We spent the Thanksgiving long weekend on Salt Spring Island.

Duffins Doughnuts while we wait for the ferry. I liked the Bavarian the most.

We tried to play a board game on the ferry but it was actually kinda rough and Rose and I were getting seasick. Instead we went outside and looked for whales.

We met up with Leslie and Kyla at the market, had falafel, and then headed off to Salt Spring Wild Cider.

The cidery was amazing! The best cidery I have ever been to. Firstly because you could get a TEN CIDER TASTING FLIGHT (for two people). And secondly because EVERY CIDER WAS DELICIOUS. They were all dry and crisp and just based on different types of apples (I hate those gross flavoured ciders that are just made with added flavourings.) I would have bought 8 out of 10 of them easily. (Didn’t like the hops one or the pear one.) We did buy a few bottles. Of course my favourite one was the most expensive one, haha– barrel aged muscat. We had a lovely time on the lawn sipping cider and watching a beekeeper work on some hives.

Our Airbnb was v cute. It had a loft! The weather started to turn pretty crappy so we spent a lot of the weekend nice and cozy in our little cabin in the forest playing endless board games and eating snacks. It was wonderful.

We all piled in the van and headed to Kyla’s parents house for Thanksgiving (with a quick stop at the Salt Spring Island Cheese Company). Her house is pretty awesome. They have goats and chickens (and 500 roosters), and… a wood fired hot tub!! We filled it up and got the fire going… and 5 hours later we had a hot tub. :D

We passed the time with MORE GAMES of course! Mega 7 Wonders, and Dixit.

Look how much food Lauren ate!!!!!!! Hahaha. This was plate 1 of 2 (or was it 3???). :D It was a lovely Thanksgiving meal. Scott and I especially loved having turkey since it’s so hard to get here in Aus (well you can get it, but it’s pricey).

PS Lauren did accidentally run a half marathon in the morning so I guess that accounts for some of the food haha.

The last day we decided that even though it was still raining we needed to do at least one hike. We picked the one with fairy doors! It was a bit of a climb but the doors were cute. We didn’t go all the way to the top top because we wouldn’t have been able to see anything and we were all tired/lazy/damp. Still nice though, and the pictures look cool with all the mist, haha.

After the hike we had lunch in a treehouse and then headed back to the ferry. The boat ride back was a bit smoother so we were able to play games, and we saw dozens of porpoises!

I’ll leave you with another one of Scott’s sweet panoramas.

After dropping Scott off at the airport we headed to Alberta Maple Ridge to visit Julie and Steve. It had been a long time that dad and Julie had cousin-time. I think he enjoyed the catch up. Rose coordinated the rice dish and Steve made us really nice steaks.

I took dad to the Capilano Fish Hatchery while Rose and Lauren were working. I wanted to see fish flopping all over the place. Another glorious weather day (srsly we got sooooo lucky this whole trip). We took the bus there and started at the top end of the park near the reservoir. I liked the reflections on the calm water. Then we walked down to the dam. It is a big dam. Dad said “If I come back to Vancouver in the spring, I AM COMING BACK HERE”.

We continued walking downhill till we got to the hatchery. It is free. We saw lots of salmon. There is a fish ladder with windows on one side so you can theoretically see the fish jumping upstream but they didn’t jump very often. I saw one jump and it was unsuccessful in getting to the next level. But there was another little river area with dozens of salmon just randomly flopping around. Then we continued walking downhill (I am so happy the bus dropped us off at the top of the park and not the bottom omg) and had pizza in a cute little neighbourhood before catching the bus back to Van.

Dad suggested making sushi for dinner one night so we obliged. We had shirmf, roasted yam (Scott is the deep fry guy and he wasn’t there, sad face), and the other usual suspects: avocado, cucumber, cream cheese, and sesame seeds. It was fun and yum. Lauren made the best rolls…. possibly because they were 50% cream cheese. :D

I can’t really remember what I did the next day. I think I just rested because my cough was getting bad. Oh yeah we went bowling in the evening. Rose and I are bad at bowling.

Then dad was leaving too. I’m glad he came out to Vancouver. It was much easier for Scott and I, cheaper for Rose and Lauren, and I think dad had a nice time. We all had a nice time. We probably tired him out, but he has lots of time to recharge.

This was the weather for TWO WEEKS STRAIGHT. 18-20 degrees and sunny. So nice.

After dad left I did one last errands morning where I got new skates, some clothes, and another yam roll #nomealleftbehind. This one was a mango avocado yam roll.

