good Friday. 

Lily was off to George on Friday but Norm and I had a lazy morning. I made 3-cheese fritters without a recipe, it had sharp cheddar, emmenthal and Parmesan all grated in, 2 eggs, milk and almond flour. I seasoned with paprika and fried in a mix of butter and coconut oil. I was proud that they were so yummy! 

  

We put our eggs on top of them and they soak up the delicious yolks. I served with bacon, rosa tomatoes and avocado. 

Friday evening Norm took his visitors to the airport and stopped and got take aways from Spiro’s. It was a cool night, I sat on my balcony enjoying my gorgeous view.

  
We rented a film and had a quiet night in. 

On Saturday morning we were woken early by the activity and noise from The Two Oceans Marathon which is an Ultra Marathon as it’s further in distance. It is billed as the “World’s Most Beautiful Marathon” and as a resident I can see why.

  

We know when the runners hit our village as you can hear the shouting of the organizers on the megaphones and the sound of the choppers hovering above us. It’s cool to watch the footage on telly and recognize the landscape and surroundings. 

  
Photo credit.

I’m not enough of a fan to go stand by the road and encourage the runners for hours even though the course is so close to us that one of the local dogs from my neighborhood joined the race and ended up several suburbs away! 

  

Eventually it all settled down and Norm took our pups out before we headed out to meet his friends Mark and Fiona who are over from Belfast. As they are staying in Camps Bay we booked Paranga. Camps Bay is a gorgeous beach lined with bars and restaurants and is very popular with tourists.

  
To start Norm had the Patagonian Calamari and the rest of us had the tempura prawns. The prawns were R120. They were fresh and nicely cooked and the sauce had a lovely chili kick to it.  

For mains 3 of us had the fillet. I had mushroom sauce and vegetables with mine.

  
My steak was underdone and slightly sinewy. Half was soft and divine, the other not so much. The sauce was rich and thick and full of flavour, Really delicious. The veg was cooked perfectly, nicely al dente. 

The steak was approximately 200-250 grams I would guess. The steak was R190 with no sides or sauce. The sauce was an additional R35 and the steamed veg an additional R40. Therefore the main meal was R265. Incredibly expensive in comparison to other local restaurants. 

The wine we had is one of my faves the Professor Black Sauvingnon Blanc from the Warwick estate and we noticed it was R75 a bottle more than it had been at Peddlars & Co! At Paranga it was R275.

That’s the problem with the tourist areas, if you are earning local currency it’s very expensive. Lucky for us Norm’s friends treated us! The service was great, the food pretty good, but you can find the same at half the price.

It started raining early Saturday evening and we had to contend with that. I washed my hair but got the frizzes from the damp. But we had a nice chat and it was great for Norm to see friends he hasn’t seen in decades.

Today is Easter but Norm isn’t feeling so well. We were going shopping but we will see how he feels, other than that I suspect this is my first chocolate free Easter!

To those of you who are Christian enjoy your holiday and thanks for the day off!