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.

OK well I didn’t blog much this year… let’s just do a quick recap of this year and move on…..

The year started off great, we moved into our own house, went camping with friends, and training was going well leading up to the first competition of the year. We had a really nice visit with Kyla and then… everything got cancelled.

Scott had to go down to reduced work hours, and I started training alone in the cold cold garage. At first lockdown was ok, we played all the board games! Cooked all the foods! Did online trivia! Watched Ben Folds live on Youtube every weekend! Life was cozy and novel. An introverts dream.

A couple of months of lockdown worked enough that they started to relax the restrictions. We had a few weeks of freedom. Scott’s work went back to normal. We saw our friends. We had family dinner. We went out for brunch. We planned some things!

Then cases started rising exponentially and they put us in a very tough lockdown, with a 5km radius restriction and only 1 hour of outside time per day. Cases went down but they kept us locked in. For literally months. It was really hard. I definitely got depressed, especially while seeing the rest of the world frolicking around restriction-free.

Finally, finally after WEEKS of zero new covid cases, they started to let us out. We could have picnics! We could travel further than 5 km! The gym reopened!!!!!!! Cases stayed down and we went back to nearly normal life! We went to Bendigo! We went camping! We don’t have to wear masks! It’s amazing!

This December has actually felt like a normal silly season. Even though I find it really overwhelming I’m trying to do as much as possible while we can because Covid is back in Australia (in Sydney) and we still don’t have vaccine here, and who knows what’s going to happen in January. I made a list of Freedom Goals and we just checked off the last thing last week: buy a new couch (as Rosemarie put it: “we spent so long sitting that our couch was permanently saggy so we bought a couch suitable for old age“). Can’t wait for it to arrive in 19 weeks. :/


Rosemarie’s Questions From Last Year:

PBs: snatch 46 kg -> 47 kg (in the garage, where everything feels 5 kg heavier soooo….), clean & jerk 54 kg -> 55 kg…. which is also not that big of an improvement… but I actually full-cleaned it which is a major major win. I only did one competition this year, last week, without peaking, where I did 42/44/46, and 49/52/55. That was a 3 kg snatch comp PB, a 1 kg clean & jerk comp PB, and a 4 kg total PB… my first time with a 3 digit total (101 kg). Even though my numbers barely went up, I am actually very proud of what I managed to do this year, training alone in the garage for 6 months, more than 110 sessions. I have a new coach since Lockdown 2.0 and it has been working very well. Weightlifting is really good at the moment.

Books: I read a lot this year, to try and relax before bed.

  • The Wonder – Emma Donohue – Intriguing, couldn’t wait to find out what happens, but I thought the ending was just a bit too quick and convenient imo.
  • Such A Fun Age – Kiley Reid – I really liked this book. The main character was just so chill. My favourite line was “May I please have an Uber and a snack?”
  • This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay – Silly stories about being a doctor. Amusing, sometimes gave me work flashbacks.
  • Where The Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens – Started off very heartwarming, then got more intense, I enjoyed it.
  • A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara – One of those long books that follows a group of people for a very long time. At times very hard to read, made me feel super uncomfortable, but very good too.
  • Conversations With Friends – Sally Rooney – An interesting book about affairs.
  • The Stand – Stephen King – Extremely long, took me 3 months to finish. The first part was pretty terrible to read during a real life pandemic. Was entertaining but didn’t change my life.
  • Normal People – Sally Rooney – Someone else called it a “profoundly lonely and depressing love story” and I guess I agree with that.
  • Hotels Of North America – Rick Moody – I don’t know who recommended this to me but I thought it was annoying.
  • Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee – A memoir about an Australian lady while she worked as a judge’s associate in all sorts of horrible sexual assault cases, and then her own experience in the Australian justice system

New Board Games:

  • Wingspan – A very pretty game about birds. We love it. We just got the Oceania expansion a couple weeks ago but I haven’t had the mental energy to try it out yet!
  • Orleans + Trade & Intrigue expansion – The base game is ok but it’s much better with the expansion. Unique game with little bags of tokens. I would really like to play this with 3 or 4 players
  • Castles of Burgundy – Fun point salad game with one billion little pieces. I forget how to play every time but once you remember it’s fun again.
  • Tiny Towns – Simple strategic game, the best type! We had a lot of fun playing this with Rosemarie over video chat during lockdown.