Thursday I met up with Kevin, my old clinical placement supervisor, and Lesley for lunch at Red Wagon. I took no pictures unfortunately. We had a great long lunch with good chatting. And then I went with Lesley back to her house for a sleepover/one last hang. We played many games of Azul. I also got to go to a Dollarama and stock up on Smartfood and Cheetos to bring home. That was the very last things on my shopping list. Success.

The last day. I headed back to Rose’s nice and early the next morning so we could play several more games of Azul and have one last dose of sister-time (she took the day off). We went to Sushi Nanaimo for lunch #nomealleftbehind and I got one last training session in. I had seen all of the old gym gang except one guy, and Al arranged for him to come in as a surprise! Came back and played more Azul. Leslie and Kyla popped in for bonus-time before heading out to see Ellen!

When Lauren got home from work we went out for dinner at La Mezcaleria, one of my favourite restaurants anywhere. I had a margarita of course and we shared spicy tuna in a black ash and ink sauce, queso fundido with chorizo, and a bunch of tacos. It was delicious, as usual. We had a little time before I needed to be at the airport so we stopped at Duffins Doughnuts too. #yolo. (Maybe this is why I gained 2 kg on the trip…) (WORTH IT.)

Then they dropped me off at the airport and I headed home. Full in stomach and spirit. It was really a great trip. My family and friends are so great.  Thank you to Liz for lending us your car and apartment. And Lesley and Kirsten and Max for housing Scott and I and Rose and Lauren. And Kyla and her family for sharing Thanksgiving with us all. Lauren for putting up with all the crazy. And Rosemarie for preparing so well and organizing so much. And all our friends for being so thoughtful and great and fun!!!

Our trip to Vancouver was hectic AF. We had checklists, Google documents, Facebook events, a detailed calendar, and group chats just to fit everything we wanted to do (and eat! #nomealleftbehind) on the trip. It worked though, the trip was very successful.

Second meal of the trip: poutine. (First meal was perogies at Rosemarie’s house.) #nomealleftbehind

We tried to see as many as people as we could right away (and beat jetlag) by booking a big table at Steamworks for the first night. Scott’s whole old work team showed up, plus the whole Ryan Ryan and Brian group, and good old Liz and Rob, and Rose and Lauren of course. It was fun.

The next day we headed to Salt Spring Island, and Seattle as well, which I’ll save for separate blog posts.

Scott’s friend Hannah from London just happened to be visiting Vancouver for one overlapping day. We met them for porchetta at Meat & Bread (#nomealleftbehind) and Scott walked all around the seawall with them while I took off to visit my old work and pick up some Darn Tough socks for all my poor Australian friends who I’ve convinced they are the best socks ever and can’t get them here. Sorry, sort of.

The next day dad arrived. We picked him up and made him tag along to the hockey store where Scott got a whole kit. So much cheaper than Australia.

It was a beautiful day so we drove up to the top of Mount Seymour to do a short hike (Dog Mountain). It was harder than I expected because it was so rooty, but we made it. The view from the end was very nice. It was a little hazy but you could still see the whole city.

The next day dad went for a big bike ride, Scott went to visit his old work, and I had training. I managed to keep up with all my weightlifting training while I was gone which was so good because I have a competition coming up next week. Rose actually lives within walking distance of the old gym I used to go to when we lived there and Al was very nice to make space for me. It was so confusing training in pounds again.

That evening we went to the SFU observatory where lots of space nerds showed us stuff with their telescopes. We could see Saturn’s rings!! It was pretty cool. Rose gave us a tour of her old uni and then we had some late night ice cream, yum yum.

Saturday was an insanely busy day. We squeezed in three different events with three different groups.

1. Dimsum with Rosemarie’s friends. Scott is so creative with his panoramas. Can you guess how he took this one?

2. We got the old game gang back together and had a games day like the old days! We played Mysterium, a space dice game, Sushi Go/Sushi No (where you try to get as few points as possible), ate nachos and Smartfood popcorn (#nomealleftbehind), and caught up on all the gossip. Was great.

3. Dinner and games with Lesley and Jean Pierre (not pictured). She made really delicious tacos, and we played Settlers (of course!!). We also played Monopoly Go. I miss having a friend like Lesley around.

Finally the last day of Scott’s trip we trekked out to UBC for one of our favourite Vancouver events, the apple festival. Rose, Lauren and dad had never been! (It was Scott and my fifth time, haha). We tasted all the apples, ate apple pie, drank apple cider, and learned all about plant medicines. I forget what my favourite apple was, but of course it was something kinda mushy. The sales area was completely wiped out so we couldn’t buy anything.

