A Broken Society

My emotions have felt like a yo-yo for the last few weeks and my anxiety has been on high alert.

We’ve had the lowest of lows with the latest Supreme Court decisions. First, on over-turning Roe vs Wade as mentioned in last week’s blog. My stomach has continued to be full of anxious butterflies as we watch women’s rights to bodily autonomy being put on the same level as cattle. Women being forced to give birth to children that they do not have the capacity to care for and for which American society does not wish to care for.

The debate over abortion is often framed in terms of religion, even though the court’s holding focused on other constitutional grounds. This leads me to the other worrying ruling by the Supreme Court. The ruling around prayer in schools said that school employees could pray in a private capacity but did not endorse teachers leading students in prayer during instructional time.

The case, Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, centered on Joseph Kennedy, a former football coach at Bremerton High School in Washington. Kennedy started coaching at the school in 2008 and initially prayed alone on the 50-yard line at the end of games. Students started joining him, and over time he began to deliver an inspirational talk with religious references (aka a ‘SERMON’). Kennedy did that for years and also led students in locker room prayers. The school district learned what he was doing in 2015 and asked him to stop out of concerns the district could be sued for violating students’ religious freedom rights.

He stopped leading students in prayer in the locker room and on the field but wanted to continue kneeling and praying on the field himself after games. The school asked him not to do so while still “on duty” as a coach after the games. When he continued, the school put him on paid leave. Kennedy sued and won the right to pray in a private capacity but the ruling did not endorse teachers leading students in prayer during instructional time.

However, by leaving the door open to more individual prayer in schools, the court may also open a proverbial can of worms. Will supporters of this ruling who rallied behind a Christian coach be as open-minded if, or when, other groups whose values differ from their own wish to display their beliefs in public? Somehow I doubt that.

Meanwhile, this week South Africa lost 21 beautiful young souls. The police were called to a nightclub after being told that there were ‘lifeless bodies there’ only to discover 17 dead teens and others who were in critical condition. Two more children died at a local clinic, one died on the way to another hospital and one at that hospital. Their ages were between 13 and 17 years old.

It was an event celebrating the end of mid-year exams, but the victims were too young to be in a club which sold alcohol and as of the point of publishing, they still do not know the cause of their deaths. Some parents had not even shown up to collect their children and some children were still missing at the point of publication. Did these children have someone to care for them while they were alive? I hope so.

So many children around the world are left to fend for themselves as their parents are trapped in their own mental illness and addiction. I think that we are now starting to see the results of this lack of love to our children in the increases in mass shootings, abuse of others and that lack of feeling of ‘ubuntu’. ‘Ubuntu” is a Nguni Bantu term meaning “humanity”. It is sometimes translated as “I am because we are” (also “I am because you are”), or “humanity towards others”. In Xhosa, the latter term is used, but is often meant in a more philosophical sense to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.

Globally we need to be pulling towards each other but instead the bonds that hold us seem to be stretched thinner than ever. There are always two sides to every story, but the two sides are engaged in a tug of war of dominance between the extreme right vs the rest of us.

Justice has prevailed for some victims of abuse as we saw the prison sentences announced for both of the convicted pedophiles R. Kelly and Ghislaine Maxwell, amounting to a collective 50 years between them.

Kelly has been in prison since 2019 and he still faces further legal action in August, when he goes on trial again, this time in Chicago on child sex images and obstruction charges and he is also due to face sex abuse charges in both Illinois and Minnesota.

The 26th of June was the anniversary of the day that we lost our beloved boy Navajo and we have been thinking and talking about him a lot. He was such a wonderful dog. Finn does fill a bit of that space in our hearts but he is such a different personality than Navajo.

On the opposite end of the emotional see-saw, the 26th was also my Mother’s 81st birthday. I am very blessed to have my Mom still with us. Norman solidified his “Best Stepfather On the Planet” position as he offered each of my children financial assistance towards purchasing a plane ticket to the states to visit their grandmother. We decided to tell Mom during her birthday Zoom call with our family. We came up with a little song to sing and we all rehearsed it before hand:

All: Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you.
Cait: I’m coming in October
Lily: and November me too
Lisa and Norm: see you Xmas and NYE
All: Happy Birthday to you!!!

