Tag Archives: craig lotter

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017 My Life 30 DEC 2016

Believe it or not, it is somehow that time where I once again round up the year that was and then turn the spotlight onto the year to come. Mind you, I’ve done a fair bit of these over the last couple of years (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 20102009 to be exact), but looking back, I seldom get the looking forward part quite spot on.

Nevertheless, as always I’m game to give it a go.

I’ll start off by saying that for the Lötter family as a whole, 2016 wasn’t a particularly exciting year per say.

Chantelle continued her work pulling in a paycheck as one of the managers at Gordon’s Beach Lodge here in Gordon’s Bay, while still baking cakes on the side and as always, dreaming about her own full-time venture still to come.

2016 saw Emily continue her march into ‘toddlerhood’, thriving in the loving care of the Baby Steps team, an environment in which she also managed to forge her first great friendship in the form of another little girl named Marli. Emily is extremely bright, extremely stubborn, and extremely adorable to boot!

It would seem that she’s certainly inherited Jessica’s terrors (i.e. terrified of big animals and the sea), but outside of those, she is an independent, forward thinking little toddler who I am positive is going to do super well at her new playschool Vergeet-My-Nie come 2017.

Jessica had a lovely first year as a Grade R learner in teacher Matthews’ class at Gordon’s Bay Primary, remaining as always the lovely social butterfly that we all know she is. She managed to make a ton of friends across a variety of different age groups at the school and continues to be one of the most open and outgoing little girls that you’ll ever stumble across.

Unfortunately though, a few of the development issues that we were warned about due to her premature birth have now surfaced, and so she spent much of the year undergoing occupational therapy with the wonderful therapist Nicola van Zyl. However, following a professional school readiness assessment with educational psychologist Mia Schoeman, it has been decided to hold her back in Grade R for another year, to give her more chance to gain a better level of ’emotional maturity’ needed for the years still lying in wait.

So plenty of work ahead for my beautiful little blonde princess come 2017, but luckily work that at this point she still sees as being little more than extra fun playtime!

So, as I now sit down and reflect on it, on the whole there really was then very little disruption to the normal Lötter life – no job changes, no house changes, no car changes, no real major… situational changes.

Good, that suits me as a Taurus quite nicely then.

Of course 2016 didn’t start all that well for me personally mind you – I did after all only really start walking about properly again come May of this year!

However, this depressing setback did come with the plus that it made me strongly want to make it up to myself this year, and so I promised myself that I would get out as much as possible and see as many new places as what I possibly could before the end of 2016. Well, glancing over the 160 odd photo gallery folders on my hard drive, it is more than safe enough to say that I certainly achieved my goal!

(Note about the 160 odd folders of photos: to date, only about 106 have so far made it onto this blog – meaning a lot of stuff is going to incorrectly appear in 2017! So yes, I’m more than just a little behind on the photo posting front, and sadly, the excuse is slightly poor: I fell victim to the terrible addiction that stems from playing the awesome Dragon Age: Inquisition on the Xbox One that I too treated myself with at the beginning of this year. Who knew – just a year or two ago I was convinced that I’d kind of outgrown playing video games!)

Anyway, so my weekends were quite jam packed pretty much the entire year – so much so that Chantelle is rather understandably annoyed at the almost complete lack of maintenance on the house done in 2016!

I saw loads of local (Helderberg, Overberg, Stellenbosch, Cape Town) sights – far too many to list here, but pleasingly a list which includes numerous adult experiences like wineries and restaurants for a change – and out of the 12 months of the year, I was sleeping in another bed for at least one weekend in 9 of those!

For those of you keeping track (again, not that I’m sure anyone actually reads the stuff that I write), those 9 stays away from home included Jacobsbaai, Pinnacle Point (Mossel Bay), Warmwaterberg Spa (Barrydale), Stanford, George, USA (Anaheim and San Diego)*, Buffeljagsrivier, Tulbagh, and now Gouritz.

(*Yes, this means I visited the United States of America for the very first time in my life!)

