No Turkey, No Cupcakes

Wednesday marked the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), an international campaign that runs annually, from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (World Human Rights’ Day).

Every year I try to feel positive and hopeful that something will change and every year there are many tragic stories of women and children being harmed. There is such a long way to go to reach a place of peace and comfort for women, children and other marginalised people. South Africans can be intolerant of Trans or Gay people as well as women. It seems an unreachable goal for everyone to be able to walk down the road or just live in their own homes without looking over their shoulders or living in fear or pain.

Here are 10 ways that you can take action against GBV:

  1. Listen to and believe survivors
    • Do not say: “Why didn’t she/you leave?”
    • Do say: “We hear you. We believe you. We stand with you.”
  2. Teach the next generation and learn from them
  3. Call for responses and services fit for purpose
    • Services for survivors are essential services.
    • This means that shelters, hotlines, counseling and all support for survivors of gender-based violence need to be available for those in need, even during the coronavirus pandemic.
  4. Understand consent
    • Phrases like “she was asking for it” or “boys will be boys” attempt to blur the lines around sexual consent, placing blame on victims, and excusing perpetrators from the crimes they have committed.
    • When it comes to consent there are no blurred lines.
  5. Learn the signs of abuse and how you can help
  6. Start a conversation
  7. Stand against rape culture. Learn more here.
  8. Fund women’s organizations
  9. Hold each other accountable
  10. Know the data and demand more of it

Last September I wrote about the protests against the high number of victims of GBV and then again in November and both of the posts highlighted the victims who died during the periods of ‘celebration and protection of women’. I hope that this year that things will have changed and that fewer women and children will be victims but the South African government does very little to support this change and in fact they have done quite the opposite. A high ranking ANC official charged with raping his eight year-old daughters was reinstated by the party in Mpumalanga hours after being released on bail.

It was not the first time the suspect had been implicated in rape allegations. He was previously arrested after a woman accused him of rape but he denied the allegation, claiming that the encounter had been consensual. (That is also a pattern which ex-President Zuma claimed as his defense when he got away with rape.)

Gender activists were shocked by the decision of the ANC to reinstate the official. The man also had his bail conditions relaxed following his reinstatement. This sends a message to the men and boys in SA that GBV and rape of women and children is acceptable. It sickens me.

So as I have said before to the governing bodies who celebrate women by painting everything pink and offering us baked goods for a month, keep your fucking cupcakes and platitudes and do something to make a difference!

I was very proud to be an American when I saw the post from the U.S. Consulate in Cape Town about the launch of the new Philisa Abafazi Bethu Family Centre. Acting Consul General, Will Stevens said “The U.S. remains committed to stopping gender-based violence & we are grateful for advocates like Lucinda Evans who continue to lead this charge”.

“Commemorating the #16DaysOfActivism the U.S. Government, on behalf of the American people, provided over R280 000 to the opening of a temporary shelter providing a safe house for women and child victims threatened by domestic and gender-based violence. This container is among almost 30 converted shipping containers on the site of the new Philisa Abafazi Bethu Family Centre. Speaking at the event, Philisa Abafazi Bethu founder and (IVLP) alumna Lucinda Evans said that the centre is set to make a difference in the lives of many: “Our Family Centre, will be a centre of excellence & healing for families, women, children & men. It will change the conversation about who we are & who we will be.” Preventing & responding to violence against women & children requires strategic partnerships, like the one forged for today’s event. “We are proud to join each of our partners in supporting access to care and services as an essential part of building hope, safety, & personal resilience,” concluded Acting Consul General Will Stevens.”

I have had little cause for American pride for the last 4 years, it is good that it was generated by something so worthwhile.

Last weekend was another housebound lazy weekend. We seem to have a lot of those lately and I am perfectly fine with that! There is no one I would rather be housebound with than my handsome hubby and my amusing animals. I am happy sitting on my balcony watching the clouds and I am very blessed to have the beautiful view we have.

On Sunday we were at least a wee bit productive. I did a deep dive clean in the bedroom and Norm did lots of ironing. I hate ironing and would rather be wrinkled than suffer standing over a hot iron on a warm day. Or a cold day for that matter. (Did I mention that I hate ironing?)

I threw out loads of old half empty containers of creams, hair products and other things which have been hanging around forever ‘in case I need them’ and were so old they were probably toxic. I found some bits and pieces which had gotten buried under various piles of crap (laundry, paperwork and just the detritus of life) or were stuck in drawers. I found the sweetest little pic of my Dad and I. I think I am about 3 here as I wore that dress for my 3rd birthday party. Dad was the original hipster. I do not know what animal I was carrying as I always had a menagerie.

