The Gauge

I was thinking about how we gauge ‘success’. Is success an individual measure we use to determine what meets our own criteria or is it a universal concept? But what if the tick-list that others apply does not contain the same things which make you feel like you have attained success?

We often lose sight of the reason why we want to ‘succeed’. Some people equate success with acquisition.

Or is that a Toxic Masculinity type viewpoint because I struggled to find an image that was not ‘He that dies…’ rather than the genderless ‘The One that dies…..’? I have no need to have unfathomable depths of cash. My perfect level of wealth would be being able to afford to go visit my Mom several times a year and to fly there first class not because I want champagne but because I am overweight and arthritic. My needs are not exorbitant, are they?

Each night as I go to bed and pray I try to always give thanks to my creator for the things I am grateful for, no matter how ‘simple’ they may be. I have a warm, dry, safe & comfortable home. We have a beautiful view and I am so blessed to be able to gaze at my mountain while working from home. I am grateful for my job and for the fact that I love what I do and that I have a client who trusts me and listens to me. I am grateful for my relationships with my kids and that they are all healthy and happy. I am grateful that my mother is still around and can look after herself and has a great support system where she lives. I am grateful for my wonderful, handsome, sexy and kind husband who understands me (aka ‘puts up with my nonsense’). I am grateful for my dogs and cats (even when they are annoying af). I have so many blessings.

By my own measures, I am a success, or my life is successful, however you want to phrase it. And I am so grateful for that, but sometimes even I get a bit derailed by my unreasonable expectations from others.

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. A day I have pretty much always found difficult. I have not lived near my own Mother in over 30 years and my children did not live near me for most of their childhood. My divorce was acrimonious, bitter and vicious so the children’s father seldom made an effort to make an overseas call on Mother’s Day and the terror I felt at hearing his voice often led to me not making calls from my end. I regret that I did not work my way through that trauma earlier, but changes happen at their own pace so I try not to bear that guilt.

This year none of my children were here for Mother’s Day. That made me a little bit sad but we planned to have a Zoom meeting that evening and that assuaged a bit of my sadness. Usually when it is my birthday or anniversary or any other day for commemoration Norm has a pattern of waking up and saying he ‘needs to go to the shops’ and returning with a bundle of flowers, so when he made me a coffee in bed and said he was off to the shops, my expectation was that I would come downstairs to find some stunning flowers. After I showered and dressed I excitedly trotted downstairs to find nothing awaiting me. Norm saw my face drop and asked what was wrong so I mentioned that I had thought he might get me flowers and he came out with that dreaded phrase:

But you are not MY mother?

I remember my Dad would say that to my Mother when I was young and I hated it then and I especially hated it this year when I was with neither my own Mom or my children. As a result I burst into tears and no matter what I did I could not stop them. I cried and cried and cried.

Norm was beside himself and could not understand what had triggered me. His words triggered me but they obviously poked some deeper grief as my tears were far more than his moment of disdain merited.

Once I composed myself and wiped off my smeared mascara we headed out for our errands. Norm stopped en-route and bought a bunch of flowers for me.

As beautiful as they are they are still rooted in guilt. #GuiltFlowers

I do not want to sound ungrateful as I know that so many mothers were upset on the day because their children or baby Daddy’s did not even acknowledge the day. I am very grateful for my family but I also want to be worshiped TYVM, is that too much to ask?

We headed off for a second time to run our errands. I had to return some of the cushions I bought from Mr. Price and we needed to pop into Builders again to get some bits and pieces for my garden.

I have put 5 of these solar powered lanterns from Builders on shepherd’s hooks which I ordered online from from T-Bird’s Garden and I love the gentle flickering light at night all around the garden.

I also ordered another one of these Hummingbird Candle Holders from T-Bird Garden’s website too.

Instead of a candle I put air plants in mine. This is the second one I have. The first one I filled has now grown lots and looks lovely.

I have now removed all of my ancient grubby black and white pillows from my lounge and replaced them with cream and ochre coloured ones. I wanted to bring out the colours in the Buddha that Caitlin painted for me. All of the new items are from Mr. Price so it is proof that you can transform a room while staying within a budget. I am really happy with it, the room feels much brighter and fresher. Here is a video of the finished product.

Norm put together the bar stools that I had ordered in the sale from Decofurn.

The quality is not as good as our old chairs and they are definitely not as pretty but they feel strong and comfy and it is fabulous to be sitting at the proper height at the bar.

On Mother’s Day evening we had a family zoom meeting with my Mom and kids. Norm was off getting dinner for us and missed a lot of the call. The kids were trying different backgrounds and I discovered that I could change into an avatar. My fave was the bunny. We laughed a lot about it all and it was lovely to see everyone’s faces. I adore my wacky family.

