2018 was in short a good year for us Gordon’s Bay Lötters. Nothing particularly amazing or big dominated last year’s landscape, instead it was very much yet another year of pleasant stability or as I like to put it, “same same”.
The charmingly mischievous and cute Emily had a lovely year with her friends in the ever excellent Vergeet-My-Nie playschool, while big-hearted Jessica had a brilliant Grade 1 year of learning, playing and taking part in sport at Gordon’s Bay Primary. Chantelle too enjoyed a good year consisting mostly of baking cakes (so, so many work through the night weekends!) for her increasingly busy Helderberg Cake Company home-based venture.
As for me, I had a nice year of adding even more features to my code baby, Touchwork’s Kinetica platform, whilst happily continuing with my mission of visiting as many new places as what I possibly can get to with my girls come each and every weekend. I didn’t blog very much last year (basically I just didn’t feel like it), instead opting to play a LOT of video games come evening (much to Chantelle’s frustration I’m sure). Thankfully though, Instagram makes for a very good visual diary, meaning that not all is lost for those of you interested in following what the girls and I got up to over the course of the year.
In terms of holidays, the girls and I spent a lot of time up in Mossel Bay with my folks in 2018 – four visits to be exact, and also managed to squeeze in a weekend away to Jacobsbaai. Other than those though, we were very much home based the entire year. (Interestingly enough however, I did head off on quite a few business trips up to Gauteng and Durban over the course of the year – something that up until now has generally been a pretty rare occurrence.)
So. 2019 should be a lot of the same then.
Jessica has already excitedly kicked off her Grade 2 year with Ms Samson at Gordon’s Bay Primary (today is in fact Inter-house Athletics), Emily is entertaining new teacher Petronella and perennial favourite Rika at Vergeet-My-Nie, Chantelle is baking, decorating and delivering, and I’m sitting behind the keyboard typing this out whilst taking a break from coding and answering work e-mails.
As always, I suppose that I’ll now say that perhaps I’ll try and take better care of my health this year, maybe play a little less video games, and definitely stretch my legs more often, but truthfully we all know that this would very much be an untruth.
After all, I’ve found myself to be rather fond of all these “same same” years…
I’m not sure what has happened to be honest, but I blinked and somehow 2017 appears to have come and gone. Being an adult, being married, being a parent to small kids, working full time (even if from home), playing a lot of video games, and heading out to explore each and every weekend sure seems to speed time up a fair bit! ;)
Consequently, any of the other things that I thought I would most definitely get around to in 2017, i.e. learn a new skill, get healthy, and perhaps socialize a bit more pretty much all fell by the wayside.
On that note, the blogging front didn’t fare all that much better – you probably noticed (if you are a longtime reader) that I didn’t exactly post a ton of new content this year. Honestly, I took (and enjoyed) a bit of a break from creating content, the result being that this was the year with by far the least amount of blog posts attributed to it since the site’s inception in 2007.
I’ll do better in 2018, promise.
It’s not like I don’t have content to post mind you. Tallying up the amount of photo folders linked to 2017 sitting in my Google Drive yields the number 137, of which only 66 have thus far made it onto An Exploring South African as one of my photo gallery posts.
In other words, plenty of local places worth visiting guaranteed to still to appear on these pages! (All that said, I did properly embrace Instagram this year and and have to admit, am totally loving it! No idea what I didn’t join the platform sooner. Facebook and Twitter on the other hand though? Meh. Couldn’t really be bothered with those two.)
In terms of the family, Emily had a fantastic year at the Vergeet-My-Nie playschool. She is clever, cute, mischievous, playful and super loving – everything you could wish for from a three (soon to be four) year old.
Jessica also had a fantastic year, with the repeat of Grade R at Gordon’s Bay Primary the absolute best decision that we ever could ever have made for her. Her emotional maturity has blossomed, both her work and work rate have improved, her physical conditioning and coordination is a lot better, she’s maintained her charming cheerfulness, and now she is SUPER excited (and ready) to tackle the big school of Grade 1 next year.
Chantelle took a pretty big step this year as well, abandoning her full time position at the Gordon’s Beach Lodge guest house in order to launch her very own Helderberg Cake Company venture. Of course, the loss of a monthly paycheck was/is nerve-wracking, but the wins stemming from the renewed job satisfaction and being based at home with consequently more time with the girls definitely makes this move well worth the while!
As for me, despite starting the year with a whole lot of good intentions, 2017 was a whole lot more of very much the same same as always.
Given that I enjoy being in charge of myself and more importantly the entire software solution that Touchwork sells (not to mention the perk of being allowed to work from home), I spent the year continuing to add to and refine my Kinetica platform – which has now been in constant development for a eight years or so!
This year I also got well and truly stuck into mobile development, with the end result being the dynamic Kinetica TouchandTell app (built using Appcelerator Titanium) being deployed to both the Google Play and Apple App stores.
(On that note, Touchwork actually enjoyed another pretty successful year, pulling in a lot of new USA-based clients, partnering up with some local selling partners, and even grabbing a new contract or two on our own out here in South Africa.)
Next year should be pretty exciting too for me in terms of development – we’re jumping head first into IoT devices and the SigFox network!
It wasn’t all work this year of course – as I mentioned at the start of this post, the girls and I went out exploring a LOT. Literally each and every weekend of 2017 saw us jump in the car and drive out somewhere (naturally, as is usually the case for me, most of it unplanned and usually very much spur of the moment), with the big family holiday up to Addo and Port Elizabeth through Oudtshoorn taking center stage back in July.
Outside of our local travels, I did find myself playing an inordinate amount of video games in my spare time this year, with Paladins being by far the game that sucked me in the most – so much so that I now actually play competitive ranked matches online, much to Chantelle’s amusement as she listens to me gripe about someone not picking either a support or front line character for the umpteenth time! ;)
I write these hello goodbye posts on an annual basis, and the “what is in store for the new year” section is almost always pretty rubbish (or better put, almost always completely wrong), however, that said, I really, really do need to improve my indoor/outdoor life balance in 2018 – meaning I suppose a lot less game time, less time sitting in my chair behind the keyboard, more time in the sun, and definitely more time in the gym (or at least on a yoga mat).
Well, that’s the plan anyway.
(I’m off to an okay start I suppose – I am now the owner of a brand new shiny gym membership here at our local Bay Fitness gym. True, I haven’t used it yet, but it is at least all mine.)
So. All in all, 2017 was pretty good year for Gordon’s Bay Lotter clan, definitely no complaints or any major problem on any of life’s fronts. That said, here’s to wishing for an even better and more prosperous 2018 for us all – a Happy New Year indeed!
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, 2010, 2009 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 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).
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.
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!).
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!
(Just like the Spar Savour Magazine feature, I made sure to grab screenshots for posterity!)
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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!
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!
(And yes. I now evangelize Biokinetics in case you are wondering – it’s brilliant!)
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!
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!
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.)
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!)
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!
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!
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Related Link: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
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.
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.
- Mumps. Viral infection, can’t do much other than wait it out.
- Other Viral infection. Can’t do much other than wait it out either.
- 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.
- 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!)
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! :)