After cleaning I made lunch. I was craving bacon but it was a warm day and I did not fancy an omelette so I made a big salad that I called a ‘Kitchen Sink Salad’ with roast chicken, crispy bacon, boiled eggs, rosa tomatoes, radishes, feta cheese, cucumber, red onion, almond flakes and olives and served it on a bed of gem lettuce and rocket.

We watched a political drama on Amazon Prime on Saturday evening called ‘The Report‘ which is based on true events.

It stars Annette Bening as US Senator Dianne Feinstein and Adam Driver as Daniel J. Jones. You may recognise Driver from ‘Girls‘ even though he keeps his clothes on in this film.

Jones was tasked with an investigation of the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and “enhanced interrogation” (aka ‘ETI’ or simply torture) of suspected terrorists during the administration of President George W. Bush. This investigation was a seven-year project that would nearly take over Jones’ life. Working for Sen. Feinstein, then the Chair of the Committee, Jones and his team reviewed around 6.3 million pages of internal CIA documents and wrote a roughly 6,700-page report on their findings (often referred to as the “torture report”) which remains classified to this day.

I give the film 4.5 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨ but it was very difficult to watch in some parts. The human rights violations and torture methods were absolutely inhumane and a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

We randomly chose a new series on Amazon Prime to start watching called Utopia. It stars John Cusack as Dr. Kevin Christie and Dan Byrd as Ian. You may recognise Dan from ‘Cougar Town‘. It drove me mad trying to place his face!

Oh.

My.

Gawd.

This is a bizarre, incredibly violent and gory series about a group of comic book nerds who stumble upon a cult underground graphic novel and get drawn into a mission to save the world. Along the way a lot of people die in a horrific fashion. But I close my eyes in the gory bits as the story is interesting and keeps pulling you along. It does have the shallow depth of a comic book however so if you want realism, keep on flicking those dials (or in the days of Netflix, I guess we should say ‘don’t add to your list’).

On Monday morning at 6:30 Lola came and jumped on me and meowed and meowed. I do not know if the mornings getting lighter means that she thinks I have overslept or what her agenda is but once she wakes me I am awake. I tried to get back to sleep but Miss Pixie decided that was not happening and proceeded to jump on my head.

After a weekend of very warm weather I assumed it would continue on Monday so I got up and put on a sun dress but it turned very cool so I kept adding layers and ended up stomping around in uggs, a sequined sun dress and a big denim shirt which would have been fine except that a delivery man arrived and I had to go out to the gate like that. I am sure he thought I was a homeless tramp who was squatting in our house. Navajo went mental with his arrival and the delivery guy asked what sort of dog he was and what happened to his tail. He mentioned what a great guard dog he is as Nava slobbered, barked and showed him his teeth as he was trying to pass my delivery over the gate.

Norm did a proper grocery shop on Monday in between his meetings and so we cooked our usual ‘shopping day’ dinner of fillet steaks. Norm cooked the steaks and I made my usual creamy mushroom and peppercorn sauce to go with it. I roasted sliced sweet potatoes and cauliflower sprinkled with parmesan. It was all delicious.

On Tuesday it started raining just as Mzudumo arrived to work in the garden so the timing was not great, despite our gratitude for the rain. Norm found other tasks to keep him dry yet occupied. There are always a million tasks when you own a home.

Dinner that night was chicken breasts. I browned them in a frying pan then moved them into a roasting dish. I then browned some sliced mushrooms in the same frying pan and added those with some chopped broccoli and a mix of chicken stock, cream and spices to the roasting dish and popped it in the oven. The cream and stock almost always separates so if any of you chefy people know why please let me know? My friend suggested it might be the high heat. It tastes fine, it just looks unappealing.

I roasted chunks of sweet potatoes and fried sliced brussels sprouts to go with it.

On Wednesday I had an appointment for my annual mammogram. That meant I had to put on proper clothing and I actually put on make up.

Norm came with me for support. I go to a Woman’s breast and bone densitometry imaging centre which is staffed only by women. The radiologist is on site, you can make an appointment on line and it is easy, quick and efficient. I was in and out in no time at all. They do a digital mammogram then the radiologist does an ultrasound and they tell you there and then what the results are. Once I got the all clear Norm offered to take me for lunch and we went across the road to Tashas at Constantia Village Shopping Centre.

The staff took our temperature and contact info and had us sanitise our hands when we arrived. We managed to score a table outside in the shade of a big tree. It was warm if a bit windy.

