We spent a few days in the Grampians at the beginning of December. We camped at Smiths Mill campground for three nights and it was very relaxing.
We stopped at Cafe Merkama in Ballarat on the way there for lunch. It was great! Love a dairy free meal especially.
Mackenzie Falls.. now with less dead bodies. They’ve blocked it off quite a bit now so you can’t even really touch the water.
I took quite a few long exposure pictures with my ND filter but when I got home and looked at them on my computer I found out that they had really strong reflections from the camera lens. Whoops.
We saw lots of birds. Scott spotted several Scarlet Robins, which we had never seen before. And we saw a lot of types of honeyeaters. I’ve got a bunch of new pictures to add to my bird album on Facebook.
Scott must read really boring books because he falls asleep 5 minutes after he starts reading. Every time.
I entertained myself with a $5 Kmart embroidery kit.
We played games of course. It was not windy at the camp site so we could even play Wingspan Asia!
There was a campground emu. At first we thought it was cool seeing an emu so close, but he turned out to be a bit of a pest. Continuously circling the area looking for snacks.
One time he snuck up behind me and I didn’t notice until his head was right beside my head. Scared me!
The emu also did several big poos right in the middle of our site.
We went to the Balconies lookout at sunset. I thought it would be busy but we were the only ones there! Very beautiful.
Need to learn how to take better sunset pictures…
We did a fun hike up Hollow Mountain. It’s only just over 1km long but it goes straight up! But it’s way more fun than like the 1000 Steps or something because you have to scramble up rocks and do some light bouldering. Some parts felt scary! But I think it’s now in my top 5 favourite hikes (don’t ask me what the other 4 are).
Then it rained the whole last evening, even though the weather report said 0% chance of rain. I failed as a Girl Guide and didn’t make a deadman in the tent that morning and my pillow got wet. Bah. Luckily it was dry out while we packed up the next morning though.
Normally I end up planning the majority of our holidays. But, for the first time ever, Scott planned this whole trip himself and I just got to show up! It was a treat!
We flew to Sydney, picked up a rental car, and drove into the Southern Highlands via Wollongong.
We went for a walk in Barren Grounds NP, which was supposed to have lots of cool birds, but we didn’t see that many. Just the usual suspects. Although I’d never actually ID’d a Fan-tailed Cuckoo before so I guess that’s a new bird to me. It got cloudy and misty as we were leaving.
We had a delicious dinner at Leila’s at the Grand in Bowral. The skewers, dips, bread were all fantastic.
The next day we went to a couple waterfalls. The first was Fitzroy Falls. This is what happens when you bring your telephoto lens to a very big waterfall… you can’t even fit the whole thing into the picture. Whoops.
Then we went to Carrington Falls. Again, brought the wrong lens with me.
Caught in the act.
We had very nice pies for lunch at Robertson Pie Shop.
A quick photo stop atThe Big Potato.
And then we drove back to Sydney to see the Lonard’s! It was Michael’s 40th birthday. He had a party at the pub where we could watch Australia play in the World Cup.
The last morning we went to watch Ava play in her touch rugby Grand Final. It was very cute. She is 7.
Our friend really likes this fried chicken place so we stopped in and ordered two pieces of chicken and pickles. It actually lived up to the hype! Would recommend.
It was jacaranda season so we went to McDougall St to take some pics. Was very pretty and very busy!! They have to close the street at this time of year because there are too many idiots like us standing in the middle of the road taking pictures.
After that we went to Rae’s new house to see her family, but took no pictures. It was really nice to see her. I wish we lived in the same place because I think we would be really close friends.
And then we went back to the airport and flew home! All in all a successful and fun trip. Good planning Scott.
November was an extremely busy month. It felt like every friend group was like “Let’s get together and do something before the crazy season starts”, which ended up making November equally (if not more!) busy than December. Next year I need to remember to do my early Christmas organising and baking in October!
We started the month with a belated #SMAJ activity at the 1000 Steps. I was so excited, as you can clearly tell. I barely saw anything on the way up because I was just concentrating on getting it over with as quickly as possible. Heard a lot of bird calls though.
