Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012 My Life 02 JAN 2012

So the annual retrospective is upon us, and to be honest, 2011 proved not to be a very memorable in terms of personal growth year, completely unlike its predecessor 2010 which was filled to the brim with big and exciting stuff.

2011 was dominated by one thing, and one thing alone – raising Jessie. So outside of parenting 101 and experiencing all of her firsts, nothing else really of note happened during the year for me – no new hobbies, no change in direction in terms of work, no big projects completed, no weekends away, no new big stuff – in other words not exactly a huge year for me then.

And to make it even more depressing, there are a lot of unfilled goals to take note of as well.

I didn’t get to invest time into golf or running as I wanted to, I didn’t manage to up my fitness level considerably nor lose any weight like I needed to, I didn’t up my artistic output like I had planned, and I didn’t manage to get a single one of my personal projects/ventures off the ground, despite the fire in my belly at the start of the year – heck, even Chantelle has now gone and beaten me to the punch with her Cookies & Cakes venture!

All of that said and done though, 2011 wasn’t exactly a bad year either. We did see a lot of our friends and family last year, financially we were quite sound, and by sound I mean not in the red (apart from the first two months when Chantelle was still on unpaid maternity leave), and then of course there was the joy (and exhaustion) that comes from the devastatingly cute Jessica.

In other words, it was definitely still a good year for us – I’m just a little disappointed in not having achieved a lot of the things that I had wanted to!

And what about 2012 then? Realistically I know that time combined with Chantelle’s shift work will not allow me to increase my hobbies or activity list, in fact I may very well need to pull back on the existing set just to keep my sanity. I’m still very keen on launching my ventures, but again time will tell if I manage to find the discipline needed in order to get them in development and through to launch.

The two things that are however definitely going to change this year is the going away for weekends part (because both Chantelle and I fully deserve it and we need to make up for the lost trips from 2011) and the fitness level/weight loss thing, which should be a lot easier to achieve now that Chantelle is fully onboard – after all, come the end of 2012 we need to be pregnant again in order to stick to our two children, three year gap plan! Outside of that, I’m not planning on rocking the boat in terms of my work, nor will I drop my karate, which now stands at a year and a half time investment before I reach my ultimate goal of black belt.

And then there is of course the continued growing in being a dad for Jessica.

So in summary, I don’t foresee 2012 from being all that different from 2011, but hopefully this time around I can get at least SOME of the things on my wish list/want list done for a change! ;)

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011 My Life 14 JAN 2011

Cape Town Stadium - Italy vs. Paraguay - World Cup 2010!So we are now well into 2011, and looking back at 2010 I can’t help but wonder how on Earth any forthcoming year will ever be able to compete with what was an absolutely monumental year in my life.

Outside of it being the year in which both Chantelle and I turned the milestone 30, it was also the first year in my marriage to Chantelle, which as anyone can see, continues to go from strength to strength. On the birthday note, we celebrated my birthday with Chantelle whisking me away on a surprise holiday in the gorgeous Drakensberg – where I also learned that we were expecting our first child!

Needless to say, as you also all know by now, 2010 also proved to be the year that our little beloved Jessica decided to join the Lotter clan (a little ahead of schedule), in other words a momentous 2010 saw me grow as both a husband and become a father all in a single breath!

Although nothing particularly great happened on the career front, the work situation did force me to buy my very first, brand new off the showroom car (a beautiful midnight grey Hyundai Getz) – which of course was further complemented with the purchase of my very first house towards the end of the year, again all in a single breath and now firmly placing us a Gordon’s Bay locals!

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Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010! My Life 31 DEC 2009

So, tonight is New Year’s Eve celebrations, meaning that we finally say goodbye 2009 and hello 2010, and while I look forward to 2010, the year which will undoubtedly be driven by the World Cup soccer celebration here in South Africa, I must say that looking back over 2009, it was a pretty good year after all.

Naturally, the year was pretty much dominated by the lead up to and the eventual wedding that saw Chantelle and I finally become husband and wife, probably the greatest leap forward in my life for many a past year. Of course this year also saw our first real holiday together, that being our honeymoon roadtrip up the country, as well as the completion of my first year in my new job here at Touchwork, a position and place of work that I’ve really come to enjoy and take pride in.

