Turn Up the Heat

There are so many advantages to working from home, however there are also some disadvantages. On Monday night we were relaxing and watching Netflix when the screen started that ‘we are offline’ spin. We just assumed it was some temporary glitch but when we woke on Tuesday there was still no internet. Our router was fine so it was obvious it was somewhere upstream. I messaged my lovely neighbour Kate who told me that the entire estate was out. The WhatsApp group for our suburb was all abuzz (Norm and I both left the neighbourhood WhatsApp groups as they are full of a constant barrage of nonsense and noise).

The lack of internet meant that I missed several project meetings and could not access my email to obtain the screenshots I needed to complete my specification document or to download the latest assessment results for testing. Luckily I had enough work to get on with but it was very frustrating.

That night we could not watch Netflix or Amazon Prime but Caitlin had given us a hard drive with some shows we could watch and I decided on the old series of ‘The X-Files‘. I was lying on my side with little Lola kitty sleeping on top of me snuggled up under my arm. When this scene below happened I screamed and jumped.

It gave Lola such a fright that she ran across my face, burying her nails into my face, my arm, my side, my leg and all sorts of places. Ouch.

After she ran off she turned and glared at Panda who was snoring away. I do not know what she thought he did to me but it was pretty funny the way she looked at him as if the drama was all his fault.

Norm shopped on Monday so I cooked all week. We mostly had take out last week so I was actually happy to have home cooked food, even if I had to cook it.

On Monday Norm grilled fillet steaks and I baked potatoes and boiled sweet corn. I made a creamy mushroom & pepper sauce to go with it. Norm cooked the steaks perfectly and it was all yummy.

I mentioned last week that our gardener Mzudumo has returned to work so he was here on Tuesday making the garden look tidy. Pixie and Mzudumo have a special relationship. He has worked for us since she was a baby and she gets so excited when he arrives. She used to follow him around all day but she is an old lady now and just sleeps most of the day but makes sure she joins him while he eats his lunch in case he shares.

Since we had no internet on Tuesday I decided to occupy my time cooking when I finished work. I decided to make a bolognaise sauce for Wednesday and I fancied some chicken enchiladas and made an attempt at those for that night’s dinner. I have not made proper enchiladas in forever but remembered that I had a sauce recipe my friend gave me 25 years ago and I dug that out.

For the filling I fried a yellow pepper and an onion until browned then pureed it. I chopped the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and fried them in the pan where I had browned the veg to get that nice bit of fond (goo) off of the pan to add flavour to the chicken when I deglazed it. I added in a bit of garlic and a tiny bit of chopped chili, a tin of red kidney beans and a handful of uncooked rice. As I needed some liquid to make sure the rice cooked I added half a box of vegetable stock and half a bottle of tomato passata and I seasoned it with cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and dried onion flakes and let it simmer until the rice cooked through.

I looked up my friend’s recipe for the sauce and was not sure if the measurements were in teaspoons or tablespoons. I decided to go with teaspoons and then taste it. Thank goodness! It was soooo spicy!!! There was no way that Norm could cope with it. I quickly stirred in a huge dollop of fromage frais and hoped for the best.

I filled the tortillas with the chicken, rice and bean mixture, rolled them up and covered them in the sauce and added grated cheddar on top and baked it until golden brown.

I had boiled the other ears of sweet corn left from the previous night and cut it off the cob and served it up. Dishing up enchiladas is as challenging as dishing up lasagna apparently.

Norm covered his with giant dollops of fromage frais but he still nearly died. It was so spicy I was dripping with sweat while eating it. It tasted divine but my face went numb. My poor little gringo.

On Wednesday I was incredibly busy making up the time I lost when I was offline the previous day. I am busy wrapping up for the end of my current role as I am moving over to another client on the 1st of October. This is a previous client who wants me to come onboard to carry on with work I have done for them previously. I will still be working from home so I am happy about that. I am not ready to go out into a crowded elevator and open plan office until there is a proven vaccine.

