Valentine’s Day and Separation Anxiety, two completely different topics which I have now married together to form a quick post, a masterful stroke indeed. And when I say married together, I mean completely separate of course.
Anyway, Valentine’s Day 2012 caught Chantelle and myself somewhat unprepared, so much so that we even forgot to try and exploit it via the Cookies and Cakes venture! Going away for the weekend didn’t help, and so when Tuesday morning rolled in to play, Valentine’s Day started off with nothing more than a “Good morning my love, Happy Valentine”, before more snoring quickly followed.
We did however get our act a little more together by the afternoon though, where Chantelle and I met up at the always fabulous Jenna Viva for an impromptu Valentine’s Day lunch, with wifey first gobbling down some sushi before the two of us tackled our delicious open sandwiches.
Of course, the lunch was a little rushed thanks to the fact that I only have a hour lunch break in the afternoon, and to be honest, things got a little worse on the romantic front when you consider Chantelle had to wait until the evening before I could get her a yummy Aero chocolate slab to decorate her pillow with, and I on the other hand had to wait until Wednesday night to arrive home after karate to a bag of biltong with a card.
Shameful I know, but next year I’ll pull my socks up love, promise!
Now onto separation anxiety. It would seem that Jessica is now starting to enter this development phase, as every now and then we’ll hit a speed bump when Chantelle tries to hand her over to either the creché or me, with the little one crying her head off and reaching back for mommy to take her again. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it certainly does take place, which I guess we can’t get too mad about because it is a sign that she’s developing.
Still no improvement in terms of saying a word or two, but at least the standing, moving along a ridge whilst standing, and sitting down from a standing position are all nicely in place now! :)
A message to Chantelle.
To my most beautiful wife, mother to my gorgeous daughter, faithful companion, trusted friend and my partner for life, I just want to say these few little words to you.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
I love you more than you will ever know.
Yay, Chantelle was off for a change, it was Valentine’s Day weekend, We were going away to Hermanus and most important of all little Zandea was being christened – how could one not start the weekend on such a high note? :)
Like I said, it was Zandea’s christening on Sunday and to make it all that more special, Dean and Zania decided to hold the christening at the same church where they got married two years ago, all the way out in Hermanus, Zania’s old hood. Of course, not ones to pass up a great opportunity for turning the event into a weekend away just for the fun of it, we unleashed Chantelle on the Internet and soon she had turned up a great looking place to stay – which then got converted into an even sweeter deal when she organised a guesthouse networking swap which meant that she and I got to stay the weekend in Hermanus for free while in return, the owner of that guesthouse gets to spend a weekend in the future at Gordon’s Beach Lodge at no charge. Great networking and strengthening of referral ties for the two managers and for me, the added bonus of some much needed pressure release off my poor little wallet, still feeling the stinging of the bashing it took with last week’s car saga!
Anyway, we only managed to get away from Gordon’s Bay pretty late on Friday evening after work, and eventually come 21:00 or so we landed in Hermanus, finding the Pebble Beach guesthouse, situated right next to the Hermanus golf club, easily enough thanks to Mr. TomTom’s unerring sense of direction.
Greeted on arrival by the friendly Francis, we stowed our bags in what can only be described as one of the most luxurious rooms I’ve been in and then darted out to grab a quick bite to eat at the local Spur – which surprisingly enough actually had other people still dining away by the time we got there! (Food wasn’t great though in case you are wondering)
After a fantastic night’s sleep (well for me in any event), the morning got underway with a fantastic breakfast served up by the great Pebble Beach team and with our tummies full and hunger sated, we headed out to Hermanus proper to do some stall browsing and hook up with Dean and Zania (and Zandea!) who were meeting up with us at Mugg & Bean for a drink. One successful visit later, and Chantelle and I were on our next mission, walking Hermanus flat in search of the elusive soft serve which simply put… couldn’t be found. (And no, we’re not talking about KFC or Steer imposter soft serves here – I’m talking about proper two tone, sugar cone stuff man!) Any how, with our walk not turning up anything we jumped into the car and headed down towards Onrus side but as you might have guessed, our search was just as fruitless, so with our heads hung low we turned around and returned to town – which made it all the more funnier when on entering the town and right across the road from where we were previously parked, Chantelle spotted the magical soft serve sign just sitting there minding its own business!
