The New Normal

Today is Day 25 of self isolation in the Walker-Brook house and the entire country of South Africa is still on lockdown. The stats published today for South Africa on the website I follow are:

I am posting these stats in my blog each week so that I can look back and easily trace the progression of the virus.

On Thursday night President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that our lockdown will be extended for 2 additional weeks. This means that if there are no further extensions of the lockdown we will be allowed to resume ‘normal’ life on the 1st of May. I have no issues with the extension as I feel it is necessary, but I wish they would allow us to shop for some things which are not deemed ‘essential’. I would like to get some things for pottering about in my garden to keep me amused on the weekends. If a shop carries an item they should be allowed to sale that item. That would mean we could shop at one of the larger shops and get paints, art supplies, home improvement items or garden supplies. Diversion helps with the stress and we can do minor home improvements.

I use humour (and the Virgo fallback of ‘sarcasm’) to cope with stress. I try to focus on a positive future but what will our post Covid lives look like? It is difficult to imagine as we do not know how long it will be before the virus is ‘over’. Will it ever be ‘over’ or will there be permanent elements of caution we have to apply? Will the world ever be ‘safe’ from contamination if we do not have a vaccine or a ‘cure’?

Isolation is not easy for extroverts so please keep an eye on your friends, especially those who live on their own. I am an introverted extrovert and I am struggling. I am not struggling with the isolation so much as I have my darling hubby with me and we get along great (most of the time), but I miss my children so much it hurts. We communicate all day with my daughters and my Mom via various Whats App groups but it is not the same as hanging out with them and hugging them.

For your friends who have existing mental health issues or addiction issues please keep an even closer eye on them, I can see that if they are alone this stressful period might be a huge risk to them emotionally. The added stress of worrying about finances for those who cannot work will be enough to tip some people over. I have seen some strange behaviour from people in my social circle. Everyone copes with this sort of situation differently. I would probably be binge eating but Norm does the shopping and does not buy snacks of any sort (see he does have some faults!).

Last Sunday we had a lazy chilled day. We took the easy option for dinner and made one of our low carb pizzas. We had salami and green olives in the fridge so that is what we used for toppings. I had a punnet of mushrooms left so I sliced those and fried them in garlic butter to add to the pizza.

Monday was a rainy cool day which started as most of my days do now that I am working from home. I opened the doors wide for fresh air, made my coffee and my Cal-C-Vita and got my computers going for my various projects.

Lola decided she was cold and wanted to snuggle up in my lap. How can I resist that beautiful sweet little face?

Panda likes to sit on the stairs and peek down at me while I am working. He is such a funny wee chap.

In case you cannot spot his little face I zoomed in for you.

I mentioned in my last blog that little Pixie had been having some issues with her health, first she had a hot spot on her pelvic area and then she had a few incidents where she wet herself. We had thought she might have a bladder infection and on Monday morning Norm took her to the vet. They kept her there for a few hours to do a urinalysis and some blood tests and her bladder and kidneys are both fine (thank you Great Spirit). Norm went back to collect her that afternoon and we will just keep treating the hot spot and hope it all resolves. She was so upset with us for leaving her at the vet for all those pokes and prods that she refused to meet our eyes or come for cuddles. It took about 48 hours for her to decide she still loves us.

All of the animals are behaving a bit oddly. Navajo is not usually food driven at all but he seems to be ravenous! Panda is just roaming around vaguely and Pixie is not her usual perky self. The cats are so clingy and Blue is running around crying all the time. He got highly annoyed because the other animals did not notice him hiding or chase him when he swung his paws out.

The cats are even sleeping together, they normally just bite each other if they come near.

Norm stopped on his way home from the vets to do a little shop as we were all out of meat and fresh veggies again. He brought us a treat of chocolate chip hot cross buns.

I do like hot cross buns but I am not a fan of raisins and was so chuffed that he had found a version without them. He is the best husband and I am a lucky Kitten!

For some reason I was exhausted by Monday afternoon. Some days pass with me being completely chilled and some days I am highly anxious. This reaction is all in my head and I know I can choose how to deal with that stress, but tell that to my over-analytical brain.

For dinner that night I made chicken breasts which I rubbed with loads of garlic and drizzled with a tiny bit of honey and teriyaki sauce. I roasted a bag of chopped butternut, pumpkin and sweet potato. I sliced and parboiled brussel sprouts in chicken stock and once they boiled down I browned them in butter and a bit of lemon juice (lemon takes away any bitterness).

The cool weather continued on Tuesday with intermittent rain. As we still have issues with water supplies in South Africa we are always happy for the rain. We had a bit of sunshine by the afternoon however and Wednesday was cool but sunny.

On Tuesday night I cooked again and made chicken sausages, chips and coleslaw. I felt like something yummy and simple.

I felt so tired but I still struggled to get to sleep on Tuesday night and ended up taking a pill which meant I overslept on Wednesday. I woke up at 8 and rushed down to get logged on as I had a client teleconference for 8:30. The meeting was via MS Teams and I could not manage to get my app to work. It kept putting me into a loop of ‘you have not signed up for teams’ and ‘do you want to send an activation email?’ after I tried to register. Eventually I realized I was logged in via my other client’s profile and the emails were going to that address which I no longer have access to. I missed about 10 minutes of the meeting but did manage to make an ‘appearance’ (a verbal one anyway, thankfully it was not a video conference as I was in my PJs with bed hair!).