2009 also marked the year I returned to karate after my lengthy departure from the discipline, starting up in a new style and once again, all the way from the ground up. Thankfully though, the people at the Funakoshi dojo are simply marvelous and I enjoy each and every session with them all, so much so that it looks like this may very well be the first style in which I attempt to go all the way and finally get that ever elusive black belt! Already got one tournament under the belt and sporting green at the moment, so I’m off to a good start it would seem! :)

Outside of that, my hobbies all continued as normal, gaming, anime, manga and comic books, though the one thing that did slack off is my webcomic production, something I’ll have to look into kicking off properly again come the new year. Blogging continued at the usual frenetic rate and I finally got around to claiming my own vanity URL towards the end of the year, hence you reading this on http://www.craiglotter.co.za instead of the old http://www.codeunit.co.za.

2009 also turned out to be the year of spending money on the pad, and as such we’ve got quite a couple of nifty things lying around the house now, and come January next year, the brand new couches should be sitting looking nice and pretty as well! Sadly, this was also the year that Coco went missing in action and while he is still sorely missed, it also turned out to be the year of Achilles, as our playful ginger boy joined our family way back in January believe it or not!

Not much else is jumping to mind as I type this (being brutally honest as always), but looking out over everything I’ve already typed so far, I can safely say that on the balance of things, 2009 was a fabulous year for both Chantelle and I. In other words, it is with a fond farewell we bid to what was an excellent year in our journey together and we eagerly look forward to 2010 – who knows, it might just be the year to usher in a little Lotter if the awesome Craig has his way! ;)

Chantelle performing a kiss attack directed at Craig’s nose

“Honey, I can’t help but feel that there is something coming between us”. Sadly, the elephant was not amused.

Incredibly, the dogi does somehow manage to stay closed around that enormous girth I carry around these days…

A Year of life in the Helderberg (2019-12-31) Photo Gallery 25 APR 2020

So with the 2016, 2017 and 2018 image dump posts of all the photos which aren’t linked to a blog post now sitting all safe and sound with my web host, I guess that I need to add the 2019 batch as well, seeing as we are now well and truly into 2020. (Also, sorry for not doing one of my annual Goodbye Hello posts at the start of this year – honestly they’ve become a little too routine to continue for now).

This particular selection features first days, sport, concerts and voting at Gordon’s Bay Primary School, Mark Haze at Die Boer in Durbanville, a turn at Home Affairs in Somerset West, the view from my office in Westlake, Ocean Basket’s Harbour Island View in Gordon’s Bay, the solar panel parking and delicious green curry from Wang Thai at The Sanctuary in Somerset West, wine and cheese tasting at Steenberg Vineyards, planes at the Stellenbosch Flying Club airstrip, views from Somerset Mall and the Helderberg Shopping Centre of all places, a Somerset West night time Christmas market, walks along the Lourens River, strolls along the Strand beach promenade, and of course scenes from our home here in beautiful little Gordon’s Bay.

Plus Belgian waffles – because those things are of course delightful.

A Year of life in the Helderberg (2016-12-31) Photo Gallery 10 DEC 2019

I generate a lot of photos. Pretty much entirely because of this blog. As such, I have a massive trove of unposted photos which are all important reminders of my very happy life and as such are memories that I very much want to safeguard (and share). Posting it to my site is one way of doing this.

Unfortunately, not every outing and every little life event generates enough photos to make it worth posting as its own blog entry and so these little lost picture souls generally just languish for years and years in my unposted photo folder.

As you might imagine then, this folder has gotten a bit too large, and as such I’ve decided to sort through the images, split everything up into years, and do a big batch post for each one just to get the files up on the web.

So first up then, a set of random photos from my life in the Helderberg in 2016:

No Weekends Away for the Next While My Life 09 SEP 2016

Ah yes, I very naively stated at the start of this year that my plan for 2016 was to go for at least one weekend away trip each and every month, to make up for being housebound / crippled for so long following my ruptured quadriceps tendon injury in December last year.

IMG_20160416_104325 chantelle photobomb with craig lotter at warmwaterberg spa near barrydale

Looking back I really did get off to a good start (considering I could only really half walk again by May), with a trip to Jacobsbaai in February, a trip to Mossel Bay in March, a weekend at Warmwaterberg Spa outside Barrydale in April, a stay in Stanford in May, a Garden Route break via George in June, and then the massive one, just short of two weeks away in the United State of America – Anaheim and San Diego to be precise – in July. (Which I still need to blog about, I know!)

