The Ups and Downs of In

Last Sunday my bipolar-ness and anxiety were on full boil. I was so weepy and sad on Mother’s Day because I missed my children so much but after a day of Norman spoiling me and the zoom call with my Mom and my kids that evening I was on such a joyous high. It’s a roller coaster ride living with me at the moment so buckle up Buttercup (Buttercup being the always tolerant Norman.)

I mentioned in my last blog that I had to make a flowered headdress for our Mother’s Day Zoom call. The girls and I love a theme. Norm found a Julius Caesar headdress and some silk flowers in the dress up box and we raided the garden for a few other flowers and managed to tie them on. It all weighed a ton with the strelitzia (aka Bird of Paradise) at the back!

My Mom joined the call first and said I looked like I fell into a flower bed. We had such a giggle over how silly I looked.

I thought it was funny as did everyone else once they joined the call and we had a laugh about the ridiculousness of it. The girls looked beautiful in their headdresses but I did not snap many pics that were clear. Norm is in need of a new laptop as he looks like the invisible man.

It was such fun to connect with my family and we had a lot of laughs as we always do, all competing to be heard over the chaos and giggles.

The call was at 8pm and Norm intended to make a Mother’s Day dinner for me that night beforehand but when he opened the packet of chicken breasts they were off and that was all of the meat we had besides bacon so we had to make another plan. Norm decided to make pasta and made a delicious sauce with baby spinach, tomato, bacon, onion, chili and mushrooms (e.g. pretty much everything in the fridge).

It was quick and easy and tasty and I felt very well looked after.

By the time we went to bed, the only complaint I had left about Mother’s Day was that the day passed so quickly. I am so blessed to have such wonderful children and a husband who would do anything to make me happy.

I could certainly do worse and the need to focus on my blessings brought me back to reality.

I am blessed. I may be imprisoned, but I am blessed. ❤️

This week Norm was summoned to go to court for a case where he had assisted in the arrest of some guys who had stolen a cell phone from a young lad. This is the second time he has had to go to court for it yet no one has been convicted and the crime occurred 2 years ago. When he arrived at the court there were so many people milling about and there was a huge queue to get in. He was not keen on having to enter that melee of people and luckily he saw a message from the prosecutor advising that the case was postponed and he did not have to stay.

Since he was out and about already and we needed fresh vegetables and meat Norm popped into the shops. He said that all of the shops and restaurants in the centre were open. I cannot understand why people can buy coffee from a cafe but we cannot buy cooked food from a shop? Does the virus not attach to liquids? Ridiculous restrictions.

Norm brought home the shopping and disinfected any which needed to go into the freezer or fridge and then left the others in the garage overnight to allow any germs to die off.

He had bought soup mix so I made a pot of split pea soup for lunch and together we made dinner that night. I roasted a bag of mixed veg and baked a potato, steamed some cauliflower and fried mushrooms to make a garlic and cream sauce. I grated fresh mature cheddar to melt onto the cauliflower. Norm grilled the steaks.

It was so yummy. The steaks were tender and perfectly cooked. I love a bit of char on the outside and the centre pinky pink.

I had quite a few online meetings with my clients that day so spent a lot of time wearing my headphones with Lola in her usual spot, lying across my desk.

I hate to hurl her off as she is so sweet but it makes typing rather awkward.

As well as our Mother’s Day celebration we had two birthdays in the family this week. It was Caitlin’s birthday on Tuesday and I felt so sad that I could not see her and treat her to a nice dinner like I usually do. We will have to do a big make up dinner after the restaurants open and it is safe to emerge from our caves. I transferred cash to her as she has had so many expenditures this month. She bought a cat bed.

Her partner Wes spoiled Caitlin for us and made her favorite birthday cake using my carrot cake recipe. It is not your traditional carrot cake with a creamed cheese frosting, instead it has a hot syrupy topping that you pour over the cake and it soaks in making it sweet and moist. I have had this recipe since I lived in LA, one of the moms in our Mommy Park group made it and we all loved it so she passed out the recipe. I cannot remember her name but I can picture her face clearly, isn’t it funny what our memories retain? Here is a link to the recipe as a PDF for anyone who is interested. It is in American measures so you have to convert to metric.

