We crashed Scott’s cousins’ camping site in Walkerville for a night after Christmas. We weren’t there for long but had a lovely time hanging out with the cousins and their kids. We hiked up to the lookout, looked for crabs in rock pools, identified birds. I love that area.
Sophie and Scott and I paid a ridiculous amount of money to spend approx 4 seconds ziplining across the Yarra. It was silly. We went for ice cream after.
I took Scott out for a fancy meal for his birthday. We had the seasonal menu at Gimlet and it was amazing. We had mocktails and bread and radishes and asparagus and seafood pasta and an epic rib-eye with fries and salad, and two types of dessert. Everything was great. We also enjoyed sitting at the counter and watching everyone cook.
Garden is doing ok. We have two types of zucchini: the regular Black Beauty type, and another paler type that has grown a three meter long vine but only one actual zucchini. We have harvested one lebanese cucumber… hoping the plant keeps going. And we have heaps of green roma tomatoes but none have actually become ripe yet. Silverbeet and other salad stuff still growing fine, and I’ve planted another round of carrots. Hoping for good harvests soon.
Scott actually hates this pasta maker. He was probably swearing while I took this picture.
I did another weightlifting competition, the Phoenix Christmas Hit Out. I never posted any videos because I don’t like how I lifted. I snatched 45/47x/47, and CJ’d 53/56/58. My snatches were gross and I’m annoyed I missed my second attempt because I was very confident that I could snatch more than 47 (my old PB) and I didn’t get to try. Clean and jerks were better, and 56kg was a PB and 58 is a 3kg PB, but they were doing a bit soft judging and I don’t really think they should have given the 58 to me because the jerk was a little press-y. So that’s that. Hopefully next comp is better. Should be the Phoenix Open in February.
I got a haircut! I liked it at the time but actually it is extremely incompatible with having to wear n95 all the time at work now. My hair is too short to put in a proper ponytail so bits fall out all over the place and then my goggles pull more bits out around the sides so I just look even more disheveled than usual all the time. My coworker says this makes the patients feel sorry for us and treat us nicer so maybe it’s ok.
My friend Jen made this.
I finally got around to making reusable fabric gift bags this year. I remember mom and I making tons of these to sell as a fundraiser for one of my Girl Guide trips! I hope we can use them for a long time.
We had a nice Christmas this year. We spent the afternoon playing with children and eating lots of delicious food. It was a pretty chill day. I got Scott a video game and that polar bear, and he got me a fish fileting knife and two more bird shirts.
- I went to my Melbourne Discord Christmas party. I made my secret santa person a custom Kick Ons hat. I think he liked it because he wore it for the whole rest of the night. My secret santa gave me a cute little Australia-Canada hybrid cross stitch and some knitting accessories. I had some good chats and managed to get away with only having 2 drinks and Scott picked us up afterwards so all in all a very fun night.
- I got my booster. I’ve had AZ x2 + Pfizer booster. I felt ok after however I got a nasty cold a few days later (not covid, was tested twice), not sure if related or not.
- We had a week-before-Christmas lunch at Shaun’s house. Shaun told all the kids that there were no rules at his house, so they had a lot of fun pounding juice boxes and walking on the top part of the play structure.
- I had the days off in between Christmas and New Years this year for the first time and it was great. Unfortunately Scott still had to work so we were only able to squeeze in a quick one night camping trip away (I’ll make another post). But it was still a fun relaxing time for me and actually filled up with quite a few activities so I’m glad I didn’t have to work. Plus I only had to use two days of annual leave to get 10 days off so it was extremely leave-efficient.
- Steph and Soph had birthday parties. Nice to see Steph again and catch up with my old coach Adam, and splash around with Sophie’s kids in their kiddie pool.
- I was in bed at 10pm on New Years Eve, as usual.
Not really the best year… we spent at least part of 7 out of 12 months in lockdown here in Melbourne. I got pretty depressed, especially when I thought about how long it had been since I saw my family, and how much longer it was going to be.
