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:

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.

Not the best month tbh. Still in lockdown. Everything still closed and still can’t see anyone. Although it was exciting when our radius doubled from 5km to 10km. :/

I still decided to take a week off from work, and Scott took a few days too. Even if we can’t really do anything it’s still nice to have a break from working. We spent the week cooking elaborate foods, doing a lot of crafts, watching ER.

Here is a bunch of jumbled pictures from the last month.

Making chicken wontons in my dumpling sweatshirt.

At home hotpot with leftover wontons, lots of mushrooms, tofu puffs (didn’t like them though), and veg. The broth was sooooo spicy.

Ottolenghi harissa eggplant and beef kofta. This was very very good.

Rice paper rolls with basa, mango, lots of veg, rice noodles, coriander and mint, with peanut dipping sauce.

I decided to paint the wall in the garage on my week off. I wasn’t sure how hard it was going to be so I kept my plan pretty simple. I kinda think it looks like a public library now though…. I’m not that happy with it. I might add a bit more to jazz it up a bit more maybe. Or maybe I’ll just paint over it and start again.

Scott’s parents sent us a card and some money to buy something to make us feel better. We decided to spent it on Caverna, a board game we have been wanting for a long time. It’s a bit like Agricola 2.0. I like it so far.

Scott trying to attract birds?

We were trying to find tawny frogmouth but all we found were a lot of rainbow lorikeets and mynas.

I fell off my bike. By biking straight into the boom gate at work. It really hurt.

However the Dees winning the Grand Final cheered me up after my accident. It was a great game. We started off strong in the first quarter, then the Dogs pulled ahead in the second quarter creating some tension, then part way through the third quarter the Dees kicked approximately 1000 goals and absolutely dominated for the rest of the game. By mid way through the fourth quarter we actually could relax because we were so far ahead.

Of course I’m sad that we couldn’t go to the game either here or in Perth. I’m really hoping that they are still good next year and we can actually go and experience the excitement in real life. The games should have great crowd atmosphere next year with all the Melbourne supporters coming out of hibernation.

The fam sent us an awesome charcuterie box for the game.

What I thought was going to happen when Maxy hoisted the cup with Goody after the win. (Or that Goody’s arm would get ripped out of its socket.)

I sewed myself an apron because I splash food on myself while cooking all the time.

I ordered a cheapy weaving loom off ebay for fun. It is pretty relaxing to use and works up way faster than a lot of my other types of craft hobbies. Dunno if it’s my new favourite thing or anything but it’s alright. Anyone need any coasters?

Nice flowers on a walk around our neighbourhood.

SITTING IS ILLEGAL.

Scott figured out how to crochet adorable baby hats! He has a new project in mind but the yarn is backordered and the postal system is paralyzed at the moment so it might not happen for a while.

Other unpictured stuff:

  • we planted some of our summer crops: carrots, zucchini, herbs, spinach, lettuce, sorrel, chinese eggplant, beans, chilis. It’s all started ok except the eggplant still hasn’t sprouted.
  • I did an online trivia night with my internet friends. It was fun. We won.
  • Still squatting a lot in the garage. Strength program is going pretty well.
  • I actually got called in to work. My third time in three years, lol, super different than my old job!! I just need to get called in three more times and then I can buy myself the RF 100-400mm lens I have my eye on. Might take three more years….

July was… variable. It started off ok, everything was open and no restrictions, then lockdown #5 happened, and then it ended again. We are certainly learning that there is no point of planning ahead, and definitely don’t procrastinate anything. Do everything you can NOW, because the rules might change a few hours later.

Poutine on Canada Day at the Catfish with my internet friends. I didn’t feel great about celebrating Canada Day, but… I really wanted poutine. :P (Cheese curds are illegal in Australia.) The cheese was good but the chips were too thin. I can theoretically make cheese curds at home now though so there will be more poutine in my future.

