Under Pressure

This has been such a tense week full of stress and anxiety.

On Wednesday I woke to several messages from my cousins about my mom. Mom fell in her kitchen and injured herself. She had to drag herself across the room to the couch to get her phone which must have been unbelievably painful. The x-rays showed that she had crushed her femur on the same leg where she had a knee replacement a few years ago. They did surgery on her that evening and the surgeon was unable to put in plates, so he gave her a new larger knee cap which covers the injured area. It is so hard being so far away and unable to go to her but I am so glad she has moved back to her hometown as she has family nearby. My cousin Susan and my uncle Joe took turns staying with her in the hospital and kept us updated.

I was able to speak to Mom via FaceTime on Thursday evening when the physio had her sitting up in a chair. The physio is taking it gently with her because of the severity of her injury but they had her using a walker to get up and walk across the room. Friday she said her leg was quite swollen but that was to be expected with the surgery and severity of her injury. Hopefully she may be able to go home today but it is still night time in the US and I have not spoken to her yet.

President Ramaphosa addressed the nation last Monday night which is always an anxiety inducing situation but this time we were all hoping that the alcohol ban was to be lifted so that hope helped a bit with my mental state. He relaxed the curfew to 11pm to 4am, he opened up our beaches and lifted the ban on alcohol sales. So now we can walk on the beach and go for sundowner cocktails, except we never do either of those things so there will be minimal change to our existence except Norm was able to stock up the wine cellar with our fave Bruce Jack wine. And by that I mean shove some boxes of wine in the nook under the stairs, we do not have a cellar.

The Prez also gave us a bit more insight into the acquisition of vaccines in South Africa and across all of Africa. The first shipment of vaccines arrived in SA from India on Monday. Hopefully they can be distributed quickly and the next lot will arrive soon, however I do not have much expectation of our family being vaccinated for many months.

The investigations by the South African Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, also known as the Zondo Commission, is a public inquiry launched to investigate allegations of state capture, corruption, fraud and other allegations in the public sector and more shocking news came out this week. The recent report of the statements from Dr. Mufamadi has revealed there are R9-billion in State Security Agency funds which are unaccounted for. This money was used to bribe Judges, to pay R4,5 million per month to ex-President Zuma, as well as to fund political battles both inside the ANC and against the ANC’s political opponents. Dr. Mufamadi’s full report was given to President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018. Ramaphosa only issued a very severely edited (redacted) version that removed all the scandal. And since then he has sat on his hands and not implemented remedial action. This proves what we all know, the ANC is corrupt to the core and are all in this together to protect the criminals, not the country as so many people live in dire poverty while the politicians fill their pockets. As shocking as this is, there have been many shocking things coming out of this inquiry yet nothing seems to be done about it except talk.

Much like with Trump and other corrupt politicians we just have to adjust our expectations that there may never be a suitable punishment for their actions.

Pixie went to the vet on Monday as she had a few cysts which were getting quite large that needed to be removed and the fact that she had to be sedated worried me due to her age. One cyst was on her lower front leg and she was licking it obsessively. Norm dropped her at 8am and the vet phoned to collect her in the afternoon. She was soooo high when she got home and had to lean against things to stay upright. They gave her a little bandage for her leg for the first day. She was stoned and had bed head when she arrived home with Norm so don’t judge her appearance too harshly, it was a rough day for her.

There were 2 cysts cut off of her head and neck area. She cannot have a cone to stop her licking her leg because the cone would rub these spots so we just have to keep an eye on her. She is very good though, when she starts to lick her leg if we tell her ‘No!’ then she stops.

Then to end our stressful week the universe chucked in another straw for the camel’s back. On Friday we were notified that there was going to be load shedding that day and our slot was from 6pm to 8pm which is not the worst slot to have. It is does not impact my work day, it is still light enough to function and it does not affect our sleep or TV chill time. Norm went to get a take away for our dinner and after we ate we sat out on the steps and the dogs settled in around us. It was a very warm day and the evening was just starting to cool so it was actually quite pleasant.

Navajo settled in to keep an eye on things and Pixie had a mooch about while Panda stayed close to his Daddy.

Work was also very busy this week. Usually I am just left to get on with my deliverables as I know my work parcels and the timelines for delivery but there were a lot of issues which popped up and I had to provide information for the interface team and for project reporting so I was busy with all of that. I hate being asked to ‘quickly’ do analysis as analysis takes time and I like to verify my info before I submit it. I am not good with rushing! It really stresses me out and I am more prone to make mistakes but I got it all sorted in the end.

Norm did a shop on Tuesday so that I could cook for most of the week. You may have noticed I am not posting all of our home meals now (and may be grateful for that?). Our meals are predominately the same things over and over each week and that was not the purpose of my blog, I like to expose you to new info so I have decided to only post our home meals on Instagram and my followers can engage on that medium. If we eat out or do something special or different I will include that.

Norm also dropped off a few items of clothing I had collected for my friend’s NGO, Community Cohesion. Community Cohesion has opened a new Domestic Violence Shelter for survivors of Sexual Violence at Victoria Hospital Forensics unit. The donation will be used either there or at the Paarl Thuthuzela Care Centre for survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence or for their existing or new clients who are victims of violence and crime. They are always in need of funds so please donate to support them if you can do so.

Meanwhile, my random shopping addiction has carried on.