Overjoyed we parked and rushed down to the Princess Cafe, placed our order and then watched in horror as the poor soft serve machine sputtered into life, squirted out a couple of chocolate poo’s worth of ice cream and then promptly died, leaving us with little more than a brown twirly mess in a styrofoam cup. Shame, the girl serving us was very apologetic and as a result we didn’t pay anything for the ice cream we did manage to get out, but still I guess the little that we got was better than nothing in the end! :)
Back at the guesthouse, Chantelle was soon down and out for the count enjoying a rather lengthy afternoon nap while I set about enjoying the marvelous, black interior pool before stretching out and catching some rays on the soft grass. Next it was time for some R&R with a couple of the Ultimate Fantastic Four graphic novel, followed by the Stormers versus Lions game on Supersport, though I must admit to missing out rather large chunks of the latter thanks to my darn eyes that kept on falling closed!
The evening was spent for the most part in Panarottis, where we dined on some delicious pizza offerings (though it didn’t quite make up for the missed Cattle Baron, which would have been Chantelle’s supper treat had they not gone and closed down a couple of weeks prior to our visit!). Back home, I enjoyed a late night dip in the pool (Chantelle refused to join me for some reason – something about not having a bather with or something like that! :P) and while she enjoyed a lazy bath I got some solid reading time in again.
Oh, and we swapped Valentine’s gifts just before midnight – it seems like she just couldn’t wait to unleash the monstrous love bug stuffed animal she found upon me!
Sunday kicked off with a special Valentine’s Breakfast which basically was the same as the previous day’s breakfast but just with all the colour replaced with tones of red, white and pink – which was actually quite a cool little touch. Then a quick pack and settling of our little extras bill, we dashed off to the St. Peter’s stone church and grabbed our seats (actually, we accidentally stole the Church Warden’s reserved seats) and enjoyed the spectacle that saw little Zandea, who was VERY well behaved by the way, join the Christian family.
What was great was that Evan and Natasha, and Michelle and Damen had also made the drive through from Bellville on Sunday morning to attend the church service and following on from that, all of us met up at Zania’s mom’s house where we sat for the next couple of hours indulging in some awesome finger snacks and talking the day away. Chantelle and I eventually bid our farewell though (sorry for starting the mass exodus Dean!) and headed back to GB, where Chantelle naturally gave her new Coricraft friends a good testing out and I busied myself with setting up a whole lot of blog posts for the coming week.
The evening however saw us once again out of the door and out to the mall, where we enjoyed a great little Subway snack and then plonked ourselves down in our seats for the rather unentertaining (though it does have its moments) and long Valentine’s Day movie starring a host of A-list faces.
And that was pretty much that. A great weekend filled with friends, some driving and tons of R&R, meaning that I start this week in our newly renovated little shoebox feeling rather refreshed…
Related Link: http://www.pebblebeachguesthouse.com/
It’s Valentine’s Day – and while Domeki is showered with chocolates and cards from girls, Watanuki receives none. To make matters worse, he must also do the usual chores for Yuko, which includes making chocolate cake for her and Mokona, as well as the treats his boss wants to give away as gifts. But when Watanuki discovers he has a shy and secret admirer who is not quite human, he finds that chocolates can be more than just sweets.
Then, after seeing identical twin sisters pass by in the street, Yuko makes a curious remark: that there are chains that only humans can use to bind others. Watanuki meets the sisters and senses that the relationship between them is not what it seems…
Volume 4 of xxxHOLiC continues the mystical and spiritual misadventures of the excellent cook but unlucky in everything else Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school student who has been plagued by youkai (spirits), who seemingly have a very strong attraction to him, for all his life. A chance (?) meeting with the trans-dimensional witch known simply as Yuko Ichihara, a mysterious and beautiful (if a little self-involved) woman whose business it is to grant wishes, promises to rid Watanuki of these spirits for good – but as a fair exchange Watanuki is now forced to work in her mystical shop!
So easily-excitable and over reactive Watanuki now finds himself cooking and running small errands dealing with both the supernatural and normal household chores, all while having to deal with his stoic and athletic ‘rival’ Shizuka Domeki, who has all the luck with women and seems to be the exact opposite of Watanuki! And then of course there is Himawari Kunogi, sweet little Himawari, who Watanuki would just die for – it’s just too bad that she doesn’t seem to feel quite so strongly about him!
This time around it is Valentine’s Day, and as expected, the girls aren’t exactly lining up to present Watanuki with any chocolates this year! However, with Watanuki’s strange attraction of all that is spiritual, it comes as no wonder that there is a particular little girl that takes an interest in him – and who steals a very special ‘chocolate’ in order to present to him – the consequences of which leads to a very madcap and desperate chase around the skies of the city!