Norm and I both ordered salads. I had the Caesar salad with baby spinach, gem lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, croutons, boiled egg, crispy parma ham, parmesan & caesar anchovy dressing and I added chicken. It was R128.

Norm had the halloumi salad containing halloumi, baby spinach, rocket, red onion, mint, cranberries, pistachios, avocado, croutons, chives, parsley & pomegranate dressing. It was also R128.

Afterwards we headed home as I was still working for the rest of the afternoon. After that big lunch I was too full for a proper dinner so we just got some starters from Bow Thai for dinner.

Thursday was the American Thanksgiving holiday. I have not celebrated Thanksgiving since leaving the US. Since I started following the Red Road I am not deluded by the falsified and whitewashed history that most people try to propagate.

However I am always grateful for my many blessings. I am so grateful for our safe, dry lovely home with the beautiful view of the mountains, for my children and their loving partners, for my mom, our cats, our dogs, and especially my wonderful husband who is also my best friend. I am grateful that we have hot water, electricity, enough food to eat and clothing to wear. That we both have a job which we can do from home. We have so many things to be grateful for.

Since my family in the US decided to not meet up for Thanksgiving dinner, we had planned a zoom meeting that evening with Mom to cheer her up. But Caitlin was away with Wes for the weekend and Lily had work to do that evening so we decided to move it to Sunday instead.

For dinner on Thursday I covered pork chops in teriyaki and baked them. I parboiled some red cabbage then fried it in butter and balsamic vinegar. I used my fave new way of cooking cauliflower (a staple of the low carb diet). I put the cauliflower into a bowl, drizzled it in olive oil then finely grated fresh parmigiano cheese and put it all into a roasting pan and sprinkled with raw almonds. The cheese and the almonds make it a very different dish and adds texture and crunch. I hate overcooked smushy vegetables.

That morning I also cooked a beefy tomato sauce for a pasta free version of lasagna for Friday night’s dinner. Last night all I had to do was two layers each of the meat sauce, ricotta cheese and mozzarella and bake it all.

I made a salad to go with it. The lasagna was a bit liquidy but very tasty.

I took advantage of a few Black Friday deals. I bought lots of Christmas presents for Norm and the kids online from Woolworths and Mr Price. We bought a steam cleaner and some other bits and pieces for the house from Takealot and I bought a huge supply of coffee capsules from Coffee Capsules direct. The coffee company are so efficient that my order arrived the day after I placed it online. I will not need to shop for coffee for months.

But my best bargain was some things I have coveted since the first time I saw them. I love red and I love Smeg products and their retro designs. They were already cheaper at @Home than they were at any other shop I could find, but @Home had them marked down R2000! I am a very happy spoiled Kitten. #IDeserveIt

I refuse to go into a mall so if I cannot get it online or from a local shop in the village then it is not being bought. Today we are popping around to a vendor’s house to collect some items I ordered for Trevor and Josh.

The latest info on Covid is that there have been 5,383,078 people tested in South Africa.

On a global scale we managed to remain at 16th for total cases for two weeks in a row.

The week before that we were 14th so we are steadily improving. Even better news is that on the global count of deaths per 1 million people we dropped to 42nd! Last week we were at 39th and the week before that at 36th so that is very positive.

What is very worrying is the increase in the counts in the Cape Metro areas. In the update pic below our area is ‘Southern’ (Hout Bay) and shows an 87% increase over the last week.

Now we are worried that this increase may lead to another lockdown or at minimum a drop in our lockdown level. We will go back to being extra careful.

The USA is still 1st for total cases and total deaths and has moved up to 9th for global count of deaths per 1 million people. Trump is burying his lame duck head in the swamp and the total deaths have now reached 271,029 people. 

For the musical section of my post I am providing a video by one of my favourite artists, John Legend, doing a Tiny Desk at Home Concert from a few months ago. He is such an amazing writer and performer and is the master of love songs.

His set list is: ‘Ooh Laa’, ‘Wild’, ‘Conversations in the Dark’, and ‘Bigger Love’ which are all from his album ‘Bigger Love’.

For my 2nd video I provide Billie Eilish singing “Therefore I Am” live at the American Music Awards this week. I love this young lady’s voice and her confidence and unwillingness to let her clothing or style be the focus of her performances. It is all about her talent.

I hope you all have had a great week and are keeping yourselves safe. If you can stay home please do, if you have to go out then please practice safe distancing, wash your hands and wear a mask.

Until next time, socially distant Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox

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