The way down hurt my knees.
We had our friends over for dinner and games. I made a vegetarian Korean meal with Korean pancake, kimchi fried rice, and some crispy gochujang tofu. Scott made some banchan to go with it.
We played Viticulture, a rare six player game. It did take quite a long time with six people though, especially at the beginning when everyone is struggling to get their vineyard going.
My work always has our Christmas lunch super early. This year we went to Maha and it was very delicious. Felt very lucky.
Snails haven’t been as much of a problem in the garden any more, thank goodness. Once the zucchini started flowering I moved the tent to the salad and herbs box. So far even the uncovered stuff is thriving.
Extremely sweaty at pickleball. The headband means I mean BUSINESS. We managed to go play pickleball most weeks.
Michael and Gina taught us how to play mahjong. It was fun. Wish I could have played with my mom’s side of the family.
We went to the Night Noodle Market. It wasn’t a very nice day out so it wasn’t very busy. We had three different types of bao, kimchi fries, and Gelato Messina mango pancake. (The picture is my friend’s Oreo ice cream concoction.
I had a couple meetings and many many emails with Simone, the designer we hired to help us with our renovations. We ended up picking the rectangle green-y tile in the centre of the picture as our fun tile, and a grey-ish stone-y looking one for the rest, for the bathroom and laundry room. We were going to do a bit of the kitchen too but have decided it makes more sense to just leave it for if/when we redo the whole kitchen. Hopefully bathroom construction will start in February.
Another belated #SMAJ… had sushi and went to see Armageddon Time, a movie that made me feel sad about systemic racism.
Discount Thai food with Discord friends.
Several trivia nights, including trying out a new place that only had one other team there, so our team had to split into two teams to at least try and make it a bit more competitive.
I went to Oasis grocery store for the first time and found pink pickled turnip which made me extremely happy.
We had a state election and the Labour party stayed in power, which was a relief. Yes even the state elections have ballots that are like a meter long.
Betty’s Burgers with friends.
Another crafternoon! I worked on my knitting. A lady took a picture of our group cuz she thought it was great that we were all crafting and drinking.
We went to New South Wales. I’ll make that its own post.
I finished my knitted sweater! The pattern is Tin Can Knits Flax. The yarn is Bendigo Woolen Mills Luxury 10 ply.
It was a good pattern to try as a beginner knitter because there are Youtube videos explaining every step. Also my friend was making it too. Her and another friend helped me out many times actually.
It’s a nice cozy warm sweater. I love that I could make it extra long for my long torso. The only thing is that because the front and the back is the exact same it can be a bit strangly on the neck. But the garter panel down the sleeves is a nice nobbly detail.
(The line down the middle is from folding. I guess I shouldn’t do that.)
Not bad for my first jumper if I do say so myself!
Edited to add: actually I think the line might be from where I had the stitch marker? I’ll just switch that side to the back.
OK well in October I took plenty of pictures! Long post ahead!
We have been playing lots of pickleball again. I even got an upgraded paddle! We have been playing with the Bayside Pickleball Club and have been improving every week.
Another one of Scott’s (belated) #SMAJ activities was dinner at Serai in the city. It’s a fancy Filipino restaurant with a lot of stuff cooked over wood fire. It was all lovely if you didn’t think about the price. We had coral trout, broccolini, calamari, and hashbrowns with peanut sauce. The highlight for me was the dairy free dessert called Taho. It is made with soy ice cream, brown sugar syrup and tapioca pearls. The girl told us to stir it all up. Delicious!
Our friends Jen and Robert ran a private pottery workshop for a small group of friends. It was epic. We started with making some pinch pots, then did a bit of wheel throwing, and then did some large pieces where we painted coloured clay onto newspaper and then transferred it onto the slabs of clay which we layed over big molds. We got to pick what glaze we would like them to put on each piece and they are going to finish them all up for us. I can’t wait to see the results! It was a lovely afternoon.