Thanks to all this out and about then, 2016 therefore also saw me change the focus of this blog, adopting a new moniker in the form of “An Exploring South African” (note: I really am not overly fond of the names I choose) and consequently a shift in content to more local sights and sounds and travel type stuff.

(Oh, and for a change I even made a little money off the site. Now there is something that doesn’t often happen!)

As always, with Chantelle working every second weekend, my full time commitment to my girls meant that no hobbies or extracurricular stuff could be picked up in 2016 – which is still okay with me. (Now all it means is that the girls are forced to drive out with their dad to new places pretty much every other weekend!)

Work is still boringly stable for me – the good paycheck, complete oversight, and the perk of working from home is still more than strong enough incentives for me to keep chipping away at my Kinetica feedback platform, which has continued to surge ahead this year in terms of new functionality and expanded use cases.

Right, so with all that now said and done, I can safely reckon then that 2016 certainly wasn’t a bad year – even in the slightest – for the Gordon’s Bay Lötter clan. Good.

As for 2017? Well, my predictions are never really all that spot on, but I suspect that it will be very much more of the same. I want to travel loads and see a lot of new places/things (and we do now have the disposable income to do this), and I think following the physical difficulties that plagued me throughout 2016, maybe 2017 will finally be the year where I start to once again properly take care of my body – you know, finally get around to losing all that weight that continues to make Summer such an unpleasantly sweaty affair!

Which is probably not such a bad idea mind you. These gray strands threaded in my hair are seemingly growing bolder with each passing day! ;)

I forgot: Dentists are Expensive My Life 07 SEP 2016

I pretty good when it comes to car maintenance, though by good I mean I take it for a service every time it hits the 15,000 km mark. Anything else and I’m pretty useless / indifferent. The last time I had an issue with my teeth, I left it for so long that by the time I approached a dentist, they had to pull the tooth.

As you might imagine, I haven’t been to a dentist since. That was 2011.

The other day, much to my annoyance, a big ridge of one of my lower molars chipped / flaked off (I’m not sure as to what was the cause mind you), forcing me to make an appointment with a dentist for the first time in 5 years. I opted to go local, and a quick Google search led me to the practice of Drs Te Boekhorst in Sir Lowry Road (just before the Gordon’s Bay institution that is Ooskus Fisheries).

The practice is run out of a converted home, which is decorated in quite an inviting manner – in fact, I thought I had walked into a crafting store by mistake the first time I entered the premises! :)

Anyway, the primary dentist is currently off on maternity leave (I suspect that might be the titular Dr Emilia Te Boekhorst), so standing in her stead was a friendly young chap by the name of Dr Harry – I didn’t get his last name come to think of it –  who quickly got me in the chair and convinced me to open my mouth.

And there in lay my mistake, because it was pretty much an immediate “Oooh, I think we need to take a couple of quick bite-wing x-rays here.”

Ah yes, there sat all the little black marks, indicating that apart from the flaked molar, I was also sitting with an impressive 8 cavities in my mouth. (Surprising, because I’m quite fastidious when it comes to brushing my teeth twice a day – but not so surprising considering the fact that I never go to the dentist for a routine clean/check up like one should!)

Seeing as it isn’t really safe to deaden all four quandrants of the mouth at once (plus my appointment wasn’t long enough anyway), we decided to split the work over two sessions, the first session (hour long) being dedicated to repairing my molar and the cavity in that one lower quadrant, and the second session a couple of days later (hour and a half long) to take care of the remaining seven cavities in the other three quadrants.

So that was an uncomfortable, numbing experience as you might imagine. Anyway, everything is all fixed up again, though my pocket is a fair bit lighter, with all that work costing me R4,135.

Ouch, dental work, as always and as any other medical-related work I guess, remains a rather expensive exercise.

