We were supposed to spend the first half of June in the Northern Territory and South Australia, but ended up being restricted to a 5km radius from our house instead. Lockdown 4.0. So the month started off pretty bad, but I tried to make the most of it.

Instead of watching the Melbourne Demons vs Brisbane Lions game at Traegar Park in Alice Springs, NT, we watched it at home in our freezing house. :'( Dees won though. And we had delicious sushi bowls.

I had two weeks booked off work but cancelled the first week and worked instead. We were in strict lockdown so there wasn’t much I could do anyway. I actually got pretty depressed. It was just extremely frustrating that I was back at work, not on holiday, couldn’t reschedule the holiday, couldn’t go to the gym, couldn’t plan my training, couldn’t see my friends, couldn’t look forward to anything.

So I decided I needed a project.

I used that quiet week at work to plan and gather supplies for the following week.

My Saturday gym sessions currently have two exercises from blocks: block snatch and block cleans. I am very lucky that I can train in our garage, but I didn’t have blocks, which meant that I have to do the exercises from a hang position instead. I HATE HANG SNATCHES SO MUCH. Enough that I decided that I wanted to make my own blocks for home.

Originally I was going to make very simple criss-cross ones like I’d seen on the internet, but 1) I wanted to them to have two height options, and 2) I calculated that it would need around $150 worth of wood. So I emailed dad to ask if I could make them without the center supports because I don’t actually lift that much weight. He wrote back with a few questions and then 24 hours later he’d made me a brand new design in OpenSCAD! I could edit the dimensions to what is available here and it even generated a list of supplies. Very cool. Thanks dad. The new plan only used about $70 of wood!

It took me three afternoons to put them together, but I honestly found it very satisfying (other than stripped screws, which was remedied by replacing my screwdriver bit). I had fun using my new drop saw and circular saw, and didn’t even lose any fingers. Thanks dad for reminding me of when mom had to go to the hospital after a drop saw accident at the cottage AFTER I had finished cutting all of the pieces.

They work great! They nestle together perfectly and they don’t bounce or move at all. I’m very happy. I’ll probably add strips on the top to stop the bar from rolling off when I’m not holding it. I only used them one time so far though because the gym re-opened the next week lol. But there is covid in NSW at the moment so it’s probably just a matter of time before we are back in lockdown again. :/

Hide The Pain Harold Katrina.

If you’re in lockdown and don’t bake bread, DID YOU EVEN LOCKDOWN?

I made this bread with leftover whey instead of water, because the internet told me you could do that. But it tasted weird, I don’t think I would do it again. Or at least I would use 1/2 whey and 1/2 water.

Another lockdown cooking project: beef bourguignon. It took 3 days!!! And an entire bottle of wine!!! But it was dang delicious, and made like 8 servings, so in the end I think it was worth it.

One very good piece of news was that my citizenship test didn’t get cancelled. At that point we were allowed to go 25km from home and I guess they decided that it was essential enough that they could let the immigration officers work in the office.

They told me it would take 2 hours, and I had to bring in all sorts of documents. But the dude only asked for my passport and drivers license and I was out of there in 15 minutes, including doing the test TWO TIMES… because I failed the first time….. OOPS. (I got 95% but I failed one of the essential questions because apparently I am a monarchist. I got 100% the second time btw.)

So I spent a couple hours wandering the quiet city with my camera. I went to the Lululemon outlet, got bubble tea, borek, and popped into a whole bunch of shops too. It’s a good thing I didn’t get covid because my exposure site list would have been very long, haha. Most of my pictures didn’t turn out very well. I am definitely still learning how to use my camera.

Scott and I did a six week pottery term at Ceramiques Camberwell.

The first two weeks were throwing. I don’t think I have a picture of week 1 because we had to leave a tiny bit early to go to a dinner thing. We learned how to make basic cup shapes in the first week, and then how to make curvy things in week 2 (pictured above).

It was fun but also hard and I didn’t really find it relaxing, as you can tell from my face, lol.

Week 3 was trimming. I found it difficult to center my pieces for trimming because all my pieces were lopsided and not perfectly round, but once you got it going it is a very satisfying process. I really liked getting rid of all the extra thicc bits at the bottom.

Week 4 and 5 was throwing with different types of clay, and trimming again. We learned how to marble the clay, and theoretically how to make plates (did not have much success with that). The dark brown clay was very very very rough, like, sandpapering your hands off rough. The medium brown clay was gritty but nicer. The next day the callouses on my hands were stained orange!!

All of my pieces on the left, and all of Scott’s on the right. Ready for wax and then glaze.

The final week was glazing. Scott kept saying “4-20 GLAZE IT”. Glazing was a bit chaotic. They had about 10 different types of glaze set out for us, and we each had about 10 pieces to do, but only one person can use a bucket at a time. They showed us how to do multiple different techniques of dipping, pouring, dripping, mixing etc. Also every clay and glaze looks different at this stage compared to the final result.

I had a grand plan of how I wanted to make everything look but then got totally confused and ended up just dipping things randomly/making everything pink.

Glazes pieces ready for the final firing. I was so worried I’d messed up all my pieces at this point. I kept knocking the sides with the tongs and accidentally leaving fingerprints on everything. And if you didn’t put enough wax on the bottoms or didn’t wipe off enough glaze from the bottoms your pieces can stick in the kiln and ruin everything!! POTTERY IS NOT RELAXING!! (At least as a beginner/stresshead).

Finally 8 weeks later (damn lockdown 4.0) we got to pick up our finished pottery. We were mostly pleasantly surprised, with some cringe. A lot of our pieces have cracks from not compressing the bases enough, and yes there were some poor glaze choices and mishaps. But overall we have a buttload of functional tiny vessels, and some of them are really very nice!

Scott’s stuff. The mug is his favourite.

My stuff. I also like my mug the most, and the textured vase thingy on the right.

Better picture of my tiny vase. I scooped out all the little circles in the trimming phase, and then was hoping the glaze would settle into them and look interesting, which I suppose it did! I like it. What should I use it for?

Overall the course was pretty good. I don’t like not being immediately good at something. :P We might do another term some time, but we didn’t sign up right away. It would be fun to do it with some other friends as well.

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.