I had expected that going almost a year without makeup would result in clear lush skin. But it has not and my skin is a bit of a mess! My pores are like craters and my cheeks have little red bumps all over them. I had changed my moisturiser recently as they were out of my usual high street L’Oreal product so maybe the new one is too heavy for my skin. When I received an email from Woolworths advertising a Clarins free gift with purchase it sucked me in and I have ordered some tinted moisturiser, a facial scrub and a waterproof eye pencil and I got the goodies below for free!

I also ordered some new bath and kitchen towels and some teaspoons from Mr Price Home online. We always seem to be out of teaspoons and I cannot remember when I last bought towels. I am one of those people who use things until they are completely worn out, I do not usually collect a lot of ‘stuff’ and I am not one of those ‘house proud’ fanatics. I don’t have fancy things just for guests, no special soaps or towels and dishes that are for ‘special occasions’ if I have it, I use it!

Norm has also been shopping online and he ordered some shelving to get his garage organised and he ordered a new Christmas tree from the Martha Stewart line (and don’t be fooled by Martha’s party girl rep – it is not THAT kind of tree do not roll it and smoke it.)

The Covid stats for the week are that 8,436,569 people in South Africa have now been tested, leading to the following statistics.

On the global scale, for the 3rd week running South Africa is still holding at 15th for total number of cases of the virus.

SA is 41st in the world for total deaths per 1 million of people and we were 42nd last week and prior to that we were 43rd for 2 weeks. SA had held onto 45th place for a few weeks before that so we are still creeping up on the scale despite our lockdown restrictions being relaxed.

The US has had 470,705 total deaths and is 9th place in count of deaths per 1 million population. The UK is still in 5th place and has had 111,264 deaths. Their stats should now improve quite drastically as the vaccines are rolled out. The UK has been very successful and the NHS vaccinated a total of 10,021,471 million people between 8 December 2020 and 2 February 2021 which is amazing. The success in the US is very varied as it is being rolled out at a state level with different quantities of the vaccine being available per state and different systems being used to manage the appointment process, it is a mess in some places and very smoothly done in others.

Norm and I just finished watching the second series of a show called ‘Girls Incarcerated‘. It is about young girls in juvenile correctional facilities in Indiana. I cannot find a trailer but here is a clip which gives you an idea of the type of scenes, however this is a calm one. There is a lot of drama as you can imagine when you enclose a group of troubled teen girls in a small confined space.

I have cried so much watching this show, it is so heartbreaking to see the girls who are there and how damaged they are. Almost all of them are victims of drug and alcohol abuse on the family environment. There is a repetitive cycle which permeates families who suffer from addiction and it is so sad.

The fish bone diagram below is from a case study specific to youth in a particular area but it can be applied to anywhere in the world. The causes or influencers are the ‘bones’ and the ‘effect/result’ is drug abuse.

Image source

The parents of most of the girls are either absent, are addicts or alcoholics or they are in prison themselves (or all of the above). These children are so damaged emotionally and have no support system or structure in which to thrive. Several of them were raised by their grandmothers but they did not have counseling or therapy or the tools to cope with the perceived rejection of their parents. One girl was so devastated on her mother’s birthday because she could not talk to her mother – her mother is an addict and does not have a relationship with her daughter and her father is locked up. The girls act out in the facility out of anger and pain and do not have the maturity to direct these feelings in a positive direction.

Growing up these girls are often left to fend for themselves when the parents are either high or absent completely and they have no role model for how to function as a ‘normal’ member of society. If you have never had a parent who gets up every day and goes to work, brings home a salary, feeds you properly and makes sure you go to school and do your homework then how do you know that is what society expects of you? If you are raised around guns and violence then that lifestyle is normalised for you. If you are raised by parents doing meth or opioids and overdosing regularly then that is normalised for you. Add in the genetic predisposition to addiction and it is a recipe for disaster.

There are now at least 3 generations of families in the world which are ravaged by addiction to opioids or crystal meth and many more generations that have been damaged from alcohol abuse. Without addressing the core issues of this the decimation will continue and probably even worsen. It is heartbreaking.

I recently wrote that I had my own addiction to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and I mentioned how happy I was that there were so many seasons, then when I got to the end of Season 2 I realised that was it! Netflix does not have the other seasons and it upsets me since I was so invested in these random chicks and their drama. Netflix, you should purchase all or none of a series! I have had the same issue with other series I fell in love with and Netflix did not purchase all of the series. I guess if that is all I have to complain about then I should count myself lucky.

For my musical section I give you the video for the song ‘Minefields‘ performed by Faouzia & John Legend. It is such a lovely wistful song.

The second video is from Ray LaMontagne and is called ‘Strong Enough‘. I love his rocky blues sound and his husky voice. I hope you enjoy his vibe as much as I do.

And this week you get a bonus track as Cardi B just dropped her new ‘Up’ video. She looks so gorgeous and sexy in this video. The production is beautiful and there are lots of costume changes too.

We have to go to the mall tomorrow and I am starting to stress about it already. I need to get a refund for some things I ordered online, I desperately need some new bras and we need to upgrade Norm’s phone as his phone battery is overheating and only lasts a few hours. As the contract is in my name I have to go with him.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend and that your week ahead is peaceful. If you are able to stay at home, please do so. If you must go out please wear a mask, preferably double masks as this is the latest guidance on safety. Norm has been doing so and says it is not too bad. I am so grateful I have him to do the shopping and errands in order to keep me safe.

Stay safe. Until next time, socially distant Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

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