Land of the Free

This was a monumental week. As we are now 303 days into lockdown In South Africa with no vaccine in sight, we needed something positive to bolster our spirits and the US delivered.

Wednesday the 20th was the day we were all released from the tyranny and destruction of tRump. I welcome our new US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. I do not remember ever watching an inauguration before but we were glued to the telly for this one. We made a quick and easy dinner of fillet steak, grilled halloumi and salad and set ourselves up in front of the telly to watch it.

President Biden (doesn’t that sound great??) was positive and uplifting in his speech, encouraging unity in the US instead of the division which has been sown and nurtured to fruition by the previous administration and the enablers. In his speech Biden took back the word ‘patriot’ and used it as it should be used, not as a misnomer for domestic terrorism. Biden never mentioned the T word, but he made many comments which were directed at the divisiveness of the last administration and the ego which insisted on loyalty to HIM rather than country. Below are some of my favorite excerpts.

“We will press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and possibility. Much to repair. Much to restore. Much to heal. Much to build. And much to gain. Few periods in our nation’s history have been more challenging or difficult than the one we’re in now.

A once-in-a-century virus silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed.

A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear, and now arise political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.

Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation. I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the common foes we face: Anger, resentment, hatred. Extremism, lawlessness, violence. Disease, joblessness, hopelessness.”

I was overwhelmed watching Vice President Kamala Harris get sworn in as our first woman, our first Indian, our first Black Vice President. She had such a look of pure joy on her face. I know VP Harris will represent the American people with dignity and class. To note, her husband, Douglas “Doug” Emhoff, is the nation’s first ‘Second Gentleman’, and also the first Jewish spouse to a U.S. vice president.

I was so inspired by the words of Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman reciting “The Hill We Climb.” She called out the domestic terrorists and emphasized surviving the turmoil of the previous 4 years and the increase in racism. However, she also encouraged recovery and the ending is so positive: “When day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid. The new dawn balloons as we free it. For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” She was amazing and had more poise than most people twice her age! You could feel the passion exuding from her in an almost palpable way.

There were also some brilliant performances by Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.

It has been a painful 4 years and I suspect that Biden will have his hands full trying to reverse some of the horrid things implemented by the previous administration, such as changes to immigration policies, environmental policies and other poor decisions made. On the Biden / Harris transition site I was pleased to see their priorities:

However Trump tried to squeeze in as much damage as he could on his way out of the door. In an executive order issued on Monday Trump said he had been ‘advised’ to lift restrictions on incoming travelers to the United States from the 26 European countries in the Schengen Zone, the UK, Ireland and Brazil but leave in place restrictions on travel from Iran and China. He claimed to be working under advisement from Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. As always he places the blame elsewhere but those of us who understand the levels of toxicity swirling around in this man, we recognise this as a last ‘fuck you America’ on his way out the door. Biden has stated that he will block this but it just creates more clean up for him and delays his ability to get on with the job.

Biden spent his first day in office ‘cleaning up’ and signed 15 executive orders on Wednesday which were aimed at reversing course on immigration, climate change, racial equity and the handling of coronavirus. This includes an order rejoining the Paris climate accord. Biden also signed an executive order repealing Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’, just one of his many racist policies. Biden also revoked Trump’s emergency declaration that helped in funding the construction of a border wall, one of the former president’s pet projects. Biden discovered that Trump had no vaccine roll out plan or strategy. Trump was just going to let each state handle it on their own. This is resulting in many states being in a crisis of shortages and an inability to roll out the vaccines in a timely manner.

Some of the other things Biden intends to tackle are reversing policies that block US funding for overseas programs linked to abortion, repealing a ban on military service by transgender Americans, extended moratorium on evictions and a suspension of student loan payments until later in the year.

As well as the day that we got rid of Trump, Wednesday was also the day my Mom received her vaccination for Covid. She said her arm was very sore but she had no other issues. I am so relieved but will be even more relieved once she has her second inoculation in 28 days.

Then at lunch time my project manager messaged the team with the news that his wife had safely delivered their third child that morning, a beautiful baby girl. I wish them every happiness with their new blessing (and hopefully some sleep).

Unfortunately on Wednesday we also woke to the sad news that the remains that were recently found buried in the township was the body of missing local child Anothando Mhlobo.

Last month on 23 December, a child’s decomposed body was found in a rocky and sandy area just 100 metres from Anothando’s home but without a DNA test the police could not confirm whether it was the missing boy. Private donations were raised via a local radio station to enable a speedy private DNA test and it has now been confirmed. I blogged about the search for him when he was first reported missing and the turmoil in the village. The post mortem is still under investigation to determine the cause of death and I hope that they can identify the killer of this precious little boy. I pray for comfort for his mother Phatiswa and the rest of his family and loved ones. Nothing is as precious as your child.

I mentioned in my last blog that Saturday was my own precious child Lily’s 30th birthday and that night the family got together on zoom to wish her a happy birthday. It was fabulous to see the faces of my most loved people. I am so blessed.