Sadly, in my numbed state (both times), I completely forgot to take any photos of the practice, meaning that this post will now just have to do with a picture I took of myself and my voter’s mark following our recent municipal elections. (For the record, Gordon’s Bay was won by an overwhelmingly majority vote for the DA).

dav

The dental practice does not seem to have any sort of actual web presence, so here’s a map in case you are looking for them. You can find them at 4 Sir Lowry’s Pass Rd,
Gordon’s Bay, 7140 or contact them on (+27) 021 856 2579.

They do good work.

A Xander Dad: Dad and the Code Featured on the Xander Apps Blog Blogging 04 JUN 2016

Stellenbosch-based Xander, an award-winning proudly South African venture courtesy of the well known Knott-Craig clan, produces educational apps for young children aimed at promoting mother-tongue learning. Children are able to engage with technology, learn and have fun all at the same time – a sentiment with which my young Jessica wholeheartedly agrees with!

Anyway, it was pretty cool of them to recently feature me and my Dad and the Code blog on their website as one of their Xander Dads (note, I’m actually the first dad included. Up until now it has just been Mommy bloggers!).

xander dad craig lotter dad and the code

Silly, I know, but deep down I kind of like it! ;)

Anyway, check out their website for more about their very kid-friendly and educational apps!

xander education apps

(Just like the Spar Savour Magazine feature, I made sure to grab screenshots for posterity!)

Related Link: Xander | Dad and the Code Feature

Walking again thanks to Physiotherapy and Biokinetics My Life 16 MAY 2016

It has taken a long time to reach this point, but finally I’m walking about properly again, and it is all thanks to the combination of a brilliant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Physiotherapy, and last but not least, Biokinetics!

IMG_20160331_125947 22 st. james street somerset west marinda bruwer biokinetics

As I previously mentioned, the brilliant Dr. Peter Hardcastle was the surgeon that repaired the ruptured tendon, and then had me confined to a fixed leg brace for the longest of times.

Once he was happy that we had reached a particular point, he introduced me to physiotherapist Carolise Botha, who got me to slowly but surely regain movement in my leg.

That process lasted quite a while, and once Carolise was happy that the first stages of rehabilitation were complete, she then set me up with biokinetics specialist Marinda Bruwer – also based at the 22 St. James Street in Somerset West address.

Together with Sarah Arnold (Marinda’s intern who I worked with most), the two of them slowly got me back to a functional walking state – which essentially translates into lots and lots of carefully thought out, targeted muscle strengthening exercise.

The results have paid off, and six months after the injury, I’m up and walking again, taking on stairs and even milling about a mountain or two when the opportunity arises.

Which is just as well. I’ll need my full mobility for July’s upcoming business trip to Anaheim, USA!

craig lotter selfie at paardevlei farmers market

(And yes. I now evangelize Biokinetics in case you are wondering – it’s brilliant!)

Related Link: Peter Hardcastle | Carolise Botha | Marinda Bruwer

Table Mountain Cableway Birthday Trip (2016-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 14 MAY 2016

The popular Table Mountain Aerial Cableway company gives South Africans a free cable car ride on their birthday, and although I’ve unsuccessfully tried to take advantage of the offer before in the past, this was the first year where I’ve finally been able to go up the mountain on my birthday – and what a great trip it was!

IMG_20160511_120025 craig lotter grinning like an idiot on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Traditionally, Touchwork gives us the day off on our birthday, and so roping Chantelle along (she was working an afternoon shift on the day), we dropped the kids off and then headed out to Cape Town, with the trip through to the mountain going surprisingly fast (we were expecting loads more traffic).

The mountain itself was however a different story – despite it being a Wednesday morning, there were loads of tourist buses dropping people off, and after eventually finding a spot to park (behind a bus), Chantelle and I strolled down to the Lower Cableway Station and joined the queue – a waiting process that would last a good hour and a half in the end!

IMG_20160511_113856 cable car leaving the station on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Eventually, our turn to board the Visa branded cable car arrived, and with each and every ticket scanner having happily proclaimed “Happy Birthday Craig” as we passed through, I climbed into the car grinning like a complete idiot.