However we have really learned to take advantage of what you can do when you can do it and still managed to squeeze in a fair amount of fun stuff.
Some good things that happened in 2021:
- We still managed to find new places to explore in Victoria. We went to Bright, Echuca, Pyalong, Warburton, Little Desert, and Walkerville (post to come). I think the only corner of the state we haven’t visited yet is Mildura… maybe next spring? There’s a good birding area near there.
- I got to go to Adelaide twice.
- I made a lot of new friends through a Melbourne Discord group.
- I picked up a few new hobbies: photography, knitting, pottery, weaving, and bird watching.
- The Dees won the AFL Grand Final.
- I became Australian.
Work has been fine. We were pretty busy, but I am lucky that my hospital is a “clean” hospital and we don’t actually have any covid patients. Occasionally we have to put on all the PPE for unvaccinated patients, or lung scans, but in general I have it pretty easy compared to many other healthcare professionals.
Same questions as last year:
PBs: snatch 47kg -> 47kg, C&J 55kg -> 58kg. My back squat also improved a fair bit. Not bad for mostly training alone in the garage I guess. I’m glad my clean and jerk improved but I wish I didn’t waste a snatch attempt at my last comp and didn’t get to try for a new snatch PB. I knew I could do it! Hopefully we get to compete more often next year.
New board games: Only one… Caverna. Thank you to Vicky and Pat for mailing all their children a gift card to buy something to cheer ourselves up during the darkest part of lockdown 6.
Books: I didn’t read that much this year. I spent most evenings trying to get dopamine from endless Instagram scrolling. I have lots of books on my list to read next year though. Here’s the few I did read:
- Sins of the Brother: The Definitive Story of Ivan Milat and the Backpacker Murders – Les Kennedy and Mark Whittaker – disturbing, interesting, not the best to read right before bed
- American Dirt – Jeanine Cummins – page turner, people hate this book though?
- Anxious People – Fredrik Backman – hard to get into at first because writing kind of weird I think – didn’t finish
- Boy Swallows Universe – Trent Dalton – writing a bit funny and hard for me to follow but then got good, Australian
- Nothing To See Here – Kevin Wilson – strange one, i liked it
- The Midnight Library – Matt Haig – corny, predictable
- The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller – someone on instagram tricked me into a reading a mythology book! I wish everything I had to read in school was written like this.
Great New Recipes: Again, didn’t really cook that well this year. Just didn’t have the energy. But here’s a couple:
- Ottolenghi burnt aubergine with feta and harissa oil – very tasty and not that difficult.
- Pinch Of Yum Crunch Bowl – not actually a NEW recipe but probably the meal I cooked the most last year.
Oh and a cheddar update for Rosemarie: I just cut open the bag, which had a disturbing amount of liquid squishing around with it… and NOOOO… it smelled like winey-cheese-barf. Did not try. I put it in the bin.
2020 Thoughts: Super grateful that we had our own comfortable house to lockdown in. Grateful that neither of us lost our jobs. Grateful for my home gym and remote coach. Grateful that the hard work all Victorians did during the winter lockdowns paid off and we actually get to enjoy our summer Covid-free (so far). Come on vaccine. I would really like to see my family again.
Well we got the vaccine at least… Scott and I are both triple vaxxed as of a few weeks ago.
Last years goals: Whatever man. Just survive. (yep, accurate.)
2022 Goals: I dunno. Not get covid?
2021 Final Thoughts: This year is finishing off pretty nice… the weather is great, we got to have a normal Christmas, and it’s summer fun times all the time. The government has completely changed their stance on covid and now we’re just letting it rip? We’ll see how this goes. I’m just hoping it lasts because we have a few big things planned in 2022 and I REALLY hope they don’t get cancelled.