On Thursday I looked out at the pool and saw that there was something floating and then I saw bubbles coming up so I knew it was alive. Norm and I ran outside and he grabbed the pool net. Mr Mole tried to climb out of the net but was too tired to do so. Norm put him in a box and took him down to the bottom of our road where there is an open area of land. He put him carefully under a bush and we are hoping that he recovers from his trauma and survives.

I also mentioned in my last blog that I had seen my doctor who found some inflammation with my cervix. The test results came back and she rang on Tuesday to tell me that I do not have any cancerous cells on my cervix and there is no infection just some inflammation with no known cause. She prescribed some meds which hopefully will clear up the inflammation. I have been so stressed about it all and I am so relieved that it is nothing more serious.

On Friday while working I realised how calm and peaceful I felt. It may have just been Friday Syndrome, but I feel such an incredible lightness, like a stone has been removed. It is only when your stressor is removed from your life that you realise just how stressed you were. I attribute this to not having a constant barrage of insanity from the White House. My Mom getting the vaccine and my test results being good probably contributed to this feeling as well to be fair. Typical Virgo trying to analyse everything instead of just accepting it!

The Covid virus continues it’s devastation. It is hitting closer and closer to home. My daughter Lily and her husband Josh have just recovered as has my neighbour. We kept Lily and Josh’s positive tests quiet as we did not want to panic my Mother so we only told her after Lily was out of quarantine. It terrified me and I was chatting to her every day but this virus has some bizarre patterns. A school friend is sick with it right now and she is really struggling with it. How your body reacts to this virus seems to be some part luck, some part health, some part genetics and some part happenstance I think!

As of today’s stats, 7,882,846 people have been tested in South Africa. The overall stats are:

On a global level, after a month holding 16th place for total cases SA has moved up to 15th place.

SA is still 43rd in the count of deaths per 1 million population, this has held for 2 weeks. SA was 42nd the week prior to that and had held onto 45th place for a few weeks before that so we are still creeping up on our death count.

The US has had 424,177 deaths and is 11th place in count of deaths per 1 million population. The UK is now in 6th place and has had 95,981 deaths.

This graph was a bit frightening!

Meanwhile, the FBI are still busy with their investigation into the riot by domestic terrorists and are starting to uncover how wide spread the collusion was between the various parties involved.

I suspect we will still see many people arrested and charged with various aspects of treason. We just need to let the FBI do their job.

Last weekend Norm and I watched the docuseries ‘Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer‘ on Netflix.

The series tells the story from the perspective of LA County Sheriff’s Department Detectives Frank Salerno and Gil Carrillo who ran the Night Stalker Task Force. Richard Ramirez terrorised all of LA. I had just moved from Georgia to California and was living in Torrance in the southern suburbs of Los Angeles. Everyone was on edge and no one left their doors or windows unlocked during the year when he was in his most intense period of attack. The scariest thing for me about Ramirez is that he had no standard ‘type’, it appeared that he killed indiscriminately, men, women, white, Asian, Latino, elderly, or young he did not care who his victims were it seemed to be all opportunistic and happenstance. I thought it was an interesting perspective on the police work and capture of this psycho and I give it 4.5 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨.

We just started a series called ‘Bosch‘ on Amazon Prime. It stars Titus Welliver as Detective Harry Bosch, a jazz loving tough guy with a troubled past and a determined nature. The series is based on the novels of Michael Connelly We are really enjoying it but are only a few episodes into season 1. So far so good!

On my own I binge watched the first 2 series of ‘Below Deck‘, a reality series about the lives of the staff on high end luxury yachts, a.k.a. ‘yachties’. (It was originally shown on Bravo and I could not find a Netflix trailer, but you get the gist.)

The staff and guests are all incredibly annoying, loud and overly dramatic, which of course makes for some hilarious scenes, many of which are most likely embellished for the sake of the camera. I would end up floating alone on the yacht having murdered or thrown overboard all of the guests and my colleagues if I were to be in these situations with these idiots. Slagging off aside, I loved it! I am a big reality TV fan and I had a lot of laughs over this bit of nonsense. I think right now many of us need a bit distraction from the reality of these troubling times. I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

For my musical treats, first off I have included the new track ‘You Win’ by Dana Williams. She is so beautiful and talented. I love her voice, it is soulful but has a very sweet tone.

I have also included a new collaboration by Emily Burns and JP Cooper called ‘Is It Just Me?’. Their voices are very complimentary and I enjoyed the video. I interpreted the video as the two dancers are breaking up and the dance shows the turmoil they are going through in the process. The song reeks of longing of unfulfilled love, the type you have when you break up with someone you thought was ‘The One’ but who no longer fits your idea of what you want in your life, or one who has left you alone and longing for their love. It is full of melancholy and all us Virgos love a bit of melancholy.

I hope you have had a good week and I wish you the best for the week ahead. Please keep safe, stay home where possible and if you must go out try to avoid crowded areas. Wear a mask properly over your mouth and nose and wash your hands frequently. We still have a bit to go before we are safe. Even if you have been vaccinated, do not think you are invincible.

Until next time, socially distant Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox

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