This was my first time ever using the revolving cars (the last time I took the cable car was back as a kid – I’m reasonably sure of this), and I have to say, gimmick or not, I quite enjoyed this little trick up the rather impressive cart’s sleeve.

(That said, the cable car ride itself is of course ridiculously short, so there isn’t all that much time to admire things, revolving or not – so completely unlike 2014’s longer and thus slightly more enjoyable ropeway ascension in Komagatake that I did with Ryan.)

IMG_20160511_131216 mountain binoculars on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

As luck would have it, it was an absolutely beautiful day at the top of the mountain, sunny skies, no wind, minimal cloud cover and thus great visibility – meaning that one could take their sweet time strolling around the tourist paths and admiring all the stunning views at whatever pace suited them best.

(It’s been a while since I’ve been up the mountain, and although ascending the mountain in this manner and this particular tourist friendly part of the mountain is not the greatest, it still remains a pretty awesome experience in terms of sights to be had!)

IMG_20160511_123032 view outside table mountain cafe restaurant on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Chantelle was pretty keen (read: hungry) on eating something, so we headed over to the Table Mountain Cafe, ordered what on the menu reads “Ostrich Subs”, but is in reality a ostrich boerewors roll, and grabbed one of the outdoor tables that were open – quite surprising considering the amount of tourists milling about on the top!

IMG_20160511_125542 tourists with a view on my table mountain cableway birthday trip

Unfortunately we couldn’t spend too long up on the mountain because unlike me, Chantelle actually needed to go into work, but I was fortunate enough to catch two dueling birds of prey before going down – which I thought was a pretty good birthday present to myself!

The cable car ride down was smooth (with our enjoyable cable car ‘conductor’ putting on a great show in the process), and finally, the drive back to Gordon’s Bay went without incident.

In other words, it was a pretty good birthday outing!

Related Link: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

Lumpy Cheeks, maybe Mumps? My Life 11 MAR 2016

Great. Just great. I’m leaving with Chantelle and the girls for Mossel Bay this afternoon, for a well deserved weekend away with my folks at Pinnacle Point.

So naturally, not content with having me still limping around on crutches, Life has organised for me to wake up yesterday with a massive swollen gland behind my left ear, leaving me looking a bit like a squirrel who has taken on a particularly large nut for winter storage.

bearded man with a mumps face 1

Chantelle made me go to the doctor yesterday to have it checked out, so after a little Google-fu, she made an appointment with Dr. Chris Jooste here in Gordon’s Bay (believe it or not, 5 years of living in Gordon’s Bay and we still don’t actually have a family doctor), who I then dutifully went to see in the afternoon.

On first look, based on the swollen glands, Dr. Jooste said it looks very much like mumps to him, but to cover all the bases, we basically narrowed it down to four possibilities.

  1. Mumps. Viral infection, can’t do much other than wait it out.
  2. Other Viral infection. Can’t do much other than wait it out either.
  3. Blockage. Unlikely, given the lack of puss, but easy enough to solve by drinking some lemon juice and getting the muscles to contract and thus force the blockage out.
  4. Bacterial infection. Possible, so to be safe, do a broad spectrum anti-bacterial course.

Anyway, I woke up the morning with the swelling even bigger than before – so much so that Jessica is joking that I don’t even look like her real dad any more!

According to the Internet, I shouldn’t be contagious any more, so I can still go away for the weekend, but I have to say, I’m not particularly loving this latest look of mine!

(Believe it or not, yesterday I actually looked a little better – probably because at that stage the swelling was only on the one side!)

bearded man with a mumps face 2

Dad and the Code featured in the Spar Savour Magazine Blogging 18 FEB 2016

That’s pretty cool. I didn’t realise that the blog and I got featured in the December 2015 edition of the Spar Savour Magazine. Or rather, I know that someone sent me some questions to answer towards the end of last year, but I didn’t know that they actually got used.