Then we dropped Scott off at the airport. We all wish he could have stayed longer.

OK no more footy talk for six months. What else have we been up to?

I did another weightlifting competition at the end of August. My back wasn’t great at the time so my coach and I were being pretty conservative. I wasn’t expecting any PBs because I was powering everything, but I went 6/6 and still got a 2 kg PB in snatch and 1 kg PB in clean and jerk! I have another comp coming up in November and it will be interesting to see what I can do if I do full movements.

We got these pretty carrots from Costco. I roasted them whole for about 30 minutes. Then mixed up a 3:2 ratio of balsamic vinegar and honey with a bit of thyme, drizzled the mixture over and broiled them for another 10 minutes, then sprinkled with salt. They turned out like salty-sweet-tangy candy vegetables. So yummy. I especially liked the crispy tips.

Also the Pinch of Yum freezer wild rice soup recipe is magical. I still can’t understand how a recipe can be so easy at prep time and at cook time and still turn out so good! All of her freezer meals are so intriguing. Basically they’re a whole bunch of recipes where you cut up and freeze a bunch of uncooked stuff, and then later pop them straight into your pressure cooker frozen and voila 30 minutes later you have dinner. PS I doubled the recipe and split it into three dinner packs. Also I used brown rice instead of wild rice because wild rice doesn’t exist here. Scott said it tasted like the inside of a chicken pot pie. I will 100% be trying more of these recipes.

This is our new house btw. It’s pretty great other than the lack of insulation. I want to buy one.

The other morning we went to the Tesselaar Tulip Festival with Scott’s mum and aunt. It was alright. They must be making bank because it was very busy and it’s not cheap. I think it would be better if they planted the flowers into cool designs like in Ottawa, but perhaps my standards are a bit high, haha.

I am very pleased to report that my allergies are not a problem any more. I just have to use antihistamine eye drops, antihistamine nasal spray, and a daily antihistamine tablet. Is that too much? I hope not because this is the first spring in like 8 years that I have felt like a normal human.

I trekked out to ALTONA NORTH to go to my old coworkers 30th birthday party. It was nice to catch up with them, I do miss my old EH work pals. Also wow Melbourne is so big it’s like the West and the North could be entirely different cities… I never go there!!

I went on a work wine tour in the Mornington Peninsula with a bunch of techs and nurses and receptionists from medical imaging at my current job. It was very fun and silly. Now I see familiar faces if I have to go to MRI or CT and stuff which is nice.

Myles turned 1 and had a birthday party with 9 trillion kids. He is v cute.

A little while ago Scott’s dad won a gigantic charcoal bbq and several boxes of wine and a bbq lunch party from a liquor store contest that he didn’t even know he entered. They had the lunch on Saturday. A lady came and cooked up like ten different kinds of meat for us, and served it and cleaned up afterwards. What a treat for Scott’s parents. The most hilarious part though? The lady used the regular bbq to cook it, not the prize one hahahahhaa.

This Friday we’re going to Canada!! Just to Vancouver to visit Rosemarie and all our old friends. I can’t wait! I have a very long list of foods I want to eat: Macintosh apples, Jamaican patties, perogies, poutine, yam rolls, Blenz hot chocolate, Smartfood popcorn etc etc. I have to be so strategic about my meals. NO EATING FOODS I CAN GET IN AUSTRALIA.

All for now.

I think the two things that sum up winter in Melbourne are footy, and being able to see your breath inside your house.

What have we been up to over the last few frigid months? A lot!!

Big news #1: I got a new job. A permanent full time job. FINALLY! I’ve been there about six weeks now and it’s been great. It’s much busier than my old job but everyone is very nice and I’m really enjoying it. Plus I don’t have to drive to work any more and have gained back about 2 hours a day with the shorter commute and shorter hours. YAY!

Big news #2: We moved! Our old apartment was for sale and the constant viewings and uncertainty were driving us nuts. We decided to take charge of our lives and found a new place that’s within walking distance to work for both Scott and I. My walk is about 25 minutes, and Scott’s is about 45 minutes. It’s one unit in a group of six on a block.

We love having a lot more space, and being able to hear the rain on the roof, but it’s been FLIPPIN’ FREEZING in here this winter. I don’t think it has any insulation at all, so in the morning when it is 6 degrees outside, it is also 6 degrees inside. There is a very nice gas fireplace in the living room but we obviously can’t run that all night, so it makes for very uncomfortable mornings. Thankfully it’s starting to warm up now so we’re past the worst of it for this year.

