Here’s to 2023

I have had such a lovely holiday. I know I said I would write while in the States but I only had my iPad and it takes too long to type on that so I decided to just relax and not worry about writing. Therefore you have 3 weeks of info for me to condense into one post!

Norm and I were on the 1st flight for the new route that was launched direct from Cape Town to Atlanta GA. It meant we did not have to fly from Johannesburg to Europe or North Africa and could hop on here in the city and go directly there. What a pleasure! We waited for the new route to launch and therefore only flew on the Monday instead of the public holiday on the previous Friday. Norm upgraded us to ‘comfort plus’ class and also booked bulkhead seats so we were on the 1st row and had extra leg room. A guy had booked the 3rd seat next to us but he kindly offered to move so we could have a seat between us to stretch out. I felt very spoiled. The flight there left in the evening of the 16th and arrived on the morning of the 17th after 16 hours flight time and then we hopped on a bus from the international terminal to the domestic terminal to catch a shuttle which took us to Chattanooga where my Mom and her friend Kathryn collected us. Kathryn had also done the same for my daughters when they went over, she is such a lovely person!

We went for breakfast at the iconic breakfast spot Cracker Barrel and the food was rather disappointing in that it was cold and they forgot the gravy and what is biscuits without gravy? And for those non-yanks I am not talking about cookies! A biscuit is like a savoury scone.

It was bitterly cold, colder than it had been in years! There was an Artic Blast occurring all over the US.

When I arrived at my Mom’s she gave Norm and I a few things she had purchased for us. She had bought me the books I wanted which were written by Grandmother Robin. I am going to be studying the White Wolf shaman course with Rev Tass Two Crows Flying this year which is very exciting for me.

A package had arrived from my friend Kelly containing a beautiful purple amethyst rosary. I love it!

Norm and I tried to stay awake until US bed time so that we got onto the new time zone and I did pretty well but Norm was fading. Considering that he slept the whole flight I found that funny. I never sleep on a flight.

We had to get up early the next morning as Mom had an appointment for her infusion for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her doctor is in Atlanta so we piled in the car for her to drive us back down to where we had been the previous day. It is in the outskirts of Atlanta and not in the CBD so the traffic was not too bad. Her infusion lasts for 3 and a half hours and we sat in the room with her reading or chatting when she was awake. Afterwards we went to a local Mexican restaurant called On the Border for lunch.

The place did not seem very busy but my food was a bit grim, there was hardly any thing in my tacos and the beans had a weird synthetic smoky taste. But they had some killer salsa and chips.

Mom was very tired so she let Norm drive home and she snoozed in the back.

The next day we were up early again as we had a hair appointment in Dayton Tennessee so we had another long drive, but this time North instead of South. I just had my hair cut as I had not had a trim since last December and while Mom was getting her hair coloured, Norm and I went for a wander. They had some lovely wings painted on the side of the building, perfect for an IG moment!

My cousin Mona popped by to visit us but I neglected to snap a pic. I love her like a sister.

We woke to snow on the 23rd but it did not last long once the sun came up.

My friend Crystal popped over to visit us that afternoon once the snow cleared. We have been friends since the 8th grade! We went on our senior trip to Florida together. It was lovely to see her.

We went to Logan’s Roadhouse for dinner that evening.

Mom and I had a salad to start and then we each had a steak. Norm had a club sandwich which looked tasty.

We went to my Uncle Joe’s house for Christmas Day lunch. Mom and I snapped our annual pre lunch pic, she did not put up a tree this year as it is too much effort for her so we just stood by the fireplace.

My Uncle Harley, cousin Brent and his wife Kelly and their daughters Gabby and Maddy were there too. Joe did all of the cooking. We had prime rib, dauphinoise potatoes, green beans and baked beans, sweet potatoes, bread rolls and various desserts. It was all delicious. Joe is a great host.

We stayed until late afternoon then headed home as Mom is not great driving in the dark and the country roads often have no street lights.

On the 27th we attended the memorial for our friend Tim who recently passed away, it is so sad that he has gone, he was such a lovely person. His wife Joy has been Mom’s friend for decades.

Norm and I made a plan to meet up with some of my childhood friends that Friday night and got dressed up.

We went to J. Alexander’s which is one of my faves. We met up with, from left – Jackie, Mike, Karen, Crystal and David.

I love these girls so much! Life long friends.

Jackie and I shared the con queso and spinach dip and chips. It was so yummy!

For my main I had the special of fillet medallions on mash. It had a mushroom and madeira sauce and came with broccoli. It was so good.