Had a few friends over for my birthday. We introduced everyone to crokinole.. it was a hit. Also played Wits and Wagers and ate tons of snacks and acted silly. I had fun.

Can you tell that the family got me a new lens for my camera?

I went on a photo walk with my internet friends. We didn’t plan it well, so ended just wandering around aimlessly taking pictures of random stuff in the city, mainly Chinatown. It was good practice for me.

Fun with longer exposures.

More games! We finally got to have friends over to play boardgames again. We made pulled pork and slaw and taught them Lords of Waterdeep. We had to use the expansions so that all six of us could play and it took 5ever but it was fun!

Mischa made us a beautiful loaf of sourdough. It was professional quality.

Then we went to Pyalong, which I blogged about already. The night we got back we went to trivia for Ash’s birthday/our anniversary, and then the next day we got put back in lockdown for two weeks. Sigh.

Backyard currawong.
Driveway berries. Anyone know what these are? They are pretty.

Delivery treats! I’ve been wanting to try Black Star Pastry ever since Jess told us about it ages ago, but it was only in Sydney. Then they opened in St Kilda, but only at funny hours. Then they had a pop up delivery event so we ordered their famous Strawberry Watermelon Cake, the Raspberry Lychee Cake, and the Chocolate Mirage Cake.

To be honest, we didn’t like it that much. They were TOO light. Mostly cream and flowers. The watermelon cake probably tastes better in the summer when watermelon is in season, because at the moment it was kind of bland. The chocolate one was good but not life-changing. I would prefer to have our wedding cake from Ganache instead.

Glad I got to try it but probably won’t go back.

I ordered us a hotpot feast from Little Hot Pot Heroes for a treat dinner. It came with the pot setup, broth, all the ingredients, 7 types of banchan and some drinks. I got an extra broth so we can make our own soup next time. It was a fun activity and pretty tasty. I liked everything except the rectangle ham pieces.

Does anyone know what type of banchan this is? It was super crunchy, like much more crunchy than cabbage. I loved it.

I accidentally bought these masks with stupid phrases on them. They were folded and had a sticker on the package so I thought they were just plain. :( I literally yelled out loud when I took them out of the package.

So I attempted to terrazzo them with acrylic paint and textile medium. I think they turned out ok, at least somewhat wearable. Unfortunately when I washed them some of the paint came off of the parts with letters underneath so they’re not perfect. Oh well. Still better than “SMILES ARE CONTAGIOUS”. Cringe.

No pictures but lockdown #5 lifted right in time and we were very lucky to be able to have more than ten guests for Scott’s Nana Jean’s funeral. They had a nice funeral service and then the close family went out for lunch afterwards. It wasn’t a good occasion but it was nice to see everyone, like a sad Christmas.

Afterwards Scott and I squeezed in a quick walk at Birdsland where we saw lots of purple swamphens, ducks, bronzewings, and a darter. Then I went to training and then out for a Vietnamese feast with my weightlifting friends. It was a very big and exhausting day.

Unpictured things/things rolling over into August:

  • The Olympics started and I became a professional Olympics viewer. I watched SO MANY SPORTS. Including, all of the weightlifting, gymnastics, athletics, trampoline, track cycling, BMX, skateboarding, sport climbing, diving and tons more that I am forgetting.
  • I screwed up my elbow and now I have to do weird rehab like things with weights dangling on rubber bands.
  • I trained terribly during lockdown #5. I wanted to cry many many times. Thankfully for the first time ever they re-opened gyms right away when lockdown finished, so I got to go back for a glorious FIVE SESSIONS before lockdown #6 started. :/
  • We went to Braz and Lisanne’s going away party. They are moving back to Canada. :(

I only heard about Pound Bend near the end of the summer, so when Easter Saturday was supposed to be a freakishly hot day we knew it was the last chance to try it this year. The air was warm but the water was SO COLD. It takes a good 3 to 4 hours to float around so while I was OK up on the inflatable pizza, Scott was freezing his butt off on the water hammock. Plus some parts are quite shallow so he was also bashing his butt on rocks. It was fun for a couple hours but then became way too long.