Norm had a child protection training session with the coaches from our local football club so he was out all day. I had the pooches to keep me company of course.

They mill about the house and garden taking turns guarding the door.

Or insist on sitting in my lap while I am in a teleconference.

Navajo’s fave guard spot is on the little rise in the garden where he can see the front of the house and both gates. I love how the light changes on Table Mountain and creates an ever changing vista.

I worked late on Wednesday to try and get all of my deliverables sent through but luckily I had made the bolognaise sauce for our dinner the previous night. Norm heated the sauce and put the water on for the pasta while I finished up with work.

Thursday was Heritage Day in South Africa so I had the day off. I slept late, had a coffee in bed and stepped out on the balcony to see what sort of day it was. It was as sunny and warm as a summer’s day!

I came downstairs to do ‘Yoga with Adriene’ via YouTube. I got settled on my mat and started following along as best I could and of course Miss Pixie decided she needed to be involved. While I was on all fours she was rolling around underneath me begging for tummy tickles. Then when I was up on 2 knees doing a stretch with one leg behind me I was struggling to stay upright and Navajo seemed to sense I needed help and came to stand by me so I could rest my hand on his head for balance. He is such an amazing boy.

Norm went out to clean the pool and shortly after I heard a lot of barking, splashing and shouting and then Norm called me outside where Pixie was standing soaking wet.

Pixie and Navajo chase around after the dripping pool net and Norm thinks Navajo may have knocked Pixie in (which explains the look of hilarity on his face). Luckily Norm heard her fall in as she was struggling and would not have been able to get out on her own.

We had take away that night and I had sushi from K1. I was not very hungry so only ordered half what I normally get. I ordered prawn roses and cucumber roses but they got my order wrong and sent salmon roses. It was still tasty.

I had built up enough overtime which I needed to take off before my project ends so I took Friday off as well which gave me a 4 day weekend. The weather turned on Friday and was misty, windy, raining and chilly. Norm still had to work so I put on some comfy PJs and snuggled up with the pets to just relax.

I cooked dinner while Norm was out walking the pooches. I covered pork chops in mustard, honey, and garlic and baked them until the fat crisped up. I roasted pumpkin chunks in coconut oil, made coleslaw and brussel sprouts and onions cooked in stock.

At 6pm I joined an online Global Online Anniversary Festival put on by the Internations Group. Internations is made up of expats from all over the world. It was celebrating Internations’ birthday but was in aid of the performers who were entertaining us and you could donate via a QR code.

We then at 7pm had a zoom meeting that evening with Mom, Caitlin, Lily, Norm and I. Trevor was out with friends and could not join us. I love our calls, we always have such a laugh (apologies for my ever present PJs🤔).

Mom has a new kitty cat and we were trying to come up with a suitable name for him, he is so cute is he not? That bow tie just kills me. Let me know of any suitable names you can think of?

This morning Norm was up and away to the hospital for a chest x-ray. The visa department has finally re-opened and he is applying yet again for a visa. He is extending his spousal visa and applying for permanent residency. It requires he go through the whole process again and get a medical clearance and police clearance. It is all so expensive and therefore very frustrating when the inefficient process requires reapplying due to exceeding the timelines or loss of paperwork as has happened so many times. He has been applying since 2008 when he moved here.

The animals are all patiently awaiting his return.

Now for the weekly stats on South Africa and Covid. A total of 4,117,079 people have been tested in SA and the overall stats are below.

On a global comparison SA has dropped again in total cases and we are now 10th. We had been 5th for a few weeks running but we have been steadily dropping a spot each week.

We are still holding steady at 28th globally on the count of deaths per 1 million, we were the same last week and had been at 27th place for several weeks before that. I just hope that we do not have a second wave now that the restrictions have lessened, if not we are well on the way to ‘recovery’.