Wednesday was Navajo’s 6th birthday and we gave him a nice chew to celebrate it. He is always happy regardless of treats. He comes up and plonks his giant paw on me when he wants attention. He is so sweet but he is also an amazing protector.

It is hard to believe he is 6 already, it seems like yesterday that we got him. This was taken at the breeder on the day we brought him home, he was so tiny! He is a real case of the ugly duckling as he had tiny squint eyes, huge overpowering ears and he looked so awkward with his long legs and giant tongue but he has grown into a beautiful dog.

Tuesday night I cooked Kassler chops. I just fried them in butter. I chopped up some aubergines (aka eggplant) and roasted it in the oven. I baked a potato and steamed some green beans and baby corn.

On Wednesday I again had back to back teleconferences but also had a lot of analysis work for both projects which I needed to do. It is the type of work I enjoy though so I did not mind. I love data and I love analysis. It just meant I had to keep my head down and focus.

My new coffee machine was delivered from Takealot but I was so upset that despite the description saying it was a ‘pod’ machine it only takes these specific wee teabag type ‘pod’ things. Bugger. Not only did I have to send it back but I am still starting my mornings without a proper cup of decent coffee.

What do you call a sad cup of coffee?

The good thing about Takealot is the returns process is so simple. You just log on and select the option to return it and they come and collect it and credit your account. They collected it the following day! But still no coffee.

On Wednesday night I cooked organic chicken sausages. I fried them in butter and fried sliced mushrooms and onions to go on top of them. We had fried cabbage and chips done in the air fryer to go with it.

On Thursday our internet died just as I was in the middle of running a report so I lost access to the database. Norm was in a conference call and the call dropped. When the internet did not come up again after 15 minutes or so Norm went exploring to try and figure out what was going on and discovered cheeky Blue kitty lying draped across the WiFi router. I reconnected and started my query again and I could hear Norm upstairs trying to convey in his thick Scots accent to a group of non-English speakers that his ‘poosy cat’ had knocked out the router. It was rather hilarious.

We do have a lot of laughs over things many people might think are silly. We are treating the house like a business enterprise now that we are both working from home. So if Norm makes me a coffee he drops it off on his way up to his desk and says ‘compliments of the catering department but we are now closed until midday’ or if he cleans the kitchen he mentions the ‘Housekeeping department’ will cross charge ‘Catering’ for leaving such a mess.

Thursday I had beef mince to cook and I saw that Norm had bought tortillas so I decided to do Mexican style food. I opened a tin of borlotti beans and added cumin, chili powder, garlic, onion powder and a bit of water to make my South African version of refried beans. You can buy the Old El Paso brand here but they are crazy expensive. I fried the mince with the seasonings and as we had a big bag of red peppers I decided to fry some peppers and onions to go with it but I think I overdid the amount.

Norm only told me after I had cooked them that he did not want any. Oh well. I thought they were delicious. I grated cheddar cheese, made guacamole and put out the other toppings.

On Friday we woke to rain and the soggy, damp cats hopped into bed to tell us all about it. Who needs a weather app when you have mine and Nav’s arthritis and soggy kittens to alert you?

Friday is rubbish collection day in our suburb and the dogs go mad at the people putting out their bins and the trucks collecting it. Add in the people taking exercise from 6-9am and it makes for absolute chaos in our road.

Lola was also being particularly demanding and was trying to eat my ear buds. It made it hard to concentrate.

The dog groomer has been allowed to open for some services and we took the 3 dogs for grooming on Friday afternoon. Good lawdy miss clawdy the little beasts smelled horrendous. Navajo and Panda seem to have found something dead to roll in. They came home from the groomer smelling so sweet and with such soft, fluffy hair.

Unfortunately the wee buggers will probably go roll in something stinky within the next few days but at least I have some cuddle time before they do so since it was raining they nip in and out quick. Nav does not mind the rain but the poms hate it. It makes their hair look like it was crimped.