However, my year long goal has come to a crushing halt thanks to the realities of life – in other words, my disposable income is currently under strain! :D

When we learned that Jessica was struggling a bit with Grade R (and looking unlikely to progress to Grade 1 next year), we immediately leaped into action by signing her up for some intensive occupational therapy with the brilliant Nicola van Zyl at the Et Al Therapy and Learning Centre. The results have been brilliant, but it does cost me over R2,000 a month, so there’s that.

However, now we are in a predicament where the teacher is no longer sure as to whether or not Jessica should progress or stay behind next year, and with Chantelle and I sitting on different sides of the fence (I want Jessica to progress, while Chantelle wants her to hang back), we’ve decided to get a professional opinion via a thorough school readiness assessment from the very capable educational psychologist Mia Schoeman, again at Et Al. This will help us make the proper decision, but of course it comes at a price of just over R3,000.

Then there was the unplanned trip to the dentist which set me back a surprise R4,135, not to mention the scheduled 150,000 km car service on our 2007 Hyundai Accent (which we only bought at the end of 2013 following the wrecking of Chantelle’s Getz) which cost R2,945 and came back with a quote of R10,000 for work which still needs to be done!

So yes, there is a need for a slight break in my “going away each and every month in 2016” plan!

Not all is lost though. I’ve got a trip with the girls to Gouritsmond (Gouritz) already booked for late December, and I’m reasonably sure that by October the need to get away will kick in once again, overriding any silly monetary concerns that I might have…

IMG_20160206_075812 girls and craig lotter at artists retreat on a misty jacobsbaai morning

(Mind you, if you follow my Instagram feed or Facebook page it certainly wouldn’t look like I’ve let up. Spring is here and the girls and I are making the MOST of the good weather in order to explore our surrounds come each and every weekend!) 

First world problems, I know! ;)

Occupational Therapy for Jessica at Et Al in Somerset West Jessica 04 MAY 2016

Shortly after the start of Jessica’s Grade R year, her teacher Diane Matthews raised some concerns regarding Jess’ progress at school. Chantelle and I gave it a term and a bit to see if things would approve, but as it turned out, the concerns remained and in the end we decided to take Jessica for an occupational therapy evaluation on recommendation from Diane.

IMG_20160503_132952 et al therapy and learning centre in somerset west

We made contact with the Et Al Therapy and Learning Centre in Somerset West, the same place where Jess went for physiotherapy with Stephanie Halford back when she was still a toddler.

There we got in touch with Nicola van Zyl, a young occupational therapist who then took Jessica through a lengthy (but fun) evaluation, the report of which we’ve now just sat down and discussed with Nicola.

As suspected, quite a couple of weak points were identified (i.e. in terms of being on the level considered normal for other five year old children), things that include the likes of weak postural and core muscles, bilateral integration issues, and motor planning difficulties.

Of greater concern (in terms of school progression) though is the many visual perception difficulties that Jessica also seems to have (she scored quite low in the fields of visual discrimination, memory, form-constancy, sequential memory, figure-ground and closure), which will need to be rectified sooner than later if she wants to keep up with her friends at school.

So, starting Thursday, Jessica will now be doing an occupational therapy session twice a week. (Sigh, my budget just can’t get a break this year. Goodbye Biokineticist, hello Occupational Therapist!)

Luckily though, Jess seems to like Nicola (not to mention all the cool swings and equipment in the class), so I don’t think she’ll mind all these fun new outings after school!

Related Link: Et Al Therapy and Learning Centre

Less than Two Weeks to Go! My Life 20 NOV 2008

WorkerOoh, time really is flying by! I’ve got less than two weeks to go before I say goodbye to good old Commerce I.T. and hello TouchWork. As it is, it looks like my position here at Commerce I.T. is going to remain unfulfilled still for quite some time, thanks to the HR and selection committee dragging their feet a fair bit. Needless to say, the boss is pretty nervous and angry about this situation all rolled into one.