The US has surpassed 208,000 deaths from Covid, yet the imbecile president is still doing nothing and is waiting on herd immunity to resolve it (and is happy to risk the potential 6 million deaths it may take to get there – as I explained in my last blog.) #Murder

I hope this approach changes after the elections as I hope Trump loses. If he does not lose it will be devastating for the US. I hope sense and sensibility prevails over the party divide and that everyone gets out to vote or sends in their mail in ballots. #VoteHimOut

I was vastly encouraged by the boos and chants of ‘Vote Him Out’ when he went to pay his respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Of course he passed it off as noise as his ego will not allow him to realise that outside of the little bubble of sycophants and rabid followers who attend his rallies, he is detested by so many.

In addition to the old episodes of The X-Files, we have started watching a few new series this week.

We started watching ‘Ratched‘ which stars the fabulously talented Sarah Paulson of American Horror Story fame. Netflix describes the series as ‘In 1947, Mildred Ratched begins working as a nurse at a leading psychiatric hospital. But beneath her stylish exterior lurks a growing darkness.’

The series is supposed to be a prequel to the infamous ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest‘. I was 14 years old when that film came out but it made a life long impression on me and instilled a permanent phobia of mental hospitals. Ratched does nothing to lessen that fear. It has a very ‘American Horror Story’ feel to it which is no surprise as AHS creator Ryan Murphy is the executive producer of Ratched.

The other series we have started watching is ‘Treadstone‘ on Amazon Prime. It is based on the Jason Bourne films which is one of the reasons I was not keen as I did not enjoy the ever present violence in most of them. But I decided to give Treadstone a try and I really enjoyed it. It moves across multiple decades and explores the origins and present-day actions of a fictional CIA black-ops program known as Operation Treadstone which was a covert program that used a behavior-modification protocol to turn recruits into nearly-superhuman assassins. I am not a fan of violence so I just look away for those bits but the story is intriguing so I have stuck with it.

This week the Mercury Prize was awarded to Michael Kiwanuka for his album ‘KIWANUKA’ for Album of the Year. I have included my favourites of his songs in case you are not familiar with his work.

The song below was released in 2017. It has a beautiful haunting beginning. Fans of Big Little Lies will recognise this song.

Michael’s voice is rugged yet velvety smooth and his music has a old soul vibe reminiscent of previous decades. He is sometimes rocky, sometimes bluesy and always full of soul and grit. His track ‘You Ain’t The Problem‘ has a subtle riff of Africa coming through.

The video for his song ‘Hero’ has a Civil Rights message and is heavy with Jimi Hendrix-esque guitar riffs and pays homage to the Black Liberation Movements of the ’60s.

The song begins ‘I won’t change my name, no matter what they call me’ referring to a common problem for many people who have African names that white people struggle to pronounce. People in the industry told him to change his name because they were worried his records would be pigeon-holed as “world music“, but they never considered they were asking him to erase his identity. “A name is a powerful thing,” he said. “You don’t get more ‘you’ than your birth name, your given name.” He won’t give up the name that ties him to his Ugandan roots.

I love the Tiny Desk videos and I have also included a set by Arlo Parks. Her voice is amazing and her songwriting is older than her years. The 19 year old was born Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho but is known professionally as Arlo Parks. She is a British singer and poet from London born to a Nigerian father and a mother from Chad who grew up in Paris. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.

This week my cousin Mona fell while helping my Mom and she broke her knee quite badly and had to have an operation. She is a lovely person and I hope she heals quickly. If you could all say a prayer or send her healing vibes I would most appreciate it.

Later today Norm and I are going out for lunch and if the weather improves we may go for a drive.

I hope you all have a fabulous day and weekend. I hope you can stay safe. If you can stay home, please do so, if you have to go out please wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Until next time, socially distant Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

One thought on “Turn Up the Heat

  1. Pingback: Blooms and Burgers – Kitten in the City

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