The second story arc for this volume deals with two beautiful twins who seemingly get on with each other like a house on fire but happen to be complete opposites in terms of personality – and it all has to do with the ‘chains’ that only humans can use to bind with explains Yuko. Of course, unable just to leave the problem alone, Watanuki (and Domeki) find themselves drawn into the lives of the twins which may just prove too tough a nut to crack for either of them!
The volume then closes off with two quick fire encounters which serves to teach Watanuki the smallest of lessons, but lessons that are sure to make him grow just that little much more.
xxxHOLiC is produced by legendary, all female mangaka group CLAMP, responsible for some of the most well known manga titles to ever reach us out here in the West. These four ladies started out producing doujinshi (fan fiction) but soon word of their work caught on and because it was of such a high standard, they quickly began to make a name for themselves in the professional world, with some of their previous credits including Chobits, X/1999, CardCaptor Sakura, xxxHOLIC and Magic Knight Rayearth just to name a few! They are currently publishing three ongoing titles in Japan, namely Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNICLE, xxxHOLiC and Gohou Drug.
As per usual, the story is drenched in Japanese folklore and legend and oozes with spiritual and supernatural phenomena which provide the backbone for all of Watanuki’s unusual encounters. A strong theme throughout the series is the ongoing growth of Watanuki through serious and often dramatic scenarios and Volume 4 continues this tradition very nicely. The writing style is the usual madcap mix of drama and comedy, with the very hyperactive and over-reactive Watanuki taking first and foremost stage. The comical relationship between him, Domeki and Himawari is plumbed for material as always, with the odd little black mokona and Maru & Moro providing a little extra comical relief when needed.
All the stories contained within the book are nicely laid out, easy to follow and all try to say something, which makes xxxHOLiC even more enjoyable to read as you can enjoy it on both an intellectual and just plain fun level at the same time.
Artistically, CLAMP continue their tradition of exaggerated proportions which gives the book a nice and unique feel without being too jarring all at once. They make frequent use of super-deformed and exaggerated facial expressions for the comedy bits, and this blends in well with the overall style of the book. All the characters are beautifully designed and detailed, particularly Yuko and the multitude of finely designed costumes that she wears every day, but it must be noted that CLAMP seemed particularly lazy when it came to backgrounds in this volume because they are rather sparse in appearance and are often just substituted for a bunch of linear lines instead of surrounding objects! Still, their relatively solid and clean lines make for a very easy viewing and this helps the book flow just that much better.
Overall, xxxHOLiC volume 4 is a nicely self-contained read that delivers on everything that is good about xxxHOLiC. It looks good, reads straightforward and provides a generous dose of comedy and drama, all drenched in Japanese folklore, ghosts and mysteries. So if you liked CLAMP’s other works, then you’ll probably enjoy this one as well!
Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XxxHOLiC
So yesterday marked Chantelle and my first Valentine’s day as a couple and therefore needed to be done just right. I had already done the gift shopping on the weekend before where I had found the most beautiful little heart pendant which afforded me the perfect opportunity to blurt out some cheesy lines like ‘jy is my hart se punt’ etc. come the big day. Oh course, good old Lindt had to worm its way into the package as well, all of which was rounded off by a classically cute and fuzzy giant oversized card.
The bouquet for the evening was purchased on Wednesday evening and as always around this time of year it is thoroughly amusing to watch the queues in Woolworths or Clicks frequented by men who usually wouldn’t be caught dead in either shop during any other time of the year, frantically clutching on pretty displays of flowers and pretty much nothing else.
Seeing as my early plan of surprising Chantelle with a visit in Gordon’s Bay had fallen through thanks to the generosity of her employers, we had switched plans to make it a romantic evening at her flat where we would cook supper together and just generally relax in one another’s company. I of course couldn’t contain my excitement and rocked up there a whole half hour earlier than what I had intended to – causing me to inadvertently catch Chantelle in mid-preparation, and thus spoiling her surprise for the evening :(
As it was, the level of sophistication difference between the two of us was immediately apparent as I rocked up carrying some bottles of wine, chips and chuckles (chocolate malt balls) as snacks while we cook supper, only to discover that she already had the champagne ready and was working on some succulent pork ribs and garlic bread as a snack! Heck, even the candles were already set up and ready to go!
Thankfully I managed to pull some dignity out of the bag with my gift which she seems to really like and looks absolutely fabulous on her. I on the other hand got the perfect gift too – Lindt chocolates! :) (Seems we both know what the other wants!)
We had an absolutely fabulous evening together even though Valentine’s didn’t quite pan out quite as was originally planned, but still, all is fair in love and war. So for one last time love, Happy Valentine’s Day! *mwah* Here is to making everyday special and treating you like the princess that you truly are. Love you lots my angel!