But as soon as Caitlin said her line of the song, all hell broke loose with Mom screaming ‘WHAT?!’ repeatedly with her face pressed to the phone screen while the rest of us shouted and laughed hysterically.

If you are curious about the darkness of our backgrounds as well as my missing son on this family call, South Africa is subject to up to 8 hours a day of load-shedding at the moment and in some areas, the cell towers go down as well as the electricity and Trevor was unable to join us on the call. The rest of us were all without electricity too but could still manage to connect at least.

Mom is over the moon and is busy planning all of their adventures. During the week that both Lily and Caitlin will be there at the same time, Mom wants to go on a road trip to Atlanta and stay overnight in a hotel so they can go shopping. Cait can also catch up with some of her high school friends who live in Marietta, a suburb just outside of Atlanta where Mom used to live.

I am so happy for them all. This will be such a special time for them.

Norm and I will go to the states over the holidays and then we come back for Caitlin and Wes’ wedding in the new year. They are planning something simple as neither want the expense nor the stress of a big wedding, it will be only our immediate family in attendance.

It is mine and Norm’s 25th anniversary very soon and we have a weekend away to look forward to as well.

As a whole, our family have so much to look forward to!

One bit of worrying news however is that Mom has been exposed to 2 different people who were exposed to others who tested positive for Covid. Mom’s lungs and age are huge risk factors for her should she become ill so we are all praying for all of the germs to not infect her.

The weather was lovely all week until yesterday when the clouds started rolling in over the mountains and the wind started to pick up.

We were inside the house and heard a loud crash which felt like it shook the house! I rushed to the front door to see what it was only to find Mama Warthog lying on her side by the pool, a victim of the notorious Cape Town winds. You cannot get size context here but she is HUGE! She is the same size as a large shepherd. Luckily she was not damaged and we set her back up with her babies behind her and order was restored.

Today I wanted to go to the shops to look for a new desk chair but the weather is dismal. Finn found a bit of tree that blew off and spent ages proudly carrying it around the garden.

Then it started raining hard and he has had to come inside. A large puppy in the rain is a frustrated rambunctious puppy.

Just after I filmed this Finn dropped Rudolph (his fave stuffed toy) into his water bowl and Norm took it off him as he was slinging water around the room. Finn was not impressed that his fun was interrupted.

Anyone who really knows me knows that I am obsessed with Drag Queens and that I love watching a bit of house renovation telly. Imagine my delight when I discovered the series ‘Trixie Motel‘ which combines both of those things!

I adore Trixie and the first episode had an appearance by Lisa Vanderpump whom I also love so I was hooked right off the bat. #CallMeShallowIDGAF

I love a bit of colour and I love a bit of kitsch in a house design, so designer Dani Nagel‘s aesthetic is right on my wavelength. Obviously I would not want my own home to be strewn with flapping pink flamingos on every surface, but some of Dani’s other home designs are definitely appealing to me.

Trixie’s Motel is available on discovery+ and a new episode streams each week.

Trixie also had another guest on an episode who piqued my interest and who is my musical artist of the week. I am sure that many of you will have at least heard of Orville Peck, as had I, however I knew nothing about his background and even less about his music (or should that be vice versa-d?). On Trixie’s show I discovered that our Orville is a bit of a gay icon. A gay country singer? Much less one who grew up in South Africa and emigrated to Canada as a teenager! These times they are a changing in so many convoluted ways it is hard to keep up with!

However if you actually watch the video for ‘Dead of Night’ the video is filled with gay imagery and subtle (and not so subtle) inferences. I love Orville’s deep voice, it almost has an Elvis-esque deep, smooth, smoky quality to it. I also love the slow sensual pace of the images in this video. I am Orville’s newest (and probably oldest) fan. I hope you appreciate him too.

Tomorrow Caitlin is coming over to spoil Norm for a very belated Father’s Day / “thank you for the airline ticket subsidy” celebration but I think today will be spent in front of a fire wrapped in my blanky!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and week ahead. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox

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