Great New Recipes: enh I already posted about the fun things we cooked in Lockdown 1.0, and after that I got depressed and pretty much only made 10 minute simple dinners.

Adventures: ummmm… yeah not really. Everything got cancelled.


2019 Final Thoughts – 2019 was not the most exciting year of my life, but we put in a lot of good work to our future. We did the hard stuff of finding a house, working hard, saving, rehab… and very very soon we get to enjoy the benefits of that. I feel very good about 2020

LOL.

Last Years Goals:

  • More nice foods – yes, we cooked all sorts of crazy delicious things during lockdown 1.0, and also had some fantastic takeaway
  • More rehab – yes, had plenty of time for foam rolling
  • More thrift shops – nope, they were closed/I don’t go to the store ever
  • More art – yes, I did a lot of cross stitching, painting, cartooning
  • More friends – lol nope, didn’t even see my friend who lives around the corner for months because it wasn’t allowed
  • More pictures – nope, barely took any
  • Less worrying – NOPE. worried x 493879348

2020 Finals 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.

Goals For Next Year:

Whatever man. Just survive.

How we spent our first lockdown. (Besides cooking, I’m saving that for a different post.)

Doing weird household tasks like going under the house to take a look at stuff and thread cables through the floor.

Re-learning how to use a sewing machine so my ears don’t freeze when I’m biking to work.

Finishing crochet projects that I started a year before.

Getting back into cross stitch and re-invigorating my Etsy shop.

Drawing cartoons for my weightlifting club’s newsletter: Isolation Edition.

Playing every single board game we have. I saved all of them to my Instagram stories if you’re interested. A forgotten favourite was Lords of Waterdeep. A forgotten loser was Tsuro of the Seas.

Doing yoga.

Crying that we didn’t get to go to Canada and having to get Rosemarie to mail us all our Arcteryx goodies.

Picking lemons. This doesn’t really fit the post but I’m just so happy with our lemon tree.

For a brief two weeks: Going out for breakfast! Going back to the gym! Having family dinner!

But then cases started going out of control again and we got put back in the strictest lockdown. :(

I guess I have finally gotten bored enough to get back to this poor neglected blog. So let’s catch up! We’re going way way back to… BEFORE COVID. Whoa.

My friend Pity from weightlifting invited a few of us over to do a still life drawing session. I haven’t sketched like that in ages. It was fun and I liked what I drew and I liked seeing everyone else’s take on the same object. Would be nice to do this again, some day.

I did a picture framing class at a framing shop near our house. Yes I have done this before but this one uses way better tools and once you finish the course you can go back and frame whatever you want and just pay for supplies. Except I haven’t been able to go back. Sigh.

I was supposed to do a weightlifting competition in March. Training was going really well and I was feeling good but then the competition was one of the very first things that got cancelled here in Melbourne. Everyone thought it was so stupid that it was cancelled because at that point I think we were still allowed to have 500 people at events and you’d be lucky if there were 20 spectators at the average local weightlifting competition.

Anyway my coach and I decided to just do a mock comp at Phoenix instead. I snatched 43x/43/45 and clean and jerked 50/53/55 (PB!). I was excited because it was the first time I got to use the blue plates. The 55 was so easy I got to do a Bonus Attempt at 57 but I just smashed it into my sternum instead of getting underneath it.

That same weekend we had Kyla staying with us for a mini break from her family trip around Australia. We took her out for a very Melbourne laneway pub crawl around the city. One of my very favourite things about this city is taking people down weird alleyways like the one in the picture and finding a super cool bar.

There were not that many people out so we didn’t have to wait to get in anywhere. We had parmas in a pub, then went to hidden bars, rooftop bars, bubble tea cocktail bars, speakeasy bars, and even tried to go to a floating bar (but got turned away for being too ugly[??]). It was a fun night.

And then that was it! We went into the first stages of lockdown that week.