This drama meant I was feeling frazzled from the moment I opened my eyes but I managed to make good progress with work for one of my projects. I am much happier when I am busy.

One change in our lives is that we are listening to a lot of music. When we wake up and get ready to start our day we choose an artist or genre that reflects our mood and ask Alexa to play it on Spotify. For example ‘Annie Lennox Radio’ or ‘Classic Soul’. This morning was ‘Gerry Rafferty Radio’. Spotify will then play various artists that are of that same genre. It means we get a variety of music to listen to every day that suits our mood.

That night I had beef mince to make some concoction for our dinner. I also had a head of cauliflower so I decided on a low carb cottage pie. I browned a few thinly sliced carrots and an onion, then added the mince to brown. I added in beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, the remainder of the tomato passata from our last pizza night, a splash of soy sauce and some garlic. I left it to simmer for a while to thicken. I steamed the cauliflower and Norm put some cream and butter into it and used the hand blender to puree it. We layered the mince, the cauliflower mash and cheddar cheese into the pan and baked it until it was brown.

To serve with it I used up the last of the coleslaw from the previous night and steamed some baby broccoli.

I think that was the best cottage pie I have ever made! I do not normally add passata but I am on a ‘no wastage’ kick, maybe that was the difference so I will use it again.

Thursday was the start of a 4 day weekend and the sun decided to make an appearance. It was a gorgeous day and not terribly hot.

For dinner that night I made pork chops. Norm had 2 conference calls after 5pm so I wanted something I did not have to fiddle with or stand over the stove to prepare. I had a pepper that was going soft so that got sliced up and chucked on top. I made a sauce with some honey that was turning to sugar, some teriyaki and soy sauce. I steamed broccoli and baked some of our last few potatoes. I had a bag of baby spinach and I cooked that, pureed it and stirred in some cream and mature cheddar. It was rather delicious if I say so myself!

When we woke on Friday morning the sun was just coming out and as it was such a beautiful day we decided to have our coffee on the upstairs balcony.

Norm had a cleaning bee in his bonnet and gave the bathrooms a deep dive clean and removed some bricks on the outside drive. A tree root has pushed the bricks up and they are catching the gate so we need to repave that section of the driveway. I had a lazy bee in my bonnet and I played games and watched telly. We even had a lazy dinner as we had left overs and I made a lovely salad and had the rest of the cottage pie with it.

We have to take pleasure where we can find it and I used my fave wonky wear bowl and the serving utensils my Mom gave me many years ago which I love sooo much.

On Saturday morning we slept in a bit and Blue arrived in bed with us crying and crying. He refuses to drink water out of a bowl that any other animal has drunk from and we have to give him his own bowl in the bathtub. He won’t drink after the other animals but he will drink out of the toilet. Explain cat logic? We did not jump up to heed his call quick enough and he decided to just drink my water from my glass. He is so cheeky.

I had my morning coffee on the downstairs balcony and it was very overcast and the sky was so misty you could not even see the mountains.

That morning my drumming group was attempting to have a virtual drum circle via Zoom so I logged in for 10:30am.

Panda was very intrigued by all of this and wanted to join in.

There were 7 of us who dialed in.

We had a few technical challenges but eventually managed to get through quite a few songs on our play list.

It was so uplifting to get to hang out with my tribe. Drumming and singing songs to the spirit always comforts my soul.

While I was drumming Norm nipped down to the village for a shop as we were out of milk, meat and vegetables. He wore a surgical face mask.

The queues were crazy long but everyone was applying social distancing. I found it interesting that it was predominately men doing the shopping.

Norm also bought us some fabric masks which are washable.

Which pattern do you prefer? Having 2 each means we can wash one and have another available. Not that I am going anywhere or seeing anyone but Norm is. (His aren’t as cute as mine.) The shop sells them for R60 each but if you pay R70 each then they donate one to the underprivileged community, so we paid the extra R10 each and that is 4 masks for donation. Win Win!

As we had a fully stocked fridge, for dinner on Saturday night we cooked Fillet steaks. I marinated them in soy sauce, teriyaki and garlic while I fried some mushrooms in garlic and butter and baked some potatoes. Norm cooked the steaks and while he did that I added half a large bag of baby spinach to the mushrooms and once it was wilted I added in half a container of cream and a bit of fromage frais. We poured a bit of the cream over the steaks and it was all so delicious.

Tonight we are doing a family Easter zoom call so last night we had a test run with Mom to get her set up and had a long video chat with me Norm and Mom. Technology is the only thing keeping me sane in this situation. I can’t wait to see my children’s lovely faces tonight. We asked everyone to wear an Easter bonnet / hat of some sort so that should be a giggle in itself!

After our video call with Mom it started pouring with rain. Our pool is up to the brim. With the ongoing drought in South Africa we always welcome the rain. The animals all wanted to snuggle up while we watched a bit of telly. Lola is lying on top of me as usual.

Today is Easter Sunday. Norm had to pop down to the Spar and he brought us back a yummy chocolate croissant as a special Easter treat.

We had a bit of family excitement this week when Lily received the video of her wedding from the videographer, Pinnacle Studio Videography. It is like a Hollywood film it is so beautifully done. I can really recommend their work.

Look after each other, check in on your friends and family and keep your arse at home! If you have to go out wear a mask and scrub yourself and sterilise every item you bring back into your house.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x0

One thought on “The New Normal

  1. Pingback: Making the Best of It | Kitten in the City

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