That evening I decided that I could not cope with cooking another night and I treated us to a delivery from Cheyne’s in Hout Bay. You just send an order on WhatsApp and they bring it to you with a card machine in tow or you can pay cash or use snapscan.

The special is the Yum Cha menu minus the desserts and you can order four items each. We chose:

  • 2 portions of Mumbai Chilli beef, ginger and cardamom teriyaki,
  • 2 portions of Thai crispy kingklip, roasted chilli oyster sauce, coriander,
  • 2 portions of Potato and coconut dumplings, Penang sauce,
  • 1 order of Grilled pork loin ribs, sticky soy and 5 spice glaze,
  • 1 order of Lucky Again Slaw, green chilli caramel, kewpie, sesame.

Cheyne’s has partnered with IceDream to deliver their home made gelato with your dinner orders so I was not too sad that Cheyne’s was not including desserts in their Yum Cha list. This is the best ice cream I have ever eaten. I ordered two 500g tubs, one of salted caramel and one of chocolate.

The food was delivered at the agreed time and was still nice and hot (other than the ice cream which was still frozen).

The mumbai chili beef was my favorite dish, sticky and delicious. I love the little slices of chili and the chunks of coconut.

The dumplings were divine, crisp outside and soft inside but not doughy.

The batter on the hake was still crispy. I loved the coriander and chili in the sauce.

When you dine in at Cheyne’s and get served individual dishes one at a time your eyes think ‘oh that does not seem like much food’ but after eating all 4 courses and you leave to go home you feel full to bursting. Having the dishes at home and serving it together all on a single plate made me realise I had a lot of deliciousness to fill my eager belly! The ribs were nice and tender and the sticky sauce was full of flavour.

I felt so spoiled after having 2 months of only home cooking. Later that evening I had a bowl of the ice cream and my night was complete. I give it all 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

On Saturday my friends Mel & Cyril who own Potted Up delivered the piece I ordered. Cyril made the chest and Mel added the plants. I love it so much!

It is bursting with a wide variety of gorgeous plants and when they outgrow their nest I can propagate them to other pots. It makes me so happy to look at it next to my front patio throne where I sit to watch the mountains.

Norm went to the garden centre to get some potting soil so that I could do a bit of planting. I also got some apricot pips which look so nice in the pots. I finally planted the glass globe that Josh bought me last Christmas. I pinched some bits off of my existing plants and did not make it too crowded to allow them space to grow.

We hung it in my kitchen window with my other kitsch bits and pieces.

I planted up another pot to go outside in a little display thing the kids bought me ages ago. Norm has to mount the holder on the wall outside to hold the pot then I will snap a pic of it once it is on display. I love completing some of these little bits and pieces that have been hanging around for ages.

On Saturday night I just could not summon up the enthusiasm to cook so we decided to try the new branch of Simply Asia which has just opened in Hout Bay. We used the Mr D food app to order and they delivered the food right on time. The boxes are lovely! I would like one in wood ❤️

They only have a limited menu available during lock down. Norm ordered Thai green curry with chicken and I ordered Honey chicken. We also ordered some spring rolls to share. We both paid extra for egg fried rice instead of plain jasmine.

My food was yummy and the spring rolls were nice and crispy and not at all doughy. I will order this again. I give it 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ If sushi had been available they might have gotten 5!

Now for my weekly waffle update about the virus and lockdown……..

The SA President addressed the nation again on Wednesday night and the drinkers and smokers were waiting with baited (minty) breath for the update. We had heard rumours that the Level would be dropped to 3 which means we can buy cigarettes and alcohol and be allowed out longer for exercise and fresh air. However his speech went on and on in a circular, discombobulated fashion and it felt like our metropolis was getting told off for being naughty. Cape Town has the highest number of positive cases.

President Ramaphosa hinted that the level will drop soon depending on the individual provinces / areas stats and preparedness. We heard a rumour that the 1st of June is the target date of the level drop if allowed and that means booze and ciggies will be on sale. Let’s hope Cape Town qualifies to drop levels.