If the measure of success is your children being happy then I had some lovely events this week towards that end.

First news was that Lily and Josh are now fostering a sick kitten. The fact he is sick is why she has not adopted him. Lily has been so sad since her Toothless died and I hope she can get this little fellow healthy and can adopt him. He has what sounds like a similar lung infection issue to our Panda, he is on antibiotics and gets nebulised. How adorable is he? She has named him Rocket.

Then on Wednesday, the evening before Caitlin’s birthday, we get news that Wes had proposed to Caitlin!

I had been let in on the secret a few months ago when Wes told me. I had promised Caitlin could have the diamond from mine and her father’s wedding ring to use in her engagement ring. I had the diamond and the voucher for the gold band she had already melted down, but when I looked in my safe they were nowhere to be found. Norm scoured the house and eventually found them and I was very glad to hand them over before I lost them again. Caitlin of course was oblivious to all of the drama. The jeweler made a simple, classically elegant ring for her and I love that it was reincarnated from her parent’s failed marriage and is now a part of a happy promising relationship between two people who are perfectly suited to each other.

I love seeing my babies happy and I have been over the moon all week!

Norm and I are pretty bad about keeping track of our schedule other than a day at a time and we ended up forgetting about a dinner booking recently. Then the exact same thing happened this week when our friend Mark messaged us yesterday to ask what time he should pick up Finn as I had asked him to dog sit for the night. I had booked to go to Gambas Seafood Bistro again and forgot for the second time!! This time we were redirected in time and we headed out last night for our date night in Sea Point.

The menu sounded yummy and I was really looking forward to it (once I remembered that we were going). We had booked for a Spanish 3-course dinner menu for R255 each.

We found parking nearby and after dodging the very intrusive, incredibly intoxicated dude stalking us and trying to have a conversation about his brother, we easily found the venue which in on Main Road in Sea Point. They have a large outside patio but due to the weather they had dropped down their protective covers and put out gas heaters and it was quite cozy. Norm ordered a glass of sauvignon blanc and I ordered a strawberry daiquiri.

The restaurant was quite busy and very loud with people talking and laughing and there was an energetic buzz in the venue.

Norm and I both ordered the ‘Duo of Tacos with tuna ceviche and prawn cocktail’. We only noticed after we finished that I did not get the spicy red sauce that Norm had on his, which is ironic as I am the spice freak and he hates anything spicier than a potato. Regardless, the dish was yummy, I preferred the prawn tacos cos I love prawns but both versions were very tasty. It gets 4 out of 5 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

For my main I chose the grilled seafood platter and to compensate for the sugary cocktail I avoided the carbs and ordered it with vegetables. There was a small piece of fish, some prawns, mussels and grilled calamari. It was all very tasty and I enjoyed it. It gets 4 out of 5 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

Norm chose the paella which came with loads of seafood, some of which was unpeeled. Norm hates putting his hands in his food and he gave me his prawns so I was not complaining! He said as far as a paella goes he would rate it 4 Kitten Stars.

Our only complaint was that we waited almost an hour from our starter to our main. I assume it was because I asked for vegetables (cos who askes for vegetables in a fish and chip place? Me, that’s who.) Then after we had long finished our mains and the table was cleared no one had taken our dessert order so we had to wave someone over. We both chose the chocolate brownie with ice cream. The brownie was heated and ladled with hot chocolate sauce and topped with ice cream. There was a drizzle of berry coulis around the edges. Was it the best brownie I have ever eaten? No but it was perfectly acceptable and I give it a solid 4 Kitten Stars.

Norm and I both really enjoyed our meal and our evening out and give Gambas 4 out of 5 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐. It may have scored higher if we did not have such a long wait between courses and I will definitely go back and try their prawn special or their tapas offering.

We stopped off on our way home to collect a very tired and soggy Finn from Mark. We are so lucky to have friends who are willing to help us to have a date night, it is important even though we spend every day together to take time for each other on our own away from the distractions of home.

The weather is a bit misty and cloudy today so we are just relaxing at home. If it clears up I want to do a bit of gardening and Norm is working on clearing our back garden for renovation. This is it stripped back, ready for magic.

We are putting in a raised bed where the Buddha and trees are and I will make that a succulent garden. We are then digging up the weeds and putting artificial grass on the ground. Grass has never grown properly in the back of the house as it gets very little sun other than the area where the succulents will go. I love having projects we can potter about doing over time.

Anyway, it has been a busy and exciting week for us, I hope I did not go on too much and bore you all? I hope you have a great weekend and week ahead.

Stay safe and take care. Until Next Time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

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