So it was rather nice to spot my smiling mug looking back at me, even if I only discovered it three months after it was posted! :)

dad and the code craig lotter magazine entry spar savour magazine december 2015 1

dad and the code craig lotter magazine entry spar savour magazine december 2015 2

dad and the code craig lotter magazine entry spar savour magazine december 2015 3

dad and the code craig lotter with emily magazine entry spar savour magazine december 2015

Related Link: Spar Savour Magazine | Dad and the Code | Article

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016 My Life 31 JAN 2016

Last year I only got around to posting this annual year in review post in March. This time around I’ve done a little bit better – we are after all only at the end of January now!

IMG_20150927_130044 craig lotter with kids in the lavender patch at canettevallei lavender farm

Discounting the horrible December that we had thanks to my severed quadriceps tendon and Chantelle’s dislocated toes incident, 2015 on the whole was a pretty decent year for the Gordon’s Bay  Lötter clan.

IMG_20151006_181258 emily lotter in front of the country mews jungle gym

Emily turned 1 in January of 2015, and then very happily continued growing into an absolutely adorable little toddler who, while being incredibly shy around strangers, is a particularly clever, cute and terrorizing copycat sister to Jessica!

Strong-willed, slightly adventurous, and far ahead of Jess in terms of where our prem baby was at the same age, Emily continues to flourish at Baby Steps and I guess that is what we get to look forward to more of in 2016.

(Also, she has the most amazing bed head hair – it literally stands up at all angles each and every morning when she stands up in her cot, with only the prodigious application of no tangle spray able to tame it even in the slightest!)

IMG_20150810_114612 jessica lotter on a tractor at the kids play area at helderberg farm on the R44

Jessica had a good 2015 as well. She progressed well at the excellent Vergeet-My-Nie playschool, also enjoying her extramural activities of ballet, playball and computer classes.

She formed some close friendships with the girls in the complex, and is quickly finding her own voice and becoming a little lady – which naturally isn’t always the easiest thing to have to deal with first thing in the morning while trying to get everyone ready for school!

2016 sees her join the big school, starting Grade R at Gordon’s Bay Primary (conveniently, just down the road from us). Now in an English-only class, Jess is going to have to make new friends and tackle a trickier workload (something we’ll have to do our best as parents to help her with in preparation for the daunting Grade 1 to come in 2017!).

IMG_20151114_135828 chantelle, jessica, emily at the frozen photo booth at jessica's fifth birthday party at Montgomery Stronghold in Bellville

I think Chantelle had a pretty good 2015 too (discounting the horrible December of course!). Working at Gordon’s Beach Lodge again meant a stable salary and thus more money in the kitty, which translated into a lot less stress and worrying about what we can and cannot afford – plus it gave her a lot more of the social interaction that she had found herself craving in 2014 when she still worked full-time from home.

Emily, while still lots of work, was less so than when she was a newborn, and although not doing Chantelle’s Cupcakery baking full time any more, she did manage to get more than enough baking for orders in during the year to satisfy the creative craving that comes with the feature cake baking industry.

Oh, and then there was the year long looking forward to being bridesmaid and assistant organizer at best friend Retha’s Stellenbosch wedding in December!

IMG_20150715_105748 craig lotter Whale watching in Gansbaai with Ivanhoe Sea Safaris

As for me, well I had an excellent year thank you very much (again, discounting the horrible December of course!).

With Chantelle back working at the guest house, I had the girls to myself every second weekend, and as such made sure to fill the year chock-a-block with outings of all shapes and sizes. Looking back through the archive, we definitely fed geese, saw crocodiles, spotted planesviewed lions, watched birds, petted penguins, fed farmyard animals, went to markets, enjoyed picnics, scratched for stones, looked for butterflies,  went for a boat ride,  spotted fishies,  and of course ate loads of pancakes and drank copious amounts of strawberry milkshake along the way!

IMG_20151011_181148 jessica in the air at gordon's bay main beach

Chantelle and I found ourselves enjoying more than a couple of weekends away as well, trips that included a weekend away in Jacobsbaai for the annual Oppiwa music and wine festival, a romantic stay in Franschhoek in celebration of my 35th birthday,  a family stay in the picturesque Montagu, and a getaway to Hopefield to view the West Coast wild flowers!