We stopped in Box Hill on the way home for dinner. We randomly picked this Uyghur restaurant called Dolan On Silk Road because it seemed to be quite busy, and it turned out to be great! We ordered this massive lamb and bread platter which had a nice flavour and lots of vegetables and sauce. Fun to try a new cuisine. Everything the people around us were eating looked great too.
My work did a Medical Imaging Bake Off and it was pretty much the best day ever. I made a lemon blueberry yogurt cake that was decent but not prize-worthy. It was so moistly that the icing sugar I sprinkled on top got absorbed almost immediately.
I tried nearly everything. Even though we took tiny slivers of each thing it still put everyone into a sugar coma.
I went birdwatching with a bunch of oldies in Corinella. It was a weekday outing so I think the age group was extra skewed towards… retired. I didn’t get any good pictures but we did see lots of birds. The highlight for me was the Crested Shriketit, as I had never see one before and they’re pretty cool looking. It was nice to get out on a particularly lovely day.
I thought the birdwatching was going to finish at 12pm like it said on the website so I didn’t bring a packed lunch. Ohhhh I was so jealous of everyone’s delicious looking sandwiches when they stopped for a picnic lunch before continuing on to site number two and three!! Instead I bailed after site two and got Maccas on the way home. This is what a burger looks like if you ask for +2 pickles. Pickle overload!!
I did a quick volunteer session on the computer at the tiny girls session of Victorian Senior Championships. Always inspiring. It rained a lot.
Speaking of rain. Snails absolutely decimated our garden. We pretty much had to start everything again after snails ate all of our seedlings (two coriander, four cucumber, three eggplant…) The snails ate $15 of marigold flowers in one night.
After that we ordered the green garden box tent and these plastic cones which have been helping. Mesh food covers also help. And every night after dark we go out and stomp snails. In one week we killed NINE HUNDRED SNAILS. Our backyard isn’t even that big!!! They were literally everywhere, all over the sides of the garden boxes, the ground, the side of the house, the fence. It’s like the grossest Easter egg hunt ever. If you want to see a disgusting picture of mass amounts of gross snails, click here.
We are possibly winning though, because this week there have only been a few every night. We’re hoping the constant rain has ended and we’ll be able to uncover stuff soon, because we also need to let the bees in for pollination.
Gardening is hard. I can’t believe the first year we basically just chucked everything in and did almost no maintenance and everything grew very well.
I got quite a bit of hair cut off. It’s a bit crazy. But I re-remembered that it actually only takes like 2 minutes to blow dry my hair when it’s this short so I’ve got it semi under control again.
Doreen have me a couple snapper which I attempted to filet with my fish knife from last Christmas. I think i did ok considering they were quite small! I also learned how to gut the fish this time too.
I went to watch Scott play hockey before going to a Diwali Halloween party. Diwaloween.
I tried candy corn for the first time and I thought it was fine? I don’t get the hate. The party had a lot of delicious food.
Rosemarie mailed me some clothing and some cascatelli!!! She is the best! We had it with a sausage pasta and it really did have great forkability, sauceability and toothsinkability! If I lived in USA I would use it as my go-to pasta for sure.
True love is Scott making me a tiny container of gravy to go with my lunch tourtiere when he hates the stuff.
Korean gochujang bbq short ribs. They took 4 hours in the oven!! Worth it, this was delicious. Can’t link the recipe because it’s from Nagi’s new cookbook.
I finished my sweater!!! It’s super warm and cozy. I just finished blocking it so I’ll take better pictures next time I’m home during the day. The forecast for this week is 25-29°C… so might not get much use out of it any time soon.
Unpictured stuff! This is the post that never ends!
I risked doing three different activities on an on call day: an online CPD seminar mostly about brain PET, afternoon weightlifting training, and post-training pizza with weightlifting pals. Thankfully I didn’t get called in and got to do everything!
That same day Scott went down to Tarwin for his cousin’s wife’s birthday bash. I enjoyed my alone-y evening.