This week the count of people who have been tested is 421,555 and the weekly stats in South Africa are:

The same day that the President addressed the nation the South African government released guidelines on what is considered an ‘essential item’ of clothing that will be allowed to be sold in stage 4 lockdown and if it was not so ridiculous it would be funny. Why are the politicians sitting around brainstorming shopping lists FFS? Surely our crisis mandates other issues to be dealt with as a matter of priority? If this is what someone is being paid to do we do not need him / her bloating up the government payroll!

We have been told by many experts that opening up the economy now and allowing people to start work again will not impact our ‘curve’ in SA and that our highest number of positives are predicted to occur in August / September. The purpose of the lockdown was supposed to be to allow the government and the healthcare system to get prepared for the anticipated high numbers of positive cases. To ensure they have enough PPE, ventilators, beds and relevant medications in place, to have rosters for staff to cater for the onslaught and to get their proverbial ducks in a row. That time should be now. If the government is NOT prepared then why are they busy faffing around with shopping lists for their prisoners? I still feel that the vulnerable should continue to isolate and that if you can work from home you should do so, but the tight restrictions on what can be sold and who can sell it should be lifted.

It seems so petty and unnecessarily controlling.

Then on Thursday the government did a reverse turn and announced that we can buy everything online except alcohol and cigarettes. How many hours were wasted putting together the restricted list published only a few days prior?

A new risk has been identified by W.H.O. which is particularly relevant in SA and that risk is around the potential impact to HIV patients. I have extracted the key info from their report below for ease:

“A modelling group convened by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS has estimated that if efforts are not made to mitigate and overcome interruptions in health services and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, a six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy could lead to more than 500 000 extra deaths from AIDS-related illnesses, including from tuberculosis, in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020–2021. 

In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 25.7 million people were living with HIV and 16.4 million (64%) were taking antiretroviral therapy in 2018. Those people now risk having their treatment interrupted because HIV services are closed or are unable to supply antiretroviral therapy because of disruptions to the supply chain or because services simply become overwhelmed due to competing needs to support the COVID-19 response.”

There is also the added risk of people not going in for testing due to the fears around exposure to Covid-19 in the healthcare environments. We have to hope this virus does not set back the vast progress that has been made in the management of HIV and AIDS.

For entertainment while stuck in we have still been finding new things to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

As one of my solo viewing I just started a series called ‘Z: The Beginning of Everything’ starring Christina Ricci as Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. It starts in 1918 when Zelda and Scott met at a dance in Montgomery Alabama during the war. The series is a few years old and only lasted for one season so I am dubious about how good it will be but I have enjoyed the few episodes I have seen. It is just a bit unbelievable that a 30 year old Christina Ricci is passing as an 18 year old in the beginning of the show. But never mind.

This weekend I binged a bit of season 2 of ‘Dead To Me‘. I love this show so much. The characters are brilliant and I am a big Christina Applegate fan. I give it 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As previously mentioned in my last blog, we are still watching ‘The Colony‘ together and we are both enjoying it. It is full of tension and things exploding so Norm is especially hooked.

Today I am going to potter about in the garden some more. Norm cleared out the garage and found several little glass fishbowl type things and I will plant those up to add to my collections. Watching things grow that I planted from a wee sprig of leaves makes me so happy.

I hope you all are keeping safe and appreciating your blessings. As always I am grateful for my children and their partners, for my home, my mother, our pets and my wonderful husband. I am grateful for my view and for social media to keep in touch with the outside world. I am trying to stay positive.

On that note I will leave you with another song by my friend’s son James Dunlop. James has such a beautiful voice and I love Troye Silvan’s music so it is a great combination of happiness factors.

If you enjoy James as well please help him build his followers. Request a tune and maybe he will do it for you? Personally I think James’s voice would suit anything by Lewis Capaldi but so far I am happy with all of the songs James has performed on his channel.

Keep safe and until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxoxox

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