(We even sneaked away for some warm water soaking time at the Caledon Hotel, Casino and Spa – though that was just for the day so it doesn’t count!)

IMG_20150708_153824 chantelle lotter with jess and emily at die kloof padstal farm stall in montagu

I also enjoyed a couple of amazing first time experiences, the top of which definitely included whale watching in Gansbaai aboard the Ivanhoe, not to mention my first ever jaunt behind the controls of a small aircraft above the Helderberg Basin!

IMG_20150606_124240 craig lotter standing next to the stellenbosch flying club cessna 172 - ZS-SLM he just flew in 1

Being a dad to small kids remains a full time job, so I again didn’t find myself picking up on any hobbies in 2015, though I did do a bit of the weight loss thing, and found myself back at gym – though according to Chantelle it’s the most demoralizing thing that she’s ever seen!

Also, I (surprisingly) ended up playing a fair bit of console games during the year – enjoying a particularly successful run in our every month or so men’s FIFA battle royale I might add!

(Plus, my blog did win an African Blogger award – which kind of felt pretty nice at the time).

IMG_20150510_115411 craig lotter tasting wine at la provence wine estate

On the career front, I found myself man alone as Touchwork’s only developer for the year, taking my role back down to that of programmer and systems architect – but it did come with a pay rise and the perk of being able to work from home for four days of the week, something that I really appreciate because it makes looking after the girls a lot easier given Chantelle’s shift work.

I got a lot of work achieved in this more focused mode though, meaning that Kinetica got a whole lot more modules bolted on to it by the end of the year. We have since successfully started using it in the States, phasing out our legacy product in the process, and also launched it as an Exhibition visitor, exhibitor and delegate registrations system – a use case that saw me spend my 35th birthday in Sandton at the convention centre with the rest of the Hypenica team for their big African Construction Week expos!

craig lotter, chantelle lotter, jessica lotter, and emily lotter - family photo at Mountain Streams Nursery

So yeah, 2015 was a good year by all accounts and on all fronts (not counting December of course!).

Looking ahead, 2016 should probably be very much the same then – which is a good thing if you ask me. That said, for it to properly kick off I probably first need to learn to walk without a crutch and brace again…

A Most Unromantic Wedding Anniversary (2015-11-08) Photo Gallery 15 NOV 2015

So this year marked the sixth year that I’ve been married to Chantelle. This year around though, our anniversary day fell on a Saturday, and this being a weekend where Chantelle was working (and stressed in trying to get things organized for Jessica’s big birthday parties – yes, “parties” and not “party”), there was to be no chance for a proper wedding anniversary celebration this time around.

(Last year we did a lot better mind you).

IMG_20151107_110755 Shopping with Jess and Emily in Somerset Mall

So last weekend was spent shopping with Jessica and Emily at Somerset Mall (we did buy some roses for Chantelle), stopping at McDonalds (because this is something that Jessica now asks for. We didn’t buy Chantelle a McFlurry though), and joining up with Chantelle for a celebratory (but kid-interrupted) drink at a bustling Bossa Social Cafe and Bar in Somerset West.

IMG_20151107_121341 Craig, Jessica and Emily Lotter selfie at Waterstone McDonalds

Not particularly romantic.

IMG_20151107_134352 Chantelle with Emily lotter at Bossa Social Cafe and Bar in Somerset West

We tried again on Sunday, but again, small kids don’t really make for romantic wedding anniversary celebration locale selection!

So pink milkshake at Mondeor Garden Restaurant it was.

IMG_20151108_123538 pink milkshake at mondeor garden restaurant in somerset west

Maybe next year we’ll plan ahead and do it properly! ;)

(Which reminds me. It’s six years later and I just realized that I still haven’t gotten around to posting our wedding photos on my blog. I guess I really ought to get around to doing that sometime. That said, it’s been a year and I still haven’t fixed our front door glass – so I wouldn’t exactly hold my breathe on the photos front then if I were you!)