We had such a lovely evening and so many laughs. There is nothing quite like long time friends whom you can totally be yourself as they know all of your history, good or bad and still love you despite that knowledge!

For NY Eve we had planned to just hang out at Mom’s and watch the various televised events, but we were invited to go to Issy’s house. Issy is one of Mom’s neighbours a few houses down. We had such fun! We played a few different games, we played a sort of ‘pass the parcel’ and we played cards.

Then a game where you slide a bottle towards a group of dollar bills and win if you get the closest.

It was a lot of fun and nice to be able to walk home but still get out of the house and celebrate with others.

One of my other long time friends came to visit one evening. Judy and I have been friends for over 20 years but never met in person! She brought her dog, a Brussels Gryffon named Ladybug. Judy has just recently moved from Washington state to Alabama so it was the first time she was close enough for us to visit. She brought us the most amazing jams and chutneys that she canned herself.

We had a visit from my cousin Susan and her husband Bobby and their daughter Tori with her son Briggs and new baby girl Olivia. Such gorgeous babies! I love meeting new family members.

We had a few trips to Dalton. Mom drove us down to the Longhorn for a late lunch and we did a bit of shopping.

Norm and I both had the fillet steak and a salad. It was really tender and tasty.

My Uncle Joe came to pick up Norm and I very early for breakfast one day. Mom could not drag herself out of bed. Joe has an inability to take a natural looking photo, he always makes weird faces.

We drove to Dalton along the back roads this time and it was so lovely. We went to Oakwood Café.

Afterwards Norm was playing silly games with the mural on the side of the building.

We also had a visit from my ‘aunties’ Evelyn and Joy and Pax the pup. They have been mom’s friends since I was a child and they are pretty much like family.

We went for dinner with our friend Raven (who is also Mom’s hairdresser). We all adore her she is so kind and funny and good to my Mom. We met at Abuelo’s. Raven is so beautiful as well as kind.

Raven and I ordered the Durango Burrito which is filled with spicy pulled beef with a con queso topping and guacamole. I had mine with only beans as I am not a fan of rice.

We all shared a divine dessert called Tres Leches, a light, famous Mexican traditional sweet vanilla sponge cake with three creams.

On our last Saturday we had a few visitors. My cousin Brent and his family came by for a last visit.

We also had a visit from Shaddi who is one of Caitlin’s school friends.

It was such a wonderful trip and I was sad to leave but I was looking forward to seeing my pets and family. Kathryn again drove us to the shuttle and my friend Peggie popped by to say cheerio. Peggie had been unwell and did not want to risk exposing Mom to any bugs so we had not been able to visit before then.

The flight home was not as long as the flight over, it was just under 14 hours. Norm and I had booked the same seats but a woman had booked the 3rd seat and it was very crowded and Norm went and sat somewhere else. I hoped she would offer to do so but nope she sat herself right there and let him leave. Silly cow.

We wore our masks the entire trip.

When we arrived in Cape Town we booked an uber and headed home. The dogs went insane when they saw us! At first Finn barked at me but I had my hair up and my mask on. Once he realised who we were he went crazy. Pixie was snoozing and we had to wake her up. Her vision seems much worse than when we left, one eye appears completely clouded over and she is just so tired all of the time. Bless her heart.

We stayed up until after 11 and then went to bed. I slept like the dead as I had not slept on the plane but Norm struggled to get to sleep. He had a pain in his ribs the whole trip and we were worried it was a hernia.

Yesterday I got up and attacked my cupboards. I cleared out 9 black bin bags of clothes, underwear and shoes to give to charity as well as a few things to give to Lily to see if they will do for maternity clothes.

OMG I just realised I have not mentioned that I am going to be a GRANDMA!!! Lily found out when she was in the US but only announced it once she got home and had a scan to confirm everything is on track so I had to keep it on the down low. I am so excited!!! Lily and Josh will be such great parents.

I am now back to intermittent fasting and and due to my high cholesterol I have stopped putting cream in my coffee and had it black. Last night we cooked dinner. Norm cooked a fillet steak as I need the iron and I made a big salad with avo, feta, red onions, cucumber and tomatoes.

This morning Norm and I both went to the doctor. I am now on various supplements for my low iron and Vit D deficiencies. He has decreased my meds for my stomach in case they are interfering with my B12 absorption. Norm had his swelling in his abdomen checked and the doc thinks it is not a hernia so that is a huge relief.

This weekend Caitlin and Wes are getting married and all of our immediate families will be in attendance and Norm is performing the ceremony.

I am so excited about this year, it is already so wonderful and exciting with so much to look forward to.

I hope you have all had a lovely year end and I wish you all the best for 2023.

Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x

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