The bitterest pill that I’ve had to swallow though is most definitely the fact that my current position turns out to be under-graded by at least one pay scale (which amounts to a lot of money that could have been in my pocket already!!!). So the new guy (though in all likelihood it will be a girl) will be earning a lot more money doing exactly the same work that I was doing – *sigh*, so it goes I suppose! :)

In any event, I’ve already outlined my reasons for the job change on numerous occasions before, so like I said – this move REALLY isn’t about the money, it’s all about expanding my horizons, improving my skill set and letting me grow just that little bit more, both professionally and socially.

(In any event, I’m actually going to be earning minimally less than what I currently am, so you know this is true! Actually come to think of it, now I’m going to be earning a LOT less than what I would be earning if I stayed and my job got upgraded! Damn, tough decision! :D)

As it stands at the moment, I’ve agreed to stay on Commerce I.T.’s payroll to remotely help them out after hours for when they need me during this transitional phase for them, so at least that is a bit of cash in my back pocket if they ever need me. So now it is just two final more projects for me (the one being a resource centre-like portal for the new guy) and a couple of lunches/functions to attend and then I’m finally physically out the doors – but not out of the system just quite yet!

And talking about lunches/functions, boy is this period busy. Last Friday was Pinnacle taking us out to lunch at Fat Cactus, Monday was lunch with Kyle at Cubana, tomorrow will be our year-end function at Cubana and then next week I believe it is a departmental supper with Elsje sometime. Sjoe, talk about needing an iron-clad stomach for the next while! ;)

It’s Frightful Really My Life 03 NOV 2008

Craig ChantelleSo as alluded to in an earlier post, Friday night Chantelle and I were booked in for a not quite so frightful Halloween party hosted by Andy and her partner in crime at Treasure Chest, held at the delightfully remote and feathered Blue Mountain Bird Farm out in Klapmuts.

The theme for the get together was the letter H and as such, there was quite the variety of weird and wonderful on display when we finally arrived, fabulously late and once again in one of our ‘better late than never’ attitudes! :P (Well, we can’t help the place is so bloody far away from Gordon’s Bay!)

While I had taken the fairly easy route out, picking up a poncho and a sombrero and insisting that I go simply as a ‘hombre’ (I didn’t even shave for a week or two for authenticity’s sake), Chantelle on the other hand went all out, deciding on going as a ‘hippie’ and even going so far as tie-dying her own shirt!

So there she was, emblazoned in a bright pink flare pants, white and blue tie-dye shirt, blue headband and completely decked out from head to toe in jewellery, and me in my multi-colour poncho and sombrero that puts even Joseph’s amazing coloured technicolour dreamcoat to shame. However, bright as we were, it becomes difficult to compete when you are up against a fearfully pink ‘hasie’, two big rugby ‘hookers’, a colourfully attired ‘hindu princess’, a ‘high flying pilot’, a ‘Hawaiian’, ‘Hobo’, ‘Hello kitty’ and even Heidi the Hospitable Housemaid herself!

By the time we arrived, the meat was already on the coals and we quickly fell in step, felling those drinks and gathering that gossip while two poor designated bastards slaved over the hot fire behind us. The mood was pretty festive (and not just thanks to ‘Horny’ Fiona and her ill fitting bull’s horns and Andy’s gigantic rubber breasts) despite the skeletons and fake spider-webs hanging all around and with some good music on in the background the party was pretty much a success.

As it turned out, the food was more than enough to match the mood, and when it did finally come off the coals, everyone hungrily tucked in, though a little more carefully than one normally would do, thanks to the paper thin plastic plates that displayed a nasty tendency to crack right through the middle with a well placed fork prod. Needless to say, I dropped enough salad bits through the hole in the middle of my plate to embarrass myself and just hope that no one can ever link that fallen piece of chicken to me.

At least the various attending dogs now like me.

The party stuck around until pretty late, though just before 00:30 Chantelle and I pulled a fast one, wishing a quick goodbye to the important people that were still there and then disappeared down the road in a cloud of dust, sobbing at the fact that it would still take us a good 45 minutes just to get home! :(

(Thankfully the radio proved to be rather good company on the long drive home. Chantelle’s gentle snoring did not.)

The one thing I did however learn from a thoroughly enjoyable evening out and about is that being a hombre is particularly difficult. Sombreros tend to knock into things if you forget how wide the brim is, and when you hang the sombrero behind you, it feels as if somebody keeps tapping you from behind… which is almost as annoying as the flappity poncho which seems intent on getting caught in everything! :)

Frightful, I know.

Chantelle