No major issues at the state border. The border permit check took about 10 minutes, but the roadside covid test took over an hour as there was only one poor nurse swabbing every single person in every single car. I felt very bad for her, I hope she was getting paid well. At that point you didn’t have to isolate after getting that test so we continued on.
We arrived in Adelaide and checked into the hotel and then I went straight to the gym. I had a competition the following weekend so I didn’t want to skip training! I found a weightlifting gym (Athletic Compound) very similar to my club willing to let me drop in. I was nervous to go in but it was fine once I started.
Then we went out for an Afghan dinner with Cristoforo in Port Adelaide, of which I took no pictures. It was a funny dinner, we were the only customers in the restaurant and I’m not really sure they really wanted customers? Food was good though, and enormous. Then we went for a drink and saw a crazy man with a dog and a bicycle. Fun.
The next day we caught up with Jill and Cassia and family. M REALLY did not like Scott. From the very first second. She pretty much cried any time that he was close by.
We did lots of walking and talking and hanging out at their house, because they were leaving for Spain a few days later they, understandably, really did not want to accidentally end up at an exposure site. I just wanted to hang out with them anyway, so it was all good. We did go out for a lovely patio dinner at the Lion.
The jacaranda were in full bloom. I never remembered seeing them before? Neither Scott or I knew what kind of tree they were and were pretty convinced that there aren’t any in Melbourne. However since returning I have seen approximately 90,000 of them, including about 50 between our house and my work. I seriously don’t know how we didn’t notice them before.
They had a goodbye party in a park with their friends and some family. Scott finally won M over (temporarily) by pulling her and C around in the wagon. Lots of happy giggling.
The last day I went to the gym again to train. They gave me a t-shirt! And then Scott and I went out for dinner at Laura from Masterchef’s pasta restaurant. It was nice! We had burrata with beans, zucchini and pickled cucumbers, gnocchi with artichoke and asparagus, and rigate with goat.
Then we went for one last hug goodbye (although maybe not too long until we see them again, if we are actually able to rendezvous in Ottawa in April, fingers crossed). The next morning we got up early and drove all the way back to Melbourne in one go. Scott did 75% of the driving, he is the best.
South Australia finally decided to open their border, JUST in time to squeeze in a quick visit to see Cassia before they moved to Spain. By chance we already had a few days booked off at the same time to go camping at Bear Gully, but we cancelled that booking and decided to roadtrip to Adelaide instead, via Little Desert National Desert, which is about half way between Melbourne and Adelaide.
One of the creepier giant things in Australia. Near Grampians National Park.
Tis indeed a dry place. SO MANY FLIES.
Thank goodness it also had a river flowing through it because it was FLIPPING HOT when we were there. The water felt amazing and also gave us a break from the flies. We spent many hours floating on our water hammocks (in our full body bathing suits), something that I have been craving for the last couple years.
We went for three short hikes. We were hoping to see different birds due to the different landscape and area but spent most of the time swatting flies instead. Some of the hikes had information sheets available though with lots of fun facts, which I enjoyed.
We learned about the Malleefowl, an endangered bird that makes stupidly complex mound nests out of sticks and sand and then lets it decay and compost to get it to the exact right temperature to incubate the eggs. Didn’t see any, as expected.
We decided to stop in Dimboola for a post-hike ice cream. I noticed an error on their sign post…
This guy was waiting for us back at camp. What a ridiculous bird. How can a wild bird be so big??????
Scott spotted this guy from the car as well. I had to get a friend to help identify. It’s a red-rumped parrot, even though we can’t see the red rump at all. He also had a beige female friend as well, but I cropped her out of the pictures haha.
There were a few Eastern Rosellas flying around camp too, but they were hard to get a good picture.
The campground was very quiet the second day so the bouncy boys came a bit closer. Scott took those pictures before I woke up.
We left fairly early the last day to get a good start on the rest of the drive to Adelaide. We didn’t know how long the border check and required covid test would take.
Quick photo stop at the Pink Lake of course! So salty!! Crusty AF! So cool!