Sparkler fail for Jemma’s 30th birthday cake. The Tres Leches cake turned out pretty delicious if I do say so myself, but we could not get the sparklers all lit at the same time and also set off the smoke detector in the process, haha. Forgot to take a picture of the cake in the frenzy. :(

We’ve been skating a few times. Scott is trying to get ready to sign up for the next term of hockey academy. I just skate around in circles and shout things at him every time I pass by, hahaha. BEND YOUR KNEES!!! He is getting better though.

Canada Day was fun. We started the day in a very un-Canadian way with an afternoon footy game. We got free tickets in a promotion where they were trying to introduce the game to newcomers to Australia. I also got two free hats and a scarf! Noice! Melbourne lost by two points though. :((((((((


Then we went to a pub that was throwing a Canada Day party. They had Canadian pizza and wings and poutine, and Canadian Club and Molson and lots more. There was a live band too but they weren’t playing Canadian music?!! I was a bit disappointed in that because I think there are a lot of good Canadian music options. I easily made a ten hour playlist for Scott’s citizenship party back in the day!

A couple weeks ago I cobbled together a porchetta with a giant piece of pork from Costco, and a slab of pork belly. It ended up being ridiculously large so I cut the thing in half and froze half for another time. PS this is our new kitchen. So much space!

It turned out ok but not quite as good as the ones I made in Canada. Perhaps the cut was not really the right kind, or it was just too big. The crackling on top was good, but the inside got a bit dry. My yam fries were extremely limp as well even though I roasted them for ages. Ah well.

Speaking of Costco, I bought a secondhand freezer off Facebook Marketplace so we could buy some stuff in bulk. We put it in the garage. This lot of meat should last us a while!!! :D (Another view of part of the new house btw.)

No pictures but we went out to a really nice sushi place called Shira Nui for my birthday/celebrating getting a new job. We got the omakase which comes with two pieces of nine types of sushi. Everything was very carefully put together and truly yummy. I liked the salmon wrapped in a weird thin transparent seaweed the most. We left stuffed. We’ll definitely have to go back there again some time.


We spent our anniversary weekend cleaning our old apartment. FUN TIMES. Then we went to Crown for dinner, which I already wrote about. We put $5 in the bouncy dice machine thingy and I won on the first bounce!! CASH OUT!!! I am really not a gambler.

Scott went to Sydney for a weekend to set up servers (???) at a new Betty’s Burgers restaurant. He got to extend the trip a couple days and visit Ava and fam, which is nice.


Weightlifting has been… a journey. Months of not very much progress. Then my back started hurting. Debated quitting. Started seeing a physio who is also from my club. Lots of rehab exercises. Back still kinda hurting but he started helping me with a few technique things at training too. Had MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT. Lifting started improving dramatically. Temporarily stopped squatting. Back feeling better. New training PBs. Competition coming up next week!!!

Feeling pretty good going into this next comp, although we’re going to be pretty conservative. I think I’ll be powering everything. I might not get any PBs but that’s ok.

(Pic is a result of doing one million actually ok power cleans with a bar with knurling in the middle.)

Jill and Joe came for a visit the other week from Adelaide. We met them for lunch at Milk The Cow for a delicious cheese feast. We had raclette, a cheese board, and the most delicious Grundlegend fondue that came with fortified wine to dip the bread in first. YUMMMMMMMM. Delicious food and great to catch up with them again, as usual.

The Dees had (have??) a fairly good chance of making the finals this year, they just had to win one game out of the three left. Thanks to one of Scott’s friends we got to sit in the MCC section for their best chance, vs. Sydney last weekend. It was a fun day, but unfortunately, Melbs blew it. I am currently watching the second chance game at home, against a much higher ranked team. Melbourne is winning at the moment with one quarter to go but it’d be pretty miraculous if they pulled this off. I think I will have to try and go again next weekend for the last attempt. I really want to see them in the finals for the first time (since I chose them 9 years ago)!!!!!

My allergies have kicked in hardcore so I haven’t done a lot this weekend. I was on call yesterday for the first time at my new hospital but didn’t get called in. Spent most of the time curled up under my enormous blanket in front of the fireplace and tv. It’s hailed about ten times this weekend. #winterinmelbs

**ten minutes later** OMG!!!! DEES WON!!!! Melbourne in the finals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!