We finally had a board game night with friends. Michael and Gina made an EPIC wonton feast!! It was soooo good. We played Tiny Towns, with hilariously bad results by some. I think Michael’s final score was NEGATIVE ONE in his first game hahahaha. (He did much better in the second game btw.) It is totally different experience playing with six people instead of 2 or 3.

We heard that our favourite game store was selling crokinole boards and were pretty much like START THE CAR, LET’S GO!!!!!!!!!! What a fun game. RIP everyone’s fingernails.

I competed in another weightlifting comp. I did snatch: 44/47/49x, and C&J: 52/55/58x. The 47kg and 55kg were equal comp PBs, which together gave me a 1kg total PB. I have never even tried anything heavier than those, even in training, which freaked me out a bit, but those third attempts went better than I expected. Hopefully I can get them next time.

Volunteering at State Champs. It was nice to see some good lifting in real life again. Maybe some day I will qualify. Maybe.

Endless bike drama. Prepping to ship my bike back so they could try to fix the bent back wheel.

I finally got to the framing shop and framed my Escher cross stitch, and the print we bought in Tofino, BC in 2015. I’ll try to take better pictures of the cross stitch soon. It is gigantic!! I need to research what’s the best way to do that with my fancy camera. Little peek of our new couches there too! We finally got them, after buying them in Boxing Day sales!!

Unpictured things:

  • Many family meals. Dinner at Brett’s, Easter brunch at Jemma’s, Noah’s 16th birthday lunch. It was nice being able to see everyone again after barely seeing them the year before.
  • We played Ticket to Ride online with MEP and Paul and I didn’t even win.
  • Went out for a dumpling lunch with my internet friends. Loooove having dumplings in a big group so you get to eat ALL THE THINGS.

I’m back. Let’s catch up.

Our March #smaj activity was clay target shooting in Carrum Downs. I was worried about it! I don’t think I have very good hand-eye coordination, and I’d never even touched a gun before. But it was actually super fun! I did better than Scott!

We got to do three rounds. In the first round, they shot one target at a time and they told you where it was going to come out. In the second round they shot two, but told us where they would come out from. And in the third round they also shot two, but you didn’t know where they would come from. I think I got about 70% of my targets which is WAY higher than I would have guessed.

The guy standing next to me in the picture who ran the whole thing went to the Commonwealth Games! Maybe it’s a new hobby for me when I retire from weightlifting. :D

We went to a AFLW game. We got to see the goal of the year!

Terrible picture but Da Boys came over for lunch and games. We played Tiny Towns and Camel Up, and ate sausages and mac and cheese.

I was doing regular, uneventful back squats and thought “Hmm, my finger feels kinda weird” and then watched it turn purple right before my eyes! I must have burst a blood vessel or something?

Waiting after jab #1. My work got us vaccines very early. We all thought we were category 1B, but we got them nearly straight away with category 1A. We got AstraZeneca, then literally the next day they started having all these news articles about how you could get blood clots and they were going to stop using the vaccine in many parts of the world. Felt great man. But we all survived (so far) and I’m due for my second dose this week.

It has been reassuring being half vaccinated while still seeing lots of patients, many of whom are immuno-compromised. (And also don’t wear their masks properly.)

Just a random tasty meal. Honey gochujang baked salmon with green beans and rice.

Other things not pictured:

  • Scott played A LOT of lawn bowls. He got promoted to the club first team, and they made it to the finals.
  • He also made it to the grand final in his basketball league.
  • We had a few family lunches.
  • We went to this progressive dinner thing in Kew where we had entree, main, and dessert at different restaurants within walking distance. I didn’t take any pictures but it was fun. We ate so many different things and also way too much.
  • We started pottery class. I think I’ll make that into its own post.