Traditional New Years Day dip in the ocean. Beautiful day this year. And not too busy, probably because a nearby restaurant was deemed a covid hot spot a couple days before.

Ben Folds with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. This concert was supposed to happen March 2020! Luckily Ben just stayed in Australia the whole year so we still got to see him, eventually! We got REALLY good seats. The website wasn’t working during pre-sale so Scott tried calling the box office and he got second/third row! (They only used every second row of the theatre and also put two empty seats between each group, so everyone was suuuuper spread out.)

The orchestra was very cool. So much to look at and listen to. Ben was chatty like usual. The singalong songs didn’t work very well though with so few people.

January SMAJ was an intro to pottery class. Jemma came too. It was very fun! And challenging! Scott was the best at it, he made a bowl and a cup. I made two soy sauce dishes and Jemma made a bowl type dish.

I actually got to go pick them up this weekend. I was super surprised at how much they shrank, everything is so tiny. Scott and I have signed up for a 6 week term so there will be more, hopefully larger, pottery coming in the future!

I went to a crafternoon with my new internet friends (some overlap with old internet friends) and got Ash to re-teach me how to join granny squares together. After literally years of procrastinating, I finally attached all the squares that Scott and I made into an actual blanket shape. I plan on putting a black border around it, but that will be a winter project as it’s not pleasant to crochet in summer.

Unpictured:

  • I went to another meetup with those internet friends at a bowls club and tried lawn bowling for the first time. I wasn’t great at it, but it was a fun activity. It was nice to meet some new people, and see my old trivia friends again after over a year.
  • Speaking of bowls, Scott has gotten very involved with our local bowls club. He’s played in a few games now and they’ve won every one!
  • He is also back playing basketball, and doing hockey lessons, and subbing for futsal every once and a while. I’m glad he’s having fun outside the house and also I’m enjoying my Katrina-time.
  • I did a weightlifting competition around Australia Day. I was worried that I used up all my PBs at the Christmas comp only a few weeks before, but still managed to get a solid snatch PB and maintain the same total.
  • A bunch of the weightlifting ladies went out for drinks that evening and I had more drinks in one night than I’ve had in the last six months combined lol. (Four.) Interesting how easy it is to slip right back into old habits, especially with things like HAPPY HOUR! It was a fun night even if it took 2 nights to get my overnight recovery levels back to normal.
  • We went to the pool on a hot day and I got a bathing suit tan after 5pm. Insane.
  • We did one of MEPs online Rotary trivia events with Rose and dad, and Scott and I won!! We won movie vouchers… which we sent on to dad.
  • I went down to 4 days a week at work and it is GREAT. I truly love it.
  • Couple family meals/visits with Scott’s parents and nana.

Oh yeah Melbourne had a Snap Lockdown for 5 days because of some covid cases that got out of hotel quarantine. They put us right back on to the strictest lockdown level where you only got 2 hours of outdoor time, 5km radius, can only leave the house for 4 reasons, everything non-essential shut, etc. I didn’t have much planned that weekend anyway, and still went to work, so it didn’t affect me that much other than having to do a few training sessions back in the garage, but Scott had a few things cancelled. And it sure ruined poor Jill’s trip to Melbourne.

It worked though, we never had more than ~6 new cases/day and it all cleared up within a few more days. We’ve been back down to 0 cases/day for a while now, and the active cases are pretty much gone again, so we can go about life without having to worry too much.

PS curling >>> lawn bowls

Whoops I’ve jumbled up my posts a bit. Oh well. Here’s the rest of 2020: a mixture of lockdown and freedom.

Spent a lot of time in the garage. Sometimes it was freezing, sometimes it was sweltering. Always lots of spiders. Even though it sucked training alone in the garage I am sooooo grateful that I had this set up. Not only did it keep me sane during lockdowns, I even managed to improve a bit. I think about it like my catch up time compared to the other much stronger girls.

SMAJs were more difficult during lockdown. September SMAJ was a hot chocolate tasting pack from Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, which had 16 different epic ho chos. This is just one example: Zingy Chilli (chilli and lime dark hot chocolate with lime marshmallow, choc lime slice, and chilli leaf truffles).

Mega fried Ubereats meal from Hibiki. Was a nice treat.

I worked on bird paintings a bit. I really should get back to them.

Of course we bought the Wingspan Oceania expansion. It’s so nice seeing birds we can find here. The new expansion adds a couple elements but nothing too overwhelming. We like it.

We went to the beach one day for a walk and found the beach covered in these crazy jelly blobs. I was scared to touch them until I saw the kids playing with them, throwing them back in the water or making huge piles of them. I later found out they’re moon snail egg sacs.

I don’t think I’ve ever actually had an ice cream from an ice cream truck before. It cost a lot but I have to say it was pretty great.

November SMAJ was a pottery painting session with BYO food and drink. I found it very stressful to paint something on a time deadline with no pre-planning. I know I need to relax, lol. I painted a mediocre mug, and Scott made a craptastic (his word) leaf shaped dish.

I made Tres Leches cake for Scott’s birthday/a Christmas brunch. Such a tasty cake. I still need to get a more similar sized cake tin and rimmed platter though so the liquid absorbs better.

Our December SMAJ activity was boating along the Yarra in a Go Boat. You don’t need a boat license because they go verrrrry slowly. It was neat to see the city from a different perspective. I think these would be fun with a big group of friends.

Docked the boat for a quick riverside coffee to go.

Unpictured things:

  • Many many picnics. Man we got so good at picnics in 2020, lol. I still think they’re a pretty good activity, eating food and lying around… that’s great.
  • We bought a new couch. It still has not arrived. I think we are on week 12 of 14-16 weeks now. Getting there!
  • AFL Grand Final at home with no guests. Zzzz. Can’t believe I managed to lose the sweep.

There’s this really cute Japanese-Korean restaurant near our house. We first noticed it because it was always still really busy on our way home from family dinner (RIP family dinner) at like 9pm on Sunday nights.

They’ve got laminated menus and a dude cooking everything on a tiny stove, it’s cozy inside, and the waitress was very… honest. We’ll definitely go back.

Salmon sashimi daily special. I love salmon so much.

Seafood korean pancake. Very generous with the seafood, every piece had a big chunk of prawn, oyster, or squid.

Scott had spicy bbq lamb chops. They weren’t super flavourful but he still enjoyed his meal.

Alcoholic Calpico from their convenience store next door. I didn’t know what it was going to be. The guy assured me it wasn’t beer. Tasted great!

Cafe Carpenter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We are lucky here in Australia. We got to have a pretty normal Christmas. We were allowed 30 people and didn’t have to worry about masks or anything.

Scott only got one combined birthday and Christmas present from me this year because it was a pretty big one. I had to get it delivered to my coworkers house to keep it a surprise since at that point Scott was working from home every day. I think he liked it!

We had Christmas lunch at Scott’s parents house like usual. Jess and Ava had to drive non-stop from Sydney to make it to Victoria before we closed the border from NSW but they made it. (Michael had to stay in NSW.) We spent the afternoon playing with nieces, nephews and cousins, playing battle blocks, and eating and drinking. It was a nice day.

Rosemarie managed to coordinate nearly the whole Perkin side of the family onto a group video chat on their Christmas. Even grandma and grandpa popped in right on schedule! Normally a lot of them would have spent Christmas together in real life, but because of Canadian covid restrictions they had to stay in their own homes. :( I’m glad we got to get together virtually at least.

We had Ava over for one last visit before they headed back to Sydney. We played with her reusable sticker book thingy. She sure is chatty. :D

We love Wilsons Prom but don’t really love the campground there (so expensive and noisy!!), so when I found out there is a state campground on the coast right before the Prom (in Cape Liptrap National Park) I was super excited and booked it right away. $15/night and fire pits, hell yeah!

The campground was so lovely. Spacious and quiet, and nice and natural. It smelled like eucalyptus and you could hear birds everywhere. We even saw a couple wombats too.

The beach at Bear Gully isn’t great for swimming (it was too cold anyway) but it was excellent for walks and shell collecting. I found a lot of cool stuff to look at. Scott found a tiny golf club.

Crimson Rosella
Red Wattlebird
Hooded Dotterel/Plover
Gang-gang Cockatoo
Gang-gang Cockatoo
Juvenile Crimson Rosella
Grey Butcherbird

We saw a lot of excellent birds. Scott spent a lot of time wandering around with the camera trying to get the perfect shot. I think he got some great ones!! Once he’s gotten a picture I try to identify them with my bird app.

The wattlebirds were hard to take a picture/identify because they don’t really stay still. A friend had to help with that ID. The hooded plovers are a vulnerable species. Check out that hooked beak on the butcherbird! Excellent for snatching butterflies out of mid-air.

It was pretty cold at night time. I wish I brought more clothes and a touque. We bought wood to make a fire but the wood was so wet we couldn’t get it to burn. I can’t believe they sold it like that. Sad.

We drove into the Prom one day. We did two hikes (Millers Landing and The Drift), and had showers before going back Bear Gully.

Millers Landing is the southernmost stand of mangroves in the world and was supposed to be a bird watcher’s paradise, but all we saw were black swans.

The Drift was pretty cool. The last climb up to the dunes is pretty soft sand and steep! Scott, the King of walking, didn’t even want to finish going up! But once you’re up it becomes a lot easier to walk. Worth it for the epic pictures.

We were driving up the road from the Cape Liptrap Lighthouse and were like “What is that? A grey wombat?” and then got closer and saw it was a koala! Once he noticed us he went off the side of the road and climbed a tree, so we were able to slowly creep up and see him up close. We saw him jump from one trunk to another! I did not think he was going to stick the landing. He probably had to rest for 5 days after all that activity.

We also did a very nice hike around Sandy Point/Shallow Inlet but I guess I didn’t take any pictures other than the Hooded Plovers. We also went to Venus Bay to look around and replenish our supplies but I don’t remember anything else we did there.

Overall, a really lovely trip other than being a bit